NEAR Hands Out Awards
SPRINGFIELD, Mass — On Jan. 5, the New England Antique Racers conducted its annual meeting at the Dante Club in West Springfield, Mass. Presiding was current club president Al Feeney.
Among items on the slate was an announcement of thus-far secured events for the 2014 racing season. Also on the agenda was the presentation of several awards.
New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Billy Greco received the prestigious Frank Marratta Award. Established in 1981, the clubs longest-running award is presented yearly to a dedicated individual that routinely serves as a goodwill ambassador of the sport.
Among the most-admired racers within our region, Greco remains a very active NEAR member. Among his contributions in 2013 was a successful club fundraising picnic held in August. A stalwart of the Tattersall families former United Stock Car Racing Club, he was a multi-time champion. His decades-long career concluded following a run with the Southern New York Racing Ass’n at Connecticut’s former Danbury Fair Racearena. He was inducted into the HoF in 1999.
Presented to an individual displaying a record of dedication and hard work to NEAR is the decades-running Charlie Stebbins Award named in honor of one of the original organizers of the club.
An absolute expert on the early days of auto racing in the upper regions of New England, Lloyd Hutchins Jr. was this year’s recipient for his continued efforts in the name of NEAR. Well known among the regions racing historians, Hutchins’ willingness to share his vast knowledge of the sports history is universally appreciated.
Receiving 2013 NEAR participation awards were Scott and Judy Porier (15 events), Scott Haskell (10), Team Blanchette, Jim Torok and Rich Belmonte (9), Brian “Spanky” Bancroft (8) and Lloyd Hutchins Jr. and Bill Kemp (7).
Vice President Bill Henry announced several events for the 2014 season with additional dates still in the preliminary stages. Confirmed venues include New Hampshire’s Monodnock Speedway, Massachusetts’ Seekonk Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut. Several car shows and raceway reunions round out a busy schedule.