Sixty years ago in 1953, rain
washed out Sunday racing action at the New London-Waterford
Fifty years ago in 1963, Wild
Bill Slater won the Easter Sunday Opening Day 25 lap Modified
feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. followed by Charlie
Webster and Hank Stevens. Daring Dick Caso was the Bomber feature
winner over Ed Yerrington. At Riverside Park Speedway Don Smart won
the 30 lap feature over Sal "Dee" De Lucia, Billy Heeber, Charlie
Brayton and Gene Bergin. At Plainville Stadium the winner was Tony
Mordino. Chuck Brennen was second followed by Dean Anderson, Tom
Cassella. Ron Wyckoff took the 25 lap Novice feature followed by Jim
Smith, Elton Hill, Will Schubert and Dave Alkas.
Fifty five years ago in 1968,
Steve Evonsion won the 50 lap feature over Bart Rocco, Pete Baggie,
Joe Wilcox and Danny Galullo.
Forty years ago, in 1973, rain
washed out the racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Thirty five years ago, in 1978,
the Spring Sizzler at Stafford drew 111 Modifieds. Maynard Troyer
scored the win and led a top three sweep of New York drivers. Richie
Evans finished second with Geoff Bodine, third. Bugsy Stevens and
Fred DeSarro rounded out the top five. Kenny Bouchard led the early
going until being passed by Geoff Bodine on lap 8. Bodine led until
lap 44 when Troyer brought the crowd of 13,000 to their feet as he
took the lead John Rosati won the non-qualifiers event over Eddie St
Angelo, Jim Tyler and Jerry Bartlet.
Thirty years ago, in 1983, Gil
Hearne won his 69th career victory at the Wall Stadium in New
Jersey. Tony Hirschman finished second with Jerry Cranmer, third. In
Winston Cup action at Darlington, Harry Gant took the lead after
Darrell Waltrip was forced to back off because of ignition problems.
Geoff Bodine finished ninth after leading most of the laps run.
Twenty five years ago, in 1988,
Reggie Ruggerio took the 50 lap win at Riverside on Saturday night.
Jerry Marquis finished second with Bruce D’Assandro, third. Al Hill
was the modified winner at North Wilkesboro. The Winston Modifieds (Featherlites)
were at Thompson for the Ice Breaker. Mike Ewanitsko took the win in
the 75 lapper after Tom Baldwin was parked by George Kent with two
laps to go in the 75 lap contest. Mike McLaughlin finished second
with Doug Hevron, third. Rounding out the top five were Kerry Malone
and Jeff Fuller. Baldwin ended his day in tenth spot and was
ultimately fined $200 for fighting with Kent after the event was
completed. It was also opening day at Seekonk where Johnny Tripp
took the win over Bugsy Stevens.
Twenty years ago in 1993, it was
all quiet for the Easter weekend with the exception of the Busch
Grandnationals who were at Hickory for a Saturday afternoon event
which saw Steve Grissom take the win over Ricky Craven and Joe
Nemachek. It was also on this weekend that NASCAR announced that
they had entered into an agreement to run a 400 mile event at the
Fifteen years ago in 1998,
Richie Gallup won the Saturday night 50 lapper at Riverside Park
over Ted Riggott, Rob Summers, Eddie Spiers and Dan Avery. The
Winston Cup was off for the Easter weekend. The Busch Grandnationals
ran at Hickory, N.C. where Ed Berrier took the win.
Ten years ago in 2003, rain
threatened to put a damper on the IceBreaker for the second week in
a row but as it turned out the sun came out on Sunday and the entire
two-day event was run in one day. With 43 Modifieds on hand, Zach
Sylvester took the pole. Tony Hirschman drew the pole for the start
and led the first four laps of the 150-lap contest. John Blewett III
led from lap 5 until lap 35 when he gave way to Nevin George. George
led from lap 36 until lap 60 as Chuck Hossfeld turned up the wick
and powered his way into the lead. Hossfeld and George swapped the
lead until lap 99 when Hossfeld took it for good and led the rest of
the way to the checker. Blewett ended up second and was followed by
Charlie Pasteryak, Mike Stefanik and Sylvester. Twin SK-Modified
events were run with Jeff Malave and Eric Berndt taking the wins. In
Busch Racing Series racing at Nashville David Green took the win
over John Sauter and Ashton Lewiss. In Winston Cup action at
Martinsville, pole sitter Jeff Gordon gave Bobby Labonte the bumper,
with 36 laps to go, to take the lead. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took second
Five years ago in 2008, Dennis
Gada, gunning for his seventh SK Modified Championship at the
Waterford Speedbowl was the master of the re-start as he won the
$5,000-to-win Waterford SK Modified “150”, the centerpiece of the
10-division Modified Nationals which including extra-distance events
for the Speedbowl’s Late Model, Sportsman and Mini Stock divisions.
The Northeastern Midget Association, Pro4 Modifieds, AllStar Race
Trucks, Allison Legacy Cars and NEMA Lites were also on tap. A huge
field of SK Modifieds, 34, were on hand for the event that began the
58th consecutive season of auto racing at the shoreline oval. In
Saturday time trials Gada was fourth fastest behind Doug Coby, Kenny
Horton and Matt Hirschman. Based on a draw among the top qualifiers
Coby started on the pole with Horton, outside. Hirschman started
third. Gada started eighth.
At the drop of the green Coby jumped out into the lead. His time on
the point was short as Gada bolted into the top spot on lap eight
and survived numerous re-starts to take the win, his 58th. The top
prize of $5,000 was well earned. Kenny Horton ran second for most of
the event until 19 laps to go when his tires gave out, forcing him
to spin. Coby moved into second spot but lost it to Frank Ruocco on
a lap 148 restart. Ruocco ended up second with Coby, third. Jimmy
Blewett, who pitted for tires on lap 51 was the odds on favorite to
make a run for the win but his efforts fell short as he had to
settle for fourth spot at the checker. Jeff Pearl rounded out the
In other weekend racing action at the shoreline oval, it was
defending champion Bruce Thomas picking up right where he left off
in 2007, winning the 50-lap Late Model feature. Thomas passed early
leader Ron Yuhas Jr. with 29-laps remaining and seemed to be
cruising to an easy victory until SK Modified regular Keith Rocco
closed. His first time-ever behind the wheel of a Late Model, Rocco
dogged Thomas to the finish, executing a last-ditch effort at the
stripe to overtake the winner. Rounding-out the top-5 was Ron Yuhas
Jr., Marc Curtis, and Ed Reed Jr. Al Stone III held off defending
Sportsman champion Dwayne Dorr for the win in the 30-lap Sportsman
feature. A close finish, Dorr was right on the winner’s bumper
during the final circuits. Dave Trudeau, Chris Douton, and Joe
Curioso completed the top-5.
Defending champion Ken Cassidy Jr. led the majority of the 30-lap
Mini Stock feature, only to be passed by Randy Churchill with three
circuits remaining. A restart closed the field for the final time on
lap twenty-seven. Churchill nipped Cassidy at the finish by less
than a fender. Chris Williams finished a close third followed by
Phil Evans and Lou Bellisle. In the 25-lap Northeastern Midget
Association feature, Randy Cabral got out in the lead early and
cruised to a commanding victory over Joey Payne, Greg Stoehr, Adam
Cantor, and, Erica Santos.
In some other news, Ron Mentus who pens a column in the auto racing
trade paper Area Auto Racing News, reported that Jerry Robinson and
his Waterford Speedbowl partners were nearing completion of
financial and legal details to purchase the track and once and for
all get it out of the hands of Terry Eames. Mentus alluded to the
fact that the deadline to close the deal was April 26. He stated
that Robinson felt confident that no further snags would develop.
This move would put racing at the shoreline oval on solid ground.
Robinson also told Mentus that the track had purchased 6,000
aluminum grandstand seats which hopefully would be erected in time
for the 2009 season. The announcement was just another lie and false
promise that Robinson made.
The season opening Nationals, which was not advertised in any of the
local papers within a 25 mile radius, drew less than half a
grandstand of fans. What a shame as the racing was great.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Jimmie Johnson gave Hendrick
Motorsports its first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the year, winning
a fuel gamble at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Ariz.
As leader after leader dived for the pits to take on gas in the
waning laps, Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet stayed on the track and the
two-time reigning Cup champion made it to the finish, beating Clint
Bowyer, another fuel gambler, by 7.002 seconds. Mark Martin, 49, a
part-time driver in the Dale Earnhardt Inc. No. 8, battled at the
front with its former driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., for much of the
312-lap race on the mile oval. It appeared Martin had his first win
since 2005 locked up after he passed Earnhardt on lap 272 and began
to pull away, building leads of more than a second. With the end in
sight, Martin was called into the pits on lap 301, giving up the top
spot to Johnson. Denny Hamlin, who did pit, finished third, followed
by Carl Edwards, Martin, Jeff Burton and Earnhardt.
FOX and NASCAR postponed the start of the race for 15 minutes
waiting for the Red Sox – Yankees baseball game to end, only to have
fans miss both the final out of the game and the first lap of the
race. That’s like two errors on one play.
NASCAR announced that they won't change their drug stance: The call
for regular random drug testing by some of NASCAR's biggest stars
apparently will not change the organization's current policy of
testing only for "reasonable suspicion.” .But NASCAR president Mike
Helton said the reaction by drivers to the ESPN The Magazine report
that former truck and Nationwide driver Aaron Fike used heroin the
same day he drove in some races was positive and showed drivers were
Kyle Busch won the Nationwide race: Kyle Busch beat Carl Edwards out
of the pits on their final stop, then held off the defending NASCAR
Nationwide Series champion for his second straight victory in
Phoenix. Denny Hamlin finished third. Series leader Clint Bowyer,
who fell from fifth to 13th when he was penalized late in the race
for speeding on pit road, was eighth.
Last year, 2012, the Valenti
Modified Racing Series traveled up-country to the high-banked
Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Jon McKennedy, driving the Art
Barry No.2, made it two wins in a row as he won the Bond Auto Parts
Spring Dash 100, at Granite State oval. McKennedy started 18th in
the 24-car starting field. McKennedy slowly worked his way through
traffic, used good tire management, a McKennedy trademark, passed
race leader Les Hinckley on lap 78 to go on to victory. The win was
McKennedy’s 14th career VMRS victory.
Norm Wrenn topped his career best third place finish with a solid
second. Early race leader Hinckley fought power steering issues and
finished third, Dwight Jarvis was fourth, and Jim Boniface rounded
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink,
Joey Jarvis, Max Zachem, and Louie Mechalides.
Six caution flags for minor incidents slowed the race which was
completed in 48 minutes. There were 29 Modifieds on hand.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made another stop at the
Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. George Brunnhoelzl III withstood
three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish and hung on to win
the Parking Lot Maintenance Headquarters 150.
Brunnhoelzl, the two-time Tour champion out of West Babylon, N.Y.,
dominated the day. He posted the fastest time in practice and set a
new track record in qualifying before going out and leading a
race-high 140 laps en route to his second victory of the season. It
was his seventh career win at Caraway, but more importantly it was
his 13th career Tour win which places him in a tie atop the all-time
list with L.W. Miller.
In that final restart, Brunnhoelzl held off Miller and a
hard-charging Jason Myers at the line. Rookies Kyle Ebersole and
Michael Speeney crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Daniel Hemric, Thomas Stinson, Bryan Dauzat, Frank Fleming and Burt
Myers rounded out the top-10 finishers on the evening.
Burt Myers was running third heading into the last restart, but was
penalized for aggressive driving and was scored as the last car on
the lead lap. The race was slowed due to caution 11 times for 45
laps and the race lead changed hands just two times between two
In the point standings, Brunnhoelzl opened up a six-point lead on
Miller with rookie Danny Bohn sitting in third, 26 points in back of
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour goes into an extended
Spring Break and would be back in action next on July 6 for the
Firecracker 150 at Caraway Speedway. In the mean time the Modifieds
would be racing at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Ernie
Saxton reported in the Area Auto Racing News that the race promoters
at Bowman-Gray recently signed a lease with Stadium owners, the
Winston-Salem NC City Council for the City of Winston-Salem, which
would expire in August, 2031. The contract stated that $4,260 would
be paid to the city per race night. Saturday night racing events at
Bowman-Gray draw consistently 10,000 fans who pay $10.00 each.
A huge rain storm was bearing down on New England but the Waterford
Speedbowl was able to dodge the bullet and get their entire racing
program in the books. The outside groove was the hot setup as more
than one race leader went that route to record their respective
Tyler Chadwick went up top to take a popular victory in the NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature. Other NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series feature winners included Bruce Thomas Jr. taking
the win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Ray Downing
Jr., who was impressive in taking the Street Stock race and Ian Brew
who bested a highly competitive Mini Stock field for his first win
of the year. In INEX racing, Matt Pappa won the 20-lap Legends Cars
race and Joey Ternullo took over halfway through the 20-lap
Bandolero feature to come out on top.
Diego Monahan took second easily, while Jeff Pearl worked over Kyle
James over the final laps but could not muster a challenge for
third. Pearl finished fourth, holding back a final charge by
Morgillo to his outside. Abele got by Morgillo’s inside on the final
lap to finish fifth.
An honest mistake was made during the Ice Breaker weekend at
Thompson. The NASCAR press release stated that Ryan Preece had
broken the track record, previously set by Bobby Santos in the
Mystic Missile. Preece’s qualifying time was 18.387, but Bobby
Santos’ lap in the previous year’s Icebreaker was 18.237.
In some sad news, Donna M. Harman, 68, of Niantic, CT and Port
Orange, Fla., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at
Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.,
after a courageous battle with cancer. Her husband of 28 years, NEAR
Hall of Fame member Billy Harman, was by her side throughout every
stage of her illness.
In Billy's own words, "In addition to being my wife she was my best
friend". Donna wrote most of the bios and stats that got Billy
inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame.
Denny Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. in a battle of Toyotas to
post his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season
Sunday at Kansas Speedway. While Truex dominated the STP 400,
leading 173 of the 267 laps of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, Hamlin
grabbed the lead late and held off two last-ditch runs by Truex,
taking the checkered flag .7 seconds ahead of Truex. The Nationwide
Series had the weekend off. James Buescher was the Truck Series race
winner at the Kansas Speedway.
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes