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Dave Dykes’ Racing Through Time

By Dave Dykes

We start this edition on a somber note, sending our heartfelt condolences to the family & friends of Bob Seller, former New England Antique Racers President & longtime club member who passed-away on Sunday, November 15th. Long-active with NEAR, Bob was a true friend to the vintage racing community and will be sorely missed.   

I’d also like to thank all the folks that have been writing to inquire as to when we’ll be returning to our customary weekly schedule. Our new partner Mark Caise, proprietor of Thirty Marketing located in Gales Ferry, CT. continues to work with us, and we hope to be back to our normal schedule at a point following the holiday season.

Finally, special thanks to our present Webmaster Judy Poirier who makes these monthly updates possible – without her, the site would be completely down. And the same gratitude is sent to our longtime friend Tom Ormsby, as without his original vision & computer expertise, “RTT” would never have become a reality back in 2009.

Here’s wishing all of our readers a happy & healthy holiday season. See you all again in 2016!

As-always, email reaches me at foreveryounginct@gmail.com.

Message from Judy Poirier, Webmaster

Many of you may know I shared with Dave at the end of July that December 2nd, this release, would be my last posting of “RTT, version 2.0”. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Dave Dykes for all his kind words over the last 20 months – in which we have had over 78,700 views; and more importantly, his ongoing commitment to preserving the history of automobile racing.

Dave's commentary on New England racing has brought back memories to many; has provided much sought after photos of past race tracks, drivers and car owners; highlighted race photographers; and in some cases, introduced a late grandparent to their grandchildren through their racing.

As Dave has mentioned, we have been working closely with Mark Caise to bring you “RTT, version 3.0”. It has a new look with new functionality, which will allow Dave to easily post his racing articles and photos going forward; and with over a 1,000 views weekly, I am sure it will be greatly appreciated by his readers.

So during the holidays if you would like to check out New England Vintage Racing "today", click here to view over 100 videos I've posted since 2013; check out George Powers still flagging from the track at Claremont Speedway in NH. And if you are interested in Classic Cars, visit our website www.dreammachineclassics.org and click on "Photo Gallery" to view car cruises and shows - you will see Dave with his Rambler in a few of the local shows.

I would like to conclude with this message: We are fortunate to live in a wonderful country founded by courageous men and women; and as in the past, our military families have our heartfelt thanks as they continue to sacrifice so much for our freedom.

May you all be blessed with the ability to embrace the happiness that comes your way, and be well in 2016.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Walt Scadden. “Breakfast with Bill - Conversations with the Connecticut Valley Rocket “Wild Bill Slater” 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. Though modest in length, it also contains a selection of great vintage images. Copies 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.


Happy Holidays From Racing Through Time !!!!!

New Jersey native the late Al Tasnady possessed a huge fan following in the 1950s and 1960s. Several times he won 20 feature races or more in a season, ranking among the nation’s top modified drivers for over a decade. In 1963, he was the first recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Greater New York Racing Fraternity, which went to the top short track driver in the region. In 1967, he won four 25-lap events in one day at the Pennsylvania’s famed Reading Fairgrounds—an unheard of accomplishment at the time. He won 52 races at Reading during his career, and was the 1965 track champion. Al won 96 races at Flemington, NJ, and was a multi-time track champion there. This shot captures him at Langhorne, Pennsylvania in October of 1965. (John Grady Photo)

Captured here during a visit to Long Island’s Islip Speedway when he was wheeling the famed Lenny Boehler #3 is our friend Bugs Stevens. Enjoying a lengthy career that included a trio of NASCAR National Modified Championships, he went on to become Stafford Motor Speedway’s most-winning Modified driver with 72 feature victories. His numerous track championships include Stafford Motor Speedway (4), Seekonk Speedway, (3), Norwood Arena, (2), Albany Saratoga, Catamount and Thompson. His big wins include the 1973 Spring Sizzler, a pair of 500 lappers at Thompson and several victories at Trenton and Martinsville. Both Stevens and Boehler are members of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. (Photo Courtesy Tom Denner Collection)

Recalled primarily as a dirt-specialist, Northeastern coupe-era star Don Wayman started his career during the post-war stock car boom of the late-40s, first climbing behind the wheel in 1947 at the old Clearview Speedway in South Westerloo, New York (a short-lived & dusty 1/3-mile dirt oval that operated for only three-seasons). Particularly successful on the pre-tarmac surface of the old Mal Barlow-owned Stafford Fairgrounds in Connecticut (now known as Jack Arute’s Stafford Motor Speedway), he was constantly in-demand with the top car-owners of his era. Always busy, the personable chauffer successfully maintained a hectic (and winning), three-track schedule in the 1960s, running weekly at Fonda, Victoria, and Stafford. Don closed the curtain on his long, victory-laden career in 1976, last piloting the Paul Braver-owned #17. (Photo Courtesy Tom Denner Collection)

Racing with Tom Ormsby

By Tom Ormsby

Joey Trudeau Is First In Speedbowl Feature

New London Day, May 24, 1969

(WATERFORD, CT) It was tough, scrappy, hard-driving Joey Trudeau all the way Saturday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as the “hard-luck man” from Baltic, finally captured his first checkered flag in several years.

The rugged 30-lap modified feature was interrupted four times with an assorted collection of smash-ups, spectacular spin-outs, and tangles. Each time the race was halted, the distance between Trudeau in his Zero car and his nearest competitors was closed up, but each time, on the restarts, Trudeau charged out in front again and stayed there, finally fighting-off three determined efforts by Charlie Webster of Groton in the last three laps.

The victory for Trudeau not only won him first place cash, but the Month-of-May Championship trophy, and the title Month-of-May Champion, New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The winning car owner also received a trophy in trackside ceremonies conducted by Jack Brouwer of New London.

The running of the Modified Feature took so-much time that the scheduled 20-lap Month-of-May Daredevil Championship Trophy Race went only eight laps, being halted by the midnight curfew after several smashups. The remaining 12 laps will be run at a later date, according to Racing Director John Whitehouse.

Results:

1st race, 10 laps, modifieds: 1, Webster; 2, Potter; 3, Palm; 4, Shafer; 5, Phaneuf; time, 3:03.3

2nd race, 10 laps, modifieds: 1, Trudeau; 2, Kibbe; 3, Geer; 4, Collins; 5, Spencer; time, 3:08.8

3rd race, 10 laps, modifieds: 1, Dunn; 2, Stafford; 3, Toro; 4, Hewitt; 5, D. Caso; time, 3:03.0

4th race, 8 laps, daredevils: 1, Taylor; 2, Tinker; 3, Hull; 4, Mancarella; 5, Sweet; no time, restart.

5th race, 8 laps, daredevils: 1, Barton; 2, Mazella; 3, Sanko; 4, Allum; 5, Bunnell; no time, restart.

6th race, 10 laps, modified consolation: 1, Barrows; 2, Baer; 3, Harman; 4, Rocco; 5, Postler; no time, restart.

7th race, 8 laps, daredevil consolation: 1, Card; 2, Densmore; 3, Merozzi; 4, A. Webb; 5, Steiner; no time, restart.

8th race, 30 laps, Month-of-May Championship 30-lap Trophy Race modifieds: 1, Trudeau; 2, Webster; 3, Toro; 4, Kibbe; 5, Dombrowski; no time, restart.

9th race, 20 laps Month-of-May Championship, Daredevil Race; Race halted by curfew after 8 laps. Remaining 12 laps to be run at later date.

On Saturday evening May 24th, 1969 Joey Trudeau annexed the big Month-of-May Championship event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in convincing-style, edging-out the late, great, Charlie Webster. (Rene Dugas Photo)
Though he waged a valiant battle, Charlie Webster just didn’t have the horses to overcome Trudeau and his potent Zero coupe that night. Charlie was one of the best racers ever to emerge from the confines of the shoreline oval. (Rene Dugas Photo)
Bringing home a fine third-place finish was one of New England’s finest coupe-era chauffeurs, Mr. Lou Toro. (Shany Lorenzent Photo)
Cashing-in on the event’s fourth-place money was shoreline oval regular Don Kibbe aboard his familiar red #14 machine (Rene Dugas Photo)
And completing the top-5 in what was a real slam-bang event was the late Walt Dombrowski, seen here pitside at the Speedbowl (Rene Dugas Photo)

Happy Holidays From Racing Through Time !!!!!
by Dave Dykes...
continues...

Meet our good friend, Don Moon. Seen here as a youngster in the 1960s during his days as a member of the Southern New York Racing Association (SNYRA),  at Connecticut’s late & much-missed Danbury Fair Racearena, Don was a quick-study at the highly-competitive venue, entering victory lane on multiple occasions – no easy feat. An absolute-terror at Plainville Stadium, today he campaigns a flawless replica of his former Pinto Modified on the vintage racing circuit and is one of the people responsible for the tremendous success of the annual Plainville Stadium Reunions. (Robert Mannion Photo)

Before becoming a New England midget racing legend, Dave Humphrey was a winning stock car racer. In fact, he handily annexed the 1951 title at Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl to become that track’s first-ever champion. His list of accomplishments a long-one, the “Quiet Man” from Massachusetts was one of the premier players in the New England circle game for decades. Seen here during his stock car period at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts, he was honored for his lengthy and successful career with an induction into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. Dave remains a class-act, and this scribe is proud to count him as a friend. (Photo Courtesy R.A. Silvia Collection)


And here we have a neat color coupe-era image from Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl pit area. The late Johnny Savage campaigned this ride to many fine-finishes during a career that started in the mid-1960s. He was closely-associated with the team of shoreline oval Icon, the late Fred “Fuzzy” Baer and his father “Pops.” Sadly, Johnny passed-away a few years-ago at a relatively-young age. (Rene Dugas Photo)

Another Saturday night, another checkered flag (we’re not sure of the locale)…… Here’s a nice victory lane shot of Deke Astle, a big winner for decades throughout the Northeast. Multi-talented and often-dominate on the asphalt (esp. at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts where he was a multi-time champion), he was another one of those guys that was comfortable on the mud also, having many victories at Lakeville Speedway (a former MA. dirt oval). Affectionately recalled by fans as the “Little Man with the Big Cigar”, he was always in the hunt wherever he ran! (Photo Courtesy R.A. Silvia Collection)


Sharing the limelight of a special night with his pit crew is the late Russ McLean, the 1969 Sportsman-Modified champion at the much-missed UNITED-sanctioned Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass. Fondly-recalled as a very popular racer amongst both fans and competitors. His lone feature event triumph occurred on the evening of April 17, 1971 as captured here. (Shany Lorenzent Photo)

Seen here during the very-early days of his extraordinary racing career, if there was ever a “King of Plainville Stadium” this guy was the man wearing the crown. Our friend Dave Alkas, was a 5-time track champion, and the former (& much-missed) Connecticut ¼-milers all-time modified winner. When Dave pulled out on the track, his fellow competitors knew that they have their work cut out for them! Fittingly, Mr. Alkas was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2008. (Frank Faust Photo)

 


Like so-many other competitors that gave our game a whirl, Tim “Timski” Wilkinson wasn’t around for long, but when he was, it was in what was considered good equipment for the era. Seen here at Connecticut’s New London-Waterford Speedbowl during the late-70s behind the controls of his ex-Glynn Shafer coupe, Wilkinson enjoyed several fine runs before disappearing from the sport at the dawn of the eighties. Shafer had put the car in victory circle on several previous occasions. (Steve Kennedy Photo)

BONUS SHOT #1: We really like this image as it captures a great racer during an equally-great era in the annals of New England short track racing. “Big Joe” Rosenfield was a multi-time track champion at Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, reigning triumphant in 1960, 61, 62, and 64. Though he also competed quite-successfully elsewhere (most notably at the former West Peabody & Westboro Speedways, also in Massachusetts), Rosenfield's stats really shine at Seekonk. There, he scored his first wins in the Bomber class in 1954, nabbing a win or two a year in various divisions through the rest of the decade. During his title years in the Class A Modified division, he notched an impressive 14 features. (Photo Courtesy R.A. Silvia Collection)

BONUS SHOT #2: The image captured at one of Plainville’s great 100-lap open-competition mid-week shows of the 1970s, this is the “Travelin' Man” himself, Peter Fiandaca. Doing “more-with-less” was a way of life during his modified career, and geographically-speaking, few traveled-more than Fiandaca and his often 1-man show as he crisscrossed New England on a weekly-basis racing at every opportunity. A legendary “Little Guy” that excelled during an era when big-money had become a factor in the sport, “Petah” is deservedly a member of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. (Phil Hoyt Photo)