Archive for the 'NEAR' Category



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.

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2014 Wall of Fame Inductees to be Announced at Banquet

Our 2014 Class for the Seekonk Speedway Wall of Fame sponsored by WPRO AM will be announced on january 18th at the Speedway Awards Banquet at the venus de Milo. The Speedway and the Wall of fame committee would like to thank the thousands that voted in our second year election.

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Old Racing Materials Wanted

Photos, videos, programs, scrapbooks, etc. I’ve spent over 10 years compiling historical data and preserving photos and videos. Submitted items can be scanned and returned. Please email mod134@gmail.com.

2014 Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Schedule Announced

SCARBOROUGH, ME —

Thursday, May 01-Open Practice all divisions
Friday, May 02-Open Practice all divisions
Saturday, May 03-PASS Season’s Opener
Saturday, May 10-NASCAR & Thunder Practice Sessions
Saturday, May 17-NASCAR & Thunder Practice Sessions
Saturday, May 24-2014 Season’s Opener
Sunday, May 25-Day of Destruction Series
Saturday, May 31-NWAAS
Saturday, June 07-NWAAS
Thursday, June 12-Thursday Thunder Opens through Aug. 14th
Saturday, June 14-Budweiser Sport Series 125
Thursday, June 19-Thursday Thunder
Saturday, June 21-NASCAR Nite Autograph Session
Thursday, June 26-Thursday Thunder
Saturday, June 28-Pro Series 125/Wildcat 50 125
Thursday, July 17-Miller Lite American Celebration & Fireworks Show
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Farone #43 Vintage Modified Coupe for Sale

The late Kevin Lackey who passed-away unexpectedly last month, was a lifelong Plainville Stadium fan. An unwavering interest in the history of Joe Tinty’s former Connecticut ¼-miler led to his ownership of one of the track’s most-celebrated coupes, the Farone #43 which was driven to many wins by Elton Hill. This car is presently for sale with all proceeds going to aid Kevin’s family with funeral expenses. If interested, please contact Chris Hawkins at 860-424-6265.

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Anne Empey, Former Long Time Chief Scorer at Stafford Motor Speedway & Many Other Race Tracks, Passes at 74

Anne M. Empey

Anne Marie (Newell) Empey, aged 74, of Middleboro, passed away on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at the Sachem Rehabilitation and Nursing Home surrounded by her family. She was predeceased by her parents, and companion Bill Somers.

Born in Boston, the daughter of the late Paul Grant Newell and Alice (Mulkerin) Newell, she lived in Middleboro for the past 11 years, she resided in Hanover for over 30 years prior to moving to Middleboro. Anne was a graduate of St. Gregory’s High School, class of 1957. She graduated from the Catherine Laboure School of Nursing in 1960 and was a Registered Nurse. She worked for a short time for the VA Hospital in Boston before going to work at the Linda Richards Nursing Home in Codman Square Dorchester, by the time the former became the Edgewood Nursing Home she had become a nursing supervisor, ending her career there as the Director of Nursing. She then worked for the Mass Department of Public Health Tuberculosis division until retiring in 1997.

She was very active in supporting youth athletics in Hanover, and served as President of the Hanover High School Sports Boosters club in the 1980s. She was also the Hanover High School PTA representative to the school board. She was a longtime parishioner of the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hanover. Anne was a founding member of the South Shore Visiting Nurses Association which she remained an active member of even after retiring. She was an avid NASCAR racing fan and worked as the Chief Score Keeper at Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Thompson, Seekonk, and Westboro Speedways; she also scored races at the Norwood Arena, Lee, Lakeville, and Star Speedways; she was the traveling scorer for the New England Mini Modified tour and the Big Rig Racing tour scoring at tracks up and down the East Coast.

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NEMA Releases Vintage Slide Show on DVD

The Northeastern Midget Association announces the release of NEMA Vintage photo’s on DVD just in time for Christmas. The presentation is from the collection of one of the most respected journalist, historians and statisticians in New England, Pete Zanardi.

The range of drivers, owners, tracks and race cars depicted in the collection are the who’s who in Northeastern midget racing. The forefathers that laid the foundation for present day racing are illustrated in color and black and white photo’s complete with captions. Bill Randall, Ray Roberts, Ronnie Evans and Jerry Russo just to name a few drivers from NEMA’s infancy.

The early cage days drivers are represented by Bill Roth, Lee Smith, Hank Stevens and Len Thrall for example. And to finish out the last couple of decades are the Fornoros, Stoehrs, Scrivanis, Seymours and many many more.

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Coastal 181 Announces Release of WICKED FAST: Racing Through Life with Bentley Warren

Newburyport, Mass. — Motorsports publisher Coastal 181 announced today the release of its latest title, “WICKED FAST: Racing Through Life with Bentley Warren,” by Bones Bourcier.

Bentley Warren’s approach to life is mirrored by the tongue-in-cheek slogan of his high-octane watering hole, Bentley’s Saloon in Arundel, Maine: “Who has more fun than us? We do!”

Whether mingling with customers or catching up with racing friends, Warren’s fun-meter is usually pegged. You can find him by following the laughter, or, if you dare, the thunder of his hot-rod Harley.

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NEAR Introduces “Class Of 2013” At 16th Annual Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony

South Windsor, CT — On Sunday November 10, the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), presented the 16th annual New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Conducted at Manelley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor, CT., the HOF celebrates literally hundreds of feature victories, championships, and untold contributions to the sport of auto racing within the New England region.

Instituted in 1998, the HOF now boasts membership of well-over 100 deserving individuals.

Opening comments by NEAR President Al Feeney along with a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner & God Bless America performed by past NEAR President Bob Seller and his wife began the day. Award-winning sportswriter Matt Buckler served as Master of Ceremonies.

Inducted this year were drivers Ralph Nason, Stan Meserve, Drew Fornoro, Bill Eldridge, Bob Sharp, Brian Ross, the late Bob Stefanik, and longtime car owner Ron Berndt.

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Hall of Fame Inductions Celebrate New England Auto Racing History on Sunday, November 10th

Drivers Stan Meserve, Brian Ross, Drew Fornoro, Ralph Nason, the late Bob Stefanik, Bill Eldridge and Bob Sharp along with car owner Ron Berndt will be inducted at the 16th annual NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelley’s located at 65 Rye Street in South Windsor, CT.

Doors open at 11:00 with dinner served at Noon.

Hundreds of victories and dozens of championships comprise this year’s New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame class. It brings the membership to well over 115.

Inductions are a result of a nomination/selection process that includes voting by a special selection committee and the living members of the Hall.

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Former Car Owner Bruce Sperry Passes at 72

Bruce T. Sperry Sr.
January 13, 1941 – October 29, 2013

Bruce T. Sperry Sr. 72, of Wallingford, loving husband of 48 years of the late Mirtha Ruiz Sperry, died Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at MidState Medical Center in Meriden.

Bruce was born in Meriden, January 13, 1941, a son of the late Miles Sperry and Lois Affleck Sperry and had been a Wallingford resident for many years. He was a self-employed auto mechanic and was also employed at Ulbrich Steel in Wallingford.

He is survived by his daughter Zunilda Rocco and her husband Ronald, of Berlin; his son Bruce Sperry, Jr. and his wife Lynn of Waterford; his grandchildren Keith Rocco and his wife Cassandra of Berlin, Jeff Rocco of Wallingford, Evan Sperry and Elise Sperry, both of Waterford, his sister Robin Mezzanotte of Southington; his brother Miles Sperry and his wife Gerry of Meriden; his sister-in-law Beverly Sperry of Meriden; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Lee Sperry.

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Charlie Centinaro Passes at 80

UNITED, Riverside Park & West Haven Winner in 1960s-70s

CHARLES CENTINARO October 1, 1933 – October 22, 2013

500_bWOLCOTT- Charles Centinaro, 80, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 at HCC@ Bradley Campus. He was the husband of Rose Marie (Desmone) Centinaro of Wolcott.

He was born Oct. 1, 1933 in Waterbury, son of the late Charles and Jenny (DiNova) Centinaro. Charles was employed for many years as a manager for Sandy’s Catering Service. He was an avid race car driver and one of the most winning racers of his era, finding success at Pine Bowl Speedway in NY, West Haven Speedway, Plainville Stadium and Riverside Park in Massachusetts. He was an absolute standout within the United Stock Car Racing Club and the Springfield Exposition Center in MA. Charles was a gentle, loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who will be deeply missed.

In addition to his wife he is survived by his two daughters, Judi Cruz and husband William of Plantsville and Sandra Cwiertniewicz and husband Ted of Branford, a brother Joseph Centinaro of Naugatuck, 3 grandchildren, Taylor and Austyn Cwiertniewicz of Branford and Eric Centinaro of TN. He was predeceased by a son Marc Charles Centinaro.

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2013 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductions Present Diverse Class

Ticket Purchase Deadline Approaches Quickly

Drivers Stan Meserve, Brian Ross, Drew Fornoro, Ralph Nason, the late Bob Stefanik, Bill Eldridge and Bob Sharp along with car owner Ron Berndt will be inducted at the 16th annual NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelley’s located at 65 Rye Street in South Windsor, CT.

It is truly one of the most-diverse classes in HOF history, which this year marks its 16th edition. 2013 inductees again represent hundreds of victories and dozens of championships in the New England region. It includes seven drivers and one car owner bringing the membership to well over 115.

Tickets are priced at $45.00 each. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. with dinner served at Noon.

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Ticket Purchase Deadline Looms for 2013 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The 2013 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is rapidly approaching and tickets must be ordered no-later than November 1st. Requests for reserved tables of 10 must be received by October 25th.

There will be no ticket sales at the door.

To be held at the Lodge at Manelley’s located at 65 Rye Street in South Windsor, Connecticut on Sunday, November 10th, tickets are priced at $45.00 each. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. with dinner served at Noon.

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Connecticut’s Plainville Stadium Remembered at 5th Annual Reunion

BERLIN, CT — The gates where locked for the final time over three decades-ago. The place remained unceremoniously silent for a period of time before Dame Progress finally intervened & claimed another pound of flesh from Connecticut’s stock car racing landscape.

Sadly, these days it’s a fate that’s becoming a stark reality for many of our nations short tracks.

The reasons surrounding the demise of Joe Tinty’s little oval of asphalt known as Plainville Stadium are irrelevant now. What’s not is the fact that the track that meant so-much to people was gone in what seemed like blink-of-an-eye.

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Milt Blood Passes at 74

Milton Estes Blood-lifelong resident of Pepperell; 74

PEPPERELL — Milton Estes Blood, 74, passed away peacefully on October 7, 2013 at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Brighton, MA. surrounded by his loving family.

Milton was born on November 12, 1938, son of Lester E. and Lillian D. (Bouchard) Blood of Pepperell, both of whom predeceased him. He was also predeceased by two brothers, Raymond L. Blood and Gerry H. Blood.

Milt was a lifelong Pepperell resident and attended the Pepperell schools. Following high school, he served two years in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He made a career as a longhaul truck driver, driving for several large companies such as Bemis Bag Co. of Pepperell, Subler Trucking of Maine, and Pepsi (EPIC Enterprises) of Ayer, MA. He also drove for several smaller private companies and owned his own trucks during his career. Milt also had a great passion for auto racing and was a very accomplished driver in the New England Super Modified racing circuits, driving his own cars and also for several other car owners.

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Memories to be Rekindled at Fifth-Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion on Saturday, October 12th

2013 Plainville Reunion Banner

BERLIN, CT — It closed over three decades-ago, but Connecticut’s ¼-mile Plainville Stadium is still recalled for hosting some of the biggest names in the business. Drivers such as the legendary “Steady Eddie” Flemke, Denny Zimmerman, Reggie Ruggiero, Charlie Jarzombek, Ron Wyckoff, Ray Miller, the late Dick Watson, and still-more of the sports heavy-hitters all toured the tight, demanding oval during its colorful history.

Add Saturday night regulars such as New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame members Dave Alkas, the late Tony Mordino and George Lombardo, along-with the celebrated Don Moon, Sparky Belmont, & the colorful Tony “Jap” Membrino, and it set the stage for some of the best racing action ever witnessed in the Nutmeg State.

Saturday, October 12th, the Nutmeg Kart Club in conjunction with the Berlin Lions Club World of Wheels presents the Fifth Annual

Plainville Stadium Reunion. The event takes-place from 10am – 4pm at the Berlin Fair Grounds located 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin, Ct. The rain date is October 13th.

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Former NEMA Midget Champion Lou Fray Passes at 88

LouFraysharedthe1970championship

Lou Fray of Shelton, CT passed away on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at age 88.

Born in Derby, CT on September 4, 1925, Fray was a stalwart midget competitor across four decades, with victories in ARA, ARDC, NASCAR, NorthEastern Midget Asssociation (NEMA) and the Super Midget Racing Club (SMRC) competition. He won races at Albany-Saratoga, Catamount, Oxford Plains, Quebec City, Stafford, Westboro, and West Haven.

He finished 10th in points on the NASCAR Midget circuit in 1958.

He was co-champion of the NEMA Midgets in 1970 with Dave Humphrey. Fray was a consistent finisher in the NEMA point standings, with five additional top-5 seasons between 1965 and 1972. He drove for car owners like John McCarthy, Bob Pascale, and Young.

He also won three consecutive titles from 1975-77 in the SMRC. Although he retired in the late 1980s, Fray was a a trustee of the Atlantic Coast Old Timers Auto Racing Club in recent years.

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Impressive Cast Set for NEAR Fame Fete

An all-star cast will induct an equally impressive group of inductees at the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelleys in South Windsor, CT. It is the 16th NEAR Hall of Fame class.

Steve Pellerin and Bruce Elder will be inducting fellow Maine natives Ralph Nason and Stan Meserve respectively. Open cockpit racing is well represented by Chris Romano and Dick Monahan who will honor multi-time Northeastern Midget Association champions Drew Fornoro and Billy Eldridge respectively.

Lew Boyd will bring forth Bob Sharp, arguably New England’s greatest road racer.

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NEAR Hall of Famer Rene Charland Passes at 84

Rene Charland “Da Champ”: November 13, 1928 – September 30, 2013

Rene M Charland, legendary stock car driver who blazed numerous tracks from Canada to Florida passed away peacefully on Monday Sept 30 at the Wilkinson Residential Care Facility in Amsterdam, NY where he had resided for the past several years.

Mr Charland was born in Chicopee, MA on November 13, 1928 the son of Adelard and Noella Lamoureux Charland. After serving his time in the US Marines and Merchant Marines, Mr Charland resettled in the Chicopee area and later was a resident of Agawam, MA before locating to Upstate NY in the 1960’s. After returning from his act of duty in the service he tried on many masks, working for Remington Arms in Springfield, Ma and running his own speed shop and radio station before turning the throttle full bore on his racing career which began in 1947.

Rene was a 4-time Nascar National Sportsman Champion from 1962 thru 1965. He was one of the original Eastern Bandits that enjoyed tickling the skills of the drivers in the South. He was also a member of the AllStar League for many years. He was inducted into many Hall of Fames thru-out his life span; the New England Antique Racers(NEAR), Dirt Motorsports ,Riverside Park, Fonda Speedway, Utica-Rome and Albany-Saratogas as well as many more. He was named as one of Nascar’s Top 50 Drivers at Stafford Motor Speedway as well. His career wins exceeded 800, his track championships were numerous and covered many states in the country to achieve his records.

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2013 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductions Take Center Stage on Sunday, November 10th

Drivers Stan Meserve, Brian Ross, Drew Fornoro, Ralph Nason, the late Bob Stefanik, Bill Eldridge and Bob Sharp along with car owner Ron Berndt will be inducted at the 16th annual NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelley’s located at 65 Rye Street in South Windsor, CT.

Seven drivers and one car owner representing hundreds of victories and dozens of championships comprise the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013. It is the 16th class and brings the membership to well over 115.

Tickets are priced at $45.00 each. Doors open at 11:00 a.m. with dinner served at Noon.

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Long Time Speedbowl Competitor & Engine Builder Nick Dinsmoor Passes at 71

Nick Dinsmoor 11/29/1941 – 09/23/2013

Nicholas James Dinsmoor Nov. 29, 1941 – Sept. 23, 2013 – Uncasville Nicholas James Dinsmoor, 71, of Uncasville and formerly of Salem, passed away Monday (Sept. 23, 2013) at the Wm. W. Backus Hospital in Norwich.

Born Nov. 29, 1941, he was the son of the late Claire and Lily (Reynolds) Dinsmoor, Jr. Mr. Dinsmoor served proudly with the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War from 1960 to 1965, serving on one of the first nuclear submarines.

An avid automotive enthusiast, he worked as an engine machinist and very active with the stock car racing circuit in the area for many years. In his spare time, he also enjoyed fishing.

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NEAR Hall of Fame Tickets Now On-Sale for November 10th Induction Ceremony

Seven drivers and one car owner with hundreds of victories and dozens of championships comprise the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.  It is the 16th class and brings the membership to well over 115.

Drivers Stan Meserve, Brian Ross, Drew Fornoro, Ralph Nason, the late Bob Stefanik, Bill Eldridge and Bob Sharp and car owner Ron Berndt will be inducted at the 16th annual NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelley’s in South Windsor, CT. Tickets a priced at 45.00 each and the doors open at 11:00 a.m. with dinner served at Noon.

Ticket order forms are available on The New England Antique Racers/Auto Racers Hall of Fame website www.near1.org

Ticket Order Form (PDF)
Ticket Order Form (DOC)

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Danbury SNYRA Reunion Sunday Sept. 22

EPSON MFP imageThe annual SNYRA Reunion honoring the Danbury Fair Racearena will be held at the Danbury PAL Building (35 Hayestown Road, Danbury, CT 06811) from 11AM – 4PM.

Ratta/Mitchell Award to Pete Vander Veer

Pete V photoPeter Vander Veer, a standout auto racing writer for over 30 years, will receive the Jack Ratta/Charlie Mitchell Award at the 16th annual New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Banquet  Sunday,  Nov. 10  at the Lodge at Manelley’s in South Windsor, CT.

A contributor to a number of outlets, Vander Veer joins Hall of Fame inductees Stan Meserve, Brian Ross, Drew Fornoro, Ralph Nason, the late Bob Stefanik, Bill Eldridge, Bob Sharp and Ron Berndt on the honoree list.

The award memorializes two outstanding motor sports journalists – Ratta who wrote for the Manchester Union Leader and Mitchell, a sportswriter/editor for many years at the Norwalk (CT) Hour. Like Vander Veer, Mitchell was recognized for his reporting on the entire sporting scene.

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Jess A. Ruggiero Passes at 93

Jess A. Ruggiero, 93, of New Britain, died Sunday, (September 1, 2013) at the Hospital of Central CT at New Britain General. He was the beloved husband of Josephine (Germano) Ruggiero for 65 years. Jess was born in Bethel, VT and was the son of the late John and Fannie (Ezzo) Ruggiero. He was a resident of New Britain for 70 years and worked as a Foreman for Stanley Works for several years. Jess was very devoted to his family and enjoyed going to the races, especially watching his son Reggie race. He also enjoyed going to his son’s business Race Works every day, visiting with all the guys. He had a passion for hunting and fishing. In addition to his wife, Jess is survived by his son, John Ruggiero and his wife, Kim of Rocky Hill, his two grandsons, John Ruggiero, Jr. of Harrisburg, NC and Anthony Ruggiero of Bristol, his three lovely great-grandchildren, Nicholas, Lauren and Massimo, his two sisters-in-law, Angeline Mackiewicz and Pauline Paganetti and his brother-in-law, Sam Germano.

A Celebration of Jess’ life will be held Saturday September 7, 2013 at 11 a.m. at St. Ann Church, 101 North Street, New Britain, CT. Burial with full military honors will be in Fairview Cemetery, 120 Smalley Street, New Britain, CT. The American Flag will be presented to Jess’ wife Josephine. There are no calling hours. Service of comfort provided by the Paul A. Shaker / Farmingdale Funeral Home, 764 Farmington Avenue, New Britain, Ct. To extend condolences to the Ruggiero family or to share a memory of Jess, please visit our website at shakerfuneralhome.com.

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Fifth-Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion Slated for Saturday, October 12th

BERLIN, CT — Silenced at the dawn of the 1980’s, Connecticut’s ¼-mile Plainville Stadium was a hotbed of New England racing action for over 3-decades hosting some of the biggest names in the business. Drivers such as the legendary “Steady Eddie” Flemke, Denny Zimmerman, Reggie Ruggiero, Don Moon, Ron Wyckoff, Ray Miller, the late Dick Watson, and many-more of the sports heavy-hitters all toured the tight, demanding oval during its colorful history.

Saturday, October 12th, the Nutmeg Kart Club in conjunction with the Berlin Lions Club World of Wheels presents the Fifth Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion. The event takes-place from 10am – 4pm at the Berlin Fair Grounds located 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin, Ct.

In 2008, Plainville’s all-time winner Dave Alkas and 2-time champion George Lombardo took their places in the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame along with previously inducted members Flemke, Zimmerman, Watson, and Miller. Pioneering driver & former Stadium Race Director Moe Gherzi is a 2012 HOF inductee. Popular championship car owner Ron Berndt, a longtime Plainville campaigner, will enter the Hall of Fame later this year at the 16th annual NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Lodge at Manelley’s in South Windsor, CT.

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