The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith


September 26, 2014

  Sixty five years ago in 1949, Charlie Barry was the feature winner at the Buffalo Civic Center in New York.

  Sixty years ago in 1954, Moe Gherzi was the winner in Sportsman action at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Tetreault was the non Ford winner.

  Fifty five years ago in 1959, George Janoski made it two in a row on the dirt at Stafford on Friday night. The New London Waterford Speedbowl ran its final Saturday night program before switching to Sundays for the final four events. Dick Beauregard won the 25 lap Sportsman feature while Charlie Webster took the checker in the non-Fords and Newt Palm took top honors in the Bombers.

  Fifty years ago in 1964, Ernie Gahan took the top spot on the dirt at Stafford on Friday night. George Janoski finished second with Bill Wimble, third. Saturday night at the Norwood Arena saw Steady Eddie Flemke in victory lane. Dick Watson was the Modified winner and Ed McAvoy was the Bomber feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

  Forty five years ago in 1969, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran their season finale with Andy Romano taking the win. Lou Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Bernie Miller, Jerry Cook, Dick Clark, Ron Narducci and Kenny Shoemaker. At the Norwood Arena on Saturday night, Fred DeSarro took the win over Don McCullogh, Bugsy Stevens, Mike Murphy and Johnny Thompson. Jerry Cook, in search of NASCAR points paid a surprise visit and finished 12th in his only appearance at the now closed track. Islip also ran on Saturday with Herbie Hulse taking the win over Mousie Kempster and Jack Reinhard. Waterford switched to Sundays and it was Newt Palm taking the win. Stafford ran a 50 lapper on Sunday with Bobby Santos taking the win over Bill Greco, Cook, Hop Harrington, Bugsy Stevens and Rene Charland. In Winston Cup action at Talladega the drivers went on strike but the event went on as planned and was won by Richard Brickhouse.

  Forty years ago in 1974, with the exception of Oswego and Thompson, the main action was on Long Island. Riverhead ran on Friday night with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Fred Harbach and Richie Evans. On Saturday at Freeport, Chargin Charlie made it two for two as he beat out Dan McNamara and Gino Spada. At Islip on Sunday, 35 cars started the 300-lap grind on the tough 1/5-mile oval. Lou Lazzaro took the win over Jim Hendrickson, Gary Winters and Cliff Tyler. Rain washed out the final Saturday night at Waterford. Jim Shampine won the Oswego modified 200 over Don Diffendorf and Jim Winks and at Thompson, George Moose Hewitt took the win over Dick Caso and Fats Caruso.

  Thirty five years ago in 1979, the annual Race of Champions was held at Pocono Raceway. Promoted by Joe Gerber, the event drew 97 modifieds. Richie Evans led 83 of the 120-lap distance to take the win over Maynard Troyer, Gail Barber, Jim Shampine and Satch Worley. Jack Bateman won at Monadnock while it rained at Westboro and Waterford.

  Thirty years ago in 1984, Stan Gregger won an open competition event at Riverside over John Rosati. Shangri-La ran a 150-lap event, which saw Richie Evans take the win. Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by Jim Spencer. Evans made an overnight trip to Maine where he finished second to Brett Bodine. Brian Ross finished third at Oxford Plains and was followed by Spencer. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Darrell Waltrip won the 500-lap event by a full lap. Pole sitter Geoff Bodine broke an oil line and finished 30th.

  Twenty five years ago in 1989,the mod tour was scheduled to run at Shangri-La on Saturday but was rained out. Lancaster ran an 89 lap open on Sunday which was won by Jan Leaty. Brian Ross finished second with Mike McLaughlin, third.

  Twenty years ago in 1994, Waterford ran on Saturday night. Bert Marvin took the mod win over Mark LaJunesse and David Gada. Twin late model features were run with Phil Rondeau and Larry Cote taking wins. Riverside ran their final point event of the year. Bobby Gegetsas took the win over Steve Park. Chris Kopec finished third and sewed up the track championship. The modifieds and the Busch Grandnational North Series were at Loudon. Jeff Fuller took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero with four laps to go and went on to take the win in the Modified event. Ruggerio finished second and was followed by Steve Park, Wayne Anderson and Bruce Dell. Joe Bessey was the BGNN winner. It was on this weekend that Richie Gallup was relieved of the driving chores of the x6 and it was announced that Mike Stefanik would be the new driver. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt finished one-two.

  Fifteen years ago, in 1999, Tony Hirschman won the Stafford Fall Final 300 lapper. It was a day of excitement to say the least. Ed Flemke Jr. was the center of attention as he was involved in three separate incidents. First off, he dumped Mike Ewanitsko on lap 115, and then he spun out his business partner, Reggie Ruggiero who was leading. After the second incident he was parked for two laps. The third and final incident came on lap 288 when NASCAR parked him again when he was blocking the leader. Also the center of attention was John Blewett III who became upset after a confrontation with Carl Pasteryak. While the field was under caution, Blewett jumped on Pasteryak’s hood and started ripping wires off the engine. Reggie Ruggiero recovered from his early spin and finished second. Tim Connolly finished third and was followed by Tom Cravenho and Jan Leaty. Mike Christopher was the 50 lap SK-Modified winner. Waterford announced that they had secured a NASCAR sanction for 2000.In Saturday night action at the shoreline oval, Ed Dachenhausen took the win over Jerry and Jeff Pearl. During the running of the event, Todd Ceravolo suffered severe injuries when he was dumped into the retaining wall, drivers side first, by Rob Janovic. In Winston Cup news, Ray Everham announced that he was leaving Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon to form his own team. Mark Martin was the winner of the Winston Cup event at Dover.

  Ten years ago in 2004 the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Fall Final. The Modifieds continue to be the big draw for any of NASCAR’s touring divisions as 48 cars were on hand. Ted Christopher was the Busch Pole sitter and as luck should have it, picked the pole starting position. Christopher led the first 10 laps before giving way to Mike Stefanik whom led to lap 23. Christopher took it back after a restart on lap 24. Chuck Hossfeld, who had been rumored to be considering changing rides, put the Mystic Missile out in front on lap 38. Tony Hirschman and Ed Flemke, who had been battling for the series title kept each other in sight and on lap 75 displaced Hossfeld for the lead. With only 20 points separating them going into the event Hirschman knew he had to finish ahead of Flemke if he had any hope of getting the title. Hirschman passed Flemke for the lead on lap 87 and never looked back as he went on to score the win. Flemke glued himself to Hirschman and wasn’t about to give up another spot as he held off Stefanik to finish second. Rounding out the top five were Jerry Marquis and Hossfeld. Hirschman left Stafford leading Flemke by 30 points going into the season finale at Thompson. Jerry Marquis sits in third spot with Christopher fourth and Jamie Tomaino, fifth.

  In Dodge Weekly Racing Thunder at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night Todd Ceravolo was looking to sew up the 2004 Sunoco SK-type Modified title but lady luck had other ideas. During his qualifying heat the Ledyard, Connecticut driver was hit from behind and ended up suffering severe damage to his family owned modified. Mike Finkeldey was gracious enough to loan his car to Ceravolo for the 30-lap feature but lady luck stepped in again, causing electrical problems and an ultimate low finishing spot. Kerry Malone, who was second in points going into the event, suffered a similar fate, as he was involved in an accident, which also resulted in a low finish. Bert Marvin, who has had terrible luck this season, took his second win of 2004. Bo Gunning finished second with Richard Savory, third. Ted Christopher recovered from an early spin and finished fourth. Jeff Malave rounded out the top five and put himself in second spot in the point standings, 20 points behind Ceravolo. Norm Wrenn won the Pro Stock feature. David Berghman, despite a 16th place finish, sewed up the division championship. Glenn Boss won the Limited Sportsman feature but it was Larry Barnett who sewed up his division championship with a third place finish. Rick Gentes was the Late Model winner, Seth Duval won the All-Star Truck feature and Scott Michalski was the Mini Stock winner.

  For once NASCAR Dodge Racing Series at Stafford was tame. Willie Hardie Jr. won the SK Modified portion of the Fall Final. Chuck Docherty finished second with Jeff Malave, third. Malave was later disqualified, as it was determined that his engine had a lightweight flywheel. Ted Christopher who had previously sewed up the track championship, finished seventh. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model winner and also the track champion for his division. Brian Hitchcock was the DARE Stock winner and Larry Barnett won the first-ever Limited Sportsman feature run at the track.

  Eddie Reed Jr. got a little closer to gaining his first SK-Modified championship at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Reed didn’t win, in fact he finished fifth, but his main challenger Dennis Gada was eliminated early enough to give Reed a 40 point cushion going into the final two events at the shoreline oval. Gada had been hoping to set an all time record of six championships in a row but unless a miracle happened, it would be a done deal for Reed. Ronnie Silk started second in the 35-lap feature and led every lap to score his first win of the 2004 season. Don Fowler ended up second with Chris Pasteryak and Rob Janovic following. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Jay Lozyniak in the Sportsman division, Timmy Jordan in the Mini-Stocks and Jeff Paul in the Legends. The tracks Late Models had the night off.

  The Nextel Cup along with the Busch Racing Series and Busch North Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Dover Downs Speedway in Delaware. Dale Quarterly won the MBNA 150 for the Busch North Series event. Andy Santerre finished fifth and sewed up his third series total in a row. Twenty-eight started the event that saw six finish on the lead lap. Mike Stefanik finished fourth and Jerry Marquis experienced overheating problems and finished 18th. Ryan Newman took the Nextel Cup win over Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon. Martin Truex and Mike McLaughlin finished one-two in the Busch Series event.

  On again, off again. According to those at NASCAR that oversee the Dodge Weekly Racing Series everything was on the up and up at the Lee USA Speedway when Richard Wolf was declared the winners on September 11 after the first two finishers ahead of him were disqualified. Ted Christopher, who had been in the top spot of the New England Region, was been moved back to the second spot in the standings as Wolf has been designated the Region Champion. The change made for a big cut in pay for Christopher as the Champion would receive $45,000 and the runner-up received $24,000. Christopher, fresh off his dominating win in the Featherlite Modifieds at Loudon was extremely unhappy, not so much with NASCAR but with the Stafford Speedway as he feels that the track gave him “the business” on September 3 when he was put to the rear in the second of two 30 lap events. The incident in question involved Chris Jones who had since been put on indefinite suspension for his actions against Christopher. Christopher feels that if he weren’t put to the rear on September 3 he would have won and would have been in a better position to win the regional title. The Stafford management felt they made the right decision. Jeff Strunk, who competed at the Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania, finished third in the standings with Ledyard Connecticut’s Todd Ceravolo in fourth. Ceravolo, who competed at the Thompson Speedway, would receive $16,000 for his and his family’s efforts. Waterford Connecticut’s Ed Reed JR who competed at the Speedbowl would receive $8200 for his sixth place finish. It’s also official that Corey Hutchings is the New England Region Short Track Champion. Hutchings, who hails from Salem, Connecticut, was the point leader at both the Thompson Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl and had a combined feature win total of 14. Hutchings would receive $2,500 plus a $1,000 bonus for each track title at season’s end.

  The town hall in Plainfield, CT was the scene of a meeting between the developer of the proposed domed speedway and the town’s Economic Development Commission. The object of the meeting was to change local zoning laws to allow the proposed project to go foreword. The commission did not take action that would have allowed for comprehensive entertainment and amusement facilities, hotels, etc. The application also called for allowing special revenue facilities. Some people in the town believed that the race track proposal was just a smoke screen which would hide the fact that another casino would be coming to the state. The New England Raceway Corporation continued to project that they would host approximately nine events per year including one Nextel Cup event or “Tier One” drag racing, two Busch Series races or two CART events. The NASCAR legal department had notified that there is no agreement in place or any promise made that any NASCAR sanctioned events would be held in Plainfield. The commission would re-convene on October 14. Later in the week, word was let out that the International Speedway Corporation planned to build a ¾ mile oval that will seat 75,000 in Washington State on the West Coast.

  Forbes Magazine listed the 400 wealthiest people in the country. Tied in 215th spot are Bill France JR and his brother Jim who own and control NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation along with O. Bruton Smith who owns Speedway Motorsports. Forbes says they are each worth $1,300 million. Top man on the list is Bill Gates of Microsoft who is worth a cool $4.8 billion.

  Five years ago in 2009, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to Martinsville Virginia for the Made In America Whelen 300. The 200-lap event carried a race purse of $131,427. Among those who got an early start for their trip south was Ted Christopher who found himself suspended by the Stafford Motor Speedway for his on track actions on September 18. Keith Rocco was also suspended from Stafford but remained behind in order to compete at Waterford on Saturday night. Ronnie Silk subbed for Rocco in the Eddie Partridge No. 12.

  With the exception of a limited practice session on Saturday morning the rains washed all activity at Martinsville for the day.

  Forty-three Modifieds were on hand to qualify for the 43 starting spots. Ron Silk and Donny Lia were the top qualifiers. Following the re-draw, Southern Modified Tour competitor Brian Loftin was placed in the pole position. Rowan Pennick drew the outside pole starting spot. Rounding out the top five starters were Burt Myers, Silk and Lia.

  In a little over an hour and a half Mike Stefanik was able to take the win in the Made in America Whelen 300 at Martinsville. Stefanik, who managed to avoid multiple wrecks during the running of the event, took the lead from Todd Szegedy with 19 laps remaining in the 200-lap event. Szegedy finished second with Ryan Preece, third. Ronnie Silk and Burt Myers rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Kevin Goodale, George Brunnhoelzl, III, Donny Lia, Eric Goodale and Jamie Tomaino. Burt Myers was the highest finishing Southern driver which meant that he will get credit for the win in the southern tour as the event was a North-South combination event.

  For Ted Christopher it was a long day as he spent most of the race going in and out of the pit area with engine problems. Finishing 30th in the final rundown, the defending series champion lost considerable ground to Lia. His finish, combined with Lia’s eight-place effort, closed Lia to within just one point of the championship lead with two races remaining in the season. Wrecks and mechanical problems took their toll. Of the 43 starters less than 12 were competitive at the end. Brian Loftin led the opening three laps but ended up in 29th spot after his brakes failed. Rowan Pennink led from lap 4 through 80. Pennink, who was quite fast, ended up in 16th spot, 15 laps down as a result of being shoved into the wall on lap 186. Chris Pasteryak, who led from lap 81 to lap 165 was collected in the same wreck and ended up in 15th spot.

  There were 10 cautions for 60 laps. Stefanik’s average speed was 68.091 mph. For his efforts he collected $9,534.

  In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, the speedway closed out their weekly racing series with a better than average crowd thanks to the folks that officiate at the Stafford Motor Speedway. After the on-track confrontations between Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco plus their suspensions from competition the fans came out to see if there would be a showdown at high speed on the high banks at Thompson. There was an ongoing war of words but there was no crunching of metal between the two. Instead it ended up being a plain good night of racing. Christopher took his third straight victory but it was Rocco taking the Sunoco Modified Track Championship crown. Jim Banfield won his career first Super Late Model feature event while teenager Derek Ramstrom earned his first Thompson track championship. Rick Gentes made it two in a row in Late Model competition. John Materas had a joy ride on Thursday night as he clinched the championship the week before. Tom Tagg scored his fifth win of the season in the TIS Modifieds as Tim Sullivan earned the title in the division by a scant eight points. Shawn Monahan scored his second straight Limited Sportsman feature victory. After an eventful night, Larry Barnett recovered from an early race incident to become a multi-time Limited Sportsman champion. Randy Churchill scored his third win of the season in the Mini Stocks. Scott Michalski had a banner year to win the division’s title.

  With Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco under suspension the Friday night season was anti-climatic without the track’s main attractions in competition. Both Christopher and Rocco had their twin brothers pinch hitting for them but it wasn’t the same. Doug Coby took his first victory of the season in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn took his second win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, David Webb took down his second win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Bill Davis took down his first victory of 2009 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, and Don Wood scored his second win of 2009 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

  Ted Christopher clinched the 2009 SK Modified track championship, his record seventh championship at Stafford Motor Speedway. Frank Ruocco, who was under federal indictment for obstruction of justice for trying to hide records of a scheme to illegally double the cost of removing contaminated soil from a New York construction site and had been charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, finished in 18th spot. Ruocco dropped to third in the point standings as Woody Pitkat moved into the second spot.

  At the Waterford Speedbowl Ron Yuhas Jr. won his third SK-Modified feature of the season cutting into division leader Keith Rocco's points lead. Tyler Chadwick finished second, followed by Rocco, who leads the points race by six with just two events left. Tim Jordan won his second Late Model feature. Danny Field (Mini Stocks), Walt Hovey Jr. (Street Stocks) and Jason Palmer (Legends) also earned victories.
Jimmie Johnson was the NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Dover International. Clint Boyer was the Nationwide Series winner.

  Last year, 2013, weekly racing as we knew it would never be the same at the Thompson Speedway. The speedway was well into a $4 million project which would rebuild and modify an existing road course. The project was expected to be finished by June of 2014. Thursday Night Thunder at Thompson which featured NASCAR Whelen Weekly racing for Sunoco Modifieds (SK type), Late Models, Ltd Sportsman and mini stocks would be no more. In past years Thursday Night Thunder ran from mid May thru September. Because of construction and rain the Thursday night schedule in 2013 was cut short.

  A spokesperson for the speedway said that only six to eight NASCAR-sanctioned events would be run in 2014 on the 5/8-mile oval. From 2015 on the intent was to run only six races per year.

  While there have been some lean nights, Thursday Night Thunder had become quite popular with many in recent years. Its a shame to see it go away. The Thompson Speedway had provided some of the best high speed competition in the northeast second to none.
For the most part, Sports Car racing at Thompson would be non-spectator. Its hard to figure how the speedway will recoup their outlay of funds that would be spent on the project.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Fall Final. The field of entrants continued to deplete as a mere 25 cars were on hand for qualifying. Don Lia recorded a fast lap of 18.295 seconds (98.388 mph) to edge Bobby Santos for the pole. Santos, who was attempting to become the first driver in Whelen Modified Tour history to sweep a season of pole awards at Stafford, finished second with a fast lap of 18.299 (98.366). Season points leader Ryan Preece qualified third around the historic half mile at 18.413 (97.757) while Rowan Pennink was fourth at 18.426 (97.688) and Chuck Hossfeld fifth at 18.430 (97.667).

  Lia got redemption in the 150 lap Fall Final after being booted out of the lead on the last lap a Loudon on Sept. 21. From his pole starting position the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino carried him to a convincing win over Doug Coby by 3.231 seconds. The win was his first on the tour since Aug. 9 of 2012 at the Thompson (Conn.) Speedway. Lia led from lap 1 to lap 76 when he pitted for fuel and tires under a caution that was displayed after Ed Flemke Jr hit the wall on lap 72. Ron Silk beat him out of the pits and led laps 77-79 before Lia regained control of the lead, which he never relinquished. Rowan Pennink finished third with Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore rounding out the top five. Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Chuck Hossfeld, Bobby Santos and Ron Silk rounded out the top 10.

  Point leader Ryan Preece carried a 41-point lead over Coby into the race and had a shot to clinch his first Whelen Modified Tour title, but after a 17th-place finish due to a late-race rear end failure, was not able to wrap it up. His advantage over Coby was 26 points going into the season finale at the World Series at Thompson on Oct 20.

  There were nine cars running on the lead lap at the finish. In addition to Preece, others having problems were Eric Goodale, mechanical problems, Patrick Emerling; engine, Eric Berndt; overheating, Flemke; wreck, Wade Cole, Cole Powell and Woody Pitkat; rear end problems and Richie Pallai; accident.

  Not to be out done by Keith Rocco at Waterford, Woody Pitkat did his version of the double at Stafford on Sunday as he clinched the tracks SK Modified title and the Late Model title. Rocco took the checkered flag in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, while Pitkat clinched his first career SK Modified® track championship with a third place finish. Pitkat also came up as the winner of the 30-lap Late Model feature.

  In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Gervais, Jr. got a good run on the outside of Curt Brainard to take the lead at the green flag. As the field came out of turn 4 to complete the first lap, Brainard got sideways and behind him Joey Cipriano got into the frontstretch wall and ripped the right front tire off of his car to bring out the caution and red flags as Cipriano’s right front briefly caught fire. The field did not complete the lap and there was a total restart of the race.

  The next restart saw Gervais again get a good run on the outside of Brainard to take the lead with Doug Coby following Gervais by Brainard. Keith Rocco and Eric Berndt were also able to get past Brainard, dropping him back to fifth place. Ryan Preece was on the charge in the first couple laps, quickly working his way by Berndt and Coby to move into third on lap-4 with Gervais and Rocco occupying the top-2 positions. Rocco was beginning to apply heavy pressure to the back bumper of Gervais on lap-8 as he was looking to move into the race lead. Rocco made his move going into turn 1 on lap-11 to take over the race lead. Gervais was able to get back into line in second just in front of Preece, who was third. Berndt was fourth and Coby was fifth just in front of Rowan Pennink.

  Pennink made a move under Coby on lap-12 and with 13 laps complete, Curt Brainard nearly spun and collected the car of Coby who did a 360 spin to bring the caution out. Back under green Rocco took the lead with Preece moving into second. Pennink moved up to third with Danny Cates moving by Gervais for fourth. Right behind Cates and Gervais was Woody Pitkat, who was fighting for the championship along with Preece. Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun in turns 3+4 to bring the caution out with 19 laps complete.

  Rocco again took the lead with Preece settling into second. Pennink was third with Pitkat moving by Cates to take over fourth. Membrino spun coming off turn 4 and collected the cars of Brainard and Tim Sullivan to bring the caution out with 21 laps complete. Rocco resumed his lead with Preece holding off a challenge from Pennink to remain in second. Pitkat was fourth behind Pennink with Bobby Santos, III moving around Cates for fifth place. Preece was beginning to apply pressure to Rocco’s bumper for the race lead but Sean Foster spun in turn 4 to bring the yellow back out with 26 laps complete.

  Rocco took the lead again back under green with Preece right behind him. Pennink was still third with Pitkat right behind him in fourth and Santos was fifth. Pennink got loose in turn 2 on lap 31 which allowed Pitkat and Santos to both get by and drop Pennink back to fifth. With Pitkat in third right behind Preece, he was in the position he needed to be in order to clinch the championship.

  Rocco pulled away from Preece in the closing laps to pick up his second win of the 2013 season. Preece finished second while Pitkat finished third, which was enough to give Pitkat the SK Modified® championship by 2 points over Preece. Santos finished fourth and Pennink rounded out the top-5.

  Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl It was a big night for the Waterford Speedbowl's most-celebrated driver on Saturday. Keith Rocco, who unofficially won the Late Model seasonal points title on September 21 captured his third title in the SK-Modified division Saturday night. Rocco did the double as he won both features on the final regular Saturday of the racing season. It was his ninth win of the year in the SK-Modified race and fourth straight Late Model feature win. Rocco’s two wins on the night brought him within one victory of the single-season record of 23 wins at the track, accomplished by Don Collins in 1960. Rocco has four chances to eclipse the mark at the track’s Finale Weekend, next Saturday and Sunday, when he’s scheduled to compete in four different divisions.

  Also at the Connecticut shoreline oval Corey Hutchings, Ken Cassidy Jr. and Dylan Izzo put the finishing touches on division titles. Hutchings clinched the Street Stock division, Cassidy the Mini Stock division and Izzo the Legends Cars division. Other feature winners Saturday were Phil Evans (Street Stocks), Cassidy with his third straight Mini Stock win, Izzo (Legends Cars), Brad Voglesong (X-Cars) and Dave Yardley (Super X-Cars).

  In the 35 lap SK Modified feature, Rocco started in fourth position and quickly was in contention, moving up to second behind Monahan by lap-2 when Rob Janovic Jr. spun in turn one to trigger the yellow flag after the field scattered around his spinning car. Rocco powered into the lead over Monahan after two false starts by the front row trying to restart the race on lap-2. After a Jeff Gallup spin on lap-6, another great restart over Monahan enabled Rocco to drive away from the field. Kyle James moved to second place on lap-11 around Monahan and when Tom Abele Jr. tried to follow, Monahan shut the door and the two came together. Monahan collected his car and held the spot but lost ground to James, who began a pursuit of Rocco’s lead which already had grown to several car lengths.

  Behind Rocco and James, the best battle was for third as four cars ran together. Abele continued to pester Monahan while Craig Lutz had caught the pair looking to improve his position as the race approached halfway. Abele went to the outside lane in his quest to get by Monahan, working hard as Monahan tried to hold him off. Finally on lap-21 Abele had the spot after several laps trying. Lutz struck quickly on Monahan to pick up fourth position, dropping Monahan to fifth a lap later. James couldn’t reel in Rocco, but the lead evaporated when Jim Larsen Jr. spun in turn four just ahead of Rocco, returning the race to caution with seven laps remaining.

  A good restart allowed Rocco to easily resume his lead over James, who settled back into second over Abele. Rocco quickly extinguished any hopes James may have had to spoil his championship-clinching run, pulling away. Rocco went on to score the win unchallenged with James second and Abele third. Lutz finished fourth and Janovic rebounded from his spin to take fifth.

  Rocco’s title in the SK Modifieds® gives him three for his career at Waterford, joining back-to-back championship seasons in 2010 and 2011. Coupled with the Late Model championship he clinched a week previous, Rocco became the only driver in Speedbowl history to win both crowns in the same season.

  Sixth thru tenth in the SK Modifieds were Diego Monahan, Tyler Chadwick, Todd Ceravolo, Joe Gada and Nichole Morgillo.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour was in action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. A short field of 16 cars went the 150 lap distance on the 0,455-mile banked oval. Pole sitter Burt Myers led the first 62 laps before giving way to Andy Seuss who led the balance of the event. Myers faded to eighth in the final rundown. George Brunnhoelzl III finished second with John Smith, third.

  In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Jimmie Johnson once again dominated at Dover during Sunday’s AAA 400, leading a race-high 243 laps. Joey Logano continued his domination of Dover Int’l Speedway on Saturday as he cruised to his fourth-straight NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at the one-mile concrete oval.

  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 26, 2014

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