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Friday August 14, 2009

By Phil Smith

Forty years ago in 1969, Eddie Flemke was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Don Flynn finished second and was followed by Sal Dee, Leo Cleary in the Koszela 15 and Ray Miller. Albany-Saratoga ran twin events and Lou Lazzaro was unstoppable as he won both. The first event saw Dick Clark finish second with Rene Charland, Bobby Santos and Jerry Cook following. In the nightcap, Andy Romano finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens. Flemke made it two for two as he won at Norwood on Saturday. Fred DeSarro finished second with Freddie Schulz, third. Rain washed out the Fonda 200 as Cliff Tyler was winning at Islip and Guy Chartrand was winning at Airborne Park. Newt Palm was the Modified winner at Waterford. Lazzaro made it three for three as he won at Utica-Rome on Sunday and at Thompson on Sunday Bugsy Stevens showed the way.


"Steady" Eddie Flemke was on a tear in 1969 winning at both Stafford & Norwood. (Fred Smith Photo)

Thirty five years ago in 1974, Riverhead ran a 100 lapper on Wednesday, which saw Joe Krukowski, take an upset over Charlie Jarzombek and Junior Ambrose. Freeport ran a 200 on Friday night, which saw Geoff Bodine take the win on the flat 1/4-mile oval. Richie Evans finished second with Bugs Stevens and Maynard Troyer following. Saturday night action at Islip, Waterford and Stafford rained out. At Shangri-La, Mike Loescher took the win with Don Diffendorf finishing second. Merv and Roger Treichler finished one-two at Lancaster, also on Saturday. In Sunday action, Maynard Troyer beat out Richie Evans at Fulton and at Thompson, Fred DeSarro and Eddie Flemke finished one-two.

Thirty years ago in 1979, Geoff Bodine was leading the closing laps of a 100 lapper at Stafford when he missed a shift on a restart which allowed Richie Evans to sneak in to take the win. Bodine managed to finish second and was followed across the stripe by Bugsy Stevens and Ronnie Bouchard. It was a good weekend for Evans as he also scored wins at New Egypt, Holland and Shangri-La. A bad storm washed out all events in New England on Saturday and Sunday. Other weekend winners were Doug Hewitt at Spencer, Dwight Jarvis at Claremont and Roger Treichler at Lancaster.

Twenty five years ago in 1984, Thompson ran a 100 lap modified event on Wednesday. Richie Evans pitted on lap 48 and blasted his way to the front to take the lead from Jim Spencer on lap 68 and never looked back. Spencer faded and was overtaken by Reggie Ruggiero and Brett Bodine. Wayne Dion was the SK modified winner. Bob Polverari was in the spotlight at Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Jeff Fuller for the win. Riverhead ran an 84-lap national championship event also on Friday. Island favorite Don Howe took the win over Tom Baldwin, Spencer and Evans. The action switched to Islip on Saturday night where John Blewett Jr. won a 200-lap event over Spencer and Bob Park. Other weekend winners were Gomer Taylor at Waterford, Billy Griffin at Spencer and Tony Siscone at New Egypt.

Twenty ago in 1989, the only action in the northeast was at Thompson where Reggie Ruggiero won a 100 lapper over Doug Hevron, George Kent and Mike Stefanik. Rain washed out all weekend racing. The racing world was saddened with the announcement that Tim Richmond died as a result of aids at the age of 34 on August 13.

Fifteen years ago in 1994, Stafford ran twin events with Bo Gunning and Frank Wainwright taking the wins. Gunning was taken to the hospital during the running of the second event after a bad crash with Richie Gallup. Racing at Waterford was cancelled after 11 laps were completed when Ted Christopher hit the fence, after riding over a wheel, getting airborne and almost taking out the starters stand. Reggie Ruggiero won at Riverside and it was John Fortin over Chuck Stuer at Riverhead. A Mod Tour event scheduled for Thompson on Sunday was rained out. Mark Martin cleaned house in Michigan as he won both BGN and Winston Cup events there.

Ten years ago, in 1999, Thompson ran a 100 lapper for the SK's on Thursday night. Bert Marvin took the win after early leader Scott Quinn ran into a lapped car. Kerry Malone finished second with Jamie Asklar, third. At Stafford on Friday night, Willie Hardie took the win over Lloyd Agor and at Waterford it rained. John Fortin won at Riverhead and at Watkins Glenn, Ted Christopher passed Tony Hirschman to take the win. Hirschman finished second with Tim Connolly, third. Bryan Wall was the Busch North winner.
 

Five years ago in 2004, a scheduled Wednesday night Featherlite Modified Tour Series event at the Stafford Speedway drew 47 Modifieds but had the misfortune of getting rained out. In a somewhat childish move the Stafford management informed its announcing team that they were not to mention that Bob Garbarino was the owner of the Mystic Missile that was driven at the time by Chuck Hossfeld. The Stafford management was upset over the fact that Garbarino had forced Hossfeld to give up his Friday night SK Modified ride as he was acquiring too many bad habits by running an SK at Stafford. At the Thompson Speedway Bo Gunning, in the Eddie Partridge entry, took the Thursday night Thunder Sunoco Modified win. Kerry Malone finished second with Bert Marvin, third. Ted Christopher had a rough night as he wrecked two cars. Stafford’s regular Friday night program rained out. Eddie Reed Jr took the Saturday night SK Modified win over Ron Yuhas Jr, Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada. Sal Accardi was the winner at the Riverhead Raceway. The NASCAR Cup division was at the Watkins Glen Speedway. Tony Stewart, suffering with stomach flu, took the win but was unable to go to victory lane as he had a personal accident within his drivers suit. On a sad note, NEAR Hall of Fame member Dynamite Ollie Silva passed away at the age of 75. Silva, who won over 500 features, was a headliner for the New England Supermodified Racing Association (NESMRA) for years. A pedal to the metal racer, Silva had his racing career cut short after he hit a tree on the backstretch at the Monadnock Speedway in 1978.


Two Hall of Famers Passed away, "Dynamite" Ollie Silva (top) at age 75 in 2004 and Midget & Sprint Car great Johnny Kay (bottom) last year in 2008 at age 85.

Last year, 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season reached its midway point when the New England Dodge Dealers 150 was run at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Jimmy Blewett, who was running third on the final lap got a gift from NASCAR when apparent winner Ryan Preece was stripped of the victory and placed last on the lead lap. Preece passed Todd Szegedy for the lead on a lap 86 restart and led until a lap 149 restart when Szegedy went by him on the green flag before the last lap confrontation. Szegedy admitted that he roughed up the leader in order to make the pass. Shortly after taking the lead Preece gave Szegedy a slight tap as they entered turn one which caused Szegedy to spin in turn two. Evidently NASCAR director Chad Little felt that Preece needed to be penalized as he made the call that stripped him of the win. Ed Flemke ended up in second spot and was followed by Doug Coby who has, along with Woody Pitkat, replaced James Civali in the Don King No. 28, Matt Hirschman, Eric Beers, Kevin Goodale, Mike Stefanik, Danny Sammons, Carl Pasteryak and Charlie Pasteryak. Chuck Hossfeld finished 15th and holds an 86 point lead over Ted Christopher.

There were eight caution laps for 46 laps and seven lead changes among five drivers. Among those who failed to qualify were Tom Abele, Jr., Jake Marosz, Reggie Ruggiero, Renee Dupuis, Gary McDonald and Frank Ruocco, who attempted qualifying after crashing in practice.

Doug Coby held off Blewett over the closing laps to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature. Corey Hutchings started on the pole and led every lap on the way to victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature. It was the first victory of the season for Hutchings. Ryan Posocco passed Woody Pitkat for second place. During the running of the event Steven Reed hung a job on Keith Rocco. No action was taken by the track.

In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, it was Coby taking down his first feature win of the 2008 season with a dominating drive. Zach Sylvester took the early race lead and he lead the first 8 laps before Coby took over the lead on lap-9. Jimmy Blewett followed Coby past Sylvester and moved into second place. The race was slowed by caution with 17 laps complete with Coby still out front. The final 23 laps of the race ran green to checkered with Coby dominating the action. Blewett and Chris Jones put on a spirited battle for second in the closing laps, which allowed Coby to pull away. Blewett came home second behind Coby, with Jones, Frank Ruocco, and Wade Mattesen rounding out the top-5. Thursday night Thunder Racing at Thompson was cancelled due to rain.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, Tyler Chadwick held off Ron Yuhus Jr. over the final 14 laps to claim the 35-lap SK-Modified feature Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl. It was the second win in three weeks for Chadwick. The win earned Chadwick a spot in SK-Modified segment of the North-South Shootout in October. Jason Palmer won the 50-lap National Qualifier Legends event. Tony Macrino won the 35-lap Late Model feature. Ronnie Oldham Jr. won both h Sportsman 20 lap features. Louie Bellisle ruled the Mini Stock 20 lapper.

Chadwick assumed the lead when Rob Janovic Jr. and Doug Coby, running first and second, made contact in turn two. Coby went sent to rear for rough riding putting Chadwick and Yuhas on the front row. The event went non-stop to the finish. Chadwick admitting to using as much track as possible to thwart the determined Yuhas. Keith Rocco was in the picture as well actually finishing beside Yuhas in third. Matt Gallo was fourth while Colby stormed back to fifth. An epic crash on lap nine which included a rollover by Jeffrey Paul eliminated Shawn Monahan and took the fight out of point leader Dennis who limped home ninth.

In True Value Modified Series racing, Les Hinckley chased race leader Jonathan McKennedy for 94 laps on Saturday night before making an outside pass to go and win the “Wiscasset Ford 100” at the Wiscasset Raceway in Wiscasset, ME. For Hinckley , it was his second win of the 2008 season and his 11th career win with the True Value Modified Racing Series. The race, originally scheduled in June but postponed by rain, was run following a two hour rain delay because of downpours. Drivers and race crews then dealt with late night dampness and fog, which created a different race surface than what drivers practiced on mid-afternoon. McKennedy and Hinckley started one-two in an 18 car line-up and were quick to pull away from the field with Ed Dachenhausen, Tony Ricci, and Jimmy Dolan in pursuit. The race was caution free until lap 42 when Dolan came to a stop after a minor spin. It was later learned that a mechanical issue would force the Bethel , CT. , veteran out of the event. The race resumed following a caution flagged re-start, with McKennedy again enjoying a comfortable margin. McKennedy won the Black Mountain Painting half-way leader award but Hinckley continued to stay within striking distance. Completing the top ten at the half century mark were Peter Jarvis, Ricci, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdridge, Vinnie Annarummo, Dachenhausen, Rob Goodenough, and Dale Evonsion. Late in the race Jarvis was closing on Hinckley and Hinckley appeared to be biding his time with McKennedy. On lap 94, as the cars exited the second turn, with Hinckley and McKennedy side by side, the 06 powered by the race leader while flagman John Spence Jr. displayed five laps to go when they came to the line. McKennedy was all over the new leader at one point trying to make a pass but was unable too and had to settle for second. Dwight Jarvis finished third followed by Chris Pasteryak, Mike Ricci, Mike Holdridge, Vinnie Annarummo, Bob Goodenough, Jack Bateman and Ed Dachenhausen.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Kyle Busch led 52 laps from the pole and won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International to become the first driver in NASCAR's history to win three road course races in one season. After a 43-minute red-flag stoppage due to a multicar pileup with eight laps to go, Busch held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Stewart, who was bidding for his fifth win here in seven starts. Stewart settled for his second straight runner-up finish trails Jeff Gordon by 10 points for sixth in the standings.Marcos Ambrose of Tasmania, who started last in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, finished an amazing third a day after winning the Nationwide race. Ambrose was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr.

On a sad note, New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member Johnny Kay, an outstanding Midget driver for over 25 years, died on Aug. 11. He was 85. A win in the 1954 “Night Before the 500″ at Indianapolis’ 16th Street was the crowning event for Kay who posted victories under a number of banners including ARDC, AAA, USAC and NEMA from the post War 1940s through the 1960s.
 

This week are several vintage racing photos of Hall of Famer, Denny Zimmerman. One of the original Eastern Bandits and an Indy 500 Veteran will be making a comeback at age 70, after 35 years of retirement, to drive a Quad-4 Midget this Saturday at Whip City Speedway.
Photos from Denny Zimmerman's collection courtesy of the SpeedwayLineReport.com & VintageModifieds.com.
Click on Photo for Full Size

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

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

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