Taking A Look At New England Auto Racing History

Wednesday July 31, 2013


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Volume 5, Number 31                                                                                    New Column Every Wednesday


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Billy Greco's NEAR
Fundraiser Picnic

Sunday August 11th


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E-Mail Tom Ormsby

By Dave Dykes                                                                            CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR FULL SIZE

Well this week is going to be a little different. Dave's computer is in the shop and he doesn't have the luxury of having more that one. Last night I dug through my archives and pulled out some photos from Riverside Park and Plainville Stadium which I would call interchangeable tracks in that Riverside would always open early and those early races always had Plainville cars in the field. On the reverse end you would always find Riverside cars at Plainville in the fall as Riverside usually closed around Labor Day. Then there was rain. There were many times Plainville would be rained out and we rushed down I-84 and I-91 to get to "The Park" in time to race. Then there were times you'd see Riverside cars pulling into Plainville in time for the consi and you knew Riverside had rain. I believe I haven't run any of these photos for at least a decade. Some may have seen some before. There isn't much commentary, because I'm doing it the last minute and at first we were not going to run "Racing Through Time" this week, plus I'm not much at writing. Dave is getting his computer back tomorrow so things should be back to normal next week. Well I hope I did at least a half way decent job replacing Dave this week.  TomOrmsby.   Don't forget Hall of Famer Billy Greco is hosting a picnic & race car show on Sunday, Aug 11th at the Polish American Club located at 194 W. Spring Street in West Haven, CT. The event serves as a fundraiser for the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Get your tickets early by contacting Billy at 203-378-7945 or emailing mod43@optimum.net To be held under the pavilion on the grounds of the Polish American Club, itís a rain-or-shine affair which runs from noon to 6pm. Tickets will also be available at the door.    As-always, email reaches Dave at foreveryounginct@yahoo.com

Filling In For Dave ..... 

This one doesn't need any commentary. Billy Greco at Riverside Park Speedway in his brothers George #43. I'll ask Bill if it's still for sale! (Shany Photo)

Here is Johnny "King" Cambino in the Godio's Sunoco Hudson Hornet #12. The place is Riverside Park on a Tuesday night when they ran the Sportsman cars, which most were the West Haven Speedway 6 cylinders which ran on Saturdays. John was a multi-time track champion at West Haven.  (Shany Photo) 

Pete Bagadarian, Jr. graduated from Plainville's Novice Division to Modifieds at Plainville and Riverside Park. Pete can be found at the annual Plainville Stadium reunions at the Berlin Fairgrounds in October. (Frank Faust Photo)

Don Spazano won many Novice Division features, but no championships until he graduated to the Modifieds and became the 1969 Champion. Don was also a Riverside regular for a number of years where he was a muti-time feature winner. (Frank Faust Photo)     

Jon Manafort followed in his cousin Frank's footsteps as a Champion in the Novice Division, then found success behind the wheel of "Big John" Farone's modified. (Frank Faust Photo)    

Bob Vivari in his first car, which I believe was owned by Bob and Chuck Grimes. A multi-time Plainville Modified Champion Bob had 30 wins at the 1/4 mile oval only behind Dave Alkas and Jap Membrino. Bob also spent time at Riverside and the NASCAR tracks. Bob now resides in Daytona Beach with his wife RoxAnn. (Photographer Unknown)

Pud Noble was a 6 time winner with his 2x. His biggest being one in the popular Wednesday Open Shows. Getting congratulated by starter Teddy Abbott, a Waterbury firefighter, who would move on to be the flagman at Danbury Racearena where he was unfortunately killed when a car flew into the starters stand.        

The 1974 edition of the Riverside 500 saw Bobby Bard in the Fiore #44 and Ronnie Wyckoff in the Ed Oles #35 Gremlin take down the win. On the left is longtime Mario Fire crewman Jay "Nutsy" Hundley who passed away several months ago and a young announcer Mike Joy. (Shany Photo)

The 64 and 68 Riverside Champion "Big" Ed Patnode in Leo Matte's potent #92. Ed took down 27 Riverside wins in his over 2 decade career besides wins at other tracks in the northeast. (Shany Photo)

Ernie Olson found a lot of success in Plainville's Novice Division. Going to the Modifieds, although winning a few features, he never really found the same success in the Modifieds. This car was owned & built by the late Sandy Rocco, the father of Ronnie and Grandfather of current Modified drivers Keith and Jeff. (Shany Photo)

Here you find Lou Carangelo with the Godio's Sunoco Hudson Hornet. Lou was the 1961 Plainville Champion. Lou didn't spend much time at Plainville before moving on to Riverside, but managed to pick up 9 wins. Lou was a multi-time winner at both Riverside and West Haven.

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