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Bandolero confab pitched for Bethel; young racers are welcomed at the track

By Fritz Mayer
September 19, 2012

A Bandolero is a small race car that is meant to be raced by drivers as young as eight years old and up to 16. The cars and the drivers are an important part of the seasonal racing program at Bethel Motor Speedway, and INEX, the organization that sets the rules for Bandolero races, as well as for cars in other classifications, has asked the operators of the Bethel track if they would be interested in hosting a national Bandolero event next summer.

At the Bethel town meeting on September 12, supervisor Dan Sturm read a letter from Tracy Chirico, operations manager of the track. She wrote, “We are flattered and proud to have the opportunity to host a national event for these up-and-coming drivers who strive to be upstanding members of their communities. The national event would bring in visitors from across the country, who would stay in the Town of Bethel and visit local establishments over the course of several days.”
Sturm said he supported the track and the event.

Councilman Bob Blais was also supportive. He said he had been to the track recently for a racing day dedicated to the late town councilman Dick Crumley, who was a racer in his youth. Blais said he was impressed with the evening and with the young Bandolero drivers who, he said, “came out at intermission and they had teddy bears. The teddy bears were for our police cars. What happens is, if there’s a bad accident or any incident where there are kids involved, the officer can go to the cars and get a teddy bear.” He said, the drivers “come out in these hot little cars… they come out with a fire suit, they come out with a helmet, and I was really impressed.”

Chirico requested a change in the track’s permit to accommodate the event, which would require racing on a Friday and Saturday for one weekend; normally racing occurs only on Saturday.

Chirico normally applies for a permit for the new season in the late winter. But after checking the town code, the town attorney said there was nothing in it to prevent Chirico from applying now for a permit for the 2013 season. That way, a public hearing on the matter could be held soon, leaving enough time for the track to inform INEX whether the event can go forward.

All members of the town board expressed support for the Bandolero event, which, if approved, may be held during the third weekend of August next year.