Director’s Meeting 10/20/20

The next Director’s meeting of the New England Antique Racers will be at the Thompson Speedway Lounge on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Topics will include the Modified Model Raffle winner, planning for the next Newsletter and the Annual Member’s Meeting in early 2021. Attendees are reminded to bring/wear a mask for indoor protection/social distancing.

New Show for NEAR-9/20/20

We have an addition to our 2020 schedule of events! Priam Vineyards has asked us to participate in a large car show on Sunday, 9/20/20. Food and drink will be available. The NEAR Hall of Fame Truck will be there, along with many member cars on display.$10.00/car, spectators free, proceeds benefit The Ron Bouchard Racing Museum and New England Antique Racers.. Muscle cars, race cars, lots of classes with no year cutoff. Going to be a great day! Just added- Hop Culture will be there to service all beer drinkers!!

Update- Wyckoff Arrangements

Ronald “Ronnie” N. Wyckoff, 80, passed away peacefully on August 27, 2020 at LiveWell in Plantsville. Ronnie was born in Pennsylvania on August 15, 1940, son of the late Joseph and Helen Wyckoff. Ronnie was a heavy equipment mechanic working for H.O. Penn Caterpillar for 35 years. He was a legend and an accomplished race car driver. His love and passion for the sport of auto racing saw him an admired competitor, loved by fans and a respected winner, driving cars at: Plainville Stadium (where he was an active part of their annual reunions), Riverside Park Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and New London-Waterford Speedbowl. In 2014, Ronnie was inducted into the New England Antique Racing Hall of Fame. This is an honor bestowed upon racers by their fiercest competitors, car owners and a select Board of Historians. Ronnie was truly humbled and it was one of his greatest honors to be presented with this prestigious award. Ronnie is survived by his loving family, daughter and son-in-law, Ronalee and Steven Herz, two grandchildren; April Herz and Tyler Herz, a sister Karen Reid and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Janice Armitage. Ronnie’s family would like to thank the staff at LiveWell for the love, care and compassion they provided to him. A special thanks for the Angels who entered into his life: Linda, Irene and Samantha. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to LiveWell, 1261 S. Main St, Plantsville, CT 06479, to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 or to NEAR P.O. Box 492, Bradford, VT 05033. Calling hours will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2020 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 S. Main St, Plantsville. A private memorial service will be livestreamed before the calling hours starting at 1:00 p.m. To attend the service, please visit For online condolences and directions, please visit

It is with a heavy heart that we report that NEAR HOF driver Ron Wyckoff has passed early this morning. Ron has suffered from Alzheimer’s/dementia for a few years.

Florida born, Ron came to Connecticut in the early 1960s and started racing in Plainville Stadium’s Novice division. Moving to Modifieds, he was a winner at Plainville and Riverside Park – three straight Riverside 500s, 1974 through ’76 – and a steady competitor at Stafford, Thompson and Waterford.

Ron was very popular in the grandstands and in the pits. He was very good on equipment, evidenced by the list of top cars he drove – Czarnecki 20, Berndt 54, Simons 9 – Ron’s expertise in long-distance races was legendary-including the 1978 – 250 lap Riverside Park Triple Crown Series finale. He retired in 1983.

Ron was a fixture at the Plainville Stadium Reunions the last 10 years or so. He will be dearly missed by all his friends, fans, and admirers. We will update this post as arrangements become clear.

NEAR at Bear Ridge Speedway 8/15/20

The competitors of NEAR are converging at the Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt. This Saturday 8/15/20. Sign in starts at noon with pit gates open at 3 pm. A full slate of race events is on tap for the Sabil & Sons Old Timers Night. Seven divisions will be competing for the wins. NEAR cars will be on static display on the midway and do parade laps during the evening. Hope to see a great crowd at Butch Elm’s place and great weather, as well!!

NEAR at Riverside Speedway, N.H.

The Near crew had their most recent running event at the Riverside Raceway in Groveton, N.H. this past Saturday 8/1/20. The track crew and the rest of Mike Humphrey ‘s staff made it a very enjoyable and smooth running event. There was plentiful practice time with 8 lap heats paired with 15 lap features for both the Sportsman and Modified divisions. Victims of mechanical woes were Greg Gilbert and Art Merchant, who were wicked fast but could not make the features. And boy oh boy was it hot!! Curt and Lois Snow provided a nice lunch after the driver’s meeting and many good racing stories ensued. Then it was time to get down to business!

Scott DeCota started things off taking down the win in the Sportsman heat. Then Tommy Trempe led from the start to nab the Modified heat. After a short break, it was feature time. The Sportsman were 5 strong with Jerry Humiston, Pete Marshall, John Adams, Scott DeCota, and Greg Stiles starting the race. Jerry got off to a great start, leading Pete for 14 of the 15 lap contest. On the last lap Pete dug down deep and thundered up the outside to take the lead and the win. Jerry settled for second, while John Adams crossed the line in third. In the Modified event, Jim Allen started on point with “Downtown” Ken Brown in second, Tommy Trempe in third, Curt Snow fourth, and Alan Zemla taking up the rear. Jim held the early lead followed by Ken and Curt Snow. Curt managed to get into the top spot by lap 10, with Jim Allen runnerup and Alan Zemla in for third. Overall, it was a great showing for both divisions. Thank you to all the racers involved who supported this event!

After the features were over, a youngster in the pits came over who loved the modified cars. Curt Snow put him in the car, and second place finisher Jim Allen sent him home with his trophy for the night!! The boy was very excited and happy, as were his parents. So happy to be associated with so many first class folks who put on these shows. Thanks so much, guys!!

2020 NEAR “Revised” Event Schedule

Aug 1        Sat.      Riverside Spdwy             Groveton, NH

                               Sign-in: 12 NOON           Running

Aug 15      Sat.      Bear Ridge Spdwy          Bradford, VT

                               Sign-in: 12 NOON           Still/Parade

Aug 21      Fri.       Claremont Spdwy          Claremont, NH

                               Sign-in: 3PM                    Running

Aug 22      Sat        Bethel  Spdwy               Swan Lake, N.Y.

Rain out –makeup  Sign-in 3p.m.                   Running

Sept 6      Sun      Limerock Historic Fest    Salisbury, Ct.

                             8 a.m.-3 p.m.                     Still/display

Sept 12    Sat.      White Mt.  [WMMP]      No Woodstock, NH

                              Sign-in: 1PM                     Running

Oct 9-11 Sat/Sun   Thompson Spdwy        Thompson, Ct.

HOF Truck/2 cars   Sat. 8 a.m.                  Running Heat/Feature

on display

This revised schedule is subject to changes due to the current pandemic of COVID-19 and may be affected by government restrictions. Schedule will be updated if we can add any dates.

HOF Museum gets a makeover!

Even as the Covid-19 pandemic negatively affects hundreds of thousands, a small group of dedicated NEAR members carry on. Ever since the annual member meeting in March, the newly formed Hall of Fame Museum Committee has been working non-stop. Chairmen Oscar Hancock and Rob Quinn have been hitting the bricks drumming up sponsors to come on board and help with the many expenses involved in keeping the museum rolling. Happily to say, their efforts have yielded fine results.

Fortunately, Oscar is the owner of American Beauty Signworks in Woonsocket, R.I Oscar’s business is signs, of any type, to advertise your business, club, anything that benefits from exposure from advertising. Oscar, Rob, and their team came up with a beautiful new vinyl wrap for the truck showcasing our racing history. Modifieds, midgets, drag cars, and road racing cars are represented “bursting” out of the side of the vehicle. The team also made space to showcase NEAR’s new marketing partners as well. What a fantastic job they did.

A lot of mechanical work has also taken place along the way. The truck has a new exhaust, gas tank, and LED running lights thanks to Tap Auto & Truck in Cumberland, R.I. The Tire Doctor, in East Walpole, Blackstone, and Reheboth Ma. supplied some new rubber for us as well. A lot of help also from J.B. Cote Construction in Cumberland, R.I., Seals -It Specialty Products in Ellington, Ct., Scott Quinn Construction, and Performance Transmission from R.I. More help is on the way, a lot of folks are getting on board to ride with NEAR in 2020 and beyond.

As of yet, we have not had an event that we have been able to take the museum to. Pretty soon things should be loosening up on the pandemic front. At that point I am sure the museum team will be out showing off the new colors! When you see this truck out and about, please let the guys know how much you appreciate all of their hard work!!! Thanks to all involved!!

HOF Track Owner Bob Bahre Passes

Article thanks to North East Motor Sports Museum


The July 2020 passing of Bob Bahre is a sad time for everyone involved in New England motorsports. Bob’s contributions to racing in New England were huge.

He was inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Along with others including Vic Yerardi and Al Novotnik, Bob developed and promoted the Vintage Celebration at his New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In its early days, the Celebration was simply spectacular with the garage filled with period correct Indy cars, sprints and midgets.  The noise of their Offy engines exploded into the summer air with their own brand of music and their tart exhaust aroma. Beautifully restored race cars of every type were welcomed and they came and were enjoyed by so many.

               In these divisive times in which we live, back then auto racing had Bob Bahre to bring us together. He had time for everyone from millionaires to the kid looking up at a driver in a white firesuit.

               Along his magical trip to bring top level racing to New England, he bought Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway in 1964. He soon invented the Oxford 250 (originally the Oxford 200) along with weekly racing that was so good that it drew crowds so big Bob added more seats until his track had greater capacity than any other in New England. And on many days and nights, he sold tickets for every one of those seats.  

               His first Cup races were booked when he owned Oxford. Bobby Allison won his first Cup (then Grand National) event there in 1966. Bob promoted two more Cup races at Oxford before the series became too big for small tracks like Oxford.

He saw his future in big league NASCAR which was growing rapidly, so he sold Oxford and began preparing for his greatest adventure:  bringing big league racing to New England for the first time since 1928.

He acquired the Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon, NH along with other adjacent properties with which he created New Hampshire International Speedway. The obstacles he overcame to build the track were monumental. Unable to obtain a permit for suites, when he learned the denial came because the town didn’t have a ladder fire truck that could reach that high, Bob solved the problem. He bought a ladder truck and gave it to the town. In turn, he got the permit to build the suites. He blasted ledge, built a tunnel under the track big enough for trailer trucks and did everything he could think of to ensure the comfort and safety of racing’s fans.

               NHIS opened in 1990 with a Busch race. Bob knew from the beginning that he had to have NASCAR’s top division if his new track would be successful. He petitioned Bill France Jr. for a date who first told Bob his chances “…were somewhere between slim and none.” But, Bob persevered and finally, NASCAR awarded him the track’s first Cup date in 1993. Then, he pulled a brilliant maneuver to bring a second Cup date to his track. New England watched the biggest motorsports series in the country twice each year and we bought every ticket for every Cup seat Bob Bahre ever had at his new track. He achieved sold-out attendance for every top division NASCAR race he ran at NHIS.

               He always loved vintage cars, especially Packard’s. He built a massive two story garage on his property in South Paris, Maine where he lived with his wife Sandra and son Gary. He filled that garage with priceless cars of the past. As such, with a love of old cars, he was one of us. A barn at the upper level included a library, vintage cars and even a horse-drawn carriage. Like NEAR’s membership, Bob appreciated the beauty of the past.

               Each year he opened the collection to all who wanted to see it and donated the money that came from the event to the local library.

               Bob started in business when his mother bought a Sears welder on time so he could learn a trade. With it, Bob built trailers. But, as a young man he moved on to ultimately earn a fortune developing real estate. First there were single family houses, then apartment buildings and then strip malls. What began as a single spec house became a real estate empire. Bob’s hard work and smart decisions resulted in the millions of dollars he used to build New Hampshire International Speedway.

               He bought and sold a local bank located near his office several times. He always bought for less and sold for more. He explained his business success to Speedway employee Cheryl LaPrade saying, “I just got lucky, kid.”

               His success was the result of so much more than luck. Involving his family in the business was part of the story. His had an extraordinary level of common sense. And courage. He built NHIS without a NASCAR promise of Cup series races. He made consistently good decisions and had the tenacity to achieve lofty goals. The reputation he earned as a fair and honest man helped more than this humble man would have ever admitted.

               He was a generous man in many ways, sending annual donations to local churches and other charities. He made sure everyone who came to his track to race went home with money in their pocket, even if they failed to qualify. He was a mentor to many but especially to Cup winner turned TV personality, Ricky Craven.

               Most multi-millionaires learned business at Wharton or Harvard Business School. Bob never finished high school.. From the first shovel that moved dirt on the property, he believed the track in which he was so heavily invested would fail without at least on top level NASCAR date. He built NHIS almost entirely using his own money so the risk was high.

               He loved auto racing and old cars but his first love was his family, his wife Sandra and his son Gary. Both played active roles in Bob’s business life. They built a mansion on Lake Winnipesaukee for he and Sandy and another right next door for Gary. Bob never truly liked the big house and spent his final days in South Paris, Maine in the former home of Governor Hannibal Hamlin, a home built in 1848, where he lived before the lake property was built. Bob was more comfortable in that old house with his car collection just steps away than in the shiny newness of Longview on the lake.

               The man in the kaki pants with the white shirt and yellow sweater was a certified New England treasure. We’ll never see another like him again.

2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Cancelled

2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Cancelled.

The NEAR Board Members and Hall of Fame Executive Committee Representatives met at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum this past Sunday. After much discussion and after holding off as long as possible, we gave in to common sense. The decision was unanimously made to cancel the 2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet.
As hard as this decision was to make, it was the right one. The Covid 19 pandemic has not moved on. Our facility for the event is still not open in Ct. A great number of our membership and honorees are in the highest risk group for infection. In the interest of being as safe as possible, we will regroup and try to have a stellar event in 2021!
Please note that all nominations for the 2020 Hall will be retained for consideration in 2021. We will continue to accept additional nominations until April of 2021. We thank any and all that have had a hand in the planning, sponsoring, and putting on of this event. Please continue to be safe and God Bless.

NEAR at White Mountain

Attention: We have been told 9/9/20 that the pits will open for NEAR at 11a.m and practice at 12 noon!! Please spread the word!

The next NEAR running show is at White Mountain this Saturday, Sept.12, 2020. Pit gates open at 11:00 a.m. with practice at noon. Racing starts at 6 p.m. We expect a good turnout of cars for both Sportsman and Modified divisions. See you all there!

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