Since I seem to have lost my forum, Mark Thomas' "Racin' Paper", I will apparently enter the 21st Century and start doing my column as a
blog. In certain times of the year, this may not be weekly; but I promise to keep it regular. Many of the site regulars have only been able to
get my columns via this site, anyway, and representing the very newspaper that was given out at Thunder Road gave me no press courtesies.
So, I might as well do it this way and reach some different readers. Let me know what you think. -Bill

Week of May 20, 2012


                                             BILL'S BACK IN TIME                                      

Somewhat of  a Rarity


       Boutin family patriarch and former race driver Kevin Boutin, Sr. looked back at the Airborne pit area, which contained three Boutin family cars, and said partly to me and partly to himself, “What the hell have I done here ?” Although he was happy and mostly joking, Kevin knew from experience exactly what trying to keep a three – car team going was going to entail – especially at the level of excellence that the family insists upon.


Eddie Timberman Photo
Fonty Flock, the feature of this friction – proofing ad, was one of the older siblings. He actually
was a former moonshine runner for uncle, Peachtree Williams.


            The participation of three brothers in the same arena of racing is fairly uncommon, given the factors like expense and varying interests among siblings of similar ages. The first prominent example of this was the Flock brothers, a moonshining family from out of the Deep South, in Fort Payne, Alabama. Having an uncle –Peachtree Williams - who was one of the region’s highest – producing moonshiners, older brothers Bob and Fonty Flock were running the back roads with loads of hooch from an early age. According to Big Bill France, it is when these young shiners began to compete against one another as to whose car was the fastest, that stock car racing took root.


Tim Flock Homepage Photo
Tim Flock had a number of colorful years in the Grand Nationals. Above – the prestigious
Kiekhaeffer Chrysler ride. Below – Jocko Flocko

Tim Flock Homepage Photo


            The eldest Flock, Bob, did not race a particularly long time. Fonty, sporting the pencil moustache that was fashionable in the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s, was more visible and flamboyant; but, little brother Tim was the Flock who made the biggest splash. [And then, there was the sister, Ethel Flock Mobley, who actually raced stock cars as well.] Tim, at one point actually drove in races accompanied by a monkey who he had named “Jocko Flocko”. This went along fine until the monkey got loose from his cage during their seventh race together and more or less attacked Tim in the car. The monkey went flying out during a hasty pit stop and that was that.

            Tim Flock would be best remembered for landing a ride with the sport’s first big – money team the Kiekhaeffer Outboards Chrysler 300’s. Tim ran with the rather autocratic Carl Kiekhaeffer until his free spirit and Carl’s tight reins clashed. The Flocks are considered one of the big reasons that NASCAR was able to take off and prosper the way it did.


Courtesy of Andy Boright
Rusty Wallace, in his ACT – killing ASA days. Below -
The three Wallace brothers.

JSC Group Photo


            The next [and today probably the best – known] three brother combination was that of the Wallaces, from Missouri. Rusty, the eldest, had first come to the attention of the racing world competing in the American Speed Association. When Tom Curley and the American – Canadian Tour got hooked up with the ASA and another  similar group, All – Pro out of the Southeast, the resulting Great American Stock Car Connection was a tough lesson to the Northeasterners on how little they had yet mastered racing with those newly – acquired plastic pony cars. The other groups had a decade’s head start, and Rusty Wallace was one of the best.

            Soon after, Rusty Wallace was down South, running as a rookie in the NASCAR Grand Nationals. Soon  thereafter, the younger brothers, Mike and Kenny [Herman to most people] would follow. Rusty Wallace, having earned seats in some of the best rides in the division, was – by far and away – the most successful of the three. Kenny, in particular, and Mike still do some racing in the upper echelons of NASCAR to this day. Kenny, often a media commentator, definitely had the most show biz – worthy personality of the three, and has a book written about him.


Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
The racing Trombleys, as photoed by Bob Mackey at either Airborne Park Speedway or Malletts
Bay Raceway. The three ran together only in the ‘50’s.


            More specific to the venue of the Boutins, Airborne Speedway has seen its own three – brother combos, beginning with the legendary Trombleys in the 1950’s. From the racing – rich border hamlet of Mooers Forks, NY, Charlie, Bob, and Ron all raced regularly at Airborne Park Speedway in the 1950’s, often branching out into Quebec and Vermont in the process. Charlie was, by far and away, the most accomplished brother. enjoying a hall of fame – type career that lasted into the early 1980’s. Bob was the second best – known, and little is known by me about Ron.

            Charlie, who started out driving one of the Mose Suprenault cars [99 or 98] soon joined up for an unbelievably successful run with Ross McNaughton, a dairy owner from the Plattsburgh area. Their car, the red and black # 5 7/8, was a fixture in sportsman and modified racing at Airborne, as well as Thunder Road, Catamount, Quebec, and – later – into Western New York, as well. Not a lot is said or written about the other two brothers, but Charlie Trombley is arguably one of the top ten greatest drivers in the history of Airborne Speedway.


Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
Charlie Trombley, with the Suprenault 99 carrying an appropriate Canadian heritage
sponsor. Below – A muddy Rosebud Dairy 5 7/8 entry in the pits.

Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock



            One of the secrets to the success of the Rosebud Dairy team was the mechanical genius of head mechanic Paul Conover, of Champlain, NY. The unusual car number – 5 7/8 - was an offshoot of the George Palmetier 6 7/8, a number derived from the hard – drinking car owner’s hat size. One of the Palmetier hired drivers was Charlie’s Mooers Forks neighbor, Dick Nephew, who actually ended up buying one of the 6 7/8 cars from Palmetier about the time Charlie was beginning his career.

            A rival of all the Trombley’s in the first decades of Airborne was Schuyler Falls well driller Harold Ormsby. A tough and sometimes explosive man, Harold was known to have let Charlie have it beside the head on at least one occasion. Most of Ormsby’s publicity photos always included not only an army of followers, but also his stable of three sons, Craig, Todd, and Mike. By the 1980’s, there would be seasons when all three Ormsby brothers would be racing at Airborne at the same time, as well as uncle, Glenn Ormsby.


Bob Mackey Photo Courtesy of John Rock
The lineup of Harold Ormsby kids on dad’s car: Craig, Todd, and Mike.


            Craig, the eldest, has had the most seat time and probably the most success at Airborne. Currently in the real estate business, he has fought off the ravages of a cancer to stay involved in the sport. Today, Craig is acting as car owner for brother, Todd, as he doesn’t feel well enough to drive himself and because Todd is going through a series of motors problems with his own car. Even the elder Ormsby is still fit and active, having had one of his later modified coupes restored for occasional showings at tracks.


Ladabouche Photo
The three cars of the Boutin racing group sit, as yet unscratched, in the pits. Jon's, at left, Ryan's
in the center, and the more - experienced Kevin's familiar 25, at right.


            2012 is the year of the Boutin in the Key R-D Trailer Sales Renegade division. The Renegades, unique to Airborne until taken up by Devils Bowl Speedway a couple of years back, are basically like the ACT Tiger Sportsman cars – without jacking bolts. They were the original Flying Tigers of the 1990’s and, according to some people around Airborne, were so named by Tom Curley because that is what the first competitors in the class acted like.

            The Renegades visited Thunder Road for the first time in the summer of 2011 and put on one of the smoothest, trouble – free shows that track had seen in some time. The division has been the jumping – off point for some of the sports current big names. The first Renegade champion, Charlie Benoit, Sr. was the embodiment of this idea. While no longer racing himself, the Benoit influence extended to his late son, Danny and his grandsons, Joey Roberts and Codey Benoit. Other names to have passed through Renegades include present day modified drivers Mike Wells and Cameron Grady, as well as well as current ACT late  model driver Craig Bushey.


Dave Brown Photo
Kevin Boutin, Jr. in Victory Lane again during his 2011 title – winning season.


            The class had a number of significant names to those of us who have been around the sport for a long time and who appreciate the accomplishments of low budget guys who concentrated their careers in support classes. This list would be headed by Benoit and would include Ralph Bessette, Bruce Dusablon, most of the Turner family of Milton and Fairfax, VT, and dozens more. Having taught in the town of Milton, VT for decades, there are literally dozens of Renegade drivers and owners from Milton whom I taught. The best – known of these are perpetual standout , Robert Gordon, Don “Big Daddy” Franklin, Jeremy Dewyea, Paul Wells, Dan and Lee Ryea, Rich Turner, Dan Turner, and Brian Rogers.


Ladabouche Photo
Ryan, Jon, and Kevin Boutin, at Airborne before the program had begin.


            The division seems to have been dominated by Vermonters for years, and the Boutin presence does little to change that. Kevin, Jr., a very frequent visitor to Victory Lane, has been track champion on at least two occasions. Now, with younger brothers Jon and Ryan coming on board with typically immaculate Boutin Chevrolets, the domination may continue. Kevin has supplemented his income by building Renegade cars for others. Jon’s car is newly – built, and Ryan’s is a complete makeover.

            We will see if the strain of running a successful three – car, three – brother teams will be as hard on Kevin Boutin, Sr. as he might think.

     Please email me if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. Email is: . For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488.

Return to the Main Page
Return to the Main News Page
Return to the All Links Page
Return to the Weekly Blog Links Page