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 Friday July 28, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966 twin 54 lap features were run at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Pete Hamilton took the first one over Don MacTavish, Rene Charland, Leo Cleary and Lou Lazzaro. Bill Wimble took the nightcap as Hamilton had to settle for second. Elton Hill, Phil Spiak and Hank Stevens rounded out the top five. Rene Charland took the top spot on the dirt at Fonda on Saturday night. Pete Corey finished second with Guy Chartrand, third. Steady Eddie Flemke was the Sunday night winner at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Jerry Cook finished second and was followed by Bill Wimble, Kenny Shoemaker and Frank Mathalia.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway presented a 100 lapper on Friday night. Lou Lazzaro was the top gun as he was first under the checker. Eddie Flemke, in the Art Barry No.09 finished second and was followed by Fred DeSarro, Maynard Forette and Rene Charland. At the Fulton Raceway Open Competition Modifieds and Supermodifieds were on tap. Jim Shampine won the Modified 30 lapper over Dick Clark, Guy Chartrand, Dave Nichols and Ronnie Wallace. Ken Andrews was the Supermodified winner with Nolan Swift, second. In NESMRA action at the Thompson Speedway on Friday night Big Don MacClaren took the main event over Dynamite Ollie Silva and Jim Landry. George Allum took his 14th Late Model win. Stafford ran a 30 lap Pocono qualifier on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, in the Garbarino No.4, took the win and the guaranteed spot for the upcoming August event. Rene Charland, in the Bob Johnson No.17, finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Daring Dick Caso. Dick Dunn put the Al Gaudreau No.3 in victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Angie Cerese finished second with Ronnie Wyckoff, third. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, popular Bernie Miller took the win over Ray Sitterly, Bugsy Stevens and Dave Lape.

Thirty years ago in 1976, the Yankee All Star league was at Waterford on Wednesday night. Sixty four cars were on hand for the 100 lapper that saw Bugsy Stevens, in the Bob Judkins 2x take the win over Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro and Ed Flemke. Dynamite Ollie Silva won twin features at Monadnock on Friday night. Riverhead, on Friday and Islip, on Saturday, each ran 150 lap events. At Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek was untouchable as he won, going away, over Fred Harbach, Jerry Cook and Gary Winters. At Islip, New York City policeman George Wagner took the top spot over Jerry Cook and Jim Tyler. Steady Eddie Flemke, who had become a modified legend in his own time, put the Bill Thornton-Manchester Sand and Gravel No.10 in victory lane at Stafford on Saturday night. Fred DeSarro finished second and was followed by Geoff Bodine. Other Saturday night action saw Don Kibbe win a 100 lapper at Waterford and George Murray in victory lane at Seekonk. Westboro rained out. Geoff Bodine came back from a disqualification the previous week to record win N0.6 at Thompson on Sunday night. For the second week in a row, Bodine's engine was protested by runner-up Fred DeSarro. Bodine countered with a protest of DeSarro's engine. Both engines were torn down and both were declared legal by the Thompson tech inspection staff. Leo Cleary finished third.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Richie Evans scored his 28th of the season and the 301st of his career at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with Kenny Bouchard, third. Marty Radwick won a Race of Champions qualifier at Monadnock and George Kent beat out Greg Sacks for the win at Spencer. Glynn Shafer won a ROC qualifier at Waterford on Saturday night over Dale Holdredge. George Kent made it two for the weekend as he bested Richie Evans and Greg Sacks at Shangri-La. Marty Radwick copied Kent as he carried his win over to Riverside on Saturday. In other Saturday night action, Joe Howard won at Westboro, Don Howe at Islip, Jamie Tomaino at Wall and Roger Treichler recorded his seventh of the season at Lancaster. In Busch Grandnational action at South Boston, Geoff Bodine slugged it out to win over Tommy Ellis and Bob Pressley. Once the dust had settled, Bodine headed north to Oswego where he won a 75 lap modified event over Richie Evans, George Kent and Jerry Cook .In Winston Cup action, Ronnie Bouchard in the Jack Beebe Race Hill Farms entry scored an upset victory at Talledega as he passed Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a five car draft coming off the fourth turn. Bouchard, a rookie, started 10th and won by a mere two feet in a photo finish. It was one of New Englandís brightest racing moments!

Twenty years ago in 1986, Jeff Fuller was the Friday night winner at Stafford. George Brunnhoelzl Jr. finished second and was followed by Mike Stefanik and Jamie Tomaino. Rain washed out Waterford and Riverside. At Seekonk, Gomer Taylor took the win over Pete Swartz and Ray Lee. Scott Spaulding was the Charger winner. Jim Spencer went two for two as he scored at Spencer and at Shangri-La. Sunday action at Thompson rained out.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, the Modified tour invaded Riverside Park on Wednesday for a 150 lapper. Reggie Ruggiero in the Ed Cloce No.69 dodged the bullet as he won the caution filled event. Richie Gallup finished second with Mike Stefanik, third. Stafford rained out on Friday .The skies cleared on Saturday as Reggie Ruggiero made it two for the week at Riverside. Mike Gada and Ricky Young finished one-two at Waterford and John Brouwer Jr won his first ever late model event, also at Waterford. At Riverhead, Brian miller beat out Fred Vordermeir for top honors.

Ten years ago in 1996, Waterford ran on Thursday night in front of an almost empty grandstand. Track management did not get the word out that they were racing and nobody came. Tucker Reynolds Jr. took the win over Mike Gada and Bob Potter. Ted Christopher scored his 39th career win at Stafford on Friday night. Steve Park, Jim Broderick, Bo Gunning and Curt Brainard followed. Andy Santarre won the Busch North Series event Jim Broderick passed Ted Christopher with seven to go at Waterford on Saturday. Christopher hung on to finish second with Mark LaJunesse, following. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Holland, NY. Speedway for a 150 lap event. Jerry Marquis, in the Art Barry No.21 took the win over Mike Stefanik, Steve Park and Ed Flemke Jr. Marquis, who took the lead from Flemke, led the final 90 laps. Tom Jensen won at Riverside and Tom McCann won at Riverhead. Oswego hosted the New York State Championship series on Sunday. Mike Stefanik took the 100 lap win over Mike Ewanitsko and George Kent. Jeff Gordon took the win in the rain shortened Winston Cup Talledega 500.The event, which started 3-1/2 hours late, saw a horrendous accident as Dale Earnhardt Sr. hit the wall and before landing on his roof was hit hard by Derike Cope and Robert Pressley. Earnhardt, known for his toughness, walked to the ambulance under his own power, even after suffering a broken left collar bone and broken sternum. Greg Sacks was the winner of the Saturday Busch Grandnational event.

Five years ago in 1991 Thursday night racing at Thompson, rained out. Friday night at Stafford belonged to Eric Berndt as he beat out Ed Spiers for the win. Ted Christopher, looking to run for the track championship, retired with a burned piston, finished a distant 28th. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Holland, N.Y. Eddie Flemke Jr. lost a clutch in warm-ups and missed the drivers meeting. Flemke did make it out for time trials and even after taking the pole, had to start in the rear because he missed the meeting. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise as he was able to avoid wrecks and spins that brought out eight cautions. Flemke avoided the trouble and took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 138 and never looked back. Christopher finished second and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak, Jerry Marquis and Tony Hirschman. At Waterford, Dennis Gada made it three in a row and his seventh overall as he passed Jeff Pearl with two to go. Don Fowler finished third with Jay Miller and Mark LaJunesse rounding out the top five. At Riverhead, Chris Young beat out John Fortin and Bill Park. Reggie Ruggerio turned 50 and at Lebanon Valley, Ken Tremont scored his 95th win at the New York dirt oval. The win was also the 200th career win overall. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Bobby Labonte passed Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps to take the win. Jeff Purvis substituted for Mike Skinner at Gateway International and ran away with the Busch Grandnational event held there

Last year, 2005, the True Value Modified Series along with the Seekonk Speedway and Viveiros Insurance of Southeastern Mass. embarked on a bold experiment on Wednesday with the presentation of ďModified MadnessĒ which featured a 100 lap main event paying $10,000 to win. Now in its second year of existence the True Value Modified Series was born in New Hampshire as a result of the Claremont Speedway doing away with the Modifieds for 2004. The TVMS has become a less expensive alternative to the NASCAR sanctioned Whelan Modified Tour. A good mix of Mod Tour and TVMS cars were on hand as the field totaled 27. When the dust finally settled it was Modified Tour regular Donnie Lia taking the win and the top prize. Lia passed Ted Christopher in the final moments. Open Wheeled Modified Racing on a short track is a contact sport. The Viveirous 100 was just that. Eric Beers started on the outside pole and was able to wrestle the lead from Mike Christopher on lap 2. Beers led the event until lap 78 when he unavoidably crashed into a lapped car. Kirk Alexander, who was running second at the time, crashed into Beers. Both pitted for repairs and were able to rejoin the fray. With 22 laps to go Beers was able to battle his way to the front and at the finish ended up third behind Lia and Christopher. Rounding out the top five at the finish was Eric Berndt. Alexander ended his night in 19th spot.

Defending Sunoco Modified champion Todd Ceravolo got his first win of the season at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Ceravolo started sixth and ended up beating his former mount, being driven by Tom Cravenho, to the finish line. Bert Marvin finished third with Richard Savory, fourth. Bo Gunning made a strong return as he finished fifth. Other winners were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Jeff Zuidema in the Pro Stocks, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman, Rick Blanchard in the Mini Stocks and Chad Gaudiosi in the Thompson Modifieds.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine on Saturday night. Jerry Marquis ended a long dry spell as he secured his first victory for car owner Bob Garbarino. Marquis, who went non-stop in the 150-lap event, took the lead on lap 8 from Nevin George. George later dropped out with transmission problems on lap 114. Tony Hirschman finished second with Eric Beers in the mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family, third. Steve Whitt and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Twenty-eight cars made the trip to Maine.

It was announced at the drivers meeting in Beech Ridge that the Seekonk Speedway would not honor the long standing gentlemenís agreement of allowing teams to pre-sign up to 10 crew members at a discounted rate of $25.00 per driver. Ed Cox (tour director) was called on Thursday by the Seekonk management to let the teams know it would be $40.00 per person. This did not go over well with the teams. There was a petition signed by all drivers/owners at Beech Ridge and handed to NASCAR, if the sign-in is not honored (10 crew @ $25.00) there would be no race. Evidently the Seekonk management was not happy with the support they got for their recent Mid-Week open event.

At Stafford on Friday night it looked as though the Coors Light SK Modified 100 would go off without a hitch but the rain gods had other ideas as the event was soaked after only 34 laps were completed. The 100 lapper would be completed on Friday, July 29, with Don Lia leading the pack. Willie Hardie will start second with Jeff Malave, third. Ed Ricard was the Late Model winner with Michael Bennett taking the limited late model feature. On Sunday night the Stafford Speedway finished up the 100 lap Late Model ASB 100 that was rained on at the beginning of the month. Scott Foster JR. won the event 16 years after his father won the same race. Keith Rocco scored his first ever SK Modified win.

The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the Busch North Series on Saturday night. Despite the efforts of NASCAR to make for better racing Matt Kobyluck led all 150 laps from green to checker. In four of five Busch North Series events in 2005 there has not been one lead change except when Ryan Moore led at Waterford for two different laps. Had it not been for Mike Stefanik pitting for tires at the recent Loudon event it would have been five for five with no passing. It is not the fault of the Busch North Series teams that the events have been yawners. NASCAR mandated a new tire for this year and since then its been a down hill slide. The Busch North Series race teams are hard working, highly competitive individuals and deserve better than this. Jeff Pearl went pole to pole to win the SK Modified feature at the shoreline oval.
 
Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup event at Pocono and David Green was the Busch Series winner at Pikes Peak.

Thatís 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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