NASCAR MODIFIED LEGEND STEVENS TO BE HONORED AT THOMPSON
NASCAR To Also Recognize DeSarro,
Widenhouse At Season Finale
As part of the season-long celebration of 60 Years of Modified
Champions, three-time NASCAR Modified titlist Bugs Stevens will be
honored at the Xtra Mart World Series on Sunday, Oct. 19 at Thompson
(Conn.) International Speedway.
Stevens, of Rehoboth, Mass., became the first driver to earn three
championships in the NASCAR Modified division, and he did it in
consecutive years from 1967-69. NASCAR will also recognize the
accomplishments of deceased champions Fred DeSarro (1970) and Bill
Stevens piloted the No. 3 “Ole Blue” Modified for car owner Len
Boehler to each of his titles. In 1967 he took the checkered flag 10
times and finished 1,261 points ahead of fellow Massachusetts native
Don MacTavish for his first NASCAR Modified crown. His second
championship in 1968 was a dominating effort that featured 29
victories and a 1,930-point margin in the national title chase
against Fred DeSarro. Stevens’ third title in a row came in 1969 as
he passed Jerry Cook late in the season and finished 262 points
ahead of the future series champion on the strength of 20 wins.
“1968 was a big year, we won a lot of races,” Stevens said. “We
blew everybody away by a couple thousand points, but we worked hard
In addition to his NASCAR Modified national titles Stevens also
compiled four track championships at Stafford ( Conn. ), three at
Seekonk ( Mass. ), two at Norwood (Mass.) and one each at
Albany-Saratoga (N.Y.), Catamount (Vt.) and Thompson. Stevens, whose
legal name is Carl Bergman, is a member of the inaugural class of
the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame and was named to the
"NASCAR Modified All-Time Top 10" list in 2003.
Also to be recognized at the Xtra Mart World Series is 1970 NASCAR
Modified Champion, the late Fred DeSarro of Hope Valley, R.I.
DeSarro captured the 1970 title in the “Woodchopper” for owner
Sonny Koszela as he finished 808 points ahead of Cook. His national
championship title run included 25 wins and 54 top fives in 78
starts. That season he also won the track title at Albany-Saratoga.
Although he captured only one national NASCAR Modified title,
DeSarro went on to become track champion at Thompson four years in a
row from 1974-77. He also piloted “Ole Blue” for Boehler after
Stevens had previously moved on from the team.
“He [DeSarro] was a good buddy of mine,” Stevens said. “I had the
best of times with Freddy. Everybody thought we were big
competitors. After I got out of the car everybody thought we hated
each other, but we had a hell of a time with each other.”
Like his buddy Stevens, DeSarro was also an inductee in the first
class New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame in 1998 and was named
to the "NASCAR Modified All-Time Top 10" list.
“He was an excellent driver, one of the best,” Stevens said. “He
could have driven anywhere.”
DeSarro passed away from injuries suffered during a racing accident
The final driver to be recognized as part of NASCAR’s season-long
program will be 1955 titlist Widenhouse. From Midland, N.C.,
Widenhouse won the eighth championship in the series’ young history
at the time after he registered top-20 national title finishes in
1950, 1951 and 1954.
Widenhouse made his last Modified start in 1956 at the Daytona
beach-road course. He made a total of 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
(then known as Grand National Division) starts before he retired
from racing in 1963. Widenhouse passed away in 1995 at the age of
The 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship will be on the
line as the Xtra Mart World Series at Thompson with be the 16th and
final race on the schedule. Practice and qualifying will take place
on Saturday, Oct. 19 with the race on Sunday. For ticket information
please visit Thompson’s official Web site (thompsonspeedway.com).