The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith



May 16, 2014

  Sixty years ago in 1954 security guards at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gave the bum's rush to Bill France Sr who was in the garage area of the historic speedway with a borrowed credential. Moe Gherzi scored his second win of the season in the Sportsman division at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Irwin Fox would make it three out of six in the non-Fords at the shoreline oval.

  Fifty five years ago in 1959, Dick Beauregard scored his second victory in the Sportsman division at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier won the non-Ford feature and Lou Caso took the top spot in the Bombers.
Up in New York State the Buffalo Civic Stadium opened for the season with Roy Campbell taking the win over Gene Blair and Bill Rafter. In the 1940's and 1950's a number of stadiums were home to auto racing at a time when midget race cars were enjoying tremendous popularity across the United States. Western New York, Pennsylvania and southern Ontario were caught up in the craze and were fortunate to have Civic Stadium as a venue for the smaller cars. Civic Stadium, also known the Rockpile was built between 1935 and 1938 as part of a federal make program, under the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The stadium was built on the corner of Best and Masten Streets. It was originally named Roesch Memorial Stadium after Charles E. Roesch, the city's mayor prior to the start of construction.

  Racing at Civic Stadium started in 1948 and featured the Midgets, which were well suited for the racing action on the tight quarter mile oval. The cars had motorcycle engines for power and because they were extremely light they could get around the track very quickly. Racing at the track was halted after the 1959 season to make room for the Buffalo Bisons baseball team and for the Buffalo Bills football team. The team was home to the Bills until 1972 when their current home at Ralph Wilson Stadium opened with state of the art amenities. Many thanks to Chuck Pastor for the results.

  Fifty years ago in 1964 New Yorker Don Wayman opened the dirt track racing series at the Stafford Springs Ct Speedway on Friday night with a win. Bill Wimble finished second with Ernie Gahan, third. Fred Harbach was the Modified feature winner at the Islip Speedway on Long Island. Ray Delisle scored his fourth feature of the year in the Modifieds at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue made it two in a row in the Bombers at the Bowl.

  Forty five years ago in 1969 rain washed out Friday night action at Stafford and Malta. Saturday night at Norwood, Freddie Schulz got Dick Armstrong his first win as a car owner. Jack Malone finished second and was followed by Johnny Thompson, Lou Austin, Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens. Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row at Fonda and Rene Charland was again second. Ron Narducci was third with Ray Sitterly, fourth. At Islip, Cliff Tyler took the win at the tough 1/5 mile oval. Mousie Kempster finished second with Japanese driver, George Tet, third. Dick Caso took the Modified win at Waterford. On Sunday it rained out at Thompson and it snowed at Utica-Rome.

  Forty years ago in 1974 a 100 lapper scheduled for Utica-Rome on Friday was rained out. At Freeport, George Wagner took the top spot over Ted Wesnofski, Fred Harbach and Bob Park and at Metrolina in North Carolina, John Bryant took the win over Pudin Swisher and Harry Gant. At Stafford on Saturday night it was Steady Eddie Flemke in the Judkins 2x over Don Flynn. Geoff Bodine outran Richie Evans at Shangri-La and at Islip, George Wagner made it two for two on the weekend. Gary Winters finished second and was followed by Jim Hendrickson in the Ferrente x3. Dick Dunn was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl.

  Thirty five years ago in 1979 Bugsy Stevens in the Brady Bunch 00 took the Friday night win at Stafford over Bobby Vee and Jerry Cook.

  On Saturday at Westboro, Jeff Fuller made his modified debut as he was asked to pilot the Tom Dunn T-5. Roland LaPierre JR took the win with Fuller finishing second. At Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Leo Cleary and Eddie St Angelo. George Murray suffered burns in an accident. Riverside, Islip, Waterford, Monadnock and Thompson rained out.

  Thirty years ago in 1984 Richie Evans was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Rain washed out Spencer, Waterford and Riverside on Saturday night. At Shangri-La the rain quit and Evans made it two for two on the weekend. George Kent and Jan Leaty followed. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Darrell Waltrip won both the pole and the main event.

  Twenty five years ago in 1989
Stafford pulled the plug on the night’s schedule because of rain. On Saturday night the Modified Tour Series was at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. Mike McLaughlin took an impressive win over Tony Hirschman, Tony Jankowiac and Satch Worley. Dan Jivanelli was the victor at Riverhead and at Riverside it was Jerry Marquis. Waterford rained out.

  Twenty years ago in 1994 NASCAR announced that they were in the process of forming a truck touring series which would debut in 1995.In Friday action at Stafford Mike and Ted Christopher finished one-two ahead of John Anderson and Bob Potter. Jay Stewart started 18th and won the late model feature. Twin features were run at Waterford on Saturday night with David Gada and Mark LaJunesse taking victories. Twins were also run at Riverhead with Wayne Anderson and Eddie Brunnhoelzl taking wins. At Riverside it was Dan Avery over Reggie Ruggiero. The Modified Tour Series was at Thompson on Sunday and it was a memorable day for Charlie Pasteryak as he won the 125-lap event over Tom Baldwin and Bruce Dell and Wayne Anderson. Rick Fuller was the apparent winner until he suffered a flat on lap 111 of the 125-lap event. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Ernie Irvan took the win over Geoff Bodine and at Indianapolis, Al Unser Jr. took the Indy 500 pole with a speed of 228.011 mph.

  Fifteen years ago in 1999 the Featherlite Modifieds converged on the Richmond Raceway, 51 cars strong. It took two days to run 131 of a scheduled 150 laps but when the event was finally checkered, Ted Christopher and Joe Brady sat in victory lane. Tom Baldwin ended up second, Jamie Tomaino, third and Bruce Driver, fourth. At Stafford on Friday night, Mike Christopher won out over Frank Wainwright in an action filled night which saw Chris Jones removed and suspended indefinitely by the Connecticut DMV for intentionally ramming Christopher. Dennis Gada beat out Bert Marvin at Waterford while Ted Riggot won at Riverside and Ed Brunnhoelzl won at Riverhead. Kelly Moore won the BGNN200 at Thompson after taking the lead from Martin Truex on lap 120.Ted Christopher won the companion SK Modified event over Dave Kukta and Scott Spaulding. Lou Lazzaro who won his first modified feature at Fonda in 1961 recorded his 113th career win at the historic New York State dirt track. In the last 30 years, the 64-year-old legend has recorded at least one win every year. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Dale Jarrett took the win.

  Ten years ago in 2004 the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl. The 150-lap event, which drew 47 Modifieds, had to one of the most exciting and competitive run at the shoreline oval in quite a while. Busch Pole sitter Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Garbarino Bros. Mystic Missile, picked the pole starting position and led the first 80 laps. Hossfeld, who appeared to have the car to beat was hounded by Ted Christopher who, after starting third, shot by Tony Hirschman and moved into second spot on the first lap. During a restart from the third caution on lap 79 Christopher powered his way into the lead. One lap later, Hossfeld tapped him as they came out of turn four. Christopher and a host of others spun which allowed Mike Stefanik to inherit the lead. Hossfeld was put to the rear for rough riding. Stefanik with Eddie Flemke in hot pursuit led what was left of the 30 car-starting field. The race was supposed to end at the 150-lap mark but because of the inefficiency of the Waterford wreckers and track crews to clean up a minor wreck on lap 140 the event was extended to 152 laps in order to provide a green-white-checkered finish. In a single file restart Stefanik took the green on lap 150. Flemke glued himself to the former national champion’s bumper. With victory in sight Stefanik hit some dirt and debris kicked up by a spinning Doug Coby in the fourth turn on the final lap. Stefanik drifted up and it was all that Flemke needed as he floored his Hill Enterprises mount and took the victory by inches. Stefanik ended up second with Tony Hirschman, third. Jerry Marquis came from a 12th starting spot to finish fourth. Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. It was a great victory for car owners Roger and Sandra Hill who make the long trip north for every Mod Tour event from their base of operations in Westfield, North Carolina. Hossfeld finished 12th and Christopher, who came across the finish line in sixth was placed last on the lead lap in 15th for failure to restart in the proper spot. Following Szegedy to round out the top ten were Nevin George, John Blewett III, Tony Ferrante Jr, Jamie Tomaino and Rob Summers. There were seven cautions for 54 laps. Fifteen of the original 30 starters completed the entire race distance.

  Ted Christopher is known to be an intimidator at times at Stafford but on Friday night he became intimidated. Christopher was leading the final lap of the 40 lap SK Modified feature when he became the victim of his own making. Chuck Hossfeld was second when they took the white flag. In a move made many times by Christopher, Hossfeld dove low into turn one. Christopher saw him coming and tried to pinch him off. It was then that the pair made contact and slid up the track. Jeff Baral, who was running third at the time shot under the tangled cars and went on to take the win. Hossfeld and Christopher managed to keep pointed in the same direction and kept going. Hossfeld finished second with Christopher, third. At least that’s what he thought. The top finishing cars were then weighed and at that time it was discovered that Christopher’s car had an illegal left side weight. With Christopher disqualified, Jim Civali was moved up to the third spot. Shawn Tryon and Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Former Pro Stock driver Tom Fearn broke the stranglehold that Mike Quintialano had on the Late Model division as he took the Late Model feature event. Quintialano, who finished sixth, was disqualified as it was discovered in a post race inspection that his car had an illegal suspension part. Fran Siana was the Dare Stock winner.

  At the Waterford Speedbowl in regular weekly competition on Saturday night, Doug Coby had to get mad to get aggressive in order to win. Coby led Jeff Pearl across the finish line after he had his lead taken away at one point for jumping on the restart. Pearl led a good portion of the event but in the end had nothing for Coby. Dennis Gada finished third with Ted Christopher and Chris Pasteryak rounding out the top five. Jay Stuart won the LateModel feature that went non-stop. Other Saturday night winners were Joe Bavolacco in the Mini Stocks and Bill Mcneil in the Sportsman division.

  The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR along with the Busch Racing Series was in Richmond, Virginia last weekend. The announcement that NASCAR had awarded a second Nextel Cup date to the Texas Motor Speedway was the big news. The International Speedway Corporation announced that the North Carolina Speedway had been sold to Speedway Motorsports. Speedway Motorsports, which owns the Texas Speedway asked for and received approval from NASCAR to move the Rockingham race date to Texas. The sale price was $100 million. With Texas getting their second date meant that the anti-trust suit filed by a Speedway Motorsports stockholder against NASCAR would go away. The new Texas date would be November 6, 2005. It was also announced that the International Speedway Corporation had purchased the Martinsville Speedway from the Earles and France families. It was also indicated that the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina would lose one of its dates as Phoenix gets a second date. In a somewhat related announcement the International Speedway Corporation announced that they would cease racing operations at Nazareth. Their Busch Racing Series and IRL dates would be moved to another track, rumored to be Watkins Glen. As for the Featherlite Modified Touring Series date, no mention of its future was stated so it looked like it will just fade away. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the Nextel Cup win in Richmond after taking the lead from Tony Stewart with 54 laps remaining in the 400-lap contest. Jimmie Johnson finished second with Bobby Labonte, third. Stewart ended up fourth. Kyle Busch won the Busch Racing Series event at Richmond.

  The New Hampshire International Speedway sued Action Performance, which makes and markets auto-racing collectibles. NHIS alleged that Action Performance was guilty of breech of contract, fraud and a violation of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act. NHIS felt that Action Performance had fraudulently underreported gross sales since 1993. NHIS charges a minimum fee of $5,000 or 25 percent commission which ever is higher. A similar legal action took place at the Dover Downs Speedway earlier in the year.

  Five years ago in 2009, the Friday night racing season opener at the Stafford Motor Speedway avoided the elements until the very end. The speedway opened up its regular Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule with the Late Model division taking center stage for the 15th Annual Late Model 100. Dillon Moltz outlasted veterans Jim Peterson and Ryan Posocco over the final 15 laps of the race to take home his third consecutive extra distance feature victory at Stafford. Jeff Malave drove a strong race to score his first SK Modified® feature win in over 4 years in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tony Santangelo was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, and Andrew Durand made it two-for-two in 2009 with his second consecutive victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature. The 15-lap DARE Stock feature was halted by rain with two laps complete.

  Dennis Gada, who has had less than a spectacular start to the season took advantage of a mis-cue by Cory Hutchings and found himself in victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. After numerous restarts Gada was unable to overtake Hutchings. All of a sudden with less than ten laps remaining, Hutchings lost control near turn two and spun out. Gada took advantage of Hutchings predicament as he inherited the lead and went on to record his first win of the 2009 season. Jeffrey Paul finished second and was followed by Rob Janovic Jr, and Shawn Solomito. Keith Rocco, who had won the previous two features, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were Ron Yuhas Jr., Justin Gaydosh, Todd Ceravolo, Jeff Pearl and Wendell Dailey. Hutchings finished 14th. Twenty three Modifieds started the event.

  Other winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model feature), Mark Panaroni (Mini Stocks) and Mark Cooper (Street Stocks). There were only nine cars in the Late Model field.

  The True Value Modified Series made its first of two visits to the shoreline oval. In his first-ever start on the True Value Modified tour, Doug Coby took the win in the 100-lap feature. Coby, who is a former competitor on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, took the lead from polesitter Chris Pasteryak late in the race and kept it on two restarts, including one with three laps left. Mike Stefanik finished second and Pasteryak was third. Coby, who started 11th, was in the top five just past the 1/3 mark.

  At the end of the 100 lap grind that was slowed by eight caution periods, former Waterford winner Les Hinckley finished fourth after overcoming earlier handling problems, second year driver Steven Masse was fifth, his best finish with the series. Ted Christopher, driving the Joe Brady owned #00, cut a tire while running ninth on lap 13 and made contact with the turn three aarmco barrier, ending his night early in 25th spot.

  John Fortin took the Modified win at Riverhead Raceway when he went wire to wire to win the opening night 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event for the Whelen All-American Series. The triumph was the 18th of Fortin's career and worth $1,435.

  Matt Kenseth found one of the few ways to beat Kyle Busch. Kenseth took advantage when Busch's dominant car got a flat with two laps to go Friday night, lifting him to his first Nationwide Series win this year and capping a record-setting day at Darlington Raceway. Busch led 143 laps and looked like he would ease to victory. Then a late collision between Scott Legasse Jr. and Joe Nemechek brought out the race's 10th caution and set up a two-lap sprint to the finish. As Busch ran through the wreckage, he got a flat in his right rear tire. Busch tested the tire for several laps before rolling into the pits to loud cheers from Darlington fans.

  Kenseth, who earlier set a track record to win the Southern 500 pole, still faced a green-white-checkered finish. That, too, went Kenseth's way when Morgan Shepherd spun out on the restart, ending the race. Jason Leffler finished second, followed by Carl Edwards, and Nationwide rookies Erik Darnell and Justin Allgaier. Busch wound up 16th.

  Former Nationwide Series driver Kevin Grubb was found dead in a Richmond-area motel room from what police said was an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Grubb was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after a second failed drug test in 2006 and never raced again in a NASCAR sanctioned event. Jeremy Mayfield was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Saturday for failing a random drug test, becoming the first driver to violate a toughened new policy that went into effect this season. Mayfield tested positive for a banned substance at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter would not reveal what banned substance Mayfield used, but Hunter said it was not an alcohol-related offense.

  In Sprint Cup racing at Darlington, Mark Martin led the final 46 laps to win his 37th career Sprint Cup victory. Martin had to show as much patience as speed, handling a record 17 cautions on Darlington's 2-year-old pavement. The wrecks surpassed the previous high of 15 set in Darlington's spring race 14 years ago, and more than doubled the eight of last year after the track was freshly paved. Jimmie Johnson wrecked in qualifying and had to start 42nd. He made it all the way to Martin's bumper before settling for second. Tony Stewart finished third. Ryan Newman, Stewart's teammate, was fourth, followed by points leader Jeff Gordon.

  Less than a month after being acquitted of charges of tax evasion, Helio Castroneves was right where he wanted to be, back in the cockpit and on the pole for the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves's four-lap average of 224.864 mph on the historic 2.5-mile oval came with less than two hours remaining in the six-hour opening round of time trials for the May 24 race.

  Last Year, 2013, The Valenti Modified Racing Series paid a visit to the Thompson on Sunday. Twenty eight Modifieds were on hand. Unfortunately rain prevailed.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway Friday night series saw Rowan Pennink score his first ever win at the Connecticut oval. Pennink, who also races at Thompson on a weekly basis plus the Valenti Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, travels from Huntingon Valley, PA each and every week in order to race. Shortly after the drop of the green in the 40 lap feature Pennink went to the lead past Michael Gervais and never looked back. Sean Foster, who moved into the runner-up spot at the mid point of the event, tried everything he could to get by Pennink, but Pennink held him off at the checkered for his first career SK Modified® feature victory. Glen Reen finished third, with Ted Christopher and Doug Coby rounding out the top-5.

  In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl, it was a little chilly to say the least as summer has yet to kick in. Scoring victories were Kyle James of Ashaway, RI in the SK Modifieds® and Bruce Thomas Jr. of Groton in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models. A pair of defending champions earned their first 2013 wins, Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon and Paul French of Andover in the Mini Stocks and SK Light Modifieds, respectively. Ryan Waterman of Danielson was a first-ever winner in the Street Stock feature. All five were first time winners in 2013.

  James picked up his win surviving a wild 35-lap race in the SK Modified® division. James, who started in last position, dodged incidents which resulted in eight caution flags that plagued the race. He started the race in 23rd position after problems plagued him in practice and qualifying. The race began with rookie Tyler Jackson and Ed Puleo battling for the lead from their front row starting positions. Jackson bobbled exiting turn two on lap-2 creating a traffic jam behind him which resulted in a caution when Diego Monahan spun into turn-3. Puleo took the lead on the restart as Jeff Rocco and Tom Abele climbed to second and third on the track.

  Nichole Morgillo and Justin Gaydosh spun in tandem out of turn two battling in a tight pack of cars just outside the top-five for the second caution flag on lap-10. The restart was not kind to Jeff Rocco as he made heavy contact with the retaining wall exiting turn two while running. Ted Christopher was collected and pitted for repairs, returning at the tail end of the field while Rocco’s night was over. Only one lap was completed before caution was back out on lap-11 as more mayhem broke out behind Puleo. Another bobble by Jackson out of turn two resulted in several cars making contact and Monahan again the victim, stopped on the track with a flat tire. Keith Rocco took the opportunity to head to the pits for adjustments during the yellow.

  Craig Lutz took over at the front with a daring three-wide maneuver after racing went back to green. He looked inside of Puleo down the back chute coming to lap-14 as Puleo fended off a challenge to his outside by Abele. Lutz cleared both exiting turn four to streak into the lead, holding the top spot through lap-22 when Puleo fought back and found room to his inside. Behind Puleo Todd Ceravolo eventually came away with second position in a battle that saw three cars tangle on lap-24. Abele and Lutz both tried racing under Brett Gonyaw in turn two, coming together to bring out the next caution flag and sending each to the pit area for repair. The melee bumped James up to third position and into contention. James was able to get ahead of Ceravolo on the restart, trailing Puleo when Jeffrey Gallup and Christopher wrecked in turn four battling for fourth on lap-25. Once in second, James used the next restart to stay outside of Puleo and take command on lap-27 when Puleo got loose to his inside fighting to hang on to his lead. James survived a final restart on lap-33, besting Ceravolo to race to the checkered flag. Ceravolo wound up second while Puleo ran up front all night, leading much of the race, to place third. Keith Rocco and Lutz both rebounded from their hurdles to round out the top-five.

  In NASCAR Modified Racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Howie Brode of East Islip snapped a nearly three year winless spell when he swept the Twin 30 NASCAR Modified feature events at the east end oval under threatening skies which forced the features to be moved up in the track's running order with unexpected rain showers all around the facility. For Brode it was his 12th career win at Riverhead and his first since he won on July 17th, 2010 when he was triumphant in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 Memorial. Ryan Preece finished second, while defending champion Shawn Solomito was third place tally. Ron Silk and Tom Rogers Jr. rounded out the top five.

  Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Burt Myers scored his 52nd career win at the 1/4 mile flat oval that encircles a football field. Myers survived nine restarts and managed to hold the lead until the end of the 104 lap contest. Myers, who has won two of four Modified races this season, moved up from the second row to the outside of the front row after Robert Jeffreys, who drew the second position, wasn’t able to start.

  Ed Carpenter, the local boy whose mother is married to former Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George, took the pole position for the Indianapolis 500. Carpenter, the owner/driver of Ed Carpenter Racing, was the proverbial “Little Guy” going up against the best teams in the sport owned by the legendary Michael Andretti and Roger Penske. And in the end, it was the “Little Guy” that would lead the field to the green flag to start the 97th Indianapolis 500 as Carpenter won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 pole with a four-lap average of 228.762 miles per hour in a Dallara/Chevrolet.

  Jimmie Johnson, the five-time NASCAR champion became the first four-time winner of NASCAR's annual All-Star race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, breaking a tie with the late Dale Earnhardt and teammate Jeff Gordon.

  In some sad news, former short-track ace Dick Trickle died Thursday at age 71 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Lincoln County (N.C.) Sheriff's Department. Trickle, who won well over 1,000 short-track features in his career, ran his last NASCAR race in 2002. Trickle's body was found near his pickup truck in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C. The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call at around noon Wednesday, from a man, apparently Trickle, who said there would be a dead body, and it would be his.

   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: May 16, 2014

2007-2014  © GeeLaw Motorsports/RGeePro/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.   Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written prior consent