Sixty years ago in 1951 Steady Eddie Flemke Sr, who would
become a Modified Legend in his own time, was the Wednesday night
winner at what was then called the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Moneybags Moe Gherzi, who drove the Garuti Brothers No. 14 was the
Saturday night winner at the shoreline oval.
Fifty five years ago in 1956 Don Collins was a double winner
as he annexed victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on
Wednesday and on Saturday. Non-Ford winners at the bowl were Arnie
Harris and Charlie Webster.
Fifty years ago in 1961, Ernie Gahan was the Friday night
winner on the dirt at Stafford. He backed it up with by winning the
mid-season championship at Norwood on Saturday night over Red Foote,
Bill Slater, Leo Cleary and Joe McNulty. It was also in this night
that young Dick Berggren won the Novice division consolation. Joe
McNulty of Gales Ferry, CT became the fourth different driver from
New England to win a feature at the Old Bridge Speedway in New
Jersey. McNulty, who just beat out Bill Slater, Red Foote, Ernie
Gahan and Dennis Zimmerman, took the lead in the 25 lap event on lap
one from Ron Narducci. At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Newt
Palm was the Wednesday night winner and Dick Beauregard took top
honors on Saturday night.
Forty five 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. Pete Corey made it
three in a row on the dirt at Stafford. Lee Millington finished
second at Fonda with Charland, third. Don Collins was still at the
top of his game as he won the 30 lap Modified feature at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Jerry Glaude was the Bomber winner and Howard "Jiggs"
Beetham, who in later years would team up as a car owner with Bob
Potter, was the Daredevil winner. 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.
Forty 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, in the Judkins Pinto,
won a 100 lap open at Oxford Plains. Rene Charland finished second
with Bobby Turner, third.
Thirty five years 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, Mike Beebe 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.
Thirty 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 StAngelo taking the top spot at Seekonk.
Joe Tiezzi beat out Moose Hewitt at Waterford and at Riverside, Stan
Gregger and Ray Miller each scored wins. Double features were also
on tap at Islip where Charlie Jarzombek and Wayne Anderson each
scored wins. Fred Drumm took the Sportsman main at Danbury while Rit
Patchen was the Modified winner.
Twenty-five 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 Gregger at Riverside and
at Riverhead; John Blewett jr took a 200 lap win over Mike Ewanitsko.
Sunday racing at Thompson rained out.
Twenty 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 year’s 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.
Fifteen 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.
Ten 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.
Five years ago in 2006, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was
at the Thompson International Speedway on Thursday night for the New
England Dodge Dealers/Budweiser 150. Ted Christopher, who started
20th ended up an unpopular winner as he was given the Bronx Cheer in
victory lane. Christopher, who along with John Blewett III staged a
torrid side by side duel for the lead from lap 131 to lap 140.
Christopher had just exited turn two when he made contact with
Blewett, sending him into the wall. Christopher said he didn’t mean
for it to happen, Blewett and the almost capacity crowd felt
different as they voiced their disapproval. NASCAR Tour director Ed
Cox felt it was a racing accident and took no action. Blewett
actually chased Christopher on foot to no avail. Had he caught him
would have made for a different scenario. A few years back at
Stafford, Blewett went after Carl Pasteryak and actually jumped
aboard his car and began ripping at wires until the car shut off.
Once the wrecked car of Blewett was removed Christopher ran the
final three laps uncontested. Tony Hirschman, who was the Busch Pole
sitter, ended up second with Zach Sylvester, third. Tom Bolles and
Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were
Mike Stefanik, Ed Flemke, Ron Yuhas, Don Lia and Jerry Marquis.
There were 38 cars on hand. Among those who didn’t make the 33 car
starting field was Reggie Ruggiero who was the victim of motor
trouble as his crankshaft broke during practice. Alex Hoag also had
motor trouble while Kevin Goodale hit the wall. Eric Berndt and Jake
Marosz failed to make it on time. Pole sitter Hirschman led the
opening laps which turned into a high speed freight train. Hirschman
led for 45 laps before giving way to Mike Stefanik. A caution period
on lap 30 saw John Blewett III pitting for a tire. Stefanik led
until lap 82 when he pitted during a caution that came out when
James Civali rode over Eric Beers’ wheel. Beers expressed his
displeasure of Civali’s driving while Blewett pitted again for two
more tires. A quick stop enabled Blewett to get a good spot for the
restart as he was able to tale the lead from Steve Whitt on lap 98.
From then until the Blewett wreck the racing was at a fever pitch.
In regular weekly racing action Glen Boss took the win in the TIS
Modifieds, Shelly Perry won her fifth Mini Stock feature, Jeff
Zuidema took the Late Model main and Mike O’Sullivan won a squeaker
in the Pro Stock feature. Larry Barnet was the Limited Sportsman
winner and Jimmy Blewett gave a pay back body slam to Keith Rocco as
he took the Sunoco Modified feature.
The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway started their week on Tuesday
night. Billed as CARQUEST Presents the Big One, drivers had a chance
to make history with the largest Northeastern payout ever offered
with the Valvoline $50,000 challenge. If a driver could win both the
30-lap Midget race and then start last and win the 100 lap PRA Big
Car Series race, then that driver would leave Stafford Speedway with
a $50,000 bonus provided by Valvoline, CARQUEST Auto Parts, and
Stafford Motor Speedway. Bobby Santos, III first won the 30-lap
midget feature event, and then went out and won the 100-lap PRA Big
Car Series race after starting shotgun on the field to leave
Stafford $50,000 richer. Santos, a third generation racer is home
grown from Franklin, Mass.
Stafford Speedway returned to action on Friday night with five
NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series feature divisions all in action. In the
40-lap SK Modified feature, Woody Pitkat collected his second SK
Modified feature win of the 2006 season by holding off a determined
challenge from Frank Ruocco. Lloyd Agor led the first lap with Kurt
Lenahan taking the lead on lap-2. Lenahan held the lead until lap-5
when Pitkat moved out front. Ruocco took second from Lenahan on
lap-7, and he spent the next 33 laps glued to Pitkat' s bumper,
looking for a weak point to use to his advantage and overtake Pitkat
for the race lead. But that weak point was never exhibited to Ruocco
as Pitkat was able to fend him off for the victory. Chris Jones
finished third, with Jeff Malave, and Eric Berndt rounding out the
top-5. Jim Peterson continued his winning ways with his second
consecutive Late Model feature win, Glen Reen was a first time
winner in the SK Light Modified feature while Mike Sweeney was also
a first time winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff
Hubbell was the DARE Stock feature winner, his first feature win of
the 2006 season.
The NASCAR Busch East, formerly Busch North Series, was at the
Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Matt Kobyluck treated the
home folks with a victory after a paint swapping deal that saw Sean
Caisse brush the wall. Bryan Chew ended up in second spot in a race
that finished up in the rain. Earlier in the evening Jeff Pearl beat
Chris Pasteryak on a green-white-checkered restart and held on to
capture his third Waterford Speedbowl 35-lap SK-Modified feature of
the season. Pasteryak, who stated he missed a shift fell to third as
Shawn Monahan slipped into the second spot. Tommy Fox and Diego
Monahan rounded out the top five. Jeff Miller won the 20-lap Mini
Stock race. Rain ended the Late Model feature after nine laps.
At the Michigan Int. Speedway Dale Earnhardt Jr. was able to push
his way past Carl Edwards on a restart with two laps to go en route
to winning Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series CARFAX 250. The incident
created a firestorm of controversy that included Edwards pulling in
front of Earnhardt's pit area for a heated verbal exchange with
Earnhardt's crew. Edwards then pulled back onto the track to ram
into the side of Earnhardt's Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the cool-down
lap. In Nextel Cup action, Matt Kenseth easily kept four-time NASCAR
champion Gordon at bay in the final laps of the GFS Marketplace 400
by conscientiously taking care of his tires after his final pit
Last year, 2010 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series
visited the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for the running of
the Budweiser 150. Ted Christopher literally cleaned house as he
totally dominated the 150 after winning the track's regular Modified
feature. The big story of the night should have been Christopher's
outstanding drive but that was overshadowed by the story in the
Hartford Current that stated that speedway owner Don Hoenig would
have to move his August Thursday night date to another week because
the Whelen Modified Tour Series was going to be included in the 2011
schedule at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon. The IZOD IndyCar
Series would return to Loudon after a 13-year absence on August 14
of 2011. It didn't sound like a big deal but it really was because
of the fact that the Thompson Speedway had supported the NASCAR
Modified Tour series since its inception in 1985. NASCAR, who's only
loyalty is to the dollar, could care less about Hoenig's loyalty.
Those who are employed by "The Company", as NASCAR is called by its
employees, will tell you off the record that the organization is run
like a mafia. Its there way or else! It would be interesting to see
what would NASCAR's reaction be if Hoenig dropped the entire tour
from his schedule in 2011.
A somewhat slim field of 29 Modifieds were on hand for the event
that carried a purse of $83,764. Christopher was the Busch Pole
sitter as he toured the 5/8 mile oval in 18.624seconds. Second
fastest was Rowan Pennink. The redraw saw Justin Bonsignore on the
pole for the start with Christopher, outside. At the drop of the
green, in a hail of fireworks, Christopher had the lead by the time
the field exited turn two. Setting a blistering pace, Christopher
led the field from the start and only relinquished the lead twice
during the Budweiser King of Beers 150 as he went on to record his
37th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. Bobby Santos took
the lead after Christopher pitted for three tires under caution on
Lap 95, however, it only took Christopher 10 laps to get back in
front after the restart on Lap 101. Santos finished the race in
Christopher was clearly the class of the field building leads by as
much as four seconds before losing his advantage after the fourth
and final caution flag of the race flew on Lap 149 after Erick
Rudolph’s problems set up the final sprint to the finish. Ronnie
Silk, who moved into the second spot in the closing moments, ended
up in second spot with Santos, third. Following Santos across the
line was Rowan Pennink and Mike Stefanik who rounded out the top
five. Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Doug Coby, Eric Goodale and Glen
Reen rounded out the top 10.
It was Christopher’s 10th Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson, and
his fourth in the Tour’s last six races at the .625-mile oval. The
Plainville, Conn., driver led 141 of the 156 laps. With the win,
Christopher took the championship points lead from Santos, who had
led through the first nine races. Christopher’s three wins and six
top-fives have forged a 14-point lead over Santos with Mike Stefanik
in third, 85 points back.
The Thompson International Speedway also ran its regular six
divisions. In addition to his Whelen Modified Tour Series victory
Christopher scored a thrilling victory in the Sunoco Modified
feature. Fellow Whelen Modified Tour double-duty driver Mike
Stefanik turned in a dominating performance to earn the Super Late
Model victory. In other NASCAR Whelen All-America Series action,
Mark Oliveira was victorious in an eventful Late Model feature.
Scott Sundeen took down his first Limited Sportsman win of the 2010
season. R.J. Marcotte continued to roll in the TIS Modifieds. Dwayne
Dorr posted his second Mini Stock win.
Christopher and Woody Pitkat slugged it out until the final lap when
Christopher was able to forge ahead for the lead and ultimate
victory, his 77th at the Northeastern Connecticut oval.
Double SK Modified features at the Stafford Motor Speedway helped
Keith Rocco get a little closer to his dream of becoming the NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series National Champion. The championship is
based on a driver's best 18 finishes. Rocco's win was the 17th that
counted toward the title. Frank Ruocco and Keith Rocco were the
winners of the twin 40-lap SK Modified® feature events, Corey
Hutchings won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko won the
20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault won the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes was the winner of the
15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Ruocco led the field around to the white flag and he held off both
Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece to take the victory, his fourth win of
the 2010 season. Rocco finished 7th in the first race. In the second
40 lapper, Rocco rode behind Ted Christopher until the final lap of
the race when he made a move to the inside of Christopher in turn 1.
The two cars ran wheel to wheel down the backstretch and when they
hit turn 3, Rocco surged ahead of Christopher and came off turn 4
with the race lead and his 8th victory of the 2010 season.
Christopher finished second, with Preece, Todd Owen, and Zach
Sylvester rounding out the top-5.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl
Keith Rocco lived out his dream as he became the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series National Champion as a result of his convincing
win. Rocco started from the No. 12 position and had moved into the
fourth position by lap 11. He took over the second spot by lap 26,
then tracked down race leader Tom Abele, where he finally passed him
down low on the backstretch of lap 29 to take the lead.
The second generation racer survived one final restart to win the
race as Kyle James snuck past Abele to finish second. Abele wound up
third, Rob Janovic fourth and Tyler Chadwick fifth.
In other Speedbowl action, Chris Deritis of Philadelphia, PA won the
25-lap NEMA Midget race and Rowley, MA native Chris Perley took the
checkered flag in a 50-lap race for the visiting IMSA Supermodifieds.
In the 100-lap Modified Racing Series event, Stephen Masse of
Bellingham, MA dominated to take his third career win and first in
the Series at Waterford. Ted Christopher finished second and was
followed by Doug Coby,. Rowan Pennink and Jon McKennedy, Christopher
told the Hartford Currant on Sunday that he had been disqualified.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina ran twin
25's for their Modifieds. Recording wins were Tim Brown and Brad
Robbins. Burt Myers recorded a 7th and a 6th.
John Beatty Jr recorded his first ever Modified win at the Riverhead
Raceway on Long Island.
Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400 at Michigan
International Speedway. Brad Keselowski managed to make it through
pit stops despite mechanical problems, then grabbed the lead on a
restart with eight laps to go and pulled away to win the NASCAR
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
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: