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Calling All Hot Shoes

Twin State Speedway To Celebrate Its Past

Claremont — For more than 60 years, Twin State Speedway — Claremont’s third-of-a-mile auto racing oval on Thrasher Road — attracted drivers, their support crews and racing fans from around the Twin States. At the end of each season, a track champion was named. And along with the honor came a trophy.

Claremont resident Wayne McCutcheon counts himself among the legions of racing fans who remembers watching the action as a youngster.

“A lot of guys have fond memories of those early days when they were running the jalopies,” said McCutcheon. “It was dirty and it was loud, that is what we remember. And back in those days, they raced wearing football helmets.”

On Saturday, past champions — beginning in the 1950s when the track was dirt — will be honored at what is being billed as the Racers Reunion.

“If you were a (track) champion, a driver, pit crew member or an owner, please come,” said McCutcheon, who has labored for weeks trying to spread the word about the reunion, hoping to bring back as many people connected to the track’s long history as possible. “Let us know at the gate if you were a champion.”

The Racers Reunion is being combined with the Fall Challenge, which is part of the abbreviated racing schedule at Twin State this year. Qualifying heats begin at 3 p.m., followed by the reunion festivities at 4.

“If someone doesn’t acknowledge them now, there will never be another opportunity,” said McCutcheon. “This is the first time the Claremont track has held a reunion. This will be a re-creation of 60 years ago.”

Orginally intended to honor the track champions of the early days, Saturday’s reunion will be for all champions. At 5 p.m., the Senior Tour of Antique Racers will have a race. Also on hand will be the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club.

Track owner Dennis Fleury, whose father started the track in the late 1940s, said the speedway can survive with efforts similar to what McCutcheon is doing.

“I think what Wayne is doing is what every track needs — good support from the outside,” said Fleury, who recently decided not to sell the track — it had been on the market for about a year — and is planning a full slate of racing in 2014 that will be handled by outside promoters.

Though some of the past champions have passed away, McCutcheon said he has been in contact with family members and invited them as well to the reunion.

Grandstand admission to the reunion is $10.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at ogrady56@yahoo.com.