Archive for May 14th, 2008

NEAR ’08 Inductee Fred Luchesi Plans to be at Norwood Arena Reunion on June 1

Norwood, MA — Some of Fred Luchesi’s peers felt that he retired from racing too early. The Pawtucket, RI racer had a very impressive resume. Consider that he was a NASCAR Champion back in 1948 the year that sanctioning body was formed for his string of wins at the Kingston Fairgrounds in RI. From that point on Luchesi won a number of features at such venues as Lonsdale Arena in RI, Westboro, Norwood Arena, Thompson in Conn., Dover, NH and Seekonk Speedway among several other tracks. As a matter of fact, a knowledgeable observer revealed that Luchesi won just about every feature at Lonsdale in 1955 right up through Hurricane Carol which inundated the venue that ultimately resulted in the demise of that oval. Fred’s ability to win on both dirt and paved ovals proved his versatility. He even took in the big dirt track at Langhorne Speedway in Penn. “I was in that very famous wreck that took out a bunch of cars. The film clip hit all of the newsreels in theaters and the TV news programs at that time,” he said. The Ocean State driver wasn’t just limited to racing in New England and the northeast, either. He managed to take major events in Ontario, Canada.

Towards the end of his career, Luchesi confined his efforts to a two car team which raced at Seekonk Speedway with Fred driving one while the late Bobby Sprague of Foxborough, MA drove theother. During that era it was common to see drivers and teams competing on dirt tracks and taking the same machine to paved tracks. The only changes required were grooved tires for dirt and slicks for paved tracks and some minor adjustments to suspension systems. Unlike today where a pavement car is much different than one especially built to race on dirt. Some observers feel that the 50’s, 60’s and into the early 70’s were the best of times for stockcar racing. Racing several nights a week all over New England and the northeast were the norm.

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Kurtis Honored as Grand Marshal of 18th Annual Vintage Celebration

Arlen Kurtis has been selected to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Vic Yeradi Memorial Oval Days during the 18th Annual Vintage Celebration at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Arlen will be representing Kurtis Kraft, a company noted for designing and building midget cars, quarter midgets, sports cars, sprint cars and Champ Cars.  He became the head of Kurtis Kraft in 1968 when his father, the legendary Frank Kurtis, retired.

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Johnson Motorsports Grabs Top Ten Finish at Waterford

Waterford, CT — With two consecutive Friday night rainouts at Stafford  Speedway, the Johnson Motorsports team and driver Doug Coby brought their white #10 SK Modified to the Waterford Speedbowl this past Saturday for a 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American series event. This was the team’s second visit of the season to the 1/3 mile shoreline oval, and their 8th place finish contributed a total of 32 points to their NASCAR state championship point total.

In the first practice session of the day, the team showed everyone on hand that they had not missed a beat from their pole qualifying effort and 3rd place finish at the Speedbowl’s season opening Bud Nationals by posting the fastest time of the practice session.

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ACTion News 5/14/08

Last Sunday at Thunder Road, Late Model stock car racer Mike “Beetle” Bailey capped off a feel-good story that should prove to be a pretty hard one to top.

The former Allen Lumber Street Stock champion and multi-time NAPA Tiger Sportsman winner moved into the American-Canadian Tour Late Model division in 2006 on the smallest of shoestring budgets.  With a well-used, ex-Jeff Spooner chassis that raced as a mid-pack car for several seasons, Bailey held his own in the weekly Thursday night wars at Thunder Road.  He notched five top-ten finishes and netted 15th place in the final point standings, a rather respectable rookie effort.  During the following off-season, Bailey and his close-knit team began to “focus on the little things” and make the car perform consistently.

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