VOLUME 1, NUMBER 4                                                                                                                      SATURDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2009

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Featuring Stories, Results, Photos and Articles From Northeast Racing's Past

VINTAGE RACE RESULTS

Gene White Whips Field At Riverside Speedway-1950
Gene White, gifted stock car jockey from Manchester, Conn., who is experiencing his second season at chauffeuring souped-up vehicles, captured the Easter Special 25-lap feature race at Riverside Speedway. Full Story>>

Greco Wins Memorial 150 at Riverside-1968
”Wild Bill” Greco of New Haven won Saturday nights 150-lap Memorial feature at the Riverside Park Speedway. The attendance seems to increase every week as 6,131 fans looked on as Greco breezed to the win. Full Story>>


Wyckoff Surprises In Riverside Park Triple Crown Finale-1980
In the Wildest night of racing at Riverside Park in many years, Ron Wyckoff recorded his first main event win in several years. Wyckoff of Forestville, Ct., came out of retirement early this season this season to drive for the Oles-Peters Racing Team.  Full Story>>
Mike Stefanik Wins 37th Season Opener at the New Riverside Park Speedway-1986
The largest crowd in the history of Riverside Park Speedway witnessed the first event of the NASCAR Winston Racing Series at the Brand New Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass. A record-breaking field of Modifieds and street stocks were in attendance for the Eagle snacks 100-lap race. Full Story>>

With SpeedwayEXPO holding a Riverside Park Speedway Reunion February 27th through March 1st, this week is all Riverside Park Speedway. Hard to believe it has been a decade since "The Park" closed it's doors. It is my understanding the main portion of the Riverside Reunion will take place on Friday from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

Noted Racing Journalist Pete Zanardi, then a Staff Reporter for the Hartford Times, wrote this article as a preview to the 1976 Riverside 500 Team Race.
Of course, the photos weren't included in the article.

By Pete Zanardi


The lineup for the 1976 Riverside 500 with John Anderson on the pole and Ronnie Wyckoff in the Czarnecki #20 on the outside pole. On the starters stand is Bill Long, now the IndyCar VP of Marketing.

Granddaddy Of Stock Car Races

Hartford Times-Friday July 9, 1976
It is, without question, the granddaddy of New England’s stock car events. The Riverside 500 dates back to 1951 and over that span it has, no doubt, been the leader in contributions to New England auto racing history.

Pete Fiandaca of Fitchburg Mass. And John Anderson of Waterbury will be on the pole Saturday night for the 26th running of the race at Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass.

The green flag drops at 7:30.

It is a team race, two cars “teaming” to go 500 laps, 125-miles, around the quarter-mile Riverside oval.

When Harvey Tattersall brought the race to Riverside 26 years ago, the prospects for a racer going that distance were indeed dim. Still, Tattersall, president of the United Stock Car Racing Club, and Riverside wanted that magic 500 association.

The answer was, let two cars do it.

Today’s modifieds would have no trouble going the distance but Riverside has stayed with the idea.
 

The ideal, of course, is for each “teammate” to run 250 laps. It doesn’t always work that way and that just increases the magic. Often mechanical problems will plague a car after far less than 250 laps, meaning the other car must go much farther.

Gene Bergin, for instance, once drove over 425 laps in the race. Often there are three or even four changes for a team.


The Polverari/Wyckoff team celebrate their 1976 500 win. Polverari's 2nd straight and Wyckoff's third.

The favorite Saturday night is the defending champion team of Bob Polverari, who has won five features so far this season, and Ronnie Wyckoff of Southington. Wyckoff is actually shooting for three straight 500 wins. He teamed with Bobby Bard of Manchester to win in 1974.

Should the Polverari-Wyckoff team take the $3,000 first prize, Wyckoff will equal a race record for consecutive wins currently held by Buddy Krebs.

Bergin…Krebs…Ed Flemke…Jocko Maggiacomo…Jerry Humiston…Gordon Casey…Dick Dixon, all magic names in New England auto racing history and all vital parts of the Riverside 500 story.

Indeed, part of the magic in going to the race is listening to veteran watchers tell and tell again stories from the past.

Other than Polverari, a two-time winner, and Wyckoff, Bob Stefanik of Enfield and Jim Cash of Prospect are the only other former winners in the field.

Stefanik won in 1969 and in 1972, each time teaming with another legend, Billy Greco. Cash won with Greco in 1973 and with Bobby Bard in 1970.

The second place team will split $1800. Third place earns $1250. Riverside will pay out $10,000.
 

The 1976 Riverside 500 Starting Line-up

First Row Pete Fiandaca/John Anderson Bob Polverari/Ronnie Wyckoff
Second Row Jack Cirillo/Sonny O'Sullivan Lou Tabone/Johnny Lobo
Third Row Marty Radewick/John Fisher Jim Cash/Roger Westbrook
Fourth Row Bob Stefanik/Charlie Glazier Jap Membrino/Dan Rocke
Fifth Row George Fitz/Gig Smith Steve Hoppi/Frank Moulton
Sixth Row Bobby Bard, Jr./Bruce Gallant Joe Rzeszutek/Dan Derochers
Seventh Row Bill Doyle/Dick Taylor Roland Bombadier/Bobby Kelty
Eighth Row Woody Gutt/Charlie Oldman-King Gary Barnes/Willy Malette

History of Riverside Park Speedway

Riverside Park Speedway was built in 1948, replacing an open air bandstand at Western Massachusetts' most popular vacation destination - Riverside Amusement Park. Edward Carroll, Sr., the founder of the facility, took a liking to a sport that was gaining popularity in the Northeast after World War II, and added auto racing to his slate of attractions in Agawam. FULL STORY


Some Photos of the Riverside Greats
From the 50's & 60's


Dick Dixon


Stan Disbrow


Danny Galullo


Bob Tausher


Ed Patnode


Walt Czepiel


Buddy Krebs


Bobby Bard


Steady Eddie Flemke


Tony Mordino


Benny Germano


George Lombardo


Wild Bill Greco


Johnny Lobo


Jocko Maggiacomo


Rene Charland, Jerry Humiston, Dick Dixon


THEN & NOW
Ronnie Wyckoff & Starter Chris Hopkins




Bob Polverari


Last 3 Photos Courtesy of Larry Larivee

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