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Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com

Rick Standridge at Shepp’s Speedway, October 4, 2009
(DoubleJ Photography Photo)

October 19, 2009


Zeus must have been pissed off. He was definitely tossing some thunderbolts around the Midwest a couple of weeks ago, and there were some direct hits. But it’s gonna take more than that to keep two dirt slingers down.

They just don’t come any tougher than Collinsville, Illinois’ Rick Standridge. The soft-spoken corporate jet fabricator has been racing for 41 years – and racing a lot.

In the seventies, it was late models and sprinters. By the mid-eighties it was late models only. That was because you could run 5 or 6 nights a week around St. Louis, and those innovative wedge machines were the cat’s meow.

For the last decade or so, Rick has been wheeling his own late model kit, pulling in on a prehistoric open- wheel trailer with fewer spares than most peach-fuzz street stock guys. But he’s still winning. (See the “Coastal Cars” section of this site). His wife Joyce, acclaimed Coastal 181 author (WIN IT OR WEAR IT and the biographies of Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace), says she stopped counting trophies at 200.

Rick Standridge doing everything with so little
– and doing it so very well

(Cary Stratton Photo)

Now 57, Rick is compact, muscular, looking strong as a roll cage. That was put to the test on Sunday night, October 4, at Shepp’s Speedway in Alexander, Illinois. Rick caught the fence and launched into a spectacularly Olympian sky ride. What was really frightening to veteran rail birds was how he landed. Bam! Square on the roof.

It took a long time to extract Rick. There was torn sheet metal everywhere, though the actual cage of the Shaw did its job admirably. Rick was conscious. He told the safety crew his neck was okay, but he knew his chest was hurtin’ for certain. The hospital team would find broken and cracked ribs and torn cartilage in the sternum.

Two days later Rick was moving off the pain pills. Five days later he was doing a post-mortem on the car. The following Monday he was back to work, taking on lots of overtime.

Asked if Rick would be back again in the spring, Joyce just laughed. “Are you
kidding?!? That guy’s such an adrenaline junkie he’s got some kind of plan worked out already. He just hasn’t dared tell me about it yet.”


Even more serious than Rick’s mishap was what would go down in Bemidji, Minnesota, later in the week.

On March 18 this year, the TEAROFF on this site focused on that colorful Mike Spaulding. You know, the guy who could be flattened by a bull and win a modified feature on the way to the hospital.

Mike’s talents face in all directions. He’s been a six-figure salesman, a karaoke singer, a racer extraordinaire. Seemingly anything. By no means a big guy, he’s made more than a few bucks arm-wrestling with bruisers in bar rooms. It’s not by muscle that he wins, but rather with sheer psychic intensity.

Mike Spaulding with his ‘git ’er done’ look. 
He’s won over 125 features with it

(Barnyard Nation Photo)

All competence aside, Mike’s life seems strangely star-crossed. He was hurt savagely in a pit accident at the Fall Jamboree at Webster City, Iowa, in 2001. The recuperation was long and wrought with complication. In 2005 he had a serious house fire, losing much of his family’s possessions.

This year Mike actually raced little, choosing to concentrate on his finances and on completing a TV reality pilot show about the drama of USMTS racing and some of its characters.

Then on Thursday October 8, down came that thunderbolt. Something sparked near the computer in his garage, and in no time it was ablaze along with the adjoining house. Mike, Sue, the kids and the pets were all okay, but not much else was salvageable. There will be no insurance.

Very little was left.
(Spaulding Photo)

The initial shock wave fading, Mike is determined to pull through this devastating “new chapter” with all his usual verve and enthusiasm.

The gods better rearm themselves if they think they’re going to mess with Rick and Mike.

© 2009 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

10/1/09 - Common Starts, Uncommon Combebacks

9/4/09 - South Dakota Chris

8/15/09 - Facial Exposure

7/31/09 - Dying in the Pits

7/9/09 - Barn Rat's Last Race

6/18/09 - Catching Up With Brad Doty

5/20/09 - Big Boys in The Attic  - rare photos of legends

5/6/09 - Back Up In The Attic - more rare photos

4/22/09 - The Son of Hard Luck - accessible racing
experience for the handicapped

4/3/09 - Racin' In The Attic - Gordon Ross photo collection

3/18/09 - About That Mike Spaulding

3/3/09 - Dick Berggren's First Win - (you had to be there!)

2/11/09 - Peter at the Park - Peter Fiandaca at Riverside Park

1/30/09 - Steve - Steve Arpin

1/4/09 - Racer Speak -cool quotations

12/16/08 - Wimble Power, Will Power - Bill Wimble

11/24/08 - Remembering Chuck Amati - by Joyce Standridge

11/11/08 - That Rick Ferkel

10/24/08 - Beyond Bionic - Bentley Warren

10/6/08 - Fifty Second Classic - Skip and Lois Matczak

9/20/08 - Joey's Dad - Tom Logano

9/1/08 - One Night at The Park - the death of Les Ley

8/20/08 - Transitional Technology - early supermodifieds

8/6/08 - Wallace on Wednesdays - dirt trackin’ Kenny

7/19/08 - Star(ter) of the Show - importance of good flaggers

7/7/08 - McUnderdog - Eddie MacDonald

6/18/08 - The Night Buzz Was Worried - Buzz Rose

6/5/08 - John Richards - Boomer Role Model

5/20/08 - The Spirit of a Racer - the late Al Powell

5/1/08 - Bobby's Blues - Bobby Santos III

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey - Carl Edwards and Corey Dripps

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers - West Liberty, Iowa

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See - cockpit vision

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See - flagstand vision

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos - in-car camera midget win

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer

© 2009 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181