The following are letters and message board posts to Florida Stock Car Racing:
The following letter appears in the 15th Annual Florida State Late Model
Championship program, dated Nov.4th - 6th, 1977, Golden Gate Speedway, Tampa,
Fla, and reads: "Dear Race Fans: The sport of auto racing in Florida draws
more viewers than any other spectator sport in the Sunshine State. Its popularity is unsurpassed, and it has become a substantial
industry in the
The Governor's Cup has been presented annually since 1965 to the winner of the Florida State Late Model Championship Race held at Golden Gate Speedway. This handsome trophy is a tribute
to the late Al Keller who contributed so much to Florida auto racing.
The Governor's Cup will be presented again to the winner of today's championship race. My heartiest congratulations go with it. Sincerely,
Reubin Askew, Governor".
- letter from Jim King
I WAS JUST EXPLORING THIS SIGHT, WHEN SOME OF THE COMMENTS ON
THE MESSAGE BOARD LOOKED INTERESTING. I BEGAN READING ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF THE GOVERNOR'S CUP. IF YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND CENTRAL
FLORIDA RACING FOR A LONG TIME, I HAVE SOME THINGS THAT MAY BE OF
INTEREST TO YOU. MY GRANDMOTHER SAVED MANY PROGRAMS AND NEWS
FROM THE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES. (GOLDEN GATE, SUNSHINELAKELAND, ETC.) I LOVE TO HEAR STORIES ABOUT RACING IN THOSE DAYS.
AS FAR AS THE GOVERNORS CUP- IN 1963 THE FIRST ANNUAL FLORIDA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
RACE WAS RAN. I BELIEVE THIS LATER EVOLVED INTO THE "GOVERNOR'S CUP RACE" THE WINNER OF THIS FIRST RACE WAS MY
FATHER DAVE MCINNIS. I WOULD HAVE TO DIG OUT THE BOX TO GET THE
DETAILS OF THE WHO'S WHO THAT RAN THAT RACE.
I KNOW IN 1964 WHEN MY FATHER WAS DEFENDING HIS CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE, HE RACED WITH THE LIKES OF DAVE SCARBOROUGH, DICK HOPE, BOBBY ALLISON, BUZZIE REUTIMANN, AND MANY
OTHER LOCAL FAVORITES. WOW, WHAT A VERY EXCITING TIME IN STOCK CAR RACING!
KATHY (MCINNIS) RAY
DRIVER-63 HOBBY STOCK
A message board post:
I was lucky enough to be in attendance at Golden Gate Speedway in November, 1977, for the Florida Governor's Cup 200. Honestly, I doubt I've ever seen a better race in nearly 35 years as
The talent in that field was immense; add to all the finest drivers from around the state of Florida, there was (of course) such an influx of talented drivers from around the eastern U. S. that it seemed
likely that an invader would win.
The odds seemed to be in favor of Ed Howe, who started on the front row beside Butch Lindley. The two of them took off at the start and they were, in a word, GONE. That is,
until the 89th lap when Buck Simmons blew a motor going into turn three and the resulting multi-car accident necessitated the red flag (by the way, the starter, Johnny Hicks, had been involved in a frightening incident
at the same race the year before when Robert Hamke and Mark Malcuit tangled on the front chute, and the flagstand came down when one of the cars climbed the wall; in 1977, Hicks held the driver's meeting on the
frontstretch in view of the fans -- he closed the meeting with these words: And one more thing -- NO RACE CARS IN MY FLAGSTAND!").
During that stoppage, Lindley pitted for fresh tires; Howe, on seeing this,
knew he'd have to copycat the driver of the incredibly fast Nova. That meant, of course, that both drivers had to restart at the tail of the field, and this left Robert Hamke in the lead. What we fans in the grandstands
didn't know was that Hamke's car was in terrible shape: His tires were, according to one news report, "throwing baked potato-sized chunks," and he was losing oil pressure. He said, "'I doubt I'll ever
When the race restarted, Howe and Lindley came blasting back through the pack. Butch blew his brakes in the process, but Howe caught Hamke with around sixty laps to go. There began the greatest
battle for the lead I've ever seen. Howe was quicker, but Hamke used every possible method to keep Howe behind him. Howe pulled even more than once, but every time Hamke -- somehow -- got the lead back.
sitting below me was wearing a Hamke jacket, and burst out crying at about the 190-lap mark. Under the circumstances, I could hardly blame her. I've seen many races since that day, but that race still stands out in my
mind as the best I've ever seen.
Speaking of great races, I seem to remember that the 1980 Desoto 200, in which Mike Eddy, Dick Anderson, and Bruce Griffin crashed coming down to the checkered flag. I'm
wondering if any readers might have a copy. Just a question. Thanks for allowing us the chance to share some memories.
-Posted by John Wylam on September 02, 1998:
Message Board Post:
(In my best Jack Miller voice:) Holy...COW! (Miller was the announcer at Tampa from '81 to '83 along with Dickie Edwards...)
Man, talk about bringing back some memories...I attended most
of the Cup races at Tampa throughout the '70s. I have pics from '75 through '77, and some early '70s. The '77 Cup race was good, but the 1978 Gulf Coast Classic and Florida 200 was one of th ebest racing weekends I can
ever remember, even though I was only 8 years old.
Trickle, Miller (Mike, not Butch), Rogero, Brack, Reagan, Gill, Anderson, Malcuit, and a host of others made their way to the west coast of Florida. I can
remember seeing Anderson and Trickle putting on one helluva race at St. Pete on Saturday night, then on Sunday, it was just the opposite in the 200.
I just checked out the pictures on the Governor's Cup Photo
Gallery, and they brought back some great memories. I've also been reading here that the Cup will be televised this year; I don't expect too many out-of-town cars like in years past. I think that it's great for the
sport, but the Cup lost its prestige when Tampa closed down and the race hadn't been run in a few years. I was glad to see it come back in the late '80s, but it still never regained the posterity it had before Tampa
shut its doors. Until drivers from up north and out-of-town start to come back, I doubt we'll ever see a non-Florida winner again.
Message Board Post:
Jimmy, I agree with you that both the Gulf Coast and the Florida 200 in '88 were also outstanding races. No question about that. The fields were deep with talent, and that Gulf Coast
race absolutely was a memorable one, with Anderson using lapped traffic and every trick he knew to keep Trickle behind him.
After the race, the White Knight was NOT pleased. I also enjoyed the Governor's Cup show
very much. I took some very bad photos from the stands, but made it down to the front chute for the trophy presentation. Trickle was extremely gracious with his time; he mentioned that a lapped car simply wouldn't move
out of the way -- "So I touched him a little coming out of four, to let him know I was back there. He didn't move. Next lap I touched him a little harder. He still didn't move. Next lap I hit him pretty good, got
him a little sideways. That time he moved." Don Biederman was also running well until he lost a motor (if memory serves), and so was Mike Miller in that wild-looking Olds. He broke a motor mount, of all things.
Anyway, I was a fan of Trickle's before that race (used to live in Pittsburgh before moving to Fla., and had a chance to see him at Heidelberg Raceway), but his friendliness toward people he'd never met before was
truly impressive. So I was especially thrilled when he won the BGN show at Darlington -- and that was a pretty incredible finish, too.