year, 2009, Howard Hodge reported that Chuck Hossfeld would be driving Ed
Bennett's car on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2010. Chuck replaced Eric
The Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of nearly 500
people consisting of teams, drivers, sponsors, and employees at the La
Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor to officially honor Ted
Christopher, Jim Peterson, Michael Gervais, Jr., Andrew Durand, and Don Wood
as the 2009 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track
With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcasters Matt Buckler and Joe Coss
serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 40th annual Stafford Motor Speedway
NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions,
it also honored the top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late
Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Other awards
that were presented during the evening's festivities were Most Popular
Driver Awards, Most Improved Driver Awards, Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie
of the Year awards, and the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award.
The race for the 2009 SK Modified® championship began with several
contenders in Jeff Malave, Keith Rocco, and Ted Christopher, but slowly
Malave and Rocco faded from contention and Christopher once again
demonstrated a season long consistency that drove him to his record seventh
career Stafford championship. For the season, Christopher posted 4 wins, 11
top-5, and 13 top-10 finishes in 15 starts with the #13 Broadband Access
Chevrolet. Christopher's 4 victories this season brought his career SK
Modified® victory total at Stafford to 91 wins. Combined with his Whelen
Modified Tour Tech-Net Spring Sizzler victory at Stafford, his grand total
of Stafford career wins now stands at 106 career victories.
Ted Christopher and Jim Peterson made a special presentation to
Shawn Waddell. Waddell was the spotter for Christopher and Peterson this
year at Stafford, and they presented Waddell with a special plaque that
commemorated his dual championships as a spotter. Both cars Waddell spotted
for this year at Stafford were numbered 13, the second time Waddell has
spotted for championship cars in different divisions in the same season with
the same car number. In 2002, Waddell spotted for Bo Gunning in the SK
Modified® division and Peterson in the Late Model division when both cars
carried the number 17.
Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Richie Pallai, Jr.
in the SK Modified® division, J.J. Hill in the Late Model division, David
Webb in the SK Light division, and Dave Yardley, III in the Limited Late
The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were
presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of Reliable Welding and Speed to Mark
Bakaj from the SK Modified® division, Adam Gray from the Late Model
division, Michael Gervais, Jr. from the SK Light division, and Dan Flannery
from the Limited Late Model division. The awards will be worth a $700.00
bonus to Bakaj, and $500.00 bonus to Gray, Gervais, and Flannery from
Reliable Welding and Speed. Each Rookie of the Year bonus will be paid out
in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the
The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in
the SK Modified® division, Dillon Moltz in the Late Model divisions, Heather
DesRochers from the SK Light division, Carla Botticello from the Limited
Late Model division, and Kyle Casagrande from the DARE Stock division.
The Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award was awarded to John
Berardi. Berardi prepared and maintained Don Wood's championship winning
DARE Stock car as well as his daughter Stephanie's DARE Stock, which went to
victory lane once during the 2009 season at Stafford.
The Waterford Speedbowl and (Formerly True Value) Modified Racing
Series officials announced that the Modified Series would visit the
shoreline oval three times in 2010 including the season opening event for
both, scheduled for March 26-28th. In addition, the popular tour will visit
the ‘Bowl for the 3rd annual Wings ‘n Wheels on August 14th and as part of
Thunder on the Sound’s lineup taking place on September 4th.
Jack Bateman continued to pursue a series sponsor for the Modified
Racing Series which was formerly sponsored by True Value Hardware. In the
mean time Bateman released an 18 race schedule. The series opens on March
27-28 at the Waterford Speedbowl. From Waterford the series travels to the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY on April 17-18 and to Monadnock on May
1. Other scheduled events include May 30th at the Thunder Road Speedbowl,
June 4th at the Twin State Speedway, June 12th at the Seekonk Speedway, June
17th at the Thompson International Speedway, July 3rd at the Monadnock
Speedway, July 9th at the Lee USA Speedway, July 17th at the Oxford Plains
Speedway, July 24th at the Canaan Fair Speedway, August 7th at the Beech
Ridge Speedway, August 14th at the Waterford Speedbowl, August 21st at the
Seekonk Speedway, August 26th at the Thompson International Speedway,
September 4th at the Waterford Speedbowl, October 9-10 at the Seekonk
Speedway and October 23-24 at the Lee USA Speedway. Bateman’s series had
become a legitimate alternative to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.
Photographers Howie and Mary Hodge, mainstays on the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Series were selected as the winners of the New England Antique
Racers Jack Ratta Memorial Media Award. The Hodges, who had been recording
New England racing history for 30 years, would share the limelight with 12
new members of the Hall of Fame. Howie started snapping pictures “seriously”
in 1979. Mary joined him three years later.
The Hall of Fame “Class of 2010” included drivers Geoff Bodine, the
late Mike Murphy, George Savary, Pete Fiandaca and the late Chuck Arnold,
car owner/builders Billy Simons, Bob Garbarino, Vic Miller and Marty Harty
and contributors extraordinaire Frank Ferrara and the late Archie Blackadar.
Kyle Busch held off a hard-charging Carl Edwards to win the
300-mile Nationwide Series race at Homstead FL, a fitting ending because the
two NASCAR stars finished 1-2 in the final point standings.
Denny Hamlin won the FORD 400 Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami
Speedway for his 4th win of the season and 8th of his career. Hamlin started
38th, the farthest a driver has started and won at Homestead. Jimmie Johnson
[the 2009 Sprint Cup Champion finished fourth. Johnson won his 4th NASCAR
Sprint Cup Championship in a row, the first driver ever to so in NASCAR's 61
year history. Johnson was presented a check by Sprint for $6,520,800. Rick
Hendrick became the first owner to finish 1-2-3 in the final Cup standings
with Johnson, Martin and Gordon finishing 1-2-3. There were 7 cautions for
31 yellow flag laps and 18 lead changes among 10 drivers.
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,
Jerry Humiston Cannonball
Pete Fiandaca Smokey
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive