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 Friday July 14, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966 Kenny Shoemaker took the top spot in a 40 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Dick Dixon finished second with Eddie Flemke, third. Jerry Cook, who had become an accomplished dirt track racer, won a 50 lapper at Fonda on Saturday night. Bill Wimble finished second with Ernie Gahan, third. At Lancaster, Donald “Dutch” Hoag was the winner. The NASCAR Grandnational Northern Tour visited the 1/5 mile Islip Speedway on Long Island. Bobby Allison took the win. Lou Lazzaro closed out his weekend with a win at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Cook finished second and was followed by Gaston Desmaris, Flemke and Gahan.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Denis Giroux was the Friday night winner at Malta. Joe Thomas finished second with Dick Fowler, Bill Henry and Andy Romano rounding out the top five. At the Fulton Raceway Mike Loescher won a 60 lapper over Richie Evans, Sonny Seamon, Dave Nichols and Guy Chartrand In NESMRA competition at Thompson on Friday night Big Don MacClaren got the best of Dynamite Ollie Silva. Fred DeSarro was in top form at Stafford on Saturday night as he put the Ole Blu of Len Boehler in victory lane. Hop Harrington finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Freddie Schulz, Ernie Gahan, Ray Miller and Billy Harman. Glynn Shafer took the win at Waterford over Dick Caso, Bob Potter and Don Kibbe. Dave Lape won at Fonda over Maynard Forette, Ken Shoemaker and Lou Lazzaro. Lazzaro,using the same car he had run on the dirt at Fonda, was the winner at the paved Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Following Lazzaro were Ken Cannestrari and Bernie Miller.

Stafford ran an open competition on Tuesday, July 14. Bugsy Stevens took the win over Ernie Gahan but the big story of the night was the fact that a young kid from Fitchburg, Mass by the name of Ronnie Bouchard made his first ever appearance at Stafford. A four time champion at Seekonk, Bouchard had never been on a track bigger than a 1/4 mile. Although he could do no better than third, a lasting impression was made on many who were there. Little did anyone know at the time that Bouchard would become one of the all time NASCAR Modified drivers who would eventually move on to the Winston Cup division and score a win at Talledega, Ala.

Thirty years ago in 1976, the Yankee All Star league paid a visit to Star Speedway on Wednesday night. Bugsy Stevens in the Bob Judkins 2x took the win over Mike Weeden, Pete Fiandaca, Bob Karvonen and Jim Landry. New Egypt ran on Thursdaty night with Fred Harbach taking the win over John Blewett Jr. Riverhead rained out on Friday but it didn't stop Harbach as he came back to take the checker at Islip on Saturday night. Fred DeSarro scored a popular win at Stafford on Saturday night as he beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke for the win. At Riverside, also on Saturday, Pete Fiandaca lived up to his name of being the traveling man as he won the nights modified feature over Bob Stefanik. Rain washed out action at Westboro and at Monadnock on Sunday; Geoff Bodine won a 100 lapper.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Waterford ran an open competition event on Wednesday night which saw the first six finish the 100 lap event under a blanket. Taking the win was Kenny Bouchard in the Len Boehler 3. Rick Donnelly finished second with John Rosati, third. Friday night at Stafford saw Ray Miller take the top spot over Kenny Bouchard and Reggie Ruggerio. Punky Caron got his 45th career win at Monadnock and Doug Hewitt won at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford, Riverside and Seekonk on Saturday night. At Westboro, Pete Swartz took the win and at Islip, Richie Evans won his 25th of the year over Don Howe and Wayne Anderson. Charlie Jarzombek had a difference of opinion with the Islip management and went to the Wall Stadium where he walked off the winner beating out Gil Hearne. Reggie Ruggiero took the win at Thompson on Sunday over Ray Miller and Corky Cookman.

Twenty years ago in 1986, the Mod tour ran at Riverside on Wednesday. Mike Stefanik took the win over John Blewett Jr and Tom Baldwin. Charlie Jarzombek was the top gun at Stafford on Friday night. John Rosati finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Rain washed out Waterford and Riverside. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Spencer and Jan Leaty at Shangri-La.Due to rain in Maine on Sunday, the Oxford 250 was run on Monday night with Chuck Bown taking the lions share,$28,000 for the win.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night winner at Stafford over Bob Potter. At Monadnock, Jerry Marquis won the Whitcomb 100 over Reggie Ruggiero and Richie Gallup. All Saturday and Sunday racing rained out.

Ten years ago in 1996, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. NASCAR announced that Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre, who had jointly bought the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina, would each take a Winston Cup date. Smith’s date would be moved to his new speedway in Texas and NHIS would now have two dates. To this day, North Wilkesboro sits idle. Stafford had a Tuesday show scheduled but gave way to rain. Claremont ran on Thursday with Jack Bateman taking the win over Dwight Jarvis. Randy LaJoie dominated the BGN Stanley 200 run on Friday at Loudon. LaJoie led 173 of the 200 laps. Terry LaBonte finished second. Brad Leighton won the Friday Busch North Series event. Ted Christopher was running third with 15 laps to go when he blew a tire and hit the wall. The Busch North Series were also scheduled for a Saturday event along with an event for the Modifieds. Both events were rained out and not rescheduled. In Winston Cup action, Ernie Irvan scored an emotional win as he won the Loudon event in the Robert Yates 28.It was Irvans first win since an accident two years previous at Michigan that almost took his life. Dale Jarrett finished second.

Five years ago in 2001 a Ted Christopher recorded his 55th career win at Stafford on Friday night as he won the scheduled 150 lap SK-Modified feature. Lloyd Agor finished second with Eric Berndt, third. Waterford remained silent as there was a big fireworks display in New London. Thompson ran on Saturday night with Ted Christopher taking the win over Todd Ceravolo, Eric Berndt and Jim Broderick. At Riverhead it was JR Bertuccio and at Wall Stadium, John Blewett III beat out little brother Jimmy for top honors. In a surprise move, NASCAR suspended George Kent because of failure to submit to a drug test. Kent’s' suspension did not effect his participation at independent tracks in New York state. In Winston Cup action at the Chicagoland Speedway, Kevin Harvick took the win. Jimmie Johnson was the Grandnational winner. Based on an agreement with the US Government, RJ Reynolds designated NASCAR's Winston Cup division as their dedicated sponsorship. The NHRA and NASCAR Weekly Racing Series were dropped.

Last year, 2005 the big news of the week was the fact that the developer who held an option on the Waterford Speedbowl property had not renewed his option, which meant that auto racing would continue hopefully for many years to come. Terry Eames stated that he was looking into expanding the use of the Speedbowl property. A tractor-trailer training school, a large-scale flea market and possibly a drag strip are some of the ideas that have been thrown around. A drag strip would be a mistake. Those of us who were around when the Norwood Arena in Massachusetts decided to stage drag races can remember they were a deciding factor in the ultimate closing of the track because of the noise problems generated. Eames, who is also heavy into titles, announced that Pete Zanardi, formerly the Public Relations man, had been re-titled to be Vice President of Communications and Strategic Planning. Hope he got a big raise with his new title. Bill Roth, who seems to be honest and up-front, would be re-titled from being the General Manager to the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Hope he got a big raise too. In other Speedbowl news it was announced that Bill Roberts would be leaving his position as Race Director as his primary employment location had changed. Steve Harraka would replace Roberts. For some strange reason the speedbowl management opted to run one of its biggest events on Saturday night directly opposite the New London Sailfest Grucci Fireworks display. The event which consisted of 100 lap events for the SK Modifieds and Late Models with 50 lap events for Sportsman and Mini Stocks turned into a marathon session that went close to the midnight curfew. Ron Yuhas Jr got the benefit of Ron Silks misfortune, as he was the eventual winner. Silk was leading the event in the late stages when he was taken out by one of the Monahan brothers. Rob Summers ended up second with Dennis Charette, third and Jay Miller, fourth. Corey Hutchings paid a visit to Waterford and walked off with the 100-lap Late Model win. Bruce Thomas finished second. Norm Root Jr won the 50 lap Sportsman event.
 
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Jennerstown, PA on Saturday for the Wheeler Brothers 150. Tony Hirschman cleaned house as he lapped all but the top five to record the win. Hirschman, who started sixth, took the lead from Jerry Marquis on lap 48 of the 150 lap event. Marquis faded to fourth while Chuck Hossfeld, who started seventh, finished a close second. Ed Flemke Jr had his best showing to date as he finished third. Jamie Tomaino started fourteenth and rounded out the top five. Point leader Ted Christopher finished 23rd after losing numerous laps because of a leak.
 
Jeff Malave started fourth in the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night and led every lap to annex the victory. Bert Marvin finished second with Kerry Malone, third. Todd Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Jeff Connors was the Pro Stock winner and Glenn Boss took the Limited Sportsman feature. Rod Rixham won the Mini Stock feature and Shane Michalski took the TIS Modified feature. Twin features were run for the Late Models with Woody Pitkat and Marc Palmisano sharing victory lane.
 
Rain washed out the American Sleeve Bearing 100 at Stafford on Friday night. The event has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 24. The 2005 season had reached the mid point with 10 events run so far. In the SK Modified division Ted Christopher led Todd Owen by 26 points. Christopher who had run in nine of the ten events had three wins. Owen had one win. Lloyd Agor, with two wins, sat in third spot. Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five. Jim Mavlouganes was the point leader in the track’s Late Model division. Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke through for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory of the season, using a two-tire strategy and holding off Matt Kenseth to win at Chicagoland Speedway.

The International Speedway Corporation reported that their second-quarter profit surged to a record on soaring revenue from broadcasts and corporate sponsorships, and the company raised its financial forecast for the 2005 fiscal year. The Daytona Beach, Florida-based motor sports promoter and racetrack owner reported net income of $26.5 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $6.1 million, or 11 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $157.4 million from $131.1 million.
The Sun Oil Company announced that its Board of Directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. The stock split was for shareholders of record as of July 18, 2005, and shares would be distributed on or about August 1, 2005. Holders of record of the Company's common stock on the record date would receive one additional share of common stock for each share of common stock they own.

That’s 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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