July 22, 2011
years ago in 1951, Dave Humphrey was the Wednesday night winner
at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Beebe was the Claiming Car
winner. No racing was held on Saturday night.
Fifty five years ago in 1956,
Johnny Sandberg was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl on Wednesday night. Lou Tetreault was the non-Ford winner.
Tetreault won the 25 lap Modified event on Saturday night while Arnie Harris
was the non-Ford winner.
Fifty years ago in 1961, Arnie
Harris won the 25 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Dick Caso made it two in a row in Bomber competition. Saturday
night racing at the shoreline oval washed out.
Forty five years ago in 1966
Elton Hill was the Friday night winner at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on
Friday night. Don MacTavish finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Dick
Dixon and Rene Charland rounded out the top five. Joe Tiezzi scored his
first and only win on the dirt at Stafford. The Norwood Arena hosted a
Trenton qualifier. George Pendergast scored a surprise win. During a post
race celebration Pendergast tripped over a trailer and fell, breaking his
arm. Ernie Gahan padded his point lead in his quest for the NASCAR National
Modified Championship as he won a 107-lap event on the dirt at Fonda on
Saturday night and a 30 lapper on the asphalt at the Utica Rome Speedway on
Sunday night. Gahan drove the same car in both events. Following Gahan at
Fonda were Jerry Cook and Bill Wimble. Wimble finished second at Utica-Rome
with Eddie Flemke, Dave Kotary and Bernie Miller rounding out the top five.
Billy Blum took the win at the Shangri-La Speedway. Don Collins was the 30
lap Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Marvin Shaw was the
winner in the Bombers and Bill Sweet was the Daredevil winner at the
Connecticut shoreline oval.
Forty years ago in 1971, Lou
Lazzaro took the top spot at Malta on Friday night. Maynard Forette finished
second and was followed by Bernie Miller, Jerry Cook and Fred DeSarro. At
the Fulton Raceway Don Diffendorf, driving the radical coach that would
grace the 1972 Spring Sizzler poster, took a 60 lap win over Richie Evans,
Merv Treichler, Mike Loescher and Sonny Seamon. Mike Beebe took the Saturday
night win at Waterford over Don Kibbe and Art Moran. Rain washed out
Stafford and Fonda on Saturday night. While the NASCAR Modified point
chasers were at Utica-Rome on Sunday, a bit of modified history was made at
the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine when car owner Bobby Judkins and driver
Gene Bergin debuted an all-new Pinto bodied Modified. Bergin won the open
competition event and the winds of change in the modified division were
beginning to blow. Ernie Gahan finished second. At Utica-Rome, Ron Newman
took the win over Dave Lape and Lou Lazzaro. Seekonk also held an open comp
event on Sunday, which was won by hometown favorite George Summers. Ronnie
Bouchard finished second with Fred Astle Sr, third
Thirty five years ago in 1976,
Fred Harbach made it two in a row at New Egypt on Thursday night. Bob Park
finished second with Jerry Cook, third. A 100 lapper scheduled for Riverhead
on Friday night was rained out. Geoff Bodine took the Saturday night win at
Stafford over Fred DeSarro and Dick Caso but the big news was that NASCAR
Chief Steward, Ed Yerrington, had been named to take over the position of
General Manager and Promoter as of August 1. Jackie Arute had been promoting
the facility and had got an opportunity to pursue a career in broadcasting
as an announcer for the Daytona based Motor Racing Network. Other weekend
winners were Pete Fiandaca making it two in a row at Riverside Park, Bob
Potter made it two in a row at Waterford and George Murray at Seekonk. Geoff
Bodine’s domination at Thompson came to an end when his engine was torn down
in a post race inspection and was found to be 61/1000 over stroke. Second
place finisher Fred DeSarro was awarded the win.
Thirty years ago in 1981,
Richie Evans scored his 299th career modified victory at Stafford on Friday
night. Hot on his tail was Ronnie Bouchard, Reggie Ruggiero and Brian Ross.
Evans scored No.300 at Shangri-La the following night. Other Friday night
winners were Marty Radwick at Monadnock, George Kent at Spencer and John
Blewett Jr. at New Egypt. Waterford ran twin features on Saturday night with
Rodney Tulba and Sleepy Knapp taking the wins. George Murray ruled at
Seekonk and Joe Howard at Westboro. Other Saturday night winners were Fred
Harbach at Islip, Jamie Tomaino at Wall, Billy Layda at Danbury and Stan
Gregger at Riverside. The stage was set for a classic battle between Richie
Evans and Geoff Bodine at Thompson on Sunday with an 81 lapper. Carl
Pasteryak led the first four laps before being overhauled by Corky Cookman.
Cookman led until lap 16 when he lost a transmission. Evans assumed the lead
and appeared headed for win No.301 when his engine went up in smoke on lap
54.From then on it was Bodine all the way to the checker followed by Ray
Miller, George Kent, Reggie Ruggiero and Bentley Warren. It was also at this
event that a young upstart by the name of Mike Stefanik was given the
opportunity of driving the Richie Evans back-up car known as the Grey Ghost.
Stefanik was, at one time in contention in the top five when he fell victim
to a shorted out battery.
Twenty five years ago in 1986,
New Egypt ran what was to be their last NASCAR sanctioned Modified event on
Wednesday. It was a 150 lapper with George Kent taking the win over Jerry
Cranmer, Jamie Tomaino and Jim Spencer. The competitors were paid by checks,
which ultimately bounced. Once NASCAR got wind of this, the sanction was
pulled. Kent made it two for two as he won a special event at Holland on
Thursday night. Stafford ran twin 25's on Friday night. John Anderson, in
the Mario Fiore No.44 took the opener over Brian Ross and John Rosati.
Rosati came back to win the nightcap over Mike Stefanik and Charlie
Jarzombek. Saturday night at Riverside Park saw Ed Kennedy go pole to pole,
non stop, to win the 50 lap main event. Dan Avery finished second. Rick
Holmberg won at Riverhead and it was Jim Spencer over Jan Leaty at
Shangri-La. At Thompson on Sunday, the 300 outside pole position was up for
grabs. Brian Ross left no doubt that he was after the spot as he cleaned
house, beating out Jim Spencer and Mike McLaughlin for the win. Other
weekend winners included Leo Cleary at Seekonk and Jamie Tomaino winning the
Garden State Classic at Wall Stadium over Doug French. In Winston Cup action
at Pocono, Tim Richmond took the win.
Twenty years ago in 1991, Bob
Georgiades, son of John Georgiades, scored his first ever win as he won the
SK Modified main at Stafford on Friday night Steve Chowanski finished second
with Bob Potter, third. The Modified Tour was also at Stafford. Jeff Fuller
was the class of the field. Despite starting last because he missed the time
trials and heats Fuller had the field covered as he took the win over Steve
Park, Reggie Ruggiero and Tom Baldwin. On Saturday, Bruce Del won at
Riverside and Bill Park at Riverhead while rain prevailed at Waterford.
Fifteen years ago in 1996,
Riverside Park hosted the Featherlite Modified Tour on Wednesday. Jerry
Marquis, in the Art Barry No.21, took the win over Steve Park, Mike
Ewanitsko and Rick Fuller. Waterford ran on Thursday because of a fireworks
display was planned for New London on Saturday night. Mark LaJunesse took
the win over Bob Potter and Scott Spaulding. Tom Fox, in the Al Gaudreau
Late Model, won his seventh feature of the year. Stafford rained out on
Friday and on Saturday; Mike Ewanitsko won the Richie Evans memorial 76
lapper at Riverhead over Chuck Steuer and Tom Baldwin. At Riverside, it was
Reggie Ruggiero over Richard Savory. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Rusty
Wallace took the win and at Oxford Plains, Larry Gelinas won the Oxford 250.
Ten years ago in 2001 Thursday
night match race between Steve Park and Michael Waltrip at Thompson drew
11,000 fans. In regular race action, Ted Christopher made it five in a row
as he took the lead from Bert Marvin on lap 23 of the 30 lap SK-Modified
feature. Marvin finished second with Kerry Malone, third. The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series ran a 100 lap event at Loudon on Friday
afternoon. Tony Hirschman passed Ted Christopher on lap 97 and held on to
take the win. Christopher finished second but was moved back to last on the
lead lap, 21st, when it was discovered that his crew put an illegal tire on
the left front. Mike Stefanik was moved up into second. Rob Summers, Dan
Avery and Chris Kopec rounded out the top five. Lloyd Agor was the Friday
night winner at Stafford as Christopher, who flew in from Loudon, finished
second. John Sandberg had taken the checker as the leader but was
disqualified, as he didn't make weight. Dennis Gada got his sixth feature at
Waterford on Saturday night. Tom Fox finished second. At Riverhead, Howie
Brode went pole to pole, holding off Ken Heagy for the win. In Winston Cup
action at Loudon, Dale Jarrett took the win with Jeff Gordon, second. On a
sad note, it was announced that long time Modified Racing supporter Sonny
Richards had passed away.
Five years ago in 2006, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its first of two stops at the Waterford
Speedbowl on Saturday night. A total of 35 teams were signed in the pit area
preparing for practice before the event was canceled shortly after noon. The
Thompson Speedway beat the rains that came with tropical storm Beryl on
Thursday night. Scoring his second Sunoco Modified feature victory of the
season was Keith Rocco. Rick Gentes also scored his second of the season in
Late Model action. Fred Astle, Jr. claimed his first Pro Stock feature win
of the season while career firsts went to Brian Blaise and Tim Sullivan in
Limited Sportsman and TIS Modified competition respectively. Rick Blanchard
of Pascoag, RI continued his domination of the Mini Stock division with his
fourth win of the season.
Rocco jumped out from his third place starting spot and led the
entire 30 lap distance. On a single file restart, with four laps to go,
Rocco led a battle for second. Woody Pitkat dove underneath Tom Cravenho but
Cravenho held strong . On the white flag, it was a replay of the same move
by Pitkat. This time the move worked. Pitkat took second from Cravenho by
inches to earn the runner-up spot to winner Rocco. Cravenho, whose crew
worked feverishly during the week to get his car repaired after last week’s
incident, finished third. Jeff Malave and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of the 33rd annual SK
Modified 100. Todd Owen was the big winner of the evening, outlasting last
year's winner Willie Hardie. In other weekly action, Woody Pitkat made it
three in a row as he took home his sixth Late Model feature win of the
season, Brit Andersen was a first-time winner in the SK Light feature, Sean
Foster became a two-time winner in the Limited Late Model feature, Carla
Botticello outlasted Norm Sears for her first win of the season in the DARE
Stock feature, and Kenny Horton won the 21 Means 21 SK Modified feature. In
the 33rd annual Coors Light SK Modified 100 feature, John Blewett, III and
Lloyd Agor were the early race leaders, setting a blistering pace at the
front of the field. Near the midway point of the race, Bo Gunning, who was
last week's SK Modified feature winner, moved out front and led the half-way
point to pick up a $100 bonus from Reliable Welding and Speed. Gunning's
turned sour when he and Frank Ruocco made contact while racing for the lead,
which sent Gunning spinning and Ruocco to pit road for three fresh tires.
Owen took over the lead of the race with Gunning and Ruocco's spin, and he
led the rest of the way, outlasting Willie Hardie over the final 10-laps to
take the win. Rounding out the top-5 behind Owen and Hardie were Jeff Malave,
Ruocco, and Zach Sylvester. In the 30-lap Late Model feature, hometown
favorite Woody Pitkat, didn't take the lead of the race until lap-25, and
then had to survive several restart situations to nail down his sixth
feature win of the 2006 season. Wayne Coury, Jr. led the first 24-laps of
the race from the pole position, but his night ended with a crash in turn 1.
Late Model points leader Jim Peterson finished second behind Pitkat, with
Tom Butler, Tom Fearn, and Mark Lewis rounding out the top-5.
Denny Hamlin completed the Pocono sweep by winning the Pennsylvania
500 on Sunday in Long Pond, dominating the field for his second career
victory. Hamlin's first victory came six weeks ago at Pocono when he
recovered from a spin through the grass and held on after a late restart.
This race was easier, as Hamlin led 151 of 200 laps, putting him eighth in
the Nextel Cup points standings. Hamlin's teammate Tony Stewart nearly
self-destructed and Dale Earnhardt Jr. slipped in his pursuit of the title.
Stewart, the defending Cup champion, was black-flagged early in the race for
intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer. Stewart had been pushed up the track
and against the wall by Bowyer, and waved a hand out the window as the cars
separated. He then swerved directly into the side of Bowyer's car, sending
it spinning into Carl Edwards. Stewart was flagged for aggressive driving,
and had to pull into the pits for a one-lap penalty that dropped him to
wasted no time getting back on the lead lap. But on the next round of pit
stops, Edwards gave him a retaliatory shove that spun Stewart and earned
Edwards a penalty. Stewart still worked his way to a seventh-place finish,
moving him back to 10th in the standings. Kevin Harvick held off Richard
Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer by .271 seconds Saturday to win the
Goody's 250 Busch race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway - the first series
race at the track since 1994. The victory was Harvick's series-leading
fourth of the season. Harvick is one of six Nextel Cup drivers who are
running full-time schedules in both that series and Busch this season .It
was Harvick's 21st career Busch win and ties him for seventh place all time
with Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Harry Gant. Mark Martin leads
the series with 47 victories. Harvick's No. 21 Chevrolet was by far the
dominant car Saturday, leading 149 of 250 laps. He did, however, have to
navigate several tricky restarts as the race was marred by a track-record 19
cautions covering 87 laps.
Last year, 2010, The Stafford
Motor Speedway held their annual Extreme Tuesday event smack dab in the
middle of a 100 plus degree heat wave. Fans and competitors as well as
machines were put to the test. Mike Ordway, Sr. won the 50-lap ISMA
Supermodified feature, Randy Cabral won the 30-lap NEMA Midget feature
event, and Norm Wrenn made it three in a row at Stafford by taking the
25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors enjoyed a week off as
they prepared to head to the high banked, quarter mile, Monadnock Speedway
in Winchester, N.H.
The Thompson International Speedway continued with their Thursday
Night Thunder Series. Danny Cates was extremly strong in his victory in the
Sunoco Modified main event. Brian Sullivan shined in the TIS Modified annual
extra-distance event. While Shawn Monahan turned in a repeat winning
performance in the Limited Sportsman division and it was a night of firsts
in the Super Late Models and Mini Stocks. Larry Gelinas, driving for Rollie
Linblad, earned his first-ever Thompson victory in a hotly contested Super
Late Model feature. Dwayne Dorr turned in a dominating performance to score
his first Mini Stock victory of 2010. John Falconi of North Grafton, MA, was
awarded the victory in the Late Models when officials discovered illegal
cylinder heads on Rick Gentes’ motor.
The Modified Racing Series ventured to the Lee USA Speedway for the
Laticrete Port City 100. Jon McKennedy took the win over Dwight Jarvis,
Jimmy Kuhn, Andy Seuss and Rowan Pennink before a huge crowd.
The win was McKennedy’s eighth career victory with the Modified
Racing Series, sponsored by Bob Valenti AutoMall.Com., and his second at the
Lee oval. The race was competitive right from the start with five different
leaders and seven lead changes throughout the 100 lap green flag race.
Pole sitter Dwight Jarvis led the opening lap with Mike Ordway Jr
taking over the top spot on lap two. The Fremont, NH., driver led the field
until lap 16 when another local favorite, Louie Mechalides, took the lead.
Mechalides set the pace before yielding the top spot to Milford, CT.,
standout Doug Coby on lap 34. It was Coby’s turn at the front as he opened
up a sizeable lead before Jarvis took it back for two laps when Coby slowed.
Mechalides and Jarvis then swapped the lead with Jarvis prevailing through
lap 73, when a fast closing #73, McKennedy, powered by. Heavy traffic
created a close finish as Jarvis was 0.325 behind the winner at the
A total of 31 race teams entered the event. 24 cars started the
race with 20 cars finishing, 12 cars finished on the lead lap.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the
Stafford Motor Speedway, Frank Ruocco took his second victory of the 2010
season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco picked up his
first career Late Model feature victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature,
Tommy Barrett scored his third win of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature, Rob Dow won his first race of the season in the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, and Nick Salva was a first time career winner in
the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
For the record, Rocco had 18 wins for the season. His NASCAR total
is sixteen. In addition to his Late Model win at Stafford, Rocco also
recorded an SK Modified win at New Smyrna in Florida.
The Waterford Speedbowl did not have their regular Saturday night
divisions scheduled because of a Fireworks display on the Thames River in
New London. An Enduro had been scheduled but was scrubbed because of
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina was back in
action with a 100 lap Modified main event. Northern invader Ted Christopher
made his first ever start at the flat quarter mile oval driving for Roger
and Sandra Hill. Tim Brown won the caution-filled 100-lap Modified Division
race at thetrack they call the MadHouse. Brown led all but one of the final
33 laps to grab his third win of the year. The luck of the draw following
time trials found Christopher starting on the pole. The invader led the
first 24 laps before being passed by Jonathan Brown. Jonathan Brown would
wreck later in the event and limped home in 18th place, but there were
plenty of fireworks around Christopher, who tangled with Junior Miller on
the 79th lap and sent Miller to the pits. Miller finished the race in 19th
and wasn't very pleased with Christopher. The Winston-Salem Journal Now
quoted both Miller and Christopher following the race. "We had a shot at
winning this race and that weasel from up North came in here and just flat
wrecked us there at the end," Miller said. "I was pushing (Brown) when
(Christopher) came across the hood and tore the front end off". Christopher,
one of the top drivers on the Whelen Modified Tour, said that he would like
to race at Bowman Gray again. "At least I can say I led at Bowman Gray,"
said Christopher, who finished 15th. "I tried to race with Junior and those
guys and that guy has to be the biggest idiot in the world. He should
probably retire". Christopher added, "I don't mind and everybody says they
move people and stuff but he damn threw the whole car at me and planted me
hard and I said, ‘Oh well, I can play at that game.'
Following Tim Brown at the finish was Brian Loftin and Burt Myers. Rupert
Sink and Dean Ward rounded out the top five. Jason Myers ended up 13th,
Christopher, 15th, Jonathan Brown, 18th and Junior Miller, 19th.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rain washed out the 77 Lap
Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial NASCAR Modified event
Even Kyle Busch acknowledged that his landmark victory in Friday's
NASCAR Nationwide series race at Chicagoland Speedway probably wouldn't have
happened if not for Brad Keselowski's costly mistake. With Joey Logano out
front and an overtime restart looming, Keselowski ran out of gas just before
the green flag fell. Busch was able to move closer to Logano, then pounced
on the restart and held on for the win.
David Reutimann blew past Jeff Gordon and cruised to the victory in
the Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
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