Horn -Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith
July 20, 2012
years ago in 1952 Billy Tibbert was the Wednesday night Sportsman
winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the
Claiming Car winner. The Sportsman had Saturday night off at the Speedbowl
and it was just as well as the Claiming Car feature fell victim to rain
after 17 laps with Jack Stansell being declared the winner.
Fifty five years ago in 1957,
Red Foote made it three in a row in Sportsman action at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won on Wednesday night. Irwin Fox was the
non-Ford winner. Don Collins brought a halt to Foote's win streak as he won
the 50 lap Sportsman feature at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Ted
Stack was the non-Ford winner.
Fifty years ago in 1962, Ron
Narducci was the Modified winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs
Speedway. Rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday
Forty five years ago in 1967,
Fred Harbach scored his first and only win at Stafford on Friday. Dick
Watson finished second with Leo Cleary, Fred DeSarro and Bill Slater
rounding out the top five. Harbach, one of the top guns from Long Island,
raced at Stafford, Norwood and Thompson throughout 1967.Rene Charland was
the winner of a 40 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Bill Wimble
finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Jerry Cook and Ernie Gahan rounded
out the top five. Charland made it two for two as he won a 100 lapper at
Fonda on Saturday night. Wimble and Gahan followed. Bill Scrivener took the
Modified win at Waterford. Gene Bergin was the Saturday night winner at
Norwood and Dutch Hoag won again at Fulton. Sunday action at Thompson and
Utica-Rome rained out
Forty years ago in 1972, Bugsy
Stevens beat out Long Islander Dan MacNamara at Seekonk on Friday night.
Many of the big guns were at Malta for a 200 lapper where Eddie Flemke
prevailed in the Frank Vigliorlo No.34 (formerly the Bob Judkins 2x) Bob
Santos finished second and was followed by Ron Bouchard, Richie Evans,
Maynard Forette and Fred DeSarro. Saturday night at Stafford saw Santos
score another runner-up with Ronnie Bouchard taking the top spot. Fonda ran
a double points event with Ralph Holmes taking the win over Ron Narducci and
Andy Romano. Asphalt racer Bernie Miller tried his hand on the dirt and
finished 15th. Angie Cerese was the Modified winner at Waterford. At Islip
it was Jim Hendrickson over Charlie Jarzombek and George Tet and at
Utica-Rome on Sunday night, it rained.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
Thompson ran a mid-week open competition event. Richie Evans took the top
spot over Geoff Bodine and Eddie Flemke. At Stafford on Friday night, Bodine
held off Bugsy Stevens and Dick Caso. Local favorite Bob Polverari took the
top spot at Riverside over Bodine while at Seekonk; Corky Cookman took top
honors with Jim Wilkins, Bugsy Stevens and Eddie StAngelo, following.
Veteran Joe Tiezzi was the main man at Waterford. Jerry Pearl finished
second with Moose Hewitt, Dick Ceravolo and Gene Bergin, following. Richie
Evans invaded Islip for a 150 lapper and walked away a winner over Greg
Sacks, Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. At Westboro, Mike Weeden won out
over George Savory and Joe Howard. Thompson closed out the weekend with Fred
DeSarro taking the win over Bodine and Bouchard.
Thirty years ago in 1982,
Stafford had scheduled Modified Madness for Tuesday but rain prevailed. On
Wednesday night, Thompson ran the Thompson 300 outside pole qualifier.
George Summers in the Art Barry no.21 took the 40 lap win over Greg Sacks,
George Kent and Kenny Bouchard. Sacks made it two in a row at Stafford on
Friday night. Kenny Bouchard, in the Ted Marsh No.55 ran a strong second
with Bob Polverari, Reggie Ruggiero and Mike McLaughlin rounding out the top
five. At Waterford on Saturday night, Don Fowler held off Don LaJoie and Joe
Tiezzi. Promoter Dick Williams announced that Randy LaJoie would be in
competition in the upcoming Busch North Series event that was coming up at
the Speedbowl. Riverside Park ran a 200 lapper that saw Richie Evans in a
class by himself as he won the event over George Kent, SJ Evonsion and Bob
Polverari. Evans made it two in a row as he won at Thompson on Sunday.
George Summers finished second with George Kent, third. Other weekend
winners were George Kent at Spencer, Tony Siscone at New Egypt, George
Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead, Gomer Taylor at Seekonk, Doug Hewitt at
Shangri-La, John Blewett Jr. at Islip and Roger Treichler at Perry. In
Winston Cup action at Pocono, Bobby Allison took the win. Ron Bouchard
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
the weekend was marred by the death of Corky Cookman at the Thompson
Speedway on Sunday night. Cookman, a quiet but well liked driver, hit the
turn three wall a ton on lap 5 of the 75 lap event and was killed almost
instantly. Cookman was transported to a local hospital as the race resumed.
Reggie Ruggiero ended up with the win with Jim Spencer, second. In Late
Model action, Ricky Shawn made it two in a row and in SK Modified action, Bo
Gunning took the win. A few days after the death of Cookman, NASCAR
announced that the 390 carburetor with unaltered boosters would be the only
one allowed in the division. Bo Gunning was the Friday night winner at
Stafford. Richie Gallup finished second. Waterford ran twin features on
Saturday night with Ricky Young and Harry Rice taking the wins. Bob Potter
finished second to Young with Dickie Doo Ceravolo, Ed Flemke Jr. and Bob
Gada following. Following Rice were Dale Holdredge, Gada and John Anderson.
Wayne Anderson ruled the roost at Riverhead despite pressure from Don Howe
and Tom Baldwin in the closing laps. At Riverside Park, Wade Cole got a
surprise win over Mike McLaughlin and Reggie Ruggiero. In Winston Cup action
at Pocono, Tim Richmond was the pole sitter but the race belonged to Dale
Twenty years ago in 1992, the
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for a 150 lap event. Reggie
Ruggiero in the Ed Cloce No.69 took the win over Doug Hevron in the Boehler
No.3 and Jeff Fuller. Tom Tagg was the SK-Modified winner. At Monadnock,
Marty Radwick scored a win over Jerry Marquis and Rusty Ball. Marquis, in
the Bobby Judkins 2x, scored his seventh win of the season at Riverside Park
on Saturday night. At Waterford and Riverhead, it was a night for the
rookies. At Waterford, Scott Poirier scored his first ever win as he held
off Mike Christopher and Bob Potter and at Riverhead, John Fortin beat out
Tom Tillotson and Mike Ewanitsko.
Fifteen years ago in 1997, it
was a big week for Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside Park as he recorded his 90th
career win at the amusement park oval when he beat out Dan Avery and Mike
Stefanik to win the Wednesday night NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
150.Ruggiero backed it up with his 91st career victory on Saturday night
over Richie Gallup and Ted Riggott. At Stafford on Friday night, Ted
Christopher garnered his 46th career victory. Jim Broderick, Bo Gunning and
Bob Potter followed. Broderick settled for second again on Saturday night at
Waterford as Scott Spaulding took the win. Todd Ceravolo finished third.
Spaulding took the lead from Broderick with five laps to go. In Winston Cup
action at Pocono, Dale Jarrett took the win. In other news, the
International Speedway Corporation added Phoenix International Raceway to
its war chest of speedways
. Ten years ago in 2002, the
scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour event at Chemung was cancelled.
At Thompson on Thursday night the fans came out in droves as the 5/8 mile
speedway was almost packed as Bert Marvin won his fourth feature of the
season. Bo Gunning finished second followed by Ron Yuhas Jr. and Ted
Christopher. The Busch North Series visited Stafford on Friday night. Andy
Santerre was leading the 150 lap event with two to go when he found himself
planted in the wall after Dale Shaw hit Dale Quarterly who was running
second who in turn hit Santerre. Shaw was not penalized for his actions and
went on to take the win over Matt Kobyluck and Tracy Gordon. Billy Anderson
won the 50 lap SK-Modified feature over Kerry Malone, Ron Silk and Lloyd
Agor. Rob Janovic was the Saturday night winner at Waterford but it was one
of the Rocco twins who stole the show when he borrowed one of Joey
Chitwood’s stunt cars and put on a smoke show for the crowd. JR Bertuccio
took his sixth win at Riverhead over Tom Cravenho who was in the Eddie
Partridge modified. Peter Daniels made it seven in a row at Claremont and at
Wall Township, Tom Farrell took the win. In Winston Cup action at Pocono,
Bill Elliott won out over Kurt Busch and Hank Parker Jr. won the Busch
Series event at Pikes Peak in Colorado. On a sad note, Booker T. Washington
Jones passed away after a battle with cancer
Five years ago in 2007, the
Waterford Speedbowl, thanks to the non payments of property owner Terry
Eames, was scheduled to go up for foreclosure on Saturday, July 28. A sign
posted on the property frontage indicated that the sale would take place at
high noon. Anyone interested would need a $300,000 bank or certified check
to participate. In 2006 the Washington Mutual Bank filed a lawsuit claiming
that the track's owner, Terry Eames, had failed to make payments on a $1.7
million loan held by the Seattle-based savings bank. The lawsuit, Washington
Mutual vs. 1080 Hartford et al., continued through this year, with several
legal motions occurring during April and May. Eames had also failed to pay
the town of Waterford more than $185,000 in taxes owed dating back to 2003.
Eames was smart as he had shielded himself by an LLC titled 1080 Hartford
Road LLC, a reference to its street address. In other words if he did lose
the property he could walk away and thumb his nose at those he owes.
Eames, who bought the race track in 2000 had all but run the
facility into the ground when he leased the track to a new company called
The New Waterford Speedbowl LLC, which ran the day-to-day operations. Bill
Roth served as its general manager and Jerry Robinson was its president.
Both Roth and Robinson had made an honest attempt to bring the track back as
they had made numerous improvements. They still faced the stigma created by
Eames as they had had problems securing any credit for their business
Eames claimed he was about to sell eight acres in the northwest
corner of the property to Harvey Industries, a Massachusetts-based window
manufacturer that also distributes other building products.. Eames insisted
that he had the necessary finances in place, which would lead one to ask how
come he had not made any payments in the previous 18 months.
The Seekonk Speedway, located just over the Mass. Line on the way
to Cape Cod had Open Wheel Wednesday Modified Madness $10,000 to win
scheduled for last Wednesday but heavy rain forced a cancellation to
The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on their summer
The True Value Modified Racing Series traveled to the Oxford Plains
Speedway in Maine. Kirk Alexander started 15th in the 100-lap feature and
took the lead for the eventual win with only five laps remaining. Les
Hinkley, who started dead last in the 24 car-starting field, finished
second. Dwight Jarvis, Pete Jarvis and Lisbon, Ct’s Chris Pasteryak rounded
out the top five.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway
the rains prevailed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway Woody Pitkat scored a one-two punch, cleaning house as he won the
Coors Light SK Modified 100 and the 30 lap Late Model feature. Alan Provost
scored a first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Sean
Foster took down the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Matt Chiarizio
scored his first career win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.In the 100 lap
SK Modified feature Pitkat battled back after changing tires with 22 laps to
go. Pitkat outdueled Ted Christopher in the closing stages. Willie Hardie
took the lead from the pole, and he led the first 34 laps before contact
with Keith Rocco sent him spinning from the lead. Rocco was black flagged
for rough riding, which handed the lead of the race to Christopher. Pitkat
took the lead from Christopher on the restart, and held the lead until
lap-52, when Christopher moved back out front. Pitkat slowly began to lose
positions as Christopher began to build a large lead over Eric Berndt, who
was now running second. A caution with 79 laps complete erased Christopher's
large lead and brought Pitkat to pit road for fresh tires. Pitkat then
worked his way back through traffic and avoided several wrecks to find
himself in third place behind Christopher for a lap-95 restart. Pitkat moved
past Christopher on the restart and then drove away to score the win.
Christopher finished second, with Frank Ruocco, Kerry Malone, and Curt
Brainard rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl Shawn Monahan passed his brother Diego with 9-laps to go in the 35
lap SK Modified feature. The Monahans then set up a moving wall, which shut
out Zach Sylvester and Dennis Gada in the closing laps. Other feature
winners were Ed Reed Jr. (Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (Sportsman), Danny Field
(Mini Stocks), and Steven Intravaia (USAC Ford Focus Midgets).
The Nextel Cup competitors had the weekend off. Reed Sorenson
earned his first victory in two years, avoiding the pitfalls of a
cautioned-filled Busch Gateway 250 Saturday night in Madison, Ill.
Sorenson, who hadn't led any part of a race this season, passed
David Reutimann on lap 159 moments after the eighth yellow flag was lifted.
He survived the ninth and final caution with a strong restart to distance
himself from Reutimann, who was third.
Scott Wimmer earned his first pole position in 136 races and led
the first 53 laps before a right flat tire forced him into the pits. He
stayed near the front of the pack most of the race and finished second.
Jason Leffler and David Ragan rounded out the top five.The cautions were
five off the track's record of 14. Of 44 cars that started, 26 finished. The
yellow flag was out for 43 of 200 laps. Sorenson, who had the second-fastest
qualifying time, led 93 laps. The victory marked his third overall.
Last year, 2011, The Whelen
Modified Tour headed to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway this past Saturday,
July 16 for the F.W. Webb 100. It appears that the winds of change are
beginning to blow as only thirty four cars were on hand for practice and
qualifying. Sprint Cup ringer Ryan Newman, who clearly has a distinct
advantage because of his Sprint Cup team, was the top qualifier as he was
over one mile per hour faster than Ron Silk who was second fastest. Todd
Szegedy was third fastest with Bobby Santos and another Cup ringer, Andy
Petree, rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Doug Coby, Rowan
Pennink, Ryan Preece, Matt Hirschman and Ted Christopher. Justin Bonsignore
experienced engine trouble and did not take time. He was given the last
starting spot in the 34 starting spot field.
Ryan Newman capitalized on a relatively caution-free race to sail
to his fourth straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race Saturday in the F.W.
Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With the power and technology
behind that car he all but stunk up the show as he could out power and pass
the competition at will. Newman, who will also won the Coors Light Pole
Award for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the 1.058-mile oval, led
a race-high 61 laps. He passed Ron Silk on Lap 84 and won by 1.901 seconds
over runner-up Todd Szegedy.
The race was slowed by just two cautions and featured an 88-lap
green-flag run to the checkered flag. Newman led the first 33 laps and
drifted back to third under the long run before moving back to the front in
the closing stages. Szegedy edged Ron Silk at the finish line for second.
Matt Hirschman and Doug Coby rounded out the top five. Points leader Rowan
Pennink was sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Ron Yuhas Jr., Ed Flemke Jr.
and Woody Pitkat. Ted Christopher was the last car on the lead lap as he
finished 11th. The race featured four lead changes among three drivers.
Newman led 61 of the 100 laps.
NASCAR impounded the #7NY car and brought the car down to Concord,
NC to NASCAR facilities for testing. NASCAR will announce their official
decision this coming Wednesday. It had been strongly hinted that Newmans car
is illegal or has illegal parts and there could very well be a
disqualification coming in the near future. In the words of NASCAR Media
Coordinator Jason Cunningham, "We don't take away wins anymore, if there is
a penalty to be assessed it would not affect the finish of the race".
According to those on hand the race was taped, but who knows when
it will be shown!
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race next in the Lighthouse
Mission 200 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on Saturday, July 30. Just finalized
but not yet announced is a $600 “Mike Ewanitsko Hard Charger Award” to be
handed to a WMT driver who does what Ewanitsko did so often in his racing
career. The award will be voted on by a group of race fans, headed by Jim
Schaefer, who has raised a significant amount of money for this July 30 WMT
event. It may not go to the driver who gains the most positions, but rather
to the driver who shows Ewanitsko-like abilities with outside passes from
the back of the field, even if he does not finish the race. Ewanitsko was
forced out of racing by a serious diabetes condition, which makes it unsafe
for him to compete regularly.
In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Woody
Pitkat earned his second Sunoco Modified victory this season as he was
awarded the win in the special 50-lap feature event. Pitkat took the lead
from Danny Cates on lap 28 and appeared to be on his way to victory until
the final lap of the race. Contact with Keith Rocco had Pitkat cross the
line second, but a penalty issued to Rocco for the contact handed him the
win. Rocco drove deep into turn three of the final lap and made contact with
Pitkat, who saved his car but lost the lead. Track officials issued a
penalty to Rocco, who took the checkers first, and put Pitkat into victory
lane. Rocco was awarded fifth place. Rick Fuller was moved up to the
runner-up spot. Andrew Charron and Joe Allegro followed.
In other Thursday night Thunder action Tyler Poulin was the Mini
Stock winner, halting Danny Field's win streak. Tom O'Sullivan was the Late
Model winner, Derek Ramstron won the non-stop Super Latemodel feature, Shawn
Monahan won the Limited Sportsman Feature and Cam McDermott won the Thompson
The Stafford Motor Speedway avoided a couple of pop-up showers as
Keith Keith Rocco picked up his fifth victory of the 2011 season in the
40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Ryan Posocco took his first feature win
of the 2011 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko recovered
from an early race incident to take his third feature win of the 2011 season
in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault picked up his third
win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande
picked up his fourth feature victory of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock
feature. Casagrande's feature victory tied him with Stacey Botticello and
Norm Sears as the winningest drivers in DARE Stock history with 10 career
feature wins each.
Ted Christopher made a move to the inside of early leader Glen Reen
in turn 3 on lap-23 to take over the race lead. Rocco caught Reen and he
moved into second on lap-27 while Christopher continued to hold the lead.
With 10 laps to go Christopher had a lead of several car lengths over Rocco,
who had an advantage of several car lengths over Reen in third. Rocco closed
the distance to Christopher and he made a power move to the inside of
Christopher in turn 3 on lap-36 to move into the race lead. Christopher
bobbled slightly in turn 1 on lap-38, which allowed Rocco to stretch his
lead out by a couple of car lengths. Christopher caught back up to Rocco on
the final lap, but Rocco was too strong to be overtaken and he took his
fifth win of the 2011 season by a car length. Rounding out the top-5 behind
Rocco and Christopher was Reen, Dan Avery, and Woody Pitkat.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco made it three in a row in
SK Modified competition. Bruce Thomas Jr. won his fourth feature in the Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model s, Ed Puleo rallied late in the Street Stock s
to win his fifth race of the year, but in the Mini Stocks it was the first
of the year for Nick Pappacoda who wound up taking the checkered flag. Paul
French was victorious in the SK Light Modifieds, his second in three events
for the division. Patrick Williams won the X-Car feature.
Following Rocco in the SK Modified feature was Jeff Pearl, Kyle
James, Joe Perry and Frank Mucciacciaro.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was in action at the Cannan
Speedway in New Hampshire. Louie Mechalides was the only purple and yellow
car in the field. He drew the pole, led all the laps and won the race. It
was ironic that the late Ricky Miller, for whom the race was named, drove a
purple and yellow car. Mike Stefanik finished second and was followed by
Norm Wrenn, Kirk Alexander and Chris Pasteryak. There were thirty cars on
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC hosted twin 25 lap
Modified features. Tim Brown won the pole position for the first race with a
qualifying lap of 13.298 seconds (67.7 mph) on the quarter-mile track. He
held off Burt Myers in a side-by-side battle in the first lap, and again
survived pressure from runner-up Myers in the closing laps. Jonathan Brown
finished third. In the second Modified race, Jason Myers, went pole to pole
to record his first victory of the season. Chris Fleming finished second,
after slipping past a sliding Brad Robbins in the eighth lap. Robbins
finished third after picking up two spots by bumping and squeezing past
Austin Pack and Steven Truell in the opening laps. Burt Myers was eighth in
the second race and Tim Brown ninth, maintaining Myers' 28-point lead margin
in the standings.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Don Howe came out of
retirement to win the Modified feature. Howe hadn't won in 15 years.
Modified driver Chris Young bought the Bronson Speedway in Florida,
which held their first event in late-June. Young is exploring the
possibility of hosting a Tour-Type Modified event at the track during
Speedweeks next February.
In some sad news Kenneth J. Gouvin, 83, passed away after a lengthy
illness on Thursday, July 7, 2011. During his younger years Kenny raced at
the Kingston Fairgrounds in Kingston, RI.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Loudon, Ryan Newman's first victory
of the season from the pole and Tony Stewart's second-place finish gave
Stewart-Haas Racing its first 1-2 start and finish. Kyle Busch joined an
elite list in auto racing history, becoming the third NASCAR driver to win
100 races. Busch's victory in the Nationwide Series event at New Hampshire
Motor Speedway also tied him with Mark Martin for first place in career
Nationwide Series victories with 49. Busch has 22 wins in Sprint Cup and 29
in the Trucks Series.
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.