When I got my hands on this one particular photo from the then – C.J. Richards – owned Devil's Bowl Speedway it meant a lot to me because it came from an era at the track when I wasn't there much. I had my burgeoning sign business, my teaching career, my family, and other reasons why there wasn't much opportunity on Sunday nights to drive two hours to see a race and then drive another two hours to get home.

Bob Frazier Photo Courtesy of Mike Richards
The mafia: Ray Richards, Ed Allen, Mal Brown, Al Ryan, Austin
Dickerman, and Norm Scarborough behind.

          I knew all the guys shown in the group photo [probably snapped by track photographer Bob Frazier] and I knew enough to label the photo as “The Devil's Bowl Mafia”. One by one, they form a really important core of what the track was in those earlier years. The track, then dirt, had started out on clay, moved to pavement, and was now [I'd guess in the mid 1980's] back to dirt.

          Devil's Bowl had been a home track of sorts, as it was the successor to Fairmont Speedway, the place I went faithfully until it closed in 1966. By that time I was going to what was then called Castleton State College, and when Devil's Bow was built in 1967, attendance was becoming more of a chore -what with studies and jobs necessary to pay tuition. Nonetheless, I got to many of the track's earlier shows. Once I moved to Milton, VT to teach, attendance at the Bowl became harder.

Bob Frazier Photo Courtesy of Mike Richards
Things started out well for the Ray Richards RR at the
big fair race show in 1962. Below – They didn't end
well. George Pritchard [white dirty shirt, back turned to us]
looks over his bent car with Bill Stevens at the fair.

Bob Frazier Photo via the LaFond Family

              In the mid 1980's, C.J. Richards, having survived an attempt to work with Northern NASCAR, had been back to dirt modified racing for a number of years when he hired me on to work at one of his other tracks, Airborne Park Speedway. A a DIRT official, I probably went to more Bowl races than I had been. This photo is likely a little after that stint I had with the CVRA. I happened upon the photo today on the computer and was brought to reflect on how much these men meant to Devil's Bowl.

             The group is standing in front of a blue dirt modified. Ray Richards, brother to C.J., is the man on the far left; he owned the 75VT at that time [before son, Mike took over]. Actually, Mike may have already taken over the team by the time this photo wasa taken. Ray, a local dairy farmer as was father, Leon, had first come to my attention when he showed up at his brother's Fairmont Speedway with a 1955 Chevy hobby division car.

Bob Frazier Photo via Cavalcade of Racing
Ray Richards poses by his hobby class car 4. Below – The
newly – purchased flat top coupe from down south.

Bob Frazier Photo via Chris Companion


             It gets a little confusing in here as a car numbered “RR” showed up at the Vermont Sate Fair race in Rutland in 1962 with Fair Haven's veteran driver George Pritchard at the wheel. This was a bit before his brother had added the hobby class. The white coupe won a heat that day at the show C.J. staged which attracted the largest crowd to ever attend a sports event in Vermont. However, the car was badly bent in the first big wreck in the feature event; Ray's frame was gone but the body was retained and would re-surface in 1967 or 8.

             Ray's hobby car was a standout in the still – developing class. He often hummed along, with no hood, in the red #4 Chevy and won his share. Mike Richards tells me of two secrets to his father's success: 1.) wide tires bought at the iconic Factory Outlet store that used to be in Fair Haven, and 2.) some sort of “additive” Ray was buying from a local drug store. I'm not sure what the additive was.

Ladabouche Photo
Jim Spaulding [left] and Leon Richards [right] look on a
Ray Richards [2
nd from right] and future car owner partner
Tom Perry work on the new V-8 motor. Below – The pavement
coupe bought from southern New England.

Bob Frazier Photo via Mike Richards


             Ray would go on to get into the track's leading class around 1964 when he made his frist trip to southern New England to buy a car. A rather unlovely thing, the #15 was an early thirties coupe, likely a Ford. Ray would spiff up the appearance and add an overhead V-8 for 1965 when Fairmont upgraded its lead class to the small overhead V8 sportsman class. Ray used Fair Haven's Jim Spaulding as the driver for a while; I don't recall that thecar made a huge splash. Richards was competing against increasingly stiff competition then such as Lebanon Valley cars, occasional Fonda Speedway cars, and locals iike Vince Quenneville Sr [himself with an import from southern NE] and the Taggart brothers 0 team to name just two.

             By 1966, the town of Fair Haven had essentially driven the Fairmont Racing Association out with constan t carping and complaining about dust, noise, and extra traffic [which incidentally patronized local businesses]. C.J. Richards built Devil's Bowl up Route 22A, in the town of West Haven, on some family land. Ray would again go down and purchase what certainly looked like a pavement modified coupe [much like the one Quenneville and Dundon had gotten two years before].

Bob Frazier Photo via Mike Richards
The 80VT sits, wrecked as crews look to the capsized
Charlie McMahan J2 at D Bowl in 1967. Ray Richards looks on,
helet in hand. Below – The Norm Cyr -built sportsman coupe, raced
previously at D Bowl and Catamount before Ray did it in.

RichardsFamily Photo via Mike Richards


                The experience with this car #80 would not be as tame and uneventful as had been the #15 at Fairmont. Ray, driving for himself, tangled with Charlie McMahon and had a pretty good tumble in turns one and two at the Bowl. At some point, either before or after the 80 car, he had also bought a car from a group associated with one of his future drivers, Beaver Dragon. The car was familiar as builder Norm Cyr had run it at the Bowl before Dragon's group acquired it and Beaver had his famous win at Catamount in which a small local sportsman beat out bigger and more famous teams with better equipment.

               The snubnosed Chevy coupe, which Ray also had numbered 80, was somehow also wrecked, as family photos lent to me had shown. I tend to think it was after the southern NE car because Bever didn't win with the Cyr – built car until 1966, and D Bowl first opened in 1967. Ray would own cars after that – employing Beaver Dragon. He had one coupe that he had bought from the Taggarts, who had fielded it for local driver Russ Shaw. He also had a second coupe with the body left over from that 1962 Vermont State Fair race wreck, Dragon was seen with both cars, but I don't know if they were run at the same time or not.

Bob Frazier Photo via Mike Richards
Bob Ellis [left], Ray, and a crewman pose with the
Cabana – built Chevelle in 1973. Gone are any traces of
what it looked like when Dickerman briefly owned it.
Below – Beaver Dragon, with drove this familiar
Richards coupe.

Bob Frazier Photo via Dragon Family


              A bit later, Ray would also bring in West Haven native, young Bob Ellis to drive the former Taggart car as #76 while Beaver still drove the #75. The Dragon car would also be driven at the Bow land Airborne when Devil's Bowl was paved. For years later, Ray Richards would own cars until he turned his team over to son, Mike. In later years, he did not spend much time at the track.

             The man next to Ray Richards is known to most people today [particularly on Facebook] as Ed Elmo Allen. A local truck driver, Ed Allen began driving at Devil's Bowl in either 1967 or 68, again, having gone down south in New England and purchasing one of several cars he would purchase from the Agawam, MA -based racing establishment that grew up around four-time NASCAR National Sportsman Champion Rene Charland. The group, actaully a number of shops and garages, was a profuse producer of pavement cars. But their products seemed to work well when converted to dirt.

Bob Frazier Photo via Ed Elmo Allen
Ed Allen, with his first Massachusetts import. Below – The car
once it ended up with Bosworth and Ingalls.

Courtesy of Neal Davis

            Steady Eddie Allen would begin with a brown '36 Chevy coupe that he ran for a while; the car would end up eventually being sold to George Ingalls of the Keene, NH area who had fieled cars for Cecil Bosworth, on and off, for years. Allen , who manged to win a number of features in his career, also enjoyed competing against Beaver Dragon as they both drove tractor trailer trucks down the Northway to Albany.

            Allen would return to Agawam or the surrounding area twice more, once buying a Charland – influenced sedan and once buying what I consider his best car – a similarly prepared coupe. Always driving well -appearing equipment, Allen would run until [I believe] the Bowl was paved; after that I don't recall seeing him race. His well – appearing cars were lettered by our next man.

Bob Frazier Photo via Ed Elmo Allen
Ed, with the Agawam – built sedan. Sharp car; Mal Brown
lettering. Below – Ed, with the sedan on the track
in 1968. What looks like water in the foreground is
the gravel walk by the stands.

David Frazer Photo

               When it came time, at the aforementioned Castlton State College, for me to do my student teaching, I was fortunate enough to land a stint with Mrs, Best's fifth grade at Castleton Elementary School. Mrs, Best, who just happened to be neighbor of Ray Richards and Bob Ellis in West Haven, had the classroom that was the most ideal spot a student teacher could land. In one fifth grade class, I had the son of a racing sign painter, the sister of two future Devil's Bowl stars, some relative of another local racing star, and maybe the kin of a famous family of race car welders and drivers.

                I remember as a nervous first day participant in 1967, watching the kids come into her room. The room was most filled when the last bus deposited her final few kids. This one wide-eyed freckle – faced redheaded boy competed for his spot in the room as if he had the entire room of empty seats to grab. The kid turned out to be Mikey Brown, and I didn't know it at the time but 1.) his father was sign painter Mal Brown, who lettered half the local cars at Fairmont and then D Bowl; 2.) the other kid he was copeting with for the ideal desk was the sister of future drivers Jay and Charlie Brown; and 3.) I would go, a few years later, to teach myself to be a sign painter as well.

Bob Frazier Photo via Ed Fabian
Ed poses with the three window coupe that likely was
one of Rene Charland's cars before. Again , the Mal
Brown lettering almost exactly like the sedan had. Below -
Jim Spaulding's 1962 car, at Fairmont was very likely
to be a Mal Brown job.

Ladabouche Photo


               Mal Brown, I believe was actually working out of Hampton, NY when he lettered dozens and dozens of the cars I watched race then. I realized, somewhere around 1963, that I was more fascinated with the lettering on most race cars than I was with what kind of equipment they ran. Mal Brown lettered most of the fine – looking local cars involved with the iconic Eli's Body Shop near Castleton and – later -with tons of others. I got where I could certainly recognize stuff Mal did after a fashion. I think, when this photo was taken, he was still active as the Richards car behind them certainly bore Brownian – looking graphics.

              Next to Mal Brown is Al Ryan. Ryan had appeared as a car owner at Fairmont in 1965 with a sportsman coupe, the A.G. Ryan Hay and Straw 28VT driven by Roger Gauthier of Hartford, NY. I would have to guess the car, with which Gauthier won the 1965 title [after the points leader Howard Stevens had his car sold out from under him] was likely bought somewhere; but the team kept it very competitive for Gauthier, who was already a veteran driver at Fonda Speedway.

Bob Frazier Photo via Woody Woodbury
Mal Brown put “Little George” on the car of George
Rogers after he lettered that car and the 9 of
a much larger George Pritchard at the same time.

Ladabouche Photo

               A somewhat abrasive and outspoken man, Al Ryan stayed active as a car owner for a number of years after the Fairmont title year. His cars would eventually be numbered as 128's, and the team would compete not only at Devil's Bowl, but also at Lebanon Valley and I think even Fonda. His brother, Clayton, who had also come out as a car owner in 1965, would follow a similar path, with cars originally numbered 11 would become 211's and would run at the same tracks.

              The Ryans would use drivers Gauthier, Dutch Reed, and a few others such as local standout Ed Foley and New Yorker Jerry Pennock in this period. Eventually, Al's son, Jack, the owner of a trucking firm, would take over and field well – known modifed with what they called Lazer chassis's. Jack would have drivers like Vince Quenneville, Sr, Randy Glenski, and Super C.D. Coville [who recognized Ryan as one of the best of his rather numerous car owners]. Al lived until just a few years ago.

Bob Frazier Photo via Marty Kelly Jr.
Al Ryan [far right] joins driver Gauthier and track officials
on a big day for the team at Fairmont in 1965. Below – Gauthier,
with a later Ryan car at D Bowl. The car was also driven
by Jerry Pennock. Further Below – the famed Ryan's
Express car of Jack Ryan with Quenneville. This is Vince's
last win, Jack is at right.

Courtesy of Wes Moody

Sharon Richards Photo From the Quenneville Family


Standing behind everyone was Norm Scarborough. Growing up in the tiny Addison County farm town of Whiting, Norm was in the same class as Vince Queneville, Sr and another D Bowl driver, Rudy Charbonneau. Given the size of Whiting, they must has comprised most of that entire class. The huge redheaded Scarborough, whom his friends calle “The Fat Rabbit” looked like a local yokel, but he was a positively brilliant racing engineer. Like Ryan, Norm was kind of loquaciuos and opinionated. I once sat in a room at Austin Dickerman's used car business in Brandon with Ryan, Scarborough, and Mike Perry [who definitelty should have been in that photo].

I just sat and listened as Ryan and Scarborough blasted away at various racing topics. I wish I had taken notes because there was a lot of interesing subjects matter and I couldn't have gotten a word in edgewise anyway. In 1962, I first saw the combination of Whiting's finest when an unpainted car #00 appeared, driven by “Vincent Quenneville” at Otter Creek Speedway near Vergennes, VT. We had already seen a John Quenneville [apparently not a close relative ] the year before driving a Hudson numbered “Checkmate”, so I figured it was all from the same bunch.

Bob Frazier Photo via Norman Vadnais
Vince, with that first Scarborough car, winning one at
Fairmont Speedway or maybe Otter Creek Speedway.
 Below – The second team car, around 1963.

Ladabouche Photo

              As it turns out, the Checkmate of Phil Russell came from Salisbury while the 00 was from Whiting. Eventually, now painted red, the 00 would show up at Fairmont and later, at that aforementioned Vermot State Fair show. Scarborough and Quenneville would go on to buy a '40 Ford form New York and run it in 1963. After that, Norm disappeared for a while as Quenneville teamed up with plumbing/heating contractor Gael Dundon. Norm would re-appear in 1965 at Fairmont with a red #24 sedan driven by a wild young rookie named Russ Shaw.

             The Shaw/Scarborough car was scary fast and good competition to Dundon and Quenneville with their Connecticut – built sportsman; but Shaw's wildness led to fewer wins and the need, by 1966, for Scarborough to build his third car [the famed white #24 Musatang]. Apparently tired of the carnage, Scarborough would replace Shaw with Ryan's former driver, Roger Gauthier. Ironically, Vince Quenneville would also take a turn with the Mustang, a year later, at Devil's Bowl.

Ladabouche Photo

Scarborough's new sedan is checked out by fellow car owner
Clayton Ryan at Fairmont in 1965. Below – Russ Shaw stands by
the replacement to the sedan he dumped off turn one. Vince
Quenneville, Norm's old driver, did something similar
with his Gael Dundon – owned #3.

Russ Shaw Collection

                The Scarborough Mustang was an iconic local car. By 1968, he was back with Quenneville, running a cut down Chevy coupe with which they won the 1968 track title. Norm and Vince would later field a homemade sedan to contend with the then – nearly unbeatable Will Cagle. Eventually, the sedan was bought up by our last man, Austin Dickerman, with Scarborough as the chief wrench. Now painted in Dickerman's favorite colors, birght yellow and blue, the car became known as “The Banan Wagon” was run all over – from Lebanon Valley to Canada. As the team moved along, I guess Norm started to opt out, as there was a lot of travel.

               Austin Dickerman, proprietor of Dickerman Motor City – Money Talks; Nobody Walks, is recognized in the Fonda Speedway book as one of the most flamboyant car owners the famed track ever saw. I can't be sure of the chronological order here, but – in that time period of 1969 until the mid '70's, he not only had the sedan running dirt tracks, but he also bought a late model sportsman from Jack Dubrul in Shelburne and briefly tried the Northern NASCAR tour with Ed Foley as driver.

David Frazer Photo
David Frazer captured curious onlookers checking out the
new Scarborough Mustang at Fairmont in 1966. The car was
then still being driven by Russ Shaw. Below – [Left] The sedan while Scarborough
still owned it. [Right]The Austin Dickerman – owned, Scarborough built Banana
Wagon, driven  by Quenneville at several tracks.

Chuck Ely Photo via Bob Ely                                                      Photo via Lebanon Valley Classics

               The NASCAR deal was brief, with car soon going over to our first man, Ray Richards who took his townsman, young Bob Ellis, and won that year's Rookie of the Year award on that most trying Northern NASCAR schedule year. Dickerman had to soldier on without Quenneville, who was also trying to run the NN Tour with is own equipment. Soon, the Dickerman #357 had been through Quenneville, then Ed Foley, and finally Massachusetts driver Ed Delmolino. Running the Valley, Fonda, and Devil's Bowl, it became quite a force.

                At some point, the Dickerman 357 group blossomed out with a statioon wagon – bodied white modified that would then be driven by Butch Jelley, a familiar figure at Devil's Bowl who had gotten done with other teams. The car was very impactful at the same tracks and I think it was run in Quebec as well. Dickerman would run modifieds with either Jelley or Delmolino for years to come; I don't know when he closed up the racing shop. When I sat in his place in the mid 1980's, listening to Scarborough, Ryan, and Perry, I have no idea if the 357's were still running any more.

Chuck Ely Photo via Bob Ely
Dickerman would own a slew of modifieds before bowing out. Above_-
The Butch Jelley – driven station wagon was perhaps the most
iconic. Below – This modified was driven by Ed Delmolino. Dickerman
had him, Ed Foley, and Quenneville as his main drivers.

Courtesy of Arnie Ainsworth


                If this article indicates anything, it shows how interwoven was the racing scene around Devil's Bowl and the towns in its sphere of influence. Quenneville, who died way too young was inducted into halls of fame; if Dickerman wasn't – he should have been. I still see Allen at the track occasionally, while I have still yet to meet Ray Richards. The rest of the bunch are passed on – several of them dying at almost the same time.

                Even today, their fingerprints are all over Devil's Bowl, either with records or with younger generation drivers and owners. If I could have somehow influence who else was in that photo, I'd had loved to see Tom Perry and Charlie Laduc in there, too; maybe also Clayton Ryan. Just like all the other tracks, Devil's Bowl had all that tradition and informal lore, brought along by loyal families. Long live that !

            Please email me at if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488. AS ALWAYS, DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE REST OF MY WEBSITE:

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