HEDGER: The Long Look


“I always enjoyed both Oswego and ISMA, where I served as vice-president and on the board of directors,” Mucci said. “We had some great relationships with people like the Moriarty family. And I loved that the supers were unique. You could do things to make them faster, because the rules weren’t all that tight, and we got to go to Ohio, Florida, Michigan, the Carolinas and New England.

“What I didn’t like was that you had to make everything. If you crashed, you spent all night in the shop for a week making all new pieces to put the car back together,” he explained. “If you crash with the sprint car, the UPS guy brings the new parts and two nights later you’re ready to race again.

“We were lucky because when we were at Oswego, Harry Caruso was still there and the speedway was at its peak. When we went with USAC, people would ask where we were from and when we said Syracuse, they’d immediately jump to asking about Oswego and talk about how great it was. One of my goals is to have Joe race there, probably in a NEMA midget, to get a feeling for the track and the tradition involved there.”

Does that mean we might see another Mucci supermodified touring the “Big O” in the future?

“No, I wouldn’t buy another super. But in 2015, I’d like to get a 410 sprinter and travel to the Midwest and Mid-South,” Mucci said. “By then Joe will have three or four years under his belt and be ready for the jump. He works in the shop every night, understands the cars and is especially good with the suspension, so our program is coming along. Gordy Button has been mentoring him on driving and teaching him about the mechanical end and I see him improving all the time.”

But wouldn’t it be nice to race a few miles from home, at Oswego, and go back to the glory days of always being a lead-pack car and a consistent winner?

“No, the cost of today’s supers is prohibitive,” is Mucci’s measured reply. “It never really made sense but today the purses and costs are just too far out of balance. You only get a dozen or so wingless shows at Oswego and 13 or 14 with ISMA and there’s a lot of travel involved. You can run a sprint car three or four times a week. Around here the purses are way less than in Pennsylvania or Ohio, because the 360s are usually an added class, so next year we’ll try the 410s to get our feet wet and see how it goes.”

Joe Trenca may be young and a bit shy on experience, but the ESS is a great place to learn the trade, as the field is deep and very competitive. And having a grandfather and car owner like Ron Mucci is, as the credit card commercials would say, priceless.



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Ron Hedger
A veteran of nearly 40 years with SPEED SPORT, Hedger has also covered auto racing for the Schenectady, N.Y., Daily Gazette and was a contributor to Stock Car Racing and Open Wheel magazines.