Forty years ago in 1969, Labor Day
weekend meant many extra distance events were on the schedule. Albany
-Saratoga started it off with a regular program, which saw Lou Lazzaro take
the top spot over Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Pennock. Saturday night at Norwood
Eddie Flemke won a double point event over Freddie Schulz and Bob Bacciocce.
At Airborne it was Dick Nephew over Guy Chartrand and in South Boston, Va.,
Mr Modified, Ray Hendrick won a 400 lapper over Perk Brown and Jimmie
Hensley. Charlie Jarzombek made it two in a row at Islip as he beat out Jim
Hendrickson and Fred Harbach. Waterford ran on Saturday night as well as on
Monday. Fred “Fuzzy” Baer was the Saturday night winner with Don Collins
taking the victory on Monday. Lou Lazzaro made it two for two on the weekend
as he won the Utica-Rome 400 on Sunday night. Dave Lape finished second and
was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Jerry Cook, Perk Brown and Bill Slater. From
Utica it was off to Dover Downs for the All Star 100. Ray Hendrick cleaned
house for the win. Sonny Hutchins finished second and was followed by Buzzie Reutiman, Bill Greco, Charlie Jarzombek and Bugsy Stevens. A 150 lapper
scheduled for Labor Day at Stafford was cancelled. It was also during this
week that NASCAR Winston Cup drivers formed the Pro Drivers Association and
elected Richard Petty as their president.
Thirty-five years ago in 1974, Wednesday night racing at
Riverhead and Friday night racing at Freeport rained out. Utica-Rome ran a
100 lapper on Friday, which saw Geoff Bodine take the win. Lou Lazzaro
finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook and Richie Evans. Saturday
night at Islip saw Charlie Jarzombek take the win over Charlie Siebert and
at Stafford Bugsy Stevens edged out Leo Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard. Racing
at Shangri-La was cancelled due to a power failure. Rain prevailed at the
Waterford Speedbowl. At Fulton on Sunday, Clayton Sonny Seamon held off
Bernie Miller and Maynard Troyer. In New England, Monadnock, Seekonk and
Thompson went head to head. Jerry Pearl won at Thompson while it was Eddie
Flemke at Seekonk and Brian Ross at Monadnock. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on
Labor Day and Bugsy Stevens made it two for two at the half-mile oval for
the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Fred DeSarro, fourth.
Thirty years ago in 1979, Labor Day weekend started on
Wednesday with a 200 lap event at New Egypt. Richie Evans took the win over
Jerry Cook and John Blewett Jr. Friday night at Stafford belonged to Ronnie
Bouchard who led the way to victory over Evans. Oswego ran their annual
Modified 200 on Saturday, which drew 72 Modifieds. Geoff Bodine and Jerry
Cook finished one-two in a lap by themselves. Richie Evans finished third,
one lap down. At Seekonk, Leo Cleary gave Eddie St. Angelo a driving lesson
and at Waterford, Rick Donnelly took the win. Charlie Jarzombek beat out
Greg Sacks at Islip and at Westboro; Jeff Fuller took the top spot. Stafford
capped off the weekend with their annual 200, which drew 60 Modifieds.
Richie Evans took the win and sewed up the track championship. Maynard
Troyer finished second and was followed by Mark Malcuit, Gil Hearne and
Jerry Pearl. Other weekend winners were Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and
Monadnock, Jerry Cook at Spencer, Bruce Batchelder at Claremont,
Rocco at Plainville and Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson. Joe Howard sewed up the
Thompson championship. Two days after his Oswego win, Geoff Bodine and car
owner Lee Allard split up.
Twenty-five years ago in 1984, Reggie Ruggiero was the
kingpin at Stafford as he won the Friday night 30 lapper and the Labor Day
200. Kenny Bouchard finished second on Friday and was followed by George
Brunnhoelzl and Ray Miller. Richie Evans finished second in the 200 and was
followed by Bouchard, Brian Ross and Mike McLaughlin. At Waterford on
Saturday, Dale Holdredge beat out Gomer Taylor and at Riverside John Rosati
took the win. The Oswego 200 was still the race to win as 62 Modifieds were
on hand. Richie Evans took the win, which was worth $17,500. Jeff Fuller
finished second and was followed by George Kent, Roger Treichler and Tony
Hirschman. Other weekend winners included Kent at Spencer, Don Howe at Islip
and Tom McCann at Wall Stadium. Down in the southland, Ronnie Bouchard won
the Saturday Grand National event at Darlington.
Twenty years ago in 1989, it rained at Stafford on Friday
night. At Waterford on Saturday, Richie Gallup was the winner and Phil
Rondeau scored his 12th win of the season in the late model ranks. The
Oswego 200 was won by Tony Hirschman. Brad Hietala won at Riverside and Fred
Harbach took the win at Riverhead.
Fifteen years ago in 1994, Thompson ran on Wednesday. Wayne
Dion took the win over John Sneade and Frank Cardile. Ted Christopher was
the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter finished second with John
Jensen, third. Waterford ran double features with Jim Broderick winning
both. Dan Avery won at Riverside and Dan Watts won at Riverhead. The
Modified Tour Series was at Apple Valley (Shangri-La). Mike Ewanitsko
recovered from a mid race flat tire to win the event. Wayne Anderson
finished second and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak. Richie Gallup and
Rick Fuller were eliminated in separate wrecks after tangles with Ed Flemke
Jr. Flemke ended up seventh. At Darlington, Mark Martin was the Grand
National winner and Bill Elliott won the Winston Cup event.
Ten years ago in 1999, Willie Hardie took the Friday night
SK Modified win at Stafford. Todd Szegedy finished second with Curt
Brainard, third. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour made its final visit
to the soon to be closed Riverside Park Speedway for a 200 lapper. The event
drew 49 Modifieds and a packed grandstand. Pole sitter Bob Polverari.
Polverari led the first 61 laps before giving way to Reggie Ruggiero.
Ruggiero held the point until passed by Ricky Miller on lap 126. Ruggerio
faded to eventually finish 15th while Miller went on to take the win. Mike
Ewanitsko, in the Art Barry No. 21, finished second and was followed by Ted
Riggot, Tony Hirschman and Ricky Fuller. Dennis Gada scored his eighth win
of the season at Waterford. David Gada, who initially finished fourth was
moved up to second after it was discovered that the cylinder heads on the
cars of Todd Ceravolo and Tucker Reynolds were illegal. Jay Stuart recorded
his fourth in a row in Late Model competition and Richard Brooks took the
Mini Stock feature. Eddie Brunnhoelzl won at Riverhead and at Thompson on
Sunday Todd Ceravolo took the win over Curt Brainard. In Winston Cup action
at Darlington Jeff Burton won the rain shortened Southern 500. Burton also
earned the No-Bull $1million bonus. Ward Burton finished second. Mark Martin
won the Darlington Busch Series 300.
Five years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour
Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Tongues were
wagging in a positive way over the announcement that Whelen Engineering
would take over as title sponsor of the series in 2005. Thirty-four
Modifieds were on hand for the event that carried a $70,000 purse. Tony
Hirschman took the Busch Pole. The draw for starting spots saw Hirschman
draw the outside pole along side Eddie Flemke Jr. who drew the pole. Flemke
took the lead at the start and held the position for 42 laps when Doug Coby
was able to get by Coby lasted five laps on the point until Flemke took it
back. The lead seesawed back and forth until lap 76 when Coby became the
victim of a slipping clutch, ending his night. Flemke led until lap 96 when
he began backing up, giving the lead to Todd Szegedy. Szegedy led the
remaining distance to complete the 150-lap distance. Jerry Marquis, who
started 12th, moved into the second spot on lap 96 but couldn’t catch
Szegedy sleeping. Marquis settled for second. Mike Stefanik ran virtually
without fanfare and ended up third while Flemke slipped to fourth at the
finish. Tony Hirschman, in a determined run after having to pit with a flat
tire, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were Chuck Hossfeld, Kevin Konopka,
Kenny Barry, Jamie Tomaino and Greg Shivers. Seven cautions for 42 laps
slowed the event The most severe came as the field completed the first lap
when a multi-car tangle occurred on the front stretch which resulted in Ted
Christopher receiving severe rear end damage. Christopher drove to the pit
area but never returned.
The Modified Tour Series continued to be the strongest regional
touring series that NASCAR has. Among those missing from the Waterford Mod
Tour event were Bobby Santos III who normally drives the Joe Brady No.00.
John Blewett III pinch-hit for Santos while he was at Oswego, NY for their
annual Supermodified Classic. Santos finished second to Greg Furlong in the
200-lap grind. In the companion ISMA Super Nationals Santos swapped spots
with Furlong as he took the win.
In Dodge Weekly Racing Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson
Speedway Todd Ceravolo put himself back on top of the Sunoco Modified
standings with a convincing win over Bert Marvin and Kerry Malone. It was
his fifth win in which may be his final season. Ceravolo, an electrical
contractor, had indicated that he would retire from racing at season’s end
and would like nothing better than to go out as a champion. Ceravolo also
stands a good chance of a high finish in the first tier of the NASCAR Dodge
Regional standings. A single file re-start with three laps to go told the
story. Bert Marvin was looking to record the win until Ceravolo powered by
on the backstretch and that’s all she wrote. Following Ceravolo and Marvin
at the finish were Kerry Malone, Eric Berndt, Jeff Malave and Richard
Savory. Ted Christopher, who was the odds on favorite to become the NASCAR
regional champion finished eighth after recovering from a lap six spin.
David Berghman rebounded from a two-race slump as he recorded his seventh
Pro Stock win of the season. Other Thursday night Thunder winners were Ryan
Posocco in the Late Models, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Jason
Paquette in the Mini-Stocks. On a sad note, Bo Gunning took a mean fall from
atop the Eddie Partridge hauler and had to be transported to a nearby
hospital. Evidently Gunning was assisting his crew in the removal of his car
from the hauler when his cell phone rang which diverted his attention. The
car rolled out of the truck on to the elevator ramp, striking Gunning.
Gunning was taken to the hospital and released. Car owner Eddie Partridge
made the decision to call it a night and did not enter his car into
competition. Partridge, who was at Waterford on Saturday night stated that
Gunning was sore but had no broken bones.
Double features were on tap at Stafford on Friday night. Ted
Christopher wrapped up his fifth track championship but it wasn’t pretty and
he wasn’t happy. Steve Chowanski won the opening 30 lap SK Modified event
with Jeff Malave hot on his tail. Todd Owen finished third. Christopher
finished a conservative 10th. Christopher needed to finish 20th in the
second event. Jeff Malave ended up taking the win in the second event after
Christopher was put to the tail of the field for rough riding and ended up
finishing tenth, again. Chris Jones, who has a short temper at times started
on the pole of the second event and was able to hold onto the front spot
until the five to go signal was given. All of a sudden Jones’ car drifted up
and Christopher, running in second made a move to take the lead. Once Jones
realized what was happening he turned left to block, making contact with
Christopher and ended up spinning into the infield. Taking somewhat of a
Jones spun his car in the dirt. Race director Frank Sgambato Jr. gave the
word that Jones was done for the night. The next thing you know, he puts
Christopher to the rear for rough riding. Christopher, not a saint by any
means, was the victim of a bad call. Jones came into him, period!
Christopher vented his frustration with the Stafford management on Saturday
night at Waterford. “I hope they enjoy themselves at the banquet this year,
I know I won’t be there”, he said. In Late Model action Ryan Posocco made it
three in a row.
The tech man at the Waterford Speedbowl got tough on Saturday
night. Doug Coby, who apparently had won the SK Modified main event found
himself disqualified after the tech man discovered illegal chassis height.
Rob Janovic, who finished second, was declared the winner. Tom Fox ended up
second with Ed Reed Jr., third. Allen Coates, who was unhappy to hear he had
to pay income tax on the vehicle he won in the Funkmaster event, took his
fourth Late Model victory of the year. Richard Brooks made it two in a row
in Mini Stock action and Jim Procaccini won the Sportsman feature. Twin 25’s
at Wall Township were won by Kevin Flockart and Shannon Mongeau. At
Riverhead, Bill Park took the win.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were
at the California Speedway in Fontana last weekend. For the first time since
1950 the Nextel Cup and Busch Racing series was not at the Darlington
Speedway in South Carolina as NASCAR and the International Speedway
Corporation has seen fit to break tradition. Gregg Biffle won the Busch
Series event after putting the fender to Casey Mears late in the race.
Elliott Sadler was the Nextel Cup winner
Last year, 2008, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had the
Labor Day weekend off before moving on to Thompson International Speedway
for the Sunoco Modified Mania 150 on Sunday, Sept 7. Ted Christopher led the
point standings as he had a 60 point lead over Chuck Hossfeld. Matt
Hirschman sat in third spot, 26 points behind. Mike Stefanik and Ronnie Silk
rounded out the top five. Sixth through 10th were Todd Szegedy, Eric Beers,
Jimmy Blewett, Ed Flemke Jr and Rowan Pennick.
Don Lia, who was the series champion in 2007 was released from his
NASCAR Craftsman Truck ride. He had 12th at Bristol in his last outing in
the #71 Chevy TRG Motorsports entry. Lia recorded a win in the truck series
earlier in the year at Mansfield Ohio and had been a consistent top ten
finisher. Word had it that Lia will be entered in the upcoming Whelen
Modified Tour Series event at Loudon and will be driving new '09 Troyer
House car normally driven in the New York Race of Champions Series by Chuck
It was literally “Showtime” at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night as
the Sunoco Modifieds (SK type) took center stage with a 50 lap event. Jimmy
Blewett, driving the Eddie Partridge owned No. 12 started fifth on the grid
and wasted little time in marching to the front. Kerry Malone was the
initial leader but could not hold back the advances of Blewett who took the
lead on lap four. After withstanding numerous restarts Blewett streaked
under the checkers almost a half straightaway over Woody Pitkat and Malone.
Todd Ceravolo who entered the event as the point leader increased his lead
by two points over Danny Cates as he finished fourth. Cates, who has come
into his own this year, has been persistent as he continues to keep Ceravolo
in sight. Cates rounded out the top five. Keith Rocco, who had been fourth
in track points plus is ranked high in NASCAR Whelen Weekly Racing Series
points suffered a major setback when his engine expired shortly after
the opening green.
In other Thursday Night Thunder action at Thompson George “MadDog” Bessette
cleaned house in the Pro Stock division. Rick Gentes made it two in a row in
the Late Models. Scott Sundeen MA, took top honors in the Limited Sportsman
feature. Scott Michalski scored a victory in Mini Stocks while Leo Oliveira
triumphed in the TIS Modifieds.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of another classic battle between
Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco. Christopher, fresh off his recent NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series win in Mansfield, Ohio won out over his former
crew chief as he scored his 102nd career win at the Arute Family oval.
Christopher and Rocco are also locked into a torrid battle for the track’s
SK Modified Championship. Christopher is the defending champion. With the
Stafford season rapidly winding down there won’t be too many opportunities
left for Rocco to overtake his mentor. There are only two more Friday night
dates remaining before the season ending Fall Final on September 28.
In other Friday night action at the Nutmeg oval, Dillon Moltz won his second
consecutive and fifth overall Late Model feature of the 2008 season. Matt
Chiarizio took the 15-lap DARE Stock feature and there were two first-time
winners as Raymond Grassetti took the 20-lap SK Light feature and Darrin
Havenec won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Christopher outlasted Rocco to take
home the victory. Corey Hutchings jumped out to the early lead from the
outside pole, but gave way to Curt Brainard on lap-3. Rocco moved by
Brainard one lap later to take the lead and had Zach Sylvester hot on his
bumper. Sylvester moved by Rocco for the lead on lap-10, but Rocco took the
lead back on a lap-11 restart. Rocco held the lead to the half-way point of
the race, which is when Christopher moved to the front of the field for the
first time. Rocco gave chase to Christopher the entire second half of the
race, but was unable to get by as Christopher took down his fourth victory
of the 2008 season. Rocco finished second, with Jeff Malave, Sylvester, and
Richie Pallai, Jr. rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, it was Waterford High School student
Dillon Moltz taking his second consecutive feature win. Scott Cook took the
early lead and led the first two laps before spinning in turn 2, which
handed the race lead over to Michael Bennett. Bennett held the lead until
lap-6 when Moltz charged into the lead. Moltz held the lead until lap-14
when Bennett went back to the front, but Moltz went back by Bennett on the
next lap to retake the race lead. The race went green to the checkered flag
with Moltz pulling away from Bennett to take his second consecutive feature
win and fifth overall win of the 2008 season. Bennett finished second, with
Ryan Posocco, Woody Pitkat, and Mike Mordino rounding out the top-5.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, the action began with Wacky Wednesday where
Morgan, 14, scored his third Legends Cars victory of the season. Morgan
absolutely dominated 20-lap Legends feature action. The Ledyard High School
student had the field fully-covered by the early laps, and went on to
triumph over perennial front-runners Jason Palmer and Max Zachem by a
On Saturday, heavy fog rolled into the area before the Waterford Speedbowl’s
Double Down Shootout presented by Mohegan Sun Casino could be completed.
Only three of the scheduled eight main events were run before cancellation.
Winning features in the abbreviated event were Bruce Thomas Jr., (Late
Model), Walt Hovey Jr. (Sportsman), and Randy Churchill Jr. (Mini Stock).
Both 25-lap SK Modified features were victims of the cancellation.
Phil Rondeau, who has over 100 career victories at the shoreline oval,
returned to action in the Late Model ranks and recorded a ninth place
The New London Day reported that Terry Eames, the principal owner of 1080
Hartford Road, LLC, which owns the Waterford Speedbowl, would be in court on
Sept 2 after filing a suit against Jerry Robinson, the leaseholder and
president of the New Waterford Speedbowl, LLC, which runs the day-to-day
operations of the track.
The suit was filed Friday, Aug. 15 in New London Civil Court. Eames said
that Robinson has failed to pay property taxes in the neighborhood of
$45,000 and has also failed to meet a payment plan for rent money from last
year, 2007, when he began running the track, as well as this year. Eames
admitted the property taxes are ultimately the responsibility of both he and
Robinson, but said, “it's fairly common for a tenant to lease things on what
they call a triple-net lease.”
A triple-net lease is a lease agreement on a property where the tenant
agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance on
the property, in addition to any normal fees that are expected under the
agreement, including rent. In such a lease, the tenant is responsible for
all costs associated with repairs of the structural building elements of the
The True Value Modified Series suffered a rain-out at their scheduled
holiday event at the Seekonk Speedway. With a steady rain through mid
afternoon, a forecast that showed more of the same for the evening, and rain
in surrounding areas, Seekonk management was forced to cancel the Del's
Lemonade 100 for the True Value Modified Racing Series.
Get well wishes to three time NASCAR National Modified Champion Carl Bugsy
Stevens who was recovering from the effects of Lyme disease.
In some good news, the Wall Township Speedway, which had remained closed for
the 2008 season will host the annual Turkey Derby on Thanksgiving weekend.
Former Public Relations director Mike Clayton made the announcement this
past Sunday. Turkey Derby XXXV is a go for November 28th and 29th, 2008.
Practice the two weekends before. Jim Morton is renting the track to run
this race. No track owners involved. More details will be available next
weekend, September 7th.
Kyle Busch was dominant Saturday night on the 2-mile oval at Auto Club
Speedway in Fontana, Calif., leading 144 of the 150 laps to race off with
his seventh Nationwide Series victory of the season. Busch held off Sprint
Cup rival Carl Edwards on a pair of late-race restarts, piling up his record
18th NASCAR victory of the season, including eight in Cup, and three in the
Craftsman Truck Series.
Edwards, the defending Nationwide champion who is locked in a three-way
points battle with leader Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski, finished second,
followed by Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano and
Clint Bowyer. Jimmie Johnson overpowered the field Sunday night at Auto Club
Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the
season.Runner-up Greg Biffle had the next best car throughout the race, but
he couldn't keep up with Johnson's No.48 Chevrolet, finishing more than 2
The Charlotte NC Business Journal reported that Bruton Smith, the Speedway
Motorsports Inc. chairman and chief executive expects the $78 million
acquisition of the Kentucky Speedway announced in May to be completed later
in the month. Concord-based Speedway Motorsports (NYSE:TRK) had a 90-day
option from the time the deal was announced to make the purchase. With that
deadline arriving this month, Smith says an announcement on the completion
of the deal could come within a few days.
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI, 02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
. 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.