June 10, 2011
years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford adopted a summer
schedule which would see racing at the shoreline oval twice a week,
Wednesdays and Saturdays. The first Wednesday event was a 50 lap Memorial
Day special that was won by Chauncey “Jocco” Maggiacomo. The scheduled
Saturday night event fell victim to rain.
Fifty years ago in 1961 Mario
“Fats” Caruso was the Saturday night winner at the Norwood Arena in Norwood,
MA. At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Ted Stack made it five in a row in
Modified competition. Ed Moody made it two in a row in the Bombers and Arnie
Harris made it two in a row in the non-Fords.
Forty five years ago in 1966
rain washed out the Friday night racing program at the Albany Saratoga
Speedway in Malta, NY. It stayed dry in Connecticut as Bill Wimble was the
Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Jerry Dostie, driving Art
Barry’s #909 was the Saturday night Modified feature winner at Norwood.
Charlie Webster annexed his second Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Eddie Bunnell made it six in a row in the Bombers and Butch Reed took the
Daredevil win. Pete Corey edged Bill Wimble at Fonda. Ernie Gahan finished
third. Kenny Shoemaker ventured to the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night
where he held of an up and coming Richie Evans. Pete Hamilton finished third
with Eddie Flemke and Bill Wimble rounding out the top five.
Forty years ago in 1971,
Thompson ran twin 25's on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens took the opener over
Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bobby Santos. Leo Cleary took the nightcap over
Hop Harrington and Ernie Gahan. During the running of the second event
DeSarro got airborne on the front chute and hit an infield light pole.
DeSarro suffered bruised ribs and the Len Boehler No. 3 was severely
damaged. Joe Thomas was the Friday night winner at Malta. Dick Clark
finished second and was followed by Lou Lazzaro and Rene Charland who drove
the Bob Johnson No.17.Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night which saw
Bugsy Stevens clean house. Gahan finished second with Bob Santos, third.
Jerry Dostie put his Crown 7 in Modified victory lane at the Waterford
Speedbowl. Big Mike Daignault was the Sportsman Sedan winner. At Fonda, it
was Harry Peek over Dave Lape and at Islip, Gene Sudziak took the win. In
Open Competition action at the Fulton Raceway, Richie Evans took the 60 lap
main event over Geoff Bodine, Bryan Osgood, Ronnie Wallace and Don
Diffendorf. Jerry Dostie took the win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Dunn
finished second with Seabury Tripler, third. The New England Supermodified
Racing Association ran a special event on Sunday. Eddie West and Jim Landry,
in Supers, finished one-two. Bugsy Stevens, in the Koszela Modified,
finished third. Utica-Rome on Sunday night rounded out the weekend. Dick
Fowler took the win over Sonny Seamon and Lou Lazzaro.
Thirty-five years ago in 1976,
New Egypt started off the weekend on Thursday night. Bob Park took the win
over Fred Harbach. Friday night at Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek beat out Tom
Baldwin and at Islip; Don Howe took the win over Harbach, Jerry Cook and
Greg Sacks. Geoff Bodine ruled at Stafford on Saturday night while the fans
at Riverside saw Bob Polverari take the top spot. Bob Potter won the
Waterford 200 at the shoreline oval. Gary Hartson was the Grand American
winner. At Thompson on Sunday, Geoff Bodine won his first of what was to be
four in a row.
Thirty years ago in 1981, with
over 6000 fans looking on, Richie Evans slugged it out with Bugsy Stevens to
take the win at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished third and
was followed by Bob Polverari and Ronnie Bouchard. Rain washed out the
action at Waterford on Saturday night. Westboro saw Ronnie Bouchard take the
win over John Smith and George Savory. Evans made it two for two as he won
at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished second. John
Rosati was the class of the field at Seekonk as he outdistanced Bugsy
Stevens and George Summers Sunday action at Monadnock saw Marty Radwick take
the win over Brian Ross and SJ Evonsion. Other weekend winners were Maynard
Troyer at Spencer and at Lancaster, George Kent at Shangri-la and Charlie
Jarzombek, at Islip. Lou Funk Jr was the Modified winner and Randy LaJoie
was the Sportsman winner at Danbury. In Winston Cup action, Benny Parsons
won at College Station, Texas.
Twenty five years ago in 1986,
rain washed out Stafford, Waterford, Riverside and Riverhead. At New Egypt,
Tim Arre took the win over Bob Park and John Blewett jr and at Spencer it
was Tony Hirschman over Ken Troyer and Jan Leaty. George Kent beat out Jim
Spencer and Leaty at Shangri-La and at Monadnock it was Jerry Marquis.
Twenty years ago in 1991, Steve
Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford as he was able
to hold off Bob Potter and John Sneed. Jerry Pearl won at Waterford on
Saturday and Eddie Brunnhoelzl won the Richie Evans Memorial 76 lap event at
Riverhead. Ron Shepherd and John Preston finished one-two at Owego and at
Riverside it was Stan Greger over Bobby Gee. In Winston Cup action at Sears
Point, Ricky Rudd spun Davey Allison on the last lap and took the lead for
the win. NASCAR reacted and black-flagged Rudd, taking the win and restoring
Allison to the top spot.
Fifteen years ago in 1996, Ted
Christopher won his 37th main event at Stafford. Lloyd Agor finished second
with Bo Gunning, third. Tucker Reynolds, knocking at the door for quite some
time, got his first win at Waterford on Saturday night. Jim Broderick
finished second and was followed by Scott Spaulding and David Gada. Tommy
Fox was the late model winner and popular Eric Webster was the Strictly
Stock winner. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Jennerstown for a 150
lapper. Steve Park took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 130 and went on
to record the win. Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Tony
Hirschman, Mike Ewanitsko and Tim Connolly. Al Ermmarino was victorious at
Riverhead and at Riverside Park Eddie Spiers bea t out Richard Savory. John
Blewett III won at Flemington and Bob Dragon led 102 of 145 laps at Tioga to
record his 12th career Busch North Series win. In Busch South action, Todd
Bodine recorded his ninth career BGN win as he won the South Boston 300 over
Mike McLaughlin. In other action, Rick Martin went two for two as he won Pro
Stock events at both Seekonk and Thompson.
Ten years ago in 2001 Eric
Berndt went two for two as he won a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night
and backed it up with a win at Waterford on Saturday night. The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverhead on Saturday night. Mike
Stefanik, who was second fastest to pole sitter Jerry Marquis, started ninth
and took the lead on lap 106 on his way to recording his 60th Modified Tour
win. Marquis finished second with local favorite John Fortin recording a
third. Bill Park and Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. In Winston Cup
action at Michigan, Jeff Gordon was the Busch Pole sitter and he went on to
record the 100th Winston Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports.
Five years ago in 2006 it
looked like the proposed domed speedway in Plainfield, CT was a dead issue
as town zoning commissioners voted 4-1 to eliminate a controversial
one-year-old development district that incorporated 822 acres east of
Interstate 395 near exits 87 and 88. The commission voted unanimously to
also repeal the supporting zoning regulations that enabled the district to
be established.. New England Raceway LLC, a Trumbull, CT-based firm,
originally proposed the development district, which was commonly referred to
as the C5 zone. Developer Eugene Arganese, who had previously all been run
out of North Stonington, spent the better part of the summer of 2004
garnering support for the zoning concept and his proposal to build a nearly
$400 million domed auto racetrack. After a first failed attempt in November
2004, Arganese was successful in getting the regulations passed and the
zoning map amended to establish the district with the Plainfield Greyhound
Park on Lathrop Road at its anchor. He secured options on hundreds of acres
in the area with promises to purchase the properties for prices much higher
than market value once he received all necessary approvals for his project.
Arganese, who did not attend the previous week’s meeting, had never filed an
application for his proposed 140,000-seat racetrack. In May, the LeBlanc
family on 226 Lathrop Road filed a breach of contract lawsuit against
Arganese. Family members allege he failed to purchase their property for the
$894,700 he promised by Dec. 31, 2005.
The Thompson Speedway was scheduled to start it’s Thursday night
Thunder Series but after close to five inches of rain fell on the speedway
track owner Don Hoenig had no choice but to cancel the event.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of Summer Blast-Off Night
on Friday as the weatherman finally gave the speedway a break. In the
consecutive win category, Jeff Baral racked up his second consecutive SK
Modified feature win while Woody Pitkat took home his third consecutive Late
Model feature win. Shelly Perry was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature event, George Nocera, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, Steve Berardi was the 15-lap DARE Stock feature
winner, and Woody Pitkat was the winner of the Late Model 16 feature.
Conspicuous by his absence from the SK Modified feature was Ted
Christopher. Christopher had planned on competing at Stafford until federal
and state marshals raided his race shop in Plainville, CT on Friday morning
taking six cars plus truckloads of racing related equipment and parts. The
racecars that he drove belonged to Danbury Connecticut businessman Jim
Galante. Galante was arrested Friday with others as part of a federal
investigation into organized crime's influence over the trash hauling
business. Galante also owns the Danbury Trashers hockey team. Christopher is
Stafford’s all time feature winner plus a top contender on the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour Series.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, Shawn Monahan
survived seven restarts after starting on the pole and became the seventh
different SK-Modified feature winner of the season. Monahan, who battled
defending champion Rob Summers most of the way, secured one of two
guaranteed spots for the upcoming True Value Modified Series 100. Summers
had a Whelen Modified Tour commitment in Jennerstown, PA giving the second
True Value spot to Monahan’s brother Diego, a winner earlier in the season.
Diego, who finished third, fought off Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada over the
final seven laps. Other winners included Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model),
Dwayne Dorr (20-lap Sportsman) and Ken Cassidy (20-lap Mini Stock).
The Busch East, formerly Busch North Series, got its new beginning
on Saturday night at the Greenville- Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.
Live HD Net TV coverage and a purse of $118,911 served as another slap in
the face to the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Sean Caisse, the 2005 Sunoco
Rookie of the Year, won his first career NASCAR Grand National Division,
Busch East Series race. Caisse, driving for four-time champion Andy Santerre,
took the lead for the final time on lap 142 of An American Revolution 150
presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet. A near-capacity crowd at NASCAR’s
second–oldest speedway, including racing legends David Pearson and Jack
Ingram, enthusiastically enjoyed the classic short track bumping, grinding,
and three-wide racing on the nearly flat half mile track where the first
live NASCAR telecast on a major network took place 35 years ago. Brian Hoar,
Mike Olsen, Matt Kobyluck, and Bryon Chew completed the top five.
Denny Hamlin did a NASCAR version of a spin and win and captured
his first ever NEXTEL Cup victory at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500.
Hamlin led all but one lap of the first 51 when he lost a left rear tire
going into the tunnel turn. After managing to keep it off both walls, his
crew did yeoman's work both keeping that car on the lead lap and keeping it
fast and that was all he needed as he went on to register a dominant
victory. Denny led 6 times for 83 laps and posted a 1.328 margin of victory.
Kurt Busch finished second with Tony Stewart, third. Carl Edwards drove to a
dominating win in the Federated Auto Parts 300 in Nashville, TN. He
unofficially led 70 of the last 85 laps, and beat Clint Bowyer to the finish
by .920 seconds. It was Edwards' second win in the last three Busch races.
Last year, 2010, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series ended its "Spring Break" last Friday when they
returned to action at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the TSI
Harley-Davidson 125. The event carried a purse of $76,476. There were 33
Modifieds on hand for the 31 starting spots.
Bobby Santos edged Jimmy Blewett in a dramatic two-lap dash to the
finish to win the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race.
Santos and Blewett battled back-and-forth throughout the late stages of the
event, which was extended with two attempts at a green-white-checkered
finish due to late-race cautions.
After Santos jumped the final restart on lap 135, he was ordered to
let Blewett pull even at the line. Blewett nipped Santos as they took the
white flag, but Santos was able to battle back to capture his second win of
the season and the third of his career. Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece and Rob
Summers rounded out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Eric Berndt,
Mike Stefanik, Erick Rudolph, George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss.
Santos won his third pole in three attempts during qualifying
earlier in the day and following the redraw started the race on the outside
of the front row. Eric Berndt was successful in battling Santos for the
early lead and paced the field for the majority of the race. Berndt had
extended his lead to 2.5 seconds by lap 90, but he lost the top spot when he
faltered on a lap 108 restart, giving the lead to Chuck Hossfeld. When
Hossfeld was spun by Blewett a few laps later, however, Santos took
advantage to gain the lead. Santos then had to contend with Blewett through
the final stages of the race.
There were seven cautions for 35 laps. Seventeen of the 31 starters
finished on the lead lap. For his efforts Santos received $6600. Blewett
earned $2900 while Szegedy received $2500.
The Modified Racing Series ran a double header last week as they
held events at the Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY and Thunder Road
Speedbowl in Barre, VT.
In a wild last lap finish, Les Hinckley unofficially won the 100
lap Modified Racing Series feature at the Airborne Speedway on Saturday
night. Hinckley, from his pole starting position led the first 74 laps,
setting a torrid pace holding off the constant threats of Todd Annarummo,
and defending series champion, Jon McKennedy. Unofficially the win by
Hinckley is his 12th MRS victory. Rowan Pennink, who started 15th in the
25-car field, passed Hinckley on lap 75 and held the top spot, resulting in
Hinckley chasing the new leader. Hinckley and Dwight Jarvis pursued Pennink
until lap 99, when Hinckley and Pennink made contact racing to the checkered
flag resulting in a violent crash at the start-finish line. Both cars came
to a halt against the first turn safety barrier, neither driver was injured.
Jarvis settled for third followed by Carl Pasteryak and Kenny Barry. The
race in front of a near capacity crowd saw the top 11 drivers finish on the
The second Modified Series event of the weekend saw 20 year old
Stephen Masse captured his second consecutive Memorial Day Classic 100 at
the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl Sunday, May 30th Starting
fifth in a 24-car field, Masse moved to second by lap nine and then took
over the lead from early race leader Todd Annarummo, on lap 19. Despite
11-caution periods that slowed the race, Masse opened up sizable leads,
several times by large margins, but was never headed. Rob Goodenough, who
started the race in seventh position, finished in the runner up spot
followed by Ken Barry, Kirk Alexander, and 17 year old Norwich (CT) Free
Academy student, Max Zachem. At one point in the race Zachem was joined in
the top five by fellow high schooler Joey Jarvis. Both drivers will graduate
from high school in June. Sixth through tenth was Les Hinckley, Joey Jarvis,
Charlie Pasteryak, Dwight Jarvis and Eddie Spiers. Hinckley was also the
recipient of a $400 bonus posted by motorsports columnist, Kevin Rice of
Area Auto Racing News for the best average between finish the two races.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the
Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco continued his winning ways by taking his
second consecutive and third overall victory of the 2010 season in the
40-lap SK Modified feature, Woody Pitkat picked up his second win of 2010 in
the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ted Cain picked up his second win of 2010 in
the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Michael Wray was a first time career
winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande became
the first DARE Stock feature repeat winner of the 2010 season in the 15-lap
DARE Stock feature with a last lap pass for the win.
The Waterford Speedbowl took on a new face last week as several
truck loads of ground up asphalt was dumped and leveled on the parking area
and access road to the shoreline oval. Once the summer heat beats on it a
bit the stuff will harden up and will keep some of the dust down.
Keith Rocco, who won at Thompson and at Stafford was looking to
score a grand-slam last weekend, ended up settling for a sixth as Justin
Gaydosh pick up his first victory of the year in the 35-lap SK Modified
event. Vin Esposito won the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature,
securing his first win of the year. Al Stone III took his second win of the
season in the 25-lap Street Stock feature, while Sean Caron also became a
two-time winner after taking the 25-lap Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock
Mike Lichty held off Chris Perley to win the wreck-marred 50-lap
ISMA SuperModified feature.
The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series
saw Keith Rocco return to victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds. Rocco, who
has his sights set on the NASCAR National Title, ran a determined race after
a last lap defeat on opening night at the hands of Ted Christopher. Shawn
Monahan took a convincing win in the annual 50-lap extra distance event for
the Limited Sportsman division. Jim Banfield broke Derik Randstroms
stranglehold on victory lane as he wired the field to score a hard-fought
victory in the Super Late Models. Rick Gentes took top honors in a wild Late
Model event while Cam “Keith” McDermott was victorious in the TIS Modifieds.
Randy Churchill, Jr was awarded the victory in the Mini Stocks following
post-race technical inspection.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 100 lapper in
front of an absolutely huge crowd. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver
James Civali was a surprise entry in the Roger Hill No. 79. Civali got to
see first hand why they call the North Carolina oval "The MadHouse". Civali
survived to finish fourth while Burt Myers took his 43rd career win. Myers,
who drew the pole position, endured nine restarts before taking the win.
Defending Champion Tim Brown was the fastest in qualifying for the third
time this season. He recorded a lap of 13.432 seconds (67 mph) on the flat
quarter-mile track. But he drew the 14th starting spot. Brown finished 13th.
Lee Jeffreys finished second and Jonathan Brown was third. Civali's
intention was to get a "Heads-Up" on racing at the track as the Whelen
Southern Modified Tour Series will be racing there on Aug. 7.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers Jr. won his
second consecutive NASCAR Modified feature event in a 35-lap event Saturday
night after coming from a 14th starting position to do so. Rogers earned
$1,450 for his 11th career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series triumph.
It was all in the family at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt
Busch won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 while brother Kyle won the
Nationwide Series event and the Camping World Truck event.
Dario Franchitti drove 199 nearly flawless laps, then survived the last one
with a huge break from a spectacular crash to climb back on top of the
open-wheel world Sunday with his second win at the Indianapolis 500.
Two years after a failed try in NASCAR, Franchitti held on with a
scant 1.6 gallons of fuel left in the tank, a victory made possible by a
crash that sent Mike Conway airborne and into the wall, and left the final
lap to be run under a caution flag.
The victory made Franchitti's boss, Chip Ganassi, the first owner
to win Indy and NASCAR's Daytona 500 in the same year. It also validated the
Scottish driver's return to the IndyCar circuit two years after celebrating
his 2007 Indy victory by making an unsuccessful move with Ganassi to NASCAR.
England's Dan Wheldon, the 2005 winner who closed furiously as Franchitti
slowed to save fuel in the final laps, was second, and fellow Brit Alex
Lloyd was third, followed by Scott Dixon in fourth.
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
Eddie Flemke Sr
All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit