McIver Portrait Photo Courtesy of Cho Lee

Buddy Bardwell, in mid career - around 1969.

Chip Cormie Collection

An earlier version of the 13 - at Rhythm Inn Speedway

Buddy told me he had been racing for a number of years before I first saw him at Fairmont Speedway in 1962. I apparently saw him at Pico Raceway in Rutland, VT around 1951 but was too young to absorb or remember that. He also ran such places as Rhythm Inn Speedway, Millers Falls, MA; the Cheshire County Fairgrounds near Keene, NH; Brattleboro Speedway in West Brattleboro, VT;
and perhaps Claremont Speedway, Claremont, NH. This table below is what I can find from that era.

Courtesy of JamesHoward
Keene Sentinel Photo
At speed, on the track
at Cheshire Fairgrounds.
Very poor quality.

Courtesy of Joe Crowley
In the pits at Brattleboro.

Courtesy of Joe Crowley
Also in the pits at Brattleboro.

Courtesy of 176
I am told this is a 1949 season car. I don't know what track
that would be.

Courtesy of Davis Family
With Brattleboro championship
trophy, in mid 1950's.

Courtesy of Cho Lee
At Safford Park, Keene,
NH circa 1954.
Courtesy of Cho Lee
On the inside at Safford
Park, Cheshire fairgrounds.

From the Claremont Program
At Claremont Speedway.
Might that same 1949 car,

Bardwell Family Photo
The familiar bullhorns,
but still a Ford. The 176
racing site says this car
was built to race on pavement
and then used on dirt

Courtesy of Cho Lee
At Safford Park, Keene,
NH circa 1954.

Teator Photo
Keene Sentinel Photo
At work on the 13 at
the garage with the
Brayley brothers.
From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
Very blurry 8MM frame
from Brattleboro Speedway.
Buddy is far left.
From Crystal Snape
At speed, at Brattleboro
Speedway leading Lionel
Arel in the Snape 26.
From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
Joe Ryan [X] chases
Buddy at Brattleboro.


From the Bardwell Collection
This would be the car Buddy would run at Pico Speedway in 1951.    

The first time I had ever heard of Buddy Bardwell, he came in - somewhat unheralded - and stole the first Fairmont Speedway feature win in history away from some much more publicized rivals on Memorial Day, 1962. Buddy had outpaced the likes of Butch Jelley, Frank Hatch, Sonny Rabideau, Ed Baker, and Art Cody that day to win in his little yellow and white #13 Ford coupe.

Bob Frazier Photo
Courtesy of CJ Richards
The first Fairmont victory.

Bob Frazier Photo
Courtesy of CJ Richards
The first Fairmont
victory lane.

Bill LadabouchePhoto
The Ford at Otter Creek.
Buddy hardly remembers
this car.
Courtesy of Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
At Fairmont Speedway,
early in 1962 season before
switching over to the Hudson.

      This would turn out to be deceiving for a number of reasons. First, Buddy was no underdog, as his career would bear out. Second, he would not run Fords much longer, and third, he would lose the yellow on the car in favor of an all-white color scheme - on Hudsons -for the remainder of his career. Before Buddy was done, he would be winning for two more decades.

Courtesy of C.J. Richards

      Little did I know then that I had seen him at Pico in 1951, and that he was already a ten - year veteran of tracks like Claremont, Cheshire County, Rhythm Inn, Stateline, and West Brattleboro by the time he came in and knocked off the field at Fairmont in '62. The last of his Fords sported the all-white paint and his now-legendary bullhorns on the roof. SO highly regarded at Fairmont by 1964 was Buddy, that "The Unbeatable Lennie Wood", a hobby division legend in his own right, placed bullhorns on the roof of his 1955 Chevy in the midst of his unbeaten streak that year.

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Arriving at the Rutland
Fairgrounds open race
in 1962.

Courtesy of Norm Vadnais
The Hudson being
loaded to Buddy's
Hydraulic Jack Service
truck. Wife looks on.

Courtesy of CJ Richards
Running against Howard
Stevens at Fairmont in
1965. [Very large photo]
Courtesy of Racers Bored Site
Featured as a legend at the
Claremont Speedway.
From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
At speed, at Devil's Bowl in
1967, running against overhead
Courtesy of 176
With his sons, during an
obviously successful season.
Courtesy of 176
Arriving somewhere in the '60s.
Courtesy of 176
The rabbit was always for the kids.

From Dan Ody's 8MM
Old Speedways DVD's
At speed, at Devil's Bowl in
1967, running against overhead

Courtesy of the LaFond Family
A Bob Frazier shot shows the pits
at the  1962 races at the Vermont
State Fair. Buddy is to the right.

L.A. West Photo
On the track at Fairmont during
the 1962 season.

Ladabouche Photo
In a high handicap heat lineup at Fairmont in 1962. Ahead is fellow Granite Stater Art
Cody and Red Smith, in another Hudson
[33 1/3] is on the pole.

Courtesy of Phil Chastenay
A local newspaper photo.
Courtesy of Ed Fabian
At speed, at Fairmont chasing the
radical Chevy of Chet Doaner.

Wayne Carter Photo
via Ernie Bodreau
Another Claremont -related
newspaper photo.
Source Unknown
Bardwell arriving at Fairmont
in 1963.

      Bardwell saw the end of the flathead era, but he continued to challenge and sometimes beat overhead V-8's at places like the 1966 Fairmont track and Devils Bowl until he finally moved his operation to the flathead-friendly Bear Ridge Speedway. After his formal career was over, Buddy took his familiar little Hudson "Zip Zapper" on the vintage circuit, actively campaigning the car with NEAR and the Midstate Club. He still travels around and displays the Hudson, which is original - not restored, save for a little better restraint system and a thermostatically-controlled engine fan.

Courtesy Chastenay Coll

A late career win
at Claremont in a

Courtesy Chastenay Coll

Son, Gary, could
drive, as well.



Courtesy of Lew Boyd
On the track at the old West Brattleboro Speedway in the 1950's. [far left]


Photographer Unknown
At Thunder Road, in
the 1990's..

Photographer Unknown
At Lebanon Valley,
with the Hornet engine.

Bardwell Collection
The familiar Bugs
Bunny on the trunk.

Buddy showed u

One of Buddy's most
current photos.
Ladabouche Photos
Buddy showed up at the Northeastern
Speedway Reunion in 2009.
Ladabouche Photos
A more recent shot.

Brattleboro with sons
Gary and Buddy, Jr.
Ladabouche Photos
Buddy showed up at Ron Bouchard's
2007 old timer reunion in Fitchburg, MA

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Displaying the car
at Swanzey in 2005.
Ladabouche Photos
at Bouchard's in 2007 with
Ernie Gahan, Don Rounds, and
another man.
Zampieri Collection
His most familiarr post
career photo.

Bill Ladabouche Photo
Displaying the car
at Barre in 2005.
Bill Ladabouche Coll.
Buddy in later years.
Ladabouche Photo
Showing the car at the 2003 NEAR
show at Claremont.
A and A Ward Photo
Canadian Yvon "Bullet" Bedard
crashes out of an ACT race at
Claremont in the 1980's. Note the
13 on display above in the pit area.



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