SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — When the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s popular Lost Speedways program goes green on its traditional “Saturday after Thanksgiving” date, Nov. 26, a former Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year will be among the speakers.
Hall of Fame driver Denny Zimmerman, known to New York racers and fans as a tough competitor on the asphalt at both the Utica-Rome and Albany-Saratoga Speedways, will be on hand to recall his outstanding career. He’ll reflect on his time on the NASCAR Sportsman circuit, his Atlantic seaboard travels with asphalt guru Eddie Flemke, Red Foote and Rene Charland as the Eastern Bandits, and his open cockpit days, which saw him move from URC sprint cars to Indy cars, highlighted by an eighth place finish in the 1973 Indianapolis 500 that earned him Rookie of the Year honors.
Zimmerman, who left racing for a career as an airline pilot, is back racing again, running a midget owned by Skip Matczak, long known as an owner of both modified and supermodified racers. Matczak will join Zimmerman in offering recollections of the early days of the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, which many fear has run its last event since it is currently listed for sale. Especially interesting will be Matczak’s recollections of the night the throttle stuck on his gorgeous modified and Buddy Krebs disappeared into the woods with the engine still at peak rpm.
The New Englanders will be joined on the diverse program by motorcycle racing expert Mark Supley, announcer Jim King, who will recall the glory days of the short-lived Cairo Speedway and historian Bill Ladabouche, who will illustrate the glory years of Plattsburgh’s Airborne Park Speedway.
NASCAR Late Model Short Track division historian Ken Parrotte will also make an illustrated presentation, with five-time division champion and Southern 500 winner Jim Reed on hand to answer questions about his exploits. Parrotte will read a letter from famed stock car and Indy 500 champion Parnelli Jones about his days in the division and his memories of racing against Jim Reed, the dominant driver in the series.
Lost Speedways 2011 will commence with memorabilia on display at 11:30 am with the formal presentations set for 1 pm. Visitors are encouraged to bring their treasures to share with other fans and retired participants.
Regular museum admission prices will prevail, with museum members, as always, admitted free. Directions and other information can be found online at www.saratogaautomuseum.org.