Friday, July 30, 2010

Schaefer Hall of Fame has colors!

Last February while in Vegas for our NASCAR weekend trip, my partner-in-crime and co-founder of the Schaefer Racing Hall of Fame (SHOF) and I brainstormed getting shirts for the hall members to wear during Coke 600 race weekend. In April, I designed a shirt on a website, used the "got milk?" font, ordered a white shirt with my design, received it in less than a week, and wore it to the race.

Other SHOFers waited a few extra weeks to order their shirts. Unfortunately, their delay cost them. The shirt website blacklisted my design saying it violated trademarks, and the additional orders were canceled. OK, so maybe they had a point. But if they had truly understood the Schaefer spirit, they could have turned a blind eye and processed the orders.

So as it turned out, I was the only one with a "got Schaefer?" shirt - until Uncle D took matters into his own hands.

After initiating contact with Pabst, Uncle D sent this e-mail (copied/pasted just as he typed it):
THOUGHT I WOULD FORWARD OUR TAILGATE GROUPS BLOGGER'S WRITTINGS OF OUR NORTH CAROLINA NASCAR WEEKEND GET TOGATHER. JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THAT WE REALLY ARE DEDICATED. Bench Racing From the Volunteer State. ALSO MY PIC I TOOK AT THE LAUNCH OF SPACE SUTTLE STS131. I KNOW ITS BLURY BUT I ONLY HAD TIME TO CLICK OFF 5 PIC'S BEFORE YOU COULDNT SEE IT ANYMORE AND TO EXPERIANCE TO MOMENT. WE WERE AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN GET AND WE WERE STILL 3 MILES AWAY. THANKS FOR WHAT EVER YOU CAN DO!!
Pabst folks responded with a very polite, favorable response which led to this next message from Uncle D:
SORRY I HAVENT GOT BACK TO YOU SOONER BUT WE ALL ARE IN DIFFERNT STATES AND HAD TO CONFER. WE WOULD LIKE TO DESIGN AND PRODUCE ONLY THE T SHIRTS IMAGES THAT WE SENT YOU BUT MAYBE TWO VERSIONS: ONE THAT SAYS, "HALL OF FAME" ON THE BACK. ONE THAT SAYS, "RING OF HONOR" ON THE BACK. WE WILL DESIGN AND PRODUCE THE SHIRTS, WILL PAY FOR THEM WITH OUR TAILGATE FUNDS (MONEY COLLECTED FROM ABOUT FOUR OF US THAT PAYS FOR TAILGATING FOR ABOUT 30 FRIEND & VISITORS. FOR YOUR GENERAL INFORMATION, ONE NEW HALL OF FAMER IS PICKED EACH YEAR (WILL GET A SHIRT) OTHER LONG TIME TAILGATERS WILL BEABLE TO GET A "RING OF HONOR" SHIRT WHEN THEY HAVE SHOWN TRUE LOYALTY TO THE PARTY.
Pabst's licensing rep responded:
Instead of putting the shirts on [website], where anyone can make one and [website] makes a profit off of them, how would you feel if we just made these shirts for you and sent them your way? We love your passion, and would be happy to support it. How many would you want of each style/sizes? (Note: emphasis is by toomuchcountry.)
Ka-ching! Within just a couple of weeks,he procured a dozen yellow Schaefer Hall of Fame shirts and four dozen red Schaefer Ring of Honor shirts.

The grand unveiling of the SHOF shirt by Cleveland, Ohio's Uncle D.

Uncle D presenting the shirt to Charlotte, NC's Philly.

Franklin, TN's TMC with Schaefer Ring of Honor (SROH) inductee Michael at Sam's Sports Grill, Hendersonville, TN.

SHOFers Philly and Uncle D with SROH Member Lanie.

Wilmington, NC's SHOFer Rookie (whose woefully out-of-date blog can be found here)

Rookie's better half and SROH member, Erin. However, from the looks of things, me thinks Ms. Erin may well be cheating on her Schaefer drinking. We're going to have to re-educate her about how gravity works. The beer gets poured out of the can - it doesn't jump out.

Philly, Rookie, and High Point, NC's own SROH the Rev. Randy, Esq. (The Rev also serves as the official legal counsel for the SHOF in case any of you nutjobs out there try to accuse us of stealing your idea for a Schaefer Hall of Fame.)

Once again, Uncle D - you've done it. A mighty Schaefer Scha-LOOT! to you.

TMC

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29 - This day in Schaefer racing history

1972 Schaefer 500
USAC Indy car race
Pocono International Raceway
Pocono, Pennsylvania
Winning driver: Joe Leonard
Full results: Racing-Reference.info

The race was originally scheduled for Sunday, July 2nd. Because of local flooding associated with Hurricane Agnes, Pocono agreed to postpone the race after consulting with state and local officials. USAC officials got their panties in a wad because they believed the sanctioning agreement gave THEM complete control over the go/no go decision. Their knee jerk reaction was to say the track forfeited the date as well as cash for guaranteed purse money. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed, and the race was rescheduled for the last weekend of July.

Source: Reading Eagle via Google News Archive
The front row of Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock and Mario Andretti.

The winner of the race, Joe Leonard, was the reigning USAC Indy car champion. He would go on to win the championship again in 1972. One would think this win would register higher on the scale of photos being snapped and available.

Source: Bernie427 at Randy Ayers Modeling Forum
Source: Reading Eagle via Google News Archive
By reading as many articles as I can find, I think I've found two likely reasons why photos of Leonard's winning the race are scarce.
  • The race was rained out on its original date and rescheduled for Saturday, July 29. With the postponement, some writers and/or photographers may not have been able to return for the make-up date.
  • Leonard's win was awarded amidst controversy. He was a teammate of Mario Andretti and Al Unser Sr. Andretti faded late in the race due to fuel problems in the pits. Unser took the checkered flag, but Leonard's team believed Unser committed a pit infraction. Both cars headed to victory lane. It took over an hour for USAC officals to settle things and award Leonard the win. In those days with story submission deadlines looming, its probable writers and photographers submitted what they had - not knowing when things would be resolved.

Source: Eugene Register Guard via Google News Archive
Sports Illustrated ran a feature article in the August 7, 1972, issue.



In a notable Petty-related trivia moment from the weekend, Richard Petty was lured by track promoters to race in the 500-mile stock car portion of the twin bill on Sunday, July 30th. He wasn't much of a factor, and the 43 finished well back in the field.

The STP Plymouth did, however, make the cover of the November 1972 issue of Stock Car Racing magazine.


TMC
Edited June 28, 2014

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Brickyard in LEGO bricks

Tradition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Love it.
Watching a race at IMS - Hate it.
A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, the pagoda, 11 rows of 3 starters - Love it.
NASCAR at IMS - Hate it.
Building with LEGOs - Love 'em.
Stepping on a LEGO in middle of night on the way to the can - Hate it.

As a kid, I loved playing with LEGO building blocks. We didn't have all the fancy sets they have today. My brother and I had a boo-coodle of loose bricks and our imagination.

My teenage son and a couple of his friends still enjoy playing with them too - both with building things from scratch as well as assembling the pre-engineered sets from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Bionicles, and others. He also gets a monthly LEGO magazine - he freely admits he gets it just for the pictures. /wink

Each year a Brickworld festival is held in Illinois. How my son has become a teenager without either of us knowing about Brickworld is beyond me. The conference looks like a huge gathering of LEGO geekdom. A collection of LEGO "trekkies" if you will.

LEGO fanatics gather to craft some remarkable brick art such as...

...an ornate street corner building

...Jimi Hendrix

...and American (LE)GOthic


See Brickworld's Flickr group to churn through many other impressive pieces of work.

A recent e-mail newsletter from Tech Republic included a handful of pictures that really caught my eye. One (maybe more) builder built a re-creation of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the level of detail.

LEGO version of top side track view...

Reference photo of race day...

Lego version of IMS Hall of Fame...

Reference photo of real thing...

LEGO version of IRL cars at full speed...

LEGO version of singing of Back Home in Indiana and the National Anthem...

Reference photo of Florence Henderson and the real deal...

I looked for a LEGO model of Ashley Judd in a rain-soaked sun dress but couldn't find one. Some things are just beyond crafting a replica.

I also zoomed in on the pictures carefully looking for a cylinder-shaped, replica Schaefer can. But no luck. Maybe someone will include one when they re-create Charlotte Motor Speedway at Brickworld 2011.

Meanwhile, the next Brickworld is tentatively scheduled to begin June 15, 2011. I'm already thinking ROAD TRIP. After all, despite my interest in the history and tradition of the Indianapolis 500, I'd much prefer to hang out at Brickworld than attend another boring NASCAR Brickyard 400.

TMC

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26 - This day in Schaefer racing history

1981 Mountain Dew 500
NASCAR Winston Cup race
Pocono International Raceway
Pocono, Pennsylvania
Winning driver: Darrell Waltrip
Full results: Racing-Reference.info

Indy car driver and Pennsylvania native, Al Loquasto, makes his NASCAR debut driving a #99 Schaefer beer sponsored Buick Regal for car owner and part-time driver D.K. Ulrich. The race was Loquasto's first of six career Cup starts - all with Ulrich.

  Ulrich and Loquasto talk in the garage during practice.

Source: D.K. Ulrich collection
Loquasto - ready for driver introductions and wearing his "game face".

Source: Rick Houston, Stock Car History Online
The Schaefer Buick in action on the track! Loquasto started 32nd and finished 24th.

Source: D.K. Ulrich collection
Read Rick Houston's entry at Stock Car History Onlinefor a re-visit about the search to find photos of the Schaefer-sponsored Loquasto car. (July 2011 edit: SCHO is no more, but Houston's article lives on here.)

The final lap - Richard Petty leads Cale Yarborough and eventual winner Darrell Waltrip.

Source: Reading Eagle
Other race notables:
  • Richard Petty took the while flag in the lead but was passed on the final lap by Darrell Waltrip. The King finished 2nd four car lengths behind Waltrip.
  • Kyle Petty finished 8th in only his 2nd race at the triangle-shaped track.
  • Richard Childress finished 23rd in his next-to-last race as a driver racing as a struggling independent. After his next start at Talladega, he stepped aside as a driver and hired reigning Cup champion and 1979 Rookie of the Year Dale Earnhardt. The rest, as they say, is history. He made a final start as a driver in the last race of the season at Riverside in a start-and-park car for Junior Johnson to give Darrell Waltrip extra cushion in earning points to claim the 1981 points championship.
TMC

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18 - This day in Petty history

1971 Northern 300
NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National race
(later known as Nextel/Sprint Cup Series)
Trenton International Speedway
Trenton, New Jersey
Winning driver: The King Richard Petty
Full results: Racing-Reference.info

Source: Florence Times/Tri-Cities Daily archives
Amazing the stuff you find on ebay
Photos below courtesy of Brian "200WINZ" Hauck.

Front row (in the best Bill Connell track announcer voice I can muster): On the pole - with a speed of 129.134 MPH - in the #39 See Rock City Chevrolet - from Chattanooga, TN - Friday Hassler! Starting second in a Plymouth - from Randleman, NC - Richard Petty!

The King's Petty blue Plymouth in victory lane adorned with trophies. Note the functional but not subtle use of duct tape to hold in the hood pins and patch some damage on the trunk.

After enduring a hard wreck during qualifying for the 1970 race, Wendell Scott had a far less dramatic 1971 run at Trenton. So I guess he figured there was no better way to relax after a day at the track than to enjoy a cold Schaefer beer!

Other race notables:
  • Buddy Baker ran an 18-race, part-time schedule for Petty Enterprises in 1971. For this race, the Pettys did not field a second car for him. Instead, he picked up a ride in Neil Castles' car and finished 2nd.
  • Ron Keselowski finished 27th in his #88 Dodge. About 40 years later, his nephew Brad Keselowski had a good bit of success in the Nationwide series racing the #88 Chevy for JR Motorsports.

TMC

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12 - This day in Schaefer and Petty history

1970 Schaefer 300
NASCAR Grand National race
(later known as Winston/Nextel/Sprint Cup Series)
Trenton International Speedway
Trenton, New Jersey
Winning driver: The King Richard Petty
Full results: Racing-Reference.info

Notables:
  • Ron Keselowski, uncle of current Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski, finished 27th.
  • Dave Marcis finished 6th in a car owned by Bobby Allison. Bobby finished 2nd in a #22 Coca-Cola Dodge Daytona owned by Mario Rossi.
Information about Trenton Speedway in general and this race specifically is pretty tough to find. Most of the stuff I've found thus far is a single source of text copied across multiple websites. What I think I've learned is that Trenton was originally a dirt track. It was paved in the 1950s and later reconfigured to a 1.5 mile kidney-shaped track to accommodate USAC Indy cars.

NASCAR brought its Grand National series to the track as part of its Northern Tour off and on from the 1950s through the early 1970s. Eventually, the track's NASCAR date went to Pocono when it opened. Trenton continued to host a USAC Indy car race in the 1970s. The track finally closed in 1980, and the property is now the site of the NJ Grounds for Sculpture. You believe that - a race track sacrificed for artsy-fartsy sculpture culture? Now that just ain't right.

A year ago, I blogged a short entry about Richard Petty's win in the 1970 Schaefer 300 at Trenton Speedway in New Jersey. Included in the entry were two pictures shared with me by a fellow Petty fan, Brian "200WINZ" Hauck. Brian was at the race, took several pictures, and was a big enough race fan back then to hold on to all his stuff as collectibles.

Another year has passed, and WINZ has once again caused my jaw to drop with his sharing of new photos for me to use.

The official track race program.

The official entry list included as an insert to the program.


A time-speed conversion chart.

Brian kept detailed qualifying notes from the 1970 race using the above chart to convert posted times to speeds. With the rise of the internet, I seriously doubt anyone does this anymore. I'm not even sure how many baseball fans still chart pitches at games anymore either.

Most years, the race was known simply as the Northern 300. In 1970, however, the race got a sponsor, and was known for only one year as the Schaefer 300. So you just knew Schaefer would have a full-page ad in the program. And when it comes to beer, who isn't having more than one. So clearly, Schaefer is the right choice.

The program also included a pitch for what was apparently a local/regional All Star Racing League series. I'd love to get my hands on one of the Schaefer Beer trophies awarded to the winners of many of the league's races.

Richard won the race, but he had some trouble in qualifying. He wrinkled the snout of his 1970 Petty blue Plymouth Superbird but still managed to qualify 4th. Brian managed to snap a photo of the repaired #43. Today, damaged sheet metal is held together during a race by applying sheets of Bear Bond. Back in the day, however, repairs were made with strips of good ol' fashioned, battleship-gray, duct tape.

What a great racing headline; however, I'm still on the hunt for an elusive picture of the King in victory lane surrounded by Schaefer beer cans, banners, a trophy girl, etc. I'm not even sure one exists. As a Petty and Schaefer fan, however, one can have eternal hope.

As a collector of all-things-Petty and plenty-of-things-Schaefer, these photos are just fantastic in my opinion. They are unique, personalized, rare, and feature Petty and Schaefer. What more can a fan ask for? I've thanked Brian many times over for providing them. If you want to comment on these photos individually or view more of Brian's pictures, browse his Photobucket offerings.

If you'll look closely at Brian's handwritten notes, you'll see he wrote "wrecked" by Wendell Scott. Wendell destroyed his car during qualifying, but he was able to repair the car, start last, and survive to finish 25th.


Brian told me he has now provided most of what he has from the 1970 Trenton race. Yet, I'm still on the hunt for information from that period of NASCAR history. In particular, I'm still trying to get the bottom of the story for these next two photos. Does he perhaps know anything about who might have snuck into the track to paint "GO PETTY 43" on the track surface? Or 43 on the wall? Hmm, one wonders...

Brian Hauck, Mr. 200WINZ, the Schaefer Racing Hall of Fame salutes you for your being a life-long Petty fan and preserving the history of Schaefer racing. Saaahhh-LOOOOT.


TMC