Archive for the 'NEAR' Category

Everett Pierce Passes at 86

Pierce, Everett A.

Everett A. Pierce, 86, of Danbury; passed away on June 12, 2015. He was the beloved husband of Mrs. Marjorie (Johnson) Pierce. Everett was born on October 14, 1928 in Norwalk, CT; a son of Everett and Nettie (Albin) Pierce.

He was a Tractor Trailer Driver, and he married his wife, Marjorie in 1961 and they were married for 53 years. He served in the US Navy aboard the USS Saipan during World War II. During his time in the Navy he was a Boxing Champion on his ship. As a lifelong Danbury resident, Everett made his name in the Southern New York Racing Association (SNYRA) where he would become fifth in all time wins. He raced for seven decades; of which 30 years were spent at the Danbury Race Arena. He served as President and Vice President of the SNYRA and he was the points champion in 1954. He was well known among race fans and his opponents.

He was inducted into the Danbury Athletic Association in 2001. He was also a member of the Arion Singing Society and he played semi-professional football for the Barbary Coast Danbury Team. Everett was an honorary member of the Beaver Brook Volunteer Fire Department and he was a Deacon of His Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

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Marilyn Greco Passes Away at 77

Greco, Marilyn J.

Age 77, of Stratford, beloved wife of Sylvester “Bill” Greco, died on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Friends may call on Wednesday from 4 to 8 pm at the Pistey Funeral Home, 2155 Main Street, Stratford. Complete arrangements and obituary will be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Connecticut Post.

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NEAR Presented Attendance Award At Summer Knights 24th Annual Benefit Show & Shine

BERLIN, CT — The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) were presented with the coveted “Attendance Award” in honor of the clubs participation in the Summer Knights 24th Annual Benefit Show & Shine held on Sunday, April 26th at the Berlin Fairgrounds.

Displaying vintage modified stock cars were NEAR members Ron Carlson (#85 coupe), Steve Zukowski (#53 Vega), Rich Belmonte (#19 Cavalier), Jim Williams (#7NY Tom Baldwin Tribute Car), George Cleveland (#5X coupe), Tom Maciag (#19 Pinto), Carl Kierman (#222 Pinto), and Jack Proulx (#5 coupe).

The event drew several notable motorsports personalities including Ray Evernham, a former modified racer, multi-time championship Sprint Cup Crew Chief, and ESPN NASCAR television analyst. Also scheduled to appear was Sprint Cup Crew Chief Scott Zipadelli.

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New Hampshire Auto Racing Pioneer “Blazing Buddy” Bardwell Passes

Gilsum, NH — New Hampshire auto racing pioneer “Blazing Buddy” Bardwell passed-away on Monday, March 30th, 2015, following a brief period of declining health. He was 90.

Inducted into the prestigious New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, the World War II Navy veteran’s career behind the wheel spanned over six-decades.

Traveling widely and winning frequently, his early racing weekends began on Thursday nights at Keene, NH, and continued on Fridays at Rhythm Inn in MA, Saturdays at Claremont, NH, and Sundays in Brattleboro, VT.

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Fred Rosner Profile

If you hang around race tracks, drivers, owners and mechanics long enough, you are going to meet a variety of characters with a wide range of personalities. Some of them you’ll forget about tomorrow and others you’ll never forget. For me, one of the unforgettable would be an icon in the Northeast region of our racing world, Fred Rosner.

It seems Fred Rosner has been at the sport forever. Fred was born in Springfield, MA in 1935. When asked how he got started, Fred said “A neighbor of mine ran a car at Stafford Springs, and Century Stadium in Springfield, I guess I was 12 or 13 years old. That got me hooked and the first car I ever built was with Bill Gurney, we went to trade school together. When Riverside Park opened up we built a jalopy. We bought a 37 Ford in the morning and raced it that night.

Stan Disbrow drove it for us because we weren’t old enough to drive, I really never wanted to drive race cars, I just enjoyed building and working on them. I tried driving just a couple of times at Malta New York in a car I built for Ricky Massa and he didn’t have a driver. And one time at Riverside in a late-model 56 Ford for Walt Meisner, who owned Agawam Speed but I was never serious about driving.”

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New England Antique Racers (NEAR) Set Busy 2015 Agenda

The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) have secured several event dates as part of a busy 2015 agenda. First is the Frank Maratta Auto Show and Racearama to be held February 28th – March 1st at the Eastern States Exposition Center located at 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. More details may be found at   

Next-up, New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Billy Greco hosts a NEAR Racing Party on Saturday evening March 28th at the Polish American Club located at 194 West Spring Street in West Haven, CT. The event starts at 5:00. With previous editions having been very-successful, it remains a must-attend affair for New England race fans.

NEAR running events are slated for Monadnock and White Mountain Speedways in New Hampshire, Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, Bear Ridge, Devils Bowl, and Thunder Road in Vermont, Beech Ridge in Maine, and Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl.  

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Multi-time United Stock Car Racing Club Champion, Tommy Sutcliffe Passes

(January 31, 2015)– We received the unfortunate news today that multi-time United Stock Car Racing Club champion Tommy Sutcliffe has passed-away in Florida. Arrangements are incomplete at this time. Our sincere condolences are offered to Tommy’s family and many friends on this sad occasion.

The following short glimpse of Tommy’s career is from the Wednesday, July 18, 2012 edition of Dave Dykes’ Racing Through Time at “One of the real chargers when Harvey Tattersall’s once influential UNITED ruled the New England Modified roost rather than NASCAR, Tommy Sutcliffe enjoyed a long-reign at the front of the pack. Twice a champion at Connecticut’s late West Haven Speedway, he was a top competitor all over our region for decades winning a boatload of features. This one captures the guy affectionately nicknamed “Suitcase Sutcliffe” when he was a part of the weekly starting field at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl of the early 1960s.”

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John McCarthy Passes at 84

NEAR Hall of Famer, NEMA President & Championship Owner

Tilton, New Hampshire – John L. McCarthy, 84 a long time resident of Tilton died at his home Saturday, December 6, 2014 after a period of declining health.

Son of Alma (Levis) and John L. McCarthy, Sr., he was born in Mount Vernon, NY on June 21, 1930. John spent his youth in Quincy, MA. He was a graduate of Boston College High School (’48), attended Boston College, and earned an MBA from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He served his country in the Army National Guard and lived for many years in Shrewsbury.

During his youth, John was a clubhouse boy for the Boston Red Sox and during breaks, often played cribbage with Ted Williams. John had a brilliantly analytical mind and was at the forefront of the Electronic Data Processing/Information Technology revolution as a Senior Executive at Wyman-Gordon Company for 29 years, retiring in 1985. He revolutionized Midget Auto Racing as well.

Upon retirement, John relocated to Tilton, NH from Shrewsbury and began a long career in public service as an active civic leader, having served as Selectman (chair), Police Commissioner, Planning Board member, and School Board member. He was hugely instrumental in the development of the Lakes Region Mall and often spoke at State House and Senate hearings on issues he felt important for the citizens of Tilton. He was involved with charitable work and served on the Board of Directors at St. Vincent Hospital and was a member of the Local Elks Lodge in Laconia and Worcester.

Inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2007, McCarthy was a championship car owner, designer/builder, and innovative promoter who brought Midget Auto Racing from the brink of extinction to the mainstream as President of the North East Midget Association during the 1960s-70s. Also in retirement, McCarthy pursued his first love – Auto Racing – at New Hampshire International Speedway where he was Vintage Coordinator for 20 years, bringing antique race cars from across America to the largest gathering of its kind in the country.

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Former Driver & Owner Don Flynn Passes

Donald P. Flynn, a longtime resident of Suffield and devoted husband of Frances, passed away Thursday Morning, November 27th, after an extended series of illnesses. Born in Hartford and raised in Bloomfield, he was the second of four children of the late Paul and MarieAntoinette Flynn. Don was a truly self-made man, admired by his friends, feared by his adversaries, and respected by everyone, he built and owned a number of businesses beginning with Standard Auto Body, but was most well-known for his time owning and operating Bradley Air Parking in Windsor Locks, CT and later Executive Parking in Suffield.

Don was a man of many interests but his lifelong passion was cars which he collected, restored and raced for almost his entire life. Don had a significant racing career that ranged from short track modified racing throughout the northeast to major tracks through the Southeast; his home is still filled with trophies from many wins and championships both as a driver and later an owner. Don restored countless vintage cars and was always starting a new project with his loyal friends and former pit crew, especially Danny and Lindo and had a wide interest in collector cars ranging from Hot Rods and Sportscars to Vintage Race Cars. Don spent some of his best years after racing at his homes in Florida, Westbook, CT and Woodstock Vermont, enjoying many years there with friends and family. Don was a born worker, a perfectionist and always needed to keep busy. Although he enjoyed “vacationing” it was almost always a series of extensive projects that kept him busy wherever he was located, especially operating heavy equipment at his Vermont home. Don’s life cannot be summed up easily in a few paragraphs because he was truly larger than life to his family, friends and almost any one that knew him. Weather it was basketball, golf, boxing or taking up skiing in his late 60’s, throughout his life, Don was extremely competitive, and always up for a new challenge.

Don is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 34 years, Frances who was inseparable from him; six sons, Donny, Timothy and wife Angela, Peter and wife Lynn, David and wife Vanessa, and Dallas and Betsy; and his cherished daughter Annette who was by his side every day until his death, and her husband Jeff; sisters, Andrea and Maureen; grandchildren Erika, Alex, Jeff, Sam, Molly, Lucy, Gary, Shawn and Laura, and recently has been enjoying time with his special new Grandchild Deegan who will miss his Pa very much. Don was predeceased by his first wife, Bernadette, his daughter Jeannie, brother Patrick and sister Joan. Special thanks to Don’s trusted long time doctor, Dr. Stephen Yuan and more recently Dr. Sadaf Khorosani. Funeral Services will be Tuesday, December 2, at 9AM from The Heritage Funeral Home, 1240 Mountain Road, West Suffield. Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church at 10AM. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, Poquonock. Friends may call at the funeral home on Monday, December 1 from 5-8PM. Memorial donations may be made to the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance, P.O. Box 642, Suffield, CT 06078. For on-line condolences please visit:
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Damp Forecast Moves Plainville Stadium Reunion to this Sunday, October 12th

(EAST BERLIN, CT) Due to a forecast calling for heavy rains on Saturday, organizers of this weekend’s Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion have opted to move the event to this Sunday, October 12th.

Always a can’t-miss affair for New England race fans, the event runs from 10 – 3 at the Berlin Fairgrounds located at 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin, Connecticut. 

Included on the day’s agenda is a full schedule of Go Kart competition on New England’s only WKA Dirt Master track. The appearance of several vintage race cars along with a display of classic & custom autos adds to the day’s festivities. Also featured will be several memorabilia exhibits highlighting the colorful history of Joe Tinty’s much-missed Connecticut ¼-miler.  

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NEAR Hall of Fame Honors Bones Bourcier

Mark “Bones” Bourcier will receive the Charlie Mitchell/Jack Ratta Memorial Award at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 16 at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor, CT.

Bourcier, a native of Southington, CT and currently an Editor At Large for Speedway Illustrated Magazine, joins an impressive list of honorees. Drivers Mike Rowe, Deke Astle, Jim Martell, the late Fred Schulz, Ron Wyckoff, the late Pappy Forsyth and Fred Borden, car builder Dave Tourigny, historian R.A. Silvia and sports car pioneer the late Briggs Cunningham will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Ticket information and order forms can be found at the New England Antique Racers website (

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Danbury Racearena Reunion Sunday

The annual SNYRA Danbury Racearena reunion will be Sunday September 21, 2014 from 11am-4pm. The Danbury PAL Building is located at 35 Hayestown Road, Danbury, CT 06811.

Sources: Nicholas Teto,

Former Plainville Driver Jim Acker Passes at 77

James W. Acker, 77, of Plymouth, husband of Winnie (Kobryn) Acker passed away Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, at Bristol Hospital.

Jim was born June 10, 1937, in Tarrytown, N.Y. He was the son of the late Lester and Dorothy (Hunt) Acker and has been a resident of Plymouth most of his life. Before his retirement he was employed as a truck driver. Jim was a devoted husband to his wife of 53 years, Winnie. Together they shared the joy of raising their three loving children, Lee, Terri and Jim. Jim’s greatest joy in life were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In addition to his family Jim loved his home at the Cape.

Cape Cod was the family’s second home where many cherished memories were shared with family and friends. Jim was a longtime car enthusiast. He was one of the original members of Drag-N- Run Car Club of Bristol. He passed his love of auto racing and classic cars onto his sons, son-in-law and grandsons. His love of classic things carried over to antiques. He and Winnie spent many happy times hunting for treasures at flea markets and tag sales. He was also a member of the Coast Guard Aux. and High Riders Snowmobile Club.

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Danbury Announcer Paul Baker Passes at 94

With great sadness we announce the passing of Paul V. Baker of Southbury, (formerly New Fairfield, and Ridgefield), age 94, on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Paul was a loving husband for 52 years to Mary Jane (Nash) Baker, and father to daughter Paula Jean Baker-Nitzan of Glastonbury, and son, Joseph Baker of Austin, TX. Paul cherished his three grandchildren, Sadie Baker-Nitzan, Anna and Katherine Baker.

Paul was predeceased by his parents Joseph and Anna (Genga) Baldaserini, brother Primo and sister, Gina. He is survived by a brother, Gino Baldaserini of Ridgefield, and several nieces and nephews.

Paul was a World War II and Korean War veteran, serving in the Army Air Corp and U.S. Air Force.

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NEAR Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Class

Drivers Deke Astle, Jim Martel, Mike Rowe, Fred Schulz, Ron Wyckoff, drag racing icon Bob Tasca, historian R.A. Silvia and car builder/mechanic Dave Tourigny make up the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2014.

They, along with the still to be announced pioneer class, will be inducted at NEAR’s 16th Hall of Fame banquet  Sunday, Nov. 16th, at The Lodge at Maneeley’s  in South Windsor, CT.

Banquet ticket information will be announced shortly and will be posted on the New England’s Antique Racers’ website ( in the near future.

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10th Annual Norwood Arena/New England Dragway South Reunions A Big Success

NORWOOD, MA — The recently held 10th Annual Norwood Arena/New England Dragway South Reunions at Bezema Motors on US Rt. 1 in Norwood, MA was a major success. The annual event drew the largest crowd ever of race drivers, race car owners, classic cars and race cars along with motorcycles as well as several collectible vendors. Trophies for top 12 vehicles as well as dash plaques were awarded to the owners.

Among the oval track drivers and car owners that turned out included; Daryl Stampfl of Norwood, Henry Stampfl of Plainville, Denny Stampfl of Foxborough, Bill Singersen of Norwood, Ed Gendreau of Medfield, Bill Statham of Sharon, Jack Lane, Jeff Horn of Ashland, Jack Malone of Needham, Joe Brady of Stoughton, Leo Cleary of Hanover. Also, 1970 Daytona 500 winner Pete Hamilton of Newton, George Savary of Westwood, Joe Kourafas of Randolph, Don McCollough of Walpole, Pete Desjardins of Wrentham, Jerry Capozzolli of Stoughton and multiple NASCAR Modified champion Bugs Stevens of Rehoboth as well as Jim Callahan of Medfield.

On the drag racing side, Ray Heliger of Little Compton, RI showed up with his King and Marshall AA Fuel Dragster as did multi-faceted Tom Dunn of Wrentham. Dunn was a drag racing star in the early days of drag racing before he turned to oval track action and built potent Modified machines piloted by Leo Cleary. Dunn also arranged to have one of his early model dragsters brought to the event. Also present was Al Sergini of Canton who worked his way up through the drag racing ranks up to the top of the sport with his Brute Force Funny car. Sergini won his share of NHRA Nationals during his career.

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Gig Stephens Passes at 87

Leonard ‘Gig’ Stephens of North Reading, Mass., passed away on May 19 at age 87.

He made 12 USAC Champ Car/Gold Crown Series (IndyCar) starts from 1959 to 1972 at Langhorne, Milwaukee and Trenton. His best career finish was sixth in 1967 at Trenton in the #71 Atamian Ford for Karl Hall (Halibrand/Offy).

He raced in the Midgets from the 1940s to the 1960s. He won at Seekonk Speedway in 1949 in a UCOA sanctioned event and at Norwood Arena in 1951. He had six ARDC Midget wins from 1955 to 1960 at Hatfield, Wall, Trenton, Freeport, Danbury and Williams Grove. He won a NEMA Midget race at Catamount in 1965 in the Bahre Offy.

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Hillsgrove Race Track

Thanks to racing historian R.A. Silvia for pointing this out to me this afternoon.

The Hillsgrove village in Warwick is best known for the T.F. Green Airport now. When the airport was in its infancy seven decades ago, a race track was still visible south of the airport.

The Hillsgrove track was mentioned to Silvia years ago as the site of motorcycle and auto racing in the early 1900s. Other than maps, aerial photos and a rare article, hopes seemed slim to verify the existence of racing. 

Until now! A recent ebay auction featured a trophy from an Iowa collector. The 1906 motorcycle race trophy declared: “First Prize/Five Mile State Championship/Presented by A.W. Harris Oil Company/Motorcycle Race Held by/Providence Motorcycle Club/Hills Grove/Sept. 22 1906/Won by F.E. Domina/Time 7 Min and 30 2/5 Sec”. 

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10th Annual Norwood Arena/New England Dragway South Reunions Presented by Bezema Motors Set for Sunday June 1

Norwood, MA — Bezema Motors on US Route 1, the AutoMile in Norwood, MA, is pleased to host the Norwood Arena/New England Dragway South Reunions for the tenth year in a row. For the past decade on the first Sunday in June, the Bezema family has hosted this event for the well known Norwood Arena/New England Dragway South.

The Bezema family will once again serve lunch to attendees courtesy of Norwood’s newest restaurant, Boston’s Baddest Burgers and Sandwich Co.

This year’s celebration will be another opportunity to meet legendary competitors who raced at the long-shuttered racing venue. New this year will be trophies for the top three classes for oval race cars, drag racing cars, classic cars and motorcycles. Attendees will be able to to share their memorabilia, programs, pictures and autographs. They will also get the opportunity to take photos of race cars, hot rods, classics and motorcycles featured at this event. It’ll also be a chance to get autographs for those picture and programs that are unsigned.

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Zipadelli Visiting Berlin for Summer Knights

Berlin native Scott Zipadelli will be in attendance for the Summer Knights Car Show and Swap Meet in Berlin on April 27.

“There should be about 400 to 600 hot rods there,” Zipadelli said. “They are raising money for an 18- month-old girl (Daniela Ciriello), who has a rare blood disease (that) lives in the area. So it’s really cool to be able to go home and help the Summer Knights with this wonderful event. Anytime you can go back home and help a needy family is a good thing. It should be a lot of fun for a great cause.”

Zipadelli has been a Nationwide Series crew chief since 2007 for JTG Racing, Braun Racing and RAB Racing. He has worked with a variety of drivers including Kelly Bires, Jason Leffler and Kenny Wallace.

“The business is always moving and changing so it seems like every few years things change,” Zipadelli said. “I was stuck in a rut so it was time for me to leave the team I was with in 2012 and start over so when TSM (Turner Scott Motorsports) approached and we talked for some time and then finally worked out a deal.”

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Dan Gaudiosi Passes at 88

Daniel Daniel ” Butch ” Gaudiosi
(February 9, 1926 – April 8, 2014)

U.S. Veteran

Daniel Gaudiosi
Beloved Husband & Father

Mr. Daniel “ Butch “ Gaudiosi, 88 of Oakville, passed away peacefully, Tuesday, April 08, 2014 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was the husband of Carol (McLean) Gaudiosi.

Dan was born in Waterbury on February 9, 1926, son of the late Donato and Angelina ( Grosso ) Gaudiosi. He was a veteran of the U.S.Navy, having served his country honorably during WWII. He worked for the Town of Wolcott as a master mechanic for over 10 years until his retirement. “Little Dan” Gaudiosi raced at the former West Haven Speedway in Connecticut, he was certainly one of the track’s best ever. He claimed the 1957, 60 & 64 championships. Dan remains one of only two driver’s to have claimed 3 titles during the tracks almost 2 decade long history of running the coupes. Dan was particularly good at another former oval track, the much missed Plainville Stadium.

He was very proud of his 1948 Harley Davidson, which he rode for over 60 years, enjoyed fishing and the outdoors, but his real love was spending time with his family.

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High Honors for Dykes

Dave Dykes, whose “Racing Through Time” website has become a Mecca for the growing number of auto racing nostalgia buffs, will be one of six John Wentworth Good Sport honorees at the Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance Gold Key Dinner Sunday, April 27 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, CT.

The award is named after long-time New Britain Herald Sports Editor John Wentworth. Each year the Alliance awards six people who have provided a service to the sporting public. “Racing Through Time” is one of New England’s most popular sites.

“A Labor of Love,” according to Dykes, it is the culmination of a lifetime of collecting historic auto racing photographs.

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Irene Venditti Passes at Age 94

On March 28th the world lost one of it’s heroes when Irene Venditti , 94, left the world of the living, passing away peacefully in her sleep.

She was born in Seekonk on August 21, 1919, the last surviving child of eight born to Joseph and Mary Mellen . She graduated from Hope High in Providence and married D. Anthony Venditti in 1938. She is survived by 3 of her 4 children, Adrienne, a registered nurse, Francis, a raceway director, & Annie, designer. Her younger son, Anthony tragically passed away in 1980. She is survived by 7 grand-children and 6 great-grand children.

Ice played an important part in Irene’s life. Her father farmed the ice at what is now called the Grist Mill, she met her husband while ice skating at Burr’s Pond in Seekonk and in the 1960’s they opened an outdoor ice rink, Iceland. Irene’s youngest daughter, Anne, became an accomplished competitive and professional figure skater, as a direct result of Irene’s endless dedication and support.

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Historic Night in Store on Victory Lane Radio

Tune-in Monday, March 24th at 7 pm for a night of stories, as over 20 of the best racers, past and present get together on the Victory Lane Radio Network.

Spencer, MA — Never has a night on the racing airwaves in New England meant so much for so many. Monday, March 24th at 7pm will bring some of the greatest racers the New England area has ever seen, together for the very first time.

This collection of racers have over 1000 feature wins and have amassed well over 100 track championships. Dirt or asphalt, it didn’t matter; winning was the only thing on the minds of these competitors.

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NEAR Hall of Fame Mobile Museum to Appear at Frank Marrata Auto Show

Springfield, MA — The New England Antique Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame Mobile Museum will be present at the Frank Marrata Auto & Race-A-Rama Show on the weekend of March 1st & 2nd. To be held at the Eastern States Better Living Center in Springfield, MA. the event runs from 10-9 on Saturday & 10 to 5 on Sunday.

The mobile museum features a visual history of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame. Instituted in 1998 and administered by NEAR, the HOF currently boasts over 100 inductees including notable names such as Richie Evans, Ron Bouchard, Bugs Stevens, Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton, Fred DeSarro, Ed Flemke, Sr. and Bill Slater.

Also featured within the museum are several rare memorabilia items representing decades of auto racing history throughout the region.

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Elliott Beveridge Passes at 72

Former Plainville Stadium Winner at was 72

February 18, 1942 – February 21, 2014 Plainville, Connecticut

Elliott Case Beveridge, 72, of New Britain, passed away surrounded by his family on Friday, February 21, 2014. 
Born in New Hampshire, he was the son of the late Raymond and Barbara (Case) Beveridge. A lifelong resident of Plainville, Elliott attended local schools, and was a well-known, talented mechanic and racing enthusiast since childhood. He spent many days racing at Plainville Stadium, recently attending their reunion where he was awarded for his expertise, was a member of the Lucas Oil Outlaws, who won this year’s championship where Elliott was awarded Mechanic of the Year, and has been a longtime member of the DMA-USAC and NEMA Midgets racing teams. In addition to racing, he had a love for the outdoors, taking frequent trips to Black Watch Farm in Vermont alongside his lifelong buddy, Frank Manafort, and was affiliated with the American Legion and Mickey’s AC. 

He is survived by his children, Ron and his wife, Geraldine of Bristol and Christine Szpunar and her husband, Stephen of Burlington; his brother, Bob; his sisters, Betsy, Charlotte, and Marcia; his grandchildren, Stephen, Joshua, Alexander and Carli; his girlfriend, Julia Waite and many nieces, nephew, and many friends, including Barry Jack, Billy Bergenty, and Don Moon. 

He was predeceased by his brothers, Doug, George, and Bruce. .

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Reino Tulonen Passes

NEAR Hall of Famer was 89

FITCHBURG — Reino Kalervo Tulonen, 89, of Fitchburg, died Jan. 26th at HealthAlliance Leominster Hospital, after an illness.

He leaves his wife of 69 years, Anna Mae (Deery) Tulonen; one son, Rodney Arthur Tulonen and his wife, Patricia Magrosky, of Springfield, VT; two daughters, Joanne Tulonen of Seattle, WA. and Elaine T. Pierce and her partner, Joel Slutsky, of Alstead, NH; six grandchildren, Gregory Tulonen, Sarah Pritchett, Melissa O’Dell, Michael O’Dell, Lucie Pierce and Jeremie Pierce and four great-grandchildren, Simone Parker, Connor and Riley Tulonen and Alina O’Dell; and many nieces and nephews, including Nancy, Ronald and David Riikonen, who became part of the family. He also leaves a close family friend, Claude Caswell, who was considered another son. He was predeceased by a daughter, Betty Tulonen, a sister, Elvi Berkio and two brothers, Urho and Toivo Riikonen.

Mr. Tulonen was born in Lunenburg, on August 20, 1924, a son of the late Emil Kaarle and Alina (Bjorbacka) Riikonen Tulonen. He was raised in Lunenburg and attended schools there. When he was young he worked for the Crocker-Burbank Company, and then moved to Custom Auto Body where he worked until starting his own business as a front end alignment specialist until he retired. But his real love was racing cars.

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Al Hammond Passes Away at 70

South Paris Driver was Three-Time Oxford Plains Champion, 2009 Maine Motorsports HOF Inductee

According to the Maine Vintage Race Car Association,  Al Hammond of South Paris, Maine has passed away at age 70.

“The Maine Vintage Race Car Association and the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame are saddened over the passing of Al Hammond. Al was a great racer, a nicer person, a Hall of Fame member and a much respected member of the association. Our deepest sympathies are extended to Al’s wife Delores and family, his many friends and fans.”

Born on June 3, 1943, Hammond was a three-time (1970, 1973-74) Pro Stock/Sportsman champion at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine. Hammond had 81 career wins at Oxford  (fourth overall wins, second in the division) and was the Triple Crown champion at 1968, 1970, 1975.

Hammond also drove races in the ACT Pro Stock Tour, PASS North Super Late Models, NASCAR Nationwide, K&N Pro Series East, Grand American and North Tour.

Hammond was inducted into the  Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009.

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Five-Time Speedbowl Championship Owner Margaret “Peg” Gaudreau Passes

Waterford, CT — Waterford Speedbowl management was deeply saddened to learn one of the most celebrated car owners in track history, Margaret Gaudreau, passed away Tuesday evening at home after her battle with ALS. Gaudreau, of Norwich, CT, was 68.

Gaudreau, known as “Peg” throughout the racing community, owned Modifieds during the 1970’s built by her late husband Al, who passed away in April. Together they fielded one of the most dominant race teams of all-time at Waterford, claiming five consecutive Modified division owner’s titles from 1972-1976 and more race wins than any other during the decade.

Peg’s number 3 car, affectionately known as “Buddha’s Bullet” after Al, became widely recognized across northeast racing circles with Dick Dunn behind the wheel. Peg and her husband made countless lasting friendships in racing, including some of the sport’s biggest stars of the era such as Richie Evans and Ed Flemke among others. The Gaudreau’s remain one of the Speedbowl’s most well-known and respected race teams of all-time.

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Award Presentations, 2014 Schedule Among Topics of NEAR Annual Meeting

Springfield, MA — On Sunday afternoon January 5, the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) conducted its annual meeting at the Dante Club in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Presiding was current club president, Al Feeney.

Among items on the slate was an announcement of thus-far secured events for the 2014 racing season. Also on the agenda was the presentation of several awards.

New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Billy Greco received the prestigious Frank Marratta Award. Established in 1981, the club’s longest-running award is presented yearly to a dedicated individual that routinely serves as a goodwill ambassador of the sport. Among the most-admired racers within our region, Greco remains a very active NEAR member. Among his contributions in 2013 was a successful club fundraising picnic held in August. A stalwart of the Tattersall families former United Stock Car Racing Club, he was a multi-time champion. His decades-long career concluded following a run with the Southern New York Racing Association at Connecticut’s former Danbury Fair Racearena. He was inducted into the HOF in 1999.

Continue reading ‘Award Presentations, 2014 Schedule Among Topics of NEAR Annual Meeting’

March 2018
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