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Friday July 18, 2008

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                


Forty years ago in 1968, Maynard Troyer scored his first of 66 wins at the Lancaster Speedway in western New York. Don MacTavish took the double point win at Thompson on Sunday night and at Utica-Rome, Rene Charland hit pay dirt as he took the win over Lou Lazzaro, Sonny Seamon, Richie Evans and Ray Sitterly.

Thirty five years ago in 1973, Richie Evans went two for two as he won at Malta on Friday night and at Utica-Rome on Sunday. All racing on Saturday night was washed out. Jerry Cook finished second at Malta and was followed by Fred DeSarro, and Ronnie Bouchard. At Utica, Sonny Seamon finished second and was followed by Cook and DeSarro.

Thirty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it three for three in Yankee All Star action as he won a Wednesday night 100 lapper at Thompson. Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Joe Howard followed. At New Egypt, Jerry Cook took the win over John Blewett JR and Fred Harbach. Stafford ran twin 35's on Friday night and to no ones surprise, Geoff Bodine won them both. Riverhead Raceway saw Greg Sacks win out over Charlie Jarzombek. Saturday night at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard gave Geoff Bodine a traffic lesson as he took the top spot and broke the winning streak of the big red machine. At Westboro, it was Leo Cleary over Roland LaPierre JR and at Waterford, Glynn Shafer and Joe Trudeau finished one-two. Jim Tyler won at Islip and Richie Evans beat out Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside. Ronnie Bouchard beat the master, Eddie Flemke, at Thompson on Sunday and at Utica-Rome, Geoff Bodine settled for third behind Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. Also on Sunday, Maynard Troyer won his 25th and 26th features of the year at Perry Speedway.

Twenty five years ago in 1983, Thompson ran on Wednesday with Richie Evans taking the win over George Summers and Corky Cookman. Friday night at Stafford saw Brett Bodine in victory lane with Mike Hornat, second. At New Egypt it was John Blewett JR and at Riverhead, Don Howe took the top spot. Spencer Speedway action saw Richie Evans in the winners circle with Jan Leaty and Mike McLaughlin rounding out the top three. Lightning Larry Lanphear got a well deserved win at Waterford on Saturday and at Wall Stadium it was Tony Hirshman. Islip ran a 200 lapper and it was Tiger Tom Baldwin across the line ahead of Fred Harbach, Bob Park, Richie Evans and Jim Spencer. Eddie StAngelo won at Seekonk and Stan Greger took the win at Riverside Park. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Ronnie Bouchard was the pole sitter but was sidelined with motor trouble. Dale Earnhardt took the win over Darrel Waltrip and Tim Richmond.

Twenty years ago in 1988, Jerry Pearl was the Friday night SK modified winner at Stafford. At Monadnock, Reggie Ruggiero won his fifth. At Waterford on Saturday, Moose Hewitt won, at Riverside it was Stan Greger, Riverhead belonged to Wayne Anderson and Tioga belonged to Randy Hedger. On Sunday, it rained at Thompson.

Fifteen years ago in 1993, Ted Christopher won the Winston 100 at Stafford and was followed by Tom Tagg and John Anderson. At Waterford on Saturday, Bob Potter got his 91st career win and at Riverside it was Greger over Bobby Gee. Riverhead ran the Richie Evans Memorial with Bob Park taking the win over Don Howe and Tom Baldwin. In Winston Cup action at Pocono Dale Earnhardt was the winner.

Ten Years ago in 1998, Stafford had the No-Bull 100 scheduled. On the start, the speedway set off fireworks, which apparently spooked the drivers as half the field piled up in the first turn. While the wreck was being cleaned up, the rains came and washed out the event. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Lee Raceway. Ed Flemke JR took the lead from Doug French on lap 81 of the 150 lap event and never looked back as he went on to take the win. Mike Ewanitsko finished second and was followed by Tim Connolly, Mike Stefanik and Jamie Tomaino. At Waterford on Saturday, Ted Christopher took the lead from Todd Ceravolo on lap 49 of the scheduled 100 lap event and went on to score a convincing victory. Ceravolo finished second and was followed by Mike Gada. Twin 35's were on tap at Riverside with Jim Broderick and Bob Polverari taking the wins. George Brunnhoelzl JR ended a long dry spell with a win at Riverhead. The IRL and Busch North Series were at Dover Downs. A very light crowd of 25,000 made the place look empty. As an insult to the Busch North competitors, Jim Spencer was brought in as a crowd draw.

Five years ago in 2003, the Featherlite NASCAR Modified Tour Series converged on the New Hampshire International Speedway for the New England 100, which was run in conjunction with NASCARís Winston Cup, Busch Racing Series and Busch North Series. Forty-one Modifieds were on hand for the event, which carried a purse of $148,275, up $9,450 from 2002. Tony Hirschman took the Busch Pole with a speed of 127.654 mph. John Blewett III, just a tic off at 127.628 mph, was the outside pole sitter. Nevin George was third fastest and Ted Christopher, now using Ford power was fourth. Rounding out the top five was a big surprise in the form of Tom Cloce. Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Charlie Pasteryak, Tom Baldwin and Ricky Fuller rounded out the top ten. Only 1.06 mph separated the top ten. A year previous, modified car owner Bob Garbarino, owner and operator of the Mystic River Marina in Mystic, Connecticut, was ready to end his long tenure as a car owner. Garbarino, who had built and owned Modifieds since the mid 1970ís had lost his driver, Tim Connelly and his sponsor, Tidy Cats. Plus the fact he was fed up with NASCAR and the way they were treating the division. A few days before the 2002 Thompson Speedway Icebreaker Chuck Hossfeld came on the scene and since then Garbarino had had renewed interest in the sport he loved and supported for so long. Hossfeld was not well known outside of his native New York State and after a short stint in a Craftsman Truck owned by Jack Roush, resigned himself to the fact that he would spend the rest of his racing life at the Lancaster Speedway and other western New York ovals. Thanks in part to the Colton family; Hossfeld was hooked up with Garbarino. At Loudon, Hossfeld started seventh and never led a lap until the last one. Hossfeld, with the precision of a surgeon, executed a last lap pass by John Blewett III and Todd Szegedy to win the top spot in the event. Originally a 100-lap event, the distance was extended to 103 laps after Ricky Fuller became involved in a crash on lap 96. Szegedy had to settle for second at the finish. Blewett finished third with Jerry Marquis and Mike Stefanik rounding out the top five. For his efforts, Hossfeld collected $14,000. The announced crowd of 21,000 got to see what had to be the best race of the weekend which saw 11 official lead changes. Had it not been for the last caution, there were only two for 13 laps; Hossfeld would have had to settle for fifth or sixth. John Blewett III and Mike Stefanik were contending for the lead at that point. Because of a long green flag period from the start to lap 87 only eight of the original 41 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.

Rain played havoc at the Stafford Speedway for the second week in a row. In Wednesday night Thunder action at Thompson, threatening weather didnít deter the overflow crowd of 9,500 that came out to see Winston Cup stars Tony Stewart and Jimmie Spencer. After a match race, which Stewart won the defending Winston Cup champion entered the regular Sunoco-SK type modified event, started in the rear and won that. Stewart took the lead from Bo Gunning on lap 23 of the 30-lap feature and never looked back. Gunning finished second and was followed by Bert Marvin, Matty Adanti, Ted Christopher, Eric Berndt, Todd Ceravolo and Kerry Malone. Other Wednesday night winners were GeGe Gravel in the Pro Stocks, Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Shane Michalski in the Mini-Stocks and Keith DeSantis in the Limited Sportsman. At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, Winston Cup drivers Jim Spencer, Steve Park, Dave Blaney and Sterling Marlin made a special appearance to mingle with the fans, sign autographs and compete in an exhibition race. Crowd estimates of 4500 to 5000 spectators made it the most successful event in 2003 at the shoreline oval. Ron Yuhas Jr. ended a long dry spell as he won the regularly scheduled 35 lap SK-Modified feature as he beat out defending track champion Dennis Gada for the win. Jeff Pearl finished third and was followed by Rob Janovic and Ed Reed Jr. Among those on hand to greet the Winston Cup drivers was former track champion and now retired Bob Potter. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Diego Monahan in the Late Models, Sean Curtis in the Sportsman and Richard Brooks in the Mini Stocks. Winston Cup and Busch Racing Series qualifying at Loudon was rained out. Martin Truex made a big impression when he won the Busch North Series event. It led to him getting a ride in a DEI car. David Green won the Busch Racing Series event and Jimmie Johnson conserved his fuel and took the win in the New England 300 over Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth.

Last year 2007, the Waterford Speedbowl, thanks to the non payments of property owner Terry Eames, was scheduled to go up for foreclosure on Saturday, July 28. A sign posted on the property frontage indicated that the sale would take place at high noon. Anyone interested would need a $300,000 bank or certified check to participate. In 2006 the Washington Mutual Bank filed a lawsuit claiming that the track's owner, Terry Eames, had failed to make payments on a $1.7 million loan held by the Seattle-based savings bank. The lawsuit, Washington Mutual vs. 1080 Hartford et al., continued through this year, with several legal motions occurring during April and May. Eames had also failed to pay the town of Waterford more than $185,000 in taxes owed dating back to 2003. Eames was smart as he had shielded himself by an LLC titled 1080 Hartford Road LLC, a reference to its street address. In other words if he did lose the property he could walk away and thumb his nose at those he owes.

Eames, who bought the race track in 2000 had all but run the facility into the ground when he leased the track to a new company called The New Waterford Speedbowl LLC, which ran the day-to-day operations. Bill Roth served as its general manager and Jerry Robinson was its president. Both Roth and Robinson had made an honest attempt to bring the track back as they had made numerous improvements. They still faced the stigma created by Eames as they had had problems securing any credit for their business venture.

Eames claimed he was about to sell eight acres in the northwest corner of the property to Harvey Industries, a Massachusetts-based window manufacturer that also distributes other building products.. Eames insisted that he had the necessary finances in place, which would lead one to ask how come he had not made any payments in the previous 18 months.

The Seekonk Speedway, located just over the Mass. Line on the way to Cape Cod had Open Wheel Wednesday Modified Madness $10,000 to win scheduled for last Wednesday but heavy rain forced a cancellation to September 22.
The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on their summer break.

The True Value Modified Racing Series traveled to the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Kirk Alexander started 15th in the 100-lap feature and took the lead for the eventual win with only five laps remaining. Les Hinkley, who started dead last in the 24 car-starting field, finished second. Dwight Jarvis, Pete Jarvis and Lisbon, Ctís Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.

In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the rains prevailed.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat scored a one-two punch, cleaning house as he won the Coors Light SK Modified 100 and the 30 lap Late Model feature. Alan Provost scored a first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Sean Foster took down the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Matt Chiarizio scored his first career win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.In the 100 lap SK Modified feature Pitkat battled back after changing tires with 22 laps to go. Pitkat outdueled Ted Christopher in the closing stages. Willie Hardie took the lead from the pole, and he led the first 34 laps before contact with Keith Rocco sent him spinning from the lead. Rocco was black flagged for rough riding, which handed the lead of the race to Christopher. Pitkat took the lead from Christopher on the restart, and held the lead until lap-52, when Christopher moved back out front. Pitkat slowly began to lose positions as Christopher began to build a large lead over Eric Berndt, who was now running second. A caution with 79 laps complete erased Christopher's large lead and brought Pitkat to pit road for fresh tires. Pitkat then worked his way back through traffic and avoided several wrecks to find himself in third place behind Christopher for a lap-95 restart. Pitkat moved past Christopher on the restart and then drove away to score the win. Christopher finished second, with Frank Ruocco, Kerry Malone, and Curt Brainard rounding out the top-5. In the Late Model feature Alan Provost scored a first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Sean Foster took down the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Matt Chiarizio celebrated his birthday in grand style by scoring his first career win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Pitkat cruised to victory ahead of Jim Mavlouganes, Tom Fearn, Corey Hutchings, and Dillon Moltz, a 16 year-old driver who scored a top-5 finish in only his third start at Stafford.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Shawn Monahan passed his brother Diego with 9-laps to go in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. The Monahans then set up a moving wall, which shut out Zach Sylvester and Dennis Gada in the closing laps. Other feature winners were Ed Reed Jr. (Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stocks), and Steven Intravaia (USAC Ford Focus Midgets).

The Nextel Cup competitors had the weekend off. Reed Sorenson earned his first victory in two years, avoiding the pitfalls of a cautioned-filled Busch Gateway 250 Saturday night in Madison, Ill.

Sorenson, who hadn't led any part of a race this season, passed David Reutimann on lap 159 moments after the eighth yellow flag was lifted. He survived the ninth and final caution with a strong restart to distance himself from Reutimann, who was third.

Scott Wimmer earned his first pole position in 136 races and led the first 53 laps before a right flat tire forced him into the pits. He stayed near the front of the pack most of the race and finished second. Jason Leffler and David Ragan rounded out the top five.The cautions were five off the track's record of 14. Of 44 cars that started, 26 finished. The yellow flag was out for 43 of 200 laps. Sorenson, who had the second-fastest qualifying time, led 93 laps. The victory marked his third overall. 

 This week are several vintage racing photos from the early days of Riverside Park Speedway
Courtesy of VintageModifieds.com

 


Stan Disbrow


Gene White


Danny Gaudiana owned 999 Driver Unknown


Unknown


Andy Anderson


Dick Dixon

Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark St. 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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