Archive for the 'Lakeville' Category

Former NEMA Champion Butch Walsh Passes Away

Frederick T. Walsh

HYANNIS – Frederick T. (Butch) Walsh died at Cape Cod Hospital on Aug 22, 2015.

Butch was born in Dover, MA, in 1941, to the late Thomas and Alice Walsh.

He was a skilled automotive technician, and champion motor racer in modifieds, super modifieds, midgets, sprints and motorcycles.
Butch was the 1966 NEMA rookie of the year, 1973 NEMA leading driver, and 1994 Grand National Champion N.E. Short Track. Three term president of NEMA and a member of NEMA Hall of Fame.

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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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NEAR Presents “Class of 2012” At 15th Annual New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductions

East Windsor, CT — On Sunday January 29, The New England Antique Racers (NEAR), presented the 15th annual New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Inductions. Award-winning sportswriter Matt Buckler served as Master of Ceremonies for the well-attended event held at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.

Receiving induction honors this year were drivers Reggie Ruggiero, Joey Kourafas, Moe Gherzi, Jerry Humiston, and Roland Lapierre Sr., owner/mechanics Mario Fiore and Jim Jorgensen and track operator Irene Venditti.

Though not present due to prior commitments, longtime Northern media personality Dave Moody was the recipient of the prestigious “Jack Ratta Memorial Media Award.” Veteran auto racing journalist and Hall of Fame Member Pete Zanardi received the Danny Pardi Memorial Award for his many contributions to NEAR over the years.

A pivotal figure during the formative years of the sport and truly one of the regions earliest stars, Moe Gherzi came to stock cars following a brief fling with midget racing during the busy post-war era. Gherzi won for some of the best teams in the early days of the sport while displaying a flashy style which became his trademark. Nicknamed “Moneybags” owed to a knack of winning many big-dollar events, he tasted success at virtually all of the regions tracks. He later served as the longtime Racing Director at Connecticut’s Plainville Stadium. Accepting for her late father from presenter Dave Dykes was Ms. Alma Michaud.

[Photo Galleryby Nicholas Teto

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Legendary Driver Gene Bergin Passes

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

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

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

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

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Bill Balser to Receive NEAR 2011 Jack Ratta Memorial Media Award

Pioneering New England auto racing photographer Bill Balser has been selected as the recipient of the New England Antique Racers 2011 Jack Ratta Memorial Award.

Balser will accept the award at the 14th annual New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Sunday, Jan. 30 at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT. Ticket forms and further information will be on the NEAR website ( in the near future.

Hailing from Brocton, MA. Balser’s distinguished career in auto racing photography began during the 1950s. He regularly shot at tracks such as West Peabody, Westboro, Norwood, Seekonk, and Lakeville in Massachusetts, and also Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway and Brookline, NH, among others.

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April 2018
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