Class of 2004
| Driver of the Year |
President's Award |
Allen Brann Award |
Maine auto racing history was made on Saturday evening, January 3, 2004 when twelve racing legends were the first individuals to be inducted into the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame.
All photos courtesy of Steve LeClair, unless otherwise noted.
Bob Bahre owned and operated Oxford Plains Speedway from 1964 to 1986. The former Connecticut resident brought big time auto racing to Maine – first with the NASCAR Modified / Sportsman divisions (1965 & 1966), the NASCAR Grand National Series (Nextel Cup) (1966-1968), the NASCAR Grand Touring Series (1969-1970) and the NASCAR Late Model-Busch Series.
He introduced the term “open competition” or “open comp” to Maine auto racing in 1971 with the creation of the “Getty Open’ – a 100-lap “run what you brung” race. In 1974, Bob created an extra-distance, big purse event called the OXFORD 200 – the richest one-day Late Model short track event in the country. The race was lengthened the next year to 250 laps.
Presently, Bob and family own New Hampshire International Speedway.
Robert ‘Bob’ Bushley Sr.
Bob Bushley Sr. was a
race car driver, a championship car owner, a fabricator, a
motor builder and an innovator. Known for the car number
P-38, Bob began racing in the 1940's at the fairgrounds
tracks In Maine. He became a fixture at Beech Ridge Speedway
when it opened in 1949 but he was still a frequent visitor
at many other tracks. As a car owner, Bob won 3 track
championships with Homer Drew - 1967, 1968 &1973. He was
active in the Main State Stock Car Racing Association,
serving as President for three terms, a Director and as a
Technical inspector. Bob is a member of the Beech Ridge
Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
Dr. Robert ‘Doc’ Christopher
Track Physician/Car Owner
A practicing physician
in South Portland, "Doc" Christopher had the distinction of
being the only true "track physician" in Maine. For 26
years, "Doc" Christopher was at Beech Ridge Speedway every
race night ready to treat any injury a driver, a crewmember
or any person at the track might sustain. Wherever there was
an accident on the track, he was usually the first person to
the accident scene to check on the driver or drivers. "Doc"
Christopher was also a car owner, winning the 1951 track
championship with driver Dick Garrett. No two people had
more respect at Beech Ridge Speedway than "Doc" Christopher
and wife Flossie, who also was the track nurse.
No one has won more
track championships in the history of Beech Ridge Speedway
than Ralph Cusack. In a 26-year driving career which began
in the early 1950's, Ralph won 12 track titles. He won seven
Class 'A' championships driving the famed "Blue Deuce" owned
by Mike Damico Sr. and Mike Damico Jr. Following a near
ten-year retirement, Ralph returned to racing and he won
five more championships in the orange "61" owned by Dave
Coutermarsh. Ralph retired from the driver's seat in 1981
when he purchased Beech Ridge Speedway. Ralph is a member of
the Beech Ridge Speedway Hall of Fame and the New England
Auto Racers Hall of Fame
George Damon's interest
in auto racing dates back to the fairgrounds tracks of the
late 1940's. After witnessing the races at the Lewiston
Fairgrounds and New Gloucester Fairgrounds and noting a new
race track in Scarborough called Beech Ridge Speedway, Damon
wanted a racing facility in the Oxford Hills region. Before
the first tree was cut and the first spade of dirt moved, he
did two things: 1. along with others who had an interest in
a race track being built in the region, Damon formed the
Pine State Stock Car Racing Association, and 2., he and
friend Clyde Andrews Sr. built a car to race at Beech Ridge.
In April of 1950, Damon along with brothers Edward and Bill
broke ground for a $50,000 half-mile dirt track and 5,000
seat grandstand on Route 26 in Oxford. Six weeks later on
May 27th, Oxford Plains Speedway held its first auto race.
Damon and his family owned Oxford Plains Speedway for eleven
years before selling the facility in 1961.
Dave Darveau seemingly raced wherever there was one scheduled. In a driving career which spanned from 1954 to 1996, Dave competed at eighteen different race tracks from Florida to the Canadian Maritimes.
His greatest success came here in his home state of Maine. Unity Raceway was home to many of Dave's victories and "at least" six track championships. Driving the familiar yellow and black "#8", he won on both the dirt racing surface and on asphalt - behind the wheel of 'cut down" coupes and Late Models.
Dave won races at Beech Ridge Speedway, Spud Speedway, Speedway 95 and Arundel Speedway, an Open Comp '100' at Oxford Plains Speedway and a Late Model track championship at Wiscasset Speedway.
Homer Drew was still a teenager when he began
racing in the Class 'B' six-cylinder division at Beech Ridge
Speedway in the late 1950's. Bob Bushley took notice of the
youngster with the "foot to floor" driving style. Bob liked
what he saw, so, he retired as a driver and put the
youngster in the seat of the famed "P-38". Homer won three
Class 'A' championships in the "P-38" and two titles in the
Jerry Seavey Class 'B' coupe. In 1968, Homer won both the
Class 'A' and Class 'B' championships, only the second
driver ever to accomplish the feat. Homer was just as adept
on the asphalt as he was on the clay surface of Beech Ridge.
He was nearly unbeatable in the eight-race Getty Open Comp
Series at Oxford Plains Speedway in 1973 - winning five of
the eight 100-lap events. He also won races at Arundel
Speedway, Unity Raceway, Wiscasset Speedway and Speedway 95.
In 2000, Homer Drew became the first driver from Maine to be
inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame.
Dick Garrett is recognized as the first race
driving "star" in the State of Maine. He began his racing
career at Beech Ridge Speedway when the track opened on
Memorial day weekend in 1949. Dick raced at most, if not
all, of the race tracks in southern Maine during his almost
30 year racing career. He was no stranger to tracks in New
Hampshire and Massachusetts and finished his career racing
at tracks in Florida. He won the first of three consecutive
driving championships at Beech Ridge in 1949. In 1950, Dick
was voted one of the top ten drivers in the United States
based on points for wins and second place finishes. Dick won
five track championships in 1950. In addition to Beech
Ridge, he won titles at Lewiston Fairgrounds, Sanford
Speedway, Dover (New Hampshire) Speedway and West Peabody
(Massachusetts) Speedway. Driving the renowned "Cripple
Duck" #1, Dick won a total of six track championships at
Blackie Hilliard is another of the true legends of
Maine auto racing history. In the 1950's and the early
1960's, no one was better on a dirt racing surface than
Blackie - especially at Unity Raceway. Blackie raced and won
at such tracks as Beech Ridge Speedway, Oxford Plains
Speedway and the old Washington and Waterville-Oakland
speedways, it was at Unity where he was most dominate. He
won 12 track championships and hundreds of races at Unity,
many of those behind the wheel of the "#98" Hudson coupe.
Phil Libby began racing the day Beech Ridge
Speedway opened in 1949. He won hundreds of races all over
Maine in a driving career that spanned nearly forty years.
In 1960, Phil had a season many only dream of. He won 21 of
27 races at Beech Ridge and, likewise, dominated the racing
at Oxford Plains Speedway where he won his first track
championship. The domination of the yellow "#99" continued
at Beech Ridge in the championship winning season of 1961.
Phil's accomplishments on the track were only surpassed by
his accomplishments off the track. A five-term president of
the Maine State Stock Car Racing Association, Phil has been
an ambassador of auto racing, especially Maine auto racing
for nearly 55 years. Phil is a member of the Beech Ridge
Speedway Hall of Fame.
Jim ‘J.B.’ McConnell
Jim McConnell's interest in auto racing began long before the Scarborough resident ever thought of building his own track.
While working as an aircraft mechanic in East Boston, Massachusetts in the 1930's, he became friends with others who an interest in racing.
When 'J.B.' returned to Maine, he and a bunch of racers began racing at several of the fairground tracks. Believing he could build and operate a race track, 'J.B.' and a number of fellow racing enthusiasts cleared a parcel of land in Scarborough to build a track.
On Memorial Day weekend in 1949, Jim McConnell swung open the gates for the first auto racing program at Beech Ridge Speedway. 'J.B." owned and operated Beech Ridge for 24 years, selling the speedway in 1973.
Jim founded the Maine State Stock Car Racing Association in 1949 and served four terms as president.
Jim McConnell is a member of the Beech Ridge Speedway Hall of Fame.
Look up the word "Iron man" in the dictionary and a
picture of Dick Wolstenhulme is probably present. For most
of his 30-plus year driving career, Dick drove in two racing
divisions at Beech Ridge Speedway - in the 1960's, it was
the Class 'A' and Class 'B' and in the 1970's and 1980's, it
was the Modifieds and Late Models. It is estimated Dick has
raced in excess of 35,000 miles at Beech Ridge. Dick won ten
track championships, second on the all-time list at Beech
Ridge. He twice won championships in two divisions in the
same year - 1966 and 1974. His racing wasn't limited to
Beech Ridge. Dick raced and won races at many Maine tracks,
including Oxford Plains Speedway and Arundel Speedway, as
well as in the Canadian Maritimes.
DRIVER of the YEAR
BRANN PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD