October 6, 2017
Sixty five years ago in 1952 Ray Delisle won the 25 lap Sportsman
feature that was run on Sunday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted
Dean was the Claiming Car feature winner.
Sixty years ago in 1957, George
Lombardo made it two in a row in Sunday Sportsman action at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier in the Art Tiezzi No. 230, was
the non-Ford winner.
Fifty five years ago in 1962, Rene
Charland won the season ending Connecticut State Fair 50 lap Modified event
at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Rain prevailed at Waterford.
Fifty years ago in 1967, Donald
”Dutch” Hoag became the first four time winner of the Race of Champions,
which, at the time was run at the one mile Langhorne Speedway in
Pennsylvania. Hoag was a winner at Langhorne on both the dirt and asphalt
surfaces. Al Tasnady finished second with Don MacTavish, Bill Wimble and
Irish Jack Murphy rounding out the top five. Waterford closed out their
season with a 30 lapper which was won by Charlie Webster. Newt Palm, with 10
Modified feature wins to his credit in the L&M was declared the Modified
Track Champion. Bill Sweet was the Daredevil Champion.
Forty five years ago in 1972, Geoff
Bodine in his Plymouth Valiant bodied modified won the Race of Champions at
the Trenton New Jersey Fairgrounds. In addition to the non-conventional
body, Bodine's chassis was that of an International Scout which sported
independent coil-over shock suspension on all four wheels. The big surprise
of the day was the run turned in by Gene Bergin who came from a dead last
starting spot to finish second.
Forty years ago in 1977, Maynard
Troyer was the big winner at the Pocono Race of Champions. Troyer took the
lead from Geoff Bodine in the late stages of the event. Bodine settled for
second with Richie Evans, Fred DeSarro and Ronnie Bouchard rounding out the
top five. Events that were scheduled at Seekonk, Thompson and Monadnock were
Thirty five years ago in 1982, Greg
Sacks continued his season long domination in the modifieds as he won the
100 lap Fall Final at Stafford. Sacks took the lead from Richie Evans on lap
22. George Kent finished second with Bob Polverari, Richie Evans and Reggie
Ruggiero rounding out the top five. Hector LeClair won the Busch North
Series portion of the Fall Final. It was also on the same weekend that
Waterford ran a special event for Strictly Stocks, which saw Brian McCarthy,
take the win over Tom Fox. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro,
Darrell Waltrip took the win.
Thirty years ago, in 1987, the
entire Fall Final weekend at Stafford was rained out. In Winston Cup action
at North Wilkesboro, Terry Labonte took the win over Dale Earnhardt. Pole
sitter, Bill Elliott, finished third. Doug Hevron won a preliminary SMART
Tour event that was run on Saturday.
Twenty five years ago, in 1992, Bob
Potter won the final Saturday night SK-Modified feature at Waterford over
David Gada and Moose Hewitt. Ted Christopher recovered from a crash and
finished eighth and garnered enough points to secure the track championship.
Jim Broderick was also a contender for the title but dropped out early with
a broken rear end. C.J.Freye took the late model feature after Phil Rondeau
lost a timing chain, while leading, with two laps to go. At Riverside Park,
Jerry Marquis and the Bobby Judkins No.2x won their twelfth feature of the
year at the Massachusetts oval. Rick Fuller settled for second. The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for the 150 lap Fall Final. Mike
Stefanik had everyone covered as he won, going away. Jeff Fuller finished
second with Mike Ewanitsko, Chris Amen and Satch Worley rounding out the top
five. Bob Potter made it two for two on the weekend as he won the
SK-Modified portion of the Fall Final. With the win, came the track
championship. Mike Paquette finished second with Bob Georgiades, third.
During the running of the 30-lap feature Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning were
eliminated in a wreck. Officials felt that Richie Gallup had caused it and
ejected him out of the race. Gallup’s car owner felt the decision was unfair
and vowed that his car would never compete at Stafford again.
Twenty years ago in 1997, Waterford
ran a 100 lapper that was won by Jeff Pearl. Caution laps didn’t count. A
total of 27 yellows were thrown and a total of 160 caution laps were run in
addition to the 100 green laps .It took two hours and 45 minutes from green
to checker. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Dennis Gada, third. Jim
Broderick was in Flemington, N.J. during qualifying and was given a
promoters option to start the event. After starting in the rear, Broderick
worked his way to the front to take the lead on Lap 25.Broderick led until
lap 73 when he ran out of gas and had to pit. In Modified Tour action at
Flemington, Mike Stefanik scored his ninth win of the season. Stefanik took
the lead from Ken Woolly on lap 209 of the 250-lap contest. Wooly finished
second and was followed by Tony Hirshman, Jan Leaty and Doug French. In
Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Geoff Bodine was the pole sitter in event
that saw Dale
Jarrett take the win. Jim Spencer won the All Pro 300 GN event. The
re-paving of the Stafford Speedway was begun and it was announced that Don
Hoenig had leased the Thompson Speedway to Brian LaForte and
Gordon”Butch”Davis, both key figures at the Polar Beverage Company. Both
stated that they were in it for the long haul and would bring the speedway
into the 21st century.
Fifteen years ago in 2002 The
Waterford Speedbowl closed out their 2002 season with the running of the
Fall Finale on Sunday. Dennis Gada did what he had to do as he jumped out
front on lap 22 and never looked back as he had a relatively easy time of
winning the scheduled 100 lapper and the track’s SK-Modified Championship,
his fourth in a row. Gada’s track title tied the record previously held by
Dick Dunn who won the championship from 1972 to 1975. Gada drove for Harry
Wyatt who, in addition to Gada’s championships, has two others when Jim
Broderick drove his car. Dunn, who is now retired from driving, drove for
Albert and Margaret Gaudreau. Gada’s closest challenger for the title was Ed
Reed Jr. Reed started nine spots behind Gada in the 100 lapper and got as
close as third in the closing laps. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second. Tom Fox
and Stafford Speedway Track Champion Bo Gunning rounded out the top five. It
was perhaps, one of the smoothest extra distance events ever run at the
shoreline oval. One of the best displays of driving skills was that of
mini-stock competitor Richard Brooks Jr. Brooks got dumped into the front
stretch wall in the early going and after pitting and re-starting in the
rear, finished a close second behind race winner Brandon Plemons. The late
model 100 was rough and tumble and ended when Mark St Hillaire drilled Cory
Hutchings on the final lap as they exited turn four. Allen Coates, who had
previously won the Dodge Weekly Racing Short Track title finished fifth and
wrapped up the track title. Tom Silva won the 50-lap sportsman race and
Randy Cabal won the NEMA Midget 25 lapped. Second generation Sportsman
driver Keith Rocco showed a lot of potential as he ran with the
front-runners during most of the event. Rocco is the son of Modified great
Ronnie Rocco. Also impressive was Bob Santos III who came from a dead last
starting spot in the NEMA main to be in a position to contend when his motor
Ten years ago in 2007, in Whelen
Modified Tour news rumor had it that Ed Cox may retire as the Tour Director.
His replacement was rumored to be former Nextel Cup driver Chad Little.
Employed by NASCAR, Little was the sanctioning body’s Director of Racing
Development in Mexico.
The Seekonk Speedway closed out their 62nd season with the Annual D.Anthony
Venditti Memorial Racing Festival. A vital part of that event was the True
Value Modified Series. Conceived and owned by Modified racer Jack Bateman,
the series had become an affordable alternative to those who couldn’t afford
to travel or compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. Behind the
scenes it was a known fact that NASCAR officials had asked Modified
competitors not to support the series.
A lot of confusion and indecision had placed a dark cloud over the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour series at various times during the 2007 season. Ben
Dodge had the experience and the ability to make the True Value Modified
Series the top racing division in the northeast. In addition to his
promoting skills Dodge is also a former Modified car owner who understands
the ins and outs of being a car owner. Although they won’t go public because
of possible retaliation from NASCAR many of the prominent drivers and car
owners felt the time was right for a change.
Vinnie Annarummo of Swansea, Mass. passed Kirk Alexander of of Swanzey,
N.H with just three laps remaining to win the D. Anthony Venditti Memorial
Festival of Racing True Value Modified Series 100 lap event at Seekonk
Speedway. Alexander’s second place finish clinched the 2007 series point
championship. It was the third win at Seekonk this season for Annarummo and
a hard fought victory. After starting the event in third he was placed to
the rear of the field following a lap 2 accident with Andy Seuss. Annarummo
methodically worked his way back to the front to take the lead on lap 81.
Alexander then retook the lead on lap 86 and held off the challenges of
Annarummo for the next 11 laps before the final pass for the win. The 2007
True Value Modified Series Championship is the third for Alexander in the
last four years. He also is the series leader in career wins. Les Hinckley,
who entered the event 14 points behind Alexander, suffered suspension
failure and finished 25th. Alexander’s 56-point margin with one race
remaining mathematically eliminated Hinckley who was assured of second place
in the standings. Dick Houlihan, Chris Pasteryak and Rob Goodenough rounded
out the Top-5 at Seekonk.
The New England Antique Racers announced their choices for inductees for
the Class of 2008 Hall of Fame. Drivers include Dave Alkas, Dave Darveau,
Dick Batcholder and the late Howie Brown, car owners Joe Brady and the late
Mike Scrivani Sr. along with media members Dr. Dick Berggren and writer Pete
Zanardi will be inducted at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor,
CT on Sunday, January 27th
The Busch Series had the weekend off. NASCAR announced that Nationwide
Insurance would become title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series,
replacing Anheuser-Busch’s Busch brand at the start of the 2008 season.
Nationwide Insurance would also become the official auto, home and life
insurance provider of NASCAR. In Nextel Cup action at Talladega Jeff Gordon
agreed to turn parade laps for much of the race before surging past Jimmie
Johnson on the final lap and holding off his teammate to become the career
victory leader at restrictor-plate tracks. He parlayed his decision into his
12th career plate win and fifth victory this season, and moved back on top
of the points standings. He led Johnson by nine points with six races
remaining in the Chase for the championship. Dave Blaney was third in the
best finish this year for a Toyota driver. Title contender Denny Hamlin was
fourth and was followed by Ryan Newman, who was leading late in his Dodge,
Vic Coffey was unbeatable Sunday afternoon at the New York State
Fairgrounds' one-mile track as he scored his second victory in the Rite Aid
200 DIRT modified race. Coffey led the final 46 laps to collect over $50,000
in prize money. Chasing Coffey's Sweeteners Plus modified to the finish was
Tim Fuller, the point leader in the chase for the Mr. DIRT national modified
Five years ago in 2012, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour enjoyed a weekend off as competitors prepare for the
season ending World Series of Speedway Racing at the Thompson Speedway..
With one race remaining Doug Coby hheld a 17-point lead over Ryan Preece
and 18 over defending tour champion Ronnie Silk. Donny Lia and Justin
Bonsignore rounded out the top five but had been mathematically eliminated
from championship contention.
The big event for the weekend was the annual D. Anthony Venditti Memorial
at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA. Venditti, along with his wife Irene
built the quarter mile with their bare hands. The speedway has been operated
continuously by the Venditti family since opening day in 1946.
The highlight of the weekend was the Valenti Modified Racing Series 100. The
event drew 33 Modifieds. Rowan Pennink started on the pole and led the
entire race receiving pressure early on from Geoff Gernhard, Steven Masse,
Todd Annarummo and again from Masse on laps 50-53 when the fifth caution
flag was displayed then followed by a red flag when the skies opened to end
the event. With 53 laps completed the race by rule was officially completed.
Pennink’s win, his sixth VMRS victory, is his first Seekonk victory, his
second victory this season, and he clipped 20 points off Jon McKennedy’s
point lead as the two battle it out for the series championship with two
races remaining. Pennink entered the day 57-points behind McKennedy. The
points now show McKennedy with 530 and Pennink with 493.
The rains ended what was shaping up to be another classic finish at the
famed oval. Masse and Annarummo were strong with a hard charging Les
Hinckley who started 13th and running fourth at lap 53, methodically working
his way to the front. Rounding out the top five was Geoff Gernhard. Sixth
through tenth were Mark Bakaj, Max Zachem, Norm Wrenn, Tim Jordan and Jon
In other Seekonk action Derek Ramstrom captured the 50 lap Pro Stock
In weekend action at the Waterford Speedbowl Mother Nature interfered
with WaterfordSpeedbowl’s Finale Weekend on Sunday afternoon after just two
of the scheduled six races were completed. The visiting Northeastern Midget
Association (NEMA) and INEX Legend Cars races were finished before the rain
began to fall. Scoring the two race victories were Russ Stoehr of
Bridgewater, MA in the 25-lap NEMA feature and Dave Garbo Jr. of Stonington
in the Legend Cars.
The scheduled 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stock feature
was halted after 22 laps due to wet weather. The remainder of that race,
along with the rest of the scheduled races, were postponed until Saturday,
October 27. Sunday’s event was rain-checked by management, meaning ticket
stubs and wristbands from Finale Weekend will be honored on October 27. The
October 27 date will include racing by the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
SK Modifieds, Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks and the
remaining 28-laps of the Mini Stock feature. There were 29 SK Modifieds on
The Speedbowl Management's cash drawer at the pit gate was bulging as
over 200 race cars jammed Waterford Speedbowl’s pit area on Saturday for its
Finale Weekend of racing. Qualifying racing for thirteen divisions along
with eight main events took place over the day, with six more races being
set for Sunday at the track.
Taking NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories Saturday were Corey
Hutchings in the Street Stocks and David Webb in the SK Light Modifieds.
Duane Noll won an entertaining Outlaw Stock feature, Dylan Duhaime was the
winner of the NEMA Lite series feature and Ivoryton racer Mark Panaroni won
the visiting Northeast Mini Stock Tour race. Rounding out feature winners
included Eric Finkbein Jr. in the Super X-Cars, Scott Limkemann in the
X-Cars and Rene Morgillo in the Bandoleros. Keith Rocco passed Dylan Duhaime
with three laps to go to win the 25-lap NEMA Lites feature but was
disqualified after NEMA officials stated the wing on his Midget was not
Brett Hearn, the all-time victor in Super DIRT Week’s granddaddy race
collected his sixth title in the Big Block Modified VP Small Engine Fuels
200 on Sunday in a rain-shortened affair at the New York State Fairgrounds
in Syracuse. After starting third, the Sussex, N.J., driver took the lead on
the sixth lap from pole-sitter Billy Decker and never trailed again. His
biggest challenge was hedging a bet that he wouldn’t run out of gas before
the race was called off because of a storm approaching slowly from the west.
Running 113 laps on his only tank of fuel, he won the gamble, he
estimated, with about 10 laps to spare. The victory was worth $50,000.
Placing second was Waterloo’s Matt Sheppard, followed by Baldwinsville’s
Jimmy Phelps. Justin Haers, of Phelps, and Pat Ward, of Genoa, rounded out
the top five.
None of them pitted during the race, opting to follow Hearn’s lead.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Tony Stewart tried to block his way to
victory at Talladega Superspeedway. The strategy backfired badly. Stewart
triggered one of the biggest wrecks ever seen in NASCAR racing. The "big
one" came on the last lap, when Stewart's attempt to hold on for the win
ended with his car sailing through the field and triggering a 25-car
accident. Matt Kenseth won the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 under
caution, and everyone else was left wondering what happened to cause so much
damage. Stewart took full responsibility for causing the accident. He had
charged to the lead on the first lap of a two-lap sprint to the finish but
got too far ahead of the pack to keep any drafting partners.
Matt Kenseth was charging on the outside, and Michael Waltrip was leading
a line of traffic on the inside. Stewart was blocking all over the track,
and said he mistakenly chopped across the front of Waltrip's car, triggering
the accident. Jeff Gordon was scored in second place, and Kyle Busch in
Last year, 2016, The NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour Series ran the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
For those who were there for the weekend there was a special treat as there
was an Open House for folks to view the all new, New England Auto Racing
The Modifieds were greeted with rain showers on Friday morning which
cancelled the first practice session for the 26 cars on hand. They were
given a 25 minute window starting at 1:00pm. After 20 minutes of practice
rain fell again on the track forcing a cancellation of practice. The
starting positions would be determined by the rule book which states the
starting order will be determined by the last ten minutes of the first
practice results. Woody Pitkat was the fastest when the rains came. His
speed was 129.459mph. Second fastest was Bobby Santos at 129.459mph.
Rounding out the top five was Rowan Pennink, Doug Coby and Ryan Newman.
Among the slowest was Melissa Fifield at 118.850, 10.609mph slower than
Pitkat. Behind her was Gary Byington at 113.947 and Gary McDonald at
103.593. These three had no business being in the field !
Bonsignore dominated the FW Webb 100, lead 77 laps and holding off the
field in a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win at the "Magic
Mile." Ron Silk finished second, followed by Doug Coby, Sunoco Rookie of the
Year candidate Matt Swanson and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman.
Patrick Emerling, Jimmy Blewett, Max Zachem, Timmy Solomito and Donny
Lia, Jericho rounded out the top ten.
Nineteen of the original 26 starters were on the lead lap. Among those
who had problems and failed to finish was Rowan Pennink who led five laps
and was in contention for the win when engine issues in Ole Blu on Lap 98
ended his day. It also brought out the race's final caution and pushed the
event to 106 laps.
Bobby Santos was the first out after hitting the wall a ton after making
contact with another competitor. Melissa Fifield continued her string of non
competitive driving and called it a day after completing 19 laps. Pole
sitter Woody Pitkat dropped out with suspension problems after making
contact with another competitor. Dave Sapienza was eliminated after he rode
up Jeff Goodale on a restart following a lap 53 caution for debris on the
track. Craig Lutz was eliminated after hitting the backstretch wall on lap
In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified action at the Caraway Speedway in
North Carolina, George Brunnhoelzl III passed Andy Seuss on Lap 119 and
remained out front the rest of the way to win the Caraway 150 at Caraway
Speedway. Brunnhoelzl also used the win to break a tie with Seuss for the
most tour wins at Caraway with his 13th triumph in the 60th race held at the
unofficial home track for the southern modifieds.
Points leader Burt Myers finished second with Jason Myers third. Seuss
followed in fourth and Danny Bohn completed the top five.
At the western New York Lancaster National Speedway, Patrick Emerling
completed a season sweep of the Race of Champions Modified Series events at
Lancaster with his win in the 28th annual U.S. Open 125 on Sunday afternoon.
Emerling passed teammate Mike Leaty with eight laps to go to secure his
first career U.S. Open win. It was his fourth Modified win at Lancaster in
2016 as he won the Queen City Clash 75, Ol’ Boy Cup 60 and the Tommy
Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 earlier this season.
Despite coming up short to Matt Bowling in the NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series National Championship series, it was another banner year for Keith
Rocco. The 31-year-old from Wallingford, Connecticut, won 14 races and
collected 30 top fives and 39 top 10s in 45 starts in the Modified divisions
at Connecticut’s three tracks: Thompson Motorsports Park, Stafford Motor
Speedway, and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Rocco, the 2010 national champion, finished in the top five in the national
standings for the ninth straight season. He also won his ninth straight
Connecticut championship. Rocco has races remaining at Thompson and New
London-Waterford. While they won’t count toward national or state standings,
those events do go to the track’s respective championships. If Rocco were to
win both, he holds the points lead at each track, it would give him 13
career NASCAR Division I track titles and move him into a tie for third
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Kevin
Harvick, surging ahead of Matt Kenseth after a restart with six laps left in
the 300-lap event at the 1.058-mile track, pulled away to win by .442
seconds and joined Chicagoland winner Martin Truex Jr. in the Chase’s Round
Elliott Sadler made the most of a late-race restart to steal the race
lead away from Ryan Blaney and pull away to win Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY
Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
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