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Welcome to the New England Antique Racers and New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame

 

 


 

 

Slide Show of Vintage Race Cars

The New England Antique Racers Club is a non-profit organization that supports the history of New England auto racing. NEAR has been in existence since 1981 and has a growing membership, over 400 members, and 80 antique race cars. Members live throughout New England and are available, on a no charge basis, for exhibition events at  local race tracks in New England and several tracks in the New York area, with both original and historical replica race cars.

Since 1998, we have inducted 196 individuals into the New England Auto Racers Hall Of Fame, which is administered by the New England Antique Racers. Some very notable inductees include Richie Evans, Ron Bouchard, Bugs Stevens, Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton, Fred DeSarro, Ed Flemke, Sr. and Billy Greco.

Next NEAR Meeting
Triple-A-Restaurant
1209 Main St
East Hartford, CT
August 18, 2015 at 7:15pm

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Beech Ridge
Summer Fest
Running Show, Sign-in 8am
July 29, 2015

Details for Beech Ridge, Sunday, August 2nd.

Gates open at 7:30.  Display will be in the pit area.  It is requested we be in place by 9:30, but this is flexible for those who have to travel long distance.  The public is invited to view the cars at 10:00.

There is a small $5 fee which includes lunch, but there is no fee to display your car.  Lunch will be from approximately 11:30-1:00 at which time there will be an on-track display.

NOTE:  this is not a "Running" show in the traditional sense - there will be pace laps only to display the cars for the public.  The show should wrap up by approximately 3:00. 

Any questions please contact Jim Williams, 401-580-1313 or cptjnw@yahoo.com

Drivers, and a New Home, Wanted for the
NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame Museum
July 23, 2015

Drivers Wanted for the NEAR Mobile Hall Of Fame Museum; and a central, secure, location to park the truck for easy access that will minimize travel time for volunteer drivers.

For a person to be considered as a driver they must be a NEAR member, have valid driver’s license and have a good driving record.

The ideal location for the truck’s “home” would be in Connecticut or southern Rhode Island.

This is a wonderful opportunity for members to be instrumental in sharing a visual history of our rich automobile racing history with the public. If you are interested, please contact Paul Masse at (401) 769-3484.

NEAR Running Show at
New London-Waterford Speedbowl
July 22, 2015

New England Antique Racers (NEAR) will be at New London-Waterford Speedbowl Saturday, July 25th, for a Running Show.

I recommend showing up at 1pm, especially if your car has not yet been inspected this year; pits will open at 2pm.  Two pit passes are allowed per car. 

The track prefers to have the names ahead of time so please contact me (cptjnw@yahoo.com or (401) 580-1313) if you are attending.  Pit passes can be picked up at the VIP booth at the main grandstand entrance.

Car count dependent, we will try to run two divisions:  Vintage Sportsman and Vintage Modified.  If we have enough of each we will try to run two features.  There will be awards for first place winners only (not 2d/3d). 

We hope to have at least one practice session for each division.  Practice sessions start at 3pm.  The cars will probably be in the north pit area.  Those that wish to may also display their cars along with the Hall of Fame Mobile Museum in the turn two midway, if you do this, please be ready to go onto the track at any time. 

Features start at 7pm and we will be right up front in the program, following S.T.A.R. as the opener.  My two main concerns are safety (always) and being ready on time when called to the track.

If you have your medical forms, bring them.  If you do not have one, see me when you get there. 

Jim Williams, Event Coordinator

Still Show
Stafford Motor Speedway
July 20, 2015

(click here for photos)

The recently repaired NEAR Hall of Fame Mobile Museum made its 2015 debut along with 16 vintage race cars at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, CT, on June 26th.  Members from as far away as Lincoln, NH displayed their cars to an enthusiastic crowd on the midway behind the Turn 4 grandstands.

The Hall of Fame Mobile Museum was shined up and brought to the track by club president Paul Masse. The truck has recently undergone extensive repairs including installation of a new motor and several other items to make it road worthy again, although more work is needed (see article on NEAR homepage dated June 14th for more information on the truck). 

NEAR members and fans alike were treated to some of exciting racing as Stafford Motor Speedway presented seven different divisions of action packed racing that had hometown favorite Woody Pitkat winning in the Valenti Modified Racings Series 80 lap feature while “kid Rock” Keith Rocco took down win #199 in the SK Modified contest. 

Mark Arute, Chief Operating Officer at Stafford Motor Speedway expressed his appreciation and enthusiasm for the high turnout of NEAR members and vintage race cars.

For a full review of race results see:http://staffordmotorspeedway.com/2015/06

By Jim Williams

Seventh Annual
Northeastern Speedway Reunion
Set for August 22
nd
July 20, 2015

WATERFORD, Vermont (July 13, 2015) - Track owners Paul and Lise Bellefeuille are pleased to announce the seventh annual Northeastern Speedway Reunion and Vintage Celebration will be held at the historic Vermont oval alongside Route 18 on Saturday, August 22, 2015.

After a highly-successful 50th anniversary celebration at the speedway on July 18, 2009, fans and former racers have gathered off-site in recent years due to municipal restrictions. For 2015, a permit has been granted for the annual vintage celebration to take place on speedway grounds, with 30 minutes of parade laps allowed for the old Coupes.

Northeastern Speedway operated from 1959 to 1966 and was recognized by the State of Vermont as a historical landmark in 2012. A marker was erected and unveiled in June of that year designating Northeastern Speedway as “The Birthplace of Organized Racing in Vermont.” It was an honor Bellefeuille does not take lightly.

"Lise, myself and everybody involved with preserving the rich history of this beloved oval were so pleased to see the place recognized," Bellefeuille said. "We know Charlie Ely, Reg Garand and many others worked hard here to create and enforce rules.

"By creating the Northeastern Racing Association, the state's first sanctioning body, officials organized the sport and even helped Ken Squier launch the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. We're proud of the track's role in Vermont racing history."

The reunion will feature guest appearances by former drivers at Northeastern, including icons like Harold 'Hardluck' Hanaford, Skip Easter, Glen Gadapee, Pete Racine and others. Several restored Coupes and sedans from the track's active era will be on display, along with tons of vintage racing memorabilia. Food vendors will be on site with a variety of items and cold drinks. For fans of racing history, this celebration is a must-see event.

This year's reunion will be held in honor of two former track champions who passed away in 2014; Vermont short track icon and NEAR Hall of Fame member Johnny Gammell, who won the inaugural championship at Northeastern in 1959, and Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame member Glenn Andrews, who traveled over from Maine every week to claim eight features and the coveted title in 1960. Both men loved their years at Northeastern and beamed with pride during that 50th reunion celebration in 2009.

"Johnny and Glenn made a huge mark in the early days of racing in Vermont," Bellefeuille said. "Both men loved Northeastern and the extended family they developed here over the years. Even today, when older race fans gather to discuss the sport's early heroes, the names Gammell and Andrews come up often. I know both will be looking down from above when those old Coupes roar to life."

The seventh annual Northeastern Speedway Reunion and Vintage Racing Celebration will begin at 9 a.m. on Aug. 22, with a formal ceremony to recognize former drivers and officials beginning at 11:00 a.m. At approximately 12 p.m., the Coupes on hand will fire the engines and line up for their parade laps. Admission is $10 for adults; while children age 12 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

For more information, please contact Paul Bellefeuille (evenings) at 802-748-3628.

New England Antique Racers Roll
into Devil's Bowl Speedway
in West Haven, Vermont
July 4, 2015

(Click here for photos)

The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) rolled into Devil’s Bowl Speedway, on Friday, June 19, 2015, located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, for the second night in-a-row of racing. The camaraderie in racing back-to-back shows was evident in the catching up and joking around of the NEAR members and their crew.

NEAR race teams were met by Mike Bruno, Devil’s Bowl Speedway owner, on a 4-wheeler as they arrived at the speedway. The rain soaked grounds had Mike and Justin St. Louis orchestrating the NEAR parking of haulers and trailers while children of local race teams were exploring the vintage race cars.

During the night, Jim Liegeot, Jr., Executive Producer/Owner of Northeast Racing Videos - the Official Videographer at Devil’s Bowl, stopped by our trailer to visit with us and share his business card. While we were visiting, Jim very generously agreed to provide the night’s vintage races so we could post them on the NEAR website. To watch the great quality vintage races from June 19th, click here. Special Thanks go out to Jim!

If you would like to purchase a DVD of the entire racing night at Devil's Bowl please contact Jim at (518) 535-0020 or www.NORTHEASTRACINGVIDEOS.com or  northeastracingvideos@gmail.com; the Official Photo/Video of Accord Speedway Official Video Airborne and Devil’s Bowl Speedways.

"Pops" wondering when Donahue will notice
the "bull's eye" taped to his bumper...

Talking about the earlier camaraderie, one of the friendships formed during those two days, which forever will be remembered, was with Eddie MacKenzie or “Pops” to all that knew him – one of Bobby Donahue’s crew members. My first encounter with Pops was him walking down the road, the day before Devil’s Bowl, into Thunder Road Speedbowl joking with me about how his crew “wanted to make sure he had his exercise”…we talked off and on during the day, sharing our lunch with him, and at one time, he pulled up a chair in our hauler to visit with us…what was so remarkable about Pops was that he would have been 91 years old in October and the life stories he shared - the friend he met on the beach inviting them into his home, and oh yes, he would blame his forgetfulness on “Senior moments”…as seen in this photo, Pops was enjoying some of the joking around at Devil’s Bowl.

Pops’ race team, with driver Bobby Donahue, won the Modified Vintage race…Devil’s Bowl was the last NEAR race Pops would attend, he passed away this past week. We would like to send our heartfelt sympathy to Pops’ family, the Donahue Race Team and all of his many friends.

By Judy Poirier

Thunder Road International Speedbowl
Barre, Vermont
Courtesy of Lloyd Hutchins
July 4, 2015


VETERAN NEAR MEMBER
RICHARD “DICK” CHAPMAN PASSES
June 30, 2015

(AGAWAM, MA) The unfortunate news has arrived that longtime New England Antique Racers member Richard “Dick” Chapman passed-away on Monday, June 29th following a battle with cancer. 

He was 86.

A World War II veteran, Dick was a dedicated NEAR participant for many years, and had been a member of the former United Stock Car Racing Club.

Also immersed in other facets of the automotive hobby, he was a member of the Crankers Antique Car Club of West Springfield, MA.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, July 1st from 5-8pm at Colonial Forastiere Funeral Home, 985 Main Street, Agawam. A service at the funeral home will be held on Thursday, July 2nd at 11am followed by a burial with Military Honors in Springfield Street Cemetery, Feeding Hills. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Polverari/Southwick Animal Control Facility, 11 Depot Street, Southwick, MA 01077. 

A full obituary may be found here; www.forastiere.com 

The New England Antique Racers forward our heartfelt condolences to the entire Chapman family and Dick’s many friends on this sad occasion.

By Dave Dykes

Colebrook CT Fair Car Show
June 29, 2015

On September 5, 2015, New England Auto Racers (NEAR) members are invited to bring their vintage race car to the 3rd Annual Car Show to this quaint country fair which has been held on the Saturday before Labor Day since 1944; there would be no charge to enter the show.

With racing enthusiasts in our mist and the appreciation of days gone, the idea of having a few NEAR member cars to show would fit perfectly.

The Colebrook CT Fair Car Show is not a scheduled NEAR event, no points will be awarded for attending. This is a notice to let you know an invitation to attend the car show was extended to NEAR members.

Hall of Famer Jimmy Jorgensen Passes
June 21, 2015

Jimmy Jorgensen, a member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame and one of the premier owner/mechanics in Northeastern auto racing history, passed away Thursday, June 18.

From Riverside Park, where his “Flying Zero” won three championships between 1958 and 1962, to the 1969 Indianapolis 500, where he experienced the heartbreak of being first alternate, the 2012 Hall of Fame inductee left a lasting legacy on New England racing. He was successful with the URC Sprint Cars between the Modifieds and the Indy Cars.

“Jorgy” did almost all of it with the Chevrolet V8. He was instrumental in the development of Chevy V8 as a short track motor.

The dream of an Indy start evaporated late in qualifying in 1968 when Peter Revson bumped the Jorgensen car, driven by Rick Muther, in the final minute. Click here for calling hours and full obituary.

Attention NEAR Members!
We need your help…
June 14, 2015

The Hall of Fame Mobile Museum is on its way to mobility…the club has facilitated truck repairs and we need your generous financial support to complete the restoration and make it roadworthy along with adequate operating funds; our goal is to raise $5,000.

As reported in April on the website, about a dozen members generously stepped up to donate to the NEAR Hall of Fame Mobile Museum when it was reported the truck needed a motor exceeding the current truck budget; showing an amazing display of generosity and solidarity from our club members.

As members, you know the mobile museum features a visual history of 196 New England Auto Racers Hall of Famers; recognizing track owners, promoters, publicists, drivers, car owners and engine builders’ contributions to the racing sport; as well as several rare memorabilia items representing decades of auto racing history throughout the region in our mobile museum.

Reaching our fund raising goal will allow the club to continue to operate the Hall of Fame Mobile Museum so that we can fulfill its purpose – “our dedication to the preservation of the fellowship and nostalgia of automobile racing; lest we forget the efforts that went into the making of this great sport. Honor outstanding people in the field of automobile racing and develop & foster knowledge of the history of automobile racing in New England among interested individuals and groups as well as the general public.”

Again, for those members who have already donated, THANK YOU!

If you are able, consider being part of assisting the club in meeting the truck goal, no gift is too small; please send your donations to the club business address at:

New England Antique Racers
PO Box 812
Meriden, CT 06450

Your generosity is greatly appreciated!


Sincerely,
Paul Masse
President