July 23, 2023
Dreams can come true
Many have attended Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the years; however, a very small percentage have had opportunity to race at the iconic track. Frank Walka like many of us dreamed of actually racing at the track.
I can remember listening, yes listening to the Indy 500 on my transistor radio. My dad, a potato farmer, had a flathead Ford in a crate from Sears Roebuck Allstate to put into one of our farm trucks. Yes, an original “crate” engine. Once that engine was installed the core went back into the crate for return.
I am unsure that it ever made it back to Sears, however being a kid with a vivid imagination I dreamed that I could build a chassis and that Ford provide the power to allow me to run the race. Needless to say, that dream was not possible. Side note, I was so naïve that I painted the whole block, inside and out with metallic silver paint to “preserve” it.
I suspect a young Frank Walka living in New Jersey had visions of getting on the track in some way, shape, or form albeit as a builder, driver, or mechanic. That possibility was unmet until June 15-18, 2023.
Earlier that month, Walka was contacted by Ragtime Racers, a group of enthusiasts who formed in 2018 to race 1920 and older race cars to help keep alive the history of early motorsports events. EJ Kowalski asked Frank if he would be willing to be part of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) Speedtour at the Brickyard June 15-18, 2023. Since SVRA motto is “Some people collect art…We race it”, Walka was interested.
Twenty cars took part in the class which Walka was a part of. Walka took a car he bought in New York, a 1915 Model T Fairground Racer. “Indy was incredible”, said Walka! “I had been racing my Fairgrounds Racer about 5 years and look at me now, I am racing at Indy. And I could go as fast as I wanted.”
His Ford, which was produced just before the celebrated 15th-million Model T which rolled off the production line with Henry Ford aboard. The Fairgrounds model was used for racing on the board tracks and the local dirt track which doubled as horse racing tracks.
County racer records her personal fastest speed and ET
On a weekend that was described by Caribou resident Jesse Michaud, things did not go as planned yet some positives came out of the weekend of racing at Winterport Dragway. As Michaud described it, ” This was going to be a relaxing weekend just playing around with the 56 but instead we will just break it all. ”
Stacy said, “Well what a day. What was going to be a nice laid-back day at the track while Jesse made some runs with the ’56 (Chevy) at Street Night turned into us finding out my sled had a broken bolt that couldn’t be fixed here at the track.”
“Then me getting on Jesse’s turbo sled (2009 Artic Cat Z1 Turbo) to make some passes to be able to race it tomorrow, turned into Jesse’s sled popping, banging, and not being able to make a full pass down the track, which turned into me taking one of Jim’s sleds down the track, then back to Jesse’s sled and finally figuring it out on the last pass of Street Night.”
“All of that was way out of my comfort zone! With that being said I ran the fastest passes I have ever run on sled! My usual passes are low 7’s at 90-ish mph. Today on Jim’s sled (2012 Arctic Cat XF 1100) my ET was way off because of when I left, but I ran 123 mph. Then on Jesse’s sled I ran a 5.99 at 111mph. It was a whirlwind of a day that’s for sure.”
Caribou Cares About Kids Car Show
The car show begins with a parade from the parking area of the Jade Palace at 5:30 pm with pre-registration required. Show participants will park in front of the Caribou Wellness Center on Bennett Drive for displaying their vehicle until 8:30. Fireworks will follow at 9 pm.
A couple of 2022 participants are included in the following photos.
Let’s go racing
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)