Thirty years ago in 1978, Benny Parsons won the
Richmond 400 as 20,000 spectators looked on. Lenny Pond finished second
with Cale Yarborough, third. Darrel Waltrip and Dick Brooks rounded out
the top five.
Twenty-five years ago in 1983, Bobby Allison won the
Richmond 400 Winston Cup event.
Twenty years ago in 1988, the Winston Cup division of
NASCAR was at Richmond and the tire war between Hoosier and Goodyear was
on. Hoosier had the tire to beat. Morgan Shepherd took the pole on
Hoosiers and Neil Bonnett took the win, also on Hoosiers.
Fifteen years ago in 1993, Mark Martin won the Busch
Grand National 200. Todd Bodine was involved in a bad crash after he
blew a tire and hit the wall. Rusty Wallace rebounded from his wreck at
Daytona and dominated the Winston Cup event. Dale Earnhardt finished
Ten years ago in 1998, Speedway Motorsports exercised
an option to buy the 800 acres and buildings that made up the Sears
Point Raceway in Sonoma, California. In Winston Cup qualifying at
Rockingham, Rick Mast was the Busch Pole sitter. Kenny Wallace was
second fastest. Tony Stewart was the Busch Grand National pole sitter.
Mike Stefanik made it into the starting field with an owner’s
provisional. In the GN 200, Matt Kenseth bumped Tony Stewart on the last
lap and went on to take the win by a half car length. Stefanik finished
35th, 11 laps down. Jeff Gordon took the Winston Cup win after he passed
Rusty Wallace in the late stages.
Five years ago in 2003, rain played a role at
Rockingham as the wet stuff cancelled qualifying for both the Busch
Series and the Winston Cup Series. Saturday’s Busch Series event was
also rained out and re-scheduled for Monday. Jamie McMurray led the
entire event to take the win over David Green. In Winston Cup action on
Monday, Dale Jarrett and Kurt Busch swapped the lead four times during
the final 11 laps with Jarrett coming out on top at the finish. On a sad
note, Bill Colton Sr., who brought soft walls to Lancaster and Oswego
Speedways passed away and Dexter Burnham, noted newspaper man and former
Stafford Speedway Public Relations director passed away at the age of
Last year, 2007, The only action of the weekend was on
the west coast. Matt Kenseth took control in the closing laps Saturday
night at California Speedway, driving off with his fourth NASCAR Busch
Series victory in 12 tries on the 2-mile oval. Casey Mears grabbed
second place 12 laps from the end and gave a big effort to try to catch
Kenseth, but the Roush Fenway Racing driver wouldn't let Mears get close
enough for a serious challenge, driving across the finish line about
five lengths ahead. Kenseth made a clean sweep as he won the Nextel Cup
event. TV camera angles indicated the event was not a sell out.
The Northeast Racing News carried the announcement that HD
Net would extend their coverage of Busch East events to 2007. A while
back NASCAR had indicated that there would be extensive television
coverage of Tour Series events. With Speedweeks in Florida over and most
of the major announcements made it looked like the Modifieds and
NASCAR’s other regional series got the short end of the stick again.
In some sad news, Malcolm R. "Johnny" Thompson, 78, of Pond
Drive, formerly of Pendleton Hill Road, North Stonington, died on Monday
morning, Feb. 19, 2007 at his home. Johnny, a die hard Ford man, drove
at many racetracks throughout his career from the old Kingston
Fairgrounds in Rhode Island then at the Waterford Speedbowl, Stafford
Speedway and the Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. He achieved his
greatest success at the Norwood Arena where he was a Modified Champion.
For many years Thompson and the late Leo Hill shared a garage in North
Stonington where they fabricated their own cars.
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'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive