September 14, 2012
years ago Dick Beauregard was the Wednesday night Sportsman
winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Johnny Sandberg was the
Claiming Car winner. A 50 lap September Championship was held at the bowl on
Saturday night with Mike Ward taking the win. Sandberg made it two in a row
in Claiming Car action.
Fifty five years ago in 1957,
Don Collins made it three in a row in Sportsman action at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack made it two in a row in the non-Fords.
Fifty years ago in 1962, Ernie
Gahan made it three in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway.
George Pendergast was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Joe Savard was the Bomber feature winner.
Forty five years ago, in 1967,
Gene Bergin made it two in a row at Stafford. Don MacTavish finished second
and was followed by Fred DeSarro, Jerry Wheeler and Rene Charland. The USAC
Sprinters were also on hand for the Joe Csiki Memorial. Former Eastern
Bandit Dennis Zimmerman, who would go on to become a Rookie of the Year at
Indianapolis, won the event. Gene Bergin finished second with Earl Halaquist,
third. Zimmerman and Bergin would also be inducted to the New England
Antique Auto Racers Hall of Fame. Norwood Arena ran their annual Bay State
200, which was won by another Hall of Famer, Ralph "Hop” Harrington. The
Albany Saratoga Speedway wrapped up their season with a 50 lapper, which was
won by Dave Kotary. Don MacTavish finished second and was followed by Rene
Charland, Bill Wimble and Eddie Flemke. Bill Wimble was named as the
Modified Champion. George Pendergast was the Sportsman Champion. Charlie
Webster was the winner at Waterford.
Forty years ago in 1972, the
only modified action was in Connecticut and the state of New York. Islip ran
a 100 lapper on Saturday night, which was won by Charlie Jarzombek. Ted
Wesnoski finished second. Outsiders didn’t fare too well. Bugsy Stevens
finished 10th and Jerry Cook finished 19th. Waterford ran on Sunday with
Daring Dick Caso taking the win.
Thirty five years ago, in 1977,
it was Thompson 300 weekend. Stafford was scheduled to run on Friday night
but fell victim to rain. Saturday night at Seekonk wasn’t much better as it
was very foggy at the cement palace. John Rosati took the win over Eddie St
Angelo. The Thompson 300 was run under threatening skies. George Summers won
the non-qualifiers 50 lapper and after starting dead last in the 50 car
starting field, almost walked off with the top prize. Bugsy Stevens was
leading when the field went to caution at around the 170-lap mark. Stevens
gambled on having a re-start and felt he had the equipment to march to the
front. Summers was also running around in the rain and in the lead when he
pitted. Enter Eddie Flemke. Fresh off his 200 at Stafford win, Flemke played
a waiting game and gambled that the red flag would indicate the end of the
race. Needless to say, Flemke was right as the race was called official at
182 laps. A dripping wet Flemke
had pulled off the two biggest wins in New England, The 200 at Stafford and
the Thompson 300. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Maynard Troyer, Jerry
Cook and Geoff Bodine following.
Thirty years ago in 1992, the
Race of Champions at Pocono was the big show for the Modifieds. Twenty three
thousand fans and over 100 Modifieds were on hand for what was then, the
most prestigious race to win. Greg Sacks and the Ernie Wilsburg No.5 had all
but dominated just about every major event run during the season. The Race
of Champions wasn’t any different. Starting fifth in the 45 car field, Sacks
took the lead from Jim Spencer on lap 13 and held the point thru lap 100
when he pitted for fuel and tires. Restarting in the rear, the Long Island
hot shoe made a determined march to the front and re-took the lead from
Spencer on lap 160. From there on it was a Sunday drive to the finish at 250
laps. Spencer blew his engine after being passed by Richie Evans on lap 221.
Evans was no match for the highflying Sacks and had to settle for second.
Ray Miller finished third with Greme Bolia, fourth. George Summers rounded
out the top five, one lap down.
Brian Horn won the National Parts Peddler Street Stock
championship. Jan Leaty finished second, Mike Scroger was third and Mike
Lovetere was fourth. Also in the field was Rick Fuller who got in thru the
consolation. Fuller came from 27th to the lead in six laps. Maynard Troyer
was presented the Fred DeSarro award during pre-race activities. Shortly
after accepting the award, Troyer announced that he was retiring from
driving after the conclusion of the event.
Waterford had a Saturday night event scheduled but threw in the
towel because of rain. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Darrell Waltrip
took the 500 mile win over Kyle Petty. In the preliminary Busch North event,
Randy Lajoie qualified a Bob Johnson car on the outside pole and led over
half the race before blowing a tire and hitting the wall.
Twenty five years ago in 1987,
the Race of Champions was still going strong at Pocono. Now a NASCAR
sanctioned event, one hundred eight Modifieds were on hand. George
Brunnhoelzl took the win over Doug Hevron, George Kent, Wayne Edwards and
Roger Treichler. Brunnhoelzl took the lead from John Blewett JR. on lap 185
of the 250 lap event. Carl Erickson won the 40 lap National Parts Peddler
Street Stock Championship.
In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs Ricky Rudd took the win over
Fifteen Years ago, in 1997, the
re-born Race of Champions was run at Oswego. With the exception of Tony
Hirschman, Jan Leaty, Tim Arre and Ted Christopher, the event drew mostly
local drivers from Lancaster and Tioga. Hirschman, driving a Leaty team car,
won the 200 lap event. Leaty finished second and was followed by Arre. At
one time, the ROC was 'THE" modified event but since falling on hard times a
few years previous when promoters checks bounced, many competitors chose to
ignore the event. Saturday night action at Waterford rained out. At Dover
Downs, Buckshot Jones spun while leading with 14 laps to go and handed the
Grand National victory to Joe Bessey. Randy LaJoie finished second. In
Winston Cup action at Dover, Kyle Petty had the field covered until he was
forced to pit for fuel with 20 laps to go. Mark Martin took the win with
Dale Earnhardt coming home in second spot.
Ten years ago in 2002 The
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Loudon for what had to be one
of the best events ever. Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob
Garbarino, went non-stop and used a brilliant three wide pass to take the
lead and the eventual win. For Hossfeld and Garbarino, 2002 almost didn’t
happen. Garbarino was contemplating retiring from racing and Hossfeld was
looking for a competitive ride on the western New York circuit. Less than a
week before the season began the pair hooked up. Hossfeld ended up racing at
tracks he never saw before but adapted with the precision of the
professional that he is. Although not considered a rookie, Hossfeld had less
time on Tour Series tracks than Todd Szegedy has. NASCAR determined because
of the fact that Hossfeld was a competitor in the Craftsman Truck Series.
Hossfeld's win was no cakewalk. Ted Christopher and Ed Flemke JR were the
class of the field but late race problems for both kept them out of victory
lane. Flemke was the top lap leader but a slowly deflating tire was his
undoing with less than ten laps to go. Christopher tried one of his famous
bottom shots but got bit, as his worn tires weren’t up to the task. Mike
Stefanik, who came all the way from a 27th starting spot, finished second.
In comparison to Christopher and Flemke, Stefanik’s run was a cautious one
and in the end, it paid off. John Blewett III finished a strong third and
Christopher recovered from his daring move to finish fourth. Rounding out
the top five was Tony Hirschman. Despite his nearly flat tire, Flemke
toughed it out to finish fifteenth. Geoff Bodine, who qualified on the
outside pole, never mustered the necessary steam to run up front and
finished 24th, the last car on the lead lap.
The series point standings showed Eddie Flemke still leading by a
slim margin of five points over Jerry Marquis. Mike Stefanik, who had all
but conceded a repeat title until his Thompson 300 win, sat third, seventeen
points behind Flemke. By virtue of his Loudon win, Chuck Hossfeld had moved
to within 48 points of the leader. Fifth thru tenth were Rick Fuller, Ted
Christopher, Todd Szegedy, Nevin George, John Blewett III and Jamie Tomaino.
David Berghman had hoped to break into the top ten after qualifying sixth
fastest but a broken transmission sidelined him after 86 laps which placed
him 30th at the finish.
The regular weekly racing in Southern New England saw Twin events
run at Thompson on Thursday. The first event, left over from August 22, was
looking to be Matty Adante’s first win until the last lap when he made
contact with Stu McCarthy. McCarthy took the checker but was put to the tail
of the lead lap as officials felt that he deliberately put Adante around.
Eric Berndt, who has had a somewhat hard luck season, was awarded the win.
Ron Yuhas JR was moved up to second spot followed by Kerry Malone and Ted
Christopher, who recovered from an early spin with Bo Gunning. Bert Marvin
scored his sixth win of the season as he captured the nightcap. Ted
Christopher now has enough points to secure the 2002 Sunoco-SK Modified
Stafford wrapped up its Friday night racing as Doug Coby took his
third SK-Modified feature of the year at the Nutmeg oval. Bo Gunning
finished second and wrapped up the 2002 SK-Modified Track Championship.
At Waterford, on Saturday night, Rob Janovic got his third win of
the year in the Modifieds but the big story was the fact that Allen Coates,
by virtue of his late model win, clinched the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series by
Dodge Short Track Regional title as well as the track late model
championship. The modified championship at the shoreline oval was still up
in the air as Dennis Gada, who finished fifth held a slim 34 point lead over
Ed Reed JR, who finished second, behind Janovic.
Five years ago in 2007, the
2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the New Hampshire International
Speedway for their second of two visits for 2007. Forty NASCAR Modifieds
were on hand for the 100-mile event that carried a $164,095 purse. Former
series champion Todd Szegedy took the Busch pole as he toured the
semi-banked oval in 29.725 seconds to the tune of 128.135 MPH. Second
fastest and taking the outside pole position was Ron Yuhas JR. Yuhas’ speed
was 128.018 MPH. Series point leader Don Lia was third with Tony Hirschman,
fourth. Rounding out the top five was JJ Yeley who drove a car that was
assembled at Dale Earnhardt Inc in North Carolina and painted up to resemble
the Modified driven by the late Tom Baldwin.
As usual the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds got shuffled to the back of
the bus as their event was rescheduled for late Saturday as well as being
shortened 25 laps from the original 100. Pole sitter Todd Szegedy took the
win in a somewhat clouded situation. NASCAR has some issues with Szegedy’s
engine and has sent it to NASCAR’s R&D center in Concord, NC. In the
meantime, the finish was pending. .Ronnie Silk finished second with series
point leader Donny Lia, third. Bobby Santos III and Jimmy Blewett rounded
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were James Civali, Tony Hirschman,
Andy Seuss, Mike Stefanik and Bob Grigas III.
The event, which was originally scheduled to go off in the early
afternoon didn’t get the green flag until 5:30pm. After a couple of early
wrecks that thinned the field a bit the balance of the event was classic
Loudon with numerous lead swapping and bump drafting the norm. During the
final laps the top four were litterly under a blanket. It was announced that
31,000 fans were on hand to witness the event. Fifteen of the original 39
starters finished on the lead lap. The event, which took just under 45
minutes to run, produced four caution periods for 32 laps. Among those who
failed to finish were Ted Christopher and Eddie Flemke who had major power
plant malfunctions. Outside pole sitter Ron Yuhas Jr along with Matt
Hirschman, Richard Savory, Kenny Bouchard and Reggie Ruggiero were
eliminated in a wreck after James Civali dumped Yuhas out of second spot.
There were actually 8 lead changes between two drivers, Szegedy and Silk.
Szegedy took the lead
for the final time on lap 68.
In NASCAR Busch East action at Loudon on Friday Joey Logano took
the win in the 125-lap feature and unofficially clinched the championship at
New Hampshire. Mark McFarland saw his excellent run go up in smoke after
contact with Sean Caisse which landed McFarland in the wall. Matt Kobyluck,
who had made it up to 6th after an early spin, got collected in an accident
that also involved Kelly Moore and Scott Lynch. Kobyluck alluded to the fact
that Moore intentionally wrecked him. Following Logano and Caisse were
Rogelio Lopez, Peyton Sellers, Jamie Hayes, Jerry Marquis, Brad Leighton,
Ryan Moore, James Buescher, and Eddie McDonald.
In regular NASCAR Whelen Weekly Racing action at the Thompson
Speedway Kerry Malone won the Sunoco Modified main event. Mike O’Sullivan
padded his point lead with a Pro Stock feature victory while Keith DeSanctis
by virtue of his Limited Sportsman victory, moved into the point lead in the
division. Tommy O’Sullivan added to the celebration by winning in the Late
Model division. Unofficially O’Sullivan teammate Tim Sullivan bested the TIS
Modified field helping his championship hopes. Scott Michalski earned his
first win of the 2007 season in the Mini Stocks.
Malone saw it all en route to his third Sunoco Modified win of the
season. He nearly spun, took the lead, and his car was suspected of leaking
fluid. But in the end, Malone was dry all the way to the checkered flag. For
the second week in a row the points were shaken up atop the Sunoco Modified
point standings. With his runner-up finish, Keith Rocco took over the points
lead by 14 points over a tie for second between Tommy Cravenho and Woody
Pitkat. After a pair of attempts at a start, pole sitter Steve Masse showed
the way through lap two before relinquishing the top spot to Woody Pitkat.
The first caution flew almost immediately for a spin by Eric Goodale. Back
under green, it was a three-car breakaway at the head of the pack with
Pitkat holding the top spot over Malone and Rocco.
The Stafford Motor Speedway continued their Friday night Fall
Series which would lead up to the season ending Fall Final . Chris Matthews
secured the 2007 SK Light championship in grand style by winning the SK
Light feature for his fifth feature win of the 2007 season. Frank Ruocco
took the SK Modified feature win for his third feature win of the season,
Michael Bennett was a first time winner in the Late Model feature, Joey
Ferrigno was a first-time winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Don
Wood was a first-time winner in the DARE Stock feature.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl on Saturday night a 20 plus year friendship between Rob Janovic
and Dennis Gada became strained to say the least. From the mid point of the
SK Modified feature to the finish Gada and Janovic ran wheel to wheel when
they were not nose to tail. Gada worked harder than he has ever had to do as
Janovic’s driving pattern resembled that of a windshield wiper. Gada, who is
gunning for a record seven SK Modified championships, never gave up as
finally took the lead with four laps remaining. The Speedbowl wraps up their
season this coming weekend with the Town Fair Tire finale. Janovic will go
into the event with a 14-point lead over Gada. Todd Ceravolo, Mike Finkeldey
and. Matt Gallo rounded out the top five.
Tim Jordan, the 2006 Late Model champion won his first race since
May and fifth overall, holding off Bruce Thomas Jr., who clinched the
division title last week. Jordan has not run a full schedule at Waterford
this year, racing instead a few times in Seekonk and Oxford on the ACT tour.
Phil Evans won his sixth Mini Stock feature of the year, making him the
all-time winningest active driver in the division. Jack Aquilina won the
Sportsman feature while Dwayne Dorr wrapped up his second straight title
with his seventh-place finish.
In Nextel Cup action at Loudon, Clint Boyer raced to the first
victory of his Cup career by embarrassing the field at New Hampshire Motor
Speedway, where he started from the pole and led 222 of 300 laps while
beating Jeff Gordon to the finish line by more than 6 seconds.
Last year, 2011 The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour came together at
the Thompson Speedway for the UNOH North–South Showdown . The cars of the
both Tours took to the track on Saturday for a full-day of practice and
qualifying. The ‘21 Means 21’ Pole Award presented by Coors Light in the
Northern Whelen Modified Tour went to Ryan Preece. Andy Seuss was tops on
the speed charts for the Southern contingent. Two of the Whelen All-American
Series divisions competed in feature event activity with Rick Gentes taking
down the victory in the Late Models and Danny Fields scoring his 11th win in
the Mini Stocks.
The Northern WMT event drew 25 Modifieds while the Southern WMT
event drew 23 cars. During qualifying Keith Rocco escaped injury when a
wheel hub apparently broke which caused him to crash with heavy impact. Doug
Coby, Erick Rudolph, and Eric Goodale made up the remainder of the top-five
in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying, Steve Masse, Burt Myers,
Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.
Doug Coby, Erick Rudolph, Eric Goodale and Ronnie Silk made up the
remainder of the top-five in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying,
Steve Masse, Burt Myers, Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.
Justin Bonsignore who was in contention for the Riverhead Raceway
weekly Modified Championship raced at the Long Island track on Saturday
night, avoiding practice and qualifying at Thompson which put him in scratch
starting position for the Sunday NASCAR Touring Series event. Zach Sylvester
qualified his car.
In a somewhat surprise, Stephen Park and Jeff Fuller entered the
NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was also held at
Steve Masse watched the biggest win of his career get away as
George Brunnhoelzl III was awarded the win in the NASCAR Whelen Southern
Modified Tour event. NASCAR officials ruled that he jumped a restart on lap
123 and then ignored the consultation flag. Masse started second and had
lead after passing Donny Lia on lap48 of the 125 lap event. Be as it may, it
could have been an error in judgment on the part of his spotter as it is
most likely the one who told him to go on the restart. No matter what, it
was a bitter pill to swallow. Brunnhoelzl was booed in victory lane which
didn't seem fair. Masse was placed 14th in the final finish. Burt Myers
ended up in the runner-up spot with Tim Brown, third. Andy Seuss and Steve
Park rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Frank Fleming, Tim
Solomito, Donny Lia, Thomas Stinson and Austin Pack.
The 125 lapper for the Northern Modified Tour was a little more
saner. Doug Coby got a long overdue victory as he cruised to the win over
James Civali and Ryan Preece. According to reports, NASCAR did not allow
changing of tires during the event. Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy rounded
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tom Rogers, Eric Goodale, Rowan
Pennink, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore.
Doug Coby, with an eight car lead over the rest of the field, won the 50 lap
UNOH Showdown. Ted Christopher took the second spot. For Coby, it was the
icing on the cake as he accumulated $20,000 with the lap money that he
earned leading the race. Coby stated in Victory Lane that this is the same
car that he won the $10,000 with recently at the Seekonk Speedway. James
Civali finished third with George Brunnhoelzl III and Eric Goodale rounding
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Ryan Preece, Mike
Stefanik, Justin Bonsignore and Ed Flemke Jr.
In regular NASCAR weekly racing action at Thompson, Keith Rocco,
who started racing at the Street division at the Waterford Speedbowl in
2003, scored his 100th career win in Sunoco Modified competition. The
defending National Champion has 24 wins in 49 starts in 2011 but in reality
is shoveling poop against the tide as far as the 2011 series title goes. His
main competition is Philip Morris who races in the mid-Atlantic states.
Morris has 20 wins in 28 starts and needs only to win this coming weekend in
order to sew up the title. It's too bad but because of the fact that most of
Rocco's wins have come from starting in the back and many of the events had
less than full fields of cars the defending champion may be forced to pay
the price of losing through no fault of his own.
The Stafford Motor Speedway continued its Friday night racing
series as Ryan Preece scored his fifth win of the 2011 season in a thrilling
finish with Keith Rocco in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody
Pitkat scored his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 30-lap Late Model
feature, Joey Cipriano scored his sixth win of 2011 in the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature, Dan Flannery picked up his first win of the 2011 season in
the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood scored his fifth win of
2011 with a last lap pass in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Preece and Rocco were side by side for the lead on the final
restart with Preece holding the lead by a nose at he passed under the white
flag. Rocco made one last ditch effort on the final turn for the lead and
the win, but he came up just short as Preece won his fifth feature of the
season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Preece and Rocco was Dan Avery, Ted
Christopher, and Kurt Lenahan.
At the Waterford Speedbowl victories went to Tyler Chadwick who won
his third SK Modified® race of the season. Rich Staskowski won his third Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year, while it was Josh Galvin
in the winner’s circle for the fourth time in the Street Stocks. Chris
Williams also earned his fourth win this year in the Mini Stocks. Dave Garbo
Jr. continued his stellar Legends Cars season by taking the Legends Cars
50-lap race, earning him a guaranteed starting spot in the Legends Cars
Nationals October 27-29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Joey Ternullo won the
night’s Bandolero feature.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to action at the
Stafford Motor Speedway. Chris Pasteryak was the big winner of the night,
taking the lead on lap-2 and leading the rest of the way to pick up his
first victory at Stafford Motor Speedway and his family's first modified
victory at Stafford. Pasteryak had a few nervous moments in the closing laps
when the action was slowed with 77 laps complete for a spin by Tom Bolles in
turn 4, setting up a three lap dash to the finish. Pasteryak took the lead
on the restart and he led Rowan Pennink around for the final 3 laps to take
the victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pasteryak and Pennink was Doug
Coby, Matt Hirschman, and Keith Rocco.
There were 25 cars on hand for the event. Pennink came from a 24th starting
position. He was black-flagged from his heat when his car was leaking gas
from the filler. Ted Christopher finished sixth and also had to come from
the back because of an electrical malfunction during his qualifying heat.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, the 2011 NASCAR Modified
title fight came down to the final race on Saturday night, Justin Bonsignore
and John Fortin raced in the final 35-lapper of the year for the crown. John
Beatty took advantage of a third-place start to win the Modified feature
while Justin Bonsignore held off John Fortin for his first Modified track
championship. Bonsignore started his career racing karts at Riverhead when
he was only 8 years old and to be Track Champ has been a long time dream.
Kevin Harvick was the NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Richmond. Kyle
Busch took the lead from Carl Edwards during pit stops with just over 30
laps to go and won his eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
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
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit