The Chrome Horn - Looking Back with Phil Smith



Photos Courtesy of Tom Ormsby
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    Forty years ago in 1968, the weekend action started at Lee Raceway on Thursday night where Fred DeSarro took the win. It rained at Stafford on Friday night. Albany-Saratoga ran on Saturday night with Andy Romano taking the win over Maynard Forette, Lou Lazzaro, Rene Charland and Richie Evans. Bugsy Stevens ruled Norwood and at Islip, it was George Brunnhoelzl Sr. Gene Bergin, in the M-6 was the Sunday winner at Thompson.

   Thirty five years ago in 1973, Tioga ran on Saturday night. Geoff Bodine took the win over Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. Bugsy Stevens blew the engine in the Koszela No.15 and ended up driving Pete Fiandaca No.135 to an 11th place finish. At Malta on Sunday, Richie Evans won a 150-lap contest. Bugsy Stevens, driving for Joe Brady, finished second. Leo Cleary finished third with Fred DeSarro fourth.

   Thirty years ago in 1978, Roland LaPierre jr. recorded a popular win at Waterford. Dickie Doo Ceravolo finished second with Dick Dunn, third and at Seekonk it was Ronnie Bouchard over Geoff Bodine. Islip ran a 300 lapper on Sunday. Richie Evans took the win over Wayne Anderson, Jerry Cook and Satch Worley. Geoff Bodine won at Thompson over Ray Miller and at Monadnock it was Red Kimball over Pete Fiandaca.

   Twenty five years ago in 1983, Gomer Taylor was the winner at Waterford on Saturday. Eddie StAngelo won at Seekonk and Jim Spencer won at Tioga. Richie Evans won the annual Thompson 300.Corky Cookman finished a strong second with Kenny Bouchard, third. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Bobby Allison took the win and Randy LaJoie won Rookie of the Year honors in the Grand National division.

   Twenty years ago in 1988, Jerry Marquis put the Bob Judkins mount in victory lane at Riverside Park and Mike Stefanik won the Thompson 300 over Reggie Ruggerio, Doug Hevron and Mike McLaughlin.

   Fifteen years ago in 1993, Stafford ran on Friday night with Mike Christopher taking the win over Mike Paquet, Ted Christopher and Dennis Gada. At Waterford on Saturday night, Chris Jones took the win over Mark LaJunesse and Jerry Pearl. Eleven cars were taken out in an early race wreck. At Riverside Park it was Jerry Marquis over Ed Kennedy. Mike Ewanitsko, in the Art Barry No.21, won the annual Thompson 300 over Mike Stefanik and Charlie Pasteryak. Pasteryak led three times for over 100 laps and was headed for victory lane when his tires went away with 20 laps to go and was passed by Ewanitsko and Stefanik. Ted Christopher won the SK event, which was run in conjunction with the 300. Mark Martin was the Busch Grand National winner at Richmond and Rusty Wallace took the Winston Cup honors. In other news, it was announced that Geoff Bodine was released by Bud Moore and would be driving his own car the following week at Dover and Bentley Warren won his fifth Star Speedway Supermodified Classic.

   Ten years ago in 1998, Tucker Reynolds was the Saturday night winner at Waterford as he beat out the high flying Dennis Gada. Jeff Pearl finished third. Mike Stefanik continued his dream season as he took the lead from Bryan Wall on lap 284 of the BGNN Thompson 300.Wall finished second with Jamie Aube, third. Bert Marvin won the companion SK-30 lapper. Ted Christopher finished second with Mike Christopher, third. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Jeff Burton beat Jeff Gordon by inches. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Grand National preliminary.

   Five years ago in 2003, Ted Christopher passed Lloyd Agor after a late race re-start and went on to record his 68th win at the Stafford Speedway. Agor finished second with Bo Gunning, third. Dennis Gada hustled his way to the front on Saturday night at Waterford as he recorded yet another victory, which brought him closer to his fifth track championship. Rob Janovic finished second with Jeff Karns, third. Out on Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway Chuck Steuer took the win over Dan Jivanelli and Wayne Anderson and at Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey Frank Polimedia was the victor.
   The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway for the annual Thompson 300. Forty-one Modifieds were on hand for the seriesí longest event that carried a purse of $114,475. Tony Hirschman was the Busch Pole sitter and the winner after taking the lead from Jerry Marquis on lap 273. Marquis was strong but was no match for the Pennsylvania driver and had to settle for the second spot. Jeff Fuller finished third with Ricky Fuller and Tom Bolles rounding out the top five. Former series champion Mike Stefanik was an early leader until getting a flat tire on lap 99. NASCAR punished Stefanik two laps for intentionally bringing out the caution. On learning the penalty, Car owner Art Barry made the call to park the car.
   Twin Sunoco SK-type modified events were run with Todd Ceravolo and Chuck Docherty taking the wins.
   In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Mike Skinner, pinch-hitting for injured Jerry Nadeau took the Busch Pole but was forced to start last after he wrecked in Happy Hour final practice. Ryan Newman took the win as the action was heated behind him. Kevin Harvick was running second with nine laps to go when Ricky Rudd hit him and parked him in the wall. Harvick went after Rudd in the pit area following the event. For his post race actions Harvick was fined $35,000 and put on probation for the
rest of the year. It was a rough weekend for Harvick as he was bumped out of the lead the night before on the last lap of the Busch Series event. Johnny Sauter, who did the bumping, won the event.
   In other news of the week, Joe Lewandowski accepted a position as Director of Business Affairs at the Waterford Speedbowl, Kurt Bush dropped his assault complaint against Jimmy Spencer and long time fan and friend of Bugsy Stevens, Ed Kearney Jr. passed away after suffering a heart attack.

   Last year 2007, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Thompson Speedway for Modified Mania. Donnie Lia and car owner Bob Garbarino who were currently enjoying a dream season out time trailed thirty-five other Whelen Modifieds to score their third Busch Pole of the season. Lia and his Mystic Missile toured the 5/8-mile oval in 18.885 seconds. Ronnie Silk was second fastest with Matt Hirschman, third. Lia picked the pole starting position for the 150 lap main event. Ron Yuhas Jr picked the outside pole while Hirschman picked third. Heavy rain at 4:00pm on Sunday forced officials to postpone the event to first to Saturday September 22nd and then on Monday to Sunday, September 23rd.
   In True Value Modified Series action at the Thompson it was great to see Mark Mockovak in his new spot with what has become a very popular series in New England. Thirty-two True Value Modifieds were on hand for qualifying for their segment of Modified Mania at the Thompson Speedway. Chris Pasteryak, Andy Seuss and Jimmy Kuhn won three Heat Races. The 75-lap True Value Modified Racing Series portion of Modified Mania at Thompson International Speedway was postponed after completing only 2 laps because of inclement weather. Andy Seuss was leading the event when the torrential rain began.
   In regular NASCAR Whelen Weekly Racing action at the Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified heat winners were Jimmy Blewett, Tommy Cravenho and Danny Cates. Glenn Boss scored the victory in the lone TIS Modified heat. Norm Wrenn and Jeff Zuidema of scored heat race wins for the Pro-Fours.
   Matt Hirschman went pole to pole as he led every lap of the Race of Champions main event before the rains came in forcing the postponement of the Whelen Modified Tour 150 and the True Value Modified Racing Series. The True Value Modified Racing Series completed only two laps with Andy Suess of Hampstead, NH, holding the point before torrential rains hit the speedway.
   Three of the other scheduled events of Modified Mania II were completed before the rains came with Todd Ceravolo taking down the Sunoco Modified main event and Leo Oliveira scored the TIS Modifieds victory. Thompson regular Norm Wrenn scored the Pro-Four Victory. Hirschman, the current Central Region point leader, led every lap en route to the victory. The second-generation driver jumped from his third-place starting spot to lead the opening lap and would not be headed. Rick Kluth ran strong in the second spot for much of the race. In the late stages, with Hirschman out front, Kluth turned back advances of a charging Woody Pitkat. The current Northern Region leader, Pete Brittain, who had run a conservative race up to this point, turned it on with only a hand full of laps remaining. With five laps to go, Hirschman continued to stretch his lead while Pete Brittain caught Kluth. That battle for second heated up over the final laps when Brittain got a run on Kluth in turn one. A single lap later, Brittain was able to make the pass on Kluth to move into the second spot. Time ran out as Brittain could do nothing but chase the potent Hirschman. At the checkers, it was all Hirschman. Brittain finished second over Rick Kluth and Woody Pitkat. Lenny Fisher rounded out to the top five by virtue of technical inspection, Leo Oliveira was declared the winner in the TIS Modified main event.
   The Stafford Motor Speedway began their fall series of Friday night racing. Keith Rocco took the SK Modified feature win, Dillon Moltz won the Late Model feature, Chris Matthews won the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand won the Limited Late Model feature, and Dan Flannery won the DARE Stock feature.
   The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green with Wade Mattesen charging past Richie Pallai, Jr. to take the early lead. Pallai would battle back by Mattesen on lap-5 to reclaim the lead. Rocco followed Pallai past Mattesen, and Pallai and Rocco ran nose to tail for the lead over the next several laps. Rocco moved by Pallai on a lap-11 restart, and from that point on, he would not be headed at the front of the field as he scored his third SK Modified feature win of the 2007 season. Kerry Malone finished a distant second to Rocco, with Ted Christopher, Curt Brainard, and Todd Owen rounding out the top-5. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship hopeful Woody Pitkat suffered through several spins but came back to finish 9th.
   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Dennis Gada got a little closer to an unprecedented seventh Modified Track title as he scored his fifth win. Two race meets remain of the 2007 season. Gada currently trails Rob Janovic by 16 points. For the last two races Gada needs to run hard and run to win. Keith Rocco finished second and Janovic was third. Gada moved from fourth to second after a crash with 24 laps to go. Seven laps later, Gada moved underneath Rocco and cruised to his 55th career SK win. Tyler Chadwick and Jeff Paul rounded out the top five.Bruce Thomas Jr. unofficially clinched the Late Model championship, winning his 11th feature of the season by overtaking Ron Yuhas Jr. with eight laps to go in the 30-lap feature. Thomas won the Mini Stock title in 2001. Kyle James won his first career race in the Mini Stock feature. In the Sportsman feature, Walt Hovey Jr, won again.
   In NASCAR Nextel Cup action at Richmond Jimmie Johnson hit his stride at exactly the right time, winning two straight races to roll into the Chase for the championship. Dale Earnhardt Jr. never had a chance, the victim of five faulty motors when his season was on the line. Johnson easily raced to his series-best sixth victory of the season. But Earnhardt, suffered his third blown motor in the past seven races to finish 30th. Kyle Busch was the Busch Series winner.

   Thatís 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 Dave Dykes Collection
Courtesy of

Ben Dodge Sr                        Fred "Fuzzy" Baer                             Jim Torok      

     Johnny Thompson             'Money Bags' Moe Gherzi     Bill Slater's Studebaker At Daytona

The Chrome Horn 'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive


Source: Phil Smith/Courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Posted:  September 5, 2008

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