KALWASINSKI: Chicago Chips
CHICAGO — Former Northwest Indiana stock car driver and track promoter Ted Knorr is busy putting the finishing touches on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Legends Day Memorabilia Show, which takes place this Saturday, May 26, in the Pagoda Pavilion on the grounds of the famed speedway from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Knorr, who now calls Speedway, Ind. home, reports that 95 display booths for the show have been sold out for months with exhibitors and collectors coming from all across America, as well as Canada, South America, Australia and Europe.
One of the highlights of the show will be the first time showing of the extensive collection of memorabilia from the estate of Henry Banks, the 1950 National Driving Champion, a six-time Indianapolis 500 veteran and a former director of the United States Auto Club.
“The Banks family collection is the largest, most complete and well-kept assortment of historic auto racing memorabilia I have had the privilege to review in my nearly 50 years of collecting,” said Knorr, one of the memorabilia show’s producers.
Knorr saw his first auto race (midgets) at Chicago’s Hanson Park in 1947 when his family lived in Franklin Park, a western suburb of Chicago. Born in Indiana, the family moved back to Indiana, where his dad, Ted Sr., began promoting races at Monticello Speedway and the Rensselaer Fairgrounds track. Having been bit by the “racing bug,” Knorr raced from 1955 through 1970, winning the 1970 late model track championship on the dirt at the old Henry’s Speedway in Boswell, Ind., which has been shuttered for a few years now.
Knorr raced under the alias of Ted Wilson most of the time because he was a member of the Indiana State Police, who finally put the kibosh on Knorr’s racing career. After his racing days were over, Knorr took over the promotional chores at the Rensselaer oval. Now in his 70s, Knorr is slated to get behind the wheel again at IMS this Thursday, wheeling an old Rodger Ward-driven rear engine car during some vintage car exhibition runs.
•Twenty-nine entries, representing 11 states and one Canadian province, were on hand for last Saturday’s JEGS CRA All-Stars Tour Lisa Thomas Salon 100 presented by JEGS.com late model stock car race at Illiana Motor Speedway in Schererville, Ind. Making his first start on the Illiana half-mile pavement, Daniel Hemric scored the victory, defeating Chicago area veteran Eddie Hoffman in a heated battle over the last 10 laps or so.
The 21-year-old Hemric, who hails from Kannapolis, N.C., battled hard with Hoffman in the final laps of the 50-mile contest, which marked the third race of 14 of the Champion Racing Association JEGS tour.
It was Hemric’s second JEGS series victory this season as he had won at the Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway in April. Hemric drove his McGunegill Engine Performance/Scott Neal Racing Chevrolet Impala to the victory, nipping Hoffman at the checkered flag by a mere 0.006 seconds.
The racing got intense during the closing laps with neither driver giving an inch with side-by-side racing and a little rubbin’ being the rule.
“That was nothing more than short track racing,” Hemric said about his battle with Hoffman and his eventual win. “With five (laps) to go, I noticed that he was getting worse on the top (groove) and I was getting better on the bottom. I just tried to do all I could to get my guys in victory lane.
“The lap before coming to the white (flag), we got into three and he ran me down pretty low coming off. When we went into turn one, I thought he had me beat, but he got up off the bottom just enough to let me get to him. At that point, it was just who could make it stick the best in 3 and 4. I got up underneath him, and we drove it in hard. We just touched, he got free, and I just got my car pointed early enough to beat him by a couple of inches to the stripe.”
A disappointed Hoffman, who was trying hard to win the race for his team and race sponsor (Lisa Thomas Salon), said after the race, “It’s not good to lead all those laps and finish second. He (Hemric) hit me in turn one, two, three and four. He wasn’t choosey.
“I was getting run into three-four times. When you’re on the outside, you’re at the mercy of the guy inside. He can use you up, and he (Hemric) used me up.”
Fastest qualifier Brent Downey, Chad Finley, Anthony Danta and 14-year-old Georgia racer Anderson Bowen rounded out the top six.
The race was run in two 50-lap segments with drivers and crews getting a 10-minute break at the halfway mark to make minor adjustments add fuel, etc. Traditionalists in the grandstands and pits really didn’t like the idea and I have to agree — it’s a 100 lapper so let them run a 100 laps straight through.
•Late model division car counts at both Illiana (on Saturday nights) and at the Grundy County Speedway in Morris (on Fridays) have been real good so far during the early season with no fewer than 20 cars on hand each night at both tracks. Hoffman has scored wins at both Illiana and Grundy with Danta winning one at Illiana. Boris Jurkovic and Pat Kelly each have a feature win at Grundy.
•Congratulations to the Midlothian-based Roulo Brothers racing team for their 28th Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) stock car victory, which came this past Sunday afternoon at Ohio’s Toledo Speedway with Texas driver Chris Buescher behind the wheel of the Roulo Brothers-prepared Ford Fusion No. 17.
The 19-year-old Buescher, a Roush Fenway Racing development driver, won the 200-lap ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event at the half-mile paved oval. The victory marked Buescher’s fourth career win at Toledo and his sixth overall ARCA triumph. Along the way, seven different drivers have scored ARCA wins in Roulo Brothers entries.
•Speaking of ARCA, Shorewood racer Mike Affarano went for a six and a half flip ride during the May 4 ARCA event at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. Making his ARCA debut, the 49-year-old Affarano got run into from behind in the high speed draft, sending the rookie driver for a wild ride. A former local competitor on the dirt at the Sycamore Speedway, Affarano, who escaped injury, is the owner of North Grand Auto Parts in Chicago, which is active in a number of sponsorships on the local racing scene.
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