Taking A Look At New England Auto Racing History

Wednesday March 11, 2009

Volume 1, Number 10                                                                                      New Column Every Wednesday


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By Dave Dykes                                                                              CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE

This week its back to the archives, plus as Lennon and McCartney sang, I’m getting “A Little Help from My Friends”. That friend is Dave Roode, who’s long-been a fan of this writers vintage racing endeavors. He sends-along some great 60’s-era Shany images from his collection complete with commentary. Many thank go out to Mr. Roode for his contributions to this installment of “Racing through Time”.
 Email goes to foreveryoung@yahoo.com

When Coupes Ruled In New England…..

The shot is from the 1964 season. The driver is Wayne Wilkinson. The body was I think, a '35 Pontiac? The car was owned by Dave and Jesse Hill (Leo's brothers) and Deke Bromley. They ran about 3/4 of the season before it was destroyed after Lou Toro and Wayne had a shoving match that ended up with the #6 slamming hard into the pit gate bulkhead. (Shany photo, commentary by Dave Roode).

Here’s a shot from 1965. This car was actually built right-after the crash with Toro, but was not completed until the start of the next season. That's Joe McNulty behind the wheel. Once-again, the owners were by Dave and Jesse Hill, along with Deke Bromley. At the conclusion of the season, Dave and Deke got out of the racing game but Jesse hung-around for a couple of more years with the car in the next picture. (Shany Photo, commentary by Dave Roode).   

This one is from 1966. After the 1964 season in the #6, Wilkinson decided that he wanted to own and drive his own car so he purchased a Bill Slater #V8 (less motor), and also raced at Norwood Arena in the Hobby Division. He took down one win there. In 1966 we changed the motor and ran at the Bowl for the next two years. Wayne took down one win at the Bowl in 1966. I believe it was on opening day. The #214 in the background of the picture is Seabury Tripler. (Shany photo, commentary by Dave Roode).   

The late Charlie Webster was there from the beginning at the Speedbowl, remaining a popular and winning racer right-up until 1969, the year in-which the multi-time champion hung-up his helmet. This shot from the early-50’s captures him at the controls of one of the potent Simons Bros. entries. The team won heavily at Waterford with a variety of the tracks best chauffeurs before departing to concentrate their efforts on the NASCAR Modified circuit. Charlie’s son Eric (himself a former winning racer), remains active in the sport as an official at the Speedbowl. (Shany Photo).

Yet another Icon within the pages of the Speedbowl history book, the late Ray Delisle was one of the racers helping garner the Bowl’ a reputation as one tough place in which to capture a win. Shown here in 1954, he was present to receive his award as one of the tracks “Top-50 Drivers of All-Time” at a celebration held on Nostalgia Weekend a few seasons-ago. (Shany Photo).

New England Auto Racing Hall Of Fame member the late Buddy Krebs won all-over our region during his tenure as a top Coupe pilot in the formative years of the sport. However, it was at the old Riverside Park 1/5-miler where the Krebs magic really took center-stage. This classic image captures him there on a warn summer evening, complete with the rollercoaster in the background. Our New England auto racing scene lost a lot when the Park’ was shuttered, yet another victim of Dam Progress. (Shany Photo).

Nowadays, he’s seen making-laps in his restored Pinto Modified whenever the New England Antique Racers take to the track. When this image was captured, Don Moon was one of the region’s top competitors. He goes way-back in the sport, having scored wins at tracks like the much-missed Plainville Stadium, and Danbury Fair Racarena, once the busy stomping-grounds of the Southern New York Racing Association. If you happen to attend a NEAR event this season, stop-by and chat with Don – you’ll be glad you did! (Hoyt Photo).  

The late Red Bolduc was unfortunately, the victim of an era in which racing safety had not developed to its present state. Another driver that plays heavily in the pages of the Speedbowl history book, he’s captured here at Norwood Arena with his buddy “Wild Bill” Slater (leaning against his famed V-8). Bolduc passed-away on the morning of Sunday June 19, 1960 as result of injuries sustained in a violent crash at Norwood the evening-before. (Conley Photo).  

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