July 1, 2011
years ago in 1951 Moe Gherzi, fresh off his Saturday night win at
the New London-Waterford annexed a 25 lap Modified win on Wednesday night.
The shoreline oval fell victim to rain on Saturday night.
Fifty-five years ago in 1956,
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl was preparing for their season opener.
The track had been for sale but there were no takers.
Fifty years ago in 1961 Ernie
Gahan made it two in a row on the dirt in Friday night action at the
Stafford Speedway as 4000 fans looked on. Ron Narducci finished second with
Jim Koehler, third. Bill Slater was a little off his game as he finished
fourth. Slater got redemption on Saturday night at Norwood as he beat out
Eddie Flemke and Bobby Sprague for the win. The New London-Waterford
Speedbowl raced on Friday and Saturday nights. Dick Beauregard, the driver
they loved to hate, won on Friday night with Ted Stack taking the win on
Saturday night. Ed Moody made it six in a row in Bomber competition as he
won on both nights.
Forty five years ago in 1966
Wild Bill Slater took on the New York gang and walked away the Friday night
winner at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Jerry Cook finished second with
Gaston Demaris, third. Dennis Zimmerman and Don MacTavish rounded out the
top five. Ernie Gahan took the win on the dirt at Stafford. Cook stepped it
up a bit as he won at Fonda on Saturday night over Ron Narducci and Bill
Wimble. Bobby Sprague took a popular win at Norwood on Saturday night. Rain
washed out the features at the NewLondon-Waterford Speedbowl after
qualifying was completed. The Utica Rome Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Sunday
night with former NASCAR Sportsman Champion Rene Charland taking the win.
Eddie Flemke finished second with Frank Mathalia, Cook and Wimble rounding
out the top five.
Forty years ago in 1971, Friday
night action at Malta rained out. Winston Barrows led 29-1/2 laps at
Stafford only to be passed by Bugsy Stevens in the last corner of the 30
lapper. Bob Melnick finished third with Hop Harrington, fourth. At Fonda it
was Lou Lazzaro over Dave Lap and at Islip, Ed Brunnhoelzl Sr beat out Bob
Park. Jack LeCuyer won the main event at the Riverside Park Speedway. Tom
Vining, Charlie Centinaro and Bob Stefanik followed. Action at the Waterford
Speedbowl saw Ed Barton take the win over Jiggs Beetham, Seabury Tripler,
Daring Dick Caso and Don Bunnell. Dickie Doo Ceravolo was the Sportsman
Sedan winner. Fred DeSarro and Len Boehler made the trip to Utica-Rome on
Sunday and came away the winners. Ron Narducci finished second and was
followed by Dave Lape and Jerry Cook. Fonda hosted the All Star League on
Wednesday, which saw Lou Lazzaro take the win.
Thirty five years ago in 1976,
Fred Harbach scored a one-two punch as he won at Riverhead on Friday night
and again at Islip on Saturday. At Riverhead, Jim Tyler finished second with
Greg Sacks, third. At Islip, Don Howe finished second with Tyler, third.
Geoff Bodine took the win at Stafford and at Riverside it was Bob Polverari
over Bob Stefanik. Dick Dunn put the Al Gaudreau No.3 in victory lane at
Waterford. Sleepy Knapp was the late model Grand American winner. Ronnie
Bouchard broke Geoff Bodine's win streak at Thompson on Sunday.
Thirty years ago in 1981,
Mr.Leo Cleary in the Rollie Linblad No.48 took on the best in the business
at a special open competition event at Westboro on Wednesday night. It was
no cakewalk as Cleary had Ronnie Bouchard breathing down his neck at the
finish. Geoff Bodine finished third and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero,
Jeff Fuller and Tom Baldwin. Friday night at Stafford, Richie Evans, fresh
off a win at Holland on Wednesday night, romped home the winner over Bob
Polverari and Brian Ross. Polverari was later disqualified because of an
illegal rear end gear. Other Friday night winners were Punky Caron at
Monadnock, John Blewett Jr at New Egypt and George Kent at Spencer. Saturday
night, Russell "Butch" Perry scored a popular win at Waterford over Joe
Tiezzi and Dick Dunn. Ray Miller took the top spot at Riverside and George
Kent made it two for two on the weekend as he won at Shangri-La. Double
modified features were on tap at Seekonk.
Eddie St Angelo and Leo Cleary shared top honors. Tom Baldwin won a
100 lapper at Islip and Roger Treichler made it two in a row at Lancaster.
Danbury fell victim to rain. Richie Evans was the winner at Thompson on
Sunday night over Corky Cookman, Bob Fuller, Greg Sacks and Carl Pasteryak.
Twenty five years ago in 1986,
the Modified tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night 100 lap event. Mike
McLaughlin started on the outside pole and led all 100 laps to take the win.
Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by John Rosati, George Kent
and Jeff Fuller. Friday night racing at Stafford and Spencer rained out. Ed
Flemke Jr was the SK Modified winner at Waterford on Saturday night. Bob
Potter finished second and was followed by Mark La Junesse. Mike McLaughlin
made it two for two on the weekend as he put the Sheri Cup No.12 in victory
lane at Riverside on Saturday night. Mike Stefanik finished second. Leo
Cleary got his fourth win at Seekonk and at New Egypt it was Wayne Anderson
over Jerry Cranmer.
Twenty years ago in 1991, the
Featherlite Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a Wednesday night event.
Hometown favorite Mike Ewanitsko had victory in sight until his engine
expired on the last .Waiting in the wings was Ricky Fuller who went on to
take the win. Jeff Fuller finished second and was followed by George
Brunnhoelzl, Dan Jivenelli and Ewanitsko. The Busch North Series was at
Stafford on Friday night. Mike Stefanik took the win. SK Modified action saw
Steve Chowanski beat out Bo Gunning and Bob Georgiades. At Waterford on
Saturday, David Gada held off veteran Jerry Pearl for the win.Rick Young
finished second. Reggie Ruggiero got his fifth at Riverside over Rick Young
and Wade Cole. Jamie Tomaino returned to his old haunts at Wall Stadium to
take a win while Chris Young won at Riverhead. Ted Christopher was the top
dog at Thompson as he had more than enough for Richie Gallup, Bo Gunning and
Mike Christopher. Jerry Marquis went north to Monadnock and proceeded to
click off another win. Dwight Jarvis finished second with Kirby Monteith,
Fifteen years ago in 1996, the
modified tour was at the Lee Raceway in New Hampshire. Rick Fuller took the
win over Mike Stefanik, Tim Connolly and Jan Leaty. The event drew a good
crowd but raceway owner Red MacDonald felt that overall it was a loser and
hasn't had the Modified Tour back since then. Lee does run unsanctioned
modified events from time to time. At Stafford, John Anderson won out over
Bo Gunning and Tony Sylvester. Todd Ceravolo became a surprise winner at
Waterford on Saturday night. Eric Berndt was leading the final lap when his
transmission imploded, forcing him to slow. Ceravolo went on to take the win
and was followed by Don Fowler, Mike Gada, Jim Broderick and David Gada.
Fran Principi scored his first ever Modified win at Riverside Park and Quinn
Vollegraph won at Riverhead. A Busch North Series event, scheduled for
Sunday at Nazareth was rained out and run on Monday. Steve Park took the
lead from Ted Christopher on lap 85 of the 100-lap event and went on to take
the win. Kelly Moore ended up second and was followed by Tom Bolles and Dale
Ten Years ago in 2001 Ted
Christopher made it three in a row at Thompson on Thursday night. Curt
Brainard finished second. At Stafford on Friday night, Jim Williams in the
Donut car took the victory over Lloyd Agor and Chuck Docherty. The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Richmond. Tony Hirschman took the
lead with 31laps to go and walked off with the lion's share of the $93,168
purse. Mike Ewanitsko finished second with Jan Leaty, Mike Stefanik, Ken
Wooley and Ed Flemke JR rounding out the top five. Eric Berndt got his
fourth win at Waterford and Bill Park took the top spot at Riverhead
Five years ago in 2006, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returned to the Thompson Speedway on Thursday
where they shared top billing with NASCAR’s Busch East Series (formerly
Busch North Series). Forty-four Modifieds were on hand on a humid and sultry
night. Jimmy Blewett was the Busch Pole sitter. The re-draw for starting
positions saw James Civali pick the pole with Eric Beers picking the outside
Eric Beers, in the Boehler Racing Ole Blu, took the lead on the
start with Ed Flemke moving into second spot. Beers led the first 42 laps
until Ronnie Silk spun out in Turn 2 to bring out the first caution. After
the restart on lap 45, Eddie Flemke went to the front by passing Beers two
laps later on the front-stretch. A multi-car crash in the backstretch
brought out the second caution on lap 48 and didn’t restart until lap 56.
Among those eliminated was Jerry Marquis who expressed his displeasure of
Jamie Tomaino’s patience. Also eliminated were Matt Hirschman and Tony
Ferrante Jr. Flemke remained out front until Todd Szegedy passed him while
working lap 65. Szegedy’s lead didn’t last long before another crash
occurred in the backstretch to bring out the third caution that lasted from
lap 66 to lap 74. Reggie Ruggiero lost control and triggered the crash.
Eliminated in that crash were Ted Christopher and Chris Pasteryak. Chuck
Hossfeld also lost
many laps while his crew made repairs to damage sustained. Szegedy led the
final restart and was untouchable from there. Flemke finished a strong
second and was followed by Civali, Beers and Tony Hirschman. Sixth through
tenth were Mike Stefanik, Ruggiero, Steve Whitt, Ron Yuhas Jr and Ken Barry.
Twenty-one of the original 35 starters finished on the lead lap.
Matt Kobyluck won his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch
East Series race of the season, and took over the series point lead. He took
the lead when Sean Caisse suffered drive train failure after leading the
first 13 laps. Caisse, the former point leader, was scored 28th and last in
the field. Brian Hoar chased Kobyluck to the checkered flag, less than half
a second behind, with Charles Lewandoski recording a career-best third place
finish. Mike Johnson was fourth, Bryon Chew fifth, and Mike Olsen sixth.
Dave Dion, Jamie Aube, Ruben Pardo, and John Salemi completed the top ten.
The Thompson Speedway ran their Double Trouble program last
Thursday night despite the threat of showers. Jeff Malave muscled his way to
a convincing win in the Sunoco Modifieds. Malave took the lead as he entered
turn one on lap six and held off repeated challenges from Tom Cravenho who
ended up settling for second. Woody Pitkat was extremely strong as he traded
spots with Cravenho on numerous occasions but in the end settled for third.
Jimmy Blewett and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five. Jeff Zuidema won the
30-lap Pro Stock feature. Dave Trudeau held off Salem's Corey Hutchings to
win the 25-lap Late Model feature. Eddie Puleo of Branford, CT made it
two-for-two taking down his second straight Limited Sportsman feature
victory. The win; however, was not an easy one as Keith DeSanctis gave it
all he had in the closing laps. DeSanctis got alongside Puleo briefly but
had to settle for second. Rick Blanchard took down his second straight Mini
Stock victory. Ron Rixham had enjoyed an early lead but in the late stages
of the 15-lap Mini Stock feature the former divisional champ began to feel
the pressure. After a short battle, Rixham relinquished his lead to Scott
Michalksi. The lead quickly changed hands again with Blanchard taking over
control of the event. Michalski took his place in second while Shelly Perry,
true to form, came on strong in the waning laps to claim third. Rixham had
faded to fourth at the checkers ahead of Andy Publicover. Roger Larson, Jr.
The Stafford Motor Speedway took advantage of the dry weather as
they ran the 12th annual American Sleeve Bearing Late Model 100 on Friday
night. Ryan Posocco was the big winner of the 100-lapper, recovering from an
early race spin to drive back through the field under a prolonged green flag
run. Todd Owen was the winner of the SK Modified® feature, while there were
two first-time winners in the SK Lights and DARE Stocks. Richie Pallai, Jr.
captured his first career win in the SK Light feature, while Lori-Jo
Rzeszutek scored her first career victory in the DARE Stock feature. The
Limited Late Model feature was tentatively rescheduled to next Tuesday, July
4th due to time constraints. In the 100-lap Late Model feature, Ryan Posocco
ran down the leaders under a long green flag run, and then inherited the
lead when race leader Scott Foster, Jr. broke a transmission on lap-88. Ed
Ricard led the first 40-laps of the race with Tom Fearn taking the lead from
Ricard. Fearn held the lead until lap-59 when Foster moved to the front.
Posocco had spun on lap-16 after contact with Brad Boissonneault, and he had
moved back into the top-5 at this stage of the race under green flag
conditions. Foster held the lead until his transmission gave out on lap-88,
which handed the lead to Posocco. Posocco pulled away from second place on
two subsequent restarts to take his first Late Model feature win of the 2006
season. Jim Peterson took second, with Mark Lewis third, Tom Butler fourth,
and Todd Owen fifth. In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Todd Owen charged
past Curt Brainard on the outside groove on lap-9 and then he held off a
determined challenge from Frank Ruocco over the final 10-laps to take his
first SK Modified® feature win of the 2006 season. Willie Hardie finished
third, with Jeff Baral and Kenny Horton rounding out the top-5.
At the Waterford Speedbowl Tom Fox all but cleaned house as he won
the Pepsi-300 100 lap SK Modified event. Fox wore out Rob Summers and then
held off Dennis Gada as he recorded his first win of the year. Summers faded
to third spot in the closing laps. The 100-lap Late Model segment went to
Allen Coates, making his season debut. Joe Godbout III won the 50-lap Mini
Stock feature while Dwayne Dorr ruled the 50-lap Sportsman haul.
NASCAR announced that they had lowered the age to 16 to those who
intend to compete in the Whelen Modified Tour Series and Busch East. The
Modifieds were part of a rain shortened practice session at the New
Hampshire International Speedway last week. Thirteen Whelen Modified Tour
teams showed up for the NHIS Open Test session. Among those were seven
rookies including Danny Sammons, Glenn Tyler, Anthony Sesely, James Civali,
Kenny Horton, Matt Hirschman and Jon McKennedy. Veterans that appeared for
the test session were Rob Summers, Todd Szegedy, Zach Sylvester, Donny Lia,
Nevin George and Todd Bodine. Because of the fact that rain cut short the
session the Bahres refunded each team’s $500 payment plus provided free food
for the competitors.
Tony Stewart won the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup event at Daytona. Dale
Earnhardt Jr. was the Busch Series winner.
Last year, 2010, The Thompson
International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series resumed on a somewhat
cool but exciting night. Ted Christopher won his third feature victory of
the 2010 season at Thompson in exciting fashion. Mike O’Sullivan won a
thriller in the Super Late Models. Brother Tommy O’Sullivan, took a
commanding victory in the Late Models. Larry Barnett scored his first win of
the season in Limited Sportsman action. Brian Sullivan returned to the TIS
Modified division and returned to his winning ways while Steve Michalski
wired the field to score the victory in the Mini Stocks.
The Modified Racing Series was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday
night for the Town Fair Tire 75. A strong field of Modifieds led by Mike
Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink and Les Hinkley were on hand.
Hinkley took the eventual win after Stefanik and Pennink tangled. Contact
between then-leader Stefanik and Pennink on lap 56 sent the leader Stefanik
spinning. Pennink was given the consolation flag for his involvement.
Hinckley, who was running third, inherited the lead for the ensuing restart.
Over the final 19 laps, Hinckley was able to get some distance over a heated
battle between Christopher and Jon McKennedy. It was Hinkley’s third win of
the season. Steve Masse finished fourth with Eric Goodale rounding out the
top five. Sixth through tenth were Charlie Pasteryak, Dwight Jarvis, Richard
Stefanik and Geoff Gernhard. Pennink, the last car on the lead lap,
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor
Speedway Keith Rocco picked up his second consecutive and fifth overall win
of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett got
his first win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr.
scored his second victory of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature,
Dave Yardley, III scored his first career victory in the 20-lap Limited Late
Model feature, and Don Wood took his second win of 2010 in 15-lap DARE Stock
Rocco started 15th. Rounding out the top-5 following Rocco, Eric Berndt, and
Chris Jones was Todd Owen and Jeff Baral.
The Waterford Speedbowl continued to be dominated by Keith Rocco.
Rocco took the lead early in the race then ruled in several restarts to
claim his sixth SK Modified® win of the year. Walt Hovey Jr. dominated the
Street Stock race to collect his first win of the season, extending his lead
in the championship points. Danny Field won his first Norwich Bulletin Mini
Stock race of the year in dominating fashion, while Allen Coates won the A.B.
CDL Driver Training Center Truck race and etched his name further into the
Speedbowl record books. Nicholas Sowa won the Bandolero race. Over $10,000
was raised for the Lupus Foundation of America when the event had concluded.
Rocco now had 14 wins as his season total. In addition to his six
wins at Waterford and his five wins at Stafford the then current NASCAR
National Points contender had two wins at Thompson and one win at New
Smyrna. The New Smyrna win does not count toward the NASCAR title.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC was the scene of a
100 lapper for the NASCAR Modifieds last Saturday night. Jason Myers, who is
considered an underdog, took the lead from Lee Jeffreys on lap 15 and
survived five restarts before recording the win. Tim Brown, with extreme
overheating problems, finished second and Chris Fleming was third. John
Smith and Jeffreys rounded out the top five. Point leader Burt Myers started
24th and finished sixth.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island a 50 lapper for the
Modifieds provided some post race fireworks. Tom Rogers JR took the win.
Shortly after taking the checker Rogers parked his car between turns three
and four. He removed his driving suit and shoes and threw them over the
fence where track officials were located. It had been rumored that he
carried a traction control device in his suit or in his shoes.
Justin Bonsignore, who has been making a name for himself on the Whelen
Modified Tour Series finished second with Chuck Steuer, third. Wayne
Anderson, who is still recovering from a recent heart attack imported Jimmy
Blewett for the night. Blewett finished fourth.
Bruton Smith, owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway told WMUR TV in
New Hampshire he will consider moving next year's summer race if Loudon's
police chief doesn't cut the cost for providing safety details. The NHMS
owner said that if he can't reach a compromise with the town on security
costs, he may move next June's race from New Hampshire [like to
maybe...Kentucky Speedway. NHMS was asking Loudon to reduce its price tag
for June's upcoming race from $170,000 to $65,000. "No, we're not prepared
to do that," said Loudon Selectman Roger Maxfield. "The answer is no, we
won't." Maxfield said he thinks $170,000 to cover an influx of 100,000
people is reasonable, as is Fiske's hourly rate. "He's also in control of 80
full-time officers, so that's a large detail," Maxfield said. NHMS has
suggested cutting 38 police officers from its camp grounds and replacing
them with private security guards supported by a few officers. Fiske said
that plan isn't in the best interest of public safety. "The crime is
consistent with a city of that size," he said. Maxfield insinuated that
those who go to Loudon for the races are a violent lot. "We have alleged
rapes and assaults, let alone the DWIs." He said in a statement to the TV
Raymond Parks, owner of NASCAR’s first championship winning car and
an integral part of the series’ formation, died. He was 96. Parks was the
last living member of the group of men who created NASCAR in 1947 during a
meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla. He fielded the car
that Red Byron drove to the inaugural Cup Series championship in 1949,
NASCAR’s first season of competition.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Sonoma, CA, Marcos Ambrose had his first
career Sprint Cup Series victory in sight when a late caution threw a
roadblock into his path. Ambrose stalled his engine while trying to conserve
gas late in Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway, where his car came to a stop
while leading with six laps remaining. He restarted and tried to re-claim
his position at the front of the field, but NASCAR ordered him back to
seventh place and Jimmie Johnson inherited the lead. Johnson then cruised to
his first career road course win, while Ambrose had to settle for a
disappointing sixth-place finish. Robby Gordon finished second.
Edwards swooped past Jacques Villeneuve on a restart with nine laps
to go, then ran away from the field to win the NASCAR Nationwide series race
at Road America on Saturday.
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