Archive for the 'Nostalgia' Category

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 Festival 32 Gathers Big ‘Heads’ of Steam

Stirling Moss, Ralph Lauren’s Cars Coming to Lime Rock

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (March 28) – Organizers of Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival 32, Friday, August 29 through Labor Day Monday, September 1, have announced that Sir Stirling Moss and wife Lady Susie are reprising their popular 2012 Festival visit and will be this year’s Honored Guests.

In addition, world renowned designer Ralph Lauren has accepted the Festival’s invitation to be its Honored Collector, following previous honorees Miles Collier, Laurence Auriana and Peter Sachs.

Festival Chairman Murray Smith confirmed that Lauren would show a small group of cars from his magnificent collection which will reflect his superlative automotive taste and provide a very rare opportunity for enthusiasts to appreciate some extremely special cars that are rarely, if ever, seen in public.

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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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USAC Champion Rollie Beale, 84

Toledo, OH — Rollie Beale, one of the most respected USAC drivers of all time, has passed away at the age of 84. The 1973 USAC National Sprint Car Champion was enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1996. His USAC career, which spanned 1965-1977, included 32 Sprint Car feature victories, 10th on the all-time list. Arguably, one of his biggest career wins came in the prestigious “Little 500″ at Anderson, Ind. in 1966. A competitor in USAC Silver Crown and National Championship (Indy car) wins as well, his best Indy car finish was a ninth in 1968 at Trenton, N.J. After retiring as a driver, he spent several years as the Chief Steward for USAC’s Silver Crown and National Sprint Car Series. In 1991 he was the winner of USAC’s Ross Hadley award for dedication to our sport. USAC extends its sincerest sympathies to his widow, Anna Mae, and all of his family and friends. Services are pending.

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Earl Grant Passes at 78

Earl W. Grant, 78, of Fall River passed away on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at his residence, surrounded by his family. He was the husband of fifty-six years to Ruth M. (Joynt) Grant.

Earl was born in Fall River, the son of the late Carl and Mary (Taylor) Grant. He worked as a truck driver for the Teamsters out of local #56 in Fall River for over thirty years, retiring in 1988. Mr. Grant was very active during the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s with the Northeast Midget Racing Association as a flagman throughout New England and Canada, especially at the Stafford, Thompson, Westboro and Seekonk Speedways. Earl was the recipient of the D. Anthony Vendetti Memorial Award for his dedication to the sport of auto racing. Mr. Grant was also a vendor at flea markets from Maine to Florida.

Survivors besides his wife are a daughter: Earleen M. Phillips and her husband Brian of Fall River, MA; three sons: Stephen C. Grant of Fall River, MA; Scott J. Grant wife Colette of Deltona, FL; Thomas A. Grant and his wife Susan of Swansea, MA; eleven grandchildren: Kelly, Stephanie, Krystie, Katie, Scottie, Jacqueline, Rebecca, Nicholas, Stephanie, Samantha and Dorian; four great grandchildren: Tyler, Landon, Makayla and Bella; three sisters: Virginia Bledsoe and her husband Robert of Portsmouth, RI; Karen Allen and her husband Robert of Naples, FL; Sandra Seigel and her husband Thomas of Roy, WA; a brother: Ronald Grant and his wife Mary of Portsmouth, RI along with many nieces and nephews. He cherished the time he spent with his family and friends especially his friends Dave Humphrey, Pip Tavares, his friends at Town Taxi in Fall River, Nu Way Auto in Westport and at the fleamarkets he worked at.

Funeral Information

His Funeral Service will be held on TUESDAY at 10am from the HATHAWAY HOME for FUNERALS, 1813 Robeson St., Fall River, followed by a Funeral Mass at 11am in the Church of the Holy Spirit, 160 Rock Street, Fall River. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Burial will be private at the request of the family. CALLING HOURS for Earl will be held on MONDAY from 4-8PM.

Donations Information

Memorial donations in his memory can be made to either the Church of the Holy Spirit, 160 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720 or to The Spalding Foundation for Injured Race Drivers, Inc., 1074 Sulpher Springs Road, Owego, NY 13827.

Sources: Hathaway Family Funeral Homes

Earl Grant

“Hey, Poison Pen, get over here.”

Thus began my long friendship with one of the best flagmen ever to grace a starter’s stand. I forget exactly what I wrote to prompt Earl to give me the best nickname I’ve ever had, but I have no doubt that in the subsequent conversation he set me straight.

When Dick Berggren, Lew Boyd and Bruce Cohen put together the first Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway they called Earl Grant, who put his distinctive style on what would become one of the greatest annual events in New England Modified racing. It was a good choice. Earl came with a wealth of experience at Thompson, Stafford, Seekonk, and throughout New England. If guys like Bugsy, Richie, Eddie and Freddie respected you, that was as good an endorsement as any that you knew what you were doing.

And he did. Back before race directors, tour directors, yellow lights every thirty feet, the flagman ran the show. Earl laid out what he expected at the driver’s meeting and followed through on the flagstand. His signature move was turning his back on the field if he didn’t like the way they came down to take the green. The front row only got away with it once; you didn’t want Earl to turn his back on you a second time.

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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.

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The Glory Days of East Windsor Speedway to be Remembered at Motorsports 2014

OAKS, PA — “Memories of East Windsor Speedway” will be a big part of the huge Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports 2014 Race Car and Trade Show Fueled by Sunoco & Distributed by Insinger Performance presented at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, January 10-12, 2014.

The very special “Memories of East Windsor Speedway” is set for 7:15 p.m. Friday, following autograph sessions featuring NASCAR greats Harry Gant and Ricky Craven. East Windsor Speedway track manager Don “Butch” Jones will be participating in this special session that will remember this great Friday night action track. There will be special presentations included in the special session that takes place from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Many of the dirt track heroes at East Windsor will participate in the session including Glen Fitzcharles, Sammy Beavers, Ray Liss, Fred Dmchowski and others still to be announced. The drivers will be sharing some of the great memories of the Hightstown, NJ clay oval.

Once one of the most successful local short tracks the one half mile clay oval has been shuttered since August 23, 2002 when dirt track racing legend Doug Hoffman won the final event.

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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

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.

[Guest Book]

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Handsome Harry Gant Returning to Motorsports 2014 Racecar & Trade Show for First Time in Several Years, will Celebrate His 73rd Birthday on Jan. 10

OAKS, PA — For the first time in several years Harry Gant, one of the most talented racers ever to strap himself into a stock car, will appear at the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports Racecar & Trade Show Fueled by Sunoco & Distributed by Insinger Performance. The three day show is set January 10th through 12th in the huge Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. Labeled as Handsome Harry because of his movie star good looks the former NASCAR standout will celebrate his 73rd birthday on January 10th as the fan favorite appears at the show from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Included in his appearance will be an interview session when fans will be able to ask questions of Gant.

A complete schedule, directions and ticket prices are available at the show web site, Additional appearances for autographs are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Gant, winner of 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and 21 Nationwide races during his 22-year NASCAR career was also the winner of more than 300 races in the NASCAR Sportsman division of competition. He earned national championships in Sportsman competition in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

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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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Nov. 27th – Last day for Wall of Fame Voting

SEEKONK, MA (November 20, 2013) — Vote Here

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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Walt Dombrowski Passes at 75

1963 & 1970 Waterford Speedbowl Track Champion

Montville – Walter A. Dombrowski passed away Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013.

Walter was born May 8, 1938, in New London, the son of Walter A. Dombrowski and Mildred (Pinkowitz) Dombrowski. Better known as “Walt” to his friends and family, he was a resident of Montville all his life. Walt served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1959 in the 42nd field maintenance squadron as a jet engine mechanic and was stationed at Loring Air Force Base for the duration of his term of service.

He married Margaret R. Paquin of Montville at St. Johns Church in 1962 and was employed at Electric Boat, working third shift as a sheet metal mechanic from 1964 and retired in 1997.

Walt enjoyed a successful career as a stock car driver at the Waterford Speed Bowl, where he drove the Lawrence + Memorial sponsored modified race car and was a two time track champion. He was voted one of the top 50 most popular drivers and inspired many to take up the sport.

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Jimmy Winks Passes at 65

James Robert Winks, 65, of Oak Hill, FL, took his final checkered flag in the race of life on November 7, 2013, with his family by his side. He was born in Syracuse, NY, and resided in Cicero, NY, until 1981 when he moved to Oak Hill, FL. Mr. Winks owned Winks Construction in Cicero, NY, and All Surplus Marine in Oak Hill, FL. He was most passionate about his racing. He drove dirt modifieds, asphalt modifieds, supermodifieds, late models, sportsman and sprint cars and won numerous races both in NY and FL. He will be inducted into the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame in January 2014.

He is survived by his wife, Deborah (Easton) of 45 years; his daughter, Cindee (Adam) West; grandchildren, Joshua and Jordyn West, Edgewater, FL; his sister, Judith (David) Werchinski, Brewerton, NY; four nephews; three nieces; and many wonderful friends.

A Celebration of Life Ceremony will be at the First Baptist Church of Oak Hill, 192 East Halifax Ave, Oak Hill, FL on November 16, 2013 at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon at the Terra Mar Village Clubhouse, 1 Park Blvd., Edgewater, FL.

[View Guest Book]

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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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Dick Crotty Passes at 58

Richard E. Crotty

MANCHESTER – Richard E. “Dick” Crotty, 58, of Manchester passed away, after a long battle with cancer, peacefully with family by his side on Oct. 29, 2013.

Born on Dec. 27, 1954, to the late Richard E. Crotty and the late Genevieve (Charbonneau) Crotty, he was a lifelong Manchester resident.

Richard was a firefighter with the Manchester Fire Department for 25 years, retiring in 2000 from Engine 10. During his retirement he continued serving as a court officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office.

Richard was an avid motorsports fan, who had driven race cars throughout New England, winning many awards. He also enjoyed traveling to Disney World yearly with his family and had a passion for classic cars. Richard was also a founder of East Cost Auto Racers (Small Block Supers) and Cruisn’ Times.

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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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Jerry King Passes at 86

Gerald G. “Jerry” King, age 86, died at Rutland Regional Medical Center, Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

He was born January 29, 1927, the son of Ella (Barrett) and George C. King.

Jerry was a lifelong resident of Rutland. He owned and operated Jerry King’s Garage & Gun Shop for over 40 years. Jerry was the Central and Southern Vermont “transmission specialist” for many years. In later years, he operated only the gun shop, ending in February 2013 when a fire destroyed the business.

Jerry served in the Navy Seabees at the end of World War II.

In the ’50s and ’60s Jerry was a well-known and widely respected race car owner and driver at Vermont and New York race tracks. He was known as the “Rutland Rocket” in his well-known “5 Aces.” Jerry was a huge NASCAR fan and was always an avid deer hunter, his last hunt occurring at age 85.

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