Sometime in early April, 1978 the local newspaper Robert Echo was writing for decided to drop coverage on the local auto racing scene. Riverside Park Speedway, Stafford Speedway, Monadnock Speedway, Westboro Speedway, Plainville Stadium, Thompson Speedway, Seekonk Speedway, Lebanon Valley Speedway, and the Danbury Fair Racearena were all within 100 miles from where the publication was located. Robert confronted the sports editor questioning his motives and personal affiliation with a local radio personality that questioned auto racing as a legit sport and it’s competitors as athletes. After some additional choice words Robert quit.
I’m unsure of the details thereafter regarding the conversations between Val LeSieur and Robert Echo. Regardless, it led to NERF’ers Corner gracing the pages of New England Speedway Scene. Eventually Val hired Robert as Speedway Scene’s Public Relations Director in late 1979. As a team they helped bring Speedway Scene to another level. The publication was reaching more fans, spread like wild fire to a wider audience and creating great things in the Northeast racing community in just a few short years, most notably the RACEARAMA ‘n’ Trade Show.
The very first column published on Robert Echo’s NERF’ers Corner RELOADED could only be the very column that started it all. I feel it is only fitting that this first column be dedicated to The Fat Rat himself, Val LeSieur, who gave so many a voice by creating the perfect platform to print it in. Thank you, Val.
Friday, May 12th, 1978 – NEW ENGLAND SPEEDWAY SCENE
What makes the auto racing world go round?
It takes the race cars, the car owners, the drivers, the speedways and the number one ingredients, the fans.
The thousands of fans that fill the speedway grandstands each and every week to see their favorite car and driver are what makes the auto racing world what it is today.
Whether it be the home of the Indianapolis 500, or at the super speedways of Daytona, Charlotte, Darlington or your favorite New England race track, without you, the fan, there would be no auto racing.
An interesting discovery I made just recently was astounding. The Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway drew arecord 13,049 fans which was comparable to recent National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoff games. Crowds at Monadnock Speedway, Plainville Stadium and the Danbury Fair Racearena have been out drawing the New England Whalers during the World Hockey League playoffs.
We hear from time to time that auto racing is dying. This was confirmed by a fellow reporter, told by his newspaper that they didn’t want any further articles on motor racing as there weren’t enough people interested in reading about it. This same publication furnished most of the figures I used in this comparison. They should read the figures they publish. Fans won’t allow auto racing to die, will we?
I believe in the fan and this new weekly column is for you, the fan.
If you are an officer or public person for a fan club, we want you to send us any information you have on your club. We’ll print your fan club news in this column, so let us know what’s happening such as; driver, car and tracks he runs, type of car and division he runs in, club officers, meeting dates and where held, how to join your club and fee, club addresses and anything else pertinent to your organization.
No matter where your track is located in New England or New York, and no matter what type of car your favorite drives, Modified, Late Model Sportsman, Supers, Street Stocks, Midgets or Go-Carts we want to hear from you.
If you as a fan have a question about auto racing of any type or if you have some interesting information about the sport, then let us know.
This writer’s name is Robert Echo and on any given Friday night you’ll find me in the press section at Stafford and on Saturday, I’m at Riverside Park Speedway. You’ll also find me from time to time at Plainville, Monadnock, Thompson Speedway, Westboro Speedway and Catamount Stadium.
We’ll call this column, “NERF’ers Corner”, meaning New England Racing Fans Corner.
This is your own little corner within the New England Speedway Scene, so send me your news or questions so we can fill the space.