DRIVERS WITH LONG CAREERS AND MULTIPLE CAR OWNERS

      It seems like some guys never preferred to own the car they were racing [or maybe they couldn't afford it]. At any rate, there has been a number of hired guns who had particularly long careers driving for car owners; and, maybe that was because they didn't burn nearly the midnight oil that their counterparts did who were preparing their own cars weekly. I can bring to mind a few of these guys now, but I could always listen to suggestions for others. My limited travel schedule, especially in my younger years, does not allow me to know a ton of such drivers.

THE SHOE


Photo From Cavalcade of Auto Racing

      I don't know if Ken Shoemaker ever bothered to drive his own equipment. His book notwithstanding, I cannot possibly show all his rides here, and I won't even try. It is arguable that Shoemaker was the poster child for Northeastern drivers - for - hire. Something about that name... Schumacher in drag racing and in Formula One; it's all the same name.

             

Fonda Book
Corey, Jr. Collection

Supposedly Pete Corey
and Kenny shared this,
their first car.

Shoemaker Family
Ken and Cliff LaRose,
with Cliff's "Fire1" -
out of Whitehall, NY.

Vogel Family

Ken , at Pico Raceway
in Rutland, VT in 1951.
This is his first stint
with
Ted Vogel.

 

Vogel Family
Ken and owner/driver
Ted Vogel, Sr. made up
a potent 1950's team for
a few years.

Vogel Family Photos
Ken went on to
Ted Vogel's 95 coupe before Ted decided he
was too hard on the equipment, as evidenced
by the Fonda wreck below.

 

Courtesy of Dan Ody
Ken took the ordinarily -
pokey
Red Knoblauch
13NY for a few good
rides in the mid '50's.

Courtesy of Jo Towns
 via Otto Graham

Ken spent some time
in the
Sam Kittler/Gibby Wolfe 37. Here he wins
at Fonda.

Ladabouche Collection
Ken, with the same
number 37 - now owned
by
A.C. Caprara.

Source Unknown
Ken drove a bit
for
Allie Swears
of Glens Falls. I have only this little photo.

Vintage Modified Site
Id'd as 1956; but it
looks ,more like the
Chris Drellos or
Henry Caputo years 1959-63. He started with the unique Hudson Falls owner, Henry Caputo.
 

Ladabouche Collection
Shoe's first Caputo car,
the 3 window 111a. This one was never as good
as his eventual, familiar
111NY.

 

John Grady Photo
The newly - built
111.This car would
carry Ken to dozens
of wins with Caputo and, later, Drellos.

Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

The 111. Note the
Caputo "innovations":
roof flaps for Lebanon
Valley and a brake light.

Bob Mackey Photo
via Mike Watts, Sr.

The Caputo 111 -
fresh and new.

Bob Mackey Photo
via John Rock

Ken chats with Charlie Trombley behind the trailered Caputo 111 -
at Airborne.

Ladabouche Collection
The Caputo team was sold to Chris Drellos, of Smith's Basin, NY. Here Ken and the familiar 111 strike a jaunty pose as another Fonda feature is won.

 

Ladabouche Photo
The Drellos 111 -
after a win at
Otter Creek Speedway,
Waltham, VT.

|Ladabouche Collection
One of many Fonda wins
in the Drellos 111.

John Grady Photo
As did everyone else
in the Fonda racing world,
Shoe raced the
Frank Trinkhaus 62.

John Grady Photo
via Dan Ody

Arguably Ken's best
ride was the
Cliff Wright /
Ron Zautner
24 NY. This was
the first version, taking over from Don Wayman.

Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

The most potent Wright car was this pavement version, later driven by Don MacTavish.

Glen Eckel Photo
HAMB Website

Rival and friend, Pete Corey, occasionally got
Ken into one of his potent modifieds.

Bob MackeyPhoto
via Mike Watts, Sr.

Right after the 24,
Ken spent some time
in
Bill Fowler's 27Jr -
towards the end of that
team's life.

 

Courtesy of Jo Towns
via Otto Graham

Ken did a cameo
appearance in one
of the
Joe Romano
97's.

Courtesy of Dan Ody
Shoe did a stint
in
Jeff McWalker's
81A. It might have
been an old Romano
car.

 

Courtesy of
Arnie Ainsworth

Ken drove modifieds for
this Massachusetts team.
The car were always called
"Little Susie" but I can't
recall the owner.

Courtesy of
Arnie Ainsworth

Different car; same
team.

Courtesy of Otto Graham
The first Leto ride -
at the Valley.

Courtesy of
Arnie Ainsworth

Ken drove modifieds for
Joe Leto, definitely his
most flamboyant owner.
A very successful team.

Courtesy of
Arnie Ainsworth

Ken in Vic Lane with
Joe Leto.

Found on the Web
Ken drove the famous
Bob Judkins 2X -
after Ed Flemke.

Courtesy of
Dave Roode

This is what that
first Judkins car
looked like.

Source Unknown
A brief stint in the
Broderick Jay Lin 40.
His future
Leto ride is in the
background.

From the Shoe Book
Ken drove a number
 of other cars,. too many
for me to deal with. I
consider
Alan
Kugler
's Gremlin
to be the most
significant of the other rides.

Ladabouche Photo
His plaque at the Hall of fame in Weedsport, NY

 

BEAVER DRAGON


Dragon Family Collection

      Harmon "Beaver" Dragon drove almost every type of stock car there was to try. As far as I can tell, he did not directly own any of them. he may have chipped in on some of his earlier rides; but there was always someone with deeper pockets to help out. Beaver is a good friend and a great driver, coming from that era where all it takes is some tlent and arich father to become a big star.

             

Bourgeois Family Collection
Beaver had Johnny Bourgeois as a second
father, of sorts and an early car owner. Here is Beaver's
first [highly illegal] race car, and Bourgeois daughter, Jackie.
 

Dragon Family
The next car, an
equally - tricked - up
54 Ford, still had a
lot of Johnny's
support.

Dragon  Family

Beaver's first sportsman coupe, still owned largely by Bourgeois. He upset a field of prominent modifieds with this car
in 1966.

 

Dragon Family
Ernie Preiss built this Falcon sportsman for Beaver and Johnny. It lasted until he ran it at Lebanon Valley.

Dragon Family Photo
Beaver drove a Flying Tiger division car for the ownership team of George Blake and Ray Devarney.

 

Ladabouche Collection
After a falloing oout with Catamount management, Bdeaver went down to Devil's Bowl and drove this sportsman for  Ray Richards.
The body came off Beaver's
first Catamount coupe..

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Another version of the
Blake/Devarney Ford.

Catamount Program Photo
Upon returning to Catamount from the D Bowl exile, he tried this potent, but heavy Ford for a few weeks. Owners unknown.

Dragon Family
When D Bowl paved, he
ran another Richards
coupe for a season.

 

Dragon Family
At Airborne.

Catamount Program Photo
Milton neighbors and friends, Paul Robar and Herb Everest bought the
Pelletier & Falzarano 51NH to put Beaver in a competitive ride. It didn't bear much fruit.
 

Dragon Family
When the bought car did not work out, the same Milton group built Beaver this Chevelle, which was
dynamite.

Dragon Family
When the 1964 Chevelle began to show age, the same Milton group bought Beaver this Chevelle from Bobby Allison.

Dragon Family
When the Northern NASCAR circuit began to really up the technology, the Robar/Everest group
went out and bought
a Mike Laughlin chassis
 car.

Dragon Family
Beaver's made a cameo
appearance in
Bobby Giroux's back-up car,
his old '57 Chevy.

 

Dragon Family Photos
Beaver's drove 2
stints for Maine's
Dick Bahre - with
the superspeedway
Dodge.

 


Dragon Family
Beaver's relationship
with the Milton owners
ended with the sale of the Laughlin car to Pete Silva.
Beaver went on to drive
fro NH owner

Quint Boisvert.

Ladabouche Collection
Boisvert fielded one
of Beaver's most famed
rides, the Black Magic.

Beaver tries out
Alan
Kugler
's Gremlin
on the dirt.

Dragon Family
Boisvert ended up
dropping Beaver in favor
of Chuck Bown, who
came in with a huge
Skoal sponsorship. Beaver tried driving this car for
Canadian
Roger Chadore.
the car was dreadful.
 

Dragon Family
 Beaver finally landed back on hnis feet when the
Maine - based
Deering brothers hired him to drive their cars. Here, he has a strong sponsorship from
Barre, VT's Rossi Buick.

Dragon Family
Bobby Miller came along
and lured Beaver away
from the Deerings. His New England Air Systems
cars were also top
notch.

Dragon Family
Miller eventually sold
his team to
Skip Farrell,
the area's big Pepsi
bottler. This would be arguably the best deal Beaver ever had.

Dragon Family
Farrell provided Beaver with every imaginable
means of winning,
including the hot item
of the mid 80's - the six banger.

Courtesy of Mike Cain
Beaver's most infamous crash came in a Farrell - owned "plastic car" at
Catamount's final race.

Dragon Family
After Farrell, I no longer know all his car owners, despite writing the book. The first new owner to step forward was VT contractor
Dick Kingsbury, who bought his team a Port City car that Beaver says is one of the best he ever had.
 

Dragon Family
The Kingsbury car had
many sponsor
arrangements. Here,
the next owner,
Harrison Concrete, appears as
a co-sponsor in the Kingsbury era.

Dragon Family
The Harrison Concrete deal
became the
Harrison / Fielding Team, which spared few expenses to
support their hero.

Dragon Family
When Harrison wanted
out of the sport, Beaver
was saved by a
surprising person. he
claims
Tom Curley
bought the car and
called the team
MGM Racing.

Dragon Family
After Farrell, I no longer know all his car owners, despite writing the book. One of his post - Port City owners was Peru, NY's
 
Dick Nephew.

Dragon Family
Beaver spent a
somewhat frustrating
season in the Busch Grand National North circuit
with
Tom Pease.

Dragon Family
Somewhere, along
the line, Beaver spent
an enjoyable season
running in Quebec
with this car, for
promoter
Denis LaChance.

Dragon Family
Rodney Weed, a
former crew chief
of Beaver's, was one
of Dragon's last
car owners.

Dragon Family
Beaver's last car owner was his son,
Brent Dragon. He ran a LM at Airborne and
ended up wrecking.
 

 

DON WAYMAN


Photo From Conde & Parry Site

      Don Wayman started out racing near his native Cobleskill, NY at tracks such as Richfield Springs and Sharon Speedways. He raced at the fairgrounds in Morris, as well. I did not see him until I went to Fonda, and he was driving one of the Cliff Wright cars, along with Howie Westervelt. Wayman did own his own car, at first, but that car was demolished in one of Fonda's worst wrecks [also involving Jerry Jerome and Doc Blanchard]. Wayman, like Shoemaker, drove for more owners than I care to keep track of - but that sheer number is testiment to the respect with which he was regarded.

             

Courtesy of Otto Graham
Don Wayman was his own first car owner. The car wrecked at Fonda was
much like this one.

Fonda Book Fuez Collection
Don and Jerry Jerome
tangled in a feature,
bringing an end to
Wayman's car ownership
and Jerry's career.

Dan Ody's 8MM DVDe
Don took his car
to Langhorne in
the 1950's.

Conde & Parry Site

Don , at a local speedway
in the 1950's. The
owner is unknown.

 

Courtesy of Otto Graham
Early in the career. This
is the
Harold Betts {Bugs
Bunny] car. Betts was
a Cobleskill neighbor.

 

Courtesy of Dan Ody

Don could wreck a car when he put his mind
to it. Here, he has
put an end to one of
his first owner's cars -
Cliff Wright.
 

John Grady Photo
As did almost everyone else,
Don spent time in the
Dick Bennett 71, the Bernie's
Liquor Shop car.

 

Courtesy of Mike Russo
Another Dick Bennett
shot.

Mel Ogden Photo
Don spent some time in this rig at Midstate Speedway, Morris, NY. I don't know who owned it.

Ladabouche Collection
Happier days in the Wright/
Zautner
cars. A heat win
at Fonda.

Ladabouche Collection
Happier days in the
Wright/ Zautner cars. This car
was a rocket. It ended
up as Ken Shoemaker's
highly - successful ride.
 

Conde & Parry Site
Don did a few stints
in
Frank Trinkhaus
cars. This was
the earliest.

Courtesy of Otto Graham
A later version of
the 62.

Conde & Parry Site
One of the last Trinkhaus
entries: a fuel - injected
mod. Soon after, Frank
gave up after a couple
of disastrous mishaps
with Lee Millington.

Joe Cryan Photo
3 Wide Vault Site

Wayman, at Langhorne,
maybe. Another of
Frank's odd cage
configurations.
 

John Grady Photo
With the famed
Smith & Sons Jewelers
sedan - supposedly
Sam Smith's car.

Conde & Parry Site
Wayman drove for Godfrey Wentzel in his sedans.

Courtesy of Otto Graham
Wayman drove for Russ Betz . Here is the less
familiar Betz sedan.

Courtesy of Steve Judd
Wayman briefly drove for Russ Betz . Here is the more familiar Betz coupe.

Courtesy of Otto Graham
Somewhere, along this time, Wayman drove for Wally Albro in the 9NH -
a car more famiiar in
my neck of the woods.

Conde & Parry Site
Wayman probably drove for Rene Charland. This car, built by Charland and Rosner, was
all over the asphalt racing
world in 1970 - or so.

Courtesy of Otto Graham
Don with a Jay Lin
-supported,
Brauer - owned
car from Massachusetts.

Conde & Parry Site
This one really looks
like a Jay-Lin car. The
team was associated
with Charland.

 

Conde & Parry Site
Maybe the same as
the 3 car above.

John Grady Photo
Even Southern New
England's
Sharkey Gaudiosi gave Don
a try.
     

 

SONNY RABIDEAU


Photo From NEAR Website

      Moran "Sonny" Rabideau may not have often been his own car owner; but, he was a consummate machinist, at Angell Automotive in his home town of Brattleboro, VT. Getting started at the Brattleboro Speedway, in nearby West Brattleboro, VT, Rabideau had his most famous moments driving a cutdown for Stroker Smith. He did, however, manage a long career with multiple owners.

             

Courtesy of Joe Crowley
 His brother was his  first car owner. The car was an
evil - handling affair. In
this shot at Brattleboro,
he [Car 7] leads Smith's
311, in which he would
become legendary.
 

Courtesy of Ken Robertson
Another family car
#7, I assume. From the
four feature winner
 stickers, I  would say it was a better car.

Ladabouche Collection
Sonny was noticed by
the prominent DN3
group out of North
Adams, MA. and drove
for them at Keene.

Co
urtesy of Paul Zampieri
When Sonny teamed
up with
Frank "Stroker" Smith, of Keene, NH, the
team became almost
unbeatable - for years.

 

Courtesy of Norm Vadnais
One of the most
familiar car / driver
combos in the history
of Northeast racing.

 

Cavalcade of Auto Racing

The next car owner was Sonny Rabideau. He
found himself without a
ride in 1965; so, he
bought the #333 of
pal, Leo Vaillancourt.
 

Courtesy of Norm Vadnais
Rabideau drove cars
for
Leo Vallaincourt, on
and off, for years.

 

John Grady Photo
Sonny, in Leo
V's pavement car
at Devil's Bowl 1970.

 

Ladabouche Collection
With a typical
Vaillancourt dirt
car.
 

Courtesy of Ron Wetzler
Sonny, at some point,
returned to Claremont
to run a newer 311 - probably his.
 

Courtesy of Kristin F. King
This shot shows
that Frank Smith was
back as car owner.

Ladabouche Photo
Sonny, in 2006,
with Terry Marks'
restoration of his
most famous car.

Ladabouche Photo
Sonny, in 2006,
with fellow star
Don Rounds - at
Swanzey, NH.
 

 

JOHNNY GAMMELL


Norman McIver Photo From Cho Lee

      St Johnsbury Center, Vermont's Johnny Gammell was not only a Champion on several levels during his career, but he was a consummate gentleman and one of the most popular men to ever walk the pits at tracks such as Northeastern Speedway, Thunder Road, and Catamount Stadium. Gammell, who occasionally did field a car of his own in the early days, drove for a large number of car owners. Perhaps his best success was with the 32 of Gordon Fitzgerald, who was also a founder of Catamount.

             

Courtesy of  Ken Paulsen
 This marvel of race engineering was his first car, built for him by  Ken Fenoff . It was likely run at such places as Webster Flats, Lyndonville and other eraly '50's ovals,
 

Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
Reported to be his 2nd
car, I don't know who owned it.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee

I have no idea whose car
this 54 is; but, it is one of
his earlier cars.

Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
The 99 of Phil Badger
was his 1960 ride at Northeastern.


 
 
Courtesy of Mark Austin
On the starting grid at Northeastern beside Ronnie Marvin with t
he 99 of Phil Badger

Courtesy of Cho Lee
One of the most
familiar car
s for John was the Charles Ely 88, shown here
at Northeastern.

 

Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
Another 88 of Chas. Ely.

 

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Another 88 of Chas. Ely -
hauled in on a U Haul
transporter
.
 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With the Charles Ely
car. He had at least one
title with this car.
 
Bob Mackey Photo
Courtesy of Mike Watts, Sr.

With the Charles Ely
car at the Colchester - Bayview Speedway in Colchester, VT. The flagger
is Bucky Barlow. 
 
Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
The 91 car. Unknown
owner.
 
Courtesy of Mark Austin
Under caution at Northeastern.
 
Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
The 91 car in action at T Road. It is supposedly a Plymouth.

Courtesy of Mark Austin
Bad luck at Barre.
 
Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
Gammell also drove this
65 car. Not sure of the owner there either . Johnny is leading brother, Dick, at Northeastern here. 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
A win with this
65 car.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With the Gordon Fitzgerald
32 car.
 
Courtesy of Ken Paulsen
The Fitzgerald car. He had at its home base. 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With the Gordon Fitzgerald
32 car. He had   lot of
success with this car.
 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With 32 owner Gordon Fitzgerald in Victory Lane somewhere 
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With the departure of Gordon Fitzgerald promoter C.J. Richards is said to have provided this 32 car.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
John would drive almost anything if you asked him to.  I think this was a B Class car - probably at Northeastern.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
With the Bill White
4 B Class Studebaker car.
I think this after White had had the wreck at T Road and decided racing wasn't for him anymore.
 
Courtesy of Doug Farrow
With the Joey LaQuerre
HAWAII 5-0 car. The former GT-1, this was the last decent ride Johnny had.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Dick Blake's crew delivering a wrecked Hawaii 5-0 to the LaQuerre pits.
 
Courtesy of Doug Farrow
A happy moment with the Joey LaQuerre Hawaii 5-0 gig. That's Johnny and Joan,
with a very young Cho Lee peeking over Joan's shoulder to the left.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Somberly walking away after
dumping LaQuerre's Hawaii 5-0. he may have suspected another quality ride was not inthe future.
 
Courtesy of Rich Palmer
With the Gil Rhoades
25 Ford, at Barre. This began the substandard rides in the Flying Tiger division at end of his career.
 
Ladabouche Collection
Hancock, Vt's Paul Norton
would this former Flying Tiger
to try out as  Limited Sportsman in 1970. Johnny was his first driver.
 
Courtesy of Rich Palmer
 Paul Norton
returned with a newly - built Ford in 1971. The car was too high and drove like a tank. Johnny gave up on  it after a week or two.
 
Ladabouche Photo
The Paul Norton team came back in 1972 with this sweet
Fairlane 500, complete with
Holman and Moody power.
But it still didn't handle, and"Johnny had enough, retiring.
 
Courtesy of Chris Companion
Johnny felt somewhat vimdicated when the likes of Clem Despault [shown above], Beaver Dragon, Larry Demar, and Del Thompson had no better luck. We're not dumping on Norton here, hey gave it their all.
 
The just finished Paul Norton Fairlane at Spring practice
in 1972 - high hopes !
 
Courtesy of Andy Boright
John did race the Mini Stock
of
Suzanne LeGault [probably so he could race with son, Harry].
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
John got to share the podium in the minis with Harry [center] and future VTRacing Commissioner Randy Therrien.
 
Courtesy of Cho Lee
Johnny was often seen at
Catamount and T Road. here he drives the pace car with Catamount employee Neoma Paquette. Note  the name of the
track here.
 
Ladabouche Photo
John never missed a chance to be at a racing reunion, if he felt well enough at Barre.

   

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