Fifty years ago in 1965
the fabulous Sal Dee in the Flying 70 won the opening day 30 lap Modified
feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. A youthful Bob Potter won the Bomber 15
Forty five years ago in 1970 the
Waterford Speedbowl’s opening day event was rained out.
Forty years ago in 1975, a 200 lap
modified event at Hickory; N.C. was cancelled after the promoter received
only 16 entries. The modifieds have never been scheduled there since. Fulton
was scheduled to open for the season but ended up being cancelled because of
Thirty five years ago in 1980, the
season opening Ice Breaker at Thompson was rained out and was rescheduled
for the following week which was Easter.
Thirty years ago in 1985, the
IceBreaker at Thompson went off without a hitch. Richie Evans took the 75
lap win over Jeff Fuller, Brian Ross and Jamie Tomaino.
Twenty five years ago in 1990,
Riverside's second night of racing was rained out. At Thompson on Sunday,
the rain quit and the Ice Breaker was run. Tony Hirschman took the win over
Jamie Tomaino, George Kent and Jeff Fuller. The SK portion of the IceBreaker
was won by Lloyd Agor.
Twenty years ago in 1995, it was 18
degrees when the feature went off at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Chris
Kopeck made it two in a row as he held off Reggie Ruggiero for the win. Ed
Spiers finished third. At the Thompson IceBreaker on Sunday, Tom Cravenho
became the youngest ever driver to win a Featherlite Modified Tour event.
Cravenho, driving for Mario Fiore, pitted early (lap48) in the 125 lap event
and took the lead after the leaders pitted on lap 71.Tony Hirschman also
pitted early and ended up second. Rick Fuller finished third with Charlie
Pasteryak and Steve Park rounding out the top five. John Anderson won the SK
event after Ted Christopher ran out of gas on the last lap. Other IceBreaker
winners were CJ Freye in the Late Models and Glenn Boss in the Strictly
Fifteen years ago in 2000 Wall
Stadium was running and Tim Arre took the win over John Blewett III and Tom
Mauser. At the Texas Motor Speedway, Mark Martin took the Grandnational win
and Dale Earnhardt Jr dominated the Winston Cup division to score his first
Ten years ago in 2005, with the
advent of the Southern Modified Tour coming under the NASCAR blanket the
NASCAR Modified season actually started on March 26 at the Caraway Speedway
in Asheboro, North Carolina. Ted Christopher, driving the Roger and Sandra
Hill No.79 took the win. Christopher, who took the role of the Hired Gun,
was the fourth leader of the event. Jay Foley, a southerner, led the opening
green until being overtaken by Long Islander JR. Bertuccio on lap 26.
Bertuccio led until lap 37 when he was passed by another southerner, Jay
Hedgecock. Hedgecock was hoping to annex a win but fell victim to engine
problems after completing lap 65. Christopher, who was running second at the
time, inherited the lead and never looked back as he romped to take the
victory. Foley ended up second with Jamie Tomaino, third. Junior Miller and
Frank Fleming rounded out the top five. There were six cautions for 27 laps.
Hill’s Enterprises, in a surprise announcement, released Eddie Flemke JR
as their driver. Flemke has been the team’s driver since 1998 and recorded
13 wins. Car owners Roger and Sandra Hill stated that the driver change does
not affect the team's plans for this season, as they will once again run the
full Whelen Modified Tour schedule and compete for the championship. They
will also compete in select Southern Modified Tour events when the schedule
allows. A deal was struck with Mike Christopher on Saturday afternoon
Tony Hirschman announced that he would defend his title. At the end of
the 2004 season Hirschman hinted that he would be backing off a bit so as to
assist his son Matt who drives Modifieds in New York State. Just six months
after announcing its title sponsorship of the legendary NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour, Whelen Engineering expanded its involvement with NASCAR’s
open-wheeled racing division. Whelen, an emergency signal and lighting
manufacturer based in Chester, Conn., signed a multi-year agreement to
become title sponsor of the all-new NASCAR Southern Modified Tour, now known
as the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.
The Plainfield Connecticut Planning and Zoning Commission approved an
application that would allow dozens of large-scale projects, including a
domed stadium for auto racing. In a 4-1 vote, the commission approved the
application by New England Raceway LLC and Connecticut Yankee Greyhound
Racing Inc. Developer Eugene Arganese said he would submit plans to build a
140,000-seat domed auto racetrack after the commission acted on a second
application that would incorporate 1,153 acres of residential and commercial
property in the new C5 Resort/Recreational Development District. The
commission postponed deciding on whether to amend the town's zoning map in
the area near Exits 87 and 88 off of Interstate 395 until its April 12
meeting. The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey broke the story that two
developers who want to build roughly 250 homes to replace the Wall Township
Speedway are under contract to purchase the 55-year-old raceway. Town
officials said it would be highly unlikely that the project is approved.
Rookie Reed Sorenson raced to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory
beating Kenny Wallace by a whopping 14.417 seconds in the Pepsi 300 at
Nashville Superspeedway. The Nextel Cup Series was off as it was Easter
Five years ago in 2010, while a 'noreaster
was dumping over four inches of rain in New England the Whelen Southern
Modified Tour Series was at the Caraway Speedway in Ashboro, NC. Nineteen
Modifieds were on hand for the 150 lap contest. Burt Myers won his 22nd
career Coors Light Pole.
New Hampshire invader Andy Seuss passed Burt Myers on the opening lap and
went on to win round two of the southern tour. LW Miller finished second
with James Civali, third. Brian Loftin and Zach Brewer rounded out the top
five. In the end, Burt Myers faded to sixth. His History Channel Mad House
co-stars Tim Brewer and Jason Myers finished seventh and 18th. Brown is now
the series point leader. Seuss pocketed $2000 for his efforts.
It was reported that the France Family Group, which included 46 entities
ranging from members of the NASCAR-ruling France family to companies they
operate, own 69.6% of the voting stock at International Speedway Corp., the
company revealed in its annual proxy statement. A year ago, in 2009, the
group owned 68.9%. With the majority of the voting stock, the France Family
Group controls the decisions of the company. ISC Chairman Jim France
controls 44.9% of the voting stock (including his shares of the France
Family Group) and his late brother Bill's widow, Betty Jane France, owns
20.7%. NASCAR Chairman Brian France (Jim's nephew), who was listed as
controlling only 0.23% of the voting ISC stock last year, now owns 1.3%.
Executive compensation also was revealed as part of the proxy statement.
Chairman Jim France's compensation package was worth $554,608, compared with
$1.08 million last year when he was chairman and chief executive officer.
Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy's compensation
package was worth $769,780, compared with $719,146 a year ago when she was
the company president. The compensation package includes salary, bonus,
incentives, perks, above-market returns on pay set aside for later and the
value of stock options and restricted stock granted during the year.
NASCAR announced the television schedule for its developmental series for
2010 and a partial television schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on the Speed Channel. The expanded
calendar included 21 events on SPEED for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and seven
races for the Modifieds. This comprehensive package included airing of every
race on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West schedules. Three of the
Whelen Modified Tours will air as same-day televised events.
NASCAR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck divisions enjoyed a weekend
Last year, 2014, Based on high
interest in the Valenti Modified Racing Series for 2014, series director
Scott Tapley requested a mandatory tire sign-in to ensure enough tires for
the Waterford opener. The rule showed 33 race teams had filed for tires.
Among those entered were reigning series champion Rowan Pennink, of
Huntingdon Valley, PA, and defending "Blastoff" winner Steve Masse, of
Bellingham. MA plus local favorite, two-time Speedbowl winner Chris
Pasteryak, of Lisbon, CT, Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, Max Zachem and
Berlin, CT’s, Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT., Mike Holdridge,
of Madison, CT, and Dave Etheridge, of Portland, CT., are part of the
opening day roster.
In addition, Todd Szegedy, of Ridgefield, CT., will debut in Kevin
Stuarts # 85 and a Long Island invasion finds Justin Bonsignore, of Islip,
NY, driving Art Barry’s #21 car, and Shawn Solomito, of Islip, looking to
nail down the opening day win. Eric Goodale, and Brad VanHouten of Wading
River, have also entered.
The powers that be at the Waterford Speedbowl had done some scrambling in
order to make the speedbowl open on schedule. Back in January a Judge set an
October 18 foreclosure auction date for the Connecticut shoreline oval. The
ruling gave track owner Terry Eames some extra time to find funding to
continue as owner of the track or find a buyer. The judge also ruled that
the track management complies with state and town officials who have
mandated that the grandstands be repaired. A re-construction project of the
under pinnings of the grandstands was begun last year and was not completed
leaving large sections uninhabitable and covered over with tarps and danger
tape. The extreme hard winter has all but halted any work that had been
planned. In the last two weeks much progress has been made and it looked as
if the Waterford Speedbowl will open on the weekend as planned.
Down in the southland, 2014 could be a record-setting year for veteran
Modified racer Tim Brown. With just two more wins, the Cana, Virginia native
would assume the title of the all-time wins list leader at historic Bowman
Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Brown has been winning at
"The Stadium" for more than a decade. He's won seven NASCAR Whelen Southern
Modified Tour races and has finished in the top five in more than half of
the races he has competed in.
Instead of chasing more NASCAR Tour wins this season, Brown's Tour car
owners Tom and Connie Lythgoe had made the decision to compete in the
upstart KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series in 2014. It’s a matter of
dollars and cents. The KOMA races pay $2900 to win while the Southern Mod
Tour events pay $2,000.
The first KOMA Modified event run at the Hickory Motor Speedway in North
Carolina drew 16 Modifieds and a near full house of fans. Jason Myers
defeated brother Burt to claim the first ever KOMA Unwind Modified Madness
Series pole. Tim Brown qualified third.
Tim Brown took the win over Jason Myers, Burt Myers, Josh Nichols and
Jimmy Zacharias. Burt Myers was running second at the lap 94 mark when he
pitted. There were 20 lead changes and some confusion at the finish. It had
been said that a pit stop was mandatory. Renee Dupuis was the only
northerner in the field. Her night ended on lap 46 when she crashed hard
into the wall.
Race director Randy Myers stated that there was a mandatory pit stop
during the race. He made sure this was relayed to teams through race
officials at multiple points throughout the race as he felt it was properly
mentioned but not stressed during the drivers' meeting. It was stated that
the mandatory pit stop could come at any point during the race. If the
caution had come out, teams could have stopped then too. In a sense
tonight's confusion was caused by a lack of cautions after lap 50. The pit
stop COULD include a tire swap if it came before lap 100. If the stop came
after 100, the stop and go was the only allowed action. As such, Myers
maintains Tim Brown as the rightful winner, having done a stop and go on lap
112. Myers understands some particular teams are unhappy about this
interpretation and says he accepts responsibility for the issue at hand.
Kyle Larson, who began his racing career on dirt tracks in California,
survived an intense battle with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veterans Kyle Busch
and Kevin Harvick in the closing laps of Saturday’s TreatMyClot.com 300 to
earn his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. He backed it up with a
runner-up finish behind Kyle Bush in the Sunday Sprint Cup event.
Congratulations went to Mike Joy who was voted upon and named as the Best
NASCAR Announcer by the Sporting News. Joy, who was an accomplished
sports-car racer, spent 14 years (1977-1990) at Motor Racing Network and had
spent 30 years as part of the NASCAR broadcasts at CBS, TNT and Fox. He has
been the play-by-play announcer with Fox since the network began televising
NASCAR races in 2001. Before his days at Motor Racing Joy was the announcer
at the Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, MA, the announcer and Public
Relations at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the announcer at the Thompson
Speedway. Mike Joy is one of the nicest guys along with being one of the
humblest. Mike always gives credit to those around him and embraces the team
he is on and above all has never forgotten where he came from.
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park announced that Spencer, MA based
Victory Lane Radio will embark on a first-of-its-kind program which will
allow fans to listen to live lap-by-lap coverage, from the drop of the first
green flag to the waving of the last checker flag, free of charge.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, R.I.02891.
Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit