|NEAR Meetings are Scheduled for the
3rd Tuesday of Each Month
Next meeting - October 18, 2016
Monthly Meetings are at:
1209 Main Street (Rt. 5)
East Hartford, CT
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|Bigelow, Whipple to Share
NEAR Mitchell-Ratta Media Award
September 20, 2016
The New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame has named two St. Johnsbury, Vt., writers – Phil Whipple and Richard “Big” Bigelow – to share its annual Mitchell-Ratta Media Award for 2016. The honor will be presented at the NEAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, November 13.
Although the co-winners originally hail from the same town in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the paths that led them to document the local stock car racing scene were vastly different.
Bigelow was born into a racing family and cheered on his father, driver Jerry Bigelow, Northeastern Speedway’s final track champion in 1966. Bigelow and his brother, Bob, began driving in the early 1980s; “Biggy” won a half-dozen races at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, N.H., and in his final season, 1992, won the first feature ever run in the American-Canadian Tour’s present-day Late Model class at Thunder Road in Barre, Vermont.
Bigelow’s foray into media began with guest appearances on local racing radio programs in 1996. He started writing his popular “Strap In!” column for his hometown daily Caledonian Record in April 1998, running 52 weeks a year. Since his writing debut 18 years ago, Bigelow estimates that over some 900-plus weeks since his hire date he has only missed “maybe five or six” columns.
Whipple was introduced to the sport at age 18, sitting in the grandstands with his father for the 1979 Oxford 250 at Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. From that day, he says, he was “totally hooked.” He followed the sport locally for the next dozen years as a fan before he started penning the “Vermont Vibrations” column for Val LeSieur’s Speedway Scene trade paper in 1992.
Whipple spent several years as a public relations consultant for teams competing in the NASCAR Busch North Series in the early 1990s before getting back into journalism. After relocating to Maine in 1995, his work began to appear in Trackside Magazine, New England Racing, and Busch North Scene. He joined the staff of the daily Lewiston Sun Journal in 2000, where he continues to cover motorsports extensively in and around the Pine Tree State, most notable his beloved Oxford 250.
The Mitchell-Ratta Media Award is given each year by NEAR in memory of highly respected motorsports writers Charlie Mitchell of the Norwalk (Conn.) Hour and Jack Ratta of the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader. Past recipients include auto racing media icons Chris Economaki, Mark “Bones” Bourcier, and Dave Moody.
NEAR will induct twelve new members into its Hall of Fame on November 13; drivers Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie, Jerry Marquis, Ken Bouchard, Nokie Fornoro, George “Moose” Hewitt, Dwight Jarvis, and Fred Meeker are up for honors, along with broadcaster Jack Arute Jr., the multi-faceted John Burgess, and brothers Francis and Freelan Stanley, inventors of the “Stanley Steamer” automobile and former land speed record holders.
The NEAR Hall of Fame awards dinner will be held at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT, on Sunday, November 13. Click here for Ticket information and order form.
|USAC Dirt Midget Association’s
Warren Sentivany Passes
September 14, 2016
(MANCHESTER, CT) Warren N. Sentivany, 83, of Manchester, beloved husband of 61 years to Barbara (Armstrong) Sentivany, passed away Monday, September 12, 2016. Warren was born March 4, 1933 in Hartford, the son of Anna Christianson and Norman Sentivany. Warren was employed for 10 years by the Operating Engineers Union and for 23 years at Tobacco Valley Sanitation.
Warren is survived by his sister Shirley and brother-in-law Victor Previti. He is also survived by his son Karl and his wife Janice of Coventry, daughter Lynn Sentivany of Manchester, grandchildren Shannon Sapita and Michael Page Jr., great-grandchildren Jai-zon and Shyianne, several nieces and nephews, also his good friend and buddy Michael Page Sr.
His greatest love in addition to his wife and grandchildren was dirt track DMA midget racing in Vermont. He had a long and very successful racing career that began in 1951 and he was still active until his passing.
Memorial calling hours will be held Friday, September 16, 2016 from 4-6pm followed by a memorial service at 6pm at Holmes Funeral Home, 400 Main St., Manchester. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Victory Junction Camp, 5425 Fred Lineberry Rd, Randleman, NC 27317 or www.victoryjunction.org or to the charity of the donor's choice. To leave a message of condolence please visit www.holmes-watkinsfuneralhomes.com
The New England Antique Racers (NEAR) sends its sincere condolences to Warren’s family and many friends on this somber occasion.
By Dave Dykes
September 12, 2016
Click here for photos
With the prediction of rain for Wednesday, September 7, 2016, it was greatly appreciated to see the arrival of 6 NEAR members ready to race Thompson Speedway; along with NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame Museum.
The Track personnel tried really hard to get the show in, first eliminating Vintage heats, then all heats for all divisions - while diligently drying the track in between rain drops; the event was ultimately called at 6:30pm.
As a result of the Thompson event being rained out, Josh has graciously invited the Vintage clubs to participate in the World Series on Friday night, October 14th.
The schedule addition has been updated to reflect the additional race; as well as adding a new event on September 24th - Ron Bouchard Racing Museum - for an attendance bonus point.
|BIG E 100th ANNIVERSARY TO CELEBRATE
OF FAMED AUTO RACING TRACK
September 8, 2016
The history of auto racing at Eastern States Exposition will be remembered at this year’s Big E in conjunction with the Exposition’s 100th anniversary celebration, Sept. 16 – Oct. 2. Every fall, racing enthusiast flocked to the famed racetrack, open from 1917 through conclusion of the 1968 season.
Fans will have the opportunity to view a special racetrack display in the Exposition’s “A Century of Greatness” exhibit, located in the Young Building, plus a special racing reunion presentation during the Collector Car Experience, Sept. 18 at the Xfinity arena.
“A Century of Greatness” tells the story of Eastern States Exposition through photography, memorabilia and artifacts from the past 100 years. The racing portion of the exhibit will feature a Bill Greco #43 Chevy Coupe, photos, trophies and videos of the racing action. This exhibit will be open to Fair attendees for the entire 17-day run of The Big E.
The racing presentation will take place during The Big E’s Collector Car Experience, Sept. 18 at the Xfinity arena. Mike Brewer, of Velocity channel’s hit series Wheeler Dealers, will be the host of afternoon’s program which features a lineup of more than 20 cars from the Brass Era to present.
Jack Arute, an inductee into the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame Class of 2016, will be the emcee for the racing portion of the show, starting at 2pm. Big E racing icons, Roy Hallquist, winner of the very last race at the Exposition, Billy Greco, Billy Clarke, Johnny Lobo and Bob Polverari will also be in attendance.
Brian “Spanky” Bancraft’s original #15 car that raced and was involved in one of the worst accidents will be on display.
Jack Arute is one of America’s best known racing broadcasters with nearly 20 years of experience as a member of the Indianapolis 500 broadcast team and nine years with the Motor Racing Network.
All those who were involved in racing at The Big E, families, friends and fans are invited to attend. There will be an opportunity to meet your racing heroes and get autographs.
The Big E runs Sept. 16 - Oct. 2 in West Springfield, Mass. Advance Fair admission tickets are on sale now via TheBigE.com, The Big E Box Office and at your local Big Y. The limited time discount tickets are available until Sept. 14. Find out more about The Big E’s events at TheBigE.com.
By Al Fini