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 https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/29189060. For online condolences and directions, please visit www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com

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!!