Al Fini
, NEAR Member

Al Fini, recipient of the Danny Pardi Award

Al Fini’s introduction to auto racing occurred in the 1940s and '50s courtesy of his dad who was a fan of the midgets and his uncle, Bill Fini who raced coupes at the famed Riverside Park in the '50s.

As a young man Al tried his hand at driving and competed for a short time in 1965-67 at Riverside on Tuesday nights and Malta on Fridays. He won two late model features at Malta and he was a high points finisher both years (2nd in '66 and 3rd in '67). One of his greatest thrills was winning most popular driver at Albany- Saratoga (Malta) in 1967 sponsored by the Tiona Oil Company. He also enjoyed racing in the 200 lap late model races at the Big E; although he had DNF’s in both.

At the end of the '67 season he made the decision that he couldn’t put the effort into a successful racing career and still operate two growing businesses as well as enjoy his young family so the race car was sold. Al's only connection to racing after that was as a fan during the modified’s golden years.

In 1981 he was exposed to NEAR and thought it would be fun to get involved in racing again. Al and a few friends built a replica of one of his last cars. He was soon drafted on to the NEAR Board of Directors and quickly resumed old friendships with Buddy Krebs, Gene Bergin, and many of his heroes.

As we look back, Al’s greatest contribution to our great sport was not as a competitor but as a member of  NEAR. He spent many years on the Board of Directors, was Secretary for a few years and then he was elected President, the first time, in 1997. Some of Al’s many accomplishments include:

Longest serving President:  ten years; 1997-2005 and 2013-2014
Only President elected to non-consecutive terms
NEAR Hall of Fame implemented during his Presidency, 1998
NEAR Mobile Museum implemented, 2003

Al's legacy also included earning all three of NEAR’s distinguished service awards: Charlie Stebbins Award in 2002, Frank Marratta Award in 2005, and Danny Pardi Award in 2016.

The New England Antique Racers Club has truly benefited from Al's service and his ongoing sharing of New England racing history.