It's Halloween time around the land, so the “brain trust” around the 51 offices put together a few of our ideas on which costumes certain short track personalities should dress up for this year. Here we go:
The Cookie Monster - Ben Rowe - It seems that every time we interview Ben Rowe after a Super Late Model race, he's eating and we're joking with him about that fact. We've even caught him eating cookies just like the flurry guy from Sesame Street. We admit that Rowe's signature color of Corvette Yellow (which has been the color of both the Estes #00 that Rowe drove for years and the current color of Rowe's Richard Moody Racing #4) is nothing like Cookie Monster's blue hue, but a little time in the paint booth would solve that problem.
Dr. Seuss - Andy Seuss - Why not? His name is spelled, and pronounced by some, like the famous author.
When the Modified driver walked in with a large red and white hat he could profess…
I would not, could not, in the pits.
I could not, would not, do these bits.
I sure wont beat them in the back.
I sure will beat them at the track .
I sure will beat them here or there.
I sure will beat them anywhere.
I do not eat green flags and spam.
I do not like them, Andy-I-am.
Wonder Woman - Johanna Long - Teen Super Late Model racer Johanna Long is accomplishing so much at an early age in racing, that many of her competitors are just left wondering what make that woman so good behind the wheel.
Steve Carlson - Godzilla - The fictional Japanese Monster Godzilla rose from the Pacific Islands and terrified cities in the original motion picture in 1954. While Godzilla is a few years senior of Steve Carlson, the racing veteran evokes similar fear when he arrives at a Midwest short track. Helicopters, tanks, not even Mothra could put a stop to Godzilla's reign. Can anyone stop Steve Carlson or will he be kicking butt 20 years from now still? That is why he should don a monster suit if he dresses as anything this Halloween.
Fonzie - JP Morgan - OK…we love to tease JP Morgan on his perfect hair. He's also a decent dresser and has charm similar to the main character of the popular TV show “Happy Days.” The Pro-Cup Fonz has had some happy days lately, winning at Iowa and being in the thick of the Championship hunt. We think JP should ditch the firesuit idea he told us and put on the leather-coat and be Fonzie.
A Cow - John Donahue - John Donahue should dress up as a cow. Why? Simply put because he earned the right to be one for Halloween after winning the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road in Vermont where he got to enjoy the ceremonial kiss of the cow. Donahue won't have to look far to find a model for his costume either - he's a genuine farmer up in Vermont. Mooo!
The Godfather - Donny Lia - Donny Lia showed why he should dress as “The Don” for Halloween. He took a vacation from the Mod-Mafia wars (spending a year that included a victory in the Camping World Truck Series) and when he came back Donny proved why he's the boss. During Lia's time away, Ted Christopher became a “made-man” by winning his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship after several attempts. When the Godfather returned, he fought back to rule the Neighborhood. The two champs did have a turf war, but for now… Lia's Mystic Missile gang is on top.
Elmo - Ted Christopher - TC's main ride, the #36 Modified, is red - just like Elmo. TC races so much, he seems to be everywhere and anywhere - just like the (overexposed) Elmo. OK, TC isn't exactly cuddly like Elmo, but two out of three isn't bad.
The McKenzie Brothers - Patrick and Eric Laperle - Our younger readers might not have ever seen them, but Bob and Doug McKenzie were a pair of Canadian characters that appeared in Saturday night live skits a few decades ago. Well, Patrick Laperle and his crew chief brother Eric are both Canadian, they both like beer (like the McKenzies) and they definitely both keep us laughing all of the time. We've even spotted Tim Horton's doughnuts at the Laperle camper before. That would make the McKenzie Brothers proud!
Batman - Corey Williams - This one is a no brainer. Williams has dubbed his Super Late Model as the Batmobile and even sports a big Batsign on its hood. We're not sure that we would like to see Corey in a cape though.
Rip Van Winkle - Steve Kinser - Like Rip Van Winkle, we think that Steve Kinser has been around forever. He's been racing forever at least. But unlike Van Winkle, you won't catch Kinser sleeping very much. He's always up on the wheel winning races and championships throughout the country with his World Of Outlaw Sprint Car. So far, his championship count is stuck at 20 in World of Outlaws and he has well over 500 victories.
Ted Christopher - Keith Rocco - Give him TC's firesuit and glasses and Keith Rocco might be able to fool people into thinking he's a young Ted Christopher. Like TC, Rocco is from Connecticut and races three nights a week when he gets the chance to. Like TC, Rocco is very aggressive too. In fact, Rocco dumped Christopher to win a September SK Modified race at Stafford and then commented that he learned that move from watching TC!
A Pit Bull - Jimmy Blewett - Anyone who knows pit bulls knows that they might look tough and bark loud, but often have a heart of gold under that menacing exterior. Anyone who knows Jimmy Blewett could say that same thing about him. We've also seen a few pit bulls wandering around junkyards and Blewett's family busy is a scrap metal operation. Blewett is built solid and thick like a pit bull too. We're not sure if he likes Milk Bones or not though.
Bo and Luke Duke - Burt and Jason Myers - They're Southern, they're brothers and they're fast - those are just a few things that the Myers and the Dukes have in common.
Incredible Hulk - Travis Adams - The #03E Late Model that Maine's Travis Adams races is green - very green. It might be a shade lighter than the Incredible Hulk, but it is still just as attention grabbing as a big monster. Also incredible is the fact that Adams has won the last four Late Model championships at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME) and has won on the ACT Late Model tour as a low-buck competitor.
Fred Flintstone - Johnny Clark - Every day in the Flintsones, Fred Flintsone would go to work and bust his ass. That's exactly what Johnny Clark does too - whether it be in the family scrap metal business or on track with his Super Late Model. Clark's reward for all of this hard work? Four PASS North championships.
Santa Clause - Tim Bryant - We're not sure what is a bigger deal in December - Christmas or the Snowball Derby. We do know though that thanks to the efforts of jolly promoter Tim Bryant, short track fans get the gift of great racing at the Derby every year while drivers from across the country get a chance to race in a great event - regardless of whether they've been naughty or nice.
Fat Bastard (from Austin Powers) - Jimmy Blewett - Jimmy Blewett is such a character that we gave him too costumes this year. Blewett once climbed from his racecar in victory lane during Speedweeks with his hands raised-up, claiming he had scored one for the fat-guys. We have teased Blewett about his robust appearance on Speed51.com and the Speed51Radio show before and Blewett has responded with great humor. “Showtime” is one of the most entertaining Short Trackers out there. With that said, I am sure he would have a good time at a party dressed as the memorable character from the movie “Austin Powers.”
Mini Me - Logan Ruffin - 15-year-old Logan Ruffin is just so tiny! We can remember a time not too long ago when he wouldn't have even been let into most pit areas. But Ruffin has been making tracks in Late Models, Super Late Models and even Pro Cup machines for the past several years and boast of resume much taller than his own physical height.
Stroker Ace - Coleman Pressley - It's his nickname and it's on even on his car. Granted, Pressley looks nothing like Burt Reynolds but if the nickname fits, so can the costume. After all, there are always stick-on mustaches.
The Grinch - Bobby Gill - One unnamed member of the 51 group suggested that Bobby Gill can be grumpy enough to play a mean Grinch. We'd all agree, but we don't want him to kick or ass… so we won't.
Ricky Bobby - Cale Gale - Cale Gale's team put the name “Ricky Bobby” from the Talladega Nights movie, on the roof of racecar in the PASS South Mason-Dixon Meltdown, so this was an easy choice.
Taz - J.R Burtuccio - It seems that there have been quite a few times when there has been a tornado of emotions around Bertuccio at times in his Modified career. He's locked horns with Ted Christopher and many other drivers out there and his most recent run-in at this year's Florida Speedweeks when he went after Bobby Grigas while Grigas was still belted into his racecar shows he has a temper too - so paint him brown and call him Taz.
Police Officer - Ricky Brooks - Nobody makes a better Cop in the inspection area than Ricky Brooks. Some love him, some despise him, but he rules the streets of Tech-ville with an iron fist. He locked up Brian Ickler after he took the checkers at the Snowball Derby, and awarded Augie Grill with the key to Pensacola for the year. This year the Sheriff is leveling justice in several big Short Track races, including the Governor's Cup at New Smyrna Speedway and once again at the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby.
Spongebob Square Pants - Bob Dillner - Own our Bob Dillner can be square in some ways so we figure he should maybe dress up as Sponge-bob Squarepants. Although Dillner doesn't live in a pineapple house in the sea…he does have stuff in common with the loveable cartoon sponge. They both have blue eyes, are both on TV and share the same name.
A Hot Dog - Matthew Dillner - Since one Dillner picked on the other when it came to suggestions for this feature, we figured that we wouldn't let him off the hook. So let's dress Matthew Dillner up as a giant hot dog - he ate 52 of them in one weekend once at Martinsville, so what could be a better choice?