May 29, 2015
Sixty five years ago in 1950 the Wall Stadium in Belmar, NJ ran
their first Modified race on the high banked speedway. Frankie Schneider
took the win. Although not an exact copy, Wall Stadium was patterned after
the Lonsdale Sports Arena speedway that was located northwest of Providence,
Sixty years ago in 1955, rain washed
out the Saturday night racing program at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
The following Wednesday, Phil Mitchell in his powerful six cylinder Modified
took the win. Lou Tetreault made it six out of 7 in the non-Fords.
Fifty five years ago in 1960 George
Janoski and Bill Slater won the opening night NASCAR Modified features at
the Stafford Springs Speedway. It was the beginning of the second year that
NASCAR sanctioned races at the Connecticut oval. Slater carried his winning
ways over to Saturday night at the Norwood Arena where he made it five
features in a row at the fast ¼ mile oval. Buddy Krebs inherited the lead
from Joe Paleski on lap 72 of a 100 lapper at Riverside Park. Gene Bergin
finished second and was so exausted that he passed out in the pit area
moments after the finish. Jerry Humiston finished third and was followed by
Bill Guerney, Jocco Maggiacomo and Eddie Flemke. Local favorite Don Collins
was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the
Non-Ford winner and Newt Palm made it three in a row in the Bombers.
Waterford also ran on Monday. Collins and Webster continued their win
streaks as they each won twin features that were part of the Memorial Day
Fifty years ago in 1965 Don Wayman
continued the domination of the New York drivers as he recorded the Friday
night Modified win on the dirt at Stafford. Rain washed out the racing at
the Waterford Speedbowl. Waterford scheduled an event for Monday which was
won by Charlie Webster. Bob Potter was the Bomber winner.Irv Taylor took the
win at Fonda on Saturday night. Sunday night at Utica-Rome Rene Charland
scored his second win as he held off Jerry Cook and Eddie Flemke SR.
Forty five years ago in 1970 Walt
Dombrowski made it two in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 36
lap Spring Modified Championship. Mike Daignault was the Late Model
Forty years ago in 1975, it was the
first night back for the big tires at Stafford. Stafford had been running
under a tire rule that mandated a narrow width which was supposed to be more
economical for the car owners and provide better competition. Ronnie
Bouchard in the Bob Johnson No.17 wasted little time in his run to the front
and when all was said and done, came home the winner. Brian Ross finished
second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Bob Vee and John Rosati. At Islip,
Jerry Bartlet took the win over Charlie Siebert and Fred Harbach. George
Kent beat out Jerry Cook and Sonney Seamon at Shangri-La in the first of
twin events. Richie Evans won the nitecap over Billy Colton and Cook. Dick
Dunn, in the Albert Gaudreau No.3 took the Modified win at the Waterford
Speedbowl. At Fulton on Sunday, Maynard Troyer was the top dog over Evans,
Mike Loescher and Cook. In open competition small block Modified action at
Thompson on Sunday, Steady Eddie Flemke broke Fred DeSarro's win streak.
DeSarro finished second with John Rosati, third. Because of light crowds,
the Stafford management announced that they were dropping their General
Admission price to $4.00 starting on June 7.Also on this weekend, the
formation of the New England-Yankee All Star League was announced.
Thirty five years ago in 1980, Richie
Evans made it three in a row at Stafford as he continued to be unbeatable.
Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Evans carried his
winning ways over to Riverside Park on Saturday as he won out over Reggie
Ruggiero and Ray Miller. Geoff Bodine was also on a tear as he went three
for three as he won on Friday at Spencer Speedway, Saturday at Shangri-la
Speedway and on Sunday at the Oswego Speedway. In other weekend action,
Bugsy Stevens won at Westboro, Mike Beebe at Waterford, Charlie Jarzombek at
Islip, Bruce Batchelder at Claremont, Tony Siscone at Wall and New
Evergreen, Ronnie Bouchard at Monadnock and Roger Treichler at Lancaster.
Thirty years ago in 1985, Brian Ross
in his own No.73 won the Memorial Day 100 at Stafford on Friday night over
Charlie Jarzombek. At Waterford two features were on tap. Rodney Tulba won
the first over John Anderson and Ted Christopher, the nitecap. At Riverside
Park it was Bob Polverari and at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it was Bob
Park over Wayne Anderson. And at Wall Stadium, Tony Siscone was the king of
the hill. Richie Evans won twin events at Shangri-La and Doug Hewitt was
victorious at Spencer. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Darrell Waltrip
won both the Winston and the WC 500.Tim Richmond was the Busch Grandnational
Twenty five years ago in 1990, the
modified tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for a 100 lapper which
turned into a yawner as Jeff Fuller went pole to pole in an event that saw
hardly any passing. Rick Fuller finished second with Tom Bolles, third. At
Waterford on Saturday night, Harry Rice beat out Jim Broderick for the win
and at Riverside Park it was Reggie Ruggiero over Jerry Marquis. At
Riverhead it rained and at Shangri-La, Jan Leaty went pole to pole to win
out over Tony Hirschman and George Kent. The Oswego Speedway ran the Richie
Evans 100 for the Modifieds without a NASCAR sanction and the car count
reflected NASCAR's drawing power as only 19 cars were on hand. With many of
the top guns missing, it was a good show that saw five different leaders
before Jan Leaty took the checker. Chip Graves finished second with Lee
Sherwood, third. At Monadnock, also on Sunday, Mike Stefanik won out over
Twenty years ago in 1995, the
Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford for a 150 lapper. Mike Stefanik took
the lead on lap 72 and never looked back. Charlie Pasteryak finished a
strong second and was followed by Satch Worley, Mike Ewanitsko and Rick
Fuller. Bob Potter took the 50 lap SK event after Ted Christopher and Ed
Flemke Jr tangled with six laps to go. At Waterford on Saturday night, Bert
Marvin passed Moose Hewitt at the half way mark of the 35 lap feature and
went on to take the win. Bob Potter ended up third with Jim Broderick,
third. Ted Riggot took the win at Riverside Park and Ed Brunnhoelzl won out
over Don Howe at Riverhead. George Kent won at Tioga and at Seekonk, veteran
retired driver Tex Barry passed away after suffering a heart attack shortly
after his son won the Pro Stock feature there. In other action, Bentley
Warren won the Little 500 at Anderson, Indiana and a Supermodified event at
Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Fifteen years ago in 2000, Eddie
Flemke Jr used an early pit stop to his advantage as he brought the Hill
Enterprises No.79 home in the top spot at the Featherlite Modified Tour 150
at Stafford. Flemke pitted on lap 59 and when the rest of the field stopped
on lap 85 he found himself in the lead which he never gave up. Tim Connolly
finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, LW Miller, Chris Kopec
and Ted Christopher. Christopher overcame being put to the rear during the
early going of the SK modified 50 lapper and took the lead in that event
with one to go. At Waterford on Saturday, Jeff Pearl beat out Ed Reed Jr for
the win and in SK Mod action at Thompson on Sunday; Christopher won out over
Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Matt
Kenseth took the win. Jeff Burton was the GN winner. Five pit crew members
were injured during a pre-race pyro show. In Daytona Beach, a group of
blacks picketed NASCAR headquarters when the sanctioning body refused an
entry of a black driver In all fairness to NASCAR the driver in question was
very slow in a practice session at Martinsville and wasn't even close to
being competitive. They made the right decision!
Ten years ago in 2005 the Whelen
Modified Tour traveled to Stafford on Friday night only to get rained on.
Forty-one Modifieds were on hand. Donnie Lia was the Busch Pole fastest
qualifier as he toured the half-mile oval in 18.25 seconds. Tony Hirschman
was second fastest with Chuck Hossfeld, third. Nevin George and Eric Beers
rounded out the top five. The event was rescheduled for Sunday, July 3.In
some good news it was learned that Mike Ewanitsko would be returning to the
Whelen Modified Tour Series wars at Stafford on August 2 or at Thompson on
August 18. Ewanitsko was scheduled to be driving for Ed Whelen. Ewanitsko
was forced out of competition because of vision problems caused by sugar
diabetes. With his problems behind him he felt he was ready to rejoin the
The Waterford Speedbowl finally got a break from the weatherman, as they
were able to complete a Saturday night program. Dennis Gada ended a yearlong
dry spell as he held of Ted Christopher to record his 47th career win at the
shoreline oval. Christopher attempted to rattle Gada with a few love taps
with his bumper but it was all for naught. Christopher settled for second
and was followed by Ron Yuhas jr, Rob Janovic and Jay Miller. John Puglisi
won the 20-lap Sportsman feature, which went pole to pole without a caution.
Bill Gertsch Jr. was second and Joe Curioso was third. Phil Evans picked up
his second Mini Stock win of the year in the 20-lap feature. Evans started
12th, passed Bill Leonard for the lead with eight laps to go. Leonard
finished second, followed by Joe Godbout. Moose Douton led every lap in
winning the 30-lap Late Model feature. Defending division champion Corey
Hutchings, making his first start of the season, was second. Mark St.
Hilaire was third, followed by Charles Bailey III and Allen Coates. Lou
Ciccone dominated the 50-lap International Supermodified Association (ISMA)
feature. The main buzz around the Speedbowl was still the possible sale of
the property in which the track is located. There were people out there that
wanted to buy the track and keep it in its present form. Track PR man Pete
Zanardi alluded to the fact that no track is safe forever from being sold
and added that the closing of the track was a premature conclusion as it has
been stated that racing would continue through 2005 and quite possibly 2006.
In other racing, Kirk Alexander came from a dead last starting spot to win
the True Value Modified Series event at the Seekonk Speedway and Tom Rogers
and JR Bertuccio shared victory lane at the Riverhead Raceway. Jimmie
Johnson won the World 600 Nextel Cup event and Kyle Busch won the Busch 300.
Dan Weldon won the Indianapolis 500. Female driver Danica Patrick almost won
it as she finished fourth.
Five years ago in 2010, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series continued on "Spring Break". Selected drivers
from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour participated in a test held by Hoosier
Tire at Lime Rock Park. In preparation for the Whelen Modified Tour’s
inaugural visit to Lime Rock Park on July 3, drivers Ted Christopher, Rowan
Pennink, Bobby Santos and Todd Szegedy took part in four 20-minute sessions
throughout the afternoon at the Connecticut road course.
Selected drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Southern Modified
Tours participated in a test held by Hoosier Tire on Thursday at Bristol
Motor Speedway. In preparation for the second running of the UNOH Perfect
Storm 150 combination race for both Whelen Modified Tours, Whelen Modified
Tour veteran Mike Stefanik, along with Southern Tour regulars James Civali
and Burt Myers took part in the all-day session.
The Stafford Motor Speedway returned to racing action with a NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series program on Friday, May 14th. Woody Pitkat picked
up his first win of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature that
ended up being a war of words between Pitkat and runner-up Ted Christopher.
Dillon Moltz got win number two of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature,
Joey Cipriano, 15, scored his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light
Modified feature, Andrew Durand won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature,
and Cory Casagrande was the second first time career winner of the night by
taking the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl is a five letter word, ROCCO. Keith
Rocco continued his dominance by winning for the fifth time in six event in
the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl Saturday night.
Rocco out handled and out drove Ron Yuhas JR on lap 25 and survived three
restarts as he continued his domination of the SK Modified division at the
shoreline oval. Yuhas held on for a runner-up finish. Tyler Chadwick, Rob
Janovic Jr and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners were 18-year-old Chris Meyer in the Street Stock
event, Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Mini-Stock event, Allen Coates in the truck
and Anthony Flannery in the Legends Cars race.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, known as the MADHOUSE, in Winston-Salem NC had
scheduled twin 25 lap features for their Modified division. Local runner Lee
Jeffreys was the fastest in qualifying with a lap of 13.433 seconds (67.0
mph) on the quarter-mile track, and he started from the pole position in the
first Modified race as a result. Jeffreys went pole to pole for his 15th
career victory. Burt Myers finished second, Jonathan Brown third, Randy
Butner fourth and Tim Brown fifth. The night cap event was rained out.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in Charlotte, NC. In celebration of this
event the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran a 100 lap NASCAR Modified
event. Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Ron Silk took top honors in the
event after waging a heated battle with Tom Rogers. Silk and car owner Eddie
Partridge walked off with $3,025. Wayne Anderson, 63, 1994 NASCAR national
modified champion suffered a heart attack while competing in the 100 lap
race Saturday night at Riverhead, NY Raceway. Anderson was revived by the
track crew. He was removed to St. Vincent's hospital where he is said to be
in "stable" condition. From Medford, N.Y. Wayne, who had been racing since
1965, is the son of the late legend, Axel Anderson.
In Sprint Cup action at Dover Kyle Busch swapped the lead with Jimmy
Johnson throughout most of the 400-mile race run in front of thousands of
empty seats. Busch missed the tripleheader sweep on the one-mile concrete
track by just a couple gallons of gas. He was in position to win the Trucks
Series race on Friday but ran out of gas at the end. He easily took the
checkered flag in Saturday's Nationwide series race as he raced about 800
miles in three days. Jeff Burton was second and Matt Kenseth third. Denny
Hamlin and David Reutimann rounded out the top five.
It looked like O. Bruton Smith, owner of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway
in Loudon, NH was ready to go to battle stations with the New Hampshire
Governor along with State and local police. The town of Loudon was looking
to be paid $174,500 for police and fire coverage, the same cost as the
September 2009 race weekend. Bruton Smith believed adequate coverage could
be provided for $75,000. Jerry Gappens, the speedway's executive vice
president stated that none of Smith's seven other speedways has to pay for
local emergency services. Smith says he will pay for police and fire for
June's race at $75,000.
Even after the governor assembled a committee to deal with New Hampshire
Motor Speedway's concerns about the cost of police and fire coverage at the
track, the speedway and Loudon police Chief Bob Fiske were about $100,000
apart on the cost of covering next month's NASCAR race weekend.
The Loudon NASCAR weekend runs from June 23 to June 27. With a little
over a month to go there was still plenty of time to resolve the
disagreement. When it comes to dealing with state and local authorities
Smith is as tough as nails and in most cases gets his way. Smith has the
power and the money to plow the Loudon Racetrack under and move it to
another state if he has to. The state of New Hampshire and the towns around
the speedway needed to realize how much money is generated into the state
and local economies before making a final decision. Police officers from
Loudon and towns across the state make $43 per hour to work the race
Last year, 2014
The Stafford Speedway again fell victim to rain on Friday for the third week
in a row. Shortly after 8:00pm when the SK Modifieds were on the track the
heavy rain plus thunder and lightening closed in on the track and brought a
halt to all racing.
Prior to the rain, the 25 cars on hand took time for starting positions.
Bobby Santos III scored his seventh pole at Stafford after turning a lap in
18.827sec or 98.216 mph. Doug Coby was second fastest with Eric Goodale,
third. Completed earlier was the SK Lite feature which saw nine of the 14
starters involved in a wreck. Nick Salvo survived to record the win.
Racing action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco take home his
third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® win of the year. In
other NASCAR action, a new face found the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model
winner’s circle as Vin Esposito claimed the checkered flag, breaking the
strangle hold on the division held by Keith Rocco. Josh Galvin won again in
the Street Stocks while driver Garrett Denton was victorious in the Mini
Stocks. The Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday divisions were also on hand, with Dave
Yardley and Zac Thomas scoring the respective Super X-Car and X-Car wins.
Dylan Izzo won in the night’s INEX Legend Cars feature.
In the SK Modified feature, Rocco sliced through the field, arriving in
second position behind leader Shawn Thibeault on lap-13 just before the
second caution flag of the race came out. Rocco restarted outside of
Thibeault and stayed even with him for two laps, hanging on after the two
cars made contact in turn three on lap-15 before driving away. Rocco was
masterful over three late race restarts to cruise to his third victory of
the year, padding his lead in the championship standings. Ed Puleo and Rob
Janovic Jr. both got past Thibeault in the closing laps to finish second and
third, respectively, while Thibeault finished fourth. Kyle James rounded out
A bit of controversy erupted post race when it was discovered the cars of
Rocco and Craig Lutz were not equipped with wheel tethers that are mandated
by NASCAR. No disqualifications were handed out but fines were expected. In
recent weeks both Rocco and Lutz had been the victims of hard crashes and
have suffered severe front end damage and the lack of tethers could be just
an honest mistake. It sounds like the tech inspector needs to get his head
out of his butt and pay more attention to the cars he is supposed to be
inspecting pre-race. There were 18 Modifieds in competition.
In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan
Preece scored his first win of the year at the tough and tight quarter mile
It was a special night at the Seekonk Speedway as their annual Wall of
Fame took place. The inductees for 2014 were drivers Wayne Dion, Don Dionne
and Billy Clarke along with long time Speedway official Ron Manfredo.
In Modified racing in the Southland, Junior Miller, Bowman Gray Stadium’s
all-time leader in feature-race victories, won for the first time in five
years Saturday night in the second of two 25-lap Modified races. Love him or
hate him, the 63 year old has won a Nascar Sanctioned Race in the 1970's,
1980's, 1990's, 2000's & Now the 2010's, 5 Decades. Miller, is in his 40th
year of racing and is a six-time Bowman Gray champion.
In the opening 25 lapper, Burt Myers registered his 59th victory but said
it was a bittersweet one after his brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers went
spinning after a two-lap, side-by-side duel for the lead between the two.
Burt Myers led the rest of the way, Tim Brown finished second, and Lee
NASCAR announced the inductees who will comprise the 2015 class of the
NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group, the sixth in NASCAR Hall of Fame
history, consists of Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe
Weatherly and Rex White. In addition, NASCAR announced that Anne B. France
won the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
Also on the ballot was Mike Stefanik and Jerry Cook, both past champions in
NASCAR' Modified division.
Kyle Larson cruised to victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series
History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson passed Matt Kenseth with
eight laps to go and pulled away to win Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte
Motor Speedway, his first victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves traded leads three times in the
final three laps with Hunter-Reay defeating the three-time Indianapolis 500
winner by just .0600 second of a second – the second-closest finish in
Indianapolis 500 history. It was just a tick behind the famed 1992 finish
when Al Unser Jr. defeated Scott Goodyear by .043 of a second.
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.
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