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Semi-Monthly Racing Commentary with
LEW BOYD AUGUST 16 A RACER AT HEART
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By Dave Dykes CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL SIZE
“hump-day” and it’s time for a few more “vintage views.” This week we
again present another varied selection of images from New England’s short
track racing history. As-always, special thanks goes out to our Webmaster
Tom Ormsby for getting each installment of “RTT” posted every Wednesday,
and also to those of you who take time to write – it’s sincerely
appreciated! It was a tough week racing-wise; condolences are sent to the
family & friends of noted New England modified racer Red O’ Keefe who
passed-away last week, and also to the family & friends of Roy Beauregard,
long a supporter of racing at Waterford who also left us last week. Both
will be sorely-missed.
This weeks is the final installment of the 2003 NEAR Nostalgia weekend at
the Speedbowl. As-always, email reaches me at
NOTE: We have now put a comment box at the end of
the web site. Please feel free to leave your comments.
More Racin’ Images For A Wednesday…..
archives of our Webmaster Tom Ormsby comes this great shot of the late
Red O’Keefe during the twilight of his long racing career. We
believe the location to be Connecticut’s Stafford Springs Motor
Speedway. O’Keefe, who passed-away at age-80 on August 9, was a
standout New England modified competitor for many seasons claiming
feature events at a number of the regions speedways. He was the 1965
West Haven Speedway track champion and nearly repeated in ’66 placing
second to fellow United Stock Car Racing Club star, the late Johnny
“King” Cambino. The winning margin for that’s years title race was a
scant single-point. He enjoyed his best seasons at another CT. oval,
the former West Haven Speedway competing in the Non-Ford division. A
skilled mechanic & fabricator, his self-built creations always placed
an emphasis on safety. He added innovations like front & rear
firewalls, a fire extinguisher, and a full roll cage not unlike
today’s NASCAR designs. In addition to his championship, he also
received many other awards at West Haven such as “Top Driver/Mechanic”
and “Most Popular Driver.” (Photo Courtesy Tom Ormsby).
Here’s a neat one from the Stafford dirt era. In
perusing some of my original Shany Lorenzent prints,
this one caught my eye. Note the name on the rear
quarter-panel; that’s Fred Snape, who owned
cars for a number of years in New England during the
early days. Employing some of the best racers of the
time, his driver in this shot is the
much-accomplished Lionel Arel. If the name
Snape sounds familiar, it should. Fred’s the
father-in-law of Crystal Snape, who along with her
husband Jim are frequently seen today at our
region’s raceways capturing the action via photos.
While we’re not exactly sure of the year of this
shot, it has to be pre-1957. That’s the year
in-which the tracks classic “fairgrounds-style”
covered grandstand burned to the ground. (Shany
One of the most-popular support classes in the
history of Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl, the
Bomber division was a slam-bang show that not only
pleased the crowd, it also served as a springboard
to the headlining Modifieds for many racers; this
guy was one of them. Lou Caso is captured
here at the shoreline oval as a young Bomber pilot.
Though he never scored a feature victory after
graduating to the Modifieds, he was a standout in
this division, taking multiple feature victories.
Remaining a staple of the Speedbowl scene for many
years, Caso departed the sport as the 1970s began.
(Shany Lorenzent Photo).
Captured here in 1972 behind the wheel of his modified
at Connecticut’s much-missed Plainville Stadium is
Prospect, CT. native Sherm Saunders. Prior to his
long residency at Joe Tinty’s racy little ¼-miler, he
was one of the top-dogs at the United-sanctioned West
Haven Speedway. Saunders had a number of victories at
Plainville and sometimes competed at Riverside Park. He
also performed well in the big star-studded United shows
once held yearly on the former 5/8-miler on the grounds
of the “Big E” in Massachusetts. (Steve Kennedy
was a noted Coupe-Era racer at the late Riverside
Park Speedway in Agawam, Massachusetts. One of the top
drivers during the Tattersall/United reign at the famed
quarter-miler, his singular feature victory at “The Park”
came on the evening of June 20, 1970. This one captures Skip
with one of his earlier rides, a Hudson flathead- powered
machine. (John GradyPhoto).
Another Saturday night at Waterford, and another feature
victory; this guy had MANY of them! Seen here
celebrating a win while chauffeuring the potent Norm
Kies #21, is New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame
member, our friend Bob Potter.
An ultra-popular racer, the Taftville, CT. native
started his career at Waterford in 1962 behind the
controls of a Bomber class entry. He went-on to win
multiple Modified championships at Waterford (where
alone, he claimed close to 100 career victories),
Thompson, and Stafford. (Shany Lorenzent Photo).
Here’s an early shot of Johnny “Johnnyboy”
Georgidas. A longtime coupe-era star in New England,
Georgidas was particularly-tough at the Tattersall/United
haunts of the day. We believe this ancient Shany image
to have been recorded on the old 1/5-miler at the late
Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam Massachusetts. (Shany
We really like this early Stafford Springs Motor
Speedway image of New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame
member, Pete Hamilton. From his HOF biography;
Pete Hamilton’s rise to the top was a fast one. He
started driving a street division racer in 1962 at the
Norwood Arena. He went on to be the Thompson World
Series Twin 50’s champion in 1965, and won the NASCAR
National Sportsman championship in 1967 driving the
Worcester Sand & gravel #69. Hamilton’s star really
began to shine when he moved South at the end of the 67
season. He was the 1968 Grand National Rookie of the
Year and went on to win 12 of 26 Grand American Division
(pony cars, camaro’s mustangs etc.) in 69. Pete made 64
Grand National (now Winston Cup) starts with impressive
results. He scored 33 top ten finishes, 26 top fives,
and 4 wins along with 3 poles. But unquestionably, Pete
Hamilton’s greatest victory came in 1970 when he won the
Daytona 500 in the Petty Enterprises #40 Superbird. He
won twice more at both Talladega races in 1970 and got
his fourth and final super speedway win at the July race
at Daytona driving for Cotton Owens. He also won a
Daytona 125 qualifier in 1971. He was the first driver
to win $100,000 on a super speedway in a single season.
He retired later in 1971 at the height of his career
because of a recurring neck injury suffered in a 1969
Grand American race. Hamilton went on to be a very
successful car builder.
(Shany Lorenzent Photo).
Here’s yet-another vintage image from the old United
Stock Car Racing Club-sanctioned 1/5-miler at the late
Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Massachusetts. Seen
behind the controls of the “Buzzin Bea” coupe is
Woodbury, CT. native George Landry. The
first-ever track champion at Connecticut’s Plainville
Stadium in 1949, he was also a multi-time feature winner
at Riverside. One of the more-versatile racers of his
era, in addition to his exploits in stock cars, he was
an exceptional midget racer also, campaigning with both
ARDC & NEMA. He also competed in the eastern USAC Sprint
Car division. (Shany Lorenzent Photo).
It’s the 1960s at the “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl
and Joey “Pops” Trudeau was already an
established fan-favorite at the Speedbowl, and his
winning reputation kept him in-demand with all of the
shoreline oval’s top teams. After coming-close to
notching the championship on several occasions wheeling
coupe-era creations like the one seen here, he
finally scored a few seasons-later in 1971.
Curiously-enough, Trudeau notched that title without the
benefit of a single feature victory while driving the "Smitty's"
#11 coupe. (Shany Lorenzent Photo).
The location is Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, and
the year is 1956. That’s the driver known as the
“King of the Cutdowns” the late Gavin Couper
on the left, and on the right is our late friend &
Hall of Famer, “Wild Bill” Slater. There was
obviously some sort of contact made between these
two giants of the sport on this evening, and it’s
interesting to see how the high-spirited Couper is
reacting compared to the seemingly always
even-tempered Slater who seems to remain rather
aloof to the situation. At the time, Bill was
wheeling the Baldy Simons #11 and had notched the
championship at Waterford. (RA Silvia Collection).
New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Nostalgia
An Interview with Hall of Famer Ron Narducci.
(3 days ago) Jim Splettstoeszer (written by h said:
Hi Clayton, I've been asked to tell you that the guy you
bought the 95 from, now has Johnny's last car, #87. All
restored. If you'd like to contact me, I can send you a
picture of the car.
(5 days ago) Bob Georgiades said:
Hey Clayton, how are you doing? Just letting you know i
ran thompson a few weeks back marking a streak going
back to 1948 for "Georgiades Racing". It's not out of
our blood yet. Just can't afford it like back in the
(6 days ago) clayton said:
Additional on "Johnyboy", car 86 Wally Post, 85 a very
young Dennis Zimmerman and John's 87 were housed in
Glastonbury, Ct at Sunnyside Sunoco, John & Wally both
started & won many races at Cherry Park.
(6 days ago) frank said:
photos of 84 car?
(6 days ago) ctbill said:
That's interesting. Bob Steadman drove the blue and
white #58 coach for my Dad at the Bowl in the early to
mid 60's if I recall the years correctly.I was pretty
young back then and remember only bits and pieces
(6 days ago) NELS said:
NICE OLD SHOT OF JOEY TRUDEAU DAVE! THANKS!
(6 days ago) clayton murphy said:
Johnyboy Georgidas photo taken at the park in 1955 the
year he was Sportsman Champ for Tuesday nights.
(6 days ago) ron said:
dave do you know if there is a photo of a car #410 blue
&white driver was bob stedman from wakefield ri owner i
think was whites from stonington ct