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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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