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More on the Saranac Lake speedway

October 20, 2012
By HOWARD RILEY ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Last week, we covered the opening of the Saranac Lake Speedway in the late 1950s, owned and operated by Aaron and Allen Hoyt. The track was constructed on the fields behind the Hoyt farm on the Trudeau Road and some of the races drew as many as 2,000 spectators.

Today, we will publish excerpts from a number of Enterprise stories about the track; all found in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library by Curator Michele Tucker.

Tuesday, June 16, 1964 - "Bob Bruno was disqualified as Chet Furnia demolished two road class cars in an action-packed evening of thrills at the Saranac Lake Speedway in the weekend card.

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"Dick Nephew and Al Patterson copped the feature races of the night as the largest field of cars and drivers in the history of the oval competed for daredevil honors and cash awards. Fifteen cars started in the Sportsman Feature and brought a roar from the crowd as Paul Whitmarsh spun out on the first lap and Bernie Kentile, Jr. had to swerve into the field to avoid a collision."

Monday, July 13, 1959 - "The Grand Trophy winner in yesterday's Stock Car races at the Saranac Lake Speedway, witnessed by 2000 spectators, was Dick Goodell from Plattsburgh. Goodell won the trophy donated by the Johnny Blaze Body and Fender Shop.

"Eldred McComber and Don Carter from Lake Placid won smaller races along with Rod Riche of Keene.

"Mac Miller from Ogdensburg and Ernie Reed from Plattsburgh placed third and fourth in the list of 18 entries."

Monday, Aug. 29, 1960 "A crowd of more than 1,000 watched the stock car races, packed with excitement and five accidents, at the Saranac lake Speedway last night under the lights.

"There were a total of 29 cars in both divisions. One accident, the most spectacular of the season saw two cars crash through the guard rails and were completely demolished. No one was hurt."

Thursday, Aug. 10, 1961 - "Promoters of the Saranac Lake Speedway have challenged the promoters of the Plattsburgh's Airborne Speedway to a special stock car race on Aug. 18.

"The challenge was issued Sunday night before a surprised audience when local track representatives, Aaron Hoyt, Allen Hoyt and Ronald Hesseltine took over the loudspeaker system to make the challenge publicly and the crowd stood and shouted their approval.

"Plattsburgh's promoters said, 'if they want a race, we'll give them one.' Bert Blake, Maurice Broderick and Vic Wolfe claimed that the feeling has been one of excitement around the speedway at Plattsburgh and that drivers are taking special pains with their cars to put Saranac Lake drivers in their place."

Tuesday, July 28, 1964 - "Perennial crowd pleasers Gaston Desmarias and Dick Nephew were given a standing ovation at the Saranac Lake Speedway as they battled to a near photo finish with Gaston the winner, taking the inside track and the checkered flag. Both were driving Ford-powered coupes.

"Demarias, 'The Flying Frenchman' of Tupper Lake, captured the Sportsman's Class event in this thrilling manner and John Rushlaw won the road car feature event with Al Patterson narrowly edging out Larry Muzzy for second.

"Donna 'Leadfoot' Hoyt was champion in the Powder Puff Derby.

(Other female drivers mentioned were Joan Patterson, Mary Tuthill, and by last name only, Gilbert and Martino.)

"The Creme de Menthe Derby will feature the leading barmen of Saranac Lake racing for championship honors. Those expected to be entered are Little Joe Gladd, Chuck Pandolph, Dew Drop Morgan, Chuck Isabella and Jack Lawless, representing their various well-known restaurants and cafes in Saranac Lake's bright light district.

"It is expected to draw a large and enthusiastic crowd to the track for the competitive fun with untrained racing drivers matching boasts and bluffs against one another."



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