Column By: LAURIE FALLIS / RPW – WESTERLO, NY – The North East Stock Car Old Timers (NESCOT) organization originated from an old-time racer. For many years, the group helped only the elder racers, mechanics and car owners as only members were allowed.
Since then, though, the club has opened it’s membership up to the racing community and has graciously helped many of it’s members in a time of need.
As father time has made his presence known, the club’s board members have realized the importance of young and energenic members to be an active part of the club, ensuring that NESCOT continues on for many years to come.
Lets take a look at what NESCOT is, how it was formed and it’s purpose.
Legendary driver, the late Doug Garrison, started the club in 1985. For those who don’t know who Garrison was, he was a racer that started winning races and Championships at many speedways which are now extinct, starting in the 50s.
Doug also won the championship in 1963 at Lebanon Valley Speedway. After a successful racing career, he hung his helmet up in 1979.
Doug became ill in the early 80s. His friends and competitors held fund raisers for him and even passed the helmet at Lebanon Valley to help with his medical bills.
Having good insurance, Doug refused the money and told everyone to take the money and start a club. He wanted that club to help old-time racers, mechanics and car owners (qualified members, originally) if they were injured.
“Do something special with the money,” Garrison stated to his friends.
The former racer saw his wish become a reality, but only for a short time, as he passed away the same year the club was formed. Garrison was only 55.
Over the years, the club has generated money through it’s membership and having their popular steak bake, which includes many of our racing heroes in attendance. at that event, there’s no Hall of Fame for the club, but they hand out the prestigious (SAM) Award which goes to someone that has done a Superior Achievement In Motorsports.
To race money, the group’s fundraiser over the years has been the ever-popular NESCOT calendar. Each month of it has a racing picture with lucky numbers on the days where money could be won. Unfortunately, seeing the passing of dedicated elder members that volunteered much of their time selling the calendars at the tracks and other functions has taken its toll.
With the lack of volunteers to sell, sales had declined. With many now using their cell phones as date planners, the calendar has been discontinued.
Trying different ideas to drum up revenue, NESCOT stayed with the lottery numbers and does a fundraiser, with was most recently done during December. The group us looking to do another in the coming months.
NESCOT has also been a big supporter of the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modifieds Series for many years.
“NESCOT enjoys supporting the series because they strive in keeping the memories of our racing heroes and the past alive,” club treasure of 15 years, Rich Carpinello stated. “It’s important what they are doing. They give the fans, especially the younger generation, history of racing’s past that they may not have the opportunity to live through. It’s good for them to be able to learn and see the cars that represents our past and the cars that laid the path of today’s racing.”
Going into their 37th year as a club, the North East Stock Car Old Timers has a membership of over 250. It’s great with the support of this membership, but the fear of active members who participate at meetings is at a low. That worries the board members.
As for many clubs, there is a pattern with the same issues…having great member enrollment but few of them active. It seems that the same people are always doing things. It’s hard and understandable, with the fast-paced lifestyle we live in today’s world. It’s tough to find time, and even harder for committed people willing to devote their time.
NESCOT is always looking for more members to become active and bring fresh ideas to their meeting while also helping at events. They need the younger generation to fill positions in the future that will preserve, with good integrity, what the club is about to keep the organization strong for many years to come.
If you are interested, please attend a meeting. During the winter months, they are held on the second Saturday of each month at 1pm in Ravena, NY. After the time changes, usually in March, the meetings go to the second Thursday of the month, at 7pm. Meetings are held at the Pine Ridge Estates in Ravena.
“We are always looking for new faces at our meeting,” Carpinello stated.
Full disclosure. I am a member of NESCOT. As a member, and going to their meetings, I’ve learned that they’ve done a lot of great things for their members. They’ve done special things at different race tracks for all drivers that would make their founding father proud. Helping the racing community is truly something special.
Just being around it’s older members has been, basically, a true racing history lesson. The club is a great bunch of racing old timers that eat and breath racing. They welcome everyone with open arms and need the racing’s youth to keep NESCOT going strong.
Remember this. It takes youth to keep the old racing memories alive and clubs to continue on!