1958 Year in Review
John Whitehouse returned to the Speedbowl as Race Director replacing Lou Guiliano. This time Whitehouse brought in his own Independent Racing League which would now sanction the races at the Speedbowl. It would be the first of 13 straight seasons both Whitehouse & Independent Racing ran the racing events at the Speedbowl.
One of the things Whitehouse implemented was a 3rd weekly division for the first time in track history. As the Non-Fords were becoming more advanced over the years, a new novice division, called the Bombers, was implemented to encourage amateur drivers to race inexpensively. The first Bomber race was held on June 21st. The 8 lap event was won by Ed Priest. All events in their first season were 10 laps or shorter. John Arrigoni led the division with 13 wins and was declared the first Bomber Champion. Despite Arrigoni’s great season, there were 10 different winners, which was the most of any of the three divisions.
Whitehouse also revised the headlining division to Modifieds, with the Sportsman class remaining to compete within the Modified division. Sportsman would have separate points kept and a separate champion. Ron Narducci won the Sportsman Championship. Red Foote won seven races in the 1958 to capture his 2nd Speedbowl championship driving the Paul Smith #J-2 machine. Ray Moran led the division with 8 wins. In late July, 1956 Champ Bill Slater took over the driving duties of the Bob Vitari & Vic Bombaci V-8 car from Gene White. In his first race, Slater finished 2nd to Red Foote, then won the following Saturday’s 50 lap event. He would win 5 features total by the end of the year and the partnership of Slater with the V-8 Connecticut Valley Rocket was born.
In early June, the Non-Ford division features were increased from 15 laps to 25 laps. Charlie Webster won his 2nd Championship in 3 years driving the Simons brothers’ Excavator Special #9 car. He also led the division in wins with 11. Dick Beauregard won 9 events.
Chuck Arnold won the ARDC Midget 25 lap event during Labor Day weekend. It was the only touring series or special racing event outside of the weekly divisions held during season.