Contributed by: ACT Staff
Short track stock car racing promoter Tom Curley and driver Bobby Dragon have been nominated to the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame Class of 2009. Curley is President of the American-Canadian Tour sanctioning body and Co-Owner/Promoter of Thunder Road Int’l Speedbowl in Barre, VT; Dragon is a multi-time champion driver, and is still active in a storied career that began over 40 years ago.
Originally of Maine and now living in Barre, VT, Curley got his start in racing as a competitor, racing in the original Flying Tiger division at Catamount Stadium in Milton, VT in 1965 before a brief stint in the open-wheel Modified ranks. He became involved in the promotional and operational side of stock car racing at Catamount in 1978, working alongside television and radio broadcaster and Catamount Stadium and Thunder Road Founder Ken Squier, a 2002 NEAR Hall of Fame inductee.
Curley eventually partnered with Squier at Catamount Stadium, and created the NASCAR North Tour in 1979, where he earned a reputation as a fiery, controversial promoter. The duo also resurrected the shuttered Thunder Road track in nearby Barre in 1982. In January 1986, Curley broke away from NASCAR to form his own American-Canadian Tour, which has been an innovative and industry-leading Late Model touring organization since, and in 1987 joined with Rex Robbins of the American Speed Association (ASA) and Bob Harmon of All-Pro to form the Stock Car Connection.