Friday April 14, 2006

By Phil Smith

Forty years ago in 1966 the Fonda Speedway in upstate New York opened for the season with a 25-lap main event. Lou Lazzaro took the win over Irv Taylor and Ron Narducci.
Thirty-five years ago in 1971, it was all-quiet with no racing.
Thirty years ago in 1976, the Modifieds were at Hickory in North Carolina. Satch Worley took the win over Paul Radford, John Bryant, Wayne Anderson and Jerry Cook.
Twenty five years ago in 1981, the Spring Sizzler at Stafford was the big modified event of the weekend. With 13000 fans looking on, Bob Polverari raced and beat the legendary Richie Evans to the finish line in the 80 lap, no holds barred event. Reggie Ruggiero finished third and was followed by Bernie Miller, Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens. Eddie St Angelo was the non-qualifiers winner. At Darlington, Darrell Waltrip took the win over Harry Gant.
Twenty years ago in 1986, Flyin Brian Ross in his home built No.73 won the 80 lap Spring Sizzler at Stafford. Ross, who dogged Charlie Jarzombek most of the way took the lead with seven to go when Jarzombek suffered a blown engine. Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Bugsy Stevens and Jim Spencer. Bob Potter was the SK Modified winner and Charlie Jarzombek was the winner of the Modified 25 lap Busch Clash. At Riverside Park, Ted Riggot took the win over Jerry Marquis.
Fifteen years ago in 1991, The Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon. Mike Stefanik took the win over Rick Fuller, Mike Ewanitsko, Doug Hevron and Reggie Ruggiero. Joe Bessey was the Busch North Series winner. Rusty Wallace took the Winston Cup win at Bristol.
Ten years ago in 1996, New England suffered a complete wash out as rain and snow fell on the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, N.H. Steve Park was the modified pole sitter as well as the outside pole sitter for the companion Busch North Series event. Andy Santarre was the BNS pole sitter and sitting on the outside pole for the modified event was Mike Ewanitsko. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Terry Labonte took the win after Rusty Wallace blew in the late stages, while leading.
Five years ago in 2001 Waterford opened for the season on Saturday night. Ron Yuhas took the opening night checker over Dennis Gada, Ed Dachenhausen and Ted Christopher. Alan Coats was the late model winner. John Blewett III won at Wall Stadium while Greg Biffle scored his first Grandnational win at the new Nashville Speedway. Because it was Easter weekend, the Winston Cup division was idle.
Last year, The Waterford Speedbowl began its 55th consecutive Despite the cool night a good crowd was on hand. Ron Yuhas Jr figured he had a tenth place car until Shawn Monahan triggered a massive wreck that eliminated nine of the front runners. Yuhas ended up with the victory with Chris Pasteryak ending up second. Jeff Pearl finished third. Allen Coates won the Late Model feature. Danny Field edged Richard Brooks to take the win in the Mini-Stocks and Len Beebe just nipped Jeff Paul for the Legends feature. Norman Root was the Sportsman winner.
The Whelen Modified Tour opener at the Thompson Speedway provided a surprise ending and almost a new winner. Zack Sylvester was well on his way to victory until a stalled car on lap 146 of the 150 lap Modified main event bunched the field. It ended up being a green- white checkered situation. Sylvester led the restart with Chuck Hossfelt and Ted Christopher in tow. Hossfeld got under Sylvester going into turn one and about the same time Ted Christopher dove underneath both of them to take the lead. On the final lap Sylvester got by Hossfeld and raced wheel to wheel to the finish line with Christopher It looked like Sylvester nipped him by six inches. NASCAR officials saw it differently and awarded the win to Christopher. Hossfeld ended up third with Mike Stefanik, fourth. Rick Fuller rounded out the top five. Ten caution periods kept the event to a bunch of short sprints. The longest green flag period was from lap 108 to lap 146. Kenny Bouchard led the initial start but was quickly overhauled by Eddie Flemke. Flemke led until lap 8 when Donnie Lia passed him. Two laps later Ted Christopher took the lead. The first caution came on lap 12 when Tony Ferrente and Chris Kopec spun in turn two, collecting Tom Cloce, Kenny Barry and Tom Bolles. Christopher continued to lead as the second caution waved on lap 21 for a six-car tangle in turn one. The third caution flew on lap 29 for a 13-car melee. Christopher and Hossfeld swapped the lead until lap55 when many of the leaders pitted after Howie Brode and Eric Beers tangled in turn four. Beers went head long into the fourth turn wall and suffered shoulder injuries. Despite the many front runners pitting for tires Christopher elected to stay out. Christopher finally pitted for tires on lap 105. Tony Hirschman, who took the lead on lap 76, paced the field until his tires wore out as Sylvester powered by on lap 134. Christopher made a determined charge and until the final caution when he was running third.
In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, the car counts and spectators continued to be great. There were 46 Modifieds on hand and there werenít too many empty seats as a crowd estimate of 10,000 was announced. Had it not been for the LaJoie seat and the exceptional workmanship on the Boehler No.3 Eric Beers could have suffered serious injury when he made hard impact into the turn four wall. In other Ice Breaker action James Civali won the twin Sunoco Modified SK type events. Dennis Botticello won the Saturday night 20 lap Late Model event and Charles Bailey III won the Sunday event. Joe Lemay was the Pro Stock winner and Glen Boss, the Sportsman winner. Jeff Gordon made up three laps to win the Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville.

Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail _ HYPERLINK mailto:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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