The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

June 9, 2017

  Sixty five years ago in 1952 Charlie Brayton was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Don Collins won a 50 lapper on Saturday night. Lou Tetreault went two for two in the Claiming Cars as he won on both nights at the Connecticut shoreline oval.

  Sixty years ago in 1957 Don Collins was the winner of the 25 lap Sportsman feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beuregard was the non-Ford winner. Down on Long Island, the Islip Speedway ran a twin bill featuring Midgets and Modifieds. Johnny Coy, who would make a name for himself in the Midgets won both events.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962, Ron Narducci made it two in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. At the Waterford Speedbowl, Dick Beauregard was the 25 lap Modified winner. Lou Caso was the Bomber division winner.

  Fifty years ago in 1967, Eddie Flemke made it clear that he liked the new asphalt at Stafford as he made it two in a row. Fred Harbach finished second with Bobby Santos, third with Fred DeSarro and Joe Trudeau rounding out the top five. Rain put a damper on action at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. A little further west at the Spencer Speedway Jim Shampine took a Friday night win. At the Norwood Arena on Saturday night, Johnny Thompson put his Ford Cobra powered mount in victory lane. Keith Armbrust was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. The NEMA midgets gave Stafford a try on Sunday with Johnny Coy taking the win over Russ Klar, Jerry Wall and George Konklin. Fulton Raceway ran on Saturday and Sunday. Dutch Hoag won the Saturday event with Don Diffendorf winning on Sunday. Flemke made it two in a row at the Utica – Rome Speedway. Ernie Gahan finished second with Elton Hill, third. Bernie Miller and Dick Clark rounded out the top five.

  Forty five years ago in 1972, ageless Maynard Forette was the Friday night winner at Malta over Bugsy Stevens, Denis Giroux and Rene Charland in the Bob Johnson No.17. Fred DeSarro, who was an early retiree at Malta on Friday night, took the top spot at Stafford on Saturday night. Eddie Flemke finished second with Bugsy Stevens, Bob Santos and Denis Giroux rounding out the top five. Charlie Jarzombek beat out Jim Hendrickson at Islip and at Fonda it was Harry Peek over Jack Johnson and Andy Romano. George Allum took the Modified win at Waterford. Sunday night at Utica-Rome saw Lou Lazzaro take the win over Richie Evans and at Seekonk in a 100 lap open competition event, George Summers refused to be intimidated by the NASCAR hot dogs as he ruled his home territory. Fred DeSarro finished second with Jon Astle, third.

  Forty years ago in 1977, rain washed Stafford out on Friday night. At Riverside Park on Saturday night Bob Stefanik beat out Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari for the win. Monadnock ran a 100 lap NASCAR championship event on Sunday with surprise entry Maynard Troyer taking the win over Brett Bodine, Bob Polverari, Pete Fiandaca and John Rosati. In Sunday night small block modified action at Thompson, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row. Ron Bouchard finished second with Eddie Flemke, third.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, all of the racing for the whole weekend in New York and New England rained out. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Terry Labonte took the pole but it was Bobby Allison in victory lane. Ronnie Bouchard qualified 12th only to retire after 67 laps when his clutch went.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Jerry Pearl took top honors in SK Modified action at Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Richie Gallup, Bo Gunning and Ted Christopher. Ron Shepherd was awarded the win after Dave Reszendes,who crossed the stripe first, was penalized and placed eighth for rough riding. Reggie Ruggiero won a 100 lapper at Riverside and at Riverhead it was Wayne Anderson over Fred Harbach. Bugsy Stevens was the Pro Stock winner at Seekonk. On Sunday, the Modifieds traveled to Beech Ridge where Jeff Fuller took the win over Reggie Ruggiero.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, Stafford had an off night. At Riverside on Saturday night, Reggie Ruggiero took the 50 lap win over Chris Kopec and Dan Avery. Chris Jones got his first ever SK-Modified win at Waterford. Bert Marvin finished second with Harry Rice, third. Riverhead hosted a double header with Tom Baldwin and Bob Park recording wins. The Featherlite Modified Tour series was at Thompson on Sunday. Jeff Fuller, who had set fast time, drew the pole and led the first 91 laps of the 150 lap contest. After pitting for tires on lap 91, he powered his way back to the front and took the lead for good from Tom Baldwin on lap 114.Baldwin hung on to finish second and was followed by Steve Park, Jan Leaty and Rick Fuller. Mike Christopher was the SK Modified winner over Bo Gunning, Tom Tagg and Ted Christopher. On a sad note, it was announced that Bill France Sr, who had founded NASCAR, had passed away.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, the Busch North Series visited Stafford for a 150 lap event. Jerry Marquis took the win over Tom Bolles and Andy Santarre. In SK Modified action, Bob Potter recorded his 22nd career win over Steve Chowanski and Jim Broderick. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Flemington where Mike Stefanik made it five in a row. Stefanik took the lead from Tim Connolly on lap 118 of the 150 lap contest. Eight cautions for 42 laps kept the average speed down to 81.977 mph. Jan Leaty, Connolly, Tom Cravenho and Lee Sherwood rounded out the top five. Todd Ceravolo recorded his third win of the season at Waterford. Ceravolo took the lead from Mark LaJunesse on lap 20 of the 35 lap feature. Lajunesse finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Mike Gada and Jeff Pearl. Bill Park went pole to pole to beat out John Fortin for the win at Riverhead and at Riverside, Ted Riggot held of Rob Summers for the win. AJ Foyt and Arre Lyandike came close to slugging it out as Billy Boat won an IRL event in Texas and in Winston Cup action at Pocono, Jeff Gordon took the win over Jeff Burton.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002, Thompson started the weekend off with their Thursday night Thunder Series. Bert Marvin won the Sunoco SK Modified feature by twenty car lengths over Ted Christopher. Bo Gunning finished third with Chuck Docherty, fourth. Stafford suffered their third rainout of the season on Friday. A short field of 22 Modifieds was on hand at Waterford on Saturday night. Tom Fox took the win over Dennis Gada, Eddie Reed Jr and Rob Janovic. For some strange reason the pit area concession stand never opened At Riverhead, Joe Hartmann took the win over Dan Jivenelli and Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr. Tim Arre was victorious at Wall Township over Curtis Truex and Chip Graves. Richie Evans Jr. had been a regular competitor at Wall up until this time but was not allowed to compete as officials learned that his drivers license had been revoked by the state of North Carolina because of a DUI charge. Kenny Tremont got his 100th win at Lebanon Valley. In Winston Cup action at Michigan it looked like Dave Blaney was headed for his first win until he was forced to pit for fuel with nine laps to go. Matt Kenseth inherited the lead and went on to take the win over Dale Jarrett. Brett Bodine was the Busch Racing Series at Kentucky.

  Ten years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued to regroup before returning to action on Thursday, June 21. Among the biggest news items to come out of the tour ranks was that Chuck Hossfeld had been released from his driving duties of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 owned by Roger and Sandra Hill of Westfield, NC. Hossfeld had been the teams driver since the beginning of the 2006 season. Team owner Roger Hill said that a new driver would be in place in time for the upcoming Thompson event. Car owner Gary Teto was spearheading an effort to get NASCAR to revamp their race format for upcoming “Flash Events” at the Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. NASCAR came up with the “Flash” format to make events more affordable for speedways and competitors. The format was tried at the Whelen Tour event at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. The result was thousands of dollars worth of damage to the series’ cars. Teto proposed that NASCAR use Don Hoenig’s suggestion of running a single consolation to fill out the fields after the top 20 has qualified by time.
  Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway continued to be a top draw of both competitors and fans as 142 cars and a real good crowd were on hand. Kerry Malone, who has designs on the NASCAR Weekly Title made a statement with his strong win in the Sunoco Modified division. Larry Barnett continued to be the benchmark in the Limited Sportsman division with his win in the 50-lap main event. In full-fendered action Rick Gentes scored the Late Model victory while Mike O’Sullivan came home victorious in the Pro Stock division. Roger Larson, Jr. was tops in the TIS Modifieds while Brad Caddick scored the Mini Stock victory win. Craftsman Tools sponsored the night’s activities.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Frank Ruocco won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Scott Foster, Jr. 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Gallo, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand the Limited Late Model feature, and Norm Sears the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. In the words of many of those on hand the SK Modified feature was more of a rolling demolition derby rather than a race. NASCAR’s Busch East Series made a stop at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday. Former Busch North series regular Eddie MacDonald made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series start of the season and came away with his first victory since 2005. MacDonald led the final 81 laps. His win also earned him a secured starting spot in the postseason Toyota All-Star Challenge. Defending Busch East champion Mike Olsen passed Matt Kobyluck with three laps to go take second, while Marc Davis and Bryon Chew were fourth and fifth respectively.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman ruled as heavy rain pounded the shoreline oval throughout the day.
  Carl Edwards raced to his fourth NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday night, beating Clint Bowyer in the Federated Auto Parts 300 for the Nextel Cup driver's third straight win at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. Gordon held off Ryan Newman to win the rain-shortened Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and give Hendrick Motorsports its 10th win in the past 12 Nextel Cup races. The race was red flagged after 106 laps of the scheduled 200-lap, 500-mile race. With darkness falling, the cars went back to pit road and never came back after a final attempt to dry the track.

  Five years ago in 2012, Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway was literally Thunder and Lightning as a pop-up storm drenched the speedway late in the afternoon. Once the storm passed it was a beautiful night for racing. The track played host to a first time winner in the Thompson Lite Modifieds, Troy Talman and a crowd pleasing door-to-door battle in the Mini-Stock division which saw Mike Veins winning out over Chad Baxter and Scott Sundeen took the win in the Limited Sportsman. Ryan Preece held off Keith Rocco for the Sunoco Modified win while Mike Scorzelli took the checkers in the Late Models. John Lowinski was the Thompson Modified winner.
  Preece took the lead at lap 10 and never looked back despite Rocco’s bumper in his rear view mirror. Kerry Malone took over the lead at the drop of the green flag with Ted Christopher closing in on his bumper. Preece made it a three-way battle when he dove to the bottom of Christopher for second. Christopher shut the door on his challenges, and made his own bid on Malone out front at lap two. Christopher took the lead with Preece in tow relegating Malone to the third position. Preece was all over Christopher as Keith Rocco made his way into contention. On lap seven, Rocco dropped to the bottom and drove by Malone for the third position with Todd Ceravolo following. As the race approached lap 10, Preece got up alongside Christopher in a tight battle that lasted until turn four when Christopher went high. Preece was able to drive to the lead with Rocco taking over second and Christopher recovering for third. Rocco closed in to Preece’s bumper and dove low in turn four of lap 23 in a challenge for the lead. Preece wasn’t about to give it up that easy, however, and closed the door on his challenge. Rocco kept the pressure on and tapped Preece’s bumper through the turns - constantly reminding Preece he was there. Preece was not intimidated, however, and held the lead until the checkers dropped. Christopher ended up third and was followed by Ceravolo, Malone and John Catania. Dennis Perry recorded another fine run as he brought his Butch Perry Mount home in seventh.
  More showers ruled the racing world on Friday as the SK Modified 100 ended up being postponed to Friday, June 29. Regular Friday night racing at Stafford saw Harry Wheeler get awarded the SK Light feature win after Bob Charland was placed to the rear for spinning out leader Joey Ferrigno. With six laps remaining the clouds opened up and that was that!
  At the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl beat out Rob Janovic Jr. by less than a car length to win the SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. It was the first time in three weeks the Whelen All-American Series was back in action following two straight weeks of rainouts.
  Pearl took the lead from Diego Monahan on 1ap 14 of the SK Modified feature. He held off Janovic and Keith Rocco over two restarts before holding off Janovic at the finish. Rocco wound up third. Tyler Chadwick and Kyle James rounded out the top five.
  Other feature winners were Waterford's Dillon Moltz in the Late Model race (his third of the year), Salem's Corey Hutchings in the Street Stocks (his second of the year) and Lisbon's Ken Cassidy Jr., who won his eighth Mini Stock feature of 2012.
  Lou Cicconi won the 50-lap International Supermodified Association feature, a race that was reschedule after being washed out on May 26.
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 25's were the main attraction of the night. Dean Ward and Brent Elliott went pole to pole in their respective events and recorded wins.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it had been a long time since an "outsider" won a weekly Modified event at the east end oval. Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher changed all that as the finished one-two there on Saturday night. Preece, who has been a regular there this year started on the pole and led every lap. Preece drove a car formerly driven by Bill Park. Christopher has also been a regular at Riverhead driving a car owned by Wayne Anderson.
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. The event drew 29 cars. Louie Mechalides took the lead on the first lap and went on to lead the entire 100 lap distance. Mechalides' only serious challenge came on lap 10 from Les Hinkley who ran side by side with the eventual winner for a short time. Hinkley eventually fade to fourth as Jon McKennedy moved into second. McKennedy had nothing for Mechalides and had to be content with the runner-up spot at the finish. Tommy Barrett finished third with Hinkley fourth and Rowan Pennink, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Joey Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdredge, Norm Wrenn and Rob Goodenough. Todd Szegedy finished eleventh.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Joey Logano overtook Mark Martin with four laps left and drove away to earn his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Pocono Raceway. Tony Stewart chased the lead pair home in third. Jimmie Johnson, who received two pit road speeding penalties earlier in the day, rallied to finish fourth ahead of Denny Hamlin in fifth.

  Last year, 2016, In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Doug Coby and crew chief Phil Moran left little doubt that they were at the top of their game and are not ready to step down from their dominating position. Coby had won three of the four tour races run in 2016. Coby led 129 of the 130 laps run, pulling away on a green-white-checkered finish to claim the 26th Annual TSI Harley Davidson 125.
  A caution on lap 122 for Chase Dowling who stalled on the track set the stage for the event going in to overtime for a total of 130 laps.
Jimmy Blewett scored his second straight runner-up finish, while Donny Lia, Eric Goodale and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five. In post race conversations Blewett expressed his displeasure with Rowan Pennink who ended up sixth. Blewett, who said he is no longer going to be a nice guy, felt that his aggressive driving was the result of Timmy Solomito getting stuffed into the wall on lap 117. It wasn't a threat but it led one to believe that there would be a pay-back in the future.
  Rowan Pennink, who won the tracks' NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I feature earlier in the night, finished sixth. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos, Brendon Bock and Max Zachem completed the top 10. Championship contender Timmy Solomito was caught up in a late race incident that dropped him from second to seventh in points. Coby stretched his lead to 24 over Bonsignore and 28 over Donny Lia.
  In weekly racing at Stafford, Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink for the third time in four races in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn got his second win of 2016 in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. picked up his third win in four races in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders picked up his first win of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Fearn scored his first win of the year in the DARE Stock feature.
  Pennink moved to the lead on lap-26 and he brought Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher with him as Dan Avery fell back to fourth place. Pennink stretched out his lead over Rocco to nearly a second and he maintained that gap right to the checkered flag as he recorded his third win of the 2016 season. Ted Christopher finished third, with Avery and Stephen Kopcik rounding out the top-5.
  Keith Rocco missed scoring a hat trick by on spot as he was two for three on the weekend. Rocco scored wins at Thompson on Wednesday and at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. At Thompson, Rocco defended his unbeaten streak in 2016 with a strong performance and dominant win during the 30-lap Sunoco Modified Series event. Rocco had to fight off a strong run by series regular Ryan Preece, but in the end Rocco would not be denied another victory. Steven Kopcik finished third with Ronnie Williams and Adam Norton rounding out the top five. At the Speedbowl, Rocco took the lead on a lap 10 restart. Tyler Chadwick ended up in second spot with Todd Owen, third. Dennis Perry, with a strong showing, finished fourth with Dylan Izzo, fifth. Paul Kusheba IV, Joey Gada, Ryan Morgan, Rob Janovic Jr., and Diego Monahan, finished sixth thru tenth.
  Rocco keeps rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continued to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco's win brought his Waterford track win total to 124 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 219 wins which also included victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.
  Other winners on Saturday night at the shoreline oval were Glen Thomas Jr. in the 50-lap North East Mini Stock Tour feature, Bruce Thomas Jr. in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tony Membrino Jr. in the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Al Stone III in the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature, Seth Carlson in the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association feature and Robin Berghman in the 25-lap New England Pro Four Modified feature.
Twin 25's were scheduled to run at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Just as the Modifieds lined up on the track rain closed in washing out the night's action.
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Seekonk Speedway with 26 Modifieds in competition. Anthony Nocella passed early race leader Dan Meservey Jr. after a lap-38 caution flag and went on to dominate the 100-lap race on Saturday night. By virtue of winning the first heat race, Meservey started on the pole and looked impressive early on until Nocella took command. Chris Pasteryak chased the race leaders until a lap 73 flat tire knocked him from contention. Then Richard Savary, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling and Dave Schneider gave chase.
  In the late stages, Jon McKennedy hunted down the race leader after being involved in contact with another car on lap-61. McKennedy pitted, went to the rear of the field, and then electrified the crowd as he attempted to get back to the front. By lap-70 he was 11th, lap-80 fourth, and on lap-93 was challenging Savary leading to a side-by-side duel until McKennedy slipped by for the runner-up spot. n the late stages, Jon McKennedy hunted down the race leader after being involved in contact with another car on lap-61. McKennedy pitted, went to the rear of the field, and then electrified the crowd as he attempted to get back to the front. By lap-70 he was 11th, lap-80 fourth, and on lap-93 was challenging Savary leading to a side-by-side duel until McKennedy slipped by. Richard Savary finished third with Woody Pitkat, fourth.
  The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran the Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial Modified 77. John Fortin took the win over Dave Brigati, Ron Silk and John Fortin.
  Kurt Busch did everything right Monday afternoon at Pocono Raceway as the former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion saved enough fuel to win the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400. The victory, his first of the season, came in a race that was postponed on Sunday because of persistent storms in the Pocono Mountain region.
  Kyle Larson finally had a little bit of luck on his side on Saturday afternoon as he found himself out front when rain swept across Pocono Raceway, eventually forcing officials to call the NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 after just 53 laps.

  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: June 9, 2017

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