The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

July 31, 2015

  Fifty five years ago in 1960 Tommy Fenley made it four in a row in Friday night competition on the dirt at Stafford Springs. Rain washed out the Wednesday and Saturday night racing programs at the Waterford Speedbowl. Rene Charland ventured to the Empire Raceway in Manends New York where he won a 30 lapper after passing Ed Flemke on lap 22.

  Fifty years ago in 1965 Bill Wimble made it three in a row at the Stafford Springs Speedway as the New Yorkers continued to dominate the competition at the Connecticut oval. Sal Dee, who had been shutout of the winner’s circle at the Waterford Speedbowl since winning on opening day, took the 30 lap Modified win at the shoreline oval. In United Modified action at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Billy Greco won his second feature of the year. Elton Hill finished second with Ed Patnode, third and Dick Dixon, fourth. Bob Bruno won at the Fonda Speedway and at the Utica – Rome Speedway Jerry Cook won an unprecedented three in a row as he raced to the top spot in a 150 lapper at the central New York oval.

  Forty five years ago in 1970, the All Star League traveled to New Jersey for two mid week events. On Tuesday at Wall Stadium, local runner Don Stives took the win over Maynard Troyer. On the dirt at Flemington on Wednesday it was Dick Havens over Joe Kelly, Will Cage, Bob Rosell and Lou Lazzaro. Friday night at Malta, Lou Lazzaro again showed his versatility as he won with the same car he had driven on dirt during the week. Bernie Miller finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. In twin 25 action at Stafford on Saturday night, Jerry Dostie in the Bob Johnson No.17 won the first event over Billy Harman, Sal Dee and Moose Hewitt. Hewitt won the nightcap over Freddie Schulz, Dostie, Dee and Harman. Plattsburg ran an added points event but when the checkers fell it was local favorite Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda taking the win. Lou Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Fred DeSarro and Denis Giroux. Bob Potter won a 30 lap Modified feature at Waterford. Bill Sweet made it two in a row in Late Model Daredevil action. At Fonda it was Jerry Pennock Sr and in Sunday twin 25 action at Thompson it was Leo Cleary and Lou Austin taking the wins. Utica-Rome ran a 100 lapper on Sunday night and it was Eddie Flemke in the Richie Evans team car taking the win. DeSarro finished second with Robbie Kotary, third.

  Forty years ago in 1975, Flyin Brian Ross in the Mystic Missile made it two in a row at Stafford as he beat out Geoff Bodine to win the Ferrara 100. Kenny Bouchard finished third with Eddie Flemke and John Rosati rounding out the top five. Dick Dunn was the 35 lap Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Twin 50's were run at Shangri-La with Richie Evans and George Kent taking top honors. On the Island, Fred Harbach beat out Wayne Anderson and Charlie Jarzombek to take the win at Islip and at Westhampton on Sunday, Jarzombek won out over Jerry Cook and Don Howe. In New York State, Maynard Troyer went two for two as he won at both Lancaster and at Fulton.

  Thirty five years ago in 1980, Richie Evans was on a tear and had it not been for Geoff Bodine, the popular champion would have gone five for five on the weekend. Evans' weekend started at New Egypt on Wednesday where he won a 150 lap event over Wayne Anderson and John Blewett Jr. At Holland, NY on Thursday he won a Race of Champions qualifier over George Kent and Jerry Cook. From there it was off to Stafford where won again. Bob Polverari, John Rosati and Mike Stefanik followed. At Riverside Park on Saturday night he made it four in a row at the tight 1/4-mile oval. From Riverside it was off to Oswego. Geoff Bodine who had won at Shangri-La on Saturday night was the spoiler as he beat out Evans. Doug Hewitt finished second with Greg Sacks, fourth. Other weekend winners were George Savory at Westboro, John Rosati at Thompson, Jim Hendrickson at Wall and rain at Waterford, Riverhead and Lancaster.

  Thirty years ago in 1985, Holland ran twin 50's on Thursday night with Richie Evans and Jeff Fuller sharing the spotlight. Kenny Bouchard took the top spot at Stafford and at Waterford, veterans Jerry Pearl and Dickie Doo Ceravolo finished one-two. At Oswego on Sunday, George Brunnhoelzl was the top gun over Evans and Brian Ross. Other weekend winners were Jerry Cranmer at New Egypt and Wall, Tony Jankowiak at Spencer, Don Pratt at Shangri-La, Dan Avery at Riverside and Wayne Dion at Thompson.

  Twenty five years ago in 1990, the Modified Tour traveled to Riverhead on Wednesday where Reggie Ruggiero broke the strong hold of the locals as he won the event. Mike Stefanik finished second and was followed by Tom Baldwin and Bob Park. Stafford was closed because of a monster truck event. At Monadnock, Dunk Rudolph took the win over Dwight Jarvis and Jerry Marquis. Stan Greger beat out Jerry Marquis at Riverside. Eddie Brunnhoelzl won the Charlie Jarzombek memorial at Riverhead and Jan Leaty won a 75 lapper at Shangri-La.

  Twenty years ago in 1995 rain washed out Stafford, Waterford, Riverside and the Mod Tour-Busch North double header at Thompson. Riverhead got a break and ran the 76 lap Charlie Jarzombek Memorial, which was won by Don Howe. Bill Park finished second with Lenny Fischer, third. In Winston Cup action, the Brickyard 400 started four hours late because of rain. Dale Earnhardt took the win. Jason Keller won the Busch Grandnational event at Indianapolis Raceway Park after Johnny Benson spun in oil.

  Fifteen years ago in 2000 Stafford Speedway ran twin 40's on Friday night. Ted Christopher went two for two as he all but cleaned house. Lloyd Agor was the runner-up in the first event and Jeff Malave was the runner-up in the nightcap. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a 200 lapper on Saturday night. Mike Ewanitsko took the lead from Frank Vigliarolo on lap 20 and never looked back. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed by Tom Cravenho, Chuck Steuer and John Blewett III. At Waterford, Ron Yuhas Jr. scored his third win over Dennis Gada and Tucker Reynolds Jr. In Winston Cup action, Bob Labonte took the lead with 15 laps to go and went on to victory in the Brickyard 400.Ron Hornaday was the Busch Grandnational winner at Indianapolis Raceway Park. On a sad note, New York State dirt track driving legend Pete Corey passed away at the age of 70.

  Ten years ago in 2005 Denise Barry Dion passed away suddenly on Wednesday, August 3. Denise was the sister and spotter of Modified driver Ken Barry (21), daughter to car owner Art and Deborah Barry and wife to Wayne Dion, Pro Stock driver. Denise, 45, was swimming when she began experiencing sudden abdominal pain and was then rushed to the hospital, put on life support, and by early evening, had passed away.
  George "Mad Dog" Bessette, a frequent winner at the Thompson Speedway broke his back in a last lap accident at Oxford Plains Speedway while trying to qualify for the recent Oxford 250. He was out of a qualifying position when the driver behind pushed him into the wall. He was not paralyzed but was in a lot of pain. Bessette was diagnosed with having broken his first vertebrae.
  Jeff Malave padded his Sunoco Modified point lead at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Malave received a gift when the top three, Kerry Malone, Bo Gunning and Richard Savory tangled with eight laps to go. Bert Marvin ended up second with Todd Ceravolo, third. Ricky Shawn and Kenny Bouchard rounded out the top five. Second generation driver Fred Astle, driving the Rollie Linblad No. 48 went pole to pole to win the Pro Stock feature. Other Thursday night winners were Glenn Boss who took his fifth win of the year in the Limited Sportsman, Dennis Botticello in the Late Models, Randy Jurcik in the Mini Stocks and Chad Gaudiosi in the Thompson Modifieds.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. Donnie Lia emerged as the next leader of the Long Island gang as he continued to turn in impressive finishes. At Riverhead he started on the pole and paced himself behind early leader John Fortin who led the first 39 laps. A faulty transmission ended Fortin’s night. Lia was waiting in the wings and took command of the situation and never looked back as he led the balance of the 200-lap event to record the win. Tony Hirschman came from 8th spot to finish second with Jerry Marquis, third. Rounding out the top five were Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers. Chris Kopec elected to step aside from his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ride because of medical problems. Mike Stefanik moved from the Brady Bunch No.00 to the vacated No. 16. John Blewett III had taken over the Brady car.
  Eric Berndt ended a long dry spell at Stafford on Friday night as every lap of the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Jeff Baral finished second with Lloyd Agor, third. Donnie Lia and Mike Holdridge rounded out the top five. Tom Butler was the Late Model winner. The Waterford Speedbowl saw Dennis Charette lead every lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Rob Janovic, third. Dennis Botticello was the Late Model winner with Tim Fogg taking top honors in the Sportsman. Bill Leonard was the Mini Stock winner.
  Tony Stewart won the Nextel Cup Brickyard 400 and Martin Truex JR won the Busch Series event at Indianapolis.

  Five years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors were back in action after a week off as they traveled to the high banked, quarter mile, Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday, July 17. A somewhat light race purse of $53,631 was up for grabs.
  Ted Christopher celebrated the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's return to the high banks with his 36th career victory. The win moved Christopher, the 2008 Tour champion, into sole possession of third place on the career win list. It's Christopher's second win of the season, allowing him to move past Tony Hirschman. The Plainville, Conn., driver now trails only Mike Stefanik (70 wins) and Reggie Ruggiero (44).
  Erick Rudolph, who won his first career 21 Means 21 pole award presented by Coors Light earlier in the day, led the first 95 laps before Christopher moved to the front. The two battled each other for the lead until Christopher moved out front for the final time on Lap 152. He held off Rudolph on a green-white-checkered finish. The scheduled 175-lap race was extended to 179 laps by a late caution. Christopher led twice for 41 laps, while Rudolph led twice for 138 laps.
  Ron Silk followed Rudolph in third, with Eric Berndt fourth and points leader Bobby Santos fifth. George Brunnhoelzl III, James Civali, Glen Reen, Justin Bonsignore and Eric Beers completed the top 10.
   Christopher started fourth and despite a torrid pace at times averaged only 42.937mph due to the eight cautions that slowed the pace for 65 laps. Seventeen of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap.
  Jim Schaeffer, a Riverhead, Long Island elementary school teacher, did it again as he and a collective group of fellow race fans and sponsors added an additional $10,500 in prize money to the July 31st Riverhead 200, a Flash Tour race at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's Riverhead Raceway. The winner of the 175-lap feature event of the program would now pocket a total of $5,000. Schaffer indicated that all 28 drivers and owners that qualify for the Riverhead 200 would earn $300 that he and his fellow sponsors would present in the pit area prior to the race. Additionally the winner of the race would earn an extra $2,100 from Schaeffer and his sponsors after already receiving the $300 to qualify. The posted awards for the race for the winner was at $2,600 and with the $2,400 in bonus money the winning team arrives at a $5,000 payday.
  The Thompson International Speedway presented a 50 lap special for the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds as part of their Thursday night Thunder program. Ted Christopher was up for the task as he beat out Woody Pitkat to record his sixth win of the season at the northeastern Connecticut oval. A good field of 20 cars were on hand for the event. The drama of the night started before the green flag was displayed as NASCAR National point title contender Keith Rocco called it a night after developing transmission problems.
  Pitkat settled for second. Ryan Preece, Tim Sullivan, and Ron Silk completed the top five. Among the casualties were Rowan Pennink who finished 15th and Danny Cates who finished 16th.
  Larry Gelinas made it two in a row in Super Late Model action while John Materas recorded his first of the season in Late Model action. Other winners were Chris “Moose” Douton in the Limited Sportsman, Shane Michalski in the TIS Modifieds and Scott Jussaume in the Mini Stocks.
  Rain was a deciding factor at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Ryan Posocco scored his third victory of the 2010 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature and Tommy Barrett, Jr. won his second consecutive and fourth overall race of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Rain halted the remainder of the program and as more than half of the event was completed, there will be no rain checks.
  The Modified Racing Series went up country to the state of Maine as they visited the Oxford Plains Speedway for the Maine-Ly Action Sports 100 on Saturday. With temperatures in the 90's drivers sliced and diced and changed the lead several times during the event. Andy Seuss was able to use a lap 85 restart to his advantage as he took the lead that led to the eventual win over Louie Mechalides. There were 73 green laps of racing before the first caution flag flew. Joe Doucette had ignition problems that stopped his car on the backstretch bringing to an end his night of racing.
  The Waterford Speedbowl was also the scene of some hot action as Tyler Chadwick checkered his first SK Modified ® feature of the year, scoring a popular win in the 35-lap main event. Ed Puleo was back in Victory Lane for the Street Stocks, his fourth win of the season and second straight. Ken Cassidy Jr. returned to the winner’s circle in the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks, and Keith Rocco scored his first ever A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck division win in impressive fashion. Glen Thomas Jr. dominated the X-Car ‘Dash for Cash’ race.
  Todd Ceravolo wound up second, however his season of misfortune continued when, after taking the checkered flag, sparks flew with a lapped car literally going up and over Ceravolo’s runner-up finishing machine off turn two on the cool down lap. Jeff Paul finished third to extend his consistent season. Rob Janovic Jr. and defending champion Ron Yuhas Jr. rounded out the top five.
  The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina fell victim to rain.
  Ted Christopher was expected to return to Bowman Gray on August 7 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour makes a stop at the historic quarter mile. Many southern fans refer to Christopher as the "Medicine Man" after he retaliated against Junior Miller who had instigated a recent confrontation. Miller takes pride in wrecking anyone in his way. TC gave him a lesson and some of his own medicine back after he attempted to take the northern invader out.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rain washed out the 77 Lap Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial NASCAR Modified event a week ago. For some reason the rescheduled event was in direct conflict with the Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was held the same evening at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire. In the Baldwin, Evans, Jarzombek Memorial 77, the No. 7NY visited Riverhead Raceway victory lane once again, courtesy of Howie Brode, who renumbered his car in honor of Baldwin.
  Carl Edwards prevailed in a wild final lap at the Gateway Int. Speedway, nudging Brad Keselowski out of control on the final straightaway to take the Nationwide Dodge Dealers 250 on Saturday night. Ten cars were collected in the wreck. Keselowski was on the inside and had appeared to take the lead before Edwards' car drifted into him. Keselowski spun into the wall and was struck head-on by Shelby Howard as he slid back to toward the infield. Edwards said Keselowski wouldn't have been in position to win if he hadn't bumped Edwards earlier on the final lap. Keselowski finally rolled across the line in 14th.
  NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series enjoyed a weekend off.

  Last year, 2014, the final event of the three race Tri-Track series was a 100 lapper at the Seekonk Speedway. This race paid $10,000 to win and was supplemented by a $10,000 point fund. Tommy Barrett Jr saved the best for last as he snookered Todd Annarummo on lap 86 and walked off with the $10 grand as a capacity crowd looked on. Annarummo faded in the final laps and wound up fourth. Jon McKennedy finished second with Matt Hirschman, third. Richard Savory rounded out the top five.
  Open Wheeled Wednesday, co promoted by the Seekonk Speedway, the Racing Guys headed by Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer, drew a huge field of 45 Modifieds. Four heats and two consolations were required to set the field. Sixth through tenth were Ryan Preece, Vinnie Annarummo, Rowan Pennink, Paul Newcomb and Anthony Nocella. There were 17 cars on the lead lap at the finish.
  At the Stafford Speedway the Inaugural NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000 was the main event. Stafford Speedway held an online vote prior to the race with fans able to vote on the qualifying procedure, the number of laps for the feature, the tire rule, and how the lineup would be handicapped. The qualifying, tire rule, and handicapping procedures were decided by the fan vote prior to the race but the lap number remained a mystery to everyone. A weighted draw was held just prior to the start of the race with the top-3 fan choices of 76, 80, and 100 laps in a bucker. The 100-lap chip was drawn, making the race 100-laps long. After a 2014 season that has seen more downs than ups for Huntingdon Valley, PA driver Rowan Pennink, he used a strong move in turns 3+4 to take the lead from Ryan Preece as they were heading towards the white flag and took home the $5,000 winner’s check.
  Pennink was all but on Ryan Preece’s back bumper when he made a pass for the lead in turns 3+4. The two cars came to the white flag side by side but as they went into turn 1, Preece spun and did a quick 360 turn and kept going, but it was all Pennink at the front and he took the checkered flag and the $5,000 payday that came with it. Ted Christopher finished second, with Frank Ruocco, Keith Rocco, and Glen Reen rounding out the top-5.
In other feature action during the night, Jay Stuart recorded his second consecutive Late Model feature victory, Dylan Menditto won the SK Light feature, David Arute took his first Ltd. Late Model checkered flag of the 2014, Frank L’Etoile, Jr. picked up his first win of the 2014 season in the DARE Stock feature, and Mike Christopher, Jr. picked up his first Stafford Speedway win of the year in the Legend Cars feature.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the annual Nostalgia Night hit the track Saturday with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing joined by vintage displays and motorsports action, plus racing by the Northeastern Midget Association. Taking NASCAR wins was Keith Rocco, winner of both the special Charlie Mitchell Memorial SK Modified® feature plus Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, tying yet another track record in the process. Rocco’s SK Modified® triumph marked his 62nd in the division at the Speedbowl, tying him atop the division’s all-time win list with Dennis Gada, the only seven-time champion in track history. Rocco's first victory at the shoreline oval was in 2008. Rocco began the night a winner in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model ranks, winning for the second consecutive week and eighth time of the year in that division.
  In other Speedbowl action, Al Stone III came away with a hard- nosed win in the Street Stocks, while Wayne Burroughs Jr. was victorious for the first time this season in the Mini Stocks. In NEMA action, the Shane Hammond Memorial race was won by Seth Carlson and the NEMA Lites feature went to To win the SK Modified event, Rocco used a stellar move on another of the division’s all-time best, Ted Christopher. Christopher inherited the lead after leaders Ed Puleo and Tyler Chadwick tangled battling for the lead on lap-14. Christopher and Rocco, who were third and fourth on the track, narrowly avoided the melee and made up the front row for the ensuing restart.
  In Modified racing in the Southland, NASCAR Officials penalized Burt Myers and Tim Brown by docking them 100 points in the championship point standings. “We believe that these penalties will send a message that this is something we can not tolerate,” said NASCAR Chief Steward John Horton, about the crashing that occurred while the caution was displayed during the Modified feature at the Bowman Gray Stadium run on July 19.
The deduction dropped Brown from the points lead down to fourth, and Myers fell from second down to fifth in the points standings. With nine races left in the season, including a double-points race during the season finale, Brown and Myers had both indicated that they would sit out the rest of the season at the Winston-Salem, NC track. Myers relented and was in the field this past week. Jason Myers and Dean Ward, were the winners of twin 50-lap races for the featured Modified Division. Jason Myers led all the way in a caution-free first race on a relatively calm night. Ward fended off a few challenges in the second race on his way to a second victory in two weeks. Tempers were cool for the most part after a heated car-bashing clash last weekend that resulted in penalties for multi-time champions Tim Brown and Burt Myers.
  Tom Rogers Jr was the Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek, Tom Baldwin Memorial Modified winner at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Ron Silk finished second with Ryan Preece, third.
  Ty Dillon returned the famed number 3 to the top of the scoring pylon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in the Lilly Diabetes 250. Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, passed pole winner and race leader Kyle Busch on a restart with 24 laps to go in the 100-lap race.
  Jeff Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth NASCAR Winston Cup Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight days before his 43rd birthday and on the weekend Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first Brickyard victory.

  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

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: July 31, 2015

2007-2015  © GeeLaw Motorsports/RGeePro/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.   Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written prior consent