May 15, 2015
Sixty years ago in 1955,
Moneybags Moe Gherzi won the first extra distance Modified feature at the
New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a 50 lap Modified event. Lou Tetreault won
his fourth non-Ford feature at the shoreline oval.
Fifty five years ago in 1960 Bill
Slater made it three in a row at the Norwood Arena. He also took his third
Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl as the shoreline oval continued
to run on Sundays. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm annexed
his second win in the Bombers.
Fifty years ago in 1965 Ron Narducci
was the opening Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. At the
Waterford Speedbowl Ray DeLisle was the Modified feature winner and Daring
Dick Caso was the Bomber winner. At Fonda, Ken Shoemaker made it two in a
row and three for the year in Modified action at the New York State oval.
Lou Smith was fatally injured after his car hit the wall during the feature.
At Utica-Rome it rained. Ted Stack put the Mystic River Marina V4 in victory
lane at Thompson. Car owner Bob Garbarino used an experimental 396 cubic
inch Chevy big block for power.
Forty five years ago in 1970, Fred
DeSarro hit full stride in his quest for the NASCAR Modified National
Championship as he won on Friday night at Malta and twin 50's at Stafford on
Saturday night. Eddie Flemke was just as hot as he finished second to
DeSarro in all three events. At Malta, Charlie Jarzombek finished third and
was followed by Andy Romano and Lou Lazzaro. In the first 50 lapper at
Stafford, Lou Austin finished third with Bernie Miller, fourth. In the
nightcap, Bobby Santos finished third with Austin, fourth. Ron Narducci who
was inducted in the NEAR Hall of Fame won at Fonda over Don Wayman. Rain
washed out all action at the Waterford Speedbowl. On Sunday, Thompson ran a
200-lap NASCAR championship event. Ray Hendrick was scheduled to drive the
famous Tant/Mitchell No.11. Hendrick became fog bound in Newark airport so
on the advice of Eddie Flemke, Hop Harrington was given the ride for the
day. Harrington didn't disappoint his mentor as he went out and won the
event. Bernie Miller finished second with Eddie Flemke, Moose Hewitt and
Frank Faria rounding out the top five.
Forty years ago in 1975, Stafford
Speedway had been under duress since the beginning of the season when Jack
Arute mandated that narrow tires be used on the modifieds. Stafford car
owners voted to return to the fifteen-inch wide rubber and Arute gave in
after a long fight. It was also on this weekend that Bill Slater tended his
resignation from the Stafford management over differences of opinion. On the
final weekend of running the narrow tires, Eddie Flemke in the Manchester
Sand and Gravel No.10 took the Friday night win over Freddie Schulz, Bugsy
Stevens and Lenny Cleaves. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Monday, Memorial
Day. This event, the last on narrow tires was to be the biggest win of the
late George Moose Hewitt. Ronnie Bouchard with a small block for power
finished second and was followed by Ray Miller, Flemke and Richie Evans. In
other weekend action, George Wagner won at Freeport on Friday night over
Gary Winters, Jerry Cook and Charlie Jarzombek. Winters turned the tables on
Wagner on Saturday at Islip with Jarzombek again third. Freeport ran a 100
lapper on Monday and it was Richie Evans outgunning Fred Harbach for the
win. Billy Harman was the Modified feature winner at Waterford. Bob Gada Sr
was the Grand American Late Model winner. In Sunday action in New England,
Eddie Flemke won out over Fred DeSarro and John Rosati at Thompson and at
Monadnock, also on Sunday it was Brian Ross over Ray Miller and Jerry
Thirty five years ago in 1980,
Over 5000 fans were on hand at Stafford on Friday night as Richie Evans made
it two in a row. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Ronnie
Bouchard, Ray Miller and Corky Cookman. Mike Benevides who has since retired
from racing and is now a CPA won his first late model feature. Evans carried
his winning ways over to Saturday as he took a convincing win over Reggie
Ruggerio and Miller. Ron Bouchard won at Westboro while Mike Beebe held off
Bob Potter for the win at Waterford. Geoff Bodine had a busy weekend as he
won the modified feature at Spencer in the Lee Allard modified, won a Late
Model Sportsman event at South Boston, Va. in the Zervakas No.01 and on
Sunday jumped back in the Allard No.99 to beat out Satch Worley and Jerry
Cook at North Wilkesboro, N.C. Other weekend winners were Larry Record at
Star, Tom McCann at Islip, Allen Whipple at Claremont, George LeBlanc at
Danbury and Charlie Jarzombek at Plainville.
Thirty years ago in 1985, Charlie
Jarzombek was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Reggie Ruggiero finished
second with Corky Cookman, third. Riverside ran a 100 lapper on Saturday,
which saw only eight cars finish. Ruggiero survived to take the win over
Wade Cole and John Rosati. Randy Hedger beat out Richie Evans at Spencer and
at Waterford, Bob Potter and Dale Holdridge finished one-two. Bob Park
scored a win at Riverhead and in SK action at Thompson, Wayne Dion in Brad
LaFountain's 66 won out over Kerry Malone and Lloyd Agor. In Winston Cup
action at Dover Downs, Bill Elliott emerged the winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1990, Steve
Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Mike
Christopher finished second with Wayne Dion, third. Christopher stepped it
up at Waterford on Saturday, as he was no match for David Gada. Bob
Polverari was the winner at Riverside over Jerry Marquis and at Riverhead;
Bob Park beat out Frank Vigliarlo for the win. The racing world was saddened
when it was learned that AJ Michaels had died at Oswego and the big news of
the weekend was that Brian Ross had decided to retire from modified racing
as he felt the modifieds were getting to the point that they were unsafe.
Twenty years ago in 1995, Friday
night action at Stafford rained out. At Waterford, Mark LaJunesse scored a
popular win over Bert Marvin and Todd Ceravolo. At Seekonk, starter Ron
Manfredo was struck accidentally by Tony Dias Jr. while directing cars for a
restart lineup. Manfredo received a broken leg, a bad nose gash and many
scrapes. At Riverside it was Reggie Ruggerio over Doug Meservy and at
Riverhead, Bill Park took the top spot. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at
Nazareth for a 100 lapper. Tony Hirschman, in the Len Boehler No.3 passed
Tim Connoly with two laps to go to take the win. Connoly, in the Bob Fuller
No.17 finished second and was followed by Ed Kennedy, Tom Cravenho and Mike
Stefanik. Tim Fedewa won the wreck marred Busch Grandnational event, also at
Nazareth. At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Todd Bodine won the Winston Open and
Jeff Gordon won the Winston.
Fifteen years ago, in 1990, rain
played havoc in the northeast, washing just about everything out. Thompson
drew 53 mods for the Featherlite modified tour event. Tim Connolly in the
Mystic Missile took the pole with Tony Hirshman, second fastest. Todd
Ceravolo and Ted Christopher were the SK mod heat winners and that’s as far
as they got as the skies opened up.
Ten years ago in 2005 saw Todd Owen,
Tom Butler, Michael Bennett, Charlie Newman, and Jim Mavlouganes drive to
victory lane in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series feature events at the
Stafford Speedway. Both Owen and Newman were first time feature winners,
while Bennett's win was his third in four events of the season. In the
40-lap SK Modified feature, Owen, of Somers, took the lead on a lap-5
restart and led the rest of the way to pick up the first career SK Modified
feature win of his career at Stafford. Owen had Ted Christopher lined up
behind him on a lap 19 restart but drove away from Christopher in the
closing laps to score a convincing win. Christopher finished second, with
Eric Berndt, Jeff Baral, and John Sandberg rounding out the top-5 behind
After three rainouts in a row the Waterford Speedbowl finally got their
Saturday night racing program in. Tommy Fox avoided a multitude of wrecks
and spins to go on to record his first win of the year. Fox led all but four
laps. He battled Ron Yuhas Jr. over the final seven laps. Kurt Lenahan, Don
Fowler and Rob Summers rounded out the top five. Allen Coates became the
first two-time winner of the season as he won the Late Model 30 lapper.
Coates took the lead at the halfway point and beat several restart
challenges from Chris Douton. Carl Eriksson, Mark St.Hilaire and Charles
Bailey III rounded out the top five. Roger Perry won the 20 lap Sportsman
event and Jeff Miller was the winner of the Mini Stock feature. Jeffrey Paul
was the 20-lap Legends Car winner.
First it was the Tioga Speedway in Owego, NY, and then it was the Wall
Township Speedway in Belmar, NJ now it appeared maybe the Waterford
Speedbowl was on thin ice. The May 15 edition of the Hartford Courant hinted
to the fact that the Speedbowl, in existence since 1951 may shut down at
season’s end. The Speedbowl had been at the mercy of the weather in 2005 and
with no money coming in the management had been put in a somewhat of a bad
way. Speedbowl operator Terry Eames acknowledged that there was a study
going on involving alternative uses of the property, which is owned by 1080
Hartford Road LLC. He said he had a “fiduciary responsibility” to other
stockholders in that regard but cautions the “speculation” may be premature.
“There are absolutely no firm plans to do anything at this time,” Eames
said. “We have some big events on the immediate horizon including the
Budweiser Modified Nationals and that is the Speedbowl’s primary concern
right now,” Eames continued. “We have a dedicated group of competitors and
fans and, many believe, the best racing in the area. We’re not about to just
throw all of that away.” In the event that Eames does decide to pull the
plug on his operation the word on the street has an interested group ready
to step up to the plate.
The Pro All Star Series was at the Thompson International Speedway on
Sunday for the running of the Pro Stock Shootout 100. It proved to be a
Shootout between Cassius Clark and Ben Rowe. At the end, C. Clark was the
last man “standing”. In NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series action, Bert Marvin of
Waterford, CT scored an impressive win in the Sunoco Modified Division.
Charles Bailey, III picked up where he left off, winning the Late Model
feature. Limited Sportsman honors went to Larry Barnett, Mini Stock checkers
flew for Terry Boudreau.. It was a dominating win for Bernie Singer in All
Star Truck Series competition. Ben Rowe summed it up best in his post-race
interview. “He (Cassius) was the class of the field. Cassius Clark of
Farmington, ME led much of the early going of the 100 lapper, only to lose
the lead to Ben Rowe with just over 30 laps to go. Over the remaining 25
laps, the two went fender-to-fender swapping the lead a number of times. A
caution with 14 laps remaining set up a final duel between the two. C. Clark
got a great jump of the restart but Rowe retained the lead. A bobble by Rowe
on lap 89 opened the door for both Cassius and Johnny Clark. The three had a
comfortable distance between one another as they headed for the finish while
Corey Williams and Scott Mulkern battled for fourth. In the waning laps,
Rowe began to backslide a bit even falling into the clutches of Williams.
Rowe was able to hold on to the podium finish with winner C. Clark and
runner-up J. Clark. Williams and Mulkern finished rounded out the top-five.
Bert Marvin drove a smart race to win his first of the season in Sunoco
Modified feature action. Bo Gunning led the charge early while Tommy
Cravenho and Jeff Malave were coming through the pack. Gunning held the
point while positions were changing inside the top five. Marvin got the
second position on lap 10 while Cravenho and Malave followed through into
the third and fourth positions. Malave began to pressure Cravenho before the
yellow came out. Just as the crossed flags were displayed the caution flew
for a spin by Russ Savoy. The restart found Gunning with Marvin to his
outside and Cravenho and Malave in the second row. Cravenho sailed his car
into turn four to take over the second position from Marvin with Malave
following through. The caution came out for a spin by Darin Renihan to
negate the pass. Cravenho made the same move work a second time to take the
second spot when they went back to green. Malave continued to take chase in
fourth followed by Adam Norton. Cravenho caught Gunning and pressed for the
lead. Contact between the two sent Gunning over the #31 of Cravenho and hard
into the wall. Cravenho was sent to the rear for his involvement in the
incident. Marvin and Malave lined up one and two for the restart with ten
laps to go. Kerry Malone started to make his presence known on the restart.
The battle up front began to heat up as well between Marvin and Malave.
George Bessette was turning in a great performance in his debut in the #2.
After several attempts at green flag racing the final shootout came with
five laps remaining and a single-file restart. Malave glued his Interstate
Diesel #6 to the bumper of Marvin. Malave even looked inside coming out of
two but settled for second behind winner Bert Marvin. Malone finished third
followed by Ricky Shawn and John Sandburg. Charles Bailey, III made it two
in a row in the Late Model division.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series were in Virginia at the Richmond
Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards took the Busch Series win and Kasey Kahne got
his first Nextel Cup win.
Reigning Indy Racing League champion Tony Kanaan took the pole for the
May 29 Indianapolis 500. Kanaan, last year's Indy runner-up, had a four-lap
qualifying run at 227.566 mph.
Five years ago in 2010, The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series returned to the Stafford Motor Speedway
for the annual Spring Sizzler which had been rained out on April 25. The
main event, 200 laps/100 miles carried a race purse of $88,142. Under bright
and sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-80's, Stafford Motor Speedway
hosted the completion of "The Greatest Race in the History of Spring", the
39th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler.
Ted Christopher took the lead from Jimmy Blewett on lap 146 and then held
on through a green-white-checker finish to earn his 10th career NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour victory at Stafford. The event concluded with a
multi-car accident on the front stretch after the leaders had taken the
white flag, which made the race official, and secured Christopher his fifth
Whelen Modified Tour win in the Spring Sizzler. His five wins in the event
are now a record as he entered the day tied with Mike Stefanik at four.
Christopher was followed across the line by Coors Light Pole Award winner
Bobby Santos and Stefanik. Santos led the first 54 laps of the race before
he was spun by lap traffic. Rowan Pennink, Todd Szegedy, James Civali, Chuck
Hossfeld, Eric Berndt, Erick Rudolph and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the
top 10 finishers in the race, which featured 10 lead changes among nine
drivers. Fifteen of the original 32 starters finished on the lead lap. Among
those who ran into problems was Ryan Preece. Preece, who was one of the
pre-race favorites lost numerous laps after hitting the wall. Jimmy Blewett
made a move to take the lead causing Mike Stefanik to check up. Preece hit
Stefanik and hit the wall.
In addition to the Sizzler, Keith Rocco was the kingpin in the 40-lap SK
Modified® feature and Dillon Moltz took top honors in the 30-lap Late Model
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco led the field to
the green flag with Ted Christopher, Frank Ruocco, Jeff Malave, and Woody
Pitkat behind him in the top-5. The top-5 quickly settled into single file
racing, but that single file was eliminated when the caution came out with 4
laps complete for a spin by Brit Andersen.
There were several attempts at the next restart with Curt Brainard, then
Matt Gallo, and then Joe Allegro, Jr., Adam Skowyra, and Glenn Griswold each
bringing the caution back out for spins. Rocco continued to lead back under
green with Christopher and Malave behind him. Tom Bolles made a power move
to go from 7th to 4th on the restart, while Eric Berndt rounded out the
The action was slowed again with 8 laps complete for a spin by Chris
Jones. Rocco again took the lead on the restart, but a 5 car accident
involving Glenn Griswold, Jones, Keith Carzello, Michael Gervais, Jr., and
Matt Gallo brought the yellow back out one lap after the restart. The next
restart saw Christopher power by Rocco to take the lead on lap-11. Berndt
moved into third behind Rocco, with Kurt Lenahan moving into fourth and
Malave was fifth. The top-5 then ran in line until the next caution came out
with 16 laps complete for a multicar incident between Dan Avery, Kirk Zervas,
Mark Bakaj, and Bolles.
Christopher took the lead on the restart, but he would lose it to Rocco
three laps later on lap-19. Berndt continued to run in third place, with
Lenahan and Malave behind him. The running order remained the same until
lap-25 when Christopher's car dropped off the pace and he came to pit road
and was finished for the race. At the same time that Christopher's car gave
up, Frank Ruocco also had engine troubles that brought him to pit road and
ended his day. Rocco was the leader with Berndt now up to second. Lenahan
was up to third, with Malave and Brit Andersen making up the new top-5.
Rocco was building a large lead over Berndt, who was building a large gap
back to Malave, Lenahan, and Andersen.
Rocco's large lead was erased with 34 laps complete as a piece of sheet
metal debris brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, Rocco powered into
the lead with Malave moving past Berndt for second. Lenahan continued in
fourth with Andersen in fifth. Rocco again pulled away from his closest
pursuers and he cruised to victory in the first SK Modified® feature event
of the 2010 season. Malave came home in second, with Berndt, Lenahan, and
Andersen rounding out the top-5 at the checkered flag.
In addition to the postponed Sizzler program which was run on Saturday
the Stafford Motor Speedway began their Friday night season with a special
program for their support classes. Frank Cardile took the checkered flag in
the 30-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery won the 25-lap Limited
Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande won the 20-lap DARE Stock feature.
The Modified Racing Series 100 lapper at the Monadnock Speedway was won
by Dwight Jarvis. Jacob Dore finished second and was followed by Jim
Boniface, Rowan Pennink and Sean Bodreau. Pennink had raced at Stafford in
the afternoon where he finished fourth in the Spring Sizzler. One of the
best runs of the day was turned in by Pennink. Pennink, who started 24th in
the field, was involved in a lap 36 tangle that forced him to start last
again. He made a late race charge that led to his fourth place finish.
With the Spring Sizzler in the history books the Whelen Modified Tour
Series goes on a four week "Spring Break" before returning to Stafford on
May 28 for a 150 lapper. The Bob Valenti Modified Racing Series, which also
ran last Saturday at the Monadnock Speedway also goes on "Spring Break"
until heading to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on May 21 for a make-up event.
Long Island driver Johnny Bush has become the first NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour driver to run a "Spec Engine" full-time in 2010. In fact, it
is because of the SPEC that Bush even makes it to the track this year. The
SPEC engine was developed in a cooperative effort between NASCAR and engine
builder Carl Wegner of Wegner Motorsports as an economical alternative for
race teams. The engine is assembled using “spec”ific components that produce
a robust engine package. The recipe for the SPEC engine uses components from
many of the best automotive aftermarket companies – names that are
recognizable from the contingency sponsor decals on the race cars like
Edelbrock, JE Pistons, Comp Cams, Holley and CV Products.
The New London Day reported that Dillon Moltz had won the inaugural
Richard Petty's Driver Search. As the winner of the competition Moltz will
get the chance to qualify for the ARCA Racing Series event June 5 at Pocono
Raceway in a fully-funded ride from the Richard Petty's Driver Search
program. A graduate of the Quarter Midget ranks, Moltz has become one of the
top runners in the Late Model division at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
Keith Rocco scored a one-two punch on Saturday. In addition to his
Stafford win, he made a heated trip to the Connecticut shoreline where he
dusted the SK Modified field at the Waterford Speedbowl. Other winners at
the Speedbowl were Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model), Al Stone III (25-lap
Street Stock), Sean Caron (25-lap Mini Stock) and Chris Lomartire (15-lap
It was Rocco's second straight feature win at the Speedbowl and his
fourth victory overall. Rocco passed leader Tom Abele Jr. with three laps
remaining. Abele finished second, followed by Ron Yuhas Jr. in third,
Jeffrey Paul in fourth and Jeff Pearl in fifth. Early leader Todd Ceravolo
dropped out with mechanical problems.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC finally got their season
going after a rain-out for their opening event. Tim Brown, one of the stars
of the "MadHouse" TV series took the 200 lap win in front of a packed house
at the 17,000-seat stadium. Lee Jeffreys finished second ahead of Brian
Loftin. and Junior Miller fourth. Burt Myers, who challenged Brown after
changing tires, settled for sixth.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season. Chuck Steuer
looked like a man of a mission, winning the Modified feature.
Dirt track super-star Brett Hearn scored his 775th career victory at Accord,
NY. Hearn began his racing career in 1976.
Brad Keselowski raced to his second straight NASCAR Nationwide Series
victory, dominating all night and then rallying from fourth in a
green-white-checker finish Friday at Richmond International Raceway. In
Sprint Cup Series racing Kyle Busch became the latest driver to deny Jeff
Gordon a victory, passing him after the final restart Saturday night at
Richmond International Raceway for his first win of the season. For Busch,
it snapped a 21-race losing streak, his longest since joining Joe Gibbs
Racing in 2008.
In some sad news, Busch Sport Scene Publisher George Campbell announced
that 2010 will be his final year publishing the popular auto racing
newsprint publication. The publication debuted in 1999 and plans are
underway to make 2010 the final year
Last year, 2014, the Big Event in New
England was the first annual Bull Ring Bash at the Lee Speedway in Lee, NH.
This event, promoted by Dick Williams and his "Racing Guys" drew a huge
field of 34 Modifieds, the largest drawing of asphalt Modifieds to date in
2014. Four qualifying heats were run with Tommy Barrett Jr, Todd Annarummo,
Matt Swanson and Matt Galco taking the wins, Matt Hirschman won the 14 car
consi with Dennis Perry a very competitive second. Johnny Kay was the Dash
for Cash winner for non-qualifiers.
Jeff Rocco jumped out to an early lead at the drop of the green. The
first caution flew on lap 30 for Josh Cantara who spun. The second caution
was for Jim Storace who spun on lap 47. When the green came out on lap 46
Annarummo shot into the lead with Rowan Pennink hot on his heels. Rocco
faded to third. Following the top three at the half way mark was Todd
Ceravolo, Galco and Barrett.
By the time the field had clicked off 60 laps Annarummo and Pennink had
opened up a sizable lead. On lap 62 Pennink took charge as he moved into the
lead. Rocco, who had been running third apparently had used up his tires and
began to fade. By lap 71 he was tenth. Tommy Barrett Jr had slipped out of
the top ten by the 3/4 mark brought out the third caution of the day on lap
75. Among those who pitted for fresh tires were Barrett, Pennink, Annarummo,
Ryan Preece, Max Zachem, Rocco, Ceravolo, Perry and Jim Dolan. Pennink was
the first car out of the pits as Steve Masse assumed the lead.
When the green waved Masse jumped out as Pennink moved inside the top 15.
Jim Storace brought out caution Number 4 on lap 79 as he spun on the
backstretch. On the restart, Richard Savory and Justin Bonsignore moved in
behind Masse and Todd Szegedy. Jim Dolan and Storace spun, bringing out
caution No. 5 as the field attempted to restart. As the field finally
restarted Masse continued to lead as Savory moved into second. On lap 81
Dolan spun again, bringing out caution No. 6. Dolan's car lost a lot of
water and oil and had to be towed off the track. Masse maintained the lead
on yet another restart. With 11 laps remaining, Matt Hirschman has come out
of nowhere as he moved into the third spot. On lap 90 he passed Savory who
spun, bringing out caution no. 7 and set his sights on Masse. Hirschman shot
into the lead on the restart. Jim Storace spun for the third time bringing
out the eighth yellow. Masse was given back the lead for the restart. When
the green dropped, Pennink and Barrett tangled bringing out yellow no.9.
On the restart Hirschman made it official as he took the lead over Masse.
Two laps later Chris Pasteryak gets loose and spins just after turn one,
bringing out caution no.10. Hirschman maintained his lead on the restart.
With five laps to go Johnny Kay - "Dash for Cash" winner hit the front
stretch wall a ton, bringing out caution no. 11. Hirschman continued to lead
Masse as the field restarted. With four laps to go, Preece, driving the
famous Ole Blu, turned up the wick. As Hirschman took the checkered flag for
the win action behind him boiled over. Preece made a move to pass for
second. Preece and Masse were side by side racing hard for checkers when
they both got out of shape. Masse spun around and Annarummo went sideways
over him after being accidentally hit. Dennis Perry was also in the tangle.
Preece ended up second with Perry, third.
Rowan Pennink ended up fourth with Max Zachem, fifth. Sixth through tenth
were Jon McKennedy, Todd Ceravolo, Richard Savory, Justin Bonsignore and
The Stafford Speedway fell victim to a rainy forecast for Friday night.
The Waterford Speedbowl beat an early evening shower to get their
Saturday night racing program in the record books. Kyle James, after some
early season bad luck, recorded his first victory of the year in SK
Modified® ranks. Keith Rocco continues his domination of the Late Model
ranks as he won his fifth straight Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature.
Rocco is now five for five in the Late Models on the season. Ken Cassidy Jr.
continued his mastery of the Mini Stock division. Paul French won his first
SK Light Modified race on the year and Paul Bigelow came away with the
victory in the NEMA Lite feature. Josh Galvin won the night’s Street Stock
race, his second in a row.
In the closing laps of the SK Modified feature James had two heavy
hitters behind him for the run to the checker. Ted Christopher lined up to
his outside and Keith Rocco behind him in third. Christopher got a good
restart to stay with James for a lap, but James pulled ahead into the lead
with nine laps to go. From there, James slowly distanced himself as the race
ran uninterrupted through the checkered flag. Rocco was able to grab second
at the finish and Rob Janovic Jr. got by Christopher in the closing laps to
take third. Christopher settled for fourth with Craig Lutz, fifth.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island was also threatened by rain but they
endured and got their racing program in. A less than favorable weather
forecast produced two 1-hour rain delays but in the end the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series program was for the most part completed. Former three
time NASCAR Modified champion John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville made a
triumphant return to victory lane as he swept the headlining Twin 30 NASCAR
In Modified racing in the southland, Bowman Gray fell victim to rain.
In some sad news, Danny Field, a long time racer from Deep River, Ct. who
excelled in the Mini Stock ranks at the Waterford Speedbowl and at the
Thompson Speedway passed away after battling cancer since the previous fall.
A Pipefitter by trade at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton Ct, Field was
a true backyard racer who built and maintained his own cars, racing out of
During his racing career he won Mini Stock division championships at
Waterford in 2005, 2006 and 2009 as well as Mini Stock Championships at
Thompson in 2008 and 2011 along with the 2012 Northeast Mini Stock tour.
An emotional Saturday night opening ceremony at the Waterford Speedbowl
began the night’s program following a brief rain delay earlier in the
evening. The track honored the memory of multiple time track champion with
much of his family and closest supporters in attendance. Field’s younger
brother Eddie paced the Mini Stocks with an honorary pole-position behind
the wheel of his brother’s #18 machine, pulling off the track before the
start of the race.
Jeff Gordon held off Kevin Harvick over the final laps and went on to win
the 5-Hour Energy 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday
night. The victory was by .112 seconds and was the first of the year for the
four-time champion and his third at Kansas Speedway.
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
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