Semi-Monthly
Racing Commentary
with
LEW BOYD

Email Lew at lewboyd@coastal181.com
 

The Seymour Family’s recent Racer’s EXPO   (Photo by Norm Marx)
March 8, 2010

RESTART!

Quite frankly, just beneath the track surface last fall there was a sense of gloom about racing in the New England. The ’09 season had gone down in barely mediocre fashion. There had been a lot fewer new right rear tires, and everyone was worried about the future as the recession ravaged on. And there wasn’t even the big winter racing show to look forward to. Like a smattering of local speedways, it appeared to be dead.

For years and years, Val Lesieur, majordomo of the old Speedway Scene weekly newspaper, ran RACERARAMA the last weekend in February at the Eastern States Exposition buildings in West Springfield, Mass., squarely atop the site of a once-proud half-mile paved oval. RACERARAMA was colorful – often rowdy, a major meeting point for thousands starved for their wintry racing fix.

When Speedway Scene went away, Dick Berggren and his gang at Speedway Illustrated magazine picked up the cause, renaming the event Speedway EXPO, and ran it well for 2008 and 2009. It appeared to have new legs. Then the magazine was sold to Anthem Media Group in Kansas City, Berggren left its employ, and, sadly, the show wasn’t even mentioned again.

Enter the Seymours of Marlboro, Mass., New England’s most famous racing family.

The patriarch was “Boston Louie” Seymour, the legendary sprint and Silver Crown car owner, “the man,” wrote Berggren, “who towed a million miles.” “Boston,” with his wife Ellie, sons Mike and Bobby, daughters Marylou, Celeste and Lois, fielded great equipment, exercised by the likes of Billy Cassella, Sheldon Kinser, George Snider, Doug Wolfgang, Rich Vogler, Bentley Warren, and Joe Saldana. There was an extra special relationship with Ken Schrader, who wheeled Boston’s black #29 to seven Silver Crown victories. Boston Louie died in 1996, but his tradition motored on. Sons Bobby and Mike spent their own time in the cockpit, winning widely and emerging as two of the best midget drivers in the country.


Kenny Schrader had some great times with Louie Seymour, and the families
are still very close.  (Ken Schrader Collection)

In January the Seymours decided to force a restart. Working out of their speed supply business (www.theracedepot.com), in less than five weeks they put together a new show, the Racer’s EXPO, and it ran that same February weekend as in years past.

The Racer’s EXPO was geared just to the racing community rather than to fans, but it was still very impressively attended, warm and energetic despite deplorable New England weather conditions. Especially notable was the number of families present, giving their kids a shot at the iRacing simulator and checking out the new quarter-midget kit at the Triple M Motorsports display.

Thanks to those Seymours, our sport felt fresh, ready for spring, and likely to go on for a long time. And there was pleasing evidence that racing has, after all, been going on for quite a while already.

Just off the lobby/atrium of Marlboro’s Royal Plaza Best Western Hotel, where the show was held, was a small gift shop. The proprietor is a 78-year-old named Margaret Bateman, a wonderful woman with a smile like a lighthouse by the sea. Margaret, as it turns out, has some racing fuel in her veins, too. Just out of high school in 1950, she remembers winning 14 features at the old Westboro Speedway, a dramatically high-banked quarter-miler once located just a few miles down the highway. “I never figured the sport was just for the guys,” Margaret said with spirit. “I was pretty fast back then – and I still am now.”


Margaret Bateman  (Photo by Norm Marx)

© 2010 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181

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.: Previous Tearoffs :.

2/21/10 - Miracles of the Rock

2/8/10 - Roger The Remarkable

1/21/10 -  Shane's Sensational '78

12/28/09 - The Flying Finn and The All American Boy

12/12-09 - Hello Wall

11/29/09 - Once More for Ernie

11/15/09 - Ernie's Excellent Chase

11/1/09 - In The Zone

10/19/09 - Rough Week in the Midwest

10/1/09 - Common Starts, Uncommon Comebacks

9/4/09 - South Dakota Chris

8/15/09 - Facial Exposure

7/31/09 - Dying in the Pits

7/9/09 - Barn Rat's Last Race

6/18/09 - Catching Up With Brad Doty

5/20/09 - Big Boys in The Attic  - rare photos of legends

5/6/09 - Back Up In The Attic - more rare photos

4/22/09 - The Son of Hard Luck - accessible racing
experience for the handicapped

4/3/09 - Racin' In The Attic - Gordon Ross photo collection

3/18/09 - About That Mike Spaulding

3/3/09 - Dick Berggren's First Win - (you had to be there!)

2/11/09 - Peter at the Park - Peter Fiandaca at Riverside Park

1/30/09 - Steve - Steve Arpin

1/4/09 - Racer Speak -cool quotations

12/16/08 - Wimble Power, Will Power - Bill Wimble

11/24/08 - Remembering Chuck Amati - by Joyce Standridge

11/11/08 - That Rick Ferkel

10/24/08 - Beyond Bionic - Bentley Warren

10/6/08 - Fifty Second Classic - Skip and Lois Matczak

9/20/08 - Joey's Dad - Tom Logano

9/1/08 - One Night at The Park - the death of Les Ley

8/20/08 - Transitional Technology - early supermodifieds

8/6/08 - Wallace on Wednesdays - dirt trackin’ Kenny

7/19/08 - Star(ter) of the Show - importance of good flaggers

7/7/08 - McUnderdog - Eddie MacDonald

6/18/08 - The Night Buzz Was Worried - Buzz Rose

6/5/08 - John Richards - Boomer Role Model

5/20/08 - The Spirit of a Racer - the late Al Powell

5/1/08 - Bobby's Blues - Bobby Santos III

4/15/08 - Thinking About Rene Charland

3/26/08 - Carl and Corey - Carl Edwards and Corey Dripps

3/4/08 - A Cool Track with Cool Racers - West Liberty, Iowa

2/14/08 - Doug Wolfgang

1/25/08 - Frankie Schneider

1/7/08 - When Drivers Can't See - cockpit vision

12/21/07 - When Starters Couldn't See - flagstand vision

12/1/07 - Ride Along with Erica Santos - in-car camera midget win

11/15/07 - Tough Drivers

11/1/07 - Cockpit Safety

10/15/07 - That First Race

10/1/07 - Racing Nicknames

9/15/07 - Too Many Officials

9/1/07 - The Look of a Real Driver

8/15/07 - Being Dale Junior

8/1/07 - Armond Holley

7/15/07  -  Red Farmer

© 2010 Lew Boyd, Coastal 181