The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


August 13, 2010

   Fifty years ago in 1960 Ron Narducci broke into victory lane at Stafford as he scored a win on the dirt in Friday night Modified action. Tommy Fenley, who had won four in a row at Stafford, hooked a rut in turn 1 and flipped completely out of the track and into the woods. Ted Stack scored a clean sweep at the Waterford Speedbowl as he won both Wednesday and Saturday night Modified events.

   Forty five years ago in 1965 rain washed out the racing action at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Charlie Webster was the Modified victor at Waterford. Bill Scrivner was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Kenny Shoemaker scored his fifth win at Fonda and at Utica-Rome Rene Charland ended a dry spell as he won out over Tom and Dave Kotary.

   Forty years ago in 1970, the All Star League moved into the 1/5 mile Islip Speedway on Wednesday. Richie Evans took the 100-lap win over George Brunnhoelzl, Jim Hendrickson, Gary Winters, Lou Lazzaro and Eddie Flemke. In regular Friday night action at Malta, Fred DeSarro beat out Rene Charland and Dick Fowler for the win. DeSarro carried his win streak to Stafford on Saturday night where he won a 50-lap double point event over Eddie Flemke and Leo Cleary. Jerry Pennock and Eddie Pieniezak split the twin 25's at Fonda and at Plattsburg; Canadian Andre Manny took the victory. At Islip, Charlie Jarzombek was the winner. Dick Dunn braved the heat as he won the 30 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Bill Sweet was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Many of the east coast NASCAR modified stars of the day traveled to Trenton Speedway for the annual North-South 200.Needless to say the event was postponed for a week because of rain.

   At Utica-Rome on Sunday night it was dry as Lou Lazzaro took the win over Rene Charland and Robbie Kotary.

   Thirty five years ago in 1975, Bugsy Stevens was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ray Miller finished second with Geoff Bodine, third. Islip ran a 200 lapper on Saturday. Invader Jerry Cook took the win. Bob Park finished second with Fred Harbach, third. Shangri-La and Lancaster rained out. Bob Potter in the Roger Bonnville No. 110 won the Schafer Beer sponsored Grand Slam 50 lapper. Dick Laflesh was the Grand American Late Model winner. At Fulton on Sunday, Maynard Troyer ruled the roost. Richie Evans tried his best but had to settle for second. It was reported that 1972 Indy 500 winner Mark Donohue had passed away after a three hour brain operation in Austria. His injuries and ultimate death resulted from injuries received during a practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix.

   Thirty years ago in 1980, Tony Siscone was the winner at New Egypt on Wednesday night. John Blewett JR finished second with Alan Harbach, third. At Stafford on Friday, Ronnie Bouchard won a close one over John Rosati and Richie Evans. Bouchard went to Westboro on Saturday and got rained on. Evans went to Riverside where he won out over Ray Miller. At Shangri-La it was George Kent over Greg Sacks and at Thompson on Sunday, Bouchard continued his winning ways as he took the victory over Leo Cleary and Richie Evans. Other weekend winners included Kent at Spencer, Fred Harbach at Islip, Tim Mislin at Lancaster, Bob Potter at Waterford, Jim Hendrickson at Wall and John Rosati at Monadnock.

   Twenty five years ago in 1985, Star Speedway ran the Modifieds on Wednesday with Jeff Fuller taking the win. At Stafford on Friday night, Brian Ross had the quick way around as he took a hotly contested win over Kenny Bouchard and Charlie Jarzombek. Mike Christopher was the SK winner. It was also on this night that someone stole the electronic drive on scales out of the infield when the officials weren't looking. They were never found or recovered. At Waterford on Saturday, Dale Holdredge got one for the good guys as he beat out Richie Gallup and Kenny Bouchard. SJ Evonsion showed that he hadn't forgotten his way around Riverside as he beat John Rosati to the stripe. Thompson ran a 100 lap-300 qualifier on Sunday. Richie Evans took the win over Jeff Fuller and Jim Spencer. With his win, Evans was guaranteed a pole starting position in the Thompson 300, which paid $10,000 to win. Other weekend winners were Billy Colton at Spencer, Wayne Anderson at
Riverhead, Jerry Cranmer at Wall and Ronnie Bouchard at Seekonk.

   Twenty years ago in 1990, Mike Christopher was the Friday night SK modified winner at Stafford. At Waterford, Ted Christopher in the Ronnie Berndt No.54 won a 75 lap Race of Champions qualifier over Dennis Gada and Moose Hewitt. Riverside Park ran twin events with Richie Gallup and Tom Bolles sharing top honors and at Riverhead; Mike Ewanitsko won the 101 lap Charlie Jarzombek Memorial. Lou Lazzaro won his 106th career event at Fonda and Bugsy Stevens was the Pro Stock winner at Seekonk.

   Fifteen years ago in 1995, Waterford ran on Thursday and on Saturday. Bert Marvin won the Thursday night event over Todd Ceravolo and Mike Gada. On Sat, Jeff Pearl took the win over Jim Broderick and Eric Berndt. Friday night at Stafford, Bo Gunning took the SK modified feature over John Anderson and Tony Sylvester. Point leader Bob Potter was extremely upset when he got dumped and put out of contention. At Waterford on Saturday night, Jeff Pearl took the modified win over Jim Broderick and Eric Berndt. John Brouwer JR won the late model event after Larry Cote and Phil Rondeau wrecked. At Riverside it was Brian Schofield over Steve Park and Dave Berube and at Riverhead, Don Howe took the win. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Loudon. Mike Stefanik started dead last in the 40 lapper and made a determined charge to the front to pass Ted Christopher for the lead and eventual win in the closing stages. Tony Hirshman ended up second and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak and Rick Fuller. Dale Jarrett was the winner of a non-stop Busch Grandnational event at Michigan but was disqualified with an illegal intake manifold, giving the win to Mark Martin. Bobby Labonte was the Winston Cup winner. Robbie Crouch was the Busch North winner at Star and Jack Johnson sewed up his tenth track title at Fonda.

   Ten years ago, in 2000, Ted Christopher, in his first outing in the Gary Cretty No.25, took the pole and all but ran away with the Featherlite Modified Tour event run at Thompson on Thursday night. Jerry Marquis finished second with Reggie Ruggiero, third. During warm-ups, Rob Summers and Carl Pasteryak had their cars destroyed as NASCAR officials were not paying attention when they waved on of the cars to enter the track. Christopher also won the 30 lap SK modified event. Stafford rained out on Friday and Dennis Gada recorded his fifth win at Waterford on Saturday. Jeff Pearl finished second with Ron Yuhas JR, third. Ted Christopher has his potentially winning car destroyed after he ran over a wheel and crashed violently. It was also a year ago that Jimmy Blewett got his first ever win at Wall Stadium. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Rusty Wallace took the win. Todd Bodine was the GN winner.

   Five years ago in 2005 Tony Hirschman cruised to a convincing win in the NASCAR New England Dodge Dealers 150 at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Hirschman, the top time trialer, started seventh after the top ten redrew. Doug Coby, driving the Mansfield Ct. based No.77 of Curt Chase, started on the pole and led the first 80 laps before pitting. Coby ended up 14th after bad luck reared its ugly head. Ricky Fuller came from 18th to finish 2nd, his best finish in quite a while. Eric Beers started 19th and finished third. Mike Christopher had his best run to date in the Hills Enterprises No.79 as he took advantage of John Blewett III’s transmission problems in the late going. Blewett had only high gear. Rounding out the top five was Chuck Hossfeld. Sixth through tenth were Blewett III, Marquis, Tom Bolles, Donnie Lia and Dave Etheridge. Ted Christopher entered the event as the point leader but left in the runner-up spot, some 63 points in arrears.

   Christopher ended up 20th after experiencing a flat tire and an encounter with Tyler Haydt. Former series champion Mike Stefanik had one of those nights he would like to forget. Stefanik took a hard trip into the first turn wall after blowing a right rear tire on a lap 112 restart. In other Thursday night action at Thompson, Tom Cravenho ran away with the 30 lap Sunoco SK type Modified feature. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Ricky Shawn, third. Eric Bourgeois was the Mini Stock winner, Larry Barnett in the Sportsman div, Jeff Zuidema in the Late Models, Norm Wrenn in the Pro Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds.

   Prior to the running of the Bud 150 at Thompson last Thursday NEAR Hall of Fame driver George Summers was honored for his many years as a driver, 1952 to 1983 with over 200 wins and numerous track championships. Summers paced the field in a Connie LaJoie Vega Modified that he had driven at Seekonk and Westboro. Summers had the distinction of winning the last race in which he drove which was the 1983 World Series at Thompson where he put the Art Barry No.21 in victory lane. Prior to pacing the field Summers received instructions on driving from George Savory!

   At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Kenny Horton took the win in the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Horton started third and after putting away Jeff Malave on the second lap, led the balance of the event to record the win. The first 29 laps went non-stop until the full moon syndrome kicked in which resulted in eight cautions for accidents. In the end, following Malave at the checker was Willie Hardie in the runner-up spot with Ted Christopher, third. Malave and Chuck Docherty rounded out the top five. Worth noting was the impressive run turned in by Jimmy Blewett who became the new hired gun for the Eddie Partridge Racing stable. In his first ever race at Stafford, Blewett finished an impressive sixth. Jim Peterson was the 30-lap Late Model winner and Andrew Durand was the Limited Late Model winner.

   Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified competitor Diego Monahan was looking to become the first ever driver to win in all divisions at the shoreline oval. Rob Janovic had other ideas. Janovic went into no-mans land (the outside groove), on lap 19 of the 35 lap SK Modified feature, to take the lead and eventual win. Monahan, trying to protect his second place spot, ran Jeff Pearl into the turn three wall. That cost Monahan a top five finish as track officials put him to the back of the field. Ronnie Silk inherited second spot but had nothing for Janovic and had to settle for a runner-up finish. Dennis Gada, Rob Summers and Jay Miller rounded out the top five. Other winners were James Procaccini in the Sportsman, Allen Coates in the Late Models, Phil Evans in the Mini Stocks and Jason Palmer in the Legends.

   It had been just about a year since Don Hawk came on the scene to oversee the Modifieds of NASCAR. After asking many in the Thompson pit area what they thought of his job performance the general conclusion is he has done what NASCAR has allowed him to do. It was a big plus that Hawk was instrumental in getting Martinsville back on the Schedule plus raising the purses. Television coverage of Modified Tour Series events never happened but it wasn’t his fault. He did try. The general overall attitude of competitors and officials was the best that it had been in many years. It was hoped that Hawk could convince his bosses at NASCAR headquarters to give him a broader range in which to operate. The Modifieds were and still are an extremely healthy division and should stay that way for many years to come. Needless to say NASCAR ended up canning Hawk and in his place went another company “Yes Man”. It must be noted that competitors were extremely unhappy that there would be a half hour hot dog break in the middle of this year’s Thompson 300.

   Competitors in the southland got out of control which resulted in a bloody fight after a NASCAR-sanctioned Mini-Stock race at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC on August 13 which resulted in the indefinite suspensions of a driver and a car owner, NASCAR officials said. The victim, Maynard Peters, 47, was released Tuesday from Forsyth Medical Center after surgeries on his face and nose. He said he had 15 fractures in bones around his eyes and a broken nose, and that he wouldn’t be able to work or eat solid food for at least six weeks. In notices issued to driver Kris Bradley and car owner James Rupert Sink, NASCAR officials said that they were suspended for actions detrimental to stock-car racing, failure to follow directives from NASCAR officials and fighting. Jerry Cook, NASCAR's competition administrator, said he was still gathering information from police and stadium officials. He said it was too early to say how long the suspensions would last. Winston-Salem police were also investigating Saturday's fight, but no charges had been filed, police Lt. Bill Cobb said. Peters said their cars made contact during the first stadium-stock, Mini Stock race of the night, causing Bradley to spin out. The fight started because they disagreed on who was at fault. Peters said he remembered about four men kicking and stomping on his head outside the Bowman Gray field house, where drivers collect their money when the races are finished. Sink had been involved in a racetrack fight before. He was convicted in Forsyth District Court in 2004 of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury after he and other drivers were involved in a fight with driver Gary Brewer on Aug. 21, 2004. Brewer had a broken finger and cuts on his face, court papers said. Winston-Salem Speedway Inc. runs NASCAR-sanctioned racing on Saturday evenings during the summer at the Bowman Gray Stadium, which is owned by the city of Winston-Salem in North Carolina.

   The New London Day reported that one of the major partners in New England Raceway LLC, which is proposing to build a $343 million auto racetrack in Plainfield, Ct, is embroiled in a stock-trading controversy involving another corporation. Gilbert Rossomando of Milford, who along with principal partner Eugene Arganese has promoted the racetrack development, was listed as a director and officer of Host America, a Hamden Ct-based company that was the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and the target of several lawsuits. Host America, which trades as CAFE on the Nasdaq exchange, has experienced a dramatic rise and fall. For most of its 19 years, it primarily operated as a food-service provider for schools, companies and government programs such as Head Start and Meals on Wheels. Recently, it has branched out into energy conservation.

   Last year, 2009, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for the New England Dodge Dealers presentation of the Budweiser 150. A generous purse of $84,168 was posted for the event. Day long misty conditions and a forecast of heavy rain for the evening forced NASCAR officials and the Thompson Speedway management to postpone the event to Thursday night, September 3.

   In Friday night action at Stafford, Ted Christopher was the winner in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco was the winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen was the winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin Gambacorta won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Barry Fluckinger was the winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl, the 2nd annual Wings 'n Wheels event was run in front of a packed house of fans on a hot summer night. Scoring victories were Tyler Chadwick in the SK Modifieds, Lou Cicconi in the ultra fast ISMA SuperModifieds, Rowan Pennink in the True Value Modifieds and Russ Stoehr in the NEMA Midgets. It was a long night as racing at the shoreline oval concluded at 12:20am on Sunday morning.

   The SK Modified feature turned into a rolling demolition derby with many of the top contenders being knocked out of the event. Justin Gaydosh and Tom Abele Jr. shared the front row of the 25 lap event. Gaydosh moved out to the lead but the first of eight cautions waved on lap four when Dennis Charette spun out of the back half of the top five after contact entering turn one, collecting Josh Sylvester who was making his first Speedbowl appearance. Sylvester was done for the night. Eventual winner Chadwick, actually spun in turn one to bring out the second caution early in the event. He benefited by a series of multi-car incidents at the front of the field in the first ten laps, improving his position back to within striking distance.

   The first of the key incidents occurred when Corey Hutchings challenged Gaydosh in the outside groove. The pair raced a little too hard for the lead, causing Hutchings to spin across the front stretch. He clipped Rob Janovic Jr which blocked the track. The wreck also collected point leader Keith Rocco and 2007 division Rookie of the Year Glenn Pressel III. The Janovic, Hutchings, and Pressel machines received extensive damage and retired from the event. Dennis Gada and Yuhas were the new front row when racing resumed. But before a lap could be completed Gada lost a left rear tire, sending him spinning into turn three wall. The field finally got some competitive racing in when the action resumed. Yuhas pulled out to the lead with Chadwick becoming a serious factor. He moved to second around the outside of Jeff Pearl on lap 12. Jeff Paul followed Chadwick into third. Chadwick was all over the leader by lap 16. Further back, Rocco was looking to re-enter
the top five after his earlier incident on the back bumper of Charette. Rocco found his way past on lap 19 after looking in both the high and low grooves.

   Chadwick made a daring inside maneuver entering turn one on lap 25 to pull alongside Yuhas. He completed the pass to claim sole possession of lead as the field hit the stripe the next time around. Chadwick had to master one final restart to go on to his first win of the season, coming after taking a week off to regroup. Yuhas, Paul, Pearl, and Rocco completed the top-five.

   Rowan Pennink took advantage of Mike Stefanik’s soured engine and went on to record his first victory in the True Value Modified Series. Stefanik looked strong through the latter stages when signs of smoke started to show from his #66 machine. Pennink capitalized when the motor began to falter, Stefanik pulling low off turn four with seven laps remaining. Pennink went on to his first series win and is the eighth different winner in as many True Value Modified events held at the ‘Bowl. Chris Pasteryak came back from a mid-race pit stop to claim second and Kenny Horton scored his best effort in the series finishing third. Stefanik ended up in 15th spot. Rob Goodenough and Jacob Dore rounded out the top five.

   Young driving sensation Ryan Morgan of Mystic,CT raced for the first time at Seekonk Speedway driving a "Allison Legacy" car. These cars are third scale NASCAR Sprint Cup cars running a sealed Mazda engine capable of speeds reaching 125-130 MPH. Morgan started the 25 lap feature event last, in sixteenth position, at the drop of the green he moved forward and was in fifth spot by lap thirteen when he was hit in the rear by another car, after a quick trip to the pits for repairs, he restarted in the rear again. As the raced progressed, Morgan worked to the front again and with three laps remaining was in second position, however, because of the earlier damage that shifted the rear more than four inches, he was not able to hold the car in the low part of the race track and settled for fourth at the stripe.

   With Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch fighting it out on the final lap, Ron Keselowski swooped in to grab the lead in the final turn and hold on to the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Vickers finished second and Busch third, and they exchanged some heated words on pit road afterward.

   After a surprising gamble on gas by his crew chief Ryan Pemberton, Vickers drove conservatively to conserve fuel on Sunday. Then he pounced when race leader Jimmie Johnson's tank ran dry, taking the lead with two laps to go and holding on to win Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

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 & Dave Dyke's Racing


     Don Bunnell                                              Leo Cleary                                              Billy Harman    


    Lou Lazzaro                                          Don MacTavish                                        Ron Narducci     

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: August 13, 2010

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