SWAN LAKE, NY — On August 26, the Atlantic Coast Old Timers (ACOT), a “vintage open-wheel racing club dedicated to preserving, displaying and exhibition racing” returned to the …
SWAN LAKE, NY — On August 26, the Atlantic Coast Old Timers (ACOT), a “vintage open-wheel racing club dedicated to preserving, displaying and exhibition racing” returned to the quarter-mile asphalt oval at Bethel Motor Speedway, just a few short miles from the original Woodstock Festival of 1969.
Bethel Motor Speedway is sanctioned by NASCAR as part of the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.
The members of ACOT proudly display and run cars of the past—mostly TQs, midget, sprinters and stock cars in a variety of crowd-pleasing events across the mid-Atlantic and New England states during racing season.
Tom Crompton returned to the local speedway with his 1932 Ford race car—a forerunner to the sprint cars—powered by a Model B engine, breathing through a pair of Stromberg 97s, a Thompson equalizer head and “all the speed goodies they had back then.”
He was asked what it was like to drive a vintage racer without power steering and other modern amenities we take for granted.
Crompton, a member of the board of directors of the New England Racing Museum in Loudon, NH, replied, “I’m tired when I get out of the cockpit; my arms get a real workout… one hand on the wheel, the other on the handbrake.”
And of piloting a pre-war racer, he said, “It gives you a rush. The smile factor is huge; just being in there is a blast, and it’s not intimidatingly loud.”
Alan Preliasco showed up with his 1931 Ray Kuns K8, a faithful replica of an early ‘30s car built by the famed car crafter and driver Pappy Woods, a Native American known for long wheelbase “big cars.”
“It was based on his plans,” said Preliasco, adding that Woods was a full blood Mohawk, and the vintage racer was “built to honor his tribe.”
The Iroquois Express features a glittering gold-leaf feathered peace pipe, and pays homage to Indigenous Iroquois tribes the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Onondaga.
It is powered by a modified Ford Model B engine, described by Preliasco as “a typical home-built racer of that era, while pro racers would have used Millers, Offenhausers or Studebakers.”
Local guys “who liked to race on tracks like this used to go to the junkyards and get all the parts, and build their cars and race ‘em,” he added.
He noted that he bought his first vintage race car about 20 years ago, after seeing an ad in Hemmings Motor News.
Of driving a “big car” on a tight track such as Bethel Motor Speedway, Preliasco said, “It’s hard keeping it around the corners; you’ve got to manhandle it.”
For more information about ACOT, call Dennis White at 908/852-8189 or visit www.acotnews.org.
For information about Bethel Motor Speedway, which is located on Lynn Lane, call 845/319-7908 or visit bethelspeedway.com.
For more photos, visit www.riverreporter.com/sports.
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