The Chrome Horn - Looking Back with Phil Smith


Photos Courtesy of Tom Ormsby
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   Forty years ago in 1968, modified action started on Thursday night at Catamount Stadium where Bugsy Stevens took the win. Stevens carried his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night where he beat out Fred Harbach for the win. Smokey Boutwell, Fred DeSarro and Frank Faria rounded out the top five. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Lou Lazzaro out dueled Phil Spiak for the win. Jerry Cook finished third with Ken Canestrary and Pete Corey rounding out the top five. Lazzaro made it two for two on the weekend as he also won at Fonda on Saturday night over Cook and Dave Lape. Roland LaPierre Sr. was the Saturday night winner at Norwood Arena. and Lee Osborne was the winner at the Fulton Raceway. Bugsy Stevens won twin 25’s at Thompson on Sunday and at Utica-Rome, Dick Fowler took the win over Robbie Kotary, Sonny Seamon, Dick Clark and Bernie Miller.

   Thirty five years ago in 1973, Fred DeSarro started the weekend off with a win at Malta on Friday night. Denis Giroux finished second with Jerry Cook, Richie Evans and Ronnie Bouchard, following. Bouchard was not to be denied on Saturday at Stafford as he took the hotly contested 35 lap main. A second 35 lapper was run but Bouchard had to settle for third behind Eddie Flemke and Bugsy Stevens. Charlie Jarzombek won at Islip and at Tioga; Geoff Bodine took the win over Evans and Dick Fowler. Rounding out the weekend was a 100 lapper at Utica-Rome, which was won by Evans over Stevens, Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook and Fred DeSarro.

   Thirty years ago in 1978, the Yankee All-Star League visited the Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine continued his domination as he took the win. Bugsy Stevens finished second with George Savory, third. Plainville Stadium ran an open show on Thursday, which saw Brett Bodine take the win over Eddie Flemke, Ron Bouchard, Ron Wycoff and Ronnie Rocco. Stafford fell to rain on Friday. Riverhead went to Charlie Jarzombek and Maynard Troyer got his eighth at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford and Seekonk on Saturday. Islip ran a 150 lapper that saw Richie Evans take the win over Jerry Cook and Don Howe. Mike Stefanik won the main at Riverside and Troyer continued his winning ways as he won at Lancaster. Leo Cleary won at Thompson on Sunday and at Monadnock, Geoff Bodine beat out Jack Bateman.

   Twenty five years ago in 1983, Kenny Bouchard, in the Ted Marsh no.55 took the modified win at Stafford. George Summers finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Bo Gunning was the SK modified winner. At the Spencer Speedway, Mike McLaughlin beat out Richie Evans and George Kent. At New Egypt it was John Blewett Jr. over Tony Siscone. At Riverhead, Dan Jivenelli won the Thompson 300 qualifier. Saturday night at Waterford, he modified field was 38 cars strong. Mark LaJunesse took the win with Bob Potter and Jerry Pearl in tow. At Riverside, Brett Bodine took top honors. Other weekend winners were John Blewett JR at Islip, Eddie StAngelo at Seekonk and Tom Bolles at Thompson.

   Twenty years ago in 1988, the Modified tour was at Riverhead on Wednesday for a 151 lapper. Mike Ewanitsko took charge and won the event. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with John Blewett JR, third. Ted Christopher won at Stafford on Friday and at Monadnock, Reggie Ruggiero took the checker. Lee ran a modified event, also on Friday, which was won by Tom Bolles. On Saturday at Waterford, Ed Flemke JR was the winner and at Riverhead, Dan Jivenelli took the win. Dick McCabe won the Oxford 250 and on Sunday, the mods went to Jennerstown where Bolles beat George Kent for the win.

   Fifteen years ago in 1993, Ted Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter finished second with Tom Tagg, third. The Modified Tour was at Loudon on Saturday for a 40-lap event, which saw 10 lead changes. Reggie Ruggiero was the eventual winner with Doug Hevron, Rick Fuller and Ed Flemke JR following. The Busch North cars were also on hand with Mike McLaughlin winning out over Kelly Moore. At Waterford it was Mark LaJunesse over Jerry Pearl. Other weekend winners were Richie Gallup at Riverside and Bob Park at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Loudon, Rusty Wallace started 33rd and took the win. One day later, on July 12, Davey Allison and Red Farmer were flying into the Talledega Speedway when Allison’s helicopter crashed. Farmer survived but Allison died one day later.

   Ten years ago in 1998, Stafford and Waterford rescheduled their race nights to accommodate those going to Loudon for the Winston Cup weekend. Stafford had planned on running on Tuesday but their event rained out. Waterford ran on Friday night and it was Dennis Gada taking the modified win over Jeff Pearl and Mark LaJunesse. The Modified Tour Series and Busch Grandnational North Series ran at Loudon on Saturday afternoon. Mike Stefanik scored his seventh mod tour win of the season in an event that saw 25 lead changes among seven drivers in 100 laps. Jan Leaty finished second and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Ewanitsko and Ed Kennedy. Kelly Moore was the BGNN winner and was followed by Dale Shaw, Brad Leighton and Tom Bolles. George Brunnhoelzl ended a long dry spell as he won at Riverhead on Saturday night. Jeff Burton won the Loudon Winston Cup event after leading 191 of the scheduled 300 laps

   Five years ago in 2003, winner. In Saturday night Thunder action at Thompson, Todd Ceravolo ended a long dry spell as he took the win in the Sunoco Modified-SK Type modified feature that was run in conjunction with the visit of the Busch North Series. Ceravolo, driving a car owned by his dad, “Dickie Doo” Ceravolo, started on the pole and never looked back as he took the win in the 30 lap contest. Bo Gunning, who recovered from an early caution, came from the back of the pack to finish a close second. Matty Adante finished third and was followed by Eric Berndt and Jeff Malave. Tom Carey was the Busch North Series winner. Series point leader Andy Santerre finished second. The Featherlite NASCAR Modified Tour Series to Maine that weekend to the Beech Ridge Speedway on Saturday night. Todd Szegedy led from start to finish to record his second victory of the year in the series. It wasn’t dull by any means as Rain played havoc at the Stafford Speedway last Friday night forcing officials to red flag the SK 150 lapper at the lap 18 mark. The event will resume on August 1. Mike Quintiliano was the late model Tony Hirshman and Chuck Hossfeld staged a serious battle to take the top spot but Szegedy kept his cool and never faltered. Ricky Fuller finished fourth with John Blewett III rounding out the top five. Thirty-two modifieds were on hand for the 150-lap event that carried a purse of $67,475. Not making the starting grid were Carl Pasteryak and Jake Marosz. Twelve cars finished on the lead lap. Ted Christopher, Chris Kopec, Jim Broderick, Kenny Barry and Bob Polverari. rounded out the top ten. There were five caution periods for 36 laps. At the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night in a race against time Jeff Pearl went pole to pole to take the win. It was the Speedbowl’s intention to get their program in the books in order for fans to be able to view the fireworks in New London or head up to Thompson for the Busch North Series event. Eddie Reed Jr. finished second with last week’s winner Dennis Cherette, third. The event had to be red flagged after Jay Miller took a hard shot into the second turn. Miller was taken to the Backus Hospital for observation. NEAR Hall of Fame Inductee Ray Miller stated that his son suffered a fracture of the C2 vertebrae plus a swollen hand Miller will be out of action the rest of the year. Zach Sylvester will fill his seat a Waterford for the remainder of the year. John Brouwer Jr. and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.

   Last year, 2007 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors were on their mid-summer break. Their next event would be a “Flash Format” contest at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night, August 4. Donny Lia, who had won four of the seven events run so far in 2007, led the series’ point standings with a 53 point edge over Matt Hirschman. Lia was also the top money winner with $43,300 in the bank. Todd Szegedy, who had been in second spot, slipped to third. James Civali, with two wins, sat in fourth spot with Ron Silk rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik, Ed Flemke Jr and Jamie Tomaino. Fifty-seven different drivers had entered into competition so far. The qualifying format for the first ever NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour “Flash” event at Riverhead Raceway was announced by WMT director Ed Cox in conjunction with Barbara and Jim Cromarty of Riverhead Raceway. As they have since 1985, Miller Lite served as title sponsor for this unique event, they hoped. Qualifying would find 20% of the cars entered to qualify through time trials, for example if 40 cars entered then 8 would transfer through time. The cars that made the show through time would then later redraw for their staring positions in the main event. Two 25-lap qualifying races would then be run, with odd number cars from time trials in one qualifying race, while the those who qualify in an even number going to the second qualifying race. How many cars make the feature from the heats will be announced when the prior to the qualifying races. The remainder of the 28-car field would be filled out by provisional starting positions as noted on the WMT entry blank.
   In True Value Modified Series racing Les Hinckley captured his third win of the season in the 100 lap Mid-Summer Modified Shootout at Lee USA Speedway, Lee , NH . The True Value Modified Racing Series event served as a guaranteed starter race for Mod Mania 400 weekend at Thompson, CT ; in September 8, 9.
   The Thompson Speedway was quiet on Thursday night as they hosted a special event on Saturday night. Sean Caisse of Pelham , NH , led all but two lap to score the victory in the NASCAR Busch East Series Pepsi 100. Ben Rowe of Turner, ME turned in a dominating performance to take top honors in the Pro All Star Series 75-lapper during Thompson’s Full-Fendered Frenzy. In weekly series action, Mark Jenison of Danielson continues to show his prowess in the late Model division with this third win in four weeks while Scott Sundeen of Douglas , MA , kept the streak alive for his racing family with his victory in the Limited Sportsman division. After being shut out of victory lane thus far in the 2007 season, Rick Blanchard of Pascoag , RI , swept the twin bill for the Mini Stocks.
The Busch East Series event started under a shower of fireworks in honor of the Freedom Team Salute that honors the fine men and women of our military. Brigadier General Steven Scorzato, Assistant Adjunct General of the CT National Guard, gave the command to start engines. The fireworks continued well into the night as Sean Caisse survived a number of late race restarts in the caution-marred event to post victory.
   Rookie Marc Davis led lap one but it was all Caisse from that point on. Despite a single slip on lap 92 when Matt Kobyluck snuck in to lead a lap, Caisse showed the way throughout nine caution periods. In the late stages of the event, as Caisse worked to hold off Kobyluck, Olsen and Joey Logano were locked in a battle of their own. The sparks flew late in the race with a pair of cautions for incidents further back in the pack. After two failed attempts to end the race under green, the yellow checker flew for Caisse on lap 108. In the end it was like old home night for the Busch East Series at Thompson with a New England sweep of the podium. Sean Caisse of Pelham , NH held off all the challenges from Matt Kobyluck of Uncasville , CT and Mike Olsen of North Haverhill , NH . Joey Logano and Brad Leighton rounded out the top five.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco drove to victory lane in the 40-lap SK Modified feature for his second win of the season, Glen Reen took the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for his third win of the season, Andrew Durand scored his 4th win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Carla Botticello scored her second feature win of the 2007 season by winning the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. The 30-lap Late Model feature was halted by rain with two laps complete. The race will be resumed from lap-3 at a date to be determined. The lead was swapped fast and furiously at the start of the race with Kerry Malone leading lap-1, Brad Hietala leading lap-2, and then Frank Ruocco leading lap-3. Ruocco led the race until lap-31 when Rocco moved past Ruocco to take over the lead. A caution with 32 laps complete slowed the field and set up a series of restarts that saw Woody Pitkat and then Ruocco put back a row for jumping the restarts. This put Ted Christopher alongside Rocco for the restart, but Ruocco got under Christopher on the restart for second while Rocco continued to set the pace out front. Christopher got back around Ruocco for second place on lap-38, but couldn't make a pass on Rocco for the victory. Christopher finished second, with Pitkat, Ruocco, and Ronnie Silk rounding out the top-5.
   Christopher hopped a plane on Saturday morning which took him to Virginia where he won a 150 lap Modified event at the Franklin County Speedway which is a few miles north of Martinsville .
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Dennis Gada passed early leader Tyler Chadwick with 16-laps to go and went on to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the shoreline oval. It was the third of the season and 53rd career victory for the defending track champion. Gada, who started ninth, chased 18-year-old Chadwick, the only other leader, for several laps before the final yellow showed. He took the lead after a lap of side-by-side combat and went on to a seven car-length win over Chadwick. Shawn Monahan, Rob Janovic Jr. and Diego Monahan finished nose-to-tail behind Chadwick. Other winners included Ed Reed Jr. in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jack Aquilina in the Sportsman 20-lapper, Joe Godbout in the Mini Stock 20 lapper and Chris Bakaj in the Mini Stock 20 lapper.
   Tony Stewart finally broke through for his first victory of the season, holding off Matt Kenseth on several late-race restarts Sunday to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart broke a 20-race winless streak dating to last season thanks in part to a hard crash by contender Jimmie Johnson, who was running second behind Stewart with 45 laps left when his tire went flat. Kevin Harvick was the Busch Series winner.

   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 from the famous
Wednesday Night Open Shows at the defunct Plainville, Ct. Stadium,

Courtesy of

Charlie Glazier                             Wild Bill Greco                       George Alkas

Ronnie Bouchard                    Eddie Flemke, Sr.                   Danny Galullo, Jr.

Charlie Jarzombek                          Ray Miller                               Chick Stockwell

The Chrome Horn 'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive


Source: Phil Smith/Courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Posted:  July 11, 2008

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