WATKINS GLEN, NY – Supermodified racing – fast, thrilling and boasting devoted fans – will be the focus of a panel of insiders, led by national television race commentator and magazine editor Dick Berggren, at the International Motor Racing Research Center on March 2.
Berggren will serve as moderator and a speaker as the panel discusses supermodified racing around the nation, with an emphasis on competition at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway, located about 90 miles northeast of Watkins Glen.
The Center Conversations talk will be at 1 p.m. at the Racing Research Center located at 610 S. Decatur St., Watkins Glen. It is free and open to all.
The Racing Research Center is an archival library dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports, of all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials.
The five-eighths-mile paved Oswego Speedway, overlooking the shores of Lake Ontario, is familiar territory to everyone on the panel, including Berggren, who describes it as “the most storied of all supermodified tracks.”
“Supermodified racing has been described as the best-kept secret in American motorsports, and we think it’s time to share that secret,” Center President J.C. Argetsinger said. “These cars are extremely fast and very maneuverable. They put on an exciting show, as any Oswego fan knows.
“We’re honored that Dick Berggren is going to lead an experienced group to tell the supermodified story.”
Berggren is an appropriate moderator, having raced supermodifieds, modifieds, stock cars, and sprint cars from 1967-81.
For more than three decades, Berggren was a pit reporter for NASCAR TV coverage. He retired in 2012, after spending his last 12 years with Fox. With more than 20 years under his belt writing and editing for racing magazines, Berggren founded Speedway Illustrated in 2000.
Berggren will lead a panel of speakers that includes Perry Adams, vintage supermodified racer; Steve Miller, longtime supermodified driver, team owner and builder; Jamie Moore, retired driver and Oswego Speedway Hall of Famer; and Dan Kapuscinski, public relations specialist at Oswego.
“Sweet 16,” a supermodified car owned by Adams with a history at Oswego, is on display at the Racing Research Center through the March 2 talk. Miller built the car, with its roadster-style body, sprint tail and massive wing, in 1991.
Adams calls the car “truly wonderful,” and races it in vintage supermodified events. His racing experience also includes turns behind the wheel in sprint karts and in the SVRA and HSR vintage series. Adams has worked as a farmer and independent trucker and now works for the Town of Phelps Highway Department and builds Cobra kit cars. He also is restoring a ’32 Ford dirt modified car.
Miller said all the cars he has built since the early 1970s have been dubbed “Sweet 16,” though the car on display at the Center for a short time carried the number 76 – an easy paint-job number switch. Three primary drivers raced the car for Miller: Mark Hartman, Gene Lee Gibson and Johnny Payne.
“The car was very fast, and we had some fun with it,” said Miller, who piloted supermodifieds in the 1970s.
Miller operates Steve’s Body Shop in Mexico and continues to field a supermodified team, with Dave Gruel of Fulton returning this season. Last year, Gruel won the July King of Wings event at Oswego for Miller. It was Miller’s first trip to victory lane.
Moore had a celebrated career at Oswego and in 2010 was inducted into the track’s Hall of Fame. At the time, he was seventh in all-time Oswego points and 14th in all-time Classic points. He began racing in the late 1970s, after helping in the pits as a teenager.
“Jamie Moore was a top contender every week he strapped into a supermodified. He was as consistent as they came, and always at the front of the pack,” track officials said when he was honored. Moore retired from racing a few years ago.
“I’ve had fun,” Moore said. “Now I just visit and watch good shows. See the competitors, and see old friends. Special events are when I go.”
Moore works as superintendent of Hammond & Irving Inc. in Auburn, N.Y., which manufactures seamless steel rings for heavy industry.
Kapuscinski is beginning his second season as public relations specialist with the famed Oswego Speedway. An Oswego native, he was a media specialist with the World of Outlaws for three years. He also has seven years of experience racing supermodifieds and limited supermodifieds.
The Racing Research Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization founded in 1999 and located in Watkins Glen, also home of the Watkins Glen International race track. It is recognized as a world-class leader in the collection of materials representing the documentary heritage of amateur and professional motor racing worldwide.