Forty years ago in 1969,
the Norwood Arena began what was to be its last season of being the Saturday
night stop for the NASCAR Modifieds. Jack Malone, Kerry's dad took the win
over Eddie Flemke, Bobby Santos, Johnny Thompson, George Savory and Don McCullah. Martinsville ran their spring 100 lap modified event and it was
Mr. Modified, Ray Hendrick, taking the win over Bugsy Stevens, Jimmy
Hensley, Jerry Cook and Lenny Pond. Fonda also opened their NASCAR modified
season with Lou Lazzaro taking the win over Rene Charland, Ron Narducci and
Jerry Cook. Richard Petty was the Grand National (Cup) winner at
Martinsville and Bugsy Stevens was the Sunday afternoon winner at the
Thirty five years ago in 1974,
Richie Evans took the 150 lap Martinsville win over Harry Gant, Cook, Bob
Santos and Brian Ross. Evans went to Asheboro, N.C. on Saturday night where
he finished second to Paul Radford. Jerry Cook finished third and was
followed by Ray Hendrick and Brian Ross. Ted Wesnoski went two for two as he
won Saturday night at Islip and on Sunday at Freeport. Shangri-La opened on
Saturday with Geoff Bodine beating out Maynard Troyer and Dave Nichols. At
Fulton on Sunday Troyer held off Cook and Sonny Seamon for the win. Bodine
and Evans rounded out the top five.
Thirty years ago in 1979,
Richie Evans went two for two in the Southland as he won a 100lap modified
event at Franklin County in Virginia on Saturday and a 200 lap event at
Bowman-Grey in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sunday. In the northeast, Waterford
rained out but events at Westboro and Monadnock were run. Ronnie Bouchard
won a 50-lap event at Westboro over Joe Howard, Deke Astle and Freddie
Schulz. Bobby Fuller was the late model winner. At Monadnock, Brian Ross in
the Mystic Missile won a 100 lapper over Allen Whipple, Jack Bateman and
Eddie Flemke Sr.
Twenty five years ago in 1984,
the Modifieds ran a 200 lapper at Martinsville and it was Mike McLaughlin
taking the win over Tony Hirshman, Charlie Jarzombek and Richie Evans. Wayne
Anderson took the opening night win at Islip over Bob Park and Fred Harbach
and at Shangri-La it rained. Reggie Ruggerio won one at Riverside over Ray
Miller and Bob Polverari. Waterford opened on Sunday with Rick Donnelly
winning out over Dickie Doo Ceravolo and Marty Radwick. In Winston Cup
action at Martinsville, Geoff Bodine realized a life long dream as he won
his first Winston Cup event. New England rival, Ronnie Bouchard, finished
Twenty years ago in 1989,Jim
Spencer won at Shangri-La over Jan Leaty. Seekonk suffered their sixth rain
out and Riverhead also got washed out. Reggie Ruggerio won a mod tour at
Jennerstown on Sunday and at Waterford, Bob Potter won the opener in the
Ceravolo car. Monadnock also ran with Jerry Marquis taking the win over
Fifteen years ago in 1994, Tom
Jensen scored his first ever win, that coming at Riverside Park on Saturday
night. Doug Meservey finished second. At Riverhead, Don Howe scored his 23rd
career win at the Long Island oval. Bill Park was second. Sunday was a wet
and dreary day. Thompsons IceBreaker and Waterford’s opener were scheduled
to go head to head. Thompson cancelled their show but Waterford tried to
give it a go. Their scheduled 94 lapper was held up for five hours before
getting the green. Ted Christopher lapped the entire field with the
exception of Dennis Gada who finished second. Jerry Pearl finished third and
was followed by Scott Spaulding and Bert Marvin. It was also Todd Ceravolos'
modified debut. His efforts ended when a water hose blew and he ended his
day in the turn three fence. John Steiner was the late model winner. In
Winston Cup action at Talledega, Dale Earnhardt took the win over Ernie
Irvan and Michael Waltrip.
Ten years ago, in 1999, Jerry
Marquis won the Friday night opener at Stafford over Mike Christopher and
Frank Wainwrite and Larry Ross. At Waterford on Saturday, Dennis Gada went
pole to pole to take the win over Billy Sharp and Mark LaJunesse. The Busch
North Series invaded Riverside with Tom Carey winning out over Brad Leighton
and Tracy Gordon. Fifty-two of the 150-lap distance was run under caution
which kept the average speed down to 36.0627 mph. At Riverhead it was Al
Amarillo. Auto Racing suffered a black eye at Charlotte when suspension
parts flew off a wrecked IRL car and went into the grandstand, killing three
spectators and injuring 12. In Winston Cup action at Fontana, California it
was a run-a-way for Jeff Gordon. Matt Kenseth was the BGN winner.
Five years ago in 2004, the Stafford Motor Speedway began their regular
Dodge Weekly Racing Series on Friday night. Jeff Malave went pole to pole to
win the opening night 40 lap feature. Chuck Hossfeld, in his third time out
in an SK-Modified finished second. Hossfeld applied a lot of pressure to
Malave in the closing laps but in the end settled for second. Jeff Baral
finished third. Rounding out the top five were defending champion Kerry
Malone and Chris Jones. Among the missing was Eric Berndt who lost his mom
on the previous Friday. Mike Quintiliano made it two for two in Late Model
competition, taking the lead with two to go. Andrew Durand was the DARE
Stock feature winner. Ted Christopher, who has scored wins at Stafford and
at Thompson already, added the Waterford Speedbowl to his 2004 win list on
Saturday night. Christopher, who started 11th in the SK-Modified feature,
took the lead when Doug Coby spun while leading with 15 laps to go.
Christopher admittedly gave him a love tap, which helped him along. Actually
Christopher hit Coby before he spun and in reality intimidated Coby to enter
the turn a little too hot which caused him to lose control. Ronnie Silk
finished second and was followed by Ron Yuhas Jr., Dennis Gada and Tom Fox.
The Late Model feature went non-stop with Mark St Hilaire taking the win over
Corey Hutchings. Ed Gertsch Jr. was the Limited Sportsman winner and Jeff
Miller was the Mini-Stock winner. The NEMA Midgets paid a visit to the
shoreline oval with Ben Seitz taking the win.
In Nextel Cup action at the
California Speedway Jeff Gordon made it two in a row. There was no shower of
beer cans or chicken bones this week as Gordon’s win was clear-cut. He had
the best car. Bobby Labonte may have had something for Gordon at the end but
an empty fuel tank forced him to slow on the final lap. Jimmie Johnson
finished second. The California event was a test of man and machine
as the race was run in 100-degree heat. Greg Biffle was the Busch Racing
Series winner on Saturday. Tony Stewart finished second.
Last year, 2008,
Jerry Marquis, one of the best in the business officially
announced that he had retired as a driver. In a racing career that started
in a Figure 8 car in 1973 at the now closed Riverside Park Speedway in
Agawam, Mass, Marquis has chalked up 22 Track titles plus a NASCAR Modified
Tour Series title and two NASCAR Regional Championships. Marquis’ final ride
was at the Thompson Speedway in the 2007 World Series.
The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to the elements as their scheduled
Friday night opener was cancelled due to rain. Racing will resume this
coming Friday, May 9 featuring the 14th Annual New England Dodge Dealers 100
along with the regular bill of fare which includes the SK Modifieds and DARE
The Waterford Speedbowl managed to avoid impending rain as they got their
entire racing program in the books before the rains fell. Keith Rocco used
an extremely wide car to hold off Dennis Gada for his first ever SK Modified
win at the shoreline oval as an extremely sparse crowd looked on. Rather
than take a chance on being “stuffed” Gada held off and settled for second.
Ron Yuhas Jr finished third. Ron Silk and Rob Janovic Jr. rounded out the
top five the top-5. Other feature winners were Ed Reed Jr. (Late Model),
Chris “Moose” Douton (Sportsman), and, Jeff “Soup” Civardi (Mini Stock).
The True Value Modified Series made its first visit of the season to the
shoreline oval. Among the missing was defending series champion Kirk
Alexander who got skunked by a bad weather forecast and stayed home. David
Pinkham, who had been running second in points to Alexander, took advantage
of Alexander’s absence as he won the 100 lap contest which also put him in
the point lead. Among the surprise entries was Jimmy Blewett. Blewett
probably wished that he had stayed in New Jersey as he was the victim of a
nasty wreck on lap 35. For the second week in a row the Jersey racer got
airborne. Blewett rode over a wheel, flipped on his roof and hit the turn
four wall. Quick action by the track’s crew removed him to safety and
luckily with no injuries. Just before the half way mark, lap 42, Ed
Dachenhausen and Les Hinkley tangled while fighting for the lead. Both were
sent to the rear. Dwight Jarvis inherited the lead at that point. A restart
on lap 78
proved his undoing as Pinkham powered into the lead and remained in the
front spot for the remainder of the event. Jarvis hung on for second and was
followed by Les Hinkley, Chris Pasteryak and Vinny Annarummo Jr. Ted
Christopher was in the field but was never a factor as his mount suffered
from fuel starvation problems.
Denny Hamlin used a late pit stop for tires to foil the strategy of Kevin
Harvick and Carl Edwards to win the Nationwide Series race Friday at
Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Harvick and Edwards dominated most of
the night, but when the sixth caution flew with 22 laps to go, Hamlin gave
up his fourth-place position to go to pit road for tires. Everyone behind
him followed, leaving Harvick, Edwards and No.3 Mike Bliss as the only cars
to stay on the track. Hamlin passed Bliss and Edwards on lap 241, then
ducked under Harvick at the start-finish line on lap 242. When another
caution came out with three laps left, Kyle Busch got right up on Hamlin's
bumper for a two-lap dash. Hamlin again pulled away for his sixth career
victory in the series. Harvick was second, followed by Busch.
In the Richmond Sprint Cup event Denny Hamlin appeared headed toward an easy
victory. Then, Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed poised to snap his two-year losing
streak. In the end, Clint Bowyer celebrated in Victory Lane, stealing a
victory Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway that ended in wild
fashion. Hamlin, the hometown favorite and pole-sitter, led a record 381 of
the 400 laps in search of his first Cup victory at Richmond. Nobody came
close to challenging him until a leaking right front tire allowed Earnhardt
and Kyle Busch to catch him. The two drivers split Hamlin as they moved past
him, with Earnhardt emerging as the leader with 18 laps to go. Hamlin's tire
finally failed with eight to go, and NASCAR accused him of intentionally
bringing out the caution that regrouped the field. Earnhardt and Busch staged
a strong battle for the lead when the race resumed, but Busch and Earnhardt
made contact in turn 3 that sent Earnhardt into the wall.
Without seeing a replay, Earnhardt guessed that it wasn't deliberate. But as
his winless streak reached 72 races on the two-year anniversary of his last
victory, he wondered if Busch would need security help exiting the track
amid angry Earnhardt fans. Bowyer used the opportunity to slide past
Earnhardt and Busch and into the front for the first time all night. Bowyer
then held off Busch on a final restart to score his first Cup victory of the
season, second of his career. Busch finished second, then was confronted on
pit road by his former crew members at Hendrick Motorsports. Mark Martin
finished a season-best third and was followed by Tony Stewart, Martin Truex
Jr. and Carl Edwards. Earnhardt finished 15th, Hamlin 24th.
Racing returned to the Rockingham Motor Speedway in North Carolina after a
four-year absence and Joey Logano beat a field of Automobile Racing Club of
America cars in the Carolina 500. Driving a Chevrolet that Denny Hamlin once
drove in Sprint Cup competition, the 17-year-old Logano from Connecticut
nearly lapped the field in his ARCA debut. Logano's team saved a set of
tires in case there was a late caution on the track's notoriously abrasive
racing surface. That's what happened, and Logano gave up the lead to get
those tires for a restart with five laps to go. But it only took Logano
about half a lap to come from fifth back to first and get the victory.
NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader finished second with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a
driver in Roush Fenway Racing's developmental program, third.
As for the first race since NASCAR left this track in 2004, new track owner
Andy Hillenburg said he was proud to successfully stage an event just six
months after completing the purchase from Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Hillenburg said he sold out more than 4,000 seats in the track's suites and
estimated grandstand ticket sales in the 12,000 range. "We had enough people
here to pay a record purse for ARCA and pay the bills," he said.
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week are several vintage racing photos from noted racing photographer
Gordon Reinig, the long time track photographer at Lancaster Speedway who
away April 20th. The book Lancaster Heroes put together by John Bisci and Gordon
features hundreds of Gordie's photos. The book is available for $19.95
Coastal 181 Publishers in the Short Track Book section.
. All other photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
VintageModifieds.com Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.