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
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 email@example.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.