Take in the History of New England Motorsports Before Going to the Track and Seeing History Made..
ProNyne Motorsports Museum
8 Cleveland Street, Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Phone: (401) 447-4202
Museum Curator: Ric Mariscal
Get Directions Here
New England Motorsports Best Kept Secret
The ProNyne Motorsports Museum was the first museum located in New England specifically dedicated to Motorsports and the rich history of the region’s very motorsports foundation.
Unfortunately the local government where the museum is located does not allow advertising or signs on the shell of the facility, but make no mistake about it, once inside.. OH MY!
The space inside is filled with memorabilia covering the walls, ceilings and floors. From history books to videos, from famous race car panels to legendary racing machines, the ProNyne Motorsports Museum is a must see for any motorsports fan and enthusiast.
Once you have the pleasure of making Museum Curator, Ric Mariscal’s acquaintance, it becomes very obvious the history of New England Motorsports is indeed in great hands.
On Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 our family made a long overdue trip to the ProNyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, Rhode Island by way of Stafford, Connecticut (by way of Illinois).
Ric Mariscal met us at the door with a very warm welcome. What a fantastic host. Immediately the the museum tour began as there were plaques from the New England Antique Racer’s Hall of Fame donning the walls of the stairway. It took a good five minutes to scan the surroundings of the Northeast’s greatest drivers and contributors of the sport.
As soon as we reached the top step, our late father’s friend and former boss, Val LeSieur blurted out, “I see you’re wearing one of those unlicensed Richie Evans shirts.”
Lightheartedly, I started to defend the seller of the shirt, who is an old friend of our father, but that halted quickly as I rounded the corner and Val’s smile came into view. The voice, the tone, the smile was a comforting one. I felt like a kid again. Being in Val’s presence for many reasons gave me the immediate comfort and a feel of our late father’s presence. Over a thousand miles from where we currently reside, I felt completely at home.
Val put his hand out, “Good-n-you, Jared?”
“Real good.. and you?” I returned with the biggest smile, “How are you Val? It’s so good to see you.”
I introduced my wife, our child and her best friend to Ric and Val. Soon after, the tour began..
To describe the tour Ric gave, in words, would not do it justice. The historic information, record books, albums, banners, helmets, trophies, memorabilia, team jackets, photos, posters, car parts, body panels, videos, race machines and so much more, is in abundance and can only be justified by experiencing the jam packed ProNyne Motorsports Museum yourself.
It’s much like being unable to attend a racing event and viewing photos, a video or even reading the Speedway Scenes back in the day. You read and heard stories from fellow fan’s experiences and see their photos from their visits to the ProNyne Motorsports Museum, much like this very story you are reading now, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING compares to walking through the facility and taking it all in LIVE and in person. The ProNyne Motorsports Museum is alive and breathing with New England Motorsports’ rich history.
Occasionally Val would let out a chuckle at my ‘kid in a candy store’ reaction to all the history I was taking in and memories I was blurting out loud while pointing, “That’s Ray Grennon’s coupe Mini-Mod. That guy raced at Islip, but came down to the Westboro Speedway and Mini-Bandit shows we put on.” …
“Oh my God! That’s Dan Meservey’s bug Mini-Modified. What an awesome guy and racer. He and Dad really got along well.” …
“No way! Paul Tremain’s Gremlin. The Checkered Flag Announcer himself. What a great guy. We had one of his answering service machines at our house. Used to drive our mother absolutely nuts on the weekend late nights when tracks would call in to record a report and fans would call for results.” … and on and on..
For my family and myself, the level of this emotional trip back in time increased ten fold as we walked through just the first floor of the facility. While admiring the racing jackets of drivers and racing personalities of the past, which hung on the wall in a section of the museum, a familiar orange jacket caused me to do a double take. I backed up from surprise and studied the coat in disbelief. Embroidered on the left side, “Promotional Director” and on the right, in capital letters was “NERF“. Among the rich history within the museums walls, there was our father’s jacket. The eyes got hazy with tears welling up. The last time I had seen this jacket was 34 years ago being worn at the 1982 Thompson Speedway Icebreaker by our father, the NERF himself, Robert Bob Echo.
The boy inside me reacted with a hand over my nose and mouth. All I could do was to manage a whisper through a failed attempt at holding back tears, “Awe, Dad.”
I turned and asked Ric if I could touch the jacket. His immediate response was, “Of course! Take it off the wall, hold it and look at it.”
I slowly removed it from the wall and held it, flipping from the front to the back which was embroidered with “Speedway Scene” and I began to weep not of sadness, but joy.
I turned and looked from my wife and our daughter, holding up the coat for them to view. Through a broken voice I smiled through tears and managed to exclaim, “It’s Dad’s jacket. Can you believe this? It’s your grandfather’s jacket.”
When I wiped my eyes to clear my vision I could see that they too had tears in their eyes and feeling the moment, this surprise, this wonderful moment that meant so much.
Believe it or not, it got even better.
“Val and I both know how much your father meant not only to racing, but to you.” Ric said, “So, if you wish, we would like you to bring this home with you where it belongs.”
It was at that moment I lost it emotionally and all I could muster out was, “Thank you Ric. Thank you Val. No words can describe how much this means to me.”
We don’t have much of our father’s things or photos so holding this piece of Speedway Scene family history was overwhelming.
By the end of our time spent within the walls of the ProNyne Motorsports Museum, I already had thoughts of returning to not only take in the ProNyne Motorsports Museum again, but assist Ric and the gang for a day or two in the archive room and any other area of the ProNyne Motorsports Museum that might need help.
Since our time at the ProNyne Motorsports Museum there have been many good things happening for the facility that is so rich in history.
Derek Pernesiglio of SPEED SPORT visited the facility and did a fantastic two part series involving the museum. The links to those videos are below.
As a lifelong fan of Northeast Motorsports, thank you, Derek and SPEED SPORT for bringing some well deserved attention to the ProNyne Motorsports Museum and all their efforts with the preservation of New England Motorsports history.
SPEED SPORT News ProNyne Motorsports Museum Part 1
SPEED SPORT News ProNyne Motorsports Museum Part 2
To download or printout the ProNyne Motorsports Museum’s flyer in PDF form, please click the link below
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