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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
September 15, 2015 at 7:15pm

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September 26th, Grand Opening of
Ron Bouchard's Racing Museum
August 20, 2015

All NEAR members with race cars, please save the date for the Grand Opening of Ron Bouchard's Racing Museum:

Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Location: 288 Lunenburg St., Fitchburg, MA

We are very excited to be asked specifically by NEAR Hall of Famer, Ron Bouchard, to participate in the Grand Opening of his Racing Museum by showing our NEAR Vintage race cars at this non-points event. The club is looking for an impressive turn-out from our members to support the Grand Opening. This is a great opportunity and we are really appreciative of the personal invite.

For more info visit RB Racing Museum Grand Opening.

By Jim Williams

NEAR Invited to Event at Speedway51
August 26, 2015

The former Riverside Speedway in Groveton, NH was recently purchased and renamed by 2015 NEAR Hall of Fame Nominee Joey Laquerre. 

Joe and Lloyd Hutchins have coordinated to invite NEAR members to this non-points, running event on Saturday, September 12th. Sign in is 1:00 pm. which will allow for plenty of practice time before the regular weekly racers arrive.

All are encouraged to support this event and to see what a great job Joe has done with the track. Point of contact is Lloyd Hutchins.     

https://www.facebook.com/Speedway51NH         http://www.speedway51int.com

KENT INGVES, RICH BELMONTE TAKE THE CHECKERS
AT NEW LONDON-WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL

August 24, 2015

(Click here for photos)

The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) took to the track in front of a nearly full house at the New London – Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, July 25th.  Both NEAR and the Senior Tour Auto Racers (STAR) vintage clubs were part of the show for the Speedbowl’s “Nostalgia Night”. 

NEAR had 16 race cars present with many displayed on the turn one midway in the stands. We had 14 of those race cars participate in the Features, 7 each in the Sportsman and Modified divisions.  Kent Ingves in the #716 took the checker in the Sportsman division and Rich Belmonte took the win from the pole in the #19 Moose Hewitt Cavalier. Both divisions put on a great show for the fans with some hard fought battles.  The Sportsman race stole the “show” – several comments were made that it was one of the best races of the night.

Long time NEAR member Jack Proulx took to the track in his sharp looking yellow #5 coupe for the first time since retiring in 1975 - 41 years ago!  Jack began his racing career in the Novice division at Plainville Stadium in Danbury where he won a Championship in 1965.  In 1969 he built his own Modified and tested at Waterford.  It was the one and only time he drove at Waterford until now, 46 years later.  Jack had that “Kool-Aid grin” when he returned to the pits; and seeing the joy on his face is what it’s all about…

NEAR’s own Judy Poirier took photos and videos for both clubs, and STAR’s Mary Lima covered the action in Victory Lane with photos of the winners.  Mary and Bill Henry also helped out with the sign-in and organizing the pit areas.  Their help, and that of others, was much appreciated and as always, it was a lot of fun when the two clubs race the same night.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl staff were very accommodating as well as attentive to our needs.  NEAR wishes to thank them for their hospitality and we look forward to the next event on September 20th.

Sportsman:  716 Kent Ingves, 70 Joby Tucker, 53 Steve Zukowski, 088 Angie Bullock, 19 Tom Maciag, 15 Spanky Bacroft, 5 George Cleveland. JoJo Farone also presented his coupe for display.

Modifieds:
  19 Rich Belmonte, 7NY Jim Williams, 31 Gary LaFlash, 49 Gerry Blanchette, 04 Jim Torok, 199 Bill Kemp, 12 Jodi Mills. Jack Gelgut was also present for practice with the 17 but was called away before the feature.

By Jim Williams

Bear Ridge Speedway
Bradford, VT
August 20, 2015

NEXT EVENT:  Bear Ridge, Bradford, Vermont,  Saturday, August 22nd

"Still" show with parade laps only. 

Please arrive by 12noon.  Lunch is served at 1pm.

NOTICE:  Bridge work on 91 N at White River Junction. Seek alternate routes and/or follow detours.

For more info visit www.bearridgespeedway.com

By Jim Williams

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, Nov. 8 at Maneeley’s in 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.

Ticket information for the banquet will soon be available on the New England Antique Racers website (NEAR1.org).

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.

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

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


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.