Ford Easton, of St. Petersburg, Fla., has been working on a book featuring the wonderful years of stock car racing during the ’50s as it pertained to the Western New York (WNY) and Northwestern Pennsylvania area (NWPA). Easton is pleased to now announce that the book, Stock Car Racing in the 50’s, was officially released on July 30, at an event that took place at the Cuba Lake Raceway reunion and luncheon in Cuba, N.Y.
The book includes 48 tracks in WNY and NWPA that operated in the ’50s. One of the 48 tracks in the book is the Troy Fairgrounds where stock cars raced at in the early 50s. Covered tracks in WNY include those from the Chemung Speedrome east of Elmira, Wellsville Raceway, Angelica Raceway, Hunt Raceway, Olean Raceway and on to Stateline Speedway at Busti in the west with many in the greater Jamestown area and then north to Ransomville Speedway in Niagara county then south and east including Civic Stadium, Lancaster Speedway, Monroe County Fairgrounds, Naples Speedway and other tracks around the Finger Lakes ending at Ithaca/Dryden Raceway south of Ithaca in WNY.
The boundaries in NWPA go from the Towanda VFW Fairgrounds on Route 6 in the east, Troy Fairgrounds then on to Skyline Raceway at Sugar Grove in the west and then south to Dicky-Ben Raceway at Warren then east to Brockway the home of Airport Speedway.
All the tracks that operated within these boundaries are included in the book for the two states at some time during the ’50s. A few only operated for a few months and others are still in operation. Some have more extensive coverage than others, naturally, due to the information and photos that were available from those days.
The book also includes many other items pertaining to the racing of that time that readers will enjoy.
Easton is really excited about the book. The book is also available in “E” version for Kindles and working on Nooks.
The book serves a legacy to those involved in stock car racing in the ’50s. This includes drivers, car owners, track owners, track personnel and especially the great fans of that era, including Easton.
After doing a reunion and banquet for the drivers and all the fans that attended the Cuba Lake Raceway event in 2003 (200 strong), many came to Easton suggesting that he continue to have the reunion each year and to do a book from all the knowledge that he must have gained while researching for the 2003 reunion.
“I have been working on the book eight years now with the major emphasis in the last three years, plus I am seventy-four years young and not getting any younger,” said Easton.
He continued, “I have been told stories of would be authors accumulating reams of information for a book and passed before the book ever happened. That wasn’t going to happen to me so a driving force to get the book done. Even if I pass today the book will happen now and that is such a good feeling giving all from that era of wonderful stock car racing and entertainment, including myself, a legacy that will last forever.”
A young woman from Maryland, and daughter of ’50s stock car driver Dick Close, Jenelle Close Kiernan from Towanda, Pa., worked with Easton on this book.
Easton grew up in Friendship, N.Y. in the 40’s and 50’s, attended Alfred Tech (now Alfred State College) with an AAS degree in rural engineering. Easton is a Viet Nam combat veteran, was a Jr. Engineer at Dresser Clark Olean doing experimental engineering projects, and worked in the mechanical field with Bentley Nevada Corporation for 25 years as a service tech, salesman then becoming regional manager in the Northeast and in Florida, retiring in 1996.
Easton raced a ‘36 Ford modified stock car in the southeast from 1988 to 1994 as a hobby with 30 other friends with the same interests. He won a feature 25-lap race with that car in 1994. He now collects and restores antique kerosene railroad lanterns along with writing his book.
At the Cuba Lake Raceway reunion and luncheon held on July 30, the 230-page book was released. According to Easton, 14 cases of books arrived early in Cuba, and several residents from the Towanda area were in attendance.
The books were available at the reunion and at the Wellsville, N.Y. library on July 31. The book(s) and “E” versions were available for ordering after these dates several ways starting Aug. 1.
Some testimonials from some of those who received the book include the following:
“The book is extremely interesting, although we have had company for two weeks and I am just getting into it. They left this morning back to Michigan. So now I devote time for the book.”
“Ford; I loved your book, brought back many great memories! My grandfather and I were regulars at Angelica Race Track for many years during my middle school years. Also got opportunities to go to Olean, Perry and Holland periodically, but never did make it to Cuba for a race while they were operating. Jackie Soper was my favorite driver and I had many of his photo’s on my bedroom wall during that time. After college, I had a job at Alfred Tech and worked with Dick Wittie, who shared a number of really great photos and his memories of racing with me. Thanks for the look back.”
The price of the book is the same at all locations $15.00 plus shipping and handling, and $7.00 for the “E” versions.
For those who wish to order a book, send a check or money order to Ford Easton, 5200 28th St. N. #651, St. Petersburg, Fla. 33714. Easton will also sign book(s) if desired with list supplied “who to”. Price of the book is $15.00 each plus shipping and handling as follows – $4.00 for one, $6.00 for two and $8.00 for three to ten books per order. Books are shipped media mail.
You can also call (727) 644-6722 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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