RACING IN NEWPORT, VERMONT

1950's Veterans' Park


H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
This, the only photo of  the Veterans' Park site, shows the venue as the further, more clearly visible oval. It is not known what the
other track was all about; but, it was probably a training track for the horses.

            One of the very first places in the state of Vermont to offer regular stock car racing was the northern border city of Newport, on Lake Memphremagog. This burgeoning new sport was breaking out all over the area, with several tracks in northern Vermont and southern Quebec. Informal racing which began in Bernard Daggett's sand pit in Holland, Vermont soon outgrew that very limited venue and moved, with a newly - formed club called the Border Racing Club, to Newport.

        The venue at Newport was a good one, majestic Veterans' Park, a horse racing facility on the northeastern side of the city. The facility management would not allow stock cars on its primary surface, but the jalopy cars would race in an oval just inside the main track. Early racing regulars included Bert Hauver, Sydney Carter, Russell Sykes, Daggett, and others. The new Newport racing program was fed by drivers who had raced in Canada, at Holland, VT, and at the fairgrounds track in Burke, VT. Ken Hitchcock and Aubrey Stoddard were other early stars at Newport.


Carter Family Photo Collection  via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
The race cars at Veterans' Park were often wonders to behold. The northern style of stock car was heavier and more apt to have an external
roll cage, than their counterparts further south in New England.

        Excellent research from Scott Wheeler, of the Northland Journal, from the Newport area, indicates racing at Newport in 1950 and 1951. As early as the 1950 season, expenses for the Border Racing Club to use Veterans' Park were beginning to be a problem. Raymond Nadeau, a local man, had begun promoting races at Lyndonville, Vermont at a spot informally called Webster's Flats; and another local businessman, Howard Connelly, was starting to promote in other venues. Eventually, racing ceased to operate at Veterans' Park. Today, the site is occupied by the local high school.


Newport Daily Express Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Imposing Aubrey Stoddard is described by the Wheeler article as one of the most successful Veterans' Park drivers.


Newport Daily ExpressPhoto via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
The Newport flag man
and some of the Powder
Puffers.
 

Newport Daily Express Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Powder Puff racing was in vogue in the 1950's, and Jane Colburn was one of the best at Newport.

Ken Hitchcock Collection Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
The Border Racing Club seemed somewhat organized. This is a result sheet from the men's and Powder Puffs races.
 

H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Gordon Swett, at speed, on the Veterans' Park oval.

Ken Hitchcock Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
This is one of Ken Hitchcock's photos - but it is not Ken. He is, as yet,
unidentified.

Ken Hitchcock Collection Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Ken Hitchcock ended
up in Massachusetts after racing in Newport.

Ken Hitchcock Collection Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
George Roy

 


Ken Hitchcock Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
This is another of Ken Hitchcock's , as yet,
unidentified men.

H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Somebody loses a wheel as
Bailey, of Lyndonville
gets by.

H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal via the Carter Family
The often looked worse
than they were. Rollovers were common in those days.

 


H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal via the Carter Family
Another dust - up.

H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal via the Carter Family
The lineup of powder puffers.

H.W. Richardson Photo via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal via the Carter Family
Some of the regular drivers.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
The cover from Scott Wheeler's second racing edition shows action with George Roy removing an obstacle for car 50 :)

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
This shot not only shows action, but it gives a view of the announcers' stand.

 

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
This shot shows how the stock cars could not use the nicer horse track surface. Rather, they struggled along inside of the original track.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
The Car 7 of Harold Barrup gets by one of the frequent tipovers that would happen on the bumpy track.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
Young Roger Stoddard poses  with Dad, Aubrey's car. I don't know if Roger went on to race or not.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
A local sailor, home on leave, doesn't flinch as cars roll nearby. You can see how this wasn't a very established track surface they were on.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
Sydney Carter, with one of his cars.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
A Border Racing Club results ticket similar to one above.
 

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
A Border Racing Club results ticket similar to one above.
 

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Bert Hauver and his Flying 0. Bert is one of the few early racers whose family still has his archives.

 

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
Isabel Hauver, with Bert Hauver's Flying 0.

Courtesy of Ed Gould
via George Hill

The pits at Veterans' Park, with the 399 of George Roy, Paul Barnard's 500, and possibly the Lucky Dice of Bob Wright.

Courtesy of Ed Gould
via George Hill

Well dressed people mix in with the typical racing types in the pits at Veterans' Park. Several folks are checking out Sydney Carter's K5.

Courtesy of Ed Gould
via George Hill

A view from the stands across to the pits at Veterans' Park.

Courtesy of Gordy Owen Family
Same view from the stands across to the pits, only later in the life of the track. Note how the horse track has grown qweedy from disuse. Chittenden County invaders Gordy Owen [30] and the car ? are seen.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The same view from the stands across to the pits shows the  track has been used more recently [no weeds].

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The same view. A car flies by the judges' stand].

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The sedan photo shows how
c;lose to the judges' stand he cars passed - and these weren't very dependably handling machines.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Cars W and 19 fly by in close formation.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The dust is thick as the neighboring houses by the backstretch gets a good view [and dusting].

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The same view - but of turn four action.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
This view really shows how the horse track separated the stands from the car oval. All of these photos from Hermance are blurry, when full sized. Cameras weren't as good then. I recommend reducing them in size.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
The often - photographed car W in the nexrt lineup.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
A view of turns one and two.

Courtesy of Ken Hermance
A minor tangle in turn one.
 
Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Similar
shot to the first Hermance photo.
 
Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Looks like lining up.
 
Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Apparently, a winner's circle.
 
Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Car L160 being towed.
       
Courtesy of Ken Hermance
Folks around Ken Hitchcock's 4.
     


Historic Aerials.Com Photo
In this 1943 topographical map, Veterans' Park is the lower left hand oval, seen almost in the exact middle of the map. [Below] This old postcard shows
Veterans' Park within the square. It looks like an oval pond or something. The scene has to be before the building of the union high school there.

cowcard.com

FORERUNNER TRACKS TO VETERANS' PARK


Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
Bernard Daggett's gravel pit in Holland, VT served as one of the state's earliest stock car ovals. Sydney Carter is seen leading.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
A better view of the layout of Daggett's. Note the oiled track.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
The fairgrounds track in Burke, VT served as a short - lived stock car track. Actually, these two cars look more advanced than the subsequent Newport cars did, for the most part.

Photo Courtesy of Hauver family via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal
 
Some Burke action.

Historic Aerials.com Site
 
Burke fairgrounds, as seen in
a 1964 aerial view.

1980's Can - Am Speedway


Ladabouche Photo
Charlie Nadeau looks out from turn one at his creation, a speedway built on top of part of his huge landfill operation in Newport.
Below - Charlie had run at the old Veterans' Park track, as evidenced by his name on one of the results tickets.

Hauver Family Collection via Scott Wheeler's Northland Journal

.

 


Courtesy of Pete Racine
Charlie's brother, Ray, promoted races at the Webster Flats location in Lyndonville, VT, and Charlie raced there.


Historic Aerials.com  Photo
I have made a calculated guess where the track was on the Charles Nadeau landfill site. See the white oval.


Ladabouche Photo
The Can - Am Speedway layout is well shown here, with a temporarily - watered, rough track, fans on the bank, and a simple announcer's stand.

 


Ladabouche Photo
They groomed and groomed
but the track was really rough.

Ladabouche Photo
They groomed and they looked..
and the looked and they groomed
and it was still rough.

Ladabouche Photo
How rough ? Here's St. Johnsbury roofer Bob Ailes leading the late
model feature. NEXT>>>
 

Ladabouche Photo
 Here's St. Johnsbury roofer Bob Ailes with his whole front wheel assembly broken off.  NEXT>>>

Ladabouche Photo
 Here's St. Johnsbury roofer Bob Ailes, with his whole front wheel assembly broken off., hauled off by a junkyard loader. Nadeau must have seen Bob
Bahre's forklift at Oxford.

 

Ladabouche Photo
Sylvio Bilodeau, a veteran of 1950's racing, and his ancient Chevelle. He
was running Groveton, NH regularly at the time.
 

A and A Ward Photo
Michel Grand triggers a pileup
in one of the turns.

Ladabouche Photo
The Granby Speedway cars of Keyworth George [41] and Michel Garand.

Ladabouche Photo
A field of primarily Groveton,
NH regulars is paced by
Cliff Dillon [10].

Alexander Photo
Female star Linda Alexander puts her brown Granada in the lineup with the boys at Newport.

Alexander Photo
The Alexander Granada afterwards.

Ladabouche Photo
 Denis Belleville unloads
two of his cars. That's Groveton
regular Don Kenison [3]
in foreground.

Ladabouche Photo
 NH late model runner
Bob Turner 333 looks
into the teeth of trouble.

Ladabouche Photo
 Busy pits on a
beautiful afternoon.

Ladabouche Photo
 Thunder Road and
Catamount New Tiger Div.
driver Buzz Sheldon
hangs it out in Turn 2.
 

Ladabouche Photo
 A field in the
frontstretch.

Ladabouche Photo
 A hobby heat starts to
wind it up and go.

Ladabouche Photo
 The 24 develops a push
as the hobby field goes
through 2.

 


Ladabouche Photo
 The hobby feature tempts fate
on the edge of Turn 2.

Ladabouche Photo
 Perhaps they scared
themselves... and I know why.

Ladabouche Photo
 This, and more, would
await you if you went
off Turn 2.

Ladabouche Photo
 Have no fear, the
infield safety crews
are here.

Ladabouche Photo
 One of the Canadian
late models spins.

Ladabouche Photo
 These locals seemed
hesitant to unload
this absolute beauty.
No secret - did you see the
 rest of the hobby cars ?
 

Ladabouche Photo
 How embarrassing. Puking
 your guts in front of the stands.

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Fans of Denis Belleville

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Bob Nelson welding on
a frame that has had
enough of the rough
Can Am track.

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Tech man Rick Thompson
explains the ruling to one
of the racing teams.

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Rapid Ted Burns was
the victim of some rough
riding.

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Bob Nelson welding on
the Burns car.
 

Bob Dickie Photo via
Scott Wheeler's Northland
Journal
Street Stox action with cars that
 are likely Groveton regulars. The
name Bennett is often linked
to that track.
 
Alexander Photo
The Alexander family raced this Mustang before the Granada.

Alexander Photo
The Alexander Mustang again.
   

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