June 29, 2012
years ago in 1952 Don Collins was the Wednesday night Sportsman
winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed McAvoy was the Claiming Car
winner. Saturday night Sportsman action at the Speedbowl saw Al Riley take
the Sportsman main event while Johnny Sandberg won his fifth of the year in
the Claiming Car ranks.
Fifty five years ago in 1957,
the New London-Waterford shifted to its summer schedule of running on
Wednesdays and Saturdays. Red Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman winner on
Wednesday night and Moneybags Moe Gherzi was the 50 lap Sportsman winner on
Saturday night. Squeaky Rogers was the non-Ford winner on Saturday night.
Fifty years ago in 1962, Bill
Slater continued his winning ways on the dirt at Stafford as he made it
three in a row. At Waterford, Dick Beauregard won his first of five Modified
features in a row. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner.
Forty five years ago in 1967,
Eddie Flemke won a 50 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday
night. Stafford had a 100 lapper scheduled but was forced to cancel due to
rain. Following Flemke were Pete Hamilton, Bernie Miller, Elton Hill and Lou
Lazzaro. Leo Cleary was the Saturday night feature winner at the Norwood
Arena. At Fonda, Pete Corey took the win over Bill Wimble and Lazzaro.
Thompson and Utica-Rome fell victim to rain. The All Star League, the
brainchild of Larry Mendelsohn and Lou Figari made its debut at the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Fred Harbach took the 100 lap main event over Bill
Wimble, Pete Corey, Rene Charland, Ernie Gahan, Kenny Shoemaker and Eddie
Flemke. Charlie Webster won on Saturday at Waterford while Newt Palm won a
50 lap special event on July 4.
Forty years ago in 1972, the
Fourth of July weekend started on a wet note as Friday night racing at Malta
rained out. Saturday night at Stafford saw Canadian Denis Giroux take a
popular win over Bugsy Stevens and Tom Sutcliff. At Islip, Fred Harbach
out-dueled Missippi Curtiss and Charlie Jarzombek and at Fonda it was Lou
Lazzaro over Irv Taylor and Don Wayman. Waterford ran double features
because of rain the previous week. Don Bunnell won the leftover Modified
feature while Dick Dunn took the regularly scheduled event. Seekonk ran a
100 lap open show on Sunday with Fred DeSarro taking the win over Ed Flemke,
Bobby Sprague, Johnny Tripp and Bugsy Stevens. Utica-Rome also ran a 100
lapper with Richie Evans taking the top spot over Sonny Seamon, Denis Giroux
and Jerry Cook. Stafford had a 150 lapper scheduled for Monday but tossed in
the towel because of showers. The All Star League visited Fonda on Tuesday
for a 100 lap contest
which was won by Buzzie Reutimann over Jerry Cook, Lou Lazzaro and Ron
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
Stafford started the Fourth of July weekend with a 100 lapper that drew 56
Modifieds and over 9000 spectators. Geoff Bodine took the hotly contested
feature over Ronnie Bouchard, Ray Miller, John Rosati and Brett Bodine.
Monadnock also ran on Friday night with a 50 lapper. Pete Fiandaca took the
win over Bob Karvonen. On Long Island at Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek won
out over Fred Harbach and Tom Baldwin. Saturday night was also a busy one.
At Seekonk over 15,000 were on hand to cheer Bugsy Stevens as he took the
victory in the Fred Fusco No.1. George Summers finished second with Eddie
StAngelo, George Murray and Ray Lee rounding out the top five. Joe Howard
beat out Mike Murphy at Westboro and in a 100 lapper at Waterford, Bill
Greco won out over Mark Geer, George Allum, Joe Tiezzi, Mark LaJunesse and
Dick Ceravolo. Geoff Bodine carried his winning ways over to Riverside Park
on Saturday night with a victory over Bob Polverari and Ron Wycoff. Islip
and Freeport were still butting heads and fighting for cars and fans. Greg
Sacks took the win at Islip over Fred Harbach and Wayne Anderson. At
Freeport, Charlie Jarzombek took the win over George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Ronnie
Bouchard was the king pin at Thompson on Sunday night. Fred DeSarro finished
second with Bugsy Stevens, third.
Thirty years ago in 1982,
Westboro ran an 82 lap open competition event on Wednesday night. Ronnie
Bouchard took the win over Jamie Tomaino, Gomer Taylor and Reggie Ruggiero.
Greg Sacks made it two in a row at Stafford as he beat out Bob Polverari and
Reggie Ruggiero for his 13th win of the season. Bugsy Stevens, driving the
Mystic Missile, had his season come to an early end as he suffered fractured
lower vertebras after taking a hard shot into the turn one concrete as a
result of a cut tire. It was also a not so good night for Daring Dick Caso
who was given a three week suspension for making a banzai move that ended up
wiping out the cars of Brett Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Ray Miller and Mike
Hornat. Doug French took the Friday night win at New Egypt and Wayne
Anderson took top honors at Riverhead. Waterford suffered a rain out on
Saturday but at Seekonk it stayed dry as Mr. Leo Cleary put Joe Brady's 00
in victory lane. Gomer Taylor finished second with Eddie StAngelo, fourth.
Marty Radwick won a 100 lapper at Riverside Park and John Blewett Jr. won a
100 lapper at Islip. At Shangri-La it was Jerry Cook over Jim Spencer and
Doug Hewitt. Sunday night at Thompson saw Reggie Ruggiero take the top spot
over George Kent, Richie Evans and Bob Polverari.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
the NASCAR Modified Tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night event. Jim
Spencer took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Mike Stefanik and Corky Cookman.
Rain washed out Friday night at Stafford and Saturday night at Waterford. At
Riverside Park, Stan Gregger took the win over Mike Stefanik, Tom Bolles and
Bruce Del. At Riverhead, Tom McCann won the Richie Evans Memorial 61 lapper.
The Mod Tour headed for Jennerstown, Pa on Sunday where Jan Leaty pulled off
the win over Jim Spencer, Jeff Fuller, Mike McLaughlin and Mike Stefanik.
Twenty years ago in 1992, the
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Touring Series was at Riverhead on Wednesday for
a 201 lap event. Mike Stefanik started on the pole and led the entire
distance to take the win. Ed Brunnhoelzl finished second. Rick Fuller,
Reggie Ruggiero and Steve Park rounded out the top five. Friday night at
Stafford saw Ted Christopher win out over John Sneade and Mike Christopher.
MikeEwanitsko made it three in a row at Riverhead on Saturday night.Racing
at Waterford was delayed two hours because of rain. The Strictly Stocks
started their main event and got seven laps in the books before the
Connecticut DMV shut them down because of the midnight curfew. Jerry Marquis
was the big winner at Riverside and Dave Dion won the Oxford 250 for the
third time and pocketed $37,150 for his efforts.
Fifteen years ago in 1997, Jim
Broderick got his fourth win of the season at Stafford as he put his Dodge
powered SK modified in victory lane over Bo Gunning and Bob Potter. The
Nascar Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen. Tim Connolly
took the lead with six laps to go and went on to record the victory over
Rick Fuller and Ted Christopher. Mike Stefanik juggled his schedule between
Watkins Glen and the Busch Grandnational event at Nazareth. Stefanik
practiced at Nazareth in the morning, flew to Watkins Glen and started the
Modified event in the Brady 00, jumped out at the first caution, flew back
to Nazareth for qualifying. Tucker Reynolds scored at Waterford after Todd
Ceravolo pitted while leading with a leaky radiator. Don Fowler finished
second. Jim Broderick was parked for the night after an altercation with
Jeff Pearl and Ricky Young was suspended for two events because of a rough
riding incident. Tim Contarino won at Riverhead and it was Richie Gallup at
Riverside. Bob Dragon passed Jerry Marquis with five laps to go to take the
Busch North Series event at Nazareth. Marquis finished second with Mike
Stefanik, Tom Bolles and Andy Santarre rounding out the top five.
Ten years ago in 2002 the weeks
race schedule brought back fond memories of years ago when there was racing
five days out of seven. There was something for everyone to say the least.
The best of both worlds, The Busch North Series and the NASCAR Featherlite
Modified Tour, were in Southern New England. Stafford started it off on
Wednesday night with the twice-rained out Connecticut Classic 150 for the
Featherlite Modifieds. Ted Christopher used his home track advantage to the
fullest as he led the event from pole to pole. Some would say it was boring
but if one were aware of the background drama their opinion would change.
Christopher’s secret was the fact that his car was set up to the precision
of a Swiss watch by crew chief Barry Kuhnel. In fact, the car was so
perfect; Christopher went the 150-lap distance on the same tires in which he
started. The show behind him was the one to watch as Ed Flemke Jr. came from
the rear twice to finish second. The event was also a true test of human
stamina and equipment durability as temperatures were in the mid 90’s and
the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife. There were fourteen
cars on the lead lap at the finish. Rick Fuller toughed it out to finish
third with Jerry Marquis and Chris Kopec rounding out the top five.
Twenty-nine of the original thirty-one qualifiers were on hand.
FredVordermeir, who missed the cut in time trials pinch hitted for injured
Tony Hirschman. Vordermeir did a good job as he finished in eighth spot.
Jeff Fuller qualified the No. 17, which had been driven by Mike Ewanitsko
before he got hurt. Fuller and car were no-shows. In the SK-Modifieds, Bo
Gunning scored his second victory of the year. Mike Stefanik started the
event as the point leader but an eleventh place finish, plus Marquis’
fourth, moved him back to second spot as Marquis moved into the lead. On to
Thompson, on Thursday night, Jeff Malave found himself sitting in the
catbird seat after Ted Christopher tapped Bo Gunning. Gunning and
Christopher passed Malave for the lead on the 13th lap. On the next
go-round, Christopher tapped Gunning who in turn spun and hit the wall a
ton. NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks felt that Christopher was rough
riding and black-flagged him to the rear. It was the second incident of the
night involving the defending national champion. Bert Marvin, who had been
riding a streak of three in a row, got wrecked on the second lap after
Christopher brake checked him. Christopher, who has been doing some verbal
jousting with Marvin, denied his accusation. With Gunning and Marvin out of
it Malave had a somewhat easy time of it as he took the win over Ron Yuhas
Jr. and Kerry Malone. Christopher rebounded to finish fourth with Tom Bolles,
fifth. A total of 29 cars took the green. On Friday night, it was back to
Stafford for the SK-Modifieds or off to Lee Raceway for the Modified open.
At Stafford, Ted Christopher scored his 62nd career win at Jack Arute’s
place. Like Malave at Thompson, Christopher got the win over another’s
miss-fortune. With seven laps to go in the 50-lap feature, Ron Silk was
running second and took a header into the fence after going over the roof of
Doug Coby. Once the mess was cleared, Christopher drove to victory without
incident. Don Travaglin finished second with Jeff Baral, third. At Lee, Ed
Flemke Jr. went pole to pole to take the 100-lap win. Charlie and Carl
Pasteryak followed with Kirk Alexander, fourth. At Waterford on Saturday
night, Jeff Pearl got redemption after a bone jarring wreck a week ago that
all but destroyed his car. Pearl led all but one lap to record his first
victory since July 8, 2000. Pearl and his dad, Jerry, along with his crew
cut the wrecked car up from behind the seat and replaced the entire rear
structure of the car plus running gear and sheetmetal.
Dennis Gada finished second with Rob Janovic, Ed Reed Jr. and Don
Fowler rounding out the top five. The Busch North Series made its annual
stop at the shoreline oval with Kelly Moore taking the win. Finishing out
the weekend on Sunday was a Race of Champions Tour event at the all new
Adirondack Speedway in upstate New York. The ROC event drew 33 modifieds
including Ted Christopher. Christopher started second and led laps 71 thru
133 until getting taken out by George Kent Sr. Kent was parked for his
actions and took a fit on the track. Eric Beers took the lead after the
demise of Christopher and led Jim Willis and Rick Zacharias across the
stripe at the finish.
Five years ago in 2007 The 2007
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made it’s first of two visits to the New
Hampshire International Speedway. Speedway owner and promoter Bob Bahre
posted $164, 095 for the 100 lap-105.8 mile event. There were 40 Modifieds
on hand for qualifying which took place on Thursday.
With the exception of John Blewett III having mechanical problems
and having to take a provisional starting spot, qualifying went smooth. Ted
Christopher took the Busch Pole with a speed of 126.812mph. Second fastest
was Donnie Lia with a speed of 126.795 mph. Jimmy Blewett, Matt Hirschman
and Eddie Flemke Jr rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tony
Hirschman, Charlie Pasteryak, Bob Grigas III, Ronnie Silk and Glen Tyler.
Donnie Lia, who signed on with longtime NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
car owner Bob Garbarino just prior to the start of the season, picked up his
fourth win in six races with a victory in the New England 100 at New
Hampshire International Speedway last Saturday. For Garbarino, who has been
a Modified car owner since the mid 1960s, its been a dream season. Never in
over 40 years has he had a year like this. Lia and Co. made the strategic
choice not to pit for tires or fuel, while other of the top contenders like
Ted Christopher did at various stages and had to work their way back to the
“If we pitted today, I don’t know if we could have got through like
Teddy did,” said Lia, who had five career wins in 79 career starts entering
2007. “We made our decision and stuck with it. And it was apparently the
right one.” The race was abbreviated to 85 laps due to time constraints. It
was slowed eight times for 38 laps, with the last caution setting up a
six-lap dash for the finish between Lia, Christopher and Eddie Flemke. Lia
briefly lost the lead to Flemke but used a push from Christopher to get back
by and then held on as Christopher and Flemke battled for second.
Christopher, who has four Modified Tour wins at NHIS, held on for the
runner-up finish. Matt Hirschman and Todd Szegedy were fourth and fifth
respectively. Ronnie Silk, Bobby Santos III, Ron Yuhas Jr., Charlie
Pasteryak and John Blewett IIII rounded out the top 10.
Eight cautions for 38 laps kept Lia’s average speed at 67.140mph.
Among those who failed to finish were Joe Hartmann who lost an engine on lap
2, Bob Grigas, Kenny Bouchard, Rick Fuller and Glen Tyler were eliminated in
a lap 34 accident. James Civali lost a driveshaft on lap 35. Eric Beers and
Mike Christopher lost engines while Jake Marosz and Rob Summers dropped out
with suspension problems. Alex Hoag and Jimmy Blewett wrecked on lap 73.
Lia held the points lead over Szegedy by 61 and Hirschman by 63.
Jimmy Blewett and James Civali round out the top five.
On a sad note, Whelen Modified Tour Series crew chief Greg Narducci
sustained serious head injuries when he fell off a moving golf cart on
Thursday night. He suffered several injuries to his facial area including
possible fractures to the temple, cheekbone and area behind the eye socket.
Swelling of the brain occurred with possible clots behind the front area of
the skull. He was Med Flighted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in NH. Greg
was touch and go for a while, but is now on his way to recovery.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway,
Heavy rains caused the management to cancel its Thursday Night Thompson
Thunder race program. The entire northeast was hit by heavy downpours and
storms forcing management’s hand after nearly two hours of work to dry the
In Busch East series action at Loudon on Friday the racing was
absolutely brutal. Connecticut’s Joey Logano won for the 3rd time in 6
series starts in the 125-mile event that was slowed by 10 caution periods
and 2 red flags. It took two hours to finish the event. Logano held off
8-time New Hampshire International Speedway winner Brad Leighton and Tim
Schendel over several late-race restarts. Twenty-four of the 43 starters
finished on the lead lap. Cautions: 10 for 64 of the 126 laps completed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway Zach Sylvester ended a seven year dry spell at the nutmeg oval. In
addition to Sylvester who won the the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn
won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Glen Reen, the 20-lap SK Light feature,
Rick Lanagna,the Limited Late Model feature and Dean Casagrande, the 15-lap
DARE Stock feature.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature, run under a full moon, saw several
attempts at getting it started with both front row starters being put back a
row, which put Sylvester up front for the start, and he took the early lead.
Sylvester held the lead through multiple caution periods, but would lose the
lead to Willie Hardie on a lap-21 restart. Sylvester got back around Hardie
on lap-23 and would hold the lead through several more restart situations
until the final caution came out with 3 laps to go. Sylvester powered his
way to the lead, but had Woody Pitkat and Ted Christopher all over his back
bumper. Sylvester held strong and took the checkered flag ahead of Pitkat.
Keith Rocco made a last lap charge into third place, with Christopher and
Todd Owen rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl Rob Janovic Jr. notched his third win of the season on Saturday
night as he won the 35-lap SK Modified feature on “Military Appreciation
Night At The Speedbowl”. Janovic passed early leader Frank Mucciacciaro Jr.
with 13 laps to go and was able to hold off Dennis Gada in the closing laps.
Mucciacciaro set the early pace, grabbing the top spot from pole-sitter Jeff
Paul with a daring move shortly after the initial green. Paired off with the
eventual winner on several restarts, he maintained the lead until Janovic
moved to the outside groove. An early wreck on the backstretch triggered by
Don Fowler claimed several cars, including point-leader Shawn Monahan. The
victory moved Janovic within six points of current leader Shawn Monahan in
the battle for the championship. Mucciacciaro, Brandon Hansen and Jeff Pearl
rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners at the shoreline oval were Bruce Thomas Jr.
(Late Model), Jim Procaccini (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock), and,
Chris Bakaj (Legends).
Tom Rogers won the Cromarty Cup 50 at Riverhead and Steven Reed was
the Modified winner at the Wall Township Speedway.
In Nextel Cup action at Loudon Denny Hamlin took the win. Kevin
Harvick held off a late challenge by Carl Edwards to grab his second NASCAR
Busch Series victory of the season Saturday at New Hampshire International
Last year, 2011, the Whelen
Modified Tour ended it's Spring Break when the boys of summer went "up
country" to the Monadnock Speedway for the Monadnock 200 at the Monadnock
Speedway in Winchester, N.H. The event had originally been scheduled for
Saturday but a pending bad forecast pushed the date back a day.
Todd Szegedy showed everyone why he is still someone to watch on
the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Szegedy, the 2003 tour champion, started
from the pole and led every lap to win the Monadnock 200 Sunday for his 15th
career tour win and first since August of last year. With his win Szegedy
became the fourth different winner in as many races this season on the tour
and it was his first top-five finish of the season. Szegedy held off Justin
Bosingnore who followed in second while Matt Hirschman was third. Ron Silk
was fourth and James Civali completed the top five. Defending race winner
Ted Christopher finished sixth with Mike Stefanik seventh and Ron Yuhas Jr.
eighth. Erick Rudolph and point leader Rowan Pennink completed the top 10.
The race was slowed six times for cautions which kept Szegedy's
average speed down to 48.491 mph. All yellows were for spin-outs. Bryon Chew
spun on lap 2, Wade Cole on lap 38, Andy Seuss on lap 48, Ed Flemke Jr on
lap 85, Doug Coby on lap 106 and Richie Pallai on lap 154. There were 28
cars on hand. Sixteen of the original 28 starters finished on the lead lap.
According to reports the event drew a respectable amount of fans.
Defending series champion Bobby Santos had somewhat of a
lackluster day. After starting thirteenth, Santos worked his way to ninth by
lap 100 only to have his tires give up as he faded to 15th by lap 130 and
was lapped by lap 153. Saved by the Lucky Dog provision Santos managed to
salvage a 15th for the day.
The Stafford Motor Speedway attempted to run the Inaugural Lincoln
Tech Modified Racing Series event but to no avail as rains brought the
racing action to a halt after 32 laps had been completed. The SK Modifieds
were also victims of the wet stuff. Both events will be run on Friday, June
29. Keith Rocco was leading when the event was stopped.
The big story of the night was the fact that Ted Christopher was
not allowed to compete in the Modified Racing Series event because the
engine in the Joe Brady #00 was deemed illegal. The Hartford Courant
reported that Series motor inspector Bob Carrita said car owner Joe Brady
tried to "blatantly bend the rules". Evidently "someone" installed material
in a cylinder that would give a faulty reading when compression tests were
Before the rains came Stafford support classes got their features
in. Picking up feature wins were Keith Rocco in the 30-lap Late Model
feature, Tommy Membrino, Jr. in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Shawn Thibeault
in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood in the 15-lap DARE
In action at the Waterford Speedbowl Defending track and NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco returned to Victory
Lane, picking up the checkered flag in the night’s SK Modified® feature.
Jason Palmer picked up a career first win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late
Model division. The two Street Stock feature races were swept by defending
champion Al Stone III. Glenn Colvin won the Mini Stock race. Other winners
on the night included Paul Luggelle and Dana Dimatteo in their respective
NEMA Lite and Legends Cars features.
Rocco led the SK Modified® field to the green flag in their 35-lap
feature looking to end a string of finishes outside the top-five, including
two 17th place finishes. Nichole Morgillo, Kyle James, Jeff Pearl and Tyler
Chadwick raced to the top-five positions behind Rocco in the opening laps.
James was the first to pull out of line, challenging Morgillo’s outside on
lap-3. After three laps of pursuit, James moved into the position for good
in turn three. Pearl followed suit and was in third when the field completed
lap-7. James quickly chased down the lead Rocco briefly gained over the
field and looked ready to mount a challenge. Pearl ran alone in third while
Rob Janovic Jr. and Chadwick made up the top-five as the race moved past
halfway continuing under green flag conditions. The first caution finally
slowed the torrid pace on lap-21 when Diego Monahan cut a left front tire
and stopped on the track in turn three. Rocco got a great jump over James on
the restart. Pearl filled the gap to James’ inside and the pair spent
five-laps battling for the spot before Pearl finally pulled ahead. Rocco was
slowly able to stretch his advantage over Pearl as the race wore on. The
interruption on lap-21 proved to be the only one in a cleanly competed
event. Rocco checked out to the win by several lengths over Pearl at the
checkered flag. He wired the field for his fifth win on the year and cut
into Pearl’s point lead. James held off Janovic to take third position with
Chadwick finishing in fifth.
In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC,
Lee Jeffreys and Burt Myers won twin 25 lap Modified features.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Wayne Anderson took the
NASCAR Modified feature win.
In Nationwide Series racing, Justin Allgaier was coasting to the
finish and a near-certain victory - then he ran out of gas. In the end,
NASCAR officials ruled Reed Sorenson won a chaotic, disputed overtime finish
in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Road America.
In Sprint Cup action, Kurt Busch's impressive turnaround continued
with a dominating run at Infineon Raceway, where he earned his first career
road course victory and his first win of the season.
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.
Looking Back Archive
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