The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


April 23, 2010

Fifty years ago in 1960 Wild Bill Slater made it two in a row in Modified action at the Waterford Speedbowl. Red Foote, another New England Legend, was the non-Ford winner and Dick Dunn was the Bomber feature winner.

   Forty five years ago in 1965 NEAR Hall of Fame member Dick Watson was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Marvin Chase was the Bomber winner. Ken Shoemaker was the winner at the Fonda Speedway. Lou Smith took the 30 lap opener at Utica-Rome. Sadly, Smith would lose his life on May 15 in a violent crash at the Fonda Speedway. Carl Wojcyk took the win at the Riverside Park Speedway.

    Forty years ago in 1970, the Albany Saratoga Speedway opened for the season on Friday night. With no NASCAR Modified racing in New England on Friday night, the 4/10 mile upstate New York oval would draw the best from New England and Long Island every week through out the season. Taking the opener was Carl Bugsy Stevens, driving the mighty no. 3 of Len Boehler. Bill Henry finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Dick Fowler, Dave Lape and Gary Winters. At Stafford on Saturday night, Stevens continued his winning streak as he won both ends of the twin 25-lap program. Bill Greco finished second in the first event and was followed by Ed Yerrington, Moose Hewitt and Sal Dee. Lou Austin finished second in the nightcap and was followed by Yerrington, Tom Sutcliff and Greco. At Fonda, Kenny Shoemaker in the Bob Judkins 2x and Ron Narducci were the winners. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dick Dunn was the Modified feature winner. John DeLong won his second Daredevil LateModel feature. On the Island at Islip, Bob Holmberg won the opener at the tough 1/5-mile oval. George Brunnhoelzl finished second and was followed by Mousie Kempster, Gary Winters and Fred Harbach. On Sunday it rained at Thompson but not at Utica-Rome where Dick Fowler won a 100 lapper over Eddie Flemke, Jerry Cook, Dick Nephew and Lou Lazzaro.

    Thirty five years ago in 1975, Geoff Bodine scored his first victory for Dick Armstrong as he drove the Hop Harrington wrenched No.1 to victory in the Spring 150 at Martinsville. Jerry Cook finished second. At Shangri-La, Maynard Troyer beat out George Kent for the win and at Islip, ageless Russ Klar took the opening night win over Jerry Bartlett and Artie Tappen. Freeport ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Richie Evans and Bugsy Stevens lapped the field with Evans taking the win at the historic 1/4 mile flat oval. Fred Harbach finished third with Tappen and Eddie Flemke rounding out the top five. Troyer made it two for two on the weekend as he dominated the Sunday afternoon program at Fulton. Kent was again second with Clayton Sonny Seamon, third. Steady Eddie Flemke, a Modified Legend in his own time, cruised to a 100 lap Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl.

    Thirty years ago in 1980, Richie Evans captured the 150 at Martinsville. Ronnie Bouchard in the Armstrong No.1 finished second with Mark Malcuit, third and Satch Worley, fourth. Geoff Bodine in the Taylor 99 lost a rear and finished 26th.Twenty miles down the road at Ashboro that same night, Bodine and Bouchard tangled on the start with Bodine KOíd for the night. Jerry Cook took the win. Bouchard recovered to finish second with Brian Ross, third. George Kent scored a one-two punch as he won at Shangri-La on Saturday night and the Lancaster 200 on Sunday. Doug Hewitt finished second at Shangri-La and at Lancaster, Roger Treichler finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Maynard Troyer and Richie Evans. At Fonda, legand Lou Lazzaro scored his 100th win. Racing at Islip was rained out.

    Twenty five years ago in 1985, the Modifieds headed for Martinsville for the Spring 150 lapper. Charlie Jarzombek was on a tear as he beat out Brian Ross for the win. Richie Evans finished 12th and made a quick flight to Shangri-La where he scored his 200th career win. Ray Miller won out over SJ Evonsion at Riverside and at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson and Don Howe finished one-two. Waterford and Thompson rained out. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Harry Gant took the 500-lap win.

    Twenty years ago in 1990, Jeff Fuller in the Sheba No.8 went from pole to pole to win the 150 at Martinsville. Mike Stefanik finished second. Rick Summers in the Simonds No.9 scored his first win at Riverside with Dan Avery, second. Don Howe edged Eddie Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead and at Waterford, Ted Christopher went pole to pole for the win. Mike Stefanik won at Monadnock on Sunday while in Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Geoff Bodine endured to take home the win.

    Fifteen years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick won the Friday night opener at Stafford. Ed Flemke Jr finished second and was followed by Ted Christopher, Bob Potter and Mike Christopher. Doug Meservy won at Riverside on Saturday night and on the Island at Riverhead, Tom McCann won out over Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr and Tom Baldwin. Waterford had a 95 lapper scheduled which was rained out after 15 laps with Todd Ceravolo, leading.

   In Winston Cup action at Talladega, Mark Martin passed Dale Earnhardt with two laps to go to take the win. Jeff Gordon finished second after Earnhardt got dumped by Morgan Shepherd on the final lap. The Busch North Series was at Lee Raceway where Bob Dragon took the win over Dave Dion.

   Ten years ago in 2000, the weekend saw a full plate of racing. Waterford and Riverhead ran on Saturday night. David Gada took the win at Waterford over Tucker Reynolds and Jerry Pearl and at Riverhead it was Chuck Steuer over Howie Brode. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for the Annual Spring Sizzler 200.Fifty one Modifieds showed. Ricky Fuller took advantage of Reggie Ruggiero's bad luck as he took the lead on lap 191 and went on to take the win. Ruggerio, who had an ignition box go bad, made the switch and managed to come home in second spot. Ed Flemke Jr finished third and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Tim Connolly, Jerry Marquis and Bob Polverari. Twin 40's were run for the SK's with Zack Sylvester and Mike Christopher taking the wins.

   At Fontana, California, Jeremy Mayfield took the Winston Cup win. Mayfield was stripped of 151 points, his team was fined and his crew chief was suspended after NASCAR discovered that Mayfield's car was found to have an improper oxygen enhancer in the fuel system.. On a sad note, Lou Lazzaro drove his last race at Fonda on Saturday night and suffered a stroke and died a couple of days later. Lazzaro was a legend in his native New York state and had raced in six decades and at Fonda, alone, had 113 wins.

   Five years ago in 2005 The Whelen Modified Tour headed for the Stafford Motor for the 34th annual Spring Sizzler. Friday was a beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the low 50ís. Whelen Modified Tour Series teams were allowed to enter the pit area where they could park their tow vehicles and get inspected. The Stafford SK Modifieds and Late Models were allowed to practice. Competitors were instructed to have their scoring transponders in their cars as their speeds would be recorded and could be used to determine lineups for feature events if qualifying heats were rained out on Saturday. Heavy, monsoon type rain washed out all activity on Saturday. The 43 Whelen Modified Tour cars on hand were forced to wait until Sunday for their qualifying and 200 lap Sizzler. The Stafford management along with NASCAR made the decision to run the entire Sizzler program on Sunday. The Pit Party was eliminated as practice was started at 10:00am.

   Despite extremely long day competitors, officials and track management worked together and got the entire program in. The SK feature provided the usual sparks with Ted Christopher and James Civali slugging it out in the closing laps. Christopher got the win and Civali ended up fourth. Mike Holdredge finished second with Lloyd Agor, third. Civali was subsequently disqualified when he refused the tech inspection. Woody Pitkat moved up to fourth with Kenny Horton rounding out the top five. Tony Hirschman took the win in the 200 lap Whelen Modified Tour Sizzler 200. Zack Sylvester backed up his runner-up finish at Thompson with another second place finish.. Todd Szegedy, pinch hitting for injured Eric Beers in the Boehler Racing Enterprises No. 3 finished third. Reggie Ruggerio and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Jim Mavlogenes won the Late Model feature over Ted Christopher and Ryan Posocco.

   Donnie Lia was the Busch Pole sitter and started fourth behind Nevin George, Todd Szegedy and Tony Hirschman. George led the charge to the green and led until lap 28 when Szegedy moved into the lead. Hirschman, who had been running third, spun but didnít bring out the caution. The first caution came out on lap 40 when Jerry Marquis had a flat tire and collected Mike Stefanik as he attempted to cut across the track to pit road. Stefanikís car dumped a lot of liquid on the track which forced officials to red flag the event on lap 42 in order to clean the track. The field went back to green on lap 47. Another caution on lap 50 for a mass tangle. Among those involved was Ed Flemke Jr. who was black flagged for having no nerf bars. The field went back to green on lap 55. Ted Christopher took the lead one lap later. The caution flew on lap 58 for Jerry Marquis who stopped on the back stretch. Green again on lap 64 with Christopher still leading with Szegedy on his tail. Two laps later another caution, this time for Mike Christopher who spun. The field returned to green on lap 68 with Ted Christopher leading Reggie Ruggiero and Rick Fuller. The next caution came on lap 76 when Ken Barry spun. Tony Hirschman pitted for tires and fuel on lap 78. The field returned to green on lap 82. Christopher led thru numerous restarts and cautions until lap 121 when he along with Szegedy and Ruggiero pitted. On a lap 127 restart Jamie Tomaino led with Hirschman and Sylvester following. By lap 130 Sylvester was in second spot and Hirschman was leading. By lap 195 there were only ten cars on the lead lap. Don Lia, who had been running ninth, hit the wall and set up a green-white-checker sprint to the finish. Following Hirschman, Sylvester, Szegedy, Ruggerio and Ted Christopher at the finish were Chuck Hossfeldt,Tomaino Charlie Pasteryak and Tom Bolles.

   Time of Race: 1 hr. 40 mins, 45 secs Average Speed: 60.447 mph Margin of Victory:.28 Seconds. BUD POLE AWARD: Donny Lia, FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: Charlie Pasteryak, POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE: Thomas Bolles, TOMMY BALDWIN MEMORIAL AWARD: Tony Hirschman. There were nine cautions for 52 laps. Estimated attendance was 8,000.

   Last year, 2009, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was on a two week break before heading to Stafford Springs Connecticut for the annual Spring Sizzler. In the mean time NASCAR made a ruling that could very well have been the straw that broke the camelís back. The Hartford Courant reported that competitors, drivers and owners, would be required to attend the season ending banquet in order to receive their point moneys and season ending awards. The vast majority of Whelen Modified Tour Series competitors have been fiercely loyal to NASCAR in the past but that could very well be changing. What really has the competitors riled up is the fact that they signed and agreement to comply with NASCARís banquet requirements without even knowing it. Thatís what happens when you sign your name to something before you read it. Defending series Champion Ted Christopher says he is not happy with having to go to Charlotte but in the end, he will be there.

   The competitors were, as had happened many times before, hoodwinked by NASCAR. The agreement that the competitors signed stipulated that the competitors must attend the season ending banquet as they had in previous years, never stating that the venue had changed. It was a gutless move on NASCARís part to say the least!

   Like the formerly loyal competitors to the Busch North Series before them, NASCAR was slowly but surely putting the screws to the competitors who race on the Whelen Modified Tour. Many of the former Busch North Series competitors now compete in the ACT Series or the PASS series. Slowly but surely the Modified competitors are leaning toward the True Value Modified Series.

   Jason Christley, NASCAR manager of communications for the weekly and touring divisions had all but called the competitors including defending WMT Champion Ted Christopher ignorant and stupid as he refered to those who compete and follow the Modifieds as the ď"torch-and-pitchfork mob". Hopefully when some of them show up in Charlotte this fall they would be wearing their Sunday best bib over-alls and carrying pitchforks unless of course NASCAR has a hidden dress code clause that the competitors signed without knowing.

   Rumor had it that NASCAR may hire Jerry Robinson to sit in a dunk tank just in case any Waterford competitors show up in Charlotte this fall!

   After three straight weeks of rainouts the Waterford Speedbowl finally got to open their doors for the 2009 season. Keith Rocco picked up where he left off in 2008 as he won the opener as he nipped Ron Yuhas Jr at the finish line in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Yuhas, who started on the pole, was the only other leader of the event. Rob Janovic Jr. was third, followed by defending champion Dennis Gada. Tyler Chadwick rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Diego Monahan, Jeff Pearl, Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Don Fowler, and Justin Gaydosh. Among those who ran into tough luck was Jeffrey Paul who dropped out with engine problems.

   Bruce Thomas Jr picked up his 30th career win at the shoreline oval as he went pole to pole to take the victory. Vin Esposito finished second and Allen Coates was third. Flyin Ryan Morgan of Mystic made his grandfather Jack a happy guy as he scored his first win of the season Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl by winning the twenty lap Legend's feature. Morgan had to survive three caution flags with two laps to go, however, the 15 year old was able to pull away on the restarts to hold off second place finisher, Joe Cipriano and Tony Flanagan who finished third. Other winners were Danny Field (Mini Stocks) and Josh Galvin (Street Stocks).

   Ted Christopher and Joe Brady were a little off their game as they settled for a seventh place finish in a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series event at the Lanier Speedway in Braselton, Ga. Andy Seuss took the lead in the 150 lap event on lap 43 from Christopher. George Brunnhoelzl III finished second. L.W. Miller and Burt Myers made contact in Turn 2 on the final lap while racing for third, and Myers went spinning. Miller went on to score his best finish of the year in third, with Brian Loftin and Jason Myers completing the top five. There were only 14 Modifieds in competition. Seuss received $2,000 for his efforts.

   In Nationwide Series racing at the Phoenix Int Speedway Greg Biffle and his Roush Fenway Racing team gambled their way to a record win Friday night. Biffle didn't pit on the last stop, holding onto his lead by staying on the track while almost all the competition ducked in for fresh tires. A bunch of late cautions prevented anyone from catching Biffle, and he held on for the win. He had to hold off Jason Leffler over several late restarts, and again on a final two-lap sprint to the finish. Leffler also chose not to pit on the last stop, a decision that moved him up to second, where he finished behind Biffle. The victory gave team owner Jack Roush 100 wins in the Nationwide Series. Brad Keselowski finished third for the third consecutive week. Joey Logano, the previous week's winner at Nashville, was fourth and was followed by Kevin Harvick.

   In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Phoenix Mark Martin took a popular win. At 50 years, three months and nine days, Martin became the third-oldest winner in NASCAR history with the victory. He broke a 97-race winless streak dating back to Kansas in 2005, and solidified what everyone inside NASCAR already knew: The guy is still at the top of his game. Tony Stewart finished second.

   Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H. won the American Candian Tour New Hampshire Governor's Cup 150 at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. The race was the first qualifying event for the ACT Invitational, which will be run Sept. 19, 2009, at NHMS. Leighton got by Joey Polewarczyk, last year's Governor's Cup winner, for the lead on lap 130 and led the rest of the way. Polewarczyk, of Hudson, N.H., held on for second and Scott Payea of Milton, Vt. was third.

   Former Camping World East Series star Sean Caisse bested longtime Sprint Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader to pick up his first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory Sunday in the Carolina 200 at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway. Caisse, of Pelham, N.H., spent much of the afternoon in Rockingham chasing Schrader at the front of the field. But with less than three laps remaining Schrader ran out of fuel, opening to the door for Caisse to go to the front in his Venturini Motorsports ride.

   It was the sixth career ARCA start for Caisse, who was the Camping World East Series runner-up in both 2006 and 2007, winning seven events in the division during that span. Schrader led 185 of 200 laps at Rockingham. The only laps Caisse led all day were the final three.
The International Speedway Corporation announced that James C. France, 64, is stepping down from the role of Chief Executive Officer effective June 1, 2009. Mr. France will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors in a non-executive capacity. In addition, the Company's Board of Directors announced the promotions, also effective June 1, 2009, of several executives to positions of new responsibility.

   Business First of Louisville reported that the likelihood that Kentucky Speedway will be awarded a 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup race had become even more remote because an antitrust lawsuit by the track founders against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. now likely wonít be resolved until July at the earliest. The case, which is in U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, is not included in the hearing calendar finalized Monday for a two-week session beginning April 20. Although the court could still add the case to the schedule, that would be rare in a case such as this one. The next two-week hearing session begins June 8 Ė the Monday prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track.

   NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said that NASCAR will not consider a realignment request for a Sprint Cup date from current owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. until the case is resolved. NASCAR typically begins the sanctioning process in April or May, and France has said that the track is running out of time to begin the realignment process.

   The appeal hearing would center on whether there is enough evidence for a trial, and a decision on whether to affirm or repeal a judgeís January 2008 ruling in favor of NASCAR and ISC likely would come anywhere from three weeks to six months after the hearing. If the Kentucky Speedway founders win the appeal, the case would then be scheduled for trial.

   The founders of Kentucky Speedway, who sold the track to SMI in December, allege that sanctioning body NASCAR and track operator ISC illegally conspire to keep tracks such as Kentucky from obtaining Cup dates. NASCAR, a private company owned by the France family, and the publicly traded ISC, whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, deny those claims. SMI is listed as a co-conspirator in the case.

   The Associated Press reported that Brazilian race car driver and "Dancing With The Stars" champ Helio Castroneves was acquitted on April 17 of most charges that he worked with his sister and lawyer to evade more than $2.3 million in U.S. income taxes.

   A federal jury acquitted Castroneves on six counts of tax evasion but hung on one count of conspiracy. When the sentence was read, Castroneves broke into sobs and leaned against his attorneys for support. The jury also acquitted Katiucia Castroneves, 35, who is her 33-year-old brother's business manager, on the tax evasion counts but also hung on the conspiracy. Michigan motorsports attorney Alan Miller, 71, was acquitted on all three counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy. The jury deliberated six days after a six-week trial.

Thatís 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 of the late Marvin Chase,
who started his almost 3 decade career in Waterford Speedbowl's Bomber Division in 1962,
courtesy of
SpeedwayLineReport.com & VintageModifieds.com.


All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and VintageModifieds.com

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: April 23, 2010

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