The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


June 8, 2012

   Sixty years ago in 1952 Charlie Brayton was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Don Collins won a 50 lapper on Saturday night. Lou Tetreault went two for two in the Claiming Cars as he won on both nights at the Connecticut shoreline oval.

   Fifty five years ago in 1957 Don Collins was the winner of the 25 lap Sportsman feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beuregard was the non-Ford winner.

   Fifty years ago in 1962, Ron Narducci made it two in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. At the Waterford Speedbowl, Dick Beauregard was the 25 lap Modified winner. Lou Caso was the Bomber division winner.

   Forty five years ago in 1967, Eddie Flemke made it clear that he liked the new asphalt at Stafford as he made it two in a row. Fred Harbach finished second with Bobby Santos, third with Fred DeSarro and Joe Trudeau rounding out the top five. Rain put a damper on action at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. A little further west at the Spencer Speedway Jim Shampine took a Friday night win. At the Norwood Arena on Saturday night, Johnny Thompson put his Ford Cobra powered mount in victory lane. Keith Armbrust was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. The NEMA midgets gave Stafford a try on Sunday with Johnny Coy taking the win over Russ Klar, Jerry Wall and George Konklin. Fulton Raceway ran on Saturday and Sunday. Dutch Hoag won the Saturday event with Don Diffendorf winning on Sunday. Flemke made it two in a row at the Utica – Rome Speedway. Ernie Gahan finished second with Elton Hill, third. Bernie Miller and Dick Clark rounded out the top five.

   Forty years ago in 1972, ageless Maynard Forette was the Friday night winner at Malta over Bugsy Stevens, Denis Giroux and Rene Charland in the Bob Johnson No.17. Fred DeSarro, who was an early retiree at Malta on Friday night, took the top spot at Stafford on Saturday night. Eddie Flemke finished second with Bugsy Stevens, Bob Santos and Denis Giroux rounding out the top five. Charlie Jarzombek beat out Jim Hendrickson at Islip and at Fonda it was Harry Peek over Jack Johnson and Andy Romano. George Allum took the Modified win at Waterford. Sunday night at Utica-Rome saw Lou Lazzaro take the win over Richie Evans and at Seekonk in a 100 lap open competition event, George Summers refused to be intimidated by the NASCAR hot dogs as he ruled his home territory. Fred DeSarro finished second with Jon Astle, third.

   Thirty five years ago in 1977, rain washed Stafford out on Friday night. At Riverside Park on Saturday night Bob Stefanik beat out Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari for the win. Monadnock ran a 100 lap NASCAR championship event on Sunday with surprise entry Maynard Troyer taking the win over Brett Bodine, Bob Polverari, Pete Fiandaca and John Rosati. In Sunday night small block modified action at Thompson, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row. Ron Bouchard finished second with Eddie Flemke, third.

   Thirty years ago in 1982, all of the racing for the whole weekend in New York and New England rained out. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Terry Labonte took the pole but it was Bobby Allison in victory lane. Ronnie Bouchard qualified 12th only to retire after 67 laps when his clutch went.

   Twenty five years ago in 1987, Jerry Pearl took top honors in SK Modified action at Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Richie Gallup, Bo Gunning and Ted Christopher. Ron Shepherd was awarded the win after Dave Reszendes,who crossed the stripe first, was penalized and placed eighth for rough riding. Reggie Ruggiero won a 100 lapper at Riverside and at Riverhead it was Wayne Anderson over Fred Harbach. Bugsy Stevens was the Pro Stock winner at Seekonk. On Sunday, the Modifieds traveled to Beech Ridge where Jeff Fuller took the win over Reggie Ruggiero.

   Twenty years ago in 1992, Stafford had an off night. At Riverside on Saturday night, Reggie Ruggiero took the 50 lap win over Chris Kopec and Dan Avery. Chris Jones got his first ever SK-Modified win at Waterford. Bert Marvin finished second with Harry Rice, third. Riverhead hosted a double header with Tom Baldwin and Bob Park recording wins. The Featherlite Modified Tour series was at Thompson on Sunday. Jeff Fuller, who had set fast time, drew the pole and led the first 91 laps of the 150 lap contest. After pitting for tires on lap 91, he powered his way back to the front and took the lead for good from Tom Baldwin on lap 114.Baldwin hung on to finish second and was followed by Steve Park, Jan Leaty and Rick Fuller. Mike Christopher was the SK Modified winner over Bo Gunning, Tom Tagg and Ted Christopher. On a sad note, it was announced that Bill France Sr, who had founded NASCAR, had passed away.

   Fifteen years ago in 1997, the Busch North Series visited Stafford for a 150 lap event. Jerry Marquis took the win over Tom Bolles and Andy Santarre. In SK Modified action, Bob Potter recorded his 22nd career win over Steve Chowanski and Jim Broderick. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Flemington where Mike Stefanik made it five in a row. Stefanik took the lead from Tim Connolly on lap 118 of the 150 lap contest. Eight cautions for 42 laps kept the average speed down to 81.977 mph. Jan Leaty, Connolly, Tom Cravenho and Lee Sherwood rounded out the top five. Todd Ceravolo recorded his third win of the season at Waterford. Ceravolo took the lead from Mark LaJunesse on lap 20 of the 35 lap feature. Lajunesse finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Mike Gada and Jeff Pearl. Bill Park went pole to pole to beat out John Fortin for the win at Riverhead and at Riverside, Ted Riggot held of Rob Summers for the win. AJ
Foyt and Arre Lyandike came close to slugging it out as Billy Boat won an IRL event in Texas and in Winston Cup action at Pocono, Jeff Gordon took the win over Jeff Burton.

   Ten years ago in 2002, Thompson started the weekend off with their Thursday night Thunder Series. Bert Marvin won the Sunoco SK Modified feature by twenty car lengths over Ted Christopher. Bo Gunning finished third with Chuck Docherty, fourth. Stafford suffered their third rainout of the season on Friday. A short field of 22 Modifieds was on hand at Waterford on Saturday night. Tom Fox took the win over Dennis Gada, Eddie Reed Jr and Rob Janovic. For some strange reason the pit area concession stand never opened At Riverhead, Joe Hartmann took the win over Dan Jivenelli and Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr. Tim Arre was victorious at Wall Township over Curtis Truex and Chip Graves. Richie Evans Jr. had been a regular competitor at Wall up until this time but was not allowed to compete as officials learned that his drivers license had been revoked by the state of North Carolina because of a DUI charge. Kenny Tremont got his 100th win at Lebanon
Valley. In Winston Cup action at Michigan it looked like Dave Blaney was headed for his first win until he was forced to pit for fuel with nine laps to go. Matt Kenseth inherited the lead and went on to take the win over Dale Jarrett. Brett Bodine was the Busch Racing Series at Kentucky.

   Five years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued to regroup before returning to action on Thursday, June 21. Among the biggest news items to come out of the tour ranks was that Chuck Hossfeld had been released from his driving duties of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 owned by Roger and Sandra Hill of Westfield, NC. Hossfeld had been the teams driver since the beginning of the 2006 season. Team owner Roger Hill said that a new driver would be in place in time for the upcoming Thompson event. Car owner Gary Teto was spearheading an effort to get NASCAR to revamp their race format for upcoming “Flash Events” at the Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. NASCAR came up with the “Flash” format to make events more affordable for speedways and competitors. The format was tried at the Whelen Tour event at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. The result was thousands of dollars worth of damage to the series’ cars. Teto proposed that NASCAR use Don Hoenig’s suggestion of running a single consolation to fill out the fields after the top 20 has qualified by time.

   Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway continued to be a top draw of both competitors and fans as 142 cars and a real good crowd were on hand. Kerry Malone, who has designs on the NASCAR Weekly Title made a statement with his strong win in the Sunoco Modified division. Larry Barnett continued to be the benchmark in the Limited Sportsman division with his win in the 50-lap main event. In full-fendered action Rick Gentes scored the Late Model victory while Mike O’Sullivan came home victorious in the Pro Stock division. Roger Larson, Jr. was tops in the TIS Modifieds while Brad Caddick scored the Mini Stock victory win. Craftsman Tools sponsored the night’s activities.

   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Frank Ruocco won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Scott Foster, Jr. 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Gallo, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand the Limited Late Model feature, and Norm Sears the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. In the words of many of those on hand the SK Modified feature was more of a rolling demolition derby rather than a race. NASCAR’s Busch East Series made a stop at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday. Former Busch North series regular Eddie MacDonald made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series start of the season and came away with his first victory since 2005. MacDonald led the final 81 laps. His win also earned him a secured starting spot in the postseason Toyota All-Star Challenge. Defending Busch East champion Mike Olsen passed Matt Kobyluck with three laps to go take second, while Marc Davis and Bryon Chew were fourth and fifth respectively.

   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman ruled as heavy rain pounded the shoreline oval throughout the day.

   Carl Edwards raced to his fourth NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday night, beating Clint Bowyer in the Federated Auto Parts 300 for the Nextel Cup driver's third straight win at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. Gordon held off Ryan Newman to win the rain-shortened Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and give Hendrick Motorsports its 10th win in the past 12 Nextel Cup races. The race was red flagged after 106 laps of the scheduled 200-lap, 500-mile race. With darkness falling, the cars went back to pit road and never came back after a final attempt to dry the track.

   Last year, 2011 The Whelen Modified Tour went back on Spring Break for another four weeks before returning to action with the Monadnock 200 on June 25 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

   Some of the tour regulars were not content to stay idle as they ventured to the Thompson Speedway Thursday night for a 40 lap open competition shoot out. Fifteen tour type Modifieds were on hand for the first of three events planned for 2011. Todd Szegedy, who started fourth, took the lead for the second and final time at lap 25 and held off a hard charging Ted Christopher at the finish. Christopher who was debuting a new car that had just been finished by Troyer Engineering, started on the pole position but on the long chutes of Thompson the Jack Roush Ford prevailed with its superior horsepower.

   Ryan Preece finished a strong third with Mike Stefanik, fourth. Steven Reed, who had traveled north from New Jersey, finished a distant fifth.
In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, National Champion Keith Rocco drove to victory lane in the Sunoco Modified Feature for his second win of the season. The victory put Rocco, who is the divisions first repeat winner this season, in the early season point lead. Danny Cates finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Preece and Rick Fuller rounded out the top five. Tough luck fell upon Todd Ceravolo who had his motor go sour on the parade lap.

   Other Thursday night winners at Thompson were Cam McDermott who scored his second consecutive win in the 20-lap Thompson Modified feature, Rick Gentes in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan in the Limited Sportsman while Danny Field made it four for four in Mini Stock action.

   The fields of cars continued to be a somewhat sore spot. Rick Fuller joined the field of Sunoco Modifieds but the count remained at nine. There were 10 Thompson Modifieds, fifteen tour type Modifieds, 10 Late Models along with 24 Limited Sportsman and 22 Mini Stocks.
Ted Christopher had been a part of the SK Modified division since almost day one. He has seen it evolve from a so-called used car division with home made motors to just about being a full fledged NASCAR Tour Modified. Originally the division rules dictated cast iron cylinder heads with stock valve springs. When competitors started twisting the motors too much the valve springs broke. Rules makers relented to competitor demands for racing valve springs and the cost went up from there. Said Christopher, "The biggest mistake Thompson made was going with motor rules that are different than those at Stafford and Waterford" He added, "during the years of the Tri-Track Series many of us ran all three tracks with the same motors and the same tires, that was affordable racing and all three tracks had good fields of cars" With the Thompson motor rules the way they are now there are maybe five or six competitors who can actually handle the speed. "Its real
simple, just watch", he said, "there is a big difference between the top five or six and the rest of the field so after a while some just give up and stay home", he added. "Hopefully the Speedway management will get the rules more in line with Stafford and Waterford which will go a long way in bringing back bigger fields of cars."

   The Stafford Motor Speedway enjoyed clear but chilly skies on Friday night. During the week a tornado touched down in nearby Monson, MA and did considerable damage. Those who live in the Stafford area said that all they saw was a little wind and a lot of rain. On the track was another story. Hot off his win at Thompson on Thursday night Keith Rocco carried the momentum over to Stafford as he scored his second consecutive victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat took his second consecutive victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano came home the big winner in a thrilling duel for the win to pick up his second win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Norm Sears picked up his second feature win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood picked up his first feature victory of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   Ted Christopher took second from Ryan Preece at the white flag, but Rocco was able to hold him off at the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive win and his third win of the 2011 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Rocco and Christopher was Preece, Woody Pitkat, and Reen.

   In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action was highlighted by a 50-lap Mini Stock race, captured by Ken Cassidy Jr., his second consecutive victory and third on the year in the division. Tyler Chadwick came out on top of the SK Modified® feature, holding back the last lap charges of Kyle James. Calvin Rose of Turner, ME dominated the second half of the 50-lap Northeast Mini Stock Tour race, going on to the win. Josh Galvin won his second Street Stock race on the season, Dan D’addario won the X-Car feature and Rose returned to victory lane to win the open-comp four cylinder race to close out the night’s festivities.

   Keith Rocco's bid to make it three for three on the weekend was spoiled by an early race tangle in the SK Modified feature.

   In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Chris Fleming drew the pole position for the nights 100 lap Modified main event and stayed up front until Jonathan Brown passed him in the 34th lap. Brown led until the 85th lap, when he slowed on a restart and triggered a multi-car pileup. Fleming slipped past and led the rest of the way. Joseph Brown finished second and Burt Myers, who retained his lead in the season standings, was third. Jonathan Brown finished fourth.

   The stadium also hosted NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East which turned into a rolling demolition derby. Matt DiBenedetto took the lead at the start and remained up front avoiding the carnage behind him in a wreck-filled Army Strong 150. Eighty-seven of the 156 laps were run under caution.

   At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Dave Brigati was the Modified feature winner.

   A special high paying open competition Modified race was held at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. Its a shame that only 16 showed for the event but those that did went home with an ample payday thanks to Kevin Rice and those who worked with him to make the event a success.
Laticrete 125 winner Jon McKennedy went home with $7,225. Second place finisher Chris Pasteryak collected $2,875, third place James Civali took home $2,800 and fourth place finisher Andy Seuss pocketed $1,775. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Preece who got $3,215. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Rob Summers, Lou Mechalides, Ted Christopher and Rowan Pennink.

   In Nationwide Series racing at the Chicagoland Speedway, Justin Allgaier saw Carl Edwards' car start to wobble as it ran out of fuel. And that's when Allgaier knew he would be able to get around him.

   Allgaier made his move for the lead coming into the third turn and once he got by, his tank was empty, too. Somehow the momentum from having just a little bit more fuel allowed Allgaier to coast to the finish line Saturday night with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne closing fast on both cars.

   At the Kansas Speedway Brad Keselowski led the final nine laps for his second Sprint Cup victory in 66 races.

   Sprint Cup car owner Richard Childress was fined $150,000 on Monday for assaulting Kyle Busch, the latest incident in an ongoing feud between NASCAR's most polarizing driver and Childress' race teams. NASCAR also placed Childress on probation through the end of the year, finding the team owner solely at fault for Saturday's incident at Kansas Speedway. The 65-year-old grandfather apparently approached Busch after the Trucks race, placed him in a headlock, and punched him several times.

   The 7th Annual Norwood Arena Reunion at Bezema Motors was the most successful one yet. The dealership on the Automile was packed with an overflow of fans, former competitors, race, classic and muscle cars as well as hot rods. Among the drivers in attendance were Steve Delaney of Dedham, Daryl Stampfl of Norwood, Jeff Lynch of Townsend, Gary Sager of Seekonk, Henry Stampfl of Plainville, Mike McCullen, Demo Derby King Bob Anderson of Brockton, Pete Desjardins of Cape Cod, 1970 Daytona 500 winner, Pete Hamilton of Maine, Joe Rosenfield, Jr. of Bridgewater, Jim Rosenfield of Middleboro, Fran Voss of Lexington, Jack Malone of Needham, Leo Cleary of Hanover, Bob Healey of Stoughton, George Savory of Westwood, Jerry Capozolli of Stoughton, Jeff Horn of Ashland, George Summers of Upton, Don McCoullough of Walpole, Lew Boyd of Newburyport and Joey Kourafas of Randolph. Former Norwood Arena Chief Steward Carl Merrill of Newton was also on hand.

   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

Charlie Brayton                                         George Summers                                     Johnny Thompson

Johnny Coy                                                Maynard Forette                                             Ron Narducci

Looking Back Archive


SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: June 8, 2012

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