MILTON, VT.- The former site of Catamount Stadium, an auto racetrack once located in Milton, Vermont, will soon have its own Vermont Historical Marker. according to Bill Kaigle, President of the Milton Historical Society.
The marker will be dedicated on June 9 at 11 a.m. at Catamount Drive in Milton, then from noon to 2 p.m. there will be a track walk with race cars and a meet and greet with former Catamount racers. Both the Vermont Historical Society and the Milton Historical Society will also be in attendance. From 2 to 4 pm the Milton Historical Society at 13 School Street in Milton will be open and visitors will be able to see their permanent display on Catamount Stadium.
The Catamount Racetrack, which was asphalt, was in business from 1965 to 1987. “The track was highly regarded in racing competition. It was an ideal short track. It was fun and challenging for the racers which made it fun for the viewers. It drew races from all over the Northeast and Canada,” Kaigle said.
“Ken Squire was one of the designers of the track. He grew up in Waterbury, Vt. He became interested in race car driving as a young boy going to state fairs. His father ran a radio station in Waterbury. Squire began announcing races as a teen then became a national race car announcer official and he was just inducted in the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” Kaigle continued.
There has been auto racing in Vermont for 115 years, according to Amanda Guston, Public Programs Manager at the Vermont Historical Society. The first auto race of record was in 1903 at the St. Johnsbury County Fair. “Over the next couple of decades there were a number of races at a variety of local and county fairs. The first established track in Vermont was the Dog River Speedway in Northfield in 1949,” she said.
Several racing innovations also began in Vermont according to Guston. “Bobby Dragon was the first in the Northeast with two-way radio communication in his car and the first driver to start using synthetic oil in race cars.” Both Bobby and his brother Beaver Dragon were awarded Living Legend Awards at Daytona in 2018
Among the race car items currently on display in a new exhibit at the Vermont Historical Society in partnership with the Milton Historical Society include a 1947 Midget Car, state fair trophies. fire suits, car parts, a Flat Head engine, engine tools, helmets and ton of photographs, Guston said. More information on Vermont Historical Society’s exhibit entitled Anything for Speed: Automobile racing in Vermont can be found at www.vthist.org/autoracing. More information on the Catamount Stadium Marker dedication can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1905469232857217/