NEAR Hall of Fame Class of 2015
August 20, 2015

Victories at LaMans and Daytona International Speedway are among the hundreds of checkered flags owned by the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2015.

Sam Posey, one of America’s top road racers, and Greg Sacks, the winner of the 1985 Daytona Firecracker 400, are part of the class that will be honored at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

The class also includes owner/driver Joey Laquerre, car owner the late Paul Dunigan and drivers the late  Jim McCallum and Stan Greger, a quartet that collectively has 27 track championships.

The multi-faceted Lew Boyd, presently a book seller and publisher, and Lee USA Speedway promoter Red MacDonald will also be inducted.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

Still to be announced are the Veterans Committee picks, the Pardi Memorial Award and the Mitchell/Ratta (media) Award winners.

A long-time Sharon, CT resident, Posey was a top runner in road racing with strong finishes in Formula A, Can-Am and Trans-AM. He had a fifth at Indianapolis in 1972, scored at LeMans and Sebring and drove some Formula I before moving to TV with ABC Sports. He is an award winning writer and artist.

In addition to Daytona, Long Island native Sacks has a number of New England victories, notably at Stafford and Thompson but also at Westboro. His 1982 season, which included the Stafford championship, ranks with the best performances in New England racing history.

Vermont’s Laquerre has been a winner over five decades as both an owner and driver. The top winner at the old Catamount Stadium, his resume includes several wins on the ACT Tour and championships at Thunder Road (6) and Catamount (2).

The colorful Dunigan, who passed away in 2004, burst on to the International Super Modified Association scene and won six titles in eight years, adding an Oswego crown as well. His drivers included Bentley Warren, Russ Wood, Mike Ordway and Joe Gosek.

MacDonald , over six decades, was a successful car owner - drags, cutdowns, supermodifieds, even an Indianapolis car – before taking over the Lee USA Speedway operation in 1986. He has brought the best in the business to his track often overcoming great obstacles.    

Conservative estimates put McCallum’s win total in various categories at around 200 throughout New England. Often an owner/driver, his championships came at Stafford, Westboro, Riverside Park, Thompson, Monadnock and Lee along with a couple United Grand American Laurels.

A racer (33 victories), promoter (The inaugural Spring Sizzler), writer, marketing consultant before his present position as a book seller and publisher (Coastal 181), Boyd’s contributions to auto racing are incredible.  The Bay Stater is among the sport’s most admired participants.

A three-time Riverside Park Champion, Greger, who began at Plainville Stadium, was a force in Modified racing for over two decades. Including Plainville and Riverside, where he ranks 4th on the all-time win list with 38, he scored all over New England driving for, among others, Bob Judkins and Joe Brady.

Marvin, Fontana, Moffat
Added to NEAR Hall of Fame 

By Dave Dykes
September 7, 2015

The late Ronnie Marvin, Joe Fontana, and the late Jim Moffat are this year’s veterans committee picks for inclusion into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

The trio, along with drivers Sam Posey, Joey Laquerre, Stan Greger, Greg Sacks, the late Jim McCallum, car owner the late Paul Dunigan, former racer & current publisher Lew Boyd, and Lee Raceway promoter Red MacDonald will be enshrined at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.

The veterans committee deals with accomplishments prior to 1960. Still to be announced is the winner of the Ratta/Mitchell Award which goes to a member of the media.

A crowd favorite nicknamed the “Bethlehem Bombshell” for his thrilling driving style, the late Ronnie Marvin was a triumphant force on the short tracks of the North Country for a multitude of seasons. His early days spent winning on the region’s smaller venues such as Vermont’s Concord and Northeastern Speedways, he eventually established himself at that state’s famous Thunder Road as one of the flathead-era's winningest drivers. Following a hiatus of several seasons, he returned to the sport enjoying a productive tenure in the late model classes.

Following a start in the early-50s at Plainville Stadium with Moon Burgess as his driver, Hamden, Connecticut native Joe Fontana’s list of accomplishments spanned over six-decades of auto racing involvement, encompassing participation throughout New England, California, Utah, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. As both a car owner and engine builder, Fontana’s engines won 122 features, and multiple track titles at West Haven, Bridgeport and Cherry Park, 3 Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) Championships, and he also enjoyed a winning reign in drag racing. He founded the highly-regarded Fontana Automotive, designing and building multiple generations of his signature midget racing engines.

The late Jim Moffat’s pioneering “Cavalcade of Auto Racing” monthly covered a myriad of tracks and series during its heyday as one of the nation’s premier auto racing publications. With an emphasis on action in the Northeast, it chronicled the exploits of drivers from both the dirt and asphalt circuits featuring work by some of auto racing’s most-talented photographers. Also on the agenda was coverage of celebrated national events and frequent early-era articles dating back to New England’s “Big Car” era. Today, Cavalcade of Auto Racing remains a valuable resource to those dedicated to preserving the history of the sport.

NEAR Media Award to St. Louis
September 22, 2015

Justin St. Louis, a motorsports writer for three Vermont daily newspapers, is the winner of the New England Antique Racers’ Mitchell/Ratta Award. The prize will be presented at the New England Antique Racers‘ Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

A native Vermonter, St Louis is a contributor to the Burlington Free Press, the Rutland Herald and the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He is also a play-by-play announcer on the Radio Vermont network of stations. A member of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame advisory committee, he has been covering auto racing since attending Thunder Road and Catamount Stadium as a teenager.

The prize memorializes two of New England’s greatest motorsports writers – Charlie Mitchell of the Norwalk (CT) Hour and Jack Ratta of the Manchester (NH) Union Leader.

St. Louis is among an impressive group of honorees including incoming Hall of Famers road racer Sam Posey, drivers Greg Sacks, Jim McCallum, Stan Greger and Ronnie Marvin, the multi-faceted Lew Boyd, car owner Paul Dunigan, car owner/engine builder Joe Fontana and publisher Jim Moffat.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

St. Louis was an announcer/publicist for Thunder Road, Airborne and the American-Canadian Tour at 19. He is currently the media director at Devil’s Bowl Speedway and was a contributor to Thunder Road’s 50th anniversary book in 2009 and the statistical history of Northeastern Speedway

NEAR Honors Tri-Track Series Duo
September 28, 2015

Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer, principals behind the successful Tri-Track Series, will share the 2015 New England Antique Racers’  Frank Maratta Award. The presentations, giving in recognition of their outstanding contribution and support of auto racing, will be part of the agenda at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, November 8th at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.

Over the past two seasons, the Tri-Track Series has paid out over $400,000. The eight races have attracted an average car count of 40, including the top Modified teams from New England and New York.  Lee, Star, Seekonk, Monadnock and Waterford have hosted Tri-Track events.

Click here for Ticket information for the banquet.

Drivers Sam Posey, Greg Sacks, Joey Laquerre, Stan Gregor, the late Jim McCallum and the late Ronnie Marvin, car owner the late Paul Dunigan,  publishers Lew Boyd and the late Jim Moffat, engine-builder Joe Fontana and promoter Red McDonald will be inducted in the NEAR Hall of Fame. Vermont’s Justin St. Louis will receive the Mitchell/Ratta Media Award.

Williams, from Stonington, CT and Schaefer, from Riverhead, NY, are the leaders of a group that has made the Tri-Track Series a reality. According to Williams, a familiar face in New England racing for decades, the impetus was a conversation among a group of old timers.  “They were saying how much they missed the old open competition events,” recalled Williams. “We thought with a little common sense it could happen again and we got four or five  guys together and made it happen.”

This year’s payout will be $287,000 distributed in a number of ways including lap money and last-chance races.  There were six different winners in the first seven races.