The 1937 Chevy Coupe, #15, was owned originally by Lenny Bancroft and could be seen racing “back in the day” at Riverside, Eastern States and Stafford Speedway by his main driver Frank Molton (his best man at his wedding), Rene Charlin, Gene Bergin and Sperry Morway to mention a few.
Then, in the ‘70’s, Spanky’s 2 oldest sisters’ boyfriends tried their hand at racing at Riverside…which did not last. When Lenny’s days of racing were behind him, the race car was “put out to pasture” at the Bancroft homestead and Lenny focused on raising his seven kids and farming his 100 acre potato farm.
Rich Mosher, a current vintage race car owner, would visit the homestead and clear around the car hoping that Lenny would sell him the coupe…this went on for many years. Eventually, a tree grew up from the ground, through the floor and out the passenger window…I guess the potato farm was trying to naturally recycle the coupe.
Time passed with the telling of great racing stories in the Bancroft home of the “old days” and when Lenny’s 50th anniversary approached, his son Brian “Spanky”, Lisa and his late best friend, co-worker and cousin, Jim “Chub Rock” Weatherwax, decided to surprise Lenny by restoring the coupe. They worked tirelessly up to the morning of Lenny’s anniversary — they were putting the engine in and Lisa was adding the last decal literally seconds before Lenny arrived on the scene which completed the coupe restoration…Lenny was able to enjoy two more years of racing before he passed away.
As time went on, Spanky became custodian of the family Vintage race car. Spanky’s first race after the restoration was at Thompson Speedway. Spanky’s favorite race tracks to compete on include Riverside and Stafford Speedway.
Spanky and Lisa became NEAR members around 2006 and currently serve on the NEAR Board of Advisors. At club events you can always expect to see Spanky and Lisa “manning” the grills in an effortlessly coordination of feeding the masses with smiling faces.
For over 30 years, Spanky has been an equipment operator at Environmental Services – also, sharing his racing passion he secured, from his company, ad sponsorship for the NEAR Hall of Fame booklet.
In addition to vintage racing, Spanky and Lisa enjoy traveling to their second home in Aruba; and it’s always fun to hear about stories of their island experiences.
By Judy Poirier