Fifty five years ago in 1960 Dutch Hoag, a Modified legend in his
own time, won the Race of Champions on the one mile dirt track in Langhorne,
PA. Dick Tobias finished second with Wally Dallenbach, third. Bob Malzahn
and Carl Van Horn rounded out the top five. George Pendergast won the season
ending 25 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard
was the non-Ford winner and Dick Dunn was victorious in the Bombers. Don
Collins was crowned the track’s Modified Champion. Ted Stack was the
non-Ford Champion and Newt Palm was the Bomber Champion.
Fifty years ago in 1965, Dick Watson
won the season ending 100 lap Modified event at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Charlie Savage was the Bomber winner. Modified Championship honors at the
shoreline oval went to Sal Dee. Bill Scrivner was the Bomber champion.
Scrivner drove for Roger Bonnville who, in later years, would provide Bob
Potter with Modified championship rides. Ralph "Hop" Harrington was the
Saturday night winner at Norwood.
Forty five years ago in 1970, the
NASCAR Modifieds were at Beltsville, Maryland for a 200-lap event. Jerry
Cook took the win over Eddie Flemke and Billy Hensley. At Thompson, Billy
Harman, in the Ted Marsh 55, held off Leo Cleary and Lou Austin for that
win. Dick Armstrong bought the famous Tant/Mitchell No.11 that was formerly
driven by Ray Hendrick. With Hop Harrington at the wheel, a solid fourth
place finish was recorded. Rounding out the top eight were Lou Toro, Joey
Kay, Bob Vee and George Moose Hewitt.
Forty years ago in 1975, it was all
quiet with the modifieds as they were getting ready for the annual Cardinal
500 in Martinsville.
Thirty five years ago in 1980, the
World Series at Thompson drew 53 modifieds. It was on this date that the
late Richie Evans gave Mike Stefanik his big break as he put him in the seat
of his back-up experimental-straight axle modified known as the grey ghost.
After starting in the rear, the then young driver worked his way to the
front and was running second behind Ronnie Bouchard when he was forced out
with broken valve springs three quarters of the way through the 50 lap
event. Evans had taken the lead at the start but also had bad luck as he was
forced to pit with a flat tire on lap 33, giving way to Bouchard. Bouchard
led until lap 44 when he was passed by Greg Sacks in the Cal Smalles
No.41.Sacks went on to take the win and was followed by Bouchard, John
Rosati, Bob Vee, Evans, Ray Miller, Moose Hewitt and Kenny Bouchard. Mike
Benevides who today is a successful CPA was the late model winner and Warren
Coniam won the Supermodified portion. Ronnie Bouchard won a special 15-lap
Thirty years ago in 1985, Oswego
closed out their season on Saturday night with a 30 lap modified feature.
Richie Evans took the win and little did anyone know that this would be the
last, as the popular champion would lose his life in two weeks at
Martinsville. Mike McLaughlin finished second.
Twenty five years ago in 1990,
the Modifieds had the week off as they were getting ready for the World
Series at Thompson.
Twenty years ago in 1995, Mike
Stefanik scored his 32nd Modified tour win at the World Series at Thompson.
Stefanik took the lead from Ed Flemke JR on lap 94 of the 125-lap event.
Flemke finished second and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Steve Park, Tony
Hirschman and Jamie Tomaino. Bo Gunning won the SK 30 lapper over Bob
Potter. The weekend was darkened when Harry Kourafas JR lost his life after
being hit broadside during the running of the mini-stock feature. In DIRT
action at Syracuse, Brett Hearne won his 5th classic at the historic mile.
Mark Martin made a clean sweep at Charlotte as he won the Busch
Grandnational and Winston Cup events. Dale Earnhardt did not qualify for the
Winston Cup event but took a provisional and ended up in second spot.
Fifteen years ago, in 2000, the Race
of Champions, scheduled for the weekend at the Oswego Speedway, was
cancelled on Thursday because of a forecast of rain and snow. It never
rained! Seekonk ran the D.Anthony Venditti Memorial and added the SK
Modifieds as an after thought. Only 11 SK's showed and the race distance was
reduced from 50 laps to 25 laps. Ted Christopher started on the outside pole
and went on to take the win over Ron Yuhas JR, Roger Godin and Dan Dailey.
Vinnie Annarummo beat out Rick Martin and Wayne Dion to win the DAV main
event. In victory lane he announced his retirement from racing. At the DIRT
Classic at Syracuse, Billy Decker took the lead at the mid point and went on
to take the win over Steve Paine, Ken Brightbill and Bud Christian. Deckers
winning check was worth $50,000.00.In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Bob
Labonte passed Jerremy Mayfield with ten laps to go to take the win. In
Busch Grandnational action, Matt Kenseth took the lead and eventual win when
Joe Nemechek ran out of gas with two laps to go. Ed Flemke JR made a
surprise visit to the New River Speedway in Virginia and walked off with the
victory in the Hills Enterprises No.79.
Ten years ago in 2005 the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour series was at the Thompson Speedway for the annual
World Series. The track opened on Friday in order to allow competitors
entrance to the pit area. There was also supposed to be a practice session
to the non-touring divisions but rain put a damper on that. It looked
promising until last Friday night when a knock out punch in the form of five
more inches of rain was delivered. With the speedway under water, the
Thompson Speedway management and NASCAR had no choice but to postpone the
event to the following weekend, October 21-23. The rescheduling created a
conflict with the Waterford Speedbowl who had already rescheduled their
season ending Fall Finale. Chances were, Waterford would not change again
and the two speedways would go head to head. Thanks to the efforts of the
Speedbowl Management team of Bill Roth and Pete Zanardi a plan was worked
out with NASCAR’s Ed Cox and the Fall Finale was once again scheduled for
the weekend of October 28-29-30. Plans included coordination of race day
schedules and a unique gas incentive supported by Xtra Mart convenience
stores. Competitors who are intended on racing at both the Speedbowl’s Town
Fair Tire Finale and Thompson would be able to do so. On the 29th,
qualifying heats for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series divisions were slated to
be completed at Waterford in time for racers to make the 50-mile trek to
Thompson for their features. Also, racers who run the Speedbowl heats,
compete at Thompson later that day and return to the Speedbowl to race on
Sunday the 30th will be given fuel coupons redeemable at any Xtra Mart
store. In some sad news, Anthony "Beebe" Zalinski passed away early Tuesday
morning, October 11. He was 89 years old Mr. Zalenski worked for many years
as a diesel mechanic at Palmer Motor Coach in Palmer, Mass. Later he owned
his own speed shop. His real passion was auto racing, first with sports cars
and then with stock cars. His famous M-6 coupe driven by many of the top
drivers of the day was a frequent winner at tracks throughout the Northeast.
In 1967, with Gene Bergin driving, they combined for 17 victories and
reigned as modified champions at the Stafford Motor Speedway. In recent
years, Mr. Zalenski was associated with the Flamingo Motor Sports Race Team.
At the age of 78, Beebe built the engines that propelled Chris Kopec to the
Riverside Park Track Championship.
Ryan Newman set a NASCAR record by winning his fifth consecutive Busch
Series race, avoiding a track-record 14 cautions Friday in the Dollar
General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Elliott Sadler was
second, followed by Paul Menard, Carl Edwards and Jason Leffler. Jimmie
Johnson overcame every problem thrown his way - including tire troubles that
turned Saturday night's event into a laughingstock - to win his fourth
consecutive race at Lowe's Motor Speedway and move into a tie with Tony
Stewart in the Chase for the Championship. Johnson started 41st, then
battled a failing alternator, a cut right rear tire and overtime to prove no
one can beat him on the track his Lowe's-sponsored team considers its own
private playground. Johnson has won five of the past six events in Concord,
Speedway Motorsports Inc. declared a cash dividend of $0.32 per share of
common stock. The annual dividend will be payable on Nov. 21, 2005 to
shareholders of record as of Nov. 8, 2005. This is the fourth consecutive
year that Speedway Motorsports has paid a cash dividend to its stockholders
and the fourth year the dividend increased over the prior year. The Board of
Directors of the motorsports entertainment company unanimously decided to
declare the dividend after reviewing the market for the Company's stock,
current business conditions and future prospects of the Company.
Five years ago in 2010, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Stafford Motor Speedway for the
annual Fall Final which carried a purse of $83,609. The event drew 31 cars.
Justin Bonsignore bounced back from his recent disappointment at Thompson to
capture his second Coors Lite pole of the year with a sizzling run of 18.355
seconds around the half mile oval. The young Long Island racer had recently
won an open competition event at Thompson only to have the victory stripped
away because he didn't use the proper gasoline. Eric Beers was second
fastest with Mike Stefanik, third, Eric Berndt and Ryan Preece rounded out
the top five. Sixth through tenth were Ed Flemke Jr, Rowan Pennink, Ron
Silk, Eric Rudolph and Bobby Santos III. In the re-draw for the start Beers
drew the pole with Flemke drawing the outside pole spot. Bonsignore drew the
seventh starting spot.
Bobby Santos, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, took the eventual
victory with the Garbarino Mystic Missile. Santos took the lead after a
massive pile-up forced a long red flag period as the speedway fencing was
destroyed and needed to be fixed. The wreck was triggered when Richie Pallai
hit Dale Quarterly sending him sideways. It was a "Pig Pile" from then on.
Also involved were Ed Flemke, Todd Szegedy, Eric Berndt and Eric Goodale.
With seven laps remaining Santos jumped out and sprinted to the finish. Ron
Silk finished second and was followed by Erick Rudolph, Rowan Pennink, Mike
Stefanik, Ryan Preece, Glen Reen, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and Ken Heagy.
Polesitter Bonsignore took a shot in the turn two wall after getting
sideways on lap 108. Also collected in the wreck was Jamie Tomaino and Woody
Pitkat. Bonsignore finished 29th while Pitkat finished 30th and Tomaino,
All tolled, there were 8 caution periods for 45 laps. In addition to
those previously mentioned Jimmy Blewett and Eric Berndt also ended their
day in wrecks.
With one race remaining on the schedule, Santos carrys a 37-point lead on
Stefanik in the season standings to Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway
for the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racin.
In regular weekly division racing at Stafford Keith Rocco, the 2010
Whelen All-American Series Champion, closed out the Stafford SK Modified
season with his 10th win of the year to set a single-season track record. He
clinched the track title earlier this year. Woody Pitkat won Stafford's
Whelen All-American Series Late Model finale and Ryan Posocco clinched the
Following Rocco in the 40 lap SK contest was Frank Ruocco with Chris
Matthews, Jeff Baral, and Zach Sylvester rounding out the top-5. Ted
Christopher, Stafford's winningist driver, finished 26th after being
eliminated in a wreck.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline the Waterford Speedbowl completed
its final Saturday night points race of 2010 with six feature events
including all five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions in action. It
was also Cystic Fibrosis Night at the track, raising awareness and funds for
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Jeff Pearl dominated the SK Modifieds® to roll
to his third win on the year. Bruce Thomas Jr. won the Bob Valenti Auto Mall
Late Model feature, with Tim Jordan taking the championship. In the Street
Stocks Ed Puleo won his sixth race of 2010. Al Stone III claimed the Street
Stock championship after a wild race for the points contenders. Ken Cassidy
Jr. clinched the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock title in style, picking up his
fifth win of the year. Allen Coates did the same in the A.B. CDL Driver
Training Center Truck division, winning the race and title. Anthony Flannery
finished the Saturday night season on a high note by taking yet another
Legends Cars win.
In the SK Modifieds, Tyler Chadwick was second over Rob Janovic, Keith
Rocco and Glenn Pressell. The win was the 34th of Pearl’s career, good for
second all-time in the division ahead of Ted Christopher. Rocco already
secured the championship.
Jason Myers won a special Modified event at the North Wilkesboro Speedway in
North Carolina. Junior Miller was second with Burt Myers, third.
Joey Logano got aggressive on a late restart to get past Kyle Busch, then
used a push from Brad Keselowski to hold on at Kansas Speedway for his
second Nationwide Series win of the season. Greg Biffle was the Sprint Cup
winner. Busch had early contact with David Reutimann that caused Reutimann
to spin, and when they crossed paths later on the track, Reutimann appeared
to intentionally knock him into the wall. Busch was running seventh at the
time of the accident, fell to 22nd and demanded over his radio that NASCAR
take action against Reutimann. Crew chief Dave Rogers heightened the drama
by telling Busch that Reutimann's team demanded he retaliate against Busch.
Last year, 2014, In NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl a persistent wet
Saturday afternoon rain forced the Waterford Speedbowl to postpone its
racing schedule for the first of its two day Finale Weekend. A revised
Sunday schedule had thirteen divisions in action at the shoreline oval’s cap
to the 2014 racing season, which could be the last at the shoreline oval.
Keith Rocco came close to cleaning house in the two modified events held.
When all was said and done he dropped out of the SK Modified event with
engine trouble and won the 100 lap Valenti Modified Racing Series 100. Rocco
was leading the SK Modified event when he lost power on lap 36. Rocco now
has 103 career wins at the Waterford Speedbowl.
In the SK 50 Craig Lutz was the early leader until Rocco took the point
on Lap 11. Rocco led until losing power on lap 38 which opened the door for
eventual winner Ed Puleo. Puleo led the rest of the way to hold off Ted
Christopher for the win. Rob Janovic finished third with Dennis Perry
recording a well-earned fourth. Diego Monahan rounded out the top five.
There were 23 SK Modifieds on hand.
In Valenti Modified Racing Series action 32 cars were on hand for their
100 lapper. It seems that when ever Todd Annarummo is in competition he
always seems to draw a top spot in a qualifying heat. He did it again as he
drew the pole for the first heat. Keith Rocco was the spoiler as he blew him
away on lap six of the ten lap heat.
In the VMRS 100 Rocco showed his strength and experience at the Speedbowl
as he took the lead from Kyle James and fought off challenges from Tommy
Barrett Jr and took the win by close to half a straightaway. Steve Masse and
Barrett were early and mid-race factors but in the end it was Rocco who
prevailed. Pre-race favorite Ted Christopher was in contention until he was
collected by a spinning Barrett on lap 28. Barrett pitted and recovered as
he was back in the top five by lap 53. Steve Masse took the lead for a short
time at the half way mark. Three laps latter Rocco took the lead back for
good. A strong run by Dennis Perry came to an end on lap 35 when he passed
Dylan Kopec. Kopec sun Perry into the turn three wall, putting him out for
the day. Richard Savory avoided the spins and wrecks of others as he ended
up in the third spot on Barrett’s tail. Masse and Justin Bonsignore rounded
out the top five. Rocco overcame 11 caution flags, including one red flag,
to win his third Modified Racing Series race of the season and second at the
Speedbowl. Rocco’s season totals show 30 wins overall including 18 in
In addition to Rocco's victory, Corey Barry (SK Light Modified) and
Garrett Denton (Mini Stock), secured season championships by winning their
respective features in the Whelen All-American Series races, with the other
Whelen features going to Jason Palmer (Late Model) and Josh Galvin (Street
Also on the season ending racing card, Ryan Bigelow was the NEMA Midgets
winner, Dan Cugini captured the NEMA Lite feature, Ray Reed won the Super
X-Car race, Anthony Marvin captured the Bandolero feature, Wayne Shifflet
won the X-Car race, Dana Dimatteo the Legend Cars race and Jay Stuart
captured the Outlaw Stock race.
In Modified racing in the Southland, Danny Bohn edged Brian Loftin at the
finish line to take the Prestoria Farms 150 checkered flag in NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour action Saturday at Caraway Speedway. It was the third
career victory for Bohn, and second at the .455-mile oval in rural Sophia,
North Carolina. The dramatics were setup by a series of late-race cautions.
Burt Myers had dominated the bulk of the event, but broken rearend on Lap
130 opened the door to the field. Loftin assumed the lead and held Bohn at
bay for two subsequent restarts before the green-white-checkered flag
Loftin, an eight-time winner at Caraway, took the white flag in the lead,
but coming to the checkers Bohn made it a side-by-side dash. With four-time
titlist and current championship contender George Brunnhoelzl III wrecking
behind them as they came to the stripe, it was Bohn that edged ahead. It was
so close that it took a review of the official timing and scoring by NASCAR
Race Control to determine the winner. The final margin of victory: 0.019
Bohn and Loftin were followed across the finish line by Kyle Ebersole,
points leader Andy Seuss and Luke Fleming in the top five. The rest of the
top 10 included: Spencer Davis, JR Bertuccio, Daniel Speeney, Mike Norman
and Bobby Measmer Jr.
The Whelen Southern Modified Tour will conclude its 2014 season and crown a
champion in the finale on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway on
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at the Kansas Speedway Joey Logano managed to
avoid troubles that ruined the days of fellow Chase for the Sprint Cup
contenders Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Kasey
Kahne to score his second win of the Chase and his fifth of the season. In
doing so, Logano clinched a spot in the Eliminator round of the Chase.
Logano had to fend off a hard-charging Kyle Larson over the final laps.
Larson wound up settling for second, followed by Chase driver Kyle Busch and
Martin Truex Jr. Another Chase contender, Carl Edwards, rounded out the top
five. Kyle Busch drove to his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the
season Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway during the Kansas Lottery 300.
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
Smith / Looking Back A Bit