Next NEAR Meeting
1209 Main St
East Hartford, CT
July 21, 2015 at 7:15pm
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|New England Antique Racers Roll
Devil's Bowl Speedway
in West Haven, Vermont
July 4, 2015
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 email@example.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 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 was 91 years old 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
|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
|New England Antique Racers Roar into
Thunder Road International Speedbowl
in Barre, Vermont
June 30, 2015
(click here for photos)
On Thursday June 18, 2015, Twenty (20) vintage race cars from the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) came to show their stuff at the Barre, VT, speedway owned by Ken Squier.
Mr. Squier has been reported as the founding father of live flag-to-flag TV auto race coverage and he is best known as being the most influential force in NASCAR's broadcast years -- stated in Motorsports Hall of Fame of America; click here for full article. As an actor, Mr. Squier appeared as the California Highway Patrolman #3 in the 1981 movie "The Cannon Ball Run", an announcer in the 1983 movie "Stroker Ace" and a television announcer in the 1986 movie "Rad" to mention a few.
Mr. Squier opened the track for NEAR competitors at 11am and allowed continuous practice till 3pm when everyone surrendered to satisfaction that they were the best they could be for the evening events. As the ultimate promoter, Mr. Squier took the time to meet the drivers and discuss their cars. One of our own NEAR members, Lloyd Hutchins, helped build Thunder Road back in 1959-1960.
With the large number of NEAR members participating, we were granted a sportsman and a modified event for the evening. The modified event is known as the "Cho Lee Memorial Race" after a NEAR member who was a great contributor and participant. Cho passed away on the eve of the NEAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2013; his knowledge and active support is sorely missed. Thunder Road was his home track; Cho was always willing to lend a hand at any event and was a great source of Northern New England information.
Lloyd Hutchins won the Sportsman event and Jim Torok the Modified event - receiving the much coveted "Cho Lee Memorial" plaque.
Also participating in an evening of great racing for NEAR were Jerry Blanchette, Angie Bullock, Butch Burbank, Norman Cyr, Bob Donahue, Darragh Hoyt, Joe Keefner, Bill Kemp, Rick MacDowell, Scott Poirier, Wes Roach (Wes had an on track incident in practice eliminating his participation in the feature-like a true racer, his car was ready to race the next day at Devil's Bowl), Barry Roy, Bob Seward, George Silbey, Rick Trempt, Tommy Trempt, Dave Wright and Paul Zampieri.
Both shows were enjoyed by the attending crowd as the events were well staged and close for their duration.
Thank you to all who attended, participated and support the shows.
By Jim Torok
|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.
|Longtime NEAR Member
Jim Splettstoeszer Passes
June 14, 2015
(PLAINVILLE, CT) Sadly, it’s been learned that longtime New England Antique Racers member Jim Splettstoeszer passed-away on Sunday, June 14th following a courageous battle with cancer. Jim was a charter member of NEAR and in the past had served as an officer within the club.
A dedicated and very-active NEAR participant until sidelined by his illness, he was a familiar sight at club events with his immaculately-restored #87 coupe once campaigned by his friend, late Johnny “The Flying Greek” Georgiades, also a former NEAR club member.
A memorial service will be held at Gloria-DEI, Camp St., Plainville, CT, on Saturday, June 20th, at 2pm. Click here for full obituary
The New England Antique Racers would like to take this opportunity to send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Splettstoeszer family and all of Jim’s many friends on this somber occasion.
By Dave Dykes
|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!
|Walt Scadden’s “Breakfast with Bill - Conversations with the Connecticut Valley Rocket “Wild Bill Slater” Released
April 24, 2015
|Among the tracks Bill Slater dominated
while wheeling the Bombaci-Vitari
#V-8 was Connecticut's
New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
(Shany Lorenzent Photo,
Dave Dykes Collection)
“Breakfast with Bill - Conversations with the Connecticut Valley Rocket “Wild Bill Slater” by Walt Scadden is now available.
Though not a lengthy affair, the book provides an engaging glimpse into the persona and career of the driver who became known as “The Connecticut Valley Rocket” during the golden era of New England modified racing. A modest selection of vintage photos also appear.
Content is culled from frequent and often-candid conversations Scadden had with Slater over the last 4-5 years of his life. The entire New England racing community was deeply saddened to hear of Bill’s passing in 2012.
A prolific winner, Slater guided the Bob Vitari & Vic Bombaci-owned #V8 coupe to championships and feature event triumphs throughout the region during the 1950s & 60s. Also on the resume are celebrated National victories at Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey.
Slater, Vitari, and Bombaci are all members of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Slater drove his last race at Stafford in 1969 and then became involved in the promotional side of racing at Stafford; and later Thompson.
Copies of the book are available exclusively at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, RI, at $5 each or directly from the New England Antique Racers (NEAR). Those opting for the latter choice should send a check for $6 (made out to NEAR) for each copy to Slater Book, 24 Goose Hill Rd, Chester, CT 06412. Please include a return address.
All proceeds benefit the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) and the ProNyne Motorsports Museum.
By Dave Dykes