years ago in 1970, the Supers and the Modifieds ran together at
the Thompson World Series. Howard Brown in a Super took the win that saw the
race get the checkered flag before going the entire posted distance. Fred
DeSarro in the Sonny Koszela No.15 finished second.
Thirty years ago in 1980, the
Stafford Speedway held their annual banquet. Honored were Richie Evans, the
Modified champ, Jerry Marquis, the Sportsman champ and Jim Ward, the
Strictly Stock champ. Mike Stefanik was awarded Rookie of the Year in the
modifieds and Dan Avery was the Rookie in the Sportsman. Most improved
modified competitor was Corky Cookman. Seymour the clown presented his own
version of year end awards including a do it my way award which depicted a
plaster a hand giving an obscene gesture which was presented to NASCAR
representative Bob Smith. When Seymour made the presentation he remarked,
"That’s what the Modifieds think of NASCAR". Needless to say, Smith didn't
see the humor in it!
Fifteen years ago in 1995,
Flemington promoter Paul Kuhl announced that the Race of Champions would not
be welcome back at the New Jersey oval. Many of those who raced in that
final event were paid with checks that bounced. The ROC has since been
reborn at the Oswego Speedway but has yet to achieve the status that the
previous event held.
Ten years ago in 2000, the Thompson
Speedway announced that the long awaited paving of the speedway surface
would begin within a week if the weather was decent. Jeff Burton won the
NASCAR Grandnational event at Phoenix. Steve Park finished 42nd as a result
of a broken axle. Burton also won the Winston Cup event after taking the
lead from Mark Martin with four laps to go.
Five years ago in 2005, the
Third Annual North – South Shootout in Concord, NC got top billing. In
addition to the Modifieds the SK Modifieds were added to the program this
year. Competitors and fans arriving on Thursday were greeted with
temperatures in the low 70’s. Among the early casualties was Bob Polverari
who crashed hard and tore his car apart during practice. He hit the wall so
hard he snapped the chassis up near the a-arm. His crew had to replace the
whole right side. Donnie Lia led a field of 41 Modifieds to take the pole
position. Zach Sylvester was second fastest with Matt Hirschman, third.
Rounding out the top five who locked in their spots were Todd Szegedy and
Jimmy Blewett. Four 20 – lap Modified qualifying heats were won by Chuck
Hossfeld, Doug Coby, Eric Beers and Ted Christopher. A field of 41 SK type
Modifieds was on hand. Chuck Docherty was the fastest in time trials. Jimmy
Blewett was second fastest with Ronnie Silk, third.
Tom Fox, Frank Ruocco and Tom Rogers were the SK type Modified heat winners.
John Blewett III didn’t qualify all that well but he more than made
up for it in the 100 lap Shootout that he won. Blewett slugged it out with
Doug Coby and Zach Sylvester in the late stages of the event. Sylvester
ended up third while Coby faded to fifth at the finish. Southern Modified
competitor Brian Loftin finished third while pole sitter and bad boy Donny
Lia finished fourth. Lia led the early going but was never a factor after
making a mandatory pitstop. Lia did pit when the pits were closed and did
receive a penalty and had to restart the race at the end of the longest
line. Sixth through tenth included Jimmy Blewett, Todd Szegedy, Chuck
Hossfeld, Ted Christopher and Eric Beers.
Woody Pitkat took the win in the SK Type Modified event that was
run in conjunction with the Shootout. Jimmy Blewett finished second and was
followed by Tom Cravenho, Rowan Pennink, Ronnie Silk, Todd Ceravolo, Richard
Savary, Tom Fox, Rob Janovic and Earl Paulus.
It had taken many weeks to run because of foul weather and conflicting race
dates but the Town Fair Tire Fall Finale at the Waterford Speedbowl was
finally in the record books. Second generation driver Chris Pasteryak took
the win in the SK Modified portion. Rob Summers finished second and wrapped
up the division championship. Dennis Gada, Dennis Charette and Ron Yuhas Jr.
rounded out the top five. Other winners were, Late Model – Charles Bailey,
Mark St. Hilaire won the Championship. Mini Stocks – Ken Cassidy, Danny
Field won the Championship and Sportsman – Joe Curioso . Mark Bakaj of
Farmington inherited the lead and then held off brother Chris over the final
five laps to win Saturday's 30-lap Legends feature in the first day of the
Town Fair Tire Finale at Waterford Speedbowl. Jeffrey Paul, forced to pit
while leading with eight laps left, clinched the 2005 championship with a
Billy Decker dominated the final 148 laps of the rain-delayed
Eckerd 200 DIRT Modified race at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Decker had started the originally scheduled Oct. 9 Super DIRT Week race from
the pole position and led the first 52 laps easily before rain stopped the
event. Following the scheduled 12:15 p.m. restart with an estimated 10,000
grandstand fans looking on, Decker marched smartly into the lead with Danny
Johnson and Todd Burley following him as they moved away from the rest of
the field. During the final 10 circuits of the mile-long track, Burley wound
up in the same place where he'd restarted the race, behind leader Decker.
Ronnie Johnson, who restarted in third place, also ended up in that spot
winning $15,000 with coaching from his dad, two-time Syracuse 200 winner,
Jack Johnson. Kenny Tremont Jr., the 1999 race winner, finished fourth and
Bobby Varin, finished fifth
A fast pit stop helped Kevin Harvick grab an emotional victory
Saturday in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort
Worth. Harvick, whose father-in-law died during the week week after a long
illness, took the lead with a pit stop of just over 17 seconds on lap 168 of
the 200-lap O'Reilly Challenge. He then ran off to his fourth victory of the
season and 17th career win in the Busch series. The part-time Busch Series
driver beat fellow Nextel Cup star Greg Biffle. Carl Edwards kept on
charging Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, and his persistence was rewarded.
Edwards, surged back from a late pit stop that dropped him to sixth place
and passed Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin for the lead two laps from the
end of the Dickies 500 in Fort Worth. It was his second straight Nextel Cup
victory, thrusting the surprising Edwards into the battle for the series
championship with two races left.
Last year, 2009 the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series had come to an end for another season. The final
point standings for 2009 confirmed Donny Lia as the series champion. Lia
entered the entire 13-race season and amassed 2002 points. Lia won four
events for a season total winnings of $71,774. Ryan Preece, 16 points back,
finished second. Preece also ran 13 events, winning two and collecting
$51,721. Defending series champion Ted Christopher ended up in third spot in
the final standings with 1931 points to his credit. Christopher won three
times and had a season total of $67,249. Rowan Pennink finished fourth with
1867 points. Although winless, Pennink ran consistently up front, recording
11 top ten finishes and a season total of $35,277. Rounding out the top five
was Todd Szegedy with 1823 points. Szegedy also had goose eggs in the win
column but his consistent finishes banked him $37,384. Sixth through tenth
for 2009 are. Chris Pasteryak, Mike Stefanik, Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat and
After the completion of its regular season as a clay track in
September, tht Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY was converted to an
asphalt track, using blacktop that had been lying under clay since 1977. Two
race events were run on the asphalt in October. It was announced that Malta
would be repaved and reconfigured. Devil's Bowl Speedway would be also be
paved. The True Value Modified Racing Series had already indicated that they
will be racing in an event there in 2010.
The True Value Modified Racing Series announced their Champion and
final point standings for 2009. Jon McKennedy, with 487 points was the
series champion. Rob Goodenough with 474 points finished second. Third was
Stephen Masse. Rowan Pennink and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.
Sixth through tenth are Jack Bateman, Les Hinckley III, Dwight Jarvis, Mike
Douglas Jr. and Michael Holdridge.
The scheduled second annual foreclosure proceedings of the property
in which the Waterford Speedbowl is located was cut a day short as Terry
Eames and his “LLC” group have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The New London Day reported that the scheduled foreclosure auction scheduled
for Saturday, October 31 had been cancelled. What it means is that Rocco
Arbitell and Peter Borelli would be still holding the bag and would not
receive the money they loaned Eames when they bailed him out in July of
2007. Eames owed in excess of $800,000. Eames said that racing will continue
in 2010 at the shoreline oval.
Arbitell hinted to the Hartford Courant that he was thinking of
“dropping a dime” on Eames to the IRS. If that is true, the IRS is an
organization not to fool with or lie to! They collect money, property and
put people in jail.
Since putting a wheel under George Korteweg to get control of the
track Eames had literally run the place into the ground. Shawn Monahan is
another victim. Eames took him “In” and almost totally bilked him until he
took the advice of his lawyer and cut his loses.
Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced that it was ceasing all
operations at Memphis Motorsports Park and that it would not be promoting
any events in Memphis in 2010. As previously announced, the Memphis facility
had been under an agreement of sale to Gulf Coast Entertainment but Gulf
Coast was unable to secure financing. NASCAR has approved the realignment of
their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events
from Memphis Motorsports Park to the Nashville and Gateway facilities.”
In Sprint Cup action the Associated Press reported that NASCAR
demanded drivers be on their best behavior at Talladega Superspeedway, where
a ban on bump-drafting sanitized what's usually one of the most spectacular
races of the season. In the end, chaos reigned, just like always. After 450
miles of what resembled a slow Sunday drive, the action picked up and the
outcome was much of what everyone has come to expect out of Talladega: An
unlikely winner, two spectacular crashes and an army of drivers frustrated
about the unpredictability of restrictor-plate racing. In response, the
43-car field spent much of Sunday in a single-file parade lap that almost
looked to be a conscious thumbing of the nose at NASCAR. Ryan Newman's
harrowing crash with five laps to go left him upside down in the grass, and
NASCAR needed a stoppage of almost 13 minutes to cut him from the car.
Outspoken in the wake of Edwards' April crash, he was none too pleased to
have spent almost 15 minutes trapped inside his car. His crash set up
two-lap sprint to the finish, and that was halted when championship
contender Mark Martin went flipping across the track in his own spectacular
crash. The race ended under caution, with Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane.
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,
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive