The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


September 12, 2014

  Sixty five years ago in 1949, Bob Cameron won twin features at the Buffalo Civic Center.

  Sixty years ago in 1954 rain washed out racing on Wednesday and Saturday at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. In order to get a race in, track management opted to run on Sunday. Fred Luchesi was the 25 lap Sportsman winner and Bob Cahoon the winner in the non-Fords.

  Fifty five years ago in 1959, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl went on its fall schedule of running just on Saturdays. Melvin "Red" Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman winner and Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. Ben Hewitt was the Bomber winner. Bill Rafter made it three in a row at the Buffalo Civic Stadium in upstate NY. Doug Yochum won at Lancaster.

  Fifty years ago in 1964, Pete Corey led the New York invasion to victory on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. George Janoski and Ray Messick chased Corey across the finish line. Jack Malone took the top spot at Norwood on Saturday night. Billy Harman scored his fifth win of the season in the Modifieds at Waterford. Bill Staubley was the Bomber winner.

  Forty five years ago in 1969, the rained out 150 lap Labor Day classic at Stafford was run on Friday night. Nathan "Smokey” Boutwell in the Garuti-Arute No.14 took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Eddie Flemke, Ted Stack, Ollie Silva and Bill Slater. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Marcel Corriveau took the win over Guy Chartrand, Ron Narducci and Lou Lazzaro. At Norwood arena on Saturday, Johnny Thompson in his Ford Cobra powered No.122 outhandled the field and took the win. Bob Melnick finished second with Freddie Schulz, third. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl it was Daring Dick Caso taking the Modified win. Jack Barton was the Daredevil winner. At Airborne Park it was Marcel Goddard over Dick Fowler and Dick Nephew and at Islip and Thompson it rained.

  Forty years ago in 1974, racing at Riverhead on Wednesday and at Freeport on Friday rained out. Islip ran a 200 lapper on Saturday which saw invader Richie Evans come in and clean house. Jim Hendrickson finished second with Ted Wesnofski, third. Shangri-La ran double features; George Kent won the first one and was followed by Sonny Seamon and Don Diffendorf. The nightcap saw Maynard Troyer take the victory over Ed Pieniezak and Seamon. At Waterford Mark LaJunesse was the Modified winner with Mike Daignault taking the top spot in the Grand American Late Models. Moving to Fulton on Sunday, Geoff Bodine took the win over Troyer, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. Thompson and Monadnock also ran on Sunday. Bugsy Stevens won at Monadnock over Kenny Bouchard and Gene Bergin. At Thompson it was Daring Dick Caso scoring an impressive win over Ronnie Bouchard and Fats Caruso. Caso was a true back yard racer and did the most with the least and was extremely popular during the 70's.

  Thirty five years ago in 1979, Star Speedway ran a special dual feature modified event on Friday night. Home track favorites Larry Record and Dave Thomas took the wins. Charlie Jarzombek finished second to Record and was followed by Mike Murphy, Ronnie Bouchard, John Falconi Jr., and Leo Cleary. Bouchard finished second to Thomas and was followed by Jarzombek, Murphy and Cleary. Saturday night at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard took a hard fought win over Bugsy Stevens and George Summers. At Waterford, Rick Donnelly made it five in a row at the shoreline oval. Moose Hewitt finished second with Dick Ceravolo, third. The Modifieds were active in the southland. At Caraway in North Carolina on Saturday, Jerry Cook took the win and was followed by Billy Hensley, Satch Worley, Chip Lane and Don Miller. Cook traveled all night to get to Islip which ran a 300 lapper on Sunday which ended up being a Richie Evans benefit. Cook managed to finish second with John Blewett Jr., third. Also on Sunday, Ronnie Bouchard beat out John Rosati and George Summers at Thompson. Other weekend winners included Brian Ross at Monadnock, Billy Hensley at North Wilkesboro, Maynard Troyer at Lancaster, George Kent at Shangri-La and Roland Lapierre Jr. at Westboro. In other news of the weekend, upstate New York driver Dave Nichols announced his retirement.

  Thirty years ago in 1984, Waterford ran their Matco 100 on Saturday night. Dick Ceravolo took the win but was disqualified when a larger than legal engine was found in a post race teardown. Dale Holdredge was declared the winner with Bob Gada, finishing second. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans took the win over Corky Cookman. The end of an era in Long Island racing became reality as the historic Islip Speedway ran its final event and closed for good. Taking the final checker was Bob Park. Fred Harbach finished second. The big event of the weekend was the annual Thompson 300.A total of 60 modifieds were on hand. Jim Spencer took the win over Richie Evans and Kenny Bouchard. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Darrell Waltrip was the pole sitter and the winner. Other weekend winners were Bugsy Stevens at Seekonk and Gail Barber at Lancaster.

  Twenty five years ago in 1989, Stafford ran their last Friday night of the year and it was Brad Thrall taking the SK Modified feature. Bob Georgiades finished second. Mike Christopher finished fifth and sewed up the 1989 Track Championship. At Waterford on Saturday, Rick Donnelly took the win over Mike Gada and Mark Lajunesse. Riverside ran twin features with Ray Miller and Jerry Marquis sharing the glory. The Thompson 300 was the big event of the weekend. Mike Stefanik took the big win and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero and Mike McLaughlin.

  Twenty years ago in 1994, Waterford almost didn't get to run as the Connecticut DMV pulled their race permit because of the badly damaged fence. Repairs were made and Moose Hewitt took down the Saturday night win. Jim Broderick finished second with Mike Gada, third. Riverside Park saw Steve Park take the top spot and at Sunday’s Thompson 300, Jeff Fuller took the lead with 25 laps to go and went on to take the win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with Satch Worley, third. C.J.Freye won the Late Model 100. In Winston Cup action at Richmond; Terry Labonte took the win after Rusty Wallace had an engine go sour. Kenny Wallace won the Grand National event.

  Fifteen years ago, in 1999, Friday night racing at Stafford rained out. At Waterford, Dennis Gada recorded his ninth win of the season and all but iced the track championship. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Don Fowler, third. Chief Steward Bill Roberts got tough with Mike Gada. Fresh off a suspension for rough riding, Gada didn't learn his lesson as he was first put to the rear, then parked for the night and ultimately suspended for two more weeks as he continued to hit everything but the lottery at the shoreline oval. Riverhead ran their final of the year with Ken Heagy taking the win and Frank Vigliorolo Jr. taking the track championship. Soon to close, Riverside Park ran their last ever-regular Saturday night program. Dave Berube took the historic win over Ted Riggott and Brad Hietella. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Thompson for a 200 lapper. Tony Hirschman survived 13 cautions for 65 laps to take the win. Hirschman took the lead from Tom Cravenho on lap159. Reggie Ruggerio finished second and was followed by Chris Kopec, Carl Pasteryak, Jamie Tomaino and Tony Ferrante Jr. Bert Marvin was the 30 lap SK modified winner over Scott Quinn, Ted Christopher and Todd Ceravolo. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Tony Stewart scored his first ever Cup win over Bob Labonte. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the Grandnational winner.

  Ten years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Thompson Speedway. With an all-new format in place qualifying heats were run. Winners of the four 20-lap sprints were Tom Bolles, Eddie Flemke Jr., Jerry Marquis and Todd Szegedy. The Thompson 300 was split into three-100 lap segments. Tom Bolles won the first over Flemke, Marquis, Ricky Fuller and Ted Christopher. Flemke won the second segment over Marquis, Todd Szegedy, Fuller and Mike Stefanik. Tony Hirschman won the nightcap over Bolles, Christopher, Stefanik and Marquis. Flemke, who was currently in a tight point battle with Tony Hirschman, was declared the overall winner and received the points normally awarded the win. Second overall was Jerry Marquis. Third through fifth overall were Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik and Rick Fuller. Because of his poor finishes in the first two segments Hirschman was placed in 11th spot. In Dodge Weekly Racing Thunder at Thompson on Saturday, Bo Gunning won the first of two 25-lap Sunoco SK-type Modified events. Bert Marvin finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Todd Ceravolo, who was in contention for track championship honors finished fourth with Jeff Malave, fifth. Other Saturday winners were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models and Steve Michalowski in the Mini-Stocks. Sunday’s action saw Ted Christopher take the Sunoco Modified win over Todd Ceravolo, Eric Berndt, Kerry Malone and Adam Norton. Corey Hutchings made it two for two on the weekend as he beat out Marc Palmissano for the Sunday Late Model win. Jeff Zuidema took the Pro Stock win and Glen Boss was the Limited Sportsman winner.

  The Friday night NASCAR Dodge Racing Series at Stafford ran its last weekly event of 2004. It was more like “Friday Night at the Fights” as hand to hand combat highlighted the SK Modified feature. Jeff Baral held off Frank Ruocco and Ted Christopher for the win but the real story was the on track antics of Chris Jones. Prior to the running of the SK Modified feature Jones bragged that Ted Christopher was not going to finish the feature. Christopher, who had already sewed up the 2004 SK Modified track championship at the half-mile oval, was hoping to pad his NASCAR Regional lead. Not one to just get out there and ride, Christopher made his charge to the front. Just before the half way mark Christopher made a clean outside pass by Jones. One lap later Jones dove inside Christopher and spun him out. Jones was subsequently black flagged for his actions. Jones was asked to remove himself from the racing surface but refused. Instead he drove up to Christopher’s car, got out and commenced throwing punches at Christopher. Jones was eventually subdued by police and was escorted out of the track. As he was being led away he continually made obscene gestures to the crowd and officials. In other Friday night action, Jim Peterson took the Late Model feature and David Zienka won the DARE Stock feature.

  Shawn Monahan was literally out-foxed at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Tom Fox, who had only recorded one win at the shoreline oval this year, made numerous attempts to overtake Monahan who was obviously blocking. Fox pulled a sneaky on lap 20 as he faked to the outside, then dove to the inside to take the lead and the eventual win. Jeff Pearl finished second as Monahan faded to fifth in the closing laps. Kurt Lenihan finished third. Dennis Gada’s luck continued to be bad as he fell by the wayside, while running third, with electrical problems. Gada ended up 15th and lost the point lead to Ed Reed Jr. In other action at the Bowl, Eddie Field won the Mini-Stock feature, Allen Coates made it two in a row in Late Model action, Dwayne Dorr was the Sportsman winner and Jeff Paul won the 50-lap Legends Nationals Qualifier.

  The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Richmond International Raceway. Robbie Gordon was the Busch Series winner and Jeremy Mayfield was the Nextel Cup winner after Kurt Busch ran out of gas while leading with eight laps to go.

  On a sad note, Lou Cady, Webmaster and founder of Modified Series passed away. Cady provided news and chat pertaining to the Featherlite Modifieds.

  Five years ago in 2009, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was making final preparations before heading to the New Hampshire International Speedway. Ted Christopher continued to lead the point standings with 1432. Todd Szegedy with 1398, sat in the second spot. Thirty eight points behind Szegedy was Donny Lia with 1360. Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat, Ed Flemke, Jr., Chris Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik.

  NASCAR and Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome announced that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the track, that was rained out on its originally scheduled date of Aug. 29, would not be made up. Not too many tears were shed as the event carried a somewhat “short purse”.

  In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Ted Christopher took the Sunoco Modified win in an event that went non-stop without a caution. Keith Rocco, who was hoping to gain some ground in his quest for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title found himself mired in traffic and could do no better than third. Christopher made it look easy as he earned his fifth Sunoco Modified feature win of the season. Rick Fuller of Auburn scored a much-anticipated victory in the Super Late Model division. Tommy O’Sullivan made it two-in-a-row in Late Model action. Jesse Gleason scored his first win of the season in the Limited Sportsman division. Brian Sullivan scored his sixth TIS Modified feature event win of the season. In the Mini Stocks, Randy Churchill took the victory.

  The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title fight came to an end. Keith Rocco, who raced at Thompson, Waterford and Stafford trailed southerner Philip Morris going into the final weekend of the national contest. Rocco needed to win at least one, with a second and third in the other two tracks to tie Morris provided all three events have the maximum 23-car fields. Points are less if the fields of cars are short. Keith Rocco is employed at Petit Racing Engines. As he looked out the window on Friday he saw his dreams of becoming a NASCAR National Champion get washed down the drain as showers pelted the entire state of Connecticut which forced the Stafford Motor Speedway to rain-out their Friday night racing program The champion would be announced by NASCAR on Sept. 16.

  Waterford Speedbowl’s Saturday night racing program fell victim to rain. A stubborn low pressure system that sat off Long Island for two days forced Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty to cancel the final NASCAR Whelen All American Series show of the year. With the rainout John Fortin sewed-up the 2009 NASCAR Modified title, the third of his career.

  Carl Edwards grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick on pit road with 24 laps to go Friday night and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond. The victory finished off a remarkable race for Edwards, who had to start at the back of the field after his team made adjustments to his Ford after the field was impounded.

  In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Denny Hamlin scored a victory at his home track, Richmond International Raceway, on Saturday night to take a burst of momentum into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kyle Busch, his teammate, was shut out of the title hunt because his fifth-place finish wasn't enough to get him into the 12-driver field.

  It looked like the International Speedway Corporation was branching out to include legalized gambling in its holdings. ISC announced that Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN ) had entered into an agreement with The Cordish Company to acquire Cordish's 50 percent interest in Kansas Entertainment, LLC ("KJV") and their role as managing member.

  Last year, 2013, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series got back into action on Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway for the 175 lap Green Earth Technologies 200 on Saturday night.

  Ryan Preece took the lead from Timmy Solomito on Lap 177, sliding underneath the local driver and holding on for his fourth win of the 2013 season. The 21-year-old Solomito, a regular in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified Division at Riverhead, won his first career Coors Light Pole Award in his sixth tour start and led the first 176 laps before giving way to Preece. Justin Bonsignore managed to get by Solomito on Lap 193 to take second, while Solomito settled for third.

  Once in the lead, Preece strategically moved around the quarter-mile asphalt oval, pulling away for the win by 2.314 seconds. It was the ninth tour victory for the 2013 NASCAR Next driver and he tied Mike Ewanitsko for the most consecutive wins at the track, which has held 53 tour events. Woody Pitkat and Howie Brode rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink, Ted Szegedy and Patrick Emerling.

  There were 31 Modifieds, including 9 Riverhead regulars on hand. Seventeen of the original 28 starters finished on the lead lap. If the 200 laps run, 101 were under caution as 13 cautions slowed the event.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their regular Friday night season. Dan Avery picked up his first Stafford SK Modified® victory since 1982 in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn picked up his fifth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling picked up his seventh win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Josh Wood picked up his fourth win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. picked up his second win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

  In the SK Modified 40 lapper Avery took the lead from Joey Cipriano as the field completed lap 30. Ted Christopher was third with Todd Owen in fourth and Woody Pitkat in fifth. Avery held off Cipriano to the checkered flag to pick up his first SK Modified® feature victory at Stafford since the first season of SK Modified® competition. Christopher finished third, with Owen and Pitka rounding out the top-5.

  The Valenti Modified Racing was also at Stafford. Ryan Preece became the 10th different winner in 14 races and the third first-time series winner in 2013. Preece started outside front row, jumped into the lead, and was never headed as he won the 4th annual Lincoln Tech 80. Preece received pressure early on from Ted Christopher. Christopher dropped out with mechanical problems during the only caution period on lap 34. From that point on it was all Preece to the checkered flag. Chris Pasteryak finished second with Richard Savory, third. Rounding out the top five were Tommy Barrett followed by Rowan Pennink. Ken Barry, Dan Meservey Jr, Norm Wrenn, Dave Etheridge, and Max Zachem finished sixth through tenth.
There were 34 cars on hand.

  Action at the Waterford Speedbowl continued. A chilly night greeted race fans in attendance for the Speedbowl’s program on Saturday evening but the action on the track stayed red hot. Scoring NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories were Frank Mucciacciaro in the SK Modifieds®, winning for the first time since 2006 while Keith Rocco won his ninth Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature of 2013. Ryan Waterman won his second Street Stock feature of the year and Ken Cassidy Jr. won another Mini Stock feature, recording an important victory in his accomplished racing career. Wayne Shifflett took down the checkered flag in the night’s X-Car race.

  In the SK Modified 35 lapper The final 11 laps it were crucial as Todd Ceravolo really put the pressure on Mucciacciaro. Joe Gada and Rob Janovic raced behind in third and fourth positions while Keith Rocco was able to get by Jeff Gallup for fifth. On the point, Mucciacciaro held back every charge Ceravolo mounted to capture the victory. Ceravolo settled for second place while Janovic was able to put a final lap move to the inside of Gada to take third. Gada was fourth and Rocco finished fifth. Rocco was forced into a borrowed ride after his primary #88 car lost an engine in practice.

  With three events remaining Keith Rocco led Todd Ceravolo 978-909 for the SK Modified Track Championship. Tyler Chadwick, who finished 16th, Craig Lutz who finished 10th and Kyle James who finished 8th round out the top five.

  New York State dirt tracker Dave Lape closed out a 50 year racing career at the Fonda Speedway. Lape raced on both dirt and asphalt and amassed 191 feature wins including 99 at Fonda.

  Matt Kenseth the GEICO 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway for his 6th win of 2013 and 30th career win. The start of the race was delayed about 90 minutes because of rain. Rain then started again on lap 109, causing a red flag of 5 hours 10 minutes before the race resumed.

  Pole sitter Joey Logano lost an engine cylinder just past halfway. He fell out of the race shortly after and finished 37th.

  Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway for his 10th win of the season. He put on another dominating performance, leading 195 of the 200 laps. Joey Logano finished second.

  That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

Looking Back Archive

SourcePhil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: September 12, 2014

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