June 26, 2015
Sixty years ago in 1955, rain-washed out the Saturday night
program at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. In Wednesday night action at
the bowl, Ray DeLisle was the Wednesday night Modified winner at the bowl.
Ted Dean was the non-Ford winner.
Fifty five years ago in 1960 rain was
the big winner at the Stafford Springs Speedway. The Waterford Speedbowl
began their summer schedule which consisted of race dates on Wednesdays and
Saturdays. Joe McNulty won the opening night Wednesday Modified feature. Red
Foote, who in later years would make a name for himself in Virginia was the
non-Ford winner. Dick Dunn was the Bomber feature winner. Don Collins won
double features on Saturday night at the Speedbowl. Ed Moody was the Bomber
Fifty years ago in 1965 it rained
again at Stafford. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dick Watson won the 50 lap
June Championship for the Modifieds. Jerry Glaude was the Bomber feature
winner. Kenny Shoemaker recorded his fourth feature win of the season at the
Fonda Speedway on Saturday night. Holly Wildler won at Riverside Park and on
Sunday at Utica-Rome it was Jerry Cook over Eddie Flemke and Don Moon.
Forty five years ago in 1970, the
long holiday weekend started on Wednesday with an All Star League at
Lancaster where Maynard Troyer and Roger Treichler finished one-two to beat
out the best in the business at the time, Ray Hendrick. The following night,
the league moved to Oswego where Troyer made it two for two with Hendrick
finishing second. Geoff Bodine finished third with Richie Evans finishing
fourth followed by Roger Treichler and Bill Greco. Rain washed out weekend
events at Malta, Stafford, Fonda and Plattsburg. The rain at Stafford was
the final nail in the coffin as it was announced that the track was almost
bankrupt and would be shut down. Bill Slater was the race director at the
time and was devastated. Rather than sit idle, Slater contacted Connecticut
Construction Company owner Jack Arute and somehow convinced him to lease the
track and keep it going. Arute agreed and the rest is history but he was
left holding the bag with a few thousand rain checks. Seabury Tripler was
the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. George Allum was the Late
Model Daredevil winner. The skies cleared on Sunday for the twin 25's at
Thompson. Ray Hendrick remained in the north and won the opening event over
Leo Cleary and Lou Austin. Cleary won the nightcap over Fred DeSarro and
Hendrick. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Lou Lazzaro beat out Jerry Cook and
Forty years ago in 1975, Stafford
began the Fourth of July weekend on Thursday night with a 150-lap event.
Satch Worley in the Clarences' Steak House No.26 paid a visit and walked off
with the top money. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Eddie Flemke Sr,
third. Stafford ran again on Saturday night with Ray Miller taking the win
over Geoff Bodine and the Bugman. The Stafford management announced that the
speedway would be running small block modifieds beginning on Sunday, July 20
in addition to their regular NASCAR modified program on Saturday. At Islip,
Fred Harbach took the win over Gary Winters and at Shangri-La, Richie Evans
won twin 50's. Bob Potter made it two in a row at Waterford after winning
the 35 lap Modified feature. Big Mike Daignault was the Late Model Daredevil
winner. On Sunday, Maynard Troyer outran George Kent. At Thompson, Don
Hoenig on hearing that Stafford was going to be running against him raised
the modified purse to pay $600 to win instead of the $500 that had
previously been paid. Leo Cleary won the 30-lap feature at Thompson over
Thirty five years ago in 1980, the
weekend started on Wednesday with events at Westboro and New Egypt. At
Westboro, Bugsy Stevens in the Brady Bunch No.00 took the top spot and at
New Egypt, John Blewett Jr held off Tony Siscone for the win. Monadnock ran
on Thursday with Ronnie Bouchard taking the win over John Rosati and Punky
Caron. Holland also ran on Thursday with George Kent taking the win.
Stafford ran on Friday night with Richie Evans taking the win over Ronnie
Bouchard and Ray Miller. Spencer also ran on Friday with Kent continuing his
win streak. Just about everything on Saturday with the exception of Islip
rained out. Islip ran a 100 lapper with Tom McCann taking the win over Fred
Harbach and Tom Baldwin. A Race of Champions qualifier was run at Trenton on
Sunday. New England competitors boycotted the event because of the then
considered high pit fee of $15.00 and $25.00 entry fee. Needless to say the
event was run without them. The event ran 81 of the 134 laps that had been
scheduled when the rains came. Geoff Bodine who was leading when the event
was stopped was declared the winner. Richie Evans ended up second and was
followed by John Blewett Jr., Bob Riley, George Kent and Charlie Jarzombek.
Thompson was also scheduled to run on Sunday but was also rained out.
Thirty years ago in 1985, the
modified tour was at New Egypt on Wednesday. Jim Spencer took the win over
George Kent and Brian Ross. Rain washed out Stafford on Friday night but at
Spencer, Richie Evans took the win over Jan Leaty and George Kent. Rain also
washed out Waterford, Riverside and Thompson. Randy Hedger scored a popular
win at Shangri La over George Kent and Bill Park won the Race of Champions
qualifier at Riverhead. Closing out the weekend was a special event at
Oswego where Richie Evans was boss as beat out Mike McLaughlin, Jim Spencer,
Brian Ross, and Charlie Jarzombek.
Twenty five years ago in 1990, the
Featherlite Modified Tour stopped at Riverhead Raceway on Wednesday night.
Mike Ewanitsko and Tom Baldwin scored a Long Island sweep as they finished
one-two in the 151-lap event. Reggie Ruggiero finished third with pole
sitter Bob Park finishing fourth. Stafford rained out on Friday and Phil
Rondeau got his first modified win at Waterford on Saturday night. Stan
Gregger won at Riverside where it was announced that Ben Dodge had decided
against leaving after tendering his resignation. The mods invaded Oswego
where Tony Hirschman beat out Jan Leaty and John Preston.
Twenty years ago in 1995, Steve
Chowanski won a 100 lap SK Modified event at Stafford. Steve Park finished
second with Lloyd Agor, third. The Featherlite Modifieds were at Beech Ridge
in Maine on Saturday. Steve Park in the Banzul No.8 went pole to pole to win
the 100-lap event with Mike Stefanik in tow. Satch Worley, Ed Flemke Jr. and
Jan Leaty rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher borrowed his brother
Mikey's car and won at Waterford with it on Saturday night. Bert Marvin
finished second with Jim Broderick, Todd Ceravolo and Jerry Pearl rounding
out the top five. It rained at Riverside and at Riverhead it was Don Howe
over Ed Brunnhoelzl. In Winston Cup action, Jeff Gordon won the Pepsi 400 at
Fifteen years ago in 2000 the weekend
started on Thursday night Thompson where Ted Christopher took the SK
modified win over Todd Ceravolo and Darrell Tiezzi. Christopher carried his
winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night where he won the Busch North
Series-150.Christopher started 20th and had broke into the top 10 by lap
30.In taking the win, Christopher went the entire 150 lap distance non-stop.
Curt Brainard won the crash fest SK-50.Kerry Malone finished second. Ron
Yuhas beat out veteran Mark LaJunesse at Waterford and Howie Brode got the
best of Wayne Anderson at Riverhead. Ralph Nason, at the age of 60,won the
Oxford Plains 250 for the third time. In Winston Cup action at Daytona, Jeff
Burton took the win over Dale Jarrett and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Ten years ago in 2005 The Fourth of
July weekend got its start at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Ted
Christopher, who had been winless in two previous tries, got it all together
to take his first win of the year in the Sunoco Modifieds. Christopher
dodged an opening lap tangle to take an early lead and the eventual win. For
the season which has seen him run in 42 different events the Thompson
victory was his 13th win overall for 2005. Bert Marvin turned in a strong
showing to finish second with Kerry Malone, third. Bo Gunning finished
fourth with Todd Ceravolo, fifth. Other Thursday Night Thunder winners were
Ben Seitz in the NEMA Midgets, Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Chris McGee
in the Pro Stocks, Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman, Terry Boudreau in
the Mini Stocks and Chad Gaudiosi in the TIS Modifieds.
The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain on Friday night. The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made up their rained out Haynes 150 from
Memorial Day weekend on Sunday night. Ted Christopher took the win after
taking the lead with three laps to go. Doug Coby in the Curt Chase No.77
dominated almost the entire event only to lose it due to worn tires. Coby
ended up third behind Chuck Hossfeld. Jamie Tomaino and Rick Fuller rounded
out the top five. Ronnie Silk was the SK Modified winner while Carla
Boticello won in the DARE Stocks and Mike Quintiliano won the Late Model
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Ron Yuhas survived an
early race accident and came back to record his second SK Modified victory
of the 2005 season. In what turned into a marathon session of close to 90
minutes for the 35 lap feature, Yuhas’ crew did some thrashing and was able
to make the necessary repairs to get him back in action. Yuhas made a bold
outside move with two laps to go to take the lead from Ted Christopher. It
was Christopher’s race to lose and had it not been for a right rear tire
going flat the outcome would have been different. Dennis Gada ended up in
second spot with Chris Pasteryak, third. Jay Miller originally finished
third but was disqualified when his car failed to meet ride height
requirements. Diego Monahan ended up fourth with Christopher, fifth. Allen
Coates made it two in a row in the Late Models and Vinnie Esposito was
declared the winner of the Legends feature after Len Beebe was disqualified.
Al Stone was the Sportsman winner and Bill Leonard won in the Mini Stocks.
While rumors of doom and gloom continued to circulate concerning the
demise of the Waterford Speedbowl and the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island
word came of an impending project that could have resulted in increased
racing activity on Long Island. Top Gun Sports and Entertainment was
proposing multi-venue motorsport and entertainment facility in Yaphank which
is in Suffolk County. The complex which would include a ¾ mile oval with a
3/8 or ¼ mile oval inside would also include a drag strip is adjacent to the
Grucci fireworks plant, the Firematic training facility and the County
prison farm. In a somewhat related announcement one of the Waterford
Speedbowl owners, Terry Eames told the New London Day that there had been no
decision made by a proposed developer on an option to buy the Speedbowl
Tony Stewart made it two in a row in Nextel Cup competition as he won the
rain delayed Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
Five years ago in 2010, The Thompson
International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series was cancelled because
of rain and tornado warnings in the northeastern Connecticut area.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was idle as teams made preparations for
the first of two trips to Loudon, NH. Bobby Santos who had won an a record
setting three out of four races led Mike Stefanik by 89 points. Although
winless, Stefanik had been the model of consistency with four top fives.
Todd Szegedy sits third, six points behind Stefanik. Ted Christopher the
only other winner on the tour is 49 points out of third spot and 95 points
in arrears of Santos. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Preece. Rookie
Justin Bonsignore along with Jimmy Blewett, rookie Richie Pallai, Jr., Erick
Rudolph and Ron Silk made up the top ten. Forty six different drivers had
entered into tour competition so far.
The Modified Racing Series was scheduled to appear at the Seekonk
Speedway on Saturday June, 12. Rain forced cancellation with no rain date.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor
Speedway the 37th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100 was on tap. Keith
Rocco defended his 100-lap victory from one year ago and scored his fourth
win of the 2010 season, Ryan Posocco picked up his first win of the 2010
season and the 40th win of his Late Model career at Stafford in the 30-lap
Late Model feature, Frank Cardile scored his second victory of 2010 in the
20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery scored his third win of 2010
in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cory Casagrande picked up his
second win of 2010 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
The Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC avoided the rain that
played havoc in the northeast. Lee Jeffreys started the first of twin 25's
race in second place behind pole-sitter Terry Gaither, but quickly took the
lead to pick up his second win of the season and 16th of his career.
Jeffreys survived two late cautions and a hard-charging Gaither, and then
drew No. 10 for the inverted-start second race. He was able to battle his
way to the runner-up spot but couldn't muster a charge to pass leader and
eventual winner Jonathan Brown. Burt Myers qualified 19th out of 20 cars in
the first race and finished 14th. Myers finished fourth in the second 25
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it remained dry as four-time
Modified champion Bill Park out dueled three-time and defending Modified
champion John Fortin for the Modified feature win. Park took home his 31st
career victory landing him in a five way tie for third on the track's
all-time win list. Park is now tied with Wayne Anderson, Chris Young, Jack
Reinhard and Tommy Washburn in career wins.
Denny Hamlin, his No. 11 Toyota becoming a distant spec on the horizon to
the rest of the field late in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the
Michigan International Speedway, heard the caution call come over the radio
and tried not to roll his eyes. He knows nobody wants to watch a driver lead
by 10 seconds, as he was doing at the time. It makes for bad TV. And even
though Hamlin didn't see any debris on the track when the yellow flag flew,
he didn't exactly panic when his massive advantage was wiped out.
"I understand this is show business," Hamlin said. Hamlin easily pulled
away from Kasey Kahne on the restart with 14 laps remaining and rolled to
his fifth victory of the season, dominating the 400-mile race.
Joey Logano became the first Nationwide Series driver to win three
consecutive races at the same track when starting from the pole as he held
off Carl Edwards to win the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday
Les Richter, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection for the Los Angeles Rams
who became a top NASCAR executive after retiring from the NFL, died. He was
His second career started as president of Riverside International Raceway
in 1961. He joined NASCAR in 1983 and grew into an adviser to then-chairman
Bill France Jr. Richter was named NASCAR's executive vice president of
competition in 1986, and the senior vice president of operations in 1992.
Last year, 2014, The Valenti Modified
Racing Series made its first of three visits during the 2013 season to
Stafford Motor Speedway for the Inaugural VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag
was former Stafford SK Modified® regular and 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour champion Todd Szegedy.
Ted Christopher started on the pole of the 80 lapper and led until lap 9
before giving way to Eric Goodale. Goodale had built up a comfortable lead
but Christopher was beginning to erase that advantage as the race neared the
halfway point of 40-laps. The top-2 cars had a margin of a half straightaway
back to the trio of Keith Rocco, Todd Szegedy, and Rowan Pennink. With 44
laps complete, Dave Schneider, Norm Wrenn, Mike Willis, Jr., and Todd Owen
spun coming out of turn 4 directly in front of Goodale, who had to stop to
avoid crashing into the spun cars. Goodale was able to maintain the race
lead for the restart.
On the restart, Christopher got a good run on the outside of Goodale and
he moved back to the race lead for the first time since lap-9. Szegedy was
also on the outside of Goodale and he was trying to take over second.
Szegedy cleared Goodale after a lap of side by side racing and now Rocco was
on the outside of Goodale and he got around Goodale to move into third on
Szegedy was now looking to make a move around Christopher for the race
lead. With Szegedy looking for a way around Christopher, Rocco was looking
for a way to make a pass on Szegedy as the action at the front of the pack
was picking up in a hurry. The caution came back out with 50 laps complete
for Dylan Kopec, who spun in turn 4.
The restart order was Christopher and Szegedy on the front row, Rocco and
Goodale in the second row, Pennink and Tommy Barrett in the third row,
Justin Bonsignore and Anthony Nocella in the fourth row, and Chris Pasteryak
and Richard Savary in the fifth row.
On the restart, Savary got into the turn 2 wall and Matt Mead spun in
turn 2 to bring the caution right back out before a lap could be completed.
Back under green, Christopher took the lead with Szegedy quickly slotting
himself into second behind Christopher. Rocco was third, with Goodale and
Pennink lined up behind him. Szegedy made a strong move on lap-53, but
Christopher was able to keep Szegedy behind him. Szegedy made another strong
move on lap-58 to get alongside Christopher and he made his move stick for
the lead on lap-59. With Szegedy now in front, he began to slowly pull away
from Christopher after riding behind him for so many laps. Szegedy was
continuing to stretch out his advantage over Christopher in the closing laps
while Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Christopher’s bumper in a fight
for second. Szegedy led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his
first VMRS feature victory. Christopher was able to hold off Rocco for
second, with Pennink and Goodale rounding out the top-5.
There were 33 Valenti Modifieds on hand. In other Friday night racing at
Stafford, Chase Dowling beat out Woody Pitkat to win the 45-lap NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature. It was the first career SK
Modified victory for Dowling, who was making his fourth start in the
division. Pitkat finished second with Dan Avery, third. Dylan Menditto won
the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Johnny Walker, won for the second
consecutive time in the 20-lap DARE Stock feature and Austin Bessette was
the Limited Late Model winner.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Waterford Speedbowl
last Saturday night. The event drew 28 cars and a full house of spectators
for the Mr. Rooter 161. Donnie Lia in the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile was
the pole sitter. Bobby Santos was second fastest. Lia jumped out at the
start and led the event for 133 laps before an inside move by Santos on the
low side between turns three and four caught Lia by surprise. Santos had
tried to pass Lia numerous times on the outside but to no avail. Lia,
finished second. Ted Christopher finished third. Santos and Lia ran the
event non-stop without a pit stop while Christopher pitted and came from the
rear to the front. Justin Bonsignore and Patrick Emerling were fourth and
fifth, respectively. Sixth through tenth were Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat,
Keith Rocco, Ron Yuhas, Jr. and Doug Coby.
The shoreline oval took its toll on many of the competitors. One of those
was Tommy Barrett who had worked his way from a 14th starting position to
the runner-up spot when he fell victim to a flat tire and hit the wall which
ultimately placed him 24th in the final run-down. Ron Silk was also a
contender until a bout Timmy Solomito and the wall in turn three ended his
night on lap 145. Silk ended up 20th.
Justin Bonsignore took over the points lead from Doug Coby, who finished
10th, by two points. Santos is third, three back of Coby. The NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour now heads to the Riverhead (New York) Raceway this coming
Saturday, June 28.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Ed
Puleo picked up his second SK Modified® win of the season and Bruce Thomas
Jr. landed his second Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature win of 2014. Bill
McNeil took his first Street Stock victory and Ray Christian III won the
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Former Legend Race Car champion
Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead at just 18-years old realized his life long dream
Saturday night when he topped a non-stop 35 lap NASCAR Modified feature at
Riverhead Raceway. Modified weekly racing appears to be in trouble on the
Island as only 12 cars were on hand.
In Modified racing in the Southland, Tim Brown ended a long dry spell as
he won the first of what was supposed to be two 25 lap features for the
Modifieds at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC.
Brown won the pole and led wire-to-wire to win Saturday’s only race in
the Modified Division. Rain finally ended racing for the night just as the
Modified cars lined up for the second race. Brown, who now has 71 victories
at the place they call "The MadHouse" trails all time winner Junior Miller
by two wins. Miller, who is in his 60's is still an active competitor at
Bowman Gray and has recently purchased a new car from North East Race Cars.
Burt Myers, the Modified Division points leader, stayed glued to Brown’s
tail most of the race and wound up second.
Carl Edwards held off a late charge from eight-time road course winner
Jeff Gordon to win the Sonoma Toyota/Save Mart 350, his first road course
victory and the 23rd triumph of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Gordon
finished second with Dale Earnhardt Jr. third. Brendan Gaughan won the
NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
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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