Fifty years ago in
1960 Lionel Arel was the Friday night winner on the dirt at
Stafford. Don Collins was the Wednesday night Modified feature winner at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm was the
winner in the Bombers. George Pendergast was the Modified winner at the Bowl
on Saturday night. Stack repeated in the non-Fords and Dick Dunn was the
Bomber feature winner.
Forty five years ago in 1965
Pete Corey was the Modified feature winner at Stafford on Friday night. Bob
Potter was the Modified winner at Waterford. Charlie Krashen was the Late
Model Daredevil winner. Don Flynn was a surprise winner at the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Sunday. Tony Mordino finished second followed by
Mike Nelson and Eddie Flemke. Rain prevailed at Fonda while Jerry Cook got
his sixth win of the year at the Utica – Rome Speedway.
Forty years ago in 1970 the
long Labor Day weekend began at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y.
on Friday night. Double features were on tap, which would settle the track
title. Fred DeSarro recorded a fourth and a fifth as he sewed up the
modified track championship. Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda won the
first one and was followed by Jerry Cook and Dave Lape. Ronnie Newman won
the nightcap and was followed by Brian Ross and Andy Romano. Stafford ran
their annual 200 on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, driving the Garbarino Mystic
Missile dominated the event until a restart with four laps to go. Fred
DeSarro was running second. Cleary had a bitter break-up with car owner
Sonny Koszela, whom DeSarro was driving for. During pit stops, Koszella made
an obscene gesture toward Cleary and when the green dropped, Cleary hit the
gas and the rear end spur gears broke leaving Cleary coasting and DeSarro
going by for the win. Cleary was incensed to the point where he felt
Koszella had hexed him and had fire in his eyes when he exited the car.
DeSarro's win sewed up the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship. Billy Harman
ended up second and was followed by Bob Santos, Bernie Miller and Cleary.
Waterford fell to rain. In twin 25-lap action at Thompson on Sunday night,
Cleary redeemed himself as he recorded a win and a second. In the first
feature, Ralph"Hop"Harrington finished second followed by Bob Melnick.
George "Moose" Hewitt won the nightcap. At the annual Utica-Rome 400, Steady
Eddie Flemke drove the Richie Evans back up car to a convincing win over
Robbie Kotary and Dick Fowler. Flemke was forced to pit his car in the
parking lot as Evans was under suspension from NASCAR and was not allowed in
the pit area. Last but not least, Bugsy Stevens recorded his highest Winston
Cup finish as he finished sixth in the Darlington Southern 500.
Thirty five years ago in 1975,
Shangri-La ran twin events on Saturday night with Richie Evans and Maynard
Troyer taking the wins. At Islip, Cliff Tyler won out over Fred Harbach.
Racing at Waterford was cancelled due to wet conditions. On Sunday the mods
ran at Pocono in the afternoon and some made it to Fulton on Sunday night.
Geoff Bodine in the Armstrong No.1 won the Pocono event over Paul Radford
and Ray Hendrick. At Fulton, Richie Evans, who had a no finish at Pocono,
took the win over Sonny Seamon and Jerry Cook. Cook had also been at Pocono
and had finished 27th. Labor Day was reserved for the 200 at Stafford, which
was won by Maynard Troyer. Evans finished second and was followed by Bugsy
Stevens, Cook, Fred DeSarro and Roger Treichler.
Thirty years ago in 1980, New
Egypt ran a 200 lapper on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine set a new track record as
he toured the 1/4-mile oval in 12.204 seconds. John Blewett took the lead at
the green and led all 200 laps. Bodine ran second until lap 160 when he
tangled with a lapped car. Richie Evans ended up in second spot with Tony
Siscone, third. Stafford ran their Labor Day classic on Friday night. With
55 modifieds on hand for the 150-lap event which drew 7725 fans. Flyin Brian
Ross was on a tear as he won the event. Ray Miller finished second and was
followed by Jerry Pearl, Jerry Cook, Charlie Jarzombek and Maynard Troyer.
The annual Oswego 200 was on tap on Saturday night. That event drew 71
modifieds. Greg Sacks in the Cal Smalles No.41 took the lead on lap 134 and
won the event by 3/4 of a lap over Richie Evans. Chuck Ciprich finished
third. Jeff Fuller was a double winner at Westboro and Ron Wycoff won a 150
lapper at Riverside. At Thompson on Sunday night, Richie Evans took the win
over Jerry Cook and Jeff Fuller. Cars coming in from Monadnock which had
rained out were not allowed to run. Other weekend winners were George Kent
at Spencer, Don Howe at Islip, Bob Potter at Waterford, Doug French at Wall
and Bob Riley at Danbury. Terry Labonte won the Southern 500 at Darlington
over Harry Gant.
Twenty five years ago in 1985,
Riverhead held their second Mod tour event on Wednesday. Richie Evans took
the win over Wayne Anderson and Jeff Fuller. Stafford and Spencer Speedways
fell victim to rain on Friday, as did Waterford on Saturday. Sixty modifieds
were on hand for the annual Oswego Modified 200, which saw Mike McLaughlin
take the win over Jim Spencer, Randy Hedger and Tom Baldwin. Richie Evans
was an early contender until losing an engine. Ted Rigott to the win at
Riverside Park and Bob Park was the regular Saturday night winner at
Riverhead. Stafford ran a 100 lap Mod Tour event on Labor Day, which was won
by Brian Ross over Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Satch Worley. In Winston Cup
action at Darlington, Bill Elliott took the win and the $1 million bonus
that Winston had posted.
Twenty years ago in 1990,
Stafford ran their season ending Friday night program with Bob Potter taking
the win over Ted Christopher and Ronnie Rocco. Mike Christopher finished
18th and sewed up the 1990 championship. Waterford rained out on Saturday.
At the Oswego 200, George Kent in the Art Barry 21 pitted early and walked
off with the win, which was worth $18,000.Tom Baldwin, finished second with
Jeff Fuller, third. The action shifted to Loudon on Sunday where Mike
McLaughlin beat out Mike Stefanik for the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1995, John
Anderson won the final Friday night program of the season at Stafford. Tony
Sylverter finished second with Curt Brainard, third. Waterford ran a 40
lapper on Saturday, which saw Jerry Pearl beat out David Gada. Tom Fox was
the late model winner. Ed Brunnhoelzl won a Race of Champions qualifier over
Bob Park at Riverhead and it was Dan Avery at Riverside. It was also on this
weekend that Jeff Pearl broke his collar bone after being involved in a
carting accident at Woodstock, CT. Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup winner at
Darlington and in the Grandnationals at Darlington, Mark Martin took the
Ten years ago in 2000 Ted
Christopher scored his 50th career win at Stafford on Friday night. Eric
Berndt finished second with Kerry Malone, third. The Featherlite Modified
Tour was scheduled for Waterford on Saturday night but because of rain was
held over to Sunday. Jerry Marquis took the win and was followed by Reggie
Ruggiero and Rob Summers. Mark LaJunesse was the SK modified winner over Ed
Reed Jr, Bob Potter and Tucker Reynolds. Bob Labonte took the win in the
rain at Darlington and Greg Furlong took the Oswego Supermodified Classic.
Five years ago in 2005 The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Waterford Speedbowl on
Saturday night for the Big Y World Class Markets 150. Tony Hirschman led the
30 cars on hand as he took the Bud Pole award. Hirschman drew seventh for
the initial start and was a possible threat until he found himself collected
in a lap 65 multi-car tangle. For Bob Garbarino it was a homecoming as his
driver Jerry Marquis took the eventual win after passing Doug Coby on lap
83. Garbarino, a forty plus year veteran Modified Car Owner began his career
at what was then called the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. In victory lane
Garbarino honored one of his former drivers, Dick Watson, who passed away in
Outside pole sitter Matt Hirschman led the first ten laps before
being overtaken by John Blewett III. Blewett, driving for Joe Brady, led
from lap 11 to lap 20 when he was black-flagged for leaking fuel. Marquis
took the point when Blewett parked it and led until lap 66. Doug Coby, who
drives for Manfield Ct.car owner Curt Chase was looking to take his first
win but had to give way to Marquis who was a tick better on the long runs.
Marquis re-took the lead on lap 84 and never looked back. Coby finished
second with Donnie Lia, third. Eddie Flemke finished fourth with Tyler Haydt
recording his first top five with a fifth.
Second generation driver Richard Savory pulled off a surprise
victory in Sunoco SK type Modified competition at the Thompson Speedway on
Thursday night. Because of mechanical problems Savory missed his qualifying
heat and was forced to start in the rear of the 23 car starting field. Kerry
Malone appeared to be an early favorite until he lost a transmission. Jimmie
Blewett was also an early contender until losing an engine. As early leaders
slipped out of contention Savory took his time and on lap 41 took the lead
and went on to record the win. Jeff Malave finished second with Todd
Ceravolo, third. Tom Cravenho and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top five.
Other Thursday night winners were Jeff Connors in the Pro Stocks, Corey
Hutchings in the Late Models, Glen Boss in the Limited Sportsman, Roger
Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds and Ron Rixham in the Mini Stocks.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Frank Ruocco
appeared to have victory in sight when his transmission malfunctioned with
four laps to go and put him out of the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Todd Owen
was waiting in the wings and fought off Woody Pitkat to take the win. Mike
Holdredge, who led the first 15 laps of the feature, finished third. Eddie
Partridge and his Long Island Gang installed a new motor for Jimmy Blewett
and he brought the T/S Haulers mount home in fourth spot. Willie Hardie
rounded out the top five. Mike Quintiliano won the slam-bang Late Model
feature after making a dramatic four-wide pass. Andrew Durand won the Late
Model Limited feature and George Noctera Jr. won the DARE Stock feature.
Among the missing were Doug Coby and Don Lia who were suspended for one week
and John Sandberg who has been suspended indefinitely by Frankie Sgambato,
the Speedway’s Race Director. Coby was suspended for intentionally bringing
out the caution which ultimately was meant to help Ted Christopher from
going a lap down. Lia got a week off after he slugged Sandberg who had
planted him in the fence. Sandberg received an indefinite suspension after
he was removed from competition on August 19. Sandberg was found guilty of
rough riding, not heeding the black flag, not heeding Race Control,
unsportsmanlike conduct and not heeding security staff directives to leave
Rob Summers won the SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl
on Saturday night. Summers did the bump and grind with Tommy Fox with three
laps remaining. Fox ended up with the short end of the stick as he found
himself in the first turn wall. Jeff Pearl, with a lot of help from his dad
Jerry, finished third. Pearl had taken a hard shot into the wall one week
previously which did extensive damage to his Fox Hill No.71. Jerry cut the
car’s snout off at the firewall and replaced it with all new components.
Ronnie Silk finished third. Chris Pasteryak and Diego Monahan rounded out
the top five. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Dan Darnstedt
in the Sportsman, Joe Perry taking his first Late Model feature and Joe
Godbout taking the Mini Stock feature.
Strange Bedfellows! The France family's International Speedway
Corp. and Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports teamed up to buy Action
Performance, which sells racing souvenirs, for a reported $13 a share,
according to sources close to the negotiations. Action Performance and the
Jack Roush-owned Team Caliber were the top two souvenir companies in the
NASCAR world, and Daytona executives had been interested in acquiring
souvenir rights to all NASCAR stars in order to package them as part of a
stock-car racing "mall" at each of the Nextel Cup tour's top tracks.
Last year, 2009, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series was scheduled to travel to the Chemung (N.Y.)
Speedrome on Saturday, August 29. With a bad weather forecast at hand the
event was called off.
In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson in NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series action, Woody Pitkat scored his second win of the season
in the Sunoco Modifieds. Mike O’Sullivan also took down his second win of
the season in the Super Late Models. John Materas swept the action in twin
features for the Late Model division. Shawn Monahan scored his first Limited
Sportsman feature event of the year in dominating fashion. Brian Tagg, was
tops in the TIS Modifieds while Steve Michalski was the winner in the Mini
Woody Pitkat took over the lead on lap five and withstood a number of late
race cautions to score his second Sunoco Modified feature event of the 2009
There were 17 Sunoco Modifieds on hand. Among the missing was Todd
Ceravolo who, would sit out a few races until his father shows signs of
recovery from a recent accident. Cards of cheer can be sent to Dick
Ceravolo, 1348 Baldwin Hill Rd, Gales Ferry, CT 06335. As of last Sunday
night, Aug 30, the popular car owner and former Waterford Speedbowl Champion
is, in his wife’s words, “holding his own”. Surgery to reset broken bones
had been scheduled for late last week but was put on hold as a minor
complication developed. Ceravolo, 70, suffered serious injuries on Aug
21while attempting to jumpstart a farm tractor.
The Stafford Motor Speedway suffered another rainout on Friday
because of persistent rain showers. The Speedway also announced that they
will add Friday, September 18th to its 2009 Event Schedule. The September
18th event will consist of Stafford's five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
divisions and will be priced at $15 for Adult General Admission, $5 for
children ages 6 to 14 and free for children 5 & under. The rains carried
over to Saturday forcing the Waterford Speedbowl to pull the plug on their
In True Value Modified Series racing at the Thompson Speedway the
third time was certainly a charm for Andy Seuss who scored the victory in
the third attempt to get the True Value Modified Series event in the books
at the Thompson International Speedway. The event was postponed on two
different occasions earlier in the season. Seuss scored his first True Value
Modified Series (TVMRS) victory of the season in a drama-filled 75-lapper.
Seuss took the lead late in the event and held back serious challenges from
Steve Massey and Rowan Pennink to score the victory. Richard Savary had a
strong run to finish second. Todd Owen joined the duo on the podium. Ted
Christopher, who started scratch on the field, finished fourth. Chris
Pasteryak completed the top five.
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup division had the weekend off as the Nationwide
Series cars headed to Canada. Carl Edwards won the race after making a
surprise pass of Marcos Ambrose on the final turn of the race. It was
another lost opportunity at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for Ambrose, who has
had a chance to win all three Nationwide races conducted on the street
circuit since NASCAR began racing here in 2007.
Ambrose led 60 laps over the 14-turn, 2.7-mile course - including
31 in a row before the rain moved in for the second straight year. Still,
the hard-charging Tasmanian figured to be a lock since he grew up racing in
the rain. But after overcoming restart after restart in the crash-filled
event, Ambrose slipped up at the wrong time.Edwards won a two-lap sprint to
the finish on a track that was both wet and dry in spots from a light rain,
making up more than a second on the final lap. Edwards began to close fast
on Ambrose entering turn 10, a right-handed hairpin, and that gave Edwards
renewed hope. Seconds later, Ambrose slid sideways after hitting the rumble
strips in turn 14. Edwards slipped past and outraced him down the final
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series star Andrew Ranger was third. Former
Formula One star Jacques Villeneuve finished fourth on the track named for
his father, and Brad Keselowski was fifth. Busch went from fourth to 10th on
the final two laps.
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
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive