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Vintage racing draws colorful cars, big plans

Sunday News Correspondent

August 03. 2013 7:49PM

LOUDON - Ray Boissoneau has been a fan of racing since just after World War II, when his favorite driver was the late Mike Nazaruk.

Boissoneau, 75, of Bedford liked "Iron Mike" so much that he owns one of his cars, a "midget" race car that he restored and now owns along with 29 other classic race cars.

"I grew up a 'gear head' as a youngster, and like a lot of people, racing became a passion with me," he said.

Boissoneau was among dozens of car owners from across the country at the 23rd annual Vintage Racing Celebration at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. He brought several of his cars to the speedway and won a race Saturday with his McLaren classic.

He was also at the track to promote the proposed Northeast Motor Sports Museum, which he and several other classic race car owners hope to build in Loudon.

The museum would be on the grounds of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At 20,000 square feet, the multi-story building would house an extensive collection of race cars, trophies, helmets, engines, motorcycles and memorabilia that represent racing history in the Northeast.

Boissoneau is a member of the Racing History Preservation Group, a nonprofit state organization that is trying to raise $3 million to build the museum. So far, he said, the group has raised $200,000.

"The fundraising is going well, but we really need a benefactor to donate the land (for the museum)," he said.

The museum is needed to help people remember "the rich history of Northeast racing," he said, and to help remember drivers such as Iron Mike, who was also known for his service as a U.S. Marine in the Battle of Guam and the Guadalcanal campaign in World War II. He died racing at a track in Langhorne, Pa., in 1955.

"He was my hero," Boissoneau said. "That's the kind of person we need to remember."

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