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
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
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
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
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
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina fell victim to
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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