November 2009 Newsletter


First off, Carla has agreed to continue the fine tradition that Joe had started with the Newsletter. Joe’s commitments with job, home and family are consuming his available time. I thank Joe for his contributions and the unique style that he brought to the Team. Best Wishes! However, Carla will be applying her 30+ years of experience to the task so I doubt there will be any letdowns (just a LITTLE pressure there Carla).

Life in the Past Lane

On 23, 24 October, the Stealth was on display for the Grand Opening festivities at the Brooks-Huff Tire & Auto Center in Towson, MD. Rick Dempsey (Orioles ’83 World Series MVP) and Tom Matte (legendary Colts running back) were there signing autographs. We got photos of them by the car. Neither has ever been to a Sprint Car race but both agreed to attend in ’10 as the guests of the Team. I have their contact information and will follow up to see if they meant it. On Saturday, Jim and I had the privilege of meeting Orioles Hall of Famer and another of my childhood heroes, Brooks Robinson. Now get this, Brooks walks over to me, sticks out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Brooks Robinson”. I maintained composure, shook hands, and said, “I know who you are Mr. Robinson. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Denny Gross. We own the race car that’s on display outside”. Then we had a short exchange about the state of affairs in Major League Baseball today. He and I are in agreement.

We also have photos of the Towson University Cheerleader Squad in or by the car. They were handling the food concession as a fundraiser for a trip to a national competition. You’ll have to request the photos from Charlie – he got the pics, I got the email addresses. I may be getting old and decrepit, but I haven’t gone completely stupid yet! (Don’t tell Lynne hehe)

Additionally, we made some other very good contacts that we’ll follow up on . . . as well as gaining interest from two Brooks-Huff employees, T. J. Krodel and Roger Shapiro, who are interested in joining the crew! TJ lives in Shrewsbury (used to have a girlfriend just over the hill from our shop) while Roger hails from Reisterstown.

Vehicle Status

2 Stealth car - The Stealth was finally ready to race . . . the weather was not. We resolved all the issues that kept cropping up – the last being a fuel injection butterfly setting problem that we initially thought was a coolant jacket leak/crack (rather have the former than the latter). Susky Test and Tune got rained out, so we were just going to go racing but the Williams Grove and Lincoln dates both fell to rain. With only one opportunity left, we decided parking it for the Winter was the wisest – it’s been winterized and can be quickly prepped for the first events of ’10 – which may be a Susky Test and Tune. Vince Valeriano (VRP Shocks) has agreed to come over to Susky and work on set-ups with us as well as teach everyone about his shocks.

2 J&J car - The J&J kit we acquired from our engine builder, Randy McKinley, is going to be our Lincoln car. The Stealth is intended for Williams Grove. The J&J frame is currently at Lee Spangler’s where we are updating it for wing sockets/tabs and Outlaw fuel tank mounts. This car is probably 14 years old, but, to the best of my knowledge, has never been on a track. I recently found out that Randy has more parts for it – I’m working on acquiring those also.

38 American Outlaw car - All in all, we had a pretty good year in Randy Smith’s All American Outlaw #38 car. With two races left on the schedule, we were third in points. A Championship was a long shot but possible. During the feature of the next to last race at Trailways, we were running third early (ahead of the first and second in points) only to be TAKEN OUT by Fred Cullum #95. It wasn’t kind and I wasn’t happy. We were credited with 15th. I’m not sure how much that hurt us in the final points standing as the last race at Williams Grove was rained out and not rescheduled. Jim and Charlie are still trying to figure out how I went from 10th starting to 4th in the first quarter lap of the feature – and didn’t touch a thing on the way - - - time transfer of bio-matter guys.

Randy has the car, parts and trailer up For Sale. He is currently contemplating installing a new rear clip. He’d like us to buy him out . . . . . . .

Racing that car has been a lot of fun. We hope Randy will continue with our crew regardless of what happens with the car. I’ll provide Chris with a table of our AAO results for ’09 for the website.

Shop Activities

We have a full list of activities to work between now and the start of the ’10 Season. The truck still needs some repair/cosmetics, Charlie still has some improvements for the trailer, and we’re in full swing intending to complete several shop projects – possibly including an addition we’re planning with Morton Buildings – not to mention completion of the J&J and preparing spare parts. If you’re reading this, there is no excuse for an ounce of boredom – come on over!

Randy McKinley is on task to complete our Lincoln motor by the end of this year.

James – we have some fuel bladder work coming up . . . . .

Upcoming events

Flea market season is upon us. We’ll be scouring the tables for a few good buys; maybe some stuff for the Maxim chassis.

Just found out York Fairgrounds Dirt Trackin ’10 will be 15 – 17 Jan; we’ll have to decide if we want to participate.

Other News

Our association with Rick Horn, Rick’s Race Shop, will continue and be stronger. We’ll apply a logo for Rick and he will help us out with great prices on new and used parts. Rick was planning on taking the Allen car to Susky’s Test & Tune 29 Oct (raindate from 28th) and let his better half significant other (her words), Linda, and crewman Jeff practice in the car. When I found out, I cried and said a prayer for the Allen car. I haven’t seen an obituary for the car, so maybe it went ok.

I recently bought a new helmet and HANS device from Chet Tobias of Simpson Safety Products. Chet and I go back a ways (Tobias Speed Equipment, brother of Dick). The conversation and activities led to us probably being a part of Team Simpson in ’10. We’re working the details.

We continue to pursue other Marketing Partner leads – USA Optical, North American Breweries – but, I’m telling ya’ it is tough to even get to talk to someone.

Chris and several of us continue to try to finish the Website. Chris and Alethia are expecting their first child almost any day now.

Dan Bridgeman, Bridgeman Distributing, our longtime Castle products supporter, has had enough of the economic downturn and has decided to retire to golf and fishing in North Carolina. He has sold the Distributorship to Kratz Auto Supply. That became good news for Dean as Kratz called him back from lay-off. Carla continues to spend many hours in the care of her ailing Mother.