Forty years ago in 1967, the Grandnationals
(Winston Cup) was at North Wilkesboro . Darel Deringer took
Thirty-five years ago in 1972, it was dubbed the Greatest Race
in the History of Spring. Dick Berggren, Bruce Cohen and Lew
Boyd conceived the idea of a high paying short track sprint of
80 laps called the Spring Sizzler. It was run at the Stafford
Speedway and was such a rousing success; track owner Jack
Arute bought the rights to the event. Close to 100 cars and
12,000 spectators were on hand for the inaugural event. Eddie
Flemke, a Modified legend in his own time, appeared to have
victory in hand until the closing stages when his car suffered
a broken water pump, forcing him out.
1972 Sizzler winner Fred
DeSarro with one of the originators of the Sizzler, Bruce
Cohen and car owner Len Boehler.
Fred DeSarro had dogged Flemke most of the way took over the point
and went on to record the victory. Denis Giroux finished second and
was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary, Jerry Cook, Moose Hewitt,
Ray Miller, Bob Santos, Bob Potter and Marcell Corivieu.
Thirty-five years ago in 1972, it was dubbed the Greatest Race in
the History of Spring. Dick Berggren, Bruce Cohen and Lew Boyd
conceived the idea of a high paying short track sprint of 80 laps
called the Spring Sizzler. It was run at the Stafford Speedway and
was such a rousing success; track owner Jack Arute bought the rights
to the event. Close to 100 cars and 12,000 spectators were on hand
for the inaugural event. Eddie Flemke, a Modified legend in his own
time, appeared to have victory in hand until the closing stages when
his car suffered a broken water pump, forcing him out. Fred DeSarro
had dogged Flemke most of the way took over the point and went on to
record the victory. Denis Giroux finished second and was followed by
Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary, Jerry Cook, Moose Hewitt, Ray Miller, Bob
Santos, Bob Potter and Marcell Corivieu.
Thirty years ago in 1977, the NASCAR Modifieds were at Hickory ,
N.C. where Paul Radford took the win over Jerry Cook, Billy Hensley
and Harry Gant. In open competition Small Block Modified action at
Thompson, twin 25’s was the order of the day. Geoff Bodine in the
Dick Armstrong No.1 won the opener over Bugsy Stevens, Fred DeSarro,
Ron Bouchard and Dick Caso. Bouchard won the nightcap after Bodine
got collected in a wreck that was triggered by a blown radiator hose
on the car driven by Armand Holley. DeSarro finished second to
Bouchard. On the same day, Monadnock opened their season with a 100
lapper. Punky Caron ruled the roost as he beat out Ollie Silva and
Freddie Schulz for the win.
Twenty-five years ago in 1982, the only action was at Wall Stadium
where Tom Commerford took the win over Jim Tyler, John Blewett Jr.
and Tony Siscone.
Twenty years ago in 1987, Reggie Ruggiero in the Mario Fiore No.44
took top honors in the Spring Sizzler. George Brunnhoelzl finished
second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Jim Spencer, George Kent
and Jan Leaty. Ted Christopher was the 50 lap SK Modified winner.
Riverside Park had an overflow crowd of 8100 on Saturday night as
Ted Riggot took the win over Spencer, Bob Polverari and Stan Gregger.
In Winston Cup action at Bristol , Harry Gant was the pole sitter
but at the finish it was Dale Earnhardt who prevailed
Fifteen years ago in 1992, Rick Fuller in the Mario Fiore No.44 won
the 200 lap Spring Sizzler at Stafford . Mike Stefanik in the
Koszela No.15 finished second and was followed by Jeff Fuller, Doug
Hevron and Mike McLaughlin. Bob Potter won the 35 lap SK-Modified
feature over Steve Chowanski, Richie Gallup and Mike Christopher.
Saturday night racing at Riverside Park rained out.
Ten years ago in 1997, Rick Fuller went pole to pole to win the
Featherlite Modified Touring Series Ice Breaker at the Thompson
Speedway. It was not a cake walk as Fuller almost saw his win
trashed when Gomer Taylor pulled out in front of the lead pack
during a lap 26 restart. Tony Hirschman, in the Boehler No.3
finished second and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Tom Cravenho, Ed
Flemke Jr. and Jamie Tomaino. Jim Broderick with his Mopar powered
mount won the SK Modified feature over Bob Potter, Ricky Young, John
Anderson and Mike Christopher. In Winston Cup action at Bristol ,
Jeff Gordon dumped Rusty Wallace on the last lap and went on to take
the win. NASCAR parked Geoff Bodine after it was determined that he
was too aggressive in getting even with Jim Spencer for an early
Five years ago in 2002 the Thompson Speedway took center stage with
the running of the annual Ice Breaker. The opening NASCAR Modified
Tour Series event drew 50 Modifieds and 9500 spectators. Jerry
Marquis took the lead from Todd Szegedy on lap 113 of the 150-lap
event and went on to take the win over Rob Summers, Chris Kopec,
Rick Fuller and Tony Hirschman. SK Modified winners were Ted
Christopher and Chuck Docherty. At Wall Township on Saturday night
Jimmy Blewett took the win over Dave Michael and Mark Rivers.
Last year, 2006 Diego Monahan became the first driver to win in all
four NASCAR Waterford Speedbowl divisions – Mini Stock, Sportsman,
Late Model and SK Modifieds on Saturday night. Monahan passed his
brother Shawn with only three laps to go and held on to win Saturday
night’s SK-Modified feature. Monahan followed his brother, the only
other leader, for 27 laps before making the outside move. Chris
Pasteryak finished third and was followed by Don Fowler and Ron
Yuhas Jr. Rookie sensation Jeffrey Paul finished sixth. Other
Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Late Models: Joe
Perry, Sportsmen: Dwayne Dorr and Mini Stocks: Richard Brooks.The
True Value Modified Series had their season opener at the Monadnock
Speedway in Winchester , NH also on Saturday. There were 33
Modifieds on hand. Kirk Alexander took the win over Andy Seuss,
Dwight Jarvis, Ed Dachenhausen and Rob Goodenough.
The Whelen Modified Tour Series was off but their southern
counterparts were on the prowl at the Caraway Speedway in Ashboro ,
NC . Junior Miller took the win over L. W. Miller, Tim Brown, Ted
Christopher, Brian Crammer and Gene Pack. Christopher, in the Brady
Bunch entry led the first 98 laps of the 156 lap feature and was
forced to back off when a tire was losing air. Christopher managed
to tough it out as he finished with only seven pounds of air in his
right front. Chuck Hossfeld found himself planted in the wall on the
13th lap when he attempted to pass Michael Clifton on the outside.
Mike Stefanik sat in an all too familiar spot, in the Whelen
Modified Tour Series point lead. Stefanik, who won the season
opening IceBreaker at the Thompson Speedway on April 9 wasn’t
sitting on his laurels as he knew there was some stiff competition
headed his way from Chuck Hossfeld, Reggie Ruggiero, Ted Christopher
and Tony Hirschman who followed Stefanik at Thompson. Among those
looking to get back into the swing of things was Jerry Marquis. A
former series champion, Marquis was out front and cruising in the
lead with Bob Garbarino’s Mystic Missile when, on lap 47, his
throttle stuck wide open, slamming him into Thompson’s unforgiving
concrete wall. Thanks to all the NASCAR mandated safety devices plus
the new design Troyer shock absorbing chassis snout and the Kirkey
seat Marquis emerged from the wreck unhurt. The car and all its
running gear was destroyed. Marquis felt like someone worked him
over with a baseball bat but is expected to be back in top form in
time for the Sizzler. Garbarino has a spare mount ready to go.
In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, it appeared that Whelen was
unhappy over the fact that only 14 races made up the 2006 tour.
NASCAR turned up the heat to appease the series sponsor as they
signed Jennerstown and Holland Speedways plus they are working on a
yet to be named 17th date.
Jennerstown PA Speedway promoter Larry Mattingly stated that NASCAR
approached him about reconsidering running a Whelen Modified Tour
Series event in 2006 after he wouldn’t spring for a reported $65,000
purse. After some negotiation a deal was made and a date was set.
Mattingly feels that selling a Modified race outside of New England
is difficult to say the least. A $40,000 purse is more realistic as
Mattingly states that no one is standing in line to get a date. To
make it cost effective for competitors NASCAR needs to find a way to
make up the $25,000 the promoters can’t afford to pay. The events at
Jennerstown and Holland NY will be 100 laps rather than the normal
150 laps. The competitor will use less fuel and tires for somewhat
of a savings. The travel costs are the same. The purse is reduced.
Mattingly added that Jennerstown holds 8,000. Fan recognition is a
big factor in drawing crowds, especially outside of New England .
Had NASCAR been more aggressive in the past in getting the Modifieds
on television maybe that wouldn’t be an issue now. Don Hawk stated
that the 2007 -2011 television package with the Speed Channel will
contain 25 dates per year for touring series events. Hopefully some
of these will find their way to the Whelen Modified Tour Series.
Hawk has been sincere in his efforts so far. In a somewhat related
matter NASCAR is currently in discussion with Dodge to extend their
sponsorship contract for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.
Weekly racing competitors at the Stafford Motor Speedway got a big
shot in the arm when it was announced that NESN, New England 's most
watched sports network, announced the addition of NASCAR New England
to the network's summer programming line-up. NASCAR New England,
hosted from Stafford Motor Speedway, is the only NASCAR authorized
regional television program in New England .
Kevin Harvick won the Busch Series race in Nashville while the
Nextel Cup competitors had the weekend off.
That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail: