Forty-five years ago in 1969, Thompson ran a 500 lap Modified
event. Bugsy Stevens all but sewed up his third consecutive NASCAR National
Modified Championship as he took the win. A virtually unknown Richie Evans
finished second and was followed by Billy Hensley, Fred DeSarro, Bob Santos
and Lou Lazzaro. In the Southland, Ray Hendrick won both ends of a twin bill
for modifieds and late model sportsman at the Beltsville Speedway in
Forty years ago in 1974, it was off
to Martinsville for the annual twin 250's for the Modifieds and Late Models.
As he had done all year, Ronnie Bouchard dominated the Modified 250 and
capped off a very successful season. Richie Evans finished second and was
followed by Merv Treichler and Bugsy Stevens. Jerry Cook finished fifth and
sewed up the 1974 NASCAR modified championship by scant 77 points over
Evans. In the final point run down, Geoff Bodine finished third and was
followed by Stevens, Charlie Jarzombek and Bouchard. Ray Hendrick won the
late model 250 with Reds Cagle, second.
Thirty-five years ago in 1979, Jerry
Cook scored his seventh win of the season as he held off Richie Evans to win
the annual Fall 250 at Martinsville. Evans hammered on Cook for the final
six laps but to no avail and had to settle for second spot. Ronnie Bouchard,
in an Evans team car, finished third with Maynard Troyer and Geoff Bodine
rounding out the top five. Morgan Shepherd won the Late Model 250 over Joe
Thirty years ago in 1984, Tony
Siscone scored an emotional victory at Martinsville as he won the Fall 250
over Ron Bouchard, Jamie Tomaino and Bob Polverari. Siscone, who had been
badly burned in an accident with Ray Everham, dedicated his win to the late
Eddie Flemke. Siscone took the lead after Richie Evans lost an engine on lap
228.The final standings for 1984 showed Evans the champion with Jim Spencer,
George Kent, Corky Cookman and Brian Ross rounding out the top five.
Twenty five years ago in 1989,
Jeff Fuller was the 200 lap modified winner at Martinsville. Reggie Ruggiero
finished second with Doug Hevron and George Kent following. L.D. Ottinger
won the late model portion.
Twenty years ago in 1994, Tony
Siscone won the rained out Race of Champions at Flemington and announced his
retirement from racing in victory lane. Ed Flemke Jr. finished second. Kenny
Bernstein went 314 mph at Pomona, California. In Winston Cup action at
Phoenix, Terry LaBonte took the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1999, Jeff
Green was the Busch Grandnational winner at Memphis. The Venditti family
announced that the Seekonk Speedway would operate under a NASCAR sanction
for the 2000 season. Also on this weekend it was announced that five members
of the over the wall crew, The Rainbow Warriors of the Jeff Gordon crew, had
been hired away by Robert Yates.
Ten years ago in 2004, The NASCAR
Dodge Weekly Racing Series held their awards banquet in Nashville, Tenn.
Drivers and crews from all over the country converged on the music city for
what had to be the richest season ending payoff in NASCAR Weekly Racing
Series history. Representing the New England region was Champion Richard
Wolf who was the titleholder from the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire.
Greg Pursley, who raced at the Irwindale Speedway in California, was crowned
the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Champion. Pursley, won 13 races on his way to
the title. Among those taking part in the awards ceremony was Todd Ceravolo
who finished fourth in the New England Region. Ceravolo, who is also the
2004 Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified Track Champion said he was impressed
by the gala affair that saw over $1.6 million paid out to short track racers
from coast to coast.
The Stafford Motor Speedway has announced that they had named former Late
Model Champion Chuck Zantarski of West Haven as the Assistant Race Director
under Race Director Frank Sgambato JR. Zantarski would have a driver’s view
of the racing which should lead to better policing of the racing in general.
A former racer can understand what racers do and why they do it.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were at
the Atlanta International Raceway in Georgia. In what has to be the greatest
rebound in auto racing history Jimmie Johnson scored an emotional win over
Mark Martin in the Nextel Cup event. For Johnson it was his third in a row.
Driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson entered the race with a heavy
heart as the organization he races for suffered a multi tragedy just a week
prior when Hendrick family members and employees perished in a plane crash
near Martinsville Virginia. Carl Edwards finished third. It was a rough day
for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished a distant 33rd after a late race bout
with the wall. Earnhardt was attempting to pass Edwards and miss calculated
when he went to get back in line. Matt Kenseth won the Aarons 312 Busch
Grand National event.
Nextel Cup star Jimmy Spencer found himself in hot water recently when
Cornelius, North Carolina police arrested him. Spencer was charged with
interfering with police who were trying to serve a warrant on his son,
Jonathan, who was accused of pouring paint on two cars on October 6. Spencer
was also charged with disorderly conduct. Evidently Morgan-McClure
Motorsports didn’t appreciate the fact that their driver had been arrested
as they released him and hired Mike Wallace to drive their car at Atlanta
last weekend. Wallace did not qualify for the Atlanta event.
Five years ago in 2009, the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series had come to an end for another season. The final
point standings for 2009 confirmed Donny Lia as the series champion. Lia
entered the entire 13-race season and amassed 2002 points. Lia won four
events for a season total winnings of $71,774. Ryan Preece, 16 points back,
finished second. Preece also ran 13 events, winning two and collecting
$51,721. Defending series champion Ted Christopher ended up in third spot in
the final standings with 1931 points to his credit. Christopher won three
times and had a season total of $67,249. Rowan Pennink finished fourth with
1867 points. Although winless, Pennink ran consistently up front, recording
11 top ten finishes and a season total of $35,277. Rounding out the top five
was Todd Szegedy with 1823 points. Szegedy also had goose eggs in the win
column but his consistent finishes banked him $37,384. Sixth through tenth
for 2009 are. Chris Pasteryak, Mike. Stefanik, Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat and
Eddie Flemke Jr.
After the completion of its regular season as a clay track in September,
the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY was converted to an asphalt track,
using blacktop that had been lying under clay since 1977. Two race events
were run on the asphalt in October. It was announced that Malta would be
repaved and reconfigured. Devil's Bowl Speedway would be also be paved. The
True Value Modified Racing Series had already indicated that they will be
racing in an event there in 2010.
The True Value Modified Racing Series announced their Champion and final
point standings for 2009. Jon McKennedy, with 487 points was the series
champion. Rob Goodenough with 474 points finished second. Third was Stephen
Masse. Rowan Pennink and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth
through tenth are Jack Bateman, Les Hinckley III, Dwight Jarvis, Mike
Douglas Jr. and Michael Holdridge.
The scheduled second annual foreclosure proceedings of the property in which
the Waterford Speedbowl is located was cut a day short as Terry Eames and
his “LLC” group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The New London
Day reported that the scheduled foreclosure auction scheduled for Saturday,
October 31 had been cancelled. What it means is that Rocco Arbitell and
Peter Borelli would be still holding the bag and would not receive the money
they loaned Eames when they bailed him out in July of 2007. Eames owed in
excess of $800,000. Eames said that racing will continue in 2010 at the
Arbitell hinted to the Hartford Courant that he was thinking of “dropping
a dime” on Eames to the IRS. If that is true, the IRS is an organization not
to fool with or lie to! They collect money, property and put people in jail.
Since putting a wheel under George Korteweg to get control of the track
Eames had literally run the place into the ground. Shawn Monahan is another
victim. Eames took him “In” and almost totally bilked him until he took the
advice of his lawyer and cut his loses.
Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced that it was ceasing all operations at
Memphis Motorsports Park and that it would not be promoting any events in
Memphis in 2010. As previously announced, the Memphis facility had been
under an agreement of sale to Gulf Coast Entertainment but Gulf Coast was
unable to secure financing. NASCAR has approved the realignment of their
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events from
Memphis Motorsports Park to the Nashville and Gateway facilities.”
In Sprint Cup action the Associated Press reported that NASCAR demanded
drivers be on their best behavior at Talladega Superspeedway, where a ban on
bump-drafting sanitized what's usually one of the most spectacular races of
the season. In the end, chaos reigned, just like always. After 450 miles of
what resembled a slow Sunday drive, the action picked up and the outcome was
much of what everyone has come to expect out of Talladega: An unlikely
winner, two spectacular crashes and an army of drivers frustrated about the
unpredictability of restrictor-plate racing. In response, the 43-car field
spent much of Sunday in a single-file parade lap that almost looked to be a
conscious thumbing of the nose at NASCAR. Ryan Newman's harrowing crash with
five laps to go left him upside down in the grass, and NASCAR needed a
stoppage of almost 13 minutes to cut him from the car. Outspoken in the wake
of Edwards' April crash, he was none too pleased to have spent almost 15
minutes trapped inside his car. His crash set up two-lap sprint to the
finish, and that was halted when championship contender Mark Martin went
flipping across the track in his own spectacular crash. The race ended under
caution, with Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane.
Last year, 2013, Friday, November 1 marked
the 35th anniversary of the passing away of the great Fred DeSarro. Fred, a
dedicated family man, an intense racer and a good friend to many was warming
up at the Thompson Speedway three weeks previous when something went wrong
as he was going down the backstretch and sailed over the third turn banking.
Knocked unconscious from severe head injuries, the 1970 NASCAR National
Modified Champion never woke up and died on November 1 at the Rhode Island
Hospital. In addition to his family and close friends, those most affected
by his passing were Carl Bugsy Stevens and Kenny Bouchard who were on the
scene when the accident occurred. Fred is gone but he will live in our
NASCAR released the final point standings in the NASCAR Whelen All
American Series. Lee Pulliam who races in the Late Model division at the
South Boston Speedway in Virginia is the racing series National Champion.
Keith Rocco, who races at Thompson, Stafford and at Waterford finished
third. It was the fifth consecutive year that the 28 year old engine builder
finished in the top three. In fact he has finished no worse than fourth in
the last seven years. Overall, Rocco won 30 feature events in 2013 including
16 in the SK Modifieds, two in the Valenti Modified Series and 12 in the
Late Model division at Waterford. Coming with those victories were the
Connecticut State Championship, SK Modified Championships at Waterford and
at Thompson plus the Late Model Championship at Waterford. Following Rocco
in the Connecticut State Championship was Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Ted
Christopher and Todd Ceravolo. Preece also finished fifth in New York State
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series closed out the 2013 season at the
Thompson Speedway. Overall racing on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was
second to none. There were a total of 50 different drivers in competition.
NASCAR has released the final point standings for 2013. NASCAR’s touring
series champions will be recognized at the traditional NASCAR Night of
Champions Touring Awards on Saturday, Dec. 14 in Charlotte.
Points - Races - Wins - T/5 - T/10
1. Ryan Preece 549
14 4 10 10
2. Doug Coby
517 14 2 6 10
3. Donny Lia
496 14 1 7 8
4. Rowan Pennink 487 14 1
5. Mike Stefanik 480
14 2 3 8
6. Todd Szegedy 477 14
1 3 7
7 Ron Silk
466 14 0 4 10
8. Justin Bonsignore 464 14 1 5 9
Ron Yuhas, Jr.
Cole Powell *
Ed Flemke, Jr.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at the Martinsville Speedway, Jeff Gordon
took the lead from Matt Kenseth, who led the most laps in the Goody’s
Headache Powder Relief 500, with 21 laps remaining and drove away to a
.596-second victory for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the
season. It was Gordon’s first victory of the season and the 88th of his
career. Gordon’s eighth victory was at Martinsville was the 21st for
Hendrick Motorsports at the .526-mile 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
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