April 27, 2012
years ago in 1952 rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford
Fifty five years ago in 1957
Don Collins was the 25 lap Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier was the 10 lap non-Ford winner
Fifty years ago in 1962, Dick
Beauregard made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he
won the 25 Lap Modified feature. Ed Moody, who in later years would become
the assistant tech inspector at the Stafford Speedway, won the 15 lap Bomber
Forty five years ago in 1967,
the only racing was in New York State and in Connecticut. Fulton Raceway ran
on Saturday night with Maynard Troyer taking the win. The Fonda Speedway
opened for the season with Pete Corey taking the win over Jeep Herbert and
Bill Wimble. Also opening for the season was the Utica-Rome Speedway where
Fran Kitchen took the win over Kenny Shoemaker, Bernie Miller, Ray Sitterly
and Frank Mathalia. In Connecticut at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl
Newt Palm made it three in a row when he won the 30 lap Modified feature.
Ron Emery was the Daredevil winner.
Forty years ago in 1972, the
NASCAR Modifieds were in Martinsville for a 100 lap event which saw Bugsy
Stevens take the win over Gene Bergin, Jerry Cook and Max Berrier. Islip
opened for the season on Saturday night with Fred Harbach taking the win
over Jim Hendrickson, George Wagner and Cliff Tyler. At Fonda, Jack Johnson
dusted Lou Lazzaro and Maynard Forette for the win. Dave Lape and Harry Peek
rounded out the top five. Stafford ran a 30 lapper on Sunday afternoon.
Ronnie Bouchard in the Bob Johnson No.17 took the win over Leo Cleary, Bob
Santos, Jerry Cook, Ray Miller and Smokey Boutwell. Waterford also ran on
Sunday afternoon with Angie Cerase taking the 40 lap Modified win. Wally
Gada was the Sportsman Sedan winner.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
Ronnie Bouchard beat out Fred DeSarro and Bob Polverari as he won the season
opener 100 lapper at the Waterford Speedbowl. Don Fowler was the Grand
American Late Model winner. This event was the first to be promoted by Dick
Williams and Coastal Racing who had leased the track from Harvey Tattersall.
Jap Membrino won at Plainville and at Islip it was Wayne Anderson over Fred
Harbach and Bill Park. Freeport was also running on Saturday night. Charlie
Jarzombek took the win at the flat quarter over Gary Winters and George
Brunnhoelzl. In the southland, Jerry Cook won a 200 lapper at Bowman Gray
but had to settle for third at the Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, Va.
On Sunday, Punky Caron took Monadnock by storm and at Thompson it was Fred
DeSarro over Ronnie Bouchard, Eddie Flemke and Leo Cleary.
Thirty years ago in 1982, The
Modifieds traveled to Martinsville for a 150 lap event. Richie Evans took
the win over Jim Spencer, Greg Sacks and Jamie Tomaino. Reggie Ruggiero was
the winner at Riverside Park over Stan Gregger, Bob Polverari and Ray
Miller. The event was marred by a crash as a result of a stuck throttle on
the car driven by Dave Furoni. Furoni died as a result of injuries. Mike
Stefanik was the Pro Stock winner. At Islip, John Blewett Jr. took the win
over Don Howe and Bill Park and at Wall Stadium, Tony Siscone beat out Tom
McCann for the win. On Sunday, Jerry Cook won an open competition event at
Lancaster. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville Harry Gant ended a long
string of second place finishes as he won the 250 mile event.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
the Modifieds traveled to Martinsville for the Spring 150 only to have it
rained out and not rescheduled. A long trip for nothing! Bruce D'Assandro
scored his first ever win in an 87 lapper at Riverside Park .Mike Stefanik,
Tom Bolles, Mike McLaughlin and Ed Kennedy rounded out the top five. Steve
Park was the opening night winner at Riverhead as he beat Jerry Solomito to
the stripe. At Shangri-La it was Ron Shepherd over Jim Spencer and at
Waterford on Sunday, Rick Donnelly took the season opener over John Anderson
and Dennis Gada. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took
the win. Geoff Bodine was leading the closing laps when he was spun by Kyle
Petty. Bodine recovered to finish third.
Twenty years ago in 1992, Ricky
Fuller jumped the curb in a late race pass of Jan Leaty to take the lead and
eventual win at Martinsville. Mike Stefanik finished second and was followed
by Leaty and Satch Worley. Dennis Gada beat out Richie Gallup to win the
Waterford opener. Jerry Young was the Late Model winner after Phil Rondeau
broke an axle in the late going. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Mark
Martin took the win and made it eight in a row for Ford products. Kyle Petty
crashed and burned. First on the scene was Geoff Bodine who pulled him to
Fifteen years ago in 1997, Todd
Ceravolo took the Saturday night win at Waterford. Eric Berndt was leading
the closing laps when his engine burped and he lost power. Scott Spaulding,
running second at the time slowed to avoid a collision and was
unintentionally tapped and spun by Ceravolo. Dennis Gada finished second
with Jim Broderick, third. Tom Fox was the Late Model winner. At Riverside
Park, Reggie Ruggiero recorded his 87th career win at the 1/4 mile oval over
Dave Berube and Richie Gallup. At the Stafford Sizzler, Mike Stefanik
recorded his third Sizzler win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was
followed by Mike Ewanitsko, Dan Avery and Tom Baldwin. Lloyd Agor and Steve
Chowanski were the winners of the twin 40 lap SK Modified features.
Ten years ago in 2002, Ken
Wooley was the Busch Pole sitter for the Spring Sizzler. Tony Hirschman was
the outside pole sitter. The event, which drew 48 Modifieds was rained out
and re-scheduled for the following week. The SK-Modifieds got to run on
Saturday and when all was said and done, Doug Coby took the 40-lap win over
Chuck Docherty and Lloyd Agor. Numerous wrecks and spins forced the race to
go 52 laps before the checker dropped. In other Saturday night action Ron
Yuhas Jr. passed Rob Janovic on lap 24 of the 35 lap feature at Waterford
and went on to take the win. Janovic finished second and was followed by Ed
Reed Jr., Tom Fox and Dennis Gada. In Winston Cup action at Fontana,
California, Jimmie Johnson scored his first win. Scott Riggs was the Busch
Series winner. Other weekend winners included Tom Arre at Wall Township,
Chris Young at Riverhead, Brett Hearn made it two in a row at Lebanon Valley
and TJ Potrzebowski won the Race of Champions Tour Richie Evans Memorial at
Five years ago in 2007, The
2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Stafford Motor
Speedway on April 29. The track opened on Friday despite heavy rains that
cancelled weekly racing division practice sessions. Forty-two Modifieds were
on hand for practice and qualifying on Saturday. Second generation driver
Matt Hirschman took the Busch Pole winner as he toured the half mile oval at
45/100th of a second faster then his father, Tony, in qualifying. Tony
Hirschman, a five-time series champion, averaged 99.701 mph in his
qualifying run. Reggie Ruggiero of Rocky Hill, Conn. was third fastest with
a speed of 99.673 mph. Thompson Ice Breaker winner, James Civali, was fourth
fastest with a speed of 99.448 mph. Ted Christopher rounded out the Top-5 in
qualifying with a speed of 99.179 mph. The Top-8 qualifiers drew for
starting position. Tony Hirschman drew the pole and was joined by Ruggiero
on the front row. Civali and Matt
Hirschman made up row number two.
Don Lia and car owner Bob Garbarino didn’t repeat their mistake
made at Thompson as they pitted for tires on lap 75 of the 200 lap Spring
Sizzler. Their pit stop paid off in dividends as they won the event. Lia and
Todd Szegedy swapped the lead three times over the final 29 laps. Lia took
the lead for good on lap 97. Szegedy settled for second with Jerry Marquis
bringing the Brady Bunch No.00 home in third spot. Mike Stefanik, who had a
problem and never got to time trial, got in the event using a provisional
starting spot, finished fourth. Zach Sylvester in the Curt Chase No.77
finished fifth. Fourteen caution periods for 76 laps kept Lia’s average
speed at 55.147 mph. Frank Ruocco, a part time Modified Tour competitor
caused the two biggest wrecks and was responsible for at least six cars
being knocked out of the Sizzler. The first “Big One” came on lap 20 when
Ruocco got airborne and landed on the Roger Hill No.79 driven by Chuck
Hossfeld. The Hill car suffered extensive body damage and looked ready for
the scrap heap. Extensive pit repairs and body work with a sledge hammer
plus miles of 100 mile per hour tape kept Hossfeld on the track. Plus the
fact he received two separate Lucky Dog awards and was able to finish on the
lead lap in 13th spot. Carl Pasteryak and Bobby Santos III weren’t as lucky
as their mounts had to be parked because of extensive damage. The second
Ruocco “Big One” came on lap 117 when his radiator broke and the resulting
mess collected Rick Fuller, Rob Summers and Matt Hirschman. Sixth through
tenth were Tony Hirschman, James Civali, Matt Hirschman, Jimmy Blewett and
Among the highlights of the weekend was the release of Steady
Eddie: Memories of Ed Flemke, Modified Racing's Fastest Professor. Coastal
181 and Bones Bourcier did an excellent job on this one. Flemke became a
Modified Legend in his own time. A favorite Flemke story took place at the
Waterford Speedbowl in the early 1950’s. Flemke was in the Army and
stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Waterford had a big race and Flemke
wanted the weekend off and his superiors refused his request. Some how he
was able to go AWOL and make the race. Some of his friends had his car ready
when he arrived and he jumped in and went out and won the race. Military
Police were waiting at the pit gate. They got a big surprise when Flemke
parked his race car between turns one and two and jumped the fence and ran
off into the nearby woods. To make a long story short, Flemke made it back
to Fort Dix and was in his bunk fast asleep when the MPs returned from
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, Chris Matthews
repeated his Spring Sizzler SK Light Modified feature win of one year ago,
and Rick Lanagan drove to victory in his Limited Late Model feature debut.
Zach Sylvester was the winner of the Coors Light 21 Means 21 SK Modified®
feature event, and Ryan Posocco was the winner of the Late Model 16 feature
Lloyd Agor was awarded the SK Modified win after apparent winner
Woody Pitkat was disqualified after officials discovered his car had an
illegal rear spoiler. Jeff Baral finished second and was followed by Jeff
Malave, Eric Berndt and Ted Christopher. The Late Model Feature went green
to checker with first-time winner Corey Hutchings taking the win. Woody
Pitkat finished second.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Shawn Monahan passed
Doug Coby with 12-laps to go to win Saturday evening’s 35-lap SK Modified
feature at the shoreline oval. Early leader Dennis Charette spun after
contact with Kenny Horton. Jeff Paul, Rob Janovic, and Tyler Chadwick
rounded-out the top-5. Last weeks winner Diego Monahan finished sixth.
Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Models), Dwayne
Dorr (Sportsman), Joseph Godbout III (Mini Stocks), Ginny Quinones (USAC
Ford Focus Midget Series).
At the Wall Township Speedway Kevin Flockhart won the 40 lap
Modified feature. Tom Farrell, Michael Bohn, John Blewett III, Steve Reed
and Shaun Craig rounded out the top five.
In NASCAR Busch East competition Sixteen-year-old Joey Logano swept
to the win at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina, his second
NASCAR Grand National victory in less than ten days. Logano, of Middletown,
Conn., held off Sean Caisse to win the NASCAR Busch East Series Greased
Lightning 150. The victory comes on the heals of his NASCAR West Series
season opening win at Phoenix International Raceway April 19. The West
Series and Busch East Series wins were Logano’s first and second career
NASCAR starts, respectively. Logano, who set the track record at 87.481 mph
qualifying, took the lead from defending race winner Caisse on lap 73. Bryon
Chew of Mattituck, N.Y. was third followed by Peyton Sellers of Danville,
Va., and Rogelio Lopez of Mexico City, Mexico.
In Nextel Cup action at the Talledega Speedway Jeff Gordon crossed
the finish line for win No. 77, breaking a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt
on NASCAR's career victory list. It was only fitting that it happened at
Talladega, where Earnhardt, who would have been 56 on Sunday, won 10 times
in his Cup career. But it was anticlimactic and confusing, ending under
caution to leave Gordon unsure if he'd actually won and taken over sixth
place on the wins list.
Gordon, who started on the pole, ran up front at times during the
race but was 14th on a restart with 10 laps to go. But he stormed to the
front and with three laps to go passed Jamie McMurray for the lead a
split-second before a caution came out. It set up a the
green-white-checkered flag finish, with Gordon out front on the restart. But
before the field reached full speed, a wreck far behind the leaders brought
out the caution and effectively ended the race. Tony Stewart, embroiled in
controversy all week for likening NASCAR to pro wrestling, was knocked into
the wall far ahead of the first accident. He bounced off the outside wall,
slid down the track and into the inside wall, then stood fuming on the apron
as he waited for the field to pass. He made an angry gesture at Jamie
McMurray and David Gilliland as they passed under caution. Jimmie Johnson,
Gordon's teammate, finished second as Hendrick Motorsports cars continued
their season-long domination. Hendrick drivers have won six of the first
nine races. Kurt Busch was third, Gilliland fourth and McMurray finished
fifth. Kevin Harvick was sixth, followed by Earnhardt, David Stremme, Ryan
Newman and Martin Truex Jr.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the Kentucky Speedway revised
their lawsuit against NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation.
Kentucky Speedway is no longer is demanding a Nextel Cup race in its federal
lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. In an amended
complaint filed Friday, April 20, the speedway said it wants NASCAR to
develop "objective factors" for the awarding of Nextel Cup races, the France
family to give up control of either ISC (a public company that operates
tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the Frances) or NASCAR
(a private company owned by the Frances) and for ISC to sell at least eight
of the 12 tracks it owns that host Nextel Cup events. The 41-page complaint,
filed in U.S. District Court in Covington, also reveals some of the
speedway's attempts to bring NASCAR's top racing series to Gallatin County.
The speedway filed suit in July 2005 alleging NASCAR and ISC violated
antitrust laws by restricting which tracks host Nextel Cup races and trying
to "monopolize the market for hosting premium stock car racing events." In
the original complaint, the speedway asked for Nextel Cup races to be
awarded through a competitive bidding process. The complaint details some
specific attempts by the speedway to secure a spot on the Nextel schedule.
According to the new complaint, the track offered New Hampshire
International Speedway owner Bob Bahre $360 million to buy the facility that
holds two Cup races annually. NASCAR and ISC have denied the allegations
contained in the original complaint.
Last year, 2011, The NASCAR
Whelen Southern Modified Tour was in action at Caraway Speedway in Sophia,
N.C. Ted Christopher made it two in a row as he edged Thomas Stinson in a
two-lap dash to the finish.
Christopher, a veteran of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with 294
career starts and 39 wins on that circuit, took command from pole-sitter
George Brunnhoelzl III on the sixth lap of the Caraway 150 and held off
Stinson in a green-white-checkered finish to win by .284 seconds.
Christopher's victory follows his at South Boston, Va. It marked
the sixth career win in 15 starts in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified
Tour for the Plainville, Conn., driver and his fourth win at Caraway. After
being passed, Brunnhoelzl stayed close and shadowed Christopher for most of
the race. He made several challenges, but was not able to regain the lead.
Stinson, who had started 17th, caught the pair on Lap 125 and gained the
second spot on Lap 131. He attempted to move by Christopher for the lead,
but had to settle for the runner-up spot. John Smith finished third with
Brunnhoelzl and Frank Fleming rounding out the top five. Jason Myers, Austin
Pack, Tim Brown, Lee Jefferies and James Civali made up the top ten.
Jeffries was pinch hitting for the injured Burt Myers. Ten of the original
20 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.
For the second week in a row the Waterford Speedbowl pulled the
plug due to cold weather and heavy rain along the Connecticut shoreline.
In Nationwide Series racing at Nashville, Carl Edwards led five times for
148 laps beating Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by .521 seconds. Edwards
surged past Busch as the two dueled for the lead with 35 laps to go. Sprint
Cup competition took a week off.
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 & Rocky Germano
Jimmy Bosco & Pete Corey
Tony 'Jap' Membrino
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit