November 15, 2013
Five years ago in 2008, former champion Rick Fuller
announced that he had retired from racing. Fuller, of Auburn, Mass., made
his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut in the series’ inaugural race on March
31, 1985 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway with a 13th place finish
in the Icebreaker. Ultimately, Thompson became the site of his last race
when was caught up in an early accident and came home 30th in the No. 77
Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Modified in the Xtra Mart World Series on
Oct. 19. Fuller compiled 20 wins, 145 top fives, 231 top 10s and 11 Coors
Light Pole Awards in 439 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts. His win
total ranks seventh in tour history. The highlight of Fuller’s distinguished
career was his championship season of 1993. A year after his brother, Jeff,
had captured the title, Fuller strung together a win and 14 top 10s in 17
starts to finish 93 points ahead of Reggie Ruggiero for the crown. Fuller
has become a color commentator for the Stafford Speedway telecasts seen on
Good news, many thought, came from the Waterford Speedbowl. Terry
Eames announced that he would partner up with Shawn Monahan to operate the
shoreline oval in 2009. Monahan raced at the Speedbowl since 1996. He owns
and operates Critical Signs and Graphics, which is located next to the track
on Route 85. In a prepared news release Eames also announced that Tom Fox
who was the track’s Chief Tech Inspector in 2008 would have full authority
over all aspects of the race program as Race Director. Track historian Sid
DiMaggio would serve as a coordinator of multi-media and events.
Prior to Eames leasing the track to Jerry Robinson, Eames had all
but run the facility into the ground. Robinson’s tenure looked to be the
saving grace of the 1/3 mile oval but in 2008 things went from bad to worse.
Competitors and fans were treated with disrespect plus competitors were held
hostage as money owed them was held back.
Crowds at the shoreline oval had been way down in recent years when
the track was under both Eames and Robinson. For the most part they never
advertised the fact that there was racing going on at the track. No wonder
the place was never more than 25% full! Both Stafford and Thompson advertise
their events and both tracks have been rewarded with crowds that allow them
to turn a profit. Unless the Speedbowl management changes their ways the
track will just fade away.
It is ironic that Pete Zanardi and Dave Dykes had been given the
boot, especially after these two individuals were responsible for keeping
the Speedbowl afloat the previous two years under the Robinson regime and
the two years previous to that when Eames ran the track.
A capacity crowd filled the historic Francis Farm banquet facility in
Rehoboth, MA., Saturday night, November 15, as the True Value Modified
Racing Series, presented it’s fifth annual Awards Banquet honoring drivers,
car owners, and the 2008 series champion, Chris Pasteryak, Lisbon, CT.
Pasteryak, winner of two races, at Waterford and Seekonk, addressed
the crowd from a well prepared and well delivered script that detailed what
the season meant to him and his family. The second generation driver thanked
his fiancé, family, friends, his sponsors, series sponsors, and TVMRS
officials, for their support. His father, Charlie, and uncle, Carl, have
been involved in modified racing since the mid-seventies. “I guess they
didn’t know what they were getting into,” said the new champion.
Series founder Jack Bateman, joined by series officials and True
Value representatives, Rick and Robin Tullock, made presentations to the top
fifteen drivers and car owners as well as achievement awards in several
categories. Sponsorship awards and the the 4th annual Bob Polverari “7-11”
presentation were also part of the evenings festivities. Series announcer,
John Spence Sr, hosted the event, with opening remarks focusing on a review
of the 2008 season. Spence noted, “despite the just concluded campaign being
tough economically for everyone, 61 different drivers were awarded points
this year. All things considered, that’s not too bad.” Spence also
recognized special guests and thanked media representatives for their
continued support. Bateman recognized series officials for their hard work
professionalism, and dedication. He offered comment on each official
pointing out their qualities and what they mean to the series. The tours
officials have been lauded by fans, media, speedway management, and race
teams, for the respect they show competitors, and their easy going manner.
Bateman thanked track owners, series sponsors, participating New England
True Value stores, New England Racing Fuels, Black Mountain Painting,
Hoosier Tire East , SPAFCO Race Cars, Koszela Speed, Dart, UniFirst, Inside
Track, Sherwood Racing Wheels, for their support. The series founder also
spoke of a 16 race schedule, down from 19 this past season, with some
adjustments and possible additions to be made to a tentative schedule
already in place for 2009. The series will also assist in officiating the
“open” race at Seekonk in July.
The 2008 “7-11” award, for professionalism on and off the track,
was presented to Vinnie “WHO” Annarummo. The recipient was chosen by former
winners, Bateman, Dwight Jarvis, and Ed Dachenhausen and the special plaque
was presented by New England Hall of Famer, Bob Polverari. Service Award:
Ray Legere. A race car owner/builder since the early 70’s, Legere, now a
member of the series tech staff, joins Jarvis and Bateman as one of three
original race car owners that remains with the series today. 2008 True Value
Modified Racing Series Achievement Awards Recipients: Hoosier Tire East
Award: (Presented By Bobby Summers) - Chris Pasteryak Black Mountain
Painting Award: (Presented By Jack Bateman) - Kirk Alexander, Most Improved
Driver: (Selected By Series Officials) – Shelly Perry, Touch Luck Award:
(Selected By Series Officials) – Les Hinckley, Sportsmanship Award:
(Selected By Series Officials) - 77 Gangsta Racing, Koszela Speed - Rookie
of the Year: Kenny White Jr (presented by Peter Jarvis).
The New England Antique Racers added their Veteran’s Committee
selections which would be included with the Annual New England Auto Racing
Hall of Fame inductions in January. Open cockpit sensation Burt Brooks,
stock car ace Harold ‘Hardluck’ Hannaford and car owner Bertha Small are the
Veteran Committee selections. The trio will be inducted along with drivers
John Fitch, Bobby Dragon and Paul Richardson, promoters Bob Bahre, Jim
McConnell and Tom Curley and car owner/ builders Rollie Lindblad and Art
Barry on Jan. 25, 2009 at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.
Still to be named were the Jack Ratta (Media) and Danny Pardi
(Service) Memorial Award winners.
Carl Edwards led a race-high 157 laps, running out of gas as he
crossed the finish line to win the NASCAR season-ending Ford 400 at
Homestead-Miami Speedway. Still, his series-high ninth win of the year
wasn't enough to wrest away the Sprint Cup title. Jimmy Johnson locked up
his third championship in a row with a solid 15th-place run, beating Edwards
by 69 points to join Cale Yarborough as the only drivers in NASCAR history
to win three straight titles.
Carl Edwards also won the season-ending Ford 300 on Saturday night,
but came up 21 points short in his attempt to overtake Clint Bowyer for the
NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. All Bowyer had to do to keep Edwards
from winning a second straight title in the second-tier series was finish in
the top eight. He did that easily, taking fifth to stay on top of the
standings, right where he has been most of the year despite winning only one
of 35 races. Edwards wrested the lead from Kyle Busch late in the race and
stayed out front to the end of the 200-lap event at Homestead-Miami
Speedway. He earned his seventh Nationwide victory and kept Busch from
recording a record 11th series win.
Last year, 2012, the 10th
annual Colors Edge John Blewett III North-South Shootout presented by PPG is
took center stage at the historic Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. There
were 30 Tour type Modifieds and 11 SK type Modifieds. In pre-qualifying
practice on Friday, Ryan Preece who was driving the 7ny that is normally
driven by Ryan Newman was one-upped by Woody Pitkat who was the fastest of
the fast in practice.
Competitors ran against the clock for the top 12 starting spots for
the Tour type Shootout. Burt Myers took the top spot over Matt Hirschman,
Jason Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III and Kyle Ebersole. Sixth through twelfth
was Ryan Preece, Erik Rudolph, Tommy Barrett, Patrick Emerling, Danny Bohn,
Brian Loftin and Chuck Hossfeld. Woody Pitkat and Chris Pasteryak were the
In SK type time trials Michael Gervais took the pole over Matt
Hirschman and TJ Zacharias.
Sticking out like a sore thumb by their absence were just about all
of the northern Whelen Modified Tour competitors.
The SK types were up in the late afternoon for their 25 lap feature
event. Michael Gervais, a regular in the SK Modified division at the
Stafford Motor Speedway led from pole to pole to take down the win. Jimmy
Zacharias finished second with Glen Reen, third.
The Modified North-South Shootout 125 lapper saw Ryan Preece, in
the #7ny driven normally by Ryan Newman take a surprise win over Chuck
Hossfeld and Matt Hirschman. The Shootout was a caution filled event as the
yellow was displayed 17 times for numerous spins and crashes. The most
important yellow came on lap 121 when Tommy Barrett attempted to pass Woody
Pitkat on the low side. Pitkat moved to block and the two collided. Both
were able to restart and finished respectively in seventh (Barrett) and
Danny Bohn finished fourth and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top
five. Sixth through tenth were Johnny Sutton, Barrett, Charlie Pasteryak,
Pitkat and Kyle Ebersole.
Preece and his team, co-owned by Gary Putnam and Kevin “Bono”
Manion, had their winnings cut by two-thirds for a rules infraction, track
officials told RaceDayCT.
Track owner and promoter Renee Hackett confirmed that the team was
fined $4,000 for an unapproved tire change during the event. Hackett read a
statement from the track addressing the issue: “Following the conclusion of
the event, during the [North-South Shootout] officials breakdown meeting, it
was discovered that [Ryan] Preece had made an unapproved tire change. The
7NY team claimed a tire on the car was flat, but it was not. Thus resulting
in the use of an unapproved tire, as he had already changed two on a
previous pit stop. To be considered flat, the tire must have 12 pounds or
less of air pressure. The tire in question had 15 pounds of air when
checked. During the driver’s meeting all drivers were informed of the tire
change rule and air pressure requirements. Drivers were informed that they
would be penalized if a tire change occurred without prior approval from a
[North-South Shootout] official.” Hackett said the $4,000 fine from Preece’s
team would be redistributed to the teams that finished second through fifth.
Hossfeld will be awarded an extra $2,500 and Hirschman an extra $1,000.
Fourth place finisher Danny Bohn of Mooresville, N.C. will get an extra $300
and fifth place finisher Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon was given an extra $200.
The rules for the race said teams got a six-tire inventory for the
event, which included the four tires the teams started on and two tires that
could be changed during the event. Preece said the team never went outside
their six-tire inventory. North-South Shootout competition director Tom Fox
said the team used an unapproved third new tire during the event.
Congratulations went out to fellow scribe Kevin Rice who was the
recipient of the Star (NH) Speedway Appreciation Award for his loyal support
of the track. Rice is a reporter for the Lowell (Mass) Sun and trade
publication Area Auto Racing News.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Phoenix Kevin Harvick snapped a
44-race losing streak by beating Kyle Busch on a pair of late restarts, the
ironic winner on the same weekend news leaked he's reportedly signed a deal
to leave Richard Childress Racing to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
Harvick and Busch crossed the finish line ahead of a melee of
crashing cars, a chain reaction caused in part because NASCAR failed to
throw a caution when Danica Patrick was spun on the restart. Then others
slid in oil, into Patrick's wrecked car, bounced all over the track, and
even Keselowski was hit.
But the carnage was simply the final exclamation point in a
sequence triggered by four-time champion Jeff Gordon. He intentionally
wrecked Clint Bowyer, and that led to a full brawl in the garage and a
red-flag of nearly 15 minutes for clean up on the track. Gordon slowed his
car to wait for Bowyer so he could intentionally wreck him as retaliation
for several weeks of on-track contact between the two. The fireworks started
with seven laps left, when Bowyer made contact with Gordon, sending him into
the wall. Gordon's No. 24 car was black-flagged, but he didn't leave the
track, instead waiting for Bowyer for his chance at redemption.
After Gordon climbed from his car in the garage, he appeared to be
jumped from behind by one of Bowyer's crew members who wiped the ground
using him as the broom. It led to a full brawl between the crews, with
Bowyer sprinting from his car to join the fracas. Bowyer was held back by
NASCAR officials from entering Gordon's hauler.
Jeff Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points and placed on
probation through the end of the season. NASCAR levied the penalties against
Gordon the result of his altercation with Clint Bowyer during Sunday’s race
at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.
Rick Hendrick, owner of the No. 24 car, was also penalized with the
loss of 25 championship owner points. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No.
24 car, also was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events,
crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members)
and was placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Bowyer was not penalized, but Brian Pattie, crew chief for Bowyer’s
No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing car, violated Sections 12-1 and 9-4A and was
fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Point leader Brad Keselowski was fined not for his profanity-laced
tirade following the race, but for carrying his cell phone in his car during
Joey Logano picked up his ninth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of
the year Saturday at Phoenix Int’l Raceway while Elliott Sadler’s shot at
the series championship may have ended after a late-race crash. Logano
dominated Saturday’s Great Clips 200, but a pair of late-race caution flags
nearly did him in. Logano had a comfortable lead with nine laps left when
Noel Dowler lost a tire in turns three and four to bring out a caution flag.
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
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Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit