Forty years ago in 1969
Bill Slater, one of the greatest drivers to ever turn a wheel in New England
retired as a driver and went to work for Mal Barlow as the Race Director and
General Manager of the Stafford Speedway. At the Waterford Speedbowl George
“Moose” Hewitt was the Modified winner while Bill Sweet made it two in a row
in Daredevil action.
Thirty five years ago in 1974,
the competition was in New York State. At Shangri-La on Saturday, Maynard
Troyer took the top spot over Geoff Bodine, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. At
Fulton on Sunday, the roles were reversed as Bodine took the top spot and
Troyer played second fiddle. Evans and Cook again followed.
Art Moran Sr,
who was the head mechanic at Ed Yerrington’s Service Station, was the
Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Ron Cote made it three
in a row in Grand American action.
Thirty years ago in 1979, the
rescheduled Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Speedway took center stage.
Maynard Troyer won the 80-lap event over Ronnie Bouchard and Ed Flemke. Tom
Druar was the 50-lap non-qualifiers event. Richie Evans and Jerry Cook
elected to go south. It paid off for Evans as he won a 150-lap event at
Martinsville plus a 100-lap event at Ashboro
Twenty five years ago in 1984,
Jim Spencer scored a one-two punch as he won at Riverside on Saturday night
and the Spring Sizzler on Sunday. At Riverside, Bob Polverari finished
second and was followed by Richie Evans and George Kent. Corky Cookman was
the runner up to Spencer at Stafford with Brian Ross, Eddie StAngelo and
Tony Hirschman, following. John Falconi won the 50-lap non-qualifiers event
over Tom Baldwin.
Twenty years ago in 1989, Stan
Greger was the Saturday night winner at Riverside. Mike Stefanik won the
modified 150 at Martinsville over Reggie Ruggerio and Tony Hirschman. At the
Waterford opener, Ronnie Rocco won an 89-lap event but was protested by Ted
Christopher. Rocco was disqualified but a day later had his win reinstated
when it was found out that the scales were not working properly. As an added
note, Seekonk suffered its fifth rainout.
Fifteen years ago, in 1994 Mike
Ewanitsko took the lead from Jamie Tomaino on lap 97 of the 200 lap Spring
Sizzler and went on to win the event over Jan Leaty and Reggie Ruggiero.
John Anderson was the SK winner. At Riverside, Marty Radwick scored his
first win in seven years and at Riverhead, Chris Young held off Tom McCann
for the win. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Rusty Wallace was both
the Busch pole winner and the race winner.
Ten years ago in 1999,
Waterford and Riverside ran on Saturday night with the Stafford Spring
Sizzler on Sunday. Twin events were run at Riverside. Rene' Dupuis became
the first modern day woman to win a Modified event as she beat out Dan
Avery. Dave Berube was the other mod winner at Riverside. At Waterford, Bill
Sharp won the 35 lap modified event. Mike Gada finished second with Bert
Marvin, third. Phil Rondeau scored his 98th career late model win. At
Stafford, Rick Fuller changed tires with two to go and blasted his way to
the 200 lap Sizzler win. Chris Kopec finished second and was followed by Tom
Baldwin, Tony Hirschman and Carl Pasteryak. Second generation driver, David
Berghman suffered a broken rib and an injured spleen after a big wreck on
the front chute. Twin SK-40s were run as part of Sizzler weekend. Taking
wins were Todd Szegedy and Bob Potter.
In Winston Cup action at Talladega, Dale Earnhardt took the lead
from Dale Jarrett with 13 laps to go and went on to take the win. Terry
Labonte was the Busch Grand National winner.
Five years ago in 2004, the
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Motor Speedway
for the 33rd Annual Spring Sizzler. A total of 52 Modifieds were on hand
looking to qualify for 33 starting spots. Todd Szegedy, who was the Busch
Pole sitter at the Thompson, made it two for two, as he was the fastest of
the fast. Second fastest was Tour Series part timer Jeff Malave. Reggie
Ruggiero was third with Tony Hirschman and John Blewett III rounding out the
top five. The top ten re-drew for starting spots with Eddie Flemke Jr.
picking the pole and Ted Christopher the outside pole. Szegedy picked eighth
and Malave, ninth. Qualifying for a Featherlite Modified Tour Series event
had become extremely difficult as only 1.621 mph separated the pole sitter
from the 28th and final time trialed spot.
Saturday at Stafford was extremely busy as the track’s regular
divisions were also in competition. The first of two SK Modified features to
be run saw Eric Berndt jump out from his outside pole starting position to
lead the entire 35-lap distance. Ted Christopher finished second with Mike
Holdredge, third. Shawn Monahan won the 21 means 21 feature that actually is
a consolation event. Five-time track Champion Bob Potter finished second.
Monahan ended up 12th in the first feature and Potter finished 26th. Chuck
Hossfeld in his first outing in an SK finished 22nd.
When Jerry Marquis and car owners Mike and Janice Boehler left
Thompson after getting wrecked in the closing stages of the IceBreaker they
were totally dejected. They felt they had a good shot to win until an
untimely trip into the wall put an end to their day. The Boehlers and
Marquis are racers. They put their defeat behind them and rebuilt the
legendary Ole Blu for the Stafford Sizzler. Their efforts paid off as they
came from a 29th starting position to take the win in the 33rd Annual event.
Ironically, a Boehler car won the First Spring Sizzler, run in 1972 with the
late Fred DeSarro driving. Tony Hirschman finished second in the 200-lap
grind with Ed Flemke Jr., third. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Szegedy,
Tom Bolles, Ted Christopher, Ricky Fuller, Tony Ferrente Jr., Zach Sylvester
and Jamie Tomaino.
Marquis took a lot of pressure from Ed Flemke Jr and Tony Hirschman
in the closing laps. Pole sitter Ed Flemke Jr led the first ten laps before
giving way to Chuck Hossfeld. Hossfeld led until lap 117 when he pitted
under caution when it became apparent that a shower would not shorten the
event. Marquis, who started in 29th spot, made a determined run to the front
and inherited the lead when Hossfeld pitted. Ole Blu had the necessary
handles to run the low groove. Hirschman got real close but couldn’t muster
that little extra that would have put him in the lead at the end. Ted
Christopher was the Sunday SK-Modified winner and Mike Quintiliano was the
late model winner.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Justin Gaydosh had
good reason to celebrate his 20th birthday when he scored his first
ever-modified feature win. Blocking big time in the closing laps, Gaydosh
was able to keep second place finisher Ed Reed Jr. at bay. Chris Pasteryak
finished third. Ted Christopher made a quick trip from Stafford but fell
victim to ignition problems in the early going. Other Saturday night winners
at the shoreline oval were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Norman Root
in the Sportsman, Glen Colvin in the Mini-Stocks and Mike Pepe in the
The Nextel Cup division along with the Busch Racing Series of
NASCAR was in Talladega, Alabama. Martin Truex Jr., a graduate of the Busch
North Series, took the Busch Series win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon
took the lead in Sundays Aarons 499 Nextel Cup event six laps from the
finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running second. Earnhardt was making a run at
Gordon with four laps to go when a wreck brought the field under caution.
NASCAR rules state there is no more racing to the finish line when the
caution is displayed and it was determined that Gordon had three quarters of
a car length on Earnhardt at the time of the caution. NASCAR was unable to
restart the event and Gordon was declared the winner. When Gordon took his
victory lap he was greeted by unruly and unhappy race fans that threw
everything from Beer cans to chicken bones on the track.
The Busch North Series opened their season at the Lee USA Speedway.
Andy Santerre took the win over Joey McCarthy, Eddie MacDonald, Ryan Moore
and Mike Stefanik. Dave Dion was the Busch Pole sitter. There were only 27
cars on hand for the 150 lap event that saw seven caution periods for 48
It appeared that the anti-trust lawsuit against NASCAR over the
awarding of Nextel Cup dates might be coming to an end. The Fort Worth
Star-Telegram reported that the Texas Motor Speedway would get a second
Nextel Cup date as part of the settlement. Other tracks could very well be
paying the price as it had been said and written that race dates at
Rockingham, North Carolina and at Darlington in South Carolina may go away.
Last year, 2008, The Stafford
Motor Speedway opened for the season under sunny skies with qualifying for
the annual Spring Sizzler, an event that has run continuously since 1972
featuring the NASCAR Modifieds. Thirty five Modifieds were on hand for
qualifying for the 200 lap event that carried a purse of $94,676. In the
inaugural event the late Eddie Flemke, driving the Bobby Judkins No.2x Pinto
led until the closing stages when his engine suffered water pump failure,
forcing him out of the event. Waiting in the wings on Flemke’s bumper was
the late Fred DeSarro who was driving the car they call “Ole Blu” which was
owned by the late Len Boehler. DeSarro inherited the lead and went on to
take the win. Some thirty five years later the same names re-appeared, well
almost. Seventeen year old Ryan Preece, who is the grandson of Bobby Judkins
drove the 2008 version of “Ole Blu” which is now owned by Michael Boehler,
Len Boehler’s son, and his mother Janice. Preece, who failed to qualify for
the 2007 Sizzler, toured the Stafford half mile in 18.057 seconds,
99.684mph, and earned the Coors Light Pole Award for the Sizzler. Second
fastest was Eric Beers with a time of 18.084 sec. Chuck Hossfeld, Ted
Christopher and Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five in qualifying.
Following a redraw, Rob Summers and Frank Ruocco picked front row for
Sunday’s race, with Jimmy Blewett and Eric Beers in the second row.
Ted Christopher got a little closer to the 100 feature win mark as
he won his 98th career win at the nutmeg oval as he won the 200 lap Spring
Sizzler. Christopher pitted after Wade Cole spun on lap 141. Restarting in
12th spot, Christopher made a determined march to the front. He broke into
the top five by lap 156 after Kevin Goodale spun. By lap 167 Christopher had
moved into second spot, turning up the heat on leader Eric Beers.
Christopher put Beers away on lap 172 and never looked back. Beers ended up
in second spot and was followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Mike Stefanik and James
Civali. Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennink, Richard Savory, Jamie
Tomaino, Todd Szegedy and Glen Tyler.
Ryan Preece, who became the youngest Coors Light Pole Award winner
on Saturday, led 64 laps in the event but exited the race on lap 91 while in
the lead with engine failure.
Numerous cautions, 13 for 71 laps, slowed the event and at one
point the event had to be red flagged. It was on lap180 after Jimmy Blewett
made a hard impact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 1. He climbed out of the
vehicle then expressed displeasure at Matt Hirschman before taking his
mandatory ambulance ride. Blewett's 19 car was briefly airborne and needed
the double hook to be removed from the track.
In SK Modified action Rob Summers took the 40 lap feature over
Woody Pitkat and Chris Jones. Keith Rocco, Doug Coby and Jimmy Blewett
followed. Among those in the field was Steve Reed who was one of the top
runners at the now closed Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. Reed
The Waterford Speedbowl continued its regular Saturday night
schedule. Dennis Gada charged from a 20th-place starting spot to pass Jeff
Pearl with 10-laps remaining to win the 35-lap SK Modified at the shoreline
oval It was the second victory of the season for the 6-time champion.
Following Gada across the line was Ron Yuhas Jr, Keith Rocco, Pearl, and,
SK Modified driver Ron Yuhas Jr. took the first Late Model win of
his career. Starting deep in the field, he passed early leader Ed Reed Jr.
following a late-race caution. Defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. slipped
past Reed for second. Completing the top-5 were Marc Curtis, and, Tim
Other feature winners were Chuck Rodgers (Sportsman), Ben Bargnesi
(Mini Stocks), and, Michael Gervais Jr. (Legends).
The True Value Modified Series moved to the Monadnock Speedway in
Winchester, NH for an event on Saturday night. Point leader and defending
series champion Kirk Alexander returned to his home race track, started last
in a 26 car field, passed cross town rival Rob Goodenough on lap 86, to win
the” Bond Auto Parts 100” in front of a near capacity crowd at the fast high
banked quarter mile oval. The True Value Modified Racing Series event was
Alexander’s 28th career victory and his third season opening win at the
track known as “Mad Dog.”.
Pole sitter Chris Pasteryak set a torrid pace holding off the
constant challenges of 2007 Rookie of the Year, Peter Jarvis, Jarvis stayed
within striking distance of Pasteryak with Bryan Shumway last years winner,
Les Hinckley and 2006 champion Dwight Jarvis in hot pursuit. By lap 20,
Danbury CT ’s Ed Dachenhausen worked his way into fifth and ran strong until
a late race mishap would force him to the sidelines. The race pace was fast
early on with the first of six caution flags not displayed until lap 38 for
a Chris Wenzel spin. The Holyoke , MA . veteran was able to rejoin the race
which stayed under green until lap 54 when a David Pinkham - Jon McKennedy
spin drew the caution. On the restart, Peter Jarvis vaulted into the top
spot and held it until lap 66 when Goodenough powered by. At this point,
Alexander was fast making his move to the front and by lap 70, the
three-time champion was in third and quickly closing in on Jarvis. Lap 73
Alexander pass Jarvis setting up a great battle with Goodenough for the top
spot. A caution period slowed the pace on lap 85 resulting in Alexander
motoring by Goodenough on the restart lap. The two former Monadnock
pro-stock standouts raced hard and clean often side by side bringing the
crowd to it’s feet several times. When the checkers dropped on the 100th
circuit, Alexander’s margin of victory was a car length and a half over
Goodenough. Goodenough, Pinkham, Dwight Jarvis, Peter Jarvis, Hinckley, Mike
Holdridge, Pasteryak, Dale Evonsion, and Rookie of the Year contender Kenny
White Jr., rounded out the top ten.
Tony Stewart held off Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last-lap charge to win
the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday for his first career victory at
Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Stewart started from the pole, led 81 of
the 117 laps, and sat comfortably out front in the waning laps with
Earnhardt on his rear bumper. Caution came out with five laps to go for
debris, setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish. They raced nose-to-tail
for the first lap, then Earnhardt pulled out of line to make his charge. But
Earnhardt didn't have enough momentum and didn't get the help he needed to
race past Stewart. It allowed Stewart to go virtually unchallenged for the
final lap, as Earnhardt faded to sixth. David Stremme finished second, his
best result since he finished second in Milwaukee in 2004. Bobby Hamilton
Jr. was third. The race was slowed by eight cautions for 27 laps, including
a 12-car accident that brought a red flag stoppage of 25 minutes.
The accident happened when Kevin Lepage pitted for a loose wheel under green
and blended back onto the track right ahead of the field as the pack headed
into the first turn. He wasn't at the same speed, and the cars couldn't
avoid running over him. The first wreck occurred 10 laps in when Dario
Franchitti lost his right rear tire, hit the wall and spiraled down the
track. He was on the apron when his car was T-boned by Larry Gunselman. Both
drivers were transported to a hospital for observation, and X-rays showed
Franchitti broke his left ankle.
In Sprint Cup action at Talladega Kyle Busch came back from a lap
down for his first win which was won under caution when a 12-car accident
brought out the yellow flag on the final lap. It froze the field and allowed
Busch to slowly make his way across the finish line. Juan Pablo Montoya
finished second to match his career best on an oval since moving to NASCAR
midway through 2006. Denny Hamlin, Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing,
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail email@example.com.