Legendary Driver Gene Bergin Passes

Gene Bergin passed away early this morning February 27th after suffering a major stroke in June. He had been hospitalized since June. Arrangements are unknown at this time.

Gene Bergin was one of the most versatile drivers in New England auto racing history, having driven Modifieds, Midgets, Sprint cars, Indy cars, and Grand National cars in his career.

Bergin first started racing in the early 50’s at the Riverside Park Speedway collecting many feature event wins and the 1962 Modified track championship.

He then in 1964 moved on to the Stafford Motor Speedway winning several features on the still dirt surface driving Sharkey Gaudiosi’s #44, and also holds the distinction of being one of only two drivers to win a feature event on both the dirt and asphalt surfaces at Stafford, ( The other being Ernie Gahan).

Gene also holds the honor of being the first Modified track champion on the asphalt surface at Stafford when he drove Beebe Zalinski’s M6 to the 1967 crown.

In yet another groundbreaking moment Bergin was the first driver to win a NASCAR event at Stafford in a Pinto bodied race car when he drove Bob Judkins # 2x to victory lane in 1971, thus ushering in the Pinto revolution.

Other car owners who Gene drove for were Bob Garbarino and his Mystic Missile #4 and Billy Simons and the Excavator Special #9.

He was successful in the NEMA Midgets with wins at Thompson in Aug. 1969 and Aug. 1973 at the old Lakeville Speedway in Massachusetts. Gene also attempted several USAC Champ Car races in 1968.

In 2008 Gene was also inducted into the Hartford Public High School Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on both the Football and Baseball Teams.

Sources: SpeedwayLineReport.com

February 2011
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