September 5, 2014
Sixty five years ago in 1949, Bill Rafter was the 20 lap feature
winner at the Buffalo Civic Center.
Sixty years ago in 1954 racing on
Wednesday night at the New London Waterford Speedbowl was cancelled due to a
power outage. On the morning of August 31, Hurricane Carol, the most
destructive hurricane to strike Southern New England since the Great New
England Hurricane of 1938, came crashing ashore near Old Saybrook,
Connecticut, leaving 65 people dead in her wake. Sustained winds of 80 to
100 mph roared through the eastern half of Connecticut, all of Rhode Island,
and most of eastern Massachusetts. Scores of trees and miles of power lines
were blown down. By September 4 electrical power was restored to the inland
Waterford region allowing races to be held on Sunday and Labor Day, Monday.
Fred Luchesi was the 25 lap Sportsman winner on Sunday and Moe Gherzi won a
100 lapper on Monday at the shoreline oval. Lou Tetreault and Butch Caswell
were the non-Ford winners.
Fifty five years ago in 1959, Ernie
Gahan, driving the Woodchopper Special of John and Sonny Koszela, was the
Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford Springs. The New
London-Waterford Speedbowl ran three times over the Labor Day weekend. In
the Sportsman division Dick Beauregard won on Wednesday night and on Monday
afternoon while Bill Slater won on Saturday night. Non-Ford winners were Ted
Stack on Wednesday and Monday and Charlie Webster on Saturday. In the
Bombers at the shoreline oval Newt Palm won on Wednesday and Saturday while
Ben Hewitt won on Monday.
Fifty years ago in 1964, Bill Wimble
was back in victory lane as he won the Friday night NASCAR Modified feature
on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway over Kenny Shoemaker and George
Janoski. Wally Silva won the Minuteman 400 at the Norwood Arena Speedway in
Norwood, Ma. Charlie Webster made it two in a row in Modified action at the
New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Jerry Glaude was the Bomber winner at the Ct
Other weekend winners were Al DeAngelo at Islip, Don Stives at the Wall
Stadium, Rene Charland at Fort Dix (New Egypt), Lou Lazzaro at Fonda and
Tommie Elliott at Old Bridge.
Forty five years ago in 1969, Labor
Day weekend meant many extra distance events were on the schedule. Albany
-Saratoga started it off with a regular program, which saw Lou Lazzaro take
the top spot over Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Pennock. Saturday night at Norwood
Eddie Flemke won a double point event over Freddie Schulz and Bob Bacciocce.
At Airborne it was Dick Nephew over Guy Chartrand and in South Boston, Va.,
Mr. Modified, Ray Hendrick won a 400 lapper over Perk Brown and Jimmie
Hensley. Charlie Jarzombek made it two in a row at Islip as he beat out Jim
Hendrickson and Fred Harbach. Waterford ran on Saturday night as well as on
Monday. Fred “Fuzzy” Baer was the Saturday night winner with Don Collins
taking the victory on Monday. Lou Lazzaro made it two for two on the weekend
as he won the Utica-Rome 400 on Sunday night. Dave Lape finished second and
was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Jerry Cook, Perk Brown and Bill Slater. From
Utica it was off to Dover Downs for the All Star 100. Ray Hendrick cleaned
house for the win. Sonny Hutchins finished second and was followed by Buzzie
Reutimann, Bill Greco, Charlie Jarzombek and Bugsy Stevens. A 150 lapper
scheduled for Labor Day at Stafford was cancelled. It was also during this
week that NASCAR Winston Cup drivers formed the Pro Drivers Association and
elected Richard Petty as their president.
Forty years ago in 1974, Wednesday
night racing at Riverhead and Friday night racing at Freeport rained out.
Utica-Rome ran a 100 lapper on Friday, which saw Geoff Bodine take the win.
Lou Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook and Richie Evans.
Saturday night at Islip saw Charlie Jarzombek take the win over Charlie
Siebert and at Stafford Bugsy Stevens edged out Leo Cleary and Ronnie
Bouchard. Racing at Shangri-La was cancelled due to a power failure. Rain
prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. At Fulton on Sunday, Clayton Sonny
Seamon held off Bernie Miller and Maynard Troyer. In New England, Monadnock,
Seekonk and Thompson went head to head. Jerry Pearl won at Thompson while it
was Eddie Flemke at Seekonk and Brian Ross at Monadnock. Stafford ran a 100
lapper on Labor Day and Bugsy Stevens made it two for two at the half-mile
oval for the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Fred DeSarro,
Thirty five years ago in 1979, Labor
Day weekend started on Wednesday with a 200 lap event at New Egypt. Richie
Evans took the win over Jerry Cook and John Blewett Jr. Friday night at
Stafford belonged to Ronnie Bouchard who led the way to victory over Evans.
Oswego ran their annual Modified 200 on Saturday, which drew 72 Modifieds.
Geoff Bodine and Jerry Cook finished one-two in a lap by themselves. Richie
Evans finished third, one lap down. At Seekonk, Leo Cleary gave Eddie St.
Angelo a driving lesson and at Waterford, Rick Donnelly took the win.
Charlie Jarzombek beat out Greg Sacks at Islip and at Westboro; Jeff Fuller
took the top spot. Stafford capped off the weekend with their annual 200,
which drew 60 Modifieds. Richie Evans took the win and sewed up the track
championship. Maynard Troyer finished second and was followed by Mark
Malcuit, Gil Hearne and Jerry Pearl.
Other weekend winners were Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and Monadnock,
Jerry Cook at Spencer, Bruce Batchelder at Claremont, Ronnie Rocco at
Plainville and Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson. Joe Howard sewed up the Thompson
championship. Two days after his Oswego win, Geoff Bodine and car owner Lee
Allard split up.
Thirty years ago in 1984, Reggie
Ruggiero was the kingpin at Stafford as he won the Friday night 30 lapper
and the Labor Day 200. Kenny Bouchard finished second on Friday and was
followed by George Brunnhoelzl and Ray Miller. Richie Evans finished second
in the 200 and was followed by Bouchard, Brian Ross and Brett Bodine. At
Waterford on Saturday, Dale Holdredge beat out Gomer Taylor and at Riverside
John Rosati took the win. The Oswego 200 was still the race to win as 62
Modifieds were on hand. Richie Evans took the win, which was worth $17,500.
Jeff Fuller finished second and was followed by George Kent, Roger Treichler
and Tony Hirschman. Other weekend winners included Kent at Spencer, Don Howe
at Islip and Tom McCann at Wall Stadium. Down in the southland, Ronnie
Bouchard won the Saturday Grandnational event at Darlington.
Twenty five years ago in 1989, it
rained at Stafford on Friday night. At Waterford on Saturday, Richie Gallup
was the winner and Phil Rondeau scored his 12th win of the season in the
late model ranks. The Oswego 200 was won by Tony Hirschman. Brad Hietella
won at Riverside and Fred Harbach took the win at Riverhead.
Twenty years ago in 1994, Thompson
ran on Wednesday. Wayne Dion took the win over John Sneade and Frank Cardile.
Ted Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter finished
second with John Jensen third. Waterford ran double features with Jim
Broderick winning both. Dan Avery won at Riverside and Dan Watts won at
Riverhead. The Modified Tour Series was at Apple Valley (Shangri-La). Mike
Ewanitsko recovered from a mid race flat tire to win the event. Wayne
Anderson finished second and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak. Richie
Gallup and Rick Fuller were eliminated in separate wrecks after tangles with
Ed Flemke Jr. Flemke ended up seventh. At Darlington, Mark Martin was the
Grand National winner and Bill Elliott won the Winston Cup event.
Fifteen years ago in 1999, Willie
Hardie took the Friday night SK Modified win at Stafford. Todd Szegedy
finished second with Curt Brainard, third. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified
Tour made its final visit to the soon to be closed Riverside Park Speedway
for a 200 lapper. The event drew 49 Modifieds and a packed grandstand. Pole
sitter Bob Polverari. Polverari led the first 61 laps before giving way to
Reggie Ruggiero. Ruggiero held the point until passed by Ricky Miller on lap
126. Ruggiero faded to eventually finish 15th while Miller went on to take
the win. Mike Ewanitsko, in the Art Barry No. 21, finished second and was
followed by Ted Riggot, Tony Hirschman and Ricky Fuller. Dennis Gada scored
his eighth win of the season at Waterford. David Gada, who initially
finished fourth was moved up to second after it was discovered that the
cylinder heads on the cars of Todd Ceravolo and Tucker Reynolds were
illegal. Jay Stuart recorded his fourth in a row in Late Model competition
and Richard Brooks took the Mini Stock feature. Eddie Brunnhoelzl won at
Riverhead and at Thompson on Sunday Todd Ceravolo took the win over Curt
Brainard. In Winston Cup action at Darlington Jeff Burton won the rain
shortened Southern 500. Burton also earned the No-Bull $1million bonus. Ward
Burton finished second. Mark Martin won the Darlington Busch Series 300.
Ten years ago in 2004, the NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday
night. Tongues were wagging in a positive way over the announcement that
Whelen Engineering would take over as title sponsor of the series in 2005.
Thirty-four Modifieds were on hand for the event that carried a $70,000
purse. Tony Hirschman took the Busch Pole. The draw for starting spots saw
Hirschman draw the outside pole along side Eddie Flemke Jr. who drew the
pole. Flemke took the lead at the start and held the position for 42 laps
when Doug Coby was able to get by Coby lasted five laps on the point until
Flemke took it back. The lead seesawed back and forth until lap 76 when Coby
became the victim of a slipping clutch, ending his night. Flemke led until
lap 96 when he began backing up, giving the lead to Todd Szegedy. Szegedy
led the remaining distance to complete the 150-lap distance. Jerry Marquis,
who started 12th, moved into the second spot on lap 96 but couldn’t catch
Szegedy sleeping. Marquis settled for second. Mike Stefanik ran virtually
without fanfare and ended up third while Flemke slipped to fourth at the
finish. Tony Hirschman, in a determined run after having to pit with a flat
tire, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were Chuck Hossfeld, Kevin Konopka,
Kenny Barry, Jamie Tomaino and Greg Shivers. Seven cautions for 42 laps
slowed the event The most severe came as the field completed the first lap
when a multi-car tangle occurred on the front stretch which resulted in Ted
Christopher receiving severe rear end damage. Christopher drove to the pit
area but never returned.
The Modified Tour Series continued to be the strongest regional touring
series that NASCAR has. Among those missing from the Waterford Mod Tour
event were Bobby Santos III who normally drives the Joe Brady No.00. John
Blewett III pinch-hit for Santos while he was at Oswego, NY for their annual
Supermodified Classic. Santos finished second to Greg Furlong in the 200-lap
grind. In the companion ISMA Super Nationals Santos swapped spots with
Furlong as he took the win.
In Dodge Weekly Racing Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway
Todd Ceravolo put himself back on top of the Sunoco Modified standings with
a convincing win over Bert Marvin and Kerry Malone. It was his fifth win in
which may be his final season. Ceravolo, an electrical contractor, had
indicated that he would retire from racing at season’s end and would like
nothing better than to go out as a champion. Ceravolo also stands a good
chance of a high finish in the first tier of the NASCAR Dodge Regional
standings. A single file re-start with three laps to go told the story. Bert
Marvin was looking to record the win until Ceravolo powered by on the
backstretch and that’s all she wrote. Following Ceravolo and Marvin at the
finish were Kerry Malone, Eric Berndt, Jeff Malave and Richard Savory. Ted
Christopher, who was the odds on favorite to become the NASCAR regional
champion finished eighth after recovering from a lap six spin. David
Berghman rebounded from a two-race slump as he recorded his seventh Pro
Stock win of the season. Other Thursday night Thunder winners were Ryan
Posocco in the Late Models, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Jason
Paquette in the Mini-Stocks. On a sad note, Bo Gunning took a mean fall from
atop the Eddie Partridge hauler and had to be transported to a nearby
hospital. Evidently Gunning was assisting his crew in the removal of his car
from the hauler when his cell phone rang which diverted his attention. The
car rolled out of the truck on to the elevator ramp, striking Gunning.
Gunning was taken to the hospital and released. Car owner Eddie Partridge
made the decision to call it a night and did not enter his car into
competition. Partridge, who was at Waterford on Saturday night stated that
Gunning was sore but had no broken bones.
Double features were on tap at Stafford on Friday night. Ted Christopher
wrapped up his fifth track championship but it wasn’t pretty and he wasn’t
happy. Steve Chowanski won the opening 30 lap SK Modified event with Jeff
Malave hot on his tail. Todd Owen finished third. Christopher finished a
conservative 10th. Christopher needed to finish 20th in the second event.
Jeff Malave ended up taking the win in the second event after Christopher
was put to the tail of the field for rough riding and ended up finishing
tenth, again. Chris Jones, who has a short temper at times started on the
pole of the second event and was able to hold onto the front spot until the
five to go signal was given. All of a sudden Jones’ car drifted up and
Christopher, running in second made a move to take the lead. Once Jones
realized what was happening he turned left to block, making contact with
Christopher and ended up spinning into the infield. Taking somewhat of a
fit, Jones spun his car in the dirt. Race director Frank Sgambato Jr. gave
the word that Jones was done for the night. The next thing you know, he puts
Christopher to the rear for rough riding. Christopher, not a saint by any
means, was the victim of a bad call. Jones came into him, period!
Christopher vented his frustration with the Stafford management on Saturday
night at Waterford. “I hope they enjoy themselves at the banquet this year,
I know I won’t be there”, he said. In Late Model action Ryan Posocco made it
three in a row.
The tech man at the Waterford Speedbowl got tough on Saturday night. Doug
Coby, who apparently had won the SK Modified main event found himself
disqualified after the tech man discovered illegal chassis height. Rob
Janovic, who finished second, was declared the winner. Tom Fox ended up
second with Ed Reed Jr., third. Allen Coates, who was unhappy to hear he had
to pay income tax on the vehicle he won in the Funkmaster event, took his
fourth Late Model victory of the year. Richard Brooks made it two in a row
in Mini Stock action and Jim Procaccini won the Sportsman feature. Twin 25’s
at Wall Township were won by Kevin Flockhart and Shannon Mongeau. At
Riverhead, Bill Park took the win.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were at
the California Speedway in Fontana last weekend. For the first time since
1950 the Nextel Cup and Busch Racing series was not at the Darlington
Speedway in South Carolina as NASCAR and the International Speedway
Corporation has seen fit to break tradition. Gregg Biffle won the Busch
Series event after putting the fender to Casey Mears late in the race.
Elliott Sadler was the Nextel Cup winner.
Five years ago in 2009, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway last Thursday
night. The competition and excitement provided by the “Men that Live by the
Grace of God and 600 horsepower” was at a fever pitch as fans were on the
edge of their seats for almost the entire 150 laps of the event. Donny Lia,
in a show of sheer determination after being all but ridden into the wall by
Ted Christopher, came from the rear of the field after a lap 113 restart and
latterly blew the defending series champion away as he retook the lead in
turn 4 on lap 139. Many of those on hand expected a “Pay Back” to
Christopher was coming but Lia didn’t lower himself as he was in a hurry.
Once back in the lead Lia dominated to the end as he recorded a convincing
win. Christopher, who was experiencing electrical problems with his radiator
fan ended up in the runner-up spot and was followed by Todd Szegedy, Rowan
Pennink and Keith Rocco who was making his debut in the Eddie Partridge
No.12 that had been vacated by Jimmy Blewett. Sixth through tenth were Eric
Beers, Eric Berndt, Bob Grigas, Glen Reen and Eric Rudolph.
There were 33 cars on hand as the economy and high cost of racing is
taking its toll. Christopher, who drew the pole starting position, took the
lead on the start after running outside pole sitter Mike Stefanik into the
marbles between turns one and two. Christopher led until a restart on Lap 29
when Ryan Preece took the lead away in turn 2. Preece was running like a
bear as he had ‘Ole Blu flat out. Stefanik spun out and hit the inside wall
on the backstretch on lap 32. Preece led the restart on lap 37 but quickly
lost the lead to Christopher. Preece developed power steering problems and
eventually ended up going laps down before his crew cut the power steering
belt in order to bypass the steering pump. While Preece was having his
problems Lia, who started ninth, moved into the second spot on lap 39. Lia
took the lead in turn three on lap 47 as Christopher’s tires were shot and
he began fading fast. Rowan Pennink moved into the second spot on lap 52.
Preece spun on lap 72 which allowed almost the entire field to pit for
tires. Lia only took on a right rear tire, which allowed him to get back out
ahead of most of the field as he restarted in third spot behind Berndt who
chose not to pit. Berndt led the restart on lap 76 and held Lia at bay until
a restart on lap 92 when Lia retook the point. A nine-car wreck on the
backstretch on lap 93 brought out the red as the track was blocked. Among
those who were involved were Woody Pitkat, Renee Dupuis, Kevin Goodale,
Johnny Bush and Rob Summers. Once the wrecks were cleaned up Lia led the
charge to the green on lap 98. Christopher took the lead in turn 4 on lap
103. Lia took it back in turn 4 on lap 106. One lap later Christopher
attempted to move Lia up between turns one and two. Lia went into the
concrete slightly, doing no damage. On the lap 113 restart Lia started in
the rear of the field while Christopher diced for the lead with Todd
Szegedy. Szegedy took the lead in turn 3 while Lia began his determined
march to the front. By lap 123 Lia was back in the top five and closing
fast. Following a lap 137 restart, Christopher took the lead with Lia hot on
his bumper. The final lead change came in turn 4 on lap 139 when Lia took
the lead for the final time.
There were seven caution periods for 35 laps. The NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour will hold its 10th race of the 2009 season at the New Hampshire Motor
Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 19. The pit fee was $50.
The Hartford Courant announced that Jimmy Blewett had given up his Whelen
Modified Tour Series ride and his SK-Sunoco Modified ride. Long Islander
Eddie Partridge owns both cars. Blewett left to concentrate more time to his
family and the family owned scrap metal business. Keith Rocco moved into
Blewett’s vacant seat in the WMT car while Ron Silk assumed the driving
chores in the SK-Sunoco car. Following the WMT event Partridge stated that
he was happy with Rocco’s performance. Partridge was also happy with Silk as
he finished fifth in the Sunoco-SK type Modified event.
In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Rowan Pennink took a hard
fought win in the Sunoco SK type Modifieds. Pennink led the opening lap but
immediately had his hands full with Kerry Malone and Ted Christopher.
Pennink was able to maintain the lead as Malone settled back in line ahead
of Christopher. The fiercest battle amid the pack was for the fourth
position between Tim Sullivan, Keith Rocco and Woody Pitkat. Sullivan had
the spot with Rocco and Pitkat within striking distance. The action cooled
when the first caution flew for a spin by Harry Rheaume. On the restart,
Malone was able to get the edge but his advancement was for naught as the
caution flew before the leaders could get out of turn two. The dreadful
season for Sullivan continued as he made hard contact with the outside wall
in turn one to bring out the second caution. Malone got slightly out of
shape on the ensuing restart making contact with Ted Christopher.
Christopher slid through the infield making contact with the inside wall on
the front stretch. The damage forced Christopher to retire from the event.
Rocco looked like he was shot out of a cannon on the restart moving to
the second spot. Pitkat was able to get by Malone as well. A quick restart
allowed Pitkat to gain another spot into the second position. Ronnie Silk,
the new driver of the TS Haulers #12, made his first appearance inside the
top five. After a stop on pit road, Danny Cates had come back to ride in the
sixth spot. A bobble by leader Pennink exiting turn four one lap shy of
halfway gave Pitkat a shot at the lead. Pennink recovered to maintain the
position. A half-lap later, Pitkat tried the low side in turn three. The
lane swap gave Rocco the edge to put him back in the runner-up position.
Pennink continued to show the way with Rocco bearing down. Pitkat had
settled back into the third position before the fifth caution of the event
flew for a spin by Carl Oberg. Cates was back on pit road during the caution
at lap 17.
It was much of the same on the restart as Pennink had to fight off the
advances of Rocco. Pitkat laid in wait in third followed by Malone and Silk.
Rocco pushed Pennink on the straight-aways lap-after-lap. Rocco got
alongside Pennink exiting turn four on lap 21. He had to settle back in line
as Pitkat began to apply pressure to Rocco. On a restart on lap 24, Rocco
tried the crossover move looking for the lead. He got the car a bit out of
shape as he dove too low and into the dirt giving Pitkat daylight. Pitkat
was able to take the second spot away. Rocco pulled in behind Pitkat. The
two continued to dog Pennink. On the final two laps the cat and mouse for
the second position between Pitkat and Rocco allowed Pennink to celebrate
his birthday with a victory as he flashed under the checkers. Pitkat
finished a strong second followed by Rocco. Malone and Silk completed the
In other Thursday night Thunder action, Derek Ramstrom and Larry Barnett
stretched their point leads in the Super Late Model and Limited Sportsman
divisions respectively. After post race tech, Tommy O’Sullivan was awarded
his third Late Model victory of the season. Brian Tagg streaked in TIS
Modified competition with his second straight victory. Randy Churchill took
down his first Mini Stock feature event win at Thompson.
Among those on hand at the Thompson WMT event was former three time
NASCAR Modified National Champion Carl “Bugs” Stevens. Getting a Bear Hug
from the Bugman was the highlight of this reporter’s night. Also spectating
was recently retired Dick Berggren. Berggren who was at the helm of Speedway
Illustrated says that he will continue his work as a pit reporter on
televised races but will take life easy when not doing that.
The Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford Speedway returned to action after
two rainouts with its Second Annual Late Model 100. Tom Butler was the big
winner of the night, taking his second win of the 2009 season in the 100-lap
extra distance race. Woody Pitkat made it two for the weekend as he scored
his first Stafford win of 2009 in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Earl
Pelletier was the winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew
Durand won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Bill Dunn was the
winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Justin Gaydosh and Keith Rocco split the twin 25-lap SK Modified races,
which headlined the Waterford Speedbowl’s Thunder on the Sound event. Other
25-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins went to Bruce Thomas Jr. in
the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Al Stone in the Street Stocks while
Louis Bellisle III was a popular winner in the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock
event. Jason Palmer, Allen Coates, Rob Corey and Onie Pierce also found
themselves in Speedbowl Victory Lane on the night taking 25-lap wins of
their own. With his win Gaydosh earned a guaranteed starting birth in the
annual North-South Shootout taking place November 5th - 7th at Concord
Motorsports Park in North Carolina. Fans at the shoreline oval got a little
extra excitement as a concession stand caught fire. The Cohanze Fire Dept.
made short order of the blaze.
Kasey Kahne greatly improved his hopes of making the season-ending Chase
for the Championship with a Sprint Cup victory Sunday night at Atlanta Motor
Speedway, pulling away from Kevin Harvick after a fortunate yellow flag late
in the race. Kevin Harvick, who won the Nationwide race Saturday night, was
in position for a weekend double until teammate Clint Bowyer spun with 15
laps to go, bringing out the final caution of the night. Kahne got Harvick
on the restart and pulled away to an easy 1.766-second win. Juan Pablo
Montoya finished third.
Last year, 2013, the engines were
silent at the Thompson Speedway as construction continued at the
northeastern Connecticut racing facility. Speedway management told Internet
Site RaceDayCt that despite the fact that "No Camping" signs had been
erected, camping will be allowed for the upcoming World Series.
The final point tally for the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds showed Keith
Rocco and Woody Pitkat tied for the point lead (450)when the regular season
ended on August 29. NASCAR rules dictate the tie breaker would be the top
feature winner which in this case was Rocco who won five of the 16 events
run. Pitkat won twice. Kerry Malone, who won on one occasion, ended up third
in points, four points behind the leaders. Although winless, Dennis Perry
recorded two runner-up finishes and numerous top tens which placed him in
fourth spot in the final rundown, Rounding out the top five was Ryan Preece
with one victory. Matt Gallo, who finished eighth, also had one win. Others
in the top ten were Todd Ceravolo (6), John Catania (7), Paul Newcomb (9)
and Jason Sundeen (10).
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Woody Pitkat made it two
in a row in SK Modified competition. Cory Casagrande was a first time winner
in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Payton Henry took down his first career
victory in a photo finish in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Duane
Provost took down his first win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late
Model feature, and championship leader Dave Secore scored his second win of
the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Keith Rocco was keeping Pitkat on the outside but Pitkat was able to get
clear of Rocco as they took the white flag. Rocco made one last bid on the
outside of Pitkat on the final lap but Pitkat held him off to pick up his
second consecutive victory. Dan Avery finished third with Ted Christopher
and Ryan Preece rounding out the top-5.
Action at the Waterford Speedbowl continued as the season was winding
down. A fast paced night of motorsports was completed placing five winners
into Victory Lane. Leading the way was Kyle James who won his third SK
Modified® race of the year after a heated battle at the front of the pack.
Keith Rocco took home top honors in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model
division, Josh Galvin won his third Street Stock race of the season and
Garrett Denton took his second Mini Stock victory in the past three events.
Glenn Griswold rounded out the night’s winners, scoring his second
consecutive SK Light Modified race win.
In the 35 lap SK Modified event pole sitter Nicole Mongillo led to almost
half way before giving way to James. James pulled along side on lap 18. The
pair ran wheel to wheel for a lap before he took the lead as they exited the
fourth turn to complete lap 19. Ted Christopher jumped into the frey as he
got by Todd Ceravolo and Morgillo on the outside to follow James on lap-20.
The top two cars began to pull away as Morgillo held off Ceravolo and fifth
place runner Craig Lutz. Lutz was able to get past Ceravolo to try his hand
at unseating Morgillo from a podium finish.
Up front Christopher made a run at James. He was on James’ rear bumper on
lap-22 applying pressure. James withstood the challenge and eventually
pulled ahead by a car length. As the laps clicked off the scoreboard
Christopher stuck with James, however was unable to mount a final rally.
James raced to the checkered flag the rest of the way as Christopher
finished just behind. Further back, a great battle that endured over the
final 15 laps saw Morgillo hold back all challenges for third position to
match her best finish of the year. Lutz finished in fourth and Ceravolo
rounded out the top five. Rocco, the division point leader, battled back
from his spin to finish in sixth.
Saturday night racing at the shoreline oval will continue for three more
weeks to September 28th.
Down in the south land the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour was in
action. Andy Seuss found his way back to Victory Lane at Caraway Speedway in
North Carolina on Sunday night. Seuss picked up his sixth NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour win at the .455-mile oval, his first since 2011, in
dominating fashion in the Caraway 150. Seuss led twice for a race-high 124
laps and out-distanced runner-up George Brunnhoelzl III by .833 seconds.
John Smith finished third, followed by Tim Brown and JR Bertuccio. Kyle
Ebersole finished sixth, which allowed Brunnhoelzl to stretch his points
lead to 20 points with three races remaining. Danny Bohn finished seventh,
followed by Gary Putnam, Brandon Ward and Jason Myers.
There were 18 cars on hand.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Timmy Solomito won Modified twin
30′s. Howie Brode clinched the 2013 NASCAR Modified championship.
Could it be that the "Fix" was in at Richmond in at the NASCAR Sprint Cup
event. In the moments after Carl Edwards won the Federated Auto Parts 400,
the scene along pit road at Richmond International Raceway was a study in
contrasts. Over near the finish line, there was Carl Edwards, burning out
and back flipping in exultation. Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Kurt
Busch, three of the last members of the 2013 Chase, stood by their cars and
welcomed well-wishers. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked quietly
with team associates; Delana Harvick wore a long red dress that matched the
color of her husband's car.
With six laps remaining, Ryan Newman was leading. With a win, he would
make the Chase, leaving Martin Truex Jr. on the outside looking in. (Joey
Logano was also two points behind Jeff Gordon for the final guaranteed Chase
spot.) Over the radio, Bowyer was told that Newman was leading the race and
was asked how his arm was feeling. And then Bowyer spun, and all hell broke
loose. During the caution, Newman lost four spots due to a poor pit stop. On
the restart, Gordon found himself shuffled back several positions. And just
like that, in the space of five minutes, Gordon and Newman were out of the
Chase. Logano and Truex, who happens to be Bowyer's teammate, were in.
Was it a conspiracy? Did Bowyer spin on purpose? Was "is your arm
hurting?" the cue for him to take a dive? Did Bowyer at long last get his
revenge on Gordon for their fight at Phoenix the previous year?
To hear Bowyer say it, there was nothing more to the spin than a car
finally giving out. To hear everyone else, it was a premeditated and
calculated dive that changed the entire complexion of the Chase and the
NASCAR was reportedly reviewing evidence that Bowyer deliberately spun
his No. 15 Toyota in order to help Truex make the Chase. Had it not been for
the caution period and subsequent restart, it is likely that Ryan Newman
would have won the race and made the Chase instead of Truex.
It was also believed that Truex’s fellow Michael Waltrip Racing teammate
Brian Vickers purposely slowed during the final three laps to allow Joey
Logano to pass him. That allowed Logano to remain in the top 10 in the
standings so he didn’t have to use a Wild Card to get into the Chase, which
also helped Truex.
Following an intensive investigation NASCAR issued the following
statement: “Based upon our review of Saturday night’s race at Richmond, it
was our determination that the MWR organization attempted to manipulate the
outcome of the race,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of
competition. “As the sport’s sanctioning body, it is our responsibility to
ensure there is a fair and level playing field for all of our competitors
and this action today reflects our commitment to that.”
As a result, MWR was found to have violated Section 12-4 (Actions
detrimental to stock car racing). As a result, MWR’s three teams in the
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (No. 15, 55, 56) have been penalized with the loss
of 50 championship driver and 50 championship owner points, respectively.
NASCAR also fined the MWR organization $300,000 and indefinitely
suspended MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager Ty Norris, who was
also the spotter for the No. 55 car, for violating Section 12-4. The three
crew chiefs — Brian Pattie (No. 15), Scott Miller (No. 55) and Chad Johnston
(No. 56) — were all placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brad Keselowski passed Brian Scott on a restart with 11 laps to go Friday
night and pulled away after another restart with six laps remaining to win
the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond.
In an unrelated matter, officials from three different series confirmed
that all the events that were scheduled for Nov. 2 at Rockingham Speedway
have been cancelled. Everything started when NASCAR announced that the
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event scheduled for Rockingham had been
cancelled. “It is unfortunate any time a race must be cancelled,” said
George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring. “However,
the race track failed to meet its obligations and we were forced to
terminate the sanction agreement."
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
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