Category: Checkered Past

Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Shark Evolution

“Original Outlaw” is no token term. Originally, auto racing outlaws were those without membership in the austere Automobile Association of America and by proxy, no honest shot at the Indianapolis 500. AAA became USAC in 1956. Rear engines replaced roadsters and sprint car drivers were as welcome as rain. Sprint cars were no longer stepping

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Chronicles of Kansas

Kansas conjures various images: “Wizard of Oz” courage, herds of cattle, staunch conservatives, amber waves of grain, “Carry On Wayward Son.” Sunflower State grows no pro sport but college basketball at the University of Kansas holds fanatical appeal and much ESPN money. NCAA championships in 1952, 1988 and 2008 fanned those flames. “Rock chalk, Jayhawk!”

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Nine Seconds

To drive a lurching, snarling sprint car across a rutted dirt track has been compared to sitting on the back of a raging bull. Each is an attempt to control what sane people see as uncontrollable. Wichita, Kansas cowboy A.J Shepherd compared the two extreme sports. After busting broncos, Shepherd won CRA and IMCA sprint

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Bands of Brothers

Professional sports have seen its share of brothers. Football had Peyton and Eli Manning under center. Baseball had Pedro and Ramon Martinez on the mound. Basketball has Seth and Steph Curry well behind the arc. Auto racing runs on deeper bloodlines. Why else do proud fathers spend insane amounts of money just to learn if

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Seven Seasons of Sam

Sammy Swindell is an international treasure that rivals have buried both figuratively and professionally. Public relations were always an Achilles Heel and why his Simpson Safety shoes never took root at the Indianapolis 500 or Daytona 500. No one ever questioned his talent or acumen. Sammy would have modified and mastered those machines just as

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Kid from Apple Creek

Who is Brad Doty? Readers and racers born 32 years ago never feared the beard from Apple Creek, Ohio as he smashed track records for Bowers Coal and Coors Light beer. They never saw him grace victory lanes from Silver Dollar to Devil’s Bowl, Knoxville, Lernerville, Williams Grove and Volusia County, FL. Today’s generations see

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Stunners

Today we examine the word “upset.” Very versatile, it can be a verb as in “upset the apple cart” or an adjective like “upset stomach” to describe a queasy belly. It was likely an American who first attached the term “upset victory” to Cassius Clay in 1964 or the New York Jets of 1969 or

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Johnny On the Spot

Two thousand? That’s a lot of beans. Two thousand dollars to win was what it took to book the World of Outlaws when it began 42 years ago. Two thousand work nights without one absence is amazing. Now consider how the place of employ floats from coast to coast 80 times in ten months. Some

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Seven Nights in June

June 3, 1986 Weedsport, NY (0.337d) Race 30 of 82: It was rebranded as Cayuga County Speedway because “weedsport” sounded like boondocks. After wealthy Al Heinke sank several million dollars into the formerly fenceless oval one Thruway exit west of Syracuse, it bore scant resemblance to the Sunday Night anchor of Glenn Donnelly’s DIRT of

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Crockett and The Dude

The World of Outlaws was only four months old when it first visited the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. On that summer evening in 1978 “The Buckeye Traveler” Rick Ferkel toted Two Grand back to Bowling Green, Ohio. During its second season, the World of Outlaws did not race in Missouri at all. It was

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