The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


August 16, 2013

   Sixty years ago in 1953, Red Foote, originally from Meriden, CT went two for two at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won 25 lap Sportsman events on Wednesday and on Saturday. Bud Matter and Frank Chapman were the non-Ford winners.

   Fifty five years ago in 1958, Ray Moran made it three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the Wednesday night 25 lap Modified feature. Don Collins was the Saturday night winner. Non-Ford winners were Dick Beauregard and Ted Stack.

   Fifty years ago in 1963, Mario "Fats" Caruso won the biggest race of his career as he beat a stellar field of Modified greats as he won the first annual Trenton 200 at the one mile New Jersey State Fairgrounds Speedway. Caruso had won the night before at Norwood and did an all nighter to make it to Trenton for early morning inspection. Southern invader Ray Hendrick finished second and was followed by Perk Brown, Gil Hearne and Runt Harris. Sixth through tenth were Eddie Crouse, Bill Wimble, Ed Ortiz, Joe Thurman and Eddie Pieniazek. Forty five cars started the event. The fastest qualifier was Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket, V-8. Slater failed to finish as his engine expired in a cloud of smoke. Slater, who had won a 100 mile race at Trenton in June of 1960, started on the pole after he had set a fast time of 37.03 seconds. Slater was leading the field on lap three when his engine expired. Pete Corey made it two in a row on the dirt at Stafford and Don Collins was the winner of a 100 lapper at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Other weekend winners included Fred Harbach and Dick Lewis at Fort Dix (New Egypt) and Bobby Albert at Old Bridge.

   Forty five years ago, in 1968, heavy rain forced the cancellation of Friday night racing at the Stafford and Albany-Saratoga Speedways. The rain carried over to Saturday at Lancaster in western New York. Frank Faria won at Norwood on Saturday night while at Fonda; it was Jerry Cook over Ray Sitterly and Eddie Pieniezek. Daring Dick Caso was the 30 lap Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. On Sunday it was the annual Trenton 200, which pitted the best of the north against the best of the south. Mr. Modified, Ray Hendrick, driving the famous Tant/Mitchell No.11 took the win. Red Farmer finished second with Paul Radford, third. Billy Hensley and Lennie Pond rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Al Grinnan, Bugsy Stevens, Eddie Royster, Will Cagle and Perk Brown.

   Forty years ago in 1973,Malta started the week off with a 30 lapper that saw Richie Evans take the win over Denis Giroux and Jerry Cook. At Stafford, on Saturday, Giroux again finished second but this time it was behind race winner, Bugsy Stevens. Dick Dunn, in the Al Gaudreau No.3 was the 36 lap Mid Season Modified Championship event at the Waterford Speedbowl. At Tioga it was Geoff Bodine over Cook and at Utica-Rome it was Evans again but over Maynard Forette. Pocono ran a special modified event with Stevens taking the win.

   Thirty five years ago in 1978,New Egypt ran on Wednesday. Wayne Anderson took the win and was followed by Evans and Cook. Evans and Cook finished one-two at Stafford and at Monadnock, Punky Caron won his 12th win of the season. Geoff Bodine took charge at Seekonk and at Riverside Charlie Glazier tasted victory. At Thompson on Sunday Bodine added another win as he held off Ron Bouchard and Joe Howard. Other weekend winners were Fred Harbach at Islip, Roger Treichler at Lancaster, George Kent at Tioga and Richie Evans at Utica-Rome. It was also this weekend in 1978 that New York racing legend Don Diffendorf hung up his helmet and retired.

   Thirty years ago in 1983,Thompson ran a pole qualifier for their annual 300.Richie Evans took the win and the spot over Corky Cookman. Friday night at Stafford, Bob Polverari out dueled Bugsy Stevens for the win. Rich Evans had quite a weekend as he won 200 lap events at New Egypt on Friday and at Slip on Saturday. George Kent won at Spencer on Friday and at Waterford on Saturday, Mark LaJunesse beat out Donnie Bunnell. Marty Radwick won at Riverside and Thompson was cancelled due to a power shortage that caused a brown out.

   Twenty five years ago in 1988,Ted Christopher got his fourth win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. At Monadnock, Dwight Jarvis was the victor. Christopher repeated at Waterford on Saturday. At Riverside, Richie Gallup took the win. Reggie Ruggerio finished second and sewed up the track championship. Tim Connolly drove his self-owned modified to a win at Tioga, which happened to be a Race of Champions qualifier. At Riverhead, Bob Park recorded his third win. Wayne Anderson finished second and wrapped up the track championship. Ted Christopher wrapped up the Thompson Championship on Sunday.

   Twenty years ago in 1993,Ted Christopher got his sixth win of the year at Stafford, beating out John Anderson. The Modified Tour Series was also at Stafford. Jeff Fuller took the lead from Jamie Tomaino on lap 71 of the 150-lap event and went on to take the win. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Mike Stefanik, third. At Waterford, on Saturday night, the races were cancelled due to a flooded parking lot. Brian Miller won at Riverhead and Dan Avery won at Riverside. In Busch Grand National action at Bristol, Todd Bodine took the win over Joe Nemecheck and in Winston Cup action, Mark Martin took the win.

   Fifteen years ago, in 1998, Bo Gunning recorded his 4th win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Ted Christopher finished second. Eric Berndt was the Waterford winner despite the efforts of Jeff Pearl. Eddie Spiers beat out Rick Miller at Riverside and at Riverhead Chris Young took the win. Mike Stefanik took the BGNN point lead after he won at Jennerstown. In Sunday action at Thompson, Ted Christopher sat in victory lane. Mark Martin won the Bristol Winston Cup event and Kevin LePage was the Grand National winner.

   Ten years ago in 2003, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series returned to the Stafford Speedway on Tuesday night to complete the rain-postponed ASB 150 from August 8. With no rain in sight, the event was completed. When the dust settled, Todd Szegedy sat in victory lane. It was his fifth career Modified tour win and his first at Stafford. Szegedy is a graduate of Stafford’s SK-Modified ranks. The action resumed after a lap 61 red flag on August 8. Eddie Flemke Jr. assumed the pole starting position. The first five laps were run under caution, which allowed competitors to change tires. Flemke elected to pit on lap 65 along with Szegedy and a host of others. Dave Etheridge to the front, followed by Don Lia and Ricky Fuller. The trio had pitted before the rains came on the initial date. Etheridge, who recently had become engaged to Renee Dupuis, led for three laps. Lia, who has shown a lot of promise and potential in his rookie season, took the lead and held it until lap 73 when he was passed by Rick Fuller. Szegedy’s big break came on lap 85 when Etheridge and Nevin George got together in turn three. As the field took evasive action to avoid the potential wreck, Szegedy made the right move and went from tenth to fourth during the melee. When the event re-started on lap 90 Szegedy wasted little time as he went from fourth to second and as the field completed lap 91, he had passed Fuller for the lead. Fuller faded to third as Szegedy took the checker. Nevin George finished second. John Blewett III and Chuck Hossfeld rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tony Hirschman, Jamie Tomaino, Tom Cravenho, Tony Ferrante Jr. and Eric Beers. There were a total of six cautions for 61 laps. Szegedy continued to lead the series point standings by 103 points over Blewett. Chuck Hossfeld sat in third spot with Ted Christopher and Jerry Marquis rounding out the top five. Christopher had a poor finish, 18th, after getting involved with Hossfeld and wrecking. Marquis ended up 23rd. Early race leader Eddie Flemke Jr. was an unfortunate victim as he was robbed of a potential win as a result of a broken shifter which resulted in a missed shift by Donnie Lia on a lap 119 re-start and resulting pig pile that saw him get turned into the front stretch wall. Flemke’s crew got him back in the event. With less than five laps from the finish something broke and he hit the wall again and ended his night in 21st spot. Ted Christopher, another potential winner, also had one of those nights as he crashed after making contact with Chuck Hossfeld on lap 126. A replay of the incident showed that Hossfeld was making a pass and was under him when he attempted to pinch him down. Hossfeld didn’t back off and the resulting contact saw Christopher in the wall, ending his night in 18th spot.

   In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, the Sunoco SK-type modifieds went 75 laps. For the most part the racing was clean and green with only a few minor cautions. Bo Gunning, who has had an up and down season, took the win over Eric Berndt, Todd Ceravolo, Bert Marvin and Kerry Malone. Gunning closest challenger was Berndt who took the lead during a re-start with 15 to go. Five laps later Gunning powered his way to the lead and never looked back. Eric Berndt continued to lead the point standings with a 26-point edge over Jeff Malave. Malave was never a factor on Thursday as he finished 7th in the final rundown. Todd Ceravolo sat third in points, 18 behind Malave. Bert Marvin and Gunning rounded out the top five. Among the missing at Thompson on Thursday was defending track champion Ted Christopher. According to reports Christopher’s car never left the shop as he experienced engine problems. Other Thursday Night Thunder winners at Thompson were Joe Lemay in the Pro Stocks, RJ Marcotte in the Late Models, Mike Cavanaugh in the Limited Sportsman and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.

   At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, Bo Gunning carried his winning ways over from Thompson as he copped the first of the twin 40 lap SK-Modified features run. Gunning took the lead with five laps to go from Willie Hardie. Lloyd Agor made a late race charge and finished on Gunning's bumper. Willie Hardie, Ted Christopher and Jim Civali rounded out the top five. Jim Williams won the second 40 lapper over Jeff Baral, Chuck Docherty, Bo Gunning and Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Ryan Posocco picked up his fourth win of the season as he beat out Kenny Horton for the victory. Bob Leone was the Dare Stock winner.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night the flag was flying at half-mast in honor of Dan Brigham who had passed away. Brigham, a lieutenant in the Cohanzie Fire Department, was the officer in charge of Safety at the Speedbowl. The Modifieds at the shoreline oval ran twin 25’s because of the fact that time was running out to meet the minimum of 18 events required to have drivers eligible for NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing points. Dennis Gada, who was thought to be retiring at season’s end, cleared up a misunderstanding as he stated that he was retiring from the SK- Modifieds, not from racing all together. The four-time track champion is looking to climb the ladder a bit, maybe into a tour mod or a Busch North Series car. The hardest part about getting a ride in the tour series cars is money or the ability to bring it with you. In the first of the two features Gada made it three in a row and five overall for the season. Pete Pavone finished second with John Brouwer Jr., third. In the nightcap, Rob Janovic took the win after coming back from a crash in the first feature. Janovic, who is close friends with the Brigham family, dedicated his win to the recently departed Daniel. Dennis Charette finished second with Gada, third. Based on his recent finishes, Dennis Gada had moved by Ed Reed Jr. for the modified point lead. Other Saturday night winners were Russell LaJoie in the Late Models, Ed Gertsch in the Sportsman with Dan Darnstaedt and Glen Colvin victorious in the Mini Stocks.

   At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Joe Hartmann came home the winner over John Fortin. JR Bertuccio and Frank Vigliarolo Jr. were both given a week’s suspension for their on track confrontation and at Wall Township, Kevin Flockhart took top honors over Tim Arre. The Busch North Series was at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine. Mike Olsen was awarded the win after apparent winner Mike Johnson was put to the rear of the rear of the lead lap cars as officials noticed that he jumped the green flag on the final restart.

   In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Kurt Busch took the win and was loudly booed in victory lane by the many fans who felt that he had agitated Jim Spencer to the point where he got violent. Kevin Harvick finished second. Michael Waltrip bumped Ron Hornaday out of the lead with 34 laps to go and went on to take the Busch Series win at Bristol. Jim Spencer filed an appeal of his suspension, which was denied by the NASCAR commission.

   Five years ago in 2008, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour invaded the Thompson Speedway. Rain cancelled qualifying, which led to a start based on current point standings. All 33 cars on hand started the event.

   Point leader Chuck Hossfeld led the opening laps before giving way to Todd Szegedy. An incident on lap 4 involved Eddie Flemke, Ryan Preece, Glenn Tyler, Kevin Goodale, Ricky Fuller, and Woody Pitkat. Preece and Tyler got the worst of it as they both suffered suspension damage. The pack ran single-file as the laps began to mount. Szegedy continued to lead with Hossfeld and Ted Christopher. The racing was finally slowed when the second caution flew on lap 42 for a spin by Jimmy Blewett. Blewett’s mount suffered from a broken panhard bracket mount. During the early stages of the event several front runners had encountered problems. After losing the top spot to Christopher, Szegedy encountered mechanical troubles under an early race caution necessitating a push to pit road and behind the wall. Szegedy was able to continue several laps down.

   Ronnie Silk, who had worked his way to the second spot, found himself at the spinning end of a confrontation with Eddie Flemke. The field was able to miss Silk. Flemke received a penalty to the tail end of the longest line for his actions. During a caution period at lap 55 a host of cars headed to pit road for service. When things sorted out, Silk was leading with Bobby Grigas, who short-pitted, in second. Grigas capitalized on the restart; moving past Silk and into the lead. Hirschman followed through. Contact between business partners Flemke and Reggie Ruggiero necessitated another caution.

   Back under green, Grigas continued to lead Hirschman. Lap-after-lap, Hirschman dogged Grigas. Early leader, Christopher, faltered while Stefanik was coming on strong. The veteran started to show his prowess after the century mark; joining Grigas and Hirschman. Silk meanwhile was fully recovered from his earlier incident to apply pressure to Stefanik. A bid for the third spot was slowed when Christopher, his tires worn, spun to bring out the caution. On the lap 112 restart, Hirschman took over the lead from Grigas with Silk following through in second. Bobby Santos was also able to motor by and into third. Silk’s march to the front was completed when he took the lead on lap 116. At lap 120, Christopher was back to eighth.

   Contact between Hossfeld and Stefanik sent the Mystic Missile sliding. Both drivers were able to continue, barely missing a beat. The eleventh caution of the event flew; however, for a spin by Wade Cole on the other end of the speedway.

   A handful of green flag laps led to a ruckus that began after bumper tag near the front of the pack. Hirschman was the aggressor on the lap 139 restart taking over the lead from Silk. Santos continued to run in third followed by a hard-charging Christopher. Silk was not done as he raced his way back by Hirschman and into the lead. The front five ran nose to tail as they took the white and checkered flags. With two laps remaining, Pitkat ended up against the turn four wall.

   The race went into overtime, with a green, white, checker, single-file restart at lap 152. An uneventful final two laps gave Silk his third career win. Hirschman settled for second over Santos and Christopher and Stefanik.

   Many tongues were still wagging over the last lap incident at Stafford between Ryan Preece and Todd Szegedy. Szegedy roughed up Preece to get the lead as they both apparently over-drove a bit going into the first turn. When the pair made contact NASCAR Director Chad Little felt that Preece had deliberately hit Szegedy. After watching a video produced on the Stafford website it appears that Szegedy was just as much at fault in the incident. Little, who is getting to be known as the “Invisible Man” made himself scarce after the call and was unavailable for comment. Preece and Boehler Racing took a lot of abuse after the event, which was uncalled for.

   Thursday night Thunder Racing at Thompson came very close to being washed out as torrential rain pelted the speedway in mid-afternoon. Keith Rocco cleaned house in the Sunoco Modifieds. In other Whelen All-American Series racing, Lady Luck was finally on the side of George Bessette scored his first Pro Stock feature win of the 2008 season. It was the fifth win for Late Model ace Jeff Zuidema and Ernie Larose scored a popular win in Limited Sportsman division. Brian Sullivan took over the ride for his brother Tim in the family-owned TIS Modified to score the victory in only his second start. Scott Michalski led his racing family with a Mini Stock feature win.

   Rocco looked like he was shot out of a cannon rocketing out from his fifth starting position to take the lead before the completion of the lap one restart. The second generation had the entire field covered as he survived numerous restarts throughout the 30 lap feature. On lap 25, Tom Cravenho moved to the inside groove to take the lead from Rocco. On lap 27, Rocco slid to the inside groove to retake his lead. Rocco never looked back as he ran to the finish in the No. 1 spot. Cravenho settled for second. Todd Ceravolo was able to take the third position from Danny Cates. Bob Grigas edged out Kevin Goodale to finish fifth.

   The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain on Friday night. Ted Christopher led Keith Rocco by 6 points. Curt Brainard sat in third spot, 78 points behind the leader. Kenny Horton and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five. Rocco suffered a setback on August 8 when he was a victim of overaggressive driving by New Jersey racer Steven Reed. Reed was serving a one race suspension.

   At the Waterford Speedbowl, the shoreline oval enjoyed one of its biggest crowds in a long time with their Racing Against Cancer Night, which brought in the International Super Modified Association along with the True Value Modified Series and the Northeastern Midget Association to compliment the tracks SK Modifieds. Lou Cicconi scored the 50-lap International Super Modified Association feature while Chris Pasteryak scored his first ever-open wheeled Modified win as he won the 100 lap True Value Modified Series event. Other feature winners were Randy Cabral (Northeastern Midget Association), and Ron Yuhas Jr. (SK Modifieds).

   Opening with a bang, the 50-lap International Super Modified Association endured a pair of serious crashes before the first lap was completed. After getting underway, it was Dave Shullick Jr, executing a daring outside maneuver to snare the lead passing several cars. Out-front until the nineteenth circuit, Shullick was then overtaken by Mike Ordway Jr. Cicconi was the leader when the second red-flag occurred on lap forty-eight, setting the stage for a 2-lap dash for the checkers. Cicconi got the bite on the restart, prevailing by a comfortable margin over Mike Lichty, Chris Perley, Mike Ordway Jr., and Bobby Santos III.

   Kirk Alexander led until just beyond halfway of the True Value 100 when Chris Pasteryak bolted into the top-spot after a restart. The two engaged in a see-saw battle for the lead following the numerous cautions that plagued the second-half of the event, Pasteryak getting the advantage each time. Shelly Perry pounded the first-turn wall on lap-96, evaporating the huge lead that Pasteryak had amassed. The final restart saw the popular second-generation racer again forge-ahead, finishing several lengths ahead of Alexander and Jeff Malave in scoring his first-ever victory in True Value Modified Series competition. Completing the top-5 was Dwight Jarvis and Ted Christopher.

   Randy Cabral notched a popular victory in the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, his third of 2008 at the Speedbowl. Passing Mike Keeler for the lead with fourteen remaining, Cabral simply checked-out from the competition during an extremely fast-moving event that incurred only one caution period. Following Cabral was Keeler, Joey Payne, Greg Stoehr, and William Wall.

   In the evening’s 35-lap SK Modified feature, pole-sitter Shawn Monahan immediately took the lead before yielding to an outside-move by Ron Yuhas Jr. with twenty-three circuits remaining. Shortly after, Monahan was eliminated for the night after the lapped-car of Kevin Orlando jacked-up the leaders resulting in the first caution. At the green it was again Yuhas, followed by Dennis Gada and defending champion Ron Janovic Jr. Within a few laps the caution again waved when Matt Gallo slammed the third-turn barrier with bone-jarring force. Next to fall victim to the wreckers was past-champion Todd Ceravolo, punted by Rob Summers after getting out-of-shape and spinning. Yuhas dominated the closing laps, finishing a comfortable margin ahead of Janovic, Gada, Doug Coby, and Keith Rocco.

   Carl Edwards took the lead in the pits, then drove away for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. It was his 16th overall series win. The reigning series champion was trailing fellow Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart when the leaders drove onto pit road under a caution flag on lap 93. Edwards, driving a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, came out in front and easily led to the end of the 125-lap race on the 2-mile oval. Edwards, who led a race-high 71 laps on the way to his third Nationwide victory of the season, was nearly 3.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Brian Vickers before Danny Efland crashed at the start of the last lap. The race finished under caution. Tony Stewart wound up third, followed by Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano of Middletown. Joe Gibbs Racing got caught in an ugly way Saturday following the CarFax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Stewart, making his last Nationwide start for Gibbs, drove the No. 20, and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano was seventh in the No. 18. The two Gibbs Nationwide Series teams, which have dominated competition in the division this season, weren't working in the gray area, they weren't bending the rules, they weren't finding holes in the rulebook, they were caught cheating. NASCAR inspectors discovered magnets on the gas pedals of the Gibbs No. 18 car and No. 20 car before the cars were set to be tested on a NASCAR dynamometer, which measures horsepower. The magnets essentially served as stops, not allowing the gas pedal to be depressed all the way for the test, which would have altered the results to show the cars with lower horsepower than they actually had. It was an action team owner Joe Gibbs said: "Goes against everything we stand for as an organization."

   Joey Logano, who finished seventh in the No. 18 car and Tony Stewart, who was driving the No. 20 car, were penalized 150 championship points and place on probation until Dec. 31, 2008. Car owner Joe Gibbs was also penalized 150 points for each car in the owner’s standings. No. 20 team crew chief Dave Rogers and No. 18 team crew chief Jason Ratcliff were each fined $50,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. Also, from the No. 18 team, car chief Dorian Thorsen engine tuner Michael Johnson and crew member Toby Bigelow were suspended indefinitely from NASCAR. From the No. 20 team, car chief Richard Bray and engine tuner Dan Bajek were suspended indefinitely. NASCAR also put both teams, in their entirety, on probation until Dec. 31, 2008.

   Carl Edwards completed a weekend sweep at Michigan International Speedway beating NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch off pit road on their last stops and driving off for his fifth Cup win of the season and second in the last three races. David Ragan held on to finish third, followed by Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.

   Last year, 2012, Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Ryan Preece make it four in a row and nine for the season during a great night of racing at the northeastern Connecticut oval. Preece started sixth and took the lead from Kerry Malone after a restart on lap 5. Wayne Arute started on the pole but was quickly overcome by Malone for the lead. Because of the fact that Arute was unable to come up to speed a back-up occurred which forced Ted Christopher to ride over another competitors wheel which messed up his front end handling. Two cautions slowed the highly competitive event, both for George Wilkinson who spun in turn four on lap five and again on lap 10. Following the lap 10 restart Todd Ceravolo moved in to second spot but had nothing for the leader as he settled for the runner-up spot at the finish. Woody Pitkat finished third with Christopher and Malone rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Dennis Perry, Jay Sundeen, Nick Boivin, Eayne Arute and Richie Gallup.

   Other winners were Cam McDermott of Scituate, RI, in the Lite Modified division and John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. of Milford, MA, in the TIS Modifieds continuing the domination of their respective divisions. Tommy O’Sullivan of Wilbraham, MA, posted his ninth Late Model victory of the season. Bill McNeil of Putnam, CT, rebounded in the Limited Sportsman division with a victory. Chad Baxter of Pascoag, RI, posted his second win of the season in the Mini Stocks.

   Spending the evening with Modified legend Leo Cleary was priceless. At 83 years of age the NEAR Hall of Fame member was as sharp as a tack and can tell stories of years gone by like they happened yesterday.

   At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece made it two for two on the weekend as he captured the rain shortened 40 lap SK Modified feature. Preece was leading on lap 31 when the caution was displayed after Matt Gallo and Frank Ruocco banged wheels on the front stretch which resulted with both cars hitting the wall. With rain beginning to fall, the race was red/checkered with 31 laps complete, making Preece the winner. Ted Christopher finished second, with Dan Avery, Glen Reen, and Curt Lenahan rounding out the top-5.

   Other winners at Stafford were Adam Gray in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Kris Fluckiger in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

   It was good to see Keith Rocco back in action after suffering a severe lower arm injury. Rocco ran as high as fourth before dropping out after an infield spin.

   In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl the shoreline oval beat back the early day rains to stage its 5th annual ‘Wings & Wheels’ event Saturday night. The International Supermodified Association plus NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites joined the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program on the night. Scoring wins included Vernon CT competitor Rob Summers in the 50-lap Supermodified feature race, while Anthony Marvuglio of East Bridgewater, MA and Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, MA each picked up first-career victories in the NEMA Midget and NEMA Lite races, respectively. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing, Kyle James of Ashaway, RI recorded his first win since 2010 after coming out on top of a wild SK Modified® race. Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI captured his first checkered flag of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Corey Hutchings of Salem took down his fourth victory of the year in the Street Stock division and Ken Cassidy of Lisbon won his 11th Mini Stock feature of 2012.

   The 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature was plagued by numerous caution flags during the race. Rich Brooks showed the way for the first five laps after starting in the pole position. Brooks led Jeffrey Gallup through lap-5 when Gallup made a bold move on the bottom of the track in attempt to take over the race lead. The two made contact, sending both spinning from the top two positions and bringing out the caution flag. During the caution, Keith Rocco pitted and turned the driver’s seat over to Doug Coby for the final 30-laps.

   Joe Perry was the new leader for the lap-5 restart, holding on through lap-13 when caution returned as Diego Monahan and Jeff Rocco made contact between turns one and two with Rocco spinning while competing for a top-five position. Jeff Pearl had raced into second position and lined up next to Perry for the ensuing restart, racing hard in the outside lane once the race was back underway to take the lead. Pearl cleared Perry for good on lap-16 and led through two more caution periods that brought the race to lap-24.

   On the lap-24 restart, Pearl got away from Kyle James to continue leading. Coby was on the move, climbing to third position on lap-28 behind Pearl and James. James looked outside Pearl on lap-30 as the leaders exited turn four, allowing Coby to immediately fill the gap inside of James. Pearl had two cars on his tail to hold back as James continued to threaten off Pearl’s right rear and Coby was glued all over Pearl’s back bumper. The battle among the three inside five laps remaining reached a crescendo just after they completed lap-32. The three cars made contact as they rounded turn one, with Pearl losing control and spinning. Coby also spun while James drove away into the race lead. Behind the spinning leaders, Diego Monahan and Ed Puleo both took hard trips into the turn one wall in the chaos.

   When the dust had settled James was the new leader with Shawn Monahan to his outside. James pulled away on the final restart from Shawn Monahan, who swapped second position with Gallup over the final two laps. James won his first race since 2010 in the division, while Monahan took second over Gallup, who battled back from his early spin to claim his first podium finish in the division.

   In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Tim Brown finished ninth Saturday night in the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150 and wrapped up a record ninth Bowman Gray Stadium championship.

   The two-year domination of Burt Myers ended, but Myers ended the season in style as he won the 150-lap finale for the featured Modified Division. Brown finished out what he said was his best season yet, one that included eight victories and needed to finish only 12th or better to wrap up the ninth title.

   Myers, who won the pole position, had his challenges as well, including one from hard-charging Dean Ward ,who took the lead in the 71st lap. Myers took the lead back on the 110th lap and held it from there, closing with a final restart challenge from his brother Jason Myers, who needed to finish 12 spots ahead of Brown to win what would have been his first title. Burt Myers led the rest of the way, registering his 50th career victory at Bowman Gray. Jonathan Brown finished second, and Jason Myers was third.

   Late Saturday afternoon rain cancelled all racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

   Greg Biffle won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday when leader Jimmie Johnson left the track because of engine trouble with six laps left. Johnson looked as if he had already finished the hardest work. After starting at the back of the pack, he had moved up quickly, and when he passed Brad Keselowski for the lead on Lap 191 of 200, his No. 48 Chevrolet seemed to be the superior car. Then Johnson's engine faltered with only six laps remaining. He lost the race and the Sprint Cup points lead to Biffle.
In Nationwide Series action in Montreal, Jacques Villeneuve was in the driver's seat heading to the white flag, more than 20 car lengths ahead and his first victory in NASCAR just a lap away on the track named for his dad. Then, in the blink of an eye, Justin Allgaier bumped past him for the victory Saturday in a Nationwide race as a stunned crowd at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve recoiled in disbelief.

   Having maintained the top spot through restart after restart in the final laps of a race that went seven extra circuits around the 14-turn, 2.7-mile layout, Villeneuve was running low on fuel and kept turning off the engine of his No. 22 Dodge to conserve. What seemed like an insurmountable lead vanished on the last lap. Allgaier closed in a hurry as Villeneuve suddenly slowed and was hit from behind.

   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.


Looking Back Archive

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: August 16, 2013

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