Ken Shoemaker
Hammer for Hire

Courtesy of Pascal Cote
This shot appears in the biography of Shoemaker.

     Many of our region's best - known earlier stock car drivers came right out of a post - WWII Capital District, New York [or very close thereof]. This is where we got Steve Danish, Jeep Herbert, Pete Corey, Howie Westervelt, Doug Garrison, Link Pettit, and dozens more. One such man was a young Pete Corey's bosom buddy, and one who actually started out supposedly sharing one crude stock with the fiery driver of Lebanese descent. That would be one Kenny Shoemaker.
            Most likely, at some point way in the early family history, the family name was Schumacher - which very well could have been from rthe region's strong Dutch heritage. Shoemaker would not ever become a car owner of any note - much unlike his pal, Pete. Instead, Ken would turn out [along with the likes of Donny Wayman, Jim Luke, Jeep Herbert, and others] to be one of the best drivers - for - hire in the history of northeast stock car racing.
            Besides a fierce competitive streak, what set Shoemaker aside from the crowd was his utterly pugnacious disposition. Not particularly impressive at first glance, with his chubby physique and short stature, Shoemaker was ready, on a moment's notice, to start throwing punches at the slightest perceived aggression against him. This was interesting because the old phrase "The Shoe never lifts." refers to his own hard -charging, rough driving style.
            Given he didn't take very good care of owners' precious cars and he wasn't exactly a picture of physical fitness, Ken Shoemaker had a career longer than almost any other of his contemporaries except maybe for Cyclone Forrette. The portly truck driver finally did retire and was around for a few years of signing autographs at special shows at Fonda - after he had tried owning and promoting his own track for a short while. He has since passed away.


Courtesy of Dan Ody
A very young Ken
with an unknown crew

Courtesy of Fonda Book
Supposedly, the car
Ken shared with his
pal, Pete Corey.

Vogel Family Photo
Young Ken enjoys
baby Bonnie Vogel,
when he drove for
Ted Vogel, Sr.

Vogel Family Photo
With Vogel's LVJr.
at Pico Raceway.

Vogel Family Photo
Ken sometimes had
a team car with Vogel.
One looks more like a Chevy.


Les King Photo
Vogel Family Collection

With Vogel's LVJr.

Vogel Family Photo
With what looks like
a new Vogel car in 1952.

Vogel Family Photo
The more familiar
Vogel number, 95.
This was after 1952.

Source Unknown
Shoemaker with the
Vogel 95 - a short-lived
coupe with the 95

Vogel Family Photos
Shoemaker puts an
end to the Vogel coupe
at Fonda. After this
it was usually sedans.


Courtesy of Dan Ody
Here, Red Knoblauch's
venerable 13 got a run
for its money it may
have never seen before.

From Shoemaker Book

Source Unknown
Ken had a short stint
in the Sam Kitler/
Gibby Wolfe 37

Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

A Fonda win for
the Kitler / Wolfe 37.

From the Shoemaker Book

From Chris Masse
Pretty self explanatory.


Vintage Modifieds Site
Shoemaker poses
sometime around
From Vogel Collection
If you were not sure how to get
around Fonda, this might help.

From the Shoemaker Book
A Fonda win with AC Caprara's
well-used Ford. He is with two

From the Shoemaker Book
Driving for A. C. Caprara [right].
In Vic Lane with AC and ace
mechanic Eddie Pieniazek [2nd
from right].
From Robert Weaver
With Barb in Vic Lane
with the Caprara car.

From the Vogel Collection
Another shot of the Loomis/
Vogel car at Mettawee,
No. Granville, NY.


Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

The Henry Caputo 111,
When first built.

From the Shoemaker Book
The Henry Caputo 111,
with the roof flaps, the
brake light, and a new
radio antenna.

Courtesy of Mike Watts
A very new - looking
111 at Airborne.

From the Shoemaker Book
Another win for the
Caputo 111 at Fonda.

From the Shoemaker Book
Proudly showing  the
lethal new Caputo 111
at Fonda.

From the Shoemaker Book
The Henry Caputo 111,
wins another. That's Chet
Hames handing off the flag.
I judge this to be a Caputo
because the roof was still
clean of alterations.

From Keith Shoemaker
A Fonda pose with the NASCAR trophy one of these guys was to win in the late '50's.
Bob Farlee Photo
The 111, arriving at
Middletown. Ignore the
caption, the driver was
Joel Naprtek Photo
A win with the main
Caputo car. There are
claims that this is at
Monroe County.
From Keith Shoemaker
A different photo with
the close- to -brand -new 111.
From Keith Tesiero, Jr.
A later look at the original
111 - now well used.


Courtesy of Dan Ody
Ken, with arguable the
best car he drove for
Chris Drellos. I think this
one came from the Henry
Caputo stable.

Source Unknown
A victory in one of
the 111's. It looks
a lot the one at left.

Courtesy of Ed Mudd
Corey and Shoemaker
lined up with the
Drellos cars.

Courtesy of CJ Richards
Ken and Drellos about
owned the track in Vergennes,
VT in its NASCAR days.

John Grady Photo
This looks like a
different 111.


Source Unknown
Vogel Family Collection

Posing with the first
Drellos backup car - the
three window that Jeep
usually got stuck with.

Lew Boyd Photo Coll.
That second 111, as
it caught fire while
refueling during the
first long distance Fonda
race around 1963.

Courtesy of Ed Fabian
When Otter Creek
held a special NASCAR
sportsman race after the
track had dropped the sanction,
Drellos brought the 111. That's Ken standing in the middle for intros.

Ladabouche Photo
The original 111
leaving Otter Creek
Speedway after another

Ladabouche Collection
A januty Shoemaker in
Victory Lane  at Fonda.
He has his best 111.


Source Unknown
To add to the Drellos 111
mystery. Here, Ken sits at
left with one 5 window
coupe and Paul Marshall
has another, at right.
From Kevin Grenier
With the Drellos 111
on the track at Otter Creek
Speedway, one of his
favorite tracks.

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken leading in the Drellos 11. I
don't know if this is the one Corey
ended up driving, but it looks
like it.
From Rick Parry
Another win.


From the Shoemaker Book
Ken having a light moment
with Da Champ. Many of
their meetings were NOT
very light.

From Woody Woodbury
A blurry but rare shot
of the 111 at Otter  Creek
 around 1962 or 63.
From Rick Parry
A blurry shot at speed.
Russ Bergg Photo
Boyd  Coleection

Admiring another trophy
in the Drellos era.



From the Shoemaker Book
Ken's first photo with his
new ride, the Wright/Zautner
Toll Gate Ice Cream 24
vacated by Don Wayman.

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken's first win with his
new W/Z car. That is
Cliff Wright in the

Courtesy of Dan Ody
Wright's crisp and
unbelievably fast 24.

Courtesy of Cliff Wright
Cliff Wright, the man
those fast 24's.

John Grady Photo
From Arnie Ainsworth

The even - faster
pavement version.
This is the one
Don MacTavish ended
up driving.


Courtesy of Ed Fabian
After running in an
All-Star show for CJ
Richards at Otter Creek,
Shoe appeared at
Fairmont with the 24.

John Grady Photo
Courtesy of Pascal Cote

The caption pretty much
tells the story of Cliff
Wright's best - ever car.

Courtesy of Cliff Wright
The first 24 - right after
Shoemaker took over
from Don Wayman. [Below]
Another Victoria win.

Courtesy of Dan Ody

Ladabouche Photo
Cliff Wright, in 2007
with his perpetual| partner
and sponsor, Bob "Toll Gate
Ice Cream" Zautner at
his right.

Courtesy of Dan Ody
The same  januty  posein
Victory Lane at Fonda.
with the Wright 24, Just
before Cliff built the
new one.

From Glen Tustin
A closeup after a successful
run with the first coupe.

From the Cavalcade of Racing
Probably Russ Bergh Photo

Another pose.

Courtesy of  Arnie Ainsworth
Ken, with arguably the
best car he drove for
anybody - Cliff Wright's
24. That isn't Cliff in
the background. This is
at Victoria Speedway.

Race Songs Site
Same car - but  at
From the Boyd Collection
A  Wright /Zautner 24
not in one of its best
moments at Fonda.
Number Nine Video
Said to be Shoemaker
leading at Mil-Ray Speedway.
 Shany Lorenzent Photo
From Dave Dykes
The 1st Wright /Zautner at
Stafford during the great Fonda
invasion of 1964.
Shoemaker Book
An asphalt win.



HAMB Message Board Photo
Ken landed a ride
with free - spending Joe

Courtesy of Dan Ody
In Victory Lane
at Fonda with Joe

Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth
With the Leto 50
Gremlin at the Valley.

Gater Racing News Photo
Joe Leto [left] and
equally flamboyant owner,
Vermont's Austin

Fred. Hendricks Photo
In Joe Leto's Pinto.

Ladabouche Photo
Leto Gremlins lined up at
Lebanon Valley. Quite
blurry. Supposedly a
Walt Schwinning chassis.

From Keith Shoemaker
At speed with the coupe.

From the Shoemaker Book
At speed with one of the
Leto Gremlins.
From Arnie Ainsworth
The Rossell built Gremlin.

From Scott Belknap
A Fonda win with one of the
Leto Gremlins. Someone said
that's Jake Spraker at

Cavalcade of Auto Racing Photo



Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth
With Rich Mazza's Little
Susie Team out of Massachusetts.


Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

In Victory Lane
at Fonda with Joe
Romano's 97x
backup car.

Courtesy of Dan Ody

John Grady Photo
Romano Collection

The Romano arrangement
didn't always go smoothly
as Don MacTavish learns here.


HAMB Message Board Photo
For old buddy, Pete
Corey at Langhorne.

Source Unknown

Source U nknown

At N azareth


HAMB Message Board Photo
Interesting shot. Ken is
in the Jay Broderick 40, and
his former Leto ride is in the
background, with fellow
tough guy Tommie Corellis.

Courtesy of Dan Ody
Jeff McWalker's car.

Courtesy of Mike Watts
Ken drove one of the"
last Bill Fowler 27Jrs.

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken took a Will Cagle
car and beat Wily Will
at Fonda with it - twice.

From the Shoemaker Book
Driving for Alan Kuglers in
the 24S Barrel Head Root
Beer Gremlin.

From the Shoemaker Book
Taking out Dick Bennett's
#71 Bernie's Liquor Shop
car. He ended up getting his own
Caprara car back by the

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken took John Lepore's
#63 coupe and had it
painted like a Leto car.
Not sure why, but John
was less than pleased.

From the Shoemaker Book
A brief stint with the potent
Russ Betz 59CT.

From the Shoemaker Book
Henry Natale's Greene
Electric - sponsored 24

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken took a win with the
Tony Villano Falcon also
driven by Jack Johnson
and Jerry Pennock.

From the Shoemaker Book
Ken had some good dirt
runs with the famed Bobby
Judkins 2X before the
2X group built their famed
Pinto and stayed with asphalt.
Larry Mickelson Photo
Ken drove this Walt Cross
Camaro, as well.
From David Herrick
With another Fonda ride in
early '70's. It's not Wes Moody's.
From Mike Cranston
A Weld - built Gremlin.
From John Gallant
With the famed southern
New England car, M80 at
From Chas Hertica
With  the famed 707 on the
pavement at Langhorne.
FroChas Hertica
Ken had a good run on the
dirt with Bob Judkins' 2X.
John Grady Photo
from Keith Shoemaker
Apparently not bad on the
pavement either.
From Rick Parry
Like seemingly everyone
else onthe planet, Ken took a
turn in the Tony Villano Falcon.|
From Keith Shoemaker
The Root Beer Gremlin.
From the Midstate Club
A later 24 - not Wright /
 Likely Henry
Nartale car.
From Gater Racing News
Ken, driving the Cagle experimental
car [on the outside here], beat Will
at Fonda.
From Gerry LaVallee
Another view of the
Henry Natale coupe.
From Sam Barlow
The Weld built Gremlin,
in color.

From Gerry LaVallee
Another white 24 coupe; but
unlikely to be Wright/Zautner.
John Grady Photo
From Fonda Book
Putting the Judkins 2X
in Vic Lane at Fonda.
John Grady Photo
One of the many
quality drivers who
worked for
Frank Trinkhaus.

From the Shoemaker Book
Driving for Trinkhaus with
an old friend - his former
Drellos 111 bought by




From Shoemaker Book
With Barb at home - mid career.


From Shoemaker Book
With Barb at NYSSCRA
Hall of Fame induction.
That's Cliff Wright behind.


From the Shoemaker Book
With friend, Pete Corey -
another Caprara driver
at times.

From the Shoemaker Book
With friends, Ken Tremont Sr -
and Marvelous Merv Treichler.


From the Shoemaker Book
Legendary Al Tasnady and HOF car
owner Dick Cozze employed
Ken to help them set up at
some Fonda shows.

From Ed Feuz Collection
The Shoemakers.

From the Shoemaker Book
At one of his last Fonda feature
wins, Ken got to be congratulated
 by friend and contemporary , Jim Luke.

From the Shoemaker Book
A nice autographed portait
for some fan during the Cliff
Wright era.

From David Kilmartin
With a Mike Ciaravino mod
he helped build. Unlike many of
his contemporaries, he stayed
current on race technology.


Ladabouche Photo

From Weedsport

From the Shoemaker Book
In Fonda Victory Lane with Will Cagle after he took a Cagle car and beat Will. He did it again the next time, but Will wasn't celebrating that one.

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