Forty years ago in 1969,
the Stafford Motor Speedway started the Memorial Day weekend off with a 100
lap event. Charlie Jarzombek, in one of his first off-island trips made the
one to Stafford a successful one as he won the 100 lapper in his radical
off-set coupe. Fred DeSarro finished second and was followed by Bobby
Santos, Jerry Cook, Bob Karvonen, Ed Yerrington Frank Faria, Moe Gherzi and
Wild Bill Slater. Lou Lazzaro won at Malta and repeated at Fonda and also in
the first of twin features at Utica-Rome. Rene Charland finished second to
Lazzaro at both Malta and at Fonda. Thompson ran on Sunday afternoon and it
was Bugsy Stevens taking the win over DeSarro Lou Austin, Fred Harbach,
Smokey Boutwell and Slater. Stevens hot footed it up the Mass Pike and made
it to Utica in time to run the consi. Stevens finished third in the first
feature behind Lazzaro and Jerry Cook. Bernie Miller won the Utica nite cap
and Stevens ended up seventh. Dick Dunn was
the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Thirty five years ago in 1974,
Stafford ran twice on the holiday weekend. On Friday night, Bugsy Stevens
put the Kozela Woodchopper in victory lane ahead of Dick Caso, Ron Bouchard
and Gene Bergin. Stevens made it a two-fer as he returned on Monday to win
the Holiday 100 lapper. Freddie Schulz finished second and was followed by
Jerry Cook, Geoff Bodine and Lou Austin. At Utica-Rome on Friday, local
favorite Dick Fowler took the 30 lap win over Cook, Andy Romano and Richie
Evans. Jim Tyler beat out Artie Tappen at Islip on Saturday and at
Shangri-La it was Maynard Troyer over Bodine and Evans. Evans got the jump
on Troyer at Fulton on Sunday night as he took the win there. Dick Dunn was
the winner at Waterford.
Thirty years ago in 1979, a 100
lapper scheduled for Stafford, rained out. Spencer also rained out. Saturday
night at Seekonk, Mr. Leo Cleary was not to be denied as he took the top
spot despite constant pressure from Bugsy Stevens who finished second.
George Summers ended up third with Brian Ross, fourth. At Waterford, Joe Tiezzi won out over Dale Holdredge and Moose Hewitt. At Islip, Greg Sacks
beat Tom McCann and George Wagner. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans
at Shangri-La Jeff Fuller at Westboro, Stan Greger at Riverside, Ron
Bouchard at Thompson and Bugsy Stevens at Monadnock.
Twenty Five years ago in 1984,
Stafford started the weekend off with a 100 lapper. Brian Ross was on a tear
as his home built No. 73 handled to perfection as he sprinted to victory
over George Brunnhoelzl, George Kent, Richie Evans and Charlie Jarzombek.
Waterford had a 100 lapper scheduled for Saturday night but it rained after
twenty laps. At Riverside twin events were on tap with John Rosati and
Reggie Ruggiero taking the wins. Oswego ran their Port City 150 on Sunday
Mike McLaughlin won the modified 75 lapper over Brian Ross and Bentley
Warren won the Supermodified portion.
In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Harry Gant was the polesitter
and Bobby Allison the winner. Ron Bouchard qualified 18th and finished
third. Other weekend winners were Doug Hewitt at Spencer, George Kent at
Shangri-La, Wayne Anderson at New Egypt and Tony Siscone, also at New Egypt.
Twenty years ago in 1989,
Staffordís holiday program rained out as did Waterford. For the ninth time,
Seekonk also fell victim to rain. At Riverside Park, Bob Polverari took the
victory and at Riverhead, Steve Park and Mike Ewanitsko finished one-two. In
SK modified action at Thompson on Sunday, the Christophers, Ted and Mike ran
one-two to beat out Bob Potter and at Oswego; the Modified Tour series
winner was Tony Hirschman. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with Tony
Fifteen years ago in 1994 the
Modified Tour Series was at Stafford for a 150 lap event. On the start, the
sparks flew as pole sitter Ted Christopher found himself in the fence after
being hit by Ed Flemke Jr. It didn't end there as Flemke later tangled with
Tom Baldwin. Baldwin felt that it was deliberate and retaliated by ramming
Flemke. The end result was that Baldwin was fined $2,000 and suspended for
three events. Ricky Fuller was the eventual winner over brother Jeff, Wayne
Anderson and Jan Leaty. At Waterford, Ricky Young took the top spot over
Todd Ceravolo and Moose Hewitt. Chuck Steuer scored his first win at
Riverhead and Stan Greger beat out Doug Meservey and Steve Park at
Riverside. Ed Kennedy made a surprise visit to Flemington on Sunday and
walked off with the main event there over John Blewett.
Ten years ago in 1999 Fifty-one
NASCAR Modifieds were on hand at Stafford for the Memorial Day weekend 150.
Tim Connolly, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino took the lead from
Ed Flemke Jr on lap 127 when he suffered a flat tire and was forced to pit.
Connolly led the rest of the 150 lap distance as he went on to record the
win. Carl Pasteryak finished second with Mike Ewanitsko, third. Rick Fuller
and Charlie Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Ted
Christopher, Reggie Ruggiero, Jack Bateman, Tony Hirschman and George Kent.
Jerry Marquis was the SK Modified winner. At the Waterford Speedbowl on
Saturday night Dennis Gada made it four in a row in Modified competition as
he beat out Mike Gada and Tucker Reynolds for the win. Jeff Karns was the
Late Model winner. At Riverside Park Chris Wenzel beat out Ed Spiers and
Eddie Flemke Jr for the win and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Dan
Jivanelli took the win.
At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kenny Brack, driving for AJ Foyt,
took the win in the Indy 500 after Robbie Gordon ran out of gas while
leading the last lap. Tony Stewart finished ninth, flew to Charlotte and
finished fourth in the Cup event behind Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte and Mark
Martin. Steve Park led twice for 84 laps before crashing while trying to
avoid a slowing Kyle Petty.
Five years ago in 2004 the
Thompson Speedway began their regular Thursday night Thunder Series. Second
generation driver Kerry Malone staged a heated battle with Bo Gunning and
came out the winner. Todd Ceravolo finished third. Ted Christopher was also
in the mix until his engine began belching smoke, forcing him to drop out.
Christopher was credited with 19th place. Defending Sunoco Modified champion
Eric Berndt finished fourth with Richard Savory rounding out the top five.
Other Thursday night Thunder winners were Chuck Docherty in the Pro Stocks,
Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Keith DeSantis in the Limited Sportsman
and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.
The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford
Motor Speedway on Friday night for the Haynes 150. The event drew 43
Modifieds and produced a surprise finish with a lot of excitement. Ted
Christopher, who was the Busch Pole sitter once again, saw his hopes of a
win disappear in the closing moments. Christopher, who led the first 67
laps, took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 123. Shortly after taking
the two to go signal Todd Szegedy attempted a move made famous by
Christopher, the bonsai bottom shot in turn one. With his left side tires in
the grass and dirt Szegedy slid up into Christopher as he moved down to
block. The contact caused Christopher to spin. Tony Hirschman was in the
catbird seat as he jumped at the opportunity to take the lead. Szegedy
managed to keep going and fell in behind Hirschman when the field returned
to green on lap 161. Szegedy had the misfortune of breaking an axle on the
restart, which allowed Reggie Ruggiero to move into second spot. Hirschman
romped his way to the checkered flag and the win. Ruggiero finished second.
Tom Cravenho ended up third. Tom Cloce and Jamie Tomaino rounded out the top
five. Current point leader Eddie Flemke ended up 11th after brushing the
wall. Sixth through tenth were Jerry Marquis, Jeff Malave, Dick Houlihan,
Ted Christopher and Tony Papale. Szegedy was last on the lead lap in 15th
spot. A total of 11 caution periods for 58 laps kept the average speed at
59.389 mph. Once the dust settled the fingers were pointing. Christopher
felt that Szegedy over drove and intended in taking him out. Szegedy claimed
that Hirschman hit him, forcing him into Christopher. Hirschman stated that
he did hit Szegedy but it was under the starters stand and not in the first
turn where he made contact with Christopher. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified
Tour Series continues to provide the best in competition and excitement of
any NASCAR division.
The Stafford Motor Speedway management announced that the Haynes
150 would be televised as part of their NASCAR New England weekly
production. NASCAR had been unable to secure TV coverage for the Featherlite
Modifieds so far for this year. Thanks to the Stafford management,
competitors were getting some exposure on the tube. In SK Modified
competition at Stafford on Friday night it was high-speed carnage and
destruction of equipment. It was survival of the fittest and the lucky. Jim
Civale, who won the Nationals at Waterford survived to take the win in the
40-lap feature. It took 63 minutes to run 40 laps. Steve Chowanski finished
a distant second.
The Waterford Speedbowl gave its SK-Modified division the week off.
Defending champion Dennis Gada is off to a good start as he led the point
standings in his quest for his sixth consecutive track title. Gada led Ed
Reed Jr. by 28 points. Chris Pasteryak sat in third, four points behind
Reed. Jeff Pearl and Dennis Charette rounded out the top five. Double
features for the Late Models were run with Corey Hutchings and Phil Rondeau
recording wins. John Puglisi won the 20 lap Sportsman feature and Glen
Colvin was the Mini-Stock winner. Vin Esposito topped the Legend field and
Jeff Walsh captured the X Car feature.
It looked like the proposed speedway in North Stonington, CT. was a
dead issue. Connecticut developer Gene Arganese shifted his intentions at
land in Plainfield, CT. for his $400 million domed ĺ mile speedway. The
proposed site was next to the Plainfield Greyhound track. Located mid-way
between the Waterford Speedbowl to the south and the Thompson Speedway to
the north, the proposed speedway would host various touring series events,
NASCAR and non- NASCAR events. In addition to the dog track the town is also
hosts a Lowes distribution center. The Lowes building is equivalent to four
football fields in area. Since the very beginning NASCAR had stated that
there are no additional Nextel Cup dates available and even went so far as
to send Arganese a letter from their legal department telling him that he
should not suggest that there are available dates that could be had. In a
somewhat related development New York City news radio station WINS reported
that NASCAR would be coming to a Naval-Military base on Staten Island. While
the Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford the Busch North Series was at
Lime Rock Park in Connecticut. Brad Leighton took the win over Dale
Last year, 2008, After a one
week delay because of rain the Thompson Speedway began their series of
Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) racing programs. Under warm, sunny
skies, 132 cars including 25 Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds were on hand. As
they are noted for, the Thompson management ran true to form as the entire
program was run in an efficient manner with fans in their cars and on the
way home by 9:30pm. Despite soaring fuel prices the Thursday night crowd was
fairly good. The new Musco Lighting System was very impressive making for a
daylight type atmosphere.
In the Sunoco Modifieds, Woody Pitkat wasted little time as he
jumped from his third starting position in the 30-lap feature and took the
lead shortly after completing the opening lap. Pitkat had a lot of heat on
his rear bumper from Keith Rocco but held fast as he took the opening night
win. Rocco settled for second and was followed by Kerry Malone, Bert Marvin
and Bob Grigas III. Tommy Cravenho. Josh Sylvester, Todd Ceravolo, Harry
Rheaume and Josh Steeves, rounded out the top ten. Among the missing was
Jimmy Blewett who is on the sidelines with a broken wrist
For the second year in a row, Larry Barnett took the win in the
Limited Sportsman divisionís marquee 50-lapper. Veteran Fred Astle, Jr
cleaned house in the Pro Stocks while Jeff Zuidema made it two in a row in
Late Model action. Rick Blanchard was the Mini Stock winner with R.J.
Marcotte taking the victory in the TIS Modifieds.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of an epic battle for SK
Modified supremacy between Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning. Christopher, who
was hoping to annex his 100th career win was forced to settle for second as
Gunning won his 47th feature at the Connecticut oval. Richie Pallai, Jr. led
the first lap before giving way to Eric Berndt, who held the lead until
lap-7 when Todd Owen took over the top spot. Owen held the lead until lap-16
when he and Berndt made contact on a restart that saw both cars spin, which
handed the race lead over to Gunning. Once the race went back to green after
several lap-16 restart situations, Gunning and Kenny Horton began to pull
away from the field. Christopher, who had earlier been black flagged for
rough riding, was back into the top-5 and was running the top-2 cars down
lap by lap. Christopher took second from Horton on lap-30 and set his sights
on Gunning for the final 10-laps. Several times Christopher nearly had a
pass made, but couldn't complete a pass. The two cars made contact in turn 2
on lap-37, but heady driving by both competitors kept the action going.
Christopher reeled Gunning in for one last try at victory, but Gunning was
too strong to be overtaken. Horton finished third behind Gunning and
Christopher, with Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5. Ryan
Posocco extended his record for career Late Model victories with his 29th
career feature win in the Late Model feature event, Mark Bakaj took down his
first career victory in the SK Light Modified feature, Rob Dow was the
winner of the first of two Limited Late Model feature events, while Andrew
Durand took the victory in the regularly scheduled Limited Late Model
feature event, and Dan Flannery took down the DARE Stock feature event
The Waterford Speedbowl ended up a victim of thunderstorms that
hammered southeastern Connecticut late Saturday evening. Defending champion
Bruce Thomas Jr. won the rain-shortened Late Model main event. Other feature
winners were Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock) and Kevin Iannarelli (Pro-4
Modifieds). Starting from the pole, Thomas drove into the lead immediately
and was never seriously challenged. Behind him, the trio of Ed Reed Jr., Tim
Jordan, and Ron Yuhas Jr. battled, with Reed claiming the runner-up spot.
The event was red-checkered at lap-19 due to severe weather conditions
entering the area. Completing the top-5 was Jordan, Yuhas, and Joe Curioso
III.. Thomasí win put him in the point lead by a mere four points
In the Mini Stock 20-lap feature, pole sitter Chris Williams led
until passed by Phil Evans with twelve laps remaining. Ken Cassidy Jr.
slipped by Evans on a restart at the halfway point, going on to win by
several lengths. Randy Churchill, Williams, and Mark Panaroni completed the
top-5. The first win of 2008 for the defending champion, the event was a
qualifier for the Four Cylinder Nationals to be held at Maine ís Beech Ridge
Motor Speedway on June 27.
Taking the 25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature was Kevin Iannarelli of
Maynard , Mass. Starting mid-pack he quickly worked his way to the front,
winning by a wide margin. Following was 2008 Bud Nationals winner Norm
Wrenn, Bob Richard Jr., Brian Vincent, and George Sherman. Sixth through
tenth were Cory Cleary, Phil Laujier,. Tyler Andersen,. Dan Meservey and
Robin Berghman, Berghman is the wife of chassis builder and Modified driver
David Berghman as well as the daughter-in-law of three time NASCAR National
Modified Champion and Mrs Carl Bugsy Stevens. Cory Cleary is the grandson of
Modified great Leo Cleary. Daniel Bisignano notched the Legends Young Lions
The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series were enjoying their second ďSpring Break of the season.
David Pinkham was the current point leader in the TVMS. Second is Kirk
Alexander with Chris Pasteryak, third. Rounding out the top five is Mike
Holdredge and Dwight Jarvis. Chuck Hossfeld was atop the Whelen Modified
Tour Series. Ted Christopher sat in second spot and was followed by Todd
Szegedy, James Civali and Rowan Pennink.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at the Dover Downs Speedway Kyle Busch
led the way again, dominating the second half of the 400-mile race Sunday at
the Delaware and charging to his Sprint Cup series-best fourth win of the
season and 10th overall. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle were second and third
in the Best Buy 400. Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five.
Denny Hamlin made it nine victories for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide
Series, leading all but 69 laps to win Saturday night at Dover Rookie Joey
Logano, from Middletown, CT, finished sixth in his NASCAR national-level
debut, running near the front of the 200-mile race with veterans such as
Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and JGR teammate Hamlin. The 18-year-old Logano
drove the No. 20 Toyota that entered leading the Nationwide Series in owner
points and has won six races in 14 starts this season with Kyle Busch,
Hamlin and Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Edwards, who started on the pole,
was second. David Stremme was third and David Reutimann fourth.
It was also announced that Marcus Smith, son of billionaire track
owner Bruton Smith, was selected as Humpy Wheeler's successor at Lowe's
Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Thatís it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail email@example.com.
Bobby White (63) & Lee Smith (75)
Ricky Hart (14) & Don Keller (11)
Ricky Hart Ted
. 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.