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 Friday August 4, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966 Andy Romano scored a popular win at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Jerry Cook finished second with Bill Wimble, third. Wild Bill Slater and Pete Hamilton rounded out the top five. Romano finished third to Irv Taylor and Lee Millington at Fonda on Saturday night. Utica Rome ran a 100 lapper on Sunday night. Bill Wimble took the win over Rene Charland, Elton Hill, Jerry Cook and Eddie Flemke.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, rain washed out racing at Malta and Thompson on Friday night, Stafford on Saturday night and the big open competition event scheduled for Pocono on Sunday. Fonda got their show in with Maynard Forette taking the win over Jack Johnson. Waterford also ran with Jerry Glaude taking the win over Walt Dombrowski. Fulton Raceway got their double program in with Richie Evans taking the 30-lap Modified win and Norm Mackereth winning in the Supermodifieds. At Utica-Rome on Sunday, Jerry Cook took the win over Fred DeSarro.

Thirty years ago in 1976, Plainville ran an open show on Wednesday. Eddie Flemke, who lived close by and had not raced there in years, took the event. New Egypt ran on Thursday night with Jerry Cook taking the win over Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. Rain wiped out everything else with the exception of Islip the rest of the weekend. Fred Harbach was the winner at the tight 1/5 mile oval.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Thompson ran a 40 lap-300 qualifier on Wednesday night. Geoff Bodine in the Taylor No.99 led from pole to pole to win the non stop event. Ray Miller finished second with Ronnie Bouchard, Bugsy Stevens and George Summers rounding out the top five. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night with a crowd announced to be 10,200.Richie Evans didn't disappoint his many fans as he beat back all of his competition to take the win. Ray Miller, Ronnie Bouchard, an overheating Geoff Bodine and Greg Sacks rounded out the top five. Allen Whipple won at Monadnock and Jerry Cook beat out Doug Hewitt at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford, Seekonk and Riverside. At Westboro, Joe Howard held off Gomer Taylor for the win. Richie Evans closed out the weekend with a win at Thompson on Sunday night. Bob Polverari finished second with Leo Cleary, third. Jeff Fuller was the late model winner.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Ray Miller, driving for Billy Simons, won the Thompson 300 qualifier at Stafford on Friday night. George Brunnhoelzl finished second and was followed by Mike McLaughlin. George Kent won at Spencer over Tony Jankowiac. Rain washed out Waterford and Riverside. Mike Ewanitsko beat out Chris Young and Wayne Anderson to win the Thompson 300 qualifier at Riverhead. Tony Jankowiac won the Race of Champions qualifier at Lancaster. Richie Gallup won twin features at Thompson on Sunday night. Jerry Pearl suffered serious injuries including a punctured lung when he spun and hit the infield wall.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, the Long Island Gang ruled at the Featherlite Modified Tour 201 at Riverhead on Wednesday night as Tiger Tom Baldwin and George Brunnhoelzl finished one-two. Mike Stefanik finished third with Jamie Tomaino, fourth. Racing at Stafford on Friday night was cancelled because of a tractor pull. The Mod Tour was at Richmond on Saturday night for a 200 lapper that saw Reggie Ruggiero take the top spot and the $18,000 first prize. Doug Hevron finished second with Tom Baldwin, third on the lead lap. Rounding out the top five were Mike Stefanik and Jan Leaty, one lap down. Jerry Marquis won at Riverside and Fred Harbach won at Riverhead while rain prevailed at Waterford.

Ten years ago in 1996, Mike Christopher took the Friday night win at Stafford after giving leader Lloyd Agor a nudge out of the way, with two laps to go. Agor retaliated and gave Mikey a shot on the cool down lap and was fined $100 for his actions. Steve Chowanski finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Jeff Pearl beat out David Gada and Jerry Pearl at Waterford and it was Richie Gallup over Dan Avery at Riverside. Mike Ewanitsko went pole to pole to win the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial 76 lapper at Riverhead. Chuck Steuer finished second. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Thompson on Sunday. Steve Park, who finished 12th on Friday night in a Craftsman truck at Indianapolis Raceway Park, took the lead from Rick Fuller on lap 82 of the 150 lap event and went on to record the win. Jerry Marquis finished second and was followed by Fuller, Tim Connolly and Tom Baldwin. Park also beat out Ted Christopher to win the SK type race. NASCAR's Winston Cup division had its first ever event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a record race purse of $4.7 million. Dale Jarrett passed Ernie Irvan with seven laps to go to take the win. It was also announced on this weekend that the all but bankrupt Race of Champions promoter Joe Gerber had sold the rights to the event to Andrew Harpell and Alex Friesan.
Five years ago in 2001 Jim Broderick survived a wreck fest at Thompson on Thursday night and took the win over Bert Marvin and Chris Jones. Of the 27 cars that started the 30 lapper, only nine were running at the finish. Stafford rained out on Friday night. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series went to Riverhead on Saturday night for a 200 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the lead with four laps to go and held off Jerry Marquis for the win. Fred Vordermeir finished third with Mike Ewanitsko and John Blewett III rounding out the top five. A scheduled 100 lapper at Waterford was rained out. Kevin Harvick won the Grandnational 200 at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. Jeff Gordon won the Winston Cup Brickyard 400.

Last year, 2005 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Nevin George was one of 25 drivers in competition in the latest version of the Jack Roush Racing Gong Show. The Gong Show consisted of a 13 part series that would begin in the fall on the Discovery Channel. The winner would be awarded a fully sponsored ride in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Among the other contestants was Jason Boyd who drove the Florida Modified owned by Bobby Judkins. David Berghman was designated to drive the Ralph Solhem No. 0 when George was unavailable
The late Len Boehler began fielding Modifieds at the Seekonk Speedway some forty years ago. It was only fitting that Eric Beers, who was presently driving for Boehler Racing was able to garner his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series win on Saturday night at the track where it all began. Currently owned and managed by Janice and Michael Boehler and based in East Freetown, Mass, Boehler Racing has been responsible for numerous NASCAR Tour and track championships during its tenure. At the track known as the cement palace, Beers started sixth and ended up taking the lead for the eventual win on lap 31. John Blewett III, pinch hitting for Mike Stefanik, drove another legendary car, the No.00 of Joe Brady, to a solid runner-up finish. Brady, who began his career in the late 1960ís at the Norwood Arena, is also responsible for numerous wins and track championships. Jerry Marquis started 16 and finished third. His car owner, Bob Garbarino, has also been in the Modified Racing business since the mid 60ís. Garbarino got his start at the Waterford Speedbowl. The top three car owners at Seekonk had collectively over 120 years of racing under their belts. Modified Tour point leader Ted Christopher led the first 30 laps before giving way to Beers. Christopher faded in the late going as he finished 17th on the lead lap at the finish. Christopher continues to lead Tony Hirschman by 60 points as the tour headed next to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. There were 31 Modifieds on hand.
 
Todd Ceravolo and his family were on vacation in Michigan. He cut it short to be at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. His trip back to Connecticut paid off as he made it two in a row in Sunoco SK type Modified competition. The second-generation racer started sixth on the 19 car-starting field and by lap 11 had taken the lead and was long gone. Ceravoloís dad, Dick, is a former Modified Champion at the Waterford Speedbowl. Richard Savory, another second-generation racer and the son of George Savory, finished second. Jeff Malave finished third with Bert Marvin and Bo Gunning rounding out the top five. Larry Barnett, who is almost a neighbor of Ceravolo, won the 40 lap Limited Sportsman feature that went non-stop. Other winners at Thompson were Dennis Perry in the Late Models, Scott Michalski in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. During the driverís meeting at the recent event at Beech Ridge it was stated that the Seekonk Speedway would not honor the agreement of allowing teams to pre-sign up to 10 crew members at a discounted rate of $25.00 per driver. Ed Cox (tour director) was called on the Thursday prior to the Beech Ridge event by the Seekonk management to let the teams know it would be $40.00 per person. This did not go over well with the teams. There was a petition signed by all drivers/owners at Beech Ridge and handed to NASCAR. It stated if the sign-in was not honored (10 crew @ $25.00) there would be no race. By Monday, July 25, the dispute was resolved as the Seekonk promoter agreed to honor the 10 per car at $25.
 
It was a long night at Stafford on Friday as the remaining laps of the Coors Light 100 were run plus the regular weekly program. Willie Hardie ended a string of bad luck as he took the win. Hardie took the lead early on from Don Lia. Lia faded in the closing moments and ended up sixth at the finish. Chuck Docherty finished second. Bo Gunning didnít lose his feel for the half mile oval as he brought the Eddie Partridge owned mount home in third spot. Woody Pitkat won the regularly scheduled 40 lapper. Chuck Docherty recorded another runner-up finish with Hardie coming home third. Todd Owen finished fourth with Gunning, fifth. The big story of the night was that Ted Christopher lost the point lead after crashing out of both events. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model winner and Fran Siana was the DARE Stock winner.
 
The Waterford Speedbowl was the scene of a lot of excitement on Saturday night as Late Model division point leader Allen Coates was tossed out of the opening event after he intentionally tried to take out the leader, Bruce Thomas. For his actions Coates was disqualified with no points or money. The opening Late Model event had been held over since a rain out on June 18. Coates was allowed to race in the nightís regular Late Model event but could only manage a third behind Dennis Botticello. Shawn Monahan was the SK Modified winner. Dennis Gada finished second with Rob Summers, third. Other Waterford winners were Phil Evans in the Mini Stocks, Chris Bakaj in the Legends and Ron Oldham in the Sportsman.

In Busch North action at the Adirondack Speedway Matt Kobyluck made it two in a row as he passed Ryan Moore with eight laps to go and held off Andy Santerre to take the win. The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR was off. In Busch Racing Series action Reed Sorenson beat Mike Wallace at Gateway International.

Thatís 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: smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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