Inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion Concludes with Action-Packed Racing and Sensational Cacklefest

Posted on September 14, 2013

 Spectacular Saturday Epping Crowd

EPPING, N.H. - The NHRA Motorsports Museum’s inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance popped, jumped, cackled and rumbled to a thrilling close Saturday after three fun days at the legendary New England Dragway. After two days of sporadic rain showers, sunny skies brought out hundreds of fans to play in the nostalgia Nitro playground on the final day.

 Special Honoree Reception Trackside
During the day, the New England Hot Rod Reunion took a short break from the racing action to celebrate trackside the New England racing icons Grand Marshal Jimmy King, Honorees Darwin Doll, Tony Feil, Don Roberts, Pete Shadinger, Bernie Shuman who together with his late brother AB race in the New England area. Also, honored were the Reunion Spotlight Award recipients the Orientals Hot Rod Club of Reading, Mass.

Veteran racer Tony Bartone of Long Island, N.Y. dominated in Hot Heads Nostalgia Top Fuel claiming the first-ever New England Hot Rod Reunion championship with a hot run of 5.686 seconds at 253.71 mph. He was the No. 1 qualifier going in the rain-delayed qualifying session. In a dramatic final round, Bartone defeated California driver Brendan Murry, who swerved down track nearly missing the wall and saved it before reaching the top end.  Bartone beat Roger Lechtenberg and Jim Young to reach the final.

 Nostalgia TF Finals - Tony Bartone
“Winning the inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion is great,” Bartone said. “We had an amazing day of racing and couldn’t thank my crew enough. I enjoy coming out for the Hot Rod Reunions. These events pack some serious racing and they have a fun attitude to them. Glad they are in the East Coast now.”

In 7.0 Pro, Bob Schneider of Reading, Mass. defeated Sammy Daghir of Manchester, N. H. with a performance of 7.140 seconds at 187.31 mph in a thrilling final. It was a special win for Schneider who has been racing at New England Dragway since its opening and continues to serve as a track boardmember.

“I’ve been coming here [New England Dragway] since 1966 when it opened, so it is a special win,” Schneider said. “It’s a real treat to win at my track as a track boardmember and longtime Oriental Car Club member.”

 Bill Schneider celebrates in winners circle Saturday at inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion conclusion.
In 7.5, Jim Blake defeated Pat Freels; In Competition Eliminator, Roberta Chubbuck of Argyle Township, Maine defeated Jeff Bahret of Island, Ky.; In Gas Eliminator, Paul Sullivan of Essex, Mass. defeated Keith Fulp of Alpharetta, Ga.; In Modified Eliminator, Ronald Childs of Lewiston, Maine defeated Barry Ribeiro or N. Dartmouth, Mass.; In Nostalgia Super Stock, Jeff Roell of Danbury, Conn. defeated Dearborn, Mich. Racer Gerry Gostenik; In Top Stock Eliminator, Canadian racer Mark Howes defeated Bruce Howatt; In Pro Comp, Roland Deering of E. Waterboro, Maine defeated local favorite Cody Helger of Little Compton, R.I.; In Flat Head Inline, Massachusettes racer Richard Kiusalas defeated New Yorker Bob Nadeau; and in East Coast Gassers, Steve Valleres of Bristol, Conn. defeated Saugus, Mass. native Frank Silva Jr.

Winners of the Show ‘n’ Shine were honored following the racing with a special introduction to the crowd by legendary NHRA announcer Bob Frey and a pass down the track. The judges painstakingly judge the marvelous cars at the event and were able to find the best of the best. 

Doug Joonis’ 1931 Ford was the Orientals Car Club Choice Award winner; Dennis Genivch was Grand Marshal Jimmy King’s Choice; Honoree Tony Feil’s 1954 Hardtop won the Museum Curator’s Pick; The Finest of the Fifties Pick went to Jeff Lee’s 1955 Chevy Bel Air; Best Shine and Detail Award went to Dave Gazawly’s 1932 Ford Roadster; the Dazzlin’ Deuce Award went to Jim Lowrey’s 1932 Ford Coupe; Paul White’s 1949 Olds Custom Convertible won the Killer Kustom Award; Memory Lane winners include Randy and Yvonne Davis’ 1939 Studebaker, John Manning’s 1934 Ford 5-window Coupe, Jon and Karen Lawson’s 1939 Chevy Coupe; Dave Riley’s 1926 T-Coupe Pickup won the Early Iron Award; Marg and Peter Abernethy’s 1941 Willys won the Honorees Pick, Ricky Mader’s 1932 Ford received the Timeless Tradition Award; Jim and Holly Marston of Fairfield, Maine won both the Dynamat’s Pick “Les Noyse” award and the Sensational 60s Pick for their pristine 1964 Ford Fairlane; and the Director’s Choice went to Minnesotan’s Dave Kroona and Dave Sandberg’s 1948 Anglia.

The history-making New England Hot Rod Reunion came to a thrilling conclusion with amazing Embry-Riddle jet car runs and the spectacular grand-finale Cacklefest, a first-time treat for many New Englanders. The program featured dozens of cars running and revving their historic motors in unison with the engines cackling a tribute to all that attended the historical event. 

“It was an amazing conclusion to the inaugural New England Hot Rod Reunion,” Larry Fisher, executive director of the NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California said. “The enthusiasm of the people for the event and desire for it to happen again is incredibly high. I heard people saying that they are going to go home to tell their friends they missed out one of the best things that happened in New England Dragway. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

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Tony Bartone, Long Island City, N.Y., dragster, 5.686, 253.71 def. Brendan Murry, San Jose, Calif., '05 Sterling, 10.198, 71.67.


Bob Schneider, Mass., ’69 dragster, 7.140, 187.31 def. Sammy Daghir, Manchester, N.H., ’04 dragster, 6.811, 195.22. 


Jim Blake, Danvers, Mass, 1932 Bantam, 7.688, 171.49 def. Pat Freels, Island, Ky., 1966 Pontiac, Foul.


Roberta Chubbuck, Argyle Township, Maine, 1947 Topolino, 8.026, 157.32 def. Jeff Bahret, Springville, Ky., 1932 Bantam, 8.297, 162.74.


Paul Sullivan, Essex, Mass., ’68 Camaro, 9.109, 146.05 def. Keith Fulp, Alpharetta, Ga., ’58 Ford, 9.143, 150.95.


Ronald Childs, Lewiston, Maine, ’69 Nova, 10.582, 128.07 def. Barry Ribeiro, N. Dartmouth, Mass., ’57 Chevy, Foul.


Jeff Roell, Danbury, Conn., 1964 T-Bolt, 9.569, 112.11 def. Gerry Gostenik, Dearborn, Mich., ’61 Bel Air, Broke.


Mark Howes, Rothesay, NB Canada, ’71 Duster, 10.451, 125.80 def. Mike Souliere, Dayton, Maine, ’66 Ford, Foul.


Steve Clukey, Canaan, Maine, ’70 Duster, 9.157, 142.37 def. Bruce Howatt, Charlottetown, Canada, ’68 Roadrunner, 10.208, 132.22.


Roland Deering Jr., E. Waterboro, Maine, 6.534, 171.47 def. Cody Helger, Little Compton, R. I. ’77 Monza, 7.017, 204.79.


Richard Kiusalas, W. Barnstable, Maine, ’62 Hunter Rail, 25.325, 77.21 def.  Bob Nadeau, Hudson, N.Y., ’51 Plymouth Wagon, Foul.


Steve Villeres, Bristol, Conn., ’55 Chevy, 11.617, 110.15 def. Frank Silva, Saugus, Mass.,’33 Willys, 10.469, 110.04.



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