Lets have some fun with this.....

Mark Keeler and I began to bring back the term The Florida Mafia…Speed51 has since picked it up and run with it. This is a Super Late Model driver only list. Now let’s determine who makes up the actual Florida Mafia. I propose 3 groups, the past, the present and the honorary members that while not from FL have paid their dues and proven their worth when racing down here. Thinking of making a website dedicated to it so lets start the list…I could write more but let’s have some fun with this.

The Past:
Dick Anderson
Jimmy Cope
Mike Cope

Tim Russell
Wayne Anderson
David Rogers

Junior Hanley
Ed Howe
Dick Trickle

I object! I know this is supposed to be a list of drivers only, but how on earth can you have a list of “Florida Mafia” without including “The Don” Nerone and “King John” Sappracone?

I checked the name origins; they are both sons of Italian heritage. I guess the whole race tire and fuel thing must be to wash the big money they made in the olive oil business.

Robert Hamke should be on this list somewhere.

Ray Bontrager
Billy Gill
Bobby Gill
Jack Cook
Dave Pletcher
Gary Balough
Wayne Niedecken

and what about the dirt track drivers ?

Holy cow. Limit it to just three from each era?

I like the current “out of state” choices.

But for the past…guys that could win just about anywhere they went:

Buzzie and Wayne; Bobby Brack; Tricky Dicky; Hot Shoe; Dumont Smith; Phil and Pete Orr; Hamke; sheesh…too hard to name just three from the past…

As for the current crop…

Well…Russell and Anderson are pretty tough everywhere in Florida. Rogers…I’m not so sure. Sure, he’ll run good at Orlando and New Smyrna, but take him to Punta Gorda, Citrus, Bronson, Pensacola, DeSoto, Auburndale…not so good, I think. How ‘bout Johanna Long? Sure, she runs Pensacola, but she’s also runnin’ at Mobile…she was pretty good at New Smyrna last time I saw her run there during Speedweeks…not too sure how’d she do at the other tracks, though.

Current crop of out-of-state guys (and gals)? Becca Kasten showed Anderson how to pass on the outside at New Smyrna at the Governor’s Cup, and nearly won the Speedweeks title. Hmmm…how 'bout that kid that ran the Hamke house car (Ryan…?) Can’t never remember his name. He looked pretty good. Landon Cassill runs good at New Smyrna and Pensacola, nearly winning the Snowball.

As far as the dirt guys go…not real familiar with the dirt drivers, other than Earl Pearson and Ivedent Lloyd. For the past dirt guys…Keith Nosbisch, Buzzie, Wayne Shugart…

Let’s hear some more :wink:

Lets have fun

How can you not list the Hialeah Gang

Bobby Brack, Dick Anderson, Gary Balough, Bobby Coyle, Buddy Griffin, Bruce Griffin, Tommy Duckworth, Larry Rogero, Mariio Maresca, Steve Lamb, Joe Winchell, Mike Franklin, Mario Gosselin, and a host more that my memory fails me. lol.

Florida Mafia

How about Dave Scarborough, Larry Brazil senior, And especially Donnie Tanner, the best on asphalt and dirt along with Bobby Alexander!!! Current, Dave Steele!!!

From the Golden Gate days, Butch Hirst, Dan Daughtry, Jack Arnold, Billy Myers. Those were the good days.

I’ll say it again. In my opinion, only Anderson, Balough, and maybe Brack could win anywhere else. Most of that list is “one-track wonders”. How many of them guys won anywhere else besides Hialeah? Sure, they’d run good, Winchell maybe got a few over at Punta Gorda or elsewhere…but in my opinion, still a bunch of Hialeah regulars. Put them at Palm Beach, St. Pete, Bradenton, Pensacola…and they weren’t that great.

Again…these guys were good at maybe two or three tracks - Tampa/St. Pete/Bradenton. Scarborough did run good at Inverness; yes, Tanner was good at East Bay and the Fairgrounds on dirt, and at Tampa and St. Pete on pavement, maybe DeSoto when the TBARA ran there…but that’s about it.

And, as Tim stated in his original post, (Super) Late Model drivers only. I take it that means the asphalt guys. No dirt, no Sprint car guys. :wink:

This group, the “Florida Mafia”, should be a group that was good, and could win, everywhere they went. From Hialeah to Pensacola, from St. Pete’s little quarter-mile to Lakeland’s huge (as far as “short tracks” go) three-quarter-mile, and everywhere in between. Not a buncha “one-track (or two or three, as the case may be) wonders”.

Lets Have Fun

Just for the record, Steve Lamb, was from Hialeah, and was runner up rookie of the year in the USAR Hooters Series, in the mid 90’s and Finished forth in the Florida Pro series in 2004. So i would not characterize him as a one track wonder.

He also ran multiple times at punta gorda and always was competitive.
Winchell and Gossellin were from Hialeah also, Remember follks, the Allisons were from Hialeah before they were the Alabama Gang. Other notables, was Red Farmer, (Still Racing at 70+ years of age) was from Hialeah also.

It appears some talented drivers came out of south florida.

It was interesting that when other teams came from up north, they struggled at Hialeah and Hialeah super drivers did well at all others.

Food for thought

leroy porter -ernie bass dave mc ginnis

jimmy riddle -frank riddle bill roynon larry brazill robert smith david smith jim alvis sr dick pratt sr aden erb - bontrager-pletcher -gill -bo hamond -pat huthinson carl butts arron collier dan dauthtre lester sloan bill miller tom brown phil kesseler charlie myres older than dirt and still winning in figure eights denny myres and all mustangs - jim fenton jim childress jim gray benny moore

Leroy Porter, Junior Purcell, Dave Dunkin, Jimmy Cope, Jim Childers from the past.
Tim Russell , Wayne Anderson from today.
Ed Howe, Dick Trickle, Junior Hanley from out of state

Also I would put Donnie Tanner in his prime up against anybody on any track ,dirt or asphalt, in any type of car and I bet he wins more than he loses.

[QUOTE=MW68SS;72980]Junior Purcell, Dave Dunkin, Jimmy Cope, Jim Childers from the past.[/QUOTE]I’ll take that as a compliment :wink: Every one of these guys drove for my dad at one point; we won at St. Pete, Auburndale, Inverness, DeSoto, Orlando, Golden Gate, Punta Gorda…Junior won the very first Florida Pro race, if I recall, in our car at Bradenton (and it wasn’t pretty, either…LOL). Dunkin drove for us at Sunshine and Auburndale; we gave Cope his very first (Super) Late Model ride at DeSoto in '79 and won a few the following year, even after changing to Billy Gill later on…and Childers was probably our best driver we had. The very first time we went to Inverness, Dicky Anderson owned the track (or ran it, I forget…)…and we beat him for the win by a bumper right at the line. Childers won everywhere we went, and not only in the Late Model, but in the Sprint car (Norm Huntley’s #48, Ledford’s #1, and the Rudolph #68), and in a Super Six.

Sorry to get off topic there…had to brag a little :wink:

Jimmy, you need to add Lakeland and vsp to Rogers track list. I disagree with your notion about him. He seldom runs the other tracks, but he DEFINITELY should be on the list. Pensacola seems to have some sort of jinx on him.

i was looking at some old car pictures guess what

one thing that really stuck out was the grand stands was so packed people were having to stand up and some could not even get in

and ther were no 100,000 to 400.000 enclosed trailers or big rig in in field they were old beat up open single axel and dual axel tralers with tire rack on top wit three or four tires

and some of the nicest looking cars to some of fastest beat up cars you ever seen and ever one looked liked they were built with love sweat- tears not bought

and shiped ups or fed x any body remember when you built the whole car with just your bear hands :huepfen024:

Talking about dirt latemodel drivers, when John Gamble drove for my dad, in the late 70s, we won at East Bay, Barberville, Ocala and Lake City. We won over 20+ features in thee years.

And when John drove his own latemodels he won on dirt tracks in DeLand, Jacksonville and Dade City also.

In John’s prime I would put him up against any other latemodel driver on dirt from Florida.

But that’s my own opinion?!?!?! :ernaehrung004:

Oh Boney

Stop whining and sobbing about Don Nerone, he’s a sick man, leave it alone!

Fla MAfia

What about Dave McCabe?

[B][I]The list of Florida Drivers could go on forever,
The past:
Jim Fenton
Jr. Purcell
Will Cagle
Dave Scarborough
Gary Balough
Dave Pletcher
Jim Alvis
Bobby Brack
Bobby Coyle
Leroy Porter
Ernie Bass
Dan Daugherty
Randy Tissot
Lee Faulk
Dick Anderson
Jimmy Cope
Ricky Carlton
Mike Cope
Ray Bontrager
Billy Gill
Bobby Allison
Red Farmer
David Russell…this list could actually go on much longer.

The present:
Jeff Choquette
Tim Russell
Travis Kittleson
Dwayne Dempsey
B.J. McLeod
David Reutimann
Daryl Shelnut
David Rogers
James Powell
Jeff Scoffield
Wayne Jefferson
Mike Bresnahan
Travis Cope
Wayne Anderson
Chris Fontaine
Justin Drawdy
Billy Bigley Jr.
Derrick Kelley
Mario Gosselin
Fain Skinner
Mike Fritts
Jason Boyd…Another list that could go much longer.

Out of state:
Mark Martin
Rusty Wallace
Dick Trickle
Ed Howe
Mike Eddy
Butch Lindley
Don Gregory
Bob Senneker…Many more could be added to this one also.

Florida has always been a Hot-Bed of Late Model racing with the top drivers in the country from right here in the Sunshine State.


What about the late Dick Joslin? Then there was the Pullen brothers. This list could truly go on for a long time:ernaehrung004: