NEAR Meetings are Scheduled for the
3rd Tuesday of Each Month
Next meeting September 16th
|Monthly Meetings are at:
Triple A Restaurant
1209 Main St. (Rt. 5)
East Hartford, CT
|Note: If you missed an article, you can still see it on
(the last button on the navigation bar at the top of this page);
or click here
New England Antique Racers Identities
(AKA NEAR Gear)
August 27, 2014
With the upcoming induction of the Class of 2014 into the Hall of Fame **Now** is the time to order your jackets to ensure we get a group rate for ordering larger quantities of merchandise.
We are offering the Quilted Satin Jacket, the same logo on the back as the Hall of Fame jacket, with a NEAR checkered flag emblem on the left breast and your name on the right. Jackets start at $67.50 for the Small, Medium, Large and X-Large. The 2-XL is $74.50 and the 3-XL is $81.50.
We also offer the Nylon lined Staff Jacket with your name on the right breast, the NEAR checkered flag on the left and the two modifieds 49 and 33 on the back display of our logo for $35.00.
This is the same price as last year.
Hats are still $8 each, available in black or yellow with the NEAR checkered flag logo
Right now the supply is limited and will be available at the Riverside Reunion off the truck or at the booth. I will also be selling a special Riverside Reunion Limited Edition shirt for $15. Once these reunion shirts are gone, there will no longer be available.
T shirts are still $8 for small medium large and extra large
For $10 the 2 XL is available
Sweat shirts are still $18 for the Small, Medium, Large and X-Large
For $20 you can get a 2 XL or a 3 XL
I will also bring the catalog so if you want a pink shirt with our logo for your friends and family you can do so; or you can chose any other color that you see fit to select along with the color of the print.
THESE ARE ADVANCE ORDER ITEMS, IF YOU PLACE AN ORDER AT THE REUNION, YOU MUST HAVE A CHECK MADE OUT TO:
New England Antique Racers
I will also hold the order open for mail order items with a check attached until September 22, 2014.
If you are not attending the Hall of Fame Banquet to pick up your purchase or the Annual meeting on January 11, 2015 at the Dante Club in Springfield, the following shipping charges will apply and must be provided at the time of purchase.
U S Postal Service Priority Mail
Click here for order form
Hats ship for $5.95 each
T Shirts for $5.95 each
Sweat Shirts and staff jackets for $12.65 each
Quilted Satin jackets for $17.90 each
If you purchase more than one item I will try to make a combined package and return the extra saved postage.
By Bill Henry
New England Antique Racers
August 27, 2014
New England Antique Racers took northern New England by storm on August 14th and the 15th, 2014.
With two (2) shows back to back the journey to Thunder Road International Speedbowl and Devil's Bowl Speedway was a great success and drew many active drivers.
Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont, on Thursday, August 14th, provided track time from 11:30am to 3pm; even with a brief shower that slowed the action, there was plenty of time on the track. In attendance were George Silsby in the 92, Darragh Hoyt in 199 NH, Paul Zampieri in the 30, David Wright in the 198, Bill Kemp in the 199 and Alson Perry in the 44. They were accompanied to the track by Rich Macdowell in the 99, Barry Roy in the 0, Lloyd Hutchins in the 176, Scott Haskell in the 27, Wes Mooney in the 79, Gerry Blanchette in the 49 and Jim Torok 04.
Two twelve lap features were conducted. Bill Kemp in the 199 won the modified division while Scott Haskell came home first in the sportsman group.
On August 15th the drivers traveled to Devil's Bowl Speedway in West Haven, Vermont. There NEAR was represented by Jim Torok in the 04, Gerry Blanchette in the 49, Joe Keefner in the 99, Lloyd Hutchins in the 176, Barry Roy in the 0. Also appearing Alan Davis in the 5 Aces, Darragh Hoyt in the 199 NH, Bill Kemp in the 199, Spanky Bancroft in the 15, David Wright in the 198, and Paul Zampieri in the 30. Again we had two features, Barry Roy in the 0 took the Sportsman event while Joe Keefner in the 99 won the Modified feature.
On Saturday NEAR attended the Touch a Truck Car Show for the Berlin Fire Department at Sage Park in Berlin, CT. Representing NEAR at this event were Ron Carlson with his 85 modified coupe and Jim Splettstoeszer with his modified number 87.
The well attended event exposed many former racing fans to our existence and had many talking about when they went to the races with their children.
On August 20th, NEAR attended the car show at "Colchester on the Green" in CT. Representing NEAR were Jim Splettstoeszer with the 87, Ron Carlson with the 85, Scott Poirier with the 73, George Cleveland in the 5 and Gerry Blanchette in the 49. The NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame was there as well. Sponsored by the Good Times Motoring Club of Colchester the Green was covered by many restorations, some wonderful original cars and trucks. Conversations with the owners provided a rich history of their cars and a passion for the automobile. "Thank you" to Good Times Motoring Club for the nice trophy and the hard work by those who put the show together, especially NEAR member Ted Grey.
By Bill Henry
|NEAR Riverside Reunion Committee Report
(NEAR Riverside Reunion, August 31, 2014, click here for flyer)
August 26, 2014
The NEAR Riverside Reunion Committee is excited to report that
planning for the event is on schedule.
The following drivers have indicated they will be attending:
Bob Polverari, Billy Greco, Ed Flemke Jr., Dan Avery, Tommy Fearn,
Ray Miller, Skip Matczak, Rick Summers, Marty Radewick;
and we are still contacting past competitors.
**August 26th UPDATE**
Directions to Polish Club of Agawam
139 Southwick Street
Feeding Hills, MA
From I.91 North or South, take exit 3 in Mass (there is no exit 1 northbound) exit ramp will curve on to the bridge and cross river.
While on bridge get in right lane and take immediate exit off bridge (sign says Route 57, Agawam, Southwick) go three quarters around rotary on to Rt 57. Go to end of divided highway (about 4.5 miles) and take right.
Go to 2nd light (.7 mile) and take left Polish Club .3 on left. (still Rt. 57). Watch for signs.
For people coming from West if you are near Route 202 & or Route 10 head toward Southwick, MA. In center of town (at Mobil station) head East on Route 57.
It is about four-five miles from center of Southwick to the Southwick/Feeding Hills town line and then about one mile from there is the Polish Club on the right
**August 6th UPDATE**
Popular driver Marty Radewick is attending; he won ten modified features at the Park.
Some members of a local model car club will be displaying their recreations. They will be entering our model car contest in the "expert" division; also there will be a class for kids.
We have received word that one of the Park's most iconic cars will be on display. Pete Penfield will be bringing an original Czarnecki Bros. #20 coupe that Bobby Stefanik drove to a championship while winning a 500.
Any Riverside type race car will receive two free admissions per car. All cars to be displayed must arrive by 9:30am in order to get everything arranged before the 10'clock opening. The cars will have to remain in the display area until the event is over.
We will have a separate parking area for special interest cars driven to the event such as hot rods, customs and classic cars.
We will have face painting for the kids. One color one design per child is free. There will be a charge for multi-colored or complex designs.
**July 28th UPDATE**
Ray Miller and Skip Matczak are planning to attend the reunion. Skip will be bringing the Allyn Tool #7 sprint car. Ray still has the #7 coupe in his barn and he hopes to have it there. Rick Summers posted on FaceBook that he is planning to make the trip,
probably on his Harley with his new bride.
Riverside announcer Mark Wiernasz will be there with his son, journalist Matty. They won't be winning a prize for the farthest travel as they live less than a mile from the Polish Club. Other former track officials who have indicated their intention to come
are Bob Stromberg and Lenny Blews
Fred Ciavola is considered Riverside Park historian. He has compiled all the race results and he will bring 50 notebooks (one for each year) of articles and pictures. He also has four books devoted exclusively to Gene Bergin and he is willing to share all of that for the day with the fans.
Please pass the information of the reunion to your friends even if you can't attend.
We have lined up three food trucks:
Moe's Donuts will be serving fresh hot Apple Cider Donuts on site
along with fresh brewed coffees.
Mary from the Herban Grille will be serving breakfast sandwiches,
hot dogs, burgers, and pulled Pork wraps.
The Moolicious Ice Cream truck will come by after 12 p.m.
We have taste tested these items and all are delicious with very reasonable prices.
Drinks including beer and wine will be sold by the Polish Club.
People may bring their own food but not bring any alcoholic beverages.
(This is a strict Polish Club policy)
We have some amazing attractions besides a display of vintage racers
belonging to NEAR membrs
Matt Provost will bring a restored antique Model T type car that was part of the kiddie rides for over 50 years. The car runs and will be giving rides if space and safety concerns are met.
The NEAR Mobile Museum will be on display.
We plan on having an autograph table set up sometime during the day.
If we have enough entries, we will have a model race car contest so dig out your old self made models now. Both adults and kids divisions.
We are seeking donations for a large raffle of racing related items.
KGM videos will be showing and selling Riverside videos all day.
Scott Nichols will be selling his racing photos.
Keep checking back every week and we will update every Monday.
All types of Riverside memorialibilia are welcome.
Sometimes nice guys finish first; Ron Wyckoff selected to the NE Auto Racing Hall of Fame
From online The Southington Observer
August 25, 2014
By John Goralski
|COURTESY OF THE DAVE DYKES COLLECTION
Southington’s Ron Wyckoff stands beside the Simons Brothers' No. 9 car at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Nobody expected much out of Ronnie Wyckoff when he slipped into the lineup at the Riverside Park Triple Crown Finale in August of 1980. After all, the Southington driver was supposed to be retired. How could he expect to keep pace with such a storied group of drivers in their prime? How could a recently retired driver survive the obstacles, trials, and ordeals of a 125-lap race?
But Wyckoff’s fans knew that he was the one to beat. After all, Wyckoff made a career out of finishing races.
“Ronnie was never one to get into any controversy at all, so people liked him whether he was on the race track or off it,” said Southington racing fan Gary Danko, radio host of the Speedway Line Report on WATR. “He wasn’t one of those guys that we call ‘checkers’ or ‘wreckers.’ He was more of a consistent driver. He didn’t really win a lot, but he was always a top 5 or top 10 finishers. The most important thing is that you’d know, at least 95 percent of the time, he would bring the car in with all the tires on it.”
On that hot August night in 1980, it was enough to capture the checkered flag. Click here for full story
|New England Antique Racers' Hectic Schedule
for the Next 30 Days
August 6, 2014
August of 2014 is a busy month for the New England Antique Racers with eight events taking the club all over New England with both still displays and running shows.
First up is the August 14 event at Thunder Road in Barre, VT. The sign in time for this show is 11am which means plenty of track time. This is a Thursday evening show, so make plans on where you will be sleeping.
The following evening, Friday August 15, we will be traveling to Devils Bowl another running show. Sign in time is 3pm and Devils Bowl is located in West Haven, Vermont on Route 22 A. Get some rest, as there is a Saturday still show on tap next day.
On Saturday August 16, the Berlin Fire Department is holding a "Touch a Truck" celebration at Sage Park, Suranna Drive, Berlin, CT. The sign in time is 9am and the show starts at 10am on Zipelli Field. See the schedule for contact information and the rain date information.
On Wednesday August 20 the "still" point show is on the Colchester Green in Colchester, CT. The NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame Museum will be there in support of the Cruise on the Green. The show starts at 5pm and runs 'till 9pm. They promise a large selection of hot rods, customs and a great time. If you need more, info check the schedule and contact Ted Grey.
Saturday, August 23 sees NEAR traveling north again to Bradford, VT, for Bear Ridge Speedway. This running show has a sign in time of 1pm. A great track to see some classic coupes and coaches, some still powered by the famous Ford flathead V8.
On Saturday August 30 the trip is back to the coast to the "Cement Palace". Seekonk Speedway on Route 6 in Seekonk, MA, is the site of the next to the last running event of the year. This track has been in the circuit forever with the touring cars; and allows NEAR plenty of track time and a good time for all. Sign in time is 2pm...get there early because the racing is great...and fast...and they get a capacity crowd so the good seats go early. Stop by the Mobile Hall of Fame Museum and say hi to R. A. and Ric.
Sunday August 31 we travel to Agawam, MA, "Home of the Park"; Riverside Park & Speedway 15th Anniversary Reunion. It has been 15 years since cars have graced the bank of the Connecticut River track. The asphalt maybe gone but the memories will live on for years.
The public comes in at 10am so if you have a vintage race car or a car that ran the Park, have it off the trailer and ready to display at the Polish Club located at 139 Southwick Street (Route 57), Rolling Hills, MA, by 9:30am.
Bring a vintage or Riverside Park car and you and one guest will be admitted for free. This is NEAR's annual fund raiser to support the Hall of Fame Banquet in November. Food, raffle, model car contest, items for sale, face painting for the kids, family friendly fun sharing great memories and stories. Hall of Fame drivers will be there to sign autographs. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $5.00 for NEAR members with a current card and children under 14 admitted FREE.
The Mobile Hall of Fame Museum truck will be there and NEAR gear will be available for sale and or to order.
Just added to the program, without full details, is Sunday September 7th, an afternoon running at the Waterford Speedbowl on Route 85 in Waterford , CT. As soon as I get more information it will be put on the web.
Hope the see you at many of these events.
By Bill Henry
|NEAR Member Profile this week is for Rich Belmonte
August 5, 2014
|Steve Kennedy Photo
The Moose Hewitt Cavalier #19 vintage race car found a new home in the garage of Rich Belmonte in 2009. Rich is currently campaigning the race car in NEAR events bringing back memories of racing in New England to many race fans.
Belmonte began his career of racing in 1976 at the much talked about Plainville Stadium with his own modified coupe. In 1977 he prepared and wrenched the #74 Late Model at Waterford Speedbowl. Then in 1978-79 Belmonte drove the George Buffington owned #123 Street Stock/Super Stock at Waterford Speedbowl and Thompson Speedway. Belmonte, missing the modified division, had a chance to return to his first passion -- he prepared and drove the (former Boehler #3) #14 Chevette SK Modified at Stafford Motor Speedway in 1983 before leaving the sport for twenty-five years. Click here for full story
|NEAR Announces 2014 Hall of Fame Class
July 29, 2014
Drivers Deke Astle, Jim Martel, Mike Rowe, Fred Schulz, Ron Wyckoff, drag racing icon Bob Tasca, historian R.A. Silvia and car builder/mechanic Dave Tourigny make up the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2014.
They, along with the still to be announced pioneer class, will be inducted at NEAR’s 16th Hall of Fame banquet Sunday, November 16th, at The Lodge at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.
Banquet ticket information will be announced shortly and will be posted on the New England’s Antique Racers’ website (NEAR1.org) in the near future.
Part of one of New England’s foremost racing families, Astle, a Westport, MA resident, was a champion at both Seekonk and Lakeville Speedways. Noted for his adaptability, “The Little Man with the Big Cigar” was also a major force throughout Eastern New England, most notably at Westboro and Thompson Speedways in addition to Seekonk and Lakeville.
Martel, of Ipswich, MA, won in cars ranging from Cutdowns to Supermodifieds over four-plus decades of competition. A two-time NESMRA Late Model champion, his resume includes a Late Model win at Fredrickson in the Canadian Maritimes and a Supermodified win at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. He has victories at over a dozen tracks.
Turner, ME resident Mike Rowe continues to compete, adding to a list of accomplishments that includes over 200 victories and 13 championships. Starting in 1968, Rowe, a three-time Oxford 250 winner, has won, in addition to seven Oxford crowns, NEPSA (1999), ACT (1994), PASS (2006), BRMS (2013) championships and has ruled at Wiscasset (1991) and Beech Ridge (2009).
Noted for an intense competitive zeal, Schultz’s championships at Norwood (1969) and Westboro (1978) figure among a list of accomplishments over a career that began in the post-World War II “cutdown” era. Also part of a racing family, Schulz, who passed away in 1999, and car owner Jim Susi won 14 straight at three different tracks in 1959.
Wyckoff, a Southington, CT resident, was a major winner at Plainville Stadium and Riverside Park Speedway and a force everywhere else in the 1960s and ‘70s. A winner of three-straight Riverside 500s, the Florida native rarely sat idle, testimony to both his ability to take care of equipment and his standing among his fellow competitors and the fans.
Working with the Koszela family, Tourigny designed, built and maintained an impressive list of Modifieds. They included the legendary Woodchopper coupes and Vegas, the Logroller Corvair and a revolutionary Ford-powered Pinto that the likes of Fred DeSarro, Bugs Stevens and Mike Stefanik drove to a host of victories and to a half-dozen championships.
"A Dave Tourigny Masterpiece"
A Providence-area Ford dealer for 55 years, Tasca came to drag racing in the late 1960s, seeing it as a boom to his business. He quickly became a major power. Starting with a ’64 Ford Fairlaine, Tasca moved to Funny Cars and full-blown “fuelers,” bringing New England into the national spotlight. Tasca died in 2010.
Silvia has emerged as one of New England’s premier auto racing historians and preservationists. “The man to go to” for those seeking historical clarification or a photograph, he has served promoters, competitors, media and fans alike for over three decades out of his home in Warwick, RI. From a historical standpoint, his impact on New England racing is immeasurable.