The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

April 24, 2015

  Sixty five years ago in 1950, Red Foote was the Saturday night winner at the Norwood Arena.

  Sixty years ago in 1955, rain washed out the feature events at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as they were being lined up.

  Fifty five years ago in 1960 Wild Bill Slater made it two in a row in Modified action at the Waterford Speedbowl. Red Foote, another New England Legend, was the non-Ford winner and Dick Dunn was the Bomber feature winner. Norwood Arena ran its first NASCAR sanctioned Modified event. Red Bolduc who would lose his life two months later, won the opening feature.

  Fifty years ago in 1965 NEAR Hall of Fame member Dick Watson was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Marvin Chase was the Bomber winner. Ken Shoemaker was the winner at the Fonda Speedway. Lou Smith took the 30 lap opener at Utica-Rome. Sadly, Smith would lose his life on May 15 in a violent crash at the Fonda Speedway. Carl Wojcyk took the win at the Riverside Park Speedway. Nathan "Smokey" Boutwell won the Modified feature at Norwood while George Summers took top honors at Seekonk. Tony Mordino was the Sunday Modified winner at the Thompson Speedway.

  Forty five years ago in 1970, the Albany Saratoga Speedway opened for the season on Friday night. With no NASCAR Modified racing in New England on Friday night, the 4/10 mile upstate New York oval would draw the best from New England and Long Island every week through out the season. Taking the opener was Carl Bugsy Stevens, driving the mighty no. 3 of Len Boehler. Bill Henry finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Dick Fowler, Dave Lape and Gary Winters. At Stafford on Saturday night, Stevens continued his winning streak as he won both ends of the twin 25-lap program. Bill Greco finished second in the first event and was followed by Ed Yerrington, Moose Hewitt and Sal Dee. Lou Austin finished second in the nightcap and was followed by Yerrington, Tom Sutcliff and Greco. With the Modifieds out of Norwood the Late Models were elevated to being the lead division. George Savory took the Late Model win at Norwood before a sparse crowd. At Fonda, Kenny Shoemaker in the Bob Judkins 2x and Ron Narducci were the winners. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dick Dunn was the Modified feature winner. John DeLong won his second Daredevil Late Model feature. On the Island at Islip, Bob Holmberg won the opener at the tough 1/5-mile oval. George Brunnhoelzl finished second and was followed by Mousie Kempster, Gary Winters and Fred Harbach. On Sunday it rained at Thompson but not at Utica-Rome where Dick Fowler won a 100 lapper over Eddie Flemke, Jerry Cook, Dick Nephew and Lou Lazzaro.

  Forty years ago in 1975, Geoff Bodine scored his first victory for Dick Armstrong as he drove the Hop Harrington wrenched No.1 to victory in the Spring 150 at Martinsville. Jerry Cook finished second. At Shangri-La, Maynard Troyer beat out George Kent for the win and at Islip, ageless Russ Klar took the opening night win over Jerry Bartlett and Artie Tappen. Freeport ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Richie Evans and Bugsy Stevens lapped the field with Evans taking the win at the historic 1/4 mile flat oval. Fred Harbach finished third with Tappen and Eddie Flemke rounding out the top five. Troyer made it two for two on the weekend as he dominated the Sunday afternoon program at Fulton. Kent was again second with Clayton Sonny Seamon, third. Steady Eddie Flemke, a Modified Legend in his own time, cruised to a 100 lap Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl.

  Thirty five years ago in 1980, Richie Evans captured the 150 at Martinsville. Ronnie Bouchard in the Armstrong No.1 finished second with Mark Malcuit, third and Satch Worley, fourth. . Geoff Bodine in the Taylor 99 lost a rear and finished 26th.Twenty miles down the road at Ashboro that same night, Bodine and Bouchard tangled on the start with Bodine KOíd for the night. Jerry Cook took the win. Bouchard recovered to finish second with Brian Ross, third. George Kent scored a one-two punch as he won at Shangri-La on Saturday night and the Lancaster 200 on Sunday. Doug Hewitt finished second at Shangri-La and at Lancaster, Roger Treichler finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Maynard Troyer and Richie Evans. At Fonda, legand Lou Lazzaro scored his 100th win. Racing at Islip was rained out.

  Thirty years ago in 1985, the Modifieds headed for Martinsville for the Spring 150 lapper. Charlie Jarzombek was on a tear as he beat out Brian Ross for the win. Richie Evans finished 12th and made a quick flight to Shangri-La where he scored his 200th career win. Ray Miller won out over SJ Evonsion at Riverside and at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson and Don Howe finished one-two. Waterford and Thompson rained out. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Harry Gant took the 500-lap win.

  Twenty five years ago in 1990, Jeff Fuller in the Sheba No.8 went from pole to pole to win the 150 at Martinsville. Mike Stefanik finished second. Rick Summers in the Simonds No.9 scored his first win at Riverside with Dan Avery, second. Don Howe edged Eddie Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead and at Waterford, Ted Christopher went pole to pole for the win. Mike Stefanik won at Monadnock on Sunday while in Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Geoff Bodine endured to take home the win.

  Twenty years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick won the Friday night opener at Stafford. Ed Flemke Jr finished second and was followed by Ted Christopher, Bob Potter and Mike Christopher. Doug Meservy won at Riverside on Saturday night and on the Island at Riverhead, Tom McCann won out over Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr and Tom Baldwin. Waterford had a 95 lapper scheduled which was rained out after 15 laps with Todd Ceravolo, leading. In Winston Cup action at Talladega, Mark Martin passed Dale Earnhardt with two laps to go to take the win. Jeff Gordon finished second after Earnhardt got dumped by Morgan Shepherd on the final lap. The Busch North Series was at Lee Raceway where Bob Dragon took the win over Dave Dion.

  Fifteen years ago in 2000, the weekend saw a full plate of racing. Waterford and Riverhead ran on Saturday night. David Gada took the win at Waterford over Tucker Reynolds and Jerry Pearl and at Riverhead it was Chuck Steuer over Howie Brode. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for the Annual Spring Sizzler 200.Fifty one Modifieds showed. Ricky Fuller took advantage of Reggie Ruggiero's bad luck as he took the lead on lap 191 and went on to take the win. Ruggerio, who had an ignition box go bad, made the switch and managed to come home in second spot. Ed Flemke Jr finished third and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Tim Connolly, Jerry Marquis and Bob Polverari. Twin 40's were run for the SK's with Zack Sylvester and Mike Christopher taking the wins. At Fontana, California, Jeremy Mayfield took the Winston Cup win. Mayfield was stripped of 151 points, his team was fined and his crew chief was suspended after NASCAR discovered that Mayfield's car was found to have an improper oxygen enhancer in the fuel system.. On a sad note, Lou Lazzaro drove his last race at Fonda on Saturday night and suffered a stroke and died a couple of days later. Lazzaro was a legend in his native New York state and had raced in six decades and at Fonda, alone, had 113 wins.

  Ten years ago in 2005 The Whelen Modified Tour headed for the Stafford Motor for the 34th annual Spring Sizzler. Friday was a beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the low 50ís. Whelen Modified Tour Series teams were allowed to enter the pit area where they could park their tow vehicles and get inspected. The Stafford SK Modifieds and Late Models were allowed to practice. Competitors were instructed to have their scoring transponders in their cars as their speeds would be recorded and could be used to determine lineups for feature events if qualifying heats were rained out on Saturday. Heavy, monsoon type rain washed out all activity on Saturday. The 43 Whelen Modified Tour cars on hand were forced to wait until Sunday for their qualifying and 200 lap Sizzler. The Stafford management along with NASCAR made the decision to run the entire Sizzler program on Sunday. The Pit Party was eliminated as practice was started at 10:00am. Despite extremely long day competitors, officials and track management worked together and got the entire program in. The SK feature provided the usual sparks with Ted Christopher and James Civali slugging it out in the closing laps. Christopher got the win and Civali ended up fourth. Mike Holdridge finished second with Lloyd Agor, third. Civali was subsequently disqualified when he refused the tech inspection. Woody Pitkat moved up to fourth with Kenny Horton rounding out the top five. Tony Hirschman took the win in the 200 lap Whelen Modified Tour Sizzler 200. Zack Sylvester backed up his runner-up finish at Thompson with another second place finish.. Todd Szegedy, pinch hitting for injured Eric Beers in the Boehler Racing Enterprises No. 3 finished third. Reggie Ruggiero and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Jim Mavlogenes won the Late Model feature over Ted Christopher and Ryan Posocco.

  Donnie Lia was the Busch Pole sitter and started fourth behind Nevin George, Todd Szegedy and Tony Hirschman. George led the charge to the green and led until lap 28 when Szegedy moved into the lead. Hirschman, who had been running third, spun but didnít bring out the caution. The first caution came out on lap 40 when Jerry Marquis had a flat tire and collected Mike Stefanik as he attempted to cut across the track to pit road. Stefanikís car dumped a lot of liquid on the track which forced officials to red flag the event on lap 42 in order to clean the track. The field went back to green on lap 47. Another caution on lap 50 for a mass tangle. Among those involved was Ed Flemke Jr. who was black flagged for having no nerf bars. The field went back to green on lap 55. Ted Christopher took the lead one lap later. The caution flew on lap 58 for Jerry Marquis who stopped on the back stretch. Green again on lap 64 with Christopher still leading with Szegedy on his tail. Two laps later another caution, this time for Mike Christopher who spun. The field returned to green on lap 68 with Ted Christopher leading Reggie Ruggiero and Rick Fuller. The next caution came on lap 76 when Ken Barry spun. Tony Hirschman pitted for tires and fuel on lap 78. The field returned to green on lap 82. Christopher led thru numerous restarts and cautions until lap 121 when he along with Szegedy and Ruggiero pitted. On a lap 127 restart Jamie Tomaino led with Hirschman and Sylvester following. By lap 130 Sylvester was in second spot and Hirschman was leading. By lap 195 there were only ten cars on the lead lap. Don Lia, who had been running ninth, hit the wall and set up a green-white-checker sprint to the finish. Following Hirschman, Sylvester, Szegedy, Ruggiero and Ted Christopher at the finish were Chuck Hossfeld, Tomaino Charlie Pasteryak and Tom Bolles.

  Time of Race: 1 hr. 40 mins, 45 secs Average Speed: 60.447 mph Margin of Victory:.28 Seconds. BUD POLE AWARD: Donny Lia, FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: Charlie Pasteryak, POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE: Thomas Bolles, TOMMY BALDWIN MEMORIAL AWARD: Tony Hirschman. There were nine cautions for 52 laps. Estimated attendance was 8,000.

  Five years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series opened for the 2010 season at the Thompson Speedway with the Icebreaker 150 that carried a race purse of $87,231. Thirty seven Modifieds including southern invader Burt Myers were on hand. Bobby Santos III showed his determination early as he was clearly the fastest in practice despite blustery winds and a cool temperature. Santos was a little more than a half mile per hour faster than Rowan Pennick. Myers, who had never laid eyes on the Thompson Speedway before, ran close to 60 laps in practice and was clocked 29th fastest at the time.

  The NASCAR Modifieds qualified as the sun was beginning to go down. Bobby Santos III, in his first time out in the Mystic Missile, put the Bob Garbarino owned mount solidly on the pole for the Icebreaker. The third generation racer turned a fast lap of 18.418 seconds (122.163 mph) in qualifying for Sundayís 150-lap season-opener. That lap surpassed the previous Whelen Modified Tour qualifying record at Thompson set by Eric Beers at 18.429 seconds (122.080 mph) prior to the 2008 World Series. Chris Pasteryak was the second-fastest qualifier on Saturday at 18.470 seconds (121.819 mph) followed by Ron Silk (18.514/121.530), Mike Stefanik (18.596/120.994) and Burt Myers (18.603/120.948). Ryan Preece, Doug Coby, Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink and Eric Berndt rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

  Following qualifying, a redraw of the top-10 cars saw Santos also draw the No. 1 spot. He was joined on the front row by Coby, and the second row consisted of Stefanik and Berndt. Myers drew fifth.

  It was a dream come true for Bobby Santos III as he all but cleaned house at the Thompson Speedway Icebreaker. Starting from the pole, Santos led 91 laps of the 150 lap Whelen Modified Tour opener. The Ron Hutter engine in the Garbarino Mystic Missile never missed a beat as it provided ample power when Santos nailed the accelerator. Santos took the lead for the final time during a restart on lap 119. After running side by side with Ryan Preece, who was in the Boehler Family No.3, for almost a lap Santos pulled ahead as they completed lap 120. The race, which produced seven caution periods for 26 laps, went green from lap 119 on. In the end, Santos finished a little more than a quarter secon ahead of Preece. Mike Stefanik, who led from lap 70 to 101, finished third. Stefanik was in contention the entire race. Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Christopher led from lap 61 to 69 after inheriting the lead when almost the entire field pitted for fuel and tires following a lap 57 caution. Christopher, who gave way to Stefanik after a lap 69 restart, elected to pit for fresh tires after James Civali hit the turn two wall on lap 96. Christopher took on both rear tires and a right front. His charge back to the front of the field fell short. Rowan Pennink, Chris Pasteryak, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and Eric Beers rounded out the top 10.

  Southern invader Burt Myers ran in the top ten during the first half before having transmission problems which hindered his efforts. Needless to say he finished 14th, on the lead lap, at the finish. While not to happy with his finish, Myers remained upbeat as he greeted hundreds of fans in the pit area after the event. Myers, who made himself available, hit a Public Relations Home Run. Myers stated that he likes Thompson Speedway very much and is looking foreward to returning when his schedule permits.

  In other action at Thompson, Keith Rocco, running for a new team at Thompson for the 2010 season and the defending track champion, was back to his old and winning ways as he scored a victory in the first race of a weekend twin bill for the Sunoco Modifieds on Saturday night. Rocco and Ted Christopher swapped the lead position in the late stages but the young gun was able to dust the veteran in the end. The Super Late Models were the second of the twin bill on Saturday. Defending divisional champion, Derek Ramstrom bested the strong field of Super Late Models in convincing fashion.

  Ted Christopher had to use his experience on restarts to score a victory in the Sunoco Modified feature event on Sunday. Defending champion, Derek Ramstrom swept the twin bill for the Super Late Models while Rick Gentes scored Late Model honors. Shawn Monahan bested a strong field of Limited Sportsman competitors to score the victory. Another champion, TIS Modified ace Brian Sullivan made a statement with an opening day victory. Leo Defevers opened Day Two of the Icebreaker with a victory in the Mini Stock Division.

  The Waterford Speedbowl made a lasting impression with Southern invader Burt Myers. With the exception of eight SK Modifieds running on the lead lap when the race was stopped at the end of 12 laps, the remainder of the 23 starters were wrecked or disabled to the point where they were out for the night. Myers was one of them. There were eight cautions in the first six laps which made the rough and tumble action at the Bowman-Grey Stadium seem tame. Race Director Tom Fox ended the agony when he called for a red-checkered finish. Defending division champion Ron Yuhas Jr. was declared the winner, followed by Justin Gaydosh and Tyler Chadwick.

  In other action at the shoreline oval three-time defending Late Model champion Bruce Thomas Jr. held off a late-charging Tim Jordan over the last three laps to win his first feature of the season. Other winners were Josh Galvin (Street Stocks) and Danny Field (Mini Stocks).
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and Whelen Engineering, Inc., announced an extension that will see Whelen remain as the entitlement sponsor for three of NASCARís developmental series through the 2019 racing season.

  The extension means Whelen, which became an entitlement sponsor in 2004, is the longest running current entitlement contract for any of NASCAR's series.

  The weekend saw the Mad House come to the Thompson Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl. Mad House is a reality TV show that focus' on the racing and drivers at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Burt Myers, one of the stars of the show, raced at both tracks. Prior to heading North to compete Myers was an honored guest on the weekly radio program, Gary Danko's Speedway Line Report. Myers, a third generation racer, stated that he feels that the NASCAR Modifieds are the heart of NASCAR racing. His race shop includes two complete Troyer Modifieds, one that used exclusively at Bowman-Gray. As far as the reality show goes, Myers stated that it was business as usual at his shop and in general, the show was 90% accurate. When questioned about the aggressiveness of Junior Miller, Myers stated, "we would let it go if he would". The bad blood between Miller and the Myers family goes back to a motor deal between Gary Myers, Burt's dad and Miller, that went sour years ago. On the subject of Ted Christopher, Burt stated "I like Ted, he's a good guy". Myers added that Christopher didn't volunteer any tips on the Thompson Speedway. "He did tell me to get off Rt.395 at Exit 100." He found out later that exit 99 was the Speedway exit.

  Mad House has portrayed Modified Racing on a short track the way it is. Despite the rough stuff the program has been good for the Modifieds. It is a true family sport and the show.

  The New London Day reported that Waterford resident and Late Model driver Dillon Moltz was about to get the biggest shot of his 18-year-old racing life. Moltz, who drives in the Late Model division at Stafford Motor Speedway, was one of 12 drivers selected to participate in the Richard Petty Driver Search April 26-29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Moltz, and 11 others were picked from a pool of thousands of applicants from across the country.

  Moltz, who was third in the Late Models at Stafford in 2009 with a division-high five wins, will have a busy week. After the season opens at Stafford April 23-25, he'll fly to Charlotte Sunday night and begin a week of racing on Monday. After that, he'll come back home and be ready for another full weekend at Stafford.

  The winner of the competition will get a fully-funded ride in a Petty car in an ARCA race at Pocono Speedway on June 5. The competition will put the 12 drivers in four different cars and test each one in car control and knowledge, track management, mechanical knowledge, speed and other categories.
In some sad news, Speedway Illustrated Magazine has ceased operations.

  A tip of the hat to NASCAR with the announcement by NASCAR and VERSUS of the broadcast schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours in 2010.

  VERSUSí first NASCAR race will feature the Whelen Modified Tourís annual appearance at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on July 31 and the first Whelen Southern Modified Tour broadcast will be its stop at historic Bowman Gray Stadium on Aug 7 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Riverhead event will air on Wednesday, August 4, at 7:00pm. The re-air date is Sunday, August 8 at 11:00pm. The Bowman Gray event will air on Wednesday, August 11 at 7:00pm and re-air on Sunday, August 15, at 11:00pm.

  In addition to Riverhead, the Whelen Modified Tour broadcast schedule will also include August dates at longtime Modified strongholds Stafford ( Conn. ) Motor Speedway and Thompson ( Conn. ) International Speedway as well as the last two races of the season, also at Stafford and Thompson. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour broadcast schedule also includes the August date at Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.) and September races at Langley (Va.) Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway ( Hudson , N.C. ).

  VERSUSí schedule, combined with SPEEDís coverage of seven races between the two Tours, means that that nine of the 14 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races were shown on national television in 2010 as well as seven of the 10 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events. It was previously announced that SPEED would air seven races between the two Tours.

  SPEED will broadcast Whelen Modified Tour events from Martinsville Speedway (June 6), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 26), Lime Rock Park (July 3), Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 18) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 18).

  Ryan Newman ended a 77 race losing streak as he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Phoenix Int Raceway. Kyle Bush was the Nationwide Series winner at the Arizona track.

  Last year, 2014, the big news in New England was the fact that the Waterford Speedbowl had officially gone on the market for sale. Asking price is $3,300,000. The listing stated that the property was currently being operated as a NASCAR sanctioned racetrack. Listed on Zillow the real estate ad stated that ďRedevelopment opportunities abound including affordable housing, retail, industrial, distribution center and light manufacturing". Owner Terry Eames said he listed the property with agents Joe Luca, of RE/MAX, and Kenneth Dill, of Cresa Corporate Real Estate, within the past two weeks, as part of foreclosure proceedings on the property. A Connecticut Judge, Emmet Cosgrove handed down a judgment of foreclosure in January, with an auction date of Oct. 18. The order stated that Eames owed his creditors $1.2 million in debt and attorney fees. Rocco Arbitell, one of the mortgage holders on the property, motioned for foreclosure in 2013. Arbitell's business associate Peter Borrelli was the other mortgage holder.

  On April 3, the plaintiffs filed a motion for advice, requiring that Eames advertise the property. McCoy said the motion was routine and that its purpose was to ensure the property receives exposure both to wider audiences through advertising in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, and to the racing community, through publications such as trade magazines. Eames said the language does not reflect any desire on his part to sell the property.

  Despite all the doom and gloom being generated by the possible demise of the shoreline oval it hadn't affected the enthusiasm of the competitors as Keith Rocco won his third straight Late Model feature to begin the year and Josh Galvin took his second straight Street Stock race in a row during racing Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Tyler Chadwick won the SK Modified division feature, Ken Cassidy Jr. engineered a come-from-behind win in the Mini Stocks and Corey Barry scored a victory in the SK Light Modified race.

  Chadwick worked hard during his run to victory in the 35-lap SK Modified race. After he took the lead on lap 12 from Jeff Gallup, he held back a charge from Rocco over the final 17 laps in what was a high-speed duel. Rocco tried several different maneuvers to try to rattle Chadwick, but Chadwick, the 2012 division champion, proved unflappable. Rocco was second, followed by former division champions Rob Janovic Jr. and Ted Christopher third and fourth, respectively.

  In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Rocco passed Bruce Thomas Jr. on a lap-6 restart to take command and never relinquished his lead. Thomas finished four car-lengths back and Jason Palmer was third.

  Apparent Street Stock winner Josh Galvin was later disqualified as tech inspectors discovered illegal shock absorbers on his car. Al Stone III was awarded the win. In the Mini Stock division Cassidy and three others in the top five were disqualified for illegally modified spindles. Chris Ivory, who originally finished third was declared the winner.

  In other Speedbowl action, Fifteen year old Mike Christopher Jr. survived a ton of late restarts to win the 25-lap Legends feature. It was the first win for the second generation driver.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled "up country" to the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night with 26 cars strong. Rowan Pennink won what was considered one of the best VMRS races ever run as he took an impressive win in the VMRS 100 lap Spring Dash 100. Pennink picked the pole starting position after winning his heat. It was not a cakewalk as Justin Bonsignore provided the excitement as he and Pennink swapped the lead numerous times through out the 100 lapper. Steve Masse finished third and was followed by Chris Pasteryak and Todd Szegedy. sixth through tenth were Dwight Jarvis, Matthew Mead, Dylan Kopec, Max Zachem and Mike Willis, Jr.

  A persistent overnight rain and forecast showers in the area has forced the postponement of Saturdayís NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Bunny Hop 150 at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour headed into its annual "Spring Break" and would be back on the track next on July 4 at Caraway Speedway. Andy Seuss took a five-point lead into the break over four-time tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III.

  Thatís 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

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: April 24, 2015

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