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Semi-Monthy Racing
Commentary with

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com


Add to it & Watch it grow!

Whoever submits the 4500th name will receive a
$100 Coastal 181 gift certificate!


So, Fast Fred Klunk has done it again, a three-peat in the nickname
race, providing entry #4000. The knowledgeable sprint car aficionado
from Carlisle, PA, knows just how to plan the race by submitting names on
just the right lap. He sure must have a Coastal 181 library by now!

Fred Klunk from Carlisle, PA (yes the 2000th winner too) is our
winner with the 3500th name - 
Story Here

Dennis Elliott of Hoyt, KS, submitted a list of names that topped
the 3000 mark - Story Here

Ed Duncan is our  most recent winner with the 2500th name - Story Here

Fred Klunk from Carlisle, PA (that’s sprint car country!) is our
winner with the 2000th name - 
Story Here

Jerry Donahue of Huntersville, NC. was the winner
with the
1500th entry -
Story Here


Greg Birosh of upstate NY was the winner
with the 1000th entry - Story Here

Updated 10/24/17
Count - 4195

“Front Row Joe” Nemechek

(Photo by Richard Swanner)

October 1, 2007

What’s in a Name?

It snuck up on us kinda through the back door. I never really thought about it too much until that moment Geoff Bodine announced nationally that henceforth he was to be known as Geoffrey. Then the name trend started getting scary.

Why are nicknames and colorful handles out of favor? Isn’t it a neat thing when an announcer can ham it up and slide a good one through the microphone: “And, Ladies and Gentlemen, bringing up the rear in the #69 car out of Worcester, Massachusetts is none other than Mario ‘Fats’ Caruso, the Shrewsbury Flash!” What kids don’t have those wonderful names burned in their brain from the first time they sat on the edge of a seat board?

Sure, there are some left. There is “Front Row Joe,” acknowledging Nemechek’s former knack for pole shots. Of course, as you would expect, there is some zaniness from Kenny Wallace, “Herman the German” or “the Hermanator” for short. And there is the refreshing sound of no real name at all. Just call him “Smoke.”

But, fact is, nicknames are falling off as quickly as roll bar padding from Robby Gordon’s car. It seems that drivers now need to be identified with a yuppie-like seriousness. Have you seen how many initials are now used instead of first names, imitating the silliness of investment bankers? And there are lots of Jr.s and IIIs these days, as if adding such a suffix makes the person more important.

Recently Ed Duncan, a researcher on our HOT CARS COOL DRIVERS and PAVED TRACK DIRT TRACK books, made up a list nicknames used by racing folk. Karl Fredrickson of Speedway Illustrated added more. Of the ones we have so far, my personal favorite goes to a seriously hard-charging kid who manhandled a huge, finned Cadillac around the grimy oiled dirt of New England’s Lakeville Speedway in the seventies. His calling card – “Sewerside Harriman.”

Here’s our list so far. Got any more? Please drop us a line so we can keep it going.

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181

Updated 10/24/17
Count - 4195

NICKNAMES PDF - 10/24/17

Here’s our list so far. Got any more? Please drop us a line so we can keep it going.

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com


© 2007-17 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

We Have a Winner for the 3500th Nickname - Fred Klunk Again! 
Since the 2,000th nickname submission, Fred Klunk still lives in Carlisle, PA, eight miles from his home track of Williams Grove Speedway. He has two daughters around the age when he first started attending the races. Not one to just think about racing nicknames, his daughters, Caroline (Goose) and Lydia (Tookins), both have nicknames of their own. Though he doesn’t attend as many races as he used to, he enjoys a couple of shows a month for the racing season, which around home runs from February through November.

Fred has been to 94 tracks in 26 states through 2012 (half of his tracks coming in Pennsylvania). His goal is to get to at least one new track each year and eventually see a race in all 50 states. Another trip out West for the summer of 2013 may knock off a couple more states from his hit-list. He’s viewed 70+ year-olds race as well as a 12-year-old in a full-size car in Alabama.

For the past 21 years he has been a videographer for Lynn Schaeffer Productions and the Thunder in the PA Mountains video. He stays as current on racing as he can and enjoys the history of auto racing, where several publications from Coastal 181 have come in handy. Maybe someday his daughters will circle this country’s race tracks. They’re getting a little used to the races and racecars.
Here are Fred’s daughters, Caroline (on the left) and Lydia, next to
“Double D” or the “Wild Thing” Danny Dietrich’s sprinter.

We Have a Winner for the 3000th Nickname!
Dennis Elliott of Hoyt, KS, submitted a list of names that topped the 3000 mark. Here’s what Dennis tells us about his racing background:

I was almost born at a race track. My father started racing four years before I was born. My father was Don Elliott, who was a competitor from the late forties through the mid-seventies. He drove anything that had four wheels that was raced on an oval. At times he was considered one of the drivers from our area to beat.

The race tracks around eastern Kansas were my playgrounds and a stack of tires was sometimes a crib. I’ve seen cars from Track Roadsters to current Stock Cars and never missed a year of being at the track as a spectator, worker or competitor. I’ve traveled throughout the Midwest to see our family compete. Even during my military time I would find a racing event to attend. Once it is in your blood, it is there to stay. My own racing was not on the oval but drag racing. I still follow some of the local dirt track racing.

Racing and career choices were along the same lines. I have always been in the mechanical field one way or another, from copier repairman, to metal shear and press brake builder to industrial maintenance mechanic. I am currently semi-retired, doing odd jobs, gardening and home repairs.
Then and Now.
Left, my father, Don Elliott, driving a Plymouth-powered roadster and myself in 1956. Right, myself with my drag car and my classic street car, both Plymouths.

We Have a Winner for the 2500th Nickname!
There’s a winner for the 2500th nickname!

He’s familiar here at Coastal 181 – and he snuck up from deep in the pack. Ever since Coastal 181 began a decade ago, Ed Duncan has been a key collaborator. A member of the Selection Committee of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame, he sure knows his roundy-rounds.

Ed did much of the primary research on both HOT CARS COOL DRIVERS and PAVED TRACK DIRT TRACK, two of Coastal’s most popular books. Then three years ago he jokingly presented us with a list of 50 racing nicknames. This became the basis of what is now thought to be the one of world’s biggest collection of racing handles.

Relying on his deep racing experience, Ed knew just how to play the race to 2500 and the $100 winner’s purse. He compiled a second list of 50 new entries, waited patiently, and then fired it in at just the right time.

Good show, Ed. And THANKS!
Ed Duncan looking businesslike aboard the Granite State Big Car driven
 in the Northeast just post-war by NEAR Hall of Famer, Art Rousseau.
(Photo by car owner, Pete Von Sneidern)

We Have a Winner for the 2000th Nickname!

Fred Klunk lives in Carlisle, PA, eight miles from his home track of Williams Grove Speedway. His first race was at the same track around 1982. Bobby “Scruffy” Allen took the win by a few feet after running out of fuel on the last lap while having a half lap lead. He was hooked ever since. Now 34, he has attended the races since he was about seven.

His dad sold French fries at Lincoln and Susquehanna PA Speedways when he was a kid, hustling through the crowd to earn a nickel a cup. Fred’s grandfather owned the Quaker Pretzel business and his fries were well renowned at the track, with some patrons rather waiting in line to buy fries than watching the feature event. Fred’s dad is the one who took him to that first Williams Grove race, and the exciting finish, as well as the smell of the track’s fries, ordered many return trips.

Fred has been to 75 tracks in 14 states through 2009. His goal is to get to at least one new track each year and eventually see a race in all 50 states. Though with two girls (ages seven and three with nicknames of their own), the number of races attended per year has dropped considerably from his high of 96 shows in the early 90s. Living in the hotbed of Central PA sprint car racing, there’s typically a show around the area four nights a week. His favorite show is a regular 410 and 358 sprint show at the Grove. Travels have included a dozen years to the Knoxville Nationals, following Ohio Sprint Speedweek a couple of years, and a trip to Arizona in 2007 to fortunately catch a WoO Sprint show at Manzanita.

For the past 18 years he has been a videographer for Lynn Schaeffer Productions and had written an online column (“Talk from the Top Row”) on sprint car racing. He reads up on racing when he can, including several publications from Coastal 181. Reading and writing on racing has helped him with knowing the driver nicknames, and there are plenty of good ones for his local sprint car drivers, including the “Edge”, the “Hammer”, “Mr. Excitement” and one of his old favorites, the “Shoefly Flyer.” This is the second racing-related contest that Fred has won, earlier being selected as having the best fan photo submission for the Area Auto Racing News.
(Photo Below)

Here, Fred quickly picked up his daughter Caroline at home
to come see the “King’s” sprinter at the car wash.

We Have a Winner for the 1500th Nickname!

Jerry Donahue in Huntersville, NC, is a dedicated Coastal 181 reader and he’s a great guy.

Jerry has been around racing forever. Summers during high school in the sixties were spent working for Bob Bahre, spiffing up the newly purchased Oxford Plains Speedway. Calling himself modestly “an ambitious race fan,” Jerry was all over the sport, working for years with topnotch Downeast frontrunners such as Homer Drew and Willie Elliott.

More significantly, however, Jerry mentored his son Patrick, who became a nationally ranked kart racer. After karting, Patrick went to work for Steve Leavitt and then for Hendrick Motorsports. He subsequently became a Rainbow Warrior for Ray Evernham and now crew-chiefs for Eddie Sharp’s operation.

Jerry himself moved south a decade ago. He’s busy during the week as an air compressor specialist, and he has spent many a weekend as fuel man for NASCAR teams. He knows his stuff, including nicknames!

We Have a Winner for the 1000th Nickname!

Greg Birosh, an upstate New York announcer and racing radio personality, has won our contest by submitting the 1000th racing nickname. Greg co-hosts a radio show “Chasing Racing” (Tuesdays 6-7pm from April to October, on 95.9FM in Dundee, NY) with former modified racer and current sprint car enthusiast, 'The Penn Yan Express' Doug Mattison.

Greg Birosh (with microphone) - Doug Elkins Photo

We’re really pleased to hear that Greg is following his family tradition.  His dad John had a great career in modifieds and sprinters.  Greg is just getting ready to launch his own sportsman, and we wish him luck.  Check out what he emailed us on being notified of being our winner.

Thank you very much! Really, it was just my luck that I was able to make my contribution when so many others did the work to get it so close to 1000. I have always liked racing nicknames and I do whatever I can to keep them going. Some of the ones on the list I can actually take credit for creating as an announcer in the Finger Lakes area of New York.

I was born into racing as the son of dirt modified and sprint car driver and builder, John Birosh. Dad also spent three years as a Busch Series crew chief, but retired from racing after the 1998 season. He now spends his days building hot rods in his shop in Penn Yan, NY and spending summer weekends going to cruise-ins and shows. He wasn't really the mayor of Seneca Falls, NY, my hometown, but Canandaigua announcer Gary Montgomery, who was from Rochester, said that the town was so small that Dad must be the only one that lived there, therefore he had to be the mayor. From then on it stuck, and I've had a fascination with nicknames ever since. Dad's influence got me interested in racing, and Gary, along with Joe Marotta, got me interested in announcing. When I was a kid and Mom and I would sit in the stands and watch, I always had a knack for knowing all the details about everyone on the track, from their number, name, hometown, type of car, and so on. I would try to emulate the track announcer and do my own version of the race call from our seats and either amaze the people sitting around us, or drive them crazy, I'm not sure which.

I live in Horseheads, NY now, where I work for a mechanical contractor, but I'm just as involved in dirt racing now as I was when I was a kid. Currently, I am the co-announcer at the Black Rock Speedway in Dundee, where I have been since 2006, as well as 2004. In 2007, I fulfilled my dream to announce at Canandaigua Speedway. And earlier this year, I was asked by my co-announcer, Rich Vleck, to be part of the Hot Wings TV broadcast team, where I serve as the pit reporter. Hot Wings TV is a one-hour show that broadcasts tape-delayed sprint car racing and airs on Time Warner Cable SportsNet in all of New York State, except NYC. I am having a great time as a member of the media, but the plan for now is to take a break from that and get back to doing some racing of my own.

Since DIRTcar Northeast has instituted the GM crate engine into the sportsman modified division, it has opened the door for me to go racing in a full-size car for the first time in my 31 years. I raced go-karts from '91 to '94, and then off and on in '97 and '98, picking up a few wins and the '93 NYS Indoor Championship. In 2005 I tried my hand at a 270 micro sprint with little success, mostly because I couldn't fund or maintain the car properly, as I was graduating from college (decided to go later than most) and just starting out in my new career. Now everything is in place with the sportsman car that Dad and I built together. With any luck, we'll be able to make a couple of the year-end specials and get tuned up for a full assault in 2009. All I need now is my own nickname!

.: Previous Tearoffs :.

9/15/07 - Official Overpopulation

9/1/07 - The Look of a Driver

8/15/07 - Being Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer






































































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