A decade that marked the first champion in the history of Seekonk Speedway, the first three-time consecutive champion, the first Modified competition and the continued growth of the Action Track of the East. In ‘50, Mickey Gill officially earned the first track championship, winning countless races throughout the year in the Stock division. In the same year, Ralph Moody would earn the first checkered in the Modified division.
Looking back from the previous decade, names like Harrington and Humphrey continued their own winning success in this one.
After Gill, Humphrey would earn the next two championships in ’51-’52, becoming the first repeat champion in track history, while Harrington would earn two of his own at the end of the decade, scoring top honors in ’57 and ’58. He would win four straight races at one point, and nearly 40 years later, Harrington would earn honors into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame. Humphrey would add another of his own in ’59, marking his third and final at Seekonk. He would move to the NEMA Midgets, where he would continue to win races, and would take his final Seekonk checkered in ’86.
In this decade, D. Anthony would decide to fill the track with water over 12-feet high, opening for hydroplane boat races on select occasions, drawing fans and bringing a new style of competition to the New England region. Sammy Packard won the New England Speedboat Championship that year. It wasn’t long before it was clear that Anthony was going to do whatever it took to bring flocks of fans to the track, and it was working.
The middle of the decade was owned by George Smaldone. With a count of what it believed to be 13 wins in his time at Seekonk, Smaldone would become the track’s first three-time consecutive champion, winning titles in ’53, ’54 and ’55. He was a regular at the front of the field throughout his career.
Another driver to win a championship in this decade was Fred Luchesi. He wasn’t committed to only Seekonk, as a local competitor, and ’56 track champion, he spent much of his time traveling across New England. He was able to earn his first checkered flag in ’54, a championship two years later, and wins in just about every car where he sat behind the wheel. Also in ’56, Seekonk ran the first regularly scheduled Saturday night racing card — a night that morphed into the reality of weekly competition for years to come.
Marty Zingari, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, started his Seekonk tenure in this decade in ’57, where he would earn wins driving for different car owners. George Summers, who is the unofficial all-time wins leader at Seekonk, with what is believed to be 100 wins, started winning at the end of the decade.
This decade also marked the beginning of winning times for Fred Astle Sr., Tex Barry Sr., Joe Rosenfield, Leo Cleary, Bobby Sprague and many other legends. Sprague, like Zingari, was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving until his honorable discharge in ’46. He would compete for owners like Dave Marfeo, Bill Ross, and even Zingari, winning 35 times, starting in ’54 and ending in the 1970s.
Billy Clarke, who had a career that spread across more than 65 years, started his career in the B & A division during this decade. Entry prices were down around $1.50 per person, which contributed to large crowds.