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August 9, 2013

By Phil Smith

Sixty years ago in 1953, Freddy Luchesi was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ray Delisle was the 100 lap Mid-Summer Championship on Saturday night. Bud Matter and Lou Tetreault were the non-Ford winners.

Fifty five years ago in 1958 Ray Moran won his first and second of three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and Saturday. Dick Beauregard and Don Bachand were the non-Ford winners.
Fifty years ago in 1963, Area Auto Racing News was promoting what was to be the first Trenton Modified 200 which bring the best Modified drivers from the north and south together for what would become a mid-August tradition.at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds 1 mile speedway. Among the weekly winners were Pete Corey on the dirt at Stafford, Hank Stevens at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Tom Green at Old Bridge, Mario "Fats" Caruso at Fort Dix (New Egypt) and Richie Massing at Wall Stadium.

Forty five years ago, in 1968, Bugsy Stevens added another win to his record at Stafford as he beat out Bobby Santos, Billy Harman, Smokey Boutwell and Tom Sutcliff. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Phil Spiak took a surprise win. Don MacTavish finished second with Pete Corey; third, Dave Lape and Richie Evans rounded out the top five. In other Friday night action, Eddie Brunnhoelzl Sr. won at Riverhead. Norwood Arena had the Bay State 200 scheduled but the event fell victim to rain. Ron Narducci beat out Jerry Cook and Andy Romano for a 100 lap win at Fonda. Newt Palm was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet was the Late Model Darevevil winner at the shoreline oval. Roger Treichler won a 30 lapper at Lancaster. At Thompson, on Sunday, Eddie Flemke took the win and at Utica-Rome, Dave Kotary won a 50 lapper over Lou Lazzaro, Ed Pieniezek, Ron Narducci and Richie Evans.

Forty years ago in 1973, Albany-Saratoga ran a 100 lapper. Bugsy Stevens took the win and was followed by Eddie Flemke and Denis Giroux. At Stafford on Saturday night it was Daring Dick Caso in the Billy Simons Excavator No.9 taking the win over Leo Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard. Bill Scrivener was the 30 lap Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Nels Wohlstrom was the 20 lap Grand American Late Model winner at the shoreline oval. At Utica-Rome on Sunday, Richie Evans took the win over Bugsy Stevens and Maynard Troyer.

Thirty five years ago in 1978, Westboro ran the Yankee All Star League on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine continued his domination of the series as he won the 100-lap event. At New Egypt, Richie Evans beat out Wayne Anderson. Evans repeated the following night at Holland. Friday night at Stafford Eddie Flemke took the victory. Bobby Vee finished second with Geoff Bodine, third. Riverhead ran a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier. Charlie Jarzombek took the win over Greg Sacks and Wayne Anderson. At Waterford, Jerry Pearl won a close one over Dick Dunn and Moose Hewitt. At Spencer Speedway, Maynard Troyer won his 34th feature of the year. Reggie Ruggerio cleaned house at Riverside while Geoff Bodine continued his winning ways at Seekonk. Other weekend winners were Charlie Jarzombek at Islip; Eddie Flemke at Thompson and Richie Evans beat out Geoff Bodine to win a 100 lapper at Monadnock.

Thirty years ago in 1983, Monadnock ran a 100 lapper on Tuesday. Kenny Bouchard took the win over Marty Radwick and Ray Miller. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday. Brett Bodine took the win over Reggie Ruggerio and Bob Polverari. A regular 30 lapper was also run and Kenny Bouchard took the win. Jeff Fuller finished second. At Spencer, Richie Evans and Mike McLaughlin finished one-two. Saturday at Wall Stadium, an unknown by the name of Ray Everham beat out Tony Siscone for the win. At Waterford, it was Moose Hewitt over Bob Potter and at Islip, Bill Park took the victory. Don Howe won at Riverhead and Kenny Bouchard won at Riverside. Seekonk ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Bugsy Stevens led all 200 laps to take the win. Brian Ross finished second with Mike McLaughlin, second. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Cale Yarborough took the win over Darrell Waltrip. Ronnie Bouchard qualified fourth and finished 12th.

Twenty five years ago in 1988, Ted Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford and Reggie Ruggerio go his seventh of the season at Monadnock. Harry Rice held off Larry Lanpher for the win at Waterford and Jerry Marquis won a 200 lapper at Riverside. Oxford Plains ran a 100 lapper, which saw Mike McLaughlin, take the win over Brian Ross. Other weekend winners were Ron Shepherd at Tioga, Bill Park at Riverhead and Tom Tagg at Thompson.

Twenty years ago in 1993, Mark Martin cleaned house at Michigan as he won both the Busch Grand National and Winston Cup events. Thompson ran a Wednesday special for SK's with Richie Gallup taking the win over Eddie St Angelo. It rained at Stafford on Friday night. The Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a 201 lapper. Wayne Anderson took the lead from Jan Leaty on the last lap and took the win. Leaty finished second with Doug Hevron, third. It was a typical slam bang affair with 15 cautions for 73 laps. Ted Christopher beat out Ricky Young at Waterford and at Riverside, Brian Schofield scored his first career win.

Fifteen years ago, in 1998, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Speedway for a Friday night 150-lap event. Rick Fuller took the win but it was Mike Ewanitsko who stole the show, despite the fact that he finished second. Ewanitsko had taken the lead from Chris Kopec on lap 80 and had his car on cruise control when he suffered a flat left front tire. Fuller assumed the lead when Ewanitsko pitted during a timely caution on lap 93. Restarting in the rear, Ewanitsko charged to the front. At the 145-lap mark, Ewanitsko had moved into third spot and passed second place runner Mike Stefanik with one lap to go. Time ran out as Fuller took the win with Ewanitsko glued to his bumper. Stefanik hung on for third and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak and Dan Avery. Numerous spins caused the field to run under caution on 12 occasions for 52 laps; Bob Georgides won the companion 50 lapper for the SK-Modifieds. Todd Szegedy finished second with Bo Gunning, third. Todd Ceravolo passed Mike Gada with two laps to go to win the 35-lap feature at Waterford on Saturday night. Gada finished second with his brother Dennis third. Mark Lajunesse and Jerry Pearl rounded out the top five. Dan Avery and Bob Polverari won twin features at Riverside Park. Joe Hartmann beat out Chris Young and John Fortin at Riverhead. The Busch North Series visited the Star Speedway where Kelly Moore took the win over Brad Leighton and Tracy Gordon. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Jeff Gordon made it five in a row. Mark Martin finished second. The Saturday Busch Grandnational event went non-stop with Jeff Burton taking the win.

Ten years ago in 2003, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for a 105-lap event. There were 42 cars on hand for time trials. John Blewett III took the pole. Bob Polverari was second fastest. Jimmie Kuhn drew the pole starting position and took the lead at the start. The first caution flew before the first lap was completed as Jim Broderick, Kevin Kanopka and Renee Dupuis tangled in turn four. The re-start came on lap six with Todd Szegedy taking the lead as the field entered turn one. Defending Champion Mike Stefanik was on the move. After starting ninth, Stefanik was fourth by lap 9, third by lap 1 and second by lap 34. The second caution occurred on lap 36 when Tom Bolles spun in turn four. It was then that most of the field pitted for fresh tires with the exception of Szegedy and Stefanik. The field went back to green and from then on went non-stop. Stefanik took the lead on the re-start and went on to record his 65th career win in Mod Tour competition. Szegedy finished second and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr., Chuck Hossfeld and Jerry Marquis. Eric Berndt took the win in the 30 lap Sunoco SK type modified event. Berndt took the lead on a lap 19 re-start when early leader Jeff Malave missed a shift on the re-start. Todd Ceravolo ended up second and was followed by Bert Marvin, Kerry Malone and Ted Christopher. A near capacity crowd was on hand. On Friday at Stafford, track owner Jack Arute spoke to competitors at the drivers meeting and told them he wasn't happy with their performance as the SK Modified events had become rolling demolition derbies. Jeff Baral took the 50-lap win over Lloyd Agor and Frank Ruocco. Dennis Gada was the Saturday night winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. In victory lane he announced that 2003 would be his last in the SK Modifieds as he felt it was time to move on. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Jeff Karns, third. Mike Andrews took the win at Riverhead and Kevin Flockart shared victory lane with Mike Carpenter after they won the twin 35’s at Wall Township. The Busch North Series was at the Adirondack Speedway where Dale Quarterly took the win over Martin Truex and Andy Santerre. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Ryan Newman took the win over Kevin Harvick. During the post race cool down lap Jimmy Spencer spun Kurt Busch around on pit road. After exiting his car Spencer attacked Busch, punching him several times. NASCAR suspended Spencer for one event and fined him $25,000. Kevin Harvick won the rain shortened Busch Series event, also at Michigan. It was also on this weekend that Sunoco and NASCAR announced a 10-year agreement and on a sad note, Steve Danish, a former DIRT star at Fonda, had passed away.

Five years ago in 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.

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.

Last year, 2012, The Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Donny Lia took over the lead with 21 laps to go and pulled away to win the Budweiser King of Beers 150. Lia, who started ninth on the grid in the No. 4 Mystic Missile Racing Dodge, initially challenged pole-sitter Mike Stefanik for the lead on Lap 59. Stefanik battled back, however, to regain the lead and stay out front to the midway point of the race. Lia, meanwhile, lost a lap to the leaders due to a problem with a lug nut during a pit stop. He gained the lap back as the beneficiary during a caution on Lap 83. Lia steadily worked his way forward from there. He was up to sixth by Lap 95 and moved by Todd Szegedy for second on Lap 108. Lia moved by Ron Silk for the lead on Lap 129 and never looked back. Other lap leaders were Stefanik, lap 1 through 74, Szegedy, lap 75 to 94 and Silk, lap 95 to 128.

Silk held off Doug Coby for second. Ted Christopher, who was penalized for aggressive driving and sent to the back of the pack on Lap 84, rebounded to finish fourth. Stefanik was fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Rowan Pennink, Jimmy Blewett, Bobby Santos, Ron Yuhas Jr. and Szegedy.

With this win, he secured a locked-in starting position for the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach during 2013 Speedweeks on a temporary short track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

There were 25 Modifieds on hand as the car counts continue to drop. Fourteen of the original 25 starters finished on the lead lap. There were eight cautions for 34 laps. The first yellow flew on lap 16 when Justin Bonsignore and Patrick Emerling wrecked in turn two. Bonsignore's damage was terminal while Emerling was able to have repairs and despite losing laps was able to work his way back as a "Lucky Dog" and ended the day on the lead lap in 12th spot at the finish. The second caution came on lap 24 when Rob Fuller and Eric Berndt were involved in an accident in turn two. Both would continue but would finish laps down at the finish. The third caution flew on lap 45 for Jon McKennedy who spun on the front stretch. McKennedy recovered to finish 14th on the lead lap. Jimmy Blewett spun out in turn four on lap 63, bringing out the fourth caution. Blewett stormed back to finish seventh. Six laps later on lap 69 Rowan Pennink spun in turn two for the fifth caution. The yellow was displayed for the sixth time when Bobby Santos was spun out by Ted Christopher. NASCAR felt that Christopher, who was driving the famous Ole Blu of the Boehler family, was overly aggressive and put him to the rear. The sixth caution came on lap 83 when Woody Pitkat and Ed Flemke wrecked on the backstretch. A red flag resulted while track crews removed Flemke's car from atop Pitkats. The eighth and final caution came on lap 116 when Ryan Preece spun in turn two.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified division, Danny Gamache, Jr. visited Thompson International Speedway victory lane for the first time in his career when he checkered the Thompson Modified division in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. Other winners included Tommy O’Sullivan in the Late Models, Jesse Gleason in the Limited Sportsman division, Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini Stocks, and Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds.

Preece took the lead in the Sunoco Modified feature event at lap two and never looked back en route to his third consecutive win and eighth victory of the season. Kerry Malone drove right out front at the drop of the green flag with Dennis Perry and Todd Ceravolo rounding out the top three. On lap two, Ryan Preece shot to the outside groove and drove by Ceravolo before taking over the second spot from Perry on the inside groove. Caution flew at lap six for a spun car in turn two putting Preece side-by-side with Malone. Malone drove to the front, but Preece was persistent in his challenges. On lap eight, Preece dropped to the bottom and drove by Malone for the lead. Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-four. On lap 13, Ceravolo went underneath Malone in a battle for second. Christopher got into the mix and used the same line to try and take over third, but Malone fought back and shut the door on his challenges. On lap 19, Christopher was able to get the momentum to drive by Malone and take over third. Meanwhile, Preece had pulled away to a half-a-straightaway lead over the rest of the field. Preece, who has three wins in a row has now won 8 of the 14 events run at Thompson.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night heavy showers forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night's racing.

In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl continuing rain kept the shoreline oval quiet.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC the rain prevailed there too!

Shawn Solomito led from pole to pole as he won the NASCAR Modified feature at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Ryan Preece, who started fifth, finished second with Ted Christopher, third.

When push came to shove, Carl Edwards got the better of Brad Keselowski. Edwards, making his first Nationwide Series start of the season, beat Keselowski on a two-lap dash to the checkered flag on Saturday and won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Austin Dillon's blown right-front tire brought out the final stoppage of the 82-lap race around the 11-turn, 2.45-mile layout, and Edwards beat Keselowski on a restart for the second straight time in the race.

Slipping and sliding around oil-spattered Watkins Glen International on the last lap and fighting for the lead, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski didn't know what was around the next turn. Ambrose finally passed Keselowski heading to the final turn in a stunning fender-banging duel Sunday and won the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen. It was his second straight Sprint Cup victory at the track.

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

This week are several vintage racing photos of Hall of Famer Billy Greco. Don’t forget this Sunday, August 11th; Hall of Famer Billy Greco is hosting a picnic & car show at the Polish American Club located at 194 W. Spring Street in West Haven, CT. The event serves as a fundraiser for the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Get your tickets early by contacting Billy at 203-378-7945 or emailing mod43@optimum.net To be held under the pavilion on the grounds of the Polish American Club, it’s a rain-or-shine affair which runs from noon to 6pm. Tickets will also be available at the door. Photos are courtesy of Tom Ormsby's SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.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.

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

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