GORDY OWEN
An Early Racing Pioneer in Northern Vermont



 


                One of the very earliest regular race drivers in the Champlain Valley was a tall guy named Gordy Owen. He helped pioneer stock car racing, along with the likes of legendary Jackie Paterson. Owen is best known for hooking up with Burlington potato wholesaler Ralph Bushey and driving the early version of Bushey's SPUD 19 cars. Owen was closely allied with the racing efforts of both Ralph Bushey and Bob Bushey, whose relation to Ralph is not clear to me. To show what regard Gordy was held in, he was chosen as the driver of Art Barry's modified cut-down car #909 out of Connecticut when some races were held at the Champlain Valley Exposition in the 1950's.   


Owen Family Photo
                Owen went on to race his own #31 at places like Colchester-Bayview Speedway [Malletts Bay], Harvey Moody's informal Colchester Raceway, and Ivanhoe Smith's Green Mountain Speedway near Essex. It is also thought that, when Bob Pratt brought Jack DuBrul's Daytona Pontiac Bonneville to the Otter Creek Speedway in 1962, it was actually Gordy who drove the over-powered, too-heavy monster against prominent NASCAR sportsman drivers from New York.


Owen Family Photo
Mrs. Ralph Bushey [lft] and Mrs. Gordy Owen ride in the "hauler"
on the way to a race somewhere.

 

Owen Family Photo
Ready to roll again.

Owen Family Photo
By the car in the infield
at Smitty's track,
Colchester Raceway.

Owen Family Photo
Ralph Bushey [rt] and Gordy Owen
with Mrs. O. on the roof.

Owen Family Photo
Mrs. Ralph Bushey [lft]
and Mrs. Gordy Owen

Owen Family Photo
Gordy Owen 31 on
an undetermined track.

Owen Family Photo
In the pits somewhere.
The car is probably
the future Spud 19 of
Bob Bushey.

 


Owen Family Photo
Getting a push -
probably a jump start.

Owen Family Collection
This is thought to be Mrs.
Owens, off to the races.
The older lady could be
Gordy's mother.

Owen Family Collection
Gordy and the owner of
his regular car, Ralph
Bushey.

 

Bushey Family Collection
via Jack Anderson

Gordy, at speed, with the
first Ralph Bushey car
at Dog River Speedway,
Northfield, VT.

Owen Family Collection
The familiar 31, at Malletts Bay Raceway, apparently
having a private practice.
Check the stands.

Owen Family Collection
The familiar 31, at some
Colchester track, apparently
having a private practice.
Gordy and wife confer with
an unidentified man.



Owen Family Collection

Mrs. Owen checks out the
car in the same setting as
the previous 2 shots.


Owen Family Collection
Gordy and Ralph
Bushey.

Bushey Family Collection
via Jack Anderson

Gordy, Bob Pratt, and an
unidentified man.

Evans Knapp Photo
Owen Family Collection

Gordy and the owner of
the car 909 pose on the
car after races somewhere
in Canada.

Evans Knapp Photo
Owen Family Collection

Gordy and the owner of
the car 909 pose after a
race - probably at
Bouvrette or Noel
Speedway in Canada.

 

Studio Jean Photo
Owen Family Collection

A win at Noel Speedway in Quebec.
Ralph Bushey [white shirt and cigar], Bob Pratt [Ralph's left], Gordy [Ralph's right], trophy queen, and Speedway President [White T Shirt] I've seen other 1950's stars like PappyForsyth with that tee shirt.


Bushey Family Collection
Gordy and Bob
Bushey enjoy a post
race beer, with Mrs.
 Gordy close by.

Ladabouche Photo
Owens friend, Bob Pratt
stands with his super
speedway Pontiac that he
had Gordy try out at
Otter Creek. It was too heavy.


 


Owen Family Collection
Ralph Bushey pushing
the 31 with Gordy nearby.


Owen Family Collection
Gordy
buckling up.

 


Owen Family Collection
Gordy
on the pole in a
heat race at what looks
like Smitty's Colchester
Raceway. That's Jackie
Peterson in the rear and the
 7 of Buddy Barnes in the pits.



Owen Family Collection
A large post race crowd
around the 31.

 


Owen Family Collection
Gordy
directs the tow
truck at an undetermined
track.

 


Owen Family Collection
Gordy in a race lineup with
cars from Chittenden County and locals, but this at Veterans' Park a horse track in Newport, VT.



Owen Family Collection
Gordy heads out onto
an undetermined track.
Could be Malletts Bay
or Colchester Raceway.

 


Bushey Family Collection
via Jack Anderson

Gordy
testing out the
first Ralph Bushey
Car at Harvey Moody's
Green Mt track. This likely 1950.

 


Bushey Family Collection
via Jack Anderson

Gordy
testing out the
first Ralph Bushey
Car at Harvey Moody's
Green Mt track.

 

 
Jack Peterson Collection
Gordy
poses with friend and
racing rival Jackie Peterson.

H. Baker Family Collection
via Bill Baker

Gordy
poses for a shot as
Harold "Cannonball" Baker, a
rival driver is one of the men
checking out his car.

Owen Family Collection
1954.
 


Bushey Family Photo
A crewman rides as Rex Shattuck pushes Gordy into the pit area at Colchester Raceway.


Photo Courtesy of Dooley and Blow Families
Gordy leads Red Dooley at one of the Colchester tracks.


Ladabouche Photo
A model of Gordy's familiar 31 by Neal Davis.

 

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