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Old 11-12-2009, 09:12 PM   #1
Mike Carr
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Default Birth of the Tri-State S/SS Association

A few people asked me over the weekend how I came to be a S/SS Promoter, so here goes. It's a long story, so get some coffee or a pop.

As a young kid, I wasn't what you would call a big drag racing fan. Looking back now, being born in 1979, I came along too late for the "good times" of racing. I went to the races with my parents, but that was about it. In fact, one year in the late 1980's, I remember going to Norwalk Ohio for the World Nationals and preferred playing in the back of the Suburban with my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars then even going into the track. After watching the Englishtown race on TV 1988, I thought it looked pretty cool, and started becoming a fan and following it. All Pro and Alcohol racing. In the early 1990's, I met and became friends with some local eastern Ohio Top Alcohol racers, and was able to help them out with small stuff. 1993, I come home from school on a Friday and was told to clean my room and pack some clothes, because we were all leaving for Maple Grove. I asked what for, they said "The Dutch Classic". I wasn't sure if i wanted to go, since there were no Pros or Alcohol cars running, but figured, hey, what the heck. After one or two sessions of wheelstanding Super Stocks, I was impressed. I mean damn, Pro cars don't leave like that. Well, not on purpose anyways. So I started following more S/S stuff, but was still mostly into Top Alcohol. Until the 1995 NHRA race at Quaker City Dragway in Salem Ohio. After helping Conrad Dahl's team, that finished runner-up that day in TA/FC, we went to leave. There was a flyer on the windshield about a Stock/Super Stock race at Fairmont Dragway in West Virginia. I asked Dad if he wanted to go. He was surprised that I wanted to go. We did, and it was quite a fun race. Tom Lang organized the race. Met Wally Clark (who I had talked to a few times here and there before) there, and was able to back him into the water on one run. Six weeks later, at the IHRA race in Norwalk, I was able to help him some more, between runs with Conrad's TA/FC. Conrad lost round 1, but Wally won Super Stock that day and asked me to be in the Winners Circle photos with him. After that, it was on. I really got into S/S racing, and went to a S/SS combo at Mason-Dixon Dragway in Maryland in November. Tom Lang was there also, and I asked if he needed help pairing cars in the lanes, which I helped do. Next year while at Columbus, I was helping out on Shawn Bowen's T/AD, as was Tom Lang. I asked if he was having a race at Fairmont WV that year. When he said yes, I asked if he had any flyers for the race, that I could pass out. He gave me some and I went to pass them out. He asked the Bowen's "Who was that?". "Oh, he's Conrad Dahl's son", which I wasn't, but some thought I was. "Well, I don't why a TA/FC guy would want to help promote a S/SS race, but hell, I'll take the help". Went to Fairmont, had another fun time. Later that fall, I stared calling Tom and giving him race results from the NHRA and IHRA races I was at, for his radio show on racing. Before Hagerstown that fall, Tom broke his arm, but gave me some payout info and stuff to help put the race on, which with Jim Boburka's help, I did. That winter going into 1997, Tom created the Tri-State (PA, OH and WV) Stock/Super Stock Association. I was the series Announcer, at age 17. There were races in Salem OH, Steubenville OH, Fairmont WV and New Alexandria PA. Hagerstown was a non-Association race, that I went to but was totally rained out. In 1998, there were a few races, but Tom's duties with Dave McConnell's P/ST team limited him to what he did. He turned the Association over to me in 1999. We had races at the same tracks as '97. 2000 consisted of three double weekends at Quaker City, and nowhere else except Hagerstown. Other tracks declined to do races, as Quaker did in 2001. So the series went dormant, except for the annual November race at H-town. I started racing in Stock Eliminator in 2002, and didn't pursue any races except H-town. I stopped racing at the end of the '06 season, fed up with the NHRA and IHRA BS. The series attempted a return in 2009. Response from tracks was limited. Races were scheduled for Numidia PA, Boiling Springs PA, New Alexandria PA and Hagerstown (for my fifteenth straight November). Rain all morning killed Numidia in early August, as only three cars showed. 13 competed at New Alexandria in September. Boiling Springs was cancelled due to rain in October, and 43 cars came to Hagerstown. I will attempt to have an expanded schedule in 2010, and see if we can't resurect the Tri-State Stock/Super Stock Association to the glory days.

People ask why I drive 230 miles every year (sometimes twice a year) to Hagerstown, and equal or further distances to put other races on. They're also surprised to see that a 29 year old kid does them, and has been successfully doing them for many years now. I enjoy the classes, the cars, and most importantly, the people. I have a blast doing these races and the racers seem to enjoy them. I always strive to put the best events on that I can, and always encourage feedback from racers, to see what I can do to try and improve events and formats for the future.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:41 PM   #2
Ron Traupman
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Thumbs up Re: Birth of the Tri-State S/SS Association

Hey Mike they were the good times......You did a good job helping everybody. Always help me in the water box. Also we need to get Quaker back in the system. Talk to you later. Ron
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:48 PM   #3
Mike Carr
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Default Re: Birth of the Tri-State S/SS Association

Hi Ron. Yeah, those were the good times. Hope to be able to bring them back. Ideally, I'd like to have at least one, maybe two races each at Quaker and Pittsburgh. 1-2 at Hagerstown, and if any other local tracks that would be interested. We'll see. As soon as the NHRA and IHRA Divisional schedules are released I can start working with potential tracks for potential dates.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
Tom Lang
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Default Re: Birth of the Tri-State S/SS Association

Mike, I hope you don't mind if I throw in some details.

The seed that got the whole thing started was when the Tedesco Brothers used to put on a race at Keystone called "The Superstars of the Early Years". It was designed to give people who used to race at PID and Keystone a chance to race locally as many of them had moved on to follow the NHRA and IHRA points races and national events. Boburka, Kunsak, Lydon & Johnson as well as non-class racers like Jack McDonough, Joe Meinert and others would go to Keystone for that race and it was a good time for all. We used to call it the Oldtimers Race until a couple guys ( I think Wes Sr. and Lydon) showed up one week early, then it became known as the Alzheimer's Race.

In early 1995 my friend Paul Barr and I went to the Custom Car Show in Pittsburgh and we got to talking about the Oldtimers race. Paul asked me why we couldn't do something similar for the Stock and Super Stock guys because we rarely saw them race around home. That's when I called Bob Mancino at Fairmont Dragway and together we came up with the West Virginia Stock/Super Stock State Championships. It was my first attempt at race promoting and it turned out to be quite a success, mostly because of the kind of people that compete in class racing. The Sheehans put on a barbecue and fed everybody. Jerry Hunter from the NHRA Safety Safari prepped the track and as he is a big fan of the high winding stick cars he put up $100 to get Doc Watson and Ed Matsko to come back for an encore after they were eliminated. We did it again in 1996 and again it worked out well. In early 1997 we got everybody we could to meet at Dave McConnell's house and that is when the Tri State Super Stock Association was born with the intent to put on about a half dozen or so races a year. I think you covered the rest of the story from there.

The thing that made it work was the group of people we were dealing with, Class Racers. We had a tee shirt made up for the first race with a simple logo of a camaro with the wheels up and the slogan, "Stock/Super Stock, it's class racing." Class racing doesn't just refer to the type of cars they race, but the kind of people they are. I must say I got spoiled dealing with that group of racers, they were very easy to work with. A few years later I worked at Keystone and found out not all racers are so easy to work with.
I glad to see that you're keeping it going. I'll make it out to some of your races this year and I'll use the two radio shows I'm involved with to help you promote them.

Tom Lang
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