The Chrome Horn - Looking Back with Phil Smith



Photos Courtesy of Tom Ormsby
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   Forty years ago in 1968, Eddie Flemke began the weekend with a win at Stafford on Friday night. Driving the Bobby Judkins 2x, Flemke beat out Gene Bergin, Bugsy Stevens, Don MacTavish and Bob Santos. Pete Corey made a rare appearance at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway and walked away with a win. Andy Romano finished second with Jerry Cook, Dave Lape and Dave Kotary rounding out the top five. Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row at Fonda on Saturday night as he won a 50 lapper at the historic oval over Corey and Ed Pieniezek. Leo Cleary put the Joe Brady 41 in victory lane at Norwood and at Islip, John Berkowski took the win. Bugsy Stevens took a win at Thompson on Sunday night and at Utica-Rome, Pete Corey got his second win of the weekend as he took the 30-lap win over Jerry Cook, Bernie Miller, Sonny Seamon and Lou Lazzaro. In open competition action at Fulton on Sunday, Jim Shampine took the win.

   Thirty five years ago, in 1973, a 100 lapper scheduled at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, on Friday night, rained out. At Stafford on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard out-dueled Eddie Flemke for the win. Dennis Giroux finished third with Freddie Schulz and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Islip ran a 200-lap championship event that saw Richie Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Cook upstage the locals as they took the top three spots. Dan MacNamara finished fourth with Jim Hendrickson, fifth. Shangri-La ran twin features with Grame Bolia and Bryan Osgood taking the checkers. Rounding out the weekend at Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Sonny Seamon took the win over Maynard Troyer, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook.

   Thirty years ago, in 1978, the Yankee All Star League made a mid-week stop at the Waterford Speedbowl. Geoff Bodine continued his domination of the series as he took the win from local favorite Dick Dunn. Ron Bouchard finished third and was followed by Roland LaPierre Jr. and Bobby Clark. Richie Evans, Fred Harbach and Jerry Cook took the top three spots at New Egypt. Bodine went two for two at Stafford on Friday night as he won a left-over100 lapper plus the regularly scheduled 30 lapper. At Monadnock, Punky Caron ruled the roost. Riverside was not on Bodine's venue for Saturday as Reggie Ruggiero took the win at the amusement park oval. Bodine went to Seekonk where the rain prevailed. Bodine made it four for four on the weekend as he won the Sunday night event at Thompson. Ron Bouchard finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. It was also a good weekend for Richie Evans and Maynard Troyer. In addition to his win at New Egypt on Wednesday, Evans won a 200 lapper at Islip on Saturday and a 30 lapper at Utica-Rome on Sunday night. Troyer also hit a triple as he won at Spencer on Friday night plus double features at Lancaster on Saturday night.

   Twenty five years ago, in 1983, a scheduled 100 lapper at Stafford had to be stopped after Corky Cookman ran over John Falconi's wheel in turn four and went through the catch fence and landed in the fourth turn bleachers. Mike Hornat also went out. Fans in the area escaped with minor injuries. John Anderson won the preliminary SK-Modified event. It was also on this night that the dream team of Greg Sacks and Ernie Wilsburg came to an end. Billy Colton, who would eventually head up Troyer Engineering, won the Friday night event at the Spencer Speedway and at New Egypt it was Tom Mauser over John Blewett Jr. Bob Potter added to his feature win total at Waterford on Saturday night as he beat out Roland LaPierreJr. Other Saturday night winners were SJ Evonsion at Riverside, Jim Spencer at Shangri La and Siege Fidenza at Lancaster. Seekonk rained out, as did Thompson on Sunday. In action on Long Island, Wayne Anderson won out over Don Howe and Richie Evans at Riverhead on Friday night and it was Evans over Tom Baldwin at Islip on Saturday night.

   Twenty years ago, in 1988, Ted Christopher won his second race of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Point leader Bob Potter finished second with Mike Christopher, third. Phil Rondeau was the late model winner. At Monadnock, Marty Radwick won out over Reggie Ruggiero and Dwight Jarvis. John Jensen took the Saturday night win at Waterford and it was Bruce D'Assssandro over Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside. In other Saturday night action it was Dan Jivenelli over Wayne Anderson at Riverhead and Tony Hirschman over Lee Sherwood at Shangri-La. The Modified Tour was at Thompson on Sunday. Jim Spencer took the win over Mike Stefanik, Mike Mclaughlin, Brian Ross and Jamie Tomaino. Jeff Fuller won the SK-Modified feature in a car owned by Brad Lafountaine.

   Fifteen years ago, in 1993, the NASCAR Modified Tour visited the Lee Raceway. The biggest crowd in the history of the track, 7500, was on hand. Reggie Ruggiero, in the Ed Cloce 69, took the lead from Jeff Fuller when he suffered a flat on lap 8 and went on to take the 100-lap win. Rick Fuller finished second followed by Satch Worley, Tom Baldwin and Charlie Pasteryak. At Stafford on Friday night, Ted Christopher recorded his 30th career win at the Nutmeg oval. Mike Christopher finished second with Mike Paquett, Bo Gunning and Curt Brainard rounding out the top five. Phil Rondeau took the modified feature at Waterford after a nine-car wreck triggered by Ted Christopher took out many of the front runners. At Riverside it was Chris Kopec over Jerry Marquis and Steve Park and at Riverhead, Mike Ewanitsko won the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial. Wayne Anderson finished second with Don Howe, third and Eddie Brunnhoelzl, fourth. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Mark Martin took the win after Kyle Petty spun and collected Dale Earnhardt Sr. with six laps to go. The Busch North Series was at Loudon where Kelly Moore took the win over Robbie Crouch, Mike Stefanik and Mike Mclaughlin.

   Ten years ago, in 1998, Bo Gunning won the No-Bull 100 at Stafford. Mike Christopher finished second with Bob Potter, third. The event was a re-scheduled rainout. Lloyd Agor won the regular event. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series visited the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Hometown favorite Mike Ewanitsko took the 201-lap win. Howie Brode finished second with Tom Cravenho, third. Jamie Tomaino and Tony Ferrente rounded out the top five. Frank Vigliarolo led the first 17 laps until being passed by Ewanitsko. There were 13 cautions for 60 laps. At Waterford, Mike Holdredge recorded his second career win and at Riverside, Ricky Miller took the checker. In Sunday night action at Thompson, Bert Marvin held off Mike Christopher and Jim Broderick to take the win. Watkins Glen hosted the Winston Cup division and Busch North Series. Kim Baker outran John Preston and Joe Piezza in the Busch North Series portion and Jeff Gordon won the Winston Cup event. Mark Martin finished second. Ted Christopher drove in relief for Dick Trickle and had worked his way to second spot before he pitted. A sour engine robbed him of a high finish. It was also on this weekend that Bob Bahre announced that the IRL would be dropped from the Loudon schedule because of poor crowd draw and poor attendance of cars. Paul Sawyer canceled the modified race at Richmond because of a conflict with the powers in Daytona Beach and on a sad note, midget driver Len Duncan died at 87.

   Five years ago in 2003, in Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, rain threatened and in the end prevailed but not before most of the evening racing was completed. Eric Berndt inherited the lead just past the half way mark of the 30 lap Sunoco SK-type modified event when Bo Gunning made contact with early leader Bob Santos III. Santos was done for the night and Gunning restarted in the rear. Berndt led the rest of the way with a spirited battle with Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin. Ceravolo got a run on Berndt on the last lap and as the pair exited turn four heading for the checkered flag they were side by side. At the line it was Berndt by inches. Ceravolo settled for second and was followed by Marvin, Kerry Malone, Ted Christopher and Gunning. Scott Bronczyk won the Late Model feature, Jess Gleason, the Limited Sportsman and Mike Veins, the Mini-Stocks. The final event on the evening’s schedule was a 75 lap Pro Stock event that went 25 laps before the skies opened up. Just before the rain began David Berghman and Jeff Connors were battling for the lead when they tangled and ultimately collected the next ten cars behind them. At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was in town for the ASB American Classic 150. There were 44 modifieds on hand. Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Bob Garbarino Mystic River Marina Dodge was the Busch Pole sitter. Eddie Flemke Jr. led from the opening green and appeared to have his season turned around until rain interrupted his quest for victory. The event went to caution on lap 44 and never went back to green as rain intensified. Flemke led the field under caution until lap 61 when the race was finally halted. The event was resumed the following week on Tuesday evening. Prior to the Featherlite Modified Tour event Ted Christopher annexed his 69th career win at Stafford as he survived numerous wrecks to win the 50 lap SK-Modified event. Christopher had spent most of Friday in Watkins Glen, N.Y. where he qualified 17th for Saturday’s Busch North Series event that was run at the historic road course. The Stafford Speedway announced that double features would be the rule for the remaining events in August. Early season and mid-season rain were the cause of numerous cancellations. Six SK Modified feature events and four late model features would be run in a three week span. The NASCAR Busch North Series event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. also fell victim to rain but the event was called after the half way mark and Ted Christopher was declared the winner after 41 of the scheduled 62 laps were run. While the leaders pitted, Christopher gambled that it would rain before he ran out of gas. His gamble paid off as one by one, those ahead of him pitted for fuel and he ultimately inherited the lead and eventual win.

   Last year, 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour started the weekend of on a wet note as rain washed out the scheduled event at Stafford on Friday. The entire event was rescheduled for Saturday night. Ted Christopher ended an almost year long dry spell as he won the event over Todd Szegedy and Mike Stefanik. It was Christopher’s seventh win at the track where he is the all-time winningest driver and the points leader in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ SK Modified Division. But it was his first trip to Victory Lane on the Whelen Modified Tour since Aug. 17, 2006 at Thompson (Conn.). Christopher led 58 laps before pitting on lap 76. He quickly worked his way back up front and retook the lead on lap 114. Doug Coby, making his first start of the season for the No. 77 Race Against Cancer Foxwoods/Subway Pontiac, finished fourth. Donny Lia (No. 4 Dodge), who won the first two Whelen Modified Tour stops of the season at Stafford, was fifth. Matt Hirschman, Jerry Marquis, Eric Beers, Jimmy Blewett and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top 10. Thirty-two cars, light by Tour standards, were on hand. All started the event. Numerous wrecks and spins were the cause of 13 caution periods as almost half (73laps) of the 150-lap distance was run under the yellow.
   In True Value Modified Series action Jon McKennedy took the checkers at the Canaan Speedway in New Hampshire.
   In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco picked up his third Sunoco Modified (Sk) win of the year. Jay Macedonio wired the field for his first-career Pro Stock win. Rick Gentes continued his dominance of the Late Model division with his sixth win of the season. Larry Barnett turned his recent bad luck around with a win in the Limited Sportman division while Kurt Vigeant made it two in a row in TIS Modified competition. Brad Caddick scored his second Mini Stock feature win of the season. Rocco of Wallingford, CT, scored his win with an impressive performance in the Sunoco Modified division. The headline division was stacked up three-wide before they entered turn one on lap one. Things got worse when a struggling pole-sitter, Danny LaJeunesse, spun in turn two. Bad luck continues to plague Todd Ceravolo, who, once again, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Danny Cates and Steve Masse occupied the front row when the racing went back to green on lap one. Masse lost ground on the restart handing the lead temporarily to Danny Cates. Before the completion of the lap, Tommy Cravenho was the new leader. A grinding wreck in turn one that included Russ Blanco, Brian Tagg, LaJeunesse and Dave Lacroix brought the action to a halt with the red flag on lap three. Under caution, Jimmy. Blewett headed to pit road. When racing resumed, Cravenho continued to show the way with Rocco moving into the second position. The caution flew on lap six when the #5 of John Blewett came to rest with a ball of flame in turn four. The restart pitted Rocco against Cravenho for the lead. The two went wheel to wheel, even bouncing off each other, as they headed toward the start/finish line. Rocco was able to grab the top spot from Cravenho on lap eight. Masse and Cates were hanging tough inside the top five. Kerry Malone, Woody Pitkat and Bert Marvin were getting racey for the fifth position. The duo of Rocco and Cravenho were putting some distance back to third. They watched their lead fade when the caution flew on lap 14 for further troubles for the T.S. Haulers Team. Jimmy Blewett came to rest in the infield off of turn two. The green flew again one lap shy of halfway with Rocco and Cravenho still showing the way. Rocco got away a bit from Cravenho while they went two-by-two inside the top five. The fourth spot was a busy place with Masse holding off Cates, and Marvin, who had made quick work of Pitkat and Malone after the restart. Again, it was a two-car breakaway with Rocco leading Cravenho. Masse ran third while Cates was being hounded by Marvin. Pitkat, Buddy Charrette and Kerry Malone took chase. Marvin was able to take the third spot from Cates with less than ten laps remaining. Marvin caught Masse with five laps to go. Pitkat and Malone ganged up on Cates as they were able to advance their positions on the rookie. With Rocco checked out on Cravenho, Marvin continued to dog Cates. Malone turned up the heat on Pitkat for the fifth position. At the finish, it was all Rocco. Cravenho settled for the second position. Steve Masse had a career day in the Modified finishing third. Marvin ran a smart race to quietly finish fourth over Pitkat.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat and Ryan Posocco continued their streaks with Pitkat taking his fourth consecutive SK Modified® feature victory, while Posocco scored his third consecutive Late Model feature win. Glen Reen took down the SK Light feature win for his fifth win of the 2007 season, Rick Lanagan scored his fifth Limited Late Model feature win of 2007, and Megan Bienkowski scored her first career victory in the 15-lap feature event. The 40-lap SK Modified® feature took the green with Todd Owen leading the field, but he was surpassed for the lead by Jeff Malave on lap-4. The first 27 laps of the race ran under green flag conditions, with Malave building up a full straightaway lead over Owen before the caution erased that margin. Woody Pitkat moved from third to second on the restart on lap-31 and then took the lead from Malave on lap-34. Pitkat held serve on two final restarts in the last four laps to score the feature win. Brad Hietala charged through the pack in the closing laps to come home second, with Malave, Ted Christopher, and Frank Ruocco rounding out the top-5.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Tommy Fox went pole to pole as he ended a shutout season at the shoreline oval. Fox held off Shawn Monahan during the final two restarts. Tom Fox won his first feature of what has been a tough season for the veteran driver, leading from wire to wire and holding off Shawn Monahan on two restarts, the last with 14 laps to go. Dennis Charette was third and Donnie Fowler fourth, with Jeff Pearl, fifth. Bruce Thomas Jr won his ninth Late Model feature of the year and has all but wrapped up the division title. Phil Evans won his fourth Mini Stock feature of the season. Mark Lajoie passed Jim Procaccini, who led from the start, on the outside with just two laps to go, to win his first career Sportsman feature and Michael Gervais spun out Jason Palmer on the final turn of the last lap, so track officials awarded Glen Billings, who was running third, the victory for a win in the Legends INEX Nationals qualifier in a caution-filled 50-lap feature.
   Dirt tracker Brett Hearn scored his 500th win when he won a 100 lapper at the Lebanon Valley Speedway on Saturday night.
   Kevin Harvick had victory lane to himself, using perfect pit strategy to win the Busch Series Zippo 200 Saturday at Watkins Glen International. Harvick, the defending Busch Series champion, led 37 laps and beat Jeff Burton by 3.5 seconds for his second consecutive win, fifth this season and 31st of his career. That ties him with Jack Ingram for second all-time behind Mark Martin's 47. Polesitter Kurt Busch was third, followed by Paul Menard and rookie Brad Coleman. Juan Pablo Montoya, who started on the front row and was seeking a record third NASCAR road course win of the season, ran up front much of the day but finished 33rd after being caught up in a crash with Jason Leffler on a restart with 14 laps remaining in the 82-lap race. With just two laps remaining in Sunday's Nextel Cup Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, Jeff Gordon had a two car-length lead on Tony Stewart. NASCAR's top two road racers were preparing for a final clash. It never happened. Gordon spun out on his own heading into the first turn, Stewart zoomed past, held off a late charge from Carl Edwards, and won for the third time in four races.

   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 Mighty Midgets,
Courtesy of

 Bill Eldridge-Star Speedway  The NEMA start at Thompson Speedway         Johnny Kay                

  Jerry Wall-Star Speedway       Johnny Mann-Westboro Speedway               Bill Randall               

              Dave Humphrey                          Oscar Ridlon            Ted Christopher-Waterford Speedbowl   

The Chrome Horn 'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive


Source: Phil Smith/Courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Posted:  August 8, 2008

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