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April 26, 2013

By Phil Smith

Sixty five years ago in 1948, the Midgets were at the peak of popularity. At Cherry Park Speedway in Avon, Ct. The one legged marvel Bill Schindler took the win over Al Keller, Russ Klar and George Rice.

Sixty years ago in 1953
, racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl rained out for the third week in a row.

Fifty five years ago in 1958, Dick Beauregard was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner.

Fifty years ago in 1963, Buddy Krebs took the 30 lap feature at Riverside Park Speedway followed by Jocco Maggiacomo, Charlie Centenaro, Danny Galullo and Dick Dixon. Jim Luke won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Ken Meahl finished second with Bobby Cain, third. Rene Charland and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Bill Slater was the winner at Norwood Arena. On Sunday George Lombardo was the winner of the 25 lap Open Compition feature at Plainville Stadium over Ray Sikorski, Tom Casella, Bob Vivari & Bobby Bishop. Pat DellaVecchia took the Novice Division feature over Bart Rocco. Ted Stack was the 50 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl followed by Dick Watson, Charlie Webster, Tony Mordino and Billy Greco. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner.

Forty five years ago in 1968 the Fonda Speedway opened for the season with Eddie Pieniezek taking the win over Jerry Cook and Ron Narducci. Ray Hendrick won the Spring 100 at Martinsville. Steady Eddie Flemke, in the Bobby Judkins No.2x went two for two as he won season openers at Norwood Arena on Saturday night and Thompson on Sunday afternoon. In other northeast action, Don Diffendorf won the season opener at Fulton Raceway in New York on Sunday and at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Daring Dick Caso was the 30-lap Modified winner while Bill Sweet made it two in a row in Late Model Daredevil action. At Plainville Stadium Rod Andrews was the winner over Bobby Knox, Nick Nickerson, Jack Proulx and Dick Turmal. Dan Devoe was the winner at Riverside Park.

Forty years ago in 1973, Stafford was running on Saturday nights. Ronnie Bouchard took the 30-lap win over Bob Santos, Eddie Flemke, and Leo Cleary. Islip opened for the season with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Jim Hendrickson and Fred Harbach. Rain was the winner at Plainville Stadium. At Riverside Park Gary Colturi won the 100 lap feature over Bobby Bard, and Billy Greco. Seekonk ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Leo Cleary in the RGM 87 took the win. Jerry Cook finished second and was followed by Freddie Schulz, Flemke and Bugsy Stevens. George Allum made it two in a row as he won the Hot Wheels 100 at the Waterford Speedbowl. Martinsville Speedway ran a 100 lap event which saw Paul Radford take the win over Bugsy Stevens, Bernie Miller, Perk Brown and Ray Hendrick.

Thirty five years ago in 1978, opening night at Stafford rained out. At Waterford Ron Bouchard made it two in a row. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Moose Hewitt in third. At Westboro, George Savory took the top spot over George Summers. Down on the Island at Islip, Tom McCann was the big winner. At Thompson on Sunday, Cleary in the Steve May no.15 out ran Fred DeSarro to victory. Ray Miller, Bugsy Stevens and Freddie Schulz rounded out the top five. Other weekend winners were Dunk Rudolph at Monadnock, Dave Thomas at Star and Maynard Troyer at Fulton.

Thirty years ago in 1983, Stan Greger won at Riverside on Saturday over Ray Miller and SJ Evonsion. Gil Hearne scored his 70th career win at Wall Stadium and at Islip, Alan Harbach held off Don Howe for the win. Waterford cancelled because of high water in the infield. Thompson ran twin 30's on Sunday. Richie Evans won them both.

Twenty five years ago in 1988, Bob Potter won at Waterford on Saturday. Ted Christopher finished second with Dickie Doo Ceravolo, third. At Riverside, Charlie Pasteryak braved the cold to get a well-deserved win and at Riverhead, Tom Baldwin won out over Ed Brunnhoelzl. In SK modified action at Thompson, Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning finished one-two. The Mod Tour traveled to Jennerstown, Pa., where Reggie Ruggiero got his second tour win of the year. Jim Spencer finished second and was followed by Brian Ross and Steve Park

Twenty years ago in 1993, Bo Gunning was the Friday night SK-Modified winner at Stafford. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Ricky Young came home the surprise winner after Ted Christopher and Dennis Gada spun while fighting for the lead on the final lap. Christopher, running second, made a move outside of Gada. Gada moved up to block and subsequently hit Christopher. Both spun and crashed. Bob Potter ended up in second spot. Bob Gegetskas won out over Dan Avery and Larry Moore at Riverside and at the Riverhead Raceway, on Long Island, Tim Continaro went pole to pole to win the 36 lap Modified feature. Jeff Malave finished second with Ed Brunnhoelzl, third. The Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series were at Loudon on Sunday. With 16,000 fans looking on, Reggie Ruggerio won the 125-mile contest. Mike Stefanik tried his darndest but couldn’t muster a charge and ended up second. Doug Hevron finished third with Tim Arre and Bob Park rounding out the top five. Jamie Aube was the BNS winner. Kelly Moore finished second with Mike Mclaughlin and Dave Reszendes following. Thompson ran SK-Modifieds on Sunday with Mike Christopher taking the win over Tom Tagg and Lloyd Agor. Less than 1,000 spectators were on hand. In Winston Cup action at Talledega, Ernie Irvan took the win over Jim Spencer and Dale Jarrett. Rusty Wallace took a mean looking dump as he went end over end after getting some help from Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Fifteen years ago, in 1998, the rained out Spring Sizzler at Stafford was finally run. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Doug French on lap 134 of the 200-lap event and held off Tim Connolly for the win. Tony Ferrente Jr. finished third with Jan Leaty and Carl Pasteryak rounding out the top five. In a post race interview Stefanik said he felt that Ed Flemke Jr. didn’t give him a fare shake as he attempted to pass him. Mike Christopher was the 40 lap SK-Modified winner. In other weekend action, Waterford was fogged out; Riverside Park hosted the Busch North Series on Saturday night where Tom Carey took the win over Kelly Moore and Jerry Marquis. Dan Avery was the modified winner. Bill Park took the checker at Riverhead and was disqualified when a post race inspection revealed an illegal clutch in his car. John Fortin was awarded the win and Ed Brunnhoelzl moved up to finish second.

Ten years ago in 2003 opening night at Stafford rained out. It cleared out on Saturday as Riverhead opened for the season with a 50 lapper. JR Bertuccio took the win over Joe Hartmann and John Fortin. At Waterford, Dennis Gada picked up his first win of the season beating out Jeff Pearl, Rob Janovic and Ed Reed Jr. Frank Polimedia won out at Wall Township with Jimmy Blewett, second. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Terry Labonte took the pole. Jerry Nadeau crashed hard during Happy Hour. He spun between turns one and two, and then hit the wall on the driver’s side. Nadeau, who had to be cut from the car and life starred to the hospital received severe head injuries which, for all intents, ended his racing career. Joe Nemachek was the Winston Cup winner with Bobby Labonte finishing second. The event went 392 of the scheduled 400 laps because of rain. A major confrontation erupted in the pit area after Jeff Green and Kevin Harvick tangled and Green ended up getting wrecked. Both drivers, in cars owned by Richard Childress, verbally assaulted each other over what happened, plus Green argued with Childress. The end result was that Green ended up getting fired from his ride.

Five years ago in 2008, The Stafford Motor Speedway opened for the season under sunny skies with qualifying for the annual Spring Sizzler, an event that has run continuously since 1972 featuring the NASCAR Modifieds. Thirty five Modifieds were on hand for qualifying for the 200 lap event that carried a purse of $94,676.

Ted Christopher got a little closer to the 100 feature win mark as he won his 98th career win at the nutmeg oval as he won the 200 lap Spring Sizzler. Christopher pitted after Wade Cole spun on lap 141. Restarting in 12th spot, Christopher made a determined march to the front. He broke into the top five by lap 156 after Kevin Goodale spun. By lap 167 Christopher had moved into second spot, turning up the heat on leader Eric Beers. Christopher put Beers away on lap 172 and never looked back. Beers ended up in second spot and was followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Mike Stefanik and James Civali. Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennick, Richard Savory, Jamie Tomaino, Todd Szegedy and Glen Tyler.

Ryan Preece, who became the youngest Coors Light Pole Award winner on Saturday, led 64 laps in the event but exited the race on lap 91 while in the lead with engine failure.

Numerous cautions, 13 for 71 laps, slowed the event and at one point the event had to be red flagged. It was on lap180 after Jimmy Blewett made a hard impact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 1. He climbed out of the vehicle then expressed displeasure at Matt Hirschman before taking his mandatory ambulance ride. Blewett's 19 car was briefly airborne and needed the double hook to be removed from the track.

In SK Modified action Rob Summers took the 40 lap feature over Woody Pitkat and Chris Jones. Keith Rocco, Doug Coby and Jimmy Blewett followed. Among those in the field was Steve Reed who was one of the top runners at the now closed Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. Reed finished eighth.

The Waterford Speedbowl continued its regular Saturday night schedule. Dennis Gada charged from a 20th-place starting spot to pass Jeff Pearl with 10-laps remaining to win the 35-lap SK Modified at the shoreline oval It was the second victory of the season for the 6-time champion. Following Gada across the line was Ron Yuhas Jr, Keith Rocco, Pearl, and, Frank Ruocco.

SK Modified driver Ron Yuhas Jr. took the first Late Model win of his career. Starting deep in the field, he passed early leader Ed Reed Jr. following a late-race caution. Defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. slipped past Reed for second. Completing the top-5 were Marc Curtis, and, Tim Jordan.

Other feature winners were Chuck Rodgers (Sportsman), Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stocks), and, Michael Gervais Jr. (Legends).

The True Value Modified Series moved to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH for an event on Saturday night. Point leader and defending series champion Kirk Alexander returned to his home race track, started last in a 26 car field, passed cross town rival Rob Goodenough on lap 86, to win the” Bond Auto Parts 100” in front of a near capacity crowd at the fast high banked quarter mile oval. The True Value Modified Racing Series event was Alexander’s 28th career victory and his third season opening win at the track known as “Mad Dog.”.

Pole sitter Chris Pasteryak set a torrid pace holding off the constant challenges of 2007 Rookie of the Year, Peter Jarvis, Jarvis stayed within striking distance of Pasteryak with Bryan Shumway last years winner, Les Hinckley and 2006 champion Dwight Jarvis in hot pursuit. By lap 20, Danbury CT ’s Ed Dachenhausen worked his way into fifth and ran strong until a late race mishap would force him to the sidelines. The race pace was fast early on with the first of six caution flags not displayed until lap 38 for a Chris Wenzel spin. The Holyoke , MA . veteran was able to rejoin the race which stayed under green until lap 54 when a David Pinkhamand Jon McKennedy spin drew the caution. On the restart, Peter Jarvis vaulted into the top spot and held it until lap 66 when Goodnough powered by. At this point, Alexander was fast making his move to the front and by lap 70, the three-time champion was in third and quickly closing in on Jarvis. Lap 73 saw Alexander pass Jarvis setting up a great battle with Goodnough for the top spot. A caution period slowed the pace on lap 85 resulting in Alexander motoring by Goodenough on the restart lap. The two former Monadnock pro-stock standouts raced hard and clean often side by side bringing the crowd to it’s feet several times. When the checkers dropped on the 100th circuit, Alexander’s margin of victory was a car length and a half over Goodenough. Goodenough, Pinkham, Dwight Jarvis, Peter Jarvis, Hinckley, Mike Holdridge, Pasteryak, Dale Evonsion, and Rookie of the Year contender Kenny White.Jr, rounded out the top ten.

Tony Stewart held off Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last-lap charge to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday for his first career victory at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Stewart started from the pole, led 81 of the 117 laps, and sat comfortably out front in the waning laps with Earnhardt on his rear bumper. Caution came out with five laps to go for debris, setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish. They raced nose-to-tail for the first lap, then Earnhardt pulled out of line to make his charge. But Earnhardt didn't have enough momentum and didn't get the help he needed to race past Stewart. It allowed Stewart to go virtually unchallenged for the final lap, as Earnhardt faded to sixth. David Stremme finished second, his best result since he finished second in Milwaukee in 2004. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was third. The race was slowed by eight cautions for 27 laps, including a 12-car accident that brought a red flag stoppage of 25 minutes.

The accident happened when Kevin Lepage pitted for a loose wheel under green and blended back onto the track right ahead of the field as the pack headed into the first turn. He wasn't at the same speed, and the cars couldn't avoid running over him. The first wreck occurred 10 laps in when Dario Franchitti lost his right rear tire, hit the wall and spiraled down the track. He was on the apron when his car was T-boned by Larry Gunselman. Both drivers were transported to a hospital for observation, and X-rays showed Franchitti broke his left ankle.

In Sprint Cup action at Talladega Kyle Busch came back from a lap down for his first win which was won under caution when a 12-car accident brought out the yellow flag on the final lap. It froze the field and allowed Busch to slowly make his way across the finish line. Juan Pablo Montoya finished second to match his career best on an oval since moving to NASCAR midway through 2006. Denny Hamlin, Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third.

Last year, 2012, The Stafford Motor Speedway cancelled its May 4 Opening Night racing program due to the forecast of showers and thunderstorms that lasted throughout the day and into the evening.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco made it four out of six in the SK Modifieds, while Mike Caprio won the night's special extra-distance Street Stock feature. Those victories came as Waterford Speedbowl played host to a six-division race program Saturday evening as part of the shoreline oval's NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule. It was Rocco's 40th career win in an SK Modified at the shoreline oval. Tom Abele finished second, followed by Nichole Morgillo, Jeff Pearl and Tyler Chadwick.

Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series winners included Ken Cassidy Jr. who won his fifth Mini Stock race out of six on the year and Corey Barry who was named the winner in the SK Light Modified feature. Matt Pappa was the night's Legends Cars feature winner and Dan Butler won another Super X-Car race.

Rocco had to overcome adversity to pick up his fourth victory of the six SK Modified events at the Speedbowl. He received damage in a lap-7 wreck that involved his brother Jeff Rocco and Diego Monahan. Keith Rocco was third in the running order on lap 19 when under another caution flag, he ducked to the pits to make repairs to his car. Rocco restarted in the rear and made a determined charge to the front setting up for the final five lap run to the checkered flag.

Rocco dogged Abele looking for a way around. Headed into turn one on lap-32, Rocco made a bold inside bottom shot on Abele. With two wheels on the apron and two wheels in the grass he made the move stick and raced out of turn two with the lead. A stunned Abele fought back, getting to Rocco’s rear bumper in turn three a determined Rocco was able to hang on to the lead. From there he went on to the win.

A surprise entry in the SK Lite division was 72 year old former Track Modified Champion Dickie Doo Ceravolo. Just out to have some fun, Ceravolo finished fifth.

The sparks flew on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway. Twin 30's for the Modified were run with Tim Solomito winning both. Ted Christopher crashed out of the first feature and never made it out for the night cap.
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, Tim Brown pulled off a pass from the outside and went on to claim his 59th career victory in the featured Modified Division. Robert Jeffreys won the second 25-lap Modified race after a tangle between Brad Robbins and visitor Jimmy Blewett left both out of contention. Jeffreys matched Alfred Hill, at age 67, as the oldest winners of a feature race at Bowman Gray.

Brown started from the outside on the front row, beside pole winner Lee Jeffreys, and took the lead on the opening lap. Lee Jeffreys, the fastest in qualifying with a lap of 13.276 seconds (67.8 miles per hour) on the quarter-mile track, appeared to have successfully held off Brown at the start. But Brown pulled ahead on the backstretch and led the rest of the way. Lee Jeffreys finished second, and Burt Myers was third.

Brown, an eight-time Bowman Gray champion who finished in the top five just once in the first seven races in 2011, followed a third-place finish in the season opener with his victory.

Robbins started from the pole in the second Modified race, but Blewett, driving for Hillbilly Racing, maneuvered his way to the lead in the opening lap. Robbins kept the pressure on Blewett with bumps and shoves, and Blewett went spinning on the 18th lap. One lap later, Blewett sent leader Robbins spinning, and Robert Jeffreys took the lead for good. Ronnie Clifton finished second, and Jason Myers was third.

Joey Logano got the best of Kyle Busch heading to the checkered flag to win Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

On the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish following a massive crash that involved eight cars and sent Eric McClure by helicopter to the University of Alabama Birmingham hospital, Logano helped Busch hold off the two-car tandem of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Cole Whitt and then pulled out at the last second and beat Busch to the checkered flag by a mere .034 seconds.

In Sprint Cup action at Talladega, Brad Keselowski used a big push from Kyle Busch to pass leader Matt Kenseth, and after leaving the Daytona 500 winner in their wake, Keselowski staved off Busch's attempt to snatch the win. Using a move Keselowski said he had dreamed about, he held on for his second win of the season and second at Talladega.

This week are several Vintage photos, Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size


Rod Andrews


George Savory


Dick Caso

T
George Allum

Buddy Krebs

Bill Schindler

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications
 for over 3 decades.

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