The Chrome Horn News



    When the checkered flag falls on the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season at Thompson this Sunday it will mark the end of an era in New England auto racing. Dick Houlihan, who began his racing career in 1972 at the now closed Lakeville Speedway (MA), will climb from his racecar for the final time.
    Since that first start “Houly” has raced at tracks all around New England, the east coast, as far west as Indiana and even in Canada. Throughout his career he has driven for many car owners including Danny Fournier, Jim McCloud, Sam Medeiros, Frank Procopio, Bill Ambrosio, Dan Andruck, John McKenna, Lenny Ellis, Greg Paquin and Wayne Darling. Along the way Dick won over 150 Features and 9 championships including 3 NASCAR Weekly Series titles, one at Thompson in 1996 and back to back titles at Seekonk in 2002 and 2003. He was also voted the Most Popular Driver at Seekonk in 2001 and 2002.
    In 1987 probably the longest driver, crew chief, car owner combination in all of racing began. That year Bob Katon Jr. owner of Berkley Auto Racing, crew chief Dave Phillips and Dick formed not only a racing relationship but a friendship that would last for 20 years. Throughout the years, anytime the yellow J&R Precast sponsored #1 car unloaded at any racetrack, competitors knew they would be a threat to win. In 2001 Chad Chace, Pro Stock driver at the Seekonk Speedway was injured in a non-racing accident. He along with his car owner Joe Viveiros approached Dick and the B.A.R. team about merging the two operations and racing at Seekonk. This merger would result in 3 wins and 2 championships.
   In 2003, the team would have its first taste of NASCAR Modified racing, driving the Janice and Michael Boehler #34 to 1 Top 10 finish in 6 starts. Before the 2004 season, the decision was made to complete on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series. Bob Katon Jr. would be the car owner with sponsorship coming from Viveiros Insurance. It proved to be a difficult transition as the team only qualified for 6 races. The highlight of the year came at Seekonk on July 31st during the running of the Coca-Cola 150. Dick ran as high as 2nd and finished 3rd behind Chuck Hossfeld and Donny Lia. In the 2005 season Dick had 15 starts in 16 attempts and finished the season 20th in points. For the 2006 season the team looked to improve on its performance from the previous years. At seasons end they did just that finishing 13th in points on the strength of 2 top 10 finishes. In December, at the season ending awards banquet, Dick was presented with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Driver Achievement Award.
    Prior to the start of the 2007 racing season, Dick informed the team that this would be his final year in racing. Being a driver that has worked on his cars throughout his career, Dick explained that he was looking forward to doing all the things that he has been unable to do the past 35 years. Some of those things include fishing and camping as well as spending time with his fiancé Kim and her daughters Michelle and Megan and his son Shawn and new grandson Loghan.
    Heading into the Xtra/Mart 150, Dick currently sits 14th in points, 10 points out of 13th and 30 points behind 12th place. 2007 season highlights include the Whelen Made in America 300 at the Martinsville Speedway on September 1st, when Dick finished 4th in the Northern Division and 7th overall. Just this past Sunday, October 7th after starting 19th, Dick finished 3rd in the True Value Modified Racing Series 100 at Seekonk Speedway’s D.A.V. Memorial Weekend.
    So, if you see Dick this weekend at Thompson, make sure to say hi and congratulate him on a career that many only dream about. And to you Dick, from crew past and present, thank you for not only letting us be a part of your career, thank you for being a good friend.


Source: Jim Lumi/Berkley Auto Racing PR
Posted:  October 8, 2007

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