The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

August 25, 2017

  Seventy years ago in 1947, 7500 fans watched Lloyd Christopher of Miami, Fl. win the Midget event a Avon' Ct. Cherry Park Speedway. He was followed by George Rice and Tony Bonadies. Ralph Lund hit the fence and flipped with the driver thrown on the race track. Lund lost his shoes in the wreck but walked away from the mishap.

  Sixty five years ago in 1952 Freddy Luchesi continued his winning streak at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won 25 lap Sportsman features on both Wednesday and Saturday nights. Ted Dean was the Wednesday night Claiming Car winner while Harold "Curley" LeMay took Claiming Car honors on Saturday night.

  Sixty years ago in 1957, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl ran on Thursday night instead of Wednesday in order to accommodate a guest appearance of the Lone Ranger. Moe Gherzi was the Sportsman winner and Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner. Red Foote was the Saturday night Sportsman winner at the shoreline oval. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner. Johnny Rocco made it two in a row at Islip as he beat out Johnny Zeke for the win.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962, Bill Slater was the Modified winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. Charlie Webster was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Bomber division feature winners were Dave Hill and Ed Moody.

  Fifty years ago in 1967, the All Star League visited the tight 1/5th mile oval at Islip on Long Island. Eddie Flemke, a master of the bullrings, lived up to his reputation as he won the 100-lap event over Jerry Cook, Bill Wimble and Fred Harbach. Rain prevailed on the East Coast for the entire weekend, wiping out all racing.

  Forty five years ago in 1972, Fred DeSarro went two for two as he won at Seekonk on Friday night and at Stafford on Saturday night. At Seekonk, Billy Clarke finished second and at Stafford, Leo Cleary, Ernie Gahan, George Summers and Hop Harrington, rounded out the top five. Bob Santos took the Friday night win at Malta. Ron Bouchard finished second with Richie Evans, third. At Fonda, on Saturday night, Maynard Forrette beat out Harry Peek and Al Castrucci for top honors. Bill Scrivener made it two in a row at Waterford. Modifieds from all over the East Coast converged on the Pocono Raceway for the Flight 216 modified event on the ¾ mile oval. Ninety-eight modifieds were on hand. Richie Evans won the event over Maynard Troyer and Ray Hendrick but the real story was the effort put in by Fred DeSarro and Art Barry who teamed up, just for the day. During practice, the engine in the Len Boehler No.3 spun a bearing. Without a spare engine, Boehler loaded the car and headed home. Santos, who had won Malta on Friday night, offered his ride to DeSarro. DeSarro made numerous chassis changes and even change the steering wheel. The Barry modified went and handled like it never did before and was a potential winner until slowed by a broken water pump. Sunday night action at Utica-Rome, rained out.

  Forty years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens was the winner of the Tuesday night Modified Madness. The 50-lap event drew 44 modifieds. Geoff Bodine finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third. When the mods returned to Stafford on Friday night, Ronnie Bouchard had it all figured out as he won, hands down. John Rosati finished second. with Ed Flemke, third. Rosati took it up a notch as he won at Seekonk on Saturday night over Ray Lee and Leo Cleary. Joe Howard ruled Westboro despite extreme pressure exerted by George Savory and Freddie Schulz in the closing stages of the 35 lap main event. At Riverside, Geoff Bodine won a 100 lapper over Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari and at Thompson on Sunday night; Fred DeSarro beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, Kenny Bouchard was awarded the Friday night win at Stafford after apparent winner Greg Sacks was disqualified with an illegal carburetor. Ray Miller finished third but he too, ran amuck with the tech inspector, and was also disqualified with an illegal carburetor. Bob Polverari ended up second with Bugsy Stevens, third. At Spencer, also on Friday, Richie Evans led Maynard Troyer, Jerry Cook and George Kent across the stripe and at New Egypt, John Blewett Jr. was the 100-lap winner. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Lightning Larry Lanphear took the win from his up front starting spot. Bob Potter finished second with Randy Lajoie, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero won a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier. Marty Radwick finished second with Ray Miller, third. Racing on Long Island took a weekend off. The Riverhead program was cancelled because of the lack of cars and Islip was cancelled because of a fatality. Doug Hewitt beat out Jerry Cook at Shangri-La and at Seekonk, it rained. The Bouchard brothers, Ronnie and Kenny, finished one-two at Thompson on Sunday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished third with Mike McLaughlin, fourth. In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Tim Richmond was the Busch Pole sitter. Darrell Waltrip took the win.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Jerry Pearl was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Leading the Tri-Track point series, Pearl beat out Bo Gunning and Mike Christopher. Waterford rained out on Saturday night. Evidently it was a coastal Connecticut storm as Riverside and Riverhead got their events in. At Riverside, Mike Stefanik swept a 200 lapper, which also guaranteed him a spot in the Thompson 300. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with Mike McLaughlin, third. At Riverhead, Tony Ferrante JR took the win over Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. Jimmy Spencer ruled the roost at Shangri-La as he took the checker over Tony Hirschman, and George Kent. In Sunday night SK-Modified action at Thompson, Mike Christopher held off brother Ted along with Bo Gunning, Bob Potter and Kerry Malone. In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Dale Earnhardt SR took the win.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, Bob Potter lost the point lead at Stafford on Friday night after he wrecked on the first lap. Bo Gunning took the win over Richie Gallup, Lloyd Agor and Mike Christopher. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified tour was at Riverhead for a 200-lap event. Mike Ewanitsko took the win over Jeff Fuller, Steve Park and Satch Worley. At Waterford, Ted Christopher in the North End Auto Parts No.54 took the modified win. Twin features were run for the late models. Phil Rondeau won his 9th of the season and Jerry Young won the nite-cap.

  Twenty Years ago in 1997, Bo Gunning was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ted Riggott got his fifth of the year at Riverside. The Busch North Series was also at Riverside and it was Dave Dion taking the win over Mike Stefanik and Jerry Marquis. Tucker Reynolds got his fifth win at Waterford. Jim Broderick finished third behind Todd Ceravolo but was disqualified when it was discovered using an illegal carburetor. Eddie Brunnhoelzl jr. won the Fred Harbach Memorial at Riverhead. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen with the Trucks. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Rick Fuller on lap 33 and led the final eight laps to take the win. Fuller finished second and was followed by Jan Leaty, Mike Ewanitsko, Tim Arre and Tim Connolly. Ron Fellows won the truck race. Ted Christopher finished seventh and Mike Ewanitsko finished 21st.At Bristol, Jim Spencer won the Grand National event. Steve Park finished second and sewed up the Rookie of the Year title. In the on going confrontation between Randy LaJoie and Buckshot Jones, NASCAR fined Jones $5000 for trying to ram LaJoie after the two made contact during the event. Jones missed. In the Winston Cup portion, Dale Jarrett passed Mark Martin in the closing stages of the event and took the win. Evidently there was a little confusion in a recent article concerning the date that the late Corky Cookman and Mike Hornat went out of the track and into the fourth turn grandstand at Stafford. It was on the eighth lap of a scheduled 100 lapper that John Falconi got loose as he exited turn four. Both Cookman and Hornat rode over Falconi's wheel and sailed out of the track.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford on Friday night. NASCAR, because of numerous complaints, changed the qualifying procedure in hopes of leveling the playing field. In the past, those who went out early to qualify had a distinct disadvantage because of the lack of rubber and debris on the track. In order to make it fair for one and all NASCAR made the following change. Each car would take its first time trial lap and then pull in. When the entire field had their lap, the process would begin again. One must give NASCAR credit with this change. There were 43 Modifieds on hand and the jury was still out as far as the change in format for qualifying. Jerry Marquis’ pole speed held but six cars did improve their times, the second time around. Among those who didn’t make the cut were Kenny Bouchard, Wade Cole, Carl Pasteryak, Jimmy Kuhn, Jake Marosz and Tom Baldwin.
  Friday’s NASCAR Modified Tour Series event at Stafford served as a monument to both Ted Christopher and Bugsy Stevens. Christopher took the win, his 73rd, and broke Stevens’ all time win record. Stevens, who hadn’t turned a wheel for quite some time, was on hand for the debut of his new book, The Life and Times of Bugsy Stevens. Even though he had been retired as a driver for quite a while, he is still as popular as ever. Those who followed him during the 60’s. 70’s and 80’s still follow and speak well of him. The Bug was still the Bug, very friendly and talked to everybody and most of all; he had not forgotten where he came from. Any way, Christopher didn’t qualify all that well as he started 15th. Eddie Flemke Jr. qualified fourth and by the luck of the draw, started on the pole with the Hill Enterprises No.79. Chuck Hossfeld in the Garbarino Mystic Missile started on the outside pole and jumped out to an early lead with Flemke in tow. Flemke, who in the past has made it a point of going non-stop without a stop for tires, took the lead on lap 9 and held it thru lap 63.In the mean time, Christopher, who had previously gone the 150 lap distance at Stafford had conservatively worked his way into second spot. The opportunity to lead presented it self on lap 64 and he took it. Flemke then turned up the wick a bit and he re-took the point on lap 70. Evidently, Christopher’s set-up wasn’t exact as he began to slip a little. A caution on lap 106 presented a way out for the defending National Champion as it allowed him to pit for new rubber. Maybe it was the chill in the air or maybe not as Flemke was only able to hold the lead for 43 laps when Jerry Marquis took over the top spot on lap 114. His lead was short lived as Flemke took it back on lap 121. All the while, Christopher on fresh rubber was coming to the front. With 18 laps to go, Christopher powered by and went on to make it four for four in Tour Series action at Stafford. Flemke held on for second and was followed by Marquis, Hossfeld and Rookie sensation Todd Szegedy. All tolled sixteen cars finished on the lead lap. For the second race in a row, defending Tour Series Champion Mike Stefanik had problems and was an early out. After losing an engine at Thompson, Stefanik came to Stafford where he qualified sixth. Starting third, he was never a factor and his night ended on lap 70 when he dropped out with ignition problems.
  The regular weekly racing also started last Thursday at Thompson where rain prevailed and washed out the regularly scheduled SK-Modified event. The Pro Stocks had a scheduled 75 lapper but the event was red-checkered after 39 laps when the clouds opened up. Norm Wrenn took the win. According to NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks, 145 cars were on hand.
  In SK-Modified action at Stafford on Friday night, Brad Hietala ended a long dry spell. Hitala previously won at Stafford in 1983. Since then it’s been a rough road. In 1985 he almost paid the ultimate price when female driver Gilda Berti planted him in the wall. Hietala suffered severe head injuries, which almost ended his racing career and his life. What made the win even sweeter is the fact that he built his car himself in a day where the majority of the cars on the track in competition come from major chassis builders. Donnie Travaglin came all the way from the rear to finish second with Jay Miller recording a third. Series point leader Bo Gunning finished 10th.
   At Waterford, Ed Reed Jr. and Dennis Gada kissed and made up and are no longer mad at each other. Reed beat Gada out for the win. Reed admitted that he jumped the last three re-starts and was surprised that officials said nothing. The big story of the night was the fact that third generation driver, sixteen year old Bobby Santos III won the Boston Louie Memorial NEMA Midget event.

  Ten years ago in 2007, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the mid-west, Mansfield, Ohio to be exact. The entire area had been under siege from heavy rains and tornado threats but the event went on as scheduled. That is until lap 108 when the race was called after repeated attempts to dry a rain soaked track. With his brother serving as his spotter and tracking the weather on his cell phone, James Civali elected not to pit with the leaders and was out front when NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials called the rain-shortened Mansfield 150 at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Doug Coby, driving the Mansfield CT based No.77 of Curt Chase, finished second and rookie Woody Pitkat was third. Point leader and Budweiser Pole Award winner Donny Lia was fourth and Eric Beers fifth. Ronnie Silk, Matt Hirschman, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy and Bobby Grigas III rounded out the top 10.
  Coby led the first 13 laps before Civali made the pass. Silk moved to the front seven laps later and led until a lap 54 caution. Silk elected to pit along with the fifth-place car of Szegedy and nine others. “We were leading and the car was really good,” Civali said. “When Ronnie got by me, the car got free. But then it stayed the same. It had 90 hard laps on it, too. But it never changed that whole run. It looked like Ronnie got free and then kept getting (more free).” Following the restart, Civali and Coby built a straightaway lead over third-place Pitkat on the half-mile banked oval. The field was bunched briefly following a lap 96 caution. Rain brought out the caution at lap 104 and the red at lap 108.
  Twenty-seven cars were on hand. Donny Lia was the top qualifier as he toured the Ohio oval in 15.274mph. Ronnie Silk was second fastest with James Civali, third. Ryan Preece and Matt Hirschman rounded out the top five.
  Lia maintained his points lead at 131 over Szegedy and 139 over Hirschman. The next NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race will be at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Sept. 1.
  The Mansfield Motorsports Park also hosted the NASCAR Busch East division where Sean Caisse won the pole and the race. Caisse raced to the finish under the threat of rain, and the skies opened up during victory lane celebrations, but the race did get to run its advertised distance. 1) Caisse 2) Matt Kobyluck 3) Joey Logano 4) Jerry Marquis 5) Jeffrey Earnhardt.
  Twin State Speedway track owner Dennis Fleury announced on Friday, Aug 17 at the drivers meeting that Twin State Speedway would not be a NASCAR track in 2008. The Twin State Speedway is located in Claremont, NH.
  In True Value Modified Series action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH numerous rain delays were encountered and the scheduled 100 Lap event was stopped on lap 42 with Rob Goodenough in the lead. Goodenough took the lead from Chris Pasteryak on lap 27. The TVMRS series declared Saturday nights Monadnock race, stopped on lap 42 by the second of two thunderstorms, an official race. Rob Goodenough was declared the official winner followed by Les Hinckley and Kirk Alexander. The track had announced a Sept 22 continuation but the series felt it was in the best interests of its competitors to declare the race official. Mike Holdredge and Pasteryak rounded out the top five.
  In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the management, fans, friends, and family joined the racing community in mourning the tragic loss of John Blewett III.
  A night of fiercely competitive racing was a fitting homage to the fallen racer. Two races, the Late Models and Mini Stocks, were decided by mere feet at the line. An emotional Kerry Malone of Needham, MA visited victory lane in the Sunoco Modified main event held in Blewett’s memory. Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, scored his eighth win of the season in a Late Model thriller while Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI added to his win tally by inches. Norm Wrenn of Nashua, NH, took home his second win of the season in the Pro Stocks. Keith DeSanctis of Monson, MA, pulled off a similar feat with his second win in the Limited Sportman division. Tim Sullivan of S. Windsor padded his point lead with another TIS Modified feature victory on Thursday night.
  Out of respect for Blewett the Sunoco Modified drivers filed side-by-side to the infield. Front row starters Josh Steeves and Danny Cates lowered the flag to half-mast before track announcer Russ Dowd gave a heartfelt tribute to John and Reverend Don Rivers led the crowd in prayer. With the safety lights on all the track vehicles, Karen Lussier delivered a tender rendition of the National Anthem. A flag, still all night, waved effortlessly during the Sunoco Modified main event.
  Cates immediately motored out to a sizable lead over Steeves and Steve Masse. A scary moment near the start of the race saw the red flag flying. On lap three, Ricky Shawn launched over the tire of Bert Marvin sending his car flipping, making a complete rotation, before landing on his wheels and hitting the wall in turn three. Shawn was not hurt in the incident.
  The youngsters Cates and Steeves vied for the lead when racing resumed. Their time at the head of the pack was short-lived with Kerry Malone on the move. In a half lap, Malone was the new leader. After freeing himself from Masse, he took second from Cates in turn one of lap four, he took the lead from Steeves exiting turn two. Steeves continued to run in second while Masse had his hands full with Keith Rocco. Cates began to fall back. Tommy Cravenho, who started deep in the pack after being involved in a heat race incident, was working his way through the pack. Marvin had begun to work his way back toward the front as well. After a disqualification in the heat, Pitkat was making tracks from deep in the field. The mount of Glen Griswold went up in smoke to bring out the second caution of the event. A chain of events on the ensuing restart found James Harrison hard into the outside wall. Todd Ceravolo and Pat Moreau were also involved. The restart at the halfway marker pitted Malone against Steeves with Rocco laying in wait in third. Malone easily resumed his spot at the head of the pack while Steeves and Rocco battled. Rocco came out on top of an aggressive battle for the second spot on lap 17.
  Pitkat and Masse made contact in turn two. Both cars slid out of the corner with Masse eventually losing the handle. The remainder of the pack was able to avoid the spinning Masse. Pitkat lined up in the fourth position on the restart behind leader Malone, Rocco and Steeves. Cravenho rounded out the top five with ten laps to go. The race was set for an exciting finish after the restart that found Malone and Rocco on the front row. Malone got a great run to retain his lead. Pitkat made quick work of Steeves to move into the third spot. Pitkat dove low in turn one in search of the second spot, to no avail. Rocco was able to maintain the position. Malone could not get any breathing room despite the battling between Rocco and Pitkat. Equally as exciting was the battle for the third spot as Marvin and Cravenho did battle. Over the final two laps, things settled down with the top five going nose to tail. Malone ran to the checkers a wisp ahead of Rocco. Pitkat was glued to the bumper of the #6 as they streaked to the checkers. Marvin topped the secondary battle taking fourth over Cravenho.
  In victory lane Malone dedicated his win to John Blewett. “I will miss racing with him,” said Malone. “I will miss that twinkle in his eyes. God Bless John Blewett.”
  Woody Pitkat continued his high-speed freight train approach to racing in the SK Modified division at the Stafford Motor Speedway as he made it five feature wins in a row. Tom Fearn ended Ryan Posocco's three-race Late Model winning streak by taking his third Late Model feature win of the 2007 season, Josh Sylvester came home a first time winner in the SK Light Modified feature, Rick Lanagan won his sixth Limited Late Model feature event of the 2007 season, and Duane Provost joined Sylvester as a first time winner by taking the DARE Stock feature event victory.
  The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green with Richie Pallai, Jr. leading the first lap and then surrendering the lead to Todd Owen on lap-2. Zach Sylvester took the lead from Owen on lap-7, and by lap-10, Woody Pitkat was on Owen's bumper looking to take the lead. Pitkat got the lead on a lap-11 restart by powering to the outside of Sylvester. Pitkat led lap-20, which earned him a $100 bonus from event sponsor Porter & Chester. The race began to take on a long green flag run, and Pitkat slowly built his advantage up over Sylvester and the rest of the field. With 5 laps to go, Pitkat's lead was about 2 seconds ahead of Sylvester and Pitkat cruised to his fifth consecutive SK Modified feature victory. Sylvester finished second, with Owen, Malave, and Ted Christopher rounding out the top-5.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, the 2006 NASCAR Modified Rookie of the Year, came of age when he scored his first career win before a large crowd on Donaldsons VW-Subaru night in a 35-lap main event. The 18-year old driver led all the way in earning the popular victory.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Veteran Tommy Fox prevailed over Dennis Gada in one of the closest SK Modified races of the season at the shoreline oval. Exchanging the lead numerous times over the final circuits, Fox used the inside lane to keep the defending champion at bay until the checkers. Rob Janovic Jr., Jeff Pearl, and Tyler Chadwick rounded-out the top-5.
  Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stock), and, Michael Gervais Jr.(Legends).
  The New London Day reported that Waterford Speedbowl property owner Terry H. Eames, 53, of 41 Pine Island Road, was charged Sunday with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failure to obey a stop sign.
  Carl Edwards clinched a berth for the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship by winning Saturday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway, leaving Dale Earnhardt JR farther from contention with his fifth-place finish. With only two races to go before the championship field is set, Earnhardt is 158 points away from the 12th and final qualifying spot. Before an estimated crowd of 115,000, Kasey Kahne won the Food City 250, his seventh career NASCAR Busch Series victory.

  Five years ago in 2012, The Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the high banks of Bristol Tenn Motor Speedway for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Ron Silk, driving for Eddie Partridge, scored his second win of the season and first in the annual combination race between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on the track known as "The World's Fastest Half Mile." It was also the first victory for a driver running a NASCAR-approved SPEC motor on either Modified tour. Todd Szegedy finished second, followed by Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Yuhas Jr.
  George Brunnhoelzl III was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in sixth. The tour's points leader is credited with a win, his fourth straight and fifth overall.
  The event provided a lot of excitement including Silk being spun by Szegedy on the cool down lap after the checker. Szegedy, who had been the leader on lap 126 attempted to block Silk who dove underneath at the same time the caution was displayed for Ted Christopher who had spun. A replay showed that Szegedy moved down to protect his spot when contact was made and Szegedy spun, giving Silk the lead. Crew chief Phil Moran felt that Szegedy should get his position back because he felt the caution was displayed for Christopher but NASCAR disallowed his protest. Pitting for fresh tires, Szegedy made a determined run to the front with 17 laps remaining and was within striking distance in second spot when time ran out.
Forty Modifieds were on hand. There were eight caution periods for 54 laps as Mike Joy and Dick Berggren did an excellent job as they always do in calling the race. The first caution which ultimately resulted in a red flag occurred on lap 3 when Ryan Newman tapped Jon McKennedy and spun which in turn collected 23 of the original 36 starters. The second and third cautions were for southern competitor Gary Fountain who had a miss-handling car which spun on laps 41 and 52. The fourth caution flew for Ted Christopher who spun coming out of turn four with a flat tire which resulted from contact with Ryan Preece. Christopher, driving the mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family was struck by Kyle Ebersole. Christopher had been running second. The fifth caution was a "Cost Saving" competition caution. The sixth caution was for Ed Flemke who was helped into the wall on lap 103. Flemke was 15th, one lap down at that point. The seventh caution was for Don Lia who hit the front stretch wall. Lia was driving a Todd Szegedy back-up car after he wrecked the Garbarino Mystic Missile during qualifying. There were 11 cars on the lead lap at the finish.
  In some not so good news it had been learned that the University of Northwestern Ohio would be dropping its sponsorship of the Whelen Modified Touring Series at Bristol. Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, the president of the University of Northwestern Ohio, says the partnership with BMS continues to be extremely beneficial for the university. "Everyone at the University of Northwestern Ohio is very excited about extending our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway to the Camping World Truck Series," he said "We've been sponsoring the Modified event since 2009 and the opportunities it has given our students, staff and facility since we started have been immeasurable. Steve Farmer, Vice President of Business Development at UNOH, feels moving to the Camping World Truck Series makes perfect sense. "With the success we've had sponsoring the Modified race, it just makes more sense for us to be associated with the Truck Series because it is a higher profile event," he said. "It'll be more exposure for the University of Northwestern Ohio and our students and our programs." UNOH is on board as sponsor of the Truck Series race through 2016. This will be the final year of its sponsorship of the Modified event."
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday night with 31 cars strong. Dwight Jarvis who has been running a limited schedule, took the win over Rowan Pennink, Tommy Barrett, Kirk Alexander, Jon McKennedy. Numerous cautions slowed the event. Jarvis assumed the lead on lap 80 when front-runner Todd Patnode blew a left-front tire.
Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Todd Ceravolo shake his role as runner-up as he out ran Ryan Preece for the win in the Sunoco Modified division. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder also hosted a special 50-lap Super Late Model race with Derek Ramstrom dominating the action by leading every lap on the way to the checkered flag. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series winners included Tommy O’Sullivan, Jesse Gleason, Brian Tagg, Cam McDermott, and Eric Bourgeois.
  Ceravolo used restarts to his advantage to take the win in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, and ended a four-race win streak by Ryan Preece. Ceravolo held off a determined Preece on a lap 23 restart to take the lead for the third and final time of the night. Kerry Malone jumped to the early lead, but it was all Preece on the second circuit after he dropped to the bottom and drove to the front coming out of turn two. Ceravolo drove by for second before caution slowed the pace at lap four. In a surprise move, Ceravolo soared by Preece for the lead when the race resumed. Woody Pitkat followed his line for the second position with Preece all over his bumper in third. On lap six, Preece challenged Pitkat in a side-by-side battle. Pitkat had the advantage on the line, but the battle continued until Preece took over the spot in turns three and four of lap eight. Caution tightened the field back up again, and Ceravolo commanded the field once again when racing resumed. Preece rode Ceravolo’s bumper and the duo pulled away from the rest of the field by a full second. By lap 16, Ceravolo had put a little breathing room between himself and Preece, but on lap 19, he drove too high in turn two and allowed Preece to close the distance back up. Caution at lap 23 tightened the field up for a restart that saw Ceravolo choose the outside lane. Ceravolo held off Preece and resumed his position as leader. Preece, Pitkat, and Dennis Perry rounded out the top-four. Ceravolo was dominant out front, and took the checkers unchallenged.
  At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco, still on the injured list, returned to victory lane as he won the SK Modified 40 lap feature. Also scoring wins were Corey Hutchings in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec and Frank Cardile in the twin 15-lap SK Light features, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Stephanie Berardi and Monte Gibbs in the Double Duty DARE Stock features.
  In the SK Modified feature Woody Pitkat finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Todd Owen and Danny Cates rounded out the top 5.
  In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl passed early leader Joe Perry on lap 3 and cruised to his second win of 2012. Pearl stayed out in front of Rob Janovic in a green-white-checkered finish. Janovic finished second, followed by Tyler Chadwick, Jeff Rocco and Todd Ceravolo.
  Other winners included Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI who was back in the victory lane in the night’s extra distance Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Former division champion Brandon Plemons of Uncasville, CT took his first win of the year in the Street Stock race, with Ian Brew of Wood River Junction, RI won the Mini Stock feature. In INEX racing action, Paul Kusheba of Monroe, CT was the Legend Cars winner in a thrilling battle for the checkered flag all race long and Derek Debbis of Oakdale, CT won the night’s Bandolero feature.
  Justin Bonsignore held off Shawn Solomito to take down the Modified feature win on I Love America Night at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Bonsignore took the lead on lap 11 after John Fortin spun out following a restart. Bonsignore was unchallenged as he kept the lead for the remaining laps and won the feature. Fortin recovered to finish seventh. Shawn Solomito finished in the runner-up spot with Howie Brode in third. Ted Christopher and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top five while Ryan Preece finished sixth.
  Joey Logano picked up his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season Friday evening, winning the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin won for the first time at Bristol Motor Speedway with a calculated late pass Saturday night. Hamlin flirted with Carl Edwards for the lead late in the race, and set up his move with 39 laps remaining. Hamlin used a slide move to get past Edwards, then held on as Edwards tried to use a cross-over move to get back in front. It didn't work for Edwards, and Hamlin drove away for his third victory of the season.

  Last year, 2016, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the high banks at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee Combined with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the event drew 37 cars. Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT in the 15-40 Construction Chevrolet set fast time this afternoon earning his 11th career NWMT Coors Light Pole award, his first here at Bristol Motor Speedway. The time of 14.425 seconds around the high banked, half mile oval becomes the new NWMT track record, besting the time set by Woody Pitkat on August 19, 2015 of 14.654 seconds.
The event started under shaky weather conditions and was eventually red flagged after 55 laps because of rain and TV time for the Camping World Trucks. Up until that point the event had been a battle between Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore. During the rain delay and the truck event it was announced that the event would be shortened to 100 laps.
  Based on the final results one would have to consider Eric Goodale a "Night Owl". The race resumed at about 11:20pm with 60 laps completed when the field went green. Goodale passed Todd Szegedy for the lead on lap 71 and led until he momentarily lost it to Szegedy on lap 83. A race ending Green-White-Checker at ten minutes to midnight saw Goodale outgun Szegedy to sprint home with the victory. Szegedy hung on to finish second with Donny Lia, third. Patrick Emerling and Doug Coby rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos, Ron Silk, Kyle Ebersole and Jeff Goodale.
  At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with Xtra Mart Convenience Stores Xtra D feature events for the SK Lights and DARE Stocks were run as part of Call Before You Dig 811 Night. Taking down Xtra D wins were Joey Ferrigno in the SK Light feature and Dan Dembek in the DARE Stock feature while Eric Berndt won the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn won the Late Model feature, Paul Arute won the Limited Late Model feature, and Noah Korner won the Legend Cars feature.
  In the SK Modified 40 lapper, with 10 laps to go, Mike Christopher, Jr. was tracking down Eric Berndt for the lead while Ron Williams, Dan Avery, and Todd Owen were in the top-5. The caution came out with 35 laps complete for spins in turn 3 by Cam McDermott and Bob Charland to set up a 5-lap dash to the finish.
  Berndt took the lead with Williams pulling alongside Christopher, Jr. for second. Williams took second with avery now challenging Christopher, Jr. for third with 3 laps to go. Berndt led Williams to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2016 season with Avery, Christopher, Jr., and Owen rounding out the top-5. Thirteen of the original 22 starters were running at the finish. A huge wreck following a restart on lap 8 eliminated many of the top runners.
  The New London-Waterford Speedbowl presented another exciting night of auto racing. Keith Rocco continued to build on his legend as he won two of the three events he entered. Rocco got his sixth SK Modified NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature win of the season in the second 35-lap feature of the night for the division and got his third consecutive Late Model victory and sixth overall in 2016 at the shoreline oval. Rocco's wins bring his track win total to 132 wins. The wins also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 230 wins which also include victories at Thompson and 42 at Stafford Speedway.
  Tyler Chadwick got his third victory of the season in the first 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature which was left over from an early season rain-out. Chadwick went pole to pole. Joe Gada finished second with Todd Owen, Somers, third. Rounding out the top five was Dennis Perry and Rocco. Rocco won the second SK Modified feature of the night after taking the lead shortly before the half-way mark. Tom Abele Jr ended up second with Matt Galko, third. Tyler Chadwick and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five.
  In other racing at the speedbowl, Cory DiMatteo won the SK Light Modified feature, Chris Meyer scored victory in the Limited Sportsman feature and Charles Canfield won the Mini Stock feature.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island they could have run swamp buggies as the entire track was flooded by a surprise mid-afternoon storm.
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series stopped at the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday and raced in front of a full house of fans. Veteran New Hampshire racer Todd Patnode, of Swanzey, rolled to his first series win of the year, and his second Swanzey Oil sponsored ‘Victor Johnson Memorial 100’ victory in three years. Patnode chased early race leader Russ Hersey, also of Swanzey, before taking the lead on lap-71. Hersey jumped into the lead at the drop of the green flag and set a torrid pace until the first of 9-caution flags on lap-67 would change the race dramatically for half of the 24-car starting field.
  Drivers caught up in race accidents but able to return to competition, worked their way to respectable finishes. Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, finished runner-up. Ironically, Donnie Lashua, of Canaan, NH, and Chris Pasteryak, of Jewett City, CT, came together, pitted, rejoined the field, and raced to a solid third,
  In action at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in North Carolina, Burt Myers only had to finish in the top 18 to clinch his seventh Modified title. He finished fourth in the season ending 150 lapper. Brandon Ward was the race winner with Jason Myers, second. Tim Brown finished third.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Kevin Harvick had to wait a day, but made the wait worth it as he cruised to victory in Sunday’s rain delayed Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
  Austin Dillon came out of nowhere to win at Bristol in Friday night’s Food City 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. 

  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: August 25, 2017

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