I have received some copies of newspaper clippings for what may be the first modified races held in the Baltimore-Washington area after World War II.
Frederick, MD Times - May 31, 1949 - 4,00 Watch Fair Grounds Races Monday
Tommy Coates of Trenton, N.J. in winning the 30-lap, 15 mile feature race for modified stock cars at Ritchie Raceway yesterday gave an overflow crowd of Sunday pleasure drivers an object lesson in how not to drive an automobile on the public highway.
Before he scooted in 40 yards ahead of his nearest opponent, Wally Campbell, also of Trenton, skids, spills, chills and crashes had left the dusty and gasoline fumed spectators limp with excitement.
Coates, by virtue of a 30.45 seconds one lap time trial, was awarded the pole position in the main attraction, and after Starter Harry Reeves had gotten the large field of eighteen cars away the second time. Coates immediately assumed leadership.
For the first six laps he held on to his advantage, although closely pressed by Campbell. On the second turn of the seventh lap Campbell, in a daring bit of daredevil driving, cut into the inner rail of the track and captured the first spot.
These two, running just yards apart, soon made the first position a two auto race, and by the midway point had overtaken a few of the slower cars.
It wasn't until the twenty-third lap that Coates was again able to nose his machine in front, but once he there he gained on each lap although Campbell was still a threat as they side-slipped around the turns.
Two starts were necessary, when on the first turn of the initial lap od the feature, one of the favorites, Pepper Cunningham of Trenton, skidded sideways, causing three cars behind his vehicle to plunge with him through the infield fence, indirectly affecting Bill Gross, who plunged over the embankment and turned over.
The four cars and drivers that went through the rail were able to right their four wheel steeds and participate in the second running but Gross, who Saturday picked up a back seat driver when he got married, had to be treated for minor lacerations and was scratched from the feature.
Two more cars spilled in the later stages of the race, which reduced the total finishing to 16.
Following Coates, who drew down the lion's share of the $1,200 purse, and Campbell were Hal Brokoff, Trenton, and Ken Marriott of Baltimore.
Marriott drove a clever race but his "souped up" coupe just didn't have enough push to menace the leaders. The time for the 15 miles as 16 minutes, 5.18 seconds.
To gain the feature race, qualifying heats of 10 laps each were held with the first six in each of the three heats getting into the main event. Those that failed to gain places in the heats raced a consolation event with the first two backing into the feature.
The second heat, won by Jack Camiere, Trenton, nearly proved disastrous for StarterReeves, The cars got away from a roiling start in pairs and it was the last pair of cars that nearly got reeves. In fact he was knocked down by one driven by Bob Harris of Greensboro, N.C.
Other heat winners were Tommy Bradshaw and Gross, the newly wed Jim Paschal, of High Point, N.C., won the consolation race after Irving Blatta and Grady Boles had crashed near the judges' stand.
Other good times in the time trials were registered by Pepper Cunningham and Wally Campbell with 31.15 and 32.06 respectively.
The first is from the Baltimore Sunpapers in July, 1948 Coates Wins Auto Event - Drives to Victory in Feature at Ritchie Raceway By Cameron Snyder
Marshall Tegue of Daytona Beach, Fla. after lagging in second and third positions for nearly two-thirds of the 30 lap sweepstakes final at the Frederick Fairgrounds Monday, took first position on the 27th lap and went on to win over Tommy Coates of Trenton, N.J. and Frank Mundy of Atlanta, Ga.
Teague, sitting in the second pole position at the start of the race, took the lead almost immediately and held it for the first eight laps when Mundy took over. Coates, seated fourth at the start overtook Mundy on the 14th lap and held the lead until Mundy took over. Driving Pepper Cunningham's car (Cunningham Sunday announced his retirement from racing at Bedfors, Pa.). Teague trod the accelerator expertly going into the northwest turn of the track as he passed Munday and Coates.
Oddly enough, Teague, recent winner of a 100 mile championship race at Daytona Beach, played second fiddle to Mundy throughout the seven-event program-losing out to him in the first 10-lap heat and then bowing in the special match race between himself, Mundy and Harvey McDonald of Wernersville, Pa.
Strung out behind the speedy happy trio in the feature were Tim Flock of Atlanta, Hal Brockhoff of Pottsville, Pa, Buddy Shuman of Charlotte, N.C., Lee McBride of Trenton and Harvey McDonald.
The meet, promoted by Sam Nunis Speedways, was marred by three accidents. In the second heat race, Lucky Loux of Sellersville, Pa. climbed on Richmond Hank Wagner's back going into the northeast turn and crashed inside the fence. Ed Tyson of Langhorne, Pa. flipped through the air two times on the southeast turn as he finished in a photo-finish with Vince Cannazero of Trenton in the third heat races. While far behind the field in the 30-lap feature, Paul Messner of Trenton, crashed through the outside fence on the southeast turn, banged into two automobiles parked on the outside and slid to a stop 20 feet away. No persons were seriously injured in any of the mishaps.
The event which most thrilled the 4,000 odd fans was the third heat race when Tyson and Cannazero battled for the lead during the last five laps and ended with Tyson over on his back against the fence.
The best qualifying time of the afternoon was turned in by Harvey McDonald as he sped against the clock on the half mile at 23.20 seconds.
The summary of the remaining racing events:
First - 1. Frank Mundy, 2. Wally Campbell, Trenton, 3. Hal Barkoff, 4. Marshall Teague, 5. Tommy Coates, 6. Lee McBride, 7. Harvey McDonald
Second - 1. Buddy Shuman, 2. Tim Flock, 3. Hank Stanley, 4. Ken Marriott, Baltimore, 5. Ken Wagner, 6. Paul Messner
Third - 1. Vince Cannazero, 2. Ed Tyson, 3. Lou Johnson, Wilmington, 4. Jack Camire, 5. Bob Willets, Trenton, 6. Lester Hill, Reading, 7. Bill Tanner and Jack Ireland
Fourth - 1. Tommy Coates, 2. Arvey McDonald, 3. Paul Messner, 4. Buck Barr, Zanesville, Ohio, 5. Tanner, 6. Camire
There will be a couple of more late 40's races details soon.