Longtime Speedway Scene Publisher Val LeSieur Dies

Val LeSieur (Photo: New Auto Racing Hall of Fame)

Val LeSieur, a giant in the business of motorsports publishing and promotion, passed away Friday. 

LeSieur was 82 years old. 

LeSieur was the publisher of the wildly popular Speedway Scene trade paper, which covered the spectrum of stock car racing in the United States, with a focus on northeastern based short track racing and Modified racing. He launched the publication in 1971. 

The paper became known as much for its attention grabbing columns and columnists as it did for reporting the news of racing. It proved to be a place where the words of some of the great journalists of motorsports could be found. Over the years giants of motorsports journalism like Mark “Bones” Bourcier, Pete Zanardi ad Dick Berggren could be found in Speedway Scene.

LeSieur also founded the original Race-A-Rama trade show in West Springfield, Mass., which ultimately became the unofficial most important offseason racing event in the Northeast annually. 

LeSieur was known well for outwardly sporting a curmudgeonly façade that would give way to an unmatched warm and welcoming wit to go with a seemingly infinite wisdom of all things short track racing. His greeting of “Good-n-you” became a signature around pit areas and press boxes at short tracks throughout the country. 

LeSieur was inducted into the NEAR New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2011.  

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  1. steve georgiades says

    Best racing paper New England ever had. Will never forget Val – RIP

  2. Agreed, Steve. I remember racing home from school every Friday afternoon and hitting the mailbox for Speedway Scene. I’d be so sad if delivery was delayed for the week!

  3. Leroy Thomas says

    Val was a true icon in New England Motorsports. When I joined the Air Force in 1984 we would send my subscription to me at basic training and later on to my duty assignments in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. He actually called me on several occasions to check in with me to see how I was doing. He would not take any money from me for my continued subscriptions after I had joined. I still remember the morning he called me in New Mexico to inform me of the tragic passing of Corky Cookman. This was all before I actually had met the man. We did get to meet at a couple of races when I was stationed in New Hampshire. My sincerest condolences to his family and all of his friends. RIP.

  4. Enfield Mod Fan says

    Very sad news indeed. Leroy… your note speaks volumes of who Val was as a person.

  5. Another sad day in local racing. I too remember checking the mailbox anxiously awaiting the weeks news. Some great memories there. RIP Val.

  6. Speedway Scene. Man how I loved getting the latest issue and seeing my name listed in the results. Never at the front but listed anyway. In print. It was so cool.
    The stories, splashy promotions, excitement and upcoming events. Literally the only place to get in depth coverage of regional racing events and team profiles to my recollection.
    And not unlike our own RaceDayCt that I appreciate in this century just as much as I treasured Speedway Scene in the last century. Literally the only place to get in depth coverage of upcoming events, results, racing profiles and racing chatter in our neck of the woods.

  7. Racing papers are a thing of the past, but we couldn’t make it to the next race without our weekly dose of Speedway Scene. Val was the right man at the right time, using newsprint to bring the entire northeast racing family together; great photos, lots of columns (no shortage of opinions!), developing great writers like Bones, and taking on sanctioning bodies and tracks where needed… not politically correct by any means. I had hoped to see Val at the recent NEAR banquet but he had taken ill, so we exchanged emails. RIP Val, Your pal, Mike.

  8. The loss if Val is heartbreaking. My thoughts go it to the LeSieur family.
    Years ago I was in the board of directors for the Quabiag riders motorcycle club, in Minson NA we ran motorcycle and 4×4 truck hillclimbs . One year we had secured a date for a pro event. Having known Val and his son Bob through racing I approached them about securing a booth Not only did they give us a booth free of cost because we were a non profit, it was a double isle walk through booth. We had a Nitri burning harly hillclimber, and a tube framed stretched Jeep with a big block and nitrous, with these huge paddle tires. Well needless to say the Jeep wouldn’t start in the frigid weather, which also took its toll on those huge paddle tires. We were forced to push the Jeep in to the building to our booth (comparable to pushing a full size care with square tires). We’re pushing along and I look up, and there’s Val, pushing with us. When we got to the booth he told us he didn’t care what we had to do, that jeep has to drive out under its own power at the end of the show, then laughed. I’ll never forget that. Sunday night at the awards ceremony our booth, which I designed, won first place for best booth, and the Nitri Harley win the award for best vehicle of show. Later I learned that Val had picked our booth, because all the poster advertisements had been hand drawn, and colored, something I’d started in September not even knowing we’d be in the show. Yes Val was a class act, and will be sorely missed. God bless.

  9. P S. The Jeep did drive out under its own power, and boy was that thing loud

  10. we grew up in the Town of Easton when it was less than 5000 folks .Val and others of that era had a way of presenting ideas that were always good for the town.Val was always on hand to help and film the events , working with him was so much fun.Val was very active in the Easton Jaycees,young men of action was our creed.The family togetherness created by our projects has lasted the test of time Val will be remembered as a great contributor.

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