NEAR HOFer Val Lesieur passes

 

Story courtesy of Bones Bourcier

The loss of Val LeSieur is going to rock a lot of racing people in the Northeast, and indeed up and down the East Coast. Across several decades he published Speedway Scene, which had to be the liveliest trade paper ever printed. It carried news and opinion, it infuriated the occasional track operator, it ran semi-regular pages of goofy photos and captions, and it tied together a region full of readers who considered it a bible. In my early teens I was one of those kids, buying the paper for 50 cents at Plainville Stadium, seven or eight miles from my home in Connecticut. Later I wrote columns for Val, and by age 18 I’d moved to Massachusetts to work for him full-time, cranking out a 48-page (later 56-page) paper on gallons of coffee, snacks, and at least one all-nighter a week. Every Monday-Wednesday it bordered on torture, but, looking back, it was a joy. I worked for Val in various editorial positions (and essentially lived with his family part-time) from mid-1979 through most of ’88, except for a very brief stint in 1983 when I mistakenly thought civilian life looked appealing. Among those who wrote for Speedway Scene in those years were Pete Zanardi, Buffy Swanson, Dave Moody, Phil Smith, Kevin Eckert, Bob Echo, Toodi Gelinas, Mark Thomas, Jack Flowers, Don and Joanne Davies, Charlie Langois, Gary Grim, John Brouwer and Dave Shippee, Kraze Korlacki, Bob Morris, and many more. Together with Bob Echo, Val created the annual Racearama trade show that, truth be known, was one of racing’s biggest parties. He and I ran up and down the road probably hundreds of times, to Martinsville, Daytona, Oswego, Syracuse, Islip, Pocono, and countless other tracks. It was my honor, back in 2011, to induct him into the New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame, as pictured. Val never had a dull moment, and to be in his orbit was to laugh a lot, yell a little, and move on to the next adventure. My heart goes out to his daughter, Valerie, who has known too much sadness. But, for a minute, let’s think of him and smile. He always signed letters, “Your pal Val,” and he wasn’t kidding. He was everybody’s pal. — Bones

Image may contain: Mark Bourcier and Val LeSieur, people smiling, people standing and suit

Treasurer Val LeSieur recovering

Treasurer  and HOF member  Val LeSieur has been under the weather since before the NEAR Banquet. Val  had been hospitalized for over a month until he recently underwent a surgical procedure. Things are looking much better, and he will be moved to a facility to complete his recovery. His loving daughter Valarie has been by his side and also has been helping fulfill his duties on the newsletter and membership. During this Holiday season, we want to wish both Val and Valarie the best, and offer our full support whenever needed. I am sure any cards of cheer, prayer cards, or Christmas cards would be appreciated by both.  They can be sent to P.O. Box 300, North Easton, Ma. 02356.

Please keep Val and Valarie in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. We will try to keep you all advised. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Bob Potter Visitation/Funeral info

 

 

Robert A. “Bob” Potter 1941 – 2019
Norwich – Robert A. “Bob” Potter 78, of Norwich died Wednesday afternoon September 18, 2019 at the Backus Hospital. He was born in Norwich on July 6, 1941 the son of the late Aubrey and Rose (Tetreault) Potter. Bob was employed for 36 years as an X-Ray Technician Radiographer at Electric Boat in Groton before retiring. Bob was married to Dale (Holloway) Potter who survives him. Besides his wife, he is survived by his son Bobby Potter of Ledyard, two daughters, Ginny Potter and Debbie Potter, both of Norwich, step-son Montana Allen, grandchildren Cameron Coffey and his wife Jennifer of Baltic, and Justin Potter of Montville, nephew Wayne Potter and former wife Dottie Lambert. In addition, he is survived by his three cats, Jasmine, Smokey and Little Red. Bob was predeceased by one brother Wayne Potter, sister-in-law Brenda Potter and nephew Billy Joe Potter. The family of Bob would like to thank the racing community for their love and support.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, September 26th at 10:00 A.M. at Sacred Heart Church in Taftville, meeting directly at church. Burial will follow at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Taftville. Calling hours at the Guillot Funeral Home, 75 South B Street, Taftville will be Wednesday, September 25th from 1-4 P.M. and 6-9 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Compassion for Cats of New London County, Route 169, Lisbon, CT 06351

NEAR HOF Driver Mike Stefanik Passes

Courtesy of Marc “Bones” Bourcier

Damn. Mike Stefanik was one of the most complete short-track racers of his generation. He could build cars, maintain them, and, as the record books prove, he could drive the hell out of ‘em. He won seven NASCAR Modified Tour championships and two NASCAR Busch North titles, and since we’re about the same age, I was lucky enough to see a huge chunk of his career. His biggest post-retirement kick was zooming through the skies in a little kit plane he’d put together. One of Mike’s great joys was taking his boyhood hero and longtime pal Bugs Stevens on a flight last year; I talked to them both by phone that afternoon, and they carried on like teenagers. Now phone calls and text messages and Facebook are telling me that Mike lost his life today, doing what he loved so much: flying. Thinking tonight of his wife and best friend, Julie, and their two girls. It’s little comfort right now, but this much I know: That guy LOVED the career he had, and the life he led. His loss will land like a thud in the Northeast racing community, and a lot of hearts are heavy this evening. RIP, Champion. — Bones