Ivanhoe Smith's    


Courtesy of John Nelson's Research
An ad for Smitty's track from the Burlington Free Press.

     Local Winooski used car dealer Ivanhoe Smith was a familiar figure around early racing in the Chittenden County area. Besides fielding a number of stock cars at various tracks in his time, he made a game attempt at running a race track. This was located to the Essex side of what now is Canyon Estates, outside of Colchester. Smitty had a pretty good track, by the standards of the day, and his operation survived a bout with Vermont Blue Laws, as well as at least one bad accident involving spectators.

Courtesy of Jodie Trayah, via Steve Jangraw
The rough and ready bunch is supposedly posing at Colchester Raceway in front of this lovely
example of modern race technology. From left: Carl Trayah, Ed Charbonneau, flagger Ira Farnsworth, and Herb Trayah.

Courtesy of the Dooley Family
Harlan "Red" Dooley bulldozes one of the Trayah boys in that same car as above.

Courtesy of Jack Anderson
A race lineup at Smitty's

Courtesy of the Owen Family
Gordy Owen [31] paces
a heat field at Colchester
Raceway around 1951.


Courtesy of Jack Anderson
Carl Trayah at the track.
Steve J says the barn in the
background is the Purvis'.

Courtesy of Jack Anderson
A pit gathering at the track.
I'm looking for help naming
some of these guys.

Courtesy of Jack Anderson
Jack Anderson says this is
at "Smitty's" and that he
was only 16 in this shot.

Courtesy of Bob Bushey Family
via Jack Anderson

Gordy Owen gets pushed
into the pit area by Rex
Shattuck. The only way to
tell is the unique announcer's

Courtesy of Owen Family
Gordy Owen gets pushed
off in the pit area at Smitty's .

Jackie Peterson Collection
Jackie Peterson, the car
at left in background, at
speed at what could likely
be Colchester Raceway.
Peterson was one of Smitty's
most loyal drivers.


Courtesy of Walt Perkins
An apparent ticket stub from the Colchester Raceway. It looks almost identical to one used by Walter Barcomb's
Colchester - Bayview track, but the price is higher. The disclaimer is particularly significant on this stub in view
of the controversial spectator accidents that Smitty endured in 1951.

In The Best Condition I Can Manage

The Vermont Sunday News gave Colchester Raceway  a good spread on October 22, 1950.

Burlington Free Press
Ronnie Farnsworth's car after the September 25, 1950 that hit spectators standing by the fence. It
didn't look much better before the race.
 Burlington Free Press
Frank Hart's car after the September 25, 1950 that hit spectators standing by the fence. It advertised Anchor Light
Restaurant of Alburgh.
Vermont Sunday News
Bud Poirier, originally from Buffalo, was
driving an Ivanhoe Smith car here. He also had his own "LIttle 5" at times. This is
October 22, 1950.

Vermont Sunday News
Cars would collect mud on the front
of the radiator and overheat. This is
October 22, 1950.
Vermont Sunday News
Ira Farnsworth was twin brother to
Rollover Ronnie, shown in the photo above. This is October 22, 1950.

Vermont Sunday News
Faithful fans attended - even after the efforts of States Attorney Lawrence Deshaw to stop racing at the track. This is
October 22, 1950.
Vermont Sunday News
Unlucky Lou Modica apparently earned his
nickname the hard way. This is
October 22, 1950.

Burlington Free Press
Thhis meVermont Sunday News
This 1950's newspaper ad for excavating offers the only photo I have ever seen of Ivanhoe Smith, aka "Cash", "Ivan", and "Smitty". He is at right.


View the former location below:

Courtesy of John Nelson
The track was about in the dead center of this aerial shot from 1961. It had 10 years to start fading out.


In a Somewhat Chronological Order


 Burlington Free Press
irst mention of the track publicly, although it was mostly already built. Smith was very secretive about it. September 13, 1950.
Burlington Free Press
September 14, 1950.This came out
along with the stock announcement. The
"Anchor Light 8" was actually Frank Hart.
He and Farnsworth would be in that fateful fence crash a week or so later.

 Burlington Free Press
September 14, 1950. It starts becoming official. 
 Vermont Sunday News
Part of this column complains
about how hard it was to get any
info on a track that was already

 Burlington Free Press
Bud Poirier was often a "house" driver for Ivanhoe Smith.  
  Burlington Daily News
This commentary from Burlington's
more racing - unfriendly paper might
have partly been a poke at how hard
it was to get info about the track.
Track announcer and local radioi personality Carter was later roasted by sports writers in the area for his criticism
of them.

Burlington Free Press
September 22, 1950.A little over a week after the last driver list - this one has some
changes. Thhis group would race when the
disastrous wreck happened.

Burlington Free Press
September 24, 1950.This article
[which actually was much longer]
came out in almost every paper in the
entire region. Despite constant
requests to stay off the fence, these
people were up against it when Hart and Farnsworth hit. The incident sparked
the State of Vermont to crack down on
racing on Sundays.

Newport Daily Express
September 25, 1950.It took one day for
Deshaw to wield the ancient Sunday Blue Laws to get after the very defiant
Ivanhoe Smith.
Burlington Free Press
September 26, 1950.Smith begins
what would be a long and public
defiance of Deshaw.

Barre Daily Times
September 28, 1950.This ad
trumpets the fact that Colchester
Raceway would race despite the
accident and Deshaw.
Vermont Sunday News
September 30, 1950. More
about the big next race program.
  Burlington Daily News
October 1. Ivanhoe Smith blinked this
one time. They were working on
the frontstretch catch fence, among
other things.
  Burlington Daily News
This came out on October 2. It was in papers all over the nation. I imagine the DailyNews couldn't wait to get it out there - it was a very anti-racing paper.
The article was much longer.
  Burlington Free Press
A day after the day in court - Farnsworth
is back on the track. Peterson and
Frank Hart are not mentioned. Note the
reference to increased spectator
protection. I think he added sunken RR ties to the frontstretch fencing.

Burlington Free Press
October 7. Tracks all over
were looking at Friday night races
or Saturdays.

Burlington Free Press
October 8. Tracks all over
were looking at Friday night races
or Saturdays.
 Smith was full speed ahead
with special attractions.

Burlington Free Press
October 10. With Saturdays
working all right, I am not sure
why Smith wanted to race at night
in chilly October.

Burlington Free Press
October 11. Almost
same ad, but with "Streamlined
races" added. They must have
figured the crowd would be cold.
Burlington Free Press
October 14. This very business - like
and somewhat mysterious ad showed
up in the Free Press. 
Vermont Sunday News
October 15. This article [much
larger than what is shown here] outlined
a new race group that would work on
racing safety.
Burlington Free Press
October 20. The new group was
apparently interested in more
than just safety.
Burlington Free Press
November 9. As was often the way
in those early years, tracks would go
on until the weather made it absolutely
Burlington Free Press
November 10. Last race of the year. 


 Burlington Free Press
irst mention of the track in 1951. May 15, 1951. Smith went with this flamboyant
"Indianapolis of Colchester" bit for
quite some time.
Burlington Free Press
May 18, 1951. Ray Cooley [a future
founder of Thunder Road] looks to
be the first winner of the year.There is
a lot of mention of the track in June
or July in the papers.

 Burlington Free Press
May 31,1951. Gordy Owen
wins one in the midst of a
busy season for him all over
the region.
Burlington Free Press

July 14. It's a wwonder the fans
could keep track of his scheduling.
Mere weeks ago, he was running
on Wednesday.

Montpelier Evening Argus
July 16, 1951. This happened at
Col. Raceway on the same day
Bob Bushey was winning at
Bayview Speedway, with
which Col. Raceway would merge in 1952.

Burlington Free Press
July 31,1951. Back to running
on Wednesday.
Burlington Free Press
August 4,1951. Good 'ol
Cash Smith.
Burlington Free Press
August 6,1951. The term
"unmodified" is important here.
The Southern New England cutdown
mods came up to the fair, a few years
later, and wiped out the few locals
who ran.

Burlington Free Press
September,1951. Very little ink was
devoted to race results at Smith's
programs throughout the
Summer. Even this single
item in September is about his
upcoming big championship race,
which was in October. This is
typical, Papers were happy to
print paid - for ads and brief
promos, but didn't like taking
up space on the sports page
for results.

Barre Daily Times
October 7,1951. Sometimes
the Barre and Montpelier
papers were better about
covering Colchester races than
the Free Press was.
Burlington Free Press
October,1951. This was the
Free Press' effort.
Burlington Free Press
October 4,1951. This was the  Free Press
would do, if paid. The Burlington
Daily News wouldn't even do that.

Bradford United Opinion
October 5,1951. Stub Piper, fresh out of
Bradford Academy High School, had been
George Barber's first driver and had
quite dominated a lot of the early 1950's
jalopy racing in northern Vermont.
Bradford United Opinion
October 5,1951. Stub Piper would go onm to win this big race and then disappear as
Barber's driver. The article mentions
the race at West Lebanon, NH - the track's last year. Pop Goodwin would
occasionally opppose Colchester
area drivers at Northfield in 1951.
Burlington Free Press
October 6,1951. Smith flooded
the local paper with ads before his
big race. This one is such an
important list of 1951 drivers, I'll
put a larger version below.
Newport Daily Express
October 6,1951. Even the racing -
friendly Newport paper got in on ythe
action. Wright's dice might not have
been so lucky in this race; I think he
was injured.

 Newport Daily Express
October 6,1951. Even the racing -
friendly Newport paper got in on ythe
Burlington Free Press
October 10,1951. Ah, the days of the
variable winning purse. With the winning car owner being the savvy George Barber,
I doubt Smith could pull much mischief.
Burlington Free Press
October 15,1951. Piper's #46
Bradford Auto Supply car
looked like a rattletrap, but
it was scary fast.
Burlington Free Press
October 15,1951. Leo Nadeau's
Rocket 88 car was out of
Schuylerville, NY and ran at
over a dozen tracks in 1951.

Burlington Free Press

Burlington Free Press
January 11,1952. The phrase "if it was in operation" speaks volumes. The track closed after the 1951 season. Smith would play a key role
at Colchester - Bayview Speedway and would again find controversy when the new track hosted stock car races at the Champlain
Valley Expo in the Fall and a person was killed. The fallout went on for two years; Ivanhoe Smith had had enough of racing.

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