NEAR Archives: Pre-2017

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Message from Judy Poirier, Webmaster
December 24, 2016

At the January 2016 NEAR Annual meeting I reported that December 2016, this release, would be my last posting of “NEAR, website version 3.0” after volunteering to design, build and maintain the site for almost 3 years with over 71,000 views. Click here for full message

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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, over 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 207 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.

Next NEAR Meeting - January 15, 2017
(Note: postponed due to weather from January 8th)

Annual Meeting
Awards Presented
Doors open at 11am

Thompson Speedway Clubhouse
205 East Thompson Road
Thompson, CT
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NEAR December Update
December 16, 2016
2016 NEAR Annual Meeting
Photo Courtesy of Scott Poirier

We wanted to remind everyone that there will be NO MEETING of the NEAR Board in the month of December. 

Also, the ANNUAL MEETING is on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at a new location - the Raceway Restaurant at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, 205 East Thompson Road in Thompson, CT. The doors open at 11am and a complimentary lunch will be served at noon; followed by the NEAR business meeting and annual awards.

There will be a raffle of racing memorabilia and related items.  We are asking for donations of any race related items for the raffle. If you have some items at home and are willing to donate them to the club, please contact Steve Zukowski at (860) 638-8841. For other questions, please contact NEAR President, Paul Masse, at (401) 769-3484.

We hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and prosperous New Year.  Please celebrate responsibly - don't drink and drive - we want to see you on January 8th. 

By Jim Williams

NEAR….the Beginning
December 17, 2016

Editor’s note:  On Jauary 16, 2016 NEAR celebrated the 35th anniversary of incorporation. The Club was actually founded about a year before by the single efforts of one man, Ed Clark. The following info was gathered from conversations I had with Danny Pardi, Moon Burgess and Johnny Georgiades and this article was reviewed by Ed Clark for accuracy.

Twenty-five years ago the movie “Back to the Future” starring Michael J. Fox was playing in local theatres everywhere. Although not a big fan of movies I loved the plot of going back in time and making one alteration in an event that would forever cause significant changes in the future lives of those involved.

In my opinion, NEAR’s conception can be traced to the racing career of George Clark, Sr. George was a racer’s racer of the post WWII period when so many daredevils took to the early bullrings without any regard to safety or sanity. He started racing motorcycles in 1939 and when he got home from the War he started driving the notoriously dangerous homemade “Big Cars” that were the fore-runners of today’s sprint cars.  Later, he was among the first to drive the “jalopies” and then drove modifieds until a broken shoulder side-lined him in '51. Then he had a long career in the “strictly stock” late models that became popular in the United Stock Car Club of Harvey Tattersall and NASCAR with Bill France. In 1950 the Cavano Bros. bought him a brand new Oldsmobile from an East Hartford dealer that they took to NASCAR and Daytona Beach.

George lived to race. George loved to race and he always raced for money, not trophies. It is very difficult today to document his career. He often won races in other driver’s cars using fictitious names or as a fill-in for other drivers. Ed says his dad has the credentials that the Veteran’s Committee should look at as a nominee to the NEAR Hall of Fame.

George had his own business. He had a wrecker and primarily spent his time repossessing cars, long before the movies and video games made glamorous the careers of “A Repo Man”. Along with his wrecker he towed a trailer that allowed him to take a trip, go racing, and make money by bringing back three or four repossessed cars. He was usually accompanied on these trips by his sons George Jr. and Eddie. Every year they were part of the Indy 500 activities and got to know and be friends with all the personalities; A.J. Foyt, Tony Bettenhausen, George Bignotti, Eddie Sachs, etc. Click here for full story.

By Al Fini