DIRECTIONS | CONTACT | MEMBERSHIP FORM
Newsletter Vol. I 2005 Ed. #2 and #3
Posted on 10/19/2005
Font size:
Download this newsletter
Nick Fornoro, Pappy Hough Offy #80, Avon, CT, 1948

First bitten by the racing bug after witnessing a midget race at the Nutley, NJ Velodrome in 1939, Nick Fornoro decided to attend a midget driver training school run by Dee Taylor with veteran drivers Lew Volk and George Fonder as instructors at Thompson Stadium in Stapleton, Staten Island, NY in 1947. Fornoro won the “graduation ceremony”, a novice event at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ and was able to pick up several rides during the summer of 1947 and during the winter series at Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx, NY.

Nick Fornoro 1950 ARDC Champion, Eddie Allen Offy #18

Early performances impressed legendary midget owner, Roscoe, “Pappy” Hough, enough to offer Nick a ride on the ARDC circuit. Races seven nights a week, from Candlelite Stadium in Bridgeport, CT, where Nick won his first feature event in the Bert Lundgren V8-60 after his Hough Offy suffered mechanical problems, to Civic Stadium in Buffalo, to Bone Stadium in West Pittston, PA, to West Haven, CT, to Cherry Park in Avon, CT, and fair dates far and wide, provided Nick with a tremendous amount of experience and a 15 th place finish in the 1948 ARDC point standings.

Nick moved to a car owned by Bill Schindler to start the 1949 campaign, but eventually found a home in the Offy midget, built, maintained, and owned by Eddie Allen. Fornoro won twelve main events during the 1949 season, including a 75-lapper at Yellow Jacket Speedway in Philadelphia in his first appearance at the track, to place fifth in ARDC points.

Nick Fornoro with Harry Hull’s Offy #15, Langhorne, PA

In 1950, Nick Fornoro won six features and amassed 4,737 points to capture the ARDC driving championship and the car owners championship for now ARDC president, Eddie Allen. Although Nick's 1950 season came to an early end after breaking his shoulder when he flipped Ed Bourgnon's cycle at Freeport, NY on September 8 th , he had already scored enough points to clinch the championship. The Eddie Allen / Nick Fornoro combo also became the first NASCAR midget division champions in 1953.

Nick Fornoro drove Frankie Cal’s stretched midget as a sprint car with AAA at Williams Grove.
Nick Fornoro became the steady ARDC starter in 1956.

Nick continued to compete with ARDC, winning races in both TQs and midgets, and also drove AAA sprint cars until 1956. Nick Fornoro won the ‘56 ARDC opener at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, VA, but by mid-season he retired as a race driver to devote time to his wife and two sons.

Nick's sudden retirement brought an offer from ARDC president, Ed “Dutch” Schaefer to become the ARDC starter. The night after his retirement as a driver, Nick picked up the silks and began his career as a starter. From Nick's many years as a driver he knew all the tricks of the trade and used his experience to control the event from the starter's stand. Nick knew the dangers of his sport and was the first to take the rookies aside to make sure they knew what was expected of them during an event. He also possessed the experience and respect to take the veterans to task when they overstepped their bounds.

A dapper Nick Fornoro congratulates Al Herman after a 6-8-59 ARDC win at Old Bridge , NJ in the Harry Hespell Offy #5.

Nick Fornoro with buddy Johnny Thomson before the USAC championship car event 6-14-59 at Langhorne.

Nick's showmanship and experience caused him to be in demand as a starter throughout the east. USAC used Fornoro as their starter when their midgets, sprint cars, and champ cars headed east. Add the busy ARDC dates and a winter of indoor TQ midget action, Nick Fornoro's talents as a starter were in demand year-round. When Championship Auto Racing Teams gained control of championship car racing, Nick Fornoro became their starter for all events except the Indianapolis 500. Sadly, the prize that had eluded him as a driver would also be denied as a starter.

Nick Fornoro, the champion midget racer, is ultimately best remembered as one of the premier starters of all time. From 1956 until his retirement at the end of the 1992 season, Nick brought many refinements to the art of starting races. From his natty attire of white pants and eye-catching blazer to his use of two checkered flags, waived cross-handed, to finish a race, Nick left an indelible mark as a race official. While the fans saw these exterior trademarks, Nick Fornoro is best remembered by the drivers of the race cars he presided over as an official who always kept the safety of the competitors foremost in mind. While amid the on-track chaos present in every event, drivers were secure in the thought the starter was paying attention and looking out for them.

In January of 2003 Nick Fornoro served as the honorary starter for the indoor TQ midget races in Atlantic City, NJ, a position he held many times over his career. As he shared the starter's stand with Warren Alston, attired in his trademark white pants and colorful jacket, he brought many a smile among veteran fans and competitors alike as he intently looked over the field in turn four. Nick pointed the furled caution flag with his left hand to magically tidy up the lineup as he had done so many times before, while holding the furled green behind his right leg. As the field reached a crescendo, Nick arched his back and brought the furled green flag along his right side to majestically unfurl it at shoulder level, twirling it above his head to start his final event. If you hadn't seen this take place before Atlantic City in 2003, I hope you were there!

Editors note: Nick Fornoro, Sr. passed away on 9-27-07. He will be missed every time open wheel race cars take to the track. RIP Good Friend.

EARHS Corporate Level Sponsors
Please support our sponsors
Weisel Racing Equipment, Inc.
Orefield, PA

Joseph J. Plunkett, P.C.
Allentown , PA

The Gang at Stoner Racing
Enola, PA
High Speed Graphics
Orefield, PA
Butch's Burner Service
Bethlehem, PA
Father & Son Spl. #33 - Junie & Bing Metz
R&S Oil Co.
Breinigsville, PA
KLASCAR, Inc.
Orefield, PA
Leigh Earnshaw Ent.
Morgantown, PA
Pocono Raceway, Mattioli Foundation
Long Pond, PA
Midnight Machine Works -- Eddie Gittens
Mountaintop, PA

Your monetary sponsorship in any denomination or donations of historically significant items, photos, documents, etc. toward projects undertaken by the EARHS are welcomed and encouraged. EARHS is recognized as a federally tax exempt charity by the IRS under Section 501c(3).

EARHS "wants and needs"

Wanted: Racing photo collections - share and preserve programs. If you have vintage racing photos, EARHS would like to be able to scan and copy these items. All items will be returned intact and we can provide you with a computer disc of those items from significant collections.

We are especially interested in Dorney Park items from the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's and all Allentown Fair items, including indoor racing events, but all items are welcome.

We continue to fill our showroom - all members are invited to visit and check our progress. Please call Pete (610 398-2188) or Paul (610 395-5303) to arrange a time to visit.

PREVIOUS NEWS
The Saga of Rotten Red, The Don Edmunds Story
Newsletter Vol. XIII 2016 Ed. #4
In This Issue... USAC Finale At Allentown Fifty Years Ago
Newsletter 2016 Vol. XIII, #3 LVSCRA
In This Issue... The Lehigh Valley Stock Car Racing Association
Newsletter Vol. XIII 2016 Ed. #2
In This Issue... William 'Red' Riegel
Newsletter Vol. XIII 2016 Ed. #1
In This Issue... Indoor 3/4 midget racing in 50's and 60's
Newsletter Vol. XII 2013 Ed. #1-2
In This Issue... AAA Transition to USAC
Mickey Rooney - The Big Wheel
Freddy Adam - Langhorne history 50 years ago
Newsletter Vol. X 2013 Ed. #4
In This Issue... Tommy Cochrane Memorial
Newsletter Vol. X 2013 Ed. #3
In This Issue... Jerry Stover Memorial
Newsletter Vol. X 2013 Ed. #1 and #2
In This Issue... 2013 Ernie McCoy Indianapolis career
Newsletter Vol. IX 2012 Ed. #3-4
In This Issue... Ag Hall indoor micros, 1962
Newsletter Vol. IX 2012 Ed. #1
In This Issue... Boardwalk Hall Indoor Racing Weekend
Newsletter Vol. VIII 2011 Ed. #3
In This Issue... 100th Anniversary of Indianapolis 500
Modified stock car legend, Vince Conrad, passes
Newsletter Vol. VII 2010 Ed. #4
In This Issue... Ed Kowalski
Newsletter Vol. VII 2010 Ed. #2
In This Issue... Tri-ang pedal car
Newsletter Vol. VI 2009 Ed. #4
In This Issue... Snapp 6, Don Edmunds supermodified
The Dutch Culp Offy
In This Issue... Still getting info
Newsletter 2008 Vol. V, #3
In This Issue... Rare Edmunds 3/4 Midget on display
Newsletter 2008 Vol. V, #2
In This Issue... Buster Warke lost to racing world, February 20, 2008 at age 93.
The Little Plastic Stock Car
Newsletter Vol. IV 2007
In This Issue... Dan Pool #9 restoration
Newsletter Vol. III 2006 Ed. #4
In This Issue... John Trumbauer's Lloyd #56 restoration
Pocono International Raceway USAC Races
Buster Warke video to benefit EARHS
Newsletter Vol. III 2006 Ed. #3
In This Issue... Rex Green's #31 Crosley TQ
Newsletter Vol. III 2006 Ed. #2
In This Issue... Moss 1/4 and 1/2 midgets
Newsletter Vol. III 2006 Ed. #1
In This Issue... LeRoy Ritter 99
EARHS Mission Statement
Newsletter Vol. I 2005 Ed. #2 and #3
In This Issue... Nick Fornoro
Newsletter Vol. II 2005
In This Issue... The Harold Cope #1
Newsletter Vol. I 2004
In This Issue... History of sprint car racing at Allentown, PA

LINKS
Eastern Museum of Motor Racing
KLASCAR
Pocono Raceway
The Vintage Racer
Weisel Racing Equipment, Inc.

CONTACT
EARHS
P.O. Box 333
Orefield, PA 18069

Email

OPEN HOUSES
WHEN:
April 30, 2017

WHERE:
EARHS Showroom
5080 Kernsville Road
Orefield, PA 18069
Direction

Copyright © 2006-2015