In the early days of automotive history, if two people in the same town had cars, there was a good chance they were racing them on Sunday. Race tracks sprung up everywhere, and Vermont was no exception. At one point, more than a dozen speedways functioned all over the state, but none were more successful than the original Catamount Stadium in Milton, which is within sight of Vermont SportsCar’s new home.
Other tracks – most notably Thunder Road in nearby Barre – were hopping, but when Catamount Stadium opened in 1965, what made it successful was exactly what attracted Vermont SportsCar: location, location, location.
Catamount Stadium was located between Route 7 (still the major north-south route from the Massachusetts border all the way to Canada) and the recently constructed I-89, both of which could bring racers from all over New England and Quebec. It was a sanctioned NASCAR®1 facility until 1986. Its departure effectively ended Catamount Speedway’s history, and it closed soon after in 1987.
During its over 20-year run, Catamount was a training ground for future racing stars such as Jamie Aube, who ran in both the NASCAR Busch Grand National North and Craftsman Truck Series; Randy LaJoie, NASCAR Busch Grand National Series champion; Kevin Lepage, Winston Cup competitor; and Ricky Craven, Fox NASCAR analyst and former NASCAR series winner.
The Green Mountain state is also home to many well-known automotive standouts, including the 65-year-old automotive publication Hemmings Motor News and Pebble Beach Concours-d’Elegance winning restorer Mark Goyette in Bennington; vintage sports car restoration specialist Restoration & Performance Motorcars in Vergennes; and rally car legend and VSC rally event manager John Buffum, who graduated from Middlebury College and has spent most of his life in Colchester.
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