Sixty years ago this week in 1948,
"Red" Byron from Atlanta, Ga. was crowned the first Nascar Modified
Fifty-five years ago in 1953, Herb Thomas was declared the
Winston Cup, then called Grand National, champion. Lee Petty finished
second. Joe Weatherly was the NASCAR Modified Champion.
Fifty years ago in 1958, Lee Petty won his second Winston
Cup championship. Buck Baker was second. Budd Olsen was the NASCAR
Modified champion and Ned Jarrett won his second NASCAR Sportsman
Forty-five years ago in 1963, Joe Weatherly won his second
Winston Cup championship. Rene Charland won his second of four NASCAR
Sportsman championships and Eddie Crouse won the NASCAR Modified
Forty years ago in 1968, Thompson Speedway ran their season
ender. Bugsy Stevens took the win and was followed by Fred DeSarro,
Eddie Flemke, Leo Cleary, Bob Santos and Don MacTavish. Stevens sewed up
his second of three Nascar Modified championships. David Pearson sewed
up his second of three Winston Cup championships as be beat out Bobby
Isaac and Richard Petty for the title. Pete Hamilton won Rookie of the
Year honors in NASCARís elite division.
Thirty-five years ago in 1973, Jerry Cook won the season
ending modified event at Martinsville. Maynard Troyer finished second
and was followed by Ray Hendrick, Denis Giroux and Ronnie Bouchard.
Richie Evans finished nineteenth and sewed up his first of many Nascar
National Modified Championships. Benny Parsons won the Winston Cup
championship and Lenny Pond was the Rookie of the Year. Jack Ingram was
the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Champion.
Thirty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine scored his 54th
victory of the season in the Dick Armstrong No.1 as he won the season
ender at Martinsville. George Summers finished second and was followed
by Satch Worley, Bobby Santos, Charlie Jarzombek and Ronnie Bouchard.
Richie Evans annexed his second driving title. It was also 30 years ago
this week that Fred DeSarro passed away after lying in a coma for close
to a month after an accident at Thompson. Cale Yarborough made it three
in a row Winston Cup Championships. Bobby Allison was second with
Darrell Waltrip, third. Ronnie Thomas was the Rookie of the Year and
Butch Lindley was the Late Model Sportsman Champion.
Twenty-five years ago in 1983, George Kent ran out of gas
while leading the Martinsville 250 with only ten laps to go and handed
the victory to Jamie Tomaino. Tony Hirshman finished second and was
followed by Doug Hewitt, Richie Evans and Brett Bodine. Richie Evans,
who won 31 of the 68 events he entered, was crowned the 1983 Nascar
Modified champion. Rounding out the top five in points were Bob Park,
Jim Spencer, Tom Baldwin and Dick Trayner. Trayner's crew chief and
chief mechanic was Steve Bird.
Twenty years ago in 1988, Tom Baldwin won the 250 lapper at
Martinsville. Jan Leaty finished second and was followed by Richie
Gallup and Jerry Cranmer. Mike McLaughlin was declared the Nascar
National Modified Champion.
Fifteen years ago in 1993, New Hampshire International was
forced to cancel the season ending events for both the Modified Tour and
the Busch Grand National North Series. Ricky Fuller was declared the
Modified National Champion and Dick McCabe was declared the Busch North
Series Champion. In Winston Cup action at Phoenix, Mark Martin took the
win with Ernie Irvan, second.
Ten years ago, in 1998, Riverside Park closed out the season
with a 100 lap modified event and a 75-lap SK event. Ricky Miller took
the lead on lap 71 after Reggie Ruggerio lost a drive shaft. Miller went
on to take the win and was followed by Chris Wenzel, Jamie Tomaino and
David Berghman. Jim Williams won the SK event. Ted Christopher finished
second after attempting to pass on the last lap. Carl Pasteryak won the
Lee Octoberfest and in Winston Cup action at Rockingham, Jeff Gordon
took the win and sewed up his third championship. On November 2,Joe
Lewandowski, the promoter and General Manager of Riverside Park
announced that he was leaving his position and was taking a position in
the marketing department at Nascar headquarters in Daytona Beach.
Five years ago in 2003, The NASCAR Modified Tour Series
finally got to run their final event on Saturday at the Thompson
Speedway. A beautiful fall day saw the 5/8-mile oval draw about a ĺ full
house. Todd Szegedy survived a near devastating high speed trip through
the infield grass, made a remarkable recovery and came back to finish
eighth and wrap up the series title in his sophomore year on the
Modified tour series. It was a tough day for Szegedy along with title
contenders Chuck Hossfeld and John Blewett III. Hossfeld, who started
fourth, ran in the top five most of the day, got caught up in a spin
after Jimmy Kuhn wrecked. Hossfeld recovered to finish seventh. In the
final standings Hossfeld ended up 32 points behind Szegedy. Tony
Hirschman dominated the event to take the win over Ed Flemke Jr.,
Charlie Pasteryak, Ricky Fuller and Mike Stefanik. John Blewett III, who
was also a title contender, was extremely upset with the winner after he
moved up the racetrack on the back chute and planted him in the wall.
Blewett led the event from laps 47-63 after taking it away from
Hirschman who led the first 46. Blewett, who started third, ended up in
27th spot. Tire wear was a factor with the outcome. Hirschman must have
had a good set as he went the entire distance on his original set. Just
about every one else in the lead pack pitted at least once for tires.
Jerry Marquis also led the event. Marquis, who ended up fifth in the
final standings, led from lap 64 to 84 before suffering a right rear
flat. Despite a 19th place finish Marquis ended his season fifth in the
final standings. Ted Christopher finished fifth in the standings after
recording a 15th in the event. Sixth through tenth in the World Series
were Jamie Tomaino, Hossfeld, Szegedy, Carl Pasteryak and Eric Beers. It
was good to see Ed Flemke Jr. and the Roger Hill owned North Carolina
based team end the season on a high note. Flemke and the Hills suffered
horrible luck most of the season with motor problems and confrontations
with Ted Christopher. Coming on strong in the final laps, crew chief
David Hill felt that if they had a few more laps they had something for
Hirschman but it wasnít meant to be as the second generation driver had
to settle for second in the final run down. NEAR Hall of Fame inductee
Bob Polverari was forced to turn over his ride to Joe Czarnecki.
Polverari, who was in a wheel chair, suffered a broken hip as a result
of a go-kart accident. Czarnecki finished 22nd, one lap down. Reggie
Ruggiero who was making his second start of the year clearly got the
biggest applause during driver introductions. Ruggiero, who started
16th, suffered a motor problem and dropped out on lap 33, ending his day
in 31st spot. Donny Lia, who had previously wrapped up Rookie of the
Year honors, was also a victim of engine problems as he also dropped out
on lap 33, ending his day in 32nd spot. Doug Coby, who finished 12th,
was the highest finishing rookie. Prior to the start of the Featherlite
Modified finale the championship contending teams of Don Barker, Curt
Chase and Bob Garbarino all shook hands with one another plus the fact
there was an awesome display of a low fly-over of three F-111ís. Bo
Gunning and car owner Eddie Partridge ended their season on a high note
as Gunning won a hard fought battle in the Sunoco-SK type Modified
feature. Gunning ran wheel to wheel with Kerry Malone during the opening
laps. With Gunning finally getting out in front Malone settled into
second spot. Malone was hit by George Bessette on a lap ten re-start and
retired shortly there after. Todd Ceravolo was making a run for a top
spot when Ted Christopher caused him to brush the wall. Ceravolo showed
his dis-satisfaction with the former National Champion as he gave him a
love tap once he got back up to him. Christopher retaliated and slammed
Ceravolo on the backstretch under caution and inflicted enough damage
for Ceravolo to have to be towed off. On the final re-start Eric Berndt
moved into contention but didnít have quite enough to get by Gunning.
Chuck Docherty, Doug Coby and Jim Civali rounded out the top five. Other
World Series winners were Chris Perley in the Supers, Randy Cabral in
the NEMA Midgets and Charles Bailey III in the Late Models. The
Featherlite NASCAR Modified Tour Series had finally wrapped up another
season. In addition to post-season point fund moneys from NASCAR point
fund the top 20 shared in $158,000 in contingency awards including
$100,000 from series sponsor Featherlite, $10,000 from Hoosier Tires,
$8,000 from Edelbrock, $8,000 from JE Pistons, $8,000 from Moroso
Products plus $8,000 each from Union 76, Ohlins and Stefís products. The
last three awards will be paid contingent upon decal verification and
actual product usage. Series champion Todd Szegedy would walk away from
the awards ceremony with upwards of $31,600 plus his point money.
In Winston Cup racing at Atlanta, rain put a damper on the racing
after 19 laps causing the race to resume on Monday. Jeff Gordon used
precision timing of pit stops to put him in a position for the win.
Gordon took the lead on lap 289 of the 325-lap event and went on to out
run Tony Stewart to the finish. Jimmie Johnson finished third. Greg
Biffle won the Busch Series event.
Last year, 2007, NASCAR finally got around to updating the
Whelen Modified Tour Series point standings. Donnie Lia ended the season
in the top spot despite the fact that he dropped out of the season
ending World Series at Thompson with a blown engine. Lia had sewed up
the title after the Stafford event. In 16 events Lia scored 13 top tens,
which included six wins. His season winning total is $83,800. Todd
Szegedy ended up in second spot, 180 points behind. Szegedy, in 16
events, scored 11 top tens, which included two wins which brought his
season totals to $60,225. Although winless Matt Hirschman used
consistency in order to finish up third in the final standings. In 16
events the second-generation racer recorded 11 top tens which included
five top fives. Ronnie Silk with one win and Ted Christopher with one
win rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were James Civali with
three wins, Mike Stefanik with one win, Jimmy Blewett with one win,
Tomaino and Eddie Flemke JR.
Jimmie Johnson won the wreck marred Nextel Cup event at the Atlanta
Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards, who had not been a factor most of the
race, wound up second He was followed by Reed Sorenson, Matt Kenseth,
Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.
David Reutimann dominated a crash-filled race and survived a
green-white-checker finish at Memphis to win the Sam's Town 250 for his
first career Busch Series win. Mike Bliss finished second followed by
David Ragan Marcos Ambrose, Jason Leffler, Scott Wimmer, Jamie McMurray,
Jason Keller, Brad Keselowski, and Brian Keselowski. Points leader Carl
Edwards was caught in a spin on the last lap and finished 25th.
Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark Street, Westerly RI 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications for over 3
This week are
several vintage racing photos of the late Tony Mordino,
At the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds
3 Greats - Left to Right,
In the first Bob Judkins 2x
Johnny Cambino, Billy Greco & Tony around 1998
The only one left
is Billy Greco who recently turned 80.
The Chrome Horn
'Looking Back with Phil Smith' Archive