Forty years ago in
1969, the Fourth of July weekend started of on Friday at Stafford
and at Malta. Stafford ran a 100 lapper which saw southern invader Ray
Hendrick make an appearance. Bugsy Stevens was the kingpin and made it known
that he was not about to play second fiddle to the man they called Mr.
Modified. Stevens took the event with Hendrick, second. Fred DeSarro
finished third with Bobby Santos, fourth. Dave Kotary was the winner at
Malta with Guy Chartrand, second. Saturday night at Norwood, Billy Schulz
beat out Johnny Thompson and Roland LaPierre Sr. for the win. At Islip, Fred
Harbach was the winner with Booker T. Washington Jones finishing second. At
Fonda, Kenny Shoemaker made it two in a row and at Airborne Park; Guy
Chartrand made it four in a row. Glynn Shafer made it two in a row at the
Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 50-lap holiday special. Larry Crandall was
the Daredevil winner. At Thompson, on Sunday, it was Bugsy Stevens holding
off DeSarro for the win.
Thirty-five years ago in 1974
the holiday weekend started on Wednesday, July 3 when Stafford ran a 150
lapper. Jerry Cook took the win over Geoff Bodine, Brian Ross and Richie
Evans. Cook backed his Stafford win with a 100-lap win at Utica-Rome on
Friday night. Evans finished second with Bernie Miller, third. Freeport was
also scheduled to run on Friday but was rained out. In action on Saturday
night, Bugsy Stevens won at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard was the runner-up. At
Islip, Jim Hendrickson in the Ferrante x3 beat out Gary Winters and Charlie
Jarzombek. Glynn Shafer won the scheduled 30 lap Modified event at
Waterford. Ron Cote was the Grand American late model winner. Fulton ran
twin events on Sunday with Evans and Bodine each taking victories. In other
weekend action, Gene Bergin beat out Fred DeSarro at Star Speedway on
Thursday. DeSarro beat Deke Astle at Seekonk on Saturday and at Thompson on
Sunday, won out over Angie Cerese and Tony Russo. Paul Radford won a 100
lapped at Oswego plus scored victories at Metrolina and Hickory in North
Thirty years ago in 1979, the
Fourth of July weekend started on Wednesday at Westboro with an open
competition 50 lapper. The event drew 33 cars. On the start, nine cars were
wrecked including pre race favorites George Summers and Bugsy Stevens. Geoff
Bodine who was trying to make a name for himself in the Southland came north
and took a ride with Lee Allard. Bodine won the 50 lapper and was followed
by Charlie Jarzombek, Fats Caruso and Jerry Cook. On Thursday night the
action switched to Holland. Maynard Troyer blew while leading and opened the
door for Richie Evans to step in and take the win. Cook finished second with
George Kent, third. On Friday night, Stafford presented the annual Ferrara
100. Bodine and Satch Worley driving Allard team cars finished one-three
with Ronnie Bouchard being the spoiler, finishing second. Cook was fourth.
On Saturday the racers got a break as all racing in New England and New York
State rained out. On Sunday the Modifieds ran at Oswego and at Thompson. At
Oswego it was a repeat of Stafford as Bodine and Worley were again
one-three. This time Richie Evans was the spoiler. Roger Treichler was
fourth. In small block action at Thompson, George Savory took the win over
Leo Cleary and Ron Bouchard who borrowed the ride of Fats Caruso after his
own suffered engine problems.
Twenty-five years ago in 1984,
Spencer Speedway had an event scheduled for July 4th but it was rained out.
Friday night at Stafford belonged to Reggie Ruggiero as he beat out Mike
McLaughlin and Kenny Bouchard for the win. Riverside and Waterford rained
out on Saturday but Riverhead was able to get their show in with Wayne
Anderson holding off Tom Baldwin for the win. Shangri-La ran double features
with Jim Spencer scoring a one-two punch, winning both. Racing at Thompson
on Sunday also rained out.
Twenty years ago in 1989, the
Modified tour series visited Riverhead on Wednesday. Reggie Ruggiero went
pole to pole to win the 151-lap event over Dan Jivanelli, Mike McLaughlin
and Steve Park. Park had been running second at the 125-lap mark when he
tangled with Mike Ewanitsko. Rounding out the top five was Wayne Anderson.
At Stafford on Friday, Mike Christopher took the 35 lap SK Modified win over
Bob Potter. Waterford ran a 50 lapper with David Gada taking the win.
Riverside set an all time attendance record as the track reported 9264
spectators on hand. Bob Polverari won the Modified event over John Zavisa.
The Mod tour series headed for Oswego on Sunday. Tony Hirschman held off
Mike McLaughlin who finished second with Ruggiero, third. In other weekend
action, Jeff Malave won at Riverhead; Randy Hedger at Shangri-La and Tony
Jankowiak won a Race of Champions qualifier at Pulaski, VA.
Fifteen years ago in 1994,
Stafford started the holiday weekend off with a 100 lapper, which was won by
John Anderson. On Saturday night at Waterford, Phil Rondeau scored one of
his two modified wins as he beat out Mark LaJunesse, Bob Potter, John
Anderson and Todd Ceravolo. Jerry Young was the late model winner. At
Riverside Park, Reggie Ruggiero all but owned the place as he crossed the
finish line ahead of Tom Cravenho and Dan Avery. At Riverhead it was Bill
Park over Eddie Brunnhoelzl. On Sunday, July 3, Ed Flemke Jr. scored his
first ever-Modified tour win as he won a 102-lap contest at Tioga. Wayne
Anderson finished second with Chris Aman, third. On Monday, July 4,
Lancaster ran a 150 lapper. New England invader Rick Fuller took top honors
over Jim Rudolph and Jan Leaty. In Winston Cup action at Daytona, Jim
Spencer did the bump and grind with Ernie Irvan over the final laps and
raced home the winner, by inches.
Ten years ago, in 1999, Brad
Leighton took the lead on lap 43 in the Busch Grand National North 150 at
Stafford after Dave Dion spun in oil. It was Leighton’s fourth win of the
year. Jeff Taylor finished second with Dion, third. Stafford's SK Modified
event rained out. Waterford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night with Eric
Berndt taking the win over Jeff Pearl and Tucker Reynolds. Riverhead went to
Frank Vigliarolo Jr. In 100-degree heat, Bert Marvin went pole to pole at
Thompson. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Tom Tagg, third. At Riverside,
Rob Summers won a 125 lapper over Ted Riggott and Bob Polverari. In Busch
Grand National action at Milwaukee, Casey Atwood hit Jeff Green on the final
lap and went on to take the win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Glenn Allen. In
Winston Cup action under the lights at Daytona, Dale Jarrett took the lead
on lap 146 of the 160-lap distance and took the win over Dale Earnhardt and
Five years ago in 2004, The
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was on their mid season break. The
next event would be at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. With
eight of the 19 scheduled events already in the record books Eddie Flemke
Jr. sat atop the point standings with a 70-point lead over former series
champion Tony Hirschman. Flemke, who won at Waterford on May 15, had
finished in the top five on seven occasions. Flemke and his Roger Hill owned
race team had a game plan to run hard and run safe in 2004 and if their
first half performance was any indication, they could very well be sitting
at the head table at season’s end. Hirschman, who won at Stafford on May 28
and at Lake Erie on June 12, had a total of five top fives. Jerry Marquis,
who won the Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 25 and at Riverhead on June
5, sat in third spot despite being the division’s top money winner. Marquis
was 113 points out of the lead and including his wins, has 5 top fives. Ted
Christopher, who won the season opening IceBreaker at Thompson, was 156
points out of the lead in fourth spot. Christopher’s win came at the expense
of Todd Szegedy who was disqualified when officials determined he had an
illegal rear end gear. Ricky Fuller, all though winless, rounded out the top
five. Fuller had one top five in eight starts and is 238 points behind the
leader. Sixth through tenth in the standings were Jamie Tomaino, Chuck
Hossfeld, Tony Ferrante Jr., Tom Bolles and Tom Cravenho. Kenny Barry was
the leading rookie and sat in 11th spot. Other Modified Tour Series winners
at the mid-season mark are Todd Szegedy at Nazareth on May 23 and Reggie
Ruggiero at Wall Township on June 26. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series
had been one of the strongest in NASCAR as events consistently draw between
40-50 cars per event.
The Busch North Series was also off for the weekend. Car counts
could have been better but the dedication of those in competition was very
Cool heads on a hot night prevailed at Thursday night Thunder at
the Thompson Bert Marvin who has had more than his share of bad luck in 2004
finally got a break and recorded his first win of the season as he took the
top spot in the Sunoco Modified SK type event. Marvin jumped into the lead
on lap two and never looked back. Pole sitter Adam Norton spent a lot of
time looking in his mirror as he bounced off or cut off just about everyone
who attempted to pass. The mirror driving didn't work as he ended up 12th at
the finish. Kerry Malone finished second but had nothing for Marvin. Bo
Gunning, Ted Christopher and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top five. David
Berghman became a three-time winner in the Pro Stock division while Ryan
Posocco got his first in Late Model action. Other winners were Scott Sundeen
in the Limited Sportsman, Roger Larson in the Mini Stocks and Randy Cabral
in the NEMA Midgets.
Ted Christopher beat out defending SK Modified champion Kerry Malone at
Stafford on Friday night. The modifieds played second fiddle to the Late
Models who were showcased in a 100 lapper that went to Tom Butler. Rounding
out the top five in the SK Modified feature were Chuck Docherty, Woody
Pitkat and Jeff Baral.
Ted Christopher carried his winning ways from Stafford over to
Waterford on Saturday night as he made it two out of three for the weekend.
Christopher led the 100-lap feature from lap 30. Tom Fox finished second but
had nothing for Christopher. Keith Rocco, who is on Christopher’s crew, made
it two in a row in Sportsman competition. Phil Rondeau waited until the
final lap of the Late Model feature to steal the glory from Allen Coates as
he won the exciting Late Model feature. It was announced that Late Model
driver Brandon Plemons had been suspended from racing at any NASCAR track
for the remainder of 2004. Plemons, who was also fined $250, deliberately
smashed his car into the driver’s door of Carl Erickson on June 26.
The Nextel Cup division and the Busch Racing Series of NASCAR were
at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Mike Wallace was the
surprise winner of the Busch Series event as he went from fifth to first in
the final lap. If Jason Lefler hadn’t been so intent on mirror driving and
spinning out his competition he might have won. The Pepsi 400 got a two hour
late start because of monsoon type rain in central Florida. Jeff Gordon was
the eventual winner. Two spectators were slightly injured from lightning
earlier in the day. It had been learned that former modified ace Greg Sacks
has entered the upcoming Nextel Cup event at Chicagoland. Sacks would drive
a former Ray Everham car now owned by himself, James Wilsburg and Ed Raabs.
Wilsburg is a former crew chief for Sacks when he drove Modifieds.
Last year, 2008, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH for their first of two
visits for 2008. Rain greeted fans and competitors who were on hand for
qualifying on Thursday. Because of adverse weather NASCAR was forced to set
the starting field of 38 cars based on point standings and the rulebook.
There were 42 cars on hand, which meant that four would go home. Sent
packing were Doug Coby, Jon McKennedy, Kenny Horton and Kenny Bouchard.
Among those in the field was L.W. Miller who would become the first driver
to run a Spec engine in Whelen Modified Tour competition.
The four Whelen Modified Tour teams that were sent home from New
Hampshire Motor Speedway after qualifying for Saturday's New England 100 was
cancelled on Thursday each received tow money from the track. Track
spokesman Fred Neergaard confirmed that each team was paid $500 by the
Chuck Hossfeld led only one lap but it was the one that counted as
won out in a photo finish with Ted Christopher. Christopher, who had led
since lap 69 had a checker on his mind but Hossfeld had other ideas as he
dogged him with no mercy. Ed Flemke Jr finished third and was followed by
Eric Beers and Reggie Ruggerio. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Todd
Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Jeff Fuller and Ronnie Silk. Hossfeld pocketed $15,600
for his efforts. Hossfeld and Christopher kept the crowd on its feet for the
final ten laps as they traded positions at the front numerous times. It was
by far one of the best finishes ever seen at the New Hampshire oval.
Hopefully someone in the O. Bruton Smith empire will recognize the great
potential the division holds. L.W. Miller, who used the new “Spec Engine”
The victory was the seventh of Hossfeld’s career, his third at New
Hampshire and his second of the season. The Loudon Modified event had been
scheduled to be televised and was to be shown on the Speed Channel on July
18. Needless to say the Whelen Modifieds took it on the chin again as the TV
coverage was scrapped. On the positive side Speedway Motorsports upper
management was impressed with the Whelen Modifieds to the point where they
indicated the Mods could possibly get a third date at Loudon if and when the
Indy Cars are added to the track’s schedule.
The True Value Modifieds went up country to Maine for an event on
Saturday at the Wiscasset Raceway. Rain prevailed forcing a cancellation.
The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program fell victim
The Stafford Motor Speedway put their Late Model division on center
stage Friday night with the first of two extra distance 100-lap feature
events of the 2008 season. Waterford’s Dillon Moltz drove to his third
consecutive Late Model feature victory of the season in the 100-lapper, with
Woody Pitkat winning the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Mark Bakaj winning the
20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Joey Ferrigno winning the 20-lap Limited
Late Model feature, and Robert Thompson winning the 15-lap DARE Stock
At the Waterford Speedbowl second generation driver
ended a long dry spell as he captured his first ever feature win at the
shoreline oval. Miller is the son of NEAR Hall of Fame driver Ray Miller.
Miller took the lead on the fourth lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature
from Wendell Dailey but in the end had to contend with Dennis Gada and Keith
Rocco for the win. Miller held on as Gada and Rocco followed across the
finish line. Rob Janovic and Jeff Paul rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Walt Hovey
(Sportsman), Raymond Christian III (Mini Stock), and Shaun Buffington
In Sprint Cup racing at Loudon, Kurt Busch had strategy and luck on
his side. Tony Stewart had neither. Busch wound up ending his 29-race
winless string in the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301, while the
frustrated Stewart simply added another disheartening loss to his own
winless string that has reached 31 races. It is the first victory for the
Penske Racing driver since September at California Speedway, and it came on
a day when two-time Cup champion Stewart dominated, leading 132 of 284 laps,
only to see the hard luck that has dogged him all season continue.
Runner-up Michael Waltrip, who had not finished better than 23rd,
used the same strategy as Busch. The two-time Daytona 500 winner said he was
hoping the race would go to the end because he believed he had a faster car
than Busch. But Busch believed he could hold the top spot. Stewart, who
dominated the second half of the race on the 1.058-mile oval, held off a
challenge from two-time reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson late in the
race and appeared on the way to his first victory since August at Watkins
Glen, N.Y. But Stewart and most of the other drivers who had been racing at
the front of the pack did not have enough gas to get to the end. On lap 271,
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had been in the top 10 all day, started toward pit
road and was hit from behind by Jamie McMurray, who then spun into David
Ragan, bringing out a caution. Stewart and the rest of the front-runners
pitted under the ensuing yellow flag, while Busch and seven other drivers
who had pitted more recently than the leaders, stayed on track. The race
restarted on lap 279, but there was another caution on lap 280, with Clint
Bowyer and rookie Sam Hornish Jr. crashing, then Juan Pablo Montoya slamming
into series points leader Kyle Busch, Kurt's younger brother, moments later.
Montoya was later assessed a two-lap penalty by NASCAR for rough driving and
The rain that had been threatening for much of the afternoon began
falling during that caution and, moments after the cars were red-flagged
onto pit lane just before completing lap 285, NASCAR called the race,
leaving Busch on top, ahead of Waltrip, J.J. Yeley, Martin Truex Jr.,
Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears, all of whom had stayed on
track during the previous caution.
In Nationwide action at Loudon Tony Stewart got track position,
restarting third after taking just two tires during his final pit stop on
lap 129 of the 200-lap event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He took the
lead on lap 136 from fellow Cup star Carl Edwards on lap 136 and led the
rest of the way. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished second and
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail
week are several photos of Hall of Famer Ray Miller
and his son Jay. Jay passed away unexpectedly on July 15, 2008.
On Sunday July 12, 2009 a celebration party in honor of Jay is being held.
Fans and Friends are invited to attend.
For more information click on the icon.
Jay Miller Memorial Party
Jay & Ray at Racearama RaceDogPhotograhy
All other photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Looking Back Archive