Taking A Look At New England Auto Racing History

Wednesday June 20, 2012
 

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By Dave Dykes                                                                              CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL SIZE

This week we present a couple of shots culled from the “RTT” archives, but the balance of images come from the collection of our longtime family friend, Modified racer Mark LaJeunesse. Also included in the festivities is our latest video installment courtesy of our pal & Webmaster, Mr. Tom Ormsby. As-always, have a great week! Email reaches me at foreveryounginct@gmail.com  

NOTE: We have now put a comment box at the end of the web site. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Another Week, Another Very-Varied Selection….       

Known more for his many successes within the full-bodied support divisions, seen here following his singular “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl Modified feature win on Saturday evening, August 14, 1971 is “Uncle Don” Steiner. Though the image is black & white, the car was painted a shiny gold, a hallmark of all of Don’s cars. The crossover to late model-style bodies from the traditional Coupes & Coaches produced some really memorable Modifieds at the shoreline oval; Don’s Corvair was one of them. (Shany Photo).

Scott Haag also wrote-in to inform us of the deal with this shot (we’d thought it was Lee Hardy in the #88). Scott writes “The image #88 on its side is Lou Toro. That crash happened in between turns 3 & 4 when Toro did several endos in the middle of the turn. The accident you originally referenced with Lee Hardy happened on the back strech when he tangled with the 56 of Charlie Savage and a coupe number 77 with the name Stark on the roof. That wreck happened on the last day of the 1970 season.” Our old pal Mark LaJeunesse adds that it was probably Red O’Keefe in the #69. (Shany Photo).

From Stafford Springs Motor Speedway we have a shot of the late, great Charlie Jarzombek in his memorable right-hand drive Coupe. A Long Island phenomenon, he was absolutely one of the best in the business. Sadly, he lost his life in an accident at Martinsville, VA. during a Modified event in March of 1987. Charlie is a member of both the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the Long Island Sports Hall of Fame. (Burnham Photo, LaJeunesse Collection)              

Seen here in an absolutely-classic Riverside Park image is New England Auto Racing Hall member, the late “Dangerous Dan” Galullo. He was one of the brightest stars of the once powerful United Stock Car Racing Club headed-up by the Tattersall family. Twice a Riverside Modified titlist, also included in his accomplishments is the 1962 United Stock Car Racing Club Grand Championship, a feat he recorded by winning at the many UNITED-sanctioned tracks that once dotted the Northeast. He also recorded feature wins at Plainville Stadium, Waterford Speedbowl, and Cherry Park in Avon, Connecticut among others. He competed in at-least one documented NASCAR Grand National event (now know as the Sprint Cup Series) at New Jersey’s Old Bridge Stadium in 1956. Following a serious heart-attack, Galullo retired from driving while still in his prime. This Tony Alteri owned #2 was Danny's last ride. He passed-away in 1974, but not before witnessing the racing accomplishments of his sons, Richie and Danny Jr. (Shany Photo, LaJeunesse Collection)               

Yet another NEAR Hall of Famer (class of 1999), seen here is the late Ralph “Hop” Harrington. Long one of the mainstays on the New England Modified circuit, Hop began his career in 1948 at the Kingston Rhode Island Fairgrounds piloting a nearly-stock 1934 Ford Coupe. From those humble beginnings came an estimated 300 victories, along with championships at places like Norwood Arena, Lonsdale, Kingston, and Westboro in naming just a few. A master car-builder also, Harrington was instrumental in the success of Geoff Bodine’s winning reign while piloting the Modifieds of Dick Armstrong in the seventies. Harrington retired from driving in 1969, but stayed busy in the sport as the builder of Armstrong’s “Nu-Style” Jewelry entries. (Balser Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).   

Spending a lifetime in the sport, Preston, Connecticut’s Art Barry has experienced everything New England Modified racing has to offer. A top-flight car builder, his meticulously-crafted creations have carried the best drivers in our sport to untold victories. When Art posed for this shot at his home for our pal longtime racing shutterbug Rene Dugas, he had the much celebrated Jerry Dostie driving his “Stump Jumper Special” Coupe. Inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, Barry is still at-it today, fielding a winning entry wheeled by Jon McKennedy in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. (Dugas Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).

Speaking of Art Barry, here’s another one of his potent 60s-era creations, this time captured at the “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl with Joey “Pops” Trudeau at the helm. Always wheeling top-caliber rides like Art’s potent 5-window Coupe, after coming-close to notching the championship on several occasions he finally scored in 1971 piloting the #11 of “Big Smitty” rather than the Gada #271 as originally written (thanks Dan & Cal). Curiously-enough, Trudeau took the title without the benefit of a single feature victory. (Shany Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).    

And here we have a classic 1950s-era shot of Johnny Sandberg, one of the best-ever at Connecticut’s “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. Claiming the 1952 Non-Ford championship, he scored a career-total of 19 feature victories at the shoreline oval in both Non-Ford and Modified competition. Sandberg’s final Speedbowl triumph came during the 1961 campaign though he continued as a top competitor into the later years of the decade. (Shany Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).

“Some nights a driver would have done better for himself by simply staying home….” That was the case on this occasion at the Stafford Motor Speedway for Mr. Win Barrows. A fixture on the ovals of New England for a time, in all-fairness Barrows did experience better nights than this managing to capture a few checkers during his relatively-brief career. Win was a teammate and close associate of multi-time Waterford Speedbowl champion, the much-missed George “Moose” Hewitt. (Burnham Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).  

We really like this Waterford shot. The late Ray Delisle enjoyed a long and successful run in racing, but it was not without a few rough-spots along the way. Felled by serious injuries sustained in a Speedbowl crash when his coupe was hit from-behind and the old-style “jerry can” fuel tank erupted in-flames, he endured a long, painful recovery before returning to the game. In 1964, his career reached its zenith when he waltzed-away with the Speedbowl Modified title wheeling the famed Simons Bros. #9 as seen here. A quiet and unassuming man who let his throttle-foot do the talking, Ray was always in-demand with the top car owners of the day. (Shany Photo, LaJeunesse Collection). 

BONUS SHOT: Seen here (left), sharing the spoils of a 1962 feature victory with his team, Norwich, Connecticut native the late Dick Beauregard was one of the absolute-best during the formative years at what was then-known as the “New London-Waterford” Speedbowl. Simply-stated, he was one of the drivers that really put the Speedbowl on the map during its early days. Scoring a total of 65 feature victories and a pair of track championships in 1952 & 1963, it leaves one to wonder just how much-more success lay ahead had he not bowed out of the sport following his final track crown. The little girl with the beaming smile is Dick’s daughter. (Shany Photo, LaJeunesse Collection).

 

New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Nostalgia Weekend-Part 4.
An Interview with 3-Time NASCAR National Modified Champion Bugsy Stevens

 
 

 

 

That's it for this week. Email me at:

This Weeks Comments

(4 days ago) Cal in clinton said:

that red 909 car lasted a long time starting with Jerry ending with fuzzy

(5 days ago) Lary P said:

Love da Bug man!!!!

(6 days ago) nels wohlstrom jr. said:

GREAT SHOT OF UNCLE DON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(6 days ago) Dave Dykes said:

Yup, you guys are right - it was def. Smitty's #11.

(6 days ago) Cal in clinton said:

I thought so too and he switched to the 271 the following year

(6 days ago) dan said:

I remember joey trudeau winning the championship driving the #11 of big smitty

 
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