Tom DiMaggio, known throughout the racing community by his nickname Sid, is a native of Waterford, CT, but ironically did not grow up going to the Speedbowl. Sid is the nephew of long-time flagman and Race Director Dick Brooksie, so as a kid he went to the races primarily at Thompson International Speedway, Riverside Park Speedway and Westboro Speedway where Brooks worked as an official. He later spent a couple summers at his hometown track in Waterford during mid-1980’s, then returned to his hometown race track as a weekly supporter in July of 1998 and has been active in the Speedbowl community ever since. His involvement in the sport grew when he began writing race recaps of Waterford Speedbowl events on www.jeff-pearl.com in 2003, and continued doing so until 2009 while building an audience for his outside-the-box view of short track racing. In 2005, after meeting with track owner/operator Terry Eames and NEAR Hall of Fame racing journalist Pete Zanardi, he spearheaded a detailed research of the Speedbowl’s statistical history. All of his research is available online at www.speedbowlhistory.com. His efforts preserving racing history were recognized in 2007 as the recipient of the Fan of the Year Award, presented by NASCAR broadcaster Dick Berggren at that year’s Speedway Expo event in MA. He remains the track’s active historian.
In 2008 and 2009, DiMaggio formed a production crew (Vault Productions) and filmed the season-ending Finale Weekend events as a documentary short which premiered at the annual Speedbowl Awards banquet. The 2008 version profiled 7 different SK Modified drivers & the season-ending 100-lap SK Modified® event and captured Dennis Gada winning his record 7th SK Modified Championship. This film was later shown in a non-competitive category at the Silk City Film Festival in 2009. For the 2009 Finale video, the crew expanded it’s efforts to follow all the title contenders in each of the 4 Saturday NASCAR divisions – 12 drivers in total – during the Finale. It was during these years, the idea to additionally produce a documentary film about the track’s entire history was born.
One of the crew members from those Finale projects was Jesse Gleason of Lisbon, CT who was an experienced videographer and a competitor at Thompson Speedway when he first teamed up with DiMaggio. Jesse began his racing career in the late 1990’s in the Speedbowl’s Strictly Stock division before moving on to Thompson International Speedway. Jesse still races there in the Limited Sportsman division and in 2012 was a National finalist for NASCAR’s Division III program.
Off the track, Jesse graduated from UConn in 2006 with a degree in Film Studies and then from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 2007. In 2008, Jesse answered an ad from Sid asking for help with the video production of the SK Modified Finale project and the 2 have been working together on various projects ever since. In addition to his video work with Sid, Jesse was an associate producer & assistant editor on the 2011 independent film Busking the System, which profiled subway musicians in New York City, and The Killers of Comedy featuring cast & regulars from The Howard Stern Show such as Reverend Bob Ley, Sal Governale, Richard Christy & Jim Florentine.
In 2010 DiMaggio and Gleason, along with Jesse’s brother Brent, began filming the Speedbowl’s Saturday events on a weekly basis. The result was a weekly web series entitled Sid’s View which focused on the race events from a fan’s (DiMaggio’s) point of view. The race coverage regularly contains DiMaggio and his friends’ commentary from the grandstands as the race event unfolds. Their videos became a hit in the racing community, most of them getting thousands of hits on YouTube. They continually use various camera angles, multiple in-car cameras and provide replays for much of the action. While a majority of the Sid’s View series was filmed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, they also did a handful of events at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Seekonk Speedway.
In April 2013, DiMaggio was again recognized for his tireless efforts preserving the history of the Waterford Speedbowl when he was one of the recipients of the John Wentworth Good Sport Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance. One of 6 recipients in 2013, the award is given to “deserving individuals who have contributed their time to sports in their communities” at the annual Gold Key Dinner. The CSWA awards are considered the highest honor for sports in the state of Connecticut.
In February 2014, DiMaggio was the winner of a fan vote for Best Social Media in 2013 via a nationwide poll conducted by Speed51.com
In addition to DiMaggio and the Gleason brothers, the VP Crew also includes Phil Jacques, Kenny Stuart and Tiesha DiMaggio. Since they began producing “Sid’s View”, there have been many who have donated their time to help produce their videos: Gayle Saunders, Kathy Courtemanche, Keith Conley, Ryan Cochrane, Eric Webster, Justin Girard, Ronnie Gray, Doug DiPisa, Bob Lucas, Ricky Holmgren and all the numerous race teams & track officials at each track.
WATCH OUR VIDEO RETROSPECTIVE
Celebrating our humble beginnings in 2008 through to our 200th online video in May 2013, watch this retrospective look behind the scenes of filming Sid’s View with Tom DiMaggio, Jesse Gleason, Brent Gleason, Phil Jacques, Tiesha DiMaggio, Eric Webster and Ryan Cochrane.
Since 2014, the Vault Production crew has expanded it’s production schedule to different series and different tracks. In 2018, the new weekly series of current events was created and filmed at Stafford Motor Speedway. “The On Board Series” presented by Waddell Communications featured one driver weekly during the SK Modified event with coverage from up to 8 on board cameras plus team radio communications. They also did some Modified events during the season. In 2019, the series was revised to just Modified Open 80 events at Stafford Speedway plus select divisions at Thompson Speedway.
Since 2010 DiMaggio, the Gleason brothers, Courtemanche and Lucas have been producing a documentary series on the history of the Waterford Speedbowl. This 6 part series is an in-depth look at the track both on & off the track from it’s initial opening in April 1951 to it’s survival of a foreclosure auction in October 2014. For more details, visit the dedicated website for this project at speedbowldocumentary.com
In 2019, DiMaggio and his VP Crew teamed with Sean Foster of shorttrackracer.com to produce a reality series entitled ‘The Show at Stafford Speedway‘. The season-long production will result in a 5 to 6 episode series for release in January 2020 and will follow 4 drivers (Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams, Mike Christopher Jr and Glen Reen) in their chase for the SK Modified Championship. Read more about the project here.
The theme used for “Sid’s View” since season 4 (2012) is the original song “Traveling Home” written & performed by John Fries (pronounced “freeze”), a local recording artist who resides in Waterford, CT. He also provided the instrumental bass groove theme used in season 1 and 2 (2010-2011). For more info on John’s music, visit his website www.johnfriesmusic.com. You can also find John Fries on iTunes.