By Bill Ladabouche


Tough Competitors in Two Eras of North Country Racing





The Ingerson brothers, all hailing from New Hampshire, were one of the most successful brother combinations in North Country racing - right up there with the Libby brothers in Maine and the Dragon brothers in Vermont. My only experience with them is few years, towards the end of their careers, when they ran the Flying Tigers at Catamount and the late model sportsman program, By 1975, they were all essentially retired.

Courtesy of Rich Palmer
Tough guy Doug Ingerson was the first official Ingerson I ever saw at Catamount Stadium. Here he could be mistaken for Russ
and his car actually had body parts on the front ! Below – This shot of the Ingersons in the Cavalcade of Auto Racing was my
first impression of the racing trio.

Cavalcade of Auto Racing Photo by Bob Doyle

When I wrote my column on brother combinations in racing last year, the Ingersons did not make the piece because that article centered on three – brother racing combos, and there were actually four Ingersons. Donald raced the least; Douglas had the fewest photos [in proportion to the number of races he ran or won]; Leland was - in some ways - the most successful; and Russ, the youngest was also very successful while racing the furthest into the modern era. They were good - looking men, undoubtedly the heartthrobs of a number of female spectators, and good enough fellows to get along with until you pissed them off. Pretty tough bunch if that happened, so I hear. Russ seems to be the only one still around, and - while once being very flamboyant -he is very publicity shy now.

Norman McIver Portrait Courtesy of Cho Lee
Don Ingerson did not race for very long.

        When I moved up into the Catamount area in 1968, the three principal brothers were all still competing in the Flying Tiger division there and at Thunder Road. It is likely some of them may well have been trying out that rustic, new little fifth – mile track in Vermont hills near Bradford – Bear Ridge Speedway – because it featured those old flathead coupes that had made them so famous. I cannot honestly say that, in the last stages of that 1968 season when I first saw them, that any of them were at the top of their game; but, the stories that were imparted to me [especially about he fights they got in] made it very clear that these were significant racing figures.
Back then in late August of ’68, Douglas was piloting a rough – looking #42 Ford with no front fenders or hood; Leland was seldom seen; and Russell only showed up once. But, by 1970, when the limited late model sportsman cars made their debut, that would change. Doug would disappear all together, Leland would race in a cameo role, and Russell would again achieve top star status for a few seasons with the Pelletier / Falzarano #51 Chevies.

       Leland, Doug and – to a smaller extent – Don, had cut their teeth at the small oval in Lower Waterford, Vermont called Northeastern Speedway. It is also likely they raced at a few tracks in their native New Hampshire, as well, before the show moved on to Barre, Vermont’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl in 1960. Doug Ingerson, having caught on with the potent George Hay #68 team out of Hardwick, VT was highly successful – more than he ever would be at T Road. Driving Hays’ 68’s and 58’s, he sometimes ran in tandem with Ray Stygles, who would eventually be badly hurt at T Road in the early 1960’s.

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Russell starred in George Hay’s #58; but, after the severe Stygles injury, he also drove the #68 entry [below].

Courtesy of Cho Lee

        Leland drove a number of coupes successfully before being retained by the prestigious George Barber team to drive his #47 car, a team mate and backup car to the legendary Roy “Pappy” Forsyth in the #46. Leland would do particularly well at Thunder Road in the Barber car, continuing on the Barber excellence after Forsyth retired. Having started a little late than his siblings, Russell, the youngest, did run Northeastern Speedway in its waning years with a #64 coupe; but his most brilliant accomplishments were yet to come. The Ingersons had ruled Northeastern , along with their massive and fearsome neighbor, Ronnie Marvin, and now the Barre, Vermont oval was in their sights.

       After the glory years of the early 1960’s flathead era at Thunder Road, most of the best of Lee’s and Doug’s careers were past. They were considered the poster children of T Road and of the newly – opening Catamount Stadium track in Milton. The Bob Doyle photo of the three brothers finishing in a blanket under the checkered flag of Archie Blackadar, is one of the enduring images both of that era and of the Ingersons. Their lore was widened by their photogenic nature, fostering shots like one of the three brothers laughing it up while sitting on the front on one of their cars.

Courtesy of Cho Lee
Leland will be best remembered for numerous wins in George Barber’s 47. Below -
Russell’s best – known car owner was Ed Pelletier, also his late model owner.

Courtesy of Cho Lee

         1965 signaled a number of changes, however. With Catamount, came NASCAR; and – with NASCAR – came a one year extension limit on the use of the flathead coupes at Catamount and Thunder Road. NASCAR had made the decision to remove the pre – 1936 bodies with the non – solid roofs after a couple of guys flew out through their roofs during violent flips. The old bodies had been gone from everywhere else in NASCAR since about 1959; but their existence at T Road had prior to NASCAR coming on board gave the ma one year stay of execution. After that, all the flatheads ended up in Bradford At Bear Ridge Speedway in 1968.

Ladabouche Collection
Leland came out with a late model first with Tom Tiller’s backup car, but Russ and the Pelletier / Falzarano 51’s was definitely the most famous and accomplished combo in latter years.

Courtesy of Rich Palmer

      As the limited sportsman [and, a year later, the full – fledged late model sportsman cars] came in, Lee had a few appearances in Tom Tiller’s cars, but Russell’s career really took off. Russ’ car owner from coupe days, Ed Pelletier of White River Junction, VT, fielded a beautiful yellow and black #51 1957 Chevy with partner Doug Falzarano. The flashy car performed well, but to say it was at all dominant would be a stretch. However, by 1972, the team had returned with a head – turning 1964 Chevelle late model sportsman with similar graphic scheme. Russ won a slew of races with this rig before the team sold their equipment to Beaver Dragon in 1972.
      Russ wanted to keep that winning feeling, and he tried hooking up with popular East Montpelier wrecker operator and used car dealer Dick Blake, who purchased a pretty good 1968 Chevelle LMS from St. Johnsbury, VT’s George Horn. Russ could not get the magic back, enduring a number of damaging spins and crashed before the team finally threw in the towel around 1974.

Courtesy of Chris Companion
This was happening a bit too much for Dick Blake.

       The departure of Russell “The Wild Child” Ingerson ,marked the end of the era of the amazing Ingerson brothers and their reign on northeastern New England tracks. Leland had won 18 features at T Road, alone. Doug won at least six features there, not counting anything at Northeastern. I believe he had a win in the Flying Tigers after 1965, too. Russ didn’t win too many in the coupes due to his age, but he was an established superstar in the Tigers and late models. The Ingersons were the old school model of race drivers – driving hard on the track and fighting hard after. They were part of that time when New Hampshire drivers were very dominant in many parts of the Green Mountain state.

Courtesy of James Howard
The lore of the Ingerson brothers, carefully cultivated by Ken Squier [see poster below], extended far beyond the end of Russell’s career.

Courtesy of Cho Lee

Please email me if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. Email is: . For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488.


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