News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 14, 2013

TRACKSIDE: Drivers, fans pay tribute to fallen sprint-car driver at Lincoln Park

PUTNAMVILLE — The heartbeat of America short track racing — your weekly Saturday night racers and fans — came out to pay tribute to one of their own at Lincoln Park Speedway on Saturday night.

The show might have been billed as a $3,000-to-win Midwest Sprint Car Series special but the night rightfully belonged to the family and friends of the late Ed “Slick” Griffin.

Robert Ballou went home the big money winner on the night winning the MSCS sprint feature but the biggest round of applause during the evening came on the parade lap of  the UMP Super Stock main event.

That’s when the capacity crowd gave the starting Super Stock field a standing salute in fitting tribute to fallen veteran short track racer Slick Griffin who passed away unexpectedly this past March at his Carbon home.

The show drew added attention and slightly higher purse and provided a nail-biting finish and a first time LPS winner in Marshall, Ind., driver Mike Staggs. The script couldn’t have played out much better for those in attendance.

 For anyone who has followed short-track racing anywhere in the Midwest — and most recently at Lincoln Park Speedway — during the past 30 years, there’s a good chance they’ve had the good fortune of watching Griffin manhandle his familiar front-running number G2 stock car.

What many didn’t have was the opportunity to encounter the frequent off-track escapades that earned the colorful competitor the well-deserved reputation of being a true Saturday night short track racer.

In the rough and tumble ways of weekly short track racing friendships can be hard to come by- even harder to hold on to. Griffin’s relationship with his fellow racers over the years ran the gamut.

On a night set aside to honor the Clay County native many of his fellow racers spoke of the tumultuous times shared with the hard charging racer.

Car builder and LPS official Bob Franklin probably knew him best. “He had his own circle of people. Those people within that circle he protected as if they were family. He was old style-rough cut racing type of guy,” praised Franklin.

“For many of us, he was like a dad. Once you earned his respect there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you. There is a lot guys out here tonight that has lost more than just a friend,” voiced Franklin, who serves as race director at LPS.

C.J. Bryan was both a friend and competitor of Griffin.  He said there was seldom a dull moment while being in the presence of his fellow racer.

“He was an old school racer, one that raced you hard. When you went out on the race track there were no friends. That’s the way he raced you every night. What I’ll miss the most is his stories. When you went to his shop you could count on being there an hour and half hearing his stories. Those were good times,” reflected Bryan.

Make your way past his rough exterior and you found a much kinder and supporting racer in Griffin, who made the most out of his time spent Saturday nights at the race track.

Young Tyler Loughmiller found the 65-year-old Griffin a  guy more than willing to pass along helpful advice and encouragement in a highly competitive and tough learning environment.

“I didn’t get to know him that well but he was a big help teaching me how to drive the race track, care for your car, your tires. He took me aside and told me not to let the older guys get into my mind, that they were no different than me, just that I was younger than them,” recalled the-up-and-coming 13-year-old racer.

Steve Peeden of Martinsville, Ind., knew Griffin since he was a kid and was quick to point out their relationship both on and off the track was not without its moments.

“I remember coming over here a couple years ago and I beat him about six inches for a win. He never would let me forget it. He was the type of guy you didn’t want to mess with on the track,” cautioned Peeden.

“You could get into it with him at the race track on Saturday night and he would be the first one to call you on Sunday morning inviting you over for a beer. We had our moments. That was Slick being Slick,” said Peeden.

Seldom would you find Griffin and his race car not surrounded by well wishers and a loyal band of followers. None closer than Marc Willey, who proudly described his official role with Griffin’s race team as “best friend.”

“I knew him from the time we started racing go-karts together 40 years ago. He was the type of guy who would do anything for you. I don’t care if it was at or away from the race track. It didn’t matter,” voiced his long-time racing buddy.

Its been a difficult year on several fronts for racing in 2013. Too many losses. For those at LPS on Saturday nights, none are bigger than the friendly smiles and sincere handshakes that came your way from the guy they respectably called “Slick.”


Joe Buckles can be reached at

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Strong finish: Megan Ramer, center, poses for a photo with Jimmy Smith and Tony Tanoos after she won the girls 15-17 championship flight of the 2014 city junior golf tournament on Thursday at Rea Park. Ramer was also presented the 2014 Travis J. Smith Outstanding Junior Golf Award.

  • Ramer, Kuppler claim junior city golf titles

    Megan Ramer and Colton Kuppler were two winners in the junior city golf tournament concluded Thursday in sunny, warm conditions at Rea Park.
    Both golfers claimed titles in the 15-17 age division for the first time while Ramer and Andrew Granda were two of the winners in the 2013 tournament.

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  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

  • Terre Haute North knocks off Clinton for District 4 9-10s title

    Visiting Clinton had a 1-0 lead — that could have been bigger — as the championship game of the District 4 Little League tournament for 9-10 all-stars neared its halfway point Thursday night at Terre Haute North’s park.

    July 11, 2014

  • Roundup: Wayne Newton defeats Rockville by 7-1 score

    Wayne Newton Post 346 picked up its third American Legion baseball victory in as many days Thursday night at Terre Haute North, downing visiting Rockville 7-1.

    July 11, 2014

  • SPT 070914 RAMER CHIP.jpg Kuppler, Ramer hike leads in city junior golf tourney

    Champions for the 2014 city junior golf tournament will be decided today in the final round of competition at Rea Park.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • wallace.jpg Wallace wins UMP feature

    NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie Justin Allgaier led the UMP Modifieds 20-lap feature race through eight laps Wednesday night at the Terra Haute Action Track. But former NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace found an opening on the bottom of the back straightaway and went on to win the race.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • odum.jpg Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patton stays hot at Martinsville Fair

    Freddie Patton Jr. was the leader for the second day in a row in harness racing action at the Martinsville Agricultural Fair.
    The ace driver and trainer was in the bike for two winners and was nipped at the finish in a third race with 2-year-old trotters and pacers in the seven races on the card run in sunny, pleasant conditions.

    July 9, 2014

  • Terre Haute North Little League wins pair, advances to title games

    Terre Haute North’s Little League All-Stars won in two different age divisions Wednesday evening at West Terre Haute’s park, propeling both teams into District Four tournament championship games.
    In 11-and 12-year-old action, North defeated the host team 11-4 as Taneer Pittman went 3 for 4 with a pair of home runs and Kaleb Hannahs also went 3 for 4 with a double. For West Terre Haute, Trenton Broderick went 2 for 3.

    July 9, 2014

  • Riley All-Stars ready for Cal Ripken tournament play

    The Riley Recreation League for Cal Ripken youth baseball has announced its all-star teams and schedules.

    July 9, 2014

Local Interest
High School

Indiana Pacers' Jake Odum (23) takes a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder during an NBA summer league basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

  • Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play

    Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

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    Missouri Valley Conference men's tournament staying in St. Louis until 2018.

    July 9, 2014

  • mundy.jpg College report: Former Patriot runner Mundy is ‘proud to be a Hoosier’

    After redshirting the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons this year, Chanli Mundy was eager to do one thing recently as she prepared to compete in the USATF Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Oregon. “The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is being able to wear an IU uniform,” she said last week prior to making her cross-country trip.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Odum scores 2 points off bench for Pacers

    Three of the top picks in last month’s draft are adjusting to NBA at different speeds at the Orlando Pro Summer League.

    July 7, 2014

  • Terre Haute's A.J. Reed joins Manziel as an SEC Athlete of Year

    University of Kentucky baseball star A.J. Reed of Terre Haute and Florida softball standout Hannah Rogers have been named 2013-14 Roy F. Kramer Southeastern Conference Male and Female Athletes of the Year, according to a voting by the league’s athletics directors.
    “A.J. and Hannah are true examples of outstanding student-athletes,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday. “They have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics, and through their hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence, have been successful in their endeavors. They are fine representatives of their universities and this conference.”

    July 1, 2014

Sports Columns
Pro Sports

Indiana Pacers' Jake Odum (23) takes a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder during an NBA summer league basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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