January 26th, 2018
Star's Webber Sr. Fought a Good Fight Right to the End
A www.tachneedle.com article – Mike Twist
When someone would first meet race track owner Bob Webber, Sr., the last word that they might use to describe him would be fighter. After all, he was soft spoken and full of racing wisdom. I personally knew him for about two-thirds of my own life and I don’t think that I ever walked away from a conversation with him without learning something new or looking at something that I already knew in a different way.
Yet, the owner of Star Speedway and Hudson Speedway was full of fight. He fought to turn two New Hampshire racetracks with a ton of history into modern age venues of entertainment. He fought against the tide of area development to keep the tracks open and successful even as property values rose and area transplants would prefer fewer racetracks and more strip malls. Finally, he fought like hell against his biggest foe – the nasty disease of leukemia. On Friday afternoon though, the fight was over and Webber went to rest in peace.
Webber bought Star Speedway in the early 1980’s and Hudson Speedway some time after that. Both are good old-fashioned quarter-mile bullring tracks. Both had rich history with racing greats like Ollie Silva, Fred Brown, Bentley Warren and Mike Murphy winning more than their fair share of races at the two tracks. Under Webber’s leadership, new generations of drivers prospered at the two tracks. Men like Babe Branscomb, Pete Fiandaca, Eric Hudson, Mike Weeden, Bobby Cabral and Jon McKennedy won races and championships there.
Just about every type of oval track racecar competed at one or both of Webber’s two tracks throughout the years. Supermodifieds, midgets and even dwarf cars represented the open wheel faction. Pro Stocks/Super Late Models and then Outlaw Late Models all took turns headlining the show, the Star/Hudson exclusive class of “Bug Light Lightnings” were popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s, there were legendary days of Mini Stock and Roadrunner races there and tours such as the old NASCAR Busch Grand National North Series, PASS North Super Late Models, Granite State Pro Stock Series and North East Mini Stock Tour all stopped at Star.
Webber kept the Star Classic as one of the most prestigious Supermodifieds shows in the country and started a new tradition in the Halloween Howler – an endure races that drew cars fresh off the street to compete by the dozens and eventually hundreds every October.
Webber was a great judge of racing talent. From time to time, he would witness a young driver competing at Star and predict a big future ahead for that racer. Bobby Santos, III and Andy Seuss were two drivers in particular who caught Webber’s eye early. Both raced at Star in their teen years. Both grew up to become national champions in various disciplines of the sport.
Even as his health declined, Webber made it to the racetrack as often as he could. You may have found him helping to run the show from the control tower on a good night. You might have found him sitting behind the wheel of his truck in the infield or pit area on a night when it hurt too much to get around. Either place was a good spot to chat with him about racing past and present. It was rare to find him sitting by himself wherever he was at the racetrack. Old friends always found their way to where he was.
Nearly 30 years ago, Webber was one of the first people who I met behind the scenes in racing. I hope that I may have become one of those old friends of his. He earned my respect early on, but more importantly earned the respect of my late father as we raced at both Star and Hudson with enduro cars and Strictly Stocks in the early 1990’s. My father, a notable drag racer in his younger days, even made his one and only oval track racing start driving a Toyota in an enduro race at Star. Webber made us feel like those two tracks were our home and we enjoyed that home very much. In 1992, we represented Hudson Speedway as part of the Racearama Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts. At the time, it was by far the biggest accomplishment in my racing career that Webber would select us to take part in the then prestigious show.
Webber has left his two tracks in capable hands. His son, Bobby, Jr., once a promising racecar driver himself, has served as the promoter at both venues in recent years. Bobby described his father as his hero and best friend in a social media post on Friday.
Although Webber’s loss will no doubt be the greatest for his family, it will also be felt strongly by the entire racing community. Above all else, Webber was a nice guy who helped the sport and enjoyed people. He touched many lives throughout his lifetime and will be missed by those throughout the sport.
October 25th, 2017
32nd Annual Halloween Howler Photo Gallery Is Here
September 18th, 2017
Brad Babb Wins 2017 Austim Awareness 350 Super Championship
Steve Duphily, Barry Raymond, John Cashman, Bobbo Williams & Kyle Augevich Grab Race Wins On September 16th
A Rich Hayes press release
It was championship night for the Autism Awareness 350 Supers at Star Speedway on Saturday, and although Windham, ME ace Brad Babb held a comfortable lead in the standings headed into the season finale, it was anything but an easy night for Babb and his BWJ Racing team.
The trouble started in qualifying, when Babb got turned and collected the outside retaining wall, nearly ending his night. The crew went to work and made repairs in time for the feature event, where Babb got tangled up with Mike Collins on lap two, sending him back to the pits once again, this time with a flat left front. The championship hopeful rejoined the field at the rear, and immediately started picking his way toward the front. Richard Humphrey had set the early pace, leading the way for the first ten laps before he spun from contention and brought the field under caution. Babb broke into the top five shortly after the restart, while Plaistow’s Steve Duphily slipped past Mike Humphrey of Cornish, ME to take over the race lead. Duphily set sail for the next dozen laps, while Babb knocked them off one by one to make his way up to second. With lapped traffic becoming a factor late in the race, Duphily continued to lead, with Babb now just a car length behind. Babb gave it all he had, but his efforts came up just short, as Duphily checkered first to score the win in the season-ending feature event. While Duphily was joined by family and friends for his victory celebration, Babb and his legion of fans gathered to celebrate the 2017 track championship, an impressive result for his rookie season behind the wheel of a 350 Super. Mike Humphrey was third in the finishing order, followed by Mike Keddy, Jim Storace, Mike Collins, Richard Humphrey, Nick Pappas, Nette Humphrey, and Brenna Humphrey.
Former champion Barry Raymond of Hampstead survived a flurry of caution flags to collect the win in the action-packed Omni Electric/Bosowski Properties Outlaw Late Model feature, outrunning the field to score a convincing victory. “Rocket Rob” MacRae of Billerica, MA was second, followed by Chuck Dehney of Pelham, Kevin Kephart of Rutland, MA, and Ben Bosowski.
The Woody’s Auto Strictly Stock main saw another impressive performance by John Cashman of Danvers, MA, who passed leader Michele Fushpanski of Salisbury, MA just after the crossed flags, and went on to collect the win. Jim Storace of Kingston was up in the late laps to checkers second, with “Mad Max” Dolliver of Londonderry, Fushpanski, Kris Schroeder of Haverhill, MA, Tom Mackey, Mike Williams, Russ Douphinette, Tom Thibeault, and Rob MacRae the rest of the top ten.
Points leader Bobbo Williams of Dracut, MA padded his lead with another trip to victory lane in the Brickyard Roadrunner main, with 2016 champ Paul “The Wheelman” Wainwright of Salem, Dan Sweeney of Barrington, Billy Osborne of Plaistow and Tyler Chase of Sandown second through fifth.
In the L & W Auto Six Shooters, it was rookie driver Kyle Augevich of Fremont picking up his first career win over Joe Roberts, Jr., Eric Waterhouse, Ryan Pitkin, Jamie Holland, Chris Howard, Nate LeClair, Brandon Flanders, Randy Washburn, and Cody Hodgdon.
After a week off, Star Speedway will be back in action on Saturday night, September 30, with championships on the line for the Strictly Stocks, Six Shooters, and Roadrunners. The NEMA Midgets will be in action as well, in addition to the annual running of the Skofield Memorial for dwarf cars.
For information on this or any other upcoming event, log on to our website at www.starspeedwaynh.com, or follow us on Facebook.