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NEAR Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Class
July 29, 2014

Click here to download an order form for 2014
Hall of Fame Banquet Tickets

 

Welcome to the New England Antique Racers and New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame

 

 

 


 

 

Slide Show of Vintage Race Cars

The New England Antique Racers Club is a non-profit organization that supports the history of New England auto racing. NEAR has been in existence since 1981 and has a growing membership of approx. 350-400 members and 80 antique race cars. Members live throughout New England and are available, on a no charge basis, for exhibition events at  local race tracks in New England and several tracks in the New York area, with both original and historical replica race cars.

Since 1998, we have inducted 185 individuals into the New England Auto Racers Hall Of Fame, which is administered by the New England Antique Racers. Some very notable inductees include Richie Evans, Ron Bouchard, Bugs Stevens, Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton, Fred DeSarro, Ed Flemke, Sr. and Billy Greco.

NEAR Meetings are Scheduled for the
3rd Tuesday of Each Month
Next meeting September 16th

Monthly Meetings are at:
7:15pm
Triple A Restaurant
1209 Main St. (Rt. 5)
East Hartford, CT
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The Sun Shines on the Last “Running” Show
of the 2014 Season

September 13, 2014

Over most of southern New England the storm clouds threatened rain on Saturday. In many cases power lines and trees were down and the local streams were roaring with runoff. 

Then, came the dawn of Sunday, September 7, 2014; it was clear, cool and no humidity. Waterford Speedbowl had cancelled the Saturday evening show due to rain; but when NEAR arrived the next morning, the track was being swept and the only signs of the storm were some puddles in the parking lot and the soggy infield.

As this was a non-point show, the drivers came for the sure enjoyment of running their machines; there were two track periods for our crew. The first was for 15 minutes as a Heat event and then the Feature event for 12 minutes; click here for videos of the events. The timings, instead of a lap program, was because we shared the track with STAR (Senior Tour Auto Racing); and also with a local radio station for the Show and Go crowd that populates the track on Friday nights.

Enjoying the last running show were Joby Tucker in the #70 Coupe, Kent Ingves in the #716 coupe, Spanky Bancroft in the #15 coupe along with George Cleveland in his 1950 Ford. Representing the later versions of modifieds were Steve Zukowski in the #53 Vega, the winner of the event, along with the #04 Pinto of Jim Torok and the #49 Pinto of Gerry Blanchette. 

Thank you, die hard drivers for coming and showing the spectators what cars were in the earlier years at the ‘Bowl.

Hope to see all of our members at the upcoming reunion shows listed in the schedule and remember to order you tickets for the Hall of Fame Banquet; click here for the order form.

By Bill Henry

Cunningham, Forsyth, Borden
Added to NEAR Hall of Fame
September 10, 2014

Briggs Cunningham II, Roy “Pappy” Forsyth and Fred Borden are the veterans committee picks for inclusion into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

The trio, along with drag racing great Bob Tasca, car builder Dave Tourigny, historian R.A. Silvia, and drivers Mike Rowe, Deke Astle, Jim Martel, Fred Schulz and Ron Wyckoff will be enshrined at the NEAR Hall of Fame Induction banquet Sunday, November 16, 2014 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.

The veterans committee deals with accomplishments prior to 1960. Still to be announced is the winner of the Ratta/Mitchell Award which goes to a member of the media.

Click on this link for Ticket information and order forms.

 

Starting his career immediately after serving in World War II, Forsyth, a West  Swanzey, NH product, ran up an impressive record over three decades including championships at Claremont and Keene in New Hampshire and at Connecticut’s Stafford Springs. His prowess continued into the 1960s including a sensational season at Thunder Road in 1961 (10 wins in 18 starts) driving for George Barber. Forsyth passed away in 1988.

 

 





A Waltham, MA native, Borden began racing at West Peabody, MA in 1950, winning twice. Over the next 17 seasons, in the employ of some top car owners, he carried away checkereds at Medford, Brookline, Norwood, West Peabody and Westboro. He was so successful at Medford they put a bounty on him. He was a dominant force driving for Rick Falconi in the 1960s at Westboro and Brookline. He now resides in Florida.

 


Cunningham called Westport, CT home for much of his life. A pioneer in American Sports Car racing, he was a competitor, patron, sponsor and car builder. Determined to put America on a level with the Europeans, he produced a list of high-performance prototype machines and competed on the international stage at LeMans and Sebring, his car winning at the latter. NEAR Hall of Famers Fitch and Walters were among his drivers. He passed away in January of 2003.        

Sixth-Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion
Slated For October 11th

By Dave Dykes
September 9, 2014
Click on flyer for full size

(BERLIN, CT) Following the conclusion of World War II, short track auto racing became popular entertainment with new tracks springing-up nationwide. A new generation of New England fans emerged, enthralled by the roar of the open-wheel Midgets. Stock cars soon followed, and by the early-1950s Connecticut was home to no-less than eight oval tracks with the pre-war coupes & coaches topping the marquee.

Only the Waterford Speedbowl and Stafford Springs Motor Speedway remain as weekly venues. Presently, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park hosts a limited schedule of stock car racing.

Joe Tinty opened the gates to his ¼-mile Plainville Stadium in the spring of 1949 and it closed at the dawn of the 1980s. However, the colorful facility lives-on in the memories of fans & racers who made it their Saturday night destination for decades.  

On Saturday, October 11th, the Nutmeg Kart Club in conjunction with the Berlin Lions Club World of Wheels presents the Sixth Annual Plainville Stadium Reunion. The event takes-place from 10am – 3pm at the Berlin Fair Grounds located 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin, CT. The rain date is Sunday, October 12th.  Click here for full press release

RIVERSIDE REUNION WRAP-UP
September 9, 2014
L-R, Billy Greco, Ray Miller, John Lobo, Sr.,
Dick Brooks and Bob Polverari (Photo by Gary Danko)

An estimated crowd of 600-700 people helped to “keep the memories of Riverside Park Speedway alive" at the NEAR sponsored Riverside Reunion on Sunday, August 31st. The gray skies didn’t keep down the attendance as a steady stream of cars entered the parking lot of the Agawam Polish Club.

Many drivers, car owners, crew members, track officials, and fans were in attendance. There are too many to mention and we don’t want to unintentionally leave out some one, so we are going to let the pictures and captions tell the story of the reunion.

The story that we do want to tell is about all the hard work many people provided to make this event a success. With only about ten weeks to plan this event the Riverside Reunion committee consisting of Al Fini, Chairman, Bill Henry, Pete Newsham, Mare Harlow, Rich and Claire Belmonte, Jim Torok, Bobby Steele, and Billy Greco worked very diligently to make this event a success. Besides executing their assignments they all had to travel to the site earlier in the month to lay out the whole program so that we were ready when the first cars started to arrive on Sunday. Click here for full story

By Al Fini

New England Antique Racers Shine at Seekonk
September 5, 2014

On Saturday August 30th, 2014, the New England Antique Racers performed at the Seekonk Speedway located in Seekonk, MA.

Representing NEAR at this annual event included Jim Torok in the #04, Rich Belmonte in the #19, Jim Williams in the #7NY, Jody Tripp in the #LX 1, Kent Ingves with the #716 and Joby Tucker in the #70. Also present for the evening of fun were Gerry Blanchette in the #49, Bill Kemp in the #199, Laurance Johnson in the #17, Rich Houle in the #U2, Dave Wright in the #198; Spanky Bancroft in the #15, Bob Murray in the #88 completed the running cars. The Flyin Finn #32 by Luchefi and Monahan provided a wonderful static display.

The cars were given the opportunity to be in one (1) of two (2) 15 lap features.

The Sportsman show saw Joby Tucker in the #70 in the winners circle by coming home in first. The Modified division had Bill Kemp in the #199, all the way from New Hampshire, come home as the leader of the pack. 

Since this show was the last running points event of the 2014 season, "THANK YOU" to all that traveled, overcame various challenges and provided the fans of vintage cars the opportunity to see the old iron.

While the running point shows are over, we do have a non-points running event this Sunday, September 7, 2014, at Waterford Speedbowl. We also have several reunions and "still" shows on the calendar; so don’t let the season end...come out, show your cars and meet with the fans.

By Jim Torok

New England Antique Racers
Mobile Hall of Fame Schedule
September 3, 2014

Many folks that visit the website are not members yet and would like to know where the truck (Mobile Hall of Fame Museum) will be because there are always good vibes when the truck is at the track or supporting a still show.

On Sunday, September 21st, the Mobile Museum will be on the Boston Common, by invitation, to reveal the history of Automobile Racing in New England. There will be numerous cars of all makes. This is a free event and, if you are in the area, a guaranteed crowd pleaser for anyone who has a passion for the automobile.

Moving into October, the mobile truck will be at the Pines Reunion on Saturday, the fourth (4th), in Groveland, MA. The Plainville Reunion in Berlin, CT, at the Berlin Fairground on Saturday, October 11th and the Gathering of the Faithful in Rochester, MA, on October 18 -- with a rain date of October 19. To check the weather conditions and the status of the show go to Regional Weather.

Lastly, on November 16th, at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Banquet at Maneeley’s -- located in South Windsor, CT.

Tickets to enjoy this event are available in the newsletter now and online in the near future.

Hope to see you at one or all of these events.

By Bill Henry

NEAR Member Profile this week is for Jim Allen
September 1, 2014
Photo by Judy Poirier

Wall Stadium was the track to go to and see the yellow #46 compete "back in the day". In 2000 Jim Allen became the owner and driver of the #46 Vintage Modified race car powered by the John MacIntire racing engine and a member of the Bob Donahue Racing.

For Jim, the racing attraction began at age 5 while living next door to a race track. The track had the foresight to give season passes to their neighbors, making it possible for the neighbors to attend the races.

Jim started his racing career in the Enduro race cars at Monadnock Speedway. After tiring of fixing frames, on a pretty regular basis, he began to look for a non-contact division. He found what he was looking for in Vintage racing. In 1996 Jim joined both NEAR and STAR Vintage racing clubs and continues that relationship; as well as taking a leadership role as a STAR Board member. Click here for full story

New England Antique Racers
At Waterford Speedbowl September 7th

August 28, 2014

Just added -- another event for Sunday September 7, 2014; this is a non-point event.

This will be a running show and all are invited to attend. Other events taking place at the 'Bowl that day will be music, car show, motorcycle riding and skill demonstrations.

NO motors can run before noon on Sunday.

It has been requested by the track that we arrive no earlier than 11am and that we proceed directly to the sign in booth at the modified pits located straight ahead off the driveway.

Hope to have a good collection of cars.

REMEMBER PLEASE NO EARLY BIRDS, DO NOT ARRIVE BEFORE 11am AS REQUESTED BY THE TRACK

By Bill Henry

New England Antique Racers Identities
(AKA NEAR Gear)
August 27, 2014

I will hold the NEAR Gear order open for mail order items with a check attached until September 22, 2014.

With the upcoming induction of the Class of 2014 into the Hall of Fame **Now** is the time to order your jackets to ensure we get a group rate for ordering larger quantities of merchandise.

We are offering the Quilted Satin Jacket, the same logo on the back as the Hall of Fame jacket, with a NEAR checkered flag emblem on the left breast and your name on the right. Jackets start at $67.50 for the Small, Medium, Large and X-Large. The 2-XL is $74.50 and the 3-XL is $81.50.

We also offer the Nylon lined Staff Jacket with your name on the right breast, the NEAR checkered flag on the left and the two modifieds 49 and 33 on the back display of our logo for $35.00. Click here for full article

By Bill Henry

New England Antique Racers
August 27, 2014

New England Antique Racers took northern New England by storm on August 14th and the 15th, 2014. With two (2) shows back to back the journey to Thunder Road International Speedbowl and Devil's Bowl Speedway was a great success and drew many active drivers.

Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont, on Thursday, August 14th, provided track time from 11:30am to 3pm; even with a brief shower that slowed the action, there was plenty of time on the track. In attendance were George Silsby in the 92, Darragh Hoyt in 199 NH, Paul Zampieri in the 30, David Wright in the 198, Bill Kemp in the 199 and Alson Perry in the 44. They were accompanied to the track by Rich Macdowell in the 99, Barry Roy in the 0, Lloyd Hutchins in the 176, Scott Haskell in the 27, Wes Mooney in the 79, Gerry Blanchette in the 49 and Jim Torok 04.

Two twelve lap features were conducted. Bill Kemp in the 199 won the modified division while Scott Haskell came home first in the sportsman group. Click here for full story

By Bill Henry

Sometimes nice guys finish first; Ron Wyckoff selected to the NE Auto Racing Hall of Fame
From online The Southington Observer
August 25, 2014
August 22, 2014

By John Goralski
Sports Writer

COURTESY OF THE DAVE DYKES COLLECTION
Southington’s Ron Wyckoff stands beside the Simons Brothers' No. 9 car at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Nobody expected much out of Ronnie Wyckoff when he slipped into the lineup at the Riverside Park Triple Crown Finale in August of 1980. After all, the Southington driver was supposed to be retired. How could he expect to keep pace with such a storied group of drivers in their prime? How could a recently retired driver survive the obstacles, trials, and ordeals of a 125-lap race?

But Wyckoff’s fans knew that he was the one to beat. After all, Wyckoff made a career out of finishing races.

Click here for full story

NEAR Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Class
July 29, 2014

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, November 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 (NEAR1.org) in the near future.

Part of one of New England’s foremost racing families, Astle, a Westport, MA resident, was a champion at both Seekonk and Lakeville Speedways. Noted for his adaptability, “The Little Man with the Big Cigar” was also a major force throughout Eastern New England, most notably at Westboro and Thompson Speedways in addition to Seekonk and Lakeville.

 

 

Martel, of Ipswich, MA, won in cars ranging from Cutdowns to Supermodifieds over four-plus decades of competition.  A two-time NESMRA Late Model champion, his resume includes a Late Model win at Fredrickson in the Canadian Maritimes and a Supermodified win at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. He has victories at over a dozen tracks.

 

Turner, ME resident Mike Rowe continues to compete, adding to a list of accomplishments that includes over 200 victories and 13 championships. Starting in 1968, Rowe, a three-time Oxford 250 winner,  has won, in addition to seven Oxford crowns, NEPSA (1999), ACT (1994), PASS (2006), BRMS (2013) championships and has ruled at Wiscasset (1991) and Beech Ridge (2009).


Noted for an intense competitive zeal, Schultz’s championships at Norwood (1969) and Westboro (1978) figure among a list of accomplishments over a career that began in the post-World War II “cutdown” era. Also part of a racing family, Schulz, who passed away in 1999, and car owner Jim Susi won 14 straight at three different tracks in 1959.

 

 

 

 

 

Wyckoff, a Southington, CT resident, was a major winner at Plainville Stadium and Riverside Park Speedway and a force everywhere else in the 1960s and ‘70s.  A winner of three-straight Riverside 500s, the Florida native rarely sat idle, testimony to both his ability to take care of equipment and his standing among his fellow competitors and the fans.

 


Working with the Koszela family, Tourigny designed, built and maintained an impressive list of Modifieds. They included the legendary Woodchopper coupes and Vegas, the Logroller Corvair and a revolutionary Ford-powered Pinto that the likes of Fred DeSarro, Bugs Stevens and Mike Stefanik drove to a host of victories and to a half-dozen championships.  

"A Dave Tourigny Masterpiece"


A Providence-area Ford dealer for 55 years, Tasca came to drag racing in the late 1960s, seeing it as a boom to his business. He quickly became a major power. Starting with a ’64 Ford Fairlaine, Tasca moved to Funny Cars and full-blown “fuelers,” bringing New England into the national spotlight. Tasca died in 2010.


Silvia has emerged as one of New England’s premier auto racing historians and preservationists.  “The man to go to” for those seeking historical clarification or a photograph, he has served promoters, competitors, media and fans alike for over three decades out of his home in Warwick, RI. From a historical standpoint, his impact on New England racing is immeasurable.