Next NEAR Meeting
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May 19, 2015 at 7:15pm
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|NEAR Member George Fratoni Jr. Passes At Age 56
May 19, 2015
(NORWICH, CT) New England Antique Racers member George Fratoni Jr. passed-away on Friday May 15th following a battle with cancer. He was 56.
By Dave Dykes
Prior to his illness George was very-active with NEAR, campaigning his vintage modified stock car raced formally by multi-time New London-Waterford Speedbowl track champion, the late George “Moose” Hewitt.
Heavily-involved with the automotive hobby his entire life, George was an avid stock car racing fan. He was also a longtime member of the Connecticut Dream Machine Classics Auto Club, serving on their Executive Board.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 21, at 11:00am at the Woyasz & Son Funeral Home, 11 Jerome Rd, Uncasville. Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, May 20 from 5-8pm and again on Thursday morning from 10:00 to 11:00am at the funeral home.
Burial will be at a later date.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations in his memory be made to the Carley Beth Fratoni Educational Fund, c/o any Chelsea Groton Bank branch location to be used for her nursing education.
For a complete obituary and to leave condolences online please visit www.woyaszandson.com; click here to see full NEAR obituary.
The entire New England Antique Racers family takes this opportunity to send our sincere condolences to the entire Fratoni family and all of Georges many friends on this somber occasion.
|Hometown Favorites Earn Podium
Finishes at Monadnock Speedway
May 15, 2015
(Click here for photos)
The first NEAR running event of the season was held at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH, on Saturday May 9th. It was a beautiful, sunny day with a slight breeze for the two dozen members and sixteen cars that were presented, with some members earning podium finishes in front of their hometown southern New Hampshire crowd.
New member Wesley Roach of Nashua and veteran Angie Bullock of Greenfield NH took home the first place trophies in the Modified and Sportsman features, respectively. Wesley piloted a meticulously prepared, Bob Donahue owned 66 Mustang “7X”, while Angie wheeled the beautiful black 37 Coupe “088”.
Also on the podium in 2nd place for the modified division was Bob Donahue in a brand new #99 Pinto ride and 3rd was Gregg Massini in his nicely prepared #19 Vega wagon. Rounding out the field were Richard Trempe in the Bob Donahue owned 99X Cavalier, and the very sharp '67 Camaro, #199 of Bill Kemp. The 7NY Cavalier was again beset with mechanical problems and did not run the feature, but the team is confident they will be back on track soon.
Also posting top finishes in the Sportsman Division was Darragh Hoyt, 2nd, in the #199NH Chevy II, Rick MacDowell, 3rd, in his '67 Camaro, #76. Other Sporstman competitors included the #99K AMC Gremlin of Joe Keefner, the #70 coupe of Paul Grondalski and Jobie Tucker, the #9 coupe of Joe Enright driven by Peter Taloumis, the #15 coupe of Spanky Bacroft, #198 coupe of Dave Wright, and the #5X Ford of George and Candy Cleveland. The yellow #5 coupe of Jack Proulx was also present but did not take to the track. NEAR president Paul Masse was also present to greet some of the northern New England members.
Administratively it was a busy day for NEAR event coordinators with membership forms, driver profiles, medical forms, photos, safety inspections and driver meetings all needing attention before the start of the first practice. Besides safety and having fun, the main goal was to meet track expectations and be on time when called. With two practices per division and a feature for each, there were six time hacks to make and thankfully the club was ready every time.
Four new members joined and three members renewed at the event. Many members pitched in to help out with some of the administrative tasks, and Bob Donahue and crew were a huge help in conducting the safety inspections. Speaking of which, some of the members might have felt their cars were “over scrutinized” during the inspections, and they were correct – as some of the inspectors have been studying the rules for the upcoming Thompson and Loudon invitationals, which are quite specific. After reviewing NEAR rules once more all of the issues were addressed and previous “discrepancies” were noted as “recommendations”.
The medical form is something new this year and seems to be well received by the members. The purpose is to provide medical personnel with important information in the event someone is injured. The member fills out the form by supplying as much information as he or she deems pertinent and is comfortable with. The form goes into a sealed envelope with the driver’s name and car # on the outside, and they are held by a NEAR representative during the event. At the conclusion of the event the envelopes are given back to the members to bring to the next event. This way no information is ever seen or disclosed, but is handy if needed.
Overall the Monadnock outing seemed to be a resounding success. NEAR is grateful for the invitation, and both the track and NEAR look forward to continuing their solid relationship into the future.
The next scheduled event is a running event on Saturday, June 6th, at the White Mountain Motorsports Park in North Woodstock, NH. Event coordinator for this event is Lloyd Hutchins. The following day, Sunday June 7th, is the Norwood reunion.
By Jim Williams
|Marilyn Greco, Beloved Wife of
NEAR Hall of Famer Billy Greco, Passes
May 12, 2015
|Photo Courtesy of Pistey Funeral Home
(STRATFORD, CT) Sadly, it’s been learned that Marilyn Greco, beloved wife of New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Billy Greco passed-away on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at Bridgeport Hospital with her family by her side following an extended illness. She was 77.
Friends may call on Wednesday from 4 to 8pm at the funeral home. For a complete obituary and to leave condolences online please visit www.pisteyfuneralhome.com; for full obituary click here.
Friends are invited to attend the funeral on Thursday, May 14 at 10:30am at Pistey Funeral Home, 2155 Main Street, Stratford, CT. Interment will be private.
The entire NEAR family would like to take this opportunity to send our sincere condolences to the Greco family and all of Marilyn’s many friends on this somber occasion.
By Dave Dykes
|New England Antique Racers Attendance
at Summer Knights Show Garners
Participation Award Again for 2015
April 29, 2015
Click here for photos
On Sunday April 26, 2015, despite the early morning cold temperatures (39°), snow and sleet two days before the show, the faithful were determined to show that the vintage race car owners and drivers are a sturdy lot.
The following folks brought cars to the event: Ron Carlson the #85 coupe, Steve Zukowski the #53 Vega, Rich Belmonte the #19 Cavalier, Jim Williams the "Tom Baldwin" Tribute car #NY 7, George Cleveland the #5X Ford Businessman's Coupe, Tom Maciag the 19 Pinto, Carl Kierman the #222 Pinto and Jack Proulx the yellow canary Coupe # 5. These folks braved the conditions of the week to have cars out for the NEAR organization and earn the most cars by a single group in attendance Award. Thank you to these hearty souls!
|(L to R) Jack Proulx, Ray Evernham, Ron
Rich and Claire Belmonte
(Photo Courtesy of Jim Williams)
Seen in the photos chatting with some of the NEAR members in attendance is Ray Evernham of NASCAR fame. Ray took the time to speak with everyone about his grass roots racing in modifieds before becoming a crew chief on the Winston Cup circuit and winning national titles. Scott Zipadelli was also scheduled to appear at the event. There were numerous Sprint car items up for raffles and bid during the show as part of the fund raising process. Local radio personalities AJ (a big car buff) of the Chaz and AJ morning show on WPLR 99.1 were there with AJ’s Ford Fairlane in support of this local event.
Jim Williams commenced the tech inspection on some of the cars present so that the first running event on May 9th at Monadnock will move faster with cars ready to take the track.
Come on out and support the shows!
By Bill Henry
|"NEAR Members Rise to the Occasion"
April 25, 2015
In recent years the NEAR Hall of Fame Mobile Museum has been plagued with mechanical issues and was just plain getting "tired". But after months of discussion and exploring options, there is finally reason to believe that old workhorse will soon be running like new again.
By Jim Williams
The HoF Mobile Museum committee sought out vendors and estimates for truck repairs. At the April meeting, the committee made a recommendation that the truck be repaired at Dunleavy's Truck and Trailer Repair in Connecticut, where it was recently delivered for inspection and estimates. The Board of Directors unanimously approved the committee's recommendation.
Work is expected to begin next week on the truck to replace the tired old engine, freshen the transmission, and make other repairs to brake lines, burned wires, new starter, etc. Dunleavy's will also explore options to change the rear end gears to reduce highway RPMs.
Professional work like this doesn't come cheap, and the $7,600 estimate is more than what is available in the truck fund - which is also used to cover expenses for taking the HoF Mobile Museum to NEAR displays during the season. But NEAR members are rising to the occasion! Shortly after the vote, JoJo Farone raised his hand and offered to donate $100 towards the cost of repairing the truck. His donation was followed by another. Then more members raised their hands. Before it was over at least 9 of the 27 or so members present had committed to donate directly to the truck fund.
NEAR President Paul Masse expressed his amazement and sincere appreciation to everyone who stepped up and donated. He went on to say he hoped that when word gets around about the incredible show of solidarity, that even more members and supporters will commit to donating to the truck fund. Anyone who does wish to make a donation may send them to:
New England Antique Racers
PO Box 812
Meriden, CT 06450
Please enclose a note stating the donation is for the truck fund. Your support is greatly appreciated.
|Walt Scadden’s “Breakfast with Bill - Conversations with the Connecticut Valley Rocket “Wild Bill Slater” Released
April 24, 2015
|Among the tracks Bill Slater dominated
while wheeling the Bombaci-Vitari
#V-8 was Connecticut's
New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
(Shany Lorenzent Photo,
Dave Dykes Collection)
“Breakfast with Bill - Conversations with the Connecticut Valley Rocket “Wild Bill Slater” by Walt Scadden is now available.
Though not a lengthy affair, the book provides an engaging glimpse into the persona and career of the driver who became known as “The Connecticut Valley Rocket” during the golden era of New England modified racing. A modest selection of vintage photos also appear.
Content is culled from frequent and often-candid conversations Scadden had with Slater over the last 4-5 years of his life. The entire New England racing community was deeply saddened to hear of Bill’s passing in 2012.
A prolific winner, Slater guided the Bob Vitari & Vic Bombaci-owned #V8 coupe to championships and feature event triumphs throughout the region during the 1950s & 60s. Also on the resume are celebrated National victories at Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey.
Slater, Vitari, and Bombaci are all members of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Slater drove his last race at Stafford in 1969 and then became involved in the promotional side of racing at Stafford; and later Thompson.
Copies of the book are available exclusively at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, RI, at $5 each or directly from the New England Antique Racers (NEAR). Those opting for the latter choice should send a check for $6 (made out to NEAR) for each copy to Slater Book, 24 Goose Hill Rd, Chester, CT 06412. Please include a return address.
All proceeds benefit the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) and the ProNyne Motorsports Museum.
By Dave Dykes
|Robert LeSieur, Son of New England Auto
Racing Hall of Famer Val LeSieur Passes-Away
April 10, 2015
Sadly, it was learned today, Thursday, April 9, 2015, that Robert LeSieur, son of 2011 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductee Val LeSieur passed-away unexpectedly on Wednesday, April 8th. The entire New England Antique Racers (NEAR) family would like to take this opportunity to forward its sincere condolences to the LeSieur family on this somber occasion
The family will hold a Private Service at a Later Date; Baumgartner Funeral Home obituary.
By Dave Dykes