Taking A Look At New England Auto Racing History

Wednesday December 23, 2009

Volume 1, Number 51                                                                                      New Column Every Wednesday


Click On Link

Updated Hourly


Semi-Monthly Racing Commentary with

December 12:

Previous Tearoffs


Special Pre-order Offer

By Dave Dykes                                                                              CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE

First-of-all, a big “Happy Holidays” goes-out to all of the fine folks that take a little time each week to visit our spot in cyberspace. From Canada, to Australia, to Great Britain, to the good-ole’ USA, yours-truly has made a lot of new friends via this website. Who would have ever thunk-it? Again, may all of you have a safe and blessed holiday season!  
 Email reaches me at foreveryounginct@gmail.com

More Faces From The Past (And Happy Holidays To All!)….  

This week we start with another vintage Midget image from the late Cherry Park Speedway in Avon, CT. Indiana native and World War II veteran Ted Klooz was a standout driver during the division’s busy post-war period and like many of the racers of his era, traveled extensively. We believe this image captured during the 1947 campaign to be from an ARDC show. Sadly, the 24 year-old Klooz lost his life in a grinding crash later that season at Indiana’s Kokomo Speedway during a Consolidation Midget Racing Association event. (Smith Photo).

The late Pete Corey (aka “The Crescent Hillbilly”), was simply one of the best racers of his generation. When he lost his left leg in a horrible 1959 crash at Fonda, his comeback elevated him from hero to legend. The fact that his car had to be equipped with a hand brake after he lost his leg seemed almost immaterial. Corey actually began his career as a motorcycle racer switching to stockcars in the late 1940s. He won sporadically in the early '50s and then landed a ride with famed Schenectady, New York car owner Bob Mott in 1955. It proved to be a career-move that made him the hottest driver in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Seen here with an injected Mustang modified sponsored by longtime supporter Jimmy Bosco of Commercial Tire, Corey retired in 1973. (Grady Photo).     

Gone but not forgotten. It would take more than this column allows in listing the accomplishments of this racer. Let’s just say that the late Doug Garrison was a coupe-era “Dirt Slinger” of the first-degree. A true “Capitol District” legend, he’s seen here at Lebanon Valley, New York, a track where he was champion. The year is 1964, and the car is the Gordon Ross-owned Chevy, a mount that bought him much-success. So-dominate at The Valley’ for a period, Garrison became known as “Mr. Lebanon Valley” by the fans. Retiring in 1979, Doug passed-away in 1985 after a long-battle with cancer. (Grady Photo).

If you’re a New Englander and you’re reading this, the guy pictured here needs little introduction. Few drivers had a larger legion of faithful fans than the late Charles "Buddy" Krebs. From 1948 to 1974, he won an estimated 200 features, competing in Modifieds, Sportsman, Late Models and Grand Nationals (now Sprint Cup). At the late Riverside Park Speedway-alone, he notched three Modified, two Sportsman, and two Late Model championships. Also among his accomplishments are six Riverside 500 wins. Krebs also triumphed at other New England speedplants such-as Westboro Speedway, Plainville Stadium, Millers Falls, Candlelight Stadium. Thompson, and Stafford Springs. Buddy was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000. (Grady Photo).    

Captured here at a trade-show in 1974, the racing accomplishments of these-two guys are many. Pictured here is on the left is legendary New England car-owner Art Barry, and on the right it’s none-other than the driver that became known as “Mr. V-8”, Bill Slater. Barry of-course is known for building winning race cars crafted masterfully at his Spearpoint Auto shops in Preston, CT. for over 5-decades. Note the immaculate appearance of this Capri-bodied mount – a Barry trademark. “Wild Bill Slater” drove his first race at Lonsdale R.I. in 1949 and for the next twenty years he won at tracks from Maine to New Jersey. Career highlights include winning 8-straight features at Norwood, and 7-straight at Stafford. In 1959 he posted twenty wins at Waterford. He also took down two championships at Waterford and one at Stafford. He won the 400 mile race at Trenton New Jersey four times, and is a two time winner of the Utica-Rome 400 in New York. Bill’s biggest career victory was in his win at the Langhorne Race of Champions the first year it was paved. Both Barry and Slater are members of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. (Photographer Unknown)  

A “Modified Track” from its opening in 1951, Connecticut’s Waterford Speedbowl has also always been known for its wild support-class action. Seen here in 1964 taking a Bomber feature victory aboard his battle-scarred sedan is Charlie Krashun, one of the division’s top-drivers for a couple of seasons. Many of the shoreline oval’s most-legendary racers got their start in this class, guys like Bob Potter, George “Moose” Hewitt, and Dick Dunn in naming just a few. (Shany Photo).  

As one of New York State’s premier Modified racers, Roger Treichler enjoyed a long stay at the top-rung of the sport. This shot captures him with his familiar coach-bodied creation at Lancaster Speedway in 1971, a track where he was a multi-time champion. Roger also holds the dubious-distinction of winning the last-ever 200-mile Open for Modified-Sportsman at Pennsylvania’s legendary Langhorne Speedway on Oct 17, 1971. He held-off the late Jim Shampine for the victory. (Reinig Photo).        

Even champions have an off-night on occasion. New England Auto Racing Hall of Famer and all-time Plainville Stadium winner Dave Alkas found himself in unfamiliar territory when he was involved in this early-70’s skirmish on Joe Tinty’s tight little ¼-miler with the 27 of Bobby Knox. It wasn’t often that you saw Dave and his #54 Roland Cyr-owned coach in situations like-this. He was that-good! (Hoyt Photo).

Another classic shot from Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl, here we have one Stan “Willy” Wildermuth. Considered a capable and steady chauffer, Stan was often hampered by campaigning rather-modest equipment as compared to that of his contemporaries. Stan’s close association with the team of the late Fred “Fuzzy” Baer endured for many seasons bringing stability to his low-buck operation. Though he was never a big-winner, there were many respectable finishes during the later-years of the shoreline oval’s “Coupe-Era”. (Shany Photo).

You say you watch a lot of NASCAR on the tube? - Then you should definitely be familiar with this dude. Writer, acclaimed photographer, publisher, and television media personality, this guy has done a bit of it all in the sport. Add “driver” to the list, and you just-about close the loop. Seen here during has days behind the wheel is none-other than Dr. Dick Berggren (the “doctor” a result of his doctorate in psychology from Tufts University). “Bergy” successfully campaigned this neat coach during his early-days on the bullrings of the Northeast. (Photographer Unknown).

That's it for this week. Email me at:

Copyright © 2009 www.VintageModifieds.com, www.SpeedwayLinereport.com and Dave Dykes' www.RacingThroughTIme.com
All Rights Reserved. Photographs are copyright of the original photographer and may not be used without permission.