Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rick Ferkel (0) and Doug Wolfgang (4x) at Kokamo, In. in 1978. Posted by Hello

1978 final point standings

I know it's been awhile since I posted , I've been busy and just haven't had the desire to write anything. Anyway I thought I would give the final point standings for the first year of the World of Outlaws and will write more on the first year later.

1. Steve Kinser-5172
2. Rick Ferkel- 5118- the driver I crew chiefed for many years including 1978.
3. Bobby Allen-3688
4. Doug Wolfgang-3024
5. Jack Hewitt-2698
6. Charlie Swartz-1974
7. Lee Osborne-1908
8. Danny Smith-1858
9. Sammy Swindell-1856
10. Gary Patterson-1816
11. Lealand McSpadden-1750
12. Jimmy Boyd-1622-Jimmy won the first point race in Dallas. Tx.
13. Dub May-1492
14. Fred Linder-1372
15. Johnny Beaber-1302
16. Shane Carson-1178
17. Johnny Anderson-1082
18. Kenny Jacobs-1010
19. Jimmy Sills-1000
20 Rick Nichols-946

There you have it, the first year of what was to become the premiere sprint car racing org. of all time.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The 1978 World of Outlaws-standing(left to right)-Don Mack,Terry Gray,Rick Ferkel,Danny Smith,Steve Kinser,Bobby Allen,Rick Nichels,Doug Wolfgang-sitting(left to right)-Sammy Swindell,Johnny Beaber,Ted Johnson,Shane Carson,Bobby Marshall. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Outlaws

My brother and I went to the World of Outlaws race at Baytown, TX. last weekend and saw a pretty good show, and I got to see some old friends. The Outlaws always have a good race but it just didn't seem the same since Ted Johnson sold the organization to Boundless. I don't think the racers are vary happy with the group, the season has just started and by the way they all sounded you would think that they have been through a whole year. You would have thought that it was a weekly local show.

I got to thinking about how the Outlaws were started and thought I would write about it. I guess I should explain what an Outlaw is (our was) for the people who might read this and are not sprint car fans. I don't know who came up with calling the racers Outlaws, it was probably some sports writer but I remember hearing the term around 1976 or 77. At that time there was one main sprint car organization the United States Auto Club, all other sprint organizations and clubs were run mainly at local tracks and racers would run at their local tracks in their area. USAC would run races across the country and you had to belong to their club and run by their car rules, which was a 302 cubic inch motor limit. There were others like the I.M.C.A but USAC was the only national club.

Most of the local tracks around the country would run at least one to two big money races during the season and these races would have no restrictions on engine size. Well there were a few racers who would travel to all these special races around the country and not race with USAC and they were come to be known as Outlaws. These Outlaws soon became very popular with sprint car fans and started getting appearance money to race at these special shows.

The most popular drivers that made most of the races were, Jan Opperman(Penn.), Kenny Weld(Kansas-later Penn.), Rick Ferkel(Ohio), Bobby Allen(Penn.) and Dub May(Texas). Now for you real fans out there I know you are going to say there were many more but most of them did not start traveling till after the World of Outlaws were formed. These racers were traveling to most of the special shows long before the WOO even existed.

Around 1976 enters Ted Johnson a salesman who is a huge sprint car fan and he starts handling all these racers appearance dates, he would do all the work with the race promoters on behalf of the traveling racers and the drivers didn't have to worry about that any more, also the drivers were supposed to get all equal money. Before this, one would get maybe $500 where another would get $1000 per show. If I remember right they called the group The Racers.

During the 1976 and 77 seasons in Iowa there was a driver by the name of Doug Wolfgang and he was winning a bunch of races in that area and getting a whole lot of press about it. Well the racers who were doing all the traveling and racing against the best all the time really didn't like all that was being said about Wolfgang. So the talk started about who really was the best and ways that you could find out. Ted went to work on this problem and thought about a point system for shows that payed at least $2000 or more to win. Then he did the smartest thing he could do and trade marked the name "World of Outlaws". The first race was at the Devils Bowl in Dallas, Texas in 1978 and sprint car racing hasn't been the same since. More on the early years of the WOO in next post.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dad in Jim Brocks car on the outside of Bob Hebner in Phoenix, Ariz. in 1973. Posted by Hello

My greatest Win

Well if you haven't guessed it by now what I consider my best win came in 76 with my dad driving Ron Goringer's car. Like I stated in my last post my brother and I built the car in a week and believe me there wasn't much sleep that week. We headed off to Knoxville, Iowa for the Nationals with a new car that we had not raced yet. When I say we, I mean my dad, mom and her dog Lady, one of my sisters Sherry and my brother Gary who had been helping me all season. The whole trip ended up being about 3 weeks and this was in truck with two seats and two little sleepers behind the cab of the truck.

The trip didn't start to well as we made it to Flagstaff and had a flat ( sometime I will tell you the story of our trip to Denver when Gary and I had a total of four flats on the way home and a destroyed race car on the truck). But the rest of the trip to Knoxville went ok other than being a little cramped.

On qualifying night we had our ups and downs, the car was working ok we just had problems with the left rear hub in hot laps and had to fix it and didn't have time to change the gear so we were bad in time trials. We won our heat race and were running 5th in the feature when somebody spun out in front of dad and he couldn't clear him so that ended the night for us.

For me this was my worst trip to the Nationals ( and I have had some bad ones) I felt like I had something to prove that year, I don't really know why I certainly had nothing to prove to my dad or brother. I guess I was still not over what happen the year before with Rick Ferkel and I am not going to get that into now. But I just wasn't very happy with the way our racing was going and my family was getting the worst end of it especially my brother. On the final night I was really messed up, I got mad at Gary for some stupid reason and couldn't think straight all night long any way it was night that I would like to forget.

At that time there was a race the next day after Nationals in North Starr, MN. called the North American Sprint Car Championship it was a one day show and dad wanted to go. Well after my night in Knoxville I didn't want to go anywhere but every body else wanted to go so we went. On the trip up there my attitude seem to change it just seemed like I lost all that pressure I had put on myself and that day working on the car went really well.

That night everything went pretty well till the first lap of the feature when a car spun in turn one, a car hit him and he bounced into dad and blew our right rear tire, we changed the tire on the yellow flag and dad had to go to the rear of the field. Dad did a great job that night and won on the last lap. It was a great race and a great way to finish off a sorry Knoxville week.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Dad being introduced by Kieth Hall at the 1974 Western World Championship at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, a race that I won as crew chief for Rick Ferkel. Posted by Hello