ago in 1960 Tommy Fenley made it four in a row in Friday night
competition on the dirt at Stafford Springs. Rain washed out the Wednesday
and Saturday night racing programs at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Forty-five years ago in 1965
Bill Wimble made it three in a row at the Stafford Springs Speedway as the
New Yorkers continued to dominate the competition at the Connecticut oval.
Sal Dee, who had been shutout of the winner’s circle at the Waterford
Speedbowl since winning on opening day, took the 30 lap Modified win at the
shoreline oval. In United Modified action at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway
Billy Greco won his second feature of the year. Elton Hill finished second
with Ed Patnoad, third and Dick Dixon, fourth. Bob Bruno won at the Fonda
Speedway and at the Utica – Rome Speedway Jerry Cook won an unprecedented
three in a row as he raced to the top spot in a 150 lapper at the central
New York oval.
Forty years ago in 1970,
the All Star League traveled to New Jersey for two mid week events. On
Tuesday at Wall Stadium, local runner Don Stives took the win over Maynard
Troyer. On the dirt at Flemington on Wednesday it was Dick Havens over Joe
Kelly, Will Cage, Bob Roses and Lou Laser. Friday night at Malta, Lou Laser
again showed his versatility as he won with the same car he had driven on
dirt during the week. Bernie Miller finished second with Bugsy Stevens,
third. In twin 25 action at Stafford on Saturday night, Jerry Dostie in the
Bob Johnson No.17 won the first event over Billy Harman, Sal Dee and Moose
Hewitt. Hewitt won the nightcap over Freddie Schulz, Dostie, Dee and Harman.
Plattsburg ran an added points event but when the checkers fell it was local
favorite Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda taking the win. Lou Lazzaro
finished second and was followed by Fred DeSarro and Denis Giroux. Bob
Potter won a 30 lap Modified feature at Waterford. Bill Sweet made it two in
a row in Late Model Daredevil action. At Fonda it was Jerry Pennock Sr and
in Sunday twin 25 action at Thompson it was Leo Cleary and Lou Austin taking
the wins. Utica-Rome ran a 100 lapper on Sunday night and it was Eddie
Flemke in the Richie Evans team car taking the win. DeSarro finished second
with Robbie Kotary, third.
Thirty five years ago in 1975,
Flyin Brian Ross in the Mystic Missile made it two in a row at Stafford as
he beat out Geoff Bodine to win the Ferrara 100. Kenny Bouchard finished
third with Eddie Flemke and John Rosati rounding out the top five. Dick Dunn
was the 35 lap Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Twin 50's
were run at Shangri-La with Richie Evans and George Kent taking top honors.
On the Island, Fred Harbach beat out Wayne Anderson and Charlie Jarzombek to
take the win at Islip and at Westhampton on Sunday, Jarzombek won out over
Jerry Cook and Don Howe. In New York State, Maynard Troyer went two for two
as he won at both Lancaster and at Fulton.
Thirty years ago in 1980,
Richie Evans was on a tear and had it not been for Geoff Bodine, the popular
champion would have gone five for five on the weekend. Evans' weekend
started at New Egypt on Wednesday where he won a 150 lap event over Wayne
Anderson and John Blewett Jr. At Holland, NY on Thursday he won a Race of
Champions qualifier over George Kent and Jerry Cook. From there it was off
to Stafford where won again. Bob Polverari, John Rosati and Mike Stefanik
followed. At Riverside Park on Saturday night he made it four in a row at
the tight 1/4-mile oval. From Riverside it was off to Oswego. Geoff Bodine
who had won at Shangri-La on Saturday night was the spoiler as he beat out
Evans. Doug Hewitt finished second with Greg Sacks, fourth. Other weekend
winners were George Savory at Westboro, John Rosati at Thompson, Jim
Hendrickson at Wall and rain at Waterford, Riverhead and Lancaster.
Twenty five years ago in 1985,
Holland ran twin 50's on Thursday night with Richie Evans and Jeff Fuller
sharing the spotlight. Kenny Bouchard took the top spot at Stafford and at
Waterford, veterans Jerry Pearl and Dickie Doo Ceravolo finished one-two. At
Oswego on Sunday, George Brunnhoelzl was the top gun over Evans and Brian
Ross. Other weekend winners were Jerry Cranmer at New Egypt and Wall, Tony
Jankowiac at Spencer, Don Pratt at Shangri-La, Dan Avery at Riverside and
Wayne Dion at Thompson.
Twenty years ago in 1990,
the Modified Tour traveled to Riverhead on Wednesday where Reggie Ruggiero
broke the strong hold of the locals as he won the event. Mike Stefanik
finished second and was followed by Tom Baldwin and Bob Park. Stafford was
closed because of a monster truck event. At Monadnock, Dunk Rudolph took the
win over Dwight Jarvis and Jerry Marquis. Stan Gregger beat out Jerry
Marquis at Riverside. Eddie Brunnhoelzl won the Charlie Jarzombek memorial
at Riverhead and Jan Leaty won a 75 lapper at Shangri-La.
Fifteen years ago in 1995
rain washed out Stafford, Waterford, Riverside and the Mod Tour-Busch
North double header at Thompson. Riverhead got a break and ran the 76 lap
Charlie Jarzombek Memorial, which was won by Don Howe. Bill Park finished
second with Lenny Fischer, third. In Winston Cup action, the Brickyard 400
started four hours late because of rain. Dale Earnhardt took the win. Jason
Keller won the Busch Grandnational event at Indianaposis Raceway Park after
Johnny Benson spun in oil.
Ten years ago in 2000
Stafford Speedway ran twin 40's on Friday night. Ted Christopher went two
for two as he all but cleaned house. Lloyd Agor was the runner-up in the
first event and Jeff Malave was the runner-up in the nightcap. The
Featherlite Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a 200 lapper on Saturday
night. Mike Ewanitsko took the lead from Frank Vigliarolo on lap 20 and
never looked back. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed by Tom
Cravenho, Chuck Steuer and John Blewett III. At Waterford, Ron Yuhas Jr.
scored his third win over Dennis Gada and Tucker Reynolds Jr. In Winston Cup
action, Bob Labonte took the lead with 15 laps to go and went on to victory
in the Brickyard 400.Ron Hornaday was the Busch Grandnational winner at
Indianapolis Raceway Park. On a sad note, New York State dirt track driving
legend Pete Corey passed away at the age of 70.
Five years ago in 2005
Denise Barry Dion passed away suddenly on Wednesday, August 3. Denise was
the sister and spotter of Modified driver Ken Barry (21), daughter to car
owner Art and Deborah Barry and wife to Wayne Dion, Pro Stock driver.
Denise, 45, was swimming when she began experiencing sudden abdominal pain
and was then rushed to the hospital, put on life support, and by early
evening, had passed away. George "Mad Dog" Bessette, a frequent winner at
the Thompson Speedway broke his back in a last lap accident at Oxford Plains
Speedway while trying to qualify for the recent Oxford 250. He was out of a
qualifying position when the driver behind pushed him into the wall. He was
not paralyzed but was in a lot of pain. Bessette was diagnosed with having
broken his first vertebrae.
Jeff Malave padded his Sunoco Modified point lead at the Thompson
Speedway on Thursday night. Malave received a gift when the top three, Kerry
Malone, Bo Gunning and Richard Savory tangled with eight laps to go. Bert
Marvin ended up second with Todd Ceravolo, third. Ricky Shawn and Kenny
Bouchard rounded out the top five. Second generation driver Fred Astle,
driving the Rollie Linblad No. 48 went pole to pole to win the Pro Stock
feature. Other Thursday night winners were Glenn Boss who took his fifth win
of the year in the Limited Sportsman, Dennis Botticello in the Late Models,
Randy Jurcik in the Mini Stocks and Chad Gaudiosi in the Thompson Modifieds.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Riverhead
Raceway on Saturday night. Donnie Lia emerged as the next leader of the Long
Island gang as he continued to turn in impressive finishes. At Riverhead he
started on the pole and paced himself behind early leader John Fortin who
led the first 39 laps. A faulty transmission ended Fortin’s night. Lia was
waiting in the wings and took command of the situation and never looked back
as he led the balance of the 200-lap event to record the win. Tony Hirschman
came from 8th spot to finish second with Jerry Marqius, third. Rounding out
the top five were Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers. Chris Kopec elected to step
aside from his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ride because of medical
problems. Mike Stefanik moved from the Brady Bunch No.00 to the vacated No.
16. John Blewett III had taken over the Brady car.
Eric Berndt ended a long dry spell at Stafford on Friday night as
every lap of the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Jeff Baral finished second with
Lloyd Agor, third. Donnie Lia and Mike Holdredge rounded out the top five.
Tom Butler was the Late Model winner. The Waterford Speedbowl saw Dennis
Charette lead every lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Ron Yuhas Jr.
finished second with Rob Janovic, third. Dennis Botticello was the Late
Model winner with Tim Fogg taking top honors in the Sportsman. Bill Leonard
was the Mini Stock winner.
Tony Stewart won the Nextel Cup Brickyard 400 and Martin Truex JR won the
Busch Series event at Indianapolis
Last year, 2009 It was
damned if you do and damned if you don’t sometimes in racing. On Thursday
night at the Thompson Speedway Drivers Meeting Mike Chapman, the new
Competition Director (Traffic Cop), again addressed the drivers telling them
that rough driving, taking out the leader, would not be tolerated. Keith
Rocco, who has been at the center of some of the more aggressive driving
asked Chapman if it was ok to “move” a competitor out of the way as long as
you didn’t force him to crash. Chapman’s answer was, “Test Me and you will
find out”. During the running of the first of the two 30 lap Sunoco (SK
type) Modified found himself crashed into the concrete wall between turns
one and two after coming in contact with Ted Christopher. From his vantage
point in the officials tower Chapman made the call to put Christopher to the
rear for what looked like a deliberate move. In all honesty that’s the way
it looked! After listening to a conversation between a driver, who was
behind the pair, with his crew chief, it was said that Rocco had over
corrected after bouncing off of Christopher’s nerf bar and had crashed
himself into the wall. With six laps left Christopher came back to finish
seventh. Woody Pitkat ended up taking the win over Danny Cates, Jimmy
Blewett and Todd Ceravolo. Rocco ended up in 15th spot. Chapman’s second
call of the night was to put Super Late Model competitor Rick Fuller to the
rear for “Playing Games” on numerous restarts. Fuller was not happy but
that’s the way the mop flops sometime!
Kerry Malone won the second 30 lap Sunoco Modified event that went
off without incident. Malone started on the outside pole and led wire to
wire. Ted Christopher finished second. Keith Rocco finished third after his
crew thrashed to replace his entire right front suspension that had been
severely damaged. Woody Pitkat had the misfortune of having his engine blow.
All in all, it was a great night of racing that was completely over
by 9:15pm. A very strong crowd was on hand. It was announced that Bob Duval
from NASCAR was on hand. If he was there he made like the invisible man!..
Other Thursday night Thunder winners at Thompson were Tim Taylor in
the Mini Stocks Norm Wrenn in the Super Late Models, John Materas in the
Late Models, Chris “Mouse” Douton in the Limited Sportsman and Brian Tagg in
the TIS Modifieds.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour closed out their “Summer Break as
they converged on the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night,
August 1. Ryan Preece, driving the Mighty No.3 of the Boehler family went
pole to pole to win the 150 lap event. Preece, who was also the Coors Light
Pole sitter had the car that no one could catch. Ted Christopher was an
early threat. His efforts came to an end on lap 83 when he sustained
suspension damage after hitting the wall. His 20th place finish cost him the
series point lead which is now held by Todd Szegedy who finished 8th.
Because of the fact that the Riverhead event had a sub-standard purse,
$54,035, there were only 15 Whelen Tour Modified regulars on hand. Riverhead
regular Dave Brigati finished in the second spot with Howie Brode, third.
Justin Bonsignore finished fourth with Glen Reen rounding out the top five.
Had it not been for the fact that the Riverhead regulars and a few
of the True Value competitors made up the field the car count would have
been light. Many of those who previously supported the tour decided to stay
home rather than be guaranteed to lose money. In many cases NASCAR and the
tracks brag about their race purses. There was no mention of the total purse
until after the event was run. Like in Christopher’s case, many of the tour
regulars on hand had less than good days. Mike Stefanik finished 19th with a
broken radiator while Donnie Lia finished 23rd and Ron Silk finished 27th
with blown engines.
Lou Modestino reports that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway appears
to be a choice of the Indy Racing League to get one of those events in 2010,
according to the Union Leader of Manchester, N.H. It’s all due to the fact
that the Milwaukee Mile is in financial trouble and owes the IRL a
significant sum of money, which is unpaid for an event held there just after
this year’s Indy 500. The Union Leader also reported that NHMS would like
the IRL date to fall between the first NASCAR Nextel Cup date of July 3 and
the second Cup date of Sept. 12 of 2010. The Milwaukee Mile also owes a
considerable sum to NASCAR which recently sanctioned a Nationwide Series
At the Waterford Speedbowl, Rob Janovic Jr. and Ernie Bertrand were
first time winners this season in the SK Modified and Late Model divisions
respectively, while it was Al Stone III winning his fourth Street Stock
event, Allen Coates continuing his unbeaten streak in the Trucks, and Curt
D’addario Sr. winning the X-Car race. The Modified, Late Model, and Street
Stock point battles were all shaken up following the completion of their
feature events.Rob Janovic Jr. and Tyler Chadwick brought the SK Modified
field to green, with Waterford native Janovic moving out front on lap one.
Ledyard’s Chadwick tucked in behind Janovic and stayed on the leader’s
bumper. Salem drivers Corey Hutchings and Dennis Gada joined Ledyard’s Jeff
Paul and points leader Keith Rocco in a tight pack dicing for position
behind the top two. Rocco, moved to fourth on lap five then moved inside
Hutchings for third by time the field completed lap nine. Up front Janovic
wasn’t able to shake free from Chadwick. The pair raced together several car
lengths in front of Rocco who was moving in after taking over the third
spot. Paul was holding off Gada for fourth further back.
The field continued racing under green through halfway. Rocco had
reached the leaders, beginning to pressure Chadwick for second on lap 20.
The event’s first caution waved on lap 21 for Norwich’s Tom Abele who spun
off turn four. On the restart Janovic held the advantage by the time the
field reached turn one. Rocco was able to move into second past Chadwick and
started to pressure Janovic for the top spot. Rocco’s top points competitor,
Ron Yuhas Jr. of Groton, emerged into the top five with 12 laps remaining.
He immediately made an inside move on Paul for fourth. Glenn Griswold of
Vernon spun off the front stretch as Rocco darted inside Janovic with seven
laps remaining. The move would have given Rocco the lead, however caution
waved for the Griswold machine stranded on the apron of turn one.
The ensuing restart was pivotal in the outcome of the event and
points battle. Janovic again took over by turn one on the restart, while
Rocco looked to build momentum in the outside lane. Chadwick was intent on
challenging the leaders from third. Contact into turn three resulted in
Rocco spinning around and the cars of Rocco, Chadwick and Hutchings
pummeling the turn three wall. Rocco and Chadwick were both done for the
night, while Hutchings was able to resume from the rear after heading to the
pits. From there, Janovic prevailed on the final restart over Yuhas to go on
to his first victory in over a year. Yuhas finished second and was able to
close the points gap to within four points of Rocco. Past champions Janovic
and Gada were also able to close within striking distance. Paul, Gada, and
Pearl rounded out the top five finishers in the race.
Making his SK Modified debut was Jeffrey Gallup. Gallup is the son
of Richie Gallup who was a terror in the SK Modified ranks years ago.
The inaugural Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway came down to a two-man
battle between points leader Kyle Busch and top series regular Brad
Keselowski. Keselowski passed Busch with eight laps left and held on to win
for his fourth career NNS win.
In Nextel Cup action, Denny Hamlin dominated the triangle Pocono
Raceway track like few others have, taking the checkered flag on Monday to
snap a 50-race winless streak and win there for the third time in eight
career starts. The race had been delayed a day because of rain. Clint Bowyer
was third. Sam Hornish Jr. was fourth for his best finish in a Cup car, and
Kasey Kahne was fifth.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly,
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail,email@example.com.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
week are several vintage racing photos
Dennis Giroux Marty
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive