Picture: August 1960 - Patty Staigar (left - outside) racing against John Peoples (right - inside). Scorers and the flagger, Danny Rumpf, are on the far left.
Originally Published: 6/19/2013
Stock cars and go-karts highlighted the lives of many of us who grew up in mid-century Wilton. The race tracks were right in our Town!
In 1950, Mc Gregor Speedway was built on the Staigar property between Jones Road and what is now Gavin Park. It was an egg-shaped, banked oval, with the broader end of the oval touching what is now Meghan Ct. road. It ran parallel to Jones Road. It opened for business on August 13, 1950, and races were held on Sunday afternoons for about two years. Through a “google” search for McGregor Speedway in Wilton, NY, a 1964 aerial photo depicts the actual location of the track. The photo below is from Joe Staigar, compliments of Patty Staigar.
The creation of the speedway was possible in part through the sale of stock - 200 authorized speedway shares were sold for $10 each, as per Steve Harran. Thurlow Woodcock was the President of the Speedway and Robert Harran was the Treasurer. Many local people were involved with McGregor Speedway, including the Staigar, Harran, Smero, Woodcock, Parkhurst, Lasselle, Stover, Barney, Reulet, Helenek, Scott, Biss, Bryant, Farrell, Hames, Moses, Brownell, Freeman, and Bumgartner families. Steve Harran, the handicapper for the Sunday races and a frequent operator of Larry Lasselle’s track grader, shared: “This track was indeed a community event. A lot of individuals were involved behind the scenes such as the Woodcock’s, the Harran’s, the Lasselle’s, the Staigar’s and others who were instrumental in making this idea become a reality.”
In the early sixties, a go-kart track (Wilton Speedway) was built by Jim Moskos, where the current Moskos RV site is located on Route 9, near Daniels Road. Moskos owned a bar and restaurant, and the track was built behind that building, which burned a few years after the track opened. The track operated for about four years, and karts raced there from all over the region. There were classes for Juniors (up to 15 years of age) and Seniors (16 and older). Trophies were earned, and lots of people enjoyed the Sunday afternoon races.
This is the fourth of several columns by Dick Lasselle about various aspects of life in Wilton. Dick grew up on Putnam Lane in Wilton, just off Jones road, and now lives on property that was part of the Putnam farm originally owned by his great-grandparents. Dick’s sister, Linda Baker, and his mom, Doris Lasselle, are contributing toward the development of these articles.