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2013 Archives

12/25/13: To All, Have A Merry Christmas !!!!!!!!!! Seen here during an outing in the Freddy Doolittle coupe at Connecticut’s Stafford Springs Motor Speedway many fans don’t realize-it, but before switching to competition of the 4-wheeled variety the late George “Moose” Hewitt was a champion motorcycle racer. As a stock car competitor, he was particularly-successful at the Waterford Speedbowl where he claimed five modified championships between 1977 and 1984. Worth mention is the fact that the fiercely-independent Hewitt was one of the few shoreline oval competitors that during an era of “store-bought” cars later in his career, continued to craft machines of his own design at his shop in nearby Uncasville, CT. Here we have another classic image donated by our friend, New York State Racing Historian Roger Liller. We’ll once-again let him provide the commentary. States Roger about this one; “The Christmas season is upon us and as promised, I'm sending a very rare photo. MORE>>

12/18/13: Another Week In The Books….. As mentioned-above our friend New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Bob Potter is home and on the mend following a recent stay in the hospital. Seemingly ageless, his career reaches back to the days of the coupes when he was a fast-rising star at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl (as it was officially-known until 1975). An excerpt from his HOF biography; “In Southern New England, mention the number 51 and the immediate response is Bob Potter. Starting at Waterford Speedbowl in 1962, Potter began winning in 1963 and before it was over captured 11 championships an estimated 140 features at Stafford, Thompson and Waterford.  A model of consistency, he ran a streak of 37 straight top-six finishes at Stafford in 1994-95.” MORE>>

12/11/13: Racing Through A December Wednesday….. Here’s an absolute classic submitted by our good friend Warren Sentinvany. It’s 1960, and picking-up their hardware from Harvey Tattersall Jr. at Riverside Park Speedway’s 1960 United Stock Car Racing Club awards banquet are from left-to-right, Jerry Humiston, Gene Bergin, Dick Dixon, and that season’s modified champion, Buddy Krebs. All New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame members, these drivers represent an astounding total of 96 modified feature victories and 7 championships at the much-missed Agawam, Massachusetts oval. Also a member of the HOF, Tattersall presided over United, the most-powerful sanctioning body in all of New England before NASCAR played any really significant role in the region. All of these men have passed-on, but not before leaving an indelible mark on the history of New England short track racing. MORE>>

12/04/13: More Memories As We Race Into December…. First-up this week, from our kindly Webmaster & pal Tom Ormsby comes this nice Phil Hoyt image of our friend Elliot Beveridge seated behind the controls of his classic 5-window coupe at Connecticut’s much-missed Plainville Stadium. Once one of the top competitors at the racy little ¼-miler, the popular Elliot has lately been facing some serious health issues. I’m sure that I speak for all of us in wishing him a speedy & complete recovery! Captured here at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in a radical full-bodied Chevy Corvair entry, Sal “Dee” Delucia remains one of the most fondly-remembered racers of his era. His relatively brief but spectacular career stalled by serious racing-related injuries, had longevity been in the cards, he would have undoubtedly accomplished even more. Dee won-over a legion of fans undoubtedly fueled by his no-nonsense drives to the front during what many railbirds consider the most-competitive period in New England modified racing history. MORE>>

11/27/13: Thanksgiving Offerings (In a Racy Sorta’ Way)… Presented here courtesy of none-other than New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member, the much-accomplished Dr. Dick Berggren is an incredible image of one of my personal childhood heroes, the late “Wild Bill” Scrivener. As the result of a recent email conversation, Dick was good-enough to search his extensive archive of negatives when I’d mentioned that for eons I’d been looking for a shot of Bill when he was wheeling the potent Bonville #4 Bomber at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl of the 1960s. Also seen in this timeless victory lane image is the late Jack Brouwer (grandfather of former ‘Bowl Late Model champion John Brouwer Jr.), who was among the early owners of the shoreline oval. Scrivener later successfully advanced to the headlining Modifieds, but not before he claimed a career-total of 21 Bomber feature events and clinched the divisional championship wheeling this ride in 1965. This is a beautiful photo! MORE>>

11/20/13: First on the slate this week, we present a wonderful image of New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member, the late Bobby Santos Sr. From our friend John Bisci and used with his permission, this one finds Santos behind the controls of fellow Hall of Fame member Art Barry’s legendary #909 coupe. Profile shots like this are extremely difficult to find, and this one is absolutely-extraordinary! The late Moe Gherzi was one of New England’s first real racing heroes. Captured here in the 1950s at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl posing with a young fan (note the child’s “Money Bags Moe” Racing Team t-shirt), he was a pivotal figure in the success of stock car racing’s beginnings during the post-war era. From his New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame biography; “Nicknamed “Moneybags” for his knack in capturing some of the highest-paying events of the day, he bought to racing a degree of class during a time when the disheveled look of tattered t-shits and jeans were often the norm in the way of driver “uniforms.” MORE>>

11/13/13: We lost an accomplished New England racer last week when Walt Dombrowski passed-away on November 7th. Before graduating to the headlining division at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl, he had claimed the 1963 Bomber championship at the shoreline oval. The transition to the speedier modifieds was a smooth-affair, with Walt scoring his first mod checkers in 1966. Having secured a seat in Stan Majewski’s potent L&M coupe for the 1970 campaign, he handily nailed-down the modified title that year. This nice color shot captures him when he was wheeling the late Norm Kies’ coupe at the ‘Bowl. Walt was selected by fans as one of the Speedbowl’s all-time “50 Favorite Drivers” in 2000; a testament to his enduring popularity even after he’d retired from the sport. MORE>>

11/06/13: Shown here with a coupe typical of the early-days of modified stock car racing is the well-traveled Francis “Frankie” Blum. A Unionville, CT. native and World War II veteran, he competed at a myriad of tracks in the New England & New York regions, and was widely-considered one of the better drivers of the post-war era. Like many racers of his generation, he also dabbled in the open-wheel wars and was known to pilot a midget on occasion. A United Stock Car Racing Club stalwart, he was proficient on dirt and asphalt, and recorded victories at Agawam, Massachusetts’ much-missed Riverside Park Speedway, once the crown jewel of United. Frankie passed-away in 2001 at age-79, but not before leaving a lasting legacy in the annals of our region’s racing history. MORE>>

10/30/13: It was sad news when word filtered-down that pioneering New England modified racer Charlie Centinaro had passed-away at age-80 on Tuesday, October 22nd. Before his career concluded he’d won widely in our region, and was particularly-good within the United Stock Car Racing Club (once the most-powerful & influential sanctioning body in New England). A United champion, this one captures him at Connecticut’s West Haven Speedway in the 1950s behind the wheel of "Jarb" Beaudoin’s ultra-potent #500, one of the most-heralded rides of the era. Our friend Warren Sentivany currently serves as Crew Chief on the Skip Matczak-owned USAC Dirt Midget chauffeured by Denny Zimmerman (talk about a talented duo, both Denny & Skip are celebrated New England Auto Racing Hall of Famers!). Warren was also a driver. We’ll let him explain this shot that he sent us recently. He says; “I just found this old Stafford picture from 1954. MORE>>

10/23/13: The late Ray Delisle was a major player within New England’s post-war racing boom, and became a prolific winner. Felled by serious injuries sustained in a horrendous crash at the Connecticut shoreline’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl when his coupe was hit from-behind and it’s old-style “jerry can” fuel tank erupted in-flames, he endured a long and supremely-painful recovery before returning to the sport. In 1964, his career reached its zenith when he waltzed-away with the Speedbowl Modified title wheeling the famed Simons Bros. #9. This image recently developed from an original Shany Lorenzent negative captures him at another Nutmeg State oval in 1967, the Stafford Springs Speedway. The car unfamiliar to us, we’re not sure of its owner. We just love these old UNITED shots, and this one’s a dandy! One of the real chargers when Harvey Tattersall’s once influential United Stock Car Racing Club ruled the New England modified roost rather than NASCAR, Tommy Sutcliffe enjoyed a long-reign at the front of the pack. MORE>>

10/16/13: Here’s a great “at-speed” shot of one of our good friends. Like so many of the drivers that became premier players within Plainville Stadium’s weekly action, popular Don Spazano actually traces his “racing-roots” back to the old rough n’ tumble novice class. This shot however, captures him in later years as one of the top modified pilots at Joe Tinty’s late (and much-missed), Connecticut oval. Riding-high on the all-time winners list and a former track champion, the popular Spazano also competed with success at a number of other tracks in the region including Riverside Park. You gotta’ love this neat-looking coach, a body-style that always seemed popular at Plainville. Also note that it was the pre-firesuit era. Just another night in the office for the late, great Ed Flemke Sr. When Phil Hoyt captured this great victory lane image, the long career of the man they called “Steady Eddie” was nearing it’s completion. However, he was still winning-big in this creation, the Manchester Sand & Gravel #10 Pinto. MORE>>

10/09/13: More Mid-Week Memories….Our friend Dave Alkas won at Connecticut’s former Plainville Stadium for a very, very long time as evidenced by this really-early victory lane shot when he was still in the Novice Division. A New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member, he so-dominated the proceedings at his home track after advancing to the Modifieds that trade-paper scribes began referring to him as “The King of Plainville Stadium.” Never an easy-place to conquer with its tight-turns and ultra-competitive fields, Alkas teamed with owner Roland Cyr to capture five championships and is the track’s all-time winner. Dave of-course is one of principles responsible for staging this weekend’s Plainville Stadium Reunion at Connecticut’s Berlin Fairgrounds. MORE>>

10/02/13: The First Of Our October 2013 Offerings…. The New England racing community lost one of its greatest & most-loved competitors when this driver passed-away this week after a lengthy illness. The driver is the great Rene “The Champ” Charland. His career spanned nearly 4-decades starting at Massachusetts’ Riverside Park in 1949 and ended at Fonda Speedway in 1984. Estimates put his victory total at over 700. He won an unprecedented 4 NASCAR National Sportsman championships (now Nationwide Series) from 1962 through 65. His quest for a fifth title ended as he was seriously injured in the famous fire crash Memorial Day weekend at Malta in 1966. He was forced to sit out the rest of the season but at that point he had already earned 5700 points, enough for a third place finish. A member of the famed “Eastern Bandits” he won multiple track championships at a variety of tracks in both New England, and the South. MORE>>

09/25/13: Yup, Another Serving Of “Modified Memories”  When a young Modified upstart by the name of Geoff Bodine from New York State teamed with well-heeled car owner the late Dick Armstrong and his “Nu-Style Jewelry” team in the late-70s as seen here, the New England racing hierarchy had little choice in taking notice. Once the “Big Red #1” machine started rolling, it got pretty brutal. The guy won & won and kept winning. Truthfully, Bodine was already a very-well accomplished racer by the time the deal was inked for him to maintain and drive Armstrong’s stable of high-end equipment. Bodine is a member of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame, inducted in 2010. Captured here at Middletown, NY in we believe, 1978, the late Lou “Monks” Lazzaro raced an incredible six decades on dirt and asphalt on tracks from Canada to Daytona and scored 250-plus feature wins. He was supremely versatile and won with the same car on dirt and pavement with only minor changes. His Saturday night home track was Fonda Speedway, where he amassed 113-career feature wins over four different decades. MORE>>

09/18/13: Yet-Another Wednesday Goes Into The Books…..  We start this week with a shot of the late, great Kenny Shoemaker at the famed Langhorne, Pennsylvania oval. A member of the Dirt Motorsports Hall of Fame, there were few as talented as “The Shoe” on the tracks of the Northeast, especially Fonda, NY. If the number on this coupe seems familiar to you pavement enthusiasts, it-should. The car was owned & wrenched by New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Bob Judkins, the man who initiated NASCAR modified racing’s “Pinto Revolution” in 1971. Judkins was a multi-faceted builder, excelling on any surface he decided to tackle. For more on the career of Shoemaker, check-out “They called me the Shoe”, available at Lew Boyd’s www.coastal181.com. MORE>>

09/11/13: Rolling-Along On Another Wednesday…..  We ran a couple of these early Stafford Springs Motor Speedway photos last week & folks seemed to enjoy them, so here’s another. Seen here ready to do battle in one of the early creations of longtime car owner Norm Kies is Manchester, Connecticut’s Gene White. As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that White later hooked-up with the ownership duo of NEAR Hall of Famers Bob Vitari & Vic Bombaci to become the very-first driver of the storied #V-8 coupe before another Hall of Famer, the late “Wild-Bill” Slater began his long & ultra-successful reign with the team. The location is New Hampshire’s former Brookline Speedway, a ¼-mile oval that operated during the 1950s & 60s. The driver? It’s none-other than New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Eddie West celebrating an early-career victory. From his HOF biography; Edward E. West began racing in 1961, and competed at tracks up & down the East coast, from New Brunswick, Canada to West Palm Beach, Florida. MORE>>

09/04/13: Heavy-Hitters (Plus A Couple Of Mysteries….) This photo was recently donated to the “RTT” archives by the man himself, 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the year, our friend Dennis Zimmerman. Captured here early in his career at the former Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts, he parlayed his experience in modified coupes like this into a successful career on the USAC Indy Car circuit. A self-professed “student” of the late, great, Ed Flemke Sr., he conquered storied eastern modified haunts such as Norwood, Riverside Park, Plainville, and Waterford before taking-on the ovals of the South, where his accomplishments netted a pair of NASCAR State Sportsman titles. After a stint in URC Sprint Car competition it was on to Indy Cars, then the absolute pinnacle of American motorsport. MORE>>

08/28/13: More Mid-Week Modified Meanderings…. Though his remains one of the most tragic tales in Northeastern racing lore, this driver’s unfortunate story continues to interest us. Call it a somewhat-morbid fascination with the sports dark-side, or a continuing quest in trying to discover just what made these early guys “tick.” I prefer the latter conclusion…. Seen here in the potent Gordon Ross #19 is the late Daniel Duncan Harris. Known at the track as “Rebel” Harris owing to his South Carolina roots, he was an experienced chauffer by the time of his untimely demise at the old Onteora Speedway in Olive Bridge, New Jersey on June 21, 1963. According to newspaper reports of the day, his coupe flipped end-over-end several times going into the first-turn on the first circuit of the 25-lap main event. Harris was ejected in mid-flight, succumbing to his injuries at nearby Kingston Hospital only 15 min. after arrival. While it’s perhaps no-more than a racing “urban legend”, there are those that to this-day blame Rebel’s death on of all-things, his reluctance to wear a racing harness. MORE>>

08/21/13: The Mid-Week Modified Memories Continue….If you’re at all familiar with New England modified racing, not much has to be said about this fellow. As a driver, the late Ed Yerrington was a big winner, and in later years as an official became one of the most-respected figures in the sport. He’s captured here following a 1970s feature victory at Connecticut’s Stafford Springs Motor Speedway where he would become part of management following the conclusion of his driving days. Captured here behind the controls of Bebe Zalinski’s potent M6 coupe is the late Buddy Krebs. Among the Northeast’s greatest modified racers-ever (especially at Massachusetts’ former Riverside Park Speedway as captured here), he was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. Krebs started racing in 1947, and before it was over, won an estimated two-hundred features while competing in Modifieds, Sportsman, and Grand Nationals. MORE>>

08/14/13: Another (Very) Varied Selection……Here’s a classic Shany image of a friend captured back in the 70s at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. Honestly, I thought I had just about all of the shoreline oval shots of Jim Torok in his original #13 coupe, so seeing this one was a pleasant surprise. Jim was a consummate low-bucker who actually concluded his career at the much-missed Danbury Fair Racarena before that track’s untimely closure. A longtime member of the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), he still manages to put in some fast-laps every season with the club as the owner and driver of the restored Corky Cookman Pinto and Lou Funk Buick straight-8 powered Coupe. We’ve known this guy for a lot of years. Our good friend Steve Kennedy began his long career as a top-notch New England racing photographer as a kid shooting from the grandstands at Joe Tinty’s former Plainville Stadium in Connecticut; this is one of those images. The year is 1972, and our friend Dave Alkas is ready to go in the Roland Cyr-owned coach during the season’s opening event. MORE>>

08/07/13: Finally……..We’re Back On-Track !!!!!!!!!!!! Sadly, New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Charles "Chick" Stockwell, 85, passed-away Monday, July 29th. Saying that he left an indelible mark on the history of New England modified racing would be an understatement. From his HOF Biography; Charles “Chick” Stockwell began racing in 1949, driving his own cars throughout the northeast. Although Chick considers the Danbury Arena to be “home”, he was a regular competitor at Waterford, Thompson, Plainville, West Haven, and Stafford. He raced at Lime Rock, Springfield, and Westboro. Venturing outside New England, he has driven at Albany-Saratoga, Orange County, JFK Stadium, and Lebanon Valley. Stockwell showed his versatility as a race driver by competing on both dirt and asphalt, often 3 to 4 times in the same week. He won the 1957 Rhinebeck Track Championship, racing on dirt. He took down the United Grand American Late Model Sportsman Circuit Crown in 1963 and 1964. He won the "Most Popular Driver" award at Danbury for six consecutive years. (1976-1981). MORE>>

07/31/13: Filling In For Dave ..... Well this week is going to be a little different. Dave's computer is in the shop and he doesn't have the luxury of having more that one. Last night I dug through my archives and pulled out some photos from Riverside Park and Plainville Stadium which I would call interchangeable tracks in that Riverside would always open early and those early races always had Plainville cars in the field. On the reverse end you would always find Riverside cars at Plainville in the fall as Riverside usually closed around Labor Day. Then there was rain. There were many times Plainville would be rained out and we rushed down I-84 and I-91 to get to "The Park" in time to race. Then there were times you'd see Riverside cars pulling into Plainville in time for the consi and you knew Riverside had rain. I believe I haven't run any of these photos for at least a decade. Some may have seen some before. MORE>>

07/24/13: Yet-More Mid-Week Meanderings….. This guy is simply-synonymous with Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl. A scan of the record books reveal Bob Potter to be one of the most-successful modified drivers to have ever emerged from the Bowl’ (and for that-matter, New England). Ranked 2nd on the track’s all-time Modified win list (a stat that includes 6 championships), this image captures Bob at the shoreline oval in the mid-70s when he was wheeling the Coventry Racing Enterprises coupe, a ride that bought him much-success at his home track. His stellar record at all-three of Connecticut’s active tracks gained him a spot in the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2007. Captured here with his familiar coupe at Connecticut’s Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, anyone that was around during what’s widely considered the “Golden Era” of New England Modified racing is sure to recognize this guy. The late Booker T. Jones joined the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. MORE>>

07/17/13: Our Usual Wednesday Trip Through The Past…. If you’re reading this column, you likely know the identity of this racer (if you don’t, shame on you!). Seen here early in his career, the late Richie Evans left his family's farm at age 16 to work at a local garage. After finding early success in drag racing, a friend suggested he try building a car to race at the nearby Utica-Rome (NY), Speedway. He ran his first oval-track car, a 1954 Ford Hobby Stock numbered PT-109 (after John F. Kennedy's torpedo boat in World War II), in 1962. He advanced to the modifieds in 1965, winning his first feature in the season's final night. In 1973, Evans became the NASCAR National Modified Champion. In 1978 he won a second title and did not relinquish his crown during the next seven years.  MORE>>

07/10/13: Another (Very) Varied Assortment…. Here’s that rarity we mentioned in this week’s opening comments and it’s a real gem! Captured here at Bridgeport, Connecticut’s former Candlelite Stadium with his 5-window coupe is a young Reggie Adkins who was crowned United Stock Car Racing Club track champion at the all-purpose sports stadium turned-raceway in 1951. Though the coupes were standard-fare at that point, Candlelite’s earliest years were all-about the midgets. Opening in 1947 hosting the then wildly-popular open-wheelers, the tiny 1/5-mile’s first two seasons were marred by a pair of fatalities claiming the lives of Alvin “Jeep” Colkitt in ‘47 and Mid Marozzi in ’48. MORE>>

07/03/13: Some From Steve K. (And A Few Other Gems)…. Growing-up a stones-throw from Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl, it wasn’t until I got my driver’s license in the mid-70s that I was able to branch-out a bit and visit some of the other short tracks in New England. Here’s one from the first “away” speedways that I ever attended. It was an unforgettable experience, and I headed-back to Joe Tinty’s Plainville Stadium again & again. It was simply modified racing at its finest grassroots level. Pictured here behind the controls of his uncle Eddie Mack's Pinto is Dave Germano. One of Plainville’s top modified shoes, at the time Dave was an Industrial Arts teacher at Southington High School. Now retired from the sport, he later became the Assistant Principle at Southington, Connecticut High School. Plainville Stadium was all-about local heroes; Dave was one of them. See that #4x Pinto in the background? That’s none-other than our Webmaster, Publisher, and Editor, Tom Ormsby who was also a long-time ‘Stadium modified competitor. MORE>>

06/26/13: More Mid-Week Modified Memories…. Captured here in the 1950s, New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member the late Sparky Belmont (real name Michael Belmonte), was a Plainville track champion, as-well as a big star on Harvey Tattersall’s UNITED circuit. After a convincing victory in a 100-lap contest at Plainville in 1968, he collapsed during the post race celebration, and passed-away on the spot. “Sparky” had been a star on the post war Midget circuit before switching to stock cars. He was among the most-popular drivers of his generation with both fans, and his fellow competitors. Captured here following a victory at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl, New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Gene Bergin was among the first HOF inductees back in 1998. From his NEAR HOF biography. MORE>>

06/19/13: And It’s Wednesday Again (Enjoy The Ride!)…. Late model tinwork had really just become a part of the New England modified racing landscape when Lloyd Burnham captured this shot of our friend, New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Billy “Gramps” Greco at Connecticut’s Stafford Springs Motor Speedway. This particular ride was the recipient of the “Best Appearing Car Award” at the big Martinsville, Va. modified event. It was a real beauty and a testament to the car building skills of the team. Billy will be hosting a New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame (NEAR), fundraiser later this summer on Sunday, August 11th at the Polish American Club, West Spring Street in West Haven, CT. from noon to 6 P.M. More details on the event are forthcoming. MORE>>

06/12/13: Presenting A Bit Of Everything This Week…. As one of the real heavy-hitters in the early days of Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl, the late Charlie Webster had a large & very-loyal fan base. Amassing a career total of seventy-three feature victories in both Non-Ford and modified competition, he was a champion in both classes (3 Non-Ford titles, and 1 modified crown). Like fellow Bowl’ standout and New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Don Collins, he retired from driving at the dawn of the 1970s, thus ending the career of one of the shoreline oval’s finest chauffeurs. This shot captures Charlie (kneeling), with the Simons #9 team shortly before hanging-up his helmet. On the left that’s car owner Billy Simons who like the aforementioned Collins, is a NEAR Hall of Famer. MORE>>

06/05/13: Celebrating New England’s Racing Past (Again)… Though he’s usually primarily associated with Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl, the truth-is New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer Don Collins actually competed at a number of other venues in the region during his long, successful career. He’s captured here during the 1960s in one of his signature #106 coupes at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway. Collins was a multi-time champion at the Speedbowl, scoring the Modified crown in 1955, 57, 60, 63, and 1969. He took his place as a member of the prestigious Hall of Fame in 2005. The yearly UNITED events on the former oval located on the grounds of Massachusetts’ Eastern States Exposition Center once attracted racers from all over the Northeast. To witness a race at the “Big E” guaranteed a peek at the absolute “cream of the crop” in modified racing. MORE>>

05/29/13: It’s Wednesday Again….. Seen here celebrating a victory at Connecticut’s former (and greatly-missed), Danbury Fair Racarena is a young Daniel Duncan “Rebel” Harris. The year is 1954, and the car was owned by Don Hibeck of Georgetown, CT. Originally hailing from South Carolina, Harris was a big winner in the Northeast before meeting his untimely demise at the old Onteora Speedway in Olive Bridge, New Jersey on June 21, 1963. According to newspaper reports of the day, his car flipped end-over-end several times going into the first-turn on lap-1 of the 25-lap main event. He was ejected from his coupe in mid-flight, succumbing to his injuries at nearby Kingston Hospital only 15 min. after arrival. While it’s perhaps no-more than a racing “urban legend” there are those that to this-day blame Rebel’s death on his reluctance to wear a racing harness. MORE>>

05/22/13: Another Wednesday In The Books…. Here’s a nice early-50s-era image of a young Frank Belbusti in victory lane at Connecticut’s former West Haven Speedway. A United Stock Car Racing Club-sanctioned tight fifth-miler, the track was on the grounds of the old Savin Rock amusement park. Frank, who passed-away on May 7th at age-85, was a United circuit and West Haven Speedway champion during that track’s ultra-competitive heyday. Our sincere condolences are offered to the entire Belbusti family and Frank’s many friends on this somber occasion. He was one of the more popular & enduring figures during the early days at the Connecticut shoreline’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. Captured here celebrating one of his many triumphs in the Robert "Slim" Ross #222 is the late Joe McNulty. Widely-recognized by racing historians as one of the region’s most underrated drivers, he was a top modified racer of the 1950s & 60s. “Joe Mac” recorded victories at a variety of the region’s speedplants, and was particularly-proficient at the ‘Bowl where he claimed a career-total of 16 modified division feature triumphs. MORE>>

05/15/13: Another Mid-Week Lap Around The Oval… It’s the 1970s at Joe Tinty’s former (& much-missed), Plainville Stadium in Connecticut and captured through the lens of our friend Phil Hoyt is the late Larry Crighton leading in his familiar #4 coupe. A journeyman modified competitor at the tough ¼-miler for a number of seasons, Larry passed-away on his 69th birthday at the Highlands Health Care Center in Cheshire, CT. on April 29th. Sadly, the attrition rate continues to rise for our “Saturday Night Heroes” of the past; keeping their memory alive is vitally-important for the future fans of our sport. Here’s a dandy of a 50s-era victory lane shot of the late Eddie Flemke Sr. when he was driving for the Garuti Brothers team (that’s Richie to Eddie’s left, and Ray can be seen peering over Harvey Tattersall Jr.). The former Riverside Park Speedway in Massachusetts is the locale. When Shany Lorenzent captured this image, it was the Tattersall family’s United Stock Car Racing Club that ruled the roost in New England modified racing rather-than NASCAR. MORE>>

05/08/13: Another Week In The Books….. Thanks to Carolyn Grey daughter of the late Bill Congdon, in our files we now have several wonderful shots of her father’s storied race team. This 50s-era image captures the late Jerry Wheeler posing with the potent #76 coupe outside of the team’s shop in Salem, CT.  just a few-miles up from the Waterford Speedbowl. The Congdon team experienced unparalleled success at the shoreline oval with Bill’s creations widely-acknowledged as some of the most potent machines of their time. Wheeler, who passed-away in Virginia last weekend was successful at a number of New England speedplants, and was considered among the top-tier racers of his generation. Research reveals that he also competed in several of the big events of the day, including those at Langhorne, PA. (once THE crown-jewel in all of modified racing). MORE>>

05/01/13: Yup, More Mid-Week Modified Memories…… Here’s a victory lane shot of our late and much-missed friend, New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member “Wild Bill” Slater at Connecticut’s “New London Waterford” Speedbowl during his heyday as the chauffer of the potent Vitari-Bombaci (also Hall of Famers), coupe. Slater was simply one of the best racers to have ever emerged from New England with wide-reaching accomplishments within the sport. When he retired from driving, he stayed involved for many seasons as a respected official at both the Thompson & Stafford Speedways. For more on the history of this team, visit the NEAR website at www.near1.org and read their HOF biographies. Like Slater, this driver is also a member of the prestigious New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Taking his place among the best in our region’s modified racing history Ron Narducci was inducted in 2000. MORE>>

04/24/13: Our Weekly Selection Of Short Track Stormers… Thanks to our pal JoJo Farone, we’re able to present this great portrait image of the late, great “Moneybags” Moe Gherzi. In addition to being a prolific winner during the early days, he helped bring a degree of class to a sport that was still experiencing growing-pains. When the standard driving-uniform of the day consisted of a t-shirt & blue jeans (often work-worn, adding to the illusion that racin’ folks weren’t the pillars of society they’re considered to be today), he often appeared in victory lane nattily-attired in a silk shirt and pressed, dress-style trousers. A big winner all over New England, after retiring from driving he held the post of Racing Director for many years at the late Plainville Stadium. MORE>>

04/17/13: Your Wednesday Dose Of Short Track Heroes…. Starting this week’s edition we stray a bit from our usual pavement endeavors with a shot that we find simply timeless. The late Lou “Monks” Lazzaro raced an incredible six decades on dirt and asphalt on tracks from Canada to Daytona and scored 250-plus feature wins. He was supremely versatile and won with the same car on dirt and pavement with only minor changes. His Saturday night home track was Fonda Speedway, where he amassed 113-career feature wins over four different decades and four track championships (1964, 1969, 1977, and 1978). Lou's final Fonda Speedway feature win came on May 15, 1999, less than a year before his untimely death. A lifetime guaranteed starter at Fonda, he was described many times as "The Embodiment of Fonda Speedway.” MORE>>

04/10/13: It’s Wednesday; Time For Speedbowl Memories…. We open this week’s edition with another great vintage Waterford shot courtesy of our friend New York State racing historian, Roger Liller. Culled from the collection of our mutual pal Bob Ellis, this one captures Jackie “The Flying Finn” Hill. Little is known about this racer, but the photo is obviously from the 1950s and the team was probably a local concern carrying sponsors from nearby New London, and also Hope Valley, RI which is right over the state line. You gotta’ love the exhaust header set-up on that potent six-banger! While recently reviewing the hardcopy & negative files we have by longtime Speedbowl photographer Shany Lorenzent, this image of one of the shoreline oval’s most fondly-remembered combinations caught our eye. Newt Palm & the L&M modified were twice crowned track champion (1967 & 68). MORE>>

04/03/13: More “With A Little Help From Our Friends…” From our good friend New York State Racing Historian Roger Liller comes this gem of an image featuring the late Chauncey "Jocko" Maggiacomo. We’ll let Roger fill us in on the details; “This is a rather rare shot of Jocko Maggiacomo at New York’s former Pine Bowl Speedway in the early 1950s after winning a feature. As the "shoebox" Ford he's driving is a '49 or '50 model, it might be a late model race.” One of the true pioneers of the sport, Maggiacomo was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. Here’s another great early photo courtesy of Mr. Liller. Once-again, we’ll let him supply the details; “This one captures the late Georgetown, Ct driver Billy Darrah at New York’s former Rhinebeck Speedway. Billy is perhaps better-known for his accomplishments at Connecticut’s late Danbury Racearena, but he experienced considerable success at Rhinebeck also, winning many features there in the early to mid-fifties.” MORE>>

03/27/13: Zooming Down Memory Lane Speedbowl-Style !!! In 1973, Dick Dunn was simply “The Man” at Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl. That season he scored 9 feature victories including the star studded open-competition Schaffer 100 on Wednesday evening July 7th as-seen here, and also notched the second of four consecutive track championships while driving for our good friends, Peg & Al “Buddha” Gaudreau (that’s Al 2nd from left). Unfortunately, Peg’s been feeling a bit under the weather as of late, and I’d like to take this time to personally tell her that all of her old pals in racing have been thinking of her. If you claim to be familiar with the history of the Speedbowl, you should know who this guy-is. Captured here is the late Dick Beauregard, in the potent Congdon #76 coupe. In a career that spanned only a decade, this racer managed to accomplish more than most drivers spending twice-as-much time behind the wheel. Starting in 1952, he went-on to score a combined-total of sixty-two victories in Modified & Non-Ford competition along with two track titles before hanging-up his helmet and relocating to the West Coast. MORE>>

03/20/13: Contributed by Carolyn Grey, daughter of legendary Waterford Speedbowl car owner the late Bill Congdon we have this extraordinary shot of her father’s first race car & driver at the shoreline oval. Its 1951 (the track’s first year of operation), and the guy behind the controls of the “Golden Goose” #76 is Windy Windbiggler. Bill Congdon went-on to become one of the most accomplished car owners in Speedbowl history notching both championships and many feature victories. His team also routinely competed upstate at Stafford Speedway, and at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway. His list of drivers read like a “who-who” of some of the top names in New England modified racing. New England Auto Racing Hall of Famers “Wild Bill” Slater and Dick Watson both experienced success in Congdon machines, as did Dick Beauregard, Dick Watson, Lou Tetreault, Jerry Wheeler, Ray Moran, and George Pendergast. MORE>>

03/13/13: Yet-More Mid-Week Meanderings! Last week’s photos of longtime Connecticut River Valley racer Joe Tiezzi submitted by our friend & former racer Bruce Riggio proved to be very popular with our readers, as we received several emails regarding those timeless images. Here’s another one from Bruce, and this time it captures Joe ready to go at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl in his Uncle Barney’s #230 during the 1960s. That’s Ted Stack in the potent Maffei-Kensel #53 coupe on the inside. From frequent contributor & friend New York State Racing Historian Roger Liller, comes this ancient Speedbowl shot captured by pioneering New England racing photographer Shany Lorenzent who served as that track’s official lensman from it’s opening in 1951 until the early-1970s. The image comes from the collection of Bob Ellis, who’s been super-accommodating in sharing some of his earliest images for all of us to enjoy. MORE>>

03/06/13: With (A Lot), Of Help From Our Friends…. Seem here at Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl during the 1970s in his Chevelle-bodied Grand American entry is our friend Bruce Riggio who donated several photos for this week’s edition of “RTT.”  Hailing from the Connecticut River Valley section of the state, he actually started his racing career as a car owner rather than a driver. He has deep roots in the sport, his involvement dating all the way back to the days of the Stafford dirt (as we’ll see later). Note the sponsor on the car, “Zanardi Oil.” That’s the family of our close friend Pete Zanardi, and they’ve maintained a long & successful business presence in their hometown of Chester, CT for many decades. Bruce relocated to Florida in later years, enjoying a winning career on the short tracks of his new home state. MORE>>

02/27/13: Yet-Another Selection of Short Track Stormers… We open this week with another terrific submission from our friend, New York State Racing Historian Roger Liller. From the archives of Bob Ellis, this one captures the late Joe McNulty at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. One of the shoreline oval’s more enduring figures and a top New England modified racer of the 1950s & 60s, “Joe Mac” recorded victories at a variety of the region’s speedplants, but was particularly-proficient at the ‘Bowl where he claimed a career-total of 16 modified division feature triumphs. He was most-certainly a star at Connecticut’s former Plainville Stadium, but was also one of the best in New England, period. Ronnie Wyckoff remains in this scribes opinion, one of the most overlooked and underrated drivers in our region’s modified racing history. In addition to his many triumphs close to home at Plainville, he’s a multi-time co-winner of the Riverside Park Speedway’s 500-lap contests. Always in-demand with the top car owners of his era the teams that the affable Wyckoff drove-for during his long-career reads like a “who’s-who” of the sport. MORE>>

02/20/13: Hey, We’re A Day-Early This Week!!! From our pal New York State Racing Historian Roger Liller comes this terrific 50s-era New London-Waterford Speedbowl shot. Culled from the archives of our mutual friend Bob Ellis, it captures New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame members Don Collins (left), and Fred Luchesi (right), receiving trophies and a congratulations from a pretty young presenter. Both drivers were prolific winners and track champions during the formative years of the Connecticut oval. We admittedly don’t know much about this driver, but the image is a good illustration of just-how stock the coupes of the early days of the sport really were. Seen here is Rhode Island racer Charles "Chuck" Harvey from Rhode Island lined up and ready to go at the Speedbowl on October 12, 1952, the tracks sophomore year of operation. Over the years, entries from the neighboring state have been plentiful. MORE>>

02/13/13: Another (Very) Varied Selection! Our friend New York State racing historian Roger Liller his been gifting us with a ton of wonderful vintage images lately, and this one’s a classic! Seen here at Rhinebeck, NY. during the early days of his distinguished racing career is New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member, the late Chauncey "Jokko" Maggiacomo. We’ll let Roger add some information to this great photo: “This is Jokko at Rhinebeck with the Gordon Ross #19. Gordon owned a welding shop in Rhinebeck and he built some excellent race cars having such drivers as Rhinebeck native and former midget driver Bob Tator, Jokko, and, later Hudson, NY. native Doug Garrison. You probably have seen pictures of the #19 at Riverside Park in Agawam, Massachusetts as-well as other New England tracks.” MORE>>

02/06/13: More Mid-Week Modified Memories…. Seen here at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl of the 1950s behind the controls of his familiar #J2, the long career of the late Melvin “Red” Foote a colorful and well-traveled affair. A member of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame, here’s an excerpt from his NEAR biography; Melvin “Red” Foote ran his first race in 1948, at Kingston, RI. Carl Morrow and Ralph LeGendre co-owned Foote’s first car, a silver #1 coach. It wasn’t long before the “racing bug” bit Foote, and he was competing at Norwood on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Lonsdale on Sundays, with regular visits to Westboro when time allowed. He won championships at the Waterford Speedbowl in 1953, and again in 1958. MORE>>

01/30/13: Another Week, More Modified Memories…. It’s with great sadness that we report the passing of former Riverside Park modified competitor Charlie Jones who left us at age 71 on Wednesday, January 23rd while in the care of VA Boston Healthcare in West Roxbury, MA. Jones was a popular long-time competitor at the late Massachusetts oval, racing during the heyday of much-missed facility. He also ventured-out to several other tracks in the region during his career. Our pal veteran racing lensman John Grady captured Charlie in this one when he was the chauffer of the potent #18 coupe. Our sincere condolences are offered to Charlie’s family and many friends. For additional information visit our Webmaster Tom Ormsby’s Speedway Line Report at www.speedwaylinereport.com   MORE>>

01/23/13: Another Week Brings More Racing Memories….. From our friend, New York racing historian Roger Liller comes this great 1964 shot of Charlie Centinaro picking-up a feature victory at Pine Bowl Speedway which was once located at Snyder's Corners, New York just-east of the city of Troy. Centinaro was one of the most-winning racers of his era, also finding success at venues like Connecticut’s West Haven Speedway, Plainville Stadium, and Riverside Park in Massachusetts in naming just a few. An absolute-standout within the Tattersall families United Stock Car Racing Club, he also ran well in the former United events at the big track on the grounds of the Springfield Exposition Center in Massachusetts. This image comes from the collection of the late Ed Ryan, promoter of 14 different speedways during his career from the 1940s to the late-1970s. MORE>>

01/16/13: Yet-Another Selection Of Short Track Stormers… First on the slate this week we have a coupe-era shot of New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member, the late Mario “Fats” Caruso. An excerpt from his HOF biography; Mario “Fats” Caruso began racing in 1949, with his brothers Tony and Funzie, and close friends Al Mattress and Vince Abdella. The team’s first car was a Class B Ford sedan. After cutting his racing teeth with this car, Frank White offered Caruso a ride in his Circle 2, a cut down, which he drove to many feature wins, and eventually the NEARA championship. Fats had made a name for himself locally, at tracks like Seekonk, Thompson, Westboro, and Norwood. When he got the ride in the #69 coupe, sponsored by Worcester Sand and Gravel, his career really started to take-off. He began competing at tracks like Old Bridge and Trenton in New Jersey, Utica-Rome and Oswego in New York and Dover and Hudson in New Hampshire. MORE>>

01/09/13: It’s Wednesday Again, And We All Know What That Means! First on the slate this week is a “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl victory lane shot of the immortal Melvin “Red” Foote courtesy of our Webmaster, Tom Ormsby. Behind the controls of his familiar #J2, Foote’s long career was a colorful and well-traveled affair. A member of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame, here’s an excerpt from his NEAR biography; Melvin “Red” Foote ran his first race in 1948, at Kingston, RI. Carl Morrow and Ralph LeGendre co-owned Foote’s first car, a silver #1 coach. It wasn’t long before the “racing bug” bit Foote, and he was competing at Norwood on Thursdays and Saturdays, and Lonsdale on Sundays, with regular visits to Westboro when time allowed. He won championships at the Waterford Speedbowl in 1953, and again in 1958. He also took down a championship in Plainville in the 50’s, competing in the United Stock Car Racing Club. The 60’s found Foote racing with NASCAR, winning races from New England to the Carolinas to Daytona. MORE>>

01/02/13: More Weekly Wanderings…Modified-Style! Captured here behind the wheel of the “Big Red 1” in a 70s-era Stafford Motor Speedway shot is our friend, New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member George Summers. As the most-winning driver in the history Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, he visited victory lane there on over one-hundred occasions. Seekonk record-aside, Summers one of the top-drivers in all of New England, enjoying a career that lasted over three-decades. Fittingly, he won the last event he entered before retiring, taking–down the 1983 Thompson World Series Modified event driving for fellow Hall of Famer, legendary car owner Art Barry. Seen here flanking his familiar #27 Pinto at Stafford, anyone that was around during what’s widely considered the “Golden Era” of New England Modified racing is sure to recognize this guy. The late Booker T. Jones joined the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. MORE>>

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