November 18, 2011
five years ago in 1976, the Falconi family that was operating the
Westboro Speedway tried something different as they promoted a Modified race
for mid November with heated grandstands. The Falconi's owned and operated
an oil company and closed in the under part of the grandstand and used huge
fuel oil powered heaters. Needless to say, the experiment worked, as
everyone was toasty warm. Leo Cleary in the Tiger Tom Dunn T-5 led the 50
lap main event from pole to pole. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was
followed by George Murray, Mike Murphy, Bob Santos, Pete Fiandaca, Dick Caso
and Roland LaPierre Jr.
Ten years ago in 1991, the
Oswego Speedway was put up for sale with a price tag of $3 million. In
Winston Cup racing at Atlanta, Jerry Nadeau was in the lead and heading for
the win when he ran out of gas with less than a half lap to go. Bobby
Labonte took the lead with less than 100 yards to go and went on to record
the win. Nadeau coasted across the finish line in fourth spot.
Five years ago in 2006, the
True Value Modified Series, which had become a less expensive alternative to
the NASCAR Series, indicated that the Waterford Speedbowl may very well be
on their schedule for 2007. The open wheel touring series, which first
appeared at the Seekonk Speedway in October of 2004, would compete in four
100 green flag lap events, which would be preceded by a series of qualifying
At the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas,
NASCAR recognized several racetracks for their outstanding promotional
efforts in 2006. Among the honorees was the Thompson Speedway, which
received the Administrative award of excellence.
NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and Busch Series wrapped up their seasons at Homestead,
Fla. Matt Kenseth took the Busch Series win. Kevin Harvick already had
wrapped up the title. In Nextel Cup action, Greg Biffle took the win and
Jimmie Johnson, the title.
Last year, 2010, NASCAR has
announced the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule which featured 16
races and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule which featured
14 races, highlighted by a new special event at a historic New England
track, and the inaugural venture to Canada.
Begun in 1985, the 27th season of the Whelen Modified Tour would
see NASCAR’s oldest division return to traditional venues like Connecticut’s
Thompson International Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway a combined eight
times in 2011. Stafford would retain the four dates it had carried in in the
past while Thompson moved its August race to June and added a special event
On Sept. 11, Thompson would bring both the Whelen Modified and
Whelen Southern Modified Tours to its .625-mile oval for a new event that
would feature an exciting format. There would be separate 125-lap,
points-paying races for each Tour. The top 15 finishers of each race would
then line up for a 50-lap non-points “dash for the cash” race.
The Whelen Modified Tour would also head across the border for the
first time in 2011. New to the schedule would be an appearance on Sept. 4 at
Delaware (Ontario) Speedway, a half-mile asphalt oval that had held NASCAR
Canadian Tire Series events the two previous seasons and is a member track
of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
The 2011 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour schedule would
feature 14 races at nine different tracks. Begun in 2005, the seventh season
of Whelen Southern Modified Tour competition would run its first event at
Caraway Speedway in North Carolina on March 13 in the first of six events at
the .455-mile oval, which had played host to more all-time Southern Tour
events than any other facility. Bowman Gray Stadium, the hotbed of Modified
racing in the south, would once again welcome the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour on Aug. 6. Like Caraway, Bowman Gray had been a fixture of the Southern
Tour’s schedule since its inception.
Thanks to the efforts of NASCAR, the Speed Channel and the Versus
TV network many of the Northern and Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series
events were televised. Hopefully that would continue in 2011. Needless to
say it didn't as the only races shown were those at Bristol in August and
the Sept event at Loudon. NASCAR's most competitive division was again
Jon McKennedy was crowned 2010 Modified Racing Series Champion, on
Saturday night, November 20, when the New England based touring division,
sponsored by Bob Valenti AutoMall.Com, honored its competitors for their
accomplishments. McKennedy captured both the driving championship and car
owner’s title for the 2010 campaign. The 23 year-old driver joined
three-time champion, Kirk Alexander, as the only other driver to win
back-to-back championships. Like 2009, McKennedy won four races enroute to
the title. The only difference was the purchase of a new Race Works Chassis,
a potent car he put in victory lane the first night out at Waterford,
The top 15 drivers for the 2010 season were recognized at the year
end banquet. Runner-up and 2006 Champion, Dwight Jarvis, was honored, as
well as, Les Hinckley, Steven Masse, and Ken Barry, who finished in the top
five. Sixth through fifteenth were, Rowan Pennink, Todd Annarummo, Max
Zachem, Rob Goodenough, Jacob Dore, Joey Jarvis, Jack Bateman, Norm Wrenn,
Eddy Spiers, and 2008 champion, Chris Pasteryak.
In addition to crowning the series champion, the 2010 Koszela Speed
“Rookie of the Year” Award will be presented as will the DART Steel Engine
Builder Award. SPAFCO Most Improved Driver Award, Tough Luck Driver Award,
Crew Member of the Year Award, Sportsmanship Award, and Dedication to Racing
Award. Series officials select the special recipients annually.
The Stafford Motor Speedway honored its track champions at the 41st
Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards.
Headlining the night's festivities, Keith Rocco was be recognized
as the 2010 SK Modified® Champion, which is Rocco's second career track
championship. Ryan Posocco was honored as the 2010 Late Model track
champion, his record fifth career championship in Stafford's Late Model
division. Matt Galko became the second consecutive rookie driver to win the
SK Light Modified championship. Dan Flannery climbed his way to the top of
the mountain and was crowned the 2010 Limited Late Model track champion.
Tony Membrino, Jr. was honored as the third consecutive driver to win the
DARE Stock championship after winning the season opening Tech-Net Spring
Sizzler feature event.
There were 20 SK Modified features run at the half mile track.
Rocco recorded a record 10 wins including four in a row from June 11 to July
2. Other winners were Frank Ruocco (4), Woody Pitkat (3) along with Matt
Gallo, Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece who had one win each.
Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year honors went to Josh
Sylvester from the SK Modified® division, Tim Fogg from the Late Model
division, Matt Galko from the SK Light division, and Duane Provost from the
Limited Late Model division.
Carl Edwards won the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix
International Raceway, setting himself up for a big weekend for Roush-Fenway
Racing. Edwards dominated the Nationwide race, leading 153 of the 200 laps
while beating runner-up Kevin Harvick by 5.210 seconds.
Carl Edwards won the Kobalt Tools 500k Sprint Cup Series race at
Phoenix International Raceway from the pole for his 1st win of 2010, 1st win
in 70 races and 17th win of his career. Ryan Newman finished second followed
by Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Jimmy Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth,
Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray (who was the Lucky Dog twice).
Points leader, Denny Hamlin, led the most laps but had to pit for gas late
in the race and finished 12th and held on to the points lead by 15 points
over four-time champ Johnson.
There were 13 lead changes among 6 drivers and 5 cautions for 25
yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 75,000 down from last
year's 90,000. The purse was $4,998,285 down from $5,136,375 in 2009.
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.
This week are several vintage racing photos
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Frank Manafort Deke
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit