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.
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…
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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
[QUOTE=MW68SS;72980]Junior Purcell, Dave Dunkin, Jimmy Cope, Jim Childers from the past.[/QUOTE]I’ll take that as a compliment 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.
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.
[B][I]The list of Florida Drivers could go on forever,
David Russell…this list could actually go on much longer.
Billy Bigley Jr.
Jason Boyd…Another list that could go much longer.
Out of state:
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.