The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


October 29, 2010

   Forty 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 fifth.

   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 Eddie Flemke,Jr.

   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, 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


Doug Garrison                                              Moose Hewitt                                               Jeep Herbert


      Red Bolduc                                                 Red Foote                                             Kenny Shoemaker

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: October 29, 2010

©2010 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.