April 6, 2012
five years ago in 1967, Newt Palm was the opening day winner at
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. John DeLong was the 15 lap Daredevil
Forty years ago in 1972,
Bowman-Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. opened for the season on Saturday
night. Wayne Lambreth took the win over Lloyd Ashby and Jerry Cook. At South
Boston on Sunday, Max Berrier took the top spot with Gerald Compton, Paul
Walton, Jerry Cook and Ashby rounding out the top five. Steady Eddie Flemke,
driving the Frank Vigliorolo No.34 which was the original Bob Judkins Pinto,
breezed to an easy win as he dominated the competition at the 50 lap Blast
Off at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bob Mott was the Sportsman Sedan winner.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
a 200-mile NASCAR National Modified Championship event was run at the
Trenton, N.J. Fairgrounds on the 1-1/2 mile kidney shaped oval. Jerry Makara
took the win over Fred DeSarro, Satch Worley and Geof Bodine. It was also
the season opener at Thompson where Bugsy Stevens was the Small Block
Modified winner. Freddie Schulz finished second with Ronnie Bouchard, third.
Thirty years ago in 1982, the
only action was at Darlington where Buddy Baker was the pole sitter and Dale
Earnhardt took the win.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
Wall Stadium opened for the season with Tony Siscone taking the win over
Jerry Cranmer, Gil Hearne, Doug French and Tom Mauser. At North Wilkesboro,
N.C. Donald “Satch" Worley took the win over John Bryant. Riverside Park was
not as fortunate as rain washed out the program at the central Mass.
Twenty years ago in 1992, the
then called Winston Modified Tour was at Richmond for a fast 150 lapper.
Doug Hevron hit pay dirt with the Len Boehler No.3 as he outran Rick Fuller,
Jan Leaty and Ed Flemke Jr. Rounding out the top five, down a lap, was Tom
Baldwin. At Riverside Park, Jerry Marquis put the Bobby Judkins 2x in
victory lane. Ed Kennedy and Bobby Gegetskas followed.
Fifteen years ago in 1997, Mark
Martin was the Busch Grandnational winner at Texas. In Winston Cup action,
most of the crowd could have taken a nap, as there was little or no passing.
Jeff Burton got his first win with Dale Jarrett, second.
Ten years ago in 2002, it took
two days to run the Texas Winston Cup event. Rain forced a red flag after
116 of the scheduled 200 laps were run. Matt Kenseth ended up with the win
after Dale Jarrett ran out of gas while leading with two laps to go. Jeff
Gordon finished second. It was announced that the Stafford Speedway would
have a weekly highlight program on Friday afternoons and in Texas it was
announced that Johnnie Cochrain would be the leading lawyer in the
anti-trust suit against the International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR.
Five years ago in 2007, The
Waterford Speedbowl was slated to begin its regular Saturday night schedule.
Fans and competitors were still buzzing about the poor officiating at the
recent Bud Nationals, especially the Jimmy Blewett incident. A ten shot
photo series by noted photographer Howie Hodge told the story. Doug Coby got
into the back of Frank Ruocco as they exited turn two. Blewett, running in
fourth spot at the time went low to avoid the car of Ruocco only to be hit
accidentally by Ruocco. Jimmy Blewett was below the white line when Ruocco’s
left front tire hit Blewett’s nerf bar. As stated previously it was a bad
call! A video by Nick Teto verified what really took place and what the
Waterford on track officials failed to acknowledge.
Extremely bone chilling temperatures put a damper on the Speedbowl
as racing was cancelled on Friday.
While the northeast continued in a deep freeze the action south of
the Mason-Dixon Line was hot. In the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour
American Revolution 150 at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina
Junior Miller rode around in the top five for the majority of the race
behind the dominant car of Matt Hirschman. Hirschman ran out front from lap
five until lap 129, when Miller drove underneath him to take the lead away.
Miller led the rest of the way en route to his 10th career NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour victory. After Miller took the lead, Hirschman fell
back to second until he spun coming off the fourth turn after contact with
Tim Brown. Hirschman’s late spin set the stage for a green-white-checkered
finish with Miller holding off Brian Pack for the win.
Miller’s win allowed him to take over the Whelen Southern Modified
Tour point lead by 28 points over Burt Myers. L.W. Miller, who held the
point lead coming into Saturday night’s race, was knocked out of the race on
lap 45 due to electrical problems. For Pack, his runner-up effort tied a
career best NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour finish from last year at
Motor Mile (Va.) Speedway. Andy Seuss and Brandon Ward. Burt Myers, Jason
Myers, Chuck Hossfeld, Bobby Hutchens and John Smith rounded out the top
10.Hirschman spun after contact with Brown on lap 147, necessitating the
overtime finish. Hirschman wound 11th, the last car on the lead lap.
Among the new driver-owner combinations slated to debut are Rick
Fuller who will be driving the Bear Motorsports entry. Don Lia in the Mystic
Missile and Jerry Marquis in the Brady Bunch entry. In addition Zach
Sylvester will make his first run in the Curt Chace No.77. The Blewett
brothers will make their team debut during ICEBREAKER weekend
The NASCAR Nextel Cup division had a weekend off to celebrate
Easter. The Busch Series raced on Saturday. Carl Edwards raced to his second
consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victory, easily winning the Pepsi 300 in
chilly conditions at the Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn., to
extend his lead in the standings. The Nextel Cup driver led the final 25
laps and crossed the finish line 4.7 seconds ahead of David Reutimann. Dave
Blaney, who was involved in an early fracas, rallied to finish third. Jason
Leffler was fourth, followed by Regan Smith
It was announced that sponsors of a $368 million NASCAR race track
proposal for Washington State had abandoned their efforts after encountering
stiff opposition from local officials and resistance at the state
Legislature. Great Western Sports, a subsidiary of International Speedway
Corp., announced the decision to drop the plan for the motorsports venue in
Kitsap County, across Puget Sound from the Seattle metropolitan area. ISC
spokesman Lenny Santiago said his group hasn't taken Washington state
completely off the table, but could not see a way to proceed this year.
Developers had touted the racetrack as a $4 billion boon to the state's
economy, including thousands of jobs. But legislation to help finance the
track had gone nowhere. The company's proposal had called for taxpayers to
pay for about half of the facility, with ISC contributing $180 million. The
company had said it would pay for any cost overruns. The state share would
have been paid through bonds. Despite the setback on the west coast ISC
raised its annual dividend by 2 cents to 10 cents a share. The dividend will
be payable on June 29 to stockholders of record May 31, the company said in
The company also said its board approved an additional $39.6
million for capital projects.
Last year, 2011, The Waterford
Speedbowl opened for its 61st consecutive season with the Budweiser
Blast-Off event. The Speedbowl is the second-longest continuously running
Modified track in the country. Despite financial problems, including a
continuing bankruptcy case the Speedbowl opened on schedule. Because of
precipitation and cold, a scheduled practice slated for Friday was
cancelled. The precip pretty much ended on Saturday with the exception of a
stray shower in mid afternoon. A surprising low number of SK Modifieds, 18,
were on hand. All were Speedbowl regulars. No outsiders from Stafford or
Thompson were on hand. The field of Bob Valenti Modified Racing Series cars
was strong with 27 on hand and the field of Late Models was up from last
year with 17 ready to compete.
On Sunday six features were run before an almost capacity crowd.
The highlight of the day was the win by Chris Pasteryak in the 100 lap
Valenti Modified Racing Series event. Pasteryak of Lisbon Ct executed a late
race pass for the lead to score the popular home track win. Russ Stoehr of
Lakeville, Massachusetts claimed the NEMA Midget victory. Keith Rocco of
Wallingford, Ct continued where he left off at the end of 2010 in the SK
Modifieds®, as he led every lap of the 61 lap SK feature. Vin Esposito of
Seymour, Ct won his first extra distance event in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall
Late Models, Josh Galvin of Franklin, Ct won the Street Stock race and Bill
Leonard of Wood River Junction, Rhode Island was the victor in the Mini
Pasteryak started the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event
by jumping to the early lead over Doug Coby after the pair started on the
front row. The pair, each with five career Speedbowl wins to their credit,
battled early and often. Coby peeked outside Pasteryak several times,
finally pulling ahead on lap-35. Coby stayed there through an extended run
of green flag racing that ended on lap-63. He picked up his lead over
Pasteryak again and held the advantage until lap-85. Coby got loose entering
turn one and Pasteryak seized his opportunity. He dove inside Coby and
executed a clean pass as the two reached turns three and four. From there,
Pasteryak didn’t look back as he went on to take the win. Coby finished
second and was followed by Todd Annarummo, Rowan Pennink and Les Hinkley.
Sixth through tenth were Norm Wrenn, Tom Barrett, Jacob Dore, Eric Goodale
and Matt Hirschman.
In the 61 lap SK Modified event Rocco took the lead from pole
sitter Rob Janovic at the spot and went on to lead almost the entire event.
It was not a runaway by any means. Ron Yuhas Jr. moved around the outside of
Janovic for second place on lap-15 and the top three cars pulled away from
Diego Monahan who was in fourth. Tyler Chadwick ran alone in fifth position,
while Justin Gaydosh and Jeff Pearl battled for sixth. Caution again waved
on lap-26 for a single car spin when Joe Perry looped his machine off turn
Yuhas had a great restart in the outside lane. He edged ahead of
Rocco for the lead into turn one, but Rocco battled back strong to his
inside. The pair made contact exiting turn two resulting in Yuhas catching a
wheel into the backstretch wall. Contact between the leaders continued in
turn three as Rocco got shuffled out of the racing groove by Yuhas. As Rocco
and Yuhas slid up the track, Janovic and Monahan darted by to the inside to
become the new leaders. Yuhas’ day ended in the turn four wall just one lap
later when he lost the right front tire on his car, ending his strong early
run and bringing out the yellow flag.
Monahan had a great restart to the outside of Janovic once the
track was cleared. They spent two laps side-by-side battling for the lead
before Monahan faded in the outside lane. Rocco ducked past Monahan then set
his sights back on Janovic out front. He made his move to the inside of
Janovic exiting turn four on lap-32, reclaiming the top spot. The action was
slowed again on lap-36 when Diego Monahan spun from third position in turn
two with everyone able to avoid his spinning car. Chadwick was penalized for
overaggressive driving, placing him to the tail of the field.
Rocco and Janovic moved out to a straightaway advantage ahead of
Tom Abele when the field returned to green. Nichole Morgillo held onto
fourth position with Perry back up to fifth. The race stayed green over the
final 25 laps and although Janovic was able to keep Rocco in his sight, he
could do nothing to challenge the defending track and national champion.
Rocco went on to the win over Janovic, Abele, Morgillo and Chadwick, who
rallied furiously in the outside lane over the final green flag run to claim
fifth position. Six cautions slowed the pace of the race.
In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action at the Hickory
Speedway in North Carolina, George Brunnhoelzl III saved his best for last
to win the Hickory 150 on Saturday. After starting third on the Lap 151
restart in a green-white-checkered finish, Brunnhoelzl passed James Civali
to collect his second win of the season. It was the eighth career win for
the 2009 Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion.
Zach Brewer also worked past Civali to finish second while Civali settled
for third. John Smith and Thomas Stinson finished fourth and fifth,
Although Brunnhoelzl celebrated in Victory Lane it appeared Brewer
was on his way to his first win as he was passing Civali late in the race
when Frank Fleming spun in Turn 1 to bring out the sixth and final caution
flag of the race. On the restart, Civali chose the outside lane with Brewer
on the inside. Brewer and Civali made contact on the restart allowing
Brunnhoelzl to make his move and lead the final two laps of the race. Andy
Seuss came home sixth, Jason Myers seventh and Burt Myers eighth. Renee
Dupuis rebounded from a spin earlier in the race to finish ninth in her
first start on the southern tour and Josh Nichols completed the top 10.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Martinsville Speedway, Kevin
Harvick came from nowhere for the second consecutive week to grab his second
victory of the season. It gave his Richard Childress Racing team its first
win at Martinsville since the late Dale Earnhardt's 1995 victory, and came
at the expense of his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who settled for second and
saw his losing streak stretch to 99 races. The event was only the second of
2011 to have a sell out crowd.
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
Eddie Flemke Sr
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit