September 23, 2011
years ago in 1951 there was no racing except for Claiming Cars on
Wednesday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Jim Tourjee was the
Fifty five years ago in 1956
Dick Beuregard, the guy everyone loved to hate, won the final Saturday night
Modified feature of the year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a 50
lapper. Lou Tetreault was the non-Ford winner. The Speedbowl would shift to
Sunday afternoons for the remainder of the season.
Fifty years ago in 1961 Bob
Hall made it two in a row in dirt action at Stafford. Sam Mazzella was the
25 lap Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Daring
Dick Caso was the Bomber winner.
Forty five years ago in 1966,
Pete Corey continued to be the master on dirt at Stafford as he took the
Friday night win. Fred DeSarro driving his home built 327 Chevy Sportsman
mount won the Bay State 200 at Norwood Arena. Pete Corey closed out the
season at the Fonda Speedway with a win over Jeep Herbert and Lou Lazzaro.
The Utica-Rome Speedway also ran their season finale with Kenny Shoemaker
taking the win. Lazzaro finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Sonny Seamon
and Bill Wimble rounded out the top five.
Forty years ago in 1971, the
Modifieds headed south to Martinsville for the Fall 100 on Saturday. Fred
DeSarro finally got one of the wins that he had always wanted as he took a
convincing win over Max Berrier and Jerry Cook. Jim Hendrickson recorded his
18th win of the season at Islip on Saturday night. Mousie Kempster finished
second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Cook. DeSarro made an all
night ride pay off as he made it to Stafford for a Sunday afternoon double
point event, which he won. Ray Miller finished second and was followed by
Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Cook. The Fulton Raceway wrapped up their season
with a 200 lapper, which was won by Geoff Bodine. Richie Evans finished
second with Sonny Seamon, third. Paul Richardson was the Supermodified
winner at Thompson. Howie Brown finished second. Donnie Bunnell made it two
in a row as he out dueled Seabury Tripler at the Waterford Speedbowl. Jerry
Glaude finished third with Joe Trudeau and Ed Yerrington rounding out the
Thirty-five years ago in 1976,
the Modifieds were at Martinsville for a 150 lapper. Geoff Bodine took the
win over Richie Evans, Paul Radford and John Bryant. Bob Polverari won a 100
lap Open Competition event at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bob Gada was the
Grand American-Late Model winner at the shoreline oval. At Thompson on
Sunday, Ronnie Bouchard got the best of Bodine as he won the 30-lap contest.
Maynard Troyer finished third and was followed by Eddie Flemke, Ray Miller
and Fred DeSarro.
Thirty years ago in 1981,
Stafford ran a special event on Saturday night for the recently displaced
SNYRA Modifieds from Danbury. Sixty cars were on hand and it was Rit Patchen
taking the win over Art Davis and Lou Funk. Shangri-La ran their season
ender with Richie Evans taking the win over Doug Hewitt and Dick Clark.
Oxford Plains ran a modified special on Sunday and it was Bugsy Stevens
taking the win over Reggie Ruggiero and Billy Clarke. In Winston Cup action
at Martinsville, Darrell Waltrip took the win. Saturdays Busch Grandnational
event was won by Geoff Bodine
Twenty five years ago in 1986,
the Winston Modified Tour was at Shangri-La for a 150 lapper. Jim Spencer
took the win over Jan Leaty, Geoff Bodine, Mike Mclaughlin, George Kent and
Corky Cookman. Waterford ran on Sunday with Richie Gallup taking the win
over Rick Donnelly. Rusty Wallace took the Winston Cup win at Martinsville.
Pole sitter Geoff Bodine, finished second.
Twenty years ago in 1991, the
Monadnock Speedway ran on Friday night with Ed Kennedy taking the win over
John Zavisa. Saturday night was the original Legends Night at Waterford.
Veteran Jerry Pearl took the Modified feature but the night belonged to Ed
Moody who won the Legends race over Charlie Webster. Shangri La ran a 150 on
Saturday night which saw Jamie Tomaino take the win over John Preston. Also
on Saturday night was the Tony Jankowiac Memorial which was won by Doug
Hevron. Lancaster ran the US Open on Sunday with Reggie Ruggiero taking the
win over Jeff Fuller, George Kent and Jan Leaty. In Winston Cup action at
Martinsville, Harry Gant made it four in a row.
Fifteen years ago in 1996,
despite being bounced out of the feature by the Connecticut DMV for rough
riding, Jim Broderick sewed up the Waterford Modified Track Championship
with a 15th place finish. During the event, Broderick and Ted Christopher
crashed each other with each blaming each other. Christopher was also
bounced. David Gada was the eventual winner with Jeff Pearl coming in second
and Bob Potter, third. Thompson ran a 300 lapper for the Busch North Series
on Sunday. Jeff Fuller took the lead on lap 183 and held it until the rains
came and ended the event on lap 213. Mike Stefanik ended up second with Brad
Leighton, third. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon took the
win with Terry Labonte, second. The following Tuesday, Sept.24, it was
announced that the following weeks event at Riverside Park had been
cancelled as promoter Ben Dodge had been released from his position after an
alleged dispute with the track owner.
Ten years ago in 2001 Thursday
night racing at Thompson was cancelled due to rain. Ted Christopher was
declared the NASCAR New England Regional Champion by six points.
Christopher, who won 15 of the 18 events run at Thompson was also declared
the National Champion and would receive $160,000 from the point fund.
Christopher moved on to Stafford on Friday night where he recorded his 59th
win at the ½ mile oval. Eric Berndt finished second with Chuck Docherty,
Jeff Malave and Darren Menditto rounding out the top five. At Waterford on
Saturday night, Dennis Gada took the win with Eric Berndt again the
bridesmaid. Ron Yuhas finished third with Ed Reed Jr. fourth. With the World
Trade Center in New York destroyed by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the
Stafford Speedway announced that no coolers or backpacks would be allowed
inside the admission gate.
Five years ago in 2006, The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Waterford Speedbowl. On and off rain
on Saturday plus fog and rain on Sunday forced NASCAR and the Waterford
Speedbowl management to announce the cancellation of the event. The Town
Fair Tire Finale, including Sunday’s Whelan Modified Tour Volunteer Fire
Department 150 was rescheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 7-8.
The Thompson Speedway was the scene of fever pitch competition
despite the fact that temperatures took a dive once the sun went down. Bert
Marvin of Waterford, CT was declared the winner in the Sunoco Modified
division. Les Rose, Jr. of E. Wareham, MA won the Pro Stock battle but Jeff
Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA won the war as he clinched the divisional
championship. A pair of “Most Popular Drivers” scored victories with Marc
Palmisano of Hadley, MA taking Late Model honors and Larry Barnett of
Ledyard, CT claiming the Limited Sportsman feature win. Scott Michalski of
S. Killingly, CT was tops in the Mini Stocks and Kurt Vigeant in the TIS
Bert Marvin crossed the line second at the conclusion of the Sunoco
Modified feature event but came home with the victory. In post race
technical inspection, apparent winner Jimmy Blewett of Howell, NJ was
disqualified for an illegal transmission. Blewett’s car, owned by Eddie
Partridge, was using a racing type transmission that is illegal at Thompson
but is considered ok at other tracks. Marvin bested a strong field of
26-Modifieds that included two drivers vying for the NASCAR Weekly Racing
Series regional championship-Jeff Malave and Woody Pitkat. A mere six points
separated Woody Pitkat and Jeff Malave atop the Sunoco Modified point
standings; however, a dismal night for Malave gave Pitkat some breathing
room entering the final Thursday night that would feature double features
for the division.
Marvin and Keith Rocco brought the field to green; however, the
action was short-lived when on lap one the action was slowed for an incident
that resulted in front-end damage on point leader Pitkat’s machine. Pitkat
was slammed broadside by another competitor as he entered turn one. He made
a remarkable save and was able to keep his car from hitting the wall.
Suffering a flat left front tire, Pitkat was able to continue after service
from his pit crew, rejoining the field in the 23rd position.
Marvin led Rocco and a charging Jimmy Blewett on the restart.
Blewett drove by Rocco and into the second position. Malave passed Buddy
Charette for fourth and a single lap later took third from Rocco. Ricky
Shawn led the second group of cars that included Tommy Cravenho and Todd
Ceravolo. By lap 10, Pitkat was solidly into the top-ten. Pitkat passed
Charette on lap 11. Meanwhile, Shawn had fallen to the challenges of
Cravenho and Ceravolo. Rocco had slipped by to the fifth position. The
leader, Marvin, hit heavy lapped traffic by the halfway marker. Malave began
to pressure Blewett for the second spot. Exiting turn four of lap 18, Malave
was second. Blewett tried in vain to catch Malave but got out of shape, in
the process falling into the clutches of Cravenho. Pitkat was pressuring
Rocco for seventh when the caution flew on lap 21 for a spin by Charette.
The restart pitted Marvin and Malave followed by Blewett and Cravenho in row
two. Marvin got a great restart to retain his spot at the head of the pack.
Blewett gave Malave a run but had to settle in for third. Contact between
Cravenho and Ceravolo from third and fourth sent cars scattering. Pitkat
managed to maneuver his way through the mess. Ceravolo and Dan LaJeunesse
sustained heavy damage. Evidently LaJeunesse doesn’t see past his hood and
his spotter wasn’t paying attention. LaJunesse was running wide open when he
hit Ceravolo on the driver’s side. The impact broke the car’s rear end and
sheared off the left front suspension assembly. The top-five for the restart
were Marvin, Malave, Blewett, Pitkat and Rocco. Again it was Marvin getting
the edge. Contact between Malave and Blewett sent Malave into the marbles
and losing two spots, one to Blewett and rival Pitkat. Blewett drove by
Marvin for the lead on lap 23. The caution flew on lap 25 for a spin by
Pitkat. Malave was sent to the tail for his involvement in the incident.
Blewett led the charge to the restart flag with Marvin in tow. Keith Rocco
drilled Ricky Shawn who was in third spot and subsequently sent Shawn
spinning. Both Malave and Pitkat were involved in the incident. Malave
headed to pit road with heavy right front damage. Pitkat was able to
continue. Malave was out for the night. Blewett sailed out to the lead on
the restart with five laps remaining. Marvin had his hands full with Rocco
while Charette had to contend with Pitkat. Over the final laps, Blewett
stretch his lead apparently coming home with his third win of the season.
Marvin was able to turn his dismal luck around with a runner-up finish
turned feature victory. Rocco was credited with a second-place finish over
Charette, Pitkat, and Brian Tagg inside the top-five. Pitkat was named
Sunoco Modified “Most Popular Driver”.
The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway closed out their Friday night
Dodge Racing Series with all division championships not decided. Frank
Ruocco maintained his SK Modified points lead with his first feature win of
the 2006 season, Mark Lewis picked up his first career win in the Late Model
feature, but it will be a two-man race for the championship as Woody Pitkat
and Jim Peterson are tied for the points lead. Brit Andersen was the winner
of the SK Light feature, which propelled him into a 4-way tie with Chris
Matthews, Richie Pallai, Jr., and Shelly Perry for the points lead heading
into the CARQUEST Fall Final. Andrew Durand was the winner of the Limited
Late Model feature event, but Kevin Gambacorta will head into the CARQUEST
Fall Final with a 10-point lead over George Nocera, Jr. Jeff Jolly collected
his second DARE Stock feature win of the 2006 season, but Norm Sears' third
place finish gives him a 50-point lead, meaning that he only has to start
the DARE Stock feature during CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend to become the
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, SK Modified® points leader
Frank Ruocco, of Cheshire, chose the best time to pick up his first feature
victory of the 2006 season. Ruocco quickly worked his way into second place,
and then bided his time behind Chris Jones before taking the lead for the
first time on lap-22. Ruocco had to contend with a hard charging Willie
Hardie in the closing laps, but Ruocco was able to hold Hardie off to the
checkered flag. Hardie finished second, with Woody Pitkat, Jones, and Ted
Christopher rounding out the top-5. Ruocco held an 18-point lead over Willie
Hardie, 586-568. Both Eric Berndt and Todd Owen were 50 points behind. All
other drivers were eliminated from championship contention.
In other weekend racing John Blewett III sewed up the track title
at the Wall Township Speedway and David Darling sewed up the Pro Stock title
Clint Bowyer won the Busch Series event at Dover Downs while Jeff
Burton won the Nextel Cup event.
Last year, 2010, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH for the F.W. Webb 100
which carried a race purse of $166,513. Thirty five Modifieds were on hand
for practice and qualifying. NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor Ryan Newman won
the Coors Light Pole Award with a speed of 129.300 mph. Second fastest and
taking the outside pole was Todd Szegedy who went 127.816mph. Third through
fifth were Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos JR and Ed Flemke Jr. Rounding out the
top ten were Mike Stefanik, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Goodale, Erick Rudolph and
defending race winner Ron Silk.
Ryan Newman didn't do the Whelen Modified Tour Series any favors as
he won the FW Webb 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. For the most
part Newman had the field covered as it looked they regular tour runners
were racing for second place. Jimmy Blewett, who triggered a big wreck on
lap 37 that eliminated Ted Christopher, Ed Flemke Jr and Jamie Tomaino,
provided some last lap drama as he made an unsuccessful run at Newman.
Blewett ended up second. It was a big day point wise for Mike Stefanik.
Stefanik finished third and closed to within two points of series leader
Bobby Santos III. Stefanik was in the hunt all day but had nothing for
Newman. Doug Coby made a remarkable run as he came from starting dead last
to finish fourth. Coby also had a shot at Newman on the final restart but
fell short. Rounding out the top five was Ron Silk. Sixth through tenth were
Dale Quarterly, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Goodale, Joe Hartmann and Rookie
sensation Richie Pallai Jr.
There were 16 changes involving 6 drivers which made for much
excitement on the track they call the magic mile. There were seven cautions
for 28 laps. The first yellow was displayed on lap seven when Glen Reen and
Rowan Pennink spun and crashed in turn two. Pennink was all done for the day
after the incident. The second caution flew on lap 28 when James Civali spun
the Roger Hill No. 79 in turn four. Civali had handling issues all day as he
finished in 17th spot. The third caution was for Rob Summers and Andy Seuss
who wrecked on the front stretch. The fourth caution was one of the biggest
wrecks of the day which was triggered when Jimmy Blewett got into Ed Flemke
Jr in turn four. Blewett drove away while Mike and Ted Christopher along
with Kevin Goodale , Richard Savory and Justin Bonsignore were eliminated.
Flemke continued on for 20 more laps before calling it a day in 26th spot.
The fifth caution was displayed on lap 66 when Jake Marosz spun in turn two.
George Brunnhoelzl III and Rene' Dupuis spin on lap 92 brought out the sixth
caution and the seventh and final caution was brought out when Ryan Preece
and Bobby Santos made contact between turns three and four which resulted in
both taking a hard shot into the wall which eliminated them as well as Glen
Reen. Santos was credited with 19th spot in the final rundown. Preece ended
up 20th and Reen, 21st.
Thursday night Thunder Racing at the Thompson Speedway was
cancelled due to a forecast of heavy rain and high winds for northeast
Connecticut. Mother Nature handed NASCAR Whelen All-American division
championships to Sunoco Modified driver, Ted Christopher and Mini Stock
driver, Chuck Rogers. Both Christopher and Rogers had built up enough track
points to clinch their crowns before the final points race on September
The Stafford Speedway was back in action with its final Friday
night program. Ryan Preece outdueled Woody Pitkat to score his first career
SK Modified® feature victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Ryan
Posocco scored his fourth win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature,
Tommy Barrett, Jr. scored his 10th win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr., won his second consecutive feature of
2010 in spectacular fashion by crossing the start/finish line sideways in
the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly scored his third win
of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl
defending division champion Ron Yuhas Jr. took the lead on the 18th lap and
was able to keep it on four separate restarts to take the checkered flag in
Saturday's 35-lap SK-Modified feature. Yuhas was pressured by some of the
division's top drivers, including national champion and current division
leader Keith Rocco, Rob Janovic Jr., Todd Ceravolo and Tyler Chadwick, but
was able to pull out the win, holding off a late charge by Rocco, who
finished second. Tucker Reynolds Jr. was third, followed by Joe Perry and
Other winners on Saturday were Bill Leonard (Mini Stocks), Anthony
Flannery (Legends) and Corey Coates (A.B. CDL Trucks).
Clint Bowyer won the Sprint Cup race at Loudon. His car failed a
follow-up inspection and he was penalized 150 points. Bowyer led a race-high
177 laps, lost the lead to Tony Stewart, but stretched his final tank of gas
92 laps to win the race when Stewart ran out of fuel right before the final
lap. The victory snapped an 88-race winless streak for Bowyer.
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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