May 17, 2013
years ago in 1953, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl began its
summer schedule which included holding races on Wednesday and on Saturday.
Massachusetts invader Red Bolduc was the Wednesday night winner and Red
Foote was victorious on Saturday night. Non-Ford winners were Bud Matter and
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Don Collins was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner at the Ct shoreline oval.
Fifty years ago in 1963 Rene
Charland was well on his way to the NASCAR Sportsman Championship as he made
it two in a row at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Cam Gaglairdi finished second
with Ed Ortiz, third. The then dirt Stafford Springs Speedway began its
second year under the NASCAR sanction with Ernie Gahan taking the win. Rain
prevailed at Waterford.
Forty five years ago, in 1968,
Bugsy Stevens made it two in a row at Stafford on Friday night. Eddie
Flemke, the previous week’s winner, finished second. Nathan “Smokey”
Boutwell finished third with Reno Tulonen and Leo Cleary rounding out the
top five. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Lou Lazzaro took the top spot over
Don MacTavish, Jerry Cook, Rene Charland and Andy Romano. Bugs Stevens took
his winning ways to Norwood on Saturday where he dusted the field. At Fonda,
Ray Sitterly scored a surprise victory over Kenny Shoemaker and Ron Narducci
and at Fulton, Dutch Hoag scored the first of 12 events he would win over
the next three seasons. Eddie Flemke put the 2x of Bobby Judkins in victory
lane at Thompson while at Utica-Rome twin features were on tap. Lou Lazzaro
won the left over feature from the previous week. Sonny Seamon finished
second with Ken Platt, Dick Fowler and Dick Clark rounding out the top five.
Richie Evans who beat out Sonny Seamon, Andy Romano, Jerry Cook and Robbie
Kotary for the top spot, won the regular evening’s feature. Rain prevailed
Forty years ago in 1973 Friday
night racing at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. rained out. It
cleared on Saturday and at Stafford Springs Eddie Flemke took the win over
Fred DeSarro, Ron Bouchard and Don Flynn. At Islip, Charlie Jarzombek again
bested the 1/5-mile oval, beating out Jim Hendrickson for the win. At Tioga,
Eddie Pieniezak took the win over Wayne Edwards, George Kent and Jerry Cook.
Lingering showers at Waterford prevailed. Rain washed out events scheduled
at Pocono and Utica-Rome.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,Geoff
Bodine was on a tear as he won three out of four for the weekend. At
Stafford, he beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Leo Cleary, at Seekonk he won over
Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens and at Utica-Rome he beat Jerry Cook and
Richie Evans. The only downer was a blown engine at Oswego on Sunday
afternoon. Other weekend winners were Jerry Cook at Riverside, Jeff Fuller
at Westboro, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip, Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson and
Roger Treichler at Lancaster. Maynard Troyer won the modified half of the
Port City 150 at Oswego.
Thirty years ago in 1983, rain
soaked the northeast. Stafford ran on Friday night with Ronnie Bouchard
taking the win over Bugsy Stevens, Bobby Vee, Kenny Bouchard and Greg Sacks.
Jerry Pearl was the SK Modified winner. Marty Radwick took the victory at
Riverside Park over Ray Miller and Dennis Albro. At Tioga, Richie Evans beat
out Wayne Edwards. Waterford, Wall Stadium, Islip, Spencer and a special
modified event at Pocono, rained out.
Twenty five Years ago in 1988,
Stafford rained out. At Waterford on Saturday, Ed Flemke Jr. took the win
over John Jensen. At Riverhead, it was Don Howe over John Blewett Jr. and at
Tioga, Tony Hirschman made it three in a row with Lee Sherwood, second. Mike
Stefanik was the winner at Monadnock on Sunday.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Steve
Chowanski took the Friday night win at Stafford after the Christopher
brothers tangled on the last lap. Saturday saw rain at Waterford. Jerry
Marquis got his third win at Riverside and Brian Miller scored a win at
Riverhead. Twin SK events were run at Thompson on Sunday. John StAngelo and
Ted Christopher were the winners. Marquis made it two for two on the weekend
as he won on Sunday at Monadnock. The Modified Tour Series joined the Busch
Grandnational North/South divisions at Nazareth. Tim Connolly won the
modified event over Doug Hevron, Jamie Tomaino, Rick Fuller and Tom Baldwin.
Bob Pressley won the Busch GN event after Mike Stefanik broke a motor mount
while leading. Dale Earnhardt passed Mark Martin with two to go to win the
Winston at Charlotte.
Fifteen years ago in 1998
Memorial Day came a week early and the NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at
Stafford for a 150 lapper. Mike Stefanik started second and led all 150 laps
as he went non-stop. Chris Kopec finished second with John Blewett III,
third. Carl Pasteryak and Ed Kennedy rounded out the top five. In SK
Modified action at Stafford Bo Gunning scored his 34th career win as he out
ran Chris Jones and Jim Broderick to the checker. Tucker Reynolds passed
Jerry Pearl with 10 laps to go and went on to record the win at Waterford.
Rick Donnelly finished second while Pearl faded to third. Eddie Flemke won a
125 lapper at Riverside Park over Bob Polverari and Todd Ceravolo and at the
Riverhead Raceway it was Ken Heagy in victory lane. Waterford ran a 200
lapper on Sunday. Ted Christopher led from lap 40 to the finish only to get
disqualified with an illegal transmission. Bert Marvin was awarded the win
with Dennis Gada moving up to second. Charlie Pasteryak, Todd Ceravolo and
Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five. Mark Martin took the lead from Jim
Spencer with four laps to go and went on to win the Busch Series 300 at
Charlotte. Jeff Gordon beat out Rusty Wallace to win the Winston Cup World
600 at Charlotte and Eddie Cheever won the Indy 500. Tom Carey was the Busch
North Series winner at the Holland Speedway.
Ten years ago in 2003, the
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was scheduled to be at the Stafford
Speedway on Friday night but heavy rain forced the Arute family to pull the
plug and reschedule to Friday, May 30. The decision to scrub the event was
made around 9:00 am which saved countless competitors and fans needless
travel. A very good and smart move! Waterford and Seekonk followed suit
early on Saturday morning. Seekonk’s Busch North Series event at Seekonk was
rescheduled to Saturday, May 31. Waterford’s holiday program would run in
July. With four events in the 2003 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
record book John Blewett III sat atop the point standings. Winless, Blewett
had four top tens including two top fives. The 2002 rookie sensation Todd
Szegedy sat in the second spot, one point behind Blewett. Szegedy was also
winless but had four top tens including three top fives to his credit. Ted
Christopher finished 32nd at Thompson
in the season opener but since then had come on like gangbusters
and had clawed his way to third spot, thirty five points behind the leader.
Christopher had two wins to his credit including the Spring Sizzler at
Stafford and the recent Service Electric 100 at Nazareth. In addition to his
two wins and a DNF, Christopher had one top five and was the series money
leader with $21,400 in the win column. Chuck Hossfeld led the point
standings through the first three events but ran into miss-fortune at
Nazareth when officials said he jumped the final restart and placed him at
the tail end of the lead lap in 19th spot. Hossfeld actually crossed the
finish line in 8th spot. Although he did not actually pass the car in
question he was along side as they crossed the start line and officials felt
that it was his intent to make a pass. A questionable call to say the least.
Hossfeld, who won the season opener at Thompson, had a total of three top
tens including two top fives. Even with a slip to fourth spot, Hossfeld was
only 36 points behind the leader. Rounding out the top five was former
series champion Jerry Marquis. Marquis had four top tens including one top
five and was 41 points out of first spot. Sixth through tenth were Tony
Hirschman, Eric Beers, Rick Fuller, Tony Ferrante Jr. and Dave Etheridge.
NASCAR’s top divisions had better luck as the big weekend at Charlotte was
completed. Jimmie Johnson was declared the winner of the Winston Cup World
600 after rain caused the race to be stopped at the 414-mile mark. Matt
Kenseth was second. On a sad note, it was learned that former Stafford Motor
Speedway pace car driver Peter Locke had passed away at the age of 66.
Five years ago in 2008, the
Stafford Motor Speedway suffered their third successive rain out. The
Waterford Speedbowl continued to benefit from Stafford’s rain outs as their
car counts in the SK Modified division had become quite healthy. Six-time
champion Dennis Gada came from deep in the pack Saturday evening to win his
third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK feature of the season on Little
The 35 lap SK Modified feature got off to a rough start as a pile
of cars got drop kicked into the first turn wall after outside pole sitter
Frank Mucciacciaro Jr failed to come up to racing speed. Jeff Pearl and Ron
Yuhas Jr got the worst of it and were towed from the scene. On the restart,
Wendell Dailey led momentarily before passed by Mucciacciaro and several
others. Justin Gadosh then moved to the front pressed by Rob Janovic and a
fast-moving Dennis Gada. Passing Gaydosh, Gada pulled alongside leader
Janovic, executing an outside-pass to take the lead with only three circuits
remaining when the caution waved for the final time. In one of the closest
SK finishes of 2008, he was able to get the advantage on defending champion.
Following was Gaydosh, Ronnie Silk, and Rocco. In the Late Models, Ed Reed
took his second feature of the season. Moving into the lead following an
altercation between leader Tim Jordon and defending champion Bruce Thomas
Reed distanced himself from a furious battle between Vin Esposito
and Ron Yuhas Jr. Having his best run of the season, a surprisingly-fast
Esposito was able to nip Yuhas for second. After restarting from the back of
the field, Jordan and Thomas Jr. recovered to complete the top-five. Both of
these drivers deserved the “Meatball Flag” Jordan for blocking and Thomas
for the lack of patience. Ed Lamb Jr. became the sixth different Sportsman
feature winner of the season in scoring his first-ever main event. Lamb was
dogged in the closing laps by veteran Jim Proccaccini, but managed to pull
ahead by several car-lengths at the finish. Walt Hovey, Jr., Al Stone III,
and Jonathon Avery followed.
In the caution-free Mini Stock feature, teenage rookie Raymond Christian III
put on a dominating performance to win the first of his career. Christian is
the son of defending "Women On Wheels" champion Kathy Civardi, and the
step-son of popular Speedbowl veteran Jeff "Soup" Civardi. Lou Belisle
finished second, and rounding-out the top-five was Randy Churchill Jr., Ken
Cassidy Jr., and Bill Leonard.
According to the State of Connecticut Judicial website the
Waterford Speedbowl was once again the center of foreclosure action. Rocco
Arbitell, along with Peter Borelli, filed suit in state court in New London
to foreclose on the Speedbowl property. The case was filed against 1080
Hartford Road, the group that owned the Speedbowl, and Terry Eames. In the
mean time, the Speedbowl continued to run every week bacically drawing fans
on a word of mouth situation.
Special congratulations were sent out to Howie and Mary Hodge, two
very special people who celebrated 45 years of wedded bliss on Sunday, May
18. Thanks to the efforts of Howie and Mary the Whelen Modified Tour Series
gets recorded in pictures.
Kasey Kahne picked up a $1 million payday Saturday by gambling on a
late pit stop to steal a win in NASCAR's Sprint All-Star race. Kahne didn't
take tires on the pit stop before the fourth and final 25-lap segment, a
decision that helped him start second when the race resumed. He wasn't
challenged and easily held off Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth for the victory.
Kahne wasn't originally eligible for the race, needing to finish first or
second in the preliminary Sprint Showdown. He finished fifth, but earned his
spot through a fan vote. The 100-lap event was intermittently dominated by
Kyle Busch, Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Biffle, who led the final 11 laps
of the third segment, took two tires and was mired in traffic on the start
of the final segment. Biffle, who finished second, never got a chance to run
down Kahne, who slid past leader Jimmie Johnson to lead the final 17 laps.
Kenseth was third. Johnson and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five.
Last year, 2012, The Stafford
Motor Speedway was the scene of some pre-Memorial Day fireworks as Ryan
Preece and Keith Rocco slugged it out in SK Modified competition. In the
end, Woody Pitkat was the winner of a wild and thrilling 40-lap SK Modified®
feature event, Mark St. Hilaire was the a first time winner in the 30-lap
Late Model feature, Tyler Hines was a first time winner in the 20-lap SK
Light Modified feature, and Josh Wood scored his third consecutive Limited
Late Model feature victory of the 2012 season in the 20-lap feature. Albert
Saunders drove to victory in the extra distance 20-lap DARE Stock feature to
score his second consecutive feature victory.
In the SK Modified 40 lapper first it was Preece and Frank Ruocco
fighting for the lead then it was Preece and Rocco. The duel between Ruocco
and Preece ended with 20 laps complete as the two cars made contact in turn
1 with Ruocco’s car hitting the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out. Preece
was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officials for the contact with
Ruocco. Rocco took the lead on lap 29 and set the stage for round two of the
night's battle. On a lap 36 restart, Rocco and Preece raced side by side for
2 laps with Preece the leader at the line before Rocco got cleared of Preece
on lap-38. Preece made a last ditch effort coming to the checkered flag and
he made contact with Rocco’s car, which resulted in Rocco spinning. Preece
took the checkered flag first, but he was penalized to the last car on the
lead lap by officials for the contact with Rocco, making Pitkat the winner.
Dave Gervais came home in second, with Ted Christopher, Danny Cates, and
Matt Galko rounding out the top-5.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco didn't miss a beat despite
taking a week off to race in a Whelen Modified Tour event at the Monadnock
Speedway in New Hampshire as he went two for two scoring wins in the SK
Modified and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models at the shoreline oval. Dan
Darnstaedt won the Street Stock feature race and Ken Cassidy Jr. continued
his domination of the Mini Stock division, winning his seventh race on the
season. The INEX Legends Cars and Bandoleros joined the NASCAR race program,
with Dana Dimatteo and Derek Debbis winning the respective divisions.
Rocco mastered the last restart attempt to pull ahead of Rob
Janovic who got in line in second. Janovic got to the leader’s rear bumper
in turns three and four on lap-32 however could not pull alongside. Rocco
went on to the win, his fifth on the year. Janovic was second, while Keith’s
twin brother Jeff ended a solid run in third place. Tom Abele and Tyler
Chadwick each rebounded from spins to place fourth and fifth.
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, twin 25 lap Modified
features were run. Tim Brown posted his 60th career victory as he won the
opener. Burt Myers was second, and his brother, Jason Myers, was third.
Newcomer Dean Ward won the nightcap. Austin Pack finished second, and Junior
Miller was third.
Ron Silk, the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion walked away
the winner in the Richie Evans Hall Of Fame 100 for the NASCAR Modifieds at
the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.
A picture perfect day set the backdrop for a full slate of racing
action at Thompson International Speedway that featured the Modified Racing
Series and six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on
Sundat. A caution-filled main event saw Rowan Pennink as the survival of the
fittest to post the victory.
Ryan Preece led only the checkered flag lap in the Sunoco Modifieds
to score the feature event win. Last year’s TIS Modified track champion, Cam
McDermott made the step up to the Lite Modified division in winning style.
Marc Palmisano came on strong in the waning laps of the Late Model event to
claim the victory. Art Moran III was tops in Limited Sportsman division
while Mike Gorgievski earned the victory in the Mini Stocks. John
Lowinski-Loh, Jr. scored his first career TIS Modified feature victory.
Pennink of Huntington Valley, PA, outlasted the competition in a
Modified Racing event that was marred by 11 cautions. Ted Christopher and
Pennink waged a great battle for the lead in the early stages of the main
event that saw 35 cars take the green flag. Christopher held the point and
held back advances of Pennink. Christopher held Pennink at bay on countless
restarts as attrition built. Pennink made what turned out to be the winning
move on lap 34 when he dove to the inside of Christopher to take the lead.
Shortly after, Christopher retired from the event. In the late stages of the
race, Pennink had to hold off the persistent challenges of Richard Savary. A
bobble by Savary with 10 laps to go looked as if Pennink may find some
comfort in the last dash to the checkers. Savary was quick to recover;
however, running down Pennink again with five laps remaining. Pennink was
solid over the final laps to post his victory. The win was his fifth with
the Modified Racing Series. Savary came home in second. Geoff Gernhard had a
career night to finish third. Point leader Jon McKennedy and Mike Holdridge
completed the top five.
A surprise ending in the Sunoco Modified main event found Ryan
Preece in victory lane. Todd Ceravolo, who had led since the early stages of
the event got loose exiting turn four on the final lap. With nowhere to go,
Preece clipped the sliding #31 of Ceravolo. The resulting spin gave Preece
the victory. Kerry Malone came home second followed by Keith Rocco. An
eventful day ended with a fourth-place finish for Ted Christopher. Ceravolo
had to settle for fifth.
New Englander Bobby Santos had a successful weekend racing in the
mid-West. An early-race restart gave Santos the opening he wanted to see and
the Franklin, Massachusetts drivers never looked back en route to dominating
Saturday night’s inaugural Hall of Fame Classic Traxxas Silver Crown race at
Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
In his first race aboard the RW/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports Rotondo
Weirich – Curb Records No. 17 Beast/Wallace Toyota Silver Crown car, Santos
pulled away as the 100 laps wore on, posting an eventual winning margin of
Jimmie Johnson had the fastest car and the perfect strategy
Saturday night to win the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Johnson won the first of four 20-lap segments to secure a spot near the
front of the field for the final 10-lap shootout, and then pulled away from
Matt Kenseth and Brad Keslelowski to win the $1 million race. The new format
this year set up the winners of the first four segments as the first four
drivers down pit road for a mandatory stop before the 10-lap sprint to the
finish. Johnson's win in the first segment meant he was guaranteed to be the
first driver down pit road, and he had the first stall after his team's win
in Thursday's Pit Crew Competition.
Kenseth, Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. also won 20-lap
segments. Although every driver had to pit, none had to take fuel or tires
and was allowed to stop and go. Johnson came out just ahead of Kenseth, with
Keselowski, Earnhardt, Marcos Ambrose and Kasey Kahne behind.
Defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
dominated Sunday’s Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 for his third consecutive victory at
Roger Penske's strategy helped Ryan Briscoe to a victory by inches
Saturday — 9.168 inches to be exact — in the closest pole duel in
Indianapolis 500 history. Team Penske sent points leader Will Power onto the
track with two minutes left in the Pole Day shootout — a move that prevented
three of Michael Andretti's drivers from taking one last shot at the pole
and preserving it for Briscoe, who won his first Indy pole with a four-lap
average of 226.484 miles an hour. Briscoe completed the 10-mile
qualification run .0023 seconds faster than James Hinchcliffe. The previous
record was set in 1970 when Al Unser defeated Johnny Rutherford by .01
seconds. With only minutes left in qualifying, Power took one final shot at
winning his first Indy pole. He wasn't quick enough, but he stayed on the
track long enough to protect Briscoe's advantage.
The Hartford Courant reported that the Waterford Speedbowl was
informed by the bankruptcy court in Hartford, CT that they had emerged from
the Chapter 11 bankruptcy the track had filed in Oct 2009 after facing a
foreclosure on the Speedbowl property.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail:
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