The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


May 18, 2012

   Sixty years ago in 1952 rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the second week in a row.

   Fifty five years ago in 1957 Don Collins made it two in a row in Sportsman action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Dean was the non-Ford winner. NASCAR incurred one of its darkest and near tragic days when a Mercury driven by Billy Myers in a Grand National (Cup) event got launched into the grandstand, injuring several people. No fatalities incurred but a few days later the major auto makers pulled out of NASCAR Racing.

   Fifty years ago in 1962 Hank Stevens captured his second Modified feature win of the year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner. Ernie Gahan was the Modified winner on the dirt at Stafford.

   Forty five years ago in 1967 Newt Palm made it four out of five as he won the Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ron Emery was the Daredevil winner.

   Forty years ago in 1972, Eddie Pieniezak was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. Jerry Cook, Eddie Flemke, Richie Evans and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Saturday night racing at Stafford, Waterford, Islip and Fonda rained out. Utica-Rome remained clear as hometown favorite Clayton "Sonny" Seamon took the win over Richie Evans, Bill Henry, Ron Holmes and Bernie Miller. Waterford ran their rained out program on Sunday where Dick Caso made it two in a row. Bob Gada SR was the Sportsman Sedan winner.

   Thirty five years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens took the top spot at Stafford on Friday night. Geoff Bodine finished a strong second with Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Punky Caron made it four in a row at Monadnock as he beat out Bob Karvonen, Ollie Silva and Jack Bateman for the win. Riverhead also ran on Friday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win. Jarzombek made it two for two as he also won at Freeport on Saturday night. Stevens, who drove the Sonny Koszela Woodchopper on Friday night at Stafford, jumped into the Joe Brady No.41 at Seekonk on Saturday night and made it two for two on the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Don Dionne, George Murray and Red Barbeau rounding out the top five. Mike Weeden won at Westboro over Kenny Bouchard and Joe Howard and at Waterford; George "Moose" Hewitt took the win. Other weekend winners included Ted Wesnoski at Islip and Fred DeSarro at Thompson.

   Thirty years ago in 1982, Brian Ross took the Friday night win at Stafford after Greg Sacks was forced to back off because of a deflating tire. Sacks finished second with Ray Miller, third. Dan Avery was the SK Modified winner. Charlie Savage was the SK mod winner at Waterford on Saturday. Jerry Pearl finished a close second. The field was light but the competition was tough as George Summers took the win at Seekonk on Saturday night. Brian Ross finished second with George Savory, third. Reggie Ruggiero took another win at Riverside but had to settle for second behind George Kent at Thompson on Sunday. Kent was also the winner at Shangri-La on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and at New Egypt, Doug Hewitt, also at Spencer, Bill Park at Islip and Gail Barber at Lancaster.

   Twenty five years ago in 1987, Ted Christopher beat out Bo Gunning at Stafford. Ditto for Gunning at Waterford on Saturday as he finished second to Bob Gada. The Modified Tour was at Clearfield, Pa where Jim Spencer took the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Mclaughlin and Mike Stefanik. Stan Greger was victorious at Riverside and at Riverhead, Tom McCann took the win. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the WINSTON.

   Twenty years ago in 1992, Tom Tagg won out at Stafford over Bob Potter and Richie Gallup. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis went two for two in the Bob Judkins 2x as he won both ends of the twin bill that was presented. Marquis back it up with a win at Monadnock on Sunday. The Busch North Series was also at Monadnock. Ageless Stub Fadden took the win over Dale Shaw and Mike Rowe. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was leading the last lap of the WINSTON and rode Kyle Petty to the grass as he was attempting to pass. Petty didn't lift and ended up spinning Earnhardt out. Davey Allison passed Petty at the finish line. Petty then hit Allison and sent him into the wall to end a wild night of racing. Racing at Waterford rained out.

   Fifteen years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick, with his Mopar powered SK, took the lead after early leader Ed Flemke Jr. crashed and went on to record his second win of the season at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with Bob Potter, third. Chuck Steuer went pole to pole at Riverhead and Tom Jensen beat out Dave Berube at Riverside. It rained at Waterford and at Shangri-La. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth for a 100 lap event. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Tony Hirschman on lap seven and went on to record the win. Charlie Pasteryak finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Ed Kennedy and Jan Leaty. There were ten cautions for 47 laps. The Busch Grandnationals were also at Nazareth. Elliott Sadler recorded his first GN win with Todd Bodine, a close second. Steve Park led 92 of the first 141 laps until losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won $207,500 when he took the checkered flag in the Winston. Ricky Craven won the Winston Open.

   Ten years ago in 2002, heavy rain forced postponement of the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event on Friday night. Qualifying was completed before the rains came. Nevin George set fast time for the Busch Pole award. Ted Christopher was the second fastest. The re-draw for the start saw Christopher on the pole with Jamie Tomaino, outside. George drew the third starting spot. Forty-three Modifieds were on hand. Among the notables that missed the cut were Tom Baldwin, John Blewett III, Jim Broderick and Carl Pasteryak. At Waterford on Saturday night Ed Reed Jr. beat out Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada and at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. The Busch North Series was at Seekonk for a 150 lapper. Matt Kobyluck took the lead on lap 144 and went on to score the win. At the Adirondack Raceway second-generation driver Chris Ross won a 50 lap Pro Stock event. The Fonda Speedway celebrated its 50th anniversary.

   Jack Johnson, who, at 57 scored his 140th win at the historic oval. Mark Rogers won at Wall Township and Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500, the 12th win for car owner Roger Penske. In Winston Cup action in the World 600 at the Lowes Motor speedway, Mark Martin took the win after Jimmie Johnson blew a late race pit stop. Jeff Green won the Busch Series event.

   Five years ago in 2007, In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the weatherman took the win. Forecasts of heavy wind and rain forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s activities. Kerry Malone was the current point leader in the SK Modified division. Malone led Eric Berndt by 10 points after three events. Rounding out the top five were Ted Christopher, Brad Heitala and Willie Hardie Jr. Defending SK Modified Champion Frank Ruocco was 11th, 54 points behind the leader. Other point leaders were Tom Butler in the Late Models, Chris Mathews in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Ltd Late Models and Barry Fluckiger in the Dare Stocks. The Stafford Speedway announced that Valvoline, in conjunction with CARQUEST Auto Parts, had signed on to become an SK Modified 1st place contingency partner for the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. Valvoline's weekly $150 contingency bonus brought the total winner's check for each SK Modified® feature event to $1,850.

   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman also prevailed as close to two inches of rain fell on the shoreline oval on Saturday. Shawn Monahan was the current SK Modified point leader as he held an 18 point edge over Rob Janovic. In six events Monahan had been the model of consistency as he had recorded six top 10’s including one win. Janovic hadtwo wins but has only five top tens. Rounding out the top five were Doug Coby, Jeff Pearl and Diego Monahan. Allen Coates was the Late Model point leader, Dwayne Dorr the Sportsman leader, Ken Cassidy the Mini Stock leader and Chris Bakaj the Legends leader.

   Joey Logano won his third Grand National Division race in four career starts in the Featherlite Coaches 200. And his latest win came over runner-up Kevin Harvick by nearly two and a half seconds – a day after Harvick won the NEXTEL Cup All-Star Challenge and three months after he won the Daytona 500. The first NASCAR sanctioned event at Iowa Speedway drew a facility-record estimated crowd of 24,741. It was also one of the largest stand-alone crowds in NASCAR Grand National Division history.

   Kevin Harvick earned a $1 million payday, winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C., after Matt Kenseth got caught speeding and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch took each other out of contention. That made Jimmie Johnson, a two-time All-Star race winner, the last driver for Harvick to contend with. But Johnson barely mounted a challenge, staying in line behind Harvick until the final lap at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson made one attempt at a pass, Harvick blocked it, then drove off to his second win of the season. Mark Martin finished third and was followed by Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Johnny Sauter and Kenseth. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr., who got into the race by winning the Nextel Open, rounded out the top 10.

   It was announced that almost 1,700 former Sprint Corp. employees would settle their federal class-action age-discrimination lawsuit against the company for $57 million, according to a proposal filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Kansas. The employees sued after several mass layoffs between October 2001 and March 2003, alleging that a computerized performance management system used in the layoffs improperly targeted employees older than 40. The settlement amount included $21 million to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees and costs.

   The Associated Press reported that NASCAR couldn’t stop AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, a federal judge ruled. NASCAR asked for the ruling to be put on hold pending appeal. A federal judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant NASCAR's requests for a stay to prevent Burton's No. 31 car from racing Saturday with the AT&T logo. The first ruling, issued just hours before the Nextel All-Star Challenge, was the second in two days from U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob. Following the second denial for a stay, NASCAR filed an emergency motion with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which also denied the request.

   Last year, 2011, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on Spring Break before returning on Friday, May 27 at Stafford for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.

   The Thompson Speedway began its weekly Thursday Night Thunder Series. Keith Rocco of held off Ted Christopher to score the victory in the Sunoco Modified feature event. Derek Ramstrom was the feature winner of the Super Late Models and Rick Gentes was triumphant in Late Model action. Jay Sundeen wired the field to score the victory in the TIS Modifieds while Larry Barnett the all-time winning most driver in the Limited Sportsman division, added to his tally with a victory and Danny Field was the top dog in the Mini Stock main event; making it two-in-a-row for the Icebreaker winner.

   Once the sun went down the temperatures dropped but the action on the track kept spectators warm. The competition was very good but the fields of cars, with the exception of the Limited Sportsman (26) and the Mini Stocks (23) was sparse. There were 13 Late Models, eleven Sunoco (SK) Modifieds, eight Super Late Models and nine Thompson Modifieds.

   Keith Rocco led green to checker to score the victory in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature event. Ted Christopher finished second followed by Todd Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, and Danny Cates.

   The Stafford Motor Speedway ran on Friday night and boasted 25 SK Modifieds in the pit area. Ted Christopher recovered from his race ending broken crankshaft on opening night to pick up his first win of the 2011 season with a dominating performance in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dillon Moltz was the winner of the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr. became the first repeat feature winner of the 2011 season with a victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes drove to victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, Six divisions were in competition on Saturday night, with Keith Rocco, the defending division champion, returning to the winner’s circle in the SK Modifieds®.

   Brian Andronaco Jr. was the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, his first on the season. Ed Puleo made it two in a row in the Street Stocks. A first time winner took the checkered flag in the Mini Stock feature with third generation racer Jeffrey Cembruch took the win. Rounding out the night’s winners were Dana Dimatteo in the Legends Cars and Taylor Martin who won the Bandolero feature.

   Waterford drew 19 Modifieds which is fairly respectable. The Street Stock field, which at on time numbered over 100 per night, was a mere 11.

   In Modified action south of the Mason-Dixon line at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC early evening rain forced cancellation of the scheduled event.

   At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, John Fortin used an 11th lap double file restart to his advantage to score the victory in the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event for the Whelen All-American Series. The victory was worth $1,450 to the former three time track champion and his 24th career visit to victory lane.

   In Nationwide Series racing at Dover, Carl Edwards was sure he tapped Joey Logano on the last lap but Edwards missed him, and all the mayhem behind him as Logano lost control on his own and tagged the wall, triggering a wreck-filled final lap that knocked out several contenders and let Edwards win the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Matt Kenseth was the Sprint Cup winner..

   Kyle Busch moved past Elliott Sadler 23 laps from the end and stayed in front of Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin to win the Royal Purple 200 on Friday night, his fifth Nationwide victory this season and 48th overall, one behind Mark Martin's series record.

   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
Courtesy of & Dave Dyke's

Click on Photo for Full Sized

Chick Stockwell                                               Leo Cleary                                                  Brian Ross    

Donald 'Hank' Stevens                                   Charlie Jarzombek                                              Pete Corey        

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: May 18, 2012

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