Twenty racing pioneers central to the success of the sport in New England during its formative era will be inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame on Sunday, November 18, at the Speedway Clubhouse located on the grounds of the Hoenig family’s history-rich Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, Connecticut.
Slated for induction are stock car drivers Tony Mordino, Sparky Belmont, Hank Stevens, Ed Patnode, Johnny Georgiades, Wally Silva, and Ray Brown.
Midget racing standouts Eddie Casterline, George Rice, Al Pillion, Billy Tibbert, Frank Simonetti, Charlie Ethier, and George Monson round out the open-wheel inductees.
Completing the list of those entering the Hall of Fame are car owners Anthony “Beebe” Zalenski, Ed Stone, Wen Kelley, Bob Oliver, Gordon Ross, and owner & promoter of Connecticut’s former Plainville Stadium, Joe Tinty.
Many past HOF inductees have confirmed that they’ll be taking in the Pioneers Induction Banquet.
In addition to the inductions, among the day’s other activities will be a good-natured “Roast” of the Hall’s members to be administered by some of the region’s top raceway media figures including among others, Rollie Jacobs, John Spence, Pete Falconi, Ben Dodge, and Matt Buckler.
Several memorabilia exhibits will be part of the celebration, and the popular Pronyne Mobile Museum will be present for attendees desiring an “up-close & personal” view of the sports beginnings via our region’s only museum.
Renowned Eastern racing photographer John Grady is attending, and with him he’ll bring his vast file of racing photographs. Lew Boyd’s Coastal 181 Publishing will also set up shop for those looking to add to their personal auto racing libraries.
Doors open at 10 a.m., with dinner to be served at 1 p.m.
Tickets are priced at $35. Reservations may be made by sending payment to NEAR Pioneer Banquet, Box 172, Milldale, Connecticut, 06467.
For additional information, contact NEAR President Val LeSieur at 508/238.7797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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