June 3, 2011
five years ago in 1946 D. Anthony Venditti saw the fruits of his
labor come to life as he opened his Seekonk Speedway on Route 6 in Seekonk,
Sixty years ago in 1951 Ed
“Spinner” Smith, who in later years would become a Pit Steward at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl, won the 25 lap Modified feature at the shoreline
Fifty years ago in 1961, rain
washed out the Modified programs planned for Saturday night and Memorial Day
Monday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The Bombers and the non-Fords
were able to get their events in on Monday. Ed Moody won what ended up being
six in a row in the Bombers. Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner.
Forty five years ago in 1966
the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran a 30 lapper. Eddie Flemke, fresh off his
Memorial Day win, made it two in a row at the 4/10 mile speedway. Elton Hill
finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Dennis Zimmerman and Don
MacTavish. MacTavish stayed close to home on Saturday night as he took the
feature win at Norwood. Rain prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. Ernie
Gahan was the Friday night winner at Stafford on the dirt. At the Fonda
Speedway Bill Wimble recorded his second victory of the year. Kenny
Shoemaker and Pete Corey rounded out the top three. At Utica-Rome on Sunday
night Don MacTavish took a 100 lap win over Wimble, Flemke, Cook and Frank
Forty years ago in 1971,
Thompson switched over to Friday nights. In the twin 25 lap features Ray
Hendrick made a surprise visit and walked off with the opener. Fred DeSarro,
now in the Len Boehler Ole Blu, finished second and was followed by Leo
Cleary, Bob Santos and Win Barrows. Cleary, in the Garbarino Mystic Missile,
won the nightcap. DeSarro was again second and was followed by Santos, Billy
Harman and Hop Harrington. Hendrick didn't finish as he went into the dirt
bank after a tangle with Bugsy Stevens. At the Albany Saratoga Speedway,
Eddie Flemke, in a Richie Evans team car, took the win over Robbie Kotary,
Ken Canestrari and Eddie Pieniezak. Evans was under suspension from NASCAR
for running non-sanctioned events. While Flemke was taking top honors at
Malta, Evans was at the Fulton Raceway where he finished fourth behind Merv
Treichler, Lou Lazzaro and Roger Treichler. Geoff Bodine rounded out the top
five. Stafford ran a 50 lapper on Saturday, which saw Fred DeSarro take the
win over Lou Austin, Bob Santos and Leo Cleary. Donnie Bunnell made it two
in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl as he copped a 50 lap Modified win. Bill
Sweet was the Sportsman Sedan winner. At Fonda, Harry Peek beat out Maynard
Forette, Lou Lazzaro and Rene Charland. Mousie Kempster won at Islip and at
Utica-Rome; Fred DeSarro made the long trip from Rhode Island pay off as he
beat the best to take the win. Dave Lape finished second with Lou Lazzaro,
third. Stafford planned a 100 lap event for Monday but it rained and the
event was rescheduled.
Thirty-five years ago in 1976,
New Egypt ran on Thursday night with Fred Harbach taking the win. Friday
night at Riverhead, Harbach played second fiddle to Charlie Jarzombek. Wayne
Anderson finished third and was followed by Greg Sacks and Jerry Cook. Islip
ran a 50 lap double point event on Saturday night and it was Anderson taking
the win over Sacks, Jim Tyler and Bob Park. Bugsy Stevens added to his win
total at Stafford on Saturday night as he beat out Ronnie Bouchard, John
Rosati, Fred DeSarro and Jim Spencer and at Riverside, veteran Lou Tabone
held off Bob Polverari and Pete Fiandacca. Dick Dunn, driving the Mighty No.
3 Budda’s Bullet of Al and Peg Gaudreau, scored a convincing 100 lap
Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Rick “Sleepy”
Knapp was the Grand American winner. Sunday night racing at Thompson rained
Thirty years ago in 1981,
despite suffering with a case of chicken pox, Richie Evans didn't let that
slow him down as he won a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night. Ray Miller
finished second and was followed by John Blewett Jr and Bob Fuller. Other
Friday night winners were Tony Siscone at New Egypt and George Kent at
Spencer. Saturday night at Riverside saw Evans carry his winning streak as
he beat out Marty Radwick for the win. At Waterford, Rick Donnelly survived
a heated battle with Don Bunnell to take the win. At Westboro, it was Ronnie
Bouchard over Roland LaPierre Jr, George Savory and Leo Cleary. Seekonk had
only nine Modifieds but it was a good show just the same as Bugsy Stevens
came home the winner over George Summers and John Rosati. Bouchard made it
two for two as he took Monadnock on Sunday. Punky Caron finished second with
Bugsy Stevens, third. On the Island at Islip, Charlie Jarzombek took the win
over Bob Park and Fred Harbach. At Danbury Rit Patchen took the win over
Bones Stevens in the Modifieds as Randy LaJoie ruled in the Sportsman.
Twenty-five years ago in 1986,
Mike Stefanik led the charge at Stafford where he beat out Reggie Ruggiero,
Mike Mclaughlin and Corky Cookman. On Saturday night at Riverside it was a
crash fest as only six of the original 22 starters survived to finish the 50
lap modified main event. Jack LeCuyer took the win over John Rosati and Bob
Polverari. John Blewett Jr won a 75 lapper at Riverhead over Wayne Anderson
and Fred Harbach and at Seekonk; Leo Cleary got his third Pro Stock win.
Other weekend action saw Tom Baldwin victorious at New Egypt, Tony Jankowiac
at Spencer and Jan Leaty at Tioga. The Winston Cup cars were in Riverside,
Cal where Darrell Waltrip took the pole and the win. Bobby Rahal won the
Twenty years ago in 1991, It was the Teddy and Mikey
Christopher show at Stafford as the twin brothers finished one-two on Friday
night. Ricky Young did the deed at Waterford on Saturday night and at
Riverhead it was Tom Tillotson over Wayne Anderson and Bob Park. Ricky
Fuller beat out Jerry Marquis at Riverside and on Sunday, the Modified Tour
was at Thompson for a 150 lapper. Jeff Fuller took the win and was followed
by Mike Stefanik, Steve Park and Doug Hevron. It was also on this weekend
that Todd Bodine got his first Busch Grandnational win, that coming at Dover
Fifteen years ago in 1996, Ted
Christopher recorded his 36th career win at Stafford on Friday night as he
beat Lloyd Agor and Ken Barry to the stripe. Jim Broderick got his second of
the season at Waterford on Saturday night. Jerry Pearl finished second with
Dennis Gada, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggerio fought long and hard as he
avoided a big crash with five to go and passed Richard Savory on the last
lap to take the 50 lap win. Riverhead saw Tom McCann in victory lane. The
Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series were at Loudon. Steve Park
led the final 51 laps of the BNS event and beat Jerry Marquis by ½ second.
Jan Leaty dominated the Modified event until getting a flat under green
which opened the door for Tony Hirschman who ended up with the win. Reggie
Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Steve Park. Chris Aman and
Jerry Marquis who rounded out the top five.
Ten years ago, in 2001, the
Thompson Speedway held a private race on Thursday night to entertain those
in the area for a Harley Davidson event. HD bought 10,000 tickets to give
away but only about 300 showed up. Todd Ceravolo started fourth and took the
lead on lap five and survived numerous wrecks to record the win. Dennis
Boticello finished second and was followed by Kerry Malone, Scott Quinn and
Zach Sylvester. Jim Williams with his donut car took the 50 lap SK-Modified
feature at Stafford on Friday night with Eric Berndt, second and Kerry
Malone, third. Rain washed out action at Waterford for the second week in a
row but at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. In Winston Cup
action at Dover Downs, Jeff Gordon led 380 of the 400 lap distance as he
took the win. Steve Park was closing at the end but had to settle for
second. Jim Spencer was the Grandnational winner.
Five years ago in 2006, rain
blanketed the New England area wiping out action at the Stafford Speedway
for the fourth week in a row. Rain also washed out racing at Waterford,
Seekonk and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. The Nextel Cup and
Busch Series events got to run in Dover. Matt Kenseth passed teammate Jamie
McMurray with four laps to go at the Dover International Speedway and went
on to win the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America for
his second win of the season. This was Kenseth’s 12th career victory and #92
for Roush Racing. It was worth $323,591 from the over $5.6M in posted
awards. Early rain washed out the afternoon qualifying session and forced
Burton to start 36th in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo. But the 38-year-old
veteran battled his way to the front and held off Nextel Cup star Carl
Edwards to register the best come-from-behind victory ever at Dover.
Last year, 2010, the Modified
Racing Series returned to action at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta,
NY. Rowan Pennink got a well deserved and long over-due win as he overcame a
cut tire on lap three and came back to win the 100 lap East-West Showdown at
Malta, NY Speedway New Jersey runner Pete Brittain led the first
forty-seven-laps before yielding the top spot to Earl Paules, Paules set a
torrid pace until lap seventy-six when Pennink claimed the top spot. Pennink
went on to score his second Modified Racing Series win. The victory was the
third for car owner, Gary Cassela. The race was marred by 15 caution periods
including, a crash that saw 2009 Koszela Speed Rookie of the Year, Jacob
Dore vault over the second place car, Brittain while battling for the
Like Pennink, Sean Bodreau overcame an early race mishap to finish
a strong third ahead of Les Hinckley, Rob Goodenough,, Daren Scherer, Norman
Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Kenny Barry.
The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated NASCAR Day with a Whelen
Event Night race program consisting of five NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series divisions. Keith Rocco picked up his second win of 2010 in the 40-lap
SK Modified® feature, Corey Hutchings took down his first victory of 2010 in
the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko was a first-time career winner in
the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera took down his first win
of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood scored his
first victory of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Jeff Paul broke the strangle hold that Keith Rocco had held on
victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl as he claimed his first win of the
year in the SK Modifieds®, snapping Keith Rocco’s three race winning streak
in the division. Eighteen year old Brian Andronaco was a first time winner
in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model event. Josh Galvin became the first
repeat winner of the year in the Street Stocks and Louis Bellisle recorded
his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock win of the season. Anthony Frissora
won the visiting Allison Legacy Series tour race.
The Thompson International Speedway began their Thursday night Thunder
Series before a very healthy crowd and 100 cars in the pit area. Ted
Christopher had the crowd on it's feet as he worked over Keith Rocco,
finally taking the lead after the former slipped coming off turn four.
Rocco, who started eighth, passed Woody Pitkat after a restart on lap 18.
Christopher, who started seventh, closed in on Rocco's bumper on lap 20 and
began his assault. Back and fourth, up and down, Christopher tried every
trick. It appeared that Rocco's tires gave up as he drifted up just enough
to give TC the opening he needed. Rocco held on for the runner-up spot.
Ronnie Silk finished third and was followed by Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink,
Tim Sullivan, Bert Marvin, Dave Salzarulo, Glenn Griswold and Ryan Preece.
Derek Ramstrom made it three straight in Super Late Model
competition. Tommy O’Sullivan was victorious in Late Models while an ailing
Chris “Moose” Douton was tops in the Limited Sportsman division. R.J.
Marcotte scored the TIS Modified feature win while it was a career first for
Lloyd Anderson in the Mini Stocks.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 50 lapper on
Saturday night. MadHouse reality show star Burt Myers, who got his 41st
victory in Bowman Gray's featured Modified Division, strengthened his
early-season points lead in the standings by leading the event from pole to
pole with the exception of one restart. Myers started on the outside of the
front row and took the lead from his brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers on
the first lap. From that point, there were only two stretches of more than
six laps without a caution period, which necessitate a double-file restart.
Tim Brown took a short-lived lead in the eighth lap after a restart, zipping
past Myers, who said he was a victim of a too-sensitive computer chip that
threatened to stall his engine. In true MadHouse fashion Myers recovered
with a stiff shot to Brown's rear bumper. That loosened Brown, and Myers
shot past to retake the lead by the ninth lap. Zach Brewer finished second,
Loftin was third and Alfred Hill finished fourth. Jason Myers rounded out
the top five. Defending champion Tim Brown ended up 12th. Junior Miller was
Riverhead Raceway Co-Chief Steward Mike Cappiello suffered two
broken legs and a dislocated shoulder. One broken leg said to be of the
"minor" variety, while the other was a compound fracture. This was a result
of the Modified of Steve Booker being spun from behind during hot laps, and
spinning out of control to the infield, where his car struck Cappiello.
Cappiello was transported first to Peconic Bay Medical Center, then later
transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was to get
surgery on his leg.
Tom Rogers was the Modified winner.
All eyes were focused on the NASCAR Sprint Cup All Star Race at the
Charlotte Motor Speedway. As teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch lined up
side-by-side for the final segment of the All-Star race, one way or another,
a Joe Gibbs Racing victory seemed a mere 10-lap shootout away. But with a
cool $1 million prize on the line, neither driver had any intention of
lifting off the gas in the no-points, dash-for-cash Saturday night showdown.
Hamlin used defensive driving to protect his lead, Busch wrecked and his big
brother, Kurt, sailed by both JGR drivers to grab his first career All-Star
victory. One Busch was celebrating, while the other was so angry he
threatened to kill Hamlin over his team radio.
The inaugural five members of NASCAR's new Hall of Fame were
inducted in a ceremony that both honored auto racing's pioneers and
celebrated the entire industry.
Bill France, the founder of NASCAR, was lauded for his vision of
turning unregulated beach racing into America's premiere motorsports series.
His son, Bill France Jr., was remembered as a tough taskmaster who poured
his soul into NASCAR.
Richard Petty, a seven-time champion, was credited as the sport's
first superstar, while Junior Johnson was celebrated as the symbol of the
And then there was Dale Earnhardt, the "champion's champion" who
epitomized the blue-collar spirit at the heart of NASCAR.
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
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit