Thirty-five years ago in 1972, the only action was in the southland.
Bowman-Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem , N.C. opened for the season on
Saturday night. Wayne Lambreth took the win over Lloyd Ashby and
Jerry Cook. At South Boston on Sunday, Max Berrier took the top spot
with Gerald Compton, Paul Walton, Jerry Cook and Ashby rounding out
the top five.
Thirty years ago in 1977, a 200-mile NASCAR National Modified
Championship event was run at the Trenton , N.J. Fairgrounds on the
1-1/2 mile kidney shaped oval. Jerry Makara took the win over Fred
DeSarro, Satch Worley and Geof Bodine. It was also the season opener
at Thompson where Bugsy Stevens was the Small Block Modified winner.
Freddie Schulz finished second with Ronnie Bouchard, third.
Twenty-Five years ago in 1982, the only action was at Darlington
where Buddy Baker was the pole sitter and Dale Earnhardt took the
Twenty years ago in 1987, Wall Stadium opened for the season with
Tony Siscone taking the win over Jerry Cranmer, Gil Hearne, Doug
French and Tom Mauser. At North Wilkesboro , N.C. Donald “Satch"
Worley took the win over John Bryant. Riverside Park was not as
fortunate as rain washed out the program at the central Mass.
Fifteen years ago in 1992, the then called Winston Modified Tour was
at Richmond for a fast 150 lapper. Doug Hevron hit pay dirt with the
Len Boehler No.3 as he outran Rick Fuller, Jan Leaty and Ed Flemke
Jr. Rounding out the top five, down a lap, was Tom Baldwin. At
Riverside Park , Jerry Marquis put the Bobby Judkins 2x in victory
lane. Ed Kennedy and Bobby Gegetskas followed.
Ten years ago in 1997, Mark Martin was the Busch Grandnational
winner at Texas . In Winston Cup action, most of the crowd could
have taken a nap, as there was little or no passing. Jeff Burton got
his first win with Dale Jarrett, second.
Five years ago in 2002, it took two days to run the Texas Winston
Cup event. Rain forced a red flag after 116 of the scheduled 200
laps were run. Matt Kenseth ended up with the win after Dale Jarrett
ran out of gas while leading with two laps to go. Jeff Gordon
finished second. It was announced that the Stafford Speedway would
have a weekly highlight program on Friday afternoons and in Texas it
was announced that Johnnie Cochrain would be the leading lawyer in
the anti-trust suit against the International Speedway Corporation
Last year, 2006 The Thompson Speedway opened for the season with
IceBreaker ’06. The event carried a race purse of. $89,573, an
$11,600 increase over 2005. Heavy rain forced NASCAR Officials to
reschedule qualifying for Icebreaker 2006. Qualifying for the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour season opener was re-scheduled for high noon on
Sunday. A total of 46 Whelen Modified Tour teams were on hand at
Thompson including a bumper crop of 13 rookie drivers. Woody Pitkat
and Pat Trudeau of Mansfield , CT found victory lane in the Sunoco
Mods and Late Model. 1. Woody Pitkat, Stafford Springs , CT ; 2.
Tommy Cravenho, Raynham , MA ; 3. Jeff Malave, S. Windsor , CT ; 4.
Todd Ceravolo, Gales Ferry, CT; 5. Dan LaJeunesse, Norwich .
Ceravolo and Pitkat switched spots on Sunday. Ceravolo took the lead
in the Sunoco Modified feature shortly before the half way mark.
Bert Marvin finished a close second with Tom Cravenho, third. Corey
Hutchings of Salem , CT was victorious in the Late Models. Todd Owen
of Somers , CT was tops in Pro Stocks ranks. Checkers also fell for
Danny Cates of Chaplin , CT in the Limited Sportsman; Brian Vincent
of W. Warwick , RI in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larson, Jr. of
Milford , MA in the TIS Modifieds.
Mike Stefanik served notice that he intended to dethrone Tony
Hirschman for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Championship. Stefanik won
the opening round 150 lap IceBreaker. The former champion started
ninth and after making a pit stop for tires at the half way mark
made a determined march to the front and took the lead from Chuck
Hossfeld on lap 127. It was the 67th career NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour victory for the six-time champion who led the series in all
time victories. It was also the second career Icebreaker win for
Stefanik who won this event in 1998.Ted Christopher moved to second
and applied the pressure before Hossfeld regained second on lap 140.
Hossfeld then chased Stefanik to the finish line with the pair both
sideways coming off of Turn 4 on the final lap. Hossfeld ended up
second with Reggie Ruggiero, third. Ted Christopher and Tony
Hirschman rounded out the top five. Don Lia was running sixth until
the closing moments when he ran out of gas. Jerry Marquis started on
the pole and led the first 47 laps when his throttle stuck causing
him to crash violently between turns one and two. Marquis emerged
unhurt but his car, the Mystic Missile was damaged beyond repair.
Prior to the start of the Whelen Modified Feature event the Thompson
Speedway management, competitors and fans paid tribute to the late
Jack Arute with a moment of silence in his honor. The American flag
in the infield was flown at half-mast.
In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, Long Islander Ed Whelen and his
JS Motorsports # 36Team is loaded for bear as he had 4 new Troyer
Modifieds in his race shop plus Mike Andrews' Riverhead car.
At a pre-race news conference held by Don Hawk it was stated that
NASCAR was extremely happy with the Modified division. Two more
dates, Jennerstown , PA and Holland , NY were added to the tour
schedule. Safety wise, the NASCAR drivers are now the safest they
have ever been. The new design of chassis is doing its job absorbing
energy. As far as TV coverage goes Hawk feels confident that Speed
Vision coverage in 2007 will improve quite a bit.
Arute Sr. passed away on Monday, April 3 at the age of 79. Arute
owned and operated the Stafford Motor Speedway since 1970 and is
credited with saving the Modifieds from extinction. He pushed for
class within the Modified ranks. The Stafford Speedway was about to
go under when he bought the track in 1970. In a time when tracks
were dumpy Arute dressed up Stafford with picnic tables and shrubs.
He was responsible for the first ever owners point fund and the
legalization of the Pinto body for use on Modifieds. He also is
credited with the original idea of the SK Modified, a low cost
version of what is now a tour type Modified. Arute was a dedicated
businessman and family man. Hardnosed at times, he was always fair.
Arute paid attention to his patrons and to the press, He wasn’t
afraid of constructive criticism, in fact he used it to his
advantage. He traded e-mails with many of us including yours truly.
I greatly miss that. He was laid to rest on Friday, April 7, in the
Bedford Center Cemetery in Bedford , New Hampshire
In Nextel Cup action in Fort Worth TX . Kasey Kahne took the win.
Kurt Busch won the companion Busch Series event.
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: