Beech Ridge Speedway builder/founder Jim “J.B.” McConnell passed away peacefully after a short illness near his winter home in Sarasota, Florida on December 4th. He enjoyed a healthy and active 96 years and maintained contact and interest in his speedway, keeping tabs on the sport through friends and family and with annual visits to the Ridge.
As a late-teen, McConnell got involved in racing with a Boston racing club while working near the city at an area airport. He developed a dream at that time of someday bringing auto racing to Maine.
Eventually returning to Maine and operating a sawmill in Scarborough, McConnell began a series of lumber-for-land swaps that led to a parcel of land along Holmes and Two Rod Roads that was big enough to hold his dream. He began construction on the speedway in 1948 and opened the pit gates on Sunday, May 30, 1949, to a field of about a dozen rookie race drivers. In doing so, J.B. McConnell ushered in the age of auto racing in the state of Maine.
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