The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


August 31, 2012

   Sixty years ago in 1952 the Waterford Speedbowl ran on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Cy Yates and Don Collins were the respective winners. Ray Legary and Bud Matter were the Claiming Car winners.

   Fifty five years ago in 1957 Johnny Sandberg was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Irwin Fox was the non-Ford winner. Don Collins won a 50 lapper at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner.

   Fifty years ago in 1962, Dick Beauregard won a special 75 lap Labor Day weekend special Modified event Ed Moody and Bill Scrivener were the Bomber feature winners. Ernie Gahan won his first of four in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway.

   Forty five years ago, in 1967, Leo Cleary paid a surprise and rare visit to Riverside Park where he won the Wednesday night All Star League 100. Jack LeCuyer finished second and was followed by Bill Wimble, Eddie Flemke, Gene Bergin, Buzzie Reutiman and Rene Charland. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night to start off the Labor Day weekend with Sal Dee taking the win over Smokey Boutwell, Bill Slater, Don Flynn and Bobby Santos. Albany Saratoga ran a 200 lapper with Don MacTavish taking the win over Bill Wimble, Richie Evans, Pete Hamilton and Eddie Flemke. At Norwood on Saturday, Bill Slater and his V-8 ruled the roost. It was Slater's 33rd and final win at the Massachusetts oval. Waterford ran on Saturday and Sunday with Newt Palm and Charlie Webster scoring Modified wins. The New Yorker 400 at Utica-Rome took center stage on Sunday night. Run in two-two hundred lap segments, Don MacTavish won the opening segment over Bugsy Stevens, Bill Wimble and Jerry Cook. Dave Kotary won the nite-cap over Eddie Flemke, Jean Paul Cabana, Lou Lazzaro and Cook. The annual Labor Day afternoon Bardahl 400, also a two-segment event, was run at Norwood. Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens were the winners. Before the tires and engines could cool, crews loaded their cars and headed to Stafford for the Labor Day evening 100. Gene Bergin took the win over Dick Watson, Maynard Forette, Ed Patnoad and Rene Charland.

   Forty years ago in 1972, Seekonk started the weekend off with a 100 lapper on Friday night. The event drew 37 modifieds. Fred DeSarro took the win over Hop Harrington, George Summers, Ronnie Bouchard and Johnny Trip. The Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran a 250 lapper on Saturday night. Bob Santos in the Art Barry No.09 took the win over Denis Giroux, Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook and Bugsy Stevens. The Saturday event at Waterford was rescheduled to Sunday where Jerry Dostie took the win. Stafford and Islip had regular shows planned for Saturday night but rain prevailed. The rain carried over to Sunday and washed out the New Yorker 400 at Utica-Rome. The skies cleared and the 200 at Stafford was run on Labor Day afternoon. Denis Giroux scored his biggest win to date as he beat out Eddie Flemke, Bob Santos, George Summers and Ronnie Bouchard for the win.

   Thirty five years ago in 1977, an almost full week of racing wound up the summer season. Waterford started it off on Tuesday with a 100-lap open competition event. Charlie Jarzombek, a master of the short tracks on Long Island, took no prisoners as he beat out Waterford Top Gun, Dick Dunn for the win. John Rosati finished third with Eddie Flemke, fourth. Wednesday night at Thompson saw Geoff Bodine beat out Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro, Richie Evans and Bugsy Stevens. Bodine made it two in a row as he traveled to New Egypt on Thursday night where he took the win over Fred Harbach and Pete Fiandaca. Bodine was looking to make it three in a row when he took the green at Stafford on Friday night but Ronnie Bouchard had other plans as he jumped out early in the event and wasn’t about to hand Bodine any gifts. Following Bouchard and Bodine were John Rosati, Eddie Flemke and Brian Ross. Also on Friday night, Don Howe won at Riverhead over Jerry Cook and Wayne Anderson. Rain forced a cancellation at Seekonk on Saturday night. At Riverside, Bob Polverari took the win and sewed up the track championship. Don Bunnell won a 100 lapper at Waterford and Fred Harbach won at Islip. Most of the top guns were at Oswego for the annual 200 lapper. Richie Evans took the win, his 26th of the year. Ronnie Bouchard scored his second win of the weekend as he took the top spot at Thompson on Sunday night. Fred DeSarro finished second with Bugsy Stevens and Leo Cleary rounding out the top four. Evans got his second win of the weekend at Utica-Rome on Sunday night as he out-ran Geoff Bodine and Jerry Cook at the 1/3-mile oval. Labor Day and the 200 at Stafford belonged to Eddie Flemke as he put the Manchester Sand and Gravel No.10 in the winner’s circle ahead of Bodine, Maynard Troyer, Evans, Stevens and DeSarro. The cagey veteran had beat the best there was at that time.

   Thirty years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks continued his dream season as he went three for three on the Labor Day weekend. Sacks started the weekend at Stafford on Friday where he beat out Ray Miller and Bob Polverari for the win. On Saturday, Sacks headed for Oswego where he walked off with the top prize of $12,000 as he won the Oswego 200. Roger Treichler finished second with Richie Evans, Jim Spencer and Jerry Cook rounding out the top five. During the running of the Oswego 200, many time Supermodified Champion Jim Shampine was fatally injured after being hit from behind. Sacks took Sunday off to rest up and travel back to Stafford for the Labor Day afternoon 200. Needless to say, the Long Island hot shoe was on a streak as he made it three for three as he won the 200 over Richie Evans, George Kent, Roger Treichler and George Brunnhoelzl. In other weekend action, Bob Potter won a 100 lapper at Waterford over Randy Lajoie and Dick Ceravolo, Tony Siscone won at New Egypt, Marty Radwick took the top spot at Riverside and Kenny Bouchard won a brown-out event at Thompson as the lights went out after 20 laps. In other weekend action, George Summers won a 100 lapper at Seekonk, Wayne Anderson won a 200 lapper at Islip and Fred Harbach won at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Cale Yarborough took the Labor Day classic over Richard Petty.

   Twenty five years ago in 1987, Richie Gallup was the Friday night winner at Stafford as he beat out Sonny O’Sullivan, Kerry Malone and Ronnie Rocco for top honors. At Waterford on Saturday night, Ronnie Rocco scored a popular win as he beat out Larry Lanphear in a 75-lap contest. Twin features were on tap at Riverside with Dan Avery and Mike Stefanik taking the wins. At Riverhead, Don Howe got the best of Bill Park. George Kent scored a double as he won the rich Oswego 200 and the Labor Day 100 at Stafford. At Oswego, Kent pitted early, on lap 16, and let the race come to him as he re-took the lead on lap 86 and went on to take the win. Kent would use this trick many times in the future. Jim Spencer finished second with Brian Ross, Tony Hirschman and Jan Leaty rounding out the top five. At Stafford, on Monday, Mike McLaughlin finished second with Mike Stefanik, Brian Ross and Reggie Ruggerio rounding out the top five. Ted Christopher was the Labor Day SK Modified winner. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt took the win over Rusty Wallace. In other matters, Thompson Speedway NASCAR Chief Steward Bill Slater was forced to withdraw a suspension issued to Ed Flemke Jr.for a rough riding incident at Thompson. Slater was threatened with a lawsuit and with out the backing of his boss, Don Hoenig, he would be standing alone.

   Twenty years ago, in 1992, Richie Gallup, in the Ceravolo No. 31, took the Friday night SK-Modified feature at Stafford. Bob Potter finished second with Bob Georgiades, third. At Waterford on Saturday night, Phil Rondeau won the late model feature and set a major milestone, as it was his 100th victory at the shoreline oval. Scott Poirier was the modified winner as he beat out Mark Lajunesse and Bob Potter. Jerry Marquis, in the Bob Judkins 2x scored his tenth feature win of the season at Riverside Park and wrapped up the track championship. Chris Kopec finished second with Dan Avery, third. Bob and Steve Park finished one-two at Riverhead and at Lancaster; Rick Fuller won the Tony Jankowiac Memorial 100. The Oswego Modified 200 saw Jeff Fuller take the win over Jan Leaty, Jim Rudolph and Tom Baldwin.

   Fifteen years ago in 1997, Steve Chowanski won the final Friday night program at Stafford. The Modified Tour series was also at Stafford and it was Mike Stefanik taking the win over Mike Ewanitsko and Tim Connolly. Reggie Ruggerio recorded his 92nd career win at Riverside on Saturday night. At Waterford, Jeff Pearl passed David Gada with 19 laps to go to take the win. Jim Broderick, who had been disqualified the previous week, driving the Harry Wyatt No.3 with an illegal carburetor, jumped into the Angie Cerese No.51 and finished sixth. Ken Heagy won at Riverhead and Dave Dion led pole to pole to win the Busch North event at Beech Ridge. Mike Stefanik finished second with Jerry Marquis, third.

   In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Jeff Gordon rubbed fenders with Jeff Burton and won the Southern 500 by inches. Gordon also won the Winston Million. At the start of the event Dale Earnhardt acted strangely as he hit the wall and had problems finding pit road. Jeff Burton dominated the Busch Grand National event that was also held at Darlington.

   Ten years ago in 1992, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night for what had to be considered one of the best events of the 2002 season. Thirty-six Modifieds were on hand with Chuck Hossfeld in the Garbarino-Mystic River Marina No.4 taking his first ever pole position. The big surprise of the night and also the big show was that of Dennis Gada who put the Bear Motorsports No.14 on the outside pole. The re-draw for the main event start saw Zach Sylvester pick the pole with Hossfeld picking the outside pole. Ted Christopher picked third spot with Tom Cravenho, Dennis Gada, Ed Flemke Jr., Chris Wenzel, and Charlie Pasteryak rounding out the top eight. Ted Christopher was the eventual race winner and ended a long dry spell at the shoreline oval but the night belonged to Gada who put on a brilliant and gutsy display of driving that kept the near capacity crowd on the edge of their seats. Hossfeld took the lead at the start with Christopher in tow as Sylvester faded almost immediately to fourth spot. Before one lap was completed, Renée’ Dupuis spun out in turn four but managed to keep going without the yellow being displayed. By lap five, Gada had passed Cravenho and Christopher and the show began. Lap after lap, Gada ran on the outside of Hossfeld. He finally got the right bite as he exited turn two on lap 15 and passed Hossfeld for the lead. It was short lived as he entered turn three way too deep and almost lost it and Hossfeld re-took the top spot with Christopher moving into second. Gada recovered and tucked in behind in third spot. The first caution of the night flew for Fred Vordermeir on lap 17 when he spun and stalled in turn two. The green flew on lap 24. Gada slipped under Christopher and went to work on Hossfeld again. Same story, flat out and side by side. Gada again took the lead on lap 32 on the backstretch only to get loose again in
turn three and four and lose it. Christopher again moved into second with Gada falling in third. The second caution of the night flew on lap 38 when Vordermeir, Dave Etheridge, Jamie Tomaino and Todd Szegedy tangled coming out of turn four. All restarted except Tomaino who had to be towed from the scene. The green flew on lap 44 with Hossfeld still leading. Christopher, Gada, Sylvester, Flemke, John Blewett III and Cravenho were following. Things settled down until lap 62 when Hossfeld slipped and allowed Christopher to take the lead with Gada in tow. With still plenty of car left, Gada went to work on Christopher who appeared to use the mirror on a few occasions. The third caution flew on lap 74 after Joey Caraccia lost an engine and stalled on the front chute. The restart came on lap 78 with Christopher leading followed by Gada, Hossfeld, Sylvester, Blewett, Flemke, Charlie Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik. Gada continued to pressure Christopher until his night came to an end on lap 95 when, as he exited turn two, his right rear hit the guardrail and when trying to correct, rode up on the backstretch fence and in the process broke a tie rod and blew a tire. Gada ended up in 25th spot. The green flew again on lap 104 with Christopher leading followed by Hossfeld, Blewett, Sylvester, Stefanik and Flemke. The fifth caution flew on lap 106 when Wade Cole and Renee Dupuis spun in turn four.

   Jerry Marqius, who started 13th and at one time was in the top ten, pitted for a tire change. The green flew again on lap 114 with the running order the same as before with the exception that Sylvester had faded which allowed Stefanik and Flemke to move into the top five. The sixth and final caution flew on lap 132 when Tom Cravenho spun in turn two. The field restarted single file on lap 138 and ran without incident to the finish. Jerry Marquis’ troubles continued as he lost power steering and ultimately lost a lap.

   Christopher took the win, his fifth on the tour for the year. Hossfeld recorded a career high second and was followed by Blewett, Stefanik, Flemke, Charlie Pasteryak, Rick Fuller, Dave Etheridge, Bob Polverari and Paul Suprenant. Pole sitter Zach Sylvester finished 11th. The checkered flag dropped at 9:43 p.m.

   The regular weekly racing was supposed to start Thursday at Thompson. A 75 lapper was scheduled for the Sunoco-SK Modifieds but heavy rains caused the speedway management to pull the plug on the event.

   The rain quit in time for Stafford to get their Friday night program in where Jim Williams went from pole to pole to win the 50 lap SK-Modified feature. Ted Christopher put a lot of pressure on in the closing laps but Williams held his line and kept his cool. Christopher settled for second and was followed by Don Travaglin, Eric Berndt, Chuck Docherty, Lloyd Agor and current point leader Bo Gunning. Three events remained on the 2002 schedule as Gunning held a 34-point edge on Travaglin for the track title. Ron Silk, Lloyd Agor and Ted Christopher made up the top five.

   At Waterford on Saturday night, Ed Reed Jr. was the SK-Modified winner over Jay Miller, Don Fowler and Jeff Pearl.
Just when it looked like Bill France was beginning to see the end of his medical problems and get back to a somewhat normal life another problem surfaces. The former president of NASCAR and the CEO of the International Speedway Corporation fell and suffered a broken hip. Upon examination, doctors determined that he had blockages and performed by-pass surgery. The prognosis was good and France was expected to make a full recovery.

   Five years ago in 2007, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Martinsville, VA. Donny Lia got the victory of a lifetime in the Made In American Whelen 300 at Martinsville Speedway. Lia held off Ted Christopher for the win in the race, which was the annual combination event between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Not only did the victory further solidify Lia’s Whelen Modified Tour points lead, it came two weeks after his friend and fellow driver John Blewett III passed away following a racing accident. John’s brother Jimmy won the Made In American Whelen 300 in 2006. After sitting out a week, Jimmy Blewett returned Saturday. He finished 43rd after engine problems. It was Lia’s sixth win of the Whelen Modified Tour season and he improved his points lead to 193 over Todd Szegedy with four races remaining.

   L.W. Miller was the top finishing Southern Modified Tour driver in third. Fellow Southern Modified Tour drivers Tim Brown and Brian King were fifth and sixth respectively. James Civali was fourth. Lia, who won the Budweiser Pole Award, led twice for 234 laps. He pitted for tires on lap 157 on the first caution following the mid-race break. And he took over the lead when Christopher pitted for tires on lap 184. Christopher moved from 15th to second by lap 225 but was unable to get by Lia in the closing laps. It took a little over three hours to complete the event. There were 15 caution periods for 88 laps.

   The Labor Day weekend venue of racing got started on Wednesday night at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts with an event they called Modified Madness. The historic 1/3-mile Speedway oval hosted the third annual Open Wheel Wednesday program, featuring the Viveiros Insurance-sponsored 100 green flag lap Modified Madness event, an open competition race paying $10,000 to the winner. Local favorite Vinnie Annarummo of Swansea, MA scored the biggest victory of his storied 35-year career at the 1/3-mile Seekonk Speedway oval, winning the 3rd annual Viveiros Insurance Modified Madness 100, worth $10,000. Thirty-three competitors from seven different states attempted to qualify for the 100 green flag lap open competition event which carried a total purse in excess of $31,000. Annarummo pulled away from Chris Pasteryak in the closing laps and sailed under the checkers 0.682 seconds ahead to post his 44th career Seekonk win in the Francis Farm #12. “Ten thousand dollars- can you believe it?” the 58 year-old veteran asked from Victory Lane. “This is one hell of a division to drive in. All of the guys raced me clean. We struggled in warm ups this afternoon, but we took a spring rubber out and tonight the car was good.” “I got beaten by Vinnie Annarummo at Seekonk Speedway,” Pasteryak good-naturedly shrugged after posting a solid second place finish, worth $3,500. “We were tight on the bottom, too, and that hurt us at the end.” Matt Hirschman walked away with $2,500 for third, while Richard Savary pocketed $2,000 for finishing fourth. Ted Christopher finished fifth, followed by Bobby Santos III, Eric Beers, Dale Evonsion, who came on strong in the latter stages of the event, Louie Mechalides, and Dick Houlihan.

   In True Value Modified Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Kirk Alexander took the win over Les Hinckley, Mike Holdridge and Todd Patnoad. Alexander came to the shoreline oval needing a win on the one-third mile speedway to complete a sweep with victories on every track that the series has competed on in its four-year existence.

   In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Keith Rocco hit everything but the lottery on his way to victory in the Sunoco Modified 50 lapper. Rocco, who was the triggerman of a mid-race caution all but rode Todd Ceravolo into the turn two wall following a restart on lap 48. Ceravolo kept his wits about him and managed to recover and finished fifth. Woody Pitkat finished second with Bert Marvin, third and Tom Cravenho, fourth.

   In other Thursday night racing, Jeff Zuidema of N. Brookfield, MA made a long-anticipated return to Pro Stock victory lane while Tommy O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA, scored his second Late Model feature win of the season. Scott Sundeen of Douglas, MA edged Larry Barnett for the Limited Sportsman victory. Roger Larson, Jr. won the TIS Modified feature in tech while Brad Caddick of New London won a barnburner in the Mini Stocks.

   It took Ted Christopher to end Woody Pitkat's five-race winning streak at the Stafford Motor Speedway as he won his second SK Modified feature of the 2007 season, Corey Hutchings won the Late Model feature, Josh Sylvester won his second consecutive SK Light feature, Sean Foster won the Limited Late Model feature, and Jim Brice won the DARE Stock feature.

   The 40-lap SK Modified® feature took the green flag with Willie Hardie charging from third to the lead on the opening lap. Ted Christopher quickly moved his way by both Lloyd Agor and Keith Rocco to move into second. A caution with 7 laps complete slowed the field and gave Christopher the opportunity to move by Hardie for the lead on the restart. The top-5 ran in line until lap-19 when Hardie fell back several spots from second as Rocco, Woody Pitkat, Jeff Malave, Kerry Malone, and Brad Hietala all moved by. Hietala was on the move in the middle stages of the race, working his way up to second behind Christopher. Several late caution periods set up a five-lap dash to the finish. Christopher was not to be headed as he led the final five laps to pick up the feature win. Hietala came home second, with Pitkat, Owen, and Hardie rounding out the top-5.

   In some sad news, Ed Yerrington who led the Stafford Motor Speedway out of financial despair in the early 1970’s passed away after suffering from liver cancer. Yerrington, Sr., 78, of 31 Trading Cove Circle, passed away Thursday, August 30, 2007, at his home. He was the President and General Manager for the Stafford Motor Speedway where he was the Co creator of the SK Modified Division. He also was an Operator and Promoter at the Waterford Speedbowl and was directly responsible for getting NASCAR and Don Hoenig together in order to secure a NASCAR Sanction at the Thompson Speedway. He was an avid racecar driver, racing along the East Coast for over 25 years. He was the 1970 Track Champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway when he drove the Freddy’s TV No.23. He was also a Technical Inspector for NASCAR at Daytona International Speedway. He was an avid antique car collector and especially enjoyed showing his cars within CT and MA. It’s a shame and a disappointment that there was no mention of Yerrington’s passing on the web site of the Stafford Speedway.

   In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl came from deep in the pack to win the first 25-lap SK segment of the “Double Down Shootout” at the shoreline oval. Following Janovic was Jay Miller, Don Fowler, and, Dennis Gada. In the nightcap SK event, it was Todd Ceravolo followed by Dennis Gada, Keith Rocco, Tyler Chadwick, and, Jeff Paul. For the second consecutive year, Gada was the overall “Double Down” winner.

   Other feature winners were Ed Reed Jr. and Larry Goss (Late Model), Walt Hovey and Josh Galvin (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. and Phil Evans (Mini Stock).

   In some sad news, Loren A. Card, 82, of Punta Gorda, Fla., the original starter at the Waterford Speedbowl, died Aug. 27, 2007. He was a colorful starter from day one at the Speedbowl as he would start the races while standing on the inside of the track. He started races at the Speedbowl for over 20 years.

   After going four months without a victory, Jimmie Johnson picked a great time to get back to victory circle. The reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion came on strong at the end of Sunday night's 250-lap race, grabbing his series-leading fifth victory of the season, clinching a spot in the Chase for the Championship and guaranteeing he will be no worse than a tie for the top seed in the 10-race playoff. Johnson, who took the lead for good after a series of green flag pit stops 22 laps, led 65 of the last 82 laps on the 2-mile oval and easily held off runner-up Carl Edwards. Kyle Busch finished third. Jeff Burton passed Kyle Busch late and pulled away for his third Busch win of the season in the Camping World 300 at California Speedway. Busch held on for second place, Denny Hamlin was third, Jimmie Johnson fourth, and Clint Bowyer fifth.

   Last year, 2011, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Thirty four cars, including 13 from the southern series, were on hand for the combination Northern-Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event.

   Driving the same car that was declared illegal at New Hampshire, Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman once again won one of the Whelen Modified Tour Series' highest paying events. The car number was changed and it was listed under a different car owner plus the crew chief was changed but once the race started Newman again drove away with the win. Newman led the first 86 laps as he jumped out from his fourth place starting spot with ease. After pitting four a complete set of tires Newman restarted seventh. Wasting little time the defending race winner put Todd Szegedy and James Civali away as he reclaimed the top spot on lap 128 and was out for a Sunday drive after that to claim the win. Newman exited the car and dedicated his win to a suspended owner/crew chief which was a slap in the face to NASCAR and the whole Tour. Szegedy and Civali faded in the closing laps as Justin Bonsignore raced his way into the runner-up spot. Szegedy finished third with Civali, fourth. Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five. Eric Beers was sixth, followed by Ron Silk, Frank Fleming, Andy Seuss and Eric Goodale. Fleming was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver and will be credited with a win on the tour. It is his first career victory.

   Eight of the original 34 starters finished on the lead lap. First to retire were Ron Yuhas and Andy Petree who were involved in a wreck on lap 8. Southern competitor Daniel Hemric suffered rear end failure on lap 9 and second fastest qualifier Erick Rudolph lost an engine on lap 14. Corey LaJoie appeared to have a left front tire blow out on lap 42 when he hit the wall. Also collected in the accident was George Brunnhoelzl III and Bryon Chew. Gary McDonald was sidelined on lap 53 with a defective driveshaft and pole sitter Bobby Santos suffered a major setback when his engine soured on lap 76. Doug Coby also had engine trouble as he parked it on lap 95. Mike Stefanik had a real strong run going before he was collected by Tim Brown who was unable to avoid the slow car of Wade Cole. Rowan Pennink, Jamie Tomaino and LW Miller were also eliminated in a wreck. Ed Flemke only completed 136 laps because of a vibration.

   Silk, by virtue of his 7th place finish, stretched his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points lead to 41 over Rowan Pennink, who finished 21st overall. Todd Szegedy is third, 16 points behind Pennink.

   The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets back on track with the inaugural event at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway on Sept. 4.

   The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour had a short break as they headed to the Caraway Speedway on Friday, Aug. 26.

   Andy Seuss repeated his win of a year ago with a victory in the Caraway 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race on Friday night. The 24-year-old driver from Hampstead, N.H., battled L.W. Miller early and then pulled away from George Brunnhoelzl III in the late stages to score his ninth career series win - his fifth at Caraway in 23 starts. Seuss, who entered the event fifth in the championship standings, had a nearly perfect day at the .455-mile track, topping the practice speeds early and then winning his fifth career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.

   Although he led from the drop of the green, Seuss had to battle back after L.W. Miller took the lead from him on Lap 14. Seuss muscled his way by and held command from there in his No. 11 Phoenix Pre-Owned/Triad Auto Sales Dodge. Brunnhoelzl, who started eighth on the grid, worked his way to the front in pursuit of the lead - but in the closing laps Seuss pulled away. They were followed to the finish by Jason Myers, with Frank Fleming taking fourth and John Smith in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Miller, Daniel Hemric, Renee Dupuis, Austin Pack and Burt Myers.

   A slim field of 13 cars were on hand for the event.

   In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the weatherman prevailed. The August 25th race was cancelled due to the forecast of thunder storms and heavy rains. The decision, made by track owner Don Hoenig, came early in the day so that competitors and fans alike would not head for the speedway only to find themselves heading home upon their arrival.

   The Stafford Motor Speedway got in their show ahead of Hurricane Irene. Ryan Preece picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Jim Mavlouganes picked up his first Late Model feature victory in 6 years in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bob Charland picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Cory Casagrande picked up his second win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   In the late going of the SK Modified feature Ted Christopher got by Dave Gervais for fifth and Keith Rocco moved by Todd Owen for fourth place on lap-36 while Preece continued to lead Woody Pitkat by several car lengths. Preece led the field to the checkered flag for his fourth win of the 2011 season, but behind Preece, Rocco made a move to the inside of Eric Berndt in turn 3 they touched wheels with both cars going hard into the turn 3 wall. Pitkat finished second behind Preece with Christopher, Owen, and Gervais rounding out the top-5. Rocco ended up 18th. Following the event Rocco was given a one week suspension for overaggressive driving into 54 of Berndt during the feature and conduct detrimental to the sport of Auto Racing. Among those missing from the SK Modified field was Frank Ruocco who is serving a two race sentence for over aggressive driving and Un-sportsman like conduct during the August 19 feature.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl racing was cancelled due to the pending arrival of rain associated with Hurricane Irene.

   At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island racing was cancelled due to the Hurricane.

   Kyle Busch edged teammate Joey Logano at the Bristol Motor Speedway finish line Friday night to become the all-time winningest driver in Nationwide Series. The win was the 50th of Busch's career in NASCAR's second-tier series and broke a tie the 26-year-old had with Mark Martin.

   In Sprint Cup racing at Bristol, Brad Keselowski picked up his third win of the season - second since breaking his ankle in an Aug. 3 crash.
On a sad note, Raymond “Hully” Bunn of Bristol, CT. His biggest win may have been the first 100 Mile Langhorne National Open for Modified Sportsman Stock Cars (now known as the Race of Champions) at Langhorne, PA on October 14, 1951 with relief from his friend and colleague Dick Eagan. died at age 91 on August 25 at Bristol Hospital after an illness. Bunn won more than a hundred Stock Car races in a career that lasted from 1949 to 1965 and was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

   That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

This week are several vintage racing photos
Courtesy of & Dave Dyke's

Click on Photo for Full Sized

Bill Harman & Starter Loren Card                                Ed Yerrington                                              Ray 'Hully' Bunn            

Denny Giroux & Billy Harman                                 Pete Fiandaca                                                      Sal Dee                   

Looking Back Archive

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: August 31, 2012

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