THOMPSON, CT – Russ Dowd, the Voice of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) for over thirty years, has announced his retirement. Dowd, a resident of Woodstock, CT, has spent some 46 years behind a microphone.
Dowd has been a familiar part of the Thompson landscape most of his life. He first raced go karts on the old Thompson ¼ mile oval and then raced NASCAR Modified cars until 1980. Shortly thereafter, Thompson’s race director, the late Bill Slater convinced Dowd to join Rich Bonneau in the announcer’s booth at Thompson. He then went on to announce at tracks up and down the east coast including thirteen years at the Stafford Motor Speedway. He also worked at The New London – Waterford Speedbowl, Westboro Speedway, Riverside Park Speedway, Pocono and many more but he always considered Thompson to be home.
“For nearly four decades, Russ’ voice has boomed over our PA,” recalled TSMP General Manager, Josh Vanada. He’s become synonymous with the character of our facility, and our presentation has been, in large part, his. We will certainly miss him, and all the contributions that he has made over his accomplished career. We wish to express our sincere gratitude for his dedicated service, attention to detail, and his deep care and concern for Thompson’s best interest. Thank you, Russ, and congratulations!, Vanada concluded”
Dowd began his broadcasting career in his teen years when he announced Go Kart races at Woodstock, CT Fair. He went on to develop his skills and got his first radio job in 1969 while serving in the U. S. Army in Washington, DC. After leaving the military, Dowd returned home and went to work at WESO & WQVR radio in Southbridge, MA. He was soon named News Director and then Operations Manager. He spent the next 27 years running those stations.
“I leave the announcer’s booth with very mixed emotions,” Dowd said. “Thompson Speedway has been a huge part of my life. Not only have I worked the announcer’s booth, but have served as the Track’s General Manager and its Director of Operations. Thompson is in my blood. However, there comes a time when things must change and I feel that that time has come. I can’t begin to thank Don Hoenig and his family enough for all of these wonderful years. I also wish to thank virtually everyone I have had the privilege to work with over the years. It has been a very special experience and I feel fortunate to have been able to be a part of this historic speedway.” In 2014, Dowd was named the Best Short Track Announcer by voters on the Speed51.com web site.
“I certainly will miss being on the PA system on race days. I’ll miss the fun that we have had over the years in the booth and will miss the camaraderie that exists with a great group of people who work and have worked in race control. I have had a chance to work with some of the very best announcers in the business and I was able to learn from each one of them,” said Dowd. I have been very fortunate to have been in the booth for every race held at Thompson since I became an announcer and have had the pleasure of doing play by play of all 130 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races that have been run at Thompson along with Tour races at both Stafford and Waterford, Riverside Park and elsewhere”.
Dowd’s retirement does not mean that he will disappear from the Thompson scene. He will continue to provide assistance to his administrative successor to make for a smooth transition. Fans can also expect to see him on some race days and he might even make an occasional guest appearance on the track’s PA system.