The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


June 18, 2010

 Fifty years ago in 1960 Don Collins continued his domination at the Waterford Speedbowl as he made it five wins in a row driving the famous V-8. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Ed Priest was the Bomber winner. Red Bolduc, a crowd favorite at the Norwood Arena died from injuries sustained in a violent crash.

    Forty five years ago in 1965 Bill Wimble scored his second win of the season at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain. Leo Cleary put the M-2 in victory lane at the Norwood Arena on Saturday night while Irv Taylor was winning the main event at the Fonda Speedway. Bob Zieglar broke Eddie Flemke’s win streak at Utica-Rome. Flemke settled for second with Rene Charland, third.

    Forty years ago in 1970, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway started the weekend off with a 100 lapper. NASCAR modified point leader Fred DeSarro in the Koszela Woodchopper took the win over Bugsy Stevens and Leo Cleary. In twin 25 action at Stafford on Saturday night Billy Greco took the opener over Don Flynn and Ernie Gahan. Tom Sutcliff took the nitecap over Freddie Schulz and Moose Hewitt. Lou Lazzaro went two for two at Fonda on Saturday night, winning both 25 lap features. In the first event, Maynard Forette finished second with Ron Narducci and Dave Lape following. The second event saw Narducci come home in second spot with Don Wayman and Irv Taylor. Charlie Webster won the 30 lap Modified feature and retired on the spot. John DeLong was the Daredevil Late Model feature winner. Sunday action at Thompson and Utica-Rome was rained out. Bugsy Stevens went to Maine with the Mighty No. 3 of Len Boehler and walked off with the first ever 100 lap Modified open competition event run at the Oxford Plains Speedway.

    Thirty five years ago in 1975, Gary Winters took the win at Freeport on Friday night. Charlie Jarzombek finished second with Art Tappen, third. Saturday night at Stafford was action packed. With the Pocono qualifier on tap, action was at a fever pitch and tempers were short. Geoff Bodine, Dick Armstrong's hired gun had been beating the tar out of the competition and was not the best liked driver in the field. During the running of the feature, Bugsy Stevens was making a run at Bodine on the outside. Bodine attempted to block and pinched Stevens into the front chute fence. Stevens rode the top of the fence into turn one, coming to rest at the pit entrance. On the restart, Bobby Santos in the Joe Brady No.41 went inside Bodine and solidly parked him in the turn two fence. The crowd went wild and as they towed the Santos vehicle by the grandstand over 8,000 screaming fans gave him a standing ovation. Bodine was fined $100 for rough riding and Santos was
fined $50 for his action. Eddie Flemke was the apparent winner until he failed a post race weigh-in by being 60 pounds light. Fred DeSarro was declared the winner with Brian Ross finishing second. Bob Potter won his first of four in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl. Roger Charbonneau was the Late Model Grand American winner. At Islip, it was George Wagner over Fred Harbach and at Shangri-La, Richie Evans took the win over Sonney Seamon and Jerry Cook. At Lancaster, Siege Fidenza took the win in an event that saw Mike Loescher suffer injuries after a crash. Maynard Troyer beat out George Kent at Fulton on Sunday and in twin features at Thompson Fred DeSarro and Daring Dick Caso took the top spots.

    Thirty years ago in 1980, Fred Harbach was the winner at New Egypt on Wednesday. Bill Park finished second with Tony Siscone third. Also in the field was Ray Everham who finished 10th. Monadnock ran on Thursday with Marty Radwick taking the win over Kenny Bouchard. At Stafford on Friday, Ronnie Bouchard held off Corky Cookman and Richie Evans for the win. Pete Fiandacca was the Late Model winner. At Riverside Park Radwick made it two for two on the weekend while Ronnie Bouchard also went two for two as he won at Westboro. Richie Evans and Jerry Cook finished one-two at Shangri-La and duplicated their efforts at Thompson on Sunday. Other weekend winners were Moose Hewitt at Waterford, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip, Allen Whipple at Claremont and Tony Siscone at Wall Stadium.

   Twenty five years ago in 1985, the NASCAR Modifieds ran a 100 lapper at Waterford on Wednesday night. Rick Donnelly led from pole to pole to win the event. Dave Reszendes finished second with John Anderson, third. Among those who didn't qualify were Reggie Ruggiero, Tom Baldwin and Tony Siscone. Doug Hevron won out over Jamie Tomaino at Stafford on Friday night. John Blewett Jr won at New Egypt and Jan Leaty at Spencer. Dale Holdredge won at Waterford on Saturday while Greg Sacks returned to his roots at Riverhead and took the win driving the Art Barry No.21.Ruggiero returned to his winning ways on Saturday at Riverside and on Sunday at Thompson, Lloyd Agor took the win.

   Twenty years ago in 1990, Speedway Scene, the northeast’s leading auto racing weekly at the time, did not publish as the press broke. Ben Dodge resigned as race director at Riverside Park after being accused of favoritism. He would change his mind the following week. The Modified Tour was at Stafford for a 125 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the win over Rick Fuller and Mike Ewanitsko. Also on Friday night, Jerry Marquis beat out Dwight Jarvis at Monadnock. Waterford rained out on Saturday but at Riverside twin features were run with Richie Gallup and Tom Bolles taking the wins. Dan Jivenelli went pole to pole at Riverhead and at Shangri-La, Lee Sherwood took the win.

   Fifteen years ago in 1995, the racing world was saddened when it was learned that Fred Harbach had passed away after suffering a heart attack. Ted Christopher got his 34th career win at Stafford on Friday night as he beat brother Mikey to the stripe. At Waterford, Mark LaJunesse scored a popular win over Dave Kutka and in Modified Tour action at Riverhead, Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr took the top spot over Brian Ross. Brian Schofield got his first ever win at Riverside. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Terry Labonte took the win. Randy LaJoie was fired and replaced by Jimmy Hensley.

   Ten years ago in 2000 Kerry Malone was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Jerry Marquis finished second with Lloyd Agor, third. Harry Rheaume got his first ever at Waterford on Saturday with John Brouwer Jr second. The Featherlite Modified Tour returned to Seekonk after an absence of many years. Fourty eight Modifieds and 11,000 plus spectators were on hand. Jerry Marquis took the win after taking the lead from Mike Ewanitsko on lap 126.Ewanitsko,who started in the rear had made the charge of the night only to see his tires go away. Howie Brode won at Riverhead. It was also on this weekend that the sale of the Oxford Plains Speedway from Mike Liberty to Bill Ryan Jr was firmed up.

   Five years ago in 2005 Donnie Lia took a Sunday drive on a Saturday night as he led from pole to pole in the Whelen 150 at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Lia had the entire field covered as no one could make a serious bid to take the lead away from the Long Island racer. There were 37 cars on hand for the first of two visits that the Whelen Modified Tour Series will make to the shoreline oval. Ted Christopher, who started seventh, moved into second spot after a lap 48 restart but could never touch Lia who had a full straight away lead when the final caution flew after Lia had taken the white flag. Tony Hirschman, who had given way to Christopher was entrenched in third spot but spun without any help after he went into turn three a little too hot. The event was finished under caution. Hirschman ended up eighth. Eric Beers, in the Boehler Racing Ole Blu, finished third with Jerry Marquis, fourth. Steve Whitt, in his best performance ever, finished fifth. Many drivers felt that because of the heat and the rubber laid down that there was no outside groove. Matt Hirschman and Chris Pasteryak made their maiden voyages on the Tour Series and did themselves proud as they managed to stay out of trouble and finish on the lead lap. Hirschman started 12th and finished 8th while Pasteryak started 11th and finished 20th. There were 21 cars on the lead lap at the finish. There were a few feathers ruffled along the way. Kenny Barry was critical of Jim Civale’s driving after the two got entangled and Barry found himself out for the night in last spot. Jim Storace took a hard lick on the front chute, which inflicted severe damage to his mount. Storace didn’t mention who got into him. The green waved on lap 36. Two laps later Dave Etheridge found himself in the front chute fence. He said that Rick Fuller hit him. Etheridge ended his night in 28th spot. The fourth caution of the night came on lap 68 when Rick Fuller and Nevin George along with Jamie Tomaino tangled in turn one. Tomaino and George were done for the night. The condition of Tomaino’s car was described over the PA system as being a little bit cross-eyed. Once the event was completed runner-up Ted Christopher insinuated that Lia was using a traction control device. Lea denied the charge and insisted it was just sour grapes on Christopher’s part.

   In regular Saturday night action at the shoreline oval Don Fowler went pole to pole for the SK Modified win. Ted Christopher came from the back of the field to finish second. Richard Brooks served up a very exciting win in the Mini Stocks as he made a three wide pass for second spot with three laps to go before he took the lead and the win on the final lap. Allen Coates was the Late Model winner and Norm Root took the Sportsman win.

   Bert Marvin became the second repeat winner in Sunoco SK type Modified competition at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. James Civali won the opening two events at the track during Ice Breaker weekend. Marvin’s win didn’t come easy as he took a lot of heat from Bo Gunning. Gunning faded to tenth in the final lap as he brushed the wall and had a tire going flat. Todd Ceravolo, who started on the pole, ended up in second spot. Jeff Malave, Adam Norton and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. Jeff Zuidema won the special 50 lap Late Model feature. Other winners were Joe Lemay in the Pro Stocks, Glenn Boss in the Limiteds, Roger Larsen in the TIS Modifieds and twin features for the Mini-Stocks were taken by Shelly Perry and Terry Boudreau.

   Woody Pitkat picked up his first ever Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night after he passed Chuck Docherty at the half way mark. What made the victory even sweeter was the fact that Pitkat had been fired out of the car that he passed to take the win. Willie Hardie Jr finished third. Mike Quintiliano made it two in a row in the Late Models and Andrew Durand made it two in a row in the Limited Late Models. Among the missing at Stafford on Friday night was Ted Christopher who was serving a one week suspension imposed by Racing Director Frank Sqambato. Christopher’s suspension came as a result of his unsportsmanlike conduct when he engaged in a fight in the pits on June 17. Christopher denied hitting anybody; he did admit to ripping Stanley Butova's shirt. Butova was Frank Ruocco’s crew chief. Christopher felt that he had been singled out as he was initially confronted by Butova.

   Wayne Anderson made it two in a row at Riverhead.

   Despite a black flag halfway through the race, Johnny Sauter had little trouble dominating the rain-shortened SBC 250 at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night. The race was shortened from 250 to 200 miles after a storm dumped heavy rain on the track. Martin Truex Jr. was second, and Paul Menard finished third. J.J. Yeley was fourth and David Stremme fifth as 10 cars were on the lead lap when the race was stopped. Tony Stewart ended a long dry spell as he won the Nextel Cup event at Sonoma.

   Last year, 2009, Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway was cancelled due to heavy rain. Keith Rocco made it two in a row in SK Modified competition at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Rocco, who is a top contender for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series National Championship continued to take no prisoners. Dillon Moltz, who made the choice to miss his High School graduation, took his third win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Heather DesRochers wired the field in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for her first career victory, Andrew Durand picked up his third victory of the 2009 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Albert Saunders picked up his first career victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature a week after his twin brother won his first career DARE Stock feature.

   The 40-lap SK Modified® feature took the green with Dave Salzarulo holding down the lead from the pole position. Todd Owen was all over the back of Salzarulo for the lead, but he couldn't muster up enough momentum to make a pass. The duel between Salzarulo and Owen allowed Frank Ruocco to close in on the front two.

   A caution with 14 laps complete slowed the action and set up a restart. Ruocco moved by both Owen and Salzarulo on the restart to take over the race lead. Keith Rocco moved from fifth to second behind Ruocco, dropping Owen to third and Salzarulo to fourth. Rocco went to the outside of Ruocco on lap-21 and he made a pass for the lead in the outside groove on lap-22. Mark Bakaj was on the move after the restart, moving by Salzarulo for fourth on lap-23 and he took third place from Owen on lap-29. At the front of the field, Rocco was stretching his lead out over Ruocco lap by lap. Rocco led the final 29 laps of the race to pick up his second consecutive and third overall SK Modffied® feature victory of the 2009 season. Ruocco finished second, with Bakaj, Owen, and Salzarulo rounding out the top-5. Sixth through tenth were Tom Bolles, Ted Christopher, Doug Coby, Woody Pitkat, and Jeff Malave.

   The Waterford Speedbowl, in a wise move, cancelled last Saturday’s racing due to the fact that the National Weather Service predicted monsoon like conditions for the entire Connecticut area.

   In NASCAR Nationwide Series action, Carl Edwards and fellow Cup commuter Kyle Busch both took a brief break from their Sprint Cup duties in California to fly more than 2,000 miles and race in Milwaukee on Saturday.Edwards took the lead from Busch with 44 laps to go and wasn't significantly challenged the rest of the way. Busch finished second, followed by Brad Keselowski. In Sprint Cup action, Kasey Kahne figured a spot in the Chase for the championship was an unrealistic goal just two months ago. He wasn't running well, Richard Petty Motorsports was behind in its development, and the competition was steadily pulling away. Then came a strong five-race stretch, punctuated a win at Infineon Raceway. It came at a road course, of all places, and snapped Kahne's 37-race winless streak. His win brought team co-owner Richard Petty to Victory Lane for the first time in over a decade. The last time a Petty-owned car won a race was John Andretti's 1999 victory at Martinsville. Tony Stewart, an accomplished road racer, finished second and was followed by Marcos Ambrose, who blew a motor in Saturday's practice that forced him to start at the back of the field and forfeit his third-place qualifying position. Jimmie Johnson was fourth and was followed by Denny Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya.

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

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

This week are several vintage racing photos
courtesy of &


      Fred DeSarro                                          Jerry Dostie                                             Peter Fiandaca    

 Randy LaJoie                                             Gary Winters                                            Fred Harbach

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: June 18, 2010

©2010 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.