The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


April 2, 2010

Forty five years ago in 1965 Joe Trudeau won the 25 lap Sunday afternoon Modified event at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Scrivner was the Bomber feature winner.

   Forty years ago in 1970, the Waterford Speedbowl had their scheduled opener rained out for the second week in a row. It stayed dry long enough for Fulton to get their opener in. Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda took the win over Lou Lazzaro. At South Boston in Virginia, Ray Hendrick won a 400 lap modified event. Billy Hensley finished second and was followed by Jimmy Hensley, Melvin Chilton and Satch Worley.

   Thirty five years ago in 1975, the only event scheduled was the Fulton opener, which ended up getting snowed out for the second week in a row. The Ontario Speedway Operating Company in California headed by Parnelli Jones and Tony Hulman turned over the keys to the speedway on March 31 after having two non-profit seasons. The City of Ontario, which owns the speedway, took over the day to day operation of the track. This was the beginning of the end for the west coast racing facility.

   Thirty years ago in 1980, Thompson ran the IceBreaker on Easter Sunday after being rained out the week before. John Rosati took the modified win over Bugsy Stevens, Bentley Warren and Roland LaPierre Jr. Jeff Fuller was the Late Model winner.

   Twenty five years ago in 1985, Chargin' Charlie Jarzombek won the rained out Cardinal 200 at Martinsville. Doug Hevron finished second and was followed by Jim Spencer, Brett Bodine and Jamie Tomaino. Brett Bodine won the Sportsman 200. At Riverside on Saturday night; Kenny Bouchard took the win over Ray Miller and John Rosati.

   Twenty years ago in 1990, Jerry Marquis was the Saturday night winner at Riverside Park. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was in Richmond, Va. Ricky Fuller, driving the Chase 77 took the win which carried a prize of $17,800. Mike McLaughlin finished second and was followed by Jan Leaty and Jamie Tomaino.

   Fifteen years ago in 1995, three inches of snow fell on Riverside Park causing officials to cancel the event. At New Hampshire International the Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series were the main attractions. Mike Stefanik scored a convincing win in the BGNN portion. Stub Fadden finished second and was followed by Brian Ross, Kelly Moore and Jerry Marquis. In the modified portion, Mike Ewanitsko started 8th and took the lead from Charlie Pasteryak on lap 92 of the 125 lap event and went on to take the win. Satch Worley in the Garbarino No.4 finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, Ed Kennedy and Jan Leaty. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Dale Earnhardt took the win over Jeff Gordon.

   Ten years ago in 2000, Lee Petty passed away at the age of 86 and Jeff Fuller was fired from his Winston Cup ride. In Grand National action at Nashville, Randy LaJoie ended a long dry spell as he took the win. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Rusty Wallace dominated the event until blowing a tire in the late stages and losing two laps which allowed Mark Martin to take the win.

   Five years ago in 2005, The Waterford Speedbowl was scheduled to host the opening event in New England on Saturday and Sunday. The main event of the weekend was to be the Waterford Nationals-150 lap SK-Modified event. The Speedbowl had posted a $20,000 purse with $5,000 going to the winner. The forecast of torrential downpours, up to four inches of rain, forced the Speedbowl management to postpone the weekend’s Budweiser Modified Nationals. The event, which included the lucrative SK-150, was been re-scheduled for May 21-22.

   In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, Eddie Flemke didn’t stay without a ride for long as it was announced that he would be driving the Teto No.10 that was formerly driven by Tony Papale. Flemke’s former mount, the Hillbilly Racing No.79 took on a new color scheme highlighted by florescent orange with white trim. Long Island racer JR Bertuccio was expected to run at least the first three Whelen Modified Tour events in the Bear Motorsports No. 14. Bertuccio competes weekly in a family owned Modified at the Riverhead Raceway. Reports state that 2003 Whelen Modified Tour Champion Todd Szegedy had relocated to Mooresville, North Carolina and was working for Robert Yates Racing in the Shock Absorber department. Szegedy is hoping to secure a Busch Series or ARCA ride.

   Several Modified Tour teams took advantage of Thursday’s practice session at the Thompson Speedway. Chuck Hossfeld and Mike Stefanik were shaking down their new rides along with Chris Kopec, Renee Dupuis, Ted Christopher, Howie Brode, Don Lia, Charlie Pasteryak, Kevin Goodale and Ricky Fuller. According to NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks there were a total of 87 cars on hand.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series event that was scheduled for the Ace Speedway in Elkin, NC on Saturday night was rained out.

   The Southern Modifieds ran a non-sanctioned 125-lap event at the Friendship Speedway, also in North Carolina, on Sunday. Ted Christopher in the Hills Enterprises Hillbilly Racing No.79 took the win. Christopher drove his Hillbilly Racing Modified to the win in the 125 lap feature for the Modifieds. Christopher snatched the win from L. W. Miller when Millers modified was caught up in a mid race accident involving several cars. Miller's car was clipped by another spinning car after the caution flew. Rear end damage ended Miller's day after leading the first 87 laps. Miller had pretty much had his way until that point with some pressure from Donnie Lia, another invader from the Northeast. Caution periods kept the race close and after each restart, Miller has to fend off the challenges of first Lia then Christopher. After Miller's early exit, Christopher led a pack that included Jay Foley, Earl Baker, Burt and Jason Myers and FMS “rookie” challenger, Zach Brewer. Foley had a couple of chances at the number 9 of Christopher but after a few laps “Teddy” would manage to pull away. Foley had his hands full near the end of the race with Burt Myers until lap 113 when Myers got a run on the inside of Foley but contact between the two cars sent Myers into the inside wall and out of the race. Foley hung on to finish second with Jason Myers third, Brewer fourth and Baker fifth. A scoring recheck after the event moved Bob Park to 5 th followed by Bobby Hinkle, Baker, D. J. Krentz, Kevin Powell and Lia who was penalized for passing on the wrong side on a restart. Caution flew eleven times for 57 laps. The 125 lapper took 1 hour, nine minutes and 31 seconds to complete. L. W. Miller led laps 1 through 87 and the winner led 88 through 128. Foley was the winner of the “Bud Pole Award” for the Modifieds. Seven cars finished on the lead lap. Twenty-six Modifieds took the green flag.

   Kevin Harvick scored double victories at Bristol as he won the Busch Series and Nextel Cup events.

   Last year, 2009, the Waterford Speedbowl opened for the season with the SK Modified Nationals. The track opened for practice on Friday with quite a few race teams on hand to shake down their cars in preparation for the coming season. A beautiful Spring day greeted competitors on Saturday for qualifying at the shoreline oval. A somewhat meager field of SK Modifieds was on hand, 21, for time trials for the 150 lap-$5,000 to win feature. Conspicuous by there absences were the “Outsiders”, non-Waterford regulars. The only outsiders on hand were Jimmy Blewett from New Jersey and Eric Goodale from Long Island. Defending Connecticut State Champion Keith Rocco was the top time trailer as he toured the 1/3 mile oval in 14.138 seconds. Frank Ruocco was second fastest with Diego Monahan, third. Jeff Paul and Ron Yuhas Jr rounded out the top five. Defending track champion Dennis Gada was tenth fastest. The top ten redrew for starting positions. Ruocco drew the pole and Paul, the outside pole. Yuhas drew third with Monahan and Gada filling out the top five. Rocco drew the seventh starting spot. In Late Model qualifying Bruce Thomas Jr put a new track record in place for the division as he toured the shoreline oval in 15.240 seconds. Tim Jordon was second with Jeff Smith, third. There was no redraw as the Late Models would start straight up from time. There were only 15 Late Models on hand.

   Jason Palmer was the last Legends Car competitor in Speedbowl Victory Lane in the 2008 season, and picked up where he left off on Saturday capturing the 20-lap Legends Car race during the Budweiser Modified Nationals opening weekend. Saturday marked the 59th consecutive season of operation for the ‘Bowl. Palmer, the 2007 and 2008 Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday Legends points champion, topped a full field of talented Legends competitors. He out dueled Shaun Buffington and Flyin Ryan Morgan in an entertaining 20-lap event. An extended red flag situation was necessitated after a scary incident in turn 4 involving Tom Gray. Gray’s car became airborne and slammed the wall. He was transported to L & M Hospital for observation, but did get out of the car under his own power and acknowledged the crowd.
Other winners from Saturday’s action include Allen Coates (Speedbowl Truck Series), Paul Tuthill (Allison Legacy North Racing Series), Curt D’addario Sr. (X Car) and Jon Porter (Super X Car).

   Coates picked up his 65th career Speedbowl victory leading the 25-lap Truck Series event from start to finish. A late race caution regrouped the field and Coates was able to hold back the challenges of Keith Chapman. The four-time Speedbowl track champion (Late Models, Street Stocks) has won two consecutive starts in a Truck, also winning last July’s 100-lap ARTS event at the shoreline oval.
Opening day at the Waterford Speedbowl was not meant to be as heavy rain pounded the Connecticut shoreline during the early morning hours on Sunday. Shortly before 8:00am the Speedbowl Management announced the postponement of the 13th Annual Budweiser Modified Nationals due to the weather. Information regarding the make-up date is expected to be finalized in about a week The 30-lap features for the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks, 50-lap Late Model event, and 150-lap SK Modified® main event will all be made up at a later date to be announced.

   In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Jimmie Johnson nudged Denny Hamlin aside in the third and fourth turns with 15 laps to go at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and gave team owner Rick Hendrick a perfect place to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his first victory in NASCAR's premier series. Johnson won for the fifth time in the last six races in Martinsville, and for the sixth time overall, second among active drivers to Jeff Gordon's seven. And he did it by biding his time, falling back in the pack early in the race to get his car right, and then using the improved car and some slick work in the pits to make it pay.

   The victory was the 18th for Hendrick Motorsports at Martinsville, where a victory by Geoff Bodine in 1979 gave the fledgling company a needed boost, and the 10th in the last 13 races. Johnson has won six of those, and Gordon has won the other four. Johnson's 41st career victory came after Gordon, who led 147 laps, and then Hamlin, who led 296, dominated for most of the race. Hamlin was second, followed by Tony Stewart, Gordon and Clint Bowyer. Ryan Newman was sixth. Still looking for success, Joey Logano was 32nd.

   The Philadelphia Business Journal reported that Sun Oil Chairman and CEO Lynn Elsenhans said that the federal government should increase the gasoline tax to provide money for infrastructure repairs. Elsenhans suggested the idea in a speech to the annual meeting of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association in San Antonio, Texas. “We should support a sizable increase in the federal gasoline tax for the expressed purpose of funding much-needed infrastructure investment,” she was slated to say in the speech, according to Thomas Golembeski, a Sunoco spokesman.

   With all the problems with the economy going on, this woman needed to have her head examined! Granted, fuel prices have come down and stabilized. The big oil companies need to dig into their own pockets to repair their own equipment. The consumer should not be responsible for this.

   The Associated Press reported that Brazilian race car driver and "Dancing With The Stars" winner Helio Castroneves owes more than $2.3 million in U.S. taxes because of unreported income and improper deductions over a five-year period, an Internal Revenue Service agent testified Friday at his tax evasion trial in Miami. The testimony, by the final prosecution witness, capped the fourth week of the trial. Castroneves, 33, his 35-year-old sister and business manager Katiucia, and Michigan lawyer Alan Miller, 71, each face more than six years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and tax evasion involving about $5.5 million in income.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, R.I.02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail,smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

This week are several vintage racing photos from the Danny Pardi Collection,
courtesy of
SpeedwayLineReport.com & VintageModifieds.com.

   John Bergenty                                       Jerry Marquis                                         Marty Radwick

  Joe Rzeszutek                                     Brian Schofield                                          Bob Walker

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and VintageModifieds.com

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: April 2, 2010

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