Al "Butch" Burbank
, NEAR Member

Photo Courtesy of Scott & Cyndi Haskell
Photo Courtesy of Scott & Cyndi Haskell
Photo Courtesy of Scott & Cyndi Haskell

If you attended the races at Norway Pines, Rumney, NH, in 1982 or White Mountain Motorsports Park, North Woodstock, NH, in 1994 you would have seen Al “Butch” Burbank, our NEAR club member since 2012, accepting track championships. So of course, one of his favorite tracks is White Mountain Motorsports Park along with Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, VT.

A little history about Norway Pines, it was a dirt speedway that has had many name changes over the years: Big Daddy’s Speedbowl, Rattlesnake Motordrome, Legion Speedway, The Pines Speedway, Norway Pines, and The Legion Speedbowl; and the race track is located on the Rumney / Wentworth town line in New Hampshire. So Burbank’s championship, at what was then Norway Pines, is now Legion Speedway.

Burbank’s involvement with racing started in 1969 at Catamount Stadium, Milton, VT, and Thunder Road, Barre, VT. Over the years, he has been the owner and driver of his ’82 championship car – white 1937 Chevy 5 Window Coupe, yellow 1987 Troyer Dirt Modified and most recently the purple 1973 Vega Asphalt-Modified; he actually owned the ’37 and ’87 race cars twice. They were sold and he had the opportunity to buy them back; he actually found the ’87 in the woods. Sharing the Burbank garage again is his ’37 which he is currently restoring and hoping to bring out in 2017.

The purple Vega brings along its own special history, it has been autographed by Reggie Ruggiero who was the first wheelman to drive it to the winner’s circle in the 100 lap race at Plainville Stadium during the Thompson Speedway 300 weekend in 1975. “Back in the day” previous owners were, to name a few, Bob Warner and Bob Seymour; and competed at Plainville Stadium, Plainville, CT, Riverside Park Speedway, Agawam, MA, Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, NH, as well as other New England race tracks.

By Judy Poirier