This Friday, AUG 25, Running Show, Lee USA Speedway, 380 Calef Highway, Lee, N.H. 03861
Sign-in begins at 3:00 p.m.
All photos courtesy of Bill Henry
Article by Jim Torok
Photos courtesy of Bill Henry
Promoter Mike Hager of the Bethel Motor Speedway presented a program entitled ‘Remembering Danbury’ on Saturday, July 15th, 2017.
With a great deal of effort and research Mike noted the history of EV Pierce, a racer who called Danbury his home track till 1981 when the Racearena closed. EV raced with the Southern New York Racing Association (SNYRA) and was fourth on the total number victories list when this very competitive track closed. EV also raced at Bethel Speedway when the beloved Danbury closed. The side bar on the Bethel Speedway website noted all Ev’s accomplishments while racing from 1948 into the 1990’s. (Go to the Bethel Motor Speedway website it is really worth the read)
Present for the festivity was Charter member of the SNYRA and EV’s fellow racer Nick Giardina who, along with his wife Betty, served as Co-Grand Marshalls for the evenings events. Don Lajoie donated prize money for the extra distance event for the Modified racers as well as the trophy. Many members of EV’s family were present to enjoy the event.
In the name of Lajoie Wrecking and Auto Parts the 50 lap EV Pierce memorial race was run. The winner in a closely contested modified feature was Culhane who completed an outside pass to win after running wheel to wheel for over 25 laps with Cote.
Taking to the track as part of the celebration was former Danbury racer Art Knapp in his # 40 ford Pinto. Representing New England Antique Racers (NEAR) were George Cleveland in the 1950 ford business coupe 5X, Jim Torok was in the 04 Pinto of Danbury racer Corky Cookman, and Alan Benincaso was behind the controls of the # 42 Pinto which his dad Carmine campaigned at Danbury.
Harry Hansen, a former Danbury racer, was on hand as vintage announcer for the evening. Harry, who is very active with the Danbury Reunion every year, was able to tell the history of the cars as they appeared on the track. Harry knows the history of each car and the present day driver, which added a very personal touch for the many Danbury folks who were in the stands. Danbury Racearena shirts from the numerous years that the reunion has been held were visible in abundance in the spectator areas.
Available for sale were Danbury Racearena shirts and programs from the previous years. Thank you to all the committee members!
On static display was the completely restored # 73 Harmon Roofing 1934 Ford coupe powered by the traditional Danbury ‘Flathead V – 8.
Thank you NEAR members for making the trip to this family friendly ¼ mile track in rural New York.Huge thanks to the Promoter Mike Hager, Don Lajoie, as well as those individuals who worked behind the scenes to honor EV Pierce and make this trip down memory lane possible.
Longtime Thunder Road Speedbowl co-owner and promoter Tom Curley died last Friday following complications from a lengthy illness. He was 73 years old.
A pioneer for his sport of auto racing, Curley was involved in local and regional competition for most of his adult life. After spending considerable time at Thunder Road as a spectator and driver in the 1960s, he became the NASCAR Northeast regional director in 1978, and a year later created the NASCAR North Tour. He and Thunder Road founder Ken Squier then acquired the track in 1982 from former owner Tommy Kalomiris, a news release from ACT stated.
Though his health had declined in recent years, Curley continued to be a presence at Thunder Road. He and Squier had recently completed the sale of the track prior to his passing. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
After leaving NASCAR, Curley created the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) sanctioning body in 1986. Under Curley’s leadership, Thunder Road and ACT became household names for racers and fans throughout the Northeast, making the Barre high banks one of the most popular auto racing destinations in the region. Among his many accomplishments, he helped relaunch the famed Flying Tiger division that has competed since 1982, and created the ACT Late Model rules package used at Thunder Road and numerous other tracks.
Racing Promotion Monthly named Curley the North American Promoter of the Year in 2004. He also received the Lowes Motor Speedway National Short Track Promoter of the Year Award in 2003 and the Trackside Magazine Promoter of the Year Award in 1992. Curley was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2009. Thoughts from the entire NEAR community are with Tom’s family.
Speedway Promoter/Race Controller Mike Hager has announced a special event at the Bethel Motor Speedway. Bethel is a fast 1/4 mile slightly banked asphalt track located at 361 Horseshoe Lake Road, Bethel, New York 12783.
On Saturday, July 15th, they will be holding a “Remembering Danbury Racearena Night”. A full racing program is on tap including SK Lights, 3/4 Midgets(ATQMRA), Vintage TQ’s, Dirt Sportsmans, INEX Legends, INEX Bandoleros, and topped off by by the 50 Lap BMS Modified “Ev Pierce Memorial Race.” Ev Pierce was a long time competitor and track champion at the Danbury Racearena. He will be honored that night.
Mr. Hager would like to highlight The NEAR Club with a 12 lap exhibition Feature (pre-intermission, daytime) along with a 15 lap exhibition Feature (post intermission/nightime). Both winners can enjoy Victory Lane. Ample time for practice will also be provided in the afternoon, rotating with the other racing classes. Any cars wishing to set up a static display will be welcome in the grandstands. The track also hopes to see former Danbury drivers, officials, crewmembers, and fans to participate with any photo collections, memorabilia, etc.
Come early, as the gate opens at 3 PM. For more information you can contact Mike Hager at (914)522-7375 or the track at (845)319-7908.
Please support this event, as well as White Mountain on June 3 in Woodstock NH