Rutland's Pico Raceway was short-lived

RUTLAND Are you old enough to remember auto racing at Rutlands Pico Raceway? The raceway closed in the mid 1950s. The Rutland General Electric plant now occupies the site of the popular, albeit short-lived, raceway. According to Vermont race fan Bill Ladabouchewhose excellent website www.catamountstadium.com is a fond salute to Vermonts vanished racetracksPico Raceway was built in 1951 by a partnership of Pasquale Patsy Romano, father of the Romano brothers of local trucking fame, Abe Newman, and former Rutland County Sheriff Gino Franzoni. One of the Romano brothers, Al, also was a successful driver at the track, according to Ladabouche. The track ...(had) to share the somewhat limited number of competitors in the area with the old Fairmont Park Motor Speedway of Hugh Young over in nearby Fair Haven. While Picos heyday was brief, fans packed the stadium for local stock-car action. Many of Vermonts favorite drivers of the 1950s spun around the Rutland tracknames such as Bill Anderson, Bardy Bardwell, Ted Langlois, Gene Tetralt, and many others. I was not very old when Pico existed, Ladabouche recalls, but I can remember Al Romano's 303 car, nicknamed the Bumblebee because of the distinctive noise the exhaust pipes made. Three-oh-three, the Bumble Bee!the track announcer, Red Wildey, would dutifully intone every time he mentioned his bosss car. Racing at Pico was a Sunday event. Race fans arrived at the track well before the 2:30 p.m. flag to meet friends and neighbors and visit the concession stand. For only $1, the thrill of afternoon stock-car racing was affordable to most working-class families living in Rutland County and beyond. Fathers and sons were common attendees, and several attractive young womenracing groupieshovered near some of the drivers. Picos well-built stands accommodated approximately 1,800 fans and were usually packed every Sunday during racing season. Pico closed in 1954 but it apparently operated for one more year under the name Green Mountain Speedway. After that, it appears that unpaid bills forced the closing of the track, according to Ladabouche. This was unfortunate because of its high quality infrastructure and seating. Other groups signed up to run races in 1953 and 1954, but they never got them off the ground. Sadly, Ladabouche adds, the Romano family recently disposed of all their records and papers on the track before I could contact them. There is very little left of the history of Pico now. Ladabouche credits Ed Fabian, among others, for some of the information posted on his informal Internet history of Pico Raceway. Source: Bill Ladabouche and catamountstadium.com.

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