If you’ve ever heard about, or attended a race at Saugus Speedway, dubbed “L.A.’s Place to Race,” then the Saugus Speedway Scrapbook is just the book for you. It’s compiled and written by two men who loved this third-mile oval.
Lyn Pherigo, who spent 27 years as assistant announcer, pace car driver, and publicity /program director at Saugus, and Harold Osmer, who has authored three other books on racing, take the reader into the grit and determination of those who competed at Saugus.
With a intro that defines just how Saugus Speedway came to be, this hard-cover tome on the third-mile flat-track highlights the hundreds of race drivers who made history there. With captivating photos and captions, and a handy reference tab on each page, it will draw you in to any one, or all, of your favorite types of short-track racing. The chapters include Claimer/Hobby Stock, where drivers like Dave Blankenship and Bill McLean held reign, and women drivers like Sue Pittinato won Hobby Stock mains.
The Enduro, Demolition Derby and Train Races at Saugus not only kept the fans wildly on their feet, but this reporter vividly remembers one occasion when famous visiting Winston Cup drivers risked missing their plane so they could see the end of a thrilling Saugus chain race. This chapter re-captures that fun.
The chapter on snoot-nosed Grand American Modifieds takes the readers back to the early 90s, when Dave Phipps, John Watkinson and Jim Marleski challenged others when they turned hard, got the low line, then stood on it.
Mini-Stock, Modified Sportsman (when Dan Press, Roarin’ Oren Prosser, Jim Robinson, Jimmy Insolo, Ron Hornaday, Tru Cheek, Jim Thirkettle, seemed to outrun the competition), Street Stock and Touring Divisions, they’re all in this book, in crisp photos in color and black and white — 945 of them.
Ardent Saugus fans will cherish the lists of event winners, clever reminders of “Race Witch” damage, and loads more in this scrapbook’s 288 pages packed with Saugus Speedway history. It’s a fine tribute to the weekend racing entertainment that Marshall Wilkings and his family offered to the public for many years.
Rumor has it that a second scrapbook is on the way. Let’s hope it includes some info on one of the most unusual types of racing held at Saugus — men vs. women in “Destruction Football,” and some history on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race held there in the early days of that new series.
“Saugus Speedway Scrapbook” is a great addition to anyone’s racebook collection. Priced at $47.50 postpaid, it can be purchased by calling Osmer at 818-999-1878, or logging on at www.SaugusSpeedwayScrapbook.com.