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JANUARY NEWSLETTER 2020

 

Having a banquet in the middle of January can be a problem if the weather turns ugly. During our 2 previous events, we were blessed with cold and clear weather; but this year was a different story. Mahwah is about a 2 hour ride for us; and we decided to leave around noon time to try and arrive ahead of an impending snow storm. The weather forecasters weren’t calling for a block buster storm; but we were instore for just enough snow to cause problems on the highways. I’m happy to report that everyone made it to the hotel without having an accident. We were now ready to enjoy a most memorable night. Before I tell you all about the night’s festivities; I want to encourage all of you to make an effort to attend our next banquet. You don’t have to run a car or even own one; you just have to show up and have a great time enjoying a nice meal, watching the award presentations, laughing at Kevin Lynch’s special awards, getting some neat stuff at the “Door Prize” table; and of course talking with all the members. I think Pat Kelly was the person who first approached Bruce Deming about the possibility of having an annual banquet; and boy was that one of the best ideas Pat has ever had. This whole affair would not have been possible without the hard work of Bruce and Diane Deming and Clayt and Kristen Deming. They brought in their own big screen TV, their large pole mounted speakers, and their PC and microphone as well. Clayt & Kristen also edited thousands of pictures and put them on commemorative zip drives for the club members. Bruce made all the arrangements with the hotel and throughout the night, Diane was roaming around the room taking some great photographs. We all owe the Deming’s a big “Thank You” for all that they did to make this night a huge success.

Once we all had our dinner, Bruce took the mike and he gave a brief overview of each race that we had in 2019. As he described some of the high points of each race; you found yourself going back in time; remembering some of the special things that took place at that race. After Bruce was finished, I took over and I handed out the prizes for our top three finishers in the point’s race. Gregg Grubel finished third with 260 points; but Jim Wheeler managed to accumulate 6 more points than Gregg; and his 266 points propelled him into the number 2 place in the point’s standings. But this year’s championship belonged to non-other than Robert Carson Jr. Rob piled up a whopping 310 points to grab the top spot. He was present at every race we had this year; and although he only won one race; he managed to make deposits into the points bank at every track; and in the end; he came out on top. All 3 drivers bring different talents to the track. Gregg’s a retired pipe fitter; and he drives and injected big block Olds powered ’51 Chevy; known as the “Class Reunion”. He and his wife Chris have raced with our club since its beginning; and are known for traveling to many tracks around the country.

Jim, on the other hand, is a relatively new comer to the organization; and he actually flies corporate jets for a living; but although Jim has only been racing with us for a few years; he’s a very quick study, and in 2019 he really showed us what a great driver he is. If Jim was able to run at every race, we may have been crowning a different champion; but none the less, Jim and his big block Chevy powered orange Nova, will be a car to deal with in the 2020 season. Now this year’s champ has been around our club for a number of years and he always gives his all when he’s racing. The older member of the “Carson Boyzz”, Robert is a truck driver by trade and his primered small block Chevy powered ’55 Stovebolt is affectionately known as “Pure Hell Jr.”. Rob is larger than life and when he does well, everyone knows about it; but he and his brother Ron are drag racers through and through. Now, not since the early days, did we have a champion repeat his performance in the next year of competition. Only John Olcott has the distinction of being able to have back-to-back championships; but you can’t ever predict what will happen in 2020. We congratulate Rob on winning the 2019 East Coast Gassers championship. Will have to see how Rob will do in 2020.

The club also presented a crystal plaque to Jack Olcott for his wisdom and foresight in creating the East Coast Gassers. Without Jack, there would be no club and no nostalgia gasser racing. Jack was not feeling that well, and he was unable to attend the banquet; but he sent me an email thanking everyone for thinking of him and honoring him as our club’s founder. When I was finished, the real star of the night took center stage. Driver of the “Prime Suspect” Nova, Kevin Lynch began to bestow a total of 10 “Special Wallys” to different members of the club. If you remember, last year Kevin made up some very special and unique trophies that he gave to our members for their contribution to the sport and for their ability to make us all laugh. This year Kevin outdid himself with the cool trophies that he hand built himself. This retired police sergeant has a special gift of making us all laugh; and he outdid himself on this snowy night in Jersey. His list of awards went like this:

Dave Fenzel for his consistent nose high launches--“Stuck up” Denny Stewart for most last round losses—“Always a Bridesmaid” Tommy Magers for his season of mechanical problems—“Call Triple A” Mark Fenzel & Gordie Ford for having the lowest Red Light reaction time—“Almost Perfect” Ed Linus for the most red lights—“Premature Acceleration” Bob & Katie Troise for being the most excited after winning a round—Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Kim Kelly for not holding back on the use of the English language—“Here’s Your F****** Trophy” Paul McCorkel for his quickest ET @ Beaver and fastest speed @ Maple Grove—“Bad Ass Pass” Diane Deming for being the club photographer and taking over 8000 pictures—“Picture Perfect” Karen Swiatek for always bringing the donuts around at each race—“Time to Make the Donuts” So there you have it. I’ve included a picture of the award, so you can get an idea of the creativity that Kevin has. His awards made us laugh and appreciate how simple things can bring us much enjoyment.

Dave Fenzel for his consistent nose high launches -"Stuck up"
Denny Stewart for most last round losses - "“Always a Bridesmaid"
Tommy Magers for his season of mechanical problems - "Call Triple A"
Mark Fenzel & Gordie Ford for having the lowest Red Light reaction time -"Almost Perfect"
Ed Linus for the most red lights - "Premature Acceleration"
Bob & Katie Troise for being the most excited after winning a round - "Don’t Worry, Be Happy"
Kim Kelly for not holding back on the use of the English language - "Here’s Your F****** Trophy"
Paul McCorkel for his quickest ET @ Beaver and fastest speed @ Maple Grove - "Bad Ass Pass"
Diane Deming for being the club photographer and taking over 8000 picture - "Picture Perfect"
Karen Swiatek for always bringing the donuts around at each race - "Time to Make the Donuts"

So there you have it. I’ve included a picture of the award, so you can get an idea of the creativity that Kevin has. His awards made us laugh and appreciate how simple things can bring us much enjoyment.

I’ve also got to mention some other special awards that were given out. Club member Bobby Mansfield gave a special cartoon caricature drawing and coffee cup to the champ, Rob Cason. They were great and I’ve also included them in the picture section. Bobby, who has a huge heart, gave Kevin Lynch a rusted out rim for his car. Now Kevin only needs 3 more to have a complete set. Finally, Jim Wheeler had a half scale Nova hood created for Kevin. It seems at one of our Island races; Kevin had his hood off of his car when there was a call over the PA system for the drivers to get their cars down to tech for inspections. Well, Kevin is always quick to respond; but he was just too eager to get going and he accidently ran over the corner of his hood…….OUCH!!! Well, Jim did a terrific job re-creating the hood, complete with tire mark, to always remind Kevin of his miscue. The other special award went to Dave Fenzel for all the windshield time that he put in driving from his home in Pasadena, Maryland, which is south of Baltimore; to all of our races. I believe that Dave only missed one race because of a family commitment. Once we were finished with all of the awards, the big event of the night centered on the “Door Prize” table. I want to tell you, there were tons of prizes on that table. So many people brought gifts to share and there was a little bit of everything piled high; just waiting for the person who got called to go get a prize. After all the items were gone, we ended the night; and either headed for our rooms or the bar for more talking and bench racing. I wanted to mention just one more thing. At last year’s banquet, all of us participated in a special phone call with Pete Boyer; as he was recovering from a double lung transplant. But this year, Pete was here in Mahwah, enjoying himself with all of us and looking very healthy indeed. Last year I called Pete’s operation our “Christmas Miracle”; and this year, and every year; he will always be our “Christmas Miracle”. We are so glad that Pete is back racing with us and doing what he loves to do. Thanks to our God for bringing him through a very serious situation. Well, that’s the story for the 2020 banquet. I think that next year will be even better than the previous three events. Again, thanks to the Deming family; and to everyone who came to this wonderful affair. It will only be 4 short months before we hear that familiar call from the track announcer. East Coast Gassers to lanes 7 & 8. What new members will join the club? Who will take the early points lead; and who will prevail and gather enough points to win the 2020 Championship? Only time will tell. We hope you come out to the track and support your club; and if you’re working on that gasser in your garage; you better get going and get her finished before the first race at Lebanon Valley. We’ll see you at the track.

Finally, I wanted to let all of the members know that we are in the process of changing the club from a Limited Liability Company to a 501 type organization. There are actually 29 different 501 classifications; and we’re now looking at which non-profit classification suits our needs. This will mean that there will be 4 club officers, 3 board members and a race director. It will also mean that a few committees will be created to take care of the club’s needs. We will operate very much like NETO and MANDRA do. I’ll keep everyone informed as we make the transition. Today happens to be Groundhog Day and it looks like we will have an early spring as Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. I hope he’s right, because I’m ready for some warmer weather. Thanks everyone for your support. God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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