Forty years ago in 1971, Thompson opened their season with
Modifieds and Supers running together. Bobby Santos in the Joe Brady
No.41 took the 50-lap win. Lou Austin finished second. Howie Brown,
in a Supermodified, finished third. The Supers were very unreliable
as most failed to finish. Rene Charland finished fourth and was
followed by Bob Karvonen, Ernie Gahan and Billy Schulz. Jerry Glaude
won the open competition opener at the Waterford Speedbowl. George
Summers finished second and was followed by Joe Trudeau and Walt
Thirty five years ago in 1976, it was all-quiet.
Thirty years ago in 1981, The Thompson Speedway opened the
season with Dick Williams as the promoter, under warm 70-degree
skies. With over 12,000 fans on hand, Richie Evans followed up his
Martinsville win with another win. George Kent finished second and
was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Kenny Bouchard. Because of the
huge crowd, Williams added $3,000 to the race purse and paid every
non-qualifier $50.00. Jeff Fuller was the late model winner and was
followed by Ron Cote and Pete Fiandaca. In the south at the Winston
Cup event at Bristol, Ronnie Bouchard qualified third behind Darrell
Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt. Bouchard ran in the top five until
losing an engine at the half way mark. In Busch Grandnational
action, Geoff Bodine went two for two as he won at Langley Field on
Saturday and at South Boston, on Sunday. Both were 200 lap events.
Twenty five years ago in 1986, Riverside Park opened for the
season. Mike Stefanik took the 100-lap win as 10,280 race hungry
fans looked on. Stan Greger finished second with Bob Polverari,
Twenty years ago in 1991, Riverside began their season with a
100 lapper that went non-stop with Reggie Ruggiero taking the win.
Charlie Pasteryak finished second and was followed by Jerry Marquis,
Stan Greger and Rick Fuller.
Fifteen years ago in 1996, Chris Kopec made it two for two at
Riverside as he beat out Dave Berube and Reggie Ruggiero for the
win. Thompson saw the Modified Tour on hand for a 125-lap event.
Steve Park took the win after coming back from a pit stop for tires
on lap 59.Park took the lead from Mike Stefanik on lap 98.Jerry
Marquis finished second and was followed by Stefanik, Tony Hirschman
and Bruce Del. Todd Ceravolo went pole to pole to win the 35 lapper
for the SK's. On a sad note, Fred DeSarro Sr. passed away after
suffering congestive heart failure.
Ten years ago in 2001, the Featherlite Modifieds were off.
Kevin Harvick led 114 laps of the Texas Grandnational 200 to take
the win. Dale Earnhardt Jr was the Winston Cup pole sitter but it
was Dale Jarrett and Steve Park who finished one-two.
Five years ago in 2006 , The Waterford Speedbowl opened for
the season with The Nationals. The two-day event hosted feature
events for SK Modifieds (150 laps), Late Models (50 laps), Sportsman
(30 laps), Mini-Stocks (30 laps), and NEMA Midgets (25 laps) plus
Allison Legacy and American Race Trucks. All features were run on
Sunday. “Don’t believe what you read in the papers” is what track
owner Terry Eames alluded to at a drivers meeting on Saturday. He
said the entire 2006 season would be run as scheduled. The
Nationals, a big event that should have bolstered the Speedbowl’s
checkbook, was disappointing at the box office, but a resounding
success on the track. Good fields of cars and good racing didn’t
disappoint those who came. Too bad the grandstands were less than
half full. Lack of advertising was key. The race fans knew the
Speedbowl was opening for the season but much of the general public
didn’t. Frank Ruocco made a guest appearance at the Speedbowl, as
did Jimmy Blewett and Ken Horton. They stole the SK Modified show
from the regulars. Blewett started on the pole and led the event
until he got loose and passed by Ruocco with about 12 laps to go.
Blewett went non-stop without a tire change while Ruocco pitted for
a fresh set shortly after the half way mark. Ruocco took the top
spot while Blewett ended up fourth. Kenny Horton came from dead last
to finish second while Chris Pasteryak was the top finishing
Speedbowl regular in third spot. Dennis Gada rounded out the top
five. Other winners were Joey Payne in the NEMA Midgets, Mark
Esposito in the Legends, Dave Silvia in the Mini Stocks, Tayla
Orleans in the Allison Legacy Cars, Corey Hutchings in the Late
Models, Jason Heroux in the Pro Fours, Seth Duval in the Trucks and
Dwayne Door in the Sportsman.
The proposed domed speedway in Plainfield Ct. had been out of the
news in recent months. Now came word that the First Selectman, Kevin
Cunningham, had asked the town planning commission to repeal the
controversial zoning regulations that would have allowed a domed
speedway to be built in a new commercial district near the existing
greyhound track. Cunningham had allies in the Planning and Zoning
Commission, which could work in his favor. If Cunningham ended up
being successful and the zoning regulations were repealed, the
roughly 820 acres that were designated as the Resort/Recreational
Development District, known as the C5 District would revert back to
their previous zoning designations, the possibility of building a
domed speedway in Plainfield would be dead. It had been almost a
year since the C5 District regulations were approved and the
district was established in the southeastern section of the town.
During this time town officials waited for an application to build a
multimillion-dollar domed speedway, which would generate millions of
dollars in tax revenue, and attract NASCAR-caliber events to the
area. In the mean time, Eugene Arganese, and his New England Raceway
LLC, had not submitted an application despite saying several times
that one was in the works.
Last year, 2010, The only short track Modified racing the
second annual Frostbite Winter Nationals at the Orange County
Speedway in Rougemont, NC. A sparse field of only 15 Modifieds were
on hand for the 125 lap event. Matt Hirschman was the top qualifier.
Burt Myers was second fastest. The draw for starting positions saw
Burt Myers draw the pole and Brian King the outside pole. Drawing
starting positions three through five were Jason Myers, Hirschman
and James Civali. King got the best of Burt Myers and went on to
take the win. Myers tried his best but in the end had to settle for
the second spot. Finishing third was Ted Christopher driving the Joe
Brady #00. Zach Brewer finished fourth with Josh Nichols, fifth.
Sixth through tenth were Jason Myers, James Civali, Jimmy Zacharias,
Scott Rigney and Gary Young. Among those eliminated in the early
going were Hirschman and George Brunnhoelzl III who finished 14th
and 15th respectively.
It was learned that Burt Myers, one of the stars of the History
Channel reality series "Mad House" has made his intentions known
that he will head north to race in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series opener, IceBreaker 2010 at the Thompson Speedway. Myers has
never run at Thompson but has competed against many of the top
runners of the series at Martinsville.
The Hartford Courant has stated that Bobby Santos III had been hired
by Bob Garbarino to drive the Mystic Missile on the Whelen Modified
Tour Series this year. Its a great opportunity for the third
generation driver who has won in just about every division he has
ever raced in including the Modified Tour. Driving the Mighty No. 3
of Mike and Janice Boehler, Santos won the season ending World
Series at Thompson in 2007.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that the Whelen Modified Tours
Series would visit the road course at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut
came word that dogs, the four legged variety, wouldl not be allowed
on the property. Evidently track management got sick and tired of
picking up the land mines that had been left behind!
In some sad news, Richard "Moon" Burgess passed-away on Wednesday,
March 17 after suffering a serious stroke earlier in the month.
Burgess started his career in the midgets during the 1940’s,
switching to stock cars later in the decade. He competed with
success at virtually every track in the region including Thompson,
Waterford, Plainville, Riverside Park, Kingston, Candlelight
Stadium, Cherry Park, West Haven, and others. Burgess experienced
his greatest degree of success while behind the controls of the
potent “Flying Eagle” #1 coupe. He retired from the sport in 1953
after a relatively brief but spectacular career in which he won over
200 races including 63 feature events.
Justin Allgaier passed Brad Keselowski on a restart with 27 laps
remaining in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Bristol, then held
him off over the closing laps to give Penske Racing its first 1-2
finish in the Nationwide Series. It was Dodge's first win at Bristol
since August 2007.
In Sprint Cup action at Bristol, Jimmie Johnson finally knocked
Bristol off his to-do list, plowing from sixth to first in just
three laps to grab his first career victory at the revered Tennessee
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: