The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


August 27, 2010

   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 win.

   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 2004.

   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 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 the property.

   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 Stocks.
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 season.

   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 racing program.

   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 straightaway.

   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, 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


       Dutch Hoag                                              Ernie Gahan                                          Maynard Forette    


         Bobby Santos                                       Smokey Boutwell                                         Sonny Seaman     

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: August 27, 2010

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