A Story of the Long Journey of What Was Thought to Be One Particular Race Car

        In the first year of the promotion of C.J. Richards at the old Fairmont Speedway, Richards thought he could substantially enhance public awareness of his project by staging a stock car race at the Vermont State Fairgrounds, in Rutland, Vermont. After all, not two years before, the fair had successfully fielded a stock car show with cars from the well - established Lebanon Valley Speedway - to the south near Bennington - just over the border in New York.


Ladabouche Photo
The Ray's Auto Body car of Bruce Wylie sits, ready for preparation, in the infield of the 
track at the Vermont State Fairgrounds in September of 1962.


          At this particular show, the field consisted mostly of regulars from Richards' Fairmont Racing Association; but; there were a few notable newcomers and guest stars who also appeared at the fair show. One such team was the 107 of Bruce Wylie, from Bellows Falls, Vermont - a regular at tracks like Claremont, New Hampshire. Richards had depended on many Claremont cars running his 1962 shows, but Wylie was a newcomer. The show had its share of problems, including multiple wrecks and two big pileups. Wylie's car was in a wreck on the backstretch and eliminated.


Courtesy of the LaFond Family

The Bruce Wylie car sits on the backstretch [in the circle] awaiting the wrecker.The Dwayne Gibbs 62 is also seen.


       The following year, someone else apparently acquired the car, repainted it an azure blue, and dubbed it "The Moonlight Gambler". Larger wheels and tires were added, something most likely not allowed in Claremont. The car found its way into the ownership of Whiting, Vermont's Norm Scarborough, an intimidating giant of a man who was making a reputation as car owner for future legend Vince Quenneville, Sr. Wylie, it
would appear, may have had another similar coupe that he ran at Claremont as #7. This may have become a second, different blue Moonlight Gambler car eventually.


Gauthier Family Photo
This grainy old newspaper shot shows Roger Gauthier, maybe with son, Chip.


       The savvy Scarborough tooled the car into a truly unstoppable, fast, mean machine. Seeing as Quenneville had gone off with new car owner Gael Dundon, Scarborough acquired the services of Fort Edward, New York driver Roger Gauthier,  a man with experience in the bigger time world of New York dirt sportsman racing. Also having driven midgets, the young Gauthier had had stints in cars like the #97 of Joe Romano, from Johnstown, New York.

Ladabouche Photo
The Moonlight Gambler tag appeared with car's emergence at Fairmont under the ownership of Norm Scarborough, 
but I don't think he was the one who painted it blue or gave it that name.

        Scarborough and Gauthier tore up the track for the better part of a season and a half with the low - slung Ford coupe - especially with the wider wheels. Then, as he was very apt to do, Scarborough sold the car to Granville, New York's Art Visconti - a man who had already bought two Scarborough cars previously. Visconti's son, Mike [who still races a Lebanon Valley sportsman now and again] was a small child during this time. He remembers Scarborough as " supposedly a big, mean guy who everybody was afraid of, but he was always nice to us kids".

Visconti Family Photo
Art Visconti stops on the streets of downtown Granville to do something to his car. Young Mike is also in the picture. The Moonlight Gambler tag
is seen, although it is spelled "Moonlite" on that car. This might have been the whim of the original owner's signpainter.

        Visconti did not keep cars for long, either. He did like the number, and used several more times in his career. He ran it for a short while at Fairmont and eventually  sold it to Rutland, Vermont's Charlie McMahan, who reworked the body to look really nice. Charlie was not much of a driver, but he did manage to run it  at Fairmont during that track's last season before the operation moved up the road to its present Devil's Bowl location. MacMahan had a wreck with Ray Richards at the Bowl and apparently id the car in entirely. Charlie would not drive again. 

Ladabouche Photo
The Charlie McMahan version - at Fairmont Speedway around 1965 or 1966. 

     Visconti would field another car later that looked like most of his cars - orange and white - but would not carry his usual #001. It would be numbered 107. Whoever the original Moonlight Gambler guy was would build another car and , most likely, run it at Claremont. The first car would eventually be run at Bear Ridge, in Bradford, Vermont. It now belongs to car restorer and vintage racer Jeff Ackerman, out of New York - as #B29.

Courtesy of Jeff Ackerman
As the car looked, out of Bear Ridge, when Ackerman acquired it. The kid looks overjoyed.

Midstate Club Photo

Jeff Ackerman with the version seen at right.



Courtesy of MIke Richards
The Charlie McMahan version is seen here,
upside down, at Devil's Bowl in 1967. This might have been the end of that particular 107.

Courtesy of Jeff Ackerman

The second Moonlight Gambler. Anyone know who originally owned these cars ?

Courtesy of the LaFond Family
Art Visconti, at speed, at Lebanon Valley,
leading Mark Fleury, with another 107.

Visconti Family Photo

The second Visconti version of 107 - at Devil's Bowl around 1967. It may have been built from the former Checkmate car of Phil Russell. Check that out below.

Norm Vadnais Photo



Claremont Newspaper Photo
Courtesy of Neal Davis

Bruce Wylie, with the car before
the Rutland Fair show.

Courtesy of Ed Wylie
The first car, shown in downtown
Bellows Falls, VT. The car was said
to be owned by Ray King. This might be
contributor Ed Wylie in the shot.

Courtesy of Ed Wylie via the NHSHort Track Heroes Page
Bruce, on Claremont with Art Cody in
a car that looks similar to the 2nd 107
that became Ackerman's B29.
Courtesy of Ed Wylie via the NHSHort Track Heroes Page
Bruce, on Claremont in 1964, right
behind the 409 of Walt Brown, Jr.
Courtesy of Ed Wylie via the NHSHort Track Heroes Page
Bruce, on Claremont chasing the 301 of
Sonny Rabideau.

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