years ago in 1960 George Pendergast scored a 50 lap win at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Ray Moran won in the non-Fords and Ed Moody in the
Forty five years ago in 1965
Don Collins won a 50 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on
Sunday. Jerry Glaude was the Bomber winner. Johnny Thompson was the winner
at the Norwood Arena.
Forty years ago in 1970,
cousin’s Merv and Roger Treichler finished one-two in the Race of Champions
at Langhorne. Finishing third was an outlaw driver from Rome, N.Y. by the
name of Richie Evans. Dick Watson won the season ending 36 lap Modified
feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bob Gada SR was the Late Model Daredevil
winner. Walt Dombrowski was crowned the Modified Champion at the Speedbowl.
Ron Cote was the Late Model Daredevil Champion.
Thirty five years ago in 1975,
the Race of Champions moved to Trenton in 1972 and it was still the race to
win. Ray Hendrick, driving a Dick Armstrong owned Mustang took the win over
Merv Treichler, Bugsy Stevens, Charlie Jarzombek and Richie Evans.
Thirty years ago in 1980, the
Race of Champions was no longer a Columbus Day classic as its date was
changed to September and the race itself was moved again, this time to
Pocono. On this weekend, Oswego ran a season ending 30 lapper. Richie Evans
took the win over Brett Bodine, Greg Sacks, Maynard Troyer and Doug Hewitt.
The big event of the weekend was the DIRT 200 at Syracuse, which drew 154
cars and was broadcast by ESPN. Gary Balough, driving a car, which was a
cross between a sprinter and a Supermodified with side panels and a roof off
a Lincoln Continental, made the event a no contest affair. Balough, who was
booed in victory lane, received$26,507 for his efforts. Balough's win
prompted DIRT officials to change the race rules, which in the future would
allow only conventional dirt type modifieds to participate. Finishing second
was Buzzie Reutiman with Frank Cozze, third. Geoff Bodine made a rare dirt
track appearance and didn't disappoint his fans as he came home in fourth
spot. Westboro ran a 50 lapper on Sunday, which drew 39 modifieds. Ronnie
Bouchard took the win over John Rosati, Joe Howard, Leo Cleary and Corky
Twenty five years ago in 1985,
the only action was an SK Modified event at Thompson which saw Wayne Dion
take the win in front of a sparse crowd.
Twenty years ago in 1990, it
was all quiet.
Fifteen years ago in 1995,
Jerry Pearl won the season ending Modified event at Waterford. Pearl passed
Todd Ceravolo with three laps to go when Ceravolo blistered a tire. Ceravolo
hung on for second and was followed by Jim Broderick, Chris Jones, Tucker
Reynolds Jr. and George Moose Hewitt.
Ten years ago, in 2000, the
Featherlite Modified Tour was at Martinsville. Reggie Ruggiero took the win
after a controversial confrontation with Ted Christopher with eight laps to
go in the 200-lap event. Christopher had taken the lead on lap 158 from Tom
Baldwin and was looking to put the Gary Cretty mount in victory lane when it
all came to an end on lap 192.Ruggiero dove under Christopher in turn one.
The two made contact and Christopher spun and hit the wall. Jerry Marquis
ended up in second spot and was followed by Tom Baldwin and Rick Fuller.
Mike Ewanitsko was involved in a bad crash on lap 78.Ewanitsko had slowed to
avoid a spinning car and was just about stopped when southern competitor
Junior Miller came flying in full bore, rode over a wheel and all but went
through the rear window of the Ewanitsko mount. The Art Barry No.21 was
destroyed but the cage and bracing did its job allowing Ewanitsko to walk
away from the crash. Waterford ran their
season ending 100 lapper with Ron Yuhas Jr. taking the win over Tucker
Reynolds and Dennis Gada. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Tony
Stewart took both the win and the pole.
Five years ago in 2005, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series was supposed to be at the Thompson
Speedway on Saturday for the Twin 100's that was rescheduled from June 12.
Heavy rains moved into Connecticut during early afternoon on Friday and
along with a forecast of rain all day Saturday, postponed the event to
Sunday. By mid day on Saturday it became a moot point as over four inches of
rain dumped on the Thompson area and the forecast was extended to have
continuing rain through mid week. The decision was made to postpone the
entire program to Saturday, October 29. Prior to all this taking place the
Waterford Speedbowl also had to postpone their season ending Town Fair Tire
Fall Finale. The Speedbowl selected the same weekend with their main events
to be run on Sunday, October 30. In the interest of being fair to
competitors and after consulting with NASCAR the Waterford Speedbowl changed
its rain date to October 22-23. It’s not so much that it would create
conflicts for competitors but it did create a conflict for the paying fan as
there were only so many entertainment dollars to be spent by families per
week. One of the tracks would have taken it on the chin.
The winds of change were beginning to blow for 2006. Word had it
that the Don Barker-Bob Cuneau No.50 Whelan Modified team would be disbanded
at season's end. One of Chuck Hossfeld's Lancaster Speedway cronies let it
slip as he alluded to the fact that a Modified had been bought from Sege
Fidanza for him to drive at the western New York Lancaster Speedway for the
It had also been heard that Kirk Alexander, one of the top guns of
the northern New England based True Value Modified Series, had been
approached by two Whelen Modified Series teams who were interested in
securing his services as a driver in 2006. It had also been said that the
True Value Modified Tour Series competitors had voted to look into racing at
Thompson in 2006. The TVMS raced at Seekonk in 2005 and was expected back in
2006. Speaking of Seekonk, Whelen Modified Tour competitors were glad to
hear that a fully operational scoreboard and lap counter was now in place
and was operational at the Massachusetts oval.
A devastating fire struck the Troyer Engineering and Race Car
Fabrication facility in Rochester, NY late Friday, October 7. A power surge
in an electrical riser outside of the building sent sparks into the second
floor of the building. Materials in the storage area ignited, spreading the
fire throughout the facility ultimately engulfing the majority of the
building. The whole left half of the shop was gone along with much of the
inventory. All that was left were the outside walls. The office area and the
bays were gone with the roof either burned out or collapsed plus smoke and
water damage to the remainder of the shop. Troyer Engineering designed and
fabricated asphalt and dirt track chassis. Company founder Maynard Troyer
had begun searching for a temporary location so that chassis building would
continue on schedule. A remote office had already been set up with computers
The Stafford Motor Speedway had completed another year of racing.
The next order of business would be the annual banquet and awards dinner
which would be held on Friday, November 11 at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall
in East Windsor, CT. In the tracks SK Modified division Lloyd Agor wrapped
up his first ever track title by 30 points over Todd Owen. Agor had 14 top
ten finishes including two wins in 21 starts. Owen also had two wins in 21
starts. Willie Hardie Jr, with one win, finished third. Ted Christopher and
Frank Ruocco, each with three wins finished fourth and fifth. Sixth through
tenth are Jeff Baral with two wins, Keith Rocco with one win, Woody Pitkat
with two wins followed by Chuck Docherty and Jeff Malave who were winless.
Ryan Posocco, with two wins, won the Late Model Championship by 46 points
over Tom Butler. Butler had four wins but failed to display the consistency
required to be the champion. Jim Peterson, Ed Ricard and Scott Foster
rounded out the top five.
For the second time in 34 years, Super DIRT Week's premier event -
the Eckerd modified championship - was postponed indefinitely by inclement
weather, probably until next year. The 200-lap race, which began under
caution because of wet and slick track conditions, was halted by rain after
52 laps. After race teams and a dwindling group of fans waited through four
hours of on-and-off drizzle, DIRT Motorsports officials pulled the plug on
their richest race of the season. The announcement, DIRT's first
postponement of the 200-lap race since the 1977 event was pushed back to the
following spring, was met with anger and frustration by many race teams.
In Nextel Cup action, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle led a team sweep
of the top three spots and another Roush driver, Matt Kenseth, finished
fifth. But the last laugh might belong to Tony Stewart, who finished fourth
to extend his Chase lead from four points to 75. It was Stewart's 15th
top-10 finish in 16 races and, more important, his third in the first four
events of the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup championship. Biffle elected
not to nudge Casey Kahne out of contention during their side-by-side duel in
the Busch Racing Series event on Saturday, as Kahne edged ahead yards from
the finish for the victory at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Last year, 2009, the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Fall
Final. With the exception of a brief practice session on Saturday, the
Whelen Modifieds spent the day waiting for the rain to stop. There were 32
Whelen Modifieds on hand for the event that carried an $84,013 purse.
The entire program was run on Sunday. The sun was bright with very
few clouds in the sky. Most important, the grandstands appeared to be full.
Donny Lia and Ted Christopher, who have had somewhat of a war with words
recently, slugged it out in time trials with Lia coming out on top with
Christopher, second fastest. Rich Pallai Jr, who is a regular SK Modified
competitor, qualified third in his Modified Tour debut. The top six redrew
for starting positions, which placed Eric Berndt on the pole with Pallai on
the outside in second spot. Lia drew fourth and Christopher fifth.
It was Lia’s race to win and Christopher’s to lose. Lia pitted
shortly after the 1/3 mark and was able to work his way to the front, taking
the lead from James Civali on lap 85 and from there never looked back as he
went on to record the win. For Christopher, his day turned sour on lap 17
after he tangled and spun with Doug Coby. From there on, he spent more time
in the pits than on the track as he had a final finishing position of 31st
which ultimately cost him the point lead . Lia held a 26 point lead over
Ryan Preece. Preece finished a strong third behind runner-up Doug Coby.
Civali and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth
were Rowan Pennick, Eric Beers, Mike Stefanik, Reggie Ruggiero and Erick
Ten cautions for 42 laps slowed the event which kept Lia’s average
speed down to 61.971 mph. Seventeen of the original 32 starters finished on
the lead lap. Among those who failed to finish were Glen Reen who ran out of
gas on lap 147 and pole sitter Eric Berndt who lost an engine on lap 129.
Keith Rocco was eliminated in an accident as was Rob Summers, Carl Pasteryak
and Christopher. Christopher goes into Thompson 109 points in arrears.
In regular weekly racing Keith Rocco rebounded from his recent
suspension in fine style as he won the 40 lap SK Modified feature. It was
his sixth win of the year. Woody Pitkat appeared to have victory in sight
until his transmission went south with four laps to go. Todd Owen finished
second with Brit Anderson, third. Ted Christopher, who had already sewed up
the SK Modified Track Championship, took a hard shot into the wall in the
turn four area after tangling with Josh Sylvester, was never a factor. Matt
Gallo and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. Christopher ended up in
22nd spot. Frank Ruocco, who had been running second to Christopher in
points, did not compete. Woody Pitkat moved into second in the final
standings. In other Stafford weekly division action, Andrew Hayes won the 15
lap Dare Stock feature, Chad Baxter the Mini Stocks, Heather DesRochers won
in the SK Lights and Shawn Thibeault won the Limited Late Model feature.
Ben Dodge JR was presented the annual Jack Arute Sr. Award by the Speedway
officials. The 2009 recipient, a longtime track announcer, was recognized
for his 37 years of dedication to the track.
At the Waterford Speedbowl heavy, all day, rain washed out all
racing. Bruce Thomas, who had won 10 of 17 features at the Speedbowl this
year, was the beneficiary of the track calling off the final Saturday event
of the season due to rain as he wrapped up the Late Model championship.
Keith Rocco hada six-point lead as he chased down his first season title in
the SK-Modified division, the closest margin of any division. Ron Yuhas Jr.
was in second in the track's premier division. The rainout eliminated Rob
Janovic Jr., Jeff Paul and seven-time SK-Modified champion Dennis Gada from
title contention. In other division races, Brandon Plemons led the Mini
Stock division by eight points over Walt Hovey Jr. In the Street Stock
division, Danny Field had an 18-point lead over Kyle James, with Lou
Bellisle III in third place.
The True Value Modified Series headed to the Twin State Speedway in
Claremont, NH. The Twin State race was the first of three races to wind up
the 2009 season for the True Value Modified Racing Series. A heated point
battle between Jon McKennedy, Rob Goodenough, and Rowan Pennink, all but
guaranteed a new series champion. McKennedy has already visited victory lane
earlier this season at Twin State. Pennick did not compete as he was at
Stafford for the Fall Final.
This year’s race honored the late Ricky Miller along with the late
Donnie Ayer and the late Kirby Monteith. Matt Hirschman took the win over
Jacob Dore and Kenny Barry. Hirschman was later disqualified when it was
discovered that his carburetor was illegal.
The New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame announced seven inductees
for their 2010 induction class. NASCAR Modified car owners Bob Garbarino and
Billy Simons along with Vic Miller. Drivers Geoff Bodine, Mike Murphy,
George Savory, and Pete Fiandaca, and racing contributor and official Frank
The dirt had been removed from the 4/10-mile Albany-Saratoga
Speedway in Malta, NY. The word on the condition of the asphalt is that it
was in good shape. The paved surface would be washed and would be in top
form when the True Value Modifieds visit in 2010. During the late 1960s and
early 1970s the speedway was a mecca for Modified Racing, drawing the best
of New York and New England to do battle.
Dick Ceravolo continued to show a slight improvement in his
condition. Late last week “Dickie Doo” opened his eyes for the first time in
six weeks. Showing a big smile, the popular former Waterford Modified
Champion was awake and alert. Because of the fact that he was still on a
ventilator he was unable to speak but was able to respond by moving his
head, yes or no.
Joey Logano passed points leader Kyle Busch with three laps left to
take the win at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, pulling out his fourth
Nationwide victory less than a week after a spectacular crash during a
Sprint Cup race one week previous at Dover DE. Tony Stewart took the NASCAR
Sprint Cup win, also at Kansas City.
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
Ed Flemke Sr
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive