2021 NEAR Hall of Fame Induction

Bob Cuneo      Dave Lind     Dave Grantz     Jim Haynes

John Spence Sr.     Pete Falconi    Jeff Horn    Kelly Moore

                         Andy Cote’      Ted Stack

Please join us to celebrate our 2021 NEAR HOF Class induction. We will gather at 11:00 on Sunday, November 14th, 2021 at the Westford Regency Inn in Westford, Ma. 01886. This new venue is very close to the center of New England, making it much easier for everyone to attend. Rooms are available at the hotel so our guests can join us on Saturday evening for camaraderie, storytelling, and good times.
Tickets are available in advance via our order form available on our website NEAR1.org or on our Facebook page NEAR-New England Antique Racers.
We also will have a silent auction for racing memorabilia and NEAR event t -shirts on sale. Hope to see all of you vintage racing fans in attendance!

Click HERE to download and print the banquet ticket order form.

If you would like to send well wishes to our inductees please Click HERE to download the information form for the HoF program.

Vintage event 9/11/2021

The rescheduled 2nd Annual Historic Motor Sports Exposition returns to the North East Motor Sports Museum (922 Route 106 Loudon, NH) on Saturday September 11th. The event will host five mobile museums which will setup and display a variety of regional motorsports artifacts. In addition the expo will feature a variety of historical race cars from a range of disciplines and a vintage race car swap meet.The main attraction of the day will include outdoor museum displays from the Maine Vintage Race Car Association, New England Antique Racers, Ollie Silva Museum and the Ron Bouchard Museum. Pawtucket Rhode Island’s ProNyne Motorsports Museum will also feature a display.For the first time the event will feature the following best appearing award classes for vintage race cars. Awards sponsored by Wall’s Ford to be presented at 1:30pm•

Best Appearing Open Wheel Race Car
• Best Appearing Modified Race Car
• Best Appearing Stock Car Race Car
• Best Appearing Drag Racing Car
• Best Appearing Road Racing Car

The cost to enter your car to be judged is $20 which includes two free tickets to enter the museum the day of the event. Non-judged race cars may display in the show field for free. The cost per vendor space to display your vintage racing cars, parts, memorabilia, etc for sale will also be $20. Motorsports related items only and please cash only for entry payments. Join us on Saturday September 11th from 10am to 2pm and enjoy the one day museum exhibits and diverse display of historic race cars outdoors. While attending make sure to check out the North East Motor Sports Museum’s 30+ regionally historic race cars and motorcycles, electric slot car track and iRacing Simulator. Admission to view the outdoor show is $5 per adult at the front gate with museum members admitted free. Admission to view the indoor museum is $10 per adult with kids under 12 free to view both outdoors and indoors. We will hold a moment of silence at noon in remembrance of the victims of the September 11th, 2001 acts of terror. After this moment of silence cars on display outside will roar to life with our traditional gentlemen start your engines. This event will feature an onsite food truck to purchase food and drink. The event is a fundraiser for the North East Motor Sports Museum, a 501-c-3 educational nonprofit organization. To display your historic race car or artifacts call 603-783-0183.

VAE car show Hugh Success!

VAE was very pleased with NEAR’s display and attendance this past weekend.
Many thanks to Bill Josler for all of his efforts to pull this off. Next year is promising to be bigger and better with more opportunities to show off our cars.
Thanks to everyone who made the trip to Waterbury, VT for this great event. It was a delight to see some old faces, and meet some new crazy guys, names to remain anonymous (Dave D) HA! here is a picture of the set up before things really got rolling. Attendance was great with about thirty cars on hand.

Jeff Horn still winning at 75!!

At age 75 and just days from his 76th birthday, Jeff Horn won the midget feature event at the Rumney, Vt. track. He is most certainly the oldest driver to ever win a feature in New England. Even Dave Humphrey, who had an unusually long career, won his last feature at age 61.

Jeff began racing in 1965, and after serving his country in the military, has been racing ever since. Stock cars, supermodifieds, and midgets have been piloted by the accomplished racer. He’s won feature events in many cars with small and big block power.

Rumney is a dirt track, Jeff never left pavement until he was 67 years old.”All I wanted to be was a Saturday night throttle pusher” he said of his racing aspirations. No NASCAR, no Indy cars, just racing right here so we could all enjoy watching him.

Jeff does all the work on his cars, and he’s the guy driving the truck and trailer to the track, as well. Jeff Horn is a race fan’s dream!

Story/pics submitted by Dick Berggren

Bethel Motor Speedway Report

NEAR had a great night at Bethel Motor Speedway in White Lake, N.Y. It was Danbury Racearena night and none other than the Great Billy Greco (92 yrs.) was Grand Marshall. Billy wowed the crowd with a few racing stories and many autographs! A nice field of old and new NEAR cars was on hand. Paul Jacques and his gorgeous #8 coupe was the winner tonite. We welcomed two new drivers, Dennis David in his VERY historical #5 coupe and Larry O’Donnell in the #35. Thanks to all our members for coming and putting on a Great show! Good time had by all!!

Join NEAR-Applications

Would you like to join Near and help keep the racing memories from the Northeast alive? Our members enjoy a bi-monthly newsletter, an annual Member’s Meeting(catered), and an exciting fun packed schedule of both running and static events all year long. Our annual Hall Of Fame induction ceremony honors accomplished drivers, car owners, and other “major movers” in all the major New England racing series.

We welcome members to join our Officers and Board of Directors to help steer the ship. We would certainly love to have you on board! Simply print,fill out, and return one of the applications from the below links and you’re on your way. Welcome!

2021 NEAR Application for Membership short form

2021 NEAR Application for Membership long form

NEAR at Bear Ridge Speedway 8/15/20

The competitors of NEAR are converging at the Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vt. This Saturday 8/15/20. Sign in starts at noon with pit gates open at 3 pm. A full slate of race events is on tap for the Sabil & Sons Old Timers Night. Seven divisions will be competing for the wins. NEAR cars will be on static display on the midway and do parade laps during the evening. Hope to see a great crowd at Butch Elm’s place and great weather, as well!!

NEAR at Riverside Speedway, N.H.

The Near crew had their most recent running event at the Riverside Raceway in Groveton, N.H. this past Saturday 8/1/20. The track crew and the rest of Mike Humphrey ‘s staff made it a very enjoyable and smooth running event. There was plentiful practice time with 8 lap heats paired with 15 lap features for both the Sportsman and Modified divisions. Victims of mechanical woes were Greg Gilbert and Art Merchant, who were wicked fast but could not make the features. And boy oh boy was it hot!! Curt and Lois Snow provided a nice lunch after the driver’s meeting and many good racing stories ensued. Then it was time to get down to business!

Scott DeCota started things off taking down the win in the Sportsman heat. Then Tommy Trempe led from the start to nab the Modified heat. After a short break, it was feature time. The Sportsman were 5 strong with Jerry Humiston, Pete Marshall, John Adams, Scott DeCota, and Greg Stiles starting the race. Jerry got off to a great start, leading Pete for 14 of the 15 lap contest. On the last lap Pete dug down deep and thundered up the outside to take the lead and the win. Jerry settled for second, while John Adams crossed the line in third. In the Modified event, Jim Allen started on point with “Downtown” Ken Brown in second, Tommy Trempe in third, Curt Snow fourth, and Alan Zemla taking up the rear. Jim held the early lead followed by Ken and Curt Snow. Curt managed to get into the top spot by lap 10, with Jim Allen runnerup and Alan Zemla in for third. Overall, it was a great showing for both divisions. Thank you to all the racers involved who supported this event!

After the features were over, a youngster in the pits came over who loved the modified cars. Curt Snow put him in the car, and second place finisher Jim Allen sent him home with his trophy for the night!! The boy was very excited and happy, as were his parents. So happy to be associated with so many first class folks who put on these shows. Thanks so much, guys!!

2020 NEAR “Revised” Event Schedule

Aug 1        Sat.      Riverside Spdwy             Groveton, NH

                               Sign-in: 12 NOON           Running

Aug 15      Sat.      Bear Ridge Spdwy          Bradford, VT

                               Sign-in: 12 NOON           Still/Parade

Aug 21      Fri.       Claremont Spdwy          Claremont, NH

                               Sign-in: 3PM                    Running

Aug 22      Sat        Bethel  Spdwy               Swan Lake, N.Y.

Rain out –makeup  Sign-in 3p.m.                   Running

Sept 6      Sun      Limerock Historic Fest    Salisbury, Ct.

                             8 a.m.-3 p.m.                     Still/display

Sept 12    Sat.      White Mt.  [WMMP]      No Woodstock, NH

                              Sign-in: 1PM                     Running

Oct 9-11 Sat/Sun   Thompson Spdwy        Thompson, Ct.

HOF Truck/2 cars   Sat. 8 a.m.                  Running Heat/Feature

on display

This revised schedule is subject to changes due to the current pandemic of COVID-19 and may be affected by government restrictions. Schedule will be updated if we can add any dates.

HOF Museum gets a makeover!

Even as the Covid-19 pandemic negatively affects hundreds of thousands, a small group of dedicated NEAR members carry on. Ever since the annual member meeting in March, the newly formed Hall of Fame Museum Committee has been working non-stop. Chairmen Oscar Hancock and Rob Quinn have been hitting the bricks drumming up sponsors to come on board and help with the many expenses involved in keeping the museum rolling. Happily to say, their efforts have yielded fine results.

Fortunately, Oscar is the owner of American Beauty Signworks in Woonsocket, R.I Oscar’s business is signs, of any type, to advertise your business, club, anything that benefits from exposure from advertising. Oscar, Rob, and their team came up with a beautiful new vinyl wrap for the truck showcasing our racing history. Modifieds, midgets, drag cars, and road racing cars are represented “bursting” out of the side of the vehicle. The team also made space to showcase NEAR’s new marketing partners as well. What a fantastic job they did.

A lot of mechanical work has also taken place along the way. The truck has a new exhaust, gas tank, and LED running lights thanks to Tap Auto & Truck in Cumberland, R.I. The Tire Doctor, in East Walpole, Blackstone, and Reheboth Ma. supplied some new rubber for us as well. A lot of help also from J.B. Cote Construction in Cumberland, R.I., Seals -It Specialty Products in Ellington, Ct., Scott Quinn Construction, and Performance Transmission from R.I. More help is on the way, a lot of folks are getting on board to ride with NEAR in 2020 and beyond.

As of yet, we have not had an event that we have been able to take the museum to. Pretty soon things should be loosening up on the pandemic front. At that point I am sure the museum team will be out showing off the new colors! When you see this truck out and about, please let the guys know how much you appreciate all of their hard work!!! Thanks to all involved!!

HOF Track Owner Bob Bahre Passes

Article thanks to North East Motor Sports Museum

BOB BAHRE

The July 2020 passing of Bob Bahre is a sad time for everyone involved in New England motorsports. Bob’s contributions to racing in New England were huge.

He was inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2009. He was also inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Along with others including Vic Yerardi and Al Novotnik, Bob developed and promoted the Vintage Celebration at his New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In its early days, the Celebration was simply spectacular with the garage filled with period correct Indy cars, sprints and midgets.  The noise of their Offy engines exploded into the summer air with their own brand of music and their tart exhaust aroma. Beautifully restored race cars of every type were welcomed and they came and were enjoyed by so many.

               In these divisive times in which we live, back then auto racing had Bob Bahre to bring us together. He had time for everyone from millionaires to the kid looking up at a driver in a white firesuit.

               Along his magical trip to bring top level racing to New England, he bought Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway in 1964. He soon invented the Oxford 250 (originally the Oxford 200) along with weekly racing that was so good that it drew crowds so big Bob added more seats until his track had greater capacity than any other in New England. And on many days and nights, he sold tickets for every one of those seats.  

               His first Cup races were booked when he owned Oxford. Bobby Allison won his first Cup (then Grand National) event there in 1966. Bob promoted two more Cup races at Oxford before the series became too big for small tracks like Oxford.

He saw his future in big league NASCAR which was growing rapidly, so he sold Oxford and began preparing for his greatest adventure:  bringing big league racing to New England for the first time since 1928.

He acquired the Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon, NH along with other adjacent properties with which he created New Hampshire International Speedway. The obstacles he overcame to build the track were monumental. Unable to obtain a permit for suites, when he learned the denial came because the town didn’t have a ladder fire truck that could reach that high, Bob solved the problem. He bought a ladder truck and gave it to the town. In turn, he got the permit to build the suites. He blasted ledge, built a tunnel under the track big enough for trailer trucks and did everything he could think of to ensure the comfort and safety of racing’s fans.

               NHIS opened in 1990 with a Busch race. Bob knew from the beginning that he had to have NASCAR’s top division if his new track would be successful. He petitioned Bill France Jr. for a date who first told Bob his chances “…were somewhere between slim and none.” But, Bob persevered and finally, NASCAR awarded him the track’s first Cup date in 1993. Then, he pulled a brilliant maneuver to bring a second Cup date to his track. New England watched the biggest motorsports series in the country twice each year and we bought every ticket for every Cup seat Bob Bahre ever had at his new track. He achieved sold-out attendance for every top division NASCAR race he ran at NHIS.

               He always loved vintage cars, especially Packard’s. He built a massive two story garage on his property in South Paris, Maine where he lived with his wife Sandra and son Gary. He filled that garage with priceless cars of the past. As such, with a love of old cars, he was one of us. A barn at the upper level included a library, vintage cars and even a horse-drawn carriage. Like NEAR’s membership, Bob appreciated the beauty of the past.

               Each year he opened the collection to all who wanted to see it and donated the money that came from the event to the local library.

               Bob started in business when his mother bought a Sears welder on time so he could learn a trade. With it, Bob built trailers. But, as a young man he moved on to ultimately earn a fortune developing real estate. First there were single family houses, then apartment buildings and then strip malls. What began as a single spec house became a real estate empire. Bob’s hard work and smart decisions resulted in the millions of dollars he used to build New Hampshire International Speedway.

               He bought and sold a local bank located near his office several times. He always bought for less and sold for more. He explained his business success to Speedway employee Cheryl LaPrade saying, “I just got lucky, kid.”

               His success was the result of so much more than luck. Involving his family in the business was part of the story. His had an extraordinary level of common sense. And courage. He built NHIS without a NASCAR promise of Cup series races. He made consistently good decisions and had the tenacity to achieve lofty goals. The reputation he earned as a fair and honest man helped more than this humble man would have ever admitted.

               He was a generous man in many ways, sending annual donations to local churches and other charities. He made sure everyone who came to his track to race went home with money in their pocket, even if they failed to qualify. He was a mentor to many but especially to Cup winner turned TV personality, Ricky Craven.

               Most multi-millionaires learned business at Wharton or Harvard Business School. Bob never finished high school.. From the first shovel that moved dirt on the property, he believed the track in which he was so heavily invested would fail without at least on top level NASCAR date. He built NHIS almost entirely using his own money so the risk was high.

               He loved auto racing and old cars but his first love was his family, his wife Sandra and his son Gary. Both played active roles in Bob’s business life. They built a mansion on Lake Winnipesaukee for he and Sandy and another right next door for Gary. Bob never truly liked the big house and spent his final days in South Paris, Maine in the former home of Governor Hannibal Hamlin, a home built in 1848, where he lived before the lake property was built. Bob was more comfortable in that old house with his car collection just steps away than in the shiny newness of Longview on the lake.

               The man in the kaki pants with the white shirt and yellow sweater was a certified New England treasure. We’ll never see another like him again.

2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Cancelled

2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Cancelled.

The NEAR Board Members and Hall of Fame Executive Committee Representatives met at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum this past Sunday. After much discussion and after holding off as long as possible, we gave in to common sense. The decision was unanimously made to cancel the 2020 NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet.
As hard as this decision was to make, it was the right one. The Covid 19 pandemic has not moved on. Our facility for the event is still not open in Ct. A great number of our membership and honorees are in the highest risk group for infection. In the interest of being as safe as possible, we will regroup and try to have a stellar event in 2021!
Please note that all nominations for the 2020 Hall will be retained for consideration in 2021. We will continue to accept additional nominations until April of 2021. We thank any and all that have had a hand in the planning, sponsoring, and putting on of this event. Please continue to be safe and God Bless.