The year was 1972 and Carol Demling Hayes came to work for George and Doug Caruso-owned Speedway Press to be a on staff writer. Carol came to her new job after being employed for two years for a company in Maryland.
Not previously a race fan and because of her work at Speedway Press she started going to the races with her former husband and the more she went the more involved she became in the sport. She became a race fan, who spent Fridays and Sundays at the “Wheels” and “Weedsport” while Saturday night she was at Oswego Speedway. She became immersed in the sport by working on race-related printing all week at her job and then on weekends being at the races. The watching soon grew into helping out here and there. She found herself working on press releases, race reports and taking photos. She was associated with DIRT from the time of its inception and remembers the beginnings of Super DIRT week almost 40 years ago, along with the establishment of the DIRTcar Hall of Fame Museum. She was one of the first women to get onto the “cinder track” at Super DIRT Week. Ten or so years into her career, she was approached by Norm Patrick, patriarch of the Gater Racing News, to write a column which she has done ever since.
Although the Caruso brothers sold Speedway Press in 2009 to Mitchell Printing and Mailing, the involvement in racing has not abated, but has increased. Almost half a million schedule cards for DIRTcar and other organizations and tracks are printed annually with posters, flyers and driver cards all a part of the projects of the “Press”. Trips to Pocono with time trial sheets or delivering driver cards to a competitor at the Indy 500, dropping off flyers to Lebanon Valley on the way to a car show and more, were all a part of the job. It led to meeting hundreds of great people along the way. And, the getting to know these many, many people involved in all aspects of the sport including drivers, officials, media and fans, has been Carol’s greatest joy over the forty-plus years of involvement. Whether walking through the lineup on the track at Super DIRT Week, at the Oswego Classic or awaiting the start of the Indy 500, Carol’s memories of racing are a very large part of her life. One of her most cherished moments is driving the Gater pace car at the start of Super DIRT Week and almost not getting off the track before the green dropped! “When I first started working on the Oswego Eagle (of which she is still the editor for), I did question/answer interviews with the likes of the Bodines, Greg Sacks etc. Met Darryl Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Tony Stewart etc. It has been exciting. I have been proud to watch many of the drivers that I had either watched at the beginning of their careers, interviewed or written stories on move on to national acclaim over the years such as the Bodines, Greg Sacks, Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, Jessica Zemken, and so many more.” Along the way there also have been far too many tragic incidents over the years and each loss of a driver on the race track has a marked place in her heart, but the good memories have far outweighed the bad.
Carol is also a member of the Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame and currently travels with the International Super Modified Association as their PR person, writing releases, editing their yearbook and assisting in other ways. She still enjoys taking out a camera when time allows shooting photos for printing work and publications at various race tracks throughout the northeast and Canada. She still works at Mitchell’s Speedway Press, now in her 40th year. An Oswego native, she is a single mother of one daughter, Jennifer, who resides in Florida.