June 13, 2014
Sixty five years ago in 1949, Ed Otto promoted races with a
NASCAR sanction at the Buffalo Civic Center in Buffalo, NY. It was the
official start of stock car racing in western, New York. Bobby Sund won the
inaugural 10 lap feature.
Sixty years ago in 1954, Joe McNulty
and Moe Gherzi were the Wednesday and Saturday night Sportsman winners at
the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Tom VanEpps went two for two as he won
non-Ford features on both nights.
Fifty five years ago in 1959 Don
Rounds, who at one time raced on the dirt at the Kingston Fairgrounds in
Rhode Island, was the Friday night winner on the dirt at the Stafford
Springs Speedway. Rain washed out the New London Waterford Speedbowl for the
second week in a row. Up in New York State Bill Rafter scored his third win
of the year at the Buffalo Civic Stadium. Bud Johnson won a 50 lapper at
Lancaster over Cam Gagliardi.
Fifty years ago in 1964 Rene Charland
ended Bill Wimble's win streak on the dirt at Stafford as he took the Friday
night victory over Don Wayman and George Janoski. Ted Stack made it two in a
row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl but had to wait a week to complete
the feature because of a curfew.
Forty five years ago in 1969, Charlie
Jarzombek returned to Stafford but this time Bugsy Stevens was ready for him
as the defending National Champion was not about to let an outsider get the
best of him. When the checker dropped at 30 laps, Stevens had defended his
home turf and Jarzombek had to settle for second. Bobby Santos finished
third and was followed by Holly Wilder and Tom Sutcliff. At Albany-Saratoga,
Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row and three out of four at the upstate N.Y.
oval. Guy Chartrand finished second and was followed by Rene Charland and
Bernie Miller. Lazzaro repeated at Fonda on Saturday running his string to
four in a row at the place they called the track of champions. Kenny
Shoemaker, in the Bobby Judkins 2x finished second with Ken Platt, third. At
Norwood, Eddie Flemke in the Dave Welch-Greg Mills 79 took the win over
Johnny Thompson, Billy Schulz and Pete Hamilton. Bob Potter was the Modified
winner at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Les Fletcher was the Daredevil winner. Thompson ran their 200 on Sunday.
Ray Hendrick was scheduled to drive the Tant/Mitchell 11 but became fogbound
at the Newark Airport. Ralph "Hop" Harrington was given the ride and ride he
did as he won the event going away. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Fred
DeSarro, third. Racing at Utica-Rome on Sunday night was rained out.
Forty years ago in 1974, Charlie
Jarzombek went three for three as he won twin events at Freeport on Friday
night and a 100 lapper on Saturday night at Islip. Jarzombek had his work
cut out for him as invaders Richie Evans and Jerry Cook were on hand. Evans
could do no better than second and Cook ended up fourth behind Fred Harbach.
It was still a good weekend for Evans as he won at Utica-Rome on Friday over
Rene Charland and Ed Pieniezak and won again on Sunday at Fulton over Mike
Loescher and Geoff Bodine. At Stafford on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard
made it two in a row as he beat out Bugsy Stevens and Don Flynn. Also on
Saturday, George Kent and Gramme Bolia shared victory lane at Shangri-La and
at Waterford Lou Herman took his only Modified win. At Thompson on Sunday,
Eddie Flemke in the John Steiger 7 took the win over Bob Santos, Ollie Silva
and Mario "Fats" Caruso. In other weekend action, Punky Caron and Ronnie
Bouchard shared victories at Monadnock on Friday.
Thirty five years ago in 1979, Richie
Evans started the weekend at New Egypt on Wednesday with a win over Charlie
Jarzombek and Jerry Cook. Evans recorded his 198th career win by taking the
Friday night 30 lapper at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard was testing tires during
the day and lost the engine in the Bob Johnson 17.Don Flynn offered him his
no.25 and was not disappointed as he finished second. Finishing third was
Steady Eddie Flemke. Saturday at Riverside Evans made it 199 as he beat out
Jerry Cook and Ron Wycoff. At Seekonk, Brian Ross took the win over Ray Lee
and Joe Arcana. Islip ran a 75 lapper and it was Wayne Anderson in for the
win over Don Howe and George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Evans made it a hat trick as he
went four for four and recorded his 200th win as he won at Monadnock on
Sunday. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Other
weekend winners were George Kent at Shangri-La, John Falconi Jr. at
Westboro, Rick Donnelly at Waterford, George Savory at Thompson, Punky Caron
at Claremont and Maynard Troyer at Lancaster.
Thirty years ago in 1984, Mike
McLaughlin won at Stafford over Charlie Jarzombek. Corky Cookman, who had
been driving for Art Barry, finished last and was fired from the ride. Jerry
Pearl was the SK Modified winner. At Riverside, Kenny Bouchard beat out
Reggie Ruggerio and in twin events at Waterford, veterans Bob Potter and
Glynn Shafer took victories. George Kent had a two-fer as he won both at
Spencer and at Shangri-La. At Riverhead it was Tom Baldwin over Fred Harbach
and at Islip, races were cancelled due to curfew. John Blewett Jr. won at
New Egypt and Tony Siscone was victorious at Wall. In Winston Cup action at
Pocono Raceway, David Pearson took the pole but it was Cale Yarborough
taking the win.
Twenty five years ago in 1989, rain
washed out Stafford. At Waterford John Anderson beat Harry Rice and at
Riverside it was Tom Bolles over Rick Summers. The racing community was
saddened to learn that Tom Druar passed away after suffering injuries at
Lancaster. At Riverhead, Bob Park won out over Dan Jivanelli and at
Monadnock on Sunday in a mod tour event Reggie Ruggerio won out over Jeff
Fuller and Jamie Tomaino.
Twenty years ago this week, Mike
Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Mike Paquette finished
a strong second and was followed by Steve Chowanski and Bob Potter. The
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Lee N.H. Reggie Ruggiero was the
early leader until losing an engine on lap 31.From there on it was the
Fuller brothers fighting for the lead when they came together and wrecked.
Jamie Tomaino was the eventual winner and was followed by Jan Leaty, Charlie
Pasteryak, Steve Park and Tony Ferrenti. At Waterford, Bob Potter driving
for the Bunnell Bros. took the win over Chris Jones and Mike Gada. Chris
Kopec held off Reggie Ruggiero and Steve Park at Riverside and at Riverhead,
Chris Young beat out Tom Tillotson for the win. In Winston Cup action at
Pocono, Rusty Wallace was both the pole sitter and the winner while at
Myrtle Beach; Elton Sawyer was the Busch GN winner.
Fifteen years ago, in 1999, Lloyd
Agor was declared the Friday night winner at Stafford after apparent winner
Mike Christopher was disqualified for having illegal mufflers, Jeff Malave
ended up second. The Featherlite modifieds were at Riverhead for a 200
lapper, John Blewett III took the win after unwittingly parking Tony
Hirschman who had checked up to avoid a wreck. Tim Connolly finished second
with Dan Avery, Rick Fuller and Tony Ferrenti following. Billy Sharp beat
out Dennis Gada at Waterford and Bob Polverari scored his 36th career win at
Riverside. Kenny Tremont made it eight in a row at Lebanon Valley. In
Winston Cup action at Michigan, Dale Jarrett dominated the event, which went
pole to pole, caution free. Jarrett lapped 38 of the 43 starters. Dale
Earnhardt was the Busch South winner at South Boston and Brad Leighton won
the Busch North event at Beech Ridge.
Ten years ago in 2004 the Stafford
management called a mid-week meeting with its SK Modified competitors with
the hope of eliminating some of the destruction of equipment on Friday
nights. Less than 25 competitors showed up as the Stafford management
announced that they were eliminating the use of mirrors, radios and changing
tire compounds. They would also paint a yellow line on the aprons in the
turns. Anyone going below the line would receive a severe penalty. In
Thursday night action at the Thompson Speedway Ted Christopher scored the
Sunoco SK Modified win over Jeff Malave and Bert Marvin. Christopher carried
his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Chuck
Docherty and James Civali for the win. Tommy Fox took the SK Modified win at
Waterford on Saturday night over Glen Billings and Don Fowler while at
Riverhead it was Mike Andrews over John Fortin. Steven Reed got the best of
John Blewett III at Wall Stadium. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at
the Lake Erie Speedway. The event carried a purse of $77,753 and drew 33
cars. Tony Hirschman, who started in second spot, passed pole sitter Rob
Summers on lap 14 and went on to score a victory in the 150 lap event. Todd
Szegedy finished second and was followed by Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller, Ed
Flemke Jr and Summers. In other weekend action Jason Lefler won a Busch
Series event at Nashville and Andy Santerre was the Busch North Series
winner at Seekonk.
Five years ago in 2009, The Bristol
Motor Speedway hosted another Modified Test session on Monday, June 8th. The
session wasn't without a few dramatic moments, but nothing major transpired.
Teams got adjusted to the super-fast high banks and got their cars more
comfortable as the day went on. Ryan Preece, cut a right rear tire and spun
off of turn-four. The young driver made a nice save and kept it off the
wall. Also keeping it off the wall after a spin was Woody Pitkat who went on
a long slide down nearly the entire length of the backstretch. Mike Stefanik
was also a slider but suffered no damage. Chris Pasteryak wasn’t quite so
lucky as he suffered slight rear body damage when he slid into the wall.
Among the fastest was Jimmy Blewett in the Eddie Partridge TS Haulers entry.
Among the missing were Ted Christopher, Don Lia and LW Miller. Miller is
currently on the mend from a serious accident that occurred in his race
shop. Miller had a spring loaded shock absorber explode as he was removing
it from his car that had been wrecked at the recent Franklin County event.
According to reports Miller receive a glancing blow from the shock spring
that shot up 18 feet, hitting and denting the roof of his race shop. The
facial impact loosened up eight teeth. He ended up losing two after having
dental and plastic surgery. Had it been a direct hit, Miller could have
suffered devastating or even fatal injuries.
In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Norm Wrenn
brought home the checkers in the Super Late Model race. Leadfoot Larry
Barnett made it two in a row as he won the Limited Sportsman feature just
days after undergoing arthroscopy surgery. Ten laps into the 50-Lap Late
Model race, Mother Nature took over, the rain started and the race program
was brought to a halt.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of an epic battle for supremacy
between Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher. The duo put on a duel for the ages
in the extra distance 100 lap SK Modified event, with Rocco coming out as
the winner for the second time this year. Ryan Posocco took his second
victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen won
his second race of 2009 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin
Gambacorta took his second consecutive victory of the year in the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, and Cliff Saunders picked up his first career
victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
The 36th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100 took the green with Brad
Hietala, Tom Bolles, and Richie Pallai, Jr. at the front of the field.
Hietala and Bolles ran side by side for several laps before Hietala got
clear to the lead. Pallai made a power move by Bolles on a lap-5 restart and
they dueled for the race lead. A caution with 26 laps complete slowed the
action and set up a restart. On the restart, Hietala and Pallai made
contact, sending Pallai towards the wall where he collected Bolles and
brought the caution back out. This put Matt Gallo and Jeff Malave on the
front row with Matt Gallo and Doug Coby behind them. Rocco quickly took the
race lead from Gallo, but Pallai hit head on into the turn 1 wall to bring
the caution back out one lap after the restart.
Rocco held the lead on the restart, with Ted Christopher, who was
involved in an early race spin with Woody Pitkat on lap-4, moving into
second. Coby held third, with Gallo and Eric Berndt making up the top-5.
Rocco held the lead until lap-38, when Christopher moved to the front. Coby
continued to run in third place, with Berndt and Malave making up the
remainder of the top-5.
With the exception of a caution period with 52 laps complete for a spin
by Woody Pitkat, the top-5 cars ran in line until lap-65, which is when the
race turned into a great duel between Christopher and Rocco. On lap-65 Rocco
moved by Christopher to take the lead only to have Christopher go with a
crossover move to get back to the front. But the caution came out before
lap-66 could be completed, which put Rocco on the point for the restart.
From lap-66 to lap-80, Christopher and Rocco exchanged the race lead five
times with spectacular, breathtaking passing. On lap-80, Rocco moved by
Christopher for the lead, but Christopher again used the crossover move to
his advantage to retake the lead. Christopher was able to stay out front
until lap-85, when Rocco went back by. Rocco pulled Christopher by several
car lengths and he maintained that lead over the final 15 laps to take his
second feature victory of the 2009 season. Christopher finished second, with
Coby, Malave, and Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top-5.
The Waterford Speedbowl completed three feature events before the rain
came, halting the remainder of the race program just 28 laps into the Nutmeg
State 100 lap ACT Late Model Tour event. Jason Palmer won his ninth
consecutive Legends Car event, Al Stone III checkered the Street Stock
feature and Danny Field was the winner of the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock
race. The scheduled 35-lap SK Modified feature event and remainder of the
Nutmeg State 100 were postponed.
The True Value Modified Series beat the impending rain on Saturday night
at the Seekonk Speedway. The 100 lapper, which drew 28 Modifieds, saw Jon
McKennedy come from an 18th starting spot to take the lead from Vinnie
Annarummo on lap 85 and go on to score the win. Dwight Jarvis, who started
19th, finished second with former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver
Jimmy Kuhn, third. Annarummo and David Berghman rounded out the top five.
Sixth through tenth were Bob Grigass, Ed Dachenhausen, Todd Annarummo, Chris
Pasteryak and Steve Masse.
In some sad news George Kent's brother and J.R.'s uncle Ron passed away
on June 8 from cancer. He was crew chief on many of George's Modified
victories with many remembering the Plaza Mobil sponsorship on the rides
when it was a yellow #26 Modified.
The Associated Press reported that General Motors was planning to cut
back on its support of NASCAR teams in all of the sanctioning body's
professional series. Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan says GM, which is
reorganizing through bankruptcy, is discussing what he described as
incremental cutbacks in support. He said cuts will be made soon and that the
discussions are "indeed NASCAR-wide." Rhadigan would not say if one series
would be affected more than others, nor would he say the size of the cuts or
how much GM spends on NASCAR. The automaker, through its Chevy brand,
provides cash and other support to teams including engines and parts.
In NASCAR Nationwide Series racing, Joey Logano was flawless after the
restart, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with 10 laps to go and
holding on to win the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway for the second
consecutive year. In Sprint Cup racing at Michigan, Mark Martin saved just
enough gas to hang on for his third victory of the season and the 38th of
his Cup career.
Last year, 2013, It had been in the
making since Memorial Day weekend as the Stafford Motor Speedway finally got
to run their TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour Series event. There were 27 cars on hand. Bobby Santos scored
his 10th career pole award and started in the front row along side Ryan
On the initial start, Preece had the misfortune of getting a flat tire
which caused him to spin. Preece and Santos made contact shortly after
taking the green with a cut tire resulting. Preece restarted in the rear and
after a determined march to the front took the lead from Ron Silk who led
the first 106 laps.
Preece, second fasted in qualifying, began the race in the rear after
cutting a tire prior to the official start of the race. He watched Ron Silk
dominate the field for the first 106 laps before moving past the leader and
holding on through the final 18 laps. Silk finished in the runner-up spot -
followed by Rowan Pennink, Donny Lia and pole winner Bobby Santos. Doug
Coby, Justin Bonsignore, Mike Stefanik, Jimmy Blewett and Woody Pitkat
completed the top 10.
It was Preece’s second come-from-behind win of the evening. In a Whelen
All-American Series SK Modified event earlier in the evening, Preece found
himself behind the rest of the field after spinning out in lap two. In
similar fashion, he worked his way back up to the front, capturing the lead
in the final laps.
Todd Szegedy was a pre race favorite but ended up 13th as his bad luck
continues. Szegedy got up into second spot when the right rear went flat. He
then spun out and got hit in the left front. That ended his chance for a
good finish. Ted Christopher, another pre race favorite, had worked his way
to sixth when he was sent to the rear for over aggressive driving. In the
end he was 14th.
The Thompson Speedway didn't carry their luck over from June 6 when they
just barely beat the rain as the Sunoco Modified feature ended. With a heavy
downpour forecast by meteorologists throughout New England, Thompson
Speedway pulled the plug just before noon on Wednesday for the Thursday
Night Thompson Thunder race program.
With three events in the books Keith Rocco led the Sunoco Modified (SK
type) standings with a two point edge over Woody Pitkat. Two points behind
Pitkat was Ryan Preece. Rocco had two wins and Preece, one. Kerry Malone and
Dennis Perry rounded out the top five. Other division leaders included Rick
Gentes, Late Model, Keith McDermott, Lite Modifieds, Larry Barnett, Limited
Sportsman and Louis Belisle, Mini Stock.
The highly touted open competition SBM 125 at the Star Speedway was run
under cool and clear skies last Saturday night. With an excess of $45,000 on
purse money the event drew 32 modifieds. Matt Hirschman was the quickest in
time trials as he toured the 1/4 mile speedway in 12.347 seconds. Qualifying
heat winners were Hirschman, Jon McKennedy, Les Hinckley and Ron Silk. Josh
Cantara was the consolation winner. Non-qualifiers were Ken Barry, Lou
Mechalides, Chris Ross, George Sherman, Jim Boniface, Chris Bolton and Russ
Wood. The top 8 redrew for the feature start. Max Zachem drew the pole and
Hirschman drew the outside pole.
Hirschman jumped out from his starting spot and led the entire 125 lap
distance and collected $9,595.64 in winnings. It was no cake-walk as
Hirschman survived numerous cautions and a lot of pressure from numerous
second place runners to take the win. Les Hinckley ended up second with Ryan
Preece, third. Steve Masse and Richard Savory rounded out the top five.
Among those who were in contention was Tommy Barrett who had worked his way
into the second spot by lap 96 only to experience radiator problems which
caused him not to finish. Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher also had their
problems and finished out of the top ten.
Sixth through tenth were Todd Patnode, Andy Seuss, Jacob Dore, Zane
Zeiner and Austin Kochenash.
The event was deemed a rousing success as the grandstand was full and the
draw of cars was ample.
Defending champion Tyler Chadwick won the slam-bang 35-lap SK Modified
feature on Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Jeff Smith won the Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Each notched their second wins of the
year. New faces visiting Victory Lane included Corey Barry and Al Stone,
winning the SK Light Modified and Street Stock races respectively to each
pick up their first wins of 2013. Ken Cassidy Jr. continued his hot streak
and took his third win in the past four Mini Stock events, while Corey
Hutchings was a surprise winner in the visiting New England Truck Series
In the SK Modified feature, Chadwick took the lead from Nichole Morgillo
following a lap 15 restart, passing her on the outside of turns one and two.
But he had to survive five more caution flags, including three on lap 29.
After the final yellow flag, Chadwick held off Todd Ceravolo over the final
six laps. It was Ceravolo's fourth straight second-place finish while
Morgillo wound up third.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Tom Rogers took the win.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC
five-time Modified champion Burt Myers, already enjoying a healthy lead in
the season standings, racked up a division-leading fourth victory in a
100-lap main event. He battled past up-and-comer Tony Black for the lead and
held it against younger brother Jason Myers for his 54th career victory.
Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that NASCAR Next driver Ryan Preece will
make his NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car debut at New Hampshire Motor
Speedway (F.W. Webb 200) in July.
Preece, the grandson of NEAR Hall of Fame Car Owner Bobby Judkins, was
selected as one of the 2013 NASCAR Next drivers. The NASCAR Next program
began in 2011, and is a way to help spotlight up-and-coming drivers from
around the world. This year's elite drivers range from ages 15-24 and
represent three different countries. Preece was chosen, by a voting panel
for the great achievements in his young racing career thus far.
It appeared that someone was trying to put the screws to the Lee, New
Hampshire Speedway and its owner Red MacDonald. Town officials and the
owners of the Lee USA Speedway were working diligently to resolve issues
that caused the town administrator to revoke the operations license for the
“There were some issues of concern at the Lee USA Speedway that the town
felt were important to address,” Julie Glover, town administrator, said.
During a May 28 selectmen's meeting, Fire Chief Peter Hoyt, had said there
were no violations at the Speedway. Despite that, the state fire marshal and
electrical inspector had been called and the speedway has been shut down
since. MacDonald and his staff were optimistic that the dispute with the
town would be resolved.
In some sad news, Jason Leffler was driving a sprint car at the
Bridgeport Speedway dirt track in New Jersey last Wednesday night when it
flipped on the track's front stretch and hit a wall, according to USA Today.
He was extracted from the wreck by rescue personnel and airlifted from the
track in a helicopter.
Leffler, 37, drove in NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events.
Greg Biffle raced to his second consecutive Sprint Cup win at Michigan
International Speedway, easily holding off Kevin Harvick in the Quicken
Loans 400 after points leader Jimmie Johnson smacked the wall in the final
laps. It was the 1,000th victory for Ford Motor Company across NASCAR's
three national series — Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
In Nationwide Series racing at Michigan, Regan Smith, the Nationwide
series leader, held off Kyle Larson in the final 10 laps after taking the
lead with 13 laps left when Parker Kligerman had to pit. Kligerman led for
13 laps toward the end, but the rain that might have helped him didn't start
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.
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