Hall of Fame 2008

Hall of Fame Class of 2008





Dick Bahre
Track Manager/ Car Owner

Dick Bahre has been involved with auto racing for over 50 years, from the local “Saturday night” short track to the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. In the late 1950’s into the 1960’s, he and older brother Bob toured New England with a midget racing series with their own midget race car. When Bob bought Oxford Plains Speedway in 1964, Dick went from turning wrenches on a midget race car to working beside his brother at the newly acquired speedway as the track manager. In February 1970, Dick entered a car in the Late Model “300” at Daytona with recently crowned Oxford track champion Niles ‘Gas’ Gage. This was to be the first of many trips to Daytona, and later to other NASCAR southern tracks, for Dick during the “off season”. With a desire to test the NASCAR Winston (now Sprint) Cup Series waters, Dick entered the 1981 Daytona 500 with Geoff Bodine. Following a hand full of periodic NASCAR Cup races, Dick decided to try Cup racing on a more full-time basis. He left his position at Oxford Plains at the end of the 1983 season and took up residence in the heart of NASCAR country – Statesville, North Carolina – only a few miles from the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three years later, Dick and Chuck Rider formed Bahari Racing with Michael Waltrip as the driver. In 1988, Dick parted ways with Bahari Racing. A year later, he joined brother Bob in the construction of New Hampshire International Speedway. Dick and wife Orene currently reside in Statesville, N.C.

Antonio”Tony” Dipompo
Official/Car Owner

Tony DiPompo was a familiar face around Oxford Plains Speedway for over thirty years. He never drove race car – all he did was build and maintain winning race cars and championship winning race cars. Tony first got involved with stock car racing in 1957 when Oxford Plains was still a half-mile dirt track. He and brother Bobby, who was the driver, put together a Ford coupe and a lifetime association with racing began. When the speedway introduced full-bodied late model cars to racing in 1964, Tony and Bobby fielded a Plymouth, painted “electric” blue and sporting the number “43” in honor of Tony’s favorite driver Richard Petty. In 1969, Tony, Bobby and the “Plymouth by DiPompo” were co-champions of the Triple Crown Series at Oxford Plains. Over a six-year span beginning in the early 1970’s, Tony and driver Al Hammond, along with a Tom Huston-built black and gold #1 Chevelle, dominated the Sportsman division. Together they won two track championships (1973, 1974), a Triple Crown championship (1975) and 46 feature wins including a then record 13 victories in 1973. Tony served for nearly 20 years as Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Technical Director for 10 years at Oxford Plains. Tony DiPompo passed away on June 4, 1994.

Robert “Bob” Knowles
Track Owner/Promoter

Bob Knowles could fill a book about owning and promoting a successful race track. He should know – Bob owned one of the most historic race tracks in Maine for over 20 years – Unity Raceway. Bob’s knowledge of racing was learnt from one of Maine’s legendary track owners, his father Ed Knowles. From the time his father opened Unity Raceway in 1949 to handing the reins of the track over to him in 1960, Bob served an apprenticeship on how to operate a race track under his father. The 1960’s was a decade of change at Unity. Bob replaced all the grandstand seats, enlarged the pit area, erected new fencing and he guided the raceway as it made the transition from a half-mile dirt track to a paved one-third mile facility. During this time, Bob and his wife Rae Jean were building a very successful x-ray film business serving the three-state region of northern New England. If Bob’s “plate” wasn’t full enough with a growing x-ray film business and a successful race track, Bob built Spud Speedway in Caribou. He also promoted Speedway 95 in Bangor for several years and oversaw changes at that track, including changing the track’s name to Thunder Speedway. After twenty-plus years, Bob sold Unity Raceway to Ralph Nason. Bob joins his father Ed as members of the Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame. Bob and wife Rae-Jean have homes in Maine and Florida.

Russ Nutting

Russ Nutting climbed into a race car for the first time in 1957. Fifty-one years later, the soft spoken veteran driver shows no signs of slowing down as he still climbs into a race car, straps on his helmet and continues to win races. During his long racing career, Russ has competed at 28 different race tracks in New England, New York, eastern Canada and the Canadian Maritimes. By the best estimate, he was won between one hundred and two hundred races, including ‘Getty Opens’ at Oxford Plains Speedway and the ‘Governor’s Cup’ at Beech Ridge Speedway. Russ has won six track championships – Oxford Plains (1961), Arundel Speedway (1965), Hudson (N.H.) Speedway (1999, 2003, 2004) and the Open Series for Saturday Night cars at Oxford Plains (1984). He owns a race car fabrication business and has built winning cars of all types for a number of customers, from modifieds and cut downs to Street Stocks and Late Models. Russ has been a crew chief for Dale Shaw on the NASCA Busch North Series and on Dick Bahre’s cars at Daytona and Martinsville. When he isn’t driving race cars, or being a crew chief on them or building them, Russ been a valuable official at several tracks, including Technical Director at Beech Ridge (1958-60), Oxford Plains (1991-93), Star Speedway (1994-2006) and Lee USA Speedway (2007). Russ and wife Darlene make their home in Limerick, Maine.

Otis Perry

Otis Perry’s racing career was only about twelve years long but during those dozen years, he was one of the best dirt track drivers in Maine. When Beech Ridge Speedway opened in May 1949, Otis was there along with fifteen other brave “rookies”. It didn’t take long for Otis to learn how to broadslide a race car through the turns – some say he was a “natural”. He not only won races at Beech Ridge during that inaugural season, but when the Main State Stock Car Racing Association (MSSCRA) promoted races at the Norway Fairgrounds, Otis won there as well. When Oxford Plains Speedway opened the following year, Otis grabbed several checkered flags at the new track. In 1951, he won seven feature races at Beech Ridge alone. Simply, Otis won races wherever he raced. In the beginning, Otis drove one of Jim McConnell’s “house” cars but later, he and brothers Del and Jack built their own #9 coupe. Several years later, he drove a Plymouth coupe built by noted car builder Charlie Thurston. Otis and Charlie traveled to California in the 1950’s only to return and continue their winning ways. In 1959, Otis was asked to drive a brand new car built by Ray Snell and his good friend Charlie Thurston – a yellow #99 Plymouth coupe. Being an innovator, Thurston center mounted the motor – instead of a winning car, the #99 would only spin out. Otis went back to his #9 and Phil Libby was asked to drive #99 but only after Charlie repositioned the motor. The rest is racing history. Otis retired from racing at the end of the 1959 season after his wife gave birth to the first of five sons. Otis Perry passed away on January 25, 2001.

Robert “Bobby” Walker
Track Announcer/Official/Author

Bob Walker was introduced to racing when he was a young boy. His father owned and sponsored race cars driven by Bud Lapham at Oxford Plains Speedway in the 1950’s. But, Bob never owned a race car nor driven one except in the occasional “officials” race. For over thirty years, he sat high above the race track on top of the grandstands at Oxford Plains describing the action on the race track to thousands of race fans seating in those grandstands. Bob was a track announcer, more importantly, he was the “voice of Oxford” from the early 1970’s through to his retirement in 2006. And, no one did it better than Bob – whether it was describing the racing action of 40 Street Stocks in a 20-lap race or the excitement and drama of an OXFORD 250. But, Bob was more than a track announcer. He was an assistant pit steward at Beech Ridge Speedway in the 1960’s, a crew member for James Hylton on the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) Series, publicist for the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show (1977), a NASCAR Cup and Busch Series inspector and Director of Media Relations at Oxford Plains. Bob has also held positions at Star Speedway, Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Coos Bay (OR) Speedway. Now, Bob is an author/historian. His recently released first book is titled “I couldn’t Drive – but, I could Talk…” and he has begun writing a second book, tentatively titled “The Voice”. Bob Walker resides in Norway, Maine.



Wayne True Sr.