Mare Harlow, NEAR Member

Mare Harlow became a NEAR Member in 1999; just prior to the closing of Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam. She was appointed to the Board of Advisors the following year; and in 2004 was elected on the Board of Directors and subsequently the NEAR Recording Secretary until the conclusion of 2014.

When asked how Mare first got into racing, her response was:

“Literally; my 1st race was when I was 3 days old!  In 1964 my dad raced at Waterford Speedbowl, so where else would my mom be?  As I grew up, my love & adoration for the Modifieds has grown exponentially (any guy who sits his butt in a Modified has a piece of my heart)!  Although, I do love all forms of auto racing, not limited to asphalt “oval-track”, but diverse to drag racing, Indycar, dirt racing too. 

Basically – if it’s got 4-wheels & goes fast (the faster the better), it’s for me.

Racing (and NEAR) has provided me with the opportunity to meet most of my child-hood heroes; like Bugsy Stevens, Ron Bouchard, Geoff, Brett, & Todd Bodine, Bentley Warren, George Summers; among many, many others.”

As a Fan of racing and a Pit Crew member, Mare’s favorite race tracks were Thompson and Martinsville – or anywhere the Modifieds raced. She also recalls fondly Riverside Park, Nazareth Speedway and North Wilkesboro.

Mare's dad, Richard “Dick” Harlow, was a racer spanning 16 years from before she was born until his racing “retirement” in 1977 - but as we all know, race car drivers never "retire", they are just waiting for their next ride. Dick's #54 Modified, which appears in the NEAR website logo (blue and white car) was originally the #77.  He was the original builder, owner and driver of the '34 Chevy Coupe. Dick's home track was New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Mare's response, when asked about her "Memorable Moments" were:

"Gosh, too many to list!  (in no particular order):

  1. Dad “winning” the NEAR event at Waterford Speedbowl!  That was a proud moment for ALL of us.  Dad raced for so many years, and up until then, 5th place was his best finish in a 50-lapper at Waterford; so “winning” a NEAR event with his entire family present was a really big deal.  Then “winning” the NEAR event at Monadnock a couple years later (still trying to get a photograph from that event ???).

  2. Restoring my dad’s race car – what a challenge; because Dad was adamant the car be kept as original as we possibly could keep it.  Dad kept his car after he “retired” from racing; only to be persuaded by myself to restore it & campaign it with NEAR after the closing of Riverside Park Speedway.  The fights & arguments over “new” vs. “old” were relentless; but hindsight being what it is; I am glad dad had it his way & we kept the car original.  It truly is (to quote Ron D’Allessandro) “a rolling time capsule”.

  3. Giving Ron Bouchard his 1981 Talledega Winning Trophy at the NEAR HOF Banquet!  Keeping that quiet was really difficult to do. 
  4. Each year, Mr. Ron Bouchard “hosted” NEAR at his dealership in Auburn, MA.  He also had on display the #47 Race Hill Farms Monte Carlo that he’d won the 1981 Talladega 500 race with, but no trophy to go with it.  During our conversation, he said that back then, only 1 trophy was given out & it went to the car owner (Jack Beebe). 

    I wanted to do a nice gesture & get a duplicate trophy made so that Ron could put it in the display case of his dealership.  After contacting the track - Mr. Jim Hunter (at the time, VP of Competition of NASCAR), I discovered that there was no way to obtain a duplicate trophy, so my next step was to contact Jack Beebe.  I explained to him what I was planning on doing; he GAVE me THE TROPHY!!!! to present to Ron Bouchard at the NEAR HoF Banquet that year!  There were a total of (5) people in NEAR who knew about the entire surprise (besides myself & my family): the NEAR President at the time (Al Fini); Pete Newsham; Paula Bouchard; Jack Beebe & Ken Bouchard.  Needless to say, the entire presentation was a complete to surprise to Ron!

  5. Meeting Dick Trickle at NHIS in May; then a few months later (at Nazareth), Mr. Trickle walked up to me & greeted me because HE actually remembered ME!!! (true story is on my FB page in my “notes” section)."

Mare has been working for the State of Connecticut in the Department of Transportation since 1989. She is the Project Coordinator (audits State projects), working in the field garages for the majority of her State career as a "Secretary". During the winter she is a dispatcher and has been known to plow snow...

If you go to watch The Chester Fife & Drum Corps you will see Mare, Assistant Fife Sargent, playing the fife; she has been an active member since 1978. Other talents include being on a hot-air balloon crew for the Beemster Cheese balloon at the NJ Quik-Chek Balloon Festival for the past 4 years.

Last, but certainly, not least is her love for the ocean!  You can usually find her laying on the beach at least 3-4 days a week in the summer time, if she isn't marching in a parade or going to the races.

By Judy Poirier