The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

March 10, 2017

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Alan Kulwicki took the Winston Cup pole at Richmond but it was Dale Earnhardt who took the win over Geoff Bodine.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, Harry Gant came from the back to win the Grandnational event. Bill Elliott won the Winston Cup event by 18 inches over Alan Kulwicki. Jeff Fuller made his Winston Cup debut and finished 14th.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, qualifying for Winston Cup and Busch Grandnational divisions at Richmond was rained out. Both events would be started based on points. Jeff Burton started 41st and dominated most of the Busch GN event that is until the last lap, when Jason Keller wailed him. After taking the lead, Keller went into turn three too hard and while he was trying to regain control, allowed Mark Martin to scoot by and take the win. Jeff Green ended up second after Burton and Keller spun together while in sight of the finish line. Ted Christopher started 40th and ended up 17th, three laps down. In Winston Cup action, Rusty Wallace took the win after almost being wrecked by Jeff Gordon. Dale Jarrett finished second.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002, NASCAR’s elite divisions, the Winston Cup and Busch Grandnationals, were in Las Vegas. Jeff Burton was the BGN winner and Sterling Marlin won the Winston Cup event over Jeremy Mayfield.

  Ten years ago in 2007 All eyes were on the first annual Speedway Expo at the Better Living Center at the Big "E" in West Springfield, Mass. The show, which replaced RaceaRama featured just about every speedway and series in the northeast along with many top NASCAR stars and personalities. Based on numerous reports Speedway Expo was a rousing success. It was gratifying to see that a large contingent of drivers that were on hand representing the NASCAR Busch East and Whelen Modified Tour Series.
  Saturday saw a large turnout of fans for autograph sessions from some of their favorite drivers including eighteen competitors from the NASCAR Busch East Series and Whelen Modified ranks. NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers Clint Bowyer and Kenny Wallace proved popular with the fans seeking their autographs. The dunk tank, which featured NEMA's Mike Scrivani along with officials from Seekonk and Twin State Speedways, was an enjoyable festivity as folks tried their luck for a good cause.
  Among those on the prowl was former Connecticut SK Modified Champion Jim Broderick who says his son Jimmy would be in a SK at Waterford in 2007. It also appeared that Mario Fiore and his mighty No.44 would reappear in the form of a True Value Modified. Fiore indicated that he could field a competitive Modified on the True Value circuit for considerably less than it costs to run the NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour Series. Speedways and racing series from every New England state as well as New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey were represented. Cars and trucks representing just about any form of motorized competition were on hand.
  The highlight of Sunday afternoon was the inaugural Speedy Awards, which were voted on by the fans to recognize drivers, the media, promoters and tracks for their efforts. The winners were: BREAK-OUT RACER OF THE YEAR WINNER: MATT HIRSCHMAN, LONG HAUL AWARD WINNER: BENTLEY WARREN, BEST WEEKLY RACER WINNER: WOODY PITKAT, BEST NORTHEAST TOURING RACER WINNER: CHRIS PERLEY, BEST WEEKLY SHOW WINNER: BEECH RIDGE SPEEDWAY, BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE IN AN EVENT WINNER: LARRY BARNETT, BEST INDIVIDUAL PROMOTION WINNER: TD BANKNORTH 250 OXFORD PLAINS SPEEDWAY, BEST SERIES OR TRACK COVERAGE WINNER: NICHOLAS TETO, RACE FAN OF THE YEAR WINNER: TOM ‘SID’ DiMAGGIO. OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION AWARD Winner: Bill Channell, SOLID LIFTER winner : This non-racer (not a driver, car owner, or crew member) award recognizes lifelong support of a spouse who has played a tremendous role in their spouse’s and family’s racing career. They have supported the decision to be financially involved, understood time away from chores and sometimes family, and then takes a backseat during victory lane photos, interviews, and team-oriented decisions and they have done so for years, in some cases decades. WINNER: LOIS MATCZAK.
  It looked like the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts was working hard to keep admission prices at a reasonable level as they had secured major sponsorship for their True Value Modified Series events. The Speedway announced that AAA of Southern New England had signed on as the title sponsor for the True Value Modified Racing Series 100-lap event on Saturday night, June 23 and Airgas Inc., the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, specialty and medical gases, process chemicals, welding, safety and related products, has joined forces with the speedway to present the True Value Modified Racing Series 100 on Saturday night, August 18.
  Down on the shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl the new management team of Bill Roth and Jerry Robinson had begun their upgrade program at the Route 85 oval. Roth and Robinson, under the corporate name, The New Waterford Speedbowl, LLC, officially signed their lease Jan. 1, about a month and a half later than they would've liked to, taking over the day-to-day operations at the track from property owner Terry Eames. Roth and Robinson would have a long row to hoe as Eames had let the historic oval slip into a stage of disrepair
  The New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) announced the addition of the New Hampshire 75 for the United States Auto Club (USAC) Silver Crown Series presented by K&N Engineering on Saturday, September 15. The New Hampshire 75 will be part of an already action packed NASCAR SYLVANIA 300 event weekend. Saturday’s schedule would also feature the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series New Hampshire 200 and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New Hampshire 100.
  Juan Pablo Montoya spun teammate Scott Pruett to take the lead with eight laps left, then held off Denny Hamlin to win the Telcel-Motorola 200 for his first NASCAR Busch Series victory.
  Montoya, the Colombian star who jumped from Formula One to NASCAR late last season, recovered from a bad pit stop to aggressively move from 19th to first, taking the lead when he sent Pruett's car spinning on the 72nd lap.
  The Nextel Cup cars had the weekend off.

  Five years ago in 2012, Indoor racing came to Providence RI. in the form of The Coffee Cup INDOOR RACE at the Providence Civic Center on Saturday and Sunday. TQ Midgets & Sr. Champ Karts were on the bill of fare.
  Canadian Stewart Friesen passed Erick Rudolph for the lead on lap 38 of the 40-lap Coffee Cup Classic Indoor Three Quarter Midget race at Dunkin’ Donuts Center Saturday to earn his first Coffee Cup Classic victory. The win came after a thrilling side-by-side battle in an event that Rudolph dominated.
  Ted Christopher was in the field and didn't disappoint those who came to watch him compete. Christopher, who started 25th and last in the field after fixing mechanical problems with his car just in time to make the call for the green flag, finished fifth.
  The companion Champ Kart 25-lap main event was won by Glen Meisenhelder, who originally crossed the finish line in second place. When apparent winner Chris Daley was disqualified by technical inspectors for an out-of-compliance engine, Meisenhelder was elevated, albeit belatedly, to victory.
  Stewart Friesen backed up his Saturday night three-quarter midget feature win in the Dunkin Donuts Center with a rousing win the Sunday afternoon. The race was halted three times before the 100th lap was put in the books and each time Friesen had to outrun Erick Rudolph and Joe Payne Jr. to preserve his winning drive. Friesen was also the leader of the 50th lap of the race when the field was stopped as designed by race officials to allow for refueling and minor adjustments. Drivers were able to restart in the second segment regardless of number of laps completed in the first half of the race.
  Ted Christopher, who had been a contender in the first half of the event, pressured Friesen after working by Rudolph and Payne but dropped out of the event late in the going with mechanical problems.
  Rudolph and Payne challenged Friesen over the final circuits but fell short. Ryan Smith was fourth at the checkered flag and Jon Gambuti was fifth.
After enduring the indignity of a disqualification the night before, Champ Kart driver Chris Daley was a man on a mission Sunday afternoon.
Ricky Stenhouse, the defending series champion, led the final 54 laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to become the first non-Sprint Cup driver to win a Nationwide race on the 1.5-mile oval. Stenhouse started sixth at Las Vegas and stayed near the front, taking the lead with 54 laps left. He pulled away from Mark Martin out of two cautions down the stretch of the 200-mile race and had a cushion of nearly 6 seconds when he crossed the checkers at the tri-oval in the desert.
  Martin, who had won four of his previous six Nationwide starts at Las Vegas, finished second in his first race for Joe Gibbs Racing. Polesitter Elliott Sadler was third after a lengthy mid-race pit stop to fix a vibration and Danica Patrick was 12th in the first race at LVMS since IndyCar star Dan Wheldon was killed.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing action at Las Vegas, Tony Stewart dove to the edge of the apron and ducked under the two cars in front of him. With one bold move, the defending Sprint Cup champion was on his way to a redemptive win. Stewart made a three-wide pass on a late restart and held off Jimmie Johnson winning at a track that was the site of his biggest disappointment.

  Last year, 2016 Ryan Preece continued his education in the NASCAR Infinity division. On Saturday in his first visit to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Preece made it through 2 rounds of qualifying starting a solid 20th place.
  During the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Ryan did not have the start he would have hoped for. Ryan bounced off the wall coming out of turn 4 on lap 2 and bounced into Corey LaJoie sending Corey into a spin through the inner oval. The rest of the race went much better for Ryan, while Ryan finished the race 3 laps down he stayed out of trouble ending up with an 18th place finish out of 40 starters. Kyle Busch won the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his 78th XFINITY Series win and 2nd of the year. He led 199 of the 200 laps. Daniel Suarez finished second, followed by Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Brandon Jones, Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Brendan Gaughan. There were 3 cautions for 15 laps and 2 lead changes among 2 leaders.
  Brad Keselowski won the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 2nd win in at Las Vegas and 18th career win. Keselowski led 24 of the 267 laps. He took the lead from Busch with 6 laps to go and pulled away to win by .6 seconds. JoeyLogano finished 2nd, followed by Jimmy Johnson.
  Racing web site Speed51 conducted a poll concerning likes and dis-likes of race fans. It was voted that the Thompson Motorsports Park, aka Thompson Speedway was one of the top five favorites of fans and competitors. It was also voted that Shawn Monahan of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, was one of the top five promoters of short track racing.
  Congratulations to Keith and Cassie Rocco on the birth of their second child as baby Giuliana decided she was ready to join the world! She arrived at 9:32am weighing in at 5 pounds 13 ounces and is 19 inches long and looks just like her brother.

  That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail,

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: March 10, 2017

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