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Volume 4, Number 15 New Column Every Wednesday
COLUMNS & FEATURES
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Semi-Monthly Racing Commentary with
LEW BOYD APRIL 4A EASTBOUND, SOMEWHERE
By Dave Dykes CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE
yet-another week has passed, and we all know what that means; a dose of
oldies from the “RTT” files! This-time around the track we again present a
wide selection of the personalities that helped make the sport what it is
today. As always, special thanks go-out to Webmaster Tom Ormsby for his
work in getting things updated each & every Wednesday, and also to the
many readers who have submitted images over the years for all of us to
enjoy. Have a great week! Email reaches me at
NOTE: We have now put a comment box at the end of
the web site. Please feel free to leave your comments.
Another Wednesday In The Books…..
We’re unsure of the location in which this image was captured, but we
really like it. Simply one of the greatest to ever sit behind the
controls of a race car, the late “Dynamite” Ollie Silva was
both a huge winner, and one of the most-admired competitors in all of
short track racing. Inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of
Fame in 1998, Silva recorded over five-hundred feature victories over
the course of a career that started in 1949 at the long-shuttered
Dracut, MA. Speedway and concluded in 1980. He was victorious in
Modifieds, Supers, Sprint Cars, and Cut-Downs. Etched into the record
books of the Waterford Speedbowl is an absolutely-dominating Modified
win in the 1974 Hott Wheels 100 in which Silva lapped the entire field
not once, but twice! To this-day, the locals still talk about it.
As one of the premier drivers on the dirt tracks of
the Eastern region, Eddie DelMolino enjoyed a
long, successful career slinging-mud at joints like
Fonda and Lebanon Valley. However, the coach he’s
captured here with should stir some interest in
nostalgically-minded pavement fans also. Owner
“Sharkey” Gaudiosi fielded winning New England
pavement Modifieds for decades, employing only the
best chauffeurs. Many don’t realize that Sharkey
machines also enjoyed a winning tenure on the dirt.
Here’s a great shot of our good friend Billy
“Gramps” Greco with the fondly-recalled pink
version of his signature #43. A New England Auto
Racing Hall of Famer, he was an absolute master of
the short oval, honing his skills at tight little
joints like the late West Haven Speedway and the
much-missed 1/5-miler at Riverside Park. A darling
of the old Harvey Tattersall-led United circuit
(once the most influential sanctioning group in New
England), in later-years he also became a winner at
the ultra-competitive Danbury Fair Racarena. The
personable Greco is as popular today as he ever-was,
and can really enlighten you on the history of the
sport. If you get a chance to chat with him, please
do! (Grady Photo).
Here’s a nice coupe-era image of second-generation
driver, Bobby Bard Jr. A steady and competent
shoe on the UNITED circuit, he had big shoes to fill.
His father Bobby Sr. recorded a total of ten Riverside
Park feature victories during what many consider to have
been that tracks most competitive era. The elder Bard’s
resume also includes a victory in the 1974 Riverside 500
in which he was teamed with multi-time winner of that
prestigious event, Ronnie Wyckoff. (Grady Photo).
In later years, hometown driver Mark Geer stayed
involved with the local racing scene as an official at the
Waterford Speedbowl. When this early shot was captured in
the lens of noted New England racing photographer Shany
Lorenzent, he was a shoreline oval wheelman for veteran
car-owner Sonny Brooks. This ride was built and maintained
in neighboring New London. Ironically, even though “The
Whaling City” is just over the town-line, with few
exceptions it was never-known as a hotbed of activity for
things-racing. (Shany Photo).
Few drivers of the much-heralded “Coupe Era” were
more traveled than our pal, New England Auto Racing Hall
of Famer, Billy Harman. Growing-up in the
shoreline community of New London, Ct. it was only
natural for the speed-crazed young kid to get-involved
with the happenings at a track located just outside his
hometown. After many successes in his backyard, Harman
took to the road, maintaining a hectic schedule that
rewarded him accolades at venues from coast-to-coast.
This 1960s shot captures Billy as the driver of the Dick
Brooks #651 at the track where it all began for him, the
“New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. (Shany Photo).
Known as the “Norwalk Nightrider” to the
dedicated fans of the “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl,
few were better in the “fender” divisions than the late
Bill Sweet. Seen here during the early days of
the Daredevil division, he managed to snag a pair of
championships along with nearly fifty feature victories
before calling it a day in the seventies. It should be
noted that even qualifying for a feature in the class
was an accomplishment when this shot was captured.
So-many competitors filled the pits, that A and B main
events were common. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll
see most tracks struggling to even complete a feature
starting grid! (Shany Photo).
On occasion we locate a photo of a driver in our files
that we admittedly don’t know a whole-lot about, and
this is one of those images. From limited research, we
do know that Tommy Bourget was one of the
top-tier Modified racers of his era, excelling at places
like Norwood Arena, Riverside Park, and Albany-Saratoga
where this photo was likely captured. In this game, you
learn something new every day, and we’ll be sure to look
at Tommy’s career in greater detail in the near-future.
At any-rate, we sure do like the looks of his #10X,
which is an absolute classic! (Grady Photo).
Enjoying a successful tenure on Modified circuit, Bob
Tauscher was widely-regarded as a driver that could
get your car toward the front with an understated smooth
& steady style of driving. Particularly-good at the
UNITED haunts of the day, he scored a total of five
checkers at the late Riverside Park during the
Tattersall era, taking his last Agawam win on the
evening of July 6, 1974. Tauscher was also an
accomplished dirt racer and was among the best drivers
at New York’s Lebanon Valley Speedway. (Grady Photo).
Like so-many of the racers from his generation, the late
Maynard Forrette saw no boundaries in the
difference between running on dirt or asphalt. A big
winner on both, he’s probably most fondly remembered for
his stunning dirt-slingin’ drives on the daunting
Syracuse Mile where during the later stages of his
career, he often bested competitor’s half-his-age. A
master mechanic and innovative car builder, Forrette
also ran Northern Speed Supply, a haven for racers
seeking to get the most out of their equipment. This
shot captures the New York State Stock Car Association
Hall of Famer at one of the great UNITED events that
were once held every year at the track on the grounds of
the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts.
BONUS SHOT:Pictured here during the
early-stages of his long career is our friend, New
England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member George
Summers. As the most-winning driver in the
history of the Seekonk Speedway, he visited victory
lane on over one-hundred occasions. Summers was
actually one of the top-drivers in all
of New England, enjoying a career that lasted over
three-decades. Fittingly, he won the last event he
entered before retiring, taking–down the 1983
Thompson World Series Modified event driving for
fellow Hall of Famer, legendary car owner Art Barry.
Get-well wishes go out to George who was
recently hospitalized suffering a bout of pneumonia.
Cards of cheer reach him at George Summers, PO Box
8001, Upton, Massachusetts. 01568. (Photo Courtesy
of Tom Ormsby).