Sixty years ago in 1953, it
rained again at Waterford.
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Ted Stack won the season opening 25 lap Modified event at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner.
Rene Charland was the Modified winner at the Plainville Stadium.
Fifty years ago in 1963, the
Utica-Rome Speedway opened for the season. Tom Kotary won the 25-lap
NASCAR Sportsman feature. Robbie Kotary finished second with Jim
Luke, third. Rene Charland and Bill Wimble rounded out the top five.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, everybody's friend, George
Pendergast, was the 25-lap Modified winner. At Plainville Stadium
Bob Vivari took the win over Tony Mordino, Rudy Bruzik, Carl Spetts
and Bobby Bishop. Adolph Pecka beat out Elton Hill in the Novice
division. Danny Galullo was the winner at the Riverside Park
Speedway. Walt Czepiel was second followed by Ed Patnode, Ralph
Boehm and Johnny Lobo. At Thompson Speedway Bud Crotty took the win
over Garvin Cooper and Tony Cortex.
Forty five years ago in 1968
there was no Spring Sizzler as most of the extra distance-added
purse events were run in the fall after Labor Day. Stafford ran a 50
lap feature on Sunday with Ed Flemke taking the win over Bugs
Stevens, Jerry Dostie, Don MacTavish and Jerry Cook. Also running on
Sunday was Fulton where Don Diffendorf took the win. Ed Yerrington,
who in later years would become the General Manager of the Stafford
Springs Motor Speedway, won the 30 lap Modified feature at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet was the Late Model Daredevil
winner. Ray Hendrick won a 100 lap modified event at
Martinsville on Saturday afternoon. Norwood Arena in Massachusetts
opened for the season with Eddie Flemke taking the win. Henri "Red"
Barbeau won the season opener at Seekonk. At Fonda, Eddie Pieniezak
took the win on the dirt over Jerry Cook and Ron Narducci. Billy
Greco was the sinner of the 50 lap event at Riverside Park Speedway.
Forty years ago in 1973, Ed
Flemke got even for a disappointment suffered 12 months prior when
he turned the tables on Fred DeSarro to win Sizzler II. DeSarro, who
had won the original Sizzler when Flemke's water pump broke,
finished second and was followed by Maynard Troyer, Paul Radford,
Guy Chartrand and Richie Evans. At the Waterford Speedbowl it was
George Allum taking the Modified feature win. At Thompson Speedway
Eddie West won the 50lap Super Modified winner followed by Jim
Landry, Eddie Sadler, Dick Batchelder and Howie Brown. At the
Riverside Park opener Charlie Glazier was the winner over Johnny
Lobo and Bob Stefanik.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
Maynard Troyer was the Spring Sizzler winner at Stafford Speedway.
Geoff Bodine was second followed by Richie Evans, Bugsy Stevens and
Thirty years ago in 1983 Greg
Sacks was unbeatable as he scored a hard fought win over Reggie
Ruggerio, Brett Bodine and Brian Ross. Jim Spencer won the
non-qualifiers race and finished seventh in the 80 lap Spring
Sizzler at Stafford.
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
The modified series was not included in the Sizzler. The SK's took
center stage with Ted Christopher taking the 80-lap win over Bob
Potter, Bo Gunning and Tom Tagg. Phil Rondeau was the late model
winner. The racing was good but the crowd that followed the
Modifieds stayed away in droves.
Twenty years ago, in 1993, the
Sizzler had been expanded from 80 to 200 laps for the NASCAR
Modified Series. Reggie Ruggerio took the lead on lap 153 and held
off Doug Hevron and Tom Baldwin for the win. Mike Christopher was
the SK modified winner over his brother Ted. In Winston Cup action
at Talledega, Ernie Irvan took the win over Dale Jarrett and Dale
Earnhardt. Rusty Wallace had been ahead of Earnhardt but
unfortunately got tapped by the man in black and went end over end
in a wreck.
Fifteen years ago in 1998, the
Featherlite Modified Tour was in Martinsville for a 200 lap event
that served as a preliminary to their spring Winston Cup event. Mike
Ewanitsko, in the Art Barry No.21, came from a 24th starting spot to
take a hard fought win over Mike Stefanik and Tim Connolly. Stefanik
led the event from the start to lap 167. Ewanitsko and Stefanik ran
wheel to wheel for many laps. Reggie Ruggiero and Jamie Tomaino
rounded out the top five. The Waterford Speedbowl had a 200 lap
event scheduled for Sunday until rain intervened. Rain also washed
out the Winston Cup event at Martinsville. NASCAR has a “Next clear
day policy” which dictated that the event would run on Monday. Bobby
Hamilton was the pole sitter and led 378 of the 500 laps to take the
win. John Andretti was running second with six laps to go when he
ran out of gas. Ted Musgrave, running third at the time, finished
Ten years ago in 2003 Ted
Christopher and Ed Flemke JR got real personal as the two made
repeated contact for most of the last 50 laps of the 200 lap Spring
Sizzler at Stafford. With four laps to go it got ugly and the end
result saw Flemke planted in the wall on the backstretch.
Christopher continued on to take the win. Todd Szegedy ended up
second with Tony Hirschman, third. Chuck Hossfeld and Ken Woolley
rounded out the top five. Christopher also won the twin SK-Modified
events that were run in conjunction with the Sizzler. The entire
program was run on Sunday after rain-washed out Saturday qualifying.
There were 40 Modifieds on hand. The Busch North Series showed with
27 cars for their series opener at Lee Raceway. Andy Santerre led
pole to pole to win the 150-lap event. Kelly Moore finished second.
In Winston Cup action at Fontana, California, Kurt Busch passed
Jamie McMurray with 12 laps to go and went on to take the win. Pole
sitter Steve Park wrecked on the first lap. Matt Kenseth won the
companion Busch Series event. Racing at Wall Township, Riverhead and
at the Waterford Speedbowl was rained out.
Five years ago in 2008, The
Waterford Speedbowl moved into its regular Saturday night schedule.
The management created a new flag for the starter to display. It was
called the “Meatball” flag and it was to be waved at an individual
who refuses to comply with the officials in charge or someone who
makes a dumb move or decision. The “Meatball Flag” should have been
shown to the Late Model driver who started on the pole of the Late
Model feature who triggered a wreck that eliminated the potential
winning cars of Larry Goss and Eddie Reed Jr. Starting on the pole
as a rookie makes no sense at all. The individual who made the
line-ups was also deserving of the “Meat Ball”. Bruce Thomas Jr was
the eventual winner and is now two for two in Late Model competition
at the shoreline oval.
Defending SK Modified champion Rob Janovic redeemed himself after a
poor showing at the season opener as he scored a convincing win in
the 35 SK Modified feature. Jeff Paul, who also had a poor showing
on opening day, finished second. Tyler Chadwick, Justin Gaydosh and
Diego Monahan rounded out the top five. Opening day Nationals winner
Dennis Gada was eliminated after making contact with Dennis Charette
who was the early leader after pole sitter Frank Mucciacciaro spun
out on lap 11. The Gada-Charette confrontation occurred on lap 18
and also eliminated Jeff Pearl and Jeff Malave.
Other feature winners were Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), and, Randy
Churchill Jr. (Mini Stocks). Also making an appearance were the New
England Antique Racers, presenting exhibition events featuring the
cars of a past era. With over twenty restored racers taking to the
track, fans were treated to a view of the true “racing roots” of New
England short track history.
The True Value Modified Series opened their 2008 season at the Lee
USA Speedway in New Hampshire on Sunday. Twenty eight Modifieds were
on hand. Kirk Alexander took the win over David Pinkham, Dale
Evonsion, Mike Holdredge, Jon McKennedy. Ted Christopher Rob
Goodenough, Les Hinckley, Ed Dachenhausen and Chris Pasteryak
finished sixth through tenth.
Defending champion Alexander jumped into the lead on lap three and
roared to victory in the” Governors Cup 100” Modified race. The win
was Alexander’s 27th career victory with the touring series. The
three-time champion survived a caution plagued race that was once
stopped for an overheating racer that sprayed water on the racing
surface resulting in six cars retired to the pit area. Sunday’s race
was also the first of eight guaranteed starter races for the Sunoco
Modified Mania 400 weekend at Thompson, CT. in September.
The Nationwide Series of NASCAR was in Mexico City while the Sprint
Cup drivers had the weekend off to celebrate Passover with their
families. Kyle Busch won his third consecutive race on NASCAR’s
Nationwide Series, taking the Corona Mexico 200 by less than a
second. This latest win was the 27th of his career in NASCAR’s top
three series, and first on a road course.Marcos Ambrose finished a
career best second after a hectic day in which he collided with
Boris Said, knocking Said out of the race. Ambrose’s finish was his
first top-10 finish of the year. He had six as a rookie in 2007.
Ambrose trailed by 1.139 seconds in his Ford with two laps to go,
and Busch was able to hold on for a 0.737-second win.
Last year, 2012, the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Stafford Motor Speedway
for the annual Spring Sizzler. There were 34 cars on hand for
Modified time trials on Saturday. Ryan Preece earned his second
Coors Light Pole Award in as many attempts this season when he took
the top qualifying spot. Preece blistered the half-mile with a
record lap of 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph). Corey LaJoie, a
full-time NASCAR Kids and Nephews (K&N Pro Series East) driver that
made his Whelen Modified Tour debut was second-fastest with a
qualifying lap of 17.936 (100.357). Rounding out the top five were
Eric Berndt, Mike Stefanik and Justin Bonsignore. Donny Lia, Doug
Coby, Ron Silk, Keith Rocco and Jimmy Blewett brought home the rest
of the top 10 qualifiers.
The track's SK Modified division enjoyed an extremely high car count
that necessitated the running of four qualifying heats. The high car
count didn't phase Ted Christopher as he went out and scored his
95th career win in the division at Stafford. Christopher took the
lead from Ryan Preece on lap 11. Preece pressured Christopher until
the final moments when he gave way to Eric Berndt who ended up in
second at the checkered flag. Preece finished third with Danny Cates
and Chris Jones rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were
Curt Brainard, Michael Gervais, Glen Reen, Woody Pitkat, Matt Galo
and John Jensen. Pre-race favorite Keith Rocco suffered mechanical
issues and fell out early finishing in 30th spot. Rocco got a little
redemption as he won the Late Model feature.
Doug Coby sailed to his third career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
victory in the CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler. The Milford, Conn.,
driver led the final 89 laps of the 200-lap event en route to the
victory over a pair of drivers who are well accustom to success on
the historic half-mile . Pole sitter Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco
finished second and third respectively. Preece was the 2011 NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series SK Modified Division champion at Stafford
and Rocco was the 2008 and 2010 track champ. Rounding out the top
five were Ron Silk and Jimmy Blewett. Justin Bonsignore was sixth,
followed by Ron Yuhas Jr., Woody Pitkat, Mike Stefanik and Bryon
There were three lead changes among three drivers. Preece led from
the drop of the green until lap 98. Preece had roughly a quarter lap
lead on Doug Coby when the caution came out for a spin by Rowan
Pennink. Eric Berndt assumed the lead when most of the top ten
pitted. Berndt led through lap 109 when he was passed by Preece and
Coby. Two laps later Coby surged into the lead and never looked
back. With the victory, Coby secured a locked-in starting position
for the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach during 2013 Speedweeks on
a temporary short track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Six cautions slowed the field which kept Coby's average speed at
92.260 MPH. Caution No.1 came on lap 21 when Gary McDonald spun in
turn two. John Jensen spun in turn four on lap 33 bringing out the
second caution. The third caution was for Rowan Pennink who spun in
turn two into the grass area on Lap 95. McDonald brought out the 4th
caution as his engine expired on lap 123. Caution No.5 came on Lap
150 as car Donny Lia spun into the grass on the infield of the front
stretch. The final caution of the day came on lap 160 for a spin
that involved Richie Pallai. Fifteen of the original 28 starters
finished on the lead lap. Among those who failed to finish were
Corey LaJoie and Ted Christopher. LaJoie retired with suspension
damage after making contact with another car. Christopher had a
loose spark plug wire and ultimately retired from competition on lap
187 with a severe vibration.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, defending track champion Keith Rocco
earned his third win of the season as he took the 35-lap SK Modified
feature at the Connecticut shoreline oval. Rocco started eighth in
but moved into second place following a restart on lap 4 and flew
past Frank Mucciacciaro on lap 6. Never looking back, he held off
Jeff Pearl following a pair of mid-race restarts and then Rob
Janovic Jr. over the final 10 laps. Janovic ended up in the
runner-up spot at the finish while Pearl finished third, Tom Abele
and Mucciacciaro rounded out the top five.
In Late Model competition Dillon Moltz won his second race by
capturing the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ken Cassidy won the 25-lap
Mini Stock feature for his fourth victory of the year and Walt Hovey
took the checkered flag in the 25-lap Street Stock feature. Other
winners were Scott Limkemann (20-lap X-Cars feature) and Duane Noll
(25-lap New England Truck Series feature).
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour went into an extended
Spring Break and would not be back in action next until 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,
Burt Myers won the season opener at Bowman-Gray for the second
straight year, on the heels of winning a second straight season
championship. The race, a 200 lapper for the featured Modified
Division, had a few interesting twists for a near-capacity crowd at
the 17,000-seat stadium. Myers unseated Jeffreys, who was seeking
his first season-opening victory since 2005, for the final time in
the 161st lap. Myers tagged Jeffreys from behind coming out of the
fourth turn, and that sent Jeffreys spinning to an eighth-place
Myers lost the lead once more, when he was passed on the outside, by
brother Jason Myers. But Burt Myers made the final pass, from the
outside, and took the lead for good with 21 laps left. Transplanted
New Jersey racer Danny Bohn ended up second with Tim Brown, third.
Speedy pit work put Kyle Busch in the lead with 13 laps remaining
and from there Busch took care of business, winning his fourth
straight spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond Int’l
Raceway in Saturday night’s Capital City 400. Dale Earnhardt Jr
finished second despite fighting brake problems.
Tony Stewart, who led 112 laps of the three-quarter-mile oval, came
home third in the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet after losing the
lead in the pits. In Richmond Nationwide Series racing Kurt Busch
pulled away from Kevin Harvick and went into cruise control. There
were less than 30 laps to go, and Busch thought he had the fastest
car. Then Denny Hamlin "came out of nowhere and he had to hold him
off in a stirring side-by-side, last-lap duel to win the Nationwide
Series race at Richmond in a car owned by his younger brother, Kyle.
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