For more information: Linda Mansfield, 75534.2635@CompuServe.com ARDC CARQUEST Midgets Roast Lenny Boyd HAZLETON, Pa., March 29 - Lenny Boyd's frugality and his love of a good party were main topics of conversation when the multi-talented ...
For more information: Linda Mansfield, 75534.2635@CompuServe.com
ARDC CARQUEST Midgets Roast Lenny Boyd
HAZLETON, Pa., March 29 - Lenny Boyd's frugality and his love of a good party were main topics of conversation when the multi-talented driver from Howell, N.J., was "honored" Saturday afternoon at the fourth annual American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) Celebrity Roast at the Lobitz Catering Hall here. The affair kicked off the organization's 58th season.
The on-track action will begin next Saturday night, April 5 at Silver Spring Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with the ARDC CARQUEST Midget Series season opener.
Bob Marlow, a racing announcer and a National Speed Sport News correspondent, related some of Boyd's racing statistics, which included winning the ARDC Mechanic of the Year Award in 1972, the ARDC Co-Rookie of the Year Award with Bob Cicconi in 1974, the 1977 ARDC driving championship, 23 career ARDC feature victories, the 1987 American Three-Quarter Midget Racing Assn. (ATQMRA) championship, and a Flemington (N.J.) Speedway modified title.
Marlow said he believes Boyd is the only driver to have won at Wall Stadium (N.J.) in a three-quarter midget, an ARDC midget and a modified stock car, and noted that he won the modified portion of Wall Stadium's Turkey Derby in 1983 and 1990. "Other than Ray Everham [Jeff Gordon's crew chief], I don't know another driver who has won a modified and a TQ feature at Wall Stadium," Marlow added. "About the only thing he hasn't accomplished in racing is having a good victory lane photo taken."
Alan Mollott, one of Boyd's car owners in the ATQMRA, spoke of Boyd's frugality. He also related a story about hauling a TQ to Daytona (Fla.)'s Memorial Stadium in 1977 with a rented motor home. "When we left it was about 5 or 6 degrees, but by the time we reached North Carolina things were thawing out a little and we discovered that the previous renters hadn't dumped the waste tanks in the motor home," he said, finishing the story by relating how, with Boyd's help, each person made $75 a piece on that trip for fixing the tanks.
Former driver Sonny Sanders related how he was sandbagging in a Mini-Indy midget race at Freeport, N.Y., one time but had to settle for second when Boyd passed him with two laps to go, waving as he went by. When the pair went to the pay-off window, lap money had increased Sanders' paycheck to $750, while Boyd received $250 for winning the race.
When Boyd protested, Sanders told him, "OK; you finish second next time."
Sanders also told tales of the "Three Caballeros," and later in the course of the program he told Boyd a secret he has been keeping for 20 years.
"I was supposed to take my rookie test at Indy in 1976 with one of Tassi Vatis' cars, but I never got to take my test because the weather was bad and the three flights I could have been on were all canceled, and that was the end of it.
"Later, Tassi asked me to recommend a driver for his Indy cars, and I recommended you over another driver," he told Boyd. "It was going to happen and you were going to get a call, but then Tassi got disgusted with all the politics and got out of Indy car racing. But I want you to know that I recommended you over the other guy because I thought you were the best."
Scorer Barbara Hellyer spoke of "Lenny Boyd the Imposter," relating how as a young man he had once gotten into a race track free of charge by telling the gate attendant he was a scorer too and following her into the scorers' booth. When he got hungry, he got a 40-cent hot dog at the concession stand for a quarter by telling the clerk that's all the money his mother had given him that night.
"He had one of the best seats in the house to watch the races and he had his supper for about 25 cents, and he didn't even have transportation expenses because I drove," she laughed.
Hellyer also spoke of a TQ midget race at Volusia County Stadium in Florida when Boyd was working as a mechanic for Hank Rogers Jr. When Rogers was hit repeatedly by a driver from Alabama, Boyd was dispensed to find the culprit and demand an explanation.
"Ain't you got no brakes?" Boyd demanded of one of the "McDaniel Boys," but he gave up when the offender explained that he hadn't had brakes for about a year now.
"I think Lenny needs to stay out of Florida," Hellyer suggested.
Cousins and drivers Jimmie Fearick and Hank Rogers Jr., who have known Boyd since he was about nine, related stories of several long post-race parties.
Boyd, who is an accomplished pilot and who operates an aircraft repair facility, was reminded of the time he crashed a small airplane into two tractor trailer trucks, but he shrugged it off by saying that the trucks shouldn't have been there in the first place. To further recall that day the pair presented Boyd with a damaged airplane wing, as well as several other props such as a bottle of liquor to recall a party at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway many years ago; a bottle of Grecian Formula Hair Coloring for Boyd's now-silver hair; a pylon cone since he sometimes cut the turns short on the race track; a Captain Video helmet; and a package of white socks to commemorate "the Silver Fox with the White Socks."
Fearick also brought a dilapidated trophy that has been in his attic for 20 years. It's called the "Flying Ferd Farcher from Freehold Award," and was originally presented to Boyd when he won the 1977 ARDC driving championship.
One of Boyd's former car owners, Bob Bench, noted that at one time Boyd was going to be the coach of the ARDC Drinking Team. "Now his hobby is staying home collecting dust," he added.
Former driver Rod Reppert spoke of several parties at Grandview (Pa.) Speedway, including one on Labor Day weekend which got off to a rousing start when Boyd won the feature that night. "It got to be daylight, and we moved over to a friend's house," Reppert recalled. "He had an exercise bike, and Lenny passed out on the bike eventually," he said.
"He couldn't make the turns," Sanders interjected.
"Five hours later Lenny was still passed out on the bike, and he had his hand in his pocket, still clutching the $1,000 he had won that night," Reppert related.
Randy Goss and Jeff Schade, two members of Boyd's modified crew, also spoke. In addition, Schade read a letter from Bob Emmons, one of Boyd's former car owners and a member of his modified crew.
"Lenny's TQ engines never blew up," Emmons wrote about the tall and husky Boyd. "They just got hernias."
He also mentioned Boyd's frugal nature, but said that it's not true that Body still has his first communion money.
"He is such a penny-pincher, once on a pit stop we didn't change the tires; we just rotated them," Emmons added. "And he never was good at the draw to pick a starting spot. He would have to practice that, and he'd still draw the last number."
When it was time for Boyd to respond to the roasters, he sheepishly said he couldn't rebut much "because most of what everybody said was true.
"Hank and Jimmie got me on the path of being cheap and enjoying a good party," he accused, and noted that racing's technology has changed quite a bit from the time a worker tried unsuccessfully to give hand signals for a lineup and finally just had the track announcer tell everyone where they should restart over the public address system.
Turning serious, Boyd said, "The sport has served me well. My heart is always with ARDC because that's where I made my closest friends. I even met my wife at Grandview. I've run lots of different kinds of cars and I haven't raced a midget since 1981, but the most fun I ever had in racing was with ARDC."
Boyd explained that his racing career is on hold at the moment. "I need to make some repairs before I go racing again and I have to save my pennies, because now you all know how cheap I am," he said. "But being with the people of ARDC is like old home week for me, and I want to thank all of you people who came out and watched me get ripped up."
Bryan and Sue Althouse of the Checkered Flag Fan Club presented Boyd with a silver plate to commemorate the day, while Lobitz gave him the "Lobitz Lampoon Award."
Seventeen ARDC CARQUEST midgets, four cars from the Atlantic Coast Old Timers Club (ACOT) and a dozen quarter midgets from the Montgomery County Quarter Midget Club were on display in the parking lot prior to the roast. Bobby Forsyth won the award for having the best-appearing quarter midget.
One of the vintage cars was "The Popsicle," the Schloeder Carlheim midget No. 43 built by Sid Haughdahl in 1934. At one time it was driven in competition by Bill Morrissey, who died unexpectedly the day before the roast.
Gary Mondschein had two ARDC CARQUEST midgets on display, while one each were exhibited by Bob Cicconi, Tom Fraschetta, Ed Stimely Jr., Shannon Mausteller, Randy Mausteller, Mike Roselli Jr., Phil DiMario, Bryan Kobylarz, Don Trent, Fremont Dickerman, Mike Lapp, Gary Halteman, Mark Freeland, Jim Jackson and Ted Schmid.
Organizing the roast was a committee headed by Krissy Lauer and including Ron Lauer, Gary Mondschein and Stan Lobitz. Earl Krause was the emcee. Walt Chernokal of Area Auto Racing News was slated to be a roaster, but he couldn't attend because he was recovering from the flu.
Children exhibiting their quarter-midgets were: Eric Fallini, Jason Borzumatti, Robyn Delabar, Ryan Greth, Jimmy Rowlands, Jason Rowlands, Jackie Long, Anthony Foscone, Andrew Foscone, Kurt Spotts, Bobby Ryan and Bobby Forsyth.