The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

September 18, 2015

  Fifty five years ago in 1960 George Janoski, a local favorite, was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Dick Watson was the 25 lap Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Ray Moran was the non-Ford winner and Dick Dunn took the win in the Bombers

  Fifty years ago in 1965 the Stafford Springs Speedway was quiet. Newt Palm won the 30 lap September Championship at the Waterford Speedbowl. Daring Dick Caso won in the Bombers and Bill Scrivner was the Late Model Daredevil winner. The Albany-Saratoga Speedway wound up their inaugural season with a 100 lapper which was won by Dick Dixon. Don Collins finished second followed by Frank Mathalia and Don Flynn. Billy Greco was crowned the track’s first Modified Champion. Lou Lazzaro was the winner at Fonda and at Norwood Mario “Fats” Caruso was the Modified winner while Johnny Thompson was the Sportsman winner. At the Utica-Rome Speedway Richie Evans scored his first career Modified win over Sonny Seamon and Bernie Miller.

  Forty five years ago in 1970, Jerry Cook was desperately trying to make up some lost ground on the national point ladder as he went to Martinsville where he won the Fall 100 over John Bryant and Melvin Puddin' Swisher. Conspicuous by his absence was Ray Hendrick who went north to Oswego where he took a big win. Stafford ran their final event of the year, which saw Bugsy Stevens take the win over Ray Miller, Fred DeSarro who also wrapped up the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship, Moose Hewitt and Bernie Miller. Ed Yerrington finished eighth and wrapped up the Stafford track championship. Sunday racing at Thompson and Waterford rained out.

  Forty years ago in 1975, Richie Evans went two for three as he won at Fulton on Friday night over Sonny Seamon, Geoff Bodine and Fred DeSarro. On Sunday, Evans traveled to Islip where he led from pole to pole to win the All-Star 300.Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Maynard Troyer. In between all of that was the Oswego Modified 200 which saw Maynard Troyer take the win which was worth in excess of $15,000.Bodine finished second and was followed by Evans, Roger Treichler and Greme Bolia. Dick Dunn put a lid on the season at Waterford with a 100 lap win in the Al Gaudreau No. 3.

  Thirty five years ago in 1980, it was Race of Champions weekend at Pocono. Close to 100 cars were on hand and when all was said and done, Richie Evans took the win over Geoff Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Greg Sacks and Bugsy Stevens. Evans passed Bouchard for the lead on lap 286 of the 300-lap event. The night before Pocono, Evans flew to Riverside where he won a 50 lapper over Bob Polverari. While Evans was in the north, Bodine was in the south where he won a 300-lap Late Model Sportsman (Busch Grandnational) event at South Boston. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Bobby Allison took the win.

  Thirty years ago in 1985, Stan Greger was the Saturday night winner at Riverside while at Waterford; Dickie Doo Ceravolo scored a win for the hometown crowd. Ceravolo beat out Bob Potter and Mark LaJunesse for the win. Art Moran Jr. was the Super Stock winner. The NASCAR modifieds were busy. They ran a 150 lapper at Shangri-La on Saturday night where George Kent took the win over Jan Leaty and Richie Evans. After an all night ride to Maine, they did it all over at Oxford Plains where Evans took the win over Brian Ross and Doug Hevron. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.

  Twenty five years ago in 1990, Bill Zacharias won a 150 lapper at Shangri-La and sewed up the track championship. Andy Romano finished second with Lee Sherwood, third. At Lancaster, Doug Hevron won the season ending 200 over Mike McLaughlin and Sege Fidenza. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Sunday, which saw Bob Potter take the win. David Gada finished second and sewed up the track championship.

  Twenty years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick won the Race of Champions qualifier at Waterford as he out ran Tucker Reynolds Jr., Scott Spaulding and Mike Gada. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon. Steve Park took the win as a mad scramble occurred behind him. Satch Worley attempted to go under Mike Stefanik on the last lap when they touched and triggered a pileup. Jan Leaty, who was running eighth, moved into second spot at the finish. Ed Kennedy finished third and was followed by Tom Cravenho and was followed by Mike Ewanitsko. Joe Bessey was the Busch North Series winner over Robbie Crouch and Jeff Barry and Steve Kinser won his 400th main event in World of Outlaws competition. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.

  Fifteen years ago, in 1990, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. Included were the Modifieds who again put on the best show of the weekend. Mike Ewanitsko took the 100 lap win with six laps to go when Ted Christopher's motor went to skipping and losing power. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by John Blewett III, Rick Fuller and Dan Avery. Christopher sputtered home in sixth spot. Andy Santerre won the Busch North Series event and in Winston Cup action, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps in one of the most boring Winston Cup events ever run as NASCAR really blew it when they mandated restrictor plates in hopes of making the race safer in the wake of two deaths, those of Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty. Rob Janovic won at Waterford on Saturday night. Ron Silk finished second with Tom Fox, third. During the evenings events it was announced that track operator Terry Eames had purchased the property where the Speedbowl was located for $1.85 million. It was also this week that Wally Saleeba passed away. Wally had been a close friend and confidant of D. Anthony Venditti for many years.

  Ten years ago in 2005 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series took the weekend off before the beginning its final three race stretch drive which would see the Fall Final at Stafford on October 2, the rescheduled twin bill Busch North-Whelen Modified event at the Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 8 and the season ending World Series at the Thompson Speedway on October 16. Ted Christopher, who was riding a three win in a row streak, began the stretch drive with a 31 point lead over Tony Hirschman. Both had done extremely well at both Thompson and Stafford. Jerry Marquis, 143 points back, and Chuck Hossfeld, 157 points back, had an outside shot. Despite having a poor finish at the season opener at Thompson when he wrecked and got injured, plus missing the Spring Sizzler, Eric Beers had clawed his way into fifth spot, 225 points in arrears. Beers’ determination plus the bullet proof reliability of Mike Boehler’s Ole Blu has put Beers in contention. Don Lia, Doug Coby, Rick Fuller, Zack Sylvester and Mike Christopher rounded out the top ten. With 15 events in the record book a total of 78 different drivers had entered into Whelen Modified Tour Series competition.
  Kerry Malone finally got the monkey off his back as he took the win in the Sunoco Modified division at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Bert Marvin put the pressure on during the closing moments of the 30 lap feature but Malone never wavered. Keith Rocco turned in another strong run as he finished third ahead of Jimmy Blewett and Jeff Malave. Marc Palmisano took the Late Model feature and Mike O’Sullivan took top honors in the Pro Stocks. Larry Barnett won his sixth of the year in the Limited Sportsman and Chad Gaudiosi was the Thompson Modified winner. Randy Jurcik took the Mini Stocks.
  Although the nights were getting cooler the action at the Waterford Speedbowl continued to be hot and heavy. Ron Yuhas jr. had more than his share of the bump and grind at the shoreline oval. In spite of it all he remained in the point race and last week moved into the lead by a scant four points over Rob Summers as he on the feature for the SK Modifieds. Ron Silk finished second with Dennis Gada, third. Rob Summers who previously led the points finished fourth with Tommy Fox rounding out the top five. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Allen Coates took his eighth win in the Late Models, Dan Darnstaedt in the Sportsman, Ken Cassidy in the Mini-Stocks and Curtis D’Addario in the X-Cars. Speaking of the X-Cars, the Speedbowl ran a mechanics race on Wednesday night that was won by former Modified Champion Dickie Doo Ceravolo.
  Ryan Newman tied a NASCAR Busch Series record by winning in his fourth consecutive start of the season, a dominant performance in a wreck-filled race Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Newman was far ahead of the cars involved in two multicar accidents in the opening laps. The Dover 200 was a rout, with Newman leading all but seven laps, setting a record on The Monster Mile. Darrell Waltrip led 167 laps in 1985. Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's MBNA Race Points 400 at Dover International Speedway, holding onto his lead during a two-lap overtime period despite heavy pressure on his back bumper from Busch, his teammate at Hendrick Motorsports.

  Five years ago in 2010, Thursday night Thunder Racing at the Thompson Speedway continued to be some of the best competition to be seen as Danny Cates went from the outhouse to the penthouse in the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds at the high banked, lightning fast oval. Cates, who has been extremely fast and smooth all year had only one victory on the season going into the night's racing program. Cates powered his second win of the season despite having to start last in the 18 car starting field. Ted Christopher who has dominated the division with ten wins was never a factor as his night ended on the tail end of a wrecker. Christopher was all done by the third lap when John Catania hit the wall going into the third turn, drifted down, and hit Christopher’s car, severely damaging the right-side suspension.
  Following Cates and Woody Pitkat at the finish was Silk, Rocco and Preece. Christopher who currently leads Pitkat by 56 points finished 15th.
In other action at Thompson, Larry Gelinas dominated in Super Late Models to score his fourth victory of the 2010 season. Spirits were riding high as Mike Scorzelli and Chad Baxter of scored career firsts in the Late Models and Mini Stocks respectively. Joe Coates was tops in the Limited Sportsman division while Brian Tagg wired the field for the TIS Modified victory.
  After a week off, the Stafford Speedway was back in action on Friday, September 10th with the Inaugural Shark Cycle 100. It was a banner night for Stafford's own Woody Pitkat, who bagged a double by winning both the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, and the 30-lap Late Model feature. The SK Modified® victory was the third of 2010 for Pitkat and the Late Model win was his second consecutive and seventh overall win of 2010. Other feature winners were Tommy Barrett, Jr., who scored his ninth win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr., who won his second feature of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes scored his third win of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
  In the SK Modified feature Ryan Preece finished second. Rounding out the top five was JeffMalave, Dan Avery and Josh Sylvester. Keith Rocco's 9th place finish was enough to clinch the 2010 Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified® track championship.
  In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Todd Ceravolo made it two in a row in SK Modified competition. Keith Rocco was second with Rob Janovic finishing third. Ron Yuhas and Doug Coby ran side-by-side to the checkered flag for fourth, with Yuhas taking that spot by a bumper.
  In other action at the Speedbowl, Vin Esposito won his second Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year. Ed Puleo went pole to pole to win his fifth Street Stock race of 2010, while Mark Panaroni checkered the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race, his first of the season. Russ Stoehr won a 35-lap NEMA Midget memorial race and Jesse State of New Hyde Park, NY was the victor in the NEMA Lite event.
  The Modified Racing Series made its inaugural visit to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Ted Christopher put the Joe Brady #00 in victory lane. Starting third, Christopher took the lead from Ron Silk on lap two and never looked back. It was Christopher's 110th win at Stafford. Silk finished second and was followed by Rowan Pennink, Jeff Malave and Chris Pasteryak. Sixth through tenth were Mike Stefanik, Bryon Chew, Eric Goodale, Richard Savory and Bobby Santos III.
  Eighteen of the 28 starters were on the lead lap at the finish. There were 38 cars on hand for the inaugural event which appeared to be well received by fans and track management alike.
  Justin Bonsignore the leading rookie driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour enjoyed some home cooking Saturday night when he topped the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event at Riverhead Raceway posting the $1,425 victory. With a 5th place finish Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue sewed up the 2010 NASCAR Modified championship giving him two titles in the class with his first coming in 2004.
  Kevin Harvick passed Brad Keselowski for the lead with just over 50 laps to go Friday night and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race for his third victory of the season and 37th overall.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup action Denny Hamlin scored a dominating win at the Richmond International Raceway. It came a week after he had the car to beat in Atlanta until an engine failure dropped him to a last-place finish, and the Richmond win pushed him into the points lead for the first time in his career.

  Last year, 2014, Keith Rocco broke the strangle hold that Rowan Pennink had on the SK Modified division at Stafford on Friday night. Pennink, up until Friday night, had a string of three wins in a row. It was also not a good night for Ryan Preece who lost the division point lead to Ted Christopher after his car developed problems and he was forced to drop out. Other winners were Adam Gray, who won his fifth feature of the year in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, and Justin Bren, who won his second Limited Late Model feature of the year. They were joined in NAPA Victory Lane by three first –time winners at Stafford and they were Paul French in the SK Light feature, Dan Dembek in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legends Car feature.
  In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Pennink finished second while Woody Pitkat beat Dan Avery to the checkered flag by a nose for third, and Eric Berndt got around Christopher for fifth. Christopher hung on for sixth. Preece ended up 20th while Nicole Morgillo finished 23rd. Preece had a very ambitious weekend planned as he intended to compete at Riverhead on Long Island on Saturday and at the Oswego Speedway in the Race of Champions on Sunday.
  Rocco had won at all three Connecticut tracks and had a total of 27 feature wins to his credit which include 15 in Modified competition and 12 in the Late Models at Waterford.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was scheduled for a 200 lap event a the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island this past weekend. Rain moved over the track during afternoon practice and persisted into the evening, forcing the cancellation of the event by NASCAR and track officials. There were 30 cars on hand
  Due to local regulations that prohibit Riverhead Raceway from running events after the month of September, no make-up date was available to reschedule the Riverhead 200. Competitors were given refunds for pit passes and for unused tires that they bought for the event.
  Once the cancellation was made Ryan Preece made a hasty retreat and did an all nighter to Oswego, NY where he finished third behind Chuck Hossfeld and Tony Hanbury on the annual 200 lap Race of Champions.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the races were cancelled for the second week in a row. Rain moved into the Waterford Ct area shortly after 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon. The only action at the Speedbowl during the week was the final night of Wacky Wednesday competition which saw Mike Christopher Jr record his 23rd win if the season in Legends competition at the shoreline oval.
Christopher has already made his debut in open wheeled competition as he has recorded a 15th and a sixth in SK Lite competition. Ryan Morgan who had been a top runner in the Legends in past years will be moving up to the SK Modifieds in 2015.
  In Modified racing in the Southland, Kyle Ebersole decided to change up his pit strategy and pitted early on Lap 53 and was able to hold off a late charge by Andy Seuss to win the South Boston 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event at South Boston Speedway. It was the second career victory for Ebersole. His first came in 2013 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia. Andy Seuss made several attempts in his quest for a season sweep at South Boston, but was ultimately forced to settle for second. He was followed across the line by George Brunnhoelzl III, Burt Myers and J.R. Bertuccio.
  Pole winner Danny Bohn, rookie Spencer Davis, Jason Myers, Joe Ryan Osborne, and Thomas Stinson rounded out the top-10 finishers. There were 19 cars on hand.
Kevin Harvick got his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season, giving JR Motorsports nine on the year, with his victory Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Brad Keselowski showed how badly he wants to win another championship.
  Keselowski used a three-wide pass of Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday to win the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. The victory automatically advances Keselowski into the second round of the 10-race Chase, which will eliminate four drivers every third race under NASCAR's new format.

  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: September 18, 2015

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