Forty five years ago in 1965 the fabulous Sal Dee in the Flying
70 won the opening day 30 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. A
youthful Bob Potter won the Bomber 15 lapper.
Forty years ago in 1970
the Waterford Speedbowl’s opening day event was rained out.
Thirty five years ago in 1975,
a 200 lap modified event at Hickory; N.C. was cancelled after the promoter
received only 16 entries. The modifieds have never been scheduled there
since. Fulton was scheduled to open for the season but ended up being
cancelled because of snow.
Thirty years ago in 1980,
the season opening Ice Breaker at Thompson was rained out and was
rescheduled for the following week which was Easter.
Twenty five years ago in 1985,
the IceBreaker at Thompson went off without a hitch. Richie Evans took the
75 lap win over Jeff Fuller, Brian Ross and Jamie Tomaino.
Twenty years ago in 1990,
Riverside's second night of racing was rained out. At Thompson on Sunday,
the rain quit and the Ice Breaker was run. Tony Hirschman took the win over
Jamie Tomaino, George Kent and Jeff Fuller. The SK portion of the IceBreaker
was won by Lloyd Agor.
Fifteen years ago in 1995,
it was 18 degrees when the feature went off at Riverside Park on Saturday
night. Chris Kopeck made it two in a row as he held off Reggie Ruggiero for
the win. Ed Spiers finished third. At the Thompson IceBreaker on Sunday, Tom
Cravenho became the youngest ever driver to win a Featherlite Modified Tour
event. Cravenho, driving for Mario Fiore, pitted early (lap48) in the 125
lap event and took the lead after the leaders pitted on lap 71.Tony Hirshman
also pitted early and ended up second. Rick Fuller finished third with
Charlie Pasteryak and Steve Park rounding out the top five. John Anderson
won the SK event after Ted Christopher ran out of gas on the last lap. Other
IceBreaker winners were CJ Freye in the Late Models and Glenn Boss in the
Ten years ago in 2000
Wall Stadium was running and Tim Arre took the win over John Blewett III and
Tom Mauser. At the Texas Motor Speedway, Mark Martin took the Grandnational
win and Dale Earnhardt Jr dominated the Winston Cup division to score his
Five years ago in 2005,
with the advent of the Southern Modified Tour coming under the NASCAR
blanket the NASCAR Modified season actually started on March 26 at the
Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, North Carolina. Ted Christopher, driving the
Roger and Sandra Hill No.79 took the win. Christopher, who took the role of
the Hired Gun, was the fourth leader of the event. Jay Foley, a southerner,
led the opening green until being overtaken by Long Islander JR. Bertuccio
on lap 26. Bertuccio led until lap 37 when he was passed by another
southerner, Jay Hedgecock. Hedgecock was hoping to annex a win but fell
victim to engine problems after completing lap 65. Christopher, who was
running second at the time, inherited the lead and never looked back as he
romped to take the victory. Foley ended up second with Jamie Tomaino, third.
Junior Miller and Frank Fleming rounded out the top five. There were six
cautions for 27 laps.
Hill’s Enterprises, in a surprise announcement, released Eddie
Flemke JR as their driver. Flemke has been the team’s driver since 1998 and
recorded 13 wins. Car owners Roger and Sandra Hill stated that the driver
change does not affect the team's plans for this season, as they will once
again run the full Whelen Modified Tour schedule and compete for the
championship. They will also compete in select Southern Modified Tour events
when the schedule allows. A deal was struck with Mike Christopher on
Saturday afternoon Tony Hirschman announced that he would defend his title.
At the end of the 2004 season Hirschman hinted that he would be backing off
a bit so as to assist his son Matt who drives Modifieds in New York State.
Just six months after announcing its title sponsorship of the legendary
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Engineering expanded its involvement
with NASCAR’s open-wheeled racing division. Whelen, an emergency signal and
lighting manufacturer based in Chester, Conn., signed a multi-year agreement
to become title sponsor of the all-new NASCAR Southern Modified Tour, now
known as the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The Plainfield Connecticut Planning and Zoning Commission approved
an application that would allow dozens of large-scale projects, including a
domed stadium for auto racing. In a 4-1 vote, the commission approved the
application by New England Raceway LLC and Connecticut Yankee Greyhound
Racing Inc. Developer Eugene Arganese said he would submit plans to build a
140,000-seat domed auto racetrack after the commission acted on a second
application that would incorporate 1,153 acres of residential and commercial
property in the new C5 Resort/Recreational Development District. The
commission postponed deciding on whether to amend the town's zoning map in
the area near Exits 87 and 88 off of Interstate 395 until its April 12
meeting. The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey broke the story that two
developers who want to build roughly 250 homes to replace the Wall Township
Speedway are under contract to purchase the 55-year-old raceway. Town
officials said it would be highly unlikely that the project is approved.
Rookie Reed Sorenson raced to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory
beating Kenny Wallace by a whopping 14.417 seconds in the Pepsi 300 at
Nashville Superspeedway. The Nextel Cup Series was off as it was Easter
Last year, 2009, In
the never ending soap opera at the Waterford Speedbowl there was some good
news and some stability for the shoreline oval. Track owner Terry Eames
announced on Thursday, March 19 that its affiliation with NASCAR will
continue in 2009. The Speedbowl’s SK Modified®, Late Model, Street Stock,
and Mini Stock divisions would all participate in the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series and be eligible to earn NASCAR points.
In regards to money being owed to competitors from the 2008 season,
Jason Christley who works in the public relations department at NASCAR told
the Hartford Courant that NASCAR did guarantee the NASCAR point fund to the
Waterford Speedbowl. That guarantee stands regardless of things that might
occur like the track closing or the promoter failing to meet obligations. In
reality, that money came from Whelen Engineering which sponsors the Weekly
Racing Series. Evidently NASCAR had changed its way of thinking as far as
protecting drivers from unscrupulous promoters and track operators. In other
words, even though a racer has a NASCAR license and races at a NASCAR
sanctioned track there is no guarantee that he will be paid unless NASCAR
has a sponsor who will supply the money. Bill France Sr. founded NASCAR to
protect drivers from shady promoters and track operators who ran off with
purse money without paying drivers. He must be rolling over in his grave!
Ted Christopher made the trip down south to the Concord Speedway
worth his while. Christopher, driving for Joe Brady, passed Burt Myers on
the opening lap and led wire-to-wire to win the Capital Bank 150 in the
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opener. It was his third career
NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race and the first Tour event held at
the half-mile, tri-oval. Rowan Pennink followed in second. George
Brunnhoelzl III came through the field to finish third after starting last
because of engine problems. Myers, who won his series record 18th Coors
Light Pole Award earlier in the day, finished fourth and Erick Rudolph
completed the top five.
Among the Whelen Modified Tour cars and competitors on hand for
shakedown runs at the Thompson Speedway were Eric Beers, Mike Stefanik,
Chris Pasteryak, Rob Summers, Carl Pasteryak, Richard Savory, a new Ole Blu
with Ryan Preece, Jimmy Blewett and Glen Reen. There were quite a few SK
types too. Participants included Tom Cravenho, Bert Marvin, Tim Sullivan,
Keith Rocco, Todd Ceravolo, Ricky Shawn, Woody Pitkat, Kerry Malone and Josh
Sylvester. Sylvester hit the wall a ton and did a lot of damage to his
Congratulations went out to Keith Rocco who was recognized by Connecticut
Governor Jodi Rell at the state capitol in Hartford. In winning the
Connecticut State Championship Rocco had 11 wins, 32 top fives and 38 top
10s racing at three Connecticut short tracks: Stafford Motor Speedway,
Thompson International Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl.
In Sprint Cup racing, Kyle Busch was furious when his pit crew cost
him a win at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he angrily ditched his car on the
race track and walked to his motor home. The following day, he drove to
Victory Lane, averaging 92.139 mph. Busch bounced back from one of his many
Bristol heartbreaks with a win Sunday, leading 378 of 503 laps for his
second Sprint Cup Series victory of the season. Teammate Denny Hamlin was
second, 0.391 of a second back, and Jimmie Johnson third.
Kevin Harvick proved just how strong his organization is Saturday
by winning the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in his own
race car. Harvick led 44 laps in his Kevin Harvick Inc.-owned Chevrolet, his
first victory in a car fielded by the race team he built with his wife. Carl
Edwards finished second and Clint Bowyer was 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,
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive