The Chrome Horn - Phil Smith's Looking Back A Bit

     Forty years ago in 1969, rain washed out racing at Malta, Norwood, Waterford, Stafford and Islip. Lou Lazzaro continued to be the top gun in New York State as he won at both Fonda and at Utica-Rome.

   Thirty five years ago in 1974, Riverhead ran twin events on Tuesday with Charlie Jarzombek and Artie Tappen taking wins. On Saturday night, Freeport and Islip went head to head. Jarzombek won at Freeport over Fred Harbach and Tappen. Islip ran double points and Richie Evans invaded the Island with good results as he beat out Jim Hendrickson and George Wagner for the win. Jake Marosz, who is still racing, scored his lone career Modified victory at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet Jr was the Grand American late model winner. At Stafford, Bugsy Stevens put the Koszela No.15 on top. Ron Bouchard had to settle for second with Ed Flemke, third. Evans who had also won at Utica-Rome on Friday night, made it three for three as he won at Fulton on Sunday. Other weekend winners were Geoff Bodine at Shangri-La, Merv Treichler at Lancaster, Gene Bergin at Monadnock and Fred DeSarro at Thompson.

   Thirty years ago in 1979, Richie Evans was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished in the runner-up spot with Brian Ross coming in third with a flat tire. At Spencer, Jerry Cook came home for the win over George Kent, Geoff Bodine, Maynard Troyer and Doug Hewitt. Leo Cleary extended his point lead at Seekonk as he ruled over Stevens, Ross and George Savory. Twin events were run at Riverside. Eddie Flemke scored his first win in ten years. Reggie Ruggiero was the co-winner. At Islip it was Charlie Jarzombek over Bill Park. Other weekend winners were Kent at Shangri-la, Pete Fiandaca at Westboro, Rick Donnelly at Waterford; Punky Caron at Claremont and Tony Papale scored his first win ever, at Plainville.

   Twenty five years ago in 1984, Charlie Jarzombek was not to be denied as he dusted the field at Stafford. Kenny Bouchard finished second. Bob Polverari won a 100 lapper at Riverside on Saturday and at Riverhead, Jim Spencer fought off Richie Evans and Bill Park to win a 75-lap national championship event. Jan Leaty won at Spencer and Randy LaJoie was the winner of a Busch North event at Thompson. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Geoff Bodine took the win.

   Twenty years ago in 1989, Mike Christopher was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Tom Tagg finished second. Saturday night at Waterford saw Ricky Young take the top spot and at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson beat out Ed Brunnhoelzl. The Modified Tour Series traveled to Jennerstown and it was Tony Hirschman taking the win over Reggie Ruggiero and Jamie Tomaino.

   Fifteen years ago in 1994, Thompson ran on Wednesday. Richie Gallup in the Ceravolo No.31 won the SK feature over Steve Lombardo. Ted Christopher was the Pro Stock winner and CJ Freye won in the Late Models. Stafford rained out on Friday and at Waterford on Saturday, Jerry Pearl beat out Larry Lanpher and David Gada. Bruce Dell won at Riverside. and at Riverhead it was Tim Contarino. The Modified Tour Series joined the Busch North Series and Winston Cup division at Loudon. Jeff Fuller won the Modified 40 lapper over Rick Fuller and Charlie Pasteryak. The BGNN event saw Martin Truex pick up his first win. In Winston Cup action, Ricky Rudd picked up his first win as a car owner. Rudd passed second place finisher Dale Earnhardt with eight laps to go.

   Ten years ago, in 1999, Mike Christopher took the Tuesday night win at Stafford with Jim Williams, second. Waterford ran on Friday but it was a point event. Dennis Gada won out over Jeff and Jerry Pearl. A packed front grandstand of 64,000 fans was on hand Saturday afternoon at Loudon for the Modified and Busch North events. Tony Hirshman took the lead from Jan Leaty on Lap 94 and went on to record a convincing win over Leaty, Rick Fuller and Ted Christopher. Andy Santarre and Ted Christopher finished one-two in the BGNN event. In Winston Cup action, Jeff Burton took the win at Loudon after Tony Stewart and John Andretti, who were running one-two with two laps to go, ran out of gas. Jeff Gordon rammed Dale Jarrett on the last lap and took over the second spot. Gordon and Jarrett had quite a discussion in the garage area later!

   Five years ago in 2004, it had been noted that in recent weeks there had been a rash of Road Rage and fighting among competitors at Thompson, Stafford and at Waterford. There had been a lot of equipment damaged but luckily no one had been seriously injured. Officials at all three tracks did take steps to curb these actions. Competitors were suspended, fined and put on probation and overall had gotten the message that these actions would not be tolerated. While things were relatively quiet in New England, the Road Rage and fighting moved south to the Wall Township Speedway in Belmar, New Jersey. Wall Township, part of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series and had Modifieds as their lead division. Wallís Modifieds are similar to the New England SK Modified. On the Fourth of July weekend Wall Township ran their fifth annual Marian D. OíRorke 76. John Blewett III, a regular on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series, led from pole to pole to win the event. While Blewett was putting on a flawless performance all out war was being staged behind him. The event turned into one consisting of deliberate wrecks, fighting, verbal abuse and near riot conditions in the pit area. It all started before the green flag was waved. Local hot shots Jimmy Blewett and Harry Reed made contact while heating up their tires. Reedís car sustained enough damage that he had to be towed from the scene, out for the night. Jimmy Blewett, who was the point leader at the time, rejoined the race after it was eleven laps old. His grandfather attempted to coach the young driver to keep his cool and to look at the overall picture. Evidently young Blewett didnít listen as he ran his car deliberately into Reedís son Stevenís car inflicting severe damage. Blewett was bounced for the night. Upon entering the pit area what seemed like hundreds converged on the Blewett car and a near riot ensued. Extra police were called in to subdue the mob. Once order was restored Blewett was taken to his home by police. Speedway officials later suspended Blewett for four weeks and Harry Reed for one week. As far as the 2004 Modified Track Championship at Wall Township goes, Blewett blew it! The Blewett family has a long history at Wall Township. John Blewett Jr. had a thing going with Jamie Tomaino years ago and even planted the former Modified champion in the wall at Martinsville on one occasion. He spent some of his racing career at Riverhead on Long Island after being tossed out of Wall. John Blewett III also had his moments but has mellowed, due to his Featherlite Modified car owner and sponsor. A few years ago, Blewett III felt that Carl Pasteryak had done him dirty at Stafford. During a caution period Blewett jumped on Pasteryakís nerf bar and ripped out his ignition wires. Hopefully everyone had worked out all their frustrations and racing could return to normal, at least until the next full moon.
   Jimmy Blewett didnít waste any time as he towed up to the Chemung Speedrome in New York and won a 100-lap feature there on Friday night. Any penalties imposed by Wall Township or NASCAR did not apply as the New York speedway lost its NASCAR sanction as of July 7. Meanwhile at Wall Township, John Blewett III made it two in a row at the Jersey shore oval.
In Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway Todd Ceravolo had one of those rare nights that racers really enjoy doing what they do. During warm-ups his car was perfect and required no pre-race adjustments. In the 30 lap Sunoco Modified SK type feature his car performed flawlessly. Starting tenth, he was able to blow away the field to record his second win of the season. Ceravolo took the lead from Bo Gunning on lap 26 of the 30-lap feature. Gunning crossed the line in second spot but was disqualified when a post race inspection revealed that his intake manifold was not an approved part. Ted Christopher was elevated to the second spot with Bert Marvin, third. Kerry Malone and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. Only 21 cars were on hand. Christopher continued to lead the point standings as he led Ceravolo by 14 points. Other Thursday night Thunder winners were GeGe Gravel in the Pro Stocks, Charles Bailey III in the Late Models, Andy Publicover in the Mini Stocks and in twin Limited Sportsman features victory lane was shared by Larry Barnett and Glenn Boss.
   Ted Christopher made it two in a row in SK-Modified competition at Stafford on Friday night. Christopher took the lead in the 40-lap feature on lap 21 from Jeff Malave. Malave later faded as Eric Berndt took over the runner-up spot in the closing laps. Malave hung on for third with Willie Hardie and Kerry Malone rounding out the top five. Ryan Posocco recorded his third Late Model feature win of the season and Kevin Gambacorta was the 15-lap Dare Stock winner
Frank Mucciacciaro had been a modified competitor at the Waterford Speedbowl for 10 years and for the most part has been a back marker. He got his just due at the Connecticut shoreline oval on Saturday night as he went from a third place starting spot to win his first-ever feature. Tom Fox and Dennis Gada were preoccupied with their own battle, which ended up giving the leader and eventual winner a free pass. Fox ended up second with Gada, third. Ron Yuhas and Doug Coby rounded out the top five. Ernie Bertrand was the Late Model winner, Richard Brooks the Mini Stock winner and Richard Doughty was the Legends Car winner. Among the missing at Waterford was Ted Christopher who was in competition at a special Saturday night event at the Thompson Speedway. Christopher won the wreck strewn PASS 100 Pro Stock event and finished fourth in the New York based Race of Champions Modified Tour event. The Modified event was won by Long Islander Donnie Lia who used a bump and run tactic on Tony Ferrante with six laps to go to get the lead and eventual win. Ferrante finished second and was followed by Jim Storace, Christopher and veteran George Kent.
   The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Chicagoland Speedway. Second generation driver Justin Labonte took advantage of last lap leader Mike Wallace when he ran out of gas and recorded his first ever win in NASCARís Triple A series. Bad Boy Tony Stewart dominated the Nextel Cup event on Sunday Many Nextel Cup fans were happy to hear that NASCAR had listened and was in the process of eliminating finishes under caution. A new ruling could be in force by July 25 at Loudon.

   Last year, 2008, the True Value Modifieds made their second visit to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Kirk Alexander managed to successfully maneuver through lapped traffic in the last 10 laps of the 100 lap event and Dwight Jarvisí #28 began to fade. Alexander would take the win, his 30th in the True Value Modified Racing Series. Dwight Jarvis held on to second while Jack Bateman finished third. Jon McKennedy and Rob Goodenough rounded out the top five. Pre-race favorites Ted Christopher, 17th, Les Hinkley, 18th, and Dave Pinkham, DNS, failed to finish.
   The Thompson Speedwayís Thursday Night Thunder program avoided the rain gods and welcomed an almost full crowd to the double feature program for the Sunoco Modifieds. Jimmy Blewett scored back to back Sunoco Modified victories while Randy Cabral enjoyed an emotional NEMA Midgets victory for one of his fallen comrades. In a touching tribute, Cabral left his car in turn three where his fallen friend, Shane Hammond, lost his life in April. Derek Ramstrom continued his domination of the Pro Stock ranks with his third-straight feature win, Leo Oliveira celebrated with a victory in the biggest event of the season for the TIS Modifieds along with Limited Sportsman competitor Ernie LaRose and Mini Stocker Tim Taylor of each visited victory lane.
   The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated the fourth of July holiday with a multimedia fireworks display set to music. The fireworks on the track were provided by Frank Ruocco, who won the SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco, who won his 30th Late Model feature, Chris Matthews, who won the SK Light Modified feature, Charlie Newman, who won the Limited Late Model feature, and Dan Flannery, who won the DARE Stock feature.
   In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Frank Ruocco drove to his first feature win of the 2008 season by out dueling Keith Rocco over the final laps. Doug Coby took the early race lead and held the top spot from the green flag to lap-22, when Ruocco overtook him on a restart. Rocco moved by Coby for second place on lap-27 and brought Ted Christopher with him past Coby. Christopher and Rocco would swap the second position several times over the final laps through several restart situations, with Rocco taking the spot on the final green white checker restart. Rocco stayed glued to the back bumper of Ruocco, but couldn't make a pass for the win. Rounding out the top-5 behind Ruocco and Rocco was Tom Bolles, Christopher, and Jimmy Blewett.
   At the Waterford Speedbowl it was the annual Pepsi 300. A major water main break closed a good portion of the lower section of Route 85 but it didnít hold back the competitors or fans. Jeffrey Paul took advantage of Doug Cobyís misfortune as he scored the biggest win of his young career as he won the 100 lap SK Modified portion of the Pepsi 300. With less than 10 laps to go, Coby missed a shift on a restart and all but handed the win to Paul. Coby had passed Keith Rocco for the lead just beyond the halfway-point and looked to be on cruise control, headed for victory. Pole-sitter Tyler Chadwick led the early going of the 100-lap SK feature before he was passed by Keith Rocco. For several laps the leader was pressed by Coby, Dennis Gada, and Paul. On lap ninety-three, Frank Ruocco and Rocco made contact, the latter slamming into the back-stretch wall, with Ruocco sent to the back for rough-riding. The resultant restart saw Paul bolt into the lead, passing Coby. Coby held-on for the runner-up spot followed by Rob Janovic Jr., Ron Yuhas Jr., and defending champion and current point-leader Dennis Gada. It was the first win of 2008 for Paul.
   Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), and Danny Field (Mini Stocks).
   In the 100-lap Late Model feature it was defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. scoring victory in round-two of the Triple Crown series. Starting in the second-row and passing Ron Yuhas Jr. for the lead on lap forty-two, Thomas motored to a dominating twenty-seventh career triumph over Tim Jordan, Yuhas, Vin Esposito, and Diego Monahan.
   Al Stone III kept his Triple Crown expectations alive with a victory in the 50-lap Sportsman feature and scoring the 50-lap Mini Stock main event by an ever-so-slight margin was Danny Field.
   Denny Hamlin held off teammate Kyle Busch to win Friday night at Daytona International Speedway and extend Joe Gibbs Racing's dominance in the Nationwide Series. Hamlin had a comfortable lead over Busch as they headed toward the last lap, but rookie Colin Braun spun out to bring just the third caution of the race. NASCAR reset the laps to create a two-lap sprint to the finish. Hamlin got a great jump on the restart and Busch couldn't challenge him as Hamlin drove to his third Nationwide Series win of the year. Busch bested Carl Edwards in a race that ended under caution with Busch earning his Sprint Cup-best sixth victory of the season. Busch and Edwards were racing side by side with a little over a lap remaining when a multicar accident brought out the caution behind them. The field was frozen, and while Edwards was pretty sure Busch was a nose ahead, no one was 100 percent certain. Edwards finished second and was disappointed not to have one last lap.

   Thatís it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


.

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.


Looking Back Archive
 

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: July 10, 2009

Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points
Schedule/Results
Drivers
Points

©2009 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.