Taking A Look At New England Auto Racing History

Sunday January 4, 2009


Volume 1, Number 1

By Dave Dykes                                                                                      CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE

Eddie Bunnell garnered the 1966 Bomber championship at what was then-known as the “New London-Waterford Speedbowl”. Active until the mid-1980’s he became a proficient Modified shoe, recording many fine finishes during his tenure in the Bowl’s headlining division. This rather rare image catches him at-speed in a car that’s probably unfamiliar to most Waterford fans (at least in this livery). Known for fielding their own cars, on this occasion in 1980 the Bunnell team utilized one of the # 110 coupes made famous a few years earlier by Bob Potter. The car is presently restored back to its original state and campaigned on the NEAR vintage circuit. (Steve Kennedy Photo)

Don Lajoie was simply “The Man” at the late Danbury Fair Racarena. Upon the track’s demise (yet another victim of urban sprawl), a number of the competitors of the Southern New York Racing Association took-up residency at the Speedbowl. Extremely popular with both fans and fellow competitors, Don remains one of the sport’s true “Nice Guys” to this day. He’s pictured here at the Bowl’ in his Chevette-bodied entry during the “Blast-Off” event in 1982, once the traditional Waterford curtain-raiser. I’d be remiss in not mentioning the accomplishments of Dan’s son Randy, who found success competing in the upper-echelons of NASCAR. (Steve Kennedy Photo)

Before the Speedbowl’s Grand American division went belly-up (contrary to popular belief, today’s Late Models are direct descendants of the Street Stock class started in 1977, not the Grand Americans), things got kinda’ weird-looking. This rough Ford Fairlane entry was campaigned by Bob “Inky” Greene in 1978. Note the air-cleaner popping thru the hood and the bias-ply 60-series tires. These things must have been a handful to drive! (Steve Kennedy Photo).

Lee Hardy was a journeyman driver at the Speedbowl during the much-heralded “Coupe Era”. This image captured in 1971 illustrates what it was all-about back before the sport became decidedly “high-tech”. Cars were constructed in garages and backyards from designs born solely from the guys that raced them on Saturday nights. It was truly a time of good old-fashioned ingenuity and deep-pockets didn’t necessarily guarantee you a trip to victory lane. Hardy’s entry is typical of what was the “hot-setup” back then. (Rene Dugas Photo).

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