HOF owner Ray Garuti Sr. Passes



Raymond Garuti Sr., 95, of Southington, passed away on Sunday, May 10, 2020 at Autumn Lake Health Care in Cromwell. He was the husband of the late Irene (Cap) Garuti.

Ray, with his brother Rich, owned and operated Ray’s Garage in Kensington for 39 years. Out of that small garage, the brothers built some of the fastest modified race cars on the East Coast, winning around 150 feature events with such drivers as Eddie Flemke, Smokey Boutwell, Jocko Maggiacomo and Moe Gherzi. The Garuti Brothers were inducted into the New England Race Car Hall of Fame on January 30, 2011. Ray was a US Army Veteran.

Ray is survived by two sons, Ronald Garuti and his wife Libby of New Hartford and Raymond R. Garuti and his wife Naomi Jean “Bunny” of Middlefield; 7 grandchildren, Jennifer, Jaclyn, Jeffrey, Jamie, Beth, Dave and Stephen; 6 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandson and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Richard Garuti and two sisters, Eve Andre and Geraldine Mokalus.

Ray was a loving husband, practical, creative, inventive; a wonderful mentor and always there for his children and grandchildren. He will be greatly missed.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, Funeral services will be private. The Della Vecchia Funeral Home, 211 N. Main St., Southington is assisting with arrangements.

For online condolences, please visit www.dellavecchiafh.com

Eddie West arrangements

 

 

Edward Everett West, age 79, lifelong resident of Dunstable, MA crossed his final finish line this past Wednesday evening April 15, 2020 when he passed away at his home.

Born in Ayer, MA on January 7, 1941, Edward was the son of the late Edward Sr. and Julia (Steinholtz) West. Edward was the middle of three children. He graduated from Lowell High School in 1958.

He was fast paced and always on the go, right up until the end of his life. He was beloved and admired by anyone that came in contact with him, and he was recognized everywhere he went across the country to the delight of his grandchildren. A talented super modified race car driver, he won more New England Super Modified Championships than any other driver in history and was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. Most recently, he was an honoree at the North East Motor Sports Museum Legends Day in 2019 in Loudon, NH.

A skilled mechanic, he owned and operated West Auto Repair for over 40 years. He served his community and leaves behind many lifelong friends. Edward’s greatest joy in life was his family. He never missed an event that involved his grandchildren, which included games, recitals, concerts, and many performances. His eyes lit up when speaking about his cherished grandchildren. Often referred to as the mayor of Dunstable, friends and customers from near and far would spend hours in his office receiving counseling in many areas of life, especially nutrition.

Edward is survived by his two children: Brian and wife Jennifer (Doviak) West of Dunstable and their two children, Sophia and Emma; as well as Jodi and husband David Daron of Londonderry and their five children, Casey, Grady, Killian, Sullivan and Finnegan. He is also survived by his brother Harold and his wife Lorraine (Crooker) West of Dunstable. Along with his parents, Edward is predeceased by his sister Sharon West-Knight.

Edward will be laid to rest privately at Central Cemetery in Dunstable on Tuesday, April 21st at 10AM. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date when the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. To attend Ed’s service on April 21st remotely, please follow the link: http://client.tribucast.com/tcid/36617032

The family would like to express our deepest appreciation to some very special people who have helped us over the years in caring for Ed in numerous ways. The family cannot thank enough Sarah, Frank and Harold for their undevoted love and support for Ed and his family.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Edward’s memory to North East Motor Sports Museum . Donations can be made online at nesmmuseum.com or by sending a check to North East Motor Sports Museum at 922 Rt. 106 in Loudon, NH 03307.

Added at Dick Berggren’s request 4/20/20
 
Ed West will be laid to rest on Tuesday, April 21st at 10AM in the central cemetary in Dunstable, MA.  Due to the social distancing requirements set forth by our government the burial at the cemetary will be private with immediate family only allowed to attend but if you would like to memoralize Ed and show your support for his family we invite you to join us for a “victory lap”.  

After the short ceremony has concluded at the cemetary the Dunstable police will lead us in a quiet lap past Ed’s casket via a parade in our vehicles.  If you would like to participate to memoralize Ed as he is laid to rest please arrive at the Groton Dunstable regional high school parking lot located at 703 Chicopee Rd. in Groton, MA no later than 10AM. 

For the safety of all we ask that you please REMAIN IN YOUR CARS AT ALL TIMES to keep everyone safe.  The ceremony at the cemetary will be live broadcast so feel free to tune in via your phones (here is the link:  http://client.tribucast.com/tcid/36617032)  The police will lead us in a procession to the cemetary where we ask that there be no horn beeping or yelling out instead be respectful and please have your flashing lights on in your vehicle.  Feel free to make a sign to hang on the driver’s side of your car (preferably with a checkered flag decor if you have the supplies at home to make such a thing) in Ed’s memory and to show the immediate family your love and support.  God willing we will have Ed’s 61Jr. be the final car in the parade to go by his casket and family.

These are crazy times that we are living in these days so why not add one more crazy thing to our life … a memorial victory lap around the Dunstable Cemetary to celebrate the life of a Ed West in a safe and proper social distancing way. 

 
 
 
 

HOF Driver Eddie West Passes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story by Mark Bourcier

 

Gutted to learn that Supermodified hero Eddie West has passed. Chatting with Westy at the annual New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame dinners always made that great day even better. Naturally, he was an inductee, part of the NEAR HoF Class of 1999. Some called him “the Golden Bear,” but his coolest nickname was “Goin’ West,” and if he was on the track he was generally goin’ toward the front. Eddie is second on the New England Supermodified Racing Association (NESMRA) all-time win list, with 106 victories from northern New England to Vero Beach, Florida. He was also a six-time track champion at New Hampshire’s Star Speedway, where he won New England’s biggest Supermodified race, the Star Classic, three times. Before Star Speedway existed, Eddie won the Can-Am Classic at nearby Lee Raceway. One last thing: for much of his adult life, Westy suffered from brutal arthritis. There are stories of him popping aspirin as if they were M&M’s just to dull the pain enough to climb in and out of his race car. So anytime you start trying to define what the word “tough” means, consider Eddie West racing in pain, winning in pain, and walking through life in pain, masking it all with grace and a smile. Thinking today of his family, his wide circle of friends, and the entire Supermodified community. There goes a legend. — Bones

NEAR HOF member Russ Conway passes

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing
Image may contain: 1 person, standing and on stage
Image may contain: 2 people, car
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, car, tree and outdoor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Images Courtesy of
North East Motor Sports Museum
 

Russ Conway

We have lost one of the most prominent figures in the northeast racing community. Russ Conway died yesterday August 20th. He was brought to his first race by his father Paul in 1956 at the Pines Speedway. His father worked on the fire rescue team at the track. His passion for auto racing and its people lasted for his entire life. He got his start writing for the Pines Speedway as a teenager and then attended Northeastern University and got his first major assignment covering the Boston Bruins in 1967 at age 18.

Russ teamed up with Ken Smith and Charlie Elliot in the late 1960s to build Star Speedway and formed NESMRA which ran supermodified races up and down the east coast for over 20 years. He was the co-founder to some of New England’s biggest auto races which are still going strong today. These events include the Star Classic, World Series of Speedway Racing, Oktoberfest of Racing. He worked at the Eagle-Tribune for years and his investigative journalism efforts helped bring down Alan Eagleson on charges of corruption with the National Hockey League Players Association. He is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. He was a part of the original 6 board members with the North East Motor Sports Museum and created its first major annual event, Legends Day.

Funeral and calling hour arrangements have not been finalized.

 

Originally posted by the North East Motor Sports Museum

Near Hall of Fame 2019 Class announced

The NEAR Hall of Fame Class for 2019 has been decided. The gentlemen to be honored on
Sunday, November 10, 2019 are:

Mike Joy – National Motorsports Broadcast Legend

Ed Flemke Jr. – Modified Tour driver/Chassis Builder

Wayne Dion – Multi -Division Driving Champion

Vinny Annarumo – Pro Stock/Modified Seekonk 7 time Champion

Jack Doyle – Drag Racer, Promoter, Legend

Brad LaFontaine –  Modified Championship Crew Chief /Chassis Fabricator/Parts Business Owner

Ric Mariscal – Founder/Conservator of the ProNyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, RI

Bob Webber Sr. – Owner of  Star and Hudson Speedways in  NH

Congratulations to all those being enshrined into the HOF at Maneely’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT

Order forms  for tickets are available lower on this post. 

Please plan on attending this is sure to be a sold out event.  

HOF TICKET FORM

Advertising opportunities as well as congratulatory messages are available in The Hall of Fame Book. These are popular keepsakes for all Banquet attendees. Please consider supporting NEAR activities with your message!

adflyer

Updated 2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Nomination forms

It soon will be time to unveil the members of the 2020 Class of the NEAR Hall of Fame. Preparations are underway to celebrate their induction at Maneeley’s Banquet Facility in South Windsor, Ct. The banquet will  be held on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.

We must prepare for 2020, so here are the forms needed to nominate a deserving person for the Hall. Please click on and download from the links provided and mail to the address on the form.

NEAR-HoF-nomination-form-email-version-2020 (4)

NEAR-HoF-nomination-mail-version-2020 (3)

Near HOF Truck, Member Cars Appear

HISTORIC MOTOR SPORTS EXPOSITION COMES TO LOUDON

 

LOUDON, NH: On Saturday May 4th the North East Motor Sports Museum (922 Route 106 Loudon, NH) will host the most diverse regional gathering of historical race cars, mobile museums, personalities and artifacts ever seen in New England. The expo will feature a variety of different racing disciplines including road racing, oval track racing, drag racing, off-road racing and more.

 

The featured attractions of the day will be all of the northeast’s mobile museums that will appear together for the first time. The museums are Ron Bouchard Racing, New England Antique Racers, Maine Vintage Race Car Association, Bob Doyle Museum – A Photo History of Vermont Racing and the Ollie Silva Museum. Two museums with physical building locations the ProNyne Motorsports Museum and Owls Head Transportation Museum will also join us.

 

1992 and 1993 NASCAR Busch North Champion the “Irish Angel” Dick McCabe, six time American Canadian Tour Champion Robbie Crouch and the only four time NASCAR Busch North Series Champion Andy Santerre will join us as our featured personalities. Museum president Dick Berggren will host conversations throughout the day with all three champions.

 

For one day only the museum will host a diverse group of cars from beyond New England’s boarders. See a 1984 March Indycar driven by Danny Ongais, a Formula 5000 racer in addition to New England classics such as the 1400 horsepower Country Girl Funny Car and stock cars from the Senior Tour Auto Racers club.

 

Join us on Saturday May 4th from 10am to 3pm and enjoy the one day exhibits as well as the museums 30+ cars, slot car track and iRacing Simulator. We rev up the engines at noon which will be followed by a barbeque lunch and we end the day with giveaway prizes. Members are admitted free to the museum with free lunch and non-members pay $10 entry free and a small donation for lunch. To display your historic race car or artifacts call executive director Tom Netishen at 603-783-0183. A rain date of May 5th has been set and Groupons are not accepted for this event.

 

About: The North East Motor Sports Museum is owned by the Racing History Preservation Group, a 501-c-3 educational non-profit organization that seeks to discover, preserve and share the history of motorsports in the Northeast. The 10,000 square foot museum opened in 2017 on the grounds of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.

 

 

HOF Driver George Summers Passes

George J. Summers

George J. Summers

AUGUST 21, 1935 ~ JANUARY 4, 2019 (AGE 83)

George J. (Tucker) Summers, 83, a lifelong Upton resident, passed away as peacefully as he had lived, on January 4th, 2019, at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, holding the hand of his wife of 63 years, Margaret A. (Kneeland) Summers.

Born August 21, 1935, to Mary Ellen (Van Riper) and William Reed Summers, he was the youngest of eight children. He is predeceased by six of his siblings: Janet Stockwell (and her husband Richard), Mary Strachen (and her husband James), William Summers, Barbara Knapik (and her husband Eugene), Cecelia Grynsel (and her husband Edward) and Charles Summers.  He is survived by a brother John Summers (and his wife Gloria) and a sister in law, Loretta Costello Summers. 

Educated in the local Upton Grammar school, George attended high school at Worcester Boy’s Trade.  At the age of sixteen, he left school and became a self-made man. In 1952, he went to work driving trucks and operating heavy equipment for local construction companies.  In 1962, George bought his first truck “Ol’ Slow Poke“ and started his trucking business, which now boasts 6 trucks and continues today as George J. Summers Trucking, Inc.

In 1952, George embarked on an auto racing career as a hobby.  For thirty -one years, he raced up and down the east coast from Maine to Martinsville, VA. He had over two hundred career victories, a hundred of them at the Seekonk Speedway, where he holds the title of “Most Career Wins“ in the racetrack’s history.  He also holds the title for the “Most Consecutive Wins“ in one season at the same track. At Seekonk, George also won two track championships, the first one with the Ken Curly modified #31 in 1967.  The second championship was seven years later in 1974, in the Connie LaJoie modified #21.  In 1976, George won the Governor’s Cup Open Competition Series in Oxford Plain, ME. driving the W.D Smith late model #35. He won the last two races of his illustrious career in the Art Barry modified #21 at Oxford Plains Speedway and the following weekend at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut.

Upon his retirement from racing, George became an avid golfer and was a member of the Westboro Country Club.

George was inducted into the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame, the Seekonk Speedway Wall of Fame, and the North East Motor Sports Museum, in Louden, NH, where his Connie LaJoie modified #21 is on display.  This February, he was to be inducted into the Living Legends of Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In addition to his wife Margaret, George is survived by his four children: George Jr. of Somerville, MA, Mary Summers Cortese and her husband Joe of Upton, Richard Summers and his wife Natalie of Upton, and Kathie Summers Grice and her husband Roy, of Cumberland, ME. He is also survived by his four grandchildren and one great grandchild. Ever the family man, whenever he was racing, his family would travel with him from one race track to another during the racing season. When he wasn’t racing, he was very much invested in the aspirations and activities of his children and much later on, in those of his grandchildren. It should also be noted that in his 31 years of racing, George never missed a Sunday mass.  Wherever he and his family were on a given Sunday, they would attend a mass at one of the local churches before the racing event that day.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 AM on Saturday, January 12th, in St. Gabriel the Archangel Church “The Farm“, 151 Mendon Street, Upton.  Burial will follow in Lakeview Cemetery.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, January 11th, from 3 to 8 PM in the Williams-Pedersen Funeral Home, Inc., 45 Main Street, Upton.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to either the St. Gabriel Building Fund, made payable to St. Gabriel Church, 151 Mendon Street, Upton, MA. 01568 or to the North East Motor Sports Museum, 922 Rte. 106, Louden, NH. 03307.


Donations may be made to:

St. Gabriel Building Fund
151 Mendon Street, Upton MA 01568

North East Motor Sports Museum
922 Rte. 106, Louden NH 03307


 
 
 

HOF member Bob Judkins Sr. passes

Obituary for Robert Judkins Sr.

Robert Judkins Sr.

Robert L. Judkins Sr, age 83, beloved husband of Angela M. (Gorneau) Judkins, died on Thursday, October 25, 2018, at Apple Rehab Center in Middletown, CT after a lengthy illness. He was born in South Paris, Maine on September 12, 1935, he was the son of the late Herman and Eva (Learned) Judkins. He had resided in Meriden, CT and in Edgewater, FL, returning to Connecticut in 2017. 

Mr. Judkins was the owner and operator of Judkins Garage in Berlin, CT. Bob was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, having served from July 1958 to July 1960. Bob was most notable for his on-the-track achievements in the New England area, running the famed number 2x modified race car. In the sixties, Judkin’s ’37 Ford Coupe dominated the track with drivers Jerry Wheeler, Tony Mordino, Billy Harmon, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Gene Bergin, Kenny Shoemaker and legendary driver Ed Flemke. Then in 1971, Judkins introduced a new style of race car, hanging a Ford Pinto body on the famous 2x. Stafford Motor Speedway’s Jack Arute tried to convince NASCAR to allow the 2x to run, telling Bill France, Sr that the new body style was the “future of racing”. Once cleared by NASCAR, the Judkins 2x Pinto Revolution began. In the seventies, eighties and nineties, Judkins continued to compete and took the famed 2x into victory lane. Drivers Ed Flemke, Ron Bouchard, Reggie Ruggerio, Brett Bodine, Jerry Marquis – with three consecutive track championships at Riverside Park Speedway – and Dave Caruso helmed the 2x. In Bob’s fifth decade of fielding a race car, Judkins continued to be highly competitive and won track championships at both the Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Speedway with driver Jason Boyd. However, Bob’s last win in 2009 would be one he would not forget, when his grandson Ryan Preece took his famed 2x into victory lane to complete Bob’s illustrious racing career. Bob was inducted in N.E.A.R (New England Auto Racers) Class of 2003 Hall of Fame.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his six daughters, Tanya Griffin (Martin), Brenda Judkins, Jodie Preece (Jeffrey) Loretta Judkins, Laura Leith (Jeffrey) Jessica Judkins (Blaine Gaudette); his son, Robert Judkins Jr (Vanessa); his 10 grandchildren, Michael and Alissa Ferraro, Sean Preece, Matthew Preece (Tara), Ryan Preece (Heather), Joshua, Zachary and Erica Guidobono, Jarret Leith and Emily Gaudette; and his two sisters, Winona G. Farrington and Pamela Judkins. He was pre-deceased by his sister Gloria Carro. 

A celebration of life service will be held on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the John J. Ferry & Sons Funeral Home, 88 East Main St., Meriden, CT 06450. Family and friends may call at the funeral home prior to the service from 3:30 to 7:30. Burial will follow at a later date. For online condolences and directions, please visit jferryfh.com.

NEAR Banquet Tickets Going Fast!

Tickets for the 2018 NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet  on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 are selling briskly. With Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik leading a fine group into the Hall, friends, family, and fans want to be there to see the induction.

Jump on board and get yours now! Also available for promoting your business or team is the Hall of Fame Program, with very reasonable rates. See below for the links to download  both forms. See you at the banquet!!!!

NEAR 2018 Ad form

NEAR 2018 Banquet form