ago in 1960 Tommy Fenley, one of the all time greats that raced
at the Kingston Fairgrounds in Southern Rhode Island made it three in a row
at Stafford Springs on Friday night. Ted Stack was the Wednesday night
Modified winner at what was then called the New London – Waterford
Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm was the
Bomber winner. Don Collins was the Saturday night Modified winner at the
shoreline oval. Stack was the non-Ford winner and Palm repeated in the
Forty five years ago in 1965
Bill Wimble kept the locals at bay as he took the Modified feature at
Stafford on Friday night. Don Collins was the Modified winner at Waterford.
Bill Scrivner made it two in a row in the Bombers. . Dick Dixon was the 25
lap Modified feature win at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Bill Gurney was
second with Lou Carangelo, third. Lou Lazzaro won a 100 lapper at the Fonda
Speedway while Nathan “Smokey” Boutwell was cleaning house at Norwood. Jerry
Cook made it two in a row at Utica-Rome as he beat out Tom and Dave Kotary
for the win.
Forty years ago in 1970,
the All Star League invaded the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Tuesday for a
100-lap event. Although on the outs with NASCAR, Richie Evans was allowed to
run at this NASCAR sanctioned track, as the league events were open
competition. Evans used his entry to good advantage as he won the 100 lapper
over Maynard Troyer, Mike Loescher, Lou Lazzaro and Fred DeSarro. Regular
Friday night racing at the Malta, NY speed plant was rained out. In twin
25-lap action at Stafford on Saturday night, Fred DeSarro scored a one-two
punch as he won both events. In the first event, Moose Hewitt finished
second with Ed Yerrington, third. The nightcap saw Ernie Gahan in the
runner-up spot over Bernie Miller, Yerrington and Bob Santos. Fonda legend,
Ken Shoemaker was the winner at the track of champions on Saturday night
while at Plattsburg it was Denis Giroux over Dick Fowler and Ron Narducci.
Dick Watson took the Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet
was the Late Model Daredevil winner. DeSarro continued his win streak as he
won twin 25's at Thompson on Sunday. Santos finished second in both events.
At Utica-Rome on Sunday night it was Lou Lazzaro over Dave Lape and Ron
Thirty-five years ago in 1975,
Brian Ross beat the heat with a popular win at Stafford over Ronnie
Bouchard. Islip ran a double point event with Don Howe taking the win over
George Wagner and Jerry Cook. Richie Evans chose not to go and instead went
to Shangri-la where he won out over George Kent and Dick Finnerty. Bob
Potter won the 35 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bill
Sweet was the Grand American Late Model winner. It rained at Fulton but not
at Lancaster where Roger Treichler was victorious over Maynard Troyer.
Westhampton cancelled because of the heat and at Capitol City it was Maynard
Troyer over Jerry Cook.
Thirty years ago in 1980,
Thompson had an open competition event scheduled for Wednesday night but it
was rained out. Ronnie Bouchard and Richie Evans ruled the modified roost as
they each won just about everything in New England. Bouchard won Thursday
night at Monadnock, Friday night at Stafford, Saturday night at Westboro and
the first of two events at Thompson on Sunday. Evans, who finished third at
Stafford behind Brian Ross, won at Riverside on Saturday night and won the
nightcap at Thompson. Maynard Troyer was also a double winner on the weekend
as he won at Spencer and at Lancaster. Other weekend winners included Fred
Harbach at New Egypt, George Kent at Shangri-la, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip,
Allen Whipple at Clairmont and Lou Funk at Danbury. At Waterford, the
modifieds went on strike over tires. Monadnock announced that they were
shutting down until August 10th and a planned auction to sell the land that
the Westboro Speedway was located on was
Twenty-five years ago in 1985,
the Circle of Champions (Modified Tour) visited New Egypt on Wednesday.
Richie Evans took the win over George Kent and Tony Hirschman. Evans
repeated on Friday night at Spencer where he won a 100 lap Race of Champions
qualifier. Like at New Egypt, Kent and Hirschman followed. Friday night
racing at Stafford rained out. Saturday night at Waterford, Rick Donnelly
won over Dale Holdredge and at Riverside Park; Reggie Ruggiero won a 100
lapper that was in addition to a Race of Champions qualifier was a Thompson
300 qualifier. George Kent was victorious at Shangri-La after Evans crashed
and at Riverhead it was Eddie Brunnhoelzl over Tom Baldwin. Other weekend
winners were Tony Siscone at Wall, Tom Druar at Lancaster and Kerry Malone
at Thompson. In Winston Cup action at Talladega, Bill Elliot was the pole
sitter and Cale Yarborough took the win.
Twenty years ago in 1990,
the modified tour made a mid week stop at Riverside. Reggie Ruggiero cleaned
house as he started 19th and at the checker at 150 laps had lapped all but
the top three. Pole sitter Mike Stefanik finished second and was followed by
Mike McLaughlin and Mike Ewanitsko. Tom Tagg won his first ever feature at
Stafford on Friday night and at Waterford on Saturday, Ted Christopher took
the win and in the late models, Jay Stewart got his fifth of the season.
Ruggiero continued his win streak to Monadnock where he made it four in a
row and went on to Riverside where he made it three for three for the week.
Bo Gunning took the checker at Thompson but was disqualified with an illegal
carburetor. Bob Potter was awarded the win. In other weekend action, Siege
Fidenza won the Tom Druar Memorial at Lancaster and Frank Vigliorolo won at
Fifteen years ago in 1995,
John Anderson topped Ted Christopher at Stafford on Friday night. At
Waterford on Saturday, the late Scott Spaulding beat out Mike Gada and Jerry
Pearl. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Holland, NY speedway for a
150 lapper. Mike Ewanitsko took the lead from Steve Park on lap 132 and led
the remaining circuits to record the win. Park finished second and was
followed by Ed Flemke Jr., Jamie Tomaino, Jan Leaty and Satch Worley. Other
Saturday night action saw Dan Avery in victory lane at Riverside Park and
Chuck Steuer in the top spot at Riverhead. The best event of the weekend was
an open competition event at Oswego on Sunday which drew 50 modifieds and
was the scene of a hard fought victory by Tim Connolly who at that time was
driving the Bobby Fuller No.17.Ricky Fuller finished second with Tom
Ten years ago, in
2000, racing at Thompson on Thursday night was washed out. Rookie Mike
Johnson went pole to pole to win the Busch North Series 150 at Stafford on
Friday night. Ted Christopher blew an engine while running second on lap
88.It wasn't a total loss as Christopher recorded his 46th career victory in
SK modified competition. Zack Sylvester finished second. Dennis Gada beat
out Ronnie Silk at Waterford on Saturday and George Kent was the winner of
the Race of Champions Trail event at Holland.
Five years ago in 2005
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Nevin George was one of 25 drivers
in competition in the latest version of the Jack Roush Racing Gong Show. The
Gong Show consisted of a 13 part series that would begin in the fall on the
Discovery Channel. The winner would be awarded a fully sponsored ride in the
2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Among the other contestants was Jason
Boyd who drove the Florida Modified owned by Bobby Judkins. David Berghman
was designated to drive the Ralph Solhem No. 0 when George was unavailable.
The late Len Boehler began fielding Modifieds at the Seekonk
Speedway some forty years ago. It was only fitting that Eric Beers, who was
presently driving for Boehler Racing was able to garner his first NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series win on Saturday night at the track where it all
began. Currently owned and managed by Janice and Michael Boehler and based
in East Freetown, Mass, Boehler Racing has been responsible for numerous
NASCAR Tour and track championships during its tenure. At the track known as
the cement palace, Beers started sixth and ended up taking the lead for the
eventual win on lap 31. John Blewett III, pinch-hitting for Mike Stefanik,
drove another legendary car, the No.00 of Joe Brady, to a solid runner-up
finish. Brady, who began his career in the late 1960’s at the Norwood Arena,
is also responsible for numerous wins and track championships. Jerry Marquis
started 16 and finished third. His car owner, Bob Garbarino, has also been
in the Modified Racing business since the mid 60’s. Garbarino got his start
at the Waterford Speedbowl. The top three car owners at Seekonk had
collectively over 120 years of racing under their belts. Modified Tour point
leader Ted Christopher led the first 30 laps before giving way to Beers.
Christopher faded in the late going as he finished 17th on the lead lap at
the finish. Christopher continues to lead Tony Hirschman by 60 points as the
tour headed next to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. There were 31
Modifieds on hand.
Todd Ceravolo and his family were on vacation in Michigan. He cut
it short to be at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. His trip back to
Connecticut paid off as he made it two in a row in Sunoco SK type Modified
competition. The second-generation racer started sixth on the 19
car-starting field and by lap 11 had taken the lead and was long gone.
Ceravolo’s dad, Dick, is a former Modified Champion at the Waterford
Speedbowl. Richard Savory, another second-generation racer and the son of
George Savory, finished second. Jeff Malave finished third with Bert Marvin
and Bo Gunning rounding out the top five. Larry Barnett, who is almost a
neighbor of Ceravolo, won the 40 lap Limited Sportsman feature that went
non-stop. Other winners at Thompson were Dennis Perry in the Late Models,
Scott Michalski in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Seekonk
Speedway on Saturday night. During the driver’s meeting at the recent event
at Beech Ridge it was stated that the Seekonk Speedway would not honor the
agreement of allowing teams to pre-sign up to 10 crew members at a
discounted rate of $25.00 per driver. Ed Cox (tour director) was called on
the Thursday prior to the Beech Ridge event by the Seekonk management to let
the teams know it would be $40.00 per person. This did not go over well with
the teams. There was a petition signed by all drivers/owners at Beech Ridge
and handed to NASCAR. It stated if the sign-in was not honored (10 crew @
$25.00) there would be no race. By Monday, July 25, the dispute was resolved
as the Seekonk promoter agreed to honor the 10 per car at $25.
It was a long night at Stafford on Friday as the remaining laps of
the Coors Light 100 were run plus the regular weekly program. Willie Hardie
ended a string of bad luck as he took the win. Hardie took the lead early on
from Don Lia. Lia faded in the closing moments and ended up sixth at the
finish. Chuck Docherty finished second. Bo Gunning didn’t lose his feel for
the half mile oval as he brought the Eddie Partridge owned mount home in
third spot. Woody Pitkat won the regularly scheduled 40 lapper. Chuck
Docherty recorded another runner-up finish with Hardie coming home third.
Todd Owen finished fourth with Gunning, fifth. The big story of the night
was that Ted Christopher lost the point lead after crashing out of both
events. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model winner and Fran Siana was the DARE
The Waterford Speedbowl was the scene of a lot of excitement on
Saturday night as Late Model division point leader Allen Coates was tossed
out of the opening event after he intentionally tried to take out the
leader, Bruce Thomas. For his actions Coates was disqualified with no points
or money. The opening Late Model event had been held over since a rain out
on June 18. Coates was allowed to race in the night’s regular Late Model
event but could only manage a third behind Dennis Botticello. Shawn Monahan
was the SK Modified winner. Dennis Gada finished second with Rob Summers,
third. Other Waterford winners were Phil Evans in the Mini Stocks, Chris
Bakaj in the Legends and Ron Oldham in the Sportsman.
In Busch North action at the Adirondack Speedway Matt Kobyluck made
it two in a row as he passed Ryan Moore with eight laps to go and held off
Andy Santerre to take the win. The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR was off. In
Busch Racing Series action Reed Sorenson beat Mike Wallace at Gateway
Last year, 2009, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on “Summer Break before heading for
the Riverhead Raceway. Ted Christopher continued to lead the point standings
with a 17-point cushion over Todd Szegedy. Thirty-nine points behind Szegedy
was Don Lia. Mike Stefanik and Ryan Preece who rounded out the top five.
Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk, Jimmy Blewett, Woody
Pitkat and Ed Flemke, Jr.
It was hinted that The Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY could
be returning to its roots as an asphalt speedway if local officials have
their way. The Malta oval was a mecca for NASCAR Modified racing from 1966
to 1974. The best in the business from New York and New England would
converge every Friday night for some of the best competition ever seen.
Originally built as an asphalt speedway, the speedway became a dirt track in
the late 70’s.
The Thompson Speedway management took the bull by the horns as they
created the position of “Competition Director” and hired Mike Chapman to
fill that position. His job would be that of a cop as he would be making
judgment calls during the running of the weekly events at the northeast
Connecticut oval. NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks would remain in his
position and would focus more on the technical end of the racing programs.
In recent weeks Brooks had preached and threatened competitors for weeks,
especially to those in the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds. The deliberate
wrecking and rough riding continued with no action taken. It would be
Chapman’s job to step on those who deliberately wreck or spin other
As rain began to fall Chapman held his first drivers meeting and
laid down the law and announced that he wasn’t there to make friends.
Chapman stated that he would not tolerate the beating and banging that has
become the norm, especially in the Modifieds. One who deliberately takes out
the leader goes to the back or to the pits. One who drives like a windshield
wiper goes to the back and one who deliberately crashes into another
competitor will be dealt with. Chapman talks the talk, hopefully he will
walk the walk!
In other news from Thompson, the speedway had become a part of a
great new service titled “Rained-Out.com”. Rained-Out.com sends
notifications of cancellations or delays to mobile phones, pagers,
blackberries or e-mails. The service was free for member tracks or users.
Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway was rained out as
over four inches of rain fell on Thursday night into Friday morning.
The 6th Annual CARQUEST SK 150 was on tap at the Stafford Motor
Speedway on Friday night. Frank Ruocco came up the big winner, as he led the
final 130-laps to score his first SK Modified feature victory of the 2009
season. In other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, Dillon Moltz took
down his fourth win of the 2009 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature,
Brit Andersen took his fourth win of the 2009 season in the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature, Norm Sears took his first career Limited Late Model
feature win in 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Albert Saunders became
the first repeat DARE Stock feature winner of the 2009 season in the 15-lap
DARE Stock feature. Unofficial SK Modified third place finisher Tom Bolles'
car was found to exceed the maximum left side weight percentage allowed and
he was penalized from his finishing position of third place to the last
place finishing position of 27th place.
The racing action at Waterford Speedbowl took on a different look
as the Saturday divisions were schedule to race on both Wednesday and
Saturday. Corey Hutchings grabbed his first open-wheel win at the ‘Bowl,
holding off the competition in a fiercely competitive SK Modified event.
Bruce Thomas Jr. prevailed late to win the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model
event, while it was Walt Hovey Jr taking the Street Stock win. Defending
Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock champion Ken Cassidy Jr. returned to Victory
Lane, as did Ryan Morgan in Legends Car action.
With the win, Hutchings had now captured victories in three of the
Speedbowl's four NASCAR divisions. He was a past Street Stock and Late Model
The regular divisions returned on Saturday night and it was high
tide at the shoreline oval. The four inches of rain that fell on the
Thompson also put the Speedbowl under water. The infield was finally drained
and the racing went on as planned. Because of delays qualifying heat events
There two first time winners this season reaching victory lane as
Jeff Pearl won the SK Modified race while Adam Cantor took his first NEMA
Midget event of the year. Bruce Thomas Jr. returned to victory lane in the
Late Models, and Ed Puleo and Kyle James repeated in the Street Stock and
Mini Stock races.
Thomas, the two-time defending Late Model division champion,
wracked up his ninth victory in 12 events this year. Tim Jordan, who dogged
Thomas until the final lap crashed into the turn three wall. A video
indicated that Jordan over drove and lost control. After viewing the video
Jordan was quoted on the Jeff Pearl.com website as saying “I hit the wall by
misjudging. Just wanted to let the racing community know that. I screwed
In Sprint Cup action, Jimmie Johnson cashed in on the most
expensive speeding ticket in NASCAR history, grabbing an improbable third
victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when a penalty to Juan Pablo Montoya
blew the race wide open. In a performance that mirrored his dominating
Indianapolis 500 victory nine years ago, Montoya was in cruise control as he
led 116 laps and built a 5-second lead over the competition. Then NASCAR
flagged him for speeding on a routine pit stop with 35 laps remaining, and
the driver became unglued.
The penalty took him out of contention and relegated him to an
11th-place finish. Montoya, who had moved as high as sixth in the Sprint Cup
standings as he ran out front, instead lost a spot and is now 10th in the
race for the Chase for the championship. The difference in his paycheck was
severe: Johnson earned $448,001 for the victory, while Montoya's share of
the purse was knocked down to $224,048. Mark Martin finished second with
Tony Stewart, third.
In Nationwide Series racing at the O’Reilley Raceway Park, Carl
Edwards started 42nd out of 43 drivers because he spent the day at Brickyard
400 qualifying and got into the Saturday night race on owner points took the
win. He moved up 15 spots by the end of the fourth lap, and took the lead
for good in lap 179.Kyle Busch, who started 41st and qualified because of
owner points, finished second.
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
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive