Forty-five years ago, in 1965,
Rockingham was in its first season. Richard Petty was the pole sitter and
Curtis Turner took the win.
Forty years ago in 1970,
at Rockingham, Charlie Glotzback was the pole sitter and Richard Petty took
Thirty-five years ago in
1975, Buddy Baker was the pole sitter
and Cale Yarborough was the race winner at Rockingham.
Thirty years ago in 1980,
Darrell Waltrip was the pole sitter and Cale Yarborough took the win at
Twenty-five years ago in 1985,
Terry Labonte was the pole sitter at Rockingham with the late Neil Bonnett
taking the win.
ago in 1990, Kyle Petty could do no
wrong as he won both the pole and the event at Rockingham. Petty absolutely
excelled at this track.
ago in 1995, the Busch Racing Series
joined the NEXTEL Cup cars for a double header at Rockingham. Chad Little
was the pole sitter for the Busch event but it was Johnny Benson taking the
win after he passed Ken Schrader with eight laps to go. Jeff Gordon took the
NEXTEL Cup event over Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Ten years ago in 2000
at Rockingham, Rusty Wallace was the Busch Pole sitter. Ricky Rudd was on
the outside. Bobby Labonte took the win with Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing
second. Mark Martin dominated the Busch event.
Five years ago in 2005,
New Smyrna leftovers: Long Island modified driver Kevin Goodale came away
from New Smyrna with one of the greatest gifts a driver could ever get,
confidence! Prior to the World Series Goodale was just another obscure
middle of the pack runner. With a win plus a runner-up finish and a fourth
in points Goodale has emerged as a possible top runner once the Whelen
Modified Tour begins. Despite winning the Modified championship, his
seventh, Ted Christopher went away a little disappointed. In addition to
winning four Modified races Christopher won one of the Super Late Model
races and was leading the point standings in that division until he was
forced to miss the last two events because his team was out of engines. Zach
Sylvester went to Florida with a new paint scheme and a somewhat new crew,
hoping to get a leg up on the 2005 Whelen Modified Tour season. Sylvester’s
best finishes were a third and a couple of fourths. Car owner Tom Sylvester
felt confident and believed the week was a learning experience which would
give them an advantage once the regular season began. Milford Connecticut’s
Chris Jones left New Smyrna with a bloody nose and has vowed never to
return. Jones, who was thrown out of Stafford in 2004 because of his antics
and over aggression, ran in the SK Modified division at New Smyrna. Jones
was leading the point standings and the feature until the final lap on the
final night when an explosive situation developed. Jones was obviously
blocking second place runner Steve Reed. As they exited turn two Reed made a
move under Jones. The pair touched and Jones spun out of the lead. As Reed
was slowing down to stop in victory lane Jones walled him in retaliation. It
didn’t end there as Jones stormed into the middle of the victory celebration
and ended up in a wrestling match with a track official.
While the New England region was getting pounded by yet another
snow storm Developer Gene Arganese's proposal for a zone change to bring a
racetrack to Plainfield, CT. was in process. The meeting kept the Planning
and Zoning Commission, along with close to 600 residents, at the high school
longer than most would have liked. The five-hour hearing ended after
midnight when the commission voted to close the public hearing on the
proposal. It will discuss the issue March 3. With the public hearing closed,
the commission has 65 days to render a decision on Arganese's second attempt
at changing zoning regulations to allow a resort/recreational development
(C-5) zone which is needed to construct his proposed enclosed racetrack.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) settled
their case against the Daytona International Speedway involving the death of
track worker Roy Weaver during the 2004 Dash race. He was on the racetrack
surface during a caution period to retrieve debris in Turn 2 of the
Speedway. In the future track workers would have written guidelines,
hands-on training and a definitive chain of command during racing events as
part of a settlement agreement which was arrived at. OSHA withdrew its most
serious citation against the track, its failure to have a written protocol
for workers stepping onto the track. The track will also train its safety
teams at least once a year and strengthen radio communication between the
control tower and those on the ground tending to accident situations. A
speedway spokesman stated that the track has been training its safety crews
but does not have written documents on the subject. It was the first track
worker death at
the speedway since it opened in 1959. There were 12 additional violations
and fines the Speedway did not contest. The Speedway would pay fines which
total $4,875 for other minor citations dealt with issues including a
security employee without hearing protection and a track worker without a
Hello SIRIUS, goodbye Motor Racing Network? NASCAR signed a
five-year $107.5 million agreement that would make SIRIUS its official
satellite radio partner. SIRIUS will broadcast all Nextel Cup, Busch and
Craftsman Truck series events on a specially created 24-hour NASCAR channel
beginning in 2007. SIRIUS will hold exclusive rights to radio coverage of
NASCAR races and have exclusive trademark and marketing rights.
NASCAR’s top divisions were on the West Coast. Rookie Kyle Busch,
the 19-year-old brother of defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt, was
the top qualifier as he took the pole for Sunday's Auto Club 500 at
Busch became the youngest pole winner in series history. Busch set
the track record with a fast lap of 188.245 miles per hour in a Chevrolet
Monte Carlo. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Brian Vickers, who qualified
second with a lap of 187.740 mph in another Chevy, joined Busch on the front
row. Martin, who originally retired from the NASCAR Busch Series after the
2000 season, returned to victory lane by winning Saturday's Stater Bros. 300
at California Speedway. Mark Martin won the Saturday Busch Series race at
Fontana. It was his 46th career victory and first since winning at
Darlington Raceway on September 2, 2000. Martin held off Kevin Harvick, over
the final laps.
After Saturday's qualifications, Gregg Biffle predicted he would be
the leader by the fifth lap. He did that one better by getting his Ford
Taurus in front on lap 4 after starting fifth. Although he was later
shuffled back, Biffle re-emerged by the time the checkered flag waved.
Biffle went under Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch for the lead in the third
turn on lap 228 and cruised to the fourth Nextel Cup win of his career. He
finished 0.231 seconds ahead of Jimmie Johnson, who’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo
took a second away from Busch on the final lap. Jamie McMurray's Dodge
Charger was fourth, followed by Carl Edwards' Ford. Biffle overcame a
one-lap deficit midway through the race when his car started to develop a
loose condition, but his crew made the adjustments to pave the way to
victory lane. Johnson scored his second straight second-place finish at
California Speedway. The Nextel Cup division enjoys a week off this weekend.
Steve Park completed his comeback from a serious head injury
sustained in 2001, capitalizing when leader Mike Bliss ran out of gas with
six laps remaining Friday night for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
race victory. The win at California Speedway was Park's first since taking
the checkered flag in a Winston Cup race at Rockingham in February 2001,
making him the 10th driver to win races in each of NASCAR's top three
Last year, 2009
Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig shifted gears again at the northeastern
Connecticut oval. In 2008 the Speedway hosted two Thursday night dates for
the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series in addition to his traditional dates.
For 2009 he announced that he was dropping the June event and replacing it
with an open competition non-sanctioned Modified event. After much thought,
Hoenig has decided to drop the idea of an open event and has replaced it
with the True Value Modified Series and his regular Thursday Night Thunder
Series divisions. Founded by Jack Bateman, the True Value Series runs at
just about every track in New England.
Word had it that Donnie Lia would be back in the Mystic Missile for 2009.
Through no fault of his own, Lia lost his full time truck ride due to the
downturn on the economy. Chuck Hossfeld says he would run his own equipment
in the New York area. In addition to the possibility of Hossfeld not being
on the Whelen Modified Tour Series it looked like Matt Hirschman would also
be missing from the line-up as he had not secured a ride as yet.
The Waterford Speedbowl property continued to be a hot topic
especially with a foreclosure looming in the near future. As of 2/24, six
days remained before the shoreline oval was scheduled to be on the block.
Years ago when the Arutes leased the Speedbowl, Ed Yerrington, who was the
General Manager stated that the Speedbowl kept Stafford afloat while the
track was rebuilding their weekly program after tossing out the Modifieds in
favor of the SK Modifieds.
The Speedbowl needs to be owned by someone who doesn’t need to make
a living from the place. At least until the mortgage is paid off.
Surprise, surprise! In the never ending soap opera or shall we call it the
Eames Gong Show, the master of deceit had done it again and dodged another
bullet. When Rocco Arbitell got the word that Terry Eames’ lawyer had got an
extension to the scheduled foreclosure and had it moved out to July, he was
livid. With the foreclosure in July the earliest date for an auction or sale
of the property could be in September or October. In the mean time Eames was
continuing to try to sell the property to Ted Parker who he reportedly owed
$800,000. Speaking of owing money, Eames owed Shawn Monahan $47,000. In lieu
of paying, Eames has made the loan into a partial sale as the real estate
transactions in Friday’s New London Day indicated that 1080 Hartford Road
LLC (Eames) had conveyed property to Monahan for $47,000. In an other tid
bit, it was learned that the reason that all those who had applied for
season passes or numbers using their Visa and Mastercards had not received
anything is because Eames did not possess a machine to do the transactions.
Visa and Mastercard do not give machines to businesses or individuals who
have bad or no credit.
The sounds of the open-wheel Modifieds returned to Orange County
Speedway in North Carolina for the first time in over 15 years and despite
cold weather and snowy conditions the teams in attendance knocked off some
very competitive laps in preparation for the March 6 & 7 Frost Bite Modified
Winter Nationals” at the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC.
Temperatures in the low 40’s and blowing snow did little to dampen
the spirits of those on hand for the test and lap times were about a second
a lap quicker than the regular OCS divisions. Ronnie Silk in the Hillbilly
Racing #79 was the quickest of the group with laps in the 13:40 second
range. Jay Foley wasn’t far behind in his Foley Machine Chevy with laps in
the 13:60 bracket and Jason Myers in the Tranthem/Moorefield, Myers Racing
Ford turned laps in the 13:80’s. Silk and Foley tested the softer M-20 and
M-30 combination and Myers ran the set-up with the harder M-45 compound on
the right rear. “The OCS track record for the Modifieds was 12:92 when we
ran here last’, said Gary Myers, owner of the Jason Myers ride. The track is
located on NC Hwy 57 half-way between Hillsborough and Roxboro, NC.
Kyle Busch did something Saturday that no NASCAR driver had done in
the sanctioning body’s top divisions, won twice in the same day. Busch added
a dominating NASCAR Nationwide Series victory under the lights to a similar
Camping World Truck Series win earlier in the day at Auto Club Speedway in
Fontana, Calif. Busch led 95 of 100 laps in winning the truck race on the
2-mile oval, then was in front for 143 of 150 for his 22nd Nationwide
victory. Kevin Harvick was second and Middletown native Joey Logano, Busch's
Gibbs Racing teammate, was third. Carl Edwards beat Busch out of the pits on
the last stops by the leaders Saturday night, but Busch took the lead on the
restart 16 laps from the end and pulled away. Despite leads of up to 11
seconds at times, it came down to the restart on lap 135 after Edwards beat
Busch out of the pits by the length of his hood.
In Sprint Cup action, Matt Kenseth went the distance this weekas he
won the Auto Club 500 on Sunday. Kenseth, who won a rain-shortened Daytona
500 a week ago to open the Sprint Cup season, had to endure four short rain
delays in the season's second race. But with the help of his pit crew, which
several times got the No. 17 Ford off pit road first, Kenseth became the
first driver since 1997 to win the season's first two points races. The last
driver to start with two victories was Jeff Gordon, who fought furiously to
deny Kenseth but settled for second. Middletown native Joey Logano finished
26th. Gordon, trying to snap the longest winless streak of his career at 42
races, passed Kenseth for the lead on lap 196 but lost the race off pit road
on a caution 12 laps later and couldn't catch Kenseth.
Gordon got almost to Kenseth's rear bumper on lap 232, but Kenseth
held on for his 18th career victory. Kyle Busch, who made NASCAR history by
winning both the truck and Nationwide races on Saturday, came up short of a
weekend sweep, finishing third.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly,
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
week are several vintage racing photos from the Danny Pardi collection,
Photos from Billy Harman's Collection
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive