The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

April 21, 2017

  Sixty five years ago in 1952, Don Hall was the 25 Lap Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Harold "Curley" LeMay was the Claiming Car winner. D. Anthony Venditti flooded the Seekonk Speedway in order to stage boat races.

  Sixty years ago in 1957 Ray Moran won the opening day 25 lap Sportsman feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner. Gene Bergin won the season opener at Riverside Park.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962 Dick Beuregard won the opening day 25 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Caso was the 15 lap Bomber winner. Billy Greco won the United Stock Car Association opener at Riverside Park and Deke Astle won the opener at Westboro.

  Fifty years ago in 1967, Martinsville ran a 100 lap modified event with Sonny Hutchins of Richmond, Va. taking the win. Ray Hendrick finished second. Thirty-eight cars started the event. In the Grandnational (Winston Cup) event, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough lapped the field as they finished one-two in the 500 lap event. The Fulton Raceway in New York cleared away the snow for an open competition event that was won by Lee Osborne. Newt Palm made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 30 lap Modified feature. Jiggs Beetham, who in later years would team up with Bob Potter as his car owner, was the 15 lap Daredevil feature winner. It rained at the Norwood Arena but further west at the Westboro Speedway Fred Borden took the Modified win. Capping off the weekend at the Thompson Speedway Mr. Leo Cleary put the M-2 in victory lane.

  Forty five years ago in 1972, hot off his Spring Sizzler victory, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row at Stafford as he won the Sunday afternoon 30-lap event. Bob Santos finished second and was followed by Hop Harrington, Ray Miller, Moose Hewitt, Rene Charland and Bernie Miller. South Boston also ran a modified event with Max Berrier winning the 75 lapper over Ray Hendrick, Paul Radford and Jerry Cook. Saturday night racing at Fonda rained out. The weather was clear on the Connecticut shoreline on Sunday as Joe Trudeau won the 40 lap Modified feature. Ken Greggory was the 20 lap Sportsman Sedan feature winner.

  Forty years ago in 1977, Maynard Troyer finally mastered the Stafford Speedway as he won the 80 lap Spring Sizzler. Bob Polverari, Richie Evans, Dick Caso and Ed Flemke Sr. rounded out the top five. Ron Cote was the winner of the non-qualifiers event.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks, fresh off his Martinsville win, brought his streak to the Stafford Speedway where he won the 80 lap Sizzler. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Kenny Bouchard, George Summers, Maynard Troyer and Corky Cookman. Mike Weeden was the non-qualifiers winner with Jim Spencer, second. Also on this weekend, Richie Evans won the season opener at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Ray Miller finished second with George Kent, third. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Darrel Waltrip was both the Busch Pole sitter and the race winner.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Riverside Park was the only game in town as Jerry Marquis in the Bob Judkins 2x took the win over Stan Gregger, Mike McLaughlin and Wade Cole.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, Riverside Park rained out for the second week in a row. Because of the Easter weekend, the only racing was a Busch Grandnational event run at Hickory, N.C., which was won by Tommy Houston.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was in Martinsville for a 200 lapper. Mike Ewanitsko started 19th, made an early pit stop and inherited the lead when Mike Stefanik pitted and went on to take the win. Stefanik, who borrowed a car from Chris Kopec after he wrecked his own as a result of a broken wheel, finished second .Ricky Fuller finished third and was followed by Jan Leaty, Reggie Ruggiero, Tim Connolly and pole sitter, Ed Flemke Jr. Events scheduled for Riverside Park, the Waterford Speedbowl and the Riverhead Raceway were rained out.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002, Tommy Fox took the Saturday night win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Fox was running second to Ted Christopher when he got his left front into Christopher’s right rear. Fox turned left and Christopher spun out of the lead. Dennis Gada ended up second with John Brouwer, third. Christopher ended up 15th. Dave Michael got his 60th win at Wall Stadium and in Busch North Series action at Lee it was Andy Santerre over Mike Olsen and Mike Johnson. Dale Earnhardt JR led 133 of the 108 laps at Talledega to take the Nextel Cup win. Michael Waltrip finished second. Nextel Cup car owner Jack Roush was severly injured in a plane crash. Roush hit power lines and landed upside down in a lake. Larry Hicks, a retired Marine and recovering cancer patient pulled him to safety.

  Ten years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series got the green flag on Sunday at the Thompson Speedway as a near capacity crowd watched James Civali sprint to victory in the 150 lap Ice Breaker. Civali took the lead on lap 109 after running wheel to wheel with John Blewett III for several laps. A late race wreck which involved Reggie Ruggiero set the stage for a green, white, checkered finish on lap 152. Chuck Hossfeld got two late race gifts as it looked like he would end his day in fourth spot. With seven laps to go the green flew after a caution. Civali led the field followed by Richard Savory, Ron Yuhas Jr, Hossfeld and Ruggiero. As the field exited turn two Ruggiero went low, passing Hossfeld and Yuhas. Ruggiero, trying to get back in line after the pass, clipped Yuhas and they both ended up hitting the back stretch wall. While the track crews were cleaning up the mess and the field was circling under caution Savory suffered a flat tire and was forced to pit, thus handing the runner-up spot to Hossfeld. Savory ended up 17th. Following Hossfeld was Ronnie Silk, Jimmy Blewett and Matt Hirschman. Sixth through tenth were Tony Ferrante Jr, Carl Pasteryak, Jon McKennedy, Bob Grigas and Zach Sylvester in the Mansfield, CT based No77 of Curt Chase.
  Ted Christopher, who started on the outside pole, was the early leader as he passed pole sitter Savory in turn three before the field completed the first lap. Christopher led until a lap 23 restart when Don Lia shot by in the second turn. Lia apparently planned to go non-stop without a change of tires as almost the entire field pitted for tires during a caution on lap 71. It proved to end up being a bad decision as his tires lost their grip by lap 97 when he gave way to Civali. Lia remained in the top five despite fading fast. His undoing finally came on lap 137 when he spun out and was never a factor after that. Lia ended up 20th, four laps down. Christopher also had a bad day as he was collected in a wreck on lap 99 and ended up in 27th spot at the finish. Defending series champion was never a factor as he was eliminated after losing a wheel on lap 33 after making contact with Jerry Marquis. Stefanik ended up 34th.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly action ”Showtime” Jimmy Blewett , driving the Eddie Partridge No.12 was victorious in Sunoco Modified action. Rick Gentes doubled up in Icebreaker Late Model action (also winning last Saturday). Jeff Connors of Ellington, CT won the Pro Stock field while Keith DeSanctis won the Limited Sportsman division and Leo Adams was victorious in the TIS Modifieds. Andy Publicover scored the win in the Mini Stocks.
  In Sunoco Modified action, Todd Ceravolo held the early lead over Woody Pitkat. A pack of hungry drivers, Jimmy Blewett, Keith Rocco, and Tommy Cravenho, were bearing down on the leaders. Slight contact between the lead duo opened the door for Jimmy. Blewett, who grabbed the second spot before the caution flew for Roland Bergeron. After a false start, racing resumed with Ceravolo retaining his lead. Contact between Pitkat and Rocco send Rocco hard into the turn two wall. Jimmy Blewett was able to take over the lead once racing resumed. A single lap later contact between Cravenho and Bert Marvin sent Cravenho spinning. A chain reaction accident claimed the cars of John Catania, Buddy Charette, and others. Marvin was sent to the rear for his involvement in the accident. Jimmy Blewett continued to lead Ceravolo and now his brother John when racing went back to green. Pitkat and Kerry Malone sat inside the top five. Pitkat was getting racy with John Blewett while the leader had his hands full with Ceravolo. The top four cars began to get some distance on Malone in fifth. Just after halfway, the caution flew when Harry Rheaume and Marvin made contact. Both cars were able to continue. On the restart, Jimmy. Blewett and Ceravolo were side by side for the lead; meanwhile, things got messy from third position on back. Pitkat and Marvin both sustained extensive damage in the melee. Also involved was third-running John Blewett. The battle for the lead continued when the race resumed. While Jimmy Blewett and Ceravolo began to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, Kerry Malone headed down pit road, relinquishing the third spot.
  The final dash to the checkers found Jimmy. Blewett gaining some breathing room over Ceravolo. Dave Salzarulo and Danny Cates had great finish runs. Tommy Cravenho and Jo. Blewett had stormed back through the pack and put on a great show battling for the fifth position. At the finish, Jimmy Blewett scored the win over Ceravolo and Salzarulo. The rookie Danny Cates finished fourth in only his second Sunoco Modified start. John Blewett, who had won at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey on Saturday night recovered to finish fifth.
  The Monahan brothers packed a one-two punch at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday evening, claiming the top-two slots in the 35-lap SK Modified feature. It was Diego prevailing, but only after an intense battle with older brother Shawn during several late-race restarts. Other winners were Rob Summers (True Value Tour Modifieds), Tim Jordan (Late Models), Al Stone III (Sportsman), and Phil Evans (Mini Stocks).
  Joey Logano won a NASCAR Grand National Series event Thursday night at Phoenix International Raceway. Logano was a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing.
  Clint Bowyer won a stirring duel with Matt Kenseth on Friday night, taking the lead with 14 laps to go and holding on in the Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Jeff Gordon took the Nextel Cup win at Phoenix on Saturday and dedicated the victory to the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The board of directors for the International Speedway Corp. approved spending an additional $39.6 million for capital projects. With the approval, the board expects to spend $80 million to $90 million for a number of improvements at Darlington Raceway, including repaving the racing surface and aprons, constructing a new infield access tunnel, installing concrete pit stalls and other renovations. The improvements are expected to be completed in time for the facility's 2008 Nascar Nextel Cup and Busch series weekend.
  The company also announced that William C. France, William P. Graves and Christy F. Harris were re-elected and Morteza Hosseini-Kargar was elected to the board by ISC shareholders. All terms were for three years.

  Five years ago in 2012, the Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled up-country to the high-banked Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Jon McKennedy, driving the Art Barry No.2, made it two wins in a row as he won the Bond Auto Parts Spring Dash 100, at Granite State oval. McKennedy started 18th in the 24-car starting field. McKennedy slowly worked his way through traffic, used good tire management, a McKennedy trademark, passed race leader Les Hinckley on lap 78 to go on to victory. The win was McKennedy’s 14th career VMRS victory.
  Norm Wrenn topped his career best third place finish with a solid second. Early race leader Hinckley fought power steering issues and finished third, Dwight Jarvis was fourth, and Jim Boniface rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink, Joey Jarvis, Max Zachem, and Louie Mechalides.
  Six caution flags for minor incidents slowed the race which was completed in 48 minutes. There were 29 Modifieds on hand.
  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made another stop at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. George Brunnhoelzl III withstood three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish and hung on to win the Parking Lot Maintenance Headquarters 150.
  Brunnhoelzl, the two-time Tour champion out of West Babylon, N.Y., dominated the day. He posted the fastest time in practice and set a new track record in qualifying before going out and leading a race-high 140 laps en route to his second victory of the season. It was his seventh career win at Caraway, but more importantly it was his 13th career Tour win which places him in a tie atop the all-time list with L.W. Miller.
  In that final restart, Brunnhoelzl held off Miller and a hard-charging Jason Myers at the line. Rookies Kyle Ebersole and Michael Speeney crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively. Daniel Hemric, Thomas Stinson, Bryan Dauzat, Frank Fleming and Burt Myers rounded out the top-10 finishers on the evening.
  Burt Myers was running third heading into the last restart, but was penalized for aggressive driving and was scored as the last car on the lead lap. The race was slowed due to caution 11 times for 45 laps and the race lead changed hands just two times between two drivers.
  In the point standings, Brunnhoelzl opened up a six-point lead on Miller with rookie Danny Bohn sitting in third, 26 points in back of the leader.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour goes into an extended Spring Break and would be back in action next on July 6 for the Firecracker 150 at Caraway Speedway. In the mean time the Modifieds would be racing at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Ernie Saxton reported in the Area Auto Racing News that the race promoters at Bowman-Gray recently signed a lease with Stadium owners, the Winston-Salem NC City Council for the City of Winston-Salem, which would expire in August, 2031. The contract stated that $4,260 would be paid to the city per race night. Saturday night racing events at Bowman-Gray draw consistently 10,000 fans who pay $10.00 each.
  A huge rain storm was bearing down on New England but the Waterford Speedbowl was able to dodge the bullet and get their entire racing program in the books. The outside groove was the hot setup as more than one race leader went that route to record their respective wins.
  Tyler Chadwick went up top to take a popular victory in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified®feature. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature winners included Bruce Thomas Jr. taking the win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Ray Downing Jr., who was impressive in taking the Street Stock race and Ian Brew who bested a highly competitive Mini Stock field for his first win of the year. In INEX racing, Matt Pappa won the 20-lap Legends Cars race and Joey Ternullo took over halfway through the 20-lap Bandolero feature to come out on top.
  Diego Monahan took second easily, while Jeff Pearl worked over Kyle James over the final laps but could not muster a challenge for third. Pearl finished fourth, holding back a final charge by Morgillo to his outside. Abele got by Morgillo’s inside on the final lap to finish fifth.
  An honest mistake was made during the Ice Breaker weekend at Thompson. The NASCAR press release stated that Ryan Preece had broken the track record, previously set by Bobby Santos in the Mystic Missile. Preece’s qualifying time was 18.387, but Bobby Santos’ lap in the previous year’s Icebreaker was 18.237.
  In some sad news, Donna M. Harman, 68, of Niantic, CT and Port Orange, Fla., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., after a courageous battle with cancer. Her husband of 28 years, NEAR Hall of Fame member Billy Harman, was by her side throughout every stage of her illness.
  In Billy's own words, "In addition to being my wife she was my best friend". Donna wrote most of the bios and stats that got Billy inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame.
  Denny Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. in a battle of Toyotas to post his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season Sunday at Kansas Speedway. While Truex dominated the STP 400, leading 173 of the 267 laps of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, Hamlin grabbed the lead late and held off two last-ditch runs by Truex, taking the checkered flag .7 seconds ahead of Truex. The Nationwide Series had the weekend off. James Buescher was the Truck Series race winner at the Kansas Speedway.

  Last year, 2016, In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina, Burt Myers, who recorded only two wins in his previous 54 starts at the speedway, was able to hold off his brother Jason on a green-white-checkered finish to score his second straight win at the track.
  Danny Bohn won the Coors Light Pole Award and led the first six laps of the race before Burt Myers was able to get past him and stay out front until he made a pit stop during the first caution of the race on Lap 107. After pit stops Burt Myers remained in the top-five until he was able to pass Bohn once again for the lead on Lap 145 just before Bryan Dauzat brought out the third and final caution of the race on Lap 146 to set up the finish.
  Burt held a slight led over Jason after they took the white flag as Dauzat spun in Turn 3 ending the race. Bohn came home third with Andy Seuss and George Brunnhoelzl III completing the top five. Rounding out the top-10 was Kyle Bonsignore, J.R. Bertuccio, Kyle Ebersole, Bobby Measmer Jr. and Dauzat.
  There were 14 cars on hand. The Southern Modified Tour goes on "Spring Break" before returning to Caraway Speedway on July 1.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cip action, Carl Edwards put in a dominating performance Sunday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway en route to victory in the Food City 500. Edwards was the class of the field all afternoon at the .533-mile oval, starting from the pole and leading a race-high 276 laps.
  Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car stumbled on the initial start of the race because of a dead battery, which dropped him two laps down. He managed to regain that lost time and fight his way back up to second at the checkers after a spirited battle with Kurt Busch in the final laps. Kurt Busch ended up third, followed by Elliott and Trevor Bayne.
  Erik Jones performed the NASCAR version of grand theft on Saturday afternoon, slipping by Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch during a late-race restart to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Ryan Preece scored his second top-20 finish of his first Xfinity Series season Saturday, coming home 19th in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway..

  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: April 21, 2017

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