The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


July 5, 2013

   Sixty years ago in 1953 rain cancelled Wednesday night racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The Modifieds had Saturday night off. Bud Matter won a special event for the non-Fords.

   Fifty five years ago in 1958 Ray Moran won a Thursday night Fourth of July Special Modified event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner. Red Foote was the Saturday night Modified winner at the Connecticut shoreline oval. Charlie Webster was the 25 lap non-Ford winner and Ed Moody was the Bomber winner.

   Fifty years ago in 1963, Area Auto Racing News reported that Dennis Zimmerman led the charge of the Eastern Bandits at Old Bridge, NJ where he won the Sunday night Modified feature over Frank Myroncuk and Joe Kelly. Eddie Flemke finished seventh in a borrowed car. Al DeAngelo was the Modified winner at the Islip Speedway on Long Island. On the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl a special Fourth of July racing program was run on Wednesday night which was highlighted by twin 25-lap Modified features which were run with Joe McNulty and Don Collins taking the wins. Jerry Dostie, recently transplanted from the Maine woods, won the 15 lap Bomber feature. On Saturday night at the Speedbowl Hank Stevens took the Modified feature while Walt Dombrowski took the Bomber main. Local favorite George Janoski was the Modified winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway.

   Forty five years ago in 1968, modified action started on Thursday night at Catamount Stadium where Bugsy Stevens took the win. Stevens carried his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night where he beat out Fred Harbach for the win. Smokey Boutwell, Fred DeSarro and Frank Faria rounded out the top five. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Lou Lazzaro out dueled Phil Spiak for the win. Jerry Cook finished third with Ken Canestrary and Pete Corey rounding out the top five. Lazzaro made it two for two on the weekend as he also won at Fonda on Saturday night over Cook and Dave Lape. Roland LaPierre Sr. was the Saturday night winner at Norwood Arena. and Lee Osborne was the winner at the Fulton Raceway. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dick Caso won a Wednesday night Fourth of July Special Modified event. Newt Palm was the winner of the Modified event held on Saturday at the Bowl. Bill Sweet won Late Model Daredevil events on both nights. Bugsy Stevens won twin 25’s at Thompson on Sunday and at Utica-Rome, Dick Fowler took the win over Robbie Kotary, Sonny Seamon, Dick Clark and Bernie Miller.

   Forty years ago in 1973, Fred DeSarro started the weekend off with a win at Malta on Friday night. Denis Giroux finished second with Jerry Cook, Richie Evans and Ronnie Bouchard, following. Bouchard was not to be denied on Saturday at Stafford as he took the hotly contested 35 lap main. A second 35 lapper was run but Bouchard had to settle for third behind Eddie Flemke and Bugsy Stevens. Charlie Jarzombek won at Islip and at Tioga; Geoff Bodine took the win over Evans and Dick Fowler. Dick Watson, a legend at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, won the Tuesday night Fourth of July Modified Special at the Waterford Speedbowl. George Allum won a held over Modified event from the previous week. Ron Cote and Dick LaFlesh were the Late Model Daredevil winners. Rounding out the weekend was a 100 lapper at Utica-Rome, which was won by Evans over Stevens, Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook and Fred DeSarro.

   Thirty five years ago in 1978, the Yankee All-Star League visited the Star Speedway in Epping, N.H. on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine continued his domination as he took the win. Bugsy Stevens finished second with George Savory, third. Plainville ran an open show on Thursday, which saw Brett Bodine take the win over Eddie Flemke, Ron Bouchard, Ron Wycoff and Ronnie Rocco. Stafford fell to rain on Friday. Riverhead went to Charlie Jarzombek and Maynard Troyer got his eighth at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford and Seekonk on Saturday. Islip ran a 150 lapper that saw Richie Evans take the win over Jerry Cook and Don Howe. Mike Stefanik won the main at Riverside and Troyer continued his winning ways as he won at Lancaster. Leo Cleary won at Thompson on Sunday and at Monadnock, Geoff Bodine beat out Jack Bateman.

   Thirty years ago in 1983,Kenny Bouchard, in the Ted Marsh no.55 took the modified win at Stafford. George Summers finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Bo Gunning was the SK modified winner. At the Spencer Speedway, Mike McLaughlin beat out Richie Evans and George Kent. At New Egypt it was John Blewett Jr. over Tony Siscone. At Riverhead, Dan Jivenelli won the Thompson 300 qualifier. Saturday night at Waterford, he modified field was 38 cars strong. Mark LaJunesse took the win with Bob Potter and Jerry Pearl in tow. At Riverside, Brett Bodine took top honors. Other weekend winners were John Blewett JR at Islip, Eddie StAngelo at Seekonk and Tom Bolles at Thompson.

   Twenty five years ago in 1988, the Modified tour was at Riverhead on Wednesday for a 151 lapper. Mike Ewanitsko took charge and won the event. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with John Blewett JR, third. Ted Christopher won at Stafford on Friday and at Monadnock, Reggie Ruggiero took the checker. Lee ran a modified event, also on Friday, which was won by Tom Bolles. On Saturday at Waterford, Ed Flemke JR was the winner and at Riverhead, Dan Jivenelli took the win. Dick McCabe won the Oxford 250 and on Sunday, the mods went to Jennerstown where Bolles beat George Kent for the win.

   Twenty years ago in 1993, Ted Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter finished second with Tom Tagg, third. The Modified Tour was at Loudon on Saturday for a 40-lap event, which saw 10 lead changes. Reggie Ruggiero was the eventual winner with Doug Hevron, Rick Fuller and Ed Flemke JR following. The Busch North cars were also on hand with Mike McLaughlin winning out over Kelly Moore. At Waterford it was Mark LaJunesse over Jerry Pearl. Other weekend winners were Richie Gallup at Riverside and Bob Park at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Loudon, Rusty Wallace started 33rd and took the win. One day later, on July 12, Davey Allison and Red Farmer were flying into the Talledega Speedway when Allison’s helicopter crashed. Farmer survived but Allison died one day later.

   Fifteen years ago in 1998, Stafford and Waterford rescheduled their race nights to accommodate those going to Loudon for the Winston Cup weekend. Stafford had planned on running on Tuesday but their event rained out. Waterford ran on Friday night and it was Dennis Gada taking the modified win over Jeff Pearl and Mark LaJunesse. The Modified Tour Series and Busch Grandnational North Series ran at Loudon on Saturday afternoon. Mike Stefanik scored his seventh mod tour win of the season in an event that saw 25 lead changes among seven drivers in 100 laps. Jan Leaty finished second and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Ewanitsko and Ed Kennedy. Kelly Moore was the BGNN winner and was followed by Dale Shaw, Brad Leighton and Tom Bolles. George Brunnhoelzl ended a long dry spell as he won at Riverhead on Saturday night. Jeff Burton won the Loudon Winston Cup event after leading 191 of the scheduled 300 laps

   Ten tears ago in 2003, winner. In Saturday night Thunder action at Thompson, Todd Ceravolo ended a long dry spell as he took the win in the Sunoco Modified-SK Type modified feature that was run in conjunction with the visit of the Busch North Series. Ceravolo, driving a car owned by his dad, “Dickie Doo” Ceravolo, started on the pole and never looked back as he took the win in the 30 lap contest. Bo Gunning, who recovered from an early caution, came from the back of the pack to finish a close second. Matty Adante finished third and was followed by Eric Berndt and Jeff Malave. Tom Carey was the Busch North Series winner. Series point leader Andy Santerre finished second.

   The Featherlite NASCAR Modified Tour Series went to Maine that weekend to the Beech Ridge Speedway on Saturday night. Todd Szegedy led from start to finish to record his second victory of the year in the series. Tony Hirschman and Chuck Hossfeld staged a serious battle to take the top spot but Szegedy kept his cool and never faltered. Ricky Fuller finished fourth with John Blewett III rounding out the top five. Thirty-two modifieds were on hand for the 150-lap event that carried a purse of $67,475. Not making the starting grid were Carl Pasteryak and Jake Marosz. Twelve cars finished on the lead lap. Ted Christopher, Chris Kopec, Jim Broderick, Kenny Barry and Bob Polverari. rounded out the top ten. There were five caution periods for 36 laps It wasn’t dull by any means as Rain played havoc at the Stafford Speedway last Friday night forcing officials to red flag the SK 150 lapper at the lap 18 mark. The event would resume on August 1. Mike Quintiliano was the late model winner.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night in a race against time, Jeff Pearl went pole to pole to take the win. It was the Speedbowl’s intention to get their program in the books in order for fans to be able to view the fireworks in New London or head up to Thompson for the Busch North Series event. Eddie Reed Jr. finished second with Dennis Cherette, third. The event had to be red flagged after Jay Miller took a hard shot into the second turn. Miller was taken to the Backus Hospital for observation. NEAR Hall of Fame Inductee Ray Miller stated that his son suffered a fracture of the C2 vertebrae plus a swollen hand Miller will be out of action the rest of the year. Zach Sylvester will fill his seat at Waterford for the remainder of the year. John Brouwer Jr. and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.

  Five years ago in 2008, the True Value Modifieds made their second visit to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Kirk Alexander managed to successfully maneuver through lapped traffic in the last 10 laps of the 100 lap event and Dwight Jarvis’ #28 began to fade. Alexander would take the win, his 30th in the True Value Modified Racing Series. Dwight Jarvis held on to second while Jack Bateman finished third. Jon McKennedy and Rob Goodenough rounded out the top five. Pre-race favorites Ted Christopher, 17th, Les Hinkley, 18th, and Dave Pinkham, DNS, failed to finish.

   The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program avoided the rain gods and welcomed an almost full crowd to the double feature program for the Sunoco Modifieds. Jimmy Blewett scored back to back Sunoco Modified victories while Randy Cabral enjoyed an emotional NEMA Midgets victory for one of his fallen comrades. In a touching tribute, Cabral left his car in turn three where his fallen friend, Shane Hammond, lost his life in April. Derek Ramstrom continued his domination of the Pro Stock ranks with his third-straight feature win, Leo Oliveira celebrated with a victory in the biggest event of the season for the TIS Modifieds along with Limited Sportsman competitor Ernie LaRose and Mini Stocker Tim Taylor of each visited victory lane.

   The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated the fourth of July holiday with a multimedia fireworks display set to music. The fireworks on the track were provided by Frank Ruocco, who won the SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco, who won his 30th Late Model feature, Chris Matthews, who won the SK Light Modified feature, Charlie Newman, who won the Limited Late Model feature, and Dan Flannery, who won the DARE Stock feature.

   In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Frank Ruocco drove to his first feature win of the 2008 season by out dueling Keith Rocco over the final laps. Doug Coby took the early race lead and held the top spot from the green flag to lap-22, when Ruocco overtook him on a restart. Rocco moved by Coby for second place on lap-27 and brought Ted Christopher with him past Coby. Christopher and Rocco would swap the second position several times over the final laps through several restart situations, with Rocco taking the spot on the final green white checker restart. Rocco stayed glued to the back bumper of Ruocco, but couldn't make a pass for the win. Rounding out the top-5 behind Ruocco and Rocco was Tom Bolles, Christopher, and Jimmy Blewett.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl it was the annual Pepsi 300. A major water main break closed a good portion of the lower section of Route 85 but it didn’t hold back the competitors or fans. Jeffrey Paul took advantage of Doug Coby’s misfortune as he scored the biggest win of his young career as he won the 100 lap SK Modified portion of the Pepsi 300. With less than 10 laps to go, Coby missed a shift on a restart and all but handed the win to Paul. Coby had passed Keith Rocco for the lead just beyond the halfway-point and looked to be on cruise control, headed for victory. Pole-sitter Tyler Chadwick led the early going of the 100-lap SK feature before he was passed by Keith Rocco. For several laps the leader was pressed by Coby, Dennis Gada, and Paul. On lap ninety-three, Frank Ruocco and Rocco made contact, the latter slamming into the back-stretch wall, with Ruocco sent to the back for rough-riding. The resultant restart saw Paul bolt into the lead, passing Coby. Coby held-on for the runner-up spot followed by Rob Janovic Jr., Ron Yuhas Jr., and defending champion and current point-leader Dennis Gada. It was the first win of 2008 for Paul.

   Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), and Danny Field (Mini Stocks).
In the 100-lap Late Model feature it was defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. scoring victory in round-two of the Triple Crown series. Starting in the second-row and passing Ron Yuhas Jr. for the lead on lap forty-two, Thomas motored to a dominating twenty-seventh career triumph over Tim Jordan, Yuhas, Vin Esposito, and Diego Monahan.

   Al Stone III kept his Triple Crown expectations alive with a victory in the 50-lap Sportsman feature and scoring the 50-lap Mini Stock main event by an ever-so-slight margin was Danny Field.

   Denny Hamlin held off teammate Kyle Busch to win Friday night at Daytona International Speedway and extend Joe Gibbs Racing's dominance in the Nationwide Series. Hamlin had a comfortable lead over Busch as they headed toward the last lap, but rookie Colin Braun spun out to bring just the third caution of the race. NASCAR reset the laps to create a two-lap sprint to the finish. Hamlin got a great jump on the restart and Busch couldn't challenge him as Hamlin drove to his third Nationwide Series win of the year. Busch bested Carl Edwards in a race that ended under caution with Busch earning his Sprint Cup-best sixth victory of the season. Busch and Edwards were racing side by side with a little over a lap remaining when a multicar accident brought out the caution behind them. The field was frozen, and while Edwards was pretty sure Busch was a nose ahead, no one was 100 percent certain. Edwards finished second and was disappointed not to have one last lap.

   Last year, 2012, In Valenti Modified Racing Series action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH Todd Szegedy passed race leader Chris Pasteryak on lap 92, and went to win the 8th annual ‘Firecracker 100’. Szegedy became the series fifth different winner of 2012. Szegedy hooked up in a side-by-side, crowd-pleasing battle, with Les Hinckley for several laps, before grabbing the runner-up spot. Pasteryak led the race from lap 49 when he slipped up allowing Szegedy to take the lead. Hometown favorite Dwight Jarvis made a late race charge to finish second. Todd Patnode finished third. Hinckley and Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were: Rowan Pennink, Jon McKennedy, Norm Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Joey Jarvis.

   The race, slowed by five caution flags, was completed in 44 minutes. Fourteen of the 24 cars that started the event finished on the lead lap. Thirty cars were on hand.

   Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw another night of controversy. The Speedway featured Twin 30 lap features for the Sunoco Modifieds. Woody Pitkat made it two in a row in Sunoco Modified action in the night’s Modified the opener. In the second of the twins, Ryan Preece was declared the winner of a controversial feature event that saw Pitkat cross the checkers first. In a more conventional finish, it was Tommy O’Sullivan scoring the victory in the Late Models. Troy Talman wired the field to secure the victory in Sunoco Lite Modified. Scott Sundeen continued his domination of the Limited Sportsman division with a win. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. made it five consecutive wins in the TIS Modified division. Dave Trudeau earned top honors in the Mini Stocks. Bill Cummins earned top honors in the Vintage Outlaw Modifieds.

   On lap 29 of the first Sunoco Modified feature Keith Rocco made his move on Pitkat to take over the lead. Pitkat dove low exiting the fourth turn. Pitkat and Rocco made contact. Pitkat was able to gain the advantage and edged out Rocco for the victory. Ted Christopher came home third. Ryan Preece and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. The second Sunoco Modified feature was somewhat ho-hum until the final moments. With two laps to go Rocco made a move outside of Christopher. He could not make the pass for the lead. Pitkat got along side Rocco momentarily but Rocco fought back. A spin by Kerry Malone brought out the caution flag setting the stage for an exciting restart. Christopher picked the outside groove on the restart. Rocco got the jump on the restart only to have his car falter in turn one. Christopher was able to take the lead. With the white flag flying, Pitkat muscled by Christopher in turn two to steal the lead away. Preece got by Christopher to take over the second position. Pitkat streaked under the checkers first followed by Preece and Christopher. A dissatisfied Christopher made contact with Pitkat on the cool down lap and was disqualified. When all was said and done Preece found himself in the winner's circle. Pitkat was placed in second. Dennis Perry, Richie Gallup, and Kerry Malone completed the top five.

   It's a fore gone conclusion that at some point the Thompson management will say they have had enough and will pull the plug on the Sunoco Modifieds. The animals have taken over the running of the zoo and the only way to retake control is to shoot them!

   Keith Rocco made it two in a row in SK Modified competition at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Stafford's SK Light Modifieds took center stage with their Xtra Mart Xtra D 25-lap feature event. Zach Aszklar was the big winner of the night, picking up his first career victory, Mike Quintiliano picked up his first Late Model feature victory since the 2005 season, Josh Wood picked up his sixth feature win of the season in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and James Carroll picked up his first career feature victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   Competitors at the Waterford Speedbowl were given a night off.

   In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina George Brunnhoelzl III won the Firecracker 150 on Friday night. Brunnhoelzl dominated the day by being the fastest in practice and winning his third pole position of the season before leading the race wire-to-wire. With the victory, Brunnhoelzl, out of West Babylon, N.Y., takes over sole possession of the Southern Modified Tour’s all-time wins list at 14 after coming into the event in a tie with L.W. Miller. Brandon Ward finished as the runner-up and crossed the line .343 seconds behind the winner. Danny Bohn, who started the race from the ninth position, charged to the front and finished third. Brian Loftin, who won at Caraway earlier in the season, finished fourth and Jason Myers finished fifth.

   Rookie Jon McKennedy, John Smith, Michael Speeney, Tim Brown and Joe Scarborough rounded out the top 10. The race was slowed due to caution six times for 27 laps.

   In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Justin Bonsignore started on pole and never looked back as he won the Cromarty Cup 50 for the Modifieds. Shawn Solomito finished second with Ryan Preece, third. Rounding out the top five were Timmy Solomito and Ron Silk. Ted Christopher finished seventh.

   In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Daytona, Tony Stewart emerged the winner, charging past Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth on the last lap and holding on as the challengers stacked up behind him Saturday night in one of Daytona's trademark wrecks.

   Suspended NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger said that he tested positive for a stimulant and was collecting his medicines and supplements in an attempt to figure out what got him in trouble. A statement issued by Allmendinger's business manager did not identify the stimulant and said the driver does not know what caused him to fail the random test conducted June 29. He was suspended just hours before the Daytona event and NASCAR has not revealed the substance, either.

   Kurt Busch took the lead on the final lap and held on to win the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway for his second Nationwide win of the year.

   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
Courtesy of & Dave Dyke's

Click on Photo for Full Sized

Bud Matter                                           Dennis Zimmerman                                         Fred Borden

     Fred Harbach                                             Lou Carangelo                                          Roland LaPierre Jr         

Looking Back Archive

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: July 5, 2013

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