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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
1209 Main St
East Hartford, CT
October 20, 2015 at 7:15pm

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NEAR Member Profile for this week is for
Brian "Spanky" and Lisa Bancroft
October 6, 2015

The 1937 Chevy Coupe, #15, was owned originally by Lenny Bancroft and could be seen racing “back in the day” at Riverside, Eastern States and Stafford Speedway by his main driver Frank Molton (his best man at his wedding), Rene Charlin, Gene Bergin and Sperry Morway to mention a few.

Then, in the ‘70’s, Spanky’s 2 oldest sisters’ boyfriends tried their hand at racing at Riverside…which did not last. When Lenny’s days of racing were behind him, the race car was “put out to pasture” at the Bancroft homestead and Lenny focused on raising his seven kids and farming his 100 acre potato farm.

Rich Mosher, a current vintage race car owner, would visit the homestead and clear around the car hoping that Lenny would sell him the coupe…this went on for many years. Eventually, a tree grew up from the ground, through the floor and out the passenger window…I guess the potato farm was trying to naturally recycle the coupe.

For full story click here.

Impressive List of Presenters
at NEAR Fete
October 3, 2015

Two of the most familiar voices in motorsports broadcasting and one of the sport’s premier authors will head up the list of presenters at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

Ken Squier, the “play-by-play” man for CBS’ Daytona 500 telecasts for 20 years, and Jack Arute, a pit reporter at the Indianapolis 500 for ABC for several seasons, will induct owner/driver Joey Laquerre and road racer Sam Posey respectively. Award-winning writer Bones Bourcier will do the honors for one time modified star and 1985 Daytona Firecracker 400 winner Greg Sacks.

Click here for ticket information for the banquet.

Also making presentations will be 1993 National NASCAR Modified Champion Rick Fuller (the late Jim McCallum), announcers Pete Falconi and John Spence Sr. (promoter Red MacDonald and car owner the late Paul Dunigan respectively), writer Peter VanderVeer (driver Stan Greger) and long-time racing participant Bruce Cohen (the multi-faceted Lew Boyd).

“All the presenters have distinguished themselves and, like the inductees, reflect the position New England holds,” said New England Antique Racers President Paul Masse. “They are New England products who have impressive accomplishments.”

Squier and Arute started their careers in Vermont and Connecticut and remain icons in their respective states. It is fitting Squier inducts fellow Vermonter Laquerre while Arute and Posey were both ABC broadcasters. Bourcier, who cut his teeth writing for local media outlets in Connecticut, has won a host of awards, including two Miller Racing Award of Excellence prizes and authored several books.

VanderVeer, part of the racing scene for over 25 years, has been honored by both NEAR and the Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance. Fans hear Falconi, the play-by-play voice of the Northeaster Midget Association at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spence handles the microphone at Lee USA Speedway and is the voice of the Valenti Modified Tour.

Like Falconi, Fuller is part of a racing family. A Modified Tour competitor for over 20 years, he was a model of consistency. In addition to the ’93 title, he had 146 top fives, including 20 wins, and finished in the top five in tour points 10 times. He will be inducting his father-in-law.

Cohen has a long relationship with auto racing and with Boyd, the pair forming a winning owner/driver combo and both (along with Dick Berggren) were part of the initial Spring Sizzler promotion team. Cohen has been a writer and radio host as well. 

NEAR Honors Tri-Track Series Duo
September 28, 2015

Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer, principals behind the successful Tri-Track Series, will share the 2015 New England Antique Racers’  Frank Maratta Award. The presentations, giving in recognition of their outstanding contribution and support of auto racing, will be part of the agenda at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

Over the past two seasons, the Tri-Track Series has paid out over $400,000. The eight races have attracted an average car count of 40, including the top Modified teams from New England and New York.  Lee, Star, Seekonk, Monadnock and Waterford have hosted Tri-Track events.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

Drivers Sam Posey, Greg Sacks, Joey Laquerre, Stan Gregor, the late Jim McCallum and the late Ronnie Marvin, car owner the late Paul Dunigan,  publishers Lew Boyd and the late Jim Moffat, engine-builder Joe Fontana and promoter Red McDonald will be inducted in the NEAR Hall of Fame. Vermont’s Justin St. Louis will receive the Mitchell/Ratta Media Award.

Williams, from Stonington, CT and Schaefer, from Riverhead, NY, are the leaders of a group that has made the Tri-Track Series a reality. According to Williams, a familiar face in New England racing for decades, the impetus was a conversation among a group of old timers.  “They were saying how much they missed the old open competition events,” recalled Williams. “We thought with a little common sense it could happen again and we got four or five  guys together and made it happen.”

This year’s payout will be $287,000 distributed in a number of ways including lap money and last-chance races.  There were six different winners in the first seven races. 

September 28, 2015

(BERLIN, CT) — It closed over three decades-ago, but Connecticut’s ¼-mile Plainville Stadium is still recalled for hosting some of the biggest names in the business. Drivers such as the legendary “Steady Eddie” Flemke, Denny Zimmerman, Reggie Ruggiero, Charlie Jarzombek, Ray Miller, the late Dick Watson, and still-more of the sports heavy-hitters all toured the tight, demanding oval during its colorful history.

Add Saturday night regulars such as Dave Alkas, Ronnie Wyckoff, the late Tony Mordino and George Lombardo, along-with the celebrated Don Moon, Sparky Belmont, & the colorful Tony “Jap” Membrino, and it set the stage for some of the best racing action ever witnessed in the Nutmeg State. 

Saturday, October 10th, the Nutmeg Kart Club in conjunction with the Berlin Lions Club World of Wheels presents the annual Plainville Stadium Reunion. The event takes-place from 10am – 3pm at the Berlin Fair Grounds located 430 Beckley Road, East Berlin, CT. The rain date is October 11th.

Coming-off another successful season of competition on the Berlin Lions Club 1/12-mile World Karting Association dirt oval, the two organizations have teamed to make the day a family-priced event. Adult admission is only $5.

In 2008, Plainville’s all-time winner Alkas and 2-time champion Lombardo took their places in the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame along with previously inducted members Flemke, Zimmerman, Watson, and Miller. Pioneering driver & former Stadium Race Director Moe Gherzi is also a HOF inductee, as-are Tony Mordino & Ronnie Wyckoff.

“It was a great place to be a part-of, states Tom Ormsby, himself a former Plainville Modified competitor and now the man behind several racing websites. “Sure, we had our battles on the track, but at the end of the night, you’d share a beer with the guy that you’d been banging wheels-with. We were a tight-group. You’d lend a part to your biggest rival if that’s what it took to get him back on the track.” Now residing in Florida, Ormsby is envious of those that will be attending. “I know how much work and effort goes into this,” states the transplanted Floridian. “Getting everyone together every year is bound to be a lot of fun. I’ll certainly be there in spirit.”

Award-winning New England racing journalist and New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Pete Zanardi has always been impressed with the event. “They just do a fantastic job with this reunion every year, and it seems to just get better & better” he stated recently. “With the memorabilia displays, it makes you realize that just about everybody involved in our region’s modified scene has some sort of connection to the place. Just-about all the big names raced, and won there. Historically-speaking, it’s hard to deny that Plainville Stadium was a key race track within the scheme of things. The Wednesday night open-competition races are stuff of legend; everybody was there including the Long Island drivers.”

Bones Bourcier, one of the most celebrated auto racing writers in the country has an extra-special tie to Joe Tinty’s little ribbon of asphalt. It’s really where his career in the sport began, and the memories flowed recently. He says “Growing up, Plainville Stadium was a magnet for me, as it was for so many other people from Central Connecticut. I think about the drivers who ran there weekly, and how all they seemed to pull in folks from the towns and cities they came from. You had the Berlin fans cheering on Dave Alkas and his brothers, Fred and George; the Meriden fans yelling for Bob Vivari’s 6X and the North End Auto Parts cars run by the Berndt family; the Waterbury Gang clapping for Jap Membrino and his nephew, Gary Membrino; the New Britain people rooting for Stan Greger, Reggie Ruggiero, Tom Ormsby, and Ronnie Rocco; the local Plainville fans hollering for Carl Charrette and John Bergenty; and kids like me from Southington, who loved local cars like the West Street Mobil VO, the Rocky’s Amoco ‘cent sign,’ and Wimpy Kinney’s “percent sign.” And when the open-competition shows came along, those of us from Southington could also pull for Eddie Flemke and Ronnie Wyckoff. Sure, those two guys came from New Britain originally, but they had both moved to Southington, and we were happy to claim them. Plainville Stadium may be gone, but it’s terrific that once a year the people who loved that place can relive the old days through this reunion. Now, if we could only figure a way to bring-back those incredible Stadium french fries!”

As one of the organizers of the event, Gary Bienkowski is also confident that this year’s edition will be better-than-ever. Prior events were very-successful.

“Again this year we have a lot to offer” he states. “It’s expected that there will be even-more memorabilia on display, and former official track photographer Phil Hoyt has stepped-up his display. We’ve again increased our efforts in reaching-out to the tracks former competitors in all the divisions including the Novice class.”

Also on the agenda is a full schedule of Go Kart competition on New England’s only WKA Dirt Master track. The appearance of several vintage race cars along with a display of classic & custom autos adds to the festivities.

By Dave Dykes

NEAR Media Award to St. Louis
September 22, 2015

Justin St. Louis, a motorsports writer for three Vermont daily newspapers, is the winner of the New England Antique Racers’ Mitchell/Ratta Award. The prize will be presented at the New England Antique Racers‘ Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

A native Vermonter, St Louis is a contributor to the Burlington Free Press, the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He is also a play-by-play announcer on the Radio Vermont network of stations. A member of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame advisory committee, he has been covering auto racing since attending Thunder Road and Catamount Stadium as a teenager.

The prize memorializes two of New England’s greatest motorsports writers – Charlie Mitchell of the Norwalk (CT) Hour and Jack Ratta of the Manchester (NH) Union Leader.

St. Louis is among an impressive group of honorees including incoming Hall of Famers road racer Sam Posey, drivers Greg Sacks, Jim McCallum, Stan Greger and Ronnie Marvin, the multi-faceted Lew Boyd, car owner Paul Dunigan, car owner/engine builder Joe Fontana and publisher Jim Moffat.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

St. Louis was an announcer/publicist for Thunder Road, Airborne and the American-Canadian Tour at 19. He is currently the media director at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and was a contributor to Thunder Road’s 50th anniversary book in 2009 and the statistical history of Northeastern Speedway

Marvin, Fontana, Moffat
Added to NEAR Hall of Fame 

By Dave Dykes
September 7, 2015

The late Ronnie Marvin, Joe Fontana, and the late Jim Moffat are this year’s veterans committee picks for inclusion into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

The trio, along with drivers Sam Posey, Joey Laquerre, Stan Greger, Greg Sacks, the late Jim McCallum, car owner the late Paul Dunigan, former racer & current publisher Lew Boyd, and Lee Raceway promoter Red MacDonald will be enshrined at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.

The veterans committee deals with accomplishments prior to 1960. Still to be announced is the winner of the Ratta/Mitchell Award which goes to a member of the media.

A crowd favorite nicknamed the “Bethlehem Bombshell” for his thrilling driving style, the late Ronnie Marvin was a triumphant force on the short tracks of the North Country for a multitude of seasons. His early days spent winning on the region’s smaller venues such as Vermont’s Concord and Northeastern Speedways, he eventually established himself at that state’s famous Thunder Road as one of the flathead-era's winningest drivers. Following a hiatus of several seasons, he returned to the sport enjoying a productive tenure in the late model classes.

Following a start in the early-50s at Plainville Stadium with Moon Burgess as his driver, Hamden, Connecticut native Joe Fontana’s list of accomplishments spanned over six-decades of auto racing involvement, encompassing participation throughout New England, California, Utah, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. As both a car owner and engine builder, Fontana’s engines won 122 features, and multiple track titles at West Haven, Bridgeport and Cherry Park, 3 Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) Championships, and he also enjoyed a winning reign in drag racing. He founded the highly-regarded Fontana Automotive, designing and building multiple generations of his signature midget racing engines.

The late Jim Moffat’s pioneering “Cavalcade of Auto Racing” monthly covered a myriad of tracks and series during its heyday as one of the nation’s premier auto racing publications. With an emphasis on action in the Northeast, it chronicled the exploits of drivers from both the dirt and asphalt circuits featuring work by some of auto racing’s most-talented photographers. Also on the agenda was coverage of celebrated national events and frequent early-era articles dating back to New England’s “Big Car” era. Today, Cavalcade of Auto Racing remains a valuable resource to those dedicated to preserving the history of the sport.

NEAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015
August 20, 2015

Victories at LaMans and Daytona International Speedway are among the hundreds of checkered flags owned by the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.

Sam Posey, one of America’s top road racers, and Greg Sacks, the winner of the 1985 Daytona Firecracker 400, are part of the class that will be honored at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

The class also includes owner/driver Joey Laquerre, car owner the late Paul Dunigan and drivers the late  Jim McCallum and Stan Greger, a quartet that collectively has 27 track championships.

The multi-faceted Lew Boyd, presently a book seller and publisher, and Lee USA Speedway promoter Red MacDonald will also be inducted.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

Still to be announced are the Veterans Committee picks, the Pardi Memorial Award and the Mitchell/Ratta (media) Award winners.

A long-time Sharon, CT resident, Posey was a top runner in road racing with strong finishes in Formula A, Can-Am and Trans-AM. He had a fifth at Indianapolis in 1972, scored at LeMans and Sebring and drove some Formula I before moving to TV with ABC Sports. He is an award winning writer and artist.

In addition to Daytona, Long Island native Sacks has a number of New England victories, notably at Stafford and Thompson but also at Westboro. His 1982 season, which included the Stafford championship, ranks with the best performances in New England racing history.

Vermont’s Laquerre has been a winner over five decades as both an owner and driver. The top winner at the old Catamount Stadium, his resume includes several wins on the ACT Tour and championships at Thunder Road (6) and Catamount (2).

The colorful Dunigan, who passed away in 2004, burst on to the International Super Modified Association scene and won six titles in eight years, adding an Oswego crown as well. His drivers included Bentley Warren, Russ Wood, Mike Ordway and Joe Gosek.

MacDonald , over six decades, was a successful car owner - drags, cutdowns, supermodifieds, even an Indianapolis car – before taking over the Lee USA Speedway operation in 1986. He has brought the best in the business to his track often overcoming great obstacles.    

Conservative estimates put McCallum’s win total in various categories at around 200 throughout New England. Often an owner/driver, his championships came at Stafford, Westboro, Riverside Park, Thompson, Monadnock and Lee along with a couple United Grand American Laurels.

A racer (33 victories), promoter (The inaugural Spring Sizzler), writer, marketing consultant before his present position as a book seller and publisher (Coastal 181), Boyd’s contributions to auto racing are incredible.  The Bay Stater is among the sport’s most admired participants.

A three-time Riverside Park Champion, Greger, who began at Plainville Stadium, was a force in Modified racing for over two decades. Including Plainville and Riverside, where he ranks 4th on the all-time win list with 38, he scored all over New England driving for, among others, Bob Judkins and Joe Brady.