September 20, 2013
Sixty years ago in 1953,
Red Foote made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he
won a 25 lap Sportsman event on Wednesday. Freddy Luchesi was the Saturday
night winner. Lou Tetreault and Tom Van Epps were the non-Ford winners.
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain.
Fifty years ago in 1963, Area
Auto Racing News reported that Rene Charland won a 100 lap Modified event at
Islip and Wild Bill Slater was the Modified winner at Old Bridge. At the
Wall Stadium, Bill Chevalier was declared the Modified Track Champion and
Bill Brice, the Sportsman Champion. Years later Brice would become a
respected NASCAR Official on the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Billy Harman
won what was believed to be his first race at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Jerry Dostie was the Bomber winner. The Stafford Speedway records
indicate that Ernie Gahan won the season ending event held on dirt in the
John Koszela Woodchopper Speciall. The Rounds family in Rhode Island claims
that Gahan was off chasing points and Koszela put Don Rounds in the car for
the final event.
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Bugsy Stevens, driving the legendary Ole Blu of Len Boehler, closed out the
season and wrapped up the modified track championship with a convincing win
on Sunday at Stafford. Don MacTavish finished second with Fred DeSarro,
third. Fred Harbach and Holly Wilder rounded out the top five. Leo Cleary
made it two in a row at Norwood on Saturday night and at the Fulton Raceway
in New York on Sunday, Richie Evans took his first of 40 victories he would
earn in nine seasons. Ed Yerrington ended a long dry spell as he won the 30
lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Donnie
Bunnell was the Daredevil winner.
Forty years ago in 1973, the
NASCAR Modified action was in the southland. Richie Evans scored a one-two
punch as he won the Martinsville 150 on Saturday afternoon and won a 100
lapper at the Caraway Speedway on Saturday night. At Martinsville, Jerry
Cook finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Paul Radford.
Cook also finished second at Caraway as Satch Worley finished third with
Stevens, fourth. Ray Hendrick, driving the Dick Armstrong No.1 finished
fifth. Hendrick had blown an engine at Martinsville, which necessitated Hop
Harrington and crew making a hasty motor change. At the Waterford Speedbowl
in New England, Joe Trudeau was the 30 lap Modified winner and Bill Sweet
took the Grand Americans.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
Waterford ran on Saturday night and it was Roland LaPierre Jr. taking the
win. Eddie Flemke finished second with Pete Fiandacca, third. Oswego ran
their season ending 30 lapper which saw George Kent brave the cold and hold
off Richie Evans for the win. Jerry Cook finished third with Doug Hewitt,
fourth. Seekonk ran a 100-lap open competition event on Sunday and it was
Ronnie Bouchard in the Bobby Judkins 2x taking the win over Geoff Bodine.
Thirty years ago in 1983, the
Fall Final was a 100 lapper. Richie Evans took the win. Kenny Bouchard,
driving for Ted Marsh, finished second and was followed by Corky Cookman and
Bugsy Stevens. Jerry Pearl won the companion SK modified event with Kerry
Malone, second. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Darrell Waltrip
was the pole sitter and race winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
the Fall Final featured the SK Modifieds and Ted Christopher took the win
over Bob Potter and Jerry Pearl.
Twenty years ago in 1993,
Waterford ran a 150-lap event. Ricky Young took the win after taking over
the lead on lap 106 when Bob Potter pitted with a soft tire. Mark LaJunesse
finished second and was followed by Jim Broderick, Potter and Bob Georgiades.
At Riverside Park, Stan Gregger took a win over Ed Kennedy. At the Fall
Final at Stafford, Mike Stefanik took the lead from Jeff Fuller on lap 83
and went on to win the 150-lap event. Satch Worley finished second and was
followed by Rick Fuller and Jeff Fuller. Steve Chowanski was the SK Modified
winner. John Anderson won the SK event but was disqualified after it was
discovered that his engine had an illegal crankshaft. Hermie Sadler recorded
his first Grand National win at Rougemont, N.C. In Winston Cup action at
North Wilkesboro, Rusty Wallace took the lead with 100 laps to go and went
on to take the win over Dale Earnhardt and Harry Gant announced that he
would retire as a driver at seasons end.
Fifteen years ago in 1998, the
Modified Tour Series was scheduled for Flemington but was washed out.
Waterford ran their season finale 100 lapper and it was young gun, Eric
Berndt taking the win. Tucker Reynolds finished second and was followed by
Bert Marvin, Mark LaJunesse and Todd Ceravolo. In Winston Cup action at
Charlotte, Mark Martin took the win over Ward Burton. The event was stopped
midway when sewage backed up and flowed across the backstretch. Mike
McLaughlin won the 300-mile Grandnational event.
Ten years ago in 2003, The
NASCAR Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Speedway with the Busch
North Series for the annual Fall Final. All qualifying was completed on
Saturday but rain-washed out the main events, which were to be run on
Sunday. The event was been re-scheduled for the following Saturday with a
rain date of Sunday. There were 42 Featherlite Modifieds at Stafford. Nevin
George was the top qualifier with a speed of 98.382 mph. Series point leader
Todd Szegedy was a tick slower as his speed was 98.291 mph. Ted Christopher
was third fastest with a speed of 98.167 mph. The re-draw for starting
positions showed Szegedy on the pole with Eric Beers, outside pole. Eddie
Flemke Jr. drew third with Tony Hirshman and Jamie Tomaino making up the
front five. Nevin George drew 7th and Christopher, eighth. The long awaited
return of Reggie Ruggerio turned into a non-event, event. Ruggerio, who
teamed up with Long Island car owner Gary Cretty had the miss-fortune of
having clutch problems and missed most of the practice and set-up sessions.
Needless to say, he didn’t qualify.
Joey McCarthy took the Busch Pole for the Busch North Series Fall
Final. Mike Johnson was second with Matt Kobyluck, third. Current series
point leader Andy Santerre, who was hoping to sew up the series title, will
start sixth. Christopher, Jerry Marquis and Mike Stefanik saw double duty.
Christopher starts 11th, Marquis, 16th and Stefanik, 18th. Twenty-nine cars
will go to post.
In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Eric Berndt managed
to avoid a serious last lap wreck to sew up his first ever Modified Track
Championship. Berndt knew what he had to do going into the final event of
the point season. With a healthy cushion on second place runner Todd
Ceravolo, Berndt drove conservatively and in the end finished fifth.
Ceravolo, who finished third, could only gain if Berndt had trouble, which
he didn’t. Third generation driver Bobby Santos III lined up on the front
row along side Kelly McDougall. McDougall, a rookie, had no business
starting on the point, as she was clearly slower than those behind her.
Santos got the jump and looked to be on his way to his first modified win
until the last lap when his hopes ended up in the wall in turn four. Ted
Christopher, who is known to intimidate his competition, put the pressure on
as the pair took the white flag. Christopher took the lead between turns one
and two. Santos took it back in three; Christopher took it back in four in
the run to the checker. Santos bumped with Kerry Malone and hit the wall,
ending his night in 16th spot. Malone limped under the checkered flag with
severe front damage and was credited with fourth place. Jeff Malave finished
in second spot and garnered enough points to tie with Todd Ceravolo for
second in the final track standings. Sixth through tenth finishers in the 30
lap feature were Bert Marvin, Ron Yuhas Jr., Matty Adanti, Kelly McDougall
and Butch Perry. David Berghman won the Pro Stock division track title in
fine style as he took the win in his main event. Other feature winners were
Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan, three in a row in the
Limited Sportsman and Joe Godbout in the Mini-Stocks. Scott Bronczyk was
crowned the Late Model Champ, Glenn Boss, the Limited Sportsman Champ and
Ray Veins, the Mini Stock Champ.
The Stafford Speedway recently issued a notice stating that Bo
Gunning had been suspended indefinitely. After viewing videotapes of the
incidents leading up to the suspension it appeared that race officials
over-reacted. First off, Gunning was not denying that he threw a punch at
Ted Christopher but if one were to view why he did what he did maybe
Christopher had it coming as he did attempt to take Gunning out and as a
matter of fact he succeeded. Gunning was also accused of assaulting track
owner Jack Arute Sr. The video showed a verbal confrontation between the
two. Gunning later apologized and it was accepted. It was also stated that
Gunning hit another car after the caution had been displayed. The video
clearly shows Ted Christopher slamming into Gunning after the yellow had
been displayed. Race officials took no action against Christopher as they
said they didn’t see it. Evidently race officials at Stafford are not
allowed to view videos of events and are not allowed to let a recorded video
influence their decisions. Bo Gunning is no saint and he will be the first
to admit it but he feels that whenever Ted Christopher is involved in a
situation they tend to look the other way. Gunning swears he never said he
was going to “Take care of Teddy”. What he did say to Kerry Malone was that
he would not race with him, as he knew he was running for a championship.
Gunning made a similar statement to Eric Berndt and Todd Ceravolo on the
final night for track points at Thompson.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night in regular Dodge
Series weekly racing series competition Dennis Gada got his seventh
SK-Modified win of the year. Gada, who had been involved or collected in
many wrecks during the 2003 season, managed to keep most of the destruction
behind him. Gada started near the front, which meant that he would have a
fighting chance of staying alive in the point race. Looking for his fifth
straight championship, Gada added 10 points to his lead over Ed Reed Jr.
Reed finished sixth. The action was hot and heavy as Dennis Charette
finishing second. Ron Yuhas Jr., Chris Pasteryak and John Brouwer Jr.
rounded out the top five. Allen Coats won the Late Model war but it was
Corey Hutchins who clinched the Championship. Other Saturday night winners
at the shoreline oval were Dave Zemke in the Sportsman division, Dave
Trudeau in the Mini Stocks and Mike Beebe Jr. in the Legends.
NASCAR made it official the following Tuesday when they announced
that Dennis Gada was officially the New England Regional Weekly Racing
Series by Dodge Champion. It wasn’t a cakewalk by any means for the
four-time Waterford Speedbowl Modified Champion. In 18 events he garnered
six wins and 11 top ten finishes. Modified racing at Waterford can be rough
and tumble at times and Gada has had more than his share of tumbles.
Starting in the rear or near the rear just about every week Gada ran to win
rather than just finish as his record shows. Much of the credit goes to car
owner Harry Wyant and his crew who did yeoman’s work to keep the mighty No.3
on the track and in contention. For his efforts Gada received $45,000+ in
awards. With one more week to go, Gada stood a good chance of breaking the
track championship record of Al Gaudreau and Dick Dunn who have four track
titles in a row. Ed Dachenhausen, a Waterford alumni, won the North East
Regional Championship. Dachenhausen raced at the Chemung Speedrome in New
York where he won 12 out of the 19 events he ran. Mark McFarland who raced
at the Old Dominion Speedway in Virginia was named as the National Champion
as well as winning the Atlantic Regional Championship. McFarland pocketed
$213,000 for his efforts. Other regional champions included Tom Seets,
Heartland, Mark Wertz, Southeastern Coastal, Jerry Robertson, Northwest, Rip
Michaels, Sunbelt and Kyle Berck, Midwest. Following Gada in the New England
Region standings were Jeff Strunk, who raced at the Grandview Speedway in
Pennsylvania, Scott Bonney, who raced at the Lee USA Speedway in New
Hampshire, Eric Berndt, who raced at Thompson, Dwight Jarvis, who raced at
Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire, Bobby Babb, who raced at the Beech
Ridge Speedway in Maine, John Fortin, who raced at the Riverhead Raceway on
Long Island, Rick Houlihan, who raced at Seekonk in Mass, Jeff Crowley, who
raced at the Star Speedway in New Hampshire and Kerry Malone, who raced at
Stafford. The top-10 received their awards in Nashville, Tenn. in early
November. The Short Track regionals honor second division drivers. Ryan
Posocco, who raced at Stafford, is the New England Champion. Aaron Fellows,
who raced at the Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire, finished second.
Waterford Late Model Champion Corey Hutchins finished third followed by
Scott Bronczyk, who raced at Thompson.
In Winston Cup action at Talladega, Elliott Sadler took the Busch
Pole. Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified tenth but had his time dis-allowed when
inspectors determined that his right side body panel was too low. Earnhardt
started in the rear and made up a lost lap to finish second to Michael
Waltrip. Sadler had a good run going until four laps to go when he flipped
Five years ago in 2008, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to Martinsville VA for the Made In
American Whelen 300 which was be the 13th of 16 races on the 2008 NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour schedule.
For many years, the northern contingent has had a stranglehold on
victory lane while southern competitors played second fiddle. Burt Myers
became the first Southern driver to win a Modified tour race in a
NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville since Johnny Bryant in 1985. Whelen
Southern Modified Tour competitor Myers changed all that as he powered his
way to victory at the historic Virginia oval. Of the 43 Modifieds on hand,
Myers was fourth fastest in time trials and for the start, redrew the
outside pole, starting along side another southerner, Bobby Hutchens. At the
start Myers almost saw his day end before it started as he tangled with
Hutchens at the initial drop of the green and triggered a massive wreck on
the front stretch. Fortunately for him NASCAR declared the start false and
mandated a complete restart with Hutchens and Myers back on the front row.
Myers led the restart with fastest timetrialer Ryan Preece in tow. By the
fifth go-round Preece had the lead. Preece pretty much dominated from then
on, at least until lap 270 of the 300 lap event when Myers got by him in
traffic. Myers led the final laps to collect the win and the famous
Martinsville Speedway Grandfather Clock trophy. Preece finished second and
was credited with being the first Northern Whelen Modified. Matt Hirschman
finished third and was followed by Reggie Ruggerio and Ted Christopher.
Rounding out the top ten were Todd Szegedy, Woody Pitkat, Ed Flemke Jr,
Rowan Pennick and Brian Loftin.
Eleven of the original 43 starters finished on the lead lap.
Sixteen caution periods for 88 laps slowed the event. Among those were had
problems were outside pole sitter George Brunnhoelzl III who lost an engine,
Hossfeld wrecked, Mike Stefanik lost a driveshaft, Ronnie Silk wrecked,
Jimmy Blewett had his battery short out, Bob Grigas lost a rear end, Wade
Cole lost his steering, Ken Heagy had rear end trouble, Andy Seuss wrecked,
Billy Pauch wrecked as did Rick Fuller and Glen Reen. Richard Savory had an
alternator malfunction and Jake Marosz wrecked.
The following Tuesday the Hartford Courant reported that NASCAR
officials have made the decision to disqualify Myers from his victory in
Saturday's event at Martinsville. The decision handed the event victory to
17-year old Ryan Preece who drove Ole Blu, which crossed the finish line
second to Myers. NASCAR officials would not comment on the situation. A
NASCAR official did confirm that parts were confiscated from Myers' car
following Saturday's event and taken to the NASCAR Research and Development
Center for further inspection.
In non-NASCAR Modified racing, Tony Hirschman came out of retirement to win
the annual Race of Champions at the Oswego Speedway in New York state. In
True Value Modified Series racing at the All Star Speedway, Jon McKennedy
took the win over Chris Pasteryak and Dwight Jarvis.
Thursday Night Thunder at Thompson International Speedway saw Keith
Rocco clean house as he picked up his fifth win of the season in the Sunoco
Modified division. Rick Gentes resumed his late season mastery of the Late
Models and Scott Michalski continued his hot streak in Mini Stock
competition. Glenn Boss turned his luck around with a dominating TIS
Modified win. Both Jay Macedonio in the Pro Stocks and Ed Puleo in the
Limited Sportsman division enjoyed their his first wins of the season.
Rocco motored by surprise Sunoco Modified championship contender
Danny Cates to take the lead near the half way mark of the 30 lap feature.
Cates took the early lead with a stout pack of cars battling from second
position on back. When thing shuffled out by lap five Cates continued to
lead Todd Ceravolo and Rocco. Jimmy Blewett had made tracks to the front and
into the fourth position. Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. At lap 10,
Ceravolo had his hands full holding off the advances of Rocco. Rocco dove
low into turn four trying to get a run on Ceravolo. Rocco drifted up the
track taking Ceravolo with him. Blewett peaked low looking to make it three
wide. The veteran thought the better of it and settled back in line in
third. Rocco was able to steal the second position from Ceravolo. Rocco was
applying heavy pressure to Cates, who had encountered lapped traffic, when
the caution flew for a spinning Carl Oberg. Under the caution, Ceravolo
relinquished the third spot to head to pit road. He was not able to
Cates and Rocco went wheel-to-wheel for the first lap of the
restart before Cates, relinquished the lead to Rocco. Blewett took chase of
Cates but quickly became the hunted. Cravenho made a strong move exiting
turn three to get alongside Blewett eventually taking the position away.
Both Blewett and Cravenho were able to get by Cates as Rocco was getting
away from the field. Blewett and Cravenho were locked in a heat battle for
the second position when both slipped up in the corner. Blewett was able to
continue. Cravenho was forced to lift falling back to third. Cravenho
gathered it up moving back by Cates once again.
In the closing laps Rocco had checked out on the field to win his
fifth victory of the season. Blewett was a distance second followed by
Cravenho. Cates settled for the fourth position ahead of Kerry Malone, who
quietly came home fifth to extend his point lead. Rounding out the top ten
were Bert Marvin, Tim Sullivan, Ricky Shawn, Josh Sylvester and Woody
Pitkat. Ceravolo ended up 18th in the final rundown.
The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their Friday night racing
series for 2008. Woody Pitkat picked up his fourth win of the 2008 season in
the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Joe Rzeszutek picked up his second win of
2008 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Mark Bakaj scored win number 4 of
2008 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand scored his third
win of 2008 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Todd LaPorta was a
first time career winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock season. Ryan Posocco
clinched his fourth Late Model track championship with a third place finish
with four more championships to be decided next weekend at the 36th Annual
CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Woody Pitkat drove to his
fourth feature victory of the 2008 season. Corey Hutchings took the early
race lead and held the lead until lap-6 when Chris Jones moved to the front.
Pitkat moved to second on lap-8 and he took the lead from Jones on a lap-11
restart. Over a long green flag stretch, Pitkat was steadily stretching his
advantage over the rest of the field. Several late cautions kept the field
tight, with Pitkat holding off Keith Rocco to the checkered flag. Zach
Sylvester finished third, Ted Christopher finished fourth, and Jones rounded
out the top-5. Heading into next weekend's CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend,
Keith Rocco holds a 14-point lead over Ted Christopher.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, competitors were forced to start off
the night on the wrong foot as they were told that they would not be
receiving their checks for the previous week’s racing because of the fact
that track operator Jerry Robinson was ill and was unable to sign checks.
The Jeff Pearl web site reported a direct confrontation with track operator
Robinson and one of his employees. “I began the evening approaching official
#1 who took the heat and offered that Jerry was in the hospital passing a
stone at least on Friday and believed that the reason for no checks”. “The
official took my beating graciously and was very empathetic.” Robinson was
in fact at the Speedbowl on Saturday night. Jeff Pearl’s wife approached
Robinson and very politely asked if the drivers would be getting paid. “He
got right in my face (if I had my glasses on I swear there would be spit on
them), and was emphatically told "NO!" she said.
Competitors at the Speedbowl were NASCAR members and its time that
the sanctioning body went to bat for them. Its not right what Robinson was
doing! NASCAR needed to step in. What Robinson was doing was against
everything that NASCAR stands for. Competitors have shelled out their hard
earned money to belong to NASCAR and the sanctioning body needs to protect
them. Rumors had already been circulating concerning a possible labor type
Despite all the discontent the show at the shoreline oval went on.
Keith Rocco won the USG Night 35-lap SK Modified feature. Other feature
winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Ed Lamb Jr. (Sportsman), Kyle
James (Mini Stock), Jay Palmer (Legends), and Robert Norman (Super-X Cars).
Starting from the outside-pole, Rocco held-off a determined Ron
Yuhas Jr. to the checkers in leading every circuit of the event.
Point-leader Dennis Gada gave chase for several circuits before Yuhas bolted
into second following a lap-twelve restart. Rounding-out the top-5 was Gada,
Jeff Pearl, and Tyler Chadwick.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Dover Downs Greg Biffle made it a
sparkling 2-for-2 in the Chase for the championship using another late pass
with nine laps to go and went on to hold off Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards
and bolster his bid for the Sprint Cup title. Kyle Busch made it eight
victories this season in the Nationwide Series, leading 157 laps and
absolutely dominating to win on Saturday in a green-white-checkered flag
finish. Matt Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Racing team locked up their first
NASCAR Camping World Series East Championship Friday at Dover after posting
a third place finish in the Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway.
Kobyluck, a ten-year veteran of the series, left the event with a 219-point
advantage over second place driver Austin Dillon with one race remaining on
Last year, 2012, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Loudon, NH for the F.W. Webb 100 at the New
Hampshire Motor Speedway. Thirty One Modifieds were on hand for the event.
In early Friday morning practice Donnie Lia was the fastest of the fast as
he topped the speed chart in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice. Lia
toured the Magic Mile in 28.952 seconds at an average speed of 131.556 mph.
Rowan Pennink was second quickest in the 95-minute practice session, turning
a lap of 29.196 seconds (130.456 mph). He was followed by Ron Silk, Ted
Christopher and Patrick Emerling. Completing the top 10 were Eric Beers,
Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett, Mike Stefanik and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular
Lia carried his speed over to qualifying as he won the Coors Light
Pole for the F.W. Webb 100. The two-time tour champion lapped the Loudon
oval in 29.352 seconds at an average speed of 129.763 mph. Doug Coby, was
second quickest with a lap of 29.571 seconds (128.802 mph). He was followed
by Ron Silk, Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
driver Ryan Newman turned in the sixth fastest lap on his first qualifying
lap, then bounced off the Turn 2 wall on his second lap. Newman drove to the
garage with damage to the nose of his car. Jimmy Blewett, Justin Bonsignore,
Eric Goodale and Mike Stefanik completed the top 10 in qualifying.
Doug Coby held on in a two-lap dash to the finish to win the F.W.
Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to score his fifth NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour win of the season. In a race that featured lead changes on
nearly every lap early on, Coby took command on Lap 84 and never
relinquished the top spot. While he charged to the checkered flag after a
restart with two laps remaining, second-place running Ted Christopher ended
up slamming the wall after contact from Donny Lia, who went on to take the
runner-up spot as the race finished under caution. Lia, who restarted fourth
clipped Christopher from behind and turned him into the front stretch wall.
Christopher bounced off the wall and careened into the inside wall that
protects the pit area.
Christopher used a few choice expletives to express his displeasure
with Lia's driving. Lia had a different story. “We were gonna fight for the
win and I got a run there on the 3 car [Christopher] and got into the back
of him, unintentionally, and caused a wreck,” Lia said. “It’s racing, I feel
really bad about it, by no means was it intentional. I got a run and was
trying to go to the bottom and got him in the left rear corner.” Following
Coby and Lia across the finish line were Ron Silk, Ryan Newman and Rowan
Pennink. Eric Beers, Richie Pallai Jr., Matt Hirschman, Ron Yuhas Jr. and
Ryan Preece rounded out the top 10.
Perfect weather, clear and in the low 70's greeted competitors
alike. Prior to the start of the event, Boehler Racing Crew Chief Scott
Richards gave Ted Christopher his marching orders. "Turn the fans on when
the green drops and treat the first 50 laps as a practice session". After
starting fifth he ran consistently between fifth and tenth until the half
way break. Following the break Christopher began his march to the front. By
lap 76 Christopher was in the lead as he passed Doug Coby in turn three.
Coby and Christopher were left to settle it prior to the hit by Lia.
The planned 50 lap break took a lot of pressure off crews to
perform but it robbed the fans of the excitement that pit stops generate.
The only excitement was the possibility of a fire when an individual who was
fueling Patrick Emerling's car accidentally spilled a lot of gas on the
ground. Woody Pitkat, who was parked directly behind Emerling stated "Who
ever fueled the 07 is a retard".
Mike Stefanik, who won the July race in Loudon returned with a new
car and great expectations for a repeat performance. Stefanik started tenth
and got as high as sixth at one point before his engine suffered an internal
malfunction on lap 31 and ended his day.
Sixteen of the original 31 starters finished on the lead lap. In
addition to Christopher getting wrecked on lap 99 Eric Goodale was also
collected in the same incident. Wade Cole started 30th and finished two laps
down in19th spot. Extremely under funded, Cole stayed out of trouble and all
things considered had a good day.
Mike Christopher made his only start of 2012. Starting 28th, his
car appeared to be under powered as he was never a factor as he too was two
laps down at the finish ending his day in 20th spot. Long Islander Johnny
Bush also had an off day as he was also two laps down in 21st position.
Patrick Emerling, who finished 12th on the lead lap, triggered a
big wreck on lap 92 in turn one that took out Woody Pitkat, Bryan Chew, Todd
Szegedy and Matt Hirschman. Emerling bounced off the lapped car of Jimmy
Donny Lia, who went on to take the runner-up spot as the race finished under
caution, was not penalized for his over aggressiveness by NASCAR.
There were five cautions for 17 laps. The event went non-stop until
the mandatory stop at lap 50. The second caution was for Jimmy Blewett who
spun between turns three and four. The third caution came on lap 87 when it
appeared that Blewett dropped oil on the track. The third caution was for
the Emerling triggered wreck on lap 92, the fourth and fifth cautions were
for the Christopher wreck and the ultimate finish under caution.
There were 23 official lead changes among six drivers. D. Lia 1-3;
R. Preece 4; D. Lia 5; R. Preece 6-11; R. Silk 12; R. Preece 13-14; R. Silk
15; R. Preece 16; R. Silk 17; R. Preece 18-19; D. Lia 20-23; R. Silk 24; D.
Lia 25; D. Coby 26; D. Lia 27; D. Coby 28; D. Lia 29-45; P. Emerling 46; D.
Lia 47-61; D. Coby 62-68; D. Lia 69-73; D. Coby 74-76; T. Christopher 77-83;
D. Coby 84-100. There were numerous lead changes within the laps.
Doug Coby leads the point standings by 22 over Ryan Preece. Ron
Silk sits third with Don Lia, fourth. Todd Szegedy rounds out the top five.
The purse for the 100 lap modified event was $159, 528. With Doug
Coby earning $12,000 plus for his win, a nice amount but when one considers
past winners were earning upwards of $18,000 grand, that is a big drop.
Donny Lia earned $8,600 for second and Ronnie Silk earned $6,600 for third
but the big question is why wasn’t the field filled, even if it was teams
pulling out a backup car just to do a start and park for the roughly $2,000
to take the green. In the past, that was a common factor but with the field
being short, that $159,000 purse was reduced by $10,000.
A spokesperson for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway stated that the
Whelen Modifieds would be back for two events in 2013. That announcement
would leave one to believe that Speedway Motorsports has no intention of
moving any events away from NHMS at this time. The Whelen Modified Tour
Series heads to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Fall Final this weekend.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night it was a well
deserved week off as track management and competitors prepare for the season
ending Fall Final that is scheduled for this coming weekend.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl the NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series racing program was highlighted by twin 35-lap SK
Modified® features, the premier weekly division at the track. Tyler Chadwick
of Ledyard won the first of the two races, his fifth of the year, while Tom
Abele Jr. of Norwich won the night’s second feature, his first on the
season. Cam McDermott of North Scituate, RI picked up his second checkered
flag of the year in the SK Light Modifieds. Dan Darnstaedt of Durham scored
the Street Stock feature race win and Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, RI
grabbed his first Mini Stock division victory of 2012. The X-Car division
competed in an event for their Saturday Showdown Series, won by Wayne
Shifflett of Preston.
Among the surprise entries at the shoreline oval was NEAR Hall of
Fame Legend Bob Potter. The 71-year old is a six-time Speedbowl track
champion. He has been in the driver’s seat giving race fans at Stafford
Motor Speedway the racecar experience in the two-seater SK Light Modified
this season at the track. Potter also won five SK Modified championships at
Stafford and ranks fourth all-time on the track’s SK Modified win list with
24 career victories, drove for car owner Pat Doherty in the SK Light
Modified feature event. Potter finished eighth.
NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach Fla announced that Lee Pulliam, 24, of
Semora, N.C., won the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national
championship in just his sixth year of racing and fourth year in asphalt
Late Models. Pulliam rolled up 22 wins, 30 top fives and 32 top 10s in 36
starts to run away with the national championship. He out-distanced
runner-up Keith Rocco, 794-748. Rocco dislocated his wrist and broke a bone
in an accident during practice at Thompson July 29. He had surgery and
missed an entire weekend of racing.
Rocco has nothing to be ashamed of as he finished second in the
final standings for the second straight year and third time in four years.
Rocco had 14 wins, 26 top fives and 32 top 10s in 43 starts racing his
asphalt Modified at Connecticut’s Thompson International Raceway, Stafford
Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. He won his fifth straight state
title and has finished in the top five nationally seven consecutive seasons.
Only four points separated the rest of the top five. CE Falk III
finished third with 728, followed by Nate Monteith with 726 and Ryan Preece
Pulliam’s wins were spread among four tracks including 10 at Motor
Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., nine at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, two at
Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C., and one at Southern National Motorsports
Park in Kenly, N.C. He placed third in points at Motor Mile and South Boston
running a partial schedule at each. He also won the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series Virginia championship.
In Sprint Cup racing Denny Hamlin put together a dominating performance at
Loudon. Despite qualifying 32nd, Hamlin charged up through the field and
drove into the lead before lap 100. Once out front, Hamlin was never
seriously challenged as he drove to his first victory at the 1.058-mile
asphalt oval. The victory, the 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sprint Cup
competition, moved Hamlin up to third in the series standings, only seven
points out of the lead. Jimmie Johnson finished second and moved into the
championship lead by one point over Brad Keselowski, who finished sixth.
Jeff Gordon rebounded from his 32nd-place finish at Chicagoland and finished
third. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne completed the top five.
Austin Dillon completed a sweep of the season’s two NASCAR
Nationwide Series races at Kentucky Speedway with a dominant victory in
Saturday’s Kentucky 300. Dillon led 65 laps, driving his grandfather Richard
Childress’ Chevrolet on the day after the team owner’s birthday. He beat Sam
Hornish Jr. to the checkered flag by 1.059 seconds for his second victory of
the season in his rookie season in the series.
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 from the collection of the late
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit