The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


July 2, 2010

    Fifty years ago in 1960 rain washed out the Wednesday night racing program at what was called then, The New London-Waterford Speedbowl. By Saturday night the skies had cleared and bad boy Dick Beauregard won the Modified feature. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Daring Dick Caso was the Bomber winner. Freddie Schultz was the winner at the Norwood Arena.

    Forty five years ago in 1965 Don Wayman was the Friday night winner at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Rain prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Lazzaro got his third feature win at the Fonda Speedway. At Riverside Park it was George Circosta and at the Utica-Rome Speedway Dave Kotary took the 30 lap win over Sonny Seamon and Tom Kotary.

    Forty years ago in 1970, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran twin features on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens took the opener over Eddie Pieniezak and Charlie Jarzombek. The nightcap saw Richie Evans take charge with a convincing win over Jarzombek, Stevens and Lou Lazzaro. The big news of the week was that New Britian construction company owner Jack Arute had taken over at Stafford which was in dire financial trouble. Along with the speedway, Arute inherited over 1000 rain checks. Steady Eddie Flemke, a modified legend in his own time, driving a modified co-owned by the Garutti Bros. and Arute won the 100 lap modified event in front of a packed house. Leo Cleary finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Ernie Gahan and Bobby Santos. Now some 35 years later, Jack Arute can look back with the self-satisfaction with the fact that he saved the speedway from oblivion plus he has been a force in the longevity of modified racing in general. Waterford and Fonda rained out. At Plattsburg Dick Fowler out ran Guy Chartrand and Dave Gault. Fowler repeated at Utica-Rome on Sunday. In twin 25 action at Thompson, Fred DeSarro won both events over Flemke and Santos.

   Thirty five years ago in 1975 Friday night at Freeport saw Fred Harbach take the win over Charlie Jarzombek. Stafford and Islip rained out on Saturday. Jack Arute announced that beginning on July 20 Stafford would be running small block open competition events against Thompson on Sunday nights. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans took the win over Jerry Cook and Sonney Seamon and at Lancaster, Roger Treichler was the victor. Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl was rained out. Sonny Seamon won a 100 lap Trenton qualifier at Fulton on Sunday night. Bill Slater, who had recently left his position at Stafford, was hired as race director at Thompson. At Thompson, the speedway management announced that they would raise their race purse, beginning the following week. Yankee All Star League racing at Star Speedway was cancelled due to rain.

   Thirty years ago in 1980, the Stafford Speedway presented the Ferrara 100.With an overflow crowd on hand, ticket booths and admission gates were closed at 8:30pm with people lined up out to the road. Ray Miller in the Mike Greci wrenched No.01 scored an impressive victory over Satch Worley. Richie Evans lost his stagger when a tire grew and ended up third. Rounding out the top five were Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens. Geoff Bodine was the winner of a Friday night Busch Grandnational event at South Boston, Va. Rain washed out racing at Riverside, Westboro, Waterford and at Wall Stadium with Islip and Shangri-La the only Saturday night tracks to get their events in. At Islip it was Tom McCann over Bob Park and at Shangri-La Richie Evans swept an 80 lapper over George Kent. Thompson had a packed house on Sunday night as close to 10,000 looked on as Richie Evans beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Brian Ross. Other weekend winners were Wayne Anderson at New Egypt on Wednesday, Ronnie Bouchard at Monadnock on Thursday and George Kent at Spencer on Friday

   Twenty five years ago in 1985, Greg Sacks, driving an R&D Winston Cup car crew chiefed by Gary Nelson, scored an upset victory when he won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Sacks flew back north to Stafford for the Ferrara 100 at Stafford and were given a standing ovation while being driven around the oval in the pace car. Driving the Art Barry modified, Sacks tried his best but was no match for Charlie Jarzombek who won the 100 lap modified event. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Brian Ross, third. The modified tour paid a visit to the Spencer Speedway where George Kent won out over Tony Hirshman. John Blewett Jr. went two for two as he won at New Egypt and at Wall while at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson took the top spot over Bill Park and Fred Harbach. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans got the jump on Jim Spencer to take the win. Rain washed out Waterford, Riverside and Thompson. Dave Dion closed out the weekend as he won the Oxford 250, which paid $30,000.

   Twenty years ago in 1990, Stafford rained out but at Monadnock it stayed dry and Reggie Ruggiero took top honors with Bruce Del, second. Donnie Bunnell held off veteran Jerry Pearl to take a win at Waterford and at Riverside it was veteran Bob Polverari over Richie Gallup. The Modified Tour traveled to Jennerstown where Mike McLaughlin took the win over Tony Hirshman and Jamie Tomaino. At Shangri-La, John Preston took the win.

   Fifteen years ago in 1995 auto racing pioneer and former president of the United Stock Car Racing Club, Harvey Tattersall, passed away at the age of 78. Bo Gunning scored his 25th career win in a special Tuesday night event at Stafford. Due to an on track incident and a difference of opinion with track owner Jack Arute, Chief Starter Chris Hopkins was asked to take a week off. Hopkins took offence to this and resigned which opened the door for Frankie Sgambato to take over the chief starter’s role. Because of the Winston Cup weekend, Stafford was silent on Friday. Waterford ran a non-point event on Saturday, which drew only 12 cars. Ricky Young took the win over Richie Gallup and Chris Jones. It took only 23 minutes and 38 seconds for the Featherlite Modifieds to run 40 laps at Loudon on Saturday. Steve Park took the lead on lap eight and never looked back. Tony Hirshman finished second with Tim Connolly third. Because of stoppages because of rain, it
took 5-1/2 hours to run the BGNN 150, which was eventually won by Ricky Craven. Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup winner on Sunday. Riverside rained out but Riverhead was able to get their show in with Tom Tillottson taking the win.

   Ten years ago in 2000 saw one of NASCAR's darkest days as Winston Cup driver Kenny Irwin lost his life in a practice session accident at Loudon. Fifty-six Modifieds were on hand for the Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. David Berghman was the Busch Pole sitter as he established a new record of 131.415 mph. John Blewett III came from a 29th starting spot to take the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 92 of the 100 lap event. It was the biggest win of Blewett's career. Mike Christopher, who started 34th, finished second and was followed by Tim Connolly, Ruggiero and Tom Cravenho. Jerry Marquis finished sixth and made a hasty retreat and made it to Stafford in time to win the Friday night SK Modified feature. Jeff Pearl won at Waterford on Saturday night over Mark LaJunnesse and Frank Muccicharo and at Riverhead; Bill Park went pole to pole for the win. Tony Stewart won the NHIS Winston Cup event and in victory lane, dedicated his win to Kenny Irwin

   Five years ago in 2005 the big news of the week was the fact that the developer who held an option on the Waterford Speedbowl property had not renewed his option, which meant that auto racing would continue hopefully for many years to come. Terry Eames stated that he was looking into expanding the use of the Speedbowl property. A tractor-trailer training school, a large-scale flea market and possibly a drag strip are some of the ideas that have been thrown around. A drag strip would be a mistake. Those of us who were around when the Norwood Arena in Massachusetts decided to stage drag races can remember they were a deciding factor in the ultimate closing of the track because of the noise problems generated. Eames, who is also heavy into titles, announced that Pete Zanardi, formerly the Public Relations man, had been re-titled to be Vice President of Communications and Strategic Planning. Hope he got a big raise with his new title. Bill Roth, who seems to be honest and up-front, would be re-titled from being the General Manager to the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Hope he got a big raise too. In other Speedbowl news it was announced that Bill Roberts would be leaving his position as Race Director as his primary employment location had changed. Steve Harraka would replace Roberts. For some strange reason the speedbowl management opted to run one of its biggest events on Saturday night directly opposite the New London Sailfest Grucci Fireworks display. The event which consisted of 100 lap events for the SK Modifieds and Late Models with 50 lap events for Sportsman and Mini Stocks turned into a marathon session that went close to the midnight curfew. Ron Yuhas Jr got the benefit of Ron Silks misfortune, as he was the eventual winner. Silk was leading the event in the late stages when he was taken out by one of the Monahan brothers. Rob Summers ended up second with Dennis Charette, third and Jay Miller, fourth. Corey Hutchings paid a visit to Waterford and walked off with the 100-lap Late Model win. Bruce Thomas finished second. Norm Root Jr won the 50 lap Sportsman event.

   The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Jennerstown, PA on Saturday for the Wheeler Brothers 150. Tony Hirschman cleaned house as he lapped all but the top five to record the win. Hirschman, who started sixth, took the lead from Jerry Marquis on lap 48 of the 150 lap event. Marquis faded to fourth while Chuck Hossfeld, who started seventh, finished a close second. Ed Flemke Jr had his best showing to date as he finished third. Jamie Tomaino started fourteenth and rounded out the top five. Point leader Ted Christopher finished 23rd after losing numerous laps because of a leak.

   Jeff Malave started fourth in the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night and led every lap to annex the victory. Bert Marvin finished second with Kerry Malone, third. Todd Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Jeff Connors was the Pro Stock winner and Glenn Boss took the Limited Sportsman feature. Rod Rixham won the Mini Stock feature and Shane Michalski took the TIS Modified feature. Twin features were run for the Late Models with Woody Pitkat and Marc Palmisano sharing victory lane.

   Rain washed out the American Sleeve Bearing 100 at Stafford on Friday night. The event has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 24. The 2005 season had reached the mid point with 10 events run so far. In the SK Modified division Ted Christopher led Todd Owen by 26 points. Christopher who had run in nine of the ten events had three wins. Owen had one win. Lloyd Agor, with two wins, sat in third spot. Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five. Jim Mavlouganes was the point leader in the track’s Late Model division. Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke through for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory of the season, using a two-tire strategy and holding off Matt Kenseth to win at Chicagoland Speedway.

   The International Speedway Corporation reported that their second-quarter profit surged to a record on soaring revenue from broadcasts and corporate sponsorships, and the company raised its financial forecast for the 2005 fiscal year. The Daytona Beach, Florida-based motor sports promoter and racetrack owner reported net income of $26.5 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $6.1 million, or 11 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $157.4 million from $131.1 million.

   The Sun Oil Company announced that its Board of Directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. The stock split was for shareholders of record as of July 18, 2005, and shares would be distributed on or about August 1, 2005. Holders of record of the Company's common stock on the record date would receive one additional share of common stock for each share of common stock they own.

   Last year, 2009 In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway rain prevailed.

   Ted Christopher returned to familiar ground at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Christopher drove to his second victory of the 2009 season and his third overall win in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Jim Peterson took down his first win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen scored his third win of the 2009 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande 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 Waterford Speedbowl celebrated the nation’s birthday in grand fashion, hosting the 12th annual Pepsi 300 on a beautiful summer evening. The Speedbowl’s leaders in the four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions each performed up to their lofty status. Keith Rocco checkered the SK Modified race, Bruce Thomas Jr. won in the Late Models, and Danny Field was the Mini Stock winner. Ronnie Oldham finished in second in the Street Stocks, while it was Walt Hovey taking down the event win.

   The True Value Modified Series visited the ultra fast Ľ mile high banked Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Kirk Alexander started the race on the outside pole and did what he does best; he drove his car hard right to the front to capture the lead. He then held on to the number one position for 100 laps to dominate and win the TVMRS race. Les Hinckley was Mr. Consistent during the night of competition running at a steady pace to come across the start finish lien in second. Running in the top ten in points for the TVMRS, young Rowan Pennink has continued his competitive run with the series finishing the night with a podium finish. Dwight Jarvis and Rob Goodenough rounded out the top five.

   In NASCAR Sprint Cup action in Daytona, Kyle Busch passed Tony Stewart right before the final lap to take the lead, but Stewart chased him down and calculated his next move. Stewart closed in on Busch's bumper, and slight contact sent Busch drifting up the track. Busch slid back down to maintain his lead, then tried to slide in front of Stewart to block Stewart's next move. The cars were too close together and Stewart hooked Busch's right corner to send Busch sailing into the wall.

   The contact triggered a multiple crash behind them, but Stewart sailed through for his second points win of the season. The two-time series champion is leading the points in his first season as co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, which he overhauled from a backmarker team into a title contender after 10 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing. It was a horrendous wreck for Busch, who climbed from his car apparently unscathed but had to be forced by four NASCAR officials into a waiting safety vehicle. He finished 14th and refused to comment after the race. Jimmie Johnson was second, and Denny Hamlin, Busch's teammate, finished third. Carl Edwards was fourth, and Kurt Busch fifth.

  Clint Bowyer won the Nationwide Series race at Daytona, holding off Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards in a green-white-checkered finish..

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 &


Dick Beauregard                                        Ron Bouchard                                             Ed Flemke    

    Ed Patnode                                             Parker Bohn                                             Don Wayman
 John Grady Photo                                        John Grady Photo                                            John Grady Photo

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


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

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