NEAR original founder Ed Clark passes

The  entire  NEAR  Membership  offers  it’s  deepest  condolences  to  the family  and  friends  of  Ed  Clark.  Ed  was  one  of  the  original  founding  members  of  our  club.  New  England  Racing  will  be  forever  indebted  to  Ed  for  his  efforts  to  preserve  and  publicize  it’s  rich  history. R.I. P. good  sir.

 

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EDWARD ARTHUR CLARK
December 10, 1939 – August 11, 2018

CLARK, Edward A. — Edward A. Clark (Eddie), 78, of Palm Coast, FL, beloved husband of Diane (Leone) Clark passed from this life on August 11, 2018. Mr. Clark was born in Meriden, CT, and was the son of the late George H. Clark and Carmelina (Bazzano) Clark. 

Mr. Clark was a longtime resident of East Hartford, CT, prior to moving to Palm Coast, FL, in 1983. In East Hartford, he was active in the community serving as president of the East Hartford Little League in the 1970s and was a member of the East Hartford Elks Lodge #2063. Mr. Clark worked for Mashkin Freightlines from 1964 to 1983 where he was a member of Teamsters Local 559. In Palm Coast, he served as a volunteer firefighter in the mid-1980s, and over the years continued to be active in the Flagler County community as a member of the Italian American Club and Palm Coast Elks Lodge #2709. He also worked with the Flagler County Kiwanis. When first moving to Palm Coast, Mr. Clark worked for ITT Community Development Corporation at Palm Coast Home Realty as a property manager, and in 1992, worked with his wife to open Budget Property Management in 1992 until 2017. 

Mr. Clark was an avid NASCAR fan and was a racing pioneer in his own right as he was a  founder of the New England Antique Racers Association (NEAR) with the original vision of preserving New England stock car racing history. He followed his father George Clark’s footsteps by serving as a NASCAR technical inspector and official from 1960 to 1982. Mr. Clark was also a Navy veteran who served onboard the USS Tarawa CV-40 from 1956 to 1958. 

Along with his wife of 53 years, he is survived by his son, Jeffrey Clark and his wife Missy of Naples, FL; his daughter, Kelly Brandt, and daughter, Amy Bowes and her husband William of Palm Coast, FL. He also leaves his eight grandchildren, Adrianna Brandt, Jacob Brandt, Trevor Brandt, Samuel Bowes, and John Bowes of Palm Coast, FL, and Nicolette Clark, Madelaine Clark, and Charles Clark of Naples, FL. He also leaves his brother, George H. Clark, Jr., and his wife Rosemary of East Hartford, CT, and many nephews and nieces.

 Friends and relatives are respectfully invited to a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Palm Coast, FL, on Saturday, August 25, 2018 at 11 a.m. A visitation will be held before mass from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. in the memorial room. 

Mr. Clark was an avid animal lover and the family requests in lieu of flowers for any memorial donations to be made in his name to the Flagler County Humane Society, 1 Shelter Drive, Palm Coast, FL 32137. 

The family of Mr. Clark entrusted the arrangements to Clymer Funeral Home & Cremations

VISITATION

Saturday August 25, 2018 , 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church 
Click for Map and Directions

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL

Saturday August 25, 2018 , 11:00 AM at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church 
Click for Map and Directions

 

Racer, historian, NEAR standout Tom Ormsby passes

By Bones Bourcier

 

8/8/18 ……. Sad day today. The first time I ever set foot in a race shop, on a night more than 45 years ago, it was Tom Ormsby’s little garage in Bristol, CT. His black coupe, shown here, was being attended to by Tom and a few other men. They were all blue-collar guys, and, after they had put in a full day’s work someplace, they were spending their evening hours helping get the #60 ready for Saturday night’s race at nearby Plainville Stadium. I’d been to a bunch of races by then, and I’d already fallen in love with the sport. But that visit to Ormsby’s shop showed me, for the first time, that racing was more about people than about machines, something that is true at every level of the sport. I lost track of Tom for a while after Plainville closed in 1981, but decades later he was at the forefront of the racing nostalgia movement in New England, and I’d sometimes see him when I returned home. In recent years he moved to Florida, and last night he died there after a long illness. Racers like him, those thousands of weekend journeymen, never completely understand how many lives they touch. RIP, Tom. — Bones

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2018 HOF Class of 8 Announced

Article courtesy of author Justin St. Louis/Rutland, Vt. Herald

 

The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2018 with a decidedly northern flavor. The class has the highest percentage of new inductees from north of Massachusetts in the NEAR Hall’s 21-year history: Six out of the eight have strong ties to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine.


Though his name may not be familiar to many stock car fans, Colchester’s John Buffum is the most high-profile inductee from the class. The driver, team owner and car builder is the most accomplished American in the history of rally racing, winning 118 events at the national level in the United States and Canada, three events internationally, and a pair of Pikes Peak Hill Climbs. Buffum was born and raised in Connecticut but has called Vermont home for more than 50 years. He can claim 23 national rally championships and one road racing title as a driver, and another 31 titles as a team owner and constructor. 


All three active Vermont stock car tracks find representation in the newly announced class.

 

North Ferrisburgh native Jamie Aube rose from humble beginnings at Barre’s Thunder Road and Milton’s Catamount Stadium to become a household name in the short track world. Aube won the nationally-respected Oxford 250 in 1987 and ’89 and also won three consecutive championships on the former NASCAR Busch North Series.


C.V. “Butch” Elms III is one of two dirt track stars to be named to the NEAR Hall of Fame. The North Haverhill, New Hampshire native is undeniably one of the most accomplished dirt drivers in the Northeast, taking 136 documented wins and 11 track championships. Elms is best known these days as the owner and promoter of Bradford’s Bear Ridge Speedway — where the bulk of his success came in his driving days — which he has owned since 1989.


Ken Tremont Sr. also represents the dirt world, and is the only non-New Englander in the Class of 2018. The all-time greatest car owner and engine builder at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Tremont has 93 wins and 10 track titles (and counting) within the borders of New England, and he remains active with both his son, Ken Jr., and grandson, Montgomery, driving his cars. Tremont’s accomplishments in his native New York State — though they were not factored into his nomination by NEAR — bring his career totals to well above 350 race wins and nearly 50 championships.


As a driver, New Hampshire native Dick Glines won a championship in the highly-competitive Oxford Open Series and was a winner at several Maine tracks. As a crew chief, he was responsible for the rise and dominance of Robbie Crouch in the 1980s, winning 49 touring series races and five championships including three-straight on the American-Canadian Tour, and was Aube’s crew chief during his 1990 Busch North title run. As a fabricator, Glines built cars for eight additional Busch North championship teams, and his cars also won NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity) races.


Maine’s Pete Silva won more than 120 races on paved short tracks up and down the East Coast, and is considered to be one of the Southeast’s most legendary drivers. After winning Late Model Sportsman races in his native New England, Silva relocated to the Carolinas and won many races and track championships at places like Greenville-Pickens, Hickory and Asheville, racing against many drivers who went on to national prominence in NASCAR.


Finally, two giants of New England stock car racing will highlight the Hall: Mike Stefanik and the late Ted Christopher.


Stefanik, a Rhode Island racer and one of asphalt Modified racing’s very best, is a seven-time champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the series’ all-time winner with 74 victories. He was an outstanding driver in full-fendered equipment as well, winning Busch North Series and Modified Tour titles in 1997 and 1998. He was the 1999 Rookie of the Year on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and has hundreds of victories in weekly short track competition.


Christopher, who was killed in an airplane crash last fall in his native Connecticut, owns more than 370 victories in his career in an almost immeasurable variety of race cars, from Modifieds to Midgets to Super Late Models and more. Christopher was the 2001 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion and the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion. He is the all-time winner at both Stafford Motor Speedway (131 victories) and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (99).


The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Nov. 11 at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor, Connecticut. The ticket order form can be printed by following the link below this story.

 

2018 HOF ticket order form

NEAR Event postponed at Seekonk!

 

 

 

 

 

The NEAR Event at Seekonk has been postponed due to weather. We will be working on a  re-scheduled date!

 

Saturday, August 11th, 2018, the vintage  racing  cars  of  NEAR  take  to  the  high  banks  of  the  Seekonk  Raceway.  The  Hall  of  Fame  Truck  will  be  on the  midway, and  the  stars  of  NEAR  will  race  heats  and  a feature  during  the  racing  program.  Pit  gate  opens  at  3 p.m. with  practice  to  follow.  Come  down  and  see  some  of  the  best  examples  of  New  England  Racing  history  compete  just  like  in  years  past.

NEAR event at Waterford Rained out

Photos  courtesy  of  Scott  DeCota

 

A  fine  turnout  of  NEAR  Sportsman  and  Modifieds were  ready to  do  battle  at  Waterford  Speedbowl  on  Sat.  July  28th.   Just  as  the  feature  was  lined  up  in  the pits, Mother  Nature  unleashed  her  havoc  on  all.  All  further racing  was  cancelled  for  the  evening.  This  was  a  shame  for  the  competitors,  many  who  traveled  from  New  Hampshire, Ma, and  even  the  local  racers. 

We  were  able  to  get  everyone  out  for  2  practices  in  the afternoon.  We  also  ran  our  8  lap  qualifying  heat, won  by  Angie  Bullock  in  the  088.  Second  was  Paul  Jacques  in  the 7ny,  and  Dickie  Doo  Ceravolo  in  the  #31. The  rainout  also  prevented  the speedway  from  recognizing  Ceravolo  for  his 30th  anniversary  behind  the  wheel  of  a  modified.  Congratulations, Dickie.  Unfortunately, the  remainder  of  the  event  will not  be  re-scheduled, due  to  lack  of  open  dates  on  the  calendar.

The  Hall  of  Fame  truck  was  a popular  attraction  for   the  fans  in  attendance, as  well  as  the  static  cars  on  display. Thanks  to  all  for  displaying  and  competing, it was  a  very  well  attended  show.

 

 

NEAR headed to Summerfest in Wiscasset, Me.

 

The  cars  and  stars  of  NEAR  will  be  on  hand  for  Summerfest  at  the Wiscasset  Motor  Speedway  on  Sunday, August 5 th, 2018. The  track  is  located  at 274  West  Alma  Road  in  Wicasset, ME.  Pit  gates  open  at  10 am., a  picnic  is  part  of  the  fest. 

The  show  is a  static  one,  with  parade  laps  also  on  the speedway.  We  are  hoping  for  good  weather  for this  event,  a  very  popular  one  with  our  friends  to  the  north. Load  the  kids  in  the  car,  and  come  show   them  fine examples  of  New  England  racing  history!

 

NEAR at Waterford Saturday, July 28th

The  Racers  of  NEAR  are  to  appear  next  this  Saturday, July 28th,  pit  gates  open  at  1 pm.  The  Hall  Fame Truck  will  be  on  the  midway,  along  with  any  cars  wishing  to  static  display.  There  will be  a heat (8 laps) and  feature (length TBD)  for  the  running  cars.  Rich  G. and/or  Bill H.  will  be  there  to  sign  you  in, we  will  be  in  the  north  pits (closest  to  the entrance  in turn one.)

See  you  all  there! Questions   Rich 860-209-7343  call or text

NEAR Hall of Famer Gardiner Leavitt passes

Submitted by Phil  Whipple
 
 
 
Gardiner Leavitt, the legendary driver, car builder, parts supplier, and Maine racing icon
passed away on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, with family by his side. He was 87.
Leavitt raced on the dirt of Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, the high-banks of Dover  (Delaware) International Speedway
and numerous short tracks in the  northeastern United  States and eastern Canada.
Affectionately known as “The Geezer from Kezar,” Leavitt’s 60-plus year involvement in
auto racing began at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in 1951. His red and white No. 35
entry was a familiar sight for race fans around southern Maine.
When the original NASCAR North Tour was created in 1979, Leavitt decided it was time
to try something new. After 12 years competing in NASCAR events from North Carolina
and Virginia to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, Leavitt retired as a driver to take on
the new role of tutoring young drivers.
For over 50 years, Leavitt wore the hats of race driver, car owner, teacher, fabricator and
race parts supplier. Leavitt and wife June touched more lives and influenced more young
drivers than perhaps any other couple in New England. Leavitt was a member of the
Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame and
was inducted into the NEAR Hall in November of 2017.
On behalf of President Paul Masse and full membership at NEAR, our thoughts and
prayers go out to June, Steve and the entire Leavitt family at this difficult time. Gardiner’s
impact on New England racing was huge, and his legacy will live on for generations to
come.

Near invited to Bethel Motor Speedway

Story by Bill Henry
 
 
The New England Antique Racers will be appearing  at the 
“Remembering Danbury Speedway” event at Bethel  Motor Speedway  on July 21, 2018. Michael Hager , of the Bethel Motor Speed way,  is inviting  all NEAR members to bring their cars to the Speedway on  Saturday July 21, 2018.
 
The pit gates open at  3 p.m. The track is  offering 2 warm up heats and a feature event for  the cars that want to take to the track.
 
Mike also said please bring cars for a still show,  he has plenty 
of room.  Last year,  those who  attended enjoyed the event.
There  will be two free entry passes for each car , whether 
static or running. The main event for the track cars will be
the Ev Pierce memorial race. These folks put on a good show,
with wheel to wheel racing.
 
Members of the SNYRA reunion committee will be there with Danbury items. The P A system was turned over to members who raced at Danbury,  to recall the memories of the track. The Grand Marshal will be a driver from Danbury, as well . Ev’s family will be there also.
​So come on out for a great evening of nostalgic racing, and honoring a driver who raced for decades in our cars of yesteryear!
 
Hope to see you there!!!
 
Bethel Motor Speedway
361 Horseshoe Lake Road
Bethel New York