Tag Archives: Riverside Speedway in Groveton NH

Racin’ People, The Big Red Nose And Jokes Too!

– FRIDAY, May 30th, 1980 –

Racin’ People, The Big Red Nose And Jokes Too!

As I hopscotch around the Northeast visiting the various speedways in my promotional duties with this publication, I’ve met and made many new friends involved with the sport in one capacity or another.

In all points of the Northeast, the hospitality extended to the Ol’ Nerf has been unbelievable over the first seven weeks of the season.

The response from the some seventeen or so tracks I’ve been to so far has been absolutely fantastic! The way people have opened up their facilities and homes to this Marco Polo of the roundy-round world shows me that racing folks are, for sure, the greatest people on earth.

My Northeast racing season began at Thompson (CT) Speedway on March 30th and since then I’ve been to such tracks as Stafford and Plainville, also in Connecticut; Oxford in Maine; Claremont and Riverside in New Hampshire; Catamount, Bear Ridge, Thunder Road, and West Haven in Vermont; Shangri-La, Spencer, Oswego, Brewerton, and Brookfield in New York along with New Evergreen and Penn-Can in Pennsylvania.

Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont. Howie Hodge photo.
Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont. Howie Hodge photo.

This past weekend saw Lil’ Nerf and myself at Bear Ridge where we saw the six cylinder coupe bodied Modified Sportsman run with Chuckie “C.V.” Elms taking the checkered flag for the second week in a row. At the conclusion of that evening’s racing Elms gave the Ol’ Nerf a tour of the 1/4 mile dirt track in his #6 coupe, the only Ford-powered machine at the Ridge.

Track owner Chuck Elms Sr. and promoter Robert Nutting were gracious hosts.

Saturday night my son Jared, and myself headed for Groveton, NH to Mike Beattle’s Riverside Speedway. This 1/4 mile asphalt facility is one of the most spotless and professionally run speedways in the Northeast. The Late Model Sportsmans that headline the weekly program plus the Street Stocks were some of the best looking racing machines this writer has seen in their respective categories.

There’s several tracks in the Northeast that could take a lesson from owner-promoter Mike Beattle and his able bodied assistants who start their show on the dot and move it right along in a very professional manner.

Beattle and his wife, Sally, had the Ol’ Nerf and his son over to their home in Lancaster, NH after the races for a little lunch and a few drinks.

Sunday we headed for Tom Perry’s West Haven Speedway to see the big block dirt Modifieds run.

A good field of cars were in attendance with some sixty machines in the pits and considering there was another track only miles away running the same three classes, it was quite a shot in the arm for the second year promoter Perry.

The Modified win was a popular one with veteran Vince Quenneville taking the win as he gave his fellow drivers a lesson on how to get around the 2/5th mile dirt oval.

Once again we were treated with southern hospitality in the West Central part of Vermont.

Mike Barry was victorious at Thunder Road on Tom Curley's NASCAR Molson North Tour.  Howie Hodge photo (taken at Stafford).
Mike Barry was victorious at Thunder Road on Tom Curley’s NASCAR Molson North Tour. Howie Hodge photo (taken at Stafford Motor Speedway’s 1981 Fall Final).

Monday it was on to Thunder Road for the NASCAR-Molson North Tour “Memorial Day Classic 100” for the high powered Late Model Sportsman cars.

Young Mike Barry ran away and hid from the field for his second win on the Tour this year, the other being the Spring Green at Catamount Speedway.

As usual, we were treated with the total courtesy of Tom Curley, David Farris and the rest of the NASCAR North professionals.

By the time you read this we’ll have already been to New Egypt Speedway for the Winston 100 for the NASCAR Mod Squad.

I saw in last week’s Speedway Scene where the Big Red Nose tried to burn down the flag stand at Claremont Speedway with head starter Dave Kolenda and his assistant Rusty Fowler on it.

In making a quick check in to Claremont, compliments of Ma Bell or is that Mrs. Ding Dong, I learned that Ol’ Seymour the Clown purchased some southern style white lightnin’ up there in the Northlands from well bootlegger Joshua Croamler Hogbeck McCoy.

Well, anybody who knows anything about nothin’ would know ya’ can’t mix the North with the South.. If ya’ all don’t believe me just look back a couple of few years to the Civil War. I’ve been trying to tell this to the Bionic Brain for the last couple of years and he shoulda’ guessed somethin’ was wrong when Ol’ McCoy sold him five bottles of hooch wrapped in a rebel flag.

As the story goes, Seymour was kinda’ tired of from his previous night’s work of tom-foolery at Stafford Motor Speedway plus the trip up I-91 to CODA land, so he decided to take a snort of his recently acquired moonshine.

Upon taking the first swig, he spit it halfway up the track and let out a yell that could be heard for twenty miles. I understand McCoy used CAM-2 instead of alcohol to make his White Lightnin’.

Well… Seymour got so mad he decided to to take it out on… you guessed it… the flagman… So he poured those five bottles of clear liquid all around the fagstand and tossed a match to in the hopes of fryin’ one Polish flagman and one short tubby carrot topped assistant… As usual, the flagman always gets blamed.

Kolenda told me he’ll definitely get even when the Six Million Dollar Idiot makes his return to Claremont on July 19th while Seymour told me there’s gonna’ be a big cookout featuring two two flagmen.. Don’t miss it..

NERF’ers Nibblets….  The best show this past weekend was the Ol’ Nerf trying to get into C.V. Elms’ coupe. It was like trying to put a whale into a sardine can as I almost became a permanent part of the machine. Just think! He could of taken off all the lead and half the body….  I understand that Sally Beattle, wife of Riverside Speedway owner, Mike, is still sitting in the rear of their club cab pickup trying to find the steering wheel. Oh well!….  Beech Ridge Speedway photographer Ray Coffin could play the keyboard on the ol’ organ with the best of them, but as the story goes, his wife Bonnie, who handles the public relations for the track, has one favorite song. All she wants him to play is “Helicopter” which is a song I’ve never heard before, but come to think of it, she’s definitely a little whirly. You know what I mean….  Bill Alsup failed to qualify for the Indy 500 won by Lone Star J.R.Johnny Rutherford, but the Alsup Racing Team finished fourth in the Miller Beer Pit Crew Competition which is a fine tribute to the entire team. Congratulations to Alsup and crew…. Connie Parr, who works for the Skylark Diner in Vestal, NY, may have her own pole at Shangri-La Speedway shortly. Word has it that her boss Walt Stevens told her one week, while at the track, that Street Stocker and friend, Vince Rendisi was on the pole for that evening’s feature. Evidently Connie checked out the top of every pole at the speedway. Now really!….  Congrats to Geoff Bodine who swept the Empire State Sweepstakes last weekend winning at Spencer Speedway, Shangri-La Speedway, and Oswego Speedway. Making him $6,000 richer including a thousand dollar bonus for being #1 in the series….  Also congrats to Maine’s best Mike Rowe who’s now 12 for 12 in Late Model racing winning six at Oxford Plains Speedway and an equal amount at Lincoln County Speedway….  Until next time, Don’t forget to subscribe….

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Tommy Barrett Jr. may not have been the only driver who put in a hell of a performance in Wednesday night's Tri-Track Finale, but he crossed the line first and picked up a well deserved 10 LARGE! Crystal Snape photo.
Tommy Barrett Jr. may not have been the only driver who put in a hell of a performance in Wednesday night’s Tri-Track Series finale, but he crossed the line first and picked up a well deserved 10 LARGE! Did TB try cashing the BIG check at the bank Thursday morning? Crystal Snape photo.

First, I would like to congratulate Tommy Barrett Jr. on his huge victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series $10,000 Grand Finale at Seekonk Speedway Wednesday night.   The atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm, passion and excitement and it bled profusely through the social pages and streaming  broadcast of the guys at Victory Lane Radio.

I’d like to congratulate all the drivers and teams for showing up to take a “shot at the title”.  It was an event for the ages.  Huge crowd, great organizers, a track with deep roots in Modified history, and a super sized Modified roster not seen for any asphalt Modified event in years.

Victory Lane Radio did a spectacular job.  Tuning into the broadcast was like being at the track and listening to the equally pumped up fellow race fans sitting around you.  Lastly, what’s there to say about the organizers who made up what we know as the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.  The Racing Guys, Jim Schaefer, Kevin Rice, the facilities, the staff of these tracks and those who contributed lap money, prizes and walked through the gates to support it.  As a Modified fan, THANK YOU!!!

Could anyone have thought of a better night to hold a Championship Modified event than The Rapid Roman Richie Evans’ Birthday?  It was meant to be….

Now about this recent NERF’ers Corner column….

These time pieces shake the cobwebs off in the corners of the memory banks. Memories vaulted up tight until a few words cause the doors to fly open. Besides the joy of creating this site to honor his memory and share the Nerf’s past work, this is one of the bonuses I really enjoy about these classic columns by my late father. Priceless.

That Speedway Scene Firebird passed through a ton of speedway gates throughout the Northeast and southbound in 1980. Robert Echo photo.
That Speedway Scene Firebird passed through a ton of speedway gates throughout the Northeast and Southbound as well in 1980. Robert Echo photo.

Reading about the night at Bear Ridge for the the first time had me laughing. As you can tell by the Nerf’s own words, he had a ginormous gut and as you can see he was the first to poke fun at himself. All the weekends I rode shotgun with him in the Speedway Scene gold Firebird or Van he would share his wisdom on the road and one of those words of wisdom was; “If you can’t make fun of yourself and laugh about it, then you have no right to laugh at anyone else.”

Well, we were all laughing at him trying to squeeze through C.V. Elms’ coupe window. After C.V. scared the track food out of the Nerf and they pulled off the track, shutting the motor off, he attempted to exit and screamed out; “I’m stuck in a Bear Ridge Trap! -(still struggling)- A human sized shoe horn would come in handy right about now.”

– Jared