July 4, 2014
Sixty years ago in 1954 Johnny Thompson, who in later years be
one of the top guns at the Norwood Arena, was the Wednesday night Sportsman
winner at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Money Bags Moe Gherzi was up
to the task on Saturday as he won the 50 lap July 4th Sportsman event in the
Garutti Bros. No.14. Tom Van Epps and John Chiangi were the non-Ford
Fifty five years ago in 1959, George
Janoski was the Friday night winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs
Speedway. Bill Slater in the V-8 went two for two as he scored Sportsman
division wins at the New London Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and
Saturday. Charlie Webster and Rene Charland were non Ford winners while Ben
Hewitt and Walt Dombrowski were Bomber winners. Bill Torrisi took the win at
the Buffalo Civic Stadium. The following day Jeno Begolo won a 50 lapper at
Fifty years ago in 1964 it was
announced that NASCAR Grandnational (Cup) driver Glenn "Fireball" Roberts
had passed away after being badly burned at the Charlotte Motor Speedway
back in May. New Jersey driver Tommie Elliott had a near perfect weekend as
he went three for four as he scored feature wins at Fort Dix on Thursday,
Vineland on Friday and at Wall Stadium on Saturday. Joe Kelly was the
spoiler as he won at Old Bridge on Sunday while Elliott finished fifth. Al
DeAngelo won at Islip and Bill Wimble got his fourth at Fonda after Lou
Lazzaro was disqualified for rough riding. Wimble also made it three in a
row, five for the year on the dirt at Stafford Springs. George Janoski and
Rene Charland followed. Ray Moran was the winner of a 50 lap Fourth of July
Special Modified event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Forty five years ago in 1969, the
Fourth of July weekend started of on Friday at Stafford and at Malta.
Stafford ran a 100 lapper which saw southern invader Ray Hendrick make an
appearance. Bugsy Stevens was the kingpin and made it known that he was not
about to play second fiddle to the man they called Mr. Modified. Stevens
took the event with Hendrick, second. Fred DeSarro finished third with Bobby
Santos, fourth. Dave Kotary was the winner at Malta with Guy Chartrand,
second. Saturday night at Norwood, Billy Schulz beat out Johnny Thompson and
Roland LaPierre Sr. for the win. At Islip, Fred Harbach was the winner with
Booker T. Washington Jones finishing second. At Fonda, Kenny Shoemaker made
it two in a row and at Airborne Park; Guy Chartrand made it four in a row.
Glynn Shafer made it two in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl as he won the
50-lap holiday special. Larry Crandall was the Daredevil winner. At
Thompson, on Sunday, it was Bugsy Stevens holding off DeSarro for the win.
Forty years ago in 1974 the
holiday weekend started on Wednesday, July 3 when Stafford ran a 150 lapper.
Jerry Cook took the win over Geoff Bodine, Brian Ross and Richie Evans. Cook
backed his Stafford win with a 100-lap win at Utica-Rome on Friday night.
Evans finished second with Bernie Miller, third. Freeport was also scheduled
to run on Friday but was rained out. In action on Saturday night, Bugsy
Stevens won at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard was the runner-up. At Islip, Jim
Hendrickson in the Ferrante x3 beat out Gary Winters and Charlie Jarzombek.
Glynn Shafer won the scheduled 30 lap Modified event at Waterford. Ron Cote
was the Grand American late model winner.
Fulton ran twin events on Sunday with Evans and Bodine each taking
victories. In other weekend action, Gene Bergin beat out Fred DeSarro at
Star Speedway on Thursday. DeSarro beat Deke Astle at Seekonk on Saturday
and at Thompson on Sunday, won out over Angie Cerese and Tony Russo. Paul
Radford won a 100 lapped at Oswego plus scored victories at Metrolina and
Hickory in North Carolina.
Thirty five years ago in 1979, the
Fourth of July weekend started on Wednesday at Westboro with an open
competition 50 lapper. The event drew 33 cars. On the start, nine cars were
wrecked including pre race favorites George Summers and Bugsy Stevens. Geoff
Bodine who was trying to make a name for himself in the Southland came north
and took a ride with Lee Allard. Bodine won the 50 lapper and was followed
by Charlie Jarzombek, Fats Caruso and Jerry Cook. On Thursday night the
action switched to Holland. Maynard Troyer blew while leading and opened the
door for Richie Evans to step in and take the win. Cook finished second with
George Kent, third. On Friday night, Stafford presented the annual Ferrara
100. Bodine and Satch Worley driving Allard team cars finished one-three
with Ronnie Bouchard being the spoiler, finishing second. Cook was fourth.
On Saturday the racers got a break as all racing in New England and New York
State rained out.
On Sunday the Modifieds ran at Oswego and at Thompson. At Oswego it was a
repeat of Stafford as Bodine and Worley were again one-three. This time
Richie Evans was the spoiler. Roger Treichler was fourth. In small block
action at Thompson, George Savory took the win over Leo Cleary and Ron
Bouchard who borrowed the ride of Fats Caruso after his own suffered engine
Thirty years ago in 1984, Spencer
Speedway had an event scheduled for July 4th but it was rained out. Friday
night at Stafford belonged to Reggie Ruggiero as he beat out Mike McLaughlin
and Kenny Bouchard for the win. Riverside and Waterford rained out on
Saturday but Riverhead was able to get their show in with Wayne Anderson
holding off Tom Baldwin for the win. Shangri-La ran double features with Jim
Spencer scoring a one-two punch, winning both. Racing at Thompson on Sunday
also rained out.
Twenty five years ago in 1989, the
Modified tour series visited Riverhead on Wednesday. Reggie Ruggiero went
pole to pole to win the 151-lap event over Dan Jivenelli, Mike McLaughlin
and Steve Park. Park had been running second at the 125-lap mark when he
tangled with Mike Ewanitsko. Rounding out the top five was Wayne Anderson.
At Stafford on Friday, Mike Christopher took the 35 lap SK Modified win over
Bob Potter. Waterford ran a 50 lapper with David Gada taking the win.
Riverside set an all time attendance record as the track reported 9264
spectators on hand. Bob Polverari won the Modified event over John Zavisa.
The Mod tour series headed for Oswego on Sunday. Tony Hirschman held off
Mike McLaughlin who finished second with Ruggiero, third. In other weekend
action, Jeff Malave won at Riverhead; Randy Hedger at Shangri-La and Tony
Jankowyak won a Race of Champions qualifier at Pulaski, VA.
Twenty years ago in 1994, Stafford
started the holiday weekend off with a 100 lapper, which was won by John
Anderson. On Saturday night at Waterford, Phil Rondeau scored one of his two
modified wins as he beat out Mark LaJunesse, Bob Potter, John Anderson and
Todd Ceravolo. Jerry Young was the late model winner. At Riverside Park,
Reggie Ruggiero all but owned the place as he crossed the finish line ahead
of Tom Cravenho and Dan Avery. At Riverhead it was Bill Park over Eddie
Brunnhoelzl. On Sunday, July 3, Ed Flemke Jr. scored his first ever-Modified
tour win as he won a 102-lap contest at Tioga. Wayne Anderson finished
second with Chris Aman, third. On Monday, July 4, Lancaster ran a 150
lapper. New England invader Rick Fuller took top honors over Jim Rudolph and
Jan Leaty. In Winston Cup action at Daytona, Jim Spencer did the bump and
grind with Ernie Irvan over the final laps and raced home the winner, by
Fifteen years ago, in 1999, Brad
Leighton took the lead on lap 43 in the Busch Grandnational North 150 at
Stafford after Dave Dion spun in oil. It was Leighton’s fourth win of the
year. Jeff Taylor finished second with Dion, third. Stafford's SK Modified
event rained out. Waterford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night with Eric
Berndt taking the win over Jeff Pearl and Tucker Reynolds. Riverhead went to
Frank Vigliaro Jr. In 100-degree heat, Bert Marvin went pole to pole at
Thompson. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Tom Tagg, third. At Riverside,
Rob Summers won a 125 lapper over Ted Riggott and Bob Polverari. In Busch
Grandnational action at Milwaukee, Casey Atwood hit Jeff Green on the final
lap and went on to take the win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Glenn Allen. In
Winston Cup action under the lights at Daytona, Dale Jarrett took the lead
on lap 146 of the 160-lap distance and took the win over Dale Earnhardt and
Ten years ago in 2004, The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was on their mid season break. The next
event would be at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. With eight
of the 19 scheduled events already in the record books Eddie Flemke Jr. sat
atop the point standings with a 70-point lead over former series champion
Tony Hirschman. Flemke, who won at Waterford on May 15, had finished in the
top five on seven occasions. Flemke and his Roger Hill owned race team had a
game plan to run hard and run safe in 2004 and if their first half
performance was any indication, they could very well be sitting at the head
table at season’s end. Hirschman, who won at Stafford on May 28 and at Lake
Erie on June 12, had a total of five top fives. Jerry Marquis, who won the
Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 25 and at Riverhead on June 5, sat in
third spot despite being the division’s top money winner. Marquis was 113
points out of the lead and including his wins, has 5 top fives. Ted
Christopher, who won the season opening IceBreaker at Thompson, was 156
points out of the lead in fourth spot. Christopher’s win came at the expense
of Todd Szegedy who was disqualified when officials determined he had an
illegal rear end gear. Ricky Fuller, all though winless, rounded out the top
five. Fuller had one top five in eight starts and is 238 points behind the
leader. Sixth through tenth in the standings were Jamie Tomaino, Chuck
Hossfeld, Tony Ferrante Jr., Tom Bolles and Tom Cravenho. Kenny Barry was
the leading rookie and sat in 11th spot. Other Modified Tour Series winners
at the mid-season mark are Todd Szegedy at Nazareth on May 23 and Reggie
Ruggiero at Wall Township on June 26. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series
had been one of the strongest in NASCAR as events consistently draw between
40-50 cars per event.
The Busch North Series was also off for the weekend. Car counts could
have been better but the dedication of those in competition was very high.
Cool heads on a hot night prevailed at Thursday night Thunder at the
Thompson Bert Marvin who has had more than his share of bad luck in 2004
finally got a break and recorded his first win of the season as he took the
top spot in the Sunoco Modified SK type event. Marvin jumped into the lead
on lap two and never looked back. Pole sitter Adam Norton spent a lot of
time looking in his mirror as he bounced off or cut off just about everyone
who attempted to pass. The mirror driving didn't work as he ended up 12th at
the finish. Kerry Malone finished second but had nothing for Marvin. Bo
Gunning, Ted Christopher and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top five. David
Berghman became a three-time winner in the Pro Stock division while Ryan
Posocco got his first in Late Model action. Other winners were Scott Sundeen
in the Limited Sportsman, Roger Larson in the Mini Stocks and Randy Cabral
in the NEMA Midgets.
Ted Christopher beat out defending SK Modified champion Kerry Malone at
Stafford on Friday night. The modifieds played second fiddle to the Late
Models who were showcased in a 100 lapper that went to Tom Butler. Rounding
out the top five in the SK Modified feature were Chuck Docherty, Woody
Pitkat and Jeff Baral.
Ted Christopher carried his winning ways from Stafford over to Waterford
on Saturday night as he made it two out of three for the weekend.
Christopher led the 100-lap feature from lap 30. Tom Fox finished second but
had nothing for Christopher. Keith Rocco, who is on Christopher’s crew, made
it two in a row in Sportsman competition. Phil Rondeau waited until the
final lap of the Late Model feature to steal the glory from Allen Coates as
he won the exciting Late Model feature. It was announced that Late Model
driver Brandon Plemons had been suspended from racing at any NASCAR track
for the remainder of 2004. Plemons, who was also fined $250, deliberately
smashed his car into the driver’s door of Carl Erickson on June 26.
The Nextel Cup division and the Busch Racing Series of NASCAR were at the
Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Mike Wallace was the surprise
winner of the Busch Series event as he went from fifth to first in the final
lap. If Jason Lefler hadn’t been so intent on mirror driving and spinning
out his competition he might have won. The Pepsi 400 got a two hour late
start because of monsoon type rain in central Florida. Jeff Gordon was the
eventual winner. Two spectators were slightly injured from lightning earlier
in the day. It had been learned that former modified ace Greg Sacks has
entered the upcoming Nextel Cup event at Chicagoland. Sacks would drive a
former Ray Everham car now owned by himself, James Wilsburg and Ed Raabs.
Wilsburg is a former crew chief for Sacks when he drove Modifieds.
Five years ago in 2009, In Thursday
Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway rain prevailed.
Ted Christopher returned to familiar ground at the Stafford Motor
Speedway. Christopher drove to his second victory of the 2009 season and his
third overall win in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Jim Peterson took down
his first win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen
scored his third win of the 2009 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified
feature, Shawn Thibeault picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande picked up his first career
victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature a week after his twin brother won
his first career DARE Stock feature.
The Waterford Speedbowl celebrated the nation’s birthday in grand
fashion, hosting the 12th annual Pepsi 300 on a beautiful summer evening.
The Speedbowl’s leaders in the four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
divisions each performed up to their lofty status. Keith Rocco checkered the
SK Modified race, Bruce Thomas Jr. won in the Late Models, and Danny Field
was the Mini Stock winner. Ronnie Oldham finished in second in the Street
Stocks, while it was Walt Hovey taking down the event win.
The True Value Modified Series visited the ultra fast ¼ mile high banked
Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Kirk Alexander started the race on the
outside pole and did what he does best; he drove his car hard right to the
front to capture the lead. He then held on to the number one position for
100 laps to dominate and win the TVMRS race. Les Hinckley was Mr. Consistent
during the night of competition running at a steady pace to come across the
start finish lien in second. Running in the top ten in points for the TVMRS,
young Rowan Pennink has continued his competitive run with the series
finishing the night with a podium finish. Dwight Jarvis and Rob Goodenough
rounded out the top five.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action in Daytona, Kyle Busch passed Tony Stewart
right before the final lap to take the lead, but Stewart chased him down and
calculated his next move. Stewart closed in on Busch's bumper, and slight
contact sent Busch drifting up the track. Busch slid back down to maintain
his lead, then tried to slide in front of Stewart to block Stewart's next
move. The cars were too close together and Stewart hooked Busch's right
corner to send Busch sailing into the wall.
The contact triggered a multiple crash behind them, but Stewart sailed
through for his second points win of the season. The two-time series
champion was leading the points in his first season as co-owner of
Stewart-Haas Racing, which he overhauled from a backmarker team into a title
contender after 10 seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing. It was a horrendous wreck
for Busch, who climbed from his car apparently unscathed but had to be
forced by four NASCAR officials into a waiting safety vehicle. He finished
14th and refused to comment after the race. Jimmie Johnson was second, and
Denny Hamlin, Busch's teammate, finished third. Carl Edwards was fourth, and
Kurt Busch fifth.
Clint Bowyer won the Nationwide Series race at Daytona, holding off Kyle
Busch and Carl Edwards in a green-white-checkered finish.
Last year, 2013, The Thompson
Speedway was quiet.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece, for the
second consecutive week and fifth overall of the 2013 season, took the win
in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Mark St. Hilaire won the 30-lap Late
Model feature, Chase Dowling racked up his division leading third win in the
Xtra Mart Xtra D 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Albert Saunders was a
first time winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and his twin
brother Cliff Saunders was the big winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the SK Modified 40 lapper it appeared that Keith Rocco would unseat
Ryan Preece as top dog but it wasn't meant to be. Rocco went from third to
the lead on the first lap and was holding his own. It all came to an end on
lap 13. Ryan Preece had moved by Todd Owen to take over the second spot.
Somehow Owen got back by Preece and made contact with Rocco as they exited
turn four. Rocco spun out of the lead and Owens car was inflicted with
severe damage to the right front of his car. Once the dust settled Preece
had inherited the lead.
In the end, Preece picked up his second consecutive victory and his fifth
of the 2013 season. Woody Pitkat came home in second, with Eric Berndt,
Danny Cates, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5. Ted Christopher had been
running third on lap 24 when he dropped out with mechanical issues. He was
credited with an 18th place finish in the 20 car starting field. Rocco
rallied from his spin to finish 11th.
From Stafford Preece headed for the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island
where he continued his winning ways.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Monadnock Speedway in
Winchester, NH with 30 cars strong, a huge crowd and 90 degree plus heat.
Dwight Jarvis, a 40 year veteran of the open wheeled Modified wars took the
lead from Chris Pasteryak on a lap 87 restart and went to win the 10th
annual Valenti Modified Racing Series ‘Firecracker 100’. The win was Jarvis
first of the season, his fifth series victory at Monadnock, and his seventh
career win under the VMRS banner. He also becomes the fifth different winner
in five races to date.
Jarvis made a late drive through the pack he beat Pasteryak for the lead
when the Connecticut driver spun his tires on a late restart. Pasteryak, who
in the end settled for second, had led the race a total of 66-laps.
Defending series champion Jon McKennedy finished third in the Art Barry
owned car after starting 15th. Rowan Pennink and Richard Savary rounded out
the top five. Sixth through tenth place finishers were, Norm Wrenn, Dale
Holdridge, Max Zachem, Tommy Barrett, and Jim Boniface. There were nine
caution flags, mostly for minor spins.
With temperatures in the high 90's action at the Waterford was a a fever
pitch. The popular shoreline oval hosted the Overdrive Radio 300, its
mid-season championship event for its six core racing divisions. Winning
extra-distance NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races on the night included
Tyler Chadwick who scored a memorable victory in the night’s big 100-lap SK
Modified® race. Keith Rocco picked up his fifth win of the year in the Bob
Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division while Corey Hutchings and Ken Cassidy
Jr. each won for the fourth time of the year in the Street Stocks and Mini
Stocks, respectively. Glenn Griswold was a first-ever winner at the
Speedbowl in the SK Light Modified division and Dylan Izzo scored his third
INEX Legend Cars win of 2013. Chadwick beat back one of the division’s
best-ever to claim the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified®
feature. Keith Rocco moved in over the final charge to the checkered flag to
stage a great finish with Chadwick that had fans on the edge of their seats.
Kyle James hung on to third over Ted Christopher, who was fourth. Rob
Janovic rounded out the top-five. The win was Chadwick’s third on the year
and second consecutive in the extra-distance SK 100 event. Chadwick also
picked up the "Rough & Tumble" driver of the race award for his hard earned
victory. Twenty two Modifieds went to post for the event.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had a week off to prepare before
heading to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 100. The
event would be shown live by the Speed Channel beginning at 1:00pm.
Ryan Preece, who had won three of the five events run this season, leads
the point standings by 32 points over Rowan Pennink. Three points behind
Pennink was Mike Stefanik. Justin Bonsignore and Doug Coby rounded out the
top five. Sixth through tenth were Ron Silk, Don Lia, Ted Christopher, Eric
Goodale and Bobby Santos.
It's become somewhat of a joke as shortly after the recent Riverhead
Raceway event that Ted Christopher has hit just about everything there is to
hit except the lottery. Christopher hopes to hit the lottery in New
Hampshire when he gets redemption with a win. Christopher was in contention
to take the win at New Hampshire last fall when he was hit and turned into
the wall in the closing moments by Don Lia.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC the
lights were out as the southern Modifieds were at the Caraway Speedway.
George Brunnhoelzl III went wire-to-wire on Saturday to score a record 20th
career win. Brunnhoelzl's biggest threat came late in the race when Andy
Seuss challenged for the lead. He pushed Brunnhoelzl through Turn 4 on Lap
135, but spun while going for the lead a lap later, bringing out the fifth
caution of the night. Seuss made a fierce charge back to the front after the
restart, taking third at the finish behind Kyle Ebersole. They were followed
by Brian Loftin and Gary Putnam, with his first career top-five finish.
Sixth through 10th were Burt Myers, Luke Fleming, Danny Bohn, J.R. Bertuccio
and Mike Norman.
Jimmie Johnson, after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup 400, became the first
driver in 31 years to sweep Daytona International Speedway, accomplishing
the feat with a dominating run Saturday night for his fourth win of the
season. The Daytona 500 winner was the first driver since Bobby Allison in
1982, and the fifth overall, to win both races in a season at Daytona.
Matt Kenseth pulled away from traffic on the final restart of Friday
night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona, cruising to a comfortable win.
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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