April 15, 2011
five years ago in 1966 the Fonda Speedway in upstate New York opened for the
season with a 25-lap main event. Lou Lazzaro took the win over Irv Taylor
and Ron Narducci. Hank Stevens was the 30 lap Modified winner at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Martin Shaw was the winner in the Bombers.
Forty years ago in 1971, it was all-quiet with no racing.
Thirty five years ago in 1976, the Modifieds were at Hickory in
North Carolina. Satch Worley took the win over Paul Radford, John Bryant,
Wayne Anderson and Jerry Cook.
Thirty years ago in 1981, the Spring Sizzler at Stafford was the
big modified event of the weekend. With 13000 fans looking on, Bob Polverari
raced and beat the legendary Richie Evans to the finish line in the 80 lap,
no holds barred event. Reggie Ruggiero finished third and was followed by
Bernie Miller, Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens. Eddie St Angelo was the
non-qualifiers winner. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Darrell Waltrip
took the win over Harry Gant. At the Danbury RaceArena Don LaJoie beat out
Chick Stockwell and Joe Chowanski for the Modified win while Randy LaJoie
made it two in a row in the Sportsman division.
Twenty-five years ago in 1986, Flyin Brian Ross in his home built
No.73 won the 80 lap Spring Sizzler at Stafford. Ross, who dogged Charlie
Jarzombek most of the way took the lead with seven to go when Jarzombek
suffered a blown engine. Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by
Jamie Tomaino, Bugsy Stevens and Jim Spencer. Bob Potter was the SK Modified
winner and Charlie Jarzombek was the winner of the Modified 25 lap Busch
Clash. At Riverside Park, Ted Riggot took the win over Jerry Marquis.
Twenty years ago in 1991, The Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon.
Mike Stefanik took the win over Rick Fuller, Mike Ewanitsko, Doug Hevron and
Reggie Ruggiero. Joe Bessey was the Busch North Series winner. Rusty Wallace
took the Winston Cup win at Bristol.
Fifteen years ago in 1996, New England suffered a complete wash out
as rain and snow fell on the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Steve Park was the modified pole sitter as well as the outside pole
sitter for the companion Busch North Series event. Andy Santarre was the BNS
pole sitter and sitting on the outside pole for the modified event was Mike
Ewanitsko. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Terry Labonte took the
win after Rusty Wallace blew an engine in the late stages, while leading.
Ten years ago in 2001 the Waterford Speedbowl opened for the season
on Saturday night. Ron Yuhas took the opening night checker over Dennis Gada,
Ed Dachenhausen and Ted Christopher. Alan Coats was the late model winner.
John Blewett III won at Wall Stadium while Greg Biffle scored his first
Grandnational win at the new Nashville Speedway. Because it was Easter
weekend, the Winston Cup division was idle.
Five years ago in 2006 Diego Monahan became the first ever driver
to win in all four NASCAR Waterford Speedbowl divisions – Mini Stock,
Sportsman, Late Model and SK Modifieds on Saturday night. Monahan passed his
brother Shawn with only three laps to go and held on to win Saturday night’s
SK-Modified feature. Monahan followed his brother, the only other leader,
for 27 laps before making the outside move. Chris Pasteryak finished third
and was followed by Don Fowler and Ron Yuhas Jr. Rookie sensation Jeffrey
Paul finished sixth. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were
Late Models: Joe Perry, Sportsmen: Dwayne Dorr and Mini Stocks: Richard
Brooks.The True Value Modified Series had their season opener at the
Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH also on Saturday. There were 33
Modifieds on hand. Kirk Alexander took the win over Andy Seuss, Dwight
Jarvis, Ed Dachenhausen and Rob Goodenough.
The Whelen Modified Tour Series was off but their southern counterparts were
on the prowl at the Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, NC. Junior Miller took the
win over L. W. Miller, Tim Brown, Ted Christopher, Brian Crammer and Gene
Pack. Christopher, in the Brady Bunch entry led the first 98 laps of the 156
lap feature and was forced to back off when a tire was losing air.
Christopher managed to tough it out as he finished with only seven pounds of
air in his right front. Chuck Hossfeld found himself planted in the wall on
the 13th lap when he attempted to pass Michael Clifton on the outside.
Mike Stefanik sat in an all too familiar spot, in the Whelen Modified Tour
Series point lead. Stefanik, who won the season opening IceBreaker at the
Thompson Speedway on April 9 wasn’t sitting on his laurels as he knew there
was some stiff competition headed his way from Chuck Hossfeld, Reggie
Ruggiero, Ted Christopher and Tony Hirschman who followed Stefanik at
Thompson. Among those looking to get back into the swing of things was Jerry
Marquis. A former series champion, Marquis was out front and cruising in the
lead with Bob Garbarino’s Mystic Missile when, on lap 47, his throttle stuck
wide open, slamming him into Thompson’s unforgiving concrete wall. Thanks to
all the NASCAR mandated safety devices plus the new design Troyer shock
absorbing chassis snout and the Kirkey seat Marquis emerged from the wreck
unhurt. The car and all its running gear was destroyed. Marquis felt like
someone worked him over with a baseball bat but expected to be back
in top form in time for the Sizzler. Garbarino had a spare mount ready to
In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, it appeared that Whelen was unhappy
over the fact that only 14 races made up the 2006 tour. NASCAR turned up the
heat to appease the series sponsor as they signed Jennerstown and Holland
Speedways plus they were working on a yet to be named 17th date.
Jennerstown PA Speedway promoter Larry Mattingly stated that NASCAR
approached him about reconsidering running a Whelen Modified Tour Series
event in 2006 after he wouldn’t spring for a reported $65,000 purse. After
some negotiation a deal was made and a date was set. Mattingly feels that
selling a Modified race outside of New England is difficult to say the
least. A $40,000 purse is more realistic as Mattingly states that no one is
standing in line to get a date. To make it cost effective for competitors
NASCAR needs to find a way to make up the $25,000 the promoters can’t afford
to pay. The events at Jennerstown and Holland NY will be 100 laps rather
than the normal 150 laps. The competitor will use less fuel and tires for
somewhat of a savings. The travel costs are the same. The purse is reduced.
Mattingly added that Jennerstown holds 8,000. Fan recognition is a big
factor in drawing crowds, especially outside of New England. Had NASCAR been
aggressive in the past in getting the Modifieds on television maybe that
wouldn’t be an issue now. Don Hawk stated that the 2007 -2011 television
package with the Speed Channel would contain 25 dates per year for touring
series events. It was hoped that some of these will find their way to the
Whelen Modified Tour Series. Needless to say, they didn’t. Hawk had been
sincere in his efforts so far. In a somewhat related matter NASCAR was
currently in discussion with Dodge to extend their sponsorship contract for
the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.
Weekly racing competitors at the Stafford Motor Speedway got a big shot in
the arm when it was announced that NESN, New England's most watched sports
network, announced the addition of NASCAR New England to the network's
summer programming line-up. NASCAR New England, hosted from Stafford Motor
Speedway, is the only NASCAR authorized regional television program in New
Kevin Harvick won the Busch Series race in Nashville while the Nextel Cup
competitors had the weekend off.
Last year, 2010, the Waterford Speedbowl began their Saturday night
racing series with Keith Rocco making it two in a row in the SK Modifieds.
Prior to the event Rocco indicated that his car did not have a Jerico Racing
Transmission. He stated his car was equipped with a Saginaw 3-speed
transmission. Rocco's big secret is the fact that his car out-handles his
competition, especially in the outside groove.
Dan Field and Allen Coates repeated in the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock and
Truck divisions. Other winners were Ronnie Oldham Jr. in the Street Stocks
and Giovanni Giarratana in the Legends Cars.
A full field of SK Modifieds went to post for the 35 lap main
event. Rocco, who started 12th, took the lead from former Legends Car track
champion Mark Bakaj on lap 20. For the remaining 15 laps Rocco was on cruise
control. Justin Gaydosh ended up in second with Rob Janovic third. Bakaj ran
up front all night to finish fourth and Jeff Paul rounded out the top five.
Todd Ceravolo, who finished second on opening day, was headed to the front
to muster a challenge, had the misfortune of having an engine go bad which
forced him to drop out. Ceravolo was credited with a 23rd finish.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour visited the South Boston
Speedway in Virginia last Saturday for a 150 lap event. Connecticut native
James Civali, driving the Roger and Sandra Hill No. 79 took the victory
after withstanding a late race charge from LW Miller. Civali and Miller were
out front for most of the race as the pair swapped the lead eight times with
Miller getting past Civali for the final time on Lap 144. Civali was able to
get back by on Lap 147 and hold on for the win. Miller finished second,
while Andy Seuss recovering from an early-race accident that took him out of
the lead to finish third. Thomas Stinson was fourth. Zach Brewer, who won
his first Coors Light Pole Award with a track record of 14.765 seconds
(97.528 mph), finished fifth. Tim Brown finished sixth. He started on the
point after drawing the pole in the post-qualifying redraw of the top eight
spots, but was involved in the early accident with Seuss. John Smith, Burt
Myers, Brian King and Brian Loftin completed the top 10.
Kevin Harvick took advantage of a late caution to win the NASCAR
Nationwide Series race Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway. Harvick and crew
chief Ernie Cope gambled by taking two tires when the eighth yellow flag of
the day came out with 34 laps to go. That enabled Harvick to seize the lead
from Kyle Busch, who was unable to mount a challenge as the race wound down.
Harvick, strong on long runs all day, led three times for 52 laps, including
the final 34.
Harvick, driving his own Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, beat Reed
Sorenson by 0.2 seconds. Busch, who beat Harvick in the Trucks race on
Friday night, was third. Justin Allgaier, coming off a victory two weeks ago
at Bristol, was fourth, and Brad Keselowski rallied to finish fifth.
There were eight cautions for 43 laps including a five-car pileup that
brought out a 14-minute red flag. Two cautions involved rookie James
Buescher and veteran Jason Leffler. They tangled in turn two early in the
race and Leffler was ejected later after crashing Buescher into the wall on
the front straightaway. NASCAR's Sprint Cup division was off in observance
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
This week are several vintage racing photos
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Ed Flemke Jr.
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit