August 21, 2015
Fifty five years ago in 1960 the rains descended on the Stafford
Springs Speedway turning the track into a mud bog. Dick Beauregard recorded
25 lap Modified wins at the Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and Saturday
nights. Ted Stack and Ed Moody followed suit as they recorded wins in the
non-Ford and Bomber divisions respectively.
The big event of the weekend was the 100-Mile National Championship for
Sportsman-Modified Stock Cars at the one mile Trenton Speedway. Elton
Hildreth took the win over Red Foote, Jack Hart, Bob Malzahn and Bill
Wimble. Also in the field was Ray Hendrick who finished 18th and Bill Slater
who finished 29th.
Fifty years ago in 1965 Bill Wimble
made it four in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday
night. Dick Dunn took the checkers at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday
night. Charlie Savage, who would become the first SK Modified Champion when
the division was formed at Stafford, was the Bomber feature winner. Steady
Eddie Flemke won the first ever extra distance Modified event, a 100 lapper,
at the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Frank Mathalia finished second
and was followed by Billy Harman and Elton Hill. Kenny Shoemaker made it two
in a row at the Fonda Speedway as he won a 100 lapper. At Utica – Rome rain
prevailed for the third time of the season.
NASCAR Modifieds and Sportsman competitors from up and down the east
coast converged on the Trenton Speedway in New Jersey for the third annual
Trenton 200. Ray Hendrick, in the Tant/Mitchell No.11 took the win over Wild
Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket V-8. Bugs Stevens in the Ole
Blu of Len Boehler finished third. Bill Wimble and Bill Dennis rounded out
the top five.
Forty five years ago in 1970 Friday
night racing at Malta rained out. In twin 25 lap action at Stafford on
Saturday night, Mr. Leo Cleary put the Garbarino Bros.4 in Victory lane as
did Eddie Flemke in the Garutti Bros.14. At Fonda, Harry Peek and Eddie
Pieniezak did the trick and at Plattsburg, Dick Nephew took the win. Walt
Dombrowski put the L&M in victory lane at Waterford. Larry Crandall did the
trick in the Waterford Daredevils. The annual Trenton 200 was on tap on
Sunday and when the checker dropped, Ray Hendrick took the win over Max
Berrier, Sal Dee, Paul Radford and Bugsy Stevens.
Thirty five years ago in 1980, Allen
Harbach took the Wednesday night win at New Egypt. Fred Harbach finished
second with Jamie Tomaino, third. Friday at Stafford, Richie Evans beat out
Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens. Saturday night at Westboro, John Rosati in the
Tuck Hoffman 73 did the deed as he won out over Ronnie Bouchard and Cleary.
Reggie Ruggiero, in the Bobby Judkins 2x ruled at Riverside. Ronnie Rocco
and Mike Stefanik followed. At Thompson on Sunday, Jerry Cook won the 40 lap
Thompson 300 qualifier. Brian Ross finished second with Bugsy Stevens,
third. Other weekend winners included George Kent at Shangri-La, Maynard
Troyer at Spencer, Tom McCann at Islip, Allen Whipple at Claremont, Rick
Donnelly at Waterford, Jamie Tomaino at Wall, Don LaJoie at Danbury, Larry
Record at Star and Kenny Busch at Monadnock and Geoff Bodine won a Late
Model Sportsman event at South Boston
Thirty years ago in 1985, the
modified tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night event. Ray Miller in
the Simons No.9 took the win over Jamie Tomaino and Bugsy Stevens. Waterford
was one of the few tracks that Richie Evans didn't master as the best he
could do was sixth. Friday night at Stafford, Jamie Tomaino scored as he out
ran Doug Hevron and Charlie Jarzombek for the win. Wayne Anderson won a 200
lapper at New Egypt and it was Richie Evans over Doug Hewitt at Spencer.
Larry Ross pulled an upset at Waterford as he beat Bob Potter and Joe Tiezzi
for the win and at Riverside, Mike Stefanik won the annual 200.Tim Contarino
won at Riverhead and at Shangri-La it was Randy Hedger over Jim Spencer. In
Sunday SK-Mod action at Thompson, Wayne Dion beat out Keith Williams. In
Winston Cup action at Bristol, Dale Earnhardt was the winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1990, the
Modified Tour was at Thompson on Wednesday for a 150 lapper. Mike McLaughlin
took the win over Reggie Ruggiero. Stafford rained out on Friday and
Waterford never completed their program because of curfew. The mod tour was
at Riverside on Saturday. Richie Gallup took the win over Jeff Fuller. Lenny
Fischer won at Riverhead. Five years ago in 1995,the modified tour was at
Stafford on Friday night. Steve Park took the lead from Ricky Fuller on lap
77 of the 150-lap event and went on to record the win. Fuller ended up
second with Mike Stefanik, third. Stefanik had the field covered but was
held by officials on pit road after he made an illegal pass on the track.
Satch Worley and Reggie Ruggiero rounded out the top five. The SK 50 lapper
was won by Bo Gunning with Jim Broderick, second. Veteran Jerry Pearl took
the victory at Waterford on Saturday night. Eric Berndt finished second. Jim
Broderick had the misfortune of breaking his wrist after being involved in
an early race wreck. Tom Fox was the Late Model winner. At Riverside, Ed
Spires took the modified win and Mike Stefanik held off Kelly Moore as he
won the Busch North event at the amusement park oval. At Riverhead, Chuck
Steuer got his fourth of the year. Tempers were hot at Bristol Tenn. where
Dale Earnhardt dumped Terry Labonte into the wall on the final lap. Labonte
managed to win the event but he wasn't too happy with Mr. Goodwrench.
Earlier in the event, Earnhardt had dumped Rusty Wallace. Steve Grissom was
the BGN winner. During the weekend it was announced that sprint car driver
Doug Wolfgang had been awarded $1.2million for burn injuries incurred at the
Fifteen years ago in 2000 the
Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford for a 150 on Friday night. Ted
Christopher had the dominant car until his engine sputtered with three laps
to go. Waiting in the wings was John Blewett III who took the lead and the
win. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed by Tom Craven, Reggie
Ruggiero, Rob Summers and Tim Connolly. The SK's ran twin 50's with Ted
Christopher and Lloyd Agor taking the wins. Saturday night at Waterford saw
Tucker Reynolds Jr. in victory lane as he beat out Dennis Gada and Ed
Dachenhausen for the win. Ted Christopher took on the New Yorkers in the
Lancaster Open. Christopher took the win only to be disqualified as track
officials stated that his carburetor was illegal. At Riverhead it was Ed
Brunnhoelzl Jr. and in Winston Cup action at Bristol, Rusty Wallace took the
pole and the win. Kevin Harvick did likewise in the companion Busch
Grandnational event. Scott Quinn got a hard fought win at Thompson on Sunday
night. Curt Brainard finished second with Bert Marvin, third. In Busch North
Series action, also at Thompson, Tracy Gordon took the win.
Five years ago in 2010, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway on Thursday
night for the running of the Budweiser 150. Ted Christopher literally
cleaned house as he totally dominated the 150 after winning the track's
regular Modified feature. The big story of the night should have been
Christopher's outstanding drive but that was overshadowed by the story in
the Hartford Current that stated that speedway owner Don Hoenig would have
to move his August Thursday night date to another week because the Whelen
Modified Tour Series was going to be included in the 2011 schedule at the
New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon. The IZOD IndyCar Series would return to
Loudon after a 13-year absence on August 14 of 2011. It didn't sound like a
big deal but it really was because of the fact that the Thompson Speedway
had supported the NASCAR Modified Tour series since its inception in 1985.
NASCAR, who's only loyalty is to the dollar, could care less about Hoenig's
loyalty. Those who are employed by "The Company", as NASCAR is called by its
employees, will tell you off the record that the organization is run like a
mafia. Its there way or else! It would be interesting to see what would
NASCAR's reaction be if Hoenig dropped the entire tour from his schedule in
A somewhat slim field of 29 Modifieds were on hand for the event
that carried a purse of $83,764. Christopher was the Busch Pole sitter as he
toured the 5/8 mile oval in 18.624seconds. Second fastest was Rowan Pennink.
The redraw saw Justin Bonsignore on the pole for the start with Christopher,
outside. At the drop of the green, in a hail of fireworks, Christopher had
the lead by the time the field exited turn two. Setting a blistering pace,
Christopher led the field from the start and only relinquished the lead
twice during the Budweiser King of Beers 150 as he went on to record his
37th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. Bobby Santos took the lead
after Christopher pitted for three tires under caution on Lap 95, however,
it only took Christopher 10 laps to get back in front after the restart on
Lap 101. Santos finished the race in third place.
Christopher was clearly the class of the field building leads by as much
as four seconds before losing his advantage after the fourth and final
caution flag of the race flew on Lap 149 after Erick Rudolph’s problems set
up the final sprint to the finish. Ronnie Silk, who moved into the second
spot in the closing moments, ended up in second spot with Santos, third.
Following Santos across the line was Rowan Pennink and Mike Stefanik who
rounded out the top five. Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Doug Coby, Eric
Goodale and Glen Reen rounded out the top 10.
It was Christopher’s 10th Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson, and his
fourth in the Tour’s last six races at the .625-mile oval. The Plainville,
Conn., driver led 141 of the 156 laps. With the win, Christopher took the
championship points lead from Santos, who had led through the first nine
races. Christopher’s three wins and six top-fives have forged a 14-point
lead over Santos with Mike Stefanik in third, 85 points back.
The Thompson International Speedway also ran its regular six divisions.
In addition to his Whelen Modified Tour Series victory Christopher scored a
thrilling victory in the Sunoco Modified feature. Fellow Whelen Modified
Tour double-duty driver Mike Stefanik turned in a dominating performance to
earn the Super Late Model victory. In other NASCAR Whelen All-America Series
action, Mark Oliveira was victorious in an eventful Late Model feature.
Scott Sundeen took down his first Limited Sportsman win of the 2010 season.
R.J. Marcotte continued to roll in the TIS Modifieds. Dwayne Dorr posted his
second Mini Stock win.
Christopher and Woody Pitkat slugged it out until the final lap when
Christopher was able to forge ahead for the lead and ultimate victory, his
77th at the Northeastern Connecticut oval.
Double SK Modified features at the Stafford Motor Speedway helped Keith
Rocco get a little closer to his dream of becoming the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series National Champion. The championship is based on a
driver's best 18 finishes. Rocco's win was the 17th that counted toward the
title. Frank Ruocco and Keith Rocco were the winners of the twin 40-lap SK
Modified® feature events, Corey Hutchings won the 30-lap Late Model feature,
Matt Galko won the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault won the
20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes was the winner of the
15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Ruocco led the field around to the white flag and he held off both Woody
Pitkat and Ryan Preece to take the victory, his fourth win of the 2010
season. Rocco finished 7th in the first race. In the second 40 lapper, Rocco
rode behind Ted Christopher until the final lap of the race when he made a
move to the inside of Christopher in turn 1. The two cars ran wheel to wheel
down the backstretch and when they hit turn 3, Rocco surged ahead of
Christopher and came off turn 4 with the race lead and his 8th victory of
the 2010 season. Christopher finished second, with Preece, Todd Owen, and
Zach Sylvester rounding out the top-5.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith
Rocco lived out his dream as he became the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
National Champion as a result of his convincing win. Rocco started from the
No. 12 position and had moved into the fourth position by lap 11. He took
over the second spot by lap 26, then tracked down race leader Tom Abele,
where he finally passed him down low on the backstretch of lap 29 to take
The second generation racer survived one final restart to win the race as
Kyle James snuck past Abele to finish second. Abele wound up third, Rob
Janovic fourth and Tyler Chadwick fifth.
In other Speedbowl action, Chris Deritis of Philadelphia, PA won the
25-lap NEMA Midget race and Rowley, MA native Chris Perley took the
checkered flag in a 50-lap race for the visiting IMSA Supermodifieds. In the
100-lap Modified Racing Series event, Stephen Masse of Bellingham, MA
dominated to take his third career win and first in the Series at Waterford.
Ted Christopher finished second and was followed by Doug Coby,. Rowan
Pennink and Jon McKennedy, Christopher told the Hartford Currant on Sunday
that he had been disqualified.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina ran twin 25's for
their Modifieds. Recording wins were Tim Brown and Brad Robbins. Burt Myers
recorded a 7th and a 6th.
John Beatty Jr recorded his first ever Modified win at the Riverhead
Raceway on Long Island.
Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400 at Michigan
International Speedway. Brad Keselowski managed to make it through pit stops
despite mechanical problems, then grabbed the lead on a restart with eight
laps to go and pulled away to win the NASCAR Nationwide race.
Last year, 2014, in the aftermath of
the fatal accident involving NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Tony Stewart,
that led to the death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward Jr., NASCAR issued new
rules overseeing the behavior of drivers during events.
On Friday, August 15, NASCAR announced new rules stating that barring
emergency situations like a fire, smoke or being sprayed by hot water or
oil, a driver involved in a crash is not allowed to exit a car until
directed to do so by safety personnel or a NASCAR official. They also
mandated that after exiting their car a driver must either proceed to an
ambulance or safety vehicle. The new rules also stated that: “At no time
should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface
or apron or another moving vehicle at any time This rule covers all NASCAR
divisions from Sprint Cup on down to weekly NASCAR sanctioned short track
racing that is held at the Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson Speedway and
the Waterford Speedbowl.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway this
past Thursday for the Budweiser 150. The event drew 25 cars. Justin
Bonsignore earned his second Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park victory this
season behind the wheel of his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entry after
taking the late race lead and holding on through two restarts.
Donny Lia, who was the pole sitter, and Ron Yuhas led the field at the
start with Lia getting the early lead. Tommy Barrett, Jr. moved into second
on lap four before he and Lia pulled away from the rest of the field by
half-a-straightaway. Barrett attached himself to Lia’s bumper, but Lia held
strong in the lead despite the pressure. The first caution occurred on lap
12 when Bobby Santos hit the first turn wall as a result of a deflating
tire. The restart came on lap 17 with Lia jumping to the front. Ryan Preece
got by Barrett for second, but didn’t have enough to take over the lead.
Lia, Preece and Barrett pulled away from the rest of the field. Barrett
challenged Preece on the outside in turn three, but Preece pulled away
coming out of the corner. Preece started working the bottom groove to try
and make a run on Lia, but Lia was too strong and continually pulled away.
The second caution flew on lap 40 for debris spotted in turn one. Lia
continued to set the pace when racing resumed at lap 46. Preece got hung up
on the inside groove and dropped back to fourth behind Doug Coby and Yuhas.
Preece’s luck continued to turn for the worse, however, when he got turned
coming off turn four.
Racing resumed on lap 58 with Lia leading the way. Barrett and Coby
rounded out the top-three with Barrett only a car length behind Lia. The
field strung out single file until the caution flew again on lap 73 when
Patrick Emerling got loose and hit the outside wall in turn two. Emerling
pitted with a right front flat. Lia led a contingent of lead lap cars onto
pit road, but it was Timmy Solomito out first. Glen Reen inherited the lead
for the restart. Reen held off the hard-charging Ron Silk to keep the lead
on the restart, but Silk was able to get a run on the bottom to take over
the top spot on lap 83. Barrett followed suit to take over second on lap 85
while Matt Hirschman took over third. Lia, meanwhile, was on the move and
had advanced to third by lap 95.
The long green flag run worked into Silk’s favor as he worked his way
through lapped traffic with ease. Barrett remained within distance, but
couldn’t get close enough to challenge. The race took a surprising turn at
lap 124 when Emerling spun in turn one collecting Barrett and Lia, ending
their night. Coby and Justin Bonsignore took over second and third.
Silk drove to the front on the restart at lap 129 but caution quickly
came back out when Rowan Pennink spun in turn four. Coby took the lead when
racing resumed at lap 135, but the action wasn’t over yet. Justin Bonsignore
used the bottom groove to take the lead on lap 136 in turn four. Coby
remained glued to his bumper, but the race came to a halt quickly when Yuhas
and Eric Goodale hit hard in turn two.
Bonsignore led the field back to green with only nine laps remaining.
Coby hung tough on the inside, but Bonsignore was able to prevail and hold
on to the lead. Coby, Silk and Preece went three-wide for the second spot
with Silk coming out with the position. Caution would realign the field back
to the last completed lap with Coby back in the second position beside
Bonsignore for the restart. Bonsignore cleared Coby heading into turn one to
hold on to the lead. Hirschman advanced to second with Coby holding on to
third at the finish. Preece and Silk rounded out the top five. Sixth through
tenth were Timmy Solomito, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy,Glen Reen and
In other racing action at Thompson Kerry Malone led the way in NASCAR
Whelen All American Series action with a convincing victory in the Sunoco
Modified 30-lap feature event. Also picking up wins were Larry Gelinas in
the Late Models, Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini Stock division and Corey
Hutchings in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division. Art Chartier won the
Vintage Outlaw feature.
In Sunoco (SK) Modified action, Malone used two three-wide moves to take
the lead on the third lap of the Sunoco Modified feature and led the
remainder of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature.
Troy Talman took the early lead, but had Malone to deal with as he shot up
to the front to challenge heading into turn three. Talman held the lead as
they came to the line. On lap three, Talman’s night took a dramatic turn
when he and Keith Rocco made contact in turn two and took him out of the
lead and out of contention. Malone used the outside groove for the restart
with Tyler Chadwick getting relegated back to the sixth spot after starting
on the front row inside groove. Todd Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, and McDermott
rounded out the top-four. Malone pulled out to a five car length lead as the
remaining top-five, which included Rocco, ran nose-to-tail.
As the laps wound down, Malone and Ceravolo pulled away from Preece, who
had slipped back by ten car lengths. Meanwhile, Rocco got by McDermott for
the fourth spot at lap 26 and began to close in on Preece. Malone approached
lapped traffic as he took the white flag, but it didn’t slow him down at all
as he cruised to checkered flag ahead of Ceravolo. Rocco, Preece and
McDermott rounded out the top five.
The Stafford Motor Speedway ran under somewhat chilly skies last Friday
night. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on
the night were Keith Rocco, his first at Stafford this year, in the 40-lap
SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, Nick Salva
in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Norm Sears in the 20-lap Limited Late Model
feature, Andy Marchese in the 15-lap DARE Stock, and Cory DiMatteo in the
20-lap Legend Cars feature.
In the SK Modified feature. Rocco got clear of Ryan Preece on lap-35 and
Rowan Pennink was almost alongside Preece but he fell back into line in
third. Pennink got ahead of Preece on lap-37 but Preece came back the very
next corner and moved back in front of Pennink for second. With all the
shuffling going on behind him, Rocco had pulled out to a slight lead and he
led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the
2014 season. Preece finished second, with Pennink, Woody Pitkat, and Dan
Avery rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl
local favorite Rob Janovic Jr. claimed the night’s SK Modified® victory, his
first of the year. Bruce Thomas Jr. took his third Valenti Auto Mall Late
Model feature win, Josh Galvin won for the tenth time in the Street Stocks,
and Ken Cassidy Jr. took his sixth Mini Stock win of the year. Brendon Bock
won his first ever Speedbowl feature in the evening’s INEX Legend Cars race
and Allen Coates recorded another win in the New England Truck Series at his
In the SK Modified feature, Keith Rocco used a late race surge to take
second, passing Tim Jordan for the spot on the final lap. Jordan was third
and Diego Monahan was fourth, with Craig Lutz fifth.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Seekonk Speedway for a 100
lapper on Saturday night. Norm Wrenn scored an upset win after the front
runners tangled on the last lap. To set the stage, Justin Bonsignore was
leading Richard Savory when the took the white flag. Savary got into the
back of Bonsignore in turn two and got them both out of shape. Rowan Pennink
got clear of both going into turn three. Bonsignore slammed Pennink in the
center of the corner, getting them both out of shape and Wrenn got by off
four to take the win. Pennink ended up second with Bonsignore, third.
Richard Savory and Bob Goodenough rounded out the top five.
Something kind of strange happened at Seekonk. It seems that local runner
Todd Annarummo has incredible luck when it comes to drawing starting
positions. Annarummo, who is not a VMS regular, started on the pole in the
second heat and started on the outside pole in the feature. It just seems
strange that when ever a Modified race is run at Seekonk Annarummo always
draws an up-front starting spot??
In Modified racing in the Southland, Burt Myers led all the way in the
first 50-lap race for Bowman Gray Stadium’s featured Modified Division and
claimed his division-leading fifth victory of the season. Chris Fleming
survived and won a wild second Modified race, capturing his career-best
third victory in one season. Myers, a six-time Bowman Gray champion, started
from the pole position in the first Modified race after a draw for the top
starting spot among the fastest six qualifiers.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island hosted twin 30's for the Modifieds. Tom
Rogers Jr won them both.
Jeff Gordon raced to his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the year,
holding off Kevin Harvick on Sunday for his first win at Michigan
International Speedway since 2001.
Chris Buescher took the lead on the 68th of 90 laps in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and nursed his
fuel the rest of the way to hold off Regan Smith and Brian Scott. Smith, in
particular, was waiting for Buescher to run out of gas.
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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