Forty years ago in 1969,
rain washed out both Stafford and Albany-Saratoga on Friday. Saturday night
at Norwood it was Freddie Schulz taking the top spot over Bob Santos, Eddie
Flemke, Johnny Thompson and Bugsy Stevens. Lou Lazzaro made it three in a
row at Fonda. Don Wayman finished second with Dave Lape and Jerry Cook
rounding out the top four. Jim Hendrickson beat out Pat Moon at Islip and at
Airborne Park it was Jean Guy Chartrand in the Hemi-Cuda beating Denis
Giroux and Phil Spiak to the checker. Lazzaro made it two for two on the
weekend as he won at Utica-Rome on Sunday. Lazzaro used the same car on both
dirt and asphalt. Cook finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Thompson
was silent as a sports car event was held on the road course-oval. Don
Collins won the Modified 30 lapper at the Waterford Speedbowl. Don Bunnell
was the Daredevil winner.
Thirty-five years ago in 1974,
it rained on Friday night again, washing out events scheduled at Freeport
and Utica-Rome. Saturday night was busy. At Stafford, Ronnie Bouchard put
the Bob Johnson No.17 in victory lane, beating Bugsy Stevens and Leo Cleary
to the stripe. At Islip, Charging Charlie Jarzombek rim rode to victory over
Al Holmberg and Herbie Hulse and at Shangri-La, Geoff Bodine dusted the
field despite attempts by Sonny Seamon and Dick Fowler to run him down.
Richie Evans went to Lancaster where he beat out Jim Rudolph and Maynard
Troyer while at Waterford Joe Trudeau took the win and on Sunday at Fulton,
Troyer bested Bodine, Evans and Jerry Cook. In open competition action at
Thompson on Sunday night, twin 30's were on tap and Fred DeSarro scored a
double. Bob Santos finished second in the first one and was followed by Dick
Caso and Ronnie Bouchard. Bugsy Stevens finished second in the nite-cap and
was followed by Bouchard, Santos and Angie
Thirty years ago in 1979,
Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday. Charlie Jarzombek took the win and it
was almost ten years to the day from his previous win there. Jerry Cook
finished second and was followed by Satch Worley and Dick Caso. At Spencer,
Maynard Troyer beat out Billy Colton and Doug Hewitt. Jarzombek followed up
his win at Stafford with a win at Islip on Saturday. At Riverside it was
Richie Evans over Reggie Ruggiero and Jerry Cook and at Seekonk, Leo Cleary
and Bugsy Stevens finished one-two. Other weekend winners were Jeff Fuller
at Westboro, George Kent at Shangri-La, Rick Donnelly at Waterford, Ron
Bouchard at Thompson, Reggie Ruggiero at Monadnock, Maynard Troyer at
Lancaster, Punky Caron at Claremont and Richie Evans won the Port City 150
at Oswego on Sunday.
Twenty-five years ago in 1984,
monsoon type rains fell on New England and washed out Friday and Saturday
night events at Stafford, Riverside and Waterford. The Connecticut River
overflowed its banks and flooded Riverside Park up to the fifth row in the
main grandstand. New Egypt got to run on Friday and it was Wayne Anderson
taking the win over Tony Siscone and Jim Spencer. At Spencer Speedway, Jan
Leaty led the charge to the checker with Roger Treichler and George Kent
following. Leaty repeated the following night at Shangri-La as he beat out
Corky Cookman and George Kent. Islip ran double features as did Wall
Stadium. Tom Baldwin and Don Howe shared victory lane at Islip and at Wall
it was Robert Hendrickson and Gil Hearne.
In Winston Cup action at Riverside California, Terry Labonte took
the pole and the win. The modifieds were at Thompson where Jeff Fuller took
Twenty years ago in 1989, Bob
Potter was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Ted and Mike
Christopher followed. At Waterford, Rodney Tulba took the win and at
Riverside, Stan Gregor beat out Reggie Ruggiero. Frank Vigliarolo won at
Riverhead .The Modified Tour was at Waterford on Sunday. Mike McLaughlin
took the event over Tom Baldwin and Mike Stefanik.
Fifteen years ago, in 1994 ago
this week, Mike Paquette won at Stafford on Friday night over Ted
Christopher. At Waterford, David Gada held off Todd Ceravolo and John
Anderson. Tom McCann won at Riverhead and Dan Avery was the main man at
In Winston Cup action at Dover, Rusty Wallace survived many wrecks
to take the win and in BGNN action at Watkins Glen, Butch Leitzinger won
with little trouble.
Ten years ago, in 1999, Mike
Christopher recorded his 23rd career win at Stafford on Friday night. Jerry
Marquis finished second. Dennis Gada passed Rick Donnelly with 11 laps to go
and made it five wins in a row at Waterford. Donnelly finished second and
was followed by Bill Sharp and Todd Ceravolo. Ricky Miller got his third win
at Riverside and at Riverhead, Ken Matlach won out over Al Ermmarino. A dark
cloud hung over Riverhead as NASCAR Chief Steward Walt Edsall, who was
standing in turn three, was struck by a flying wheel off the modified of Joe
Hartmann. Edsall suffered severe head injuries and would lie in a coma until
he eventually passed away. Racing also lost one of its legends as Ralph
"Hop" Harrington passed away in Florida after a lengthy illness.
Bryan Wall got his first Busch North win at Holland, N.Y., after
Brad Leighton and Tom Carey tangled. Evidently Busch North officials felt
that Leighton had put Carey out as they placed him at the rear.
At Dover Del., Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Grand National event. Ted
Christopher wrecked after a tangle with Johnny Benson and ended up 30th.Bob
Labonte was the Winston Cup winner.
Five years ago 2004 the NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island
last Saturday night. A strong threat of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of
the competitors or the fans. A huge field, 47 cars, was in the pit area.
Jerry Marquis was the Busch Pole sitter. Marquis drew the outside pole
starting spot and led the entire 200-lap contest to record the win, the 16th
of his career in Tour competition. Marquis put on a superb display of
precision driving. The Boehler Racing entry never missed a beat and handled
like it was on a wire. Marquis lapped all but the top five despite five
cautions that consumed 56 laps. John Blewett III, who has had nothing but
bad luck this year, used the Riverhead event as a breakout race as he
finished second. Mike Stefanik finished third with Ted Christopher and Eddie
Flemke Jr. rounding out the top five. Tony Hirschman, fresh off his win at
Stafford finished sixth, one lap down. Gregg Shivers, Ricky Fuller, Doug
Coby and Chuck Steuer rounded out the top ten. Racing at Riverhead can be
very intense and nerves of steel are required for one to be successful.
Among the seven caution periods was a red flag condition on lap 52 when Fred
Vordermeir and Jamie Tomaino wrecked. Many of the tour regulars had their
problems. Defending series champion Todd Szegedy retired with overheating
problems after he completed only 114 laps. Rookie candidate Ken Barry got
caught up in a wreck and completed only 90 laps. Chuck Hossfeld toughed it
out with handling problems and ended up 16th at the conclusion of the event.
Hossfeld was parked in the infield when the checkered flag was displayed.
Eddie Flemke Jr. continues to lead the point standings with a 49-point lead
over Ted Christopher. Tony Hirschman sits third with Jerry Marquis and Tony
Ferrante Jr. rounding out the top five.
Competitors, fans and officials endured at Thompson on Thursday
night. Rain fell on the speedway shortly after Late Model qualifying. In
what looked to be a rain out the speedway management persisted and in the
end completed their racing program and had everyone headed home by 9:30 PM.
Bo Gunning, who is concentrating on just racing at Thompson put the Eddie
Partridge owned mount in victory lane. Gunning took the lead from Bert
Marvin on lap six of the 30-lap feature. Ted Christopher, who finished
second, made numerous attempts to pass but in the end settled for the
runner-up spot. Jeff Malave was also a contender but lacked that little
extra and settled for third. Rounding out the top five were Bob Santos III
and Kerry Malone. Going into the event Todd Ceravolo and Eric Berndt were
tied for the point lead. Thanks to the efforts of Adam Norton both were
denied a top spot at the finish. In two separate incidents Norton turned
into them. Berndt hit the wall and didn’t finish. Ceravolo ended up with
bent wheels and a bent rear end but managed to finish. In Late Model action
Corey Hutchings made it three out of five at the 5/8 mile banked oval.
Hutchings and Charlie Bailey swapped paint on the final lap and in an almost
photo finish Hutchings nipped Bailey at the finish line. Woody Pitkat
finished third. Other winners were Mike O’Sullivan over David Berghman in
the Pro Stocks, Larry Barnet over Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman and
Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.
Ted Christopher was on the giving end rather than on the receiving
end at Stafford on Friday night. Christopher used his famous bonsai bottom
shot on Steve Chowanski in the closing moments of the 40 lap SK-Modified
feature. In taking the win Christopher became the first repeat winner in SK
Modified competition at Stafford. Chowanski faded to third as Willie Hardie
took over second spot at the finish. Last week’s winner Jim Civali recovered
from a flat tire and stormed his way into fourth spot. John Sanberg rounded
out the top five. Other Friday night winners were Joe Rzeszutck in the Late
Models and Glenn Barthowski in the Dare Stocks. Numerous wrecks and spins
made for a long night. The SK-Modifieds continue to self-destruct. It seems
that competitors have little respect for their peers or equipment.
The Waterford Speedbowl also beat the impending rain. Nextel Cup
stars Bill Elliott, Kerry Earnhardt and Ken Schrader were on hand to greet
the fans and engage in a special race. In regular competition Ed Reed Jr.
ended a long dry spell as he took the win in the SK-Modified feature. Rob
Janovick finished second with Don Fowler, Dennis Gada and Chris Pasteryak
rounding out the top five. Dwayne Conant was awarded the win in the
Sportsman division after apparent winner Dwayne Dorr was disqualified
because of an illegal suspension part on his car. Former Late Model
competitor Danny Field went pole to pole to win the 20 lap Mini Stock event.
Connecticut developer Gene Arganese officially announced on Thursday that he
planed to build his $400 million domed ¾ mile speedway in Plainfield,
Connecticut. The proposed speedway, which Arganese continued to imply that
he will be holding Nextel Cup racing within four years after the track
opens, would be located next to the existing Plainfield Greyhound Park. Once
the local permits are submitted and filed it would take a little over two
years to construct the facility. Arganese had previously proposed building
his track in North Stonington, Connecticut. Anyone who follows Nextel Cup
racing knows that their schedule is maxed out. The only way a Cup date would
be available would be if NASCAR extended their season and that is very
unlikely. The most that Arganese can hope for are dates for the Craftsman
Truck Series, Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series. It was also
mentioned that the track could host the IRL. Bob Bahre tried that at Loudon
and dropped them like a hot potato when they couldn’t draw flies. Based on
Arganese’s projections the track will be ready for racing in late 2007 or
early in 2008
The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR was at the Dover Downs Speedway.
Mark Martin survived a 400-mile wreck fest as he outran Tony Stewart and
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kasey Kahne had victory in sight when he spun in oil
while leading and hit the wall in the closing laps.
Last year, 2008, the Thompson
Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled due to wet
The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to fog on Friday night.
The Waterford Speedbowl raced under clear skies and provided
southeastern Connecticut race fans a full program of racing. The main event
of the evening was a 100 lap American Canadian Tour contest that was won by
tour regular Scott Payea. Waterford regular Bruce Thomas led the early going
but in the end had to settle for second. Former Busch North Series regular
Brad Leighton finished third with Ron Yuhas Jr and Nicholas Sweet rounding
out the top five. Doug Coby was the SK Modified winner. Tyler Chadwick
finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Jeff Paul, and Keith Rocco.
Other feature winners were Mark Hudson (Late Model), Brandon Plemons
(Sportsman), and Lou Bellisle (Mini Stock).
The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series were enjoying their second “Spring Break of the season.
In a somewhat racing related manner, James Galante, a major
Connecticut trash hauler at the center of a sweeping federal corruption
probe of mob influence in the industry pleaded guilty on June 3 and agreed
to surrender dozens of businesses worth more than $100 million. The New
London Day reported that Galante of Danbury entered guilty pleas to
racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service
and wire fraud conspiracy. He faces 70 to 87 months in prison and a fine of
up to $750,000. Galante sponsored and owned Ted Christopher’s racing
endeavors from 1995 until June of 2006 when the Galante/Christopher race
shop was raided by the feds who confiscated five complete Modified Type cars
plus another one in the process of being built. One of the cars was a
four-time winner at Loudon. A 17 page indictment states that Galante is
"knowingly and willingly turning over to the U.S. Government": "Six racing
cars, marked with numbers 01 thru 06, on the front frame rails and one 1997
53 foot Featherlite Trailer." Galante agreed to take all steps as requested
by the United States to pass clear title to all of the assets listed over to
the United States Government.". Chances are that the race cars and equipment
will be auctioned to the public at some date in the future. Galante’s actual
sentencing would be on August 22.
In NASCAR Nextel Cup competition at the Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne
started from the pole, overcame an early pit road penalty that dropped him
to 38th and led a race-high 69 of the 200 laps in his Dodge as he went on to
take the win. Brian Vickers was second for his best finish since joining Red
Bull Racing and Denny Hamlin was third to give Toyota two cars in the top
three. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and appeared winded after racing more
than four hours in temperatures that hovered around 90 degrees. Kyle Busch
finished last, but became the first driver to compete in all three of
NASCAR's national series at three racetracks on the same weekend. Brad
Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide Series victory Saturday night,
passing Clint Bowyer with six laps to go and easily holding off his closest
rivals in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Joey
Logano won the pole during the day, but finished 31st after a crash on lap
89. He led the first 60 laps and 64 overall. David Stremme rallied to finish
second, followed by David Reutimann and Bowyer.
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.
'Wild Bill' Slater
Red Bolduc Tommy
. 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.