The Hippo


Mar 20, 2018








Museum membership options

Paid memberships are available by signing up at All members receive an emailed newsletter.
Bronze: $35 1-year membership card and four free admission passes.
Silver: $100 1-year membership card, six free admission passes and a museum T-shirt.
Gold: $250 1-year membership card or $750 lifetime membership card. 1-year membership includes embroidered maroon museum T-shirt, eight free admission passes and a mailed newsletter. Lifetime includes 10 free admission passes and a lifetime pass for the membership holder.
Platinum: $1,000 lifetime membership card. Includes a guest lifetime membership, one-year subscriptions to Vintage Motorsports and Victory Lane magazines, 15 free admission passes and two premium seats for a Cup event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or two tickets to a major event at New England Dragway in Epping.
North East Motor Sports Museum
When: Open to the public through Sunday, June 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours after June 18 TBA.
Where: 922 Route 106 North, Loudon
Cost: $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under

Driven by history
North East Motor Sports Museum opens in Loudon

By Matt Ingersoll

 The idea to build an auto racing history museum at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon — to share the stories of some of New England’s most iconic racecars and racers behind the wheel — goes back more than a decade.

“Vic Yerardi, who oversaw the Vintage Celebration [at the Speedway] for years … came to me and said that he was concerned that New England’s motor sports history was leaving,” museum President Dick Berggren said. “He said that when people die, there’s no place for their photographs, there’s no place for their cars, and so the photographs would get thrown away and the cars … would be sold for private collections. … So he wanted to have a place where it could all be saved and the history could be shared with the general public.”
Now, that place exists. The North East Motor Sports Museum opened to the public June 12. The nearly 10,000-square-foot building contains vintage race cars, motorcycles, a snowmobile, dozens of trophies in a 25-foot-long display case, thousands of historic photographs, a library and research center with hundreds of books, magazines and much more.
“These were people who, by doing motor sports here in New England, reached fame, a few of whom reached fortune and some of whom died trying … and their stories needed to be preserved,” Berggren said.
Berggren traveled the country to other auto racing museums and asked for their advice on how to successfully undertake such a project. From these trips, he learned the importance of not taking on any debt — and as a result, the museum will open debt-free, part of a collaborative effort by its more than 600 paid members who have helped donate everything from books to lights to trophy cases. The building itself was constructed specifically for the museum, as part of a deal Berggren reached with the Speedway to have it there for 90 years at just $1 per year.
Visitors will encounter vintage cars that have won big races either at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or at other major tracks across the country, with some accompanied by the trophies that were won and the uniforms and helmets those racers wore. Some cars have also appeared at past Vintage Celebration events at the Speedway.
The oldest car at the museum raced more than a century ago, a 1915 Duesenberg that finished second in the 1916 Indy 500 — then just the sixth running of the race — by Wilbur D’Alene. The car is currently owned by Joe Freeman, founder of the Boston-based Racemaker Press and second vice president of the museum.
Other exhibits include the car driven by Connecticut racer Joey Logano that won the 2009 Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At just 19 years old, Logano had become the youngest winner ever in the race series. The trophy he won and the uniform he wore during the race are included in the exhibit, shelved just behind his car.
The winner of the first and only “Sno Bowl” snowmobile race held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in February 2010 is also on display. The Yamaha SX Viper 700 was built and driven by Belmont resident Erik Ouellette, who reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour during the race.
The museum’s library contains hundreds of some of the rarest books and print magazines on auto racing, including the complete collection of Speed Age, the first auto racing magazine to be published in America, which was in circulation during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Berggren said displays are expected to be swapped frequently, including with the ProNyne Motor Sports Museum in Pawtucket, R.I., a museum he said is more centric to racers from Rhode Island.
“We have enough stuff to fill a couple more buildings just like this,” he said. “We’ve already got stuff from other museums on our floor, and we certainly want ProNyne to be an active part of what we’re doing here. … No doubt we’re going to be moving cars back and forth.”
Some adjustments may be made to the museum’s hours of operation following its opening week, according to Berggren, depending on how it is received.
“There is a story behind every car,” he said. “We’re excited to preserve the history of this race track just because it has meant so much to New England.”

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