Norwood Arena Reunion
June 1, 2008

4TH ANNUAL NORWOOD ARENA REUNION PULLS A BIG CROWD AT BEZEMA BUICK, PONTIAC, GMC

NORWOOD , MA .  Sunny weather with temps in the high 70's contributed to the largest turnout ever at the 4th Annual Norwood Arena Reunion this past Sunday. Among the competitors of the track that turned out included; Sprint Car and Midget driver Jim Maguire who traveled up from Bridgewater , NJ to take in his first event. Modified drivers on hand were Leo Cleary, Bill Slater, George Summers, Mike McClelland, Jerry Capazzolli, and Deke Astle. Also Don McCullough, Lew Austin, Pete Desjardin, Fred Luchesi, Dick Jackson, Jeff Horn, Jim Callahan, George Savary, and Doug McCarthy.  Among the officials who turned out were Carlton Merrill, Dan Brundage, Earl Grant, Jim Power and Mike Scravani, Jr.

Race cars from NEAR, STARS and ACOT combined with a classic car show had a very strong turnout with over 60 vehicles in attendance along with other displays. Coastal 181, the racing publishing house, offered some fantastic new books for sale. Also the NEAR Hall of Fame mobile unit was on hand.   Each vehicle received a dash plaque for the occasion. Don Seith of Brookline got the Classic Car Trophy for his very impressive restored '36 Ford Coupe street machine while Dave Poskitt of E. Bridgewater was awarded the Best Looking Race Car a Modified Coupe.

The big crowd got to see old acquaintances and look at memorabilia and scrap books to jog their memory of some of the greatest racing ever at the now shuttered Norwood Arena just down US Route 1.

Host Marty Bezema, Sr., a former competitor at the Norwood Arena, fed the assembled masses hot dogs, hamburgers, cole slaw and potato salad for lunch. Plans are in the making for the 5th Annual Norwood Arena Reunion on the first Sunday in June, 2009.

You expect Leo Cleary to climb into Fred Levange's 41 and go out and take another feature win. This was a true combination of a great car and a great driver.

The 41 is a restored Joe Brady car driven by various drivers including Leo Cleary of Hanover.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

To have a car recognized as one of the most competitive to ever turn laps on the tracks of New England is a major accomplishment. To have two great drivers associated with a single car is amazing.

Mario "Fats" Caruso and Pete Hamilton both rode to success in the famed and feared Worcester sand & Gravel #69. Pete won the NASCAR National Sportsman Championship in this car, launching a career that included winning the 1970 Daytona 500 driving one of Richard Petty's winged Plymouth Superbirds.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

A true bit of nostalgia was the 1950's stock car of driver/builder Andy Anderson.

Anderson was one of those skilled and innovative people that brought that "something extra" to racing at Norwood Arena.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

(L>R) Long time local NASCAR official, Carl Merrill, and URC Sprint series driver, Jim Maguire, look at a copy of Illustrated Speedway News from 1965. In it is a photo from 1964 of 7 year old NASCAR Jr. Official, Johnny Thomas, making the first donation at Norwood Arena to the Jim Maguire Fund.

Maguire won 8 of 22 features and the URC Championship in 1963. He lost an arm in a career ending crash.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

I never imagined that the home movies that I shot as a 13 year old kid in 1967 would mean so much over 40 years later.

The shaky home movies are always a hit at the reunion. It's good to see cars turning laps at Norwood Arena again!

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

The clone of Reino Tulonen's cutdown takes us back to a time when cars were incredibly fast and incredibly dangerous.

The original ran at Norwood Arena and other area tracks in the late 1950's.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

Dave Poskitt of E. Bridgewater was awarded the Best Looking Race Car a Modified Coupe.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

There were plenty of scrap books and photos to look at.

The NEAR Hall of Fame rolling museum was packed with many one of a kind items, including Dave Dion's 1972 championship trophy from Norwood Arena.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

Don McCullough (white shirt) describes an event that took place at the track. Some memories stick with us as if they happened yesterday.

Don had a long career at Norwood Arena so the memories are abundant.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

(L>R) JC Crossley poses with his former car (the Burns Roadster Supermodified) and the new owner, Laury Johnson.

JC was on the tow truck crew at Norwood Arena and part of the Needham Gasoline Alley Gang. He also has been a great help getting photos and information for this web site.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

(Left) Leo Cleary talks about an "event" that took place at Norwood Arena. You could spend days listening to stories from the guys that ran some of the most exciting races ever run in New England.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

(L>R) Famed car builder and owner Joe Brady and Norwood Arena Mini-Stock VW Champ Jerry Capozolli pose for a photo.

Photo by: Mike McClelland
DATE: June 1, 2008

Hobby Division Champ, Mike McClelland, took this photo of Jim Buck (L) and Jack Malone (R).

Photo by: Mike McClelland
DATE: June 1, 2008

(L>R) George Summers, George Savary and Jack Lundin catch up on past events.

Photo by: Mike McClelland
DATE: June 1, 2008

I can tell you from experience that putting on the reunion is a great deal or work.

We owe Bruce Cohen (in blue hat) and the staff at Bezema's Buick - Pontiac - GMC in Norwood a big thank you for all they do to make the reunion an annual event.

Photo by: Mike McClelland
DATE: June 1, 2008

It was music to the ears.

That's the best way to describe the sound of the engine on the #27 of Dick Jackson's car. Add in the smell and it's easy to think about the time these cars ruled the ovals of New England.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008

The 50's and 60's was a time of hot rods and shade tree built stock cars.

A large number of rods turned up at the event. I heard more than one comment about "what great stock cars some of them would make".

Once it's in your blood, be it stock cars or rods, it's there for life.

Photo by: Don Thomas
DATE: June 1, 2008