- Written by webmin
The six states that comprise America’s most historic region are also unbelievably rich in auto racing lore, going right back to the dawn of the sport. The New England Antique Racers have recognized that for a long time, and just announced their 2011 Hall of Fame class.
The guy in the Pinto-bodied Modified below is New Hampshire inductee Howard “Punky” Caron, with scores of wins on both dirt and asphalt spanning four decades. The late Jerry Dolliver won more than 100 Supermodified features. Dan Meservey founded New England’s Mini-Modified class and was its biggest star before going South to race with noted success in the NASCAR Dash series. Russ Nutting was a racing force in Maine, both as a Supermodified driver and official. Stanley “Skip” Matczak of Connecticut fielded everything from Supers to USAC Sprint cars for drivers ranging from Richie Evans to Wally Dallenbach.
Crew chief Vic Kangas went from Maine stock cars to winning NASCAR races to bossing teams that won with IMSA at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The Garuti brothers were early stock car legends, running coups for the likes of Moe Gherzi and Eddie Flemke. Last among the inductees is Val LeSieur, who for years edited and published Speedway Scene, one of the most authoritative racing newspapers in the country. That’s Val in the above image, grinning between another couple of New England immortals, Rene “The Champ” Charland (left) and Bill Slater, both of whom were in NEAR’s first class of inductees, in 1998. The induction ceremony is January 30 at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, Connecticut, visit www.near1.com to learn more.