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 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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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.

Racing Legend/Builder Maynard Troyer passes

Automobile racing in the Northeast lost a giant on Thursday, May 10, when Maynard Troyer died after a long illness. He was 79.
​Troyer rose to prominence in the 1960s, the perfect era for his creative mind to exploit the loose rulebooks of the day. Endlessly tinkering with innovative cars that looked nothing like those of his competition, he soon became a fan favorite. By the dawn of the ’70s, Troyer had established himself as one of Modified racing’s premier drivers, securing track championships at Lancaster Speedway (where he would ultimately capture four titles), Spencer Speedway (where he won more feature races than any other driver), and Fulton Speedway. He was also crowned champion of the All Star League in 1970, at the absolute zenith of that region-wide, multi-track series.
​As the decade progressed, Maynard and his poppy red #6 cars – owned and sponsored by Ford dealer Dave Nagle – began to regularly venture beyond his home state. Truth be told, few drivers stomped up and down the East Coast with the authority Troyer displayed. He won from Cayuga Speedway in Canada’s Ontario province to Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway, and at numerous points between. Among the tracks he conquered were high-profile venues like the Richmond International Speedway in Virginia, New Jersey’s Trenton Fairgrounds Speedway (the 1976 Race of Champions), Pennsylvania’s Pocono International Raceway (the ’77 edition of the ROC), the Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut (three straight Spring Sizzlers, 1977-79), and the Oswego Speedway in his native New York (both the Budweiser 200 and Port City 150).
​If his legacy as a driver was enormous, his impact as a car builder was incalculable. In the first half of the ’70s, rival team owners lined up to purchase the equipment Maynard had raced the previous season. But after his 1977 split with Nagle, Troyer attacked car building in earnest, hanging out his shingle under the name Troyer Engineering.
The company’s initial focus was the asphalt Modified market he knew best, and Maynard was his own best marketing tool. In 1978, Troyer and his house car – a gleaming white Pinto with a highly offset chassis – had a blistering campaign, winning a NEARA series crown and scoring 36 victories in 54 starts. It was one of the most productive seasons any Northeast driver has ever put together. In no time at all, Troyer found dozens of customers in New York, New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and his products won major races and track championships in the hands of pavement superstars like Ron Bouchard, Greg Sacks, Bugs Stevens, George Kent, and, of course, Maynard himself.
​In 1981, Troyer jumped into the dirt-track world. Rather than dipping the proverbial toe in the water, he cleared the pool with the cannonball splash of the Mud Buss, his take on a dirt Modified. Instantly a winner with development driver Alan Johnson, Troyer’s dirt machines were soon in the hands of legends like Will Cagle, Merv Treichler, and Jack Johnson, and their success only increased demand for the cars. Checkered flags waved over those early Mud Busses at tracks in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in Canada.
​His success as a manufacturer played a large role in Troyer’s decision to call time on his driving career. In the autumn of 1982, on the cusp of his 44th birthday, Maynard pulled off his helmet and gloves for the final time, closing an epic chapter in the sport.
​In the years that followed, he became the region’s preeminent builder of race cars, hands down. Troyer watched his creations win multiple championships on the NASCAR Modified Tour, in the Super DIRT Series, and on every other Modified circuit of consequence. It was a hectic period for Maynard, and as the ’80s closed he began the process of stepping back to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Longtime employee Billy Colton – who had been a winning Troyer chassis customer – became managing partner of the Rochester business in 1989, and later the sole owner of what is now Troyer Race Cars. Meanwhile, Maynard kicked back and fiddled with hot rods, boats, and the other toys one would expect a mechanical wizard like him to appreciate.
​Though widely considered a New Yorker – particularly by his legion of fans in the Empire State – Troyer was actually born in Ohio, and spent his early adulthood in Florida. But once he came north and turned his attention to going fast, he belonged to racing more than to any given point on the map. Maynard Troyer’s real home was Victory Lane.

Courtesy of  Troyer Race Cars,  Bones Bourcier

Photo by Howie Hodge

Harold C. Hanaford

 
 
 

Harold C. “”Hard Luck”” Hanaford, 89, died at his home with his family by his side on March 17, 2018. Born in Plymouth on March 2, 1929, he was the son of George and Eva A. (Brooks) Murphy. Harold was raised in Lower Intervale by Frank and Maude Hanaford. He attended the one-room school in Lower Intervale and graduated from Plymouth High School.

Harold served his country in the U.S. Army in Korea. After serving his country, Harold returned home and went to work as a mechanic and later on owned his own excavation business. He was member of the American Legion Post No. 26 in Bristol and the Northeastern Speedway in Vermont.

Harold was an avid stock car racer. He raced during the winter at the Plymouth Fairgrounds; he also raced his flathead coup at short-tracks all over New Hampshire and Vermont. He won the Thunder Road Track Championship in 1964; he raced in Daytona in 1966; and was inducted into the New England Antique Racers hall of fame in 2009.

Harold is survived by his wife Florence (McLoud) Hanaford of Bridgewater; his daughter Lynn Comeau; sons Brian Hanaford, and Robert Hanaford; his grandchildren Samuel Harold Comeau, Sabrena Florence McPhail, and Chelsie Burland; great-grandchildren David Comeau, Stacy Comeau, Nicholas Comeau, and Jamie Comeau; his sisters Pearl O’Brien of Meredith, Edna Bowley of North Haverhill; and his brother Calvin Batchalder of Alton. He was predeceased by his sister Jule Gurall, and his brother George Murphy.

Services will be at the convenience of the family. Donations may be made to the , or the Newfound Area Nursing Association, 214 Lake Street, Bristol, NH 03222. Dupuis Funeral Home in Ashland is assisting the family. For more information, go to dupuisfuneralhome.com

Rachel Seller passes

Our deepest condolences to the Seller/Blanchette family on the passing of Rachel Seller, wife of the late Bob Seller, mother of Rod Seller and Rhonda Blanchette, and Grandmother to Megan Blanchette – all well respected long-time past officers and members of NEAR.

 

 

Rachel M. (Goetchius) Seller

 
SOUTHINGTON – Rachel M. (Goetchius) Seller, 88, of Meriden and formerly of Southington, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at HOCC of New Britain. She had been the loving wife of the late Robert J. Seller for 62 years.
Born in Quincy, Mass., on Jan. 12, 1930 to the late Kenneth and Pauline (Plummer) Goetchius, she had been a longtime Southington resident. Rachel graduated from North Quincy High School and went on to enroll as one of the first women at MIT, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering. Rachel moved to Southington in 1954 after marrying her childhood sweetheart, Bob. She established her own residential home design business so she could work at home while raising her children. Rachel loved auto racing, singing in the chorus and playing bingo. She also played the piano and the organ. Rachel is survived by her daughter, Rhonda Blanchette and her husband, Gerry, of Plantsville; her son, Rodney J. Seller and his wife, Kristin, of New Britain; and three grandchildren, Amanda Seller, of Hebron, Robert Blanchette and his longtime girlfriend, Jenn, of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Megan Blanchette, of Plantsville; and several nieces and nephews. 

In lieu of flowers, donations in Rachel’s memory may be made to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, 103 Vision Way, Bloomfield, CT 06002 or at https://www.fidelco.org/. 

Rachel’s family would like to extend a special thank you to the entire staff at the Village at Kensington Place for the exceptional care and compassion they showed her for the last 6 years. 

Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, March 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 S. Main St., Plantsville. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21, at the Plantsville Funeral Home, with an hour of visitation prior to the service from 9 to 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will follow in South End Cemetery, Southington. For online condolences and directions, please visit www.plantsvillefuneralhome.com. 

Funeral Home

Plantsville Funeral Home
975 South Main Street
Plantsville, CT 06479
(860) 621-4656

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Ted “TC” Christopher Tribute/ Services


Tribute from Bailey Funeral Home Website

 

“First tap is telling you I’m here. Second tap is telling you to pick a lane. Third tap, I’m picking the lane for you.”

Ted “TC” “The King” Christopher #13

NASCAR driver, business owner and beloved husband, son, brother, uncle and friend, Theodore “Ted” “TC” Christopher, died following a tragic airplane crash in Guilford Saturday.

The celebrated 59-year-old driver, a Plainville native who recently moved to Southington, left behind both a legend and a legacy. His life was full of energy, swagger, intelligence, generosity and kindness that together contributed to the essence of a man whose greatness went far beyond the race track.

In 2001 Christopher won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title and in 2008 the NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour Crown. With 13 combined championships, he was the winningest driver at both Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

Christopher, whose “Three Tap” rule reflected his aggressive, signature racing style, was named one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR’s weekly series in 2006, when the series celebrated its 25th anniversary. In 2008, Stafford named a section of its grandstand in his honor. Despite his age, Christopher had not lost any of his edge. So far this season he had racked up six wins at Stafford with his most recent just two weeks ago.

A fan favorite whose ability was respected by his racing peers, Christopher won hundreds of awards and accolades throughout his racing career. And while most knew him because of his racing celebrity, his biggest successes in life went far beyond the tracks he raced on.

A well-regarded and hard-working businessman who owned M & T Enterprises in Plainville, Christopher’s roots in his community ran deep. A 1976 graduate of Plainville High School, he was a sports enthusiast who was captain of his high school wrestling team. In 2013 he was inducted into the Plainville Sports Hall of Fame. He rooted for any football team that was winning, especially if the team was beating his wife’s Dallas Cowboys, but could care less about the Red Sox or the Yankees. He was an avid reader, loved rock and roll music, was a classic car collector and a guy who couldn’t imagine life without his German shepherds, including puppy Maverick.  His friendships with his gang of longtime friends were precious, respected and far reaching. An accomplished cook, he never missed the Wednesday night Outback dinners “with the boys”  followed by Pralines ice cream on his way home. Morning oatmeal from scratch with a side of “Let’s Make A Deal” was a must. 

He was generous to his community, sponsoring many children’s recreational activities and quietly contributing to non-profit efforts because he wanted to help. As a son and sibling, he was devoted. As an uncle, he loved knowing that the party never really began for delighted nieces and nephews until a boisterous, grinning and mischief-making “Uncle Teddy” arrived.

Nothing in his life however, was more important than his wife, Quinn Wazorko Christopher, and the treasured life and home they had built together.  It reflected an unshakeable bond of love and trust and teamwork that he valued much more than his rooms full of trophies.

Christopher was a true man of merit, one who lived every day of his life to the fullest and whose life ended too soon.  He will be missed more than words can explain.

Besides his wife he leaves  his mother Lucy (Graziano) Christopher; his twin brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Jen Christopher of Wolcott; his sister and brother-in-law Joe and  Judy Christopher Mannix of Longmeadow; his mother-in-law MaryEllen Fillo Wazorko of Southington and Delray Beach, Fl ; his brothers-and sisters-in-law, Christopher and Raegan Wazorko and Justin and Tabitha Manafort, all of Plainville;  his nephews and nieces, Michael and Nicole Christopher, George and Jacob  Mannix, Olivia, Lillian and Amelia Wazorko , and Samantha, Justin, and Tommi Manafort. He also leaves many aunts, uncles, cousins and treasured friends who shared his love of life both on and off the racetrack and dearly treasured him. He was pre-deceased by his beloved father, William Christopher.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew Church, 120 Church St., Forestville. Friends are asked to meet directly at church. Calling hours will be held Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. at Bailey’s Funeral Home, 48 Broad St Plainville .There will also be a race program memorial at Stafford Speedway in Stafford Springs on Oct. 1 where his #13 car number will be retired.

It is said “The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.” His life was one of love, sass, compassion, honesty and adventure. His legacy is all that and much more.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Ted Christopher Memorial Fund, care of Farmington Bank, 117 East Street Plainville Ct 06062 Attn. Bree Pirog. To leave a condolence go to www.bailey-funeralhome.com

 

 

 


Charitable donations may be made to:

Ted Christopher Memorial Fund
117 East Street, Plainville CT 06062


 

 

Loss of a Legend

All of us at NEAR  wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and fans of Modified legend Ted Christopher. The racing community has lost it’s most vibrant personality, and mentor to many.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Quinn, Michael, and the family. 
Rest In Peace Ted , you were the one everyone wanted to beat, because you were the best. Godspeed.

 

Tom Curley, NEAR Hall of Famer, Northeast Racing Pioneer, passes at 73

 

 

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.

 Obituary courtesy of the Burlington Free Press