May 23, 2014
Sixty years ago in 1954 at the New London Waterford Speedbowl the
shoreline oval management shifted to a two nights a week scheduler running
on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Dick Beauregard, the guy they loved to hate was
the Sportsman winner on Wednesday and Moe Gherzi was the winner on Saturday.
Irwin Fox and Charlie Schreiber were the non-Ford winners.
Fifty five years ago in 1959 Pete
Corey was the Friday night winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs
Speedway. Scotland Connecticut native Don Collins was the 25 lap Sportsman
winner at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Rene Charland, who became a
regular at the shoreline oval won the non-Ford feature while John Arigoni
was the Bomber feature winner. At the Buffalo Civic Stadium in upstate
western New York, Bill Rafter took the win over Jim Lerkins.
Fifty years ago in 1964, Rene
Charland was the Friday night winner in racing on the dirt at the Stafford
Springs Speedway. Bill Wimble finished second with George Janoski, third,
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl ran a 30 lap Modified May championship
which saw Ted Stack taking the win. Bill Staubley was the winner in the
Forty five years ago in 1969 the
newly formed New England Drivers and Owners Club headed by Dick Armstrong
called a drivers strike against Stafford, Norwood and Thompson as club
members felt they were running for sub-par purses. Stafford did run with a
short field with Bugsy Stevens taking the win over Ernie Gahan and Don
Flynn. Norwood and Thompson cancelled their racing events. At the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Lou Lazzaro took the top spot over Jerry Cook and
Richie Evans. At Fonda on Saturday night, Dave Lape beat out Lazzaro for the
win with Andy Romano, third. At Islip, Ron Thiel won out over Charlie
Jarzombek and Jim Hendrickson. Joe Trudeau was the Modified winner at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet Jr took the Grand American win. Racing at
Utica-Rome on Sunday rained out.
Forty years ago in 1974 Utica-Rome
suffered their third rainout in a row. At Freeport it cleared and Art Tappen
beat out Ted Wesnofski and Lew Hennessy. At Islip, Wesnofski again had to
settle for second as Gary Winters beat him to the stripe. Wayne Anderson
finished third. At Stafford on Saturday night, Bugsy Stevens won a close one
over Kenny Bouchard and Jerry Dostie. Maynard Troyer was the kingpin in New
York State as he went two for two, taking checkers at Lancaster and Fulton.
Joe Trudeau was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Thirty five years ago in 1979, Bobby
Santos beat out Bugsy Stevens and Leo Cleary for the win at Stafford on
Friday night. Spencer ran a 100 lapper which saw Maynard Troyer dominate
over Satch Worley, Jerry Cook and Doug Hewitt. Worley was driving for Lee
Allard. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans won out over George Kent and Jerry Cook
and on the Island at Islip, it was Charlie Jarzombek. Waterford, Seekonk,
Riverside and Westboro rained out, as did Thompson on Sunday.
Thirty years ago in 1984, Ray Miller
hit full stride as he won at Stafford in the Mike Greci No.01.Reggie
Ruggiero finished second with Richie Evans, third. At Spencer, George Kent
beat Jan Leaty and at Shangri-La, Ron Shepherd bested Kent for the win. Rain
washed out Islip, Waterford and Riverside. Randy LaJoie scored a
NASCAR-North win at Sannair in Canada and in Winston Cup action at Dover
Downs, Richard Petty scored his 199th career win.
Twenty five years ago in 1989, Mike
Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens passed
Norman Holden on the last lap to win the Pro-Stock event at Seekonk and at
Riverside; Reggie Ruggiero beat out Bob Polverari for the win. Local
favorite Larry Lanphear beat out Ted Christopher and Bob Potter at Waterford
and at Riverhead it was Chris Young. Sunday action at Monadnock saw Jerry
Marquis taking the win over Reggie Ruggiero.
Twenty years ago in 1994, Steve
Chowanski won the Friday night SK Modified event at Stafford. Mike Paquett
finished second with Ted Christopher, third. At Waterford, Mark LaJunesse
was leading the early going until he was drilled into the turn two fence.
Dennis Gada was the eventual winner and was followed by David Gada, Jim
Broderick, Jerry Pearl and Todd Ceravolo. At Riverside, Bob Gegetskas held
off Richard Savory for the win and at Riverhead, Bob Park won out over Don
Howe. The Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth where Jeff Fuller, in the
Sheba No.8, took the 150 lap win over Satch Worley, Wayne Anderson and
Reggie Ruggiero. A big wreck after the finish involved Tim Arre, Mike
Ewanitsko and Russ Franz. Ricky Craven won the Grand National 200 that was
also run at Nazareth. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won
the Winston Open and Geoff Bodine won the Winston.
Fifteen years ago in 1999, Jerry
Marquis was the SK-Modified feature winner at Stafford. Lloyd Agor finished
second. At Waterford on Saturday night, Dennis Gada made it three in a row
as he took the win over Mike Holdridge and Bert Marvin. At Riverside Park it
was Billy Bolton over Rob Summers and Ed Spiers and at Riverhead, Frank
Vigliorolo took the win over Ken Matlach, Chris Young and Howie Brode. The
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth along with the Busch
Racing Series and Busch North Series who had a combined event. Tony
Hirschman wrecked in practice and after his crew made repairs, came back to
take the Busch Pole. Ted Christopher was second fastest. It was all for
nothing as the event was rained out. The event was re-scheduled for July 16.
After a 5-1/2 hour delay, the Nazareth Busch Series event was run. Matt
Kenseth, who had taken the lead on lap 151, was still leading when the event
was stopped because of darkness on lap 168. Kenseth was declared the winner.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second with Tim Fedewa, Dave Blaney and Adam
Petty rounding out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Tony
Stewart flew in from Indianapolis and won the Winston Open. Terry Labonte
won The Winston. Stewart finished second. Ernie Irvan triggered a big wreck
that took out 11 cars.
Ten years ago in 2004 the NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Nazareth Speedway in
Pennsylvania, for the final time as the International Speedway Corporation
had decided to close the facility. With 44 cars on hand Ted Christopher was
clearly the fastest as he toured the one mile oval at 133.963 mph. Second
fastest was Todd Szegedy whoís speed was 133.660 mph. John Blewett III
qualified third with Kenny Barry, fourth. It was ungodly hot with
temperatures in the high 80ís and humidity that would make one feel like
they were melting. Todd Szegedy redeemed himself from a disqualification
earlier in the year as he won the event. Szegedy took the lead following the
first caution of the event and never looked back. Christopher pitted later
in the event and spent the race trying to get to the front at the end. His
bid fell short as the laps ran out and he had to settle for third. Doing an
outstanding job was Kenny Barry who finished second, 0.10 seconds behind the
winner. Eddie Flemke finished fourth and continued to maintain the point
lead for the 2005 championship. Rounding out the top five was Jerry Marquis.
Chuck Docherty took his first SK-Modified win in three years at Stafford on
Friday night. Dochery, who started on the pole, led the entire 40-lap
distance. Mike Holdridge finished second with Brad Hietala, third. Woody
Pitkat and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. Ryan Posocco was the late
model winner and Fred Nees Jr. won the DARE Stock event.
The Waterford Speedbowl and the Thompson Speedway went head to head on
Saturday night. Waterford who had their regular Dodge Weekly Racing event
and Thompson who ran the Busch North Series event along with their regular
divisions both suffered in attendance as they were both plagued with
unseasonably cold weather. At Thompson Brad Leighton won the Busch North
Series event. Defending series champion Andy Santerre made a late race bid
to take the lead on lap 145 but ended up in the grass and ultimately hit the
wall in the 150-lap event. Mike Stefanik ended up second, followed by Dave
Dion, Dale Quarterly and Ryan Moore. Todd Ceravolo started third and led
every lap of the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature. Because of wrecks and spins
it took three restarts to get the event going, finally with a single file
start. Jeff Malave finished second, three car lengths behind. Ted
Christopher made it back from Nazareth and finished third. Eric Berndt and
Shawn Monahan rounded out the top five. Dennis Botticello took advantage of
a last lap confrontation between Corey Hutchings and Rick Gentes. Fighting
for the lead coming off the fourth turn, Hutchings and Gentes made contact
and both slid up the track giving Botticello the chance to steal a win,
which he did. Rob Janovic took the SK-Modified win at Waterford. Dennis Gada
ended up in second spot with Chris Pasteryak, third. Ted Christopher had
entertained trying to make it to Waterford after Thompson but it didnít
happen. Ron Yuhas Jr. and Doug Coby rounded out the top five. Corey
Hutchings made a fast trip down I-395 to Waterford and won the late model
feature. Norman Root was the Sportsman winner. Dave Silvia was the
Mini-Stock winner and Silas Hiscock Sr. was the Legends winner. Ted
Christopher was able to breathe a little easier once he found out that he
didnít have to contend with Chuck Hossfeld at Stafford in SK-Modified
competition anymore. Hossfeld had been driving the No.47 Wisk-Clorox
SK-Modified. Hossfeld announced last week that he had resigned as the driver
in order to concentrate on the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series. It
sounded like Hossfeld and car owner Bob Garbarino had a father-son talk
after his confrontation with Christopher at the recent tour event at
Waterford. Hossfeld had also been driving his own car on open Saturday
nights at the Lancaster Speedway in western New York. Christopher had to
feel like a yo-yo after the weekend. His travels started on Friday when he
flew to Nazareth, Pa. To practice his Featherlite Modified. He then flew to
the Stafford Speedway in Connecticut for their Friday night Dodge Weekly
Racing Series SK-Modified event. Saturday morning it was back in the plane
to Nazareth for Modified Tour qualifying. Once completed he flew back to
Connecticut where he raced at Thompson. Sunday morning it was back to
Nazareth. Other weekend winners were Steve Whitt at Wall Township and JR
Bertuccio at Riverhead.
The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR was in Charlotte, North Carolina last
weekend for the running of the Nextel All Star event. The Busch Racing
Series was at the Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania. Matt Kenseth got a
little richer as he won the $1 million first place money that the Nextel All
Star event paid the winner. It was the longest short race ever seen. At the
Busch Series race at Nazareth Martin Truex Jr. waited until the final turn
of the final lap to take the lead and ace the win. Bobby Hamilton looked to
be the winner until running amuck a lapped car. Hamilton drifted up after
slight contact and thatís all she wrote. It was the fourth win for the New
Five years ago in 2009, the Stafford
Motor Speedway returned to racing action. Taking down feature victories were
Keith Rocco in the SK Modified feature and Ryan Posocco in the Late Model
feature. Tony Santangelo scored his second consecutive SK Light Modified
feature win, while Shawn Thibeault took his first career Limited Late Model
feature victory. With two DARE Stock feature events on the card, Robert
Thompson and Todd LaPorta drove to CARQUEST Victory Lane.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green flag with the action at the
front of the pack fast and furious. Keith Rocco moved to the lead on lap-2
after riding side by side with Curt Brainard for the first lap. Frank Ruocco
made a bid for the lead on lap-3, taking the lead from Rocco in turn 3 only
to have Rocco pull the crossover move and retake the lead coming out of the
fourth turn. Rocco held the lead until lap-12 when Ted Christopher made a
move to the inside of Rocco in turn 4. Christopher and Rocco ran nose to
tail until lap-23 when Rocco made a bottom shot move on Christopher in turn
1 to retake the lead. Rocco began to stretch his lead out over Christopher,
but his lead was erased when the caution came out with 37 laps complete for
a spin by Nichole Morgillo. On the restart, Christopher was judged to have
jumped the restart and was penalized one lap. That put Woody Pitkat
alongside Rocco for the restart. After several more caution periods, it was
down to a green white checkered finish. Pitkat hung tough on the outside of
Rocco, but he came up a half car length short at the checkered flag.
Rounding out the top-5 behind Rocco and Pitkat was Ruocco, Jeff Malave, and
Curt Brainard. Christopher, who parked his car after being penalized, ended
up 15th. The defending Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion felt that the
call by race director Frank Sgambato was unfair. Christopher told the
Hartford Current that he will not be back at Stafford except for Whelen
Modified Tour Series events.
The Waterford Speedbowl was forced to cancel their NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series racing program and Little League Night festivities due
to inclement weather. A persistent fog, mist, and drizzle intensified as the
practice rounds were underway and continued into the evening.
Congratulations went out to nationally recognized public relations,
motorsports marketing and promotions specialist Ernie Saxton who had been
named recipient of the 2009 Leonard J. Sammons Jr. Memorial Award which
recognizes outstanding contributions to auto racing. Saxton would be honored
when the 18th annual Northeast Modified Hall of Fame driver inductions and
special award ceremonies take place Sunday, May 24 on the Cayuga County
Fairgrounds in New York State.
General Motors and Chrysler announced that they were eliminating close to
Tony Stewart passed Matt Kenseth with two laps to go in a thrilling final
10-lap shootout to win for the first time in 11 All-Star event starts at the
Lowes Motor Speedway. It was the first victory since he left Joe Gibbs
Racing after two championships and 10 successful seasons, to become co-owner
of Stewart-Haas Racing. Matt Kenseth was second, followed by Kurt Busch,
Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards.
After a follow-the-leader parade for most of the first three segments,
the action picked up at the drop of the flag of the final shootout. Kyle
Busch used a three-wide pass to dart from fourth to first, aggressive
driving that slowed the cars behind him. Denny Hamlin ran into the back of
Jimmie Johnson, sending Johnson into a spin that he masterfully saved from a
race-ending accident. A caution period set up another restart, and this time
Jeff Gordon raced to the front. Newman decided to enter the action with a
three-wide move to the outside, and Gordon and Kyle Busch touched at least
once before all three cars collided. It sent Gordon into a spin through the
grass then back up across the track, where he crashed into the outside wall
to end his race.
Kenseth eventually moved to the front, but he and Busch knew Stewart was
coming quickly. Stewart was third on the final restart with five laps to go,
and made several charges for the lead before finally getting past Kenseth
with two laps remaining. The late-race action moved the attention back to
the track after a week spent discussing Jeremy Mayfield's indefinite
suspension for failing a random drug test. Despite his ban from the track,
Mayfield was on track property early Saturday night, complete with camera
crew in tow, as he watched J.J. Yeley drive the Mayfield Motorsports entry
to a 22nd-place finish in the preliminary race. Mayfield spoke with
reporters who found him in the infield, insisting his positive test was not
because of illegal drug use. Instead, he said it was the combination of a
prescription drug, which he would not identify, and Claritin-D, which he
said he used to combat allergies at Richmond that were "really, really bad."
Mayfield said he has hired legal representation and has undergone drug tests
since his suspension. He declined to reveal those results.
Last year, 2013 The Memorial Day
weekend began on a wet note as the Stafford Motor Speedway management and
NASCAR have postponed the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series 23rd ANNUAL TSI
HARLEY-DAVIDSON 125 due to a forecast for inclement weather. The event has
been pushed back two weeks and is now slated to be run at the historic half
mile on Friday, June 7.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl, rain prevailed.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island also fell victim to rain.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC the
Myers brothers battled it out in the first of two 25-lap races for the
featured Modified Division. Jason Myers held off older brother Burt and
celebrated his first victory of the season. In the second race, John Smith
held off fellow Mount Airy driver Chris Fleming for his first victory of the
NASCAR honored a pair of its most famous and successful families with
inductions into the Hall of Fame. Past champion Dale Jarrett joined father
Ned in the hall and master mechanic Maurice "Chief" Petty became the fourth
member of one of NASCAR's most royal families to be selected for
enshrinement. Maurice joins older brother, "King" Richard Petty; their
father, championship driver Lee Petty; and cousin Dale Inman, Richard's
longtime crew chief in the hall.
Tim Flock, a two-time premier series champion, also was selected along
with Jack Ingram, who drove to success on what became NASCAR's Nationwide
Series; and Fireball Roberts, the flashy showman from the 1950s who raced to
33 victories before his death in 1964.
In NASCAR Nationwide Series racing at Charlotte, Kyle Busch dominated as he
raced to his sixth Nationwide Series victory of the season and record
seventh career win at the 1.5-mile track. He also was Truck Series winner at
the track the previous week, his fifth victory in that circuit at Charlotte.
Tony Kanaan drove past Ryan Hunter-Reay on a restart Sunday with three
laps to go, then coasted across the finish line under yellow to win the
Indianapolis 500 when defending race winner Dario Franchitti crashed far
back in the field.
Kevin Harvick took the lead from Kasey Kahne during a restart with 11
laps left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor
Speedway and pulled away to his second victory in NASCARís longest race.
Kasey Kahne appeared to have the race under control when the caution flag
waved with 16 laps left for a large piece of debris on the front stretch.
Kahne opted not to pit during the caution period, but Harvick and all the
other lead lap cars did. Harvick got off pit road first, allowing him to
restart second along Kahne.
The field returned to racing with 11 laps left and Harvick went right to
work. Working the low line below Kahne, Harvick was able to take the lead at
the exit of turn two. Once out front Harvick slowly pulled away, eventually
beating Kahne to the checkers by 1.490 seconds. Kurt Busch, who was forced
to change batteries in his car late in the race, recovered to finish third.
Polesitter Denny Hamlin was fourth and Joey Logano fifth.
Sundayís Coca-Cola 600 was filled with chaos and strange happenings. The
race was slowed by 12 caution flags and two red flags. One of those red
flags came when a nylon cable from an overhead television camera snapped and
fell onto the track on lap 121. The cable caused damage to several race
cars, including severe damage to then race leader Kyle Buschís Toyota, as
well as 10 race fans. Seven race fans were treated and released at the track
while three were transported to a local hospital for observation.
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.
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