The ’60over Special’
The silence is almost deafening! However, no need to worry my friends. The silence will be shattered very soon if you know what I mean. Engines. Grinders. Drills. Air guns. Air compressors. Water trucks packing the moist clay. Announcers. Kids playing. Adults conversing. Duct tape ripping to save those seats. Music in the parking lot. Deep fryers in the kitchen. Sounds like music to my ears, how bout you?
There’s just something about that fourth Saturday in March that just gets the blood pumping faster, gives you goose bumps, makes the hair on your arms stand straight. It’s Bridgeport’s Opening Day, that we all have circled on our calendars. It can’t come soon enough! Like I said, no need to fret, it will be here before you know it.
The ’60over Special’ is just what is says…SPECIAL. I’ll never forget the first year how race day played out. The sun was shining on a decent, early Spring Saturday afternoon and the vibe was once again, special. Actually, the night before, when we had an open practice was when it all started to sink in. When Pat Ward pulled up late Friday afternoon, I thought “Here’s the first one and he’s a good one!” On Saturday I was nervous, excited, and sad all at the same time. Nervous, because it was my first race working at Bridgeport. Excited, because of what was actually going on in the pit area and on the grandstand side. Sad, because of why we were actually paying tribute. I’m pretty sure I’ll feel all three of those emotions again on March 26.
The talent that showed up for the inaugural ’60over Special’ was second to none! Sheppard, Friesen, Hearn, Decker, Ward, Laubach, Watt, Godown, Horton, Pratt, Cozze, VonDohren, Howard, Higbie, Wight, Blewett, Mahaney, Johnson…I can keep going on. The man that stood tall over all that talent was New York’s Bobby Varin. Personally, I was very excited to see Bobby win the race. He was one of the drivers that actually raced a lot with Doug over the years. So, even he knew it was special to win that race.
The atmosphere was electric, I can remember. I hadn’t seen Bridgeport that packed in years. I remember running out of food half way through the event. We were scrambling everywhere to make ends meet. At one point I was unloading all of the soda machines and bringing them back to the concession stands. I’ll never forget seeing Brian (Ramey) jump into the pit concession and cutting up what was supposed to be meatloaf into hamburgers, just to put them on a hot dog bun. Garbage cans were over flowing non-stop. Like I said, it was nuts on both sides of the track that day. I’ll never forget the cleanup after that race either…what a mess!
For the past two seasons the ’60over Special’ event was held with Ryan Watt and Ryan Godown coming out the victors. However, both shows were held on Easter Sunday afternoons. Obviously, less than ideal circumstances to work with. The ’14 and ’15 races were rained out in March pushing the show into April. A nice Saturday afternoon is what I’m sure all of us are wishing for come March 26. I know that Bridgeport’s made a ton of new fans since that first race that would love to see the ‘Doug Hoffman Memorial’ come back bigger than ever. Not mention some drivers that itching to cash in who weren’t able to attend the first ’60over Special’ too.
So, who’s gonna come out for the ’60over Special’ Tribute? Who’s gonna be tailgating? Who’s gonna bring their children to see the Easter Bunny and bea part of the Easter Egg Hunt? Who’s gonna be that ‘Pat Ward’? Who’s gonna win? Who’s gonna wear their Doug Hoffman gear andrepresent? What food will the track run outta first? Who’s gonna save that first seat? Who’s gonna be the first camper to pull in? Who’s gonna be the first person to wear the all new ’60over Special’ apparel? Who or What is gonna make March 26 ‘SPECIAL’ once again? The answers are simple. All you gotta do is show up and see for yourself.
Written By: Danny Serrano