Friday August 18, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966, Bill Wimble went two for two as he won the Friday night 30 lapper at the Albany- Saratoga Speedway and followed it up with a 111 lap win at Fonda on Saturday night. Don MacTavish finished second on Friday night and was followed by Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton and Elton Hill. Lee Millington finished second at Fonda with Charland, third. The annual North-South battle at what was then a one mile speedway in Trenton, NJ was on tap for Sunday. The event started 60 cars and was won by Ray Hendrick driving the Tant/Mitchell No.11. Fellow Virginian Bill Dennis finished second with Runt Harris, third. Jerry Dostie and Mario “Fats” Caruso rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Al Tasnady, Jim Hays, Pete Hamilton, Tiny Lund and Bugsy Stevens. Sunday night racing at the Utica-Rome Speedway rained out.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Fred DeSarro and the Ole Blu of Len Boehler were on a tear as they did some serious traveling and some serious winning. The All Star League ran a 100 lapper at Catamount Stadium in Milton, Vt. DeSarro took the win over Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens and Andy Romano. All Star League regular, Ron Narducci took a wild end over end off turn three. Narducci sustained back injuries and his car was demolished. The All Star League moved to Stafford on Thursday where it was DeSarro again. Gene Bergin finished second and was followed by Hop Harrington and Leo Cleary. DeSarro continued his streak at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway where he took on the best of New York and New England. Running on a rail, DeSarro made it three for three. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Dick Clark and Guy Chartrand. Don MacClaren made it five in a row in NESMRA competition at Thompson on Friday night. Gene Bergin, in the all new Bobby Judkins Pinto bodied No. 2x that had just been declared legal by NASCAR, was the spoiler as he had the car to beat at Stafford on Saturday night. DeSarro had to settle for second with Hop Harrington, Bugsy Stevens and Bobby Santos rounding out the top five. Don Steiner won at Waterford over Jerry Glaude and Terry Peabody. In other Saturday night action, Lou Lazzaro took the double point win at Fonda over Maynard Forette and Jerry Cook. DeSarro made it four out of five as he won the Utica-Rome 100 on Sunday night. The Bugman finished second and was followed by Lazzaro and Cook. Richie Evans was the Modified winner at the Fulton Raceway. Merv Treichler finished second. Ken Andrews made it two in a row in Supermodified action at Fulton. Nolan Swift finished second. Also on Sunday, Gene Bergin won a 100 lap open at Oxford Plains. Rene Charland finished second with Bobby Turner, third.

Thirty ago in 1976, The Yankee All Star League was at Waterford where Fred DeSarro took the win. Richie Evans won a 100 lap Trenton qualifier at New Egypt. Wayne Anderson finished second. Friday night at Riverhead saw Charlie Jarzombek make it three in a row at the Long Island east end speedway. Wayne Anderson finished second with Fred Harbach, third. At Monadnock, Punky Caron was again, the top dog. On Saturday night at Stafford, Geoff Bodine made it two in a row. DeSarro finished second and was followed by Flemke and Brian Ross. Other Saturday winners were Tom McCann at Islip, Bill Greco at Waterford, Roland LaPierre at Westboro and Ed Hoyle at Seekonk. Ronnie Bouchard streaked home the winner at Thompson on Sunday as Geoff Bodine got a little on-track education from Ed Flemke. With both cars out because of a wreck and DeSarro in the pits with a blown engine. Bob Santos ended up second and was followed by Gene Bergin, Moose Hewitt and Keith Williams.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Modified Madness, an open competition event, was run at Stafford on Tuesday night. Fifty seven Modifieds and almost 7000 spectators were on hand to watch as Ronnie Bouchard in the Len Boehler No.3 beat the best in the business in this 50 lap contest. Richie Evans finished second and was followed by Corky Cookman and Jerry Cook. Back at Stafford on Friday, Brian Ross put the Mystic Missile in the top spot. Evans followed along with Reggie Ruggiero and Corky Cookman. Other Friday night winners were Doug Hewitt at Spencer, John Blewett Jr. and Punky Caron won his 46th at Monadnock. Joe Howard won the Thompson 300 qualifier at Westboro and it was Eddie St Angelo taking the top spot at Seekonk. Joe Tiezzi beat out Moose Hewitt at Waterford and at Riverside, Stan Greger and Ray Miller each scored wins. Double features were also on tap at Islip where Charlie Jarzombek and Wayne Anderson each scored wins.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Reggie Ruggiero, driving for Mike Greci, won the Manchester Oil Heat 100 at Stafford on Friday night. Jamie Tomaino finished second with Mike Stefanik, third. Waterford ran twin features with Bob Potter and Bob Gada Jr taking the checkers. Kenny Bouchard beat out Stan Greger at Riverside and at Riverhead; John Blewett jr took a 200 lap win over Mike Ewanitsko. Sunday racing at Thompson rained out.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, Waterford ran a Wednesday night program with Ted Christopher in the North End Auto Parts No.54 taking the win. At Stafford on Friday night, Mike Christopher got a well deserved win over Tom Tagg and Bob Potter. Seasoned veteran Moose Hewitt took the regular Saturday night win at Waterford and at Riverside Park; Reggie Ruggiero scored his seventh of the year over Rick Fuller. On the Island at Riverhead, Ed Brunnhoelzl won out over Tom Baldwin and Wayne Anderson. Thompson ran twin features on Sunday night which saw Richie Gallup and Mike Christopher. It was also on this weekend that Race of Champions promoter Joe Gerber announced that the ROC would be moving from Pocono Raceway to the Flemington Speedway after that years event. Little did many know that it was the beginning of the end of the historic event, the way it was! In Winston Cup action, Dale Jarrett, driving for the Wood Brothers scored his first Winston Cup win in a photo finish over Davey Allison at Michigan. On Monday, August 19, Hurricane Bob moved thru New England and did considerable damage to the main grandstand at the Thompson Speedway.

Ten years ago in 1996, Todd Ceravolo took a Thursday night win at Waterford when Don Fowler spun with two laps to go. Jim Broderick finished second with Tucker Reynolds Jr, third. Bo Gunning beat out Ted Christopher at Stafford on Friday night but the big news was that the Arute Family announced that the season ending Fall Final would be telecast by ESPN-2. Dennis Gada went pole to pole at Waterford on Saturday night as he beat out Scott Spaulding, Don Fowler and Jeff Pearl. Fowler was later disqualified. Tom McCann won at Riverhead and Reggie Ruggiero got his sixth win at Riverside. At Fonda, Jack Johnson took the win over Dave Lape and wrapped up his eleventh track championship. The Featherlite Modifieds shared the billing with the IRL at Loudon and had their event cut from 75 laps to 61 laps because of a scheduled TV start time for the IRL event. Tony Hirschman took the lead from Jan Leaty and scored a big win for car owner Len Boehler. Leaty finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller, Steve Park and Jerry Marquis. The Loudon event drew 24,000, many of those being Modified fans. The speedway management knew this and announced that the IRL would not be back. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Dale Jarrett passed Mark Martin with two to go to take the win. Jeff Purvis was the Busch Grandnational winner. In Busch North Series action at the Star Speedway, Jerry Marquis took the win.

Five years ago in 2001 the Thompson Speedway ran their annual Thursday night NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event. With over $65,000 on the line, a full pit of 40 Modifieds and over 8,000 spectators was on hand. John Blewett III seemed to have things under control as he took the lead on lap 101 and was headed for victory when Tom Cravenho went in too hard and got Blewett wiggly enough to allow Tony Hirschman to duck under and go on for the win. Blewett recovered to finish second. Ricky Miller, Rick Fuller and Chris Kopec rounded out the top five. Cravenho ended up 13th. In SK-Modified action at Thompson, Ted Christopher continued his domination of the division as he recorded his ninth win. Bert Marvin finished second with Kerry Malone, third. Christopher carried his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night where he won a 40 lapper over Frank Wainwrite and Lloyd Agor. Ronnie Silk scored an upset at Waterford as he beat out Dennis Gada for a 100-lap win and at Riverhead, Eddie Brunnhoelzl JR picked up his 21st career win at the Long Island oval. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Sterling Marlin got the win in a Chrysler product. It was the first win for the auto giant since 1979. The long awaited NASCAR report on the death of Dale Earnhardt finally went public. NASCAR’s determination was that the broken seat belt was a factor as well as the angle of the collision and the force of impact with the turn four wall at the Daytona Speedway. Bill Simpson of Simpson Safety Products stated that the reason the belt broke was due to the fact that they were not properly installed.

Last year, 2005 Racing in New England got an early start as the Stafford Motor Speedway ran Full Fendered Wednesday highlighted by the NASCAR Busch North Series. Second generation driver Ryan Moore gambled with a tire change and walked off a winner. Ted Christopher gambled that his tires would last. He lost and had to settle for third place at the finish. Christopher led from lap 77 to 122 until giving way to Moore. Brian Hoar took over second spot late in the race. A good representative field of 28 cars was on hand. Andy Santerre and Mike Olsen rounded out the top five. Craig Collins took the Late Model win.
Richard Savory took the Sunoco SK type Modified win at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. The second generation racer took advantage of Tom Cravenho’s bad luck to take his second victory of the year. Jeff Malave extended his point lead with a second place finish. Todd Ceravolo was also in the mix until developing suspension problems while running in the lead pack. Kerry Malone ended up third with Bo Gunning and Bert Marvin rounding out the top five. Charles Bailey III scored his fourth Late Model victory of the year. Andy Johnson took top honors in the Pro Stocks with Keith Desantis victorious in the Limited Sportsman. Other winners were Mike Veins in the Thompson Modifieds and Todd Henshaw in the Mini Stocks.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. A strong field of 37 Modifieds were on hand. Defending tour champion Tony Hirschman gambled with changing three tires when the rest of the field went with four on lap 113. Hirschman was fourth when he pitted and emerged the leader. Hirschman ran the rest of the event in the lead and went on to record his third tour win of the year. Ted Christopher ended up second and now leads Hirschman by 14 points going into Thompson. Jerry Marquis finished third with Mike Stefanik, fifth. High humidity along with extreme temperatures made for a true test of man and machine.
Donnie Lia won the 40 lap SK Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night. It was his first Stafford win. Lloyd Agor finished second with Willie Hardie Jr, third. Jeff Baral and Chuck Docherty rounded out the the top five. Andy Major won the Pro Four feature. Jeff Zuidema finished second with Dan Meservy, third. Jason Hereux and Cory Cleary rounded out the top five. Cleary is the grandson of one of the all-time greatest drivers, Leo Cleary.

Frank Mucciacciaro didn’t make any friends at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night when he won his second career SK Modified feature in near 100 degree temperatures. Between the heat and Mucciacciaro’s driving, fellow competitors Tom Fox and Rob Summers were very critical of the winner’s driving tactics. Mucciaccaro started on the pole and led every lap of the 35 lap feature. Summers ended up second with Fox third. Ron Yuhas Jr and Dennis Gada rounded out the top five. Allen Coates won his fifth Late Model feature of the year while Bill Gertsch Jr went pole to pole to win the Sportsman feature that had been carried over from the Bud Nats. John Puglisi won the regularly scheduled event. Ken Cassidy Jr beat out Richard Brooks to win the Mini Stock feature and Jeffrey Paul won the Legends feature.

It was one year ago that Tiger Tom Baldwin was taken from us after a wreck at Thompson. Always outspoken, Baldwin told it like it was. A charter member of the Long Island gang, Baldwin was a Modified loyalist. He always had the best interests of the division at heart. In his late 50’s, Baldwin knew he was in the twilight of his racing career but still remained competitive. It is only fitting that we remember this fallen racer on the anniversary of his passing.

James Civali, tossed out of Stafford Speedway’s SK Modifieds, on thin ice with the Whelen Modified Tour, is now on thin ice with officials of the Busch North Series. During the recent Busch North Series 150 at Stafford Civali, lost his temper again and drilled veteran Dave Dion. Dion and Civali had been making contact prior to the incident which triggered Busch North Series officials’ action to park Civali for the night. One of Civali’s friends said he is very upset with himself. He knows he made a very big mistake, and only blames himself. He was only 21 years old, and no doubt will make more mistakes in his life. By his choice the No.29 was not at Stafford on Friday night as he was taking time to reflect and think. Civali has a lot of raw talent and had shown flashes of having what it takes to be a top driver.
At Watkins Glen, Ryan Newman was the Busch Series winner and Tony Stewart won the Nextel Cup event. Sprint and Nextel Communications Inc. announced that they closed their proposed merger on Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. The companies have received all required regulatory approvals for the merger. The proposed merger between Sprint and Nextel was announced on Dec. 15, 2004 with a commitment to create Sprint Nextel -- a leading communications provider that will offer a comprehensive range of innovative wireless and wireline products and services to consumer, business and government customers. After the completion of the merger, Sprint Nextel common stock will begin trading on Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "S."

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail _ HYPERLINK mailto:

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

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