Jean-Guy Poulin, A Quiet Giant Of Southern New England Short Track Racing, Passes 

Jean-Guy Poulin (Photo:

Jean-Guy Poulin, a cornerstone of the southern New England short track racing scene for decades as a driver, car owner and team supporter, passed away Thursday. 

Poulin was 80 years old.  

Poulin and wife of 58 years, Brigitte, have been involved in local racing since 1986. They currently field an SK Modified at Stafford Speedway for driver Tyler Hines. 

“He was the epitome of a gentleman,” said longtime engine builder Mike Petitt, who has been affiliated with Poulin for more than two decades. “He was just a true, first class gentleman. He was just a joy to work with in every way.” 

Said Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute: “He was a fixture here. What else can you say? I was shocked. We’re going to miss him.” 

Over their time in local short track racing Jean-Guy Poulin and his wife Brigitte ended up aligning themselves with some of the most legendary names in the sport. The list includes Larry Vassar, Chuck Docherty, Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher, Ryan Preece and numerous others. 

The 32-year old Preece competes for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. When he was 19 years old racing for car owners Bob Hitchcock and Kelly Iverson in an SK Modified, the Poulin’s joined the team offering sponsorship, motor support and team support at the track. The Poulin family affiliation and backing of Preece remained strong even after Preece went south to run full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016. 

“If you think back, really Jean-Guy and that whole SK [Modified] deal was what really helped to drive me to getting so many of the great opportunities I ended up getting in this sport,” Preece told RaceDayCT Saturday, from Texas Motor Speedway where he was preparing for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event. “He loved racing so much. He just loved his motors. He always just loved tinkering with timing and those things during practice. … All the things that they did for people racing at Stafford in SK [Modifieds], it’s amazing you think what they did for me, what they did for Keith [Rocco], what they did for Teddy [Christopher]. They were very giving people. It’s very sad that we’ve lost Jean.” 

Poulin, a native of Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Quebec, Canada, was an accomplished snowmobile racer before turning to racing four-wheeled vehicles at Connecticut short tracks in 1986. 

After a brief stint as a driver Poulin made the transition to car owner, fielding a ride for his first driver, Bobby Skinger. In 1992 the Poulin family fielded a Late Model at Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway for Vassar. Together the pairing scored a win a the Spring Sizzler in 1993 and closed out the 1993 season with five wins at Stafford and five at Thompson. The Poulin’s moved with Vassar to Pro Stock division racing in 1995. 

“These people gave to everyone on our team from dinners to passes to motels,” Vassar wrote on Facebook. “Jean-Guy was my racing dad who I loved and always will. They gave to my family more than just driving a race car they became family.” 

In 1997 Docherty took over the wheel for the Poulin Pro Stock and the team celebrated a 1999 championship at Stafford. 

In 2000 the Poulin’s moved to the SK Modified division locally, beginning a span of over two decades of involvement in the division at Connecticut short tracks. 

With Docherty retiring following the 2004 season the Poulin’s decided to go with a young driver for their SK Modified program in 2005. They landed on a 21-year old driver coming off a Sportsman division championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl named Keith Rocco. 

Rocco spent four years competing for the family, establishing the foundations of what would become one of the most storied and successful SK Modified careers in short track racing. 

“Jean-Guy and Brigitte, I can’t say enough about the opportunity they gave me at the start of my Modified career,” Rocco said. “They were the first one’s to really give me a shot to do this and stick with me. I can’t thank them enough. Jean-Guy was one of a kind, there’s no words to describe him. It was always a pleasure to work side-by-side with him.” 

The Poulin’s joined as part of the support group for Ted Christopher’s SK Modified efforts in 2009, with the team winning a championship at Stafford. Late in the 2010 season the Poulin’s shifted their motor support from the veteran Christopher to the young Preece. The Hitchcock/Iverson owned team would go on to celebrate a 2011 SK Modified championship at Stafford with Preece beating second place Rocco by 78 points in the final standings. 

In recent years the Poulin’s had assisted with a handful of local racers including Chase Dowling, Joey Cipriano III, Teddy Hodgdon IV, Nick Salva, Frank L’Etoile Jr. and most recently Hines.

“If you were lucky enough to know Jean-Guy, you know just how special he was,” Cipriano wrote on Facebook. “He was the person that always had the biggest smile, and an even bigger love of his family and racing. I am so happy I got be a small part of his journey and a forever part of the JG Poulin Racing No. 78. My thoughts and prayers are with Brigitte and his entire family. We are all going to miss him so much.” 


  1. Fenders Galore says

    Definitely a class act… A great car owner, and even better person I’m sure… He and his wife owned some very competitive cars throughout the years.

  2. Jean-Guy was a fixture in the paddock for decades. He was a true gentleman. He owned cars in late model, pro stock and Sk modifieds, and his cars were always a threat to win and most nights ran up front. The cars were always meticulous and we’ll prepared. Numerous drivers enjoyed success driving for him through out the years. He will be sadly missed. My condolences to his family and friends

  3. He was a quiet gentle giant in the Racing community for many years in multiple divisions and got multiple championships with some great drivers, and he will sadly be missed in the pits rest in peace Jean, and sincere condolences to his family 🙏🏁🏁🏁🏁🏁🏁

  4. Gary J Pelletier says

    Jean and I go back to the early 80’s when he used to come to my gas station to fill up his cube van every day. Somehow we got on the subject of racing. I told him there was an old 76 Monte Carlo junked on the street and asked if he would be interested in building a street stock. He says he had a friend in Enfield (Dick Woods) who was racing at Stafford. We went up to Dick’s to see his car and get ideas. When Dick saw how excited we were (me especially), he told me and Jean to drive down Rt 91 as fast as we could and throw our money out the window, we would be further ahead of the game. We both laughed and went home to start building our first car together. Jean was the best fabricator I have ever known and the few years we spent together I learned so much about fabrication and how to make something from nothing. At that time, Jean would drive at Stafford and we would change the seat so I could drive at Thompson. We were so green the first race at Stafford, we had the tire stagger backwards, the car spun around and was facing the field of cars. We built a second car together, 1980 Malibu. When we went our separate ways, Jean left me the car and all the spare parts so i could go racing at Riverside. My one regret is that I never thanked him properly for all he did for me. Eternal Rest grant onto you, my friend, and may perpetual light shine upon you. Gary Pelletier

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