NEAR Hall of Fame Member Tony “Jap” Membrino Passes 

Jap Membrino (right) with his grandson Tony Membrino Jr. (left) at the 2022 New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame banquet (Photo: Courtesy New England Antique Racers website)

New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Tony “Jap” Membrino passed away Wednesday. 

Membrino was 90 years old.

Membrino was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame as a veterans committee selection in 2022. 

Longtime southern New England short track racing journalist and track announcer Matt Buckler called Membrino: “As much an entertainer as he was a race car driver.” 

Membrino’s career stretched from 1949 to 1978 and he was a dominator at the old Plainville Stadium. He won track championships at Plainville in 1964 and 1965 and then used a run of nine consecutive victories on the way to another title in 1969. 

His final victory at Plainville came in an Open competition event at the track in May 1977. He also recorded wins at the former Savin Rock Speedway in West Haven and the former Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass. 


  1. A touching tribute at the induction, condolences to Tony and the family. He must have been a real character and fun to be around. RIP Jap..

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