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FlatBlack84

Arena Park Raceway and Its Memorabilia

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Thanks for Howard's number, Spooky. I've edited the post to include that info.

 

And, by the way, do you know why why we used to call what others call supermodifieds, B modifieds? I've never heard the term B modified anywhere else except Arena Park.

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I had never heard the supermodifieds called B modifieds before. I always thought the word supermodified was used before the word of Sprint car came around as i thought both basically meant the same thing anyway.

 

Bobby

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Well Bobby maybe I'm misremembering. Wouldn't be the first time!

 

Now when I speak of B modifieds, what I'm referring to is those open-wheel racers that had a squared off roof instead of a roll cage, and a square rear end instead of the rounded one you see on sprints.

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Going back thru the scrapbook i seen some pictures of those cars you are talking about now. I do not really know why they were called "B" modifieds here unfortunately. I am curious on how many of these different built cars were Lubbock/ area cars and how many were out-of-region built cars.

 

Bobby

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Bobby, I think the vast majority of 'em were from close to Lubbock and Amarillo. James Colson had one. Tim Irvin had one. I believe Chet/Marvin Fillip had one, as did Kenny Stead from Amarillo. I also remember two white "B modifieds" whose numbers were 16 and 19. I don't know who drove the #16, but a kid named Benson, Benton or Bentley drove the #19 and had a bad crash on the front stretch. I don't think he ever drove again.

 

By the way, how has the racing been this year so far?

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The racing here West Texas Raceway has been great so far this year!! totally remodeled racing facility looks great and my favorite improvement was they widen the racetrack another 15 feet all the way around the racetrack which has improved the quality of the racing !! Because of the wider track now the "big" wrecks have reduced down to only 3 or 4 car pileups so far this season !! It has helped the Sprint Cars out also as there have been no "rollovers" so far this season (the Sprints ran last night-May 12th-but due to health problems i was not able to go to last nights program for the first time this season unfortunately so , if there were no "rollovers" last night that would mean last night would be the 3rd straight program the Sprints have run so far this season where everyone was able to stay on there roofs which probally would of not happen had the track not been widen another 15 feet.) along with some exciting racing thruout all the classes ( The USMTS "Main" Event was definitely a thrill to watch as an example!! I can hardly wait till the ASCS National Tour for the Sprint Cars come back to West Texas Raceway in June as there will will be another "exciting" show to say the least !! ) including the rebirth of the Street Stock class. There were many other improvements made to West Texas Raceway and you can tell there is a different "vibe" there full of excitement and hope for the future there too!! So far this season, the size of the weekly crowds in the spectator grandstands has tripled from years past and the spectator parking lot almost has been completely full every single week so far this season which is something to see also !! And that is not even including the "excitement" on the racetrack too !! 2017 definitely has been an "exciting" season so far at West Texas Raceway for many reasons !!

 

 

Bobby

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Thanks, Bobby! That's great to hear. Now all we need is for the Lubbock AJ to take some interest like they used to back in the 70s.

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I wish it would happen again too. But unfortunately, they, just like all the tv stations are obsessed with Texas Tech sports and continue to fail to see that Lubbock does not revolve only around Texas Tech sports. Ironically, channels 28/13 were at West Texas Raceway this past Friday night doing some filming there but i have yet to see anything about it on either station so far. Both the Lubbock AJ and all 4 tv stations are missing out on a lot of stories coming from there that would be perfect filler material for their sports and sportscasts that could be used anytime during the week and would be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

 

 

Bobby

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My dad sponsored cars at Arena Park back around 1966 and 67 seasons. 01 and 02 The Gun Shop Specials. Driven by the Eustace brothers. Derwood drove 01, Duane drove 02. Even had an 03 for a few races. Driven by a mystery driver. We think it was my dad, but he wouldn't tell us. He didn't want my mom to know. The cars had big black revolvers painted on the front fenders. The muzzles were cut out and flex tubing was ran from the exhaust to the muzzle. The guns looked like they were firing when they would backfire. Ran junker ( early model stock ) and figure 8. Won mid season and season championships in both classes. Had all of their trophies displayed at the gun store down on Avenue H. We lived on 63rd between Canton and Elgin. Sleepy Nelson lived a couple doors down. My mom thinks she still might have a couple of old programs and some pics. 

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1 hour ago, Rhinohead said:

.. My mom thinks she still might have a couple of old programs and some pics. 

Post em!

 

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On 2/27/2018 at 3:54 PM, Rhinohead said:

My dad sponsored cars at Arena Park back around 1966 and 67 seasons. 01 and 02 The Gun Shop Specials. Driven by the Eustace brothers. Derwood drove 01, Duane drove 02. Even had an 03 for a few races. Driven by a mystery driver. We think it was my dad, but he wouldn't tell us. He didn't want my mom to know. The cars had big black revolvers painted on the front fenders. The muzzles were cut out and flex tubing was ran from the exhaust to the muzzle. The guns looked like they were firing when they would backfire. Ran junker ( early model stock ) and figure 8. Won mid season and season championships in both classes. Had all of their trophies displayed at the gun store down on Avenue H. We lived on 63rd between Canton and Elgin. Sleepy Nelson lived a couple doors down. My mom thinks she still might have a couple of old programs and some pics. 

Rhino, wasn't one of the Eustace brothers nicknamed Ace? I definitely remember an Ace Eustace running in the 70s, and he was very competitive. 

From 2005 to 2011 me and the wife lived on 61st between Canton and Elgin. Good thing we got out when we did because that area is going downhill fast.

 

PS--I know that in 1977 Sleepy was living at 41st and Indiana. 

 

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Great series of pictures, thanks for posting. I remember several of these cars and drivers coming to Meyer speedway in Houston and also to Jackson International in Mississippi. Wolfman, Sweat, Zahn, Lovell, Bolton, Davidson and Nelson. Sleepy even won a feature at Meyer against some stiff competition, Hite cars, big blocks and big wings. By the way the photo of Wolfman's car being refueled is at Meyer Speedway in Houston.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks:   Byron         

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You're welcome, Byron, and you're exactly right about Wolfman at Jackson and Meyer. He was hellbent on racing in the Indy 500 and poured what meager assets he had into racing, traveling all over the south and Midwest in the hope of catching a car owner's eye and getting a ride in the '500.' And in 1980 it looked like it was going to pay off because he got a call in his hotel room from an owner offering him a ride. The deal was agreed to verbally. Unfortunately, however, a certain Tim Richmond approached the owner about the car and brought a big sponsor with him--it might have been PPG, but I'm not sure about that. At any rate, the owner gave the ride to Richmond who not only qualified, but won Rookie of the Year honors after finishing 9th or 10th. Wolfman was so disillusioned by this occurrence that he moved to the mountains of Colorado and got out of racing all together. 

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On 1/10/2017 at 11:48 PM, Spooky #21x said:

Thanks, no problem !! Here is the story on how my dad and "Spooky" came about. Back in 1966 my dad was working for Jackie Flemons at Southwest Wheels here in Lubbock and had already started racing at Arena Park Raceway that year. During that year he took my dad ( David) to the races and my dad was immediately hooked !! So, in 1967 my dad started racing too. His boss, Jackie Flemins was racing a white-colored dodge ( car # 20 ) with a Casper the friendly ghost cartoon on it. So, my dad got a 51 or 52 white-colored Ford and used the number 21x and decided to put a Spooky cartoon on it ( because of the comic books LOL !! ) and every thing was going good till my dad started beating his own boos on the racetrack a little too much !! LOL They would end up being friends again !! Not related to the Norvells but it would not be hard to get confused back in those days as a lot of those cars were painted white and real similar ( perfect example would of been my dads car and his boss's car as they only way you could tell them apart was the cartoon characters on their cars !! ) especially in the Junker class !! LOL

 

Bobby

Hi Spooky, I wanted to ask a question.

I did a random google search and I happened to find this forum, and was pleasantly surprised to read the story about your father getting into racing. You see, Jackie Flemins (his boss) was actually my grandfather. I was so happy to find a story that talked about his life in racing. He unfortunately passed before I was born, and my knowledge about his racing career is limited by word of mouth from my mother and grandmother. I was wondering if maybe you possibly had any other info or if someone else might even have pictures of him and Casper (his car). Anything would amazing. Thank you again for the awesome story you shared!

-Mike

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Mike,

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, i was really way too young ( 2,3,4 years old) back then to remember any memories firsthand when my dad raced with your Grandfather as i have been going by what my mom told me. But, my mom did keep a couple of racing scrapbooks of my dads racing career and since she kept everything related to it, there is a story ( with picture of your Grandfather looking over his race car in it too. ) about your Grandfather in it from the Lubbock Avalanche Journal newspaper. Unfortunately, right now i do not have any way to download it into the computer and then upload it here. It was a nice story on both your Grandparents which told how they got interested in racing, who they helped get into racing ( if i remember correctly mentioned my dads name too as shortly there developed sort of a racing rivalry between the two but that is a story in and of itself too !! LOL ), etc.. My mom kept a lot of the programs back then and i think remember seeing a few pictures of your dads race car in them. Wish i could of gave you some more information but i was a little too young back then and definitely would of wished i was older back then as those were some wild and crazy times !!

 

Bobby

 

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On 4/17/2019 at 6:33 PM, Spooky #21x said:

Mike,

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, i was really way too young ( 2,3,4 years old) back then to remember any memories firsthand when my dad raced with your Grandfather as i have been going by what my mom told me. But, my mom did keep a couple of racing scrapbooks of my dads racing career and since she kept everything related to it, there is a story ( with picture of your Grandfather looking over his race car in it too. ) about your Grandfather in it from the Lubbock Avalanche Journal newspaper. Unfortunately, right now i do not have any way to download it into the computer and then upload it here. It was a nice story on both your Grandparents which told how they got interested in racing, who they helped get into racing ( if i remember correctly mentioned my dads name too as shortly there developed sort of a racing rivalry between the two but that is a story in and of itself too !! LOL ), etc.. My mom kept a lot of the programs back then and i think remember seeing a few pictures of your dads race car in them. Wish i could of gave you some more information but i was a little too young back then and definitely would of wished i was older back then as those were some wild and crazy times !!

 

Bobby

 

Spooky. Didn't your dad run #21 also.  I remember him running there as well as Jackie Fleming's the 20 car

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