November 8, 2013
Five years ago in 2008, At the Waterford Speedbowl the
Hartford Courant reported that Terry Eames would be legally rid of Jerry
Robinson on November 30 and that he would be taking an active part in
running the shoreline oval in 2009. Eames, who had also had his share of
financial problems, leased the track to Robinson for the 2007 season and
from the beginning of the season the track had been on a downhill slide.
Since Eames purchased the track in 2000. He had not been good at paying his
bills and has had foreclosure problems of his own and ended up selling off
some of the property the track was located on in order to avoid foreclosure.
Eames also told the Courant that he may bring on other individual investors
in an operational capacity, but that his own personal involvement in the
operations of the facility would be part of any agreements made.
In the mean time competitors who raced in the season ending Fall
Finale on October 5 had still not been paid. Both Robinson and his race
director Steve Harraka had lied to competitors about holding off on
delivering purse payouts. NASCAR did nothing to help competitors their just
The 6th Annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout took
place at the Concord Motorsports Park in North Carolina. The mighty
Modifieds took center stage. They were joined by SK Modifieds, Vintage
Modifieds, Rolling Thunder cars, Vintage Sportsman and EastWest
Forty two Modifieds from both the North and the South along with
over 30 SK type Modifieds were on hand. Southerner Burt Myers, who had a win
stripped away at Martinsville over a technical issue redeemed himself as he
became the first southerner to win the 125 lap Tour type Modified portion of
the North-South Shootout. Myers overtook Matt Hirschman with four laps to go
and never looked back. Hirschman, who stated that his tires were all but
worn out, managed to hang on for the runner-up spot. Ronnie Silk in the
southern based Hillbilly Racing entry of Roger and Sandra Hill finished
third. Ted Christopher and Bobby Santos III rounded out the top five. Sixth
through tenth were George Brunnhoelzl III, Jason Myers, Glen Reen, Chuck
Hossfeld and Rusty Smith. It was a sweep for Myers who also earned the DMC
Pole Award with his fast lap of 15.238 seconds. Myers also earned an
impressive $11,280 in cash and prizes for the victory.
Erick Rudolph laid down an impressive lap to start on the outside
of the front row. He capitalized on his starting position to lead the
opening laps taking the defending champion Matt Hirschman along for the
ride. Rudolph continued to lead Hirschman, Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III,
and Ted Christopher through the first caution on lap 19 for a spin by Daren
Scherer. On the ensuing restart, Hirschman was able to catapult into the
lead while Myers faded back slightly. During a green flag run, Hirschman
began to pull away from the field. Ryan Preece made his first appearance
inside the top five. The second yellow flag of the event flew for an
incident that involved Carl Pasteryak, Pete Brittain, and Rick Kluth. Green
flag racing was short-lived when a spin by Gene Pack brought out the third
caution of the event. Under the caution, a handful of teams headed to pit
road for the mandatory pit stop including Hirschman, Rudolph, Brunnhoelzl,
Christopher, Preece, Beers, and a host of others. Myers, Jimmy Blewett,
Ronnie Silk, and Les Hinckley made up the top five of the running order
after the pit stops. After another quick caution, Myers and Blewett swapped
the lead back and forth. The battle for the lead allowed Silk to catch the
lead duo. Bobby Santos III had worked his way into the top-five.
The teams struggled near lap 47 when a host of cautions slowed the
field. The likes of Eddie Flemke, Jr. and Charlie Pasteryak were involved in
separate incidents. On the second attempt at a restart, Blewett got out of
shape slightly. As the field checked up a number of cars stacked up on the
front stretch including Rowan Pennink, Todd Szegedy, and Chris Whitenight,
Jr. Woody Pitkat. Glenn Reen, and Earl Paules, were also involved. When
green flag racing resumed Myers continued to lead Silk and Christopher.
Hirschman got around Santos to rejoin the top-five once again. Myers was
beginning to stretch out his lead while Christopher and Hirschman were both
getting racy at this stage of the event. Brunnhoelzl came back to life as
well. As the race approached halfway, Myers enjoyed a five-car length
advantage over Silk, who had little breathing room back to Christopher.
Hirschman was a distance back in fourth. Eric Beers was using the high
groove in an effort to get to Brunnhoelzl and Santos. Myers meticulously
motored his way through lapped traffic to maintain his comfortable lead. The
remainder of the top-five now ran nose-to-tail. Myers had yet to make his
pit stop that was required between laps 30-110. The caution flew on lap #98
when Santos spun in turn four. The caution allowed Myers the opportunity to
head to pit road. He was joined by Silk, Szegedy, Rusty Smith and others.
With the stop, Hirschman had inherited the top spot. The ensuing restart
meant problems for another front runner Christopher, who spun in turn one.
After a false start, Hirschman was able to jump out to the lead over Preece
and Beers. Preece lost a quick battle for the second spot. Beers began to
run down Hirschman. It looked for a while that it might be a repeat of last
yearís finish with the Northampton, PA residents running at the front. There
was a scary moment at lap 104 when the Hillbilly Racing teammates Silk and
Flemke split Southern Whelen Modified Tour champion Brian Loftin to make it
three-wide exiting turn four. All three cars came through the corner
unscathed. Myers, meanwhile, was picking his way back to the front of the
pack. He passed his brother Jason, then Flemke, and Brunnhoelzl to find the
top-five. Myersí march to the front continued by taking the fourth spot from
Silk. He immediately erased the distance between himself and Preece. Just as
quickly he disposed of Preece. With only four laps remaining, the field was
single file with Hirschman at the helm. Beers was losing ground to Hirschman
while Myers continued to gain it. The caution flew on lap 118 when contact
dislodged one of the foam blocks placed on the track for safety. Ryan Preece
watched his great run come to an end when he headed to pit road for fuel. A
spin by Flemke forced another caution in the event.
With two laps remaining, Hirschman lined up ahead of Beers, Myers,
Silk, and Brunnhoelz. Beers faltered on the restart giving way to Myers and
others. With the crowd on their feet, Myers got a great run to move ahead of
Hirschman to take the lead. The enthusiasm could not quell even when the
13th and final caution flew when the #9 of Beers stalled on the front
stretch. Myers pulled away on the final restart to streak under the checkers
as the 2008 North-South Shootout champion.
The SK type 50 lapper was a slam-bang affair that took over two
hours to run. Once the dust finally settled thousands of dollars in damages
claimed a good portion of the event. Ted Christopher was the winner with
Jimmy Blewett finishing second. Blewett made hard contact during a restart
on lap 48. Blewett said that Christopher brake checked him and Christopher
claimed that Blewett intentionally rammed him because he couldnít go around
to pass. Needless to say, both were mad at each other but at least they
didnít wreck. Steven Reed finished third with Tom Farrell III and Doug Coby
rounding out the top five. It took several attempts to get the 50-lapper
underway. A multi-car accident in turn three that involved Mike Carpenter,
Henry Stampfl, Shaun Carrig, Ryan Preece and others required the first of
two complete restarts. On the second attempt at a start, contact between
Kenny Horton and Steven Reed sent Horton spinning and the caution flag
flying once again. Jeffrey Earnhardt, making his SK-Type Modified debut, was
also involved. With green flag racing finally underway, pole sitter Ronnie
Silk showed the way with Reed in tow. Cravenho pressured Christopher for
third while Jimmy Blewett and Ron Yuhas, Jr. jockeyed for position. A pass
on lap five put Christopher at the head of the field.
Keith Rocco, who had started scratch on the field after missing
qualifying to attend the early portion of the NASCAR All-American Series
banquet, found himself comfortably inside the top ten and making fast tracks
to the top-five. His progress was slowed when Richard Schwartz and Michael
Carpenter where involved in an incident on lap seven to bring out the
caution again. On lap 9, Rocco was able to make his way passed Yuhas and set
sail for Cravenho for third. Up front Christopher continued to chase Silk.
Sparks began to fly between Rocco and Cravenho as they battled for position.
The two made contact. Yuhas went low to move by both competitors; however,
contact with Cravenho sent Yuhas hard into the outside wall. Cravenho was
sent to the tail end of the field for his involvement. Doug Coby was on the
move after a lap 16 restart taking the fourth spot from Eric Beers, aboard
the TS Haulers #5. Jimmy Blewett was also making his way to the front.
Blewett passed Tommy Farrell to take over the fifth spot. While battling for
the second position with Silk, Rocco watched his bid for victory end in the
turn two wall. Silk was penalized for his involvement. The running order at
halfway found Christopher leading Coby, Beers, Blewett, and Farrell.
Things settled down for a portion of the event with Coby taking
chase of Christopher through lapped traffic. With only four laps remaining
Farrell spun exiting turn four. Christopher watched his sizeable lead
disappear with the yellow. Beers encountered mechanical problems falling off
the pace on the final restart. Christopher was able to pull away from Coby.
Blewett made his move after the restart to grab second from Coby. A scary
looking incident that involved Gary Young, Jr. and Marc Nappi slowed the
event with only two laps remaining. Christopher was up to the challenge on
the final restart to take the victory in the 50 lap main event. Blewett
settled for second. Steven Reed also earned a podium finish. Farrell
recovered from an early incident to finish fourth. Coby fell back to fifth
at the checkers. Horton also rebounded nicely to finish sixth. Reed received
the RH2Way bonus as the highest finishing driver to compete in only the
SK-Type Modified division. With lap money and contingency sponsorships,
Christopher earned $4,890.
Dave McKnight of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, scored the victory in
the 2nd Annual East-West Supermodified Shootout. His efforts earned him a
cool $4,590 in cash and prizes.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Jimmie Johnson moved inches away from
his record-tying third consecutive Cup championship with a dominating
victory at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., where he led a
race-high 217 of the 313 laps to deflate Carl Edwards' title hopes. Johnson
needed only to finish 36th or better in the season finale at Homestead to
join Cale Yarborough (1976-78) as the only drivers in NASCAR history to win
three straight Cup titles. The win was his third straight at Phoenix, and
had fourth-place finisher Edwards on the edge of conceding. Johnson started
from the pole but gave way on the first lap to Jamie McMurray, who finished
third. He didn't take the lead until lap 81, but was not challenged from
there. Kurt Busch made a brief run in the closing laps but settled for
Some fans were denied watching the finish when, as an 18-minute red
flag came to an end, ABC bailed out on the final laps and dumped the Sprint
Cup telecast to ESPN2 so ABC could get to the last half-hour of an episode
of "America's Funniest Videos?"
Carl Edwards won the Nationwide Series Hefty Odor Block 200 at
Phoenix International Raceway for his sixth win of the season. Denny Hamlin
was second and Kevin Harvick third. Points leader Clint Bowyer bounced back
from a mid-race accident to finish fourth. There were 9 cautions for 41 laps
and 6 lead changes between 6 leaders.
Last year, 2012, With the 2012
season now history NASCAR posted the official point standings for the Whelen
Modified Tour Series. Doug Coby had been officially named as the series
champion. After fourteen races, which Coby won five, Coby beat Ryan Preece
by 11 points for the title. Preece recorded two wins. Defending series
champion Ron Silk also won two races and finished third, 23 points in
arrears of the champion. Donny Lia, with one win, finished fourth with Todd
A total of 52 different drivers entered into competition during the
fourteen race season. Sixth through tenth were Eric Beers, Justin
Bonsignore, Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher and Ron Yuhas JR.
The New York based Super Dirt Series finished out their season with
a special event held at the dirt track at the Charlotte Speedway. Brett
Hearn finished the hot streak he started at Syracuse in early October by
winning the Super DIRTcar Series big-block modified season finale Saturday
night during the PEAK Motor Oil World of Outlaws World Finals. Hearnís
fourth victory of the season completed a string of victories that included
the annual 200-miler at the New York State Fairgrounds and the Eastern
States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway.
Meanwhile, Matt Sheppard finished fourth and became the first
driver to win three consecutive series championships.
Australian racer Peter Britten set the pace throughout the 40-lap
event on the four-tenths-mile dirt track and Hearn tried to pass him time
and time again, finally getting the job done on lap 32. Hearn also tied the
all-time victory record in the DIRTcar modified division with his 373rd
Britten held off Jimmy Phelps to finish second with Sheppard and
Tim McCreadie completing the top five.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Texas Speedway, Jimmie Johnson
and Brad Keselowski were side-by-side on the final restart, but Johnson
charged his No. 48 Chevrolet hard on the outside, cleared Keselowski on the
backstretch and led for the final 1 1/2 laps. Johnson won from the pole for
the second week in a row, and increased his series lead by five to seven
Kevin Harvick became a five-time NASCAR Nationwide winner at Texas,
leading 127 of 200 laps on Saturday night. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had the most
important finish, battling an ill-handling car that slid around the track
all night and still managed to finish fourth. That got his No. 6 Roush
Fenway Ford even with Elliott Sadler for the Nationwide points lead with two
Thatís 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
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit