Forty years ago in
1969, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran their season finale with
Andy Romano taking the win. Lou Lazzaro finished second and was followed by
Bernie Miller, Jerry Cook, Dick Clark, Ron Narducci and Kenny Shoemaker. At
the Norwood Arena on Saturday night, Fred DeSarro took the win over Don
McCullogh, Bugsy Stevens, Mike Murphy and Johnny Thompson. Jerry Cook, in
search of Nascar points paid a surprise visit and finished 12th in his only
appearance at the now closed track. Islip also ran on Saturday with Herbie
Hulse taking the win over Mousie Kempster and Jack Reinhard. Waterford
switched to Sundays and it was Newt Palm taking the win. Stafford ran a 50
lapper on Sunday with Bobby Santos taking the win over Bill Greco, Cook, Hop
Harrington, Bugsy Stevens and Rene Charland. In Winston Cup action at
Talladega the drivers went on strike but the event went on as planned and
was won by Richard Brickhouse.
Thirty five years ago in 1974,
with the exception of Oswego and Thompson, the main action was on Long
Island. Riverhead ran on Friday night with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win
over Fred Harbach and Richie Evans. On Saturday at Freeport, Chargin'
Charlie made it two for two as he beat out Dan MacNamara and Gino Spada. At
Islip on Sunday, 35 cars started the 300-lap grind on the tough 1/5-mile
oval. Lou Lazzaro took the win over Jim Hendrickson, Gary Winters and Cliff
Tyler. Rain washed out the final Saturday night at Waterford. Jim Shampine
won the Oswego modified 200 over Don Diffendorf and Jim Winks and at
Thompson, George Moose Hewitt took the win over Dick Caso and Fats Caruso.
Thirty years ago in 1979, the
annual Race of Champions was held at Pocono Raceway. Promoted by Joe Gerber,
the event drew 97 modifieds. Richie Evans led 83 of the 120-lap distance to
take the win over Maynard Troyer, Gail Barber, Jim Shampine and Satch
Worley. Jack Bateman won at Monadnock while it rained at Westboro and
Twenty five years ago in 1984,
Stan Greger won an open competition event at Riverside over John Rosati.
Shangri-La ran a 150-lap event, which saw Richie Evans take the win. Corky
Cookman finished second and was followed by Jim Spencer. Evans made an
overnight trip to Maine where he finished second to Mike McLaughlin. Brian
Ross finished third at Oxford Plains and was followed by Spencer. In Winston
Cup action at Martinsville, Darrell Waltrip won the 500-lap event by a full
lap. Pole sitter Geoff Bodine broke an oil line and finished 30th.
Twenty years ago in 1989,the
mod tour was scheduled to run at Shangri-La on Saturday but was rained out.
Lancaster ran an 89 lap open on Sunday which was won by Jan Leaty. Brian
Ross finished second with Mike McLaughlin, third.
Fifteen years ago in 1994,
Waterford ran on Saturday night. Bert Marvin took the mod win over Mark
LaJunesse and David Gada. Twin late model features were run with Phil
Rondeau and Larry Cote taking wins. Riverside ran their final point event of
the year. Bobby Gegetsas took the win over Steve Park. Chris Kopec finished
third and sewed up the track championship. The modifieds and the Busch Grand
National North Series were at Loudon. Jeff Fuller took the lead from Reggie
Ruggiero with four laps to go and went on to take the win in the Modified
event. Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Steve Park, Wayne
Anderson and Bruce Dell. Joe Bessey was the BGNN winner. It was on this
weekend that Richie Gallup was relieved of the driving chores of the x6 and
it was announced that Mike Stefanik would be the new driver. In Winston Cup
action at Martinsville, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt finished one-two.
Ten years ago, in 1999, Tony
Hirschman won the Stafford Fall Final 300 lapper. It was a day of excitement
to say the least. Ed Flemke Jr. was the center of attention as he was
involved in three separate incidents. First off, he dumped Mike Ewanitsko on
lap 115, and then he spun out his business partner, Reggie Ruggiero who was
leading. After the second incident he was parked for two laps. The third and
final incident came on lap 288 when NASCAR parked him again when he was
blocking the leader. Also the center of attention was John Blewett III who
became upset after a confrontation with Carl Pasteryak. While the field was
under caution, Blewett jumped on Pasteryak’s hood and started ripping wires
off the engine. Reggie Ruggiero recovered from his early spin and finished
second. Tim Connolly finished third and was followed by Tom Cravenho and Jan
Leaty. Mike Christopher was the 50 lap SK-Modified winner. Waterford
announced that they had secured a
NASCAR sanction for 2000.In Saturday night action at the shoreline oval, Ed
Dachenhausen took the win over Jerry and Jeff Pearl. During the running of
the event, Todd Ceravolo suffered severe injuries when he was dumped into
the retaining wall, drivers side first, by Rob Janovic. In Winston Cup news,
Ray Everham announced that he was leaving Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff
Gordon to form his own team. Mark Martin was the winner of the Winston Cup
event at Dover.
Five years ago in 2004 the
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the
annual Fall Final. The Modifieds continue to be the big draw for any of
NASCAR’s touring divisions as 48 cars were on hand. Ted Christopher was the
Busch Pole sitter and as luck should have it, picked the pole starting
position. Christopher led the first 10 laps before giving way to Mike
Stefanik whom led to lap 23. Christopher took it back after a restart on lap
24. Chuck Hossfeld, who had been rumored to be considering changing rides,
put the Mystic Missile out in front on lap 38. Tony Hirschman and Ed Flemke,
who had been battling for the series title kept each other in sight and on
lap 75 displaced Hossfeld for the lead. With only 20 points separating them
going into the event Hirschman knew he had to finish ahead of Flemke if he
had any hope of getting the title. Hirschman passed Flemke for the lead on
lap 87 and never looked back as he went on to score the win. Flemke glued
himself to Hirschman and wasn’t about to give up another spot as he held off
Stefanik to finish second. Rounding out the top five were Jerry Marquis and
Hossfeld. Hirschman left Stafford leading Flemke by 30 points going into the
season finale at Thompson. Jerry Marquis sits in third spot with Christopher
fourth and Jamie Tomaino, fifth.
In Dodge Weekly Racing Thunder at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday
night Todd Ceravolo was looking to sew up the 2004 Sunoco SK-type Modified
title but lady luck had other ideas. During his qualifying heat the Ledyard,
Connecticut driver was hit from behind and ended up suffering severe damage
to his family owned modified. Mike Finkeldey was gracious enough to loan his
car to Ceravolo for the 30-lap feature but lady luck stepped in again,
causing electrical problems and an ultimate low finishing spot. Kerry
Malone, who was second in points going into the event, suffered a similar
fate, as he was involved in an accident, which also resulted in a low
finish. Bert Marvin, who has had terrible luck this season, took his second
win of 2004. Bo Gunning finished second with Richard Savory, third. Ted
Christopher recovered from an early spin and finished fourth. Jeff Malave
rounded out the top five and put himself in second spot in the point
standings, 20 points behind Ceravolo. Norm Wrenn won the Pro Stock feature.
David Berghman, despite a 16th place finish, sewed up the division
championship. Glenn Boss won the Limited Sportsman feature but it was Larry
Barnett who sewed up his division championship with a third place finish.
Rick Gentes was the Late Model winner, Seth Duval won the All-Star Truck
feature and Scott Michalski was the Mini Stock winner.
For once NASCAR Dodge Racing Series at Stafford was tame. Willie
Hardie Jr. won the SK Modified portion of the Fall Final. Chuck Docherty
finished second with Jeff Malave, third. Malave was later disqualified, as
it was determined that his engine had a lightweight flywheel. Ted
Christopher who had previously sewed up the track championship, finished
seventh. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model winner and also the track champion
for his division. Brian Hitchcock was the DARE Stock winner and Larry
Barnett won the first-ever Limited Sportsman feature run at the track.
Eddie Reed Jr. got a little closer to gaining his first SK-Modified
championship at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Reed didn’t win,
in fact he finished fifth, but his main challenger Dennis Gada was
eliminated early enough to give Reed a 40 point cushion going into the final
two events at the shoreline oval. Gada had been hoping to set an all time
record of six championships in a row but unless a miracle happened, it would
be a done deal for Reed. Ronnie Silk started second in the 35-lap feature
and led every lap to score his first win of the 2004 season. Don Fowler
ended up second with Chris Pasteryak and Rob Janovic following. Other
Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Jay Lozyniak in the
Sportsman division, Timmy Jordan in the Mini-Stocks and Jeff Paul in the
Legends. The tracks Late Models had the night off.
The Nextel Cup along with the Busch Racing Series and Busch North
Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Dover Downs Speedway in Delaware.
Dale Quarterly won the MBNA 150 for the Busch North Series event. Andy
Santerre finished fifth and sewed up his third series total in a row.
Twenty-eight started the event that saw six finish on the lead lap. Mike
Stefanik finished fourth and Jerry Marquis experienced overheating problems
and finished 18th. Ryan Newman took the Nextel Cup win over Mark Martin and
Jeff Gordon. Martin Truex and Mike McLaughlin finished one-two in the Busch
On again, off again. According to those at NASCAR that oversee the
Dodge Weekly Racing Series everything was on the up and up at the Lee USA
Speedway when Richard Wolf was declared the winners on September 11 after
the first two finishers ahead of him were disqualified. Ted Christopher, who
had been in the top spot of the New England Region, was been moved back to
the second spot in the standings as Wolf has been designated the Region
Champion. The change made for a big cut in pay for Christopher as the
Champion would receive $45,000 and the runner-up received $24,000.
Christopher, fresh off his dominating win in the Featherlite Modifieds at
Loudon was extremely unhappy, not so much with NASCAR but with the Stafford
Speedway as he feels that the track gave him “the business” on September 3
when he was put to the rear in the second of two 30 lap events. The incident
in question involved Chris Jones who had since been put on indefinite
suspension for his actions against Christopher. Christopher feels that if he
weren’t put to the rear on September 3 he would have won and would have been
in a better position to win the regional title. The Stafford management felt
they made the right decision. Jeff Strunk, who competed at the Grandview
Speedway in Pennsylvania, finished third in the standings with Ledyard
Connecticut’s Todd Ceravolo in fourth. Ceravolo, who competed at the
Thompson Speedway, would receive $16,000 for his and his family’s efforts.
Waterford Connecticut’s Ed Reed JR who competed at the Speedbowl would
receive $8200 for his sixth place finish. It’s also official that Corey
Hutchings is the New England Region Short Track Champion. Hutchings, who
hails from Salem, Connecticut, was the point leader at both the Thompson
Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl and had a combined feature win total of
14. Hutchings would receive $2,500 plus a $1,000 bonus for each track title
at season’s end.
The town hall in Plainfield, CT was the scene of a meeting between
the developer of the proposed domed speedway and the town’s Economic
Development Commission. The object of the meeting was to change local zoning
laws to allow the proposed project to go foreword. The commission did not
take action that would have allowed for comprehensive entertainment and
amusement facilities, hotels, etc. The application also called for allowing
special revenue facilities. Some people in the town believed that the race
track proposal was just a smoke screen which would hide the fact that
another casino would be coming to the state. The New England Raceway
Corporation continued to project that they would host approximately nine
events per year including one Nextel Cup event or “Tier One” drag racing,
two Busch Series races or two CART events. The NASCAR legal department had
notified that there is no agreement in place or any promise made that any
NASCAR sanctioned events would be held in Plainfield. The commission would
re-convene on October 14. Later in the week, word was let out that the
International Speedway Corporation planned to build a ¾ mile oval that will
seat 75,000 in Washington State on the West Coast.
Forbes Magazine listed the 400 wealthiest people in the country.
Tied in 215th spot are Bill France JR and his brother Jim who own and
control NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation along with O.
Bruton Smith who owns Speedway Motorsports. Forbes says they are each worth
$1,300 million. Top man on the list is Bill Gates of Microsoft who is worth
a cool $4.8 billion.
Last year, 2008, the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to Martinsville VA for the Made In
American Whelen 300 which was be the 13th of 16 races on the 2008 NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour schedule.
For many years, the northern contingent has had a stranglehold on
victory lane while southern competitors played second fiddle. Burt Myers
became the first Southern driver to win a Modified tour race in a
NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville since Johnny Bryant in 1985. Whelen
Southern Modified Tour competitor Myers changed all that as he powered his
way to victory at the historic Virginia oval. Of the 43 Modifieds on hand,
Myers was fourth fastest in time trials and for the start, redrew the
outside pole, starting along side another southerner, Bobby Hutchens. At the
start Myers almost saw his day end before it started as he tangled with
Hutchens at the initial drop of the green and triggered a massive wreck on
the front stretch. Fortunately for him NASCAR declared the start false and
mandated a complete restart with Hutchens and Myers back on the front row.
Myers led the restart with fastest timetrialer Ryan Preece in tow. By the
fifth go-round Preece had the lead. Preece pretty much dominated from then
on, at least until lap 270 of the 300 lap event when Myers got by him in
traffic. Myers led the final laps to collect the win and the famous
Martinsville Speedway Grandfather Clock trophy. Preece finished second and
was credited with being the first Northern Whelen Modified. Matt Hirschman
finished third and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero and Ted Christopher.
Rounding out the top ten were Todd Szegedy, Woody Pitkat, Ed Flemke Jr,
Rowan Pennink and Brian Loftin.
Eleven of the original 43 starters finished on the lead lap.
Sixteen caution periods for 88 laps slowed the event. Among those were had
problems were outside pole sitter George Brunnhoelzl III who lost an engine,
Hossfeld wrecked, Mike Stefanik lost a driveshaft, Ronnie Silk wrecked,
Jimmy Blewett had his battery short out, Bob Grigas lost a rear end, Wade
Cole lost his steering, Ken Heagy had rear end trouble, Andy Seuss wrecked,
Billy Pauch wrecked as did Rick Fuller and Glen Reen. Richard Savory had an
alternator malfunction and Jake Marosz wrecked.
The following Tuesday the Hartford Courant reported that NASCAR officials
have made the decision to disqualify Myers from his victory in Saturday's
event at Martinsville. The decision handed the event victory to 17-year old
Ryan Preece who drove Ole Blu, which crossed the finish line second to
Myers. NASCAR officials would not comment on the situation. A NASCAR
official did confirm that parts were confiscated from Myers' car following
Saturday's event and taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center for
In non-NASCAR Modified racing, Tony Hirschman came out of
retirement to win the annual Race of Champions at the Oswego Speedway in New
York state. In True Value Modified Series racing at the All Star Speedway,
Jon McKennedy took the win over Chris Pasteryak and Dwight Jarvis.
Thursday Night Thunder at Thompson International Speedway saw Keith
Rocco clean house as he picked up his fifth win of the season in the Sunoco
Modified division. Rick Gentes resumed his late season mastery of the Late
Models and Scott Michalski continued his hot streak in Mini Stock
competition. Glenn Boss turned his luck around with a dominating TIS
Modified win. Both Jay Macedonio in the Pro Stocks and Ed Puleo in the
Limited Sportsman division enjoyed their his first wins of the season.
Rocco motored by surprise Sunoco Modified championship contender
Danny Cates to take the lead near the half way mark of the 30 lap feature.
Cates took the early lead with a stout pack of cars battling from second
position on back. When thing shuffled out by lap five Cates continued to
lead Todd Ceravolo and Rocco. Jimmy Blewett had made tracks to the front and
into the fourth position. Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. At lap 10,
Ceravolo had his hands full holding off the advances of Rocco. Rocco dove
low into turn four trying to get a run on Ceravolo. Rocco drifted up the
track taking Ceravolo with him. Blewett peaked low looking to make it three
wide. The veteran thought the better of it and settled back in line in
third. Rocco was able to steal the second position from Ceravolo. Rocco was
applying heavy pressure to Cates, who had encountered lapped traffic, when
the caution flew for a spinning Carl Oberg. Under the caution, Ceravolo
relinquished the third spot to head to pit road. He was not able to
Cates and Rocco went wheel-to-wheel for the first lap of the
restart before Cates, relinquished the lead to Rocco. Blewett took chase of
Cates but quickly became the hunted. Cravenho made a strong move exiting
turn three to get alongside Blewett eventually taking the position away.
Both Blewett and Cravenho were able to get by Cates as Rocco was getting
away from the field. Blewett and Cravenho were locked in a heat battle for
the second position when both slipped up in the corner. Blewett was able to
continue. Cravenho was forced to lift falling back to third. Cravenho
gathered it up moving back by Cates once again.
In the closing laps Rocco had checked out on the field to win his
fifth victory of the season. Blewett was a distance second followed by
Cravenho. Cates settled for the fourth position ahead of Kerry Malone, who
quietly came home fifth to extend his point lead. Rounding out the top ten
were Bert Marvin, Tim Sullivan, Ricky Shawn, Josh Sylvester and Woody
Pitkat. Ceravolo ended up 18th in the final rundown.
The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their Friday night racing
series for 2008. Woody Pitkat picked up his fourth win of the 2008 season in
the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Joe Rzeszutek picked up his second win of
2008 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Mark Bakaj scored win number 4 of
2008 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand scored his third
win of 2008 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Todd LaPorta was a
first time career winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock season. Ryan Posocco
clinched his fourth Late Model track championship with a third place finish
with four more championships to be decided next weekend at the 36th Annual
CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Woody Pitkat drove to his
fourth feature victory of the 2008 season. Corey Hutchings took the early
race lead and held the lead until lap-6 when Chris Jones moved to the front.
Pitkat moved to second on lap-8 and he took the lead from Jones on a lap-11
restart. Over a long green flag stretch, Pitkat was steadily stretching his
advantage over the rest of the field. Several late cautions kept the field
tight, with Pitkat holding off Keith Rocco to the checkered flag. Zach
Sylvester finished third, Ted Christopher finished fourth, and Jones rounded
out the top-5. Heading into next weekend's CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend,
Keith Rocco holds a 14-point lead over Ted Christopher
At the Waterford Speedbowl, competitors were forced to start off
the night on the wrong foot as they were told that they would not be
receiving their checks for the previous week’s racing because of the fact
that track operator Jerry Robinson was ill and was unable to sign checks.
The Jeff Pearl web site reported a direct confrontation with track operator
Robinson and one of his employees. “I began the evening approaching official
#1 who took the heat and offered that Jerry was in the hospital passing a
stone at least on Friday and believed that the reason for no checks”. “The
official took my beating graciously and was very empathetic.” Robinson was
in fact at the Speedbowl on Saturday night. Jeff Pearl’s wife approached
Robinson and very politely asked if the drivers would be getting paid. “He
got right in my face (if I had my glasses on I swear there would be spit on
them), and was emphatically told "NO!" she said.
Competitors at the Speedbowl are NASCAR members and its time that
the sanctioning body went to bat for them. Its not right what Robinson is
doing! NASCAR needs to step in. What Robinson was doing was against
everything that NASCAR stands for. Competitors have shelled out their hard
earned money to belong to NASCAR and the sanctioning body needs to protect
them. Rumors have already been circulating concerning a possible labor type
Despite all the discontent the show at the shoreline oval went on. Keith
Rocco won the USG Night 35-lap SK Modified feature. Other feature winners
were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Ed Lamb Jr. (Sportsman), Kyle James
(Mini Stock), Jay Palmer (Legends), and Robert Norman (Super-X Cars).
Starting from the outside-pole, Rocco held-off a determined Ron
Yuhas Jr. to the checkers in leading every circuit of the event.
Point-leader Dennis Gada gave chase for several circuits before Yuhas bolted
into second following a lap-twelve restart. Rounding-out the top-5 was Gada,
Jeff Pearl, and Tyler Chadwick.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Dover Downs Greg Biffle made it a
sparkling 2-for-2 in the Chase for the championship using another late pass
with nine laps to go and went on to hold off Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards
and bolster his bid for the Sprint Cup title. Kyle Busch made it eight
victories this season in the Nationwide Series, leading 157 laps and
absolutely dominating to win on Saturday in a green-white-checkered flag
finish. Matt Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Racing team locked up their first
NASCAR Camping World Series East Championship Friday at Dover after posting
a third place finish in the Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway.
Kobyluck, a ten-year veteran of the series, left the event with a 219-point
advantage over second place driver Austin Dillon with one race remaining on
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.