7-29-13: Flemke’s Greatness Remembered By Many: Sometimes when you are surrounded by greatness, you don’t see it. The ball players of yesterday always seem better than the players from today but it isn’t necessarily true. When you were at the garage or around the track with Eddie Flemke, Sr., you knew he was something special. His reputation preceded him. He was Richard Petty, Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt all rolled into one. Two guys who got to know Flemke were fellow racer, Denny Zimmerman, who later went onto become Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500 in 1971 and a young writer named Mark ‘Bones’ Bourcier. Zimmerman was one driver taken under Flemke’s wing as he guided his career and later became one of Flemke’s Eastern Bandits. “Never allow yourself to be intimidated by someone’s celebrity status or intimidated by a famous racetrack.” Flemke told Zimmerman as he branched out from the modifieds to the open wheel midgets, sprint cars and eventually the Champ (Indy) cars. “It’s important to respect their achievements but don’t be intimidated.” Denny said. For a young writer, still in his mid-teens, Southington’s Bones Bourcier was trying to get the respect of other drivers and he knew the biggest driver to have on his side was Flemke. <<MORE>>

7-15-13: McLeod, Arute Jr. talk area legend Flemke Sr: When one reads the history of racing, especially here in the central Connecticut area and in the northeast in particular, it’s hard not to mention Eddie Flemke, Sr. as one of the top drivers and innovators of his time. Flemke was and still is a driver that many in the sport have looked up to or used his advice one way or another. Just like the philosophers of years gone by, who are often quoted today. Over the next couple of weeks, I have reached out to several graduates of the Eddie Flemke, Sr. School of Racing and Life Studies and will bring their stories of what Flemke taught them. I, too, have found out you can learn about racing, life and yourself just riding six or seven hours to and from a race. When Clyde McLeod was a young man learning the ropes of racing of what would later become his career, the former Southington resident couldn’t have paid the “Boss” a bigger compliment. This folks was long before anyone would refer to Bruce Springsteen as “The Boss.” “The ‘Boss’ was one of the best teachers I ever knew. I learned a lot about racing and life on those long road trips spent with him. <<MORE>>

7-15-13: Wolcott's Mike Christopher Jr. gets his start: When your uncle is a NASCAR national champion and your father is a three time champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway and still ranks fourth on the all time win list with 28 despite not racing the last 10 years, well you know that young Mike Christopher, Jr of Wolcott can’t fall far from the family racing tree. Christopher, who is just 14, has been racing the last several years but this year moved into the Legends car series and is running full time at the Waterford Speedway every Wednesday night and some Saturday nights. For Mike, Sr. seeing his son racing brings a smile to the fathers face. “I am glad to see him enjoying it. First he was learning (legends) and now I think he’s ahead of me.” Mike said laughing that the driver is ahead of the crew chief. “But I have a good idea of what I am doing now.” <<MORE>>

7-08-13: ESPN Shows Why It's Still Sports TV Leader: It all started in a construction trailer. It is now the largest employer in the city of Bristol and is also known as the "Worldwide leader in sports." Naturally, we are talking about ESPN. For many of us who lived in the central Connecticut area, we grew up with ESPN. Or rather, ESPN grew up with us. We watched it grow, expand, buy and demolish houses to add even more buildings. The growth has been incredible to say the least, and the end isn't in sight. I was lucky enough to get a first hand look at the headquarters of ESPN when I was there to do a story on the show NASCAR Now. Andy Hall, a longtime friend from his days at NASCAR as the public relations director, is now in the same capacity at ESPN handling both their Motorsports and their PGA golf. <<MORE>>

7-01-13: Bristol Resident Stanley Greger Opens Up About His Racing Career: When one talks of the legendary drivers of the Riverside Park Speedway, there are many names that will be brought into the conversation. There will be names like George Lombardo, Eddie Flemke, Sr., Buddy Krebs, Bob Polverari and of course, the all time winner at the speedway in Reggie Ruggiero. But one name that would also be included on the list would be that of Stanley Greger, better known during his racing days at both the Plainville Stadium and Riverside Park as ‘Stash’. Back then, Greger enjoyed going fast, now he enjoys the slow life. "I really enjoy cruising.” Stan said recently from his home in Bristol. “I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere and just doing what you want when you want.” But it was his fast times, that made him a household name in the central Connecticut area from the early 1970’s to the mid 1990’s. <<MORE>>

6-24-13: Berlin's Ryan Preece gets his chance in front of potential NASCAR car owners: It seems that everything young Ryan Preece of Berlin has touched lately has turned to gold. Besides being a threat to win the NASCAR Whelen modified tour and the NASCAR Whelen All-American series titles every year, now the 22-year old has the biggest opportunity in his life as he was selected as one of NASCAR’s Next, a program that helps put young drivers in front of potential car owners. “I was shocked when I got the call.” Ryan said when reached by phone. “This is certainly quite an honor.” Preece, along with the other 12 drivers, were flown out to Iowa Speedway where the announcement was made. The following night, Preece won the Richie Evans 100 modified race at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. “Being part of the NASCAR Next program opens up a whole new realm of opportunity for me, it’s a great chance to move my career forward.” Ryan said. “It’s awesome to be part of a great marketing push by NASCAR for a new generation of drivers.” <<MORE>>

6-17-13: 'NASCAR Now' takes team effort to produce: Jim Bowdon’s office at ESPN is filled with NASCAR race gear and photos. It would be the envy of any race fan. But Bowdon isn’t just any race fan; he is the coordinating producer of NASCAR Now. Nascar Now is one of the staples of ESPN’s motorsports division and Bowdon oversees every aspect of the show. When I was there, ESPN was waiting on a major story as to the penalties being handed down to Penske Racing thus delaying the usual time that NASCAR Now is taped every day. I asked Bowdon how they decide what is shown on each show throughout the week. “A lot of it is driven by news. Monday, if it’s a Sunday race or even a Saturday we try and have the winner of the race on. What we’re doing then is reliving or retelling the story of the Sunday race. Sometimes we have an analyst here or even by satellite.” <<MORE>>

6-10-13: Tony "Jap" Membrino Talks About Racing Days At Plainville Stadium and More: Tony ‘Jap’ Membrino. Just mention his name and it will evoke a flood of memories. From drivers, it could mean another tough night at the track to the fans that either loved him or despised him. He was colorful and controversial. For more than 30 years after getting out of the driver’s seat, race fans still recount his exploits at the more than 13 tracks he raced in his almost 30 years of racing. “I started at Plainville stadium in 1949, right after they put down asphalt down over the dirt. Then I raced at the West Haven Speedway and then Riverside Park. I’ll tell you I had a lot of fun and even won a championship at Plainville.” Tony said from his home. <<MORE>>

6-03-13: As Denny Zimmerman, the 1971 Indy Rookie of the Year and I continued to talk, the very young looking 74 year old, we talked about various topics including the current state of Indy car racing. “The problem is that Indy car racing doesn’t publicize American drivers and Americans have lost touch with Indy car racing. Indy car racing doesn’t promote Indy car racing.” Zimmerman said. “Indy car racing is really struggling right now and these street courses really aggravate me. You can’t pass, it nothing but a follow the leader race. Where you start is where you finish.” “Indy car racing should be on ovals but I have no problem throwing in a couple of road courses and to win the championship, they should have to run a dirt Indy car race. Another thing I would like to see them do is to get rid of the mirrors in the cars, which just promotes blocking.” In Zimmerman’s days, the way of getting to Indy and into an Indy car ride, was earning your way up the ranks. Once drivers cut their teeth on the short tracks, then they would tackle the midget cars and then work their way up the Sprint cars, much like what Tony Stewart did before he moved over to NASCAR racing. <<MORE>>

5-27-13: Denny Zimmerman Looks Back on his New Britain Roots: How many people can be successful in life and say they never really had a job. Well, Denny Zimmerman can. Zimmerman, who now resides in Suffield, will always be known as the 1971 Rookie of the Year, finishing 8th at the Indianapolis 500, but he got his start in racing as one of Eddie Flemke’s boys. “Let me tell you, not only was he a mentor but he was like a second father to me. He taught me a lot about racing but he taught me even more about life,” Zimmerman said as he was driving out to Indianapolis for the 500 and the activities that go along with it. When Zimmerman said he never really had a job, he meant one he dreaded getting up and going to. In the beginning, he was touring up and down the northeast with Flemke and a band of northern drivers known as the “Eastern Bandits.” They would run five or six nights a week, heading down south and swooping in and pocketing all the cash at the tracks. <<MORE>>

5-20-13: Wyckoff Looks Back On Winning Racing Career: Don’t let Ronnie Wyckoff’s easy demeanor and quick smile fool you. As one of the most underrated drivers in the northeast, it was easy to see why he was liked by hundreds of fans and by car owners who wanted him to drive their car. He was a winner. Wyckoff started driving in the bomber division in Florida when he was a mere 16 years old before moving north to Connecticut when he married his wife, whose parents had moved back to the Nutmeg state. “I guess it was around 1959 or so that we moved here. I raced down south but no one knew me up here so I began building my own car to race,” Ronnie said. “I then got into an Alkas family novice car and started at Plainville Stadium. <<MORE>>

5-13-13: Reflections on the Sizzler & Modified Tour The Stafford Motor Speedway kicked off their season with the 42nd annual Carquest Spring Sizzler a few weeks back. The ‘Sizzler’ is still the most hyped and biggest races of the year for the speedway and many of the competitors on the NASCAR Whelen modified tour who still want their names added to the list of impressive drivers who have won, one of modifieds racing most prestigious events and oldest races. The race started in 1972 when racers Dick Berggren, Bruce Cohen and Lou Boyd promoted a race to raise money for their own race team with big bucks and a short distance bringing out the best drivers from across the country. Past winners include modified legends, Richie Evans, Maynard Troyer, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Mike Ewanitsko, Fred DeSarro, Eddie Flemke, Sr, Tony Hirschman, Jerry Marquis and Ted Christopher. <<MORE>>

5-06-13: Arute Looking for Another Successful Season at Stafford Motor Speedway Mark Arute is looking for another successful season. As the man in charge of the Stafford Motor Speedway, Arute has a lot on his plate and needless to say, it is more like a buffet table plate than a dessert dish. Recently, I spoke with Mark and asked him about what he sees for the upcoming season at the half mile oval, one of the leading NASCAR Whelen All American Racing Series tracks in the country. “Well, he said, were hoping for it to warm up.” Mark said laughing while at his office. “It’s going to be pretty much the same of what we have done in the past schedule wise.” Once again, the SK modifieds will be the weekly headline division with Plainville’s Ted Christopher out to defend his SK championship. Other weekly divisions will be the Late Models, SK Lites, Limited Late model division and the DARE stocks. Stafford’s season runs Friday nights from May 10th through September 13th. <<MORE>>
4-29-13: Berlin’s Doug Campbell is “Living The Dream” Of course, that is the saying when someone makes it to the big time in racing. But how many 21 year olds know what they want to do and then actually do it? Doug is a living example of living the dream. Doug is the spotter for driver Dave Blaney on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and the “rookie” is learning on the job after helping modified series driver Tommy Barrett to many wins the last couple of years. Now a spotter’s job is just as important as the crew chief, the tire changer or even the crew. A spotter is the driver’s eyes in the sky. He tells the driver what cars he’s coming up on or what drivers are coming up on him. <<MORE>>
4-15-13: NASCAR Season Already Stirring Debate This has been a rough start of the season for NASCAR, the sanctioning body of racing from the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, the Nationwide series and the Truck series on the national level to regional racing like the NASCAR Whelen modified tour to weekly racing at local Connecticut tracks like Stafford, Thompson and Waterford. Some of it was pure racing bad luck, when the car of Kyle Larson literally exploded and disintegrated after the last lap accident at the start-finish line of the season opening Nationwide race. None of the drivers were hurt in the massive wreck but more than 24 people were taken to local hospitals. Some were in the hospital for more than two weeks. As soon as the race ended, it seemed that the lawyers were ready to take off with lawsuits. <<MORE>>


10-01-12: Plainville Stadium Days Live on through Hoyt We have all heard the saying ‘One picture is worth a thousand words.’ If that is indeed the truth, then Phil Hoyt would have turned his pictures into the world’s biggest novel. You see, Hoyt was the track photographer at Plainville Stadium from 1969 to its closing in the early 1980’s. And the story his photos told were of the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoyt, who lives in Danbury, started his interest in photography when he was 13 or 14. “I had a darkroom in my closet and I would develop my own film. I started taking shots at the old Danbury Racearena from the stands.” <<MORE>>
09-24-12: Southington’s Danko Left His Mark in Racing If Gary Danko of Southington had one regret in his long career in racing as a track announcer, radio host and television commentator, it would be he should have started much earlier. Danko, a life long race fan from the days of Plainville Stadium, had the chance to get started at the Riverside Park Speedway in 1982, but because of a lack of full time commitment didn’t start until 1994. “I had the chance to start in 1982 but I wasn’t ready to commit yet until later. Ben Dodge, Jr. gave me the chance and said I could be a real good announcer, but I had to be ready to do it on a weekly basis,” Danko said. The announcing was always something he thought about as he would rehearse at home about a race he was watching on television, but he lacked the desire to “be there weekly” but since 1994, it has been a staple of his life in auto racing. <<MORE>>

09-17-12: Moon Still Takes Pride in Plainville Stadium When Don Moon was a youngster growing up, he told his mother he would one day drive one of the race cars that would flat tow by his house on Queen St. in Southington, as they were headed to Joe Tinty’s Plainville Stadium. And in 1960, he proved his youthful promise correct. Moon was, like many drivers in his generation, a person who built everything on the car, from the motor to the rear end. And according to Moon, that is how he knew what a car could do. “I certainly didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning but I had two uncles who helped me. My cars always seemed to handle pretty good. I lost my first ever race by about six inches,” Moon said from his auto repair business in Plainville. <<MORE>>

09-10-12: Talk With Father Put Massaro’s Career in Gear By the time that Mike Massaro was 16 years old, he had a clear vision of what he hoped to do after college. He wanted to be a sports announcer. He graduated from the prestigious Emerson College in Boston with a bachelor’s of science degree in speech, but no television job. “When I got out of college I knew everyone didn’t get a chance to do this. After I graduated, I was bartending and one day my father took me aside and said ‘look, I spent good money to send you to Emerson and I didn’t spend it for you to become a bartender. You need to get a job.’” Massaro’s father was a crew member on Bob Garbarino’s No. 4 modified that raced weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway and he told him to go to Stafford and volunteer to announce. <<MORE>>
08-27-12: Evans was Heart and Soul of Modified Racing How many people are there who go by one name and you know immediately who they are. Elvis, Cher, Madonna, Oprah and Richie. Well certainly all but Richie are internationally known but in the auto racing world mention Richie and people automatically know who you are talking about. Richie Evans was modified racing. He personified what it meant to be a modified driver and now, he is where he should be, in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Richie you see wasn’t just a nine time champion, who won more than 475 races, he defined a division. There have been thousands of drivers who have raced in the modified division but there was only one driver whose name was just as large as the division he raced in. <<MORE>>

08-20-12: Berlin’s Farone Brought Joy as Seymour T Clown How many people would admit to having a clown as your father? Sure, there are many family members who you wouldn’t claim but this clown was beloved to thousands of people and a father to two special girls. John ‘Butch’ Farone of Berlin led a double life. He was a father, husband, friend and also a clown. You see Butch moonlighted as the famous Seymour T Clown in his second life. He was the clown ‘clowning’ around at the Stafford Motor Speedway every week pulling pranks on drivers and bringing smiles to every kid and parent alike. “He made everyone feel special. It didn’t matter if you were handicapped, small, big, rich or poor he treated everyone equal with such love.” said his oldest daughter, Angela Muir, now living in Newington after growing up in New Britain. “Seeing him give that smile, that smile that showed he cared.” <<MORE>>

08-13-12: Local Native Greg Zipadelli Living a Dream In NASCAR Greg Zipadelli is living the dream today but when he was toiling away on modifieds in Berlin, he never thought he would be in the position where he is now. “You know, when you were working there back then I wanted to be where I am now but you don’t worry about it. Whatever comes comes.” Greg said when reached at his office of Stewart-Haas Racing. “We were more worried about doing what we needed to do then.” Zipadelli, who grew up in and around the Berlin/New Britain area is now the competition director for Stewart-Haas after years of sitting atop the pit wagon for Tony Stewart and recently Joey Logano when working for Joe Gibbs Racing. After 14 years of working for Gibbs Racing, Zippy as he is still known by, left when Stewart called and asked to take over the administrative side of racing. <<MORE>>

08-05-12: Membrino Carrying on Family Name in Racing Tommy Membrino comes from a racing family. Then again, you better be a racer if your last name is Membrino. Tommy is just 23 years old and can only relive stories of his grandfather, the legendary Tony “Jap” Membrino. Membrino was part of the famed Waterbury gang that ran at the Plainville Stadium during the 60’s and 70’s. While things change today, much remains the same. His grandfather ran a purple car numbered 00 and today, Tommy honors his grandfather by running the same color and number. “I can’t really tell you where the number or color came from. All I know is as a kid looking at all of the pictures the car was purple and the 00 so we went with the same scheme,” Membrino said. Membrino, after years of running the SK Lites at the Stafford Motor Speedway, this year is running in the SK division, the track’s premier series, and while the cars look the same, there are differences. <<MORE>>

07-30-12: ESPN set to take over Sprint Cup coverage For Rich Feinberg, vice president, Motorsports, Production for ESPN, tomorrow is the day they planned all year for. Tomorrow kicks off ESPN’s/ABC’s coverage of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series for the rest of the season starting with the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a very iconic place for us,” Feinberg said in his office wearing an open collared shirt and pair of jeans. “It’s like returning home for us. We’ve had a 45-year history with them.” ESPN has its headquarters located on the Bristol/Southington town line and employs over 7,000 people worldwide, with 4,800 alone working in the Bristol mega-complex. “We average about 150 people working on our Nationwide coverage and well over 200 for the Sprint Cup races, especially at places like Talladega and Indianapolis.” When asked if ESPN will offer anything new for the viewers for 2012, Feinberg said they are always looking for new and innovative ways of bringing the excitement of NASCAR racing to their viewers. <<MORE>>
07-23-12: Plainville Stadium legend still going strong Frank Manafort has done a lot in racing. From his days driving in the novice and modified divisions at Plainville Stadium to winning the national championship for the Legend cars to running the USAC dirt midgets, Manafort, now 70, hasn’t slowed down. When he came into the world “on a day that will live in infamy, ”Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, the businessman turned cattle farmer hasn’t shown signs of slowing. Manafort, who now lives in Wethersfield, VT, where his cattle farm and race car shop is, also helps a young up and coming driver get the needed exposure to move up his driving career. <<MORE>>
07-16-12: Berlin’s Beetle kept the fun in auto racing In racing circles, everyone knows the last name Farone. But mention the name Anthony Farone and people will say, what ... who? Then mention Beetle Farone and everyone immediately will say what a good driver he was. The Farone family might be the first family of racing in the town of Berlin, and although they have aged since their racing days, they are still recognizable to today’s racing enthusiast. They are brothers Jo-Jo, the late Butch (John, aka Seymour T Clown) and Anthony (Beetle) who, along with their sister Helen and father John, were stalwarts at Plainville Stadium and other tracks. Beetle, however, was the one with the driving bug. <<MORE>>
07-09-12: Arute believes best is yet to come at Stafford Mark Arute grew up in auto racing. His father, Jack Arute, Sr., was one of the pioneers of the sport being a car owner first, then buying and resurrecting the Stafford Motor Speedway, while his older brother, Jackie, was always dragging him off to a race track during his youth. Just as Jack, Sr. helped turn around Stafford, someday people might refer to Mark as a savior of the half mile oval. Arute, whose family owned the Arute Brothers Construction Company out of New Britain, took over the speedway when his father retired. Many wondered how young Mark would run the speedway after his father’s departure; but most now would agree Mark passed the test with flying colors. “It’s been tough. It is a lot of work and has been very difficult at times but it was something I wanted to do and was inspired to do,” Mark said from his office. While his father helped save the speedway in 1970 when it was purchased, it might be said Mark’s job was a little harder than his father’s. <<MORE>>
06-25-12: Clyde McLeod owes everything to Plainville Stadium Clyde McLeod owes everything to Plainville Stadium. Those are pretty powerful words but when you talk with him and he tells you his story, you believe it. That little quarter mile oval, which was much maligned when it was open and now is sadly missed nearly 32 years after its last race gave many its start in racing. Clyde, who grew up in Southington, began hanging around a local race shop and after going to Plainville Stadium for the first time, the now 62 year old said, “I knew this was something I had to do the rest of my life.” <<MORE>>
06-18-12: No 'Bones' About It, Bourcier a Great Read What are the odds that a skinny, longhaired kid who took a journalism class and creative writing class in high school only would go on to become one of the premier writers of auto racing and race personalities in the country? That is exactly what happened in the case of Southington’s Mark “Bones” Bourcier. Bourcier, who now lives in Indianapolis, is currently writing his eighth book, this one on the legendary Parnelli Jones. And it all started in Plainville. “I started going to Plainville Stadium in the very early 70’s, maybe ’72 or ’73, and I knew right from then on I was hooked for life,” said Bones, as he is still known. <<MORE>>
06-11-12: Looking Back at Dave Alkas’ Tremendous Racing Career When you mention the name Dave Alkas and you were an auto racing fan at the old Plainville Stadium, you were talking about the king of the modifieds at the tough, quarter-mile flat oval. Alkas has long been retired from the auto racing scene but when you relive the glory days of the Plainville Stadium, his name will come up in more than one conversation. “I really enjoyed racing there,” Alkas said. “I first started out there in 1963 driving in the novice division or the jalopies as they were known as.” <<MORE>>
06-04-12: Broadcaster Arute got his start in New Britain Jack Arute has been known as a lot of names since his days as a youngster growing up in New Britain. There was Little Jack, Jackie, Jack, Jr, and now just Jack Arute, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is his hectic schedule and work load. Arute began his network broadcasting career with ABC sports and ESPN in 1984. He served as one of the voices of NASCAR racing for MRN Radio, the Motor Racing Network from 1972 to 1980. Today, Arute can be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio serving as host of a college football show daily and then Sunday’s doing the NFL Rewind show. For years, Arute was part of the Indy 500 coverage but sadly for viewers no longer is, and when asked why he is not connected with Indy racing today, where he literally became known as one of the television voices of the Indy 500 he replied, “I wish I still was but they decided to go into another direction.” <<MORE>>
05-28-12: Berlin’s Preece a Young Racing Star on the Rise Ryan Preece of Berlin may look like a rookie, but this veteran on the NASCAR Whelen modified tour is no rookie and figures to be a threat again to win the title this year. This 21 year old has a fantastic racing DNA and it shows in what he has done so far this year and in his brief career on the modified tour. His grandfather, Bob Judkins, owned modifieds for years and was a crew chief for some of the biggest names in racing and his father raced. “I’ve been lucky enough to have a family involved in racing and who support me in what I am doing and want to do.” Ryan said recently. <<MORE>>
05-21-12: New Britain’s Ruggiero a True Racing Legend Reggie Ruggiero doesn’t consider himself a legend in the world of modified racing. He might be the only one. When you look at the history of modified racing in and around New England and the Eastern United States, Ruggiero, who grew up in New Britain and now lives in Rocky Hill, has visited victory lane well over 250 times in his career from the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to the ultra fast New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He hasn’t just been an occasional visitor but a frequent guest. He has won every modified race that worth’s winning, and he’s done it multiple times. That is what legends do. That’s why this past January Ruggiero was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. <<MORE>>
05-14-12: Profile, Southington's Jeff Zarrella Jeff Zarrella of Southington has been around racing nearly his entire life and his career has taken him from the modified series to the NASCAR pinnacle, the Sprint Cup series and the veteran crew member has never regretted his decision to get into racing. Zarrella, who is the tire specialist for driver Ryan Newman, which is part of the Stewart-Haas Racing team, has been to victory lane many times in his career but when he stepped into Victory Lane at the Martinsville Speedway in April, it may have been the most rewarding time ever. “When you talk about Martinsville, you talk about tradition. I have been going there for a long time and to win in the Sprint Cup series with Ryan at a track that is so special, it’s something you’ll never forget.” <<MORE>>
05-07-12: Racing & Stanley Works While Stanley Works and Stanley Tools have always been associated with the Hardware City, Stanley and their other brand of hand and power tools are one of NASCAR’s longest and best know sponsors on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. For a while, Stanley scaled back their sponsorship but for the past few years, the Stanley brand name along with other Stanley owned products like DeWalt, Black and Decker, MAC Tools and over 30 different brands have graced the number 9 car owned by NASCAR legend, Richard Petty and driven by Marcos Ambrose. <<MORE>>
04-30-12: Taking a Look At Eddie Flemke, Jr. It is often challenging being the son of a legendary person, and even more challenging when you have the same first name. Welcome to the world of Eddie Flemke, Jr. of Southington. Flemke followed his famous father into racing, modified racing, and after his first few races the comparisons started. “It has always been hard. If I did well, people would say, ‘well, he is a Flemke’ and if I had a bad day, ‘what’s wrong with him.’ Flemke said at work in Berlin where he and business partner, Reggie Ruggiero build race cars at Race Works. For Flemke, who is starting his 40th season in auto racing, the veteran has teamed up with a new car owner for the 2012 season and Flemke is excited about the season. <<MORE>>
04-24-12: An Interview With Teddy Christopher Teddy Christopher is all set for another year of racing and that can only mean trouble for the rest of the competitors on the modified series or whatever series he plans to race in 2012. Christopher of Plainville has been one of the most feared and loathed competitors for well over 20 years and when asked if he was ready to slow down, T.C. as he is known just laughed.  “There are a lot of people who wish I would slow down. People thought when I got married that I would and then when I turned 50 I would but I just love to race.”  Christopher said from his business where he rebuilds heavy duty Allison Transmissions. <<MORE>>
04-19-12: Profile of Driver George Lombardo Can you imagine a star athlete or movie star retiring in their prime? This is all while winning titles or making the best selling movies but that is exactly what happened back in 1966 when George Lombardo of New Britain retired from auto racing. Lombardo, who was elected into the 2008 class of the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame called it quits after dominating at tracks like Plainville Stadium, Riverside Park Speedway and New England ovals. “You see, I have a wife and family that I needed to support and I had just bought a well drilling machine and I needed to concentrate all my time on work.” George said from his home. Lombardo, who started his racing career in 1950, raced for many teams in his stellar career but maybe his biggest success might have come when he teamed with Don Dalena, who owned Dalena’s Auto Parts store. <<MORE>>
04-07-12: Several racing champs got their start in Berlin A small race shop on Hart St. in Kensington has spawned the career of many NASCAR racing personalities, from drivers to crew chiefs. The list is quite impressive, as the then-red garage back in the 1980’s hosted two drivers who would go on to NASCAR’s elite touring series, two brothers who would become top tier crew chiefs, as well as a race track rat who became a modified tour and Busch series crew chief. Brett Bodine and Mike McLaughlin drove the potent NASCAR modified, with McLaughlin winning the 1988 Whelen modified tour title, while Clyde McLeod, the track rat, would eventually become a Busch series crew chief when he and McLaughlin moved south and formed an incredible tandem. The cars were worked on by Scott and Greg Zipadelli and other racing people from Berlin. <<MORE>>

Brian Danko has been covering Auto Racing for over 30 years for various magazines & and racing papers including Area Auto Racing News. His weekly column can be seen "In The Print Editions" of  The New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.


Copyright © 2012-2013  Brian Danko &, New Britain Herald & The Bristol Press.