New England Auto Racers Hall Of Fame Set To Announce 2016 Induction Class

NEAR Hall of Fame LogoThe New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame is expected to announce on Wednesday a 2016 induction class that will include seven drivers and one broadcaster, a source close to the New England Antique Racers revealed exclusively to RaceDayCT.

The New England Antique Racers group oversees the NEAR Hall of Fame.

The class will include drivers Dwight Jarvis, Nokie Fornoro, George “Moose” Hewitt, Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie, Ken Bouchard and Jerry Marquis and broadcaster Jack Arute Jr.

The NEAR Hall of Fame Banquet will be held Nov. 13 at Maneeley’s Banquet Hall in South Windsor. Ticket information and order forms will be availble on the NEAR website.

Jarvis, of Ascutney, Vt, has 18 Modified championships between Claremont (N.H.) Speedway and Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. and has been a long time competitor with the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Fornoro, of Stroudsburg, Pa., has been a longtime standout in Midget racing with 11 championships in Midget competition and 110 career Midget wins across 57 different venues. Fornoro’s father Nick was inducted in the New England Racers Hall of Fame in 2002 and his brother Drew was inducted in 2013.

The late Hewitt, of Montville won five Modified championships at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl between 1977 and 1984 and had 22 career wins at the shoreline oval. He also had four career victories at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Craven, a Newburgh, Me. native, was the 1991 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (Busch North) champion and went on to a standout career in NASCAR national ranks. He is currently a broadcaster covering motorsports for ESPN. Craven was the 1992 XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year 1995 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He had two career Sprint Cup Series victories, four XFINITY Series wins and one Camping World Truck Series win.

Bouchard, a Fitchburg, Mass., had a standout career racing Modifieds before becoming the 1988 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. His brother, the late Ron Bouchard, was inducted into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame as part of the organization’s inaugural class in 1998.

LaJoie, a Danbury native, had a standout career at the former Danbury Racearena where he won a Modified championship in 1981 and was a K&N Pro Series East (NASCAR North) champion (1985) before going on to win two NASCAR XFINITY Series (Busch Series) championships (1996, 1997). LaJoie made 350 career XFINITY Series starts and had 15 career victories. He also made 44 career Sprint Cup Series starts. After retiring LaJoie began the company The Joie of Seating, a company which has set the bar for safefty standards in production of racing seats. LaJoie is the son of 2000 New England Racers Hall of Fame inductee Don LaJoie. LaJoie’s son Corey is a competitor across numerous divisions and is a former K&N Pro Series East winner.

Marquis, an East Windsor native, was a standout in the Modified and K&N Pro Series East ranks. He was the 1994 K&N Pro Series East (Busch North) Rookie of the Year and had seven career victories with the division. He made 162 starts with the divison from 1991 to 2007. Marquis was the 2000 Whelen Modified Tour champion and had 19 career Whelen Modified Tour victories, making 213 starts with the series from 1985 to 2012. He was also the 1999 SK Modified champion at Stafford Motor Speedway and made two starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 1995.

Over a long career in broadcasting, Arute – a New Britain native – became the face of pit reporting during ABC Sports broadcasts of the Indianapolis 500. Arute began his national broadcasting career in radio with the Motor Racing Network in 1972. He began working for ABC Sports in 1984. Arute has also served in various management capacities at Stafford Motor Speedway. His father, Jack Arute Sr., was inducted into the New England Racers Hall of Fame in 2001.

NEAR will announce its veteran committee choices and Mitchell/Ratta Media Award winner at a later date.

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