Forty years ago in 1969, Lou Lazzaro
was on a tear up in New York State as he won a special event at
the Monroe County Fairgrounds on Thursday night, Fonda on
Saturday night and Utica-Rome on Sunday. Rain at the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night spoiled a clean sweep
for the likable driver. Smokey Boutwell made it two in a row at
Stafford on Friday night. Freddie Schulz finished second. Schulz
finished second at Norwood on Saturday night as Bugsy Stevens
ruled the roost. Eddie Flemke, driving the Greg Mills-Dave Welch
79 finished third with Leo Cleary, fourth. Bob Potter was the
Modified winner at Waterford. Donnie Bunnell was the Daredevil
winner. Islip ran a 100-lap double point event on Saturday. Jim
Hendrickson took the win with Gary Winters, second. Fred DeSarro
paid a surprise visit and finished third.
Lou Lazzaro won 3 events this
week in 1969.
Guy Chartrand won at Airborne and DeSarro got lucky at Thompson.
Thompson ran a 100 lapper and DeSarro was holding a commanding
one-lap lead on Jerry Cook with one to go. With a tire going down,
DeSarro slowed enough for Cook to unlap himself and as he took the
checker, Cook was exiting turn four. One more lap and Cook would
have had the win.
Geoff Bodine won Friday &
Saturday in 1974.
Thirty-five years ago in 1974,
Riverhead and Freeport rained out. Geoff Bodine attempted
a three for three sweep in New York State as he won on Friday at
Utica-Rome and Saturday at Shangri-la but fell short at Fulton
on Sunday as Richie Evans won the scheduled 100 lapper. Bugsy
Stevens was the Stafford winner with Kenny Bouchard, second. At
Waterford on Saturday night Glynn Shafer took the Modified win
and Don Fowler was victorious in the Grand American late models.
The only racing on Long Island for the weekend was at Islip
where Jim Hendrickson took the win over Gary Winters and George
Brunnhoelzl Jr. Fred DeSarro took the Sunday night win at
Thompson over Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke.
Thirty years ago in 1979, The Westboro Speedway ran an open
competition event on Wednesday, which saw Ronnie Bouchard take the
win over Pete Schwartz, Leo Cleary and Mario "Fats" Caruso. New
Egypt also ran on Wednesday and it was Richie Evans holding off Bill
Park and Tony Siscone. Bouchard backed up his Westboro win with a
win at Stafford on Friday night. Evans made a late race charge but
settled for second. All racing on Saturday night rained out.
Twenty-five years ago in 1984, Thompson ran on Tuesday night.
The event drew only 17 cars with the win going to Bob Polverari.
George Murray finished second. Holland ran twin 50's on Wednesday
night with Jim Spencer and Doug Hewitt taking the wins. At Stafford
on Friday, Reggie Ruggiero took the win over Kenny Bouchard and
Charlie Jarzombek. Ray Miller took the win at Riverside Park on
Saturday while at Waterford; Bob Potter beat out Mark LaJunesse for
the win. Other weekend winners included Tom Druar at Spencer, Tom
Baldwin at Riverhead and Chris Young at Islip. In Winston Cup action
at Michigan, Darrell Waltrip won the non-stop event.
Twenty years ago in 1989, the Modified Tour Series was at
Riverhead on Wednesday for a 201-lap event. Mike Ewanitsko used his
home track advantage to set on the pole and lead all 201 laps on the
tough 1/4-mile oval. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Tony
Hirschman, third. Stafford rained out on Friday. The tour headed for
Oswego for a 100 lapper on Saturday, which saw Mike Stefanik take
the win over Brian Ross, Mike McLaughlin and George Kent. At
Waterford, Gary Dyer held off Don Bunnell and Phil Rondeau for the
Modified win. Rondeau, by the way, recorded his eleventh win of the
year in the late model division. At Riverside it was Stan Gregger
and in regular Saturday night action at Riverhead, Rick Holmberg
held off Dan Jivenelli for the win. The DIRT cars of New York State
ran a special asphalt race on Sunday at Thompson. It was a no
contest affair as Geoff Bodine took the win. Mike Christopher won in
Fifteen years ago in 1994, Mike Christopher beat out Tom Tagg
at Thompson on Wednesday night. Stafford rained out on Friday. At
Waterford on Saturday, Chris Jones held off Mark LaJunesse and Bert
Marvin. Dan Avery was victorious at Riverside Park. Former Daytona
500 winner Pete Hamilton was a special guest and went out and won a
special event. Mike Ewanitsko continued his dominance at Riverhead
as he won the Charlie Jarzombek 76 lapper. Don Howe finished second.
The mods and Busch North ran a twin bill at Thompson on Sunday.
Reggie Ruggiero scored his 35th career Tour win after early leader
Jeff Fuller tangled with his brother Rick, crashing out of the event
on the 112th lap. Kelly Moore was the Busch North series winner. In
Winston Cup action at the Brickyard 400.Rick Mast received $50,000
for his Busch Pole effort. Jeff Gordon won the event, four car
lengths ahead of Brett Bodine. A bit of a family feud erupted when
Brett dumped his brother Geoff
during the running of the event.
Ten years ago, in 1999, the No-Bull 100 at Stafford was
rained out after 46 laps. Jeff and Jerry Pearl finished one-two at
Waterford on Saturday night. The mod tour was at Riverhead for 201
laps of thrashing. Tom Cravenho took the lead from Mike Ewanitsko
who had led for 178 laps and went on to record the win. Ewanitsko
finished second with John Blewett III finishing third. Tim Connolly
and Tony Hirschman rounded out the top five. Ted Riggott won out
over Rick Miller at Riverside. In Winston Cup action at the
Indianapolis Speedway, Dale Jarrett took the win over Bobby Labonte.
Five years ago in 2004, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour
was at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. The night was cool but
the action was hot as Donnie Lia won the 200-lap event. Lia took the
lead from Riverhead regular Chris Young on lap 49 and survived seven
restarts to take the win. Frank Vigliarolo Jr., another Riverhead
regular finished second while Young faded to finish 19th. Former
Modified Champion Wayne Anderson who now confines his racing to
Riverhead finished fourth. Anderson started 22nd in the 28-car
field. Rounding out the top four was Tour regular Jerry Marquis. The
event drew 45 Modifieds. Tony Ferrante Jr. was the fastest of the
fast as he took the Busch Pole. Ferrante drew the fourth starting
spot and finished in fifth position. Jamie Tomaino and John Fortin
rounded out those that finished on the lead lap. Eric Beers, Howie
Brode and Tony Hirschman rounded out the top ten, one lap down.
Hirschman now leads the point standings by 9 over Eddie Flemke Jr.
who finished 11th. It was a rough night for many including Tom
Cravenho, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy, Mike Stefanik, Chuck
Hossfeld and Nevin George who got caught up in various wrecks that
slowed the action. Out of the 200 laps run, 59 of them were under
caution. Among those who failed to qualify was John Blewett III.
Blewett and car owner Curt Chase became embroiled in a dispute over
a difference of opinion and Blewett left the speedway before
qualifying. Chase did not put another driver in his car as he loaded
up and went home.
The Featherlite Modifieds would take three short days off before
heading for the Stafford Motor Speedway on Wednesday night for the
Dodge Dealers 150. This would be the first ever mid-week visit that
the tour had made to Stafford as previous events there have been run
on Friday nights or on Sundays. It had also been learned that NASCAR
had been talking to the Hart family that owns the New Smyrna and
Orlando Speedworld speedways. Jim Hunter, Chris Boals and Ed Bennett
represented the sanctioning body. Among the items that were
discussed was bringing the Featherlite Modified Tour and the Busch
North series to compete in Florida during Speedweeks. It has also
been rumored that the Featherlite Modifieds, which were dumped in
favor of the Craftsman Truck Series, may return to Martinsville. Now
that the International Speedway Corporation owns the Virginia track
maybe they realized that the trucks don’t draw enough to justify
their huge purse. Also in the rumor mill was word that the Modifieds
may pay a visit to the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina.
On Thursday night the Thompson Speedway and
the Waterford Speedbowl went head to head. Thompson presented
their regular Thursday night Thunder program while the Speedbowl
presented an event labeled the Funkmaster Flex Super Series
Invitational. The Waterford event drew what the Hartford Courant
said was 8,000 spectators, which was awful hard to believe.
Thompson had a late but rather healthy crowd for their event.
Many of those at Waterford had never been there before and were
drawn by the expected live entertainment. Those at Thompson were
there to see the racing.
In Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway the highlight
of the evening was a 75-lap contest for the Pro Stocks. Once a
rough and tumble crashfest, the Thompson Pro Stocks had evolved
into a highly competitive division worth watching.
Funkmaster Flex & Speedbowl owner
Terry Eames packed the house at Waterford in 2004.
David Berghman took the lead on lap 54 and went on to record his
sixth win of the season. Berghman did a masterful job of using the
high banks to his advantage and conserved his tires so they would
last to the end. Ron Smith, who led the early going, finished
second. Norm Wrenn finished third. The speedway graciously altered
their schedule in order to accommodate Sunoco Modified point leader
Ted Christopher who was racing at Waterford. Needless to say, even
with the Sunoco Mods running last, Christopher didn’t make it.
Crewmember Keith Rocco took his car and started in the rear. Richard
Savory led the charge of initial start. On the second re-start Bert
Marvin turned into Bo Gunning causing both to hit the wall at the
exit of turn 2. Todd Ceravolo took the lead on the third re-start
but before he could complete a lap Savory hit Ceravolo causing him
to get loose. Jeff Malave slipped by as Ceravolo gathered it in.
Ceravolo pressured Malave and was able to get his nose under him for
the lead on lap 26. Malave ran second for a lap until doing a bump
and run which allowed him to get back into the lead and take the
eventual win. Eric Berndt slipped by for second at the finish.
Ceravolo finished third and in doing so, took the point lead. Kerry
Malone and Adam Norton rounded out the top five. In other action,
Corey Hutchings pitted while leading at Waterford, charged up the
road to Thompson and proceeded to take the win in the Late Model
division. Jessie Gleason was the Limited Sportsman winner and Shane
Michalski was the Mini Stock winner.
At Waterford, also on Thursday, Allen Coates reaped the benefits of
a crash between Ted Christopher and Phil Rondeau as he reaped a
$10,000 payoff for winning the Funkmaster Flex Invitational. Woody
Pitkat finished second and took home $6,000. Rondeau finished third
and received $4,000. Numerous wrecks precipitated 18 caution
Ted Christopher made it six in a row at Stafford on Friday night.
The current track and regional point leader started 15th and wasted
little time as he took the lead from Frank Ruocco on a restart on
lap 29 of the 40 lap feature. Ruocco had nothing for Christopher as
he chased him the rest of the way to the finish. Jim Civale, Shawn
Tryon and Chuck Docherty rounded out the top five. Things got ugly
in the Late Model feature. Tom Butler, Ryan Posocco and Mike
Quintiliano were running three wide in the closing stages when
Butler hit the wall. Possoco and Quintialano then went at it and on
the final lap Posocco found himself in the wall. Quintiliano took
the checkered flag but was disqualified to last on the lead lap for
rough riding. Joe Rzeszutek was awarded the win. Eric Grant was the
Ron Yuhas Jr. made it two in a row in SK Modified action at the
Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Yuhas blew away the field as
he finished a considerable distance ahead of Dennis Cherette. Don
Fowler finished third with Ed Reed Jr., fourth. Phil Rondeau was the
Late Model winner. Jeff Paul, at 16 years of age, a veteran of the
Quarter Midget ranks, won the Legends feature and Ed Gertsch tookhis
fifth victory of the year in the Sportsman ranks.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were
in Indiana. The Busch Series raced at the Indianapolis Raceway Park
and the Nextel Cup cars were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In
Busch Series competition at the Indianapolis Raceway Park, Kyle
Busch took the win over Johnny Sauter and Jason Lefler. Jeff Gordon
left little doubt that he had a handle on the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway as he won the Brickyard 400 over Dale Jarrett.
Last Year, 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ended their
mid-summer break as they moved to the Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for
the Miller Lite 140 on Saturday. 2. As part of a season-long
celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, 1994 NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour titlist Wayne Anderson was honored.
Jimmy Blewett registered his third career NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour when he took the checkered flag. Blewett was strong throughout
the evening as he led three times for 80 laps, including the final
46. After qualifying fourth fastest, Blewett took the win in the
second of two 25-lap heat races that preceded the 140-lap main. He
was then able to parlay his qualifying success into running up front
in the feature. After staring on the outside pole, Blewett led the
first 10 circuits and swapped the lead with pole-sitter Bill Park
twice in the early going. He would take his third and final lead of
the night on a restart on lap 102. For the second race in a row,
Ronnie Silk finished as the runner-up. With four top-10s in a row,
including a win, Silk has moved up to seventh in the season points
standings after a slow start. Making his first NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour start of the year after he captured the series title a
year ago, Donny Lia finished third and was followed in the top five
by Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece. The fifth place finish was the
best of Preece’s young career. Ken Heagy, Mike Stefanik, Dan
Jivanelli, Glenn Tyler and Eric Beers filled out the top 10. Chuck
Hossfeld came home 18th in the race and suffered his first finish
outside the top five this year, but will retain a 44-point lead over
Christopher in the season standings.
As usual, the Riverhead event was slam-bang with lots of wrecks and
extended caution periods. Of the 147 actually run, 95 were under
caution. James Civali was fired on the spot during the event after
he spun Rowan Pennick while under caution. NASCAR also felt it was
intentional. Civali was found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A
(actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another
competitor’s car during a caution period) of the 2008 NASCAR
rulebook. The violation occurred during the Aug. 2 race. As a
result, Civali was suspended from the next two NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 15, 2008, and
placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008. It was announced
that Woody Pitkat and Doug Coby would share the driving chores of
the vacated King Modified.
The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program got held up
almost two hours because of showers but the track management and
competitors persevered, getting the program in. Woody Pitkat made it
two in a row in the Sunoco Modified division. Danny Fields scored
the victory in an ultra-competitive 50 lap event for the Mini
Stocks. Jeff Zuidema and Marc Palmisano shared Late Model victory
lane in the division’s doubleheader. Mike O’Sullivan in the Pro
Stocks; Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman; and Glenn Boss in
the TIS Modifieds; turned their luck around with victories in their
itkat of Stafford, CT, scored his second straight victory in the
Sunoco Modified division. The feature was slowed almost immediately
for an opening lap incident that involved Paul Supernant. Point
leader Kerry Malone had problems under the caution getting towed to
pit road. Bobby Grigas led the opening three laps before giving way
to the charge of Keith Rocco. Tommy Cravenho ran in the third
position. Bert Marvin, Jimmy Blewett, and Woody Pitkat were making
tracks to the front. For the first half of the race, Rocco had
stretched out his lead over Grigas and Cravenho. Rocco’s bid at a
victory ended with an incident that involved a number of cars deeper
in the pack. Grigas was also collected in the melee. On the restart,
Cravenho was the new leader followed by Pitkat, Marvin, and Danny
Cates. Pitkat followed Cravenho for a pair of laps before taking
over the top spot. Once out front, Pitkat was able to distance
himself from the pack.
Blewett was involved in a heated battle with Josh Sylvester for the
fifth position. A bobble by Blewett gave Sylvester some breathing
room and allowed Eric Goodale to take a position away. Over the
final two laps, Cates began to apply pressure on Marvin. Pitkat went
on unchallenged to the checkers. Cravenho finished a solid second.
Marvin maintained third at the line over Cates. Josh Sylvester
completed the top five.
The Whelen All-American Series NASCAR race event at Stafford Motor
Speedway saw Ted Christopher, who last won on June 13, score his
101st career win at the Connecticut oval. Christopher won the 40 lap
SK Modified feature. Ryan Posocco picked up his fifth feature win of
2008 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Earl Pelletier was a first
time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Rob Dow
scored his second feature win of 2008 in the 20-lap Limited Late
Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande came up a first time career
winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Jimmy Blewett took the
early race lead from the pole position and began to pull away from
the field. Blewett's lead was erased by caution on lap-19. Blewett
continued to lead on the restart with Keith Rocco, Woody Pitkat,
Doug Coby, and Ted Christoper behind him. Christopher was the car on
the charge, methodically picking his way through traffic to move
into second place behind Blewett on lap-31. Christopher stalked
Blewett until lap-35 when he made his move in turns 3+4 to come out
with the lead. Blewett gave chase to Christopher over the final laps
but was not able to get close enough to make a move as Christopher
took his third feature win of the season. Rounding out the top-5
behind Christopher and Blewett was Rocco, Jeff Malave, and Frank
At the Waterford Speedbowl Ryan Morgan survived a host of restarts
and finished with Jon Porter on his bumper en route to his
first-ever Legends Car victory at the Wacky Wednesday racing program
at the shoreline oval.
Keith Rocco continued to make a name for himself as he won his fifth
race of the season on Saturday night at the shoreline oval as he
took the checkered flag in the 35-lap SK Modified featurel. Other
feature winners were Joe Curioso III (Late Model), Walt Hovey Jr.
(Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock) and Greg Stoehr (Northeastern
Midget Association). Rocco passed defending champion Rob Janovic Jr.
with 18 laps remaining. Janovic jumped out to an early lead and was
trailed by Dennis Gada before a third-turn pileup involving Gada and
several other frontrunners scattered the field. Rocco pressured
Janovic for several laps before getting the advantage with an
outside move during the feature's final restart. Jeff Pearl, Doug
Coby and Gada rounded out the top five.
Gary Danko, who had a highly regarded radio show with racing news
had Waterford Speedbowl mortgage holder Rocky Arbitell on his
program. Arbitell stated that the current foreclosure problems at
the shoreline oval were precipitated by the fact that Terry Eames
had violated the financial contract that he had with Arbitell.
Arbitell further stated that he has no connection with current track
operator Jerry Robinson. Like Eames, Robinson did not deserve to be
called a promoter as he was rapidly gaining a reputation as being
not friendly with competitors, media or fans. Robinson had, however,
improved the concessions at the shoreline oval.
In NASCAR Nationwise Series racing at rainy Circuit Gilles
Villeneuve in Canada, Ron Fellows splashed his way to victory in the
event that ended 26 laps early because of heavy rain and poor
visibility. It was the first NASCAR points race run on grooved rain
tires. Fellows, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s
JR Motorsports, led the final seven laps. Marcos Ambrose finished
third after leading a race-high 27 laps.
In Sprint Cup action, Carl Edwards won the Pennsylvania 500 at
Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., gambling with a pit strategy he
thought would cost him the race. Edwards pitted from the lead just
before rain caused a 41-minute red flag and had the driver arguing
with crew chief Bob Osborne over the decision. But the plan worked
as the race wound up going to completion. Edwards stretched his last
tank of fuel to earn his fourth victory of the season. The race
started in sunshine and it appeared Mark Martin, who took the lead
from pole-winner Jimmie Johnson at the start and took control would
be the one to beat. But Martin had problems on two pit stops that
put him back into the pack and then dark clouds began moving in,
changing some strategies.Rain began falling on lap 127 of the
200-lap event and, moments later, Edwards and several other leaders
ducked onto pit road. Nineteen other drivers, led by June Pocono
winner Kasey Kahne and Martin, who led a race-high 55 laps, stayed
out to gain track position, waiting to see if the rain might end the
race prematurely. But the racing continued and Edwards found himself
back on top for good when Martin, the last of the drivers on the
alternate strategy, had to finally pit on lap 187. Tony Stewart was
second, almost 4 seconds behind. Johnson was third. Kevin Harvick,
who crashed with Joe Nemechek on the first lap, came back to finish
fourth, just ahead of David Ragan.
This week are several vintage racing
photos of Hall of Famer, the late Dick Eagan who along with Hully
Bunn was the winner of the First Race of Champions in 1951 at
Langhorne Speedway courtesy of
the SpeedwayLineReport.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: