The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


March 11, 2011

   Thirty-five years ago in 1976, the Modifieds paid a visit to the Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. Richie Evans took the win over Ray Hendrick, Satch Worley, Billy Hensley, Billy Middleton and Paul Radford.

   Thirty years ago in 1981, Harry Gant tendered his resignation from the Jack Beebe Race Hill Farms Winston Cup effort. In his place was New England Modified hot shoe, Ronnie Bouchard.

   Twenty years ago in 1991, the modified tour opened the season at Martinsville. Thirty-four cars were on hand but the spectator count was down. During practice, Bob Park broke his shoulder after being involved in a wreck. Jeff Fuller took the 200 lap win over Carl Pasteryak, Tom Baldwin and Rick Fuller.

   Fifteen years ago in 1996,the only racing was at Homestead, Fla. Dave Rezendes in a truck owned by Geoff Bodine won the truck race after a bumping incident with Jack Sprague on the last lap. Bobby Labonte was the Busch Grand National winner.

   Ten years ago in 2001, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series opened for the season at South Boston, Va. with a 200 lap event. Mike Ewanitsko, with a brand new team took the pole. The event was slowed by many wrecks as 64 laps were run under caution. Jerry Marquis, in the Mario Fiore No.44 took the lead with six laps to go and went on to take the win. Within a week Marquis was without a ride as Fiore parked his cars because of a lack of funding. Mike Stefanik, in the Art Barry No.21, finished second with Ted Christopher, Tom Cravenho and Ted Riggott rounding out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Atlanta, Dale Jarrett was the pole sitter but it was Kevin Harvick who stole the show as he took the win by inches over Jeff Gordon. Harvick drove the Richard Childress No.29 which had formerly been the black No.3 driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. Joe Nemechek was the Busch Grand National winner.

   Five years ago in 2006 rumors continued to fly concerning the financial condition of the Waterford Speedbowl. The latest rumor had a convenience store owner stepping up to the plate to bail the shoreline oval out of debt or at least some of it. In the mean time there were factions out there waiting for a foreclosure sale. At least two of those factions had said they would continue to operate the facility as a race track.

   Investigation into the public records of the State of Connecticut Judicial records indicated there were five separate cases pending against Terry and or Susan Eames. In addition to the Washington Mutual Foreclosure against Ten Eighty Hartford ET AL which includes also includes action by the Town of Waterford, Ct and Finkeldey Inc., there were additional suits pending including one filed by driver Ken Voight claiming "Defective Premises". A family member was hurt on the property in 2005. WM Specialty Mortgage had two foreclosure cases pending that were filed on March 2 against Eames and his wife plus a gentleman named Edward Demuzzio had filed a Contracts – Collections suit in New London Ct. against Susan Eames and Ten Eighty Hartford Road LLC.

   In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series news it had been announced that Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig had purchased a high-rise grandstand which would be erected on the site of the present pit grandstand. Hoenig had also purchased additional lighting for the facility.

   Last year, 2010 The Waterford Speedbowl Management announced its Late Model division would compete on Goodyear tires in 2010. All competitors would be required to compete on the designated Goodyear tire compound, beginning with the season opening Budweiser Blastoff event March 26-28. The Goodyear model D2672 and D2882 tires would be introduced.

   In more good news Modified Racing Media Chief John Spence advised that Jack Bateman, founder and president of the Series had announced, an agreement had been reached with Bob Valenti Automall.Com as the title sponsor for the 2010 racing season. Bateman made the disclosure at the all-new Racers Expo, Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center, Marlborough, MA., Saturday, February 27.

   The family owned and operated business, based in Mystic, CT., and Westerly, R.I., specializes in new and pre-owned vehicle sales and service. The Valenti family has been in the automotive business for over 80 years. “Bob Valenti Automall.Com has signed on for the new season. We look forward to working with the Valenti family. They are strong supporters of racing and have been for many years. We are pleased to have them as part our series,” Bateman concluded.

   Bateman was joined by Bob Valenti Automall representatives including company Vice President Rob Valenti who eagerly looks forward to the new sponsorship.

   The popular Modified Racing Series, featuring open-wheel modified race cars, would compete in 19 races at speedways throughout the Northeast including first time appearances at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, NY., Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, NY., and Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT. In 2009, 15 races were run with 12 different drivers victorious. Seven of those drivers were first time winners.

   Kevin Harvick overcame a pair of horrendous pit stops to win the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Harvick led 83 of the 200 laps Saturday, but had to rally after his crew cost him several spots on pit road.

   Danica Patrick finished 36th in her third and final NASCAR race before she took a four-month hiatus to return to IndyCar racing.

   In Sprint Cup racing, Jimmie Johnson reeled in teammate Jeff Gordon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the four-time defending champion won for the second consecutive week. Kevin Harvick finished second for the second straight week, then showed signs of the swagger that only Harvick can pull off, and only when he's running well..

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

Click on Photo for Full Sized

Hank Stevens                                                    Lou Toro                                                  Paul Radford

Ray Hendrick                                              Don Rounds                                                     Lou Toro

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: March 11, 2011

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