Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

April 18, 2012

BOWMAN: The rich life of the local oval

More new faces should sample the thrills at the Kokomo Speedway.

As I’m prone to do when I have something on my mind and really just need to think things through, I typically find myself at the place I consider my “safe haven” — the Kokomo Speedway.

Sunday afternoon I ventured to the one place where I can lose myself, no matter how bad things are or even good for that matter. I found myself sitting in the totally empty parking lot of the local oval. Most times when I visit the track I find myself recollecting the days when as a kid I would pester my poor dad and mother to no end each Sunday morning from the time they awoke about whether or not we would be able to go the track that evening.

Back then I was in third grade and was be awestruck when the likes of Allen Barr, the late Dick Gaines, Bobby Kinser, Ron Fisher, Don Fisher, Red Bledsoe, Ed Angle, Louie Mann, Don Walker, Jim Elliott, whose son Tony would go on and become the winningest sprint car driver in track history to date. There was also Dave Phillips, Swede Bolander, Jon Casbon, Chuck Piker and countless others that would take the track each race night.

While sitting there I was contemplating the book that is my goal on the old facility and debating exactly how I wanted to go about writing this book, which would satisfy the dream I’ve had since I began covering the goings on at the track all these years.

The tough thing about getting the forthcoming book (that is if some publisher is willing to take a chance, though I’ve been told it’s a very good possibility) is the lack of official records that were kept in the primitive years.

I’ve spent countless hours going through micro-film studying sports sections that are 50-plus years old. At this rate, to finally track down all the events that have ever been run at the old bullring is akin to finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

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