August 17, 2012
years ago in 1952 Cy Yates and Fred Luchesi were declared
co-winners of a 25 lap Sportsman feature on Wednesday night after a photo
finish at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Dean was the Claiming Car
winner. Luchesi came back on Saturday night to record an uncontested win.
Fifty five years ago in 1957,
Red Foote was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. Don
Collins took another Sportsman win at the Bowl on Saturday night and Danny
Gallulo paid a surprise visit as he won the non-Ford feature.
Fifty years ago in 1962, Hank
Stevens scored a popular win as he took the Modified feature at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Moody made it three in a row in the Bombers
at the shoreline oval.
Forty five years ago in 1967,
the All Star League paid a visit to the Flemington Speedway on Wednesday
night. Frankie Schenieder, one of the top dirt track drivers of the day took
the win over Budd Olsen, Jackie Hamilton and Bob Pickell. Friday night at
Stafford saw Eddie Flemke take the win over Hank Stevens, Bill Slater, Fats
Caruso and Lou Toro. Albany Saratoga on Friday and Fonda on Saturday fell
victim to rain but at Norwood it was dry as Bob Melnick took the win. It was
also dry at Waterford where Charlie Webster took the Modified win. The up
state New York rains continued into Sunday and washed out Sunday night
action at Utica-Rome.
Forty years ago in 1972,
Seekonk and Malta had double point events scheduled. It rained at Malta but
not at the Cement Palace where Fred DeSarro took the win over Red Barbeau,
Eddie Flemke, Hop Harrington, Ollie Silva and Ronnie Bouchard. Saturday
night at Stafford saw George “Moose” Hewitt power his way to victory in the
Freddie Doolittle No.23. Fred DeSarro finished second with Ronnie Bouchard,
Eddie Flemke and Leo Cleary rounding out the top five. At Fonda, Lou Lazzaro
took a hard fought battle over Ken Shoemaker, Dave Lape and Jerry Pennock
Sr. Islip belonged to Charlie Jarzombek. Bill Scrivener took the win at
Waterford. Utica-Rome staged a double point event on Sunday night. Denis
Giroux took the win over Dave Lape, Richie Evans and Sonny Seamon. Bugsy
Stevens and Fred DeSarro were trying to chip away at Jerry Cooks point lead
but lost ground as both were bogged down by up-front traffic. Cook finished
fifth while Stevens ended up eighth and DeSarro, 12th.
Thirty five years ago in 1977,
Bugsy Stevens started the weekend off with a win at Stafford on Friday
night. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Dick Caso, third. Bobby Santos
ruled the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. Eddie StAngelo finished second
with Jim Wilkins, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero and Pete Fiandaca
finished one-two and at Westboro, George Savory beat out Roland LaPierre Jr.
and Mike Weeden. NASCAR scheduled a 300 mile modified event for the one-mile
Dover Downs Speedway, on Sunday. Many of the New England based cars and
drivers remained home to support the Sunday night small-block event at
Thompson. Maynard Troyer won the Dover event over Paul Radford, Lennie Pond,
Richie Evans, Jerry Cook and Ray Hendrick. Ronnie Bouchard took the Thompson
win over Eddie Flemke, Bobby Clark, Brett Bodine and Dick Caso. After
running somewhat successful modified events in 1969 and 1970, the Dover
modified event was not a good fan draw. Needless to say, the modifieds have
not been back since.
Thirty years ago in 1982,
Stafford ran a stand alone SK-Modified event on Wednesday night. The event
drew 41 of the then new limited modifieds. Stafford was testing the waters
to see if a future decision to drop the unlimited modifieds from their
weekly program would be justified. Charlie Savage took the win over Dan
Avery and Randy Lajoie. The racing was good but the regular Stafford Friday
night crowd didn’t support the event. Plans to dump the modifieds were
shelved for a future date. In regular Friday night action at Stafford, Greg
Sacks outgunned Reggie Ruggiero for the win. Kenny Bouchard finished third.
Randy LaJoie was the SK-Modified winner. In other Friday night action,
George Kent and Richie Evans finished one-two at Spencer, Fred Harbach over
Wayne Anderson and Alan Harbach at Riverhead and at New Egypt, it rained.
Dave Webber was the winner at Waterford on Saturday night. Don Bunnell,
Moose Hewitt and Randy Lajoie rounded out the top four. Reggie Ruggiero beat
out John Rosati at Riverside and at Seekonk, John Smith walked off with the
checker. Fred Harbach made it two for two on the weekend as he backed up his
Friday night win at Riverhead with a win on Saturday night at Islip. At
Shangri-La, Jim Spencer got the best of Richie Evans as he took the victory
there. The modifieds and the Northern Molson Tour shared the billing at
Thompson on Sunday. Jean Paul Cabana won the Late Model event and Richie
Evans won the modified event over Corky Cookman, Reggie Ruggiero and George
Kent. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bobby Allison took the win over
Richard Petty. Geoff Bodine finished fourth and Ronnie Bouchard finished
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
Mike Mclaughlin scored a convincing win as he took the top spot in the
Manchester Oil Heat 100 at Stafford on Friday night. Jim Spencer finished
second with Brian Ross in the Ed Cloce 69, third. George Brunnhoelzl and
Mike Stefanik rounded out the top five. Jerry Pearl was the SK-Modified
winner. S.J.Evonsion pulled off a surprise win over Mike Stefanik at
Riverside on Saturday night. Ricky Young held off Bob Potter at Waterford
and at Riverhead, Steve Park won the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial. The
Riverhead event was also a qualifier for the Oswego 200.At Shangri-La, Tony
Hirschman won a Thompson 300 qualifier. Thompson ran the 300 pole qualifier
on Sunday. Brian Ross took the win over Jamie Tomaino, Mike Mclaughlin and
Doug Hevron. Ted Christopher was the SK-Modified winner. In Winston Cup
action at Michigan, Bill Elliott took the win.
Twenty years ago in 1992,
Friday night action at Stafford saw Steve Chowanski take the win over Tom
Tagg and John Sneade. At Riverside it was Bobby Gegetskas over Alan Rudonas
and Rick Summers. Riverhead and Waterford rained out. On a sad note,
Clifford Allison, the younger son of Bobby Allison, lost his life after
crashing during a Busch Grandnational practice session at Michigan.
Fifteen years ago in 1997,Steve
Park took the lead with fourteen laps to go and won the Busch Grand National
event at Michigan and in Winston Cup action, Mark Martin made up two laps
after getting a flat and took the win, also at Michigan. At Stafford, Steve
Chowanski took the win over Jim Broderick and Lloyd Agor. Rick Donnelly beat
out Todd Ceravolo at Waterford and it was Ted Riggot at Riverside. Tom
McCann took the win at Riverhead and in Busch Grand National North action at
Star Speedway, Mike Stefanik took the win over Brad Leighton. The Modified
Tour series was at Loudon. Mike Stefanik attempted to pass Jan Leaty on the
final lap and Leaty chopped him and triggered a big wreck, which took out
Stefanik, Reggie Ruggiero, Rick Fuller, Satch Worley and Ed Kennedy. Mike
Ewanitsko ended up second and Tony Ferente, third.Rick Hendrick accepted a
plea agreement in his mail fraud case and on a sad note, Canadaigua
backstretch starter Fred Taney was run over and died from injuries.
Ten years ago in 2002 The
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour had a hot and sultry night at Thompson on
Thursday for the Bud 150. It was a good night for racing with close to
10,000 spectators on hand and 46 Tour Modifieds in the pit area. Eddie
Flemke Jr., fresh off his recent win at Riverhead, made it two in a row in
Tour Series competition. After setting fast time for the Bud Pole award
Flemke drew the tenth starting spot Total preparation and coaching by crew
chief David Hill were key factors. A good race set-up and a plan to go
non-stop gave the second-generation driver a distinct advantage. Charlie
Pasteryak picked the pole starting spot and led the first 23 laps before
giving way to Ted Christopher. Just about the same time that Christopher
took the lead, mis-fortune struck defending series champion Mike Stefanik
who slowed and dropped out with a blown engine. Christopher, with his
brother Mike in tow, led the field until lap 70 when they pitted for tires.
Ted would return but Mikey would park the No.48 normally driven by Tony
Hirschman. It appeared that an electrical short burned through a power
steering hose. Running third, when the Christopher’s pitted was Flemke who
assumed the lead. Chuck Hossfeld and Tony Ferrente Jr. also chose not to pit
and followed Flemke. Hossfeld got a run on Flemke on a lap 88 restart and
took the lead. Hossfeld set the pace until lap 110 when Flemke took it back
for good. Meanwhile, as Hossfeld and Ferrente were feeling the effects of
worn tires, Ricky Fuller and Ted Christopher moved into contention. With the
race winding down with three laps to go, L.W.Miller and Jerry Marquis
tangled and crashed into the turn two wall. Marquis took Miller a little low
on the front chute and then Miller lambasted Marquis in the rear. Just
before the crash Miller’s spotter told him to get by Marquis, no matter
what. Both drove away but Marquis suffered severe rear end damage and had to
make numerous pit stops in order to make repairs. After a couple of false
starts, the field took the green on lap 155 for a green-white-checker
That’s when things got ugly. Christopher and Ricky Fuller had been
slugging it out and as they entered turn one on the final lap Fuller
attempted to pass on the outside and the two got together. Fuller bounced
off the Christopher mount with the end result being that Christopher ended
up in the turn two wall. With Flemke home free, Fuller was able to hold his
spot and finish in second spot. Hossfeld got the benefit of the
confrontation, as he was able to avoid the tangle as he brought the Mystic
Missile home in third. Tom Cravenho got a solid fourth for Eddie Partridge
and Christopher was able to regain his forward motion to finish fifth.
Fuller later stated that Flemke had been dropping fluid for the final 25
laps and maybe Christopher went in a little too hard trying to pass and
that’s why he slid into him. Fuller’s left front touched Christopher’s right
rear and into the wall he went. The regular weekly racing started on
Thursday at Thompson where Ted Christopher took the win over Jeff Malave and
Ron Yuhas Jr. Defending champion Bert Marvin was never a factor as he
dropped out with mechanical problems. During the running of the event Ronnie
Silk and Tom Bolles got together on the backstretch. Silk attempted to pinch
Bolles into the wall as he attempted to pass. Rather than hit the concrete,
Bolles turned left and the resulting spin saw Silk hit the wall. Bolles
pitted and it was at that time that a member of the Silk crew shut off
Bolles’ air tank while his crew was attempting to change a flat tire.
Needless to say, the tire got changed and Bolles finished sixth.
Congratulations went out to Bo Gunning and the Long Island Gang led by Eddie
Partridge on their victory at Stafford on Friday night. It was Gunning’s
third of the year and the 41st of his career at the Arute Family oval. After
getting drilled into the fence, while leading, the previous week, the win
was especially sweet as Gunning and Partridge have the track championship on
their minds. Gunning now led Ronnie Silk by 34 points. Dennis Gada finished
second at Waterford on Saturday night and still got booed.
Jeff Pearl took the win. Gada drove a clean race despite exerting a
lot of pressure. Frustrated, Gada stated that all he hears is the whining of
other competitors and feels it’s his job to win as many races as possible.
Fans tend to hate one that wins too much. In 1978 when Geoff Bodine won 55
races he got booed every where he went but once he went south to seek his
fortune in NASCAR’s top division, many of those who booed him became
supporters. Now that Ted Christopher is not winning as many races that he
did in the past, many of last years boos have turned into cheers. Two of the
few drivers that never got booed for winning too many races were Bugsy
Stevens and the late Richie Evans. Their abilities and personalities were
far above their peers.
Five years ago in 2007, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night
for the running of the annual BUDWEISER 150 presented by the New England
Dodge Dealers. In what was to be a festive night of good hard racing the
night turned to be one of sadness as John Blewett III lost his life while
battling for the lead with his brother Jimmy. As close to 8,000 fans looked
on the Blewett brothers tangled following a restart on lap 107 of the
150-lap race. Jimmy’s car, owned by Eddie Partridge, came to rest on top of
John’s family owned mount. It appeared that John lost his life when a bumper
came through the window opening and struck his helmet. Was it a case of
sibling rivalry getting out of hand? Who knows! Earlier in the evening
during the Sunoco Modified feature Jimmy Blewett hit the front stretch hard
as he dueled with brother John for the start. Jimmy's car was towed off the
track. In no way did Jimmy Blewett want to harm his brother but for a split
second his will to win at all cost, cost him dearly.
Car owners Eddie and Connie Partridge are extremely close with the
Blewetts. John Blewett III was the key set-up man for Partridge’s SK
Modified team as well as his Tour Car team. Jimmy Blewett idolized and loved
his brother. Jimmy convinced Eddie and Connie to field a second Sunoco
Modified for John to race at Thompson so they could be teammates this
season. Jimmy had grown tremendously from John’s mentorship as a result of
Blewett was 33 years old. The New Jersey native was a throw-back to
the glory days of racing, an answer to fans who complained that drivers who
become too buttoned-down, too politically correct and too willing to
second-place in recent times. Blewett’s list of accomplishments in Modified
racing was extensive. He had 10 career victories, 42 top five finishes and
76 top 10 finishes on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Blewett won two
North-South Shootout races at Concord Motorsport Park (NC). He was the 2003
and 2006 New Hampshire International Speedway Modified division track
champion. He was the 1996 NASCAR Regional Racing Northeast champion.
During a fitting tribute at his home track, the Wall Township
Speedway, an emotional mix of cheers and tears filled the stands Saturday as
the late John Blewett III's No. 76 car led the ceremonial final lap at the
Wall Township Speedway. No. 76, driven by Jamie Tomaino, was then parked in
the grandstand area for fans to leave cards, letters and flowers. The
ceremonial lap was followed by a memorial service lead by the Rev. Don
Rivers of the Racing With Jesus Ministries.
Automobile racing can be one of the most enjoyable sports but can
be one of the most dangerous sports. Many great drivers have lost their
lives including Dick Dixon, Fred DeSarro, Charlie Jarzombek Tom Baldwin and
The race was stopped and Todd Szegedy was the leader at the time of
the red flag. Tony Hirschman was second with Ron Yuhas Jr, third. Donnie Lia
was fourth. NASCAR deemed the race officially completed on Monday and
awarded Szegedy his first win of the year.
In True Value Modified Series action at the Seekonk Speedway on
Saturday night all drivers on hand gathered on the track in turn four and
had a few moments of silence in memory John Blewett III.
Les Hinckley won the Seekonk event and was followed by Vinnie
Annarummo, Tony Ricci, Dwight Jarvis and Kirk Alexander.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway
Tom Cravenho won the wreckfest that was called the Sunoco Modified 30.
Cravenho of Raynham, MA, withstood a number of cautions to score his first
victory of the season. Fred Astle, Jr. of N. Westport, MA, continues to run
strong in the Pro Stock division winning his second feature event in three
weeks. Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI streaked to consecutive wins in the
Late Model division. Ed Puleo of Branford was another first time winner on
the season after taking down the victory in the Limited Sportsman Division.
Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford, MA, and Rick Blanchard of Pascoag, RI, added
to their win tallies in the TIS Modified and Mini Stock divisions
Cravenho withstood a number of restarts in a caution-marred Sunoco
Modified event to score his first feature win of the season. After taking
the lead from pole sitter Buddy Charette, Harry Rheaume took his spot at the
head of the pack. Rheaume had plenty of company as John Blewett III dogged
the leader from the opening lap. A handful of laps later, John Blewett was
the new leader. It was a three-wide battle for the second position with
Rheaume, Kerry Malone, and Jimmy Blewett. The trio entered turn one stacked
up. Jimmy Blewett shot out of the pack in second. He immediately ran down
his brother John. The team cars went wheel-to-wheel for an entire lap before
Jimmy claimed the top spot on lap eight. While Kerry Malone slowed on the
speedway, Rheaume, who was running third, was punted by Rocco and made hard
contact with the outside wall. Rocco was sent to the tail of the field for
his involvement in the incident. The Blewett Brothers were vying for the
same piece of real estate on the restart when contact sent Jimmy into the
outside wall to bring out the yellow. Under caution, Rocco headed to pit
road with a broken rear axle. John Blewett headed down pit road as well
handing the lead over to Cravenho.
There was mayhem on the ensuing attempt at a restart when Ceravolo
went spinning at the start/finish line. Danny Cates ended up against the
turn one wall with heavy damage. Under the caution, the point leader, Woody
Pitkat, headed down pit road for service. The third attempt on the restart
was a charm with Cravenho jumping out to the lead. Cravenho immediately
stretched his lead while Bert Marvin and Buddy Charette battled for second.
Marvin was able to gain the position on a lap 12. Geoff Gernhard was also
able to advance his position into third.
Gernhard made a power move on Marvin exiting turn two to take over
the second spot on lap 15. Cravenho continued to stretch his lead. By the
time the caution flew on lap 22, John Blewett had already made his way back
into the top five. The incident that caused the caution involved Eric
LeClair and Dave Salzarulo. Pitkat and Ceravolo took advantage of the yellow
to come down pit road. On the restart, it was all
Cravenho leaving Gernhard to hold off Marvin. At that point, Rocco had
rejoined the field. The problems for the field continued when James Harrison
came to rest on the front stretch. After only a few laps of green flag
racing, an incident on the backstretch necessitated the caution. The #16 of
Ceravolo came to rest atop the #09 of Brad VanHouten. The final four laps
were uneventful with Cravenho stretching his lead. The closing laps also
featured one of the best races of the night. The battle for the runner-up
position heated up with Gernhard holding second over Marvin and John
Blewett. Cravenho went unchallenged over the final laps to earn his first
victory of the season. Gernhard had a career day holding on for second over
Bert Marvin. John Blewett and Pitkat rebounded from early race incidents to
complete the top five.
Rain washed out the Friday night action at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl Dennis Gada passed Diego Monahan on lap 12 of the 35 lap SK
Modified feature and went on to score his 54th career win at the shoreline
oval. Monahan ended up second and was followed by Don Fowler, Zach Sylvester
and Bo Gunning. In other races, Bill Leonard edged Seth Duval to win the
25-lap AllStar Race Truck feature, Dennis Botticello won the 30-lap Late
Model feature, Jim Procaccini captured the 20-lap Sportsman feature and
Danny Field won the Mini Stock 20-lapper.
Denny Hamlin fought off a mid-race challenge from Matt Kenseth,
then drove away for a dominating victory Saturday in the Carfax 250 NASCAR
Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin picked up his
second Busch win of the season and the fourth of his career. His victory
gave Nextel Cup regulars 22 victories in 25 tries on the Busch circuit for
the season. There were three caution flags, all during the first 36 laps,
and Hamlin took advantage of the green flag racing the rest of the way. He
steadily pulled away, beating Kenseth to the finish by 6.988 seconds - the
length of the front straightaway. Matt Kobyluck won the Busch East Mohegan
Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park.
Kurt Busch won for the second time in three races, prevailing in a
rare Tuesday NASCAR event after two days of rain postponements at Michigan
International Speedway. Busch, who didn't take his first lead until lap 101
and wound up leading four times for 92 laps, beat Martin Truex to the finish
by 0.495 seconds, about eight car lengths on the high-banked, 2-mile oval.
Last year, 2011, the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour joined the Indy Cars at Loudon, NH. Bobby Santos
crossed another track off his list when he earned the NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour pole in time trials for the Granite State Classic. Santos toured the
one mile oval in 29.858 seconds (127.564 mph) for his sixth career Coors
Light Pole Award and second of the 2011 season. There were 31 cars on hand.
Second fastest was Eric Beers with Eric Beers, third. Justin Bonsignore and
Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five.
Mike Stefanik ended a long dry spell in the No. 16 Diversified
Metals/R.B. Enterprises Pontiac when he earned his first win of the season
and the 71st of his Tour career by edging Woody Pitkat at the line. It was
Stefanik’s seventh win at the track and first since Aug. 2, 1998.
Additionally, it was his first overall victory since winning at Martinsville
(Va.) Speedway on Sept. 27, 2009. The runner-up marked the best career
finish for Pitkat. Todd Szegedy finished in in the third position followed
by Justin Bonsignore and Eric Beers in fourth and fifth, respectively. Bobby
Santos, Ryan Preece, Glenn Tyler, Erick Rudolph and Doug Coby rounded out
the top 10.
There were 10 lead changes among 5 drivers. Santos led the opening
29 laps before giving way to Erick Rudolph who led lap 30. Santos retook the
lead one lap later and remained on the point until lap 44 when Bonsignore
took his turn on the point for one lap before giving way to a determined
Santos who would lead to lap 53. Bonsignore and Santos slugged it out until
lap 60 when Woody Pitkat came alive. From there on Pitkat and Mike Stefanik
went toe to toe. Stefanik took the lead for the final time on lap 73 before
sprinting home for the win. Seventeen of the original 31 starters were on
the lead lap at the finish. Among those who failed to finish were James
Civale, Andy Seus and Ron Yuhas who wrecked on lap 92, Matt Hirschman, Kevin
Goodale, Eric Goodale and Don Lia who wrecked on lap 66, Jake Marosz retired
on lap 62 with handling problems, Eric Berndt wrecked on lap 58 and Ted
Christopher who dropped out with rear end problems after completing 50
laps. Jimmy Blewett, Wade Cole and Ken Heagy dropped out with engine
problems with engine problems.
The crowd on hand was extremely sparse. The Indy Cars that raced on
Sunday also played to a sparse crowd, estimaed to be 30,000.
In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Sunny skies and 82
degree weather welcomed race teams and fans. The Late Model division took
the center stage with their 40-lap extra distance race and Tommy O’Sullivan
of Springfield, MA, was the star. Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, returned to
top-form and to victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds. Andy Lindeman of
Poestenkill, NY, was tops in the touring New England Truck Series. Derek
Ramstrom of Worcester, MA scored his fourth win of the season in the Super
Late Models. Dwayne Dorr of Ledyard, CT, motored his way to the victory in
the Limited Sportsman division. Jay Sundeen of Douglas, MA, bested the field
to win in the TIS Modifieds. He had been knocking on the door and on
Thursday night Eric Bourgeois of Moodus, CT, scored his first Mini Stocks
feature event win of the season. There were 14 cars on hand for the event.
The Stafford Motor Speedway did not run into any weather problems
as Ryan Preece scored his third win of the 2011 season in the SK Modified®
feature, Ryan Posocco scored his second win of the 2011 season in the 30-lap
Late Model feature, Matt Galko nailed down his fourth win of 2011 in the
20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault picked up his fourth win
of the 2011 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Albert
Saunders picked up his first win of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock
In the SK Modifieds, Keith Rocco came home in second, with early leader Dan
Avery, Glen Reen, and Eric Berndt Berndt rounding out the top-5. Ted
Christopher finished a distant 21st after being collected in an early race
At the Waterford Speedbowl, the shoreline oval hosted the fourth
annual Wings and Wheels event Saturday night, staging another round of
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing for the SK Modifieds®, the track’s
weekly headline division plus the visiting ISMA Supermodifieds, NEMA Midgets
and Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Claiming victories were Keith Rocco, continuing his domination of
the SK Modified® division by picking up his tenth win on the season. Chris
Perley scored his third career win at the Speedbowl by picking up the
victory on the 50-lap ISMA Supermodified race. A first-time winner reached
the winner’s circle in the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature as Todd Bertrand
etched his name into the record books. In the
100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature, veteran racer Jerry Marquis
of Broad Brook came out of racing retirement to score an upset victory.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to the Stafford
Speedway to complete a previously started event. Keith Rocco continued his
winning ways as he picked up his first career Modified Racing Series victory
in the Lincoln Tech 80. The race was started on June 24th, but rain halted
the race with 32 laps complete. Rocco was the race leader when the rain came
and he had to fight off strong challenges from Matt Hirschman and then Todd
Owen to take the victory as he led the final 47 laps of the race.
With 10 laps to go, it was a four-car train for the top spot with
Rocco leading Owen, Doug Coby, and Hirschman. With 5 laps to go the running
order remained the same, but Rocco was able to pull away from Owen by
several car lengths. Rocco led the field around to take the checkered flag.
Owen finished second, with Coby, Hirschman, and Mike Stefanik rounding out
Before the engines would cool the series headed to the Waterford
Speedbowl. Retired race driver Jerry Marquis came out of retirement and won
the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature at the shoreline oval.
The win came on a night when the track presented the fourth annual “Wings &
Wheels” program in front of a large crowd of open-wheel race fans. Marquis
became the fourth consecutive first time winner and the 10th different
winner for 2011. Marquis was asked to pinch-hit for regular driver Rowan
Pennink who was competing in a Whelen Modified Tour event in Loudon. Marquis
agreed to practice the car at Stafford, (CT) on Friday and be ready on
Saturday at Waterford if needed. When the field of 21 cars rolled from the
Waterford pit area, Marquis took his position in the front row to a rousing
At the drop of the green flag, Marquis was the driver to beat and
no one could top the Roscoe Racing #25. The 56-year Marquis had the field
covered but received pressure throughout the race. Local favorite Rob
Janovic Jr, of chased Marquis until Les Hinckley III slipped by on lap 40.
For the next 60 laps Hinckley chased Marquis and ran him hard on restarts
but this was not the night for the current point-leader. Marquis prevailed
for the full 100-laps. Keith Roccostarted 21st and finished a solid third.
Chris Pasteryak finished fourth with Max Zachem rounding out the top five.
Mike Holdridge, Louie Mechalides, Dave Etheridge, Tim Jordan, and Josh
Sylvester finished sixth through tenth. 17 of the 21 cars that started the
race finished the event, 16 on the lead lap.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Eddie Brunnhoelzl was the
NASCAR Modified winner.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC fell under rain which
washed out both 25-lap races for the featured Modified Division.
At Watkins Glen, subbing for injured Penske Racing teammate Brad
Keselowski, Kurt Busch held off Jimmie Johnson on a green-white-checkered
finish to win the Nationwide Zippo 200 on Saturday.
Busch beat his Sprint Cup nemesis by nearly a second for his third
victory in 12 Nationwide races. He also deprived brother Kyle of his 50th
career victory, which would have broken a tie with Mark Martin for the most
in series history. Marcos Ambrose of Australia won his first NASCAR Sprint
Cup race in Monday's rain-delayed Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen.
He had to make a late pass of Brad Keselowski to finally win at the Glen,
where he had finished third, second and third in the last three Cup races
Get well wishes went out to Dick Caso, a long time Modified veteran
who was critically injured following a accident on his moped. Dick was a
multi-time winner at many New England tracks for about 3 decades and earned
the nickname "Daring" Dick Caso for his driving style. In addition to his
own cars Caso drove the Ted Marsh No. 55 and the Billy Simons No.9 in
numerous NASCAR Modified events in the 1970's.
Get well wishes also went out to former Speedway Scene publisher
and editor Val LeSieur who has entered Tufts Medical Center in Boston with a
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
George "Moose" Hewitt
Donald "Hank" Stevens
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit