Some Really Great Old Photos
 A Ton of Hidden Meaning and Probably Stories About Them A Mile Long !


Courtesy of Andy Boright
Future star and Oxford 250 winner Mike Barry had bought Bill Levee's 1961 Chevy Hurricane car. After this little love tap from Jay Yantz, in which he is pinning another future star, Jamie Aube, against the Catamount wall, it is a wonder Mike continued. Yantz had his shares of support division wins -
especially in a six cylinder Mustang. Barry went on to win the Oxford 250,
while Aube was a two - time Busch Grand National North champ.

Courtesy of MrChevyBlack Website
This is a little-known peek at legendary Bobby Allison in the early days.
We all know he went on to have a reasonably decent career,. don't we ?

These guys look like they died and went to heaven, standing in
Fonda's Victory Lane with the great Steve Danish. With im are the
race sponsor and his son, the Carnegies.
 
Courtesy of Ken Gypson
Early New York racing star Howie Westervelt, of Ravena. Starting out in the dangerous
roadsters, Howie went over the stock carf when the NY State Police put the end to
roadster racing. This is one of the first cars to have a light on the roof to help the crew
find where their car was on th track. It becane a big deal at Lebanon Valley.

 
Weaver Photo
Car look at all familiar ? It's the great Bernie Miller at Utica - Rome with his semi - late
model entry that became the really familiar Ralph Holmes 82. Holmes apparently
painted a lot of famous modifieds out that way in his time.
 
Courtesy of Craig Revelle
You don't tend to see a lot of 1953 Ford used as stock cars. This one
is from a track at the Maxville fairgrounds [either No. NY or in Canada].
It looks pretty solid to me. Alouette snowmobiles.


Courtesy of Garrison Family
A really early shot. [From left-] the late George Welch, Doug Garrison, owner Barney Tomkins, and announcer Uncle Art  Stuarts around 1958.

 


Photo Source Unknown
A victory lap celebration by an unknown winner,
 at an unknown track, in an unknown year.
But the joy is undeniable.

Ladabouche Photo
In 1963, at the end of the season, some established Fonda starring teams
brought their cars to Fairmont. Here, the Tony Villano, Sr,. team loads up the 37
driven all year by Pete Corey. That day, journeyman Wayne Coon of Delanson, NY drove.

 


Ladabouche Photo
In 1963, at the end of the season, some
established Fonda teams came to Fairmont.
This was the Bill Fowler 27 Jr. with driver Jollie
Ollie Palmer, of Westmere, NY.

Mark Austin Photos
Grand American competitor Henry Van Acker [left]
prepares for a heat around 1978 at Catamount. Below,
is the aftermath.

 

Darrell Tucker Photo
No one seems to know what to do as Wayne Chandler's #3Sr. starts on fire beside his team mate, Red Dooley at Otter Creek Speedway. A 1952 GMC fire truck is out of sight, at right.

 


Bill Ladabouche Photo
So, here's what a racer looks like !

A local boy checks out Ed Baker's venerable Hudson at Fairmont
Speedway after the races are over, around 1963. The car had been
a feature attraction with the legend, Wally LaBelle in the 1950's.
After a hiatus, Vern Baker dug it out of mothballs and put Ed
in it [no relation, according to Ed]. Ed won more than his
share of features with the old Hudson, but lost many more
because Vern tended to pinch pennies anywhere he could.
 

Bucko Branham Photo
Someone decided this was the world championship. Can anyone
help with who drives these cars ? I recognize George Bridges,
of Plattsburgh, NY - G1. 99 is likely Charlie Trombley or Ernie
Reid. Henry Jarvis is in there somewhere.

Not sure of source - possibly the AMEC website

Empire Speedway in Menands was one of New York's snazziest early
tracks. The two cars in this photo are enormously important. Dick Dixon (8 Ball) was a  prominent southern New England star; and the RU21 was driven by a number of  great NY drivers. Dixon was from quite a distance away, while Pettit's car was local. The  track, once replaced by a huge Two Guys
department store, is now an empty parking lot in Menands. Sad.
 


Hill Photo Courtesy of Dan Ody

Does anyone know where this is ? I think it
could be somewhere like Stafford.
 


SCR Magazine Photo
Barefoot Bob McCreadie, brilliant in his own right.
stares in amazement at Gary Balough's "Batmobile"
at Syracuse in 1980. The skin was off, for some reason,
during a rain delay. I see Balough very frequently, as he now
works in the town I live in. It pains him to see how the Batmobile
was put back together to be at DIRT's Hall of Fame Museum;
but he declined offers to go out there and re-set the
sheet metal work.
 

Nemacon Photo
The first race at Anthony Venditti's Cement Palace, Seekonk Speedwaay.
Somewhere in the late 1940's field is Oscar "Cannonball" Ridlon. When I wrote for Speedway Scene in the 1970's, I would get these unexpected, rambling, late - night phone calls from Mr. Venditti. I don't know why - I had never met him nor been to the track.

From the HAMB Site
The wreck that put Lee Petty out of racing. Gee ! I can't imagine why.
God ! That must have left a mark ! This is at Daytona.

From the HAMB Site
The famous Smith & Son Jewelers 00 sedan at Riverside Speedway.
Usually run by Rene Charland, Jim Luke, of Utica was the driver that day.
The photo makes it clear why the track was called Riverside. It
was located right adjacent to what today is Six Flags, in Agawam, MA.
The sedan was one of many excellent pieces by Fred Rosner.
 

From the Pascal Cote Quebec Racing Site
The Autodrome St Damien location is like finding a
ghost. It is largely intact, but absolutely abandoned.
Eerie. Most vacated tracks are torn down.

Norman Morley Photo
These fans are trying to soak up all the Catamount
Stadium ambience they can - it was the last race program
if you don't count that d--- enduro.
 

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Husky and scary strong, Milton's Ira Turner was
typical of the hundreds of low - buck drivers who
formed the backbone of Catamount's support
divisions over the years. Ira did not amount to much,
but his sons, grandsons, and granddaughters have
made quite a mark in the sport locally.

Peterson Collection
I found out - about a year after acquiring this shot, that this is a rare glimpse of the old Green Mountain Speedway in Sheldon, VT. The V1 is the first of many similarly numbered cars driven by Jackie Peterson. JP says it was a car he bought "off from some college kid who tried driving and got cold feet". The track - never much of a facility - was very instrumental in the development of the northern Vermont stock car racing scene.

 

Courtesy of the Provencher Family
"Steady Tony" is what we neighbors called Tony Provencher, a mechanic for the local Fredette Chevrolet dealership and a runner at Pico Raceway. That was polite for "he don't go too fast". This shot not only shows Tony's only heat win; but, it displays the elaborate new wall and bleachers at the track - something way ahead if its time. But time ran out for Pico that year, and Tony ended up wrecking the car at the old Fairmont Motor Speedway. Today, Todd Stone's cars still bear tribute to
Tony's son, Dale, who carried on the  sport for the family, and a grandson regularly crews for Todd Stone.
 

Ladabouche Photo
It doesn't look all  that special but this '37 Ford coupe
at Fairmont Speedway the first built by future master builder
Bruce Carmen, of Shaftsbury, VT. Bruce would go on to field
those 23's that Mert Hulbert drove to glory in places like
Midstate Speedway, Morris, NY

Courtesy of the LaFond Family
"Little Joe" D'Avignon ventures out from his "flathead sportsman" to view the aftermath of one of the two huge pileups endured during C.J. Richards' race show at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland in 1962. This race was the swansong for Ken "Pappy" Delong, who is seen, bent over in the Car 54 in the background. The race attracted one of the largest sports crowds in Vermont even to this day. If anyone knows who the driver is in #30, I still don't know. I did find out in A11 was future star Lennie Wood, in a 1962 cameo appearance.


Courtesy of the LaFond Family
It would have been fun to listen in on this conversation between
C.J. RIchards and wrecker man extraordinaire, Dan Tag [who
apparently also raced in the early days].
 

Taken Off Internet - No Source Listed
The Hess brothers got a sponsorship from a big Charlotte dealer and fielded this 1966 Rambler Ambassador in the Grand Nationals during part of that season. Larry Hess was the driver. It appeared at Riverside, Daytona, and other tracks. Although it was listed to run that year at the GN race at Fonda Speedway, I don't recall seeing it appear.


 


HAMB Message Board
Dave Buanno achieved notoriety at Fonda Speedway in various ways.
First, he jump started his career by having one of the first tubular
chassis cars at the track. His sister, Marilyn, married competitor
Maynard Forette, which made for some interesting times; and 
Dave was tragically injured last year [as an onlooker] by a flying
race wheel and tire at Fonda. I wish him the best in recovery.
 

Lazzaro Family Collection
Alla familia ! I love this shot, from the Fonda book. These denizens of Utica's Italian community comprised Vinnie Maugieiri's little racing family. Lou Lazzaro, far left, was obviously its most accomplished member. The team stirred things up with an Eastern trip in 1951, winning a race at Rutland, VT's Pico Raceway and then venturing up to Beech Ridge Speedway and nearly entering the grandstands with their errant car [It wasn't nuthin' personal - just business]. Lazzaro was too young to drive then; it would have been Velletto, most likely. Louie's cars were always maroon and white, the colors of Proctor High School. I graduated from Proctor High School [only in Proctor, VT]. The colors ? Maroon and white, too.
 

Internet Photo - No Source Listed
I just love this car - can't say why.

Bob Frazier Photo  Ladabouche Collection
When C.J. Richards was to re-open the old and long -dormant Fairmont track in Fair Haven, VT in 1962, there was some pre - race publicity about who was to perform there. One of the promised stars who actually did show up was Pownal, Vt.'s Clarence "Butch" Jelley, who made a big impression on me with his fast and loud yellow and white Ed Winn car which belched flames out two football  sized holes in the truck every time he backed off for the first turn. This photo shows the unexpectedly large turnout, with several of my neighbors recognizable standing behind that flimsy catch fence. Butch eventually stopped coming, but the crowds and I didn't.

Courtesy of Gerard Major
His naming showing Italian and French lineage, Gaston DiPietro poses with
famed Canadian flagger Paul Demers somewhere at a track in the Montreal
area. Great car. It was typical Quebec graphics to have predominant sponsor
lettering and small, unobtrusive numbers.

From The Norwood Site via Chas Hertica
This is Old School on so many levels besides the car. Gavin Couper was
somewhat of a hot shot around Norwood Arena, and his romance with
one of the track's better - looking workers would end in marriage. But 1.) no one today
would bring formal wear to a dirt track, like they did in the '50's; 2.) no one would dare
wear fur for fear of someone taking umbrage; 3.) lighting his cigarette? Great for
the 50's and stupid today; 4.) doncha love the graphics ?

John Grady Photo via Dave DYkes
Today everything is based on technology but we tend to overlook what
passed for technical ideas in the old days. Ken Shoemaker poses with Chris Drellos'
111 at Fonda. There is evidence of ideas tried by previous owner, Henry Caputo
on the car roof: the apparent damage on the nearest roof corner comes from flaps
that were cut into the roof so Shoemaker could see cars beside him on the
 high banks of Lebanon Valley; the highest "knob" on the roof was where the
team had actually tried radio communication - in 1962; and the smaller "knob" was
a light Caputo installed so he could tell when Shoe was hitting the brake. The fiery driver nixed the last one very soon.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Thunder Road decided it would be best to do something about he railroad ties on their
infamous Widowmaker frontstretch wall. They put concrete, which then seemed to act
as a ramp to propel cars onto the grass behind the wall. Here, Rex Shattuck might have
been the first to accomplish this manuever. Rene Charland did it twice - in one
season !
 
Russ Bergh Photo
Tiger Tom Kotary was a definite piece of work [and one of my favorites
at Fonda]. Recognized as a valiant WWII vet, he came back with PTSD, but he
managed to run a successful business in Rome, NY and had a pretty good racing
career despite a lot of bumps in that road. One of three racing Kotary
brothers, he was the only who would consider driving Joe Romano's
sportsman coupe in a wife beater undershirt.
 
From The Racers Bored Site
George Yuconis [shown here at Rhythm Inn Speedway, Millers Fall, MA
 in the 1950's] had a claim to the water graphics theme decades before it
was so popular on Mario Fiore's Reg Ruggierio - driven modified.
 
Maynard Johnson Photo
So many of the the old school drivers fussed over the toll that
flat towing a car took on the rear end. Steve Danish [also shown
above] came up with this arrangement. The amazed man has just discovered
Danish has brought a 6 banger to Langhorne. [It worked].
 
via The Midstate Club
When racingwas more fun, there was a particular number of drivers
who had fun with the graphics on their cars. Dick Warner, an
Edgewood Speedway driver, did not overlook the Heinz connection
with his number 57 - getting the tomato into the act. I love it.
 
Russ Bergh Photo via Robert Salyers
The son of a northern NY track promoter, young Jim Hoyt had accompanied
pal, Wes Moody to Fonda to run this new car. Proud as hell, Hoyt had gotten tech advice from the great Ed Bellinger, Sr. and [typically] the strongly - pavement setup was going like gangbusters at Fonda that night. They brought the car back to Saranac Lake in about four pieces. He had arguably one of the top three worst wrecks ever seen there. Lew Boyd said they didn't feature it in the Fonda book only because they couldn't find photos of it the wreck then.
 
Courtesy of Lew Boyd
Always seeking the next advantage, Karl Kiekeaffer installed this exhaust system
in this Ford he had on the team [along with all those Chryslers]. Butch Jelley's
car owner, Ed Winn, had a similar exhaust in the Y car show above. Butch said
the car number came from that Y in the exhaust. I don't about this one, but the Winn car's
pipes gradually increased, giving a Venturi Effect that may have given Jelley
an added boost.The football - shaped holes in Jelley's trunk lid would belch flames out like crazy, Karl Hauessel once told Butch, "Jeez, kid, that almost melted my radiator off !"
 
Ladabouche Photo
If the car looks somehow familiar - it should. When the new Northern NASCAR late
 model sportsman circuit began to shape up after the 1971 season, teams
from all over the Northeast wanted in. A guy named Johnny Johnson, from
Ramsey, NJ bought up one of Tiny Lund's potent GN Fords and tried it at the
third mile Catamount in 1972. The car was far too heavy and didn't work. When Lund
was a guest star at Catamount a year later, he was asked about that. His reply was:
"He did WHAT ?!"

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