Forty years ago in 1967, Bobby Allison recorded his first ever
Winston Cup (then called Grandnational) win as he won a northern
tour event at Oxford Plains on a Tuesday night. . Richard Petty
finished second. The All Star League visited Middletown, N Y on
Wednesday where Frankie Schenieder took the win over Pete Corey. The
Winston Cup Northern Tour headed for Fonda, NY for a Thursday night
show where Richard Petty beat out Bobby Allison. In Friday night
action at Stafford, Bugsy Stevens was the top banana as he outran
Smokey Boutwell for the win. Dick Watson, Leo Cleary and Gene Bergin
rounded out the top five. Ernie Gahan took the Friday night 30
lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Robbie Kotary finished
second and was followed by Kenny Shoemaker, Dick Nephew and Guy
Chartrand. The NASCAR Winston Cup (GN) traveled to Islip on Saturday
night for a 500 lap contest on the tight 1/5 mile oval. Richard
Petty won by three laps over James Hylton
Thirty-five years ago in 1972, the Seekonk regulars went on strike
and track owner D. Anthony Venditti wasted little time as he secured
a NASCAR sanction for Friday night. The Seekonk strikers went to
Thompson where they formed the World Racing Association. At Seekonk,
Freddie Schulz took the opening night feature over Ernie Gahan,
Bobby Sprague, Lou Austin, Brian Ross and George Summers. At Malta,
Dave Lape took the win over Jerry Cook, Bernie Miller, Lou Lazzaro
and Maynard Forette. Stafford ran their rained out 150 on Saturday
night with Ronnie Bouchard taking the win over Bugsy Stevens and
Brian Ross. At Fonda, Jack Johnson won out over Lou Lazzaro, Kenny
Shoemaker and Harry Peek. Charlie Jarzombek won at Islip and in
Sunday night action at Utica-Rome, rain prevailed. Stafford ran a
mid-week open event on Wednesday with Eddie Flemke taking the win
over Ron Bouchard.
Thirty years ago in 1977, the Star Speedway hosted an open
competition modified event on Wednesday. Ronnie Bouchard took the
win over Bugsy Stevens and Dave Thomas. On the same night, New Egypt
ran a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier which was won by Wayne
Anderson. Geoff Bodine finished second with Maynard Troyer, third.
Friday night at Stafford saw Fred DeSarro return to victory lane.
Geoff Bodine finished second with John Rosati, third. Georgie
Summers turned the tables on Bugsy Stevens at Seekonk on Saturday
night as he put the Frank Fedderici 77 in victory lane. At Waterford
it was Glynn Shafer in the Ron Yuhas No.6 taking the top spot over
Rick Donnelly and Moose Hewitt and at Westboro, it was the
Shrewsbury Flash, Mario "Fats" Caruso. Geoff Bodine finished his
weekend with wins at Riverside and Thompson.
Twenty-five years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks returned to top form as he
won the Friday night event at Stafford over Kenny Bouchard, Bugsy
Stevens and Corky Cookman. Double features were on tap at Waterford
on Saturday night. Mark Lajunesse won an 82 lapper over Glynn Shafer
and Moose Hewitt and in the regular 35 lapper, Bob Potter added to
his win total. Marty Radwick beat out Ronnie Bouchard at Riverside
and at Thompson on Sunday, George Summers put the Art Barry No.21 in
victory lane. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at New Egypt,
Jerry Cook at Spencer and Rick Donnelly at Seekonk.
Twenty years ago in 1987, the Featherlite Modified Tour Series was
at Riverhead for a Wednesday night event. Mike Ewanitsko took the
win over Wayne Anderson, Bob Park and Jamie Tomaino. Wayne Dion was
the Friday night winner at Stafford. Racing at Waterford on Saturday
night was fogged out but not at Riverside Park where Bruce Del took
the win. Tony Hirschman beat out George Kent at Shangri-La and at
Riverhead, Tom McCann and Tom Baldwin sat in victory lane while Mark
Tooker won his fourth in a row in the Blunderbust division. Jamie
Aube walked away with $31,100 after winning the Oxford 250 over Dave
Dion and at Thompson on Sunday night, Kerry Malone took the top spot
over Richie Gallup and Bo Gunning.
Fifteen years ago in 1992, Mike Paquette was the Friday night winner
at Stafford. At Monadnock it was Jerry Marquis in the Bobby Judkins
2x over Reggie Ruggiero. Waterford staged a 40 lapper on Saturday
which saw Jerry Pearl out run Harry Rice for the win. Ricky Young
finished third. Lenny Fischer took the win at Riverhead while Dan
Avery took top honors at Riverside. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified
Tour Series was at Loudon for a 75 lapper. Reggie Ruggiero, in the
Ed Cloce No.69 took the win which had a surprise crash filled
ending. With three laps to go, Jan Leaty, running second, wrecked
and collected Ed Flemke Jr, Charlie Pasteryak, Satch Worley, Jeff
Fuller and Steve Park. Fuller and Park restarted and finished second
and third, driving around on flat tires. Tom Bolles finished fourth
with Ricky Fuller, in the Mario Fiore No.44, fifth.
Ten years ago in 1997, because it was Winston Cup weekend in Loudon,
Stafford and Waterford adjusted their schedules. Stafford ran a 50
lapper on Tuesday night, which saw Bo Gunning take the win over Ed
Flemke Jr, Jim Broderick, Mike Christopher and Bob Potter. At
Waterford on Friday night, Jim Broderick took the win over Steve
Chowanski, Mike Gada and Eric Berndt. Things got real nasty at
Riverside Park on Saturday night. Reggie Ruggiero was leading the 50
lap event when, during a caution, he was rammed by Ted Riggott.
Ruggiero returned the favor. Officials wanted to put both
competitors to the rear and after a heated argument, both were
parked for the night. Richie Gallup ended up taking the win over
Renee Dupuis, Ed Speirs and Mike Ewanitsko. At Riverhead, Dave Kruk
got his first win. At Loudon, the Featherlite Modified Touring
Series went 57 laps with Tim Connolly taking the win in the Mystic
Missile. Connolly took the lead from Reggie Ruggerio on lap 25. Rick
Fuller finished second and was followed by Tom Cravenho, Jan Leaty,
Tony Hirschman and Mike Stefanik. Jerry Marquis was the Busch North
Series winner as he beat out Ricky Craven and Bob Dragon. Jeff
Burton won the Winston Cup event as 88,000 spectators looked on.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. finished second with Rusty Wallace, third. Ernie
Irvan was made aware of the fact that he was out of the Robert Yates
No.28 at season's end.
Five years ago in 2002, Doug Coby was the Friday night SK-Modified
winner at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second and was followed by
Lloyd Agor and Ted Christopher. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour
Series traveled to the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine for a 150-lap
event. The event, which carried a purse of $67,775, drew 32
Modifieds. David Berghman, son of three time Modified champion Carl
Bugs Stevens, scored his first ever Modified Tour win. Berghman
started ninth and took the lead on lap 115. Fred Vordermeir finished
second with Todd Szegedy, Ricky Fuller and Nevin George rounding out
the top five. Ted Christopher, one of the pre-race favorites, was
headed for the front when he rubbed wheels with Nevin George and
suffered a flat tire, which cost him three laps. The Waterford
Speedbowl was quiet on Saturday night as the races were cancelled
because of a fireworks display in New London, Ct. Thompson, which
normally runs on Thursday night, ran on Saturday night with the
Busch North Series. Brad Leighton won the 150-lap event. In
Sunoco-SK Modified competition Ron Yuhas JR survived 10 cautions to
take the win. Yuhas took the lead from Kenny Bouchard with one lap
to go. A big wreck on lap 17 collected 10 cars including those of
Eric Berndt, Bo Gunning, and Eric Berndt. Chris Young took his third
victory at Riverhead and Harry Reed beat out Dave Michael at Wall
Township. In other weekend action, George Kent won the Race of
Champions Tour event at Cayuga and Scott Robinson won the 29th
Oxford 250, which paid $36,900 to win. Kevin Harvick won the Winston
Cup event at the Chicagoland Speedway. Johnny Sauter won the
companion Busch Racing Series event.
Last year, 2006, A few years ago Terry Eames called a press
conference at the Groton Inn and Suites. Members of the media and
NASCAR Officials were in attendance. He announced that he was taking
control of the Waterford Speedbowl. Many who knew him in the local
business community felt that he would drain the business dry, then
drop it like a hot potato. He proclaimed, “I’m in it for the long
haul, I’m not going anywhere”. How quick we forget! It seems that
“Long Haul Eames” had hit a bump in the road and had landed face
down in a ditch. In addition to owing $1.6 million, hundreds of
thousands of dollars were owed to newspapers, lumberyards, police,
sanitation companies and who knows whom else. All the talk of the
demise of the shoreline oval had had a profound effect on the
competitors. Fields of cars were down to the point where consolation
events were no longer needed. No one was building cars because of
the uncertainty of the future of the track .
Eames announced on Monday, July 10, 2006 that he had reached an
agreement with a developer to sell a portion of the track’s excess
property in an effort to alleviate financial issues that have
plagued the track. According to lawyers for the Washington Mutual
Bank, which was owed $1.6 million, nothing was signed. Speedbowl
owner Terry Eames may have a verbal agreement but nothing was cast
in stone. Speaking of speedways, the Boston Globe reported that
79-year-old Bob Bahre, owner of the New Hampshire International
Speedway stated that his speedway is definitely not for sale. He did
allude to the fact that if and when he dies, his son Gary will sell
the track before he is in the ground!
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the New Hampshire
International Speedway forty-five cars strong. Practice and
qualifying were held on Thursday despite rain that blanketed the
area and flooded the tunnel leading into the track. The Modifieds
got on the track shortly after noon. Zach Sylvester, who was the
45th car to time trial took the pole for the 100 mile event with a
speed of 125.595 mph. Second fastest and taking the outside pole was
Jimmy Blewett. Danny Sammonds who had a problem during the practice
session and Tom Cloce who crashed and caught fire did not take time.
Reggie Ruggiero, Tony Hirschman and Eric Beers rounded out the top
five. Sixth through tenth were Todd Szegedy, Doug Coby in the
Mansfield, CT based entry of Curt Chase, Ted Christopher, Donny Lia
and Kevin Goodale.
In what should have been the most exciting race of the weekend that
had 28 lead changes among 9 drivers the 100 lap Whelen Modified Tour
Series turned out to be a display of confusion and indecision by
NASCAR scoring. James Civali was originally declared the winner.
Forty five minutes later the win was given to John Blewett III. Upon
completion of the event Blewett exited the speedway to catch a plane
that would take him to the Wall Township Speedway located on the New
Jersey shore. Blewett ended up winning the Garden State Classic at
the New Jersey oval. While Civali sat in victory lane NASCAR
reviewed some pictures and decided that Blewett did in fact have the
lead when the final caution of the event was waved on the final lap.
Civali was leading at the conclusion of the last green flag lap, lap
99. NASCAR rules dictate that who ever is leading when the caution
comes out is the race leader. A picture taken at the time of the
final caution clearly showed Blewett in the lead. Blewett was well
on his way to New Jersey when he got the news. Civali ended up
settling for the second spot. Almost half the event was run under
caution. There were seven caution periods for 47 laps.
With an estimated 44,000 fans on hand the Modifieds provided some
great racing when the green flag was out. Reggie Ruggerio ended up
third with Ed Flemke and Mike Stefanik rounding out the top five.
Sixth through tenth were Todd Szegedy, Ted Christopher, Jerry
Marquis, Tony Stewart and Ronnie Silk. Stewart had some unkind words
for Jerry Marquis during a post race encounter on pit road. Stewart,
who has been arrogant at times has the attitude that anybody in his
way should just move over and let him by. With the money lap in
sight, Marquis wasn’t about to roll over for Tony Stewart or anyone
else. It was the 9th career win for Blewett and his third at NHIS.
He led a total of 17 laps in the Blewett Motorsports Chevrolet.
Twenty-nine of the original 42 starters were running at the finish.
Twenty-six of them were on the lead lap. Outside pole sitter and
early leader Jimmy Blewett was the first out after a tangle with Ken
Barry, which resulted in his Eddie Partridge, owned mount getting
consumed in a ball of fire. Blewett emerged unhurt but his car was
severely trashed. Nevin George crashed on lap 23. Nextel Cup star
Carl Edwards retired on lap 43 with severe front-end damage after a
confrontation with the retaining wall. Donny Lia was hoping for a
good showing after qualifying ninth but ended up 38th after losing
an engine. Doug Coby, in the Mansfield, CT based No.77 of Curt Chase
retired from the event after a hard hit on lap 66. He finished 33rd.
The Thompson Speedway fell victim to severe weather and was forced
to postpone Wednesday’s Nextel Fan Appreciation Night for 24 hours.
The Pro All Star Series (PASS) made their annual visit to Thompson
International Speedway on Thursday night. Their regularly
star-studded cast was made brighter with Kenny Wallace and Jimmy
Spencer joining the field. The crowd was treated to commentating by
John Roberts of SPEED TV. Cassius Clark of Farmington, ME was dialed
in to take the PASS victory on Nextel Fan Appreciation Night
presented by Charter Communications. In addition, five divisions of
NASCAR Weekly Racing Series were also part of the festivities.
Claiming victories were Woody Pitkat in the Sunoco Modifieds, Corey
Hutchings in the Late Models, and Shelly Perry in the Mini Stocks.
The Limited Sportsman and TIS Modifieds found new winners in victory
lane with Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT and Kurt Vigeant of Oxford,
MA capturing victories respectively.
The 75-lapper for the Pro All Star Series was a day later then
originally planned but the event was worth the wait. Cassius Clark
continued his domination of the Touring Series with his fourth
victory. Johnny Clark took the lead in the opening laps before
relinquishing the lead to Wallace. Ben Rowe then took his turn at
the head of the field taking over the point from Wallace on lap 25.
C. Clark made his way into the runner-up spot before hunting down
Wallace. Rowe and C. Clark waged a tremendous battle for the lead at
the halfway marker. Rowe had the spot but was dogged lap after lap
by C. Clark while Wallace and Spencer ran third and fourth. While
battling for the lead Rowe and C. Clark made contact. Rowe cut down
a tire ending with impact in the wall. Once out front, Clark set
sail. In the late stages of the event, Spencer took the runner-up
spot from Wallace. The dominating performance was made even special
by beating the likes of Wallace and Spencer. J. Clark and Travis
Benjamin rounded out the top five.
Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT turned in a dominating performance to
win his second Sunoco Modified feature event of the 2006 season at
Thompson. Buddy Charette, who continues to get stronger week after
week, led the field to the green over Joe Lemay and Pitkat. Action
was halted on lap two when the caution flew when point leader Jeff
Malave and Keith Rocco spun on the backstretch. On the restart,
Lemay was able to get alongside Charette before the second caution
flew almost immediately when Tommy Cravenho spun in turn two while
running in fifth. Henry Stampfl had nowhere to go making hard
contact with Cravenho’s Falmouth Ready Mix #31. Under the caution,
Lemay brought his race car down pit road with a flat right rear
tire. Charette relinquished his lead to Pitkat on the lap two
restart. One lap later, Marvin moved into second. By lap 10, the
front two had checked out on the rest of the field. Pitkat held a
half straightway lead on Marvin, who in turn had half straight on
Charette. By lap four, Jimmy Blewett, who had started scratch on the
field after arriving at Thompson late after qualifying for the
Whelen Modified Tour event at NHIS, had moved into sixth. Malave had
worked his way back up to the seventh position by lap seven. On lap
12, Blewett caught Ceravolo. With the duo of Pitkat and Marvin out
front, the likes of Charette, Ricky Shawn, Ceravolo and Blewett ran
in a tight pack. Ceravolo had the crowd on their feet on lap 14 when
went around Shawn in turn two and under Charette between turns three
and four. A caution on lap 19 bunched up the field for a restart.
Back under green Pitkat led the freight train that included Marvin,
Ceravolo, Charette, Blewett, Shawn, Malave, and Rocco. The first car
to step out of line was Blewett. He made the pass stick to take away
the fourth position from Charette. Over the closing laps, Pitkat
stretched his lead, leaving Marvin and Ceravolo to fight for second.
Ceravolo closed but could not make any serious challenge to Marvin.
Pitkat soared to the victory over Marvin, Ceravolo, Blewett and
Charette. Ricky Shawn held on for sixth over Malave, Rocco, Lemay,
and Dan LaJeunesse.
The Stafford Motor Speedway ran on Tuesday night, July 11th. On tap
was the 3rd annual CARQUEST Extreme Wednesday program at Stafford
Motor Speedway. 1989 Nextel Cup Champion Rusty Wallace bested an
all-star field of drivers to win the 15-lap CARQUEST Clash, Chris
Perley continued his dominant season in the ISMA Supermodified
division by winning the 50-lap feature, Bobby Santos, III was the
winner of the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, and Jeff Zuidema was the
winner of the 20-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.
Stafford’s week continued on Friday night when Bo Gunning ended a
long dry spell as he recorded his 45th career win. Gunning, who
started on the outside pole, jumped out to an early lead and in the
closing stages held off Frank Ruocco to take the win in the SK
Modified 40 lapper. Willie Hardie finished third followed by Zach
Sylvester and Jeff Malave. Woody Pitkat, who finished sixth in the
SK event, won the 30 lap Late Model event, his fourth of the year.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, some new sticky stuff was applied to the
asphalt in order to make the cars handle better and hopefully
eliminate many of the wrecks that have plagued the shoreline oval
this year. They also bounced Jay Stewart for the rest of the year.
The sticky stuff did its job and no one missed Stewart. The entire
six feature race program was run in two hours and 10 minutes.
Bruce Thomas Jr. and Tim Jordan were the twin Late Model winners
while Dennis Gada recorded his 48th career victory in the SK
Modifieds. Dexter Dorr took his eighth victory in the Sportsman
division and Phil Evans beat out Dave Silvia for top honors in the
Mini Stocks. Mark Bakaj was the 20-lap Legends feature winner.
That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail: