Forty years ago in 1968,
the All Star League visited Fonda on Wednesday night.
Lou Lazzaro made
it three in a row as he took the 100-lap win. Jerry Cook finished second
with Ron Narducci, third. Stafford fell victim to rain on Friday night
It stayed dry at Malta where Eddie Pieniezek took the win over Richie
Evans, Bob Bruno, Jerry Cook and Bernie Miller. At Norwood on Saturday
night, Bugsy Stevens took the win. Jerry Cook beat out Andy Romano and
Dick Clark at Fonda and at Fulton, Maynard Troyer got his first of 45
wins at the upstate New York track. Ernie Caruso collected the checker
at the Riverside Park Speedway. The Bugman continued his win streak as
he won at Thompson on Sunday night and at Utica-Rome, Ken Platt was a
surprise winner over Al Tomasi, Lou Lazzaro, Maynard Forrette and Dick
Thirty five years ago in 1973, Albany-Saratoga ran on
Wednesday night. Jerry Cook took the win over Richie Evans and Maynard
Forrette. Friday at Albany-Saratoga, Evans took the win with Eddie
Pieniezak, second. On Saturday at Stafford, Ronnie Bouchard made it four
in a row. At Tioga, it rained. Evans carried his winning ways over to
Utica-Rome where he won the Sunday night feature. Jerry Cook finished
second and was followed by Fred DeSarro and Andy Romano.
Thirty years ago in 1978 Geoff Bodine continued his
domination of the Yankee All Star League as the mid week series visited
Stafford. New Egypt ran the same night with Richie Evans taking the win.
Bodine continued his roll as he returned to Stafford on Friday night to
take another win. Evans finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. At
Riverhead it was Charlie Jarzombek over Greg Sacks and Tom Baldwin and
at Spencer, Mark Newton took the win. On Saturday at Waterford, Dick
Dunn beat out Moose Hewitt and Bob Potter and at Seekonk Ronnie Bouchard
hit the stripe ahead of Eddie StAngelo. Islip saw Don Howe in victory
lane over Jarzombek and Baldwin and at Riverside, Richie Evans held off
Stan Greger for the win. Evans took another at Utica-Rome on Sunday and
at Thompson, Fred DeSarro inched out a win over Leo Cleary.
Twenty five years ago in 1983, Superman Greg Sacks was
invincible as he won the Tuesday night Modified Madness at Stafford.
Riverside ran on Wednesday with S.J.Evonsion beating out Stan Greger. At
New Egypt it was Richie Evans. Bugsy Stevens took a popular win at
Stafford on Friday night, holding off Kenny Bouchard and at Spencer,
Doug Hewitt and Jim Spencer finished one-two. Saturday night at
Waterford, Tommy Fox went pole to pole and won his first Modified event.
Dickie Doo Ceravolo finished second. At Seekonk it was Leo Cleary and in
Winston cup action at Pocono, Tim Richmond was the pole sitter and the
Twenty years ago in 1988, John Jensen was the SK Modified
winner at Stafford. Bob Potter finished second. Potter rebounded to win
the Saturday night feature at Waterford. Riverside ran twin features
with John Rosati and Reggie Ruggiero taking the checkers. On Long
Island, at Riverhead, Bob Park took the win. The Modified tour was at
Thompson on Sunday. Mike Stefanik took the win over Rick and Jeff
Fifteen years ago this week in 1993, Riverside Park hosted
the Modified Tour Series on Wednesday night. Ricky Fuller started on the
pole and led the entire 150-lap distance and took the win. Ed Flemke jr.
finished second with Jeff Fuller, third. Pre race favorites Mike
Stefanik and Reggie Ruggerio wrecked and dropped out early. Friday night
at Stafford saw Steve Chowanski win and on Saturday at Waterford, Ronnie
Rocco went pole to pole for the win with Bob Potter, second. Lennie
Fischer won at Riverhead and on a sad note, upstate New Yorker, Eddie
Pieniezak passed away at the age of 60.
Ten years ago, in 1998, it was a busy week. Riverside ran a
triple-header on Tuesday. Mike Ewanitsko, Todd Ceravolo and Ed Carroll
each pocketed $5,000 for their respective wins. At Stafford on Friday,
Mike Stefanik won the BGNN 150 by one foot over Rick Fuller and Tom
Carey. Bob Potter was the SK winner over Bo Gunning. Stefanik traveled
to Holland N.Y. on Saturday where he recorded his eighth victory of the
season. Reggie Reggiero finished second with Tim Connolly, third. Bill
Anderson won at Riverside and at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio recorded his
first win. Mike Christopher won on Sunday at Thompson. Three spectators
were killed during the CART 500 when tires and suspension parts went
over a 15-foot fence after an accident. Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup
winner at Pocono and in BGN action at South Boston, Tim Fedewa took the
Five years ago in 2003, in Thursday night Thunder action at
Thompson, Ted Christopher had luck on his side as he dodged numerous
wrecks to record his second win of the year at the fast 5/8-mile oval.
Kerry Malone led the early going until an over aggressive Jeff Malave
put the leader into the wall on lap 6. Track officials felt that
Malave’s move was deliberate and put him to the rear of the field. Ron
Yuhas Jr. then held the lead until lap 20 of the 30-lap feature. After a
re-start, Christopher got under Yuhas to take the lead and went on to
record the win. In the mean time Male worked his way back to the front.
His night ended after an encounter with Todd Caravel. Male hit the wall.
After making repairs, Malave was able to re-start and ended up finishing
in seventh spot. Yuhas ended up in second spot and was followed by
Ceravolo, Eric Berndt, Bert Marvin and Bobby Santos III. Other Thursday
night winners at Thompson were Norm Wrenn in the Pro Stocks, Jeff
Plakias in the Late Models, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman and Eric
Bourgeois in the Mini-Stocks. At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night
double SK-Modified features were run. Chris Jones ended a long dry spell
as he garnered his first victory since September 1998. Jones passed Todd
Owen on a lap 10 re-start and went on to lead the remaining 40 laps.
Kerry Malone finished second and was followed by Ron Silk, Chuck
Docherty and Lloyd Agor. Defending track champion Bo Gunning crashed out
of the first event and after bringing out a back up, won the nite-cap
over Jim Civali, Willie Hardie, Frank Ruocco and Mike Holdredge. Ryan
Posocco won a special 100-lap event presented for the track’s late
models. The Busch North Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on
Saturday night. Kelly Moore took the win after Matt Kobyluck had set
fast time and led the first 54 laps before crashing out of the event
after an encounter with a lapped car while under caution. Mike Stefanik
ended up in second spot. In SK Modified action at the shoreline oval
Chris Pasteryak recorded his first ever-modified win. Ed Reed Jr. ended
up second after Dennis Gada, who crossed the finish line in second spot
was penalized and put last on the lead lap for ignoring the black flag.
Ron Yuhas Jr. finished third. John Fortin got his second win at
Riverhead and Tim Arre took the win at Wall Township.
The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour series traveled to the
Adirondack Speedway in up state New York. Despite threatening weather
and one red flag period the tour prevailed and the event became history.
Chuck Hossfeld was the Busch pole sitter and drew sixth starting spot.
Tony Hirshman drew the pole and led the first 97 laps. Hossfeld led from
lap 98 to 123 and race winner Todd Szegedy led from lap 124 to lap150.
Szegedy, who started 17th, was forced to pit during a caution on lap 44
with a flat. The field had just resumed to move after a red flag for
rain. Ed Flemke Jr. had his best finish in quite a while as he finished
second, four seconds behind the winner. Flemke, who started 24th,
mustered a late race charge that saw him go from eighth to second in the
final 45 laps. Jan Leaty started 16th and passed Hossfeld on the final
lap to finish third. Hossfeld and Ted Christopher rounded out the top
five. Nine caution periods kept the field slowed for 53 of the scheduled
150 laps. It was a very competitive event as 15 of the original 32
starters finished in the top ten.
In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Ryan Newman was the Busch Pole
sitter. Newman took the lead from Jim Spencer with 43 laps to go as he
went on to take the win. Kurt Busch finished second. Scott Wimmer was
the Busch Racing Series winner at Pikes Peak.
Last year, 2007. Once again the Waterford Speedbowl avoided
the bullet of foreclosure that was scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2007
at noon. Property owner Terry Eames finally consummated a deal with
Harvey Industries late in the week in which he sold 8 acres of the
Speedbowl property for $1.6 million. Before he could take the money and
run, the town of Waterford had a lien on the property that had to be
satisfied. Eames was forced to pay the town $188,176 for back and
current taxes, as well as $29,976 for police protection that he owed. To
stop the actual foreclosure Eames secured a private loan from Rocco
Arbitell of Southbury and Peter Borelli of Derby, which allowed Eames
and his holding company 1080 Hartford Road to pay off its debt to
Washington Mutual of Seattle. Washington Mutual, a Seattle-based bank,
had originally planned to foreclose on the property because of a $1.7
million mortgage debt. The 38.75-acre property is valued at $2.2
million. Arbitell is the owner of Arbitell Convenience Stores and Famous
Uncle Al's Hot Dogs.
Now that Eames had over $1 million in his bank account hopefully he
would continue to pay his bills and satisfy his debt to Arbetill and
Borelli. History says in a year or two it would be the same old story
again! I hope I’m wrong on that one.
The National Speed Sport News, considered one of the leading auto
sports trade publications, recently announced that the New York Post ran
an expose on former Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari. In the
story the Post stated that Molinari was paid $1.5 by the International
Speedway Corporation for his help in gaining government approval for the
now abandoned proposed ISC Speedway that was to be built on Staten
Island in New York City. Molinari’s Public Relations firm, The Molinari
Group, was paid an additional $35, 000 per month from June of 2004 to
December 2006. ISC, which paid $100million for the 440 acres that would
house the proposed track was forced to abandon the project after fierce
opposition from taxpayers. ISC then hired a guy named Peter Vallone for
$12,500 a month to help sell the partially oil contaminated property.
One would have to guess that Terry Eames probably wishes that he were
Buds with these guys!
Mark Mockovak was terminated as Media Coordinator of the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour. No replacement had been named at that time. After
14 years on the job, Mark and all the help he had been to us all would
surely be missed. Mockovak put his heart and soul into promoting the
Whelen Modified Tour Series but evidently someone in Daytona Beach
didn’t like him.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway
Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett of Howell, NJ, held off a stellar field of
Sunoco Modified competitors to score his third win of the season. Dave
Berghman of Seekonk, MA, led flag-to-flag in the Pro Stock 50-Lapper to
score the popular victory. In other full-fendered action, Rick Gentes of
Woonsocket, RI, scored a dramatic win to earn what appeared to be his
fifth triumph of the 2007 season. Joe Arena of Kensington took down top
honors in the Limited Sportsman division. Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford,
MA, and Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI, were victorious in the TIS Modifieds
and Mini Stocks respectively.
Jimmy Blewett enjoyed an up and down ride in the Sunoco Modified
feature. Dave Salzarulo and Steve Masse both took brief turns at the
head of the pack before John Blewett muscled his way into the top spot
over Masse. Contact between Jimmy Blewett and Salzarulo caused a chain
reaction deeper in the top ten collecting strong competitors Kerry
Malone, Todd Ceravolo, Tommy Cravenho, and Geoff Gernhard.
On the restart, John resumed his lead taking brother Jimmy along
for the ride. Masse got a run from third making contact with John. Jimmy
was able to sneak into the lead with Rocco taking over the second spot.
John settled back into the third position. Pitkat charged by Masse with
ten laps down. The top three ran in a high-speed chase of leader Jimmy
Blewett. John dogged Rocco for second. At halfway, Rocco made a bid on
Jimmy’s lead. Rocco looked as if he would take over the top spot but he
could not hold his momentum and both Blewett brothers were able to make
their way past putting Jimmy back in the lead. Rocco now had his hands
full with Pitkat. The excitement had settled down as the top-four
continued to run nose to tail. Shelly Perry spun in front of the leaders
to bring out the caution to set up a six-lap dash to the checkers. On
the double file restart, Rocco made it three-wide coming down to take
the green. Jimmy Blewett squeezed into the top spot over John Blewett
and Rocco. Rocco could not maintain his position and lost the third spot
to Pitkat. Pitkat immediately went to work on John Blewett. He moved
into the second spot with two to go. He lined up behind the younger
Blewett but could not reel in the leader.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway Woody Pitkat won the SK Modified and first Late Model feature
for his second consecutive double shot, while Ryan Posocco won the
regularly scheduled Late Model feature to break a tie with Jim Peterson
as the division's all-time winningest driver. Glen Reen took down the SK
Light feature win, Rick Lanagan won the Limited Late Model feature, and
Kyle Nosal turned in a dominating performance to score his first career
DARE Stock win in the 15-lap feature event.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature saw Woody Pitkat take down his
second consecutive feature win. Willie Hardie took the lead from the
pole and led the first 10 laps of the race. Pitkat made his move in
turns 3+4 on lap-11 to overtake Hardie for the top spot. SK Modified
points leader Ted Christopher was glued to Pitkat's back bumper
throughout the second half of the race, with several caution periods
keeping the field in close contact. The two race leaders had a near
disaster on lap-39 as they had to avoid the lapped car of Frank Ruocco.
Both Pitkat and Christopher made it by Ruocco unscathed, but the loss of
momentum by Christopher allowed Pitkat all the margin he needed on the
final lap of the race. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and
Christopher was Eric Berndt, Kerry Malone, and Keith Rocco.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl Jeffrey Paul finally got the monkey off his back as he ended
weeks of frustration with a win in SK Modified action. Paul, who drives
a family owned mount headed by his dad, Gary, took the lead on lap 11of
the 35 lap main event. Point leader Rob Janovic applied the pressure in
the closing laps but the young racer never faltered.
Bruce Thomas Jr. won the 30-lap Late Model race. Other winners were
Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock) and Mark Bakaj
(Legends). Rounding out the top five in the Modifieds were Matt Gallo,
Dennis Charette and Jeff Pearl.
With a threat of rain and boomers closing in the Speedbowl
management and competitors got the entire 5 feature race program
completed in two hours and had fans heading home by 9:00pm.
Tony Stewart won the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. Jason Leffler got Toyota its first ever Busch Series win at
O'Reilly Raceway Park as he slipped by Greg Biffle with three laps to
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 of the DIRT modifieds,
The Chrome Horn
'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive