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
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
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 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
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
Father Put Massaro’s Career in Gear
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
“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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.”
'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
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.
06-11-12: Looking Back at
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
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
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
“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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
“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.
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.
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.