June 22, 2012
years ago in 1952 Wes Kingsley was the 25 lap Sportsman winner at
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Everett Harris was the Claiming Car
Fifty five years ago in 1957,
Red Bolduc, who normally raced at the Norwood Arena, ventured to Connecticut
where he won the 25 lap Sportsman feature at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner.
Fifty years ago in 1962, Bill
Slater made it two in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. At
Waterford, George Pendergast was the 25 lap Modified feature winner. Lou
Caso was the Bomber winner.
Forty five years ago in 1967,
Bugsy Stevens was the Friday night winner at Stafford over Gene Bergin,
Bobby Santos, Pete Hamilton and Leo Cleary. It was Stevens’ first win at
Stafford. Double features were on tap at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Rene
Charland took the opener and was followed by Bill Wimble, Eddie Flemke, Lou
Lazzaro and Guy Chartrand. Kenny Shoemaker won the nightcap over Richie
Evans, Wimble, Lazzaro and Flemke. Hamilton, who had taken over the
Worcester Sand and Gravel No.69 that had formerly been driven by Mario
"Fats" Caruso took the Saturday night win at Norwood Arena. At Fonda, it was
Rene Charland over Lou Lazzaro and Jack Farquar. Newt Palm made it two in a
row at Waterford. At the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night George
Pendergast beat out Richie Evans, Pete Corey, Billy Harman and Rene Charland
for the win.
Forty years ago in 1972, rain
put a damper on the racing in New York State as Malta, Fonda and Utica-Rome
pulled the plug because of the wet stuff. Bugsy Stevens was the Saturday
night winner at Stafford over Eddie Flemke, Leo Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard.
At Islip, Japanese driver George Tet was the winner at the tight 1/5 mile
oval. Cliff Tyler finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third. Waterford's
features were washed out after qualifying was completed.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
still going strong was Bugsy Stevens, now in the Koszela 15, as he blasted
his way thru the field at Stafford to record a popular win over Geoff
Bodine, Ray Miller and Brett Bodine. The rain stayed north and washed out
Friday night action at Monadnock. Saturday night at Seekonk, Leo Cleary in
the Tom Dunn T-5 Pinto Wagon showed the quick way around the 1/4 mile oval
as he took the win over Jim Wilkins, John Rosati and George Murray.
Waterford and Westboro were victims of rain but at Riverside it stayed dry
long enough for Bob Polverari to record a win over Reggie Ruggiero. All
racing for the weekend on Long Island was also wet. At Thompson on Sunday,
Fred DeSarro made it four in a row. Geoff Bodine settled for second and was
followed by Leo Cleary, Ronnie Bouchard and Ray Miller.
Thirty years ago in 1982,
Richie Evans scored his 11th of the season with a 150 lap win at New Egypt
on Wednesday night. Tony Siscone finished second with Jerry Cook, third. New
Egypt ran again on Friday night with Siscone turning the tables with a win
over Evans and John Blewett Jr. Greg Sacks, enjoying his best season ever,
recorded his 12th win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Bugsy
Stevens finished second with George Summers, third. Tom Bolles was the SK
Modified winner. Dan DeRosier beat out Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari at
Riverside and at Thompson, Richie Evans and Reggie Ruggiero each scored
victories. Rain washed out Waterford and Islip. In Winston Cup action at
Michigan, Cale Yarborough took the win.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
Rick Fuller was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Richie
Gallup finished second with Jerry Pearl, third. Ricky Shawn was the Late
Model winner. Dickie Doo Ceravolo made it two in a row at Waterford on
Saturday night as he beat out Moose Hewitt and Jerry Pearl for the win. At
Riverside, Dan Avery took the win over Bob Polverari and Reggie Ruggiero and
at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson went pole to pole to take the win over Tom
McCann. Out in South Central New York at Shangri-La, Tony Hirschman took the
win and in Winston Cup action at Riverside, Tim Richmond took the win.
Twenty years ago in 1992, rain
drenched the northeast, washing out Stafford's Busch North Series event on
Friday night and Waterford on Saturday night. The NASCAR Featherlite
Modified Tour Series Modifieds were at Flemington for a 200 lapper which was
won by local favorite Doug Hoffman. Jan Leaty finished second with Ed Flemke
Jr, Tim Arre and Jeff Fuller rounding out the top five. Mike Ewanitsko ruled
the roost at Riverhead and at Riverside, Bruce D'Assandro beat out John
Zavisa and Ed Kennedy for the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1997,
Steve Chowanski started his weekend right with a win at Stafford on Friday
night. Bo Gunning finished second with Jim Broderick, third. At Waterford on
Saturday night, Todd Ceravolo got his fourth win of the season after Jim
Broderick was disqualified with an illegal transmission. Don Fowler ended up
second with Dennis Gada, third. Mike Stefanik recorded his sixth modified
win of the season as he won the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Touring Series
201 lap event at Riverhead. After taking the lead on lap 66, Stefanik
survived nine cautions for 42 laps on his way to victory. His average speed
was 46.708 mph. Mike Ewanitsko finished second and was followed by Ted
Christopher, Tim Connelly and Rick Fuller. Ted Riggott got his fourth win at
Riverside and in Busch North Series action at Thompson on Sunday, Jerry
Marquis took the win over Martin Truex, Tom Bolles, Rick Fuller and Mike
Stefanik. Marquis started
sixth and was running third on lap 31 of the 150 lap event when Kelly Moore
dumped leader Dale Shaw. Shaw went to the back and Moore pitted for a stop
and go. In Winston Cup action at Fontana in California, Jeff Gordon took the
checker on fumes as he ran out of gas on the cool down lap.
Ten years ago in 2002, Bert
Marvin made it three in a row in Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson.
Marvin started 17th and followed Ted Christopher to the front. He passed
Christopher on lap 7 and leader Stu McCarthy on lap18 of the 30-lap feature.
McCarthy finished second and was followed by Christopher, Bo Gunning, Tom
Bolles and Ron Yuhas Jr. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour traveled to
Richmond, Virginia for a 150-lap event. Rookie sensation Todd Szegedy took
the win after passing Mike Stefanik on lap 95. Stefanik finished second with
Nevin George, Jerry Marquis and Chuck Hossfeld rounding out the top five.
Stafford ran a 100 lapper for the SK-Modifieds. Mike Christopher drove the
Mystique Motorsports No.13 for his brother who was at Richmond. Mikey
started dead last and ended up taking the win over Jim Williams, Tucker
Reynolds and John Lobo. Waterford was the scene of “The Big Wreck” on
Saturday night. Jim Civalli got loose coming out of turn four on lap nine
and ended up collecting 15 of the 22 starters in a grinding wreck. Among
those sustaining race-ending damage were Dennis Gada, Jeff Pearl, Don Fowler
and David Gada. Tom Fox survived to take the win over Ron Yuhas Jr., Dennis
Charette and Jay Miller. Chris Young won at Riverhead and John Blewett III
took Wall Township. Andy Santerre won the Busch North Series 150 at Holland
and Greg Biffle won the Busch Grandnational event at Milwaukee. The Winston
Cuppers had the weekend off.
Five years ago in 2007, The
2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour got back into action on Thursday night at
the Thompson Speedway with the Charter Cable, Internet, Telephone 150. There
were 38 Modifieds on hand to qualify for the 35 starting spots.
Second-generation driver Richard Savory, driving the Art Barry No. 21 was
the Busch Pole sitter. Second fastest was Don Lia in the Bob Garbarino
Mystic Missile. The re-draw for starting spots saw Ryan Preece picking the
pole position with James Civali picking the outside pole. Lia ended up
winning the rain-shortened event after taking the lead on lap 34. Rain began
to fall as the field completed lap 80 of the 150-lap distance. The field
circled the 5/8-mile oval under caution for 20 more laps when the event was
finally called. Among those who were hoping to restart the event was Ted
Christopher who felt that he had something for the leader. Christopher, who
was scheduled to start ninth, started scratch after suffering a flat tire
just prior to the event. Christopher drove a determined race and was in the
process of putting himself into position to challenge the leader when the
skies opened up. Christopher was forced to settle for the runner-up spot in
the final rundown. Bobby Santos III, driving the Boehler family entry
finished third in his best effort to date. Former champions Tony Hirschman
and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Pole sitter Civali and Eddie
Flemke led the early going as they swapped the lead numerous times in a
brilliant exhibition of high speed driving. Civali ended up 7th and Flemke,
Woody Pitkat’s debut in the series started with a bang as he hit
the wall in final practice. The Roger Hill crew was able to make repairs and
Pitkat was afforded a starting spot because of an owner’s provisional. In
spite of all his pre-race trouble Pitkat drove to a solid 10th place finish.
Among those on hand to take in the event and mingle with old
friends were NEAR Hall of Fame driving legends Leo Cleary, Billy Harman,
Ronnie Bouchard and George Summers.
The True Value Modified Series continued to attract competitors
from the Whelen Modified Tour Series including former series champion Mike
Stefanik. The True Value Series ran a 100 lap event at the ¼ mile Seekonk
Speedway on Saturday night. Taking the win was local favorite Vinnie
Annarummo. Louie Mechalides started 24th on the field and finished second.
Stefanik got as high as seventh until spinning out shortly after the halfway
mark. Also in the field but finishing out of the top ten was Ted
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway
Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett jumped out at the start of the 30 lap Sunoco
Modified 30 lapper and proceeded to go pole to pole to win the event. Tom
Cravenho finished second with Keith Rocco, third. Kerry Malone and John
Blewett rounded out the top five. In other Whelen All-American Series
competition George Bessette was victorious in the Pro Stock division while
Larry Barnett took top honors in the Limited Sportsman division. It was a
night for repeats as three of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
divisions featured back-to-back winners. Marc Jenison won the the Late
Models, Mike Romano, the Mini Stocks and Tim Sullivan, TIS Modifieds.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway, rain prevailed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl defending SK Modified champion Dennis Gada used the outside groove
to pass early leader Jay Miller with four laps remaining in capturing his
second feature race of the season. The event marked the 52nd SK Modified
victory of the 6-time champions career. Zach Sylvester, driving a car owned
by Dick Ceravolo and Miller completed the top-three.
Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Dwayne
Dorr (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stock), Randy Cabral (Northeastern
Other weekend winners were Chris Young at Riverhead, after it was
determined that apparent winner Ken Heagy had altered his tires. Ken Woolley
won the Sunoco Race of Champions Dart Asphalt Modified Tour race Saturday
night at the Wall Township Speedway.
In Nextel Cup racing Juan Pablo Montoya used his well-honed
road-racing skill to save his tires, stretch his fuel to the limit, and win
the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Infinion Raceway for his first NASCAR Nextel
Cup victory. In Busch Series action at the Milwaukee Mile Denny Hamlin
proved you don't necessarily have to be around for the green flag to take
the checkered flag. And Aric Almirola sulked away from what will go down in
the record books as his first career NASCAR Busch Series victory. After
missing the start of the race because his helicopter couldn't find a place
to land, Hamlin rallied to take the checkered flag in a wacky AT&T 250 at
the Milwaukee Mile. But because Almirola, a substitute driver, started the
race in Hamlin's car, NASCAR officially will credit Almirola with the
victory, points and prize money. In Victory Lane, Hamlin said it wasn't his
decision to kick Almirola out of the car. According to NASCAR officials, it
was the first time a relief driver had won a race a Busch series race since
Jack Ingram turned his car over to Harry Gant at Darlington Raceway on April
Last year, 2011, sometimes
bigger is better but in the case of the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson last
Thursday night smaller was the way to go. The Sunoco (SK) Modified field
increased to 13 which included Woody Pitkat who took over the ride vacated
by Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco who is among the walking wounded. Pitkat
and Rocco provided some of the best racing and cleanest competition seen at
the northeast oval in quite a while. Pitkat prevailed in the end. On lap 15
of the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature Rocco took the lead from Danny Cates
with Pitkat in tow. From then on, the pair sliced and diced, trading the
lead numerous times. Pitkat took the lead for the final time in turn two on
lap 27. Rocco, who was wearing an arm brace and in obvious discomfort before
the start of the race, settled for the runner-up spot. Cates crossed the
finish line in third spot but was later disqualified when officials
determined that his car had illegal mufflers. Rick Fuller was elevated to
the third finishing position. Todd Ceravolo and Ryan Preece rounded out the
The Valenti Modified Racing Series made their first of two visits
to Thompson. The 26-car field was a strong one. Mike Stefanik ended a long
absence from victory lane as he led the 75 lap VMRS event from pole to pole.
Stefanik, who had concerns for the condition of his right rear tire ran just
fast enough to keep the field at bay. Series point leader Rowan Pennink
moved into the second spot with 10 laps to go was never a factor as the
former Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion just stepped it up a bit.
Pennink finished second with Chris Pasteryak, third. Steve Masse and Les
Hinckley rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jon McKennedy,
Eric Goodale, Richard Savary, Rob Goodenough and Mike Holdridge.
In other action at Thompson on Thursday, Danny Field made it five
for five as he continues to dominate the Mini-Stock division. Derek Ramstrom
scored a commanding win in the Super Late Model main event while Tommy
O’Sullivan ran to his first victory of the 2011 season in the Late Models.
Shawn Monahan scored his second-straight Limited Sportsman feature event
victory and R.J. Marcotte wired the field to score the victory in the TIS
Modifieds. The entire race program was over at 9:55pm.
The Stafford Motor Speedway decided not to suspend Adam Skowyra for
his failure to heed both the black flag and the black flag with white cross
in his heat race. Skowyra is responsible for triggering a wreck that caused
defending National Champion Keith Rocco to suffer a dislocated shoulder.
Skowyra was placed on probation for two events in which he participates and
had been removed from the handicap system and must start in the rear of the
next two events. He got off easy!
Stafford pulled the plug on Friday night's racing shortly after
lunch due to the fact that heavy rain was eminent in the central Connecticut
In action at the Waterford Speedbowl double features for the SK Modifieds
were the orders for the day. Glenn Pressel III took down his first career
win in the held over 35-lap SK Modified® race, while veteran Jeff Pearl
picked up his 36th career win in the regularly scheduled feature. In Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model action, multi-time division champion Bruce
Thomas Jr. returned to the winner’s circle. Chris Meyer won a highly
entertaining and competitive Street Stock feature, Chris Williams won his
second Mini Stock feature on the year and Joe Cipriano was the SK Light
Modified race winner. Jonathon Avery was the winner in the New England Truck
There were 25 SK Modifieds on hand including Ted Christopher.
Christopher finished fourth in the left over event and 23rd in the nite cap.
Defending National Champion Keith Rocco had a rough night as he crashed out
of the left over event, finishing 17th and recorded a sixth in the regular
In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC,
Dean Ward took the win in a 100 lapper. Joseph "Bobo" Brown finished second.
Brian Loftin was third. Burt Myers recovered from an early spin that dropped
him to the rear and finished fourth.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Justin Bonsignore took the NASCAR
At the Michigan Raceway, Carl Edwards passed Ricky Stenhouse with
less than 10 laps remaining to earn his fourth NASCAR Nationwide victory of
the year. Denny Hamlin raced to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory over a
year, holding off Matt Kenseth.
NASCAR announced the 2012 class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall
of Fame. The five-person class, which will be officially inducted in a
ceremony during the weekend of Jan. 20, 2012 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in
Charlotte, N.C., consists of: Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman,
Richie Evans and Glen Wood.
Members of the 55-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met in a
closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2012.
Richie Evans, perhaps one of the greatest Modified drivers ever was voted in
to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The announcement was made by NASCAR Chairman and
CEO Brian France in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”
The undisputed “king” of Modified racing, Evans captured nine
NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from
1978-85. In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format
in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at
Thompson, Conn. Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the NASCAR All-Time
Modified Top 10 Drivers, and he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest
Drivers in 1998.
Evans also won Modified track championships at 11 tracks in
Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. He won four
championships at Thompson, two at Stafford Motor Speedway and one at the
Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass.
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
Ken Canestrari Reggie
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit