Three Western New York Drivers Whose Careers Crossed Paths

       A young man from Lockport, New York developed an interest in auto mechanics and stock car racing, early on in life, hanging around the racing garage of veteran Cam Galgliardi. Gagliardi raced at such early venues as Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium, and he even had some seat time in early NASCAR Grand National racing. Cam went on to race for many more years, until he was well up in age.
          The youngster was Jerry Cook who, after learning around the Gagliardi garage, proceeded to build his own, first race car at age thirteen. Being profoundly too young to drive, Cook somehow enlisted the services of East Amherst, NY chauffeur Kenny Meahl. Finding Cook's cars to be superior to what he had been driving before, Meahl had much success driving the Cook #38's until Jerry became old enough to drive for himself.
          Meahl went on the drive the Snediker #28 out of Rochester, NY; and Cook became a multi - time NASCAR National Modified Champion before becoming a NASCAR modified official.

CAM GAGLIARDI


John Grady Photo
Cam Gagliardi poses
with the Lazy 8, a
familar early car
number for him.
 

Pascal "Magnum" Cote Photo
Gagliardi had mixed success
in the Grand National
races. Here - not so good.

Photo from HAMB Site
Another version of
the Lazy 8.

John Grady Photo
Cam Gagliardi poses
with the Permatex car
many NY drivers used
at Daytona.
 
Photo from HAMB Site
Later in his career.

Gordon Roenig Photo
from HAMB Site

Another Corvair.
 

KEN MEAHL


NASCAR Record Book Photo


DIRT HOF Photo
What must be Ken's
earliest car, at Stoney
Creek Speedway.
 

Meahl Family Photo
Jack Bentley Family Collection

One of the earlier Cook
cars. This is at Syracuse.

From the HAMB Site
Success with that car.
CLICK HERE to see Jerry Cook, too young to drive, building this car.

 


Meahl Family Photo
Jack Bentley Family Collection

An even earlier Cook
car. This is 1961.

Bill Farress Photo
Meahl and a Cook
car at Monroe Cty
Speedway around 1960.

Bill Farress Photo
Meahl chasing a driver
named Jeske around
Monroe Cty Speedway
in 1960.

 

Bill Farress Photo
A youngster checks
out Cook's Meahl - driven
car at Monroe Cty in 1960.

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Cook's 1960 car leaves
Otter Creek Speedway
in Vermont in 1962 after
pulling off a surprise win
over the likes of Shoemaker
and Dick Nephew.
 

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Cook's car arrives at
Fonda in 1962. Meahl
began running there
quite reguarly.

Jo Towns Photo Collection
Courtesy of Otto Graham

A Meahl wins at Fonda
in his last year with Cook.


Cavalcade of Racing Photo
Ken moved over to driving
for Walter Snediker, out
of Rochester, NY.
 

Courtesy of Bill Fifield

A classic Meahl 28 shot.


Ladabouche Photo Collection
Russ Bergh Photo
 

Ed Feuz Photo Collection
Via Fonda Book
A dazed Meahl is helped to
the ambulance after his
infamous wreck at Fonda.
That smile might be from
all those little bluebirds
flying around in his head.

From the HAMB Site
The Snediker car in 1964.

From the HAMB Site
Closer to the end of
his career - at
Lancaster Speedway.
   

JERRY COOK


Courtesy of Otto Graham


HAMB SitePhoto
Jerry started driving
permanently in 1963.
This is probably much the
same car as Meahl drove
 in 1962 - except looking
refurbished - at Lancaster.

 

Courtesy of Otto Graham
The 1963 version of the car. Jerry syas Baynes was the only sponsor who would take a chance on shelling bucks to an untried driver. [Below] - He might be proving here Baynes' trust was
correct. This looks like Cliff Kotary at Utica - Rome.

 


Ladabouche Photo
The 38 entering Fonda in 1963.
the blurriness is from the
car being in motion.
 

J&H Photo from LaSheef Site
The 38 is beginning to
be refined into more
of a modified look.

From Bill Farress

Courtesy of Mike Watts
A victory at his beloved
Catamount Stadium,
around 1967 or so.

Ladabouche Collection
The same graphics as the previous
coupe, but with the Falcon Body.

Arnie Ainsworth Photo
Perhaps his favorite
coupe. He was really
prominent in the mod
ranks by this time.

Ladabouche Collection
 

G. LaVallee Collection
Jerry chases Jack
Johnson [believe it or not]
 in Bennett's Bernie's
Liquor Shop 71 -
at Fonda Speedway.

Courtesy of Bucko Branham
The same graphics as the previous
coupe, but with the lowered
more modern modified body.
This is either Malta or Catamount.

Bob Mackey Photo
Courtesy of John Rock

A win at Airborne Speedway.
That's starter Johnny Telleni.

Ladabouche Collection
The Camaro, in the
pits at Catamount.

HAMB Site Photo
The Camaro at
Martinsville in 1972.

Ladabouche Photo
At Catamount in 1972
for a special modified
show. For those Cat fans,
note the Chevron station
is down, the checkerboard
stand is not yet up, and the
track still has that water truck.
 

Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth
A favorite photo of the
Cook fans.

HAMB Site Photo
The same car racing with
Don House's XL-1 in
1968

Otto Graham, Dirt Track Digest
The fire at Langhorne
that almost made Jerry
live up to his last name.

Denis LaChance Photo
Jerry at Catamount with
a fairly modern mod - one
of his last cars, I think.

HAMB Site Photo
Towards the end of
his career, he got a
ride in the Ed Cloce 69
[formerly the Hemi Cuda
team].

HAMB Site Photo
In the 1973 Daytona
Twin 125's, against Cecil
Gordon, with the Dick
Hammond Miller
Chevelle.

HAMB Site Photo
The Hammond Miller
Chevelle, at speed.

Gordon Roenig Photo
The same car with
its usual number -
as often driven by
Jim Hurtubise.

HAMB Site Photo
The 70 Permatex car
that was apparently
maintained by Cam
Gagliardi and driven
by various NY drivers
like Cook and Wimble.

HAMB Site Photo
Another Permatex car.
 
From the Cook Site
Jerry with one of his Permatex cars.
 
From the Cook Site
Showing up for a race with twin Pintos.
 
John Bisci Photo
Jerry with one of his Camaros at
Martinsville.
  
David Allio Photo
Problemas at Martinsville.


Courtesy of Ted Bennett
Jerry [inside the car] at an early age, building this car for Ken Meahl. That may be Meahl in front.


All Star League Program Photo
Jerry loved Catamount Stadium and he loved the All Star Racing League. So, when he could represent Catamount in
the League he was about as happy as he was in his whole career.


racingal.com Site Photo
A portrait from one
of his other Hall of
Fames.

Roxanne Ladabouche Photo
Jerry and Sue at the wall
of fame in the DIRT Hall
of Fame in Weedsport. He
was inducted in 2011.

Roxanne Ladabouche Photo
Jerry and the other
inductees to the DIRT Hall
of Fame in Weedsport. he
was inducted in 2011. That's
yours truly at far left.

Roxanne Ladabouche Photo
Jerry with the Batmobile
 in the DIRT Hall of Fame.

 


Bill Ladabouche Photo
Jerry was happy to find old Western NY driver and neighbor, Ed Ortiz, at Rolling Wheels
for the big DIRT All Star Weekend race after the HOF ceremonies. That is Ed at right.

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