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Dwight Clock
11-09-2006, 04:13 PM
A special treat for me has always been to see someone win for the first time, particularly after years of trying. In July/August of 1964 Islip fans were treated to a new face in the modified winners circle three weeks running. It all started when Pat Moon steered the Gardner 86 to the win in the 25 lap modified feature on July 25. Moon had tried for twelve years to win at Islip but something always happened. The following Saturday, August 1, Mike Rubino turned the trick in his #21 coach. Rubino was from Jersey City, N.J. and competed infrequently at Islip. A former pro boxer, Mike also had a bit part in the classic movie "On the Waterfront" starring Marlon Brando. And finally, on August 8, Al Hansen ended twelve years of frustration with a win in his #4. Hansen had purchased the car new from Ed Flemke over the winter. Starting strong he finished second to Fred Harbach in the opening two shows at Islip and then proceeded to consistently be in the top five and top ten until finally breaking through for that first win in August. It was great to see!

Golf Guy
11-09-2006, 10:52 PM
I have to say to you Dwight, I grew up on the 'college' blocks south of Islip speedway and I love these stories. I can still remember every Saturday morning/early afternoon on the corner of Yale street and Freeman ave and watching all the cars in tow heading up to the race track. We would sell lemonade to the competitors for 25 cents a glass. Many of them would stop every Saturday. Please keep the stories coming all Winter.
Thanks- Jim

Dwight Clock
11-10-2006, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I will try to regularly post stories from the 60's and 70's here.

310fig8
11-10-2006, 08:13 AM
I'm with Golf Guy!!!!!!! These stories are great. I started going to Freeport in 1963 on Friday nights for the ARDC Midgets and then to Islip in 1965. These stories are bringing back great memories for me.
I am not as good at dates as you are, but I remember somewhere around the late 60s or may be early 70s, Richie Donavan leading the feature in his beautiful Mustang fastback # 100. It was a very exciting race. I'm not sure what happened to the car, but coming off turn 4 for the checker, around he went. What a disappointment. I believe it would have been his first win. We were all pulling for him!!!!!!!
May be I can join in on some of these early stories with you to help get thru the winter.

Dwight Clock
11-10-2006, 09:37 AM
Jump right in 310fig8! I missed a few years in the service. All of 1968 and 1970 and most of 1969. But anything you remember from back then is worth sharing. They were great times! I remember Richie Donovan but don't remember the night in question. Back in the mid sixties Islip & Riverhead ran an unofficial L.I. championship at Riverhead at the end of the season. Bill Park, in his rookie season in the mods, led one year until the fourth turn of the 35th and last lap until spinning out. It would have been his first career win. It took him 9 years to finally get it.

Richie
11-10-2006, 06:38 PM
Who won the last LI championship in the modifieds???????? What year?????

Dwight Clock
11-10-2006, 07:27 PM
I'll venture a guess, and it is just that. Fred Harbach 1977.

Richie
11-11-2006, 07:37 PM
Clue # 1 -- It was the last year for Islip.

Cliff_in_TX.
11-12-2006, 10:46 PM
Hi everyone!!! Wow, great site, brings back some fond memories...

I should know this, as I'm only 39 and can't blame the mental block on age, but I'm pretty sure it was the Flying Dutchman in '84...

Cliff_in_TX.
11-12-2006, 10:50 PM
Oh BTW, speaking of first timers, remember how they would give prizes away by calling your ticket #??? Well, we went week after week, year after year w/o winning a thing... then BAM!!! They called my ticket # 2 weeks in a row!!! I was on cloud 9, I thought that was so cool.

That was in, you guessed it, 1984.

RGeeProductions
11-12-2006, 10:53 PM
OK, what did you win????

Cliff_in_TX.
11-12-2006, 10:56 PM
The first week, it was an Islip speedway seat cushion, and the second week, it was 2 tickets to next weeks race!!

RGeeProductions
11-12-2006, 11:02 PM
Awesome, still got the seat?

Cliff_in_TX.
11-12-2006, 11:27 PM
Haha...nah, but it did make it San Antonio in '87 when I moved here.

Richie
11-13-2006, 07:22 PM
Clue #2. Like my avatar??

Dwight Clock
11-13-2006, 09:36 PM
:) ...Well then, it had to be Don Howe. :cheers:

Richie
11-14-2006, 06:33 PM
I thought if you scratched that old head of yours you would get it. Not many people realized it. I have not seen it in any record books.

Captain History
11-15-2006, 04:08 AM
It's almost fresh from the archives when Islip and Riverhead last ran together......

1. DON HOWE #34, Water Mill, 528 points/7 wins
2. Fred Harbach #x90, Huntington Station, 420 points/1 win
3. Wayne Anderson #15, Yaphank, 376 points/3 wins
4. Tom Baldwin #7NY, Bellport, 366 points/4 wins
5. Bob Park #19, East Northport, 306 points/1 win
6. Bill Park #20, Brentwood, 296 points/1 win
7. Chris Young #49, Riverhead, 226 points/2 wins
7. Tim Contarino #18, Glen Cove, 226 points/no wins
9. Al Hansen #4, Islip, 192 points/1 win
9. Jim Reed #17, Central Islip, 192 points/no wins

Teds Race Tours
11-15-2006, 11:15 AM
It was 1984, and Long Island Royalty Don Howe was the man. Don is one of the best drivers in the history of Long Island.

Added trivia, Bob Park's win that year came in the last Modified race ever at Islip.

Dwight Clock
11-15-2006, 11:58 AM
It was 1984, and Long Island Royalty Don Howe was the man. Don is one of the best drivers in the history of Long Island.

Added trivia, Bob Park's win that year came in the last Modified race ever at Islip.More trivia. Bob Park waited 16 years to win the first feature of his career. Where did he win it?

Jaws
11-15-2006, 03:35 PM
New Egypt??

Dwight Clock
11-15-2006, 08:03 PM
No, not New Egypt.

oldracer
11-16-2006, 06:11 PM
Freeport Speedway.

Dwight Clock
11-16-2006, 07:28 PM
It wasn't Freeport, either.

art11758
11-17-2006, 12:59 PM
For some reason Stafford sounds right to me.

Dwight Clock
11-17-2006, 01:36 PM
No, it wasn't Stafford. Bob Park won the first modified feature of his career at the Evergreen Speedway in Pa. Now known as Mountain Speedway, the track was owned then by Ed Spencer, father of Jimmy Spencer. After the race, there was a huge fracas at the start finish line. About 100 people were involved and police had to restore order. After finally breaking the ice, Bob Park began to win fairly regularly until he retired.

Captain History
12-02-2006, 05:00 PM
Bob Park's Evergreen Modified win came on Labor Day in 1981. Tom McCann finished 3rd.

Cliff_in_TX.
12-03-2006, 11:28 PM
Ok, I thought the ??? was who was Islip's last champ...did Howe win that too, or was it Freddy??

BTW, thanks for the memory trip. :cheers:

Captain History
12-04-2006, 12:43 AM
Don Howe won the last Islip Modified title in 1984 after Fred Harbach won it in 1983.

randomrodder
12-04-2006, 09:50 AM
Oh BTW, speaking of first timers, remember how they would give prizes away by calling your ticket #??? Well, we went week after week, year after year w/o winning a thing... then BAM!!! They called my ticket # 2 weeks in a row!!! I was on cloud 9, I thought that was so cool.

That was in, you guessed it, 1984.


I won two weeks in a row. One week a carton of Winstons and a cap, then the very next week, tickets to the modified Race of Champions at Pocono. It must have been in the early 70s. The whole section where we always sat were calling out, FIX, FIX! LOL. Good times.

W. J.
12-04-2006, 11:25 AM
Another first timer I remember is Paul Grodewald, a Figure 8 driver who tried for many years and failed to get a win. I believe he finally got his first one in 1984, and promptly retired from racing. I'm not positive about this, as it was a while back, but it seems to be the way I remember it.

Wheel Racing
12-04-2006, 04:29 PM
I know Paul ran few years at Riverhead after Islip closed as well.I know he won at least 1 more feature in a great battle with John Fortin.He sold his last car to Ron Harrison and that's when he eventually moved to California.Hope this helps

W. J.
12-04-2006, 04:49 PM
Thanks, Neal, I certainly appreciate it. Maybe Riverhead is where he finally won that race, but again, I'm not positive.

Mortgage Guy
12-04-2006, 07:28 PM
Is this Islip only, or can we add first time winners at Riverhead???

W. J.
12-04-2006, 08:34 PM
Is this Islip only, or can we add first time winners at Riverhead???
Or, you could start it as a thread under "Riverhead nostalgia". We wouldn't mind, and I assume you have an idea where to start, so go for it!

Cliff_in_TX.
12-10-2006, 11:24 AM
Another first timer I remember is Paul Grodewald, a Figure 8 driver who tried for many years and failed to get a win.


he earned his nickname given to him by Bob Finan...Paul"go for the wall" Grodewald... :angel: ... glad to see he put it all together for one

Dwight Clock
12-10-2006, 11:58 AM
One of the funniest things I ever saw involved Paul Grodewald at Islip. In a Figure 8 heat race he tangled with little John Kraft in the first turn. As soon as the cars came to a stop Grodewald bolted out of his car and took off after Kraft. The sight of Grodewald (6 feet plus) running after Kraft (about 5'3") was hilarious. Grodewald covered as much ground with one step as Kraft did with four! Thankfully officials intervened before Kraft was caught. :lol:

vsmidge68
12-10-2006, 12:59 PM
I REMEMBER NEAL THE WHEELS FIRST FIG.8 WIN AT ISLIP. ON THE COOL DOWN LAP, HE WAS T-BONED AND TORE THE REAR END OUT. BUT THAT DIDN'T DAMPIN HIS SPIRITS. DON'T EXACTLY REMEMBER THE YEAR, JUST SHOWIN' MY AGE ..
" frank"