June 7, 2013
Sixty five years ago
in 1948 the Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA opened. The Midgets were
the headline division. Johnny Bernardi was the inaugural winner.
Sixty years ago in 1953, the
New London-Waterford Speedbowl staged events on Sunday, Wednesday and the
following Saturday. Joe McNulty was the Sunday winner while Red Foote won on
Wednesday and Cy Yates won on Saturday.
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Red Foote was the Saturday night Modified winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the Wednesday night Non-Ford winner while
Hank Stevens won on Wednesday.
Fifty years ago in 1963 Ernie
Gahan won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman 25 lap feature at the Utica-Rome
Speedway. Bob Zeigler finished second with Jim Luke, third. New York Big Gun
Pete Corey was the winner on the Dirt at Stafford. Ted Stack was the
Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue was the
Racing news and gossip was hard to come by. There was little or no
coverage in daily papers unless there was a fatality. Many race fans and
competitors got their news from either National Speed Sport News or
Illustrated Speedway News. On June 14, Len and Maude Sammons brought a new
dimension to covering weekly racing news with the birth of Area Auto Racing
News, which provided much needed coverage of racing in New York, New Jersey
and New England. National Speed Sport News and Illustrated Speedway News are
long gone. Area Auto, now under the guidance of Lenny Sammons has survived
with their up to date coverage and weekly columns. A tip of the hat to Lenny
and his staff!
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Don Wayman was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Richie Evans finished second and was followed by Dave Gaul, Ray Sitterly and
Ken Canestrary. Bugsy Stevens put the mighty No.3 of Len Boehler in victory
lane at Stafford. Don MacTavish finished second with Eddie Flemke, Holly
Wildler and Mario Fats Caruso rounding out the top five. Saturday night
action at Norwood was rained out. The Waterford Speedbowl ran their 50 lap
Spring Championship Modified 50 lapper which was won by Newt Palm. At the
Fulton Raceway Bob Merz scored his first of ten features he would win in
three years of competing at the track. Rene Charland was the top banana at
Fonda as he beat out Ed Pieniezek for the win. Sunday action at Utica-Rome
and at Thompson rained out.
Forty years ago in 1973, the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N Y. ran a 100 lapper that saw Richie
Evans take the win over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook and Bugsy Stevens. Saturday
night at Stafford, there was no stopping Bugsy Stevens as he won the 30-lap
feature going away. Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by Bobby
Santos and Ray Miller. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford
Speedbowl Bill Scrivener was the winner of the 30 lap Modified feature.
Roger Charbonneau was the Grand American Late Model winner. It rained on
Long Island, washing out a 100 lapper at Islip. Tioga ran with George Kent
taking the win. Sunday at Lee, NH saw Ernie Gahan take the top spot over Jim
Landry and Ed Yerrington. Evans scored his second win of the weekend on
Sunday night at Utica-Rome. Sonny Seamon finished second with Jerry Cook,
Thirty-five years ago in 1978,
Geoff Bodine made it six in a row at Stafford. At Waterford, George "Moose"
Hewitt took the win over Joe Tiezzi, Glynn Shafer and Jerry Pearl. At
Seekonk it was George Summers and at Westboro it was Freddie Schulz. Reggie
Ruggerio beat out Richie Evans and Jack LeCuyer and at Islip; Greg Sacks
took the top spot over Charlie Jarzombek and Fred Harbach. On Sunday at
Thompson, Ronnie Bouchard trimmed the field. Leo Cleary finished second with
Bugsy Stevens third. Maynard Troyer won at Fulton and Evans won at New
Thirty years ago in 1983, Brett
Bodine was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished
second and was followed by Brian Ross and Kenny Bouchard. At Waterford on
Saturday, Donnie Fowler held off Dale Holdredge to take the win. Ted
Christopher finished third. Reggie Ruggiero was the main man at Riverside as
he beat out Jack LeCuyer and SJ Evonsion. The SKs ran at Seekonk with local
favorite Eddie StAngelo taking the win over Kerry Malone and Richie Gallup.
Other weekend winners were George Kent at Tioga, Richie Evans at Spencer,
Tony Siscone at New Egypt, Bill Park at Islip and George Brunnhoelzl at
Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Darrell Waltrip was the pole
sitter and Bobby Allison was the race winner.
Twenty-five years ago in 1988,
Stafford ran twin SK modified events. Jeff Barry and Bo Gunning took the
wins. Reggie Ruggerio took the win at Riverside with Charlie Pasteryak a
close second. Ted Christopher won at Waterford and at Tioga, Rod Spaulding
took the win over newcomer, Tim Connolly. Eddie Brunnhoelzl beat out Fred
Harbach at Riverhead.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Ted
Christopher recorded his 26th career win at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished
second with John Anderson third and Bob Potter, fourth. At Waterford, Bert
Marvin beat out Jim Broderick and Tom Jensen for the win. At Riverside Park,
Reggie Ruggerio took yet another win as he led Stan Gregger and Chris Kopec
across the stripe. Thompson ran a non-tour-modified event, which drew only
22 cars and a light crowd. Ruggerio took the win over Carl Pasteryak, Jan
Leaty, Tom Baldwin and Tony Forente. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Ken
Schrader took the pole and Kyle Petty, the win. Jeff and Ward Burton
finished one-two at Myrtle Beach. In Busch Grandnational North competition
at Jennerstown, Dick McCabe was the winner over Jeff Barry and Mike
Fifteen years ago in 1998 rain
played havoc in the northeast the entire weekend. Mike Stefanik flew to
Jennerstown Penn. after the Beech Ridge Busch North event rained out.
Needless to say, Stefanik continued his domination in the Modifieds as he
won the event over Mike Ewanitsko, Reggie Ruggiero and Tim Connolly. In
Winston Cup action at Michigan, Mark Martin took the win over Dale Jarrett.
Ten years ago in 2003, the
Thompson Speedway began their summer series, Thursday night Thunder. Rain
and showers were in Connecticut all day but the speedway management held
fast and the event was run. Being in the right place at the right time was a
definite factor for Ron Yuhas Jr. Yuhas was running second to Bobby Santos
III when the third generation racer spun in turn four on lap 22 of the
scheduled 30 lap feature. Santos and Yuhas tangled but officials felt it was
a racing accident and didn’t penalize Santos. Three laps later, the skies
opened up and the event was declared completed with Yuhas the winner.
Twenty-eight Sunoco SK type modifieds went to post with Todd Ceravolo on the
pole and Santos on the outside pole. Ceravolo jumped out to an early lead,
opening up a wide margin on Santos. Ted Christopher, who started fifth,
began his march to the front and by lap 12 had moved into second spot. Bo
Gunning, who started deep in the field, also moved into the top five. The
complexion of the event took a drastic change during a caution period on lap
14 when Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning got together and ended up in the turn
two wall and out for the night. Ceravolo continued to lead until lap 16 when
he spun in turn four. Officials felt that Ceravolo got help from Bert Marvin
and place the pair in the rear for the re-start. Santos assumed the lead at
that point. With all the scrambling at the end, Jeff Malave ended up second
with Matty Adanti, third. Ceravolo recovered from his spin and finished
fourth. John Brouwer Jr. finished fifth with Bert Marvin, sixth.
Other opening night winners included Jeff Connors in the Pro
Stocks, Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman
and Andy Publicover in the Mini Stocks.
The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Lake Erie Speedway
in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Todd Szegedy, in his sophomore season on
the tour, got redemption for being snookered at Stafford on the last lap as
he took the victory at the variable banked 3/8 mile oval. John Blewett III
finished second with Eric Beers, Chuck Hossfeld and Ricky Fuller rounding
out the top five. Jamie Tomaino started on the pole by luck of the draw. Ted
Christopher was eliminated on lap two after a confrontation with Tony
Hirschman. Tomaino led until a lap eight re-start when Eric Beers out
powered him to take the lead. Beers held the point until Szegedy took
command on lap 62. Close behind Beers at the time was Jerry Marquis who
settled in, in second spot. Marquis held the spot until lap 100 when he
dropped out with suspension problems. From then on it was Blewett casing
Szegedy to the finish. Donnie Lia was the pole sitter and after drawing
tenth, ended up 14th, one lap down. He had a strong run going until he
tangled with Ed Flemke Jr and was put to the rear for rough riding after
spinning Flemke out. Flemke, who started ninth, had a confrontation with
officials over his pit road speed and ended up losing a lap. Flemke finished
fifteenth. According to various reports the speedway did well as the
grandstands were over 2/3 full.
For the fourth week in a row, rain washed out racing at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Not since 1978 had the Speedbowl had this many
The Labor Day weekend tradition at the Darlington Raceway came to
an end as NASCAR announced that they had approved the request of the
International Speedway Corporation to move the Labor Day Winston Cup date to
the California Speedway. Darlington would still have two dates, as the
speedway took a date formerly held by the Rockingham Speedway in North
Carolina. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bob Labonte was the Busch Pole
sitter. Kurt Busch took the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go and
went on to record his third win of the year. Bobby Labonte finished second
and Jeff Gordon faded to third. It was announced that Jeff and Brooke Gordon
had reached a divorce settlement rather than go to trial. Brooke got a
reported $15.2 million.
Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig, on his way to get a fireworks
permit, was involved in an accident, which destroyed his pace car.
Five years ago in 2008, the
Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled due to wet
conditions. The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to fog on Friday night.
The Waterford Speedbowl raced under clear skies and provided
southeastern Connecticut race fans a full program of racing. The main event
of the evening was a 100 lap American Canadian Tour contest that was won by
tour regular Scott Payea. Waterford regular Bruce Thomas led the early going
but in the end had to settle for second. Former Busch North Series regular
Brad Leighton finished third with Ron Yuhas Jr and Nichloas Sweet rounding
out the top five. Doug Coby was the SK Modified winner. Tyler Chadwick
finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Jeff Paul, and Keith Rocco.
Other feature winners were Mark Hudson (Late Model), Brandon
Plemons (Sportsman), and Lou Bellisle (Mini Stock).
The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series were enjoying their second “Spring Break of the season.
In a somewhat racing related manner, James Galante, a major Connecticut
trash hauler at the center of a sweeping federal corruption probe of mob
influence in the industry pleaded guilty on June 3 and agreed to surrender
dozens of businesses worth more than $100 million. The New London Day
reported that Galante of Danbury entered guilty pleas to racketeering
conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and wire
fraud conspiracy. He faced 70 to 87 months in prison and a fine of up to
$750,000. Galante sponsored and owned Ted Christopher’s racing endeavors
from 1995 until June of 2006 when the Galante/Christopher race shop was
raided by the feds who confiscated five complete Modified Type cars plus
another one in the process of being built. One of the cars was a four-time
winner at Loudon.
A 17 page indictment stated that Galante is "knowingly and
willingly turning over to the U.S. Government": "Six racing cars, marked
with numbers 01 thru 06, on the front frame rails and one 1997 53 foot
Featherlie Trailer." Galante agreed to take all steps as requested by the
United States to pass clear title to all of the assets listed over to the
United States Government.".
In NASCAR Nextel Cup competition at the Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne
started from the pole, overcame an early pit road penalty that dropped him
to 38th and led a race-high 69 of the 200 laps in his Dodge as he went on to
take the win. Brian Vickers was second for his best finish since joining Red
Bull Racing and Denny Hamlin was third to give Toyota two cars in the top
three. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and appeared winded after racing more
than four hours in temperatures that hovered around 90 degrees. Kyle Busch
finished last, but became the first driver to compete in all three of
NASCAR's national series at three racetracks on the same weekend. Brad
Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide Series victory Saturday night,
passing Clint Bowyer with six laps to go and easily holding off his closest
rivals in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Joey
Logano won the pole during the day, but finished 31st after a crash on lap
89. He led the first 60 laps and 64 overall. David Stremme rallied to finish
second, followed by David Reutimann and Bowyer.
Last year, 2012, Thursday night
Thunder at the Thompson Speedway was literally Thunder and Lightning as a
pop-up storm drenched the speedway late in the afternoon. Once the storm
passed it was a beautiful night for racing. The track played host to a first
time winner in the Thompson Lite Modifieds, Troy Talman and a crowd pleasing
door-to-door battle in the Mini-Stock division which saw Mike Veins winning
out over Chad Baxter and Scott Sundeen took the win in the Limited
Sportsman. Ryan Preece held off Keith Rocco for the Sunoco Modified win
while Mike Scorzelli took the checkers in the Late Models. John Lowinski was
the Thompson Modified winner.
Preece took the lead at lap 10 and never looked back despite
Rocco’s bumper in his rear view mirror. Kerry Malone took over the lead at
the drop of the green flag with Ted Christopher closing in on his bumper.
Preece made it a three-way battle when he dove to the bottom of Christopher
for second. Christopher shut the door on his challenges, and made his own
bid on Malone out front at lap two. Christopher took the lead with Preece in
tow relegating Malone to the third position. Preece was all over Christopher
as Keith Rocco made his way into contention. On lap seven, Rocco dropped to
the bottom and drove by Malone for the third position with Todd Ceravolo
following. As the race approached lap 10, Preece got up alongside
Christopher in a tight battle that lasted until turn four when Christopher
went high. Preece was able to drive to the lead with Rocco taking over
second and Christopher recovering for third. Rocco closed in to Preece’s
bumper and dove
low in turn four of lap 23 in a challenge for the lead. Preece wasn’t about
to give it up that easy, however, and closed the door on his challenge.
Rocco kept the pressure on and tapped Preece’s bumper through the turns -
constantly reminding Preece he was there. Preece was not intimidated,
however, and held the lead until the checkers dropped. Christopher ended up
third and was followed by Ceravolo, Malone and John Catania. Dennis Perry
recorded another fine run as he brought his Butch Perry Mount home in
More showers ruled the racing world on Friday as the SK Modified
100 ended up being postponed to Friday, June 29. Regular Friday night racing
at Stafford saw Harry Wheeler get awarded the SK Light feature win after Bob
Charland was placed to the rear for spinning out leader Joey Ferrigno. With
six laps remaining the clouds opened up and that was that!
At the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl beat out Rob Janovic Jr. by
less than a car length to win the SK Modified feature at the Waterford
Speedbowl on Saturday night. It was the first time in three weeks the Whelen
All-American Series was back in action following two straight weeks of
Pearl took the lead from Diego Monahan on 1ap 14 of the SK Modified
feature. He held off Janovic and Keith Rocco over two restarts before
holding off Janovic at the finish. Rocco wound up third. Tyler Chadwick and
Kyle James rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners were Waterford's Dillon Moltz in the Late
Model race (his third of the year), Salem's Corey Hutchings in the Street
Stocks (his second of the year) and Lisbon's Ken Cassidy Jr., who won his
eighth Mini Stock feature of 2012.
Lou Cicconi won the 50-lap International Supermodified Association
feature, a race that was reschedule after being washed out on May 26.
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 25's were the main
attraction of the night. Dean Ward and Brent Elliott went pole to pole in
their respective events and recorded wins.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it had been a long time
since an "outsider" won a weekly Modified event at the east end oval. Ryan
Preece and Ted Christopher changed all that as the finished one-two there on
Saturday night. Preece, who has been a regular there this year started on
the pole and led every lap. Preece drove a car formerly driven by Bill Park.
Christopher has also been a regular at Riverhead driving a car owned by
The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Seekonk Speedway on
Saturday night. The event drew 29 cars. Louie Mechalides took the lead on
the first lap and went on to lead the entire 100 lap distance. Mechalides'
only serious challenge came on lap 10 from Les Hinckley who ran side by side
with the eventual winner for a short time. Hinckley eventually fade to
fourth as Jon McKennedy moved into second. McKennedy had nothing for
Mechalides and had to be content with the runner-up spot at the finish.
Tommy Barrett finished third with Hinckley fourth and Rowan Pennink, fifth.
Sixth through tenth were Joey Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdridge, Norm
Wrenn and Rob Goodenough. Todd Szegedy finished eleventh.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Joey Logano overtook Mark Martin with
four laps left and drove away to earn his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
victory at Pocono Raceway. Tony Stewart chased the lead pair home in third.
Jimmie Johnson, who received two pit road speeding penalties earlier in the
day, rallied to finish fourth ahead of Denny Hamlin in fifth.
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