It was back around 1962, about when C.J. Richards was poised to have his attendance – record – breaking Vermont State Fair race in the Fall. We, in the Rutland County area, had been pretty starved for any sort of local racing since the old Fairmont Park Motor Speedway had closed in 1951 and Pico Raceway had [for all intents and purposes] died a year later. If you had a good source of transportation [and you weren't still grade school] you could drive south for an hour and see good races at the Stateline Speedway near Bennington; but, otherwise, you were screwed.


Charles Zullo Photo via Ken Edsel
We had to survive on one trip to Weissglass Speedway on Staten Island
and stories about Stateline Speedway [Below]

Vogel Family Collection

         My uncle and I had scraped out racing shows where we could: one at Weissglass Stadium, Staten Island, NY on a vacation; a couple of shows at the then-newly opened Otter Creek Speedway near Vergennes, VT; and then there was that show at the fairgrounds with whatever those things were that they were racing that day. I remember I was just barely into sixth grade at the time. While walking around the fairgrounds that day in 1962, somebody asked somebody else what had raced there before.
        `”Well”, was the answer, “SCODA did”.

The asker of the question then retorted with, “What's a SCODA?”, and the other guy was at a loss to explain.

        What those “things they raced” turned out to be were supposedly sports cars. The Sports Car Owners and Drivers Association was called SCODA. It is hard to describe what the “sports cars” were that came along with this Eastern U.S. - based organization that seemed to have its zenith in the late 1950's into the mid 1960's. One of the Cavalacade of Auto Racing yearly publications put out by Oilzum had a page devoted to SCODA.

Aldo Merusi Photo, Rutland Herald
This grainy photo from the local newspaper shows the 1958 SCODA
race in Rutland, VT being flagged off. Below - The race was
not without its problems, as was most racing at that old horse track.

Aldo Merusi Photo, Rutland Herald via John Nelson

        The entry stated that SCODA operated out of Parsippany, NJ and was run by President, Mike Krisiloff. It claimed to be NASCAR sanctioned and operated on “closed oval tracks” throughout the Northeastern United States. The cars that were featured on that page, from around 1964, all looked like sports cars; but, the truth of the matter was most of the SCODA cars were hybrid mongrels, often made from parts from several makes of cars.

        I recall the field we saw at the fairgrounds in 1958; it was hard to tell what a lot of the cars were. The star of the bunch was clearly a man from Providence, RI named Jake Jacobs whose car was supposedly a Corvette. Couldn't prove it by me. The car was never shown in either of the SCODA pages in either of two Cavalcade issues Krisloff bought space in – probably because of its odd appearance.

Rutland Herald Ad via John Nelson
Watch out ! SCODA's comin' to town. Below – The SCODA
publicity shot from Catamount Stadium 1965.

Cavalcade of Auto Racing

        I have read where SCODA also made appearances at such widely – varied venues as the brand new Catamount Stadium [one third paved mile] and Reading fairgrounds in Pennsylvania [ longer dirt track]. Perhaps the more standard sports car eschewed the dirt races in favor of the pavement. Who knows ? At any rate, the racing at the Vermont State Fair that day was dusty, albeit fairly competitive. I think it was won by Jacobs.

       I don't know anything about the show at Catamount, a new track starved for cars and – at times – for spectators. Catamount, in its inaugural year of 1965, tried SCODA, midgets, bicycle races, and almost anything else to get people to come and discover the nice new facility. The photo labeled as their Catamount show does show a 1958 Corvette that could be Jacobs'. Several of the other individual shots look like it could be at the Milton, VT oval as well.

Mike Ritter Photo via Lew Boyd
The SCODA cars, a bit motley looking, navigate their way
on the large Reading fairgrounds track. Top star Charles "Elf" Bettman
is in the VW and one of the square cars on the outside is eventual winner
[and equally big star] Jake Jacobs. Below – Dan Brent seemed to be one of
the SCODA stalwarts.

Cavalcade of Auto Racing

        Most of the SCODA drivers were not exactly household names, particularly in the stock car world. Warren Ahrens, Dan Brent, and Bill Claren are three drivers whose photos appear in both issues of Cavalcade. One of the more recognizable names was that of Al Loquasto, who I believe also did some open wheel racing in something like a sprinter. He probably drove in whatever kinds of racing he could afford. In the Catamount page, Loquasto is sitting in a Corvette Sting Ray, something Jacobs wouldn't have had.

        Other SCODA drivers included Ken Andrews, Bob Wagner, Jack Van Wettering, Art Kijck, Joe Hesse, George Wooodall, Andy Swain, Jack Rabold, and a driver named Olegard. Apparently from commentary I have read along the way, the appearance pf a SCODA show at the local track was as much a curiosity as it was a race attraction. In the caption with his SCODA photo from Mike Ritter's camera. Lew Boyd points out that the SCODA visit at Reading was unexpected and one time only. The same held true for both Catamount and the Vermont State Fair.

Mike Krisiloff Photo via Cavalcade
Frequent competitor Bill Claren in the #2. Below -
Al Loquasto plies the new Catamount oval in
a Corvette Sting Ray.

Cavalcade of Auto Racing

        SCODA did have its one graduate of some note. Mike Krisiloff's son, Steve, was the 1964 SCODA champion. Steve would go on to race Indy cars – one of the Northeastern longshots like Denny Zimmerman, Bentley Warren, and Wally Dallenbach. Krisiloff raced in a number of Indy 500's, and his best Indy car finish was second in Phoenix. Steve served as vice president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for ten years. He is credited with an important invention for internal combustion engines and he still operates a racing – related business out of Indianapolis.

        We will never treat the topic of the Sports Car Owners and Drivers Association with the same gravity as something like the All Star Stock Car Racing League or The World of Outlaws; but, the little organization had its niche and served the needs of guys who didn't want to race stock cars or who could not afford to try and keep up with the teams like Jack Brabham or Briggs Cunningham. It was nice having that race to watch at the fair in 1958 – had seen any racing for years by then.

Cavalcade of Auto Racing
Steve Krisiloff, as SCODA champ [above] and with one of his Indy cars [below].


Hagerstown Daily Mail
The club really got around for those years it was in existence.


Please email me at if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488.


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