A tribute to Jimmy written by Russ Blake


Year:  Top Photo: 1976 Second: 1970 Third: 1994 Fourth: 1982 Fifth 1982 Sixth: 1974 Seventh: 1974 Eighth: 1975 Ninth: 1976, Tenth: 19??, Eleventh:19??
Driver:   Jimmy Langenback
Photo Contributed by: 

Top Photo:  Big Pete

Second Photo: Brian Berger

Third Photo: Hot Rod

Fourth Photo: John Gallant Jr.

Fifth Photo: John Gallant Jr.

Sixth thru Eleventh Photos: Dave Guerrieri


Photo Credits:  

Top Photo: Chuck Ely

Second Photo: ?

Third Photo: Hot Rod's Mom

Fourth Photo: John Gallant Jr.

Fifth Photo: John Gallant Jr.

Sixth thru Eleventh Photos: Dave Guerrieri


The Back Story: 

Top Photo:

Jimmy Picks up a win in the then Sportsman division, on a night if I remember correctly, He was asked to join the Modified field for their 30 lapper, due to a low Mod count.  This definitely happened one night, and seeing the water can present makes me think that, but as always, I could be wrong.

Second Photo:

OK. Here's the story. This photo was taken in the pits at Devil's Bowl. The driver of Bruce Berger's #606 was  Jimmy Langenback. On this day, Dick Ladd, a friend and member of Bruce's crew, took the car out for warm-ups or just for a spin. Whatever the reason, Dick took a spin all right, right into the infield and struck the pace car.

Now Dick was not registered as the driver and it seems Jimmy took the rap.

Possibly the first time C. J. Richards and Bruce Berger "talked" to one another.

Third Photo:

Mom, armed with her trusty ole’ camera,  snaps up a picture of Jimmy Langenback while hot laps are being run.  This was a common event before the races, as no matter what the car looked like, or what the driver and crew were doing, they’d always stop what they were doing so she could snap up some of her friends and save their images for us to enjoy now.

Fourth Photo:

By virtue of his flag to flag win in one of the many BM&F qualifiers for 358 Modifieds (then called sportsman) at LV, Jimmy Langenback was a guaranteed started for the October, 20 lap 358 race at Syracuse.  A fabricator and welder by trade, Jimmy built as much as He could himself, including this Chassis and new sheet metal design for Syracuse.  As was with Jimmy, the tin work was exquisite and exotic, but D.I.R.T wasn’t impressed with Jim’s “ingenuity” and made his slice and dice much of the work to pass inspection.
*Jimmy started the race in 13th, but handling and motor problems sidelined him late in the event, where Jimmy finished 22nd out of 32. *Thanks John Gallant for the information.

Fifth Photo:  One thing is for sure, you know Jimmy did all the fabrication on this car himself.

Sixth Photo:

Jim's 54 sportsman coupe from 1974.  The picture was taken before it went to the track the 1st time.  Jim and Sal Procopio built it over the winter of 1973-1974.  Jim fabricated the chassis.  It was a copy of a Tobias, built with a section made to look like a real car frame.  In fact it was fancy fabrication, including making simulated frame hole plugs to get around that silly rule requiring car frames.  When I went to Lebanon Valley Classics today, I saw the front picture of Jimmy Ogle's coupe, which is where the body came from.  I'll mention more about Ogle's coupe and it's disposition later.

You may remember that Langenback won opening night with this car in 74, only to be disqualified due to being under weight.  Denny Raspuzzi observed a crew member draining water from somewhere in the rear of the car, raising suspicions.  Post race he put up the $50 to have the car weighed, and it was 37 pounds under.  Oh well, Jim did it again in 75 when Mike and George Vasalero (sorry guys if I spelled it wrong) owned the car, and it made weight that time.

My opinion, this is the nicest looking car ever at the Valley, but please no hate mail, it's just my opinion.

Seventh Photo: This is the chassis Jim fabricated for me to make my coach out of.  I took the picture and many more of the frame in my mother's yard in the middle of December, so Jim could use the pictures for the booklet he wrote on building modified chassis.  Someday I will copy it and make it up as well, so if someone wanted to make a copy of a Langenback Welding modified chassis they would have dimensions, etc.  I have many stories about making this chassis, and getting a shop set up in that old barn in the background, but that's for another day.

Eighth Photo:

My coach, just before going to the track for the first time in 1975.  Jim built the chassis, I made everything else, except the rear bumper.  I worked as a millwright at the time, and had access to a complete machine shop to make things.  Our first night at the track was to Fonda, as Lebanon had an off week.  Unfortunately we crashed, and bent a shock.  Being low buck I had no spares yet, so home we went.  At Fonda we had people asking us if this was Harry Hughes' old coach, and part of it was.  I got the body off of Harry after a night of beer at his shop, with Harry and Kenny Coons.  Bad hangover, but I got a body.


Ninth Photo:  Remember I said there was more about Jimmy Ogle's coupe.  He had help from John Turner, Turner's Truck Repair in Pittsfield, and John owned the engine.  350 Chevy with Mondello ported heads.  Jimmy was done racing so John took his engine back, and made a deal with me, giving me the engine for his name on the car.  No problem, just needed a new block and a set of Hilborns to make it come to life.  Mike Vaselaro hooked me up with a cam grinder, John Reed, and an engine builder, John Penning, and I had a screaming small block.  Ran it on methanol, who knew that would lead to other things later in life for me, but that also is another story for another day. Other parts came from Jimmy Ogle as well.  I got his Frankland quickchange and rebuilt it, Jim got the fuel cell, as he did not intend to race with a beer keg ever again after almost burning to death his 1st year racing, and lots of other miscellaneous parts.  To the late Jimmy Ogle, Thanks for helping us out back then!


Tenth Photo: The 1st version of the Pinto on the coach frame, sort of.  We had problems with a lot of chassis set up issues in 75, so I cut all the suspension off and made new.  Jim hated working in my shop that winter (75-76) as I heated with a small wood stove, at least until he took matters into his own fabricating hands.  He built me the 6-legged pig, a wood stove that could cook us out of the shop on a 20 below day.  Jim hated to be cold!  Then we shortened the chassis, moved the engine, built all new suspension, changed all the bumpers, put in a different tranny and fuel cell, moved a lot of other stuff...you get the idea, we could have built a new chassis easier, but it would have cost too much.  The Pinto body came from John Penning, and Tony Casella of Pittsfield made it look good. 


Eleventh Photo: No Information






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