The Chrome Horn - Looking Back with Phil Smith


Photos Courtesy of Tom Ormsby
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   Forty five years ago in 1963 Ken Meahl won a 60 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica- Rome Speedway. Cam Gagliardi finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Ed Ortiz and Bill Wimble rounded out the top five. Forty years ago in 1968, rain washed out racing at Stafford and Malta on Friday night. Rain also washed out Fonda on Saturday night. The sky cleared at Norwood where Mr. Leo Cleary took the win. Joe Krukowski won at Islip and Don Flynn won at Riverside Park. Thompson cancelled the races on Sunday. Utica-Rome ran a 100 lapper with Andy Romano taking the win over Jerry Cook, Richie Evans, Dave Kotary and Ron Narducci. Sam Reakes won at Fulton. Don Diffendorf won at the Spencer Speedway.

   Thirty five years ago in 1973, Fred DeSarro started the weekend off with a win at Malta on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Richie Evans, third. Stevens stayed up in New York State for a 100 lapper at Tioga on Saturday, which he won. Evans finished second with Jerry Cook, third. At Stafford, Ronnie Bouchard beat out Eddie Flemke for the win. Lou Austin finished third with Don Flynn, fourth. Gary Winters was the winner at Islip.

   Thirty years ago in 1978, Monadnock ran on Wednesday with a 100 lap Yankee All Star League event. Geoff Bodine took the win over Jack Bateman, Punky Caron and Bugsy Stevens. Bodine went on to win four out of five for the weekend as he also took victories at Riverside, Oswego and at Utica-Rome. Maynard Troyer was the only spoiler as he beat the Big Red machine in a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night. Other weekend winners were Wayne Anderson at New Egypt, Fred DeSarro at Seekonk, Moose Hewitt at Waterford, Greg Sacks at Islip and Tom Baldwin at Riverhead.

   Twenty five years ago in 1983, Thompson ran a 40 lapper on Wednesday which saw George Kent take the win over George Summers and Bugsy Stevens. Friday at Stafford saw Stan Greger put the Ben Dodge No.36 in victory lane as he beat Mike Stefanik and Ray Miller. Dale Holdredge was the winner at Waterford on Saturday. Richie Evans won 100 lappers at Spencer and Riverside. Tom Baldwin won at Riverhead and Bill Park won at Islip.

   Twenty years ago in 1988, the Waterford Speedbowl ran a 100-lap open competition event on Wednesday, which paid $4,000 to win. John Anderson took the win over Tom Bolles, Jamie Tomaino and Richie Gallup. Anderson backed up his win with others at Stafford on Friday and again at Waterford again on Saturday. Reggie Ruggerio was a double winner as he won at Monadnock and at Riverside. Wayne Anderson won a Richie Evans memorial event at Riverhead and Bob Potter scored at Thompson on Sunday.

   Fifteen years ago in 1993, Bob Potter scored his 17th career win at Stafford on Friday over Mike Christopher and Bo Gunning. Potter backed it up with his 90th career win at Waterford on Saturday night. Chris Jones finished second with Jerry Pearl, third. The NASCAR modified tour series visited Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Hometown favorite, Steve Park sat on the pole and went on to win the caution filled event. There were twelve yellows for 68 laps which kept Park’s average speed at 32.459 mph. Reggie Ruggerio finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller and Ed Flemke jr. Ed Kennedy was the winner at Riverside Park. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Bill Elliot took the win over Terry Labonte.

   Ten years ago in 1998, Rob Summers scored his first ever-modified victory as he won a 75 lapper at Riverside Park on Tuesday. Dave Berube led the event until the two to go mark was reached when Chris Kopec who was down one lap intentionally blocked him. It was a payback for an incident on the 59th lap when Berube and Kopec tangled with the end result being Kopec spinning out and losing a lap. Berube recovered and finished second. Dan Avery, Bob Polverari and Rick Miller rounded out the top five. Lloyd Agor was the Friday night SK-Modified winner at Stafford as he won out over Curt Brainard, Ted Christopher and Jamie Asklar. Tension was high and tempers were short at Stafford. Jim Broderick along with car owners Angie and Tony Cerese were suspended for one week for fighting and Bo Gunning was put on probation for shoving an official. Dennis Gada beat out Eric Berndt and Don Fowler at Waterford and Al Ermarino went pole to pole at Riverhead. Saturday night at Riverside saw Ted Riggot in victory lane and at Thompson on Sunday Mike Christopher was victorious over Bert Marvin and Richie Gallup. The Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon as a second division to the IRL. A sparse crowd of 20,000 was on hand as Tony Stewart won the IRL event. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Jan Leaty on lap 81 of the 125 lap modified event. In taking the win, Stefanik went over the one million-dollar in earnings mark. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Leaty, Tony Hirschman, John Blewett III and Tom Connolly. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Jeff Gordon took the win and in Busch Grand National action at Watkins Glen, road racer Ron Fellows took the win.

   Five years ago in 2003, Brad Leighton took the lead on lap 43 in the BGNN 150 at Stafford when Dave Dion spun in oil and went on to take the win, his fourth of the year. Jeff Taylor finished second with Dion, third. Stafford's SK Modified event rained out. Waterford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night with Eric Berndt taking the win over Jeff Pearl and Tucker Reynolds. Riverhead went to Frank Vigliarolo Jr. In 100degree heat, Bert Marvin went pole to pole at Thompson. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Tom Fox, third. At Riverside, Rob Summers won a 125 lapper over Ted Riggott and Bob Polverari. In Busch Grand National action at Milwaukee, Casey Atwood hit Jeff Green on the final lap and went on to take the win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Glenn Allen. In Winston Cup action under the lights at Daytona, Dale Jarrett took the lead on lap 146 of the 160 lap distance and took the win over Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Burton.

   Last year, 2007, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made it’s first of two visits to the New Hampshire International Speedway. Speedway owner and promoter Bob Bahre posted $164, 095 for the 100 lap-105.8 mile event. There were 40 Modifieds on hand for qualifying which took place on Thursday.
   With the exception of John Blewett III having mechanical problems and having to take a provisional starting spot, qualifying went smooth. Ted Christopher took the Busch Pole with a speed of 126.812mph. Second fastest was Donnie Lia with a speed of 126.795 mph. Jimmy Blewett, Matt Hirschman and Eddie Flemke Jr rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tony Hirschman, Charlie Pasteryak, Bob Grigas III, Ronnie Silk and Glen Tyler.
   Donnie Lia, who signed on with longtime NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Bob Garbarino just prior to the start of the season, picked up his fourth win in six races with a victory in the New England 100 at New Hampshire International Speedway last Saturday. For Garbarino, who has been a Modified car owner since the mid 1960s, its been a dream season. Never in over 40 years has he had a year like this. Lia and Co. made the strategic choice not to pit for tires or fuel, while other of the top contenders like Ted Christopher did at various stages and had to work their way back to the front.“If we pitted today, I don’t know if we could have got through like Teddy did,” said Lia, who had five career wins in 79 career starts entering 2007. “We made our decision and stuck with it. And it was apparently the right one.” The race was abbreviated to 85 laps due to time constraints. It was slowed eight times for 38 laps, with the last caution setting up a six-lap dash for the finish between Lia, Christopher and Eddie Flemke. Lia briefly lost the lead to Flemke but used a push from Christopher to get back by and then held on as Christopher and Flemke battled for second. Christopher, who has four Modified Tour wins at NHIS, held on for the runner-up finish. Matt Hirschman and Todd Szegedy were fourth and fifth respectively. Ronnie Silk, Bobby Santos III, Ron Yuhas Jr., Charlie Pasteryak and John Blewett IIII rounded out the top 10.
   Eight cautions for 38 laps kept Lia’s average speed at 67.140mph. Among those who failed to finish were Joe Hartmann who lost an engine on lap 2, Bob Grigas, Kenny Bouchard, Rick Fuller and Glen Tyler were eliminated in a lap 34 accident. James Civali lost a driveshaft on lap 35. Eric Beers and Mike Christopher lost engines while Jake Marosz and Rob Summers dropped out with suspension problems. Alex Hoag and Jimmy Blewett wrecked on lap 73. Lia held the points lead over Szegedy by 61 and Hirschman by 63. Jimmy Blewett and James Civali round out the top five.
   On a sad note, Whelen Modified Tour Series crew chief Greg Narducci sustained serious head injuries when he fell off a moving golf cart on Thursday night. He suffered several injuries to his facial area including possible fractures to the temple, cheekbone and area behind the eye socket. Swelling of the brain occured with possible clots behind the front area of the skull. He was Med Flighted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in NH. Greg was touch and go for a while, but is now on his way to recovery.
   In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway, heavy rains caused the management to cancel its Thursday Night Thompson Thunder race program. The entire northeast was hit by heavy downpours and storms forcing management’s hand after nearly two hours of work to dry the track.
   In Busch East series action at Loudon on Friday the racing was absolutely brutal. Connecticut’s Joey Logano won for the 3rd time in 6 series starts in the 125-mile event that was slowed by 10 caution periods and 2 red flags. It took two hours to finish the event. Logano held off 8-time New Hampshire International Speedway winner Brad Leighton and Tim Schendel over several late-race restarts. Twenty-four of the 43 starters finished on the lead lap. Cautions: 10 for 64 of the 126 laps completed.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Zach Sylvester ended a seven year dry spell at the nutmeg oval. In addition to Sylvester who won the the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Glen Reen, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Rick Lanagna,the Limited Late Model feature and Dean Casagrande, the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
   The 40-lap SK Modified feature, run under a full moon, saw several attempts at getting it started with both front row starters being put back a row, which put Sylvester up front for the start, and he took the early lead. Sylvester held the lead through multiple caution periods, but would lose the lead to Willie Hardie on a lap-21 restart. Sylvester got back around Hardie on lap-23 and would hold the lead through several more restart situations until the final caution came out with 3 laps to go. Sylvester powered his way to the lead, but had Woody Pitkat and Ted Christopher all over his back bumper. Sylvester held strong and took the checkered flag ahead of Pitkat. Keith Rocco made a last lap charge into third place, with Christopher and Todd Owen rounding out the top-5.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Rob Janovic Jr. notched his third win of the season on Saturday night as he won the 35-lap SK Modified feature on “Military Appreciation Night At The Speedbowl”. Janovic passed early leader Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. with 13 laps to go and was able to hold off Dennis Gada in the closing laps. Mucciacciaro set the early pace, grabbing the top spot from pole-sitter Jeff Paul with a daring move shortly after the initial green. Paired off with the eventual winner on several restarts, he maintained the lead until Janovic moved to the outside groove. An early wreck on the backstretch triggered by Don Fowler claimed several cars, including point-leader Shawn Monahan. The victory moved Janovic within six points of current leader Shawn Monahan in the battle for the championship. Mucciacciaro, Brandon Hansen and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five.
   Other feature winners at the shoreline oval were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Jim Procaccini (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock), and, Chris Bakaj (Legends).
   Tom Rogers won the Cromarty Cup 50 at Riverhead and Steven Reed was the Modified winner at the Wall Township Speedway. In Nextel Cup action at Loudon Denny Hamlin took the win.
   Kevin Harvick held off a late challenge by Carl Edwards to grab his second NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway.
   That’s it for this week from 40 Clark Street, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail:

This week are several vintage racing photos drivers from the
Lancaster, NY Speedway provided by
John Bisci's Turn5 Photo & Video courtesy of

Don Wylie                              Ed Ortiz                              Gary Iulg

Pete Hayes                          Ron Martin                          Thort Haig

The Chrome Horn 'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive


Source: Phil Smith/Courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Posted:  June 27, 2008

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