March 2, 2012
years ago in 1972, Richard Petty started third and took the
Winston Cup win at Richmond.
Thirty five Years ago in 1977,
Cale Yarborough won the Winston Cup event at Richmond, VA.
Thirty years ago in 1982, Benny
Parsons was the Winston Cup pole sitter at Rockingham. The event was rained
out and rescheduled. NASCAR did not have a next clear day policy at the
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
Davey Allison was the Winston Cup pole sitter at Rockingham. Geoff Bodine
was second fastest. The Saturday Busch Grandnational event was cancelled
because of heavy rain and not rescheduled. Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the
Winston Cup event with Ricky Rudd, second.
Twenty years ago in 1992, Ward
Burton won the 200 mile Busch Grandnational event at Rockingham. Bill
Elliott in the Junior Johnson No.11 was the Winston Cup winner.
Fifteen years ago in 1997, Mark
Martin was the pole sitter for both the Busch Grandnational and Winston Cup
events at Rockingham. Martin won the BGN event while Jeff Gordon took
advantage of Dale Jarrett's late slip and won the Winston Cup event. On a
sad note, George "Moose" Hewitt, a former track champion at Waterford,
passed away at the age of 62.
Ten years ago in 2002, Minority
shareholders of Speedway Motorsports sued NASCAR for breach of contract and
anti-trust matters because the shareholders claimed that NASCAR re-neged on
its promise for a second Winston Cup date at the Texas Speedway. The suit
has yet to be settled. In Winston Cup action at Rockingham, Ricky Craven was
the Busch Pole sitter. Jeff Green took the Busch Grandnational pole. Jason
Keller was the Grandnational winner with Greg Biffle, second. Matt Kenseth
passed Ricky Craven in the late stages of the Winston Cup event and went on
to score the victory. The event finished under caution. Crew Chief Robbie
Reiser was fined $30,000 after it was determined that the Kenseth car was ľ
inch too low.
Five years ago in 2007, The
only action of the weekend was on the west coast. Matt Kenseth took control
in the closing laps Saturday night at California Speedway, driving off with
his fourth NASCAR Busch Series victory in 12 tries on the 2-mile oval. Casey
Mears grabbed second place 12 laps from the end and gave a big effort to try
to catch Kenseth, but the Roush Fenway Racing driver wouldn't let Mears get
close enough for a serious challenge, driving across the finish line about
five lengths ahead. Kenseth made a clean sweep as he won the Nextel Cup
event. TV camera angles indicated the event was not a sell out.
The Northeast Racing News carried the announcement that HD Net
would extend their coverage of Busch East events to 2007. A while back
NASCAR had indicated that there would be extensive television coverage of
Tour Series events. With Speedweeks in Florida over and most of the major
announcements made it looked like the Modifieds and NASCARís other regional
series got the short end of the stick again.
In some sad news, Malcolm R. "Johnny" Thompson, 78, of Pond Drive, formerly
of Pendleton Hill Road, North Stonington, died on Monday morning, Feb. 19,
2007 at his home. Johnny, a die hard Ford man, drove at many racetracks
throughout his career from the old Kingston Fairgrounds in Rhode Island then
at the Waterford Speedbowl, Stafford Speedway and the Thompson Speedway in
Connecticut. He achieved his greatest success at the Norwood Arena where he
was a Modified Champion. For many years Thompson and the late Leo Hill
shared a garage in North Stonington where they fabricated their own cars.
Last year, 2011, it was
speculated with fuel prices going through the roof, race fans would be
staying close to home. A recent trip from Florida to Rhode Island saw gas
prices ranging from $3.09 per gallon to over $4.00. New Jersey had the best
deal at $3.09 per gallon on the Turnpike. Local promoters who present a
quality produce at a reasonable price would reap the benefits of the race
fan sticking close to home
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Drivers and Owners were anxiously awaiting word
from NASCAR concerning Television coverage of the upcoming season. The Speed
Channel and the Versus Channel did an outstanding job with their coverage.
The NASCAR Home Tracks web site says that Bryon Chew, a former
competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, will trade fenders for nerf
bars and compete full-time in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starting in
In some sad news it was learned last weekend that Gene Bergin had
passed away. Bergin had driven just about every kind of race car from
Midgets to Indy Cars and from Modifieds to NASCAR Cup cars. He was also an
inducted member of the NEAR Hall of Fame. He was one of the chosen few to
record wins at Stafford both on the dirt and on the asphalt.
Berginís career included a couple of significant milestones as his
1967 Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway title came in the trackís first year
with an asphalt surface, and his wire-to-wire triumph in the 1971 Stafford
200 also marked the first checkered flag for a Modified with a Pinto-style
body. He is credited with 15 feature wins at Stafford from 1964-74, the
first two of which came on the old dirt surface.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Phoenix International Raceway
Jeff Gordon passed Kyle Busch with eight laps left and stretched his lead
from there, ending his winless streak at 66 races. Jimmie Johnson, Kevin
Harvick and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five in a 312-lap race around
PIR's mile oval, the last on the current surface.
Kyle Busch became the first driver in a national NASCAR race to win
wire-to-wire in nearly eight years. Busch dominated from the pole early and
held off Carl Edwards late, maintaining the lead the entire way in the
Nationwide race Saturday to set up the chance for a perfect weekend at
Phoenix International Raceway. Busch also won the Truck race.
Thatís 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 photos of the great Gene Bergin who passed away one
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit