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Semi-Monthly Racing Commentary with
LEW BOYD JANUARY 29 THE CALL OF
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By Dave Dykes CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL SIZE
everyone coping well with the remnants of the “Blizzard of 2013” on this
fine Wednesday? I hope-so….. This week we present another varied selection
of shots both from the “RTT” archives, and a few from our very-valued
contributors. Special thanks go out to Carolyn Grey, a member of the
Congdon family who fielded winning cars at Waterford for years, for
sending-along some images from her family’s personal scrapbooks, and also
to New York-based racing historian Roger Liller for another dynamite
contribution from his region. And as-always, kudos to friend & Webmaster
Tom Ormsby for putting-up with us and putting together a video this week
"Remembering Red Foote" who passed away February 3rd. Have a GREAT week!
As Email reaches me at
Another (Very) Varied Selection!
friend New York State racing historian Roger Liller his been gifting
us with a ton of wonderful vintage images lately, and this one’s a
classic! Seen here at Rhinebeck, NY. during the early days of his
distinguished racing career is New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame
member, the late Chauncey "Jokko" Maggiacomo. We’ll let Roger
add some information to this great photo: “This is Jokko at
Rhinebeck with the Gordon Ross #19. Gordon owned a welding shop in
Rhinebeck and he built some excellent race cars having such drivers as
Rhinebeck native and former midget driver Bob Tator, Jokko, and, later
Hudson, NY. native Doug Garrison. You probably have seen pictures of
the #19 at Riverside Park in Agawam, Massachusetts as-well as other
New England tracks.” (McDowell photo by Les King courtesy Roger
(real name Louis Conforte),
was a fierce competitor for decades, no-matter what
the venue. Like many other racers from his era,
running as much as 4-times weekly was commonplace.
He was particularly good at UNITED haunts like West
Haven and Riverside, but also excelled at the
independently-sanctioned “New London-Waterford”
Speedbowl as captured here before a packed
grandstand. He was a popular chauffer with both fans
and the guys he raced-against. (Shany
Here’s a nice 1979 shot of our late friend Fred
“Fuzzy” Baer when he was wheeling the last of
his self-built signature #121 creations. He
wrapped-up his career a few-years later following a
number of stellar runs as a member of the LaJeunesse
Race Team. Synonymous with the Waterford Speedbowl,
Fuzzy remained one of the most beloved figures of
the shoreline oval many-years after his retirement
from the sport. Known as a skilled & steady
chauffer, he was another of those guys that you
seldom saw in any trackside-trouble. Though Baer’s
long career yielded feature victories seemingly low
in-number, at-least one of them was a major-event.
On August 20, 1966, he topped a field of Waterford’s
best in snagging a 75-lap championship race.
The guy holding the cherished checkered flag in this shot is
Dave Seymour. The locale is Connecticut’s much-missed
and it’s the fall of 1969. Sanctioned by the Southern New
York Racing Association, Danbury was one of the
most-successful short track operations in the country
right-up until it’s untimely closure at the dawn of the
1980s to make-way for yet-another shopping mall (just what
we needed, right?). As seen by the powerplant in Seymour’s
jaunty little coupe, the SNYRA mandated flathead engines
much-longer than other racing groups. It worked for them;
the car counts were always high and massive crowds were the
norm at the
rather than the exception. (Mannion Photo).
Captured here at Massachusetts’ late Riverside Park
Speedway during the early-70s is Ed Flemke Jr.
With a father like NEAR Hall of Famer the late, great
“Steady Eddie”, this youngster had some mighty-big
shoes to fill, and thus-far, he’s done a darned good job
of carrying-on the family racing heritage. Much like his
late father, Ed Jr. is viewed by many as a steady-shoe,
utilizing experience to his advantage when required.
Also not unlike his father, he’s a master car-builder.
Speaking of “Steady Eddie” Flemke here’s a nice
one of him as captured in the lens of longtime auto
racing photographer, our pal John Grady.
Starting during the emerging popularity of stock cars in
the post-war era, it’s estimated that he won over 500
feature events during a career which spanned 3-decades.
Along the way, he helped many young drivers get their
starts, including Daytona 500 winner Pete Hamilton, and
Indy 500 veteran Dennis Zimmerman (also HOF members). As
an expert car builder, he designed the “Flemke Front
End” a chassis component that remained the standard
in Modified construction for years. Ed was among the
first inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of
Fame in 1998. (Grady Photo).
Here’s a victory lane shot of late George Pendergast
and the Congdon Racing Team following a victory
at what was then-known as the “New London-Waterford”
Speedbowl. The Congdon family of Salem located right-up
the road from the Speedbowl, fielded cars at the
shoreline oval for many seasons. Untold victories and a
number of championships were the reward; their list of
drivers over the years is a veritable “who’s-who” of the
track’s best racers. This image comes from the Congdon
family archives courtesy of Carolyn Grey, daughter of
the man that started what would become a powerhouse team
in the realm of local racing circles. Carolyn writes
that “This one is special to me, as it pictures both
my dad & brother, and also other members of the team.”
Many thanks for sharing, Carolyn! (Shany Photo
courtesy Carolyn Grey).
Here’s an image of a car that looks like
it’s from the Congdon Racing Team stables, but
that’s not the case. I’ve had this shot in my archives
for eons, but unfortunately, could never quite identify
the driver. Our friend Carolyn Grey, the daughter of
Bill Congdon wrote to tell us that it def. was not
one of her dad’s cars. Many folks including our close
pal veteran racer Mark LaJeunesse, and also reader “Tom
H” reason that it may be Bob Savard behind the
wheel. I’m thinking the same-thing the more I look at
this shot…. (Shany Photo).
Captured here during the waning years of the “coupe era”
at the Speedbowl doing some victory lane celebrating
with his family is the late Charlie Webster. He
was one of the guys that literally helped put the
shoreline oval on the map. Amassing a career total of
seventy-three feature victories in both Non-Ford and
Modified competition, he was a champion in both classes
(3 Non-Ford titles, and 1 Modified crown). Charlie
shocked the local racing community with his decision to
retire at the dawn of the 1970s while still very-much in
his prime. (Shany Photo).
In the “RTT” archives we have a huge number of both
hardcopy and negative images from the Speedbowl that
unfortunately, we can’t positively-identify, If we
were to gamble, we’d say that this racer is known as
Walt Johansson, as that name appears in
several results records from the era in which this
image was captured (and note the sponsor).
Either-way, it’s a great shot of a neat coupe. It’s
also kinda’ unique in the fact that the car
apparently came out of neighboring New London which
even-though close to the Speedbowl, was never
exactly a haven for race cars (though there were a
few very-notable exceptions), If anyone can
positively ID the driver, please feel-free to
write! (Shany Photo).
Since the unfortunate passing of New England Auto
Racing Hall of Fame member Melvin “Red” Foote
earlier this month, we’ve had several requests for
more images of the pioneering New England racer.
Here is what I personally consider to be the best
shot of him that I have in my files. The location is
Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl and
the year is 1953, the track’s third year of
operation. That season driving this Paul Smith #J2,
Red stormed to 16 feature wins, handily taking the
track championship. Before leaving the area during
his “Eastern Bandits” period, he would grab a second
Speedbowl championship in 1958. (Shany Photo).
Remembering Hall of Fame Member Melvin "Red" Foote
who owned the # 65 car that charlie webster drove in
that photo. BTW what year was that pic taken ?
Bob Paine said:
The 76 could be Bob Savard. That car might be the bomber
version, owned by Ted or Ed Gladue. One owned, the other
drove. Bob also drove the 761 bomber it I memory is OK
after 50 years. Bill Congdon gave Ted the OK to model a
bomber after the modified. For some reason the number
was later changed to 176, the 1 which you can see to the
left of the 76. This is just a possibility but seems to
be the way it was.
Ed P said:
I know little about Jocko. I have seen pictures of him
in a number 15 which I believe are from the late 40's,
but all that is ever posted on line are pictures of the
him in 19 and the Garuti 28. Does anyone know if he
drove other cars ?
tom h said:
mystery driver in the 76 looks like Bob Savard
Mark L; said:
I'm the anonymous below
Hi Dave; The J4 is definitely Walt Johansen. I surely
remember watching that car race several times in the
early / mid 60's