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Friday July 31, 2009

By Phil Smith

Forty years ago in 1969, Stafford ran a 100 lapper with Nathan "Smokey" Boutwell in the Garuti-Arute No.14 taking the win. Bob Santos in the Art Barry 909 finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Freddie Schulz and Jim Hurtubise in the Bob Judkins 2x. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Maynard Forette took the win over Lou Lazzaro and Ron Narducci. Saturday night at Norwood saw Freddie Schulz in the Dick Armstrong No.14 take the win. Bob Melnick finished second. Daring Dick Caso made it two in a row in Modified competition at Waterford. Wayne “Mysterious” Smith was the Daredevil winner. At Fonda, Jerry Cook got a win. Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Rene Charland and Kenny Shoemaker.


Smokey Boutwell took down the Stafford 100 lapper in 1969.
(Lloyd Burnham Photo)

At Islip it was Lou Hennessy over Jim Hendrickson and at Airborne Park it rained. Boutwell made it two for two on the weekend as he won at Thompson on Sunday night. Fred DeSarro in his own No.00 finished second with Leo Cleary in the Koszela 15, third. Double points were on tap at Utica-Rome on Sunday and Lazzaro was there to take the gold. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Dick Clark, third.

Thirty five years ago in 1974, Riverhead ran on Thursday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Fred Harbach. Racing at Freeport on Friday, rained out and on Saturday at Islip, Lou Hennessy again finished ahead of Hendrickson. Stafford ran a 100-lap double point event on Saturday night with Ronnie Bouchard in the Bob Johnson 17 beating out Bugsy Stevens in the Koszela 15. Dick Watson won the 30 lap Modified main at Waterford. Ron Cote was the Grand American late model winner. Shangri-La also ran a 100 lapper and it was Richie Evans over Dave Nichols. Utica-Rome ran a Trenton qualifier and it was Geoff Bodine taking the top spot with Evans settling for second.

Thirty years ago in 1979, Geoff Bodine was at Stafford, on Friday night, in the Lee Allard No.99 and cleaned house. Dick Caso finished second with Ed Flemke, third. Bodine had also won two nights earlier as he beat out Charlie Jarzombek and Jeff Fuller. New Egypt also ran on Wednesday. Jerry Cook turned the tables on Richie Evans as he took the win. Like Bodine did in New England, Cook repeated on Friday night as he won at Spencer. Maynard Troyer finished second with Doug Hewitt, third. At Seekonk on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard took the top spot over Eddie StAngelo. Charlie Jarzombek took the win at Islip and Ronnie Rocco made it two in a row at Plainville. Other weekend winners were Reggie Ruggiero at Monadnock, George Kent at Shangri-La, Jack Bateman at Claremont, Rick Donnelly at Waterford and Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson. As a side note, during the running of the strictly stock feature at Monadnock an out of control competitor with a stuck throttle flew through the pit area and did considerable damage to a truck owned by Brian Ross.

Twenty five years ago in 1984, the Thompson Speedway ran their 300 outside pole qualifier on Wednesday night. George Kent took the win over Richie Evans and Jim Spencer. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night, which saw Mike McLaughlin get the best of Reggie Ruggiero for the win. At Spencer it was Doug Hewitt and at Riverhead, Don Howe won a 75-lap Circle of Champions event over Jim Spencer and Bill Park. Waterford hosted twin 25's on Saturday night with Bob Potter and Dickie Doo Ceravolo sharing the top spot. Also on Saturday, a 150-lap Circle of Champion’s event was run at Islip. Tiger Tom Baldwin used his home track advantage and took the win. Bob Park was second with Wayne Anderson, third.

Twenty years ago in 1989, Teddy and Mikey Christopher finished one-two in SK modified action at Stafford on Friday night. Dan Avery won at Monadnock over Dwight Jarvis. The mod Tour was at Riverside with Ruggiero taking the win over Mike Stefanik and at Riverhead, Bill Park took the win over Chris Young.

Fifteen years ago in 1994, John Sneade was the Wednesday night SK winner at Thompson. Scott Poirier and Mike Christopher followed but were disqualified because of illegal cylinder heads. At Stafford on Friday night, Mike Paquette took the win over Bo Gunning and Steve Chowanski. The Mod Tour Series was at Holland on Saturday night and it was Jeff Fuller taking the top spot. Mike Ewanitsko finished second and was followed by Bruce Dell, Steve Park and Ricky Fuller. Waterford ran a 125 lapper with Jeff Pearl scoring a big win over Todd Ceravolo, Dave Gada and Mike Gada. On lap six of the event, Jim Broderick and Vinnie Anglace tangled, collecting Larry Lanphear, Dennis Gada and Dennis Gada. Gada's gas tank was ripped open and a bad fire erupted. No one was hurt but the cars of Lanphear and Gada were destroyed in the fire. Lou Lazzaro got his 112th career win at Fonda and Tom Tillotson went pole to pole at Riverhead. Riverside saw Chris Kopec in
victory lane.

Ten years ago, in 1999, Curt Brainard made it two in a row at Stafford. Tommy Fox finished second. At Waterford Dennis Gada won the feature over Ed Dachenhausen. The action was just as hot off the track as it was on as race director Tony Lecky walked out after a difference of opinion could not be settled between himself and track operator, Terry Eames. At Riverside it was Jim Broderick over Ricky Miller. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Loudon along with the Busch North Series and Craftsman Trucks. The mods and BGN's drew 19000 while the trucks had a real light crowd. Tony Hirschman took the lead from Jan Leaty with 11 to go and went on to take the 100-lap victory. Ted Christopher finished second with Mike Ewanitsko, third. Tom Carey was the Busch North winner.

Five Years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. For the better part of the 2004 season Chuck Hossfeld had been in a slump. Hossfeld broke the chain on Saturday night as he won the Coca-Cola 150 at the track known as the cement palace. Hossfeld qualified fourth behind Busch Pole sitter Don Lia. Hossfeld re-drew third and after following early leader Eric Beers for 67 laps took the lead and went on for the eventual win. Beers faded to fourth at the finish as Don Lia and Dick Houlihan moved into the top three. Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. The event, the only one at Seekonk for 2004, drew 39 Modifieds and an almost packed house. Championship contender Eddie Flemke Jr. suffered a major setback after being involved in two separate incidents. The second one, on lap 102, did him in as he hit the wall and ended up exiting the track on the business end of a wrecker. Flemke ended up in 26th spot.

Tony Hirschman, who had been chasing Flemke all season, survived an early race tangle and came back to finish 10th and gained enough points to take the lead. Flemke led the troops as the tour prepared to head to Long Island. Rick Fuller, John Blewett III, Ted Christopher, Bob Santos III and Hirschman rounded out the top ten at the finish of the event. Four caution periods for 27 laps kept the average speed at 62.243 mph.
The Busch North Series was at the Adirondack Speedway in up state New York Saturday night. Matt Kobyluck took the win over defending series champion Andy Santerre.

In Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway Kerry Malone made it two in a row in the Sunoco SK-type modified division. Malone took the lead after an early restart and despite a lot of pressure from Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning was able to cruise to the win. Christopher was a little down on power and put most of his efforts into racing with Gunning who ended up settling for third. Christopher finished second. Bert Marvin and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. Todd Ceravolo, who was contending for the point lead, suffered a setback as his engine blew mid-way in the event. Joe Lemay held off David Berghman to won the Pro Stock feature and Larry Barnett took the top spot in Limited Sportsman action. Corey Hutchings won his fourth Late Model feature and Scott Michalski was the top dog in Mini-Stock competition.

Ted Christopher continued his hot streak as he won the 31st annual Coors Light 100 at Stafford on Friday night. Christopher, who now had four in a row at Stafford, drove a somewhat conservative race as he took the lead from pole sitter Steve Chowanski on lap 56. James Civale, who had been the only driver to break Christopher’s win streak in the last seven events finished second. Willie Hardie finished third with Chuck Docherty and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top five. Chowanski ended up 23rd and defending race winner Eric Berndt ended up 24th. Chris Matthews was the late model winner and Eric Grant won the 15-lap Dare Stock feature.

It was Nostalgia Weekend at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Many big names from years gone by were on hand. A tip of the hat to Tom Ormsby and Pete Zanardi who spent countless hours putting the program together. In racing action at the shoreline oval Ron Yuhas Jr. ended a long dry spell as he garnered his first SK Modified feature win of the year. It wasn’t easy as it took close to an hour to run the 35-lap feature that was slowed numerous times for various wrecks and spins. In the end Yuhas endured. Jim Civale, who led until lap 23, finished second. Dennis Gada, Rob Janovic and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five. Larry Goss of North Windham won the Late Model feature over Corey Hutchings and Jay Lozyniak was the victor in the Sportsman division. A new competitor by the name of Mike Manifold outpaced Richard Brooks to win the Mini-Stock feature. Many were wondering if Manifold was a relative of Rex Kahrs or Will Fade!

The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were in action. The Busch Series visited the Pikes Peak Raceway in Colorado and the Nextel Cup division was at the Pocono International Raceway in Pennsylvania. Greg Biffle raced in both events. At Pikes Peak he went from last to first as he recorded a win. At Pocono in the Nextel Cup Pennsylvania 500 Biffle settled for fourth. Jimmie Johnson dominated the event as he won, hands down. Mark Martin finished second but had nothing for the winner. Kasey Kahne finished up in third spot.

On the speedway stock market scene, the big news was that Boundless Motorsports settled their differences with former World of Outlaws President Ted Johnson and that Boundless had finally closed the deal for complete ownership of the DIRT organization. Boundless Motorsports shares closed out the week at 3.50.

Last Year, 2008, The third event of the four race WaterSnoGo Modified Showdown took place on Saturday, July 26 at the All-Star Speedway in Epping, NH. With no other major Modified event scheduled for the weekend, a large number of entries were received for the prestigious event. The race was 125 green flag laps in length, paying $5,000 to the winner. Matt Hirschman won his fourth race in a row after he led the race from start to finish. Jon McKennedy finished second and was followed by Chris Pasteryak, Jimmy Kuhn, Jr and Ryan Preece. Sixth through tenth were Ken Barry, Mike Ordway Jr., Jimmy Blewett, Ronnie Silk and Mike Stefanik.

The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled as heavy rains and severe thunderstorms caused the management of the Thompson International Speedway to pull the plug as the speedway complex was all but flooded out.

In the Sunoco Modifieds Kerry Malone was the current point leader. Malone led Todd Ceravolo by 10 points. Six points behind Ceravolo was Danny Cates who had begun to make his mark at Thompson. Cates held a 20 point edge over Jimmy Blewett. Rounding out the top five was Bert Marvin. Fred Astle JR led Norm Wrenn, Derek Ramstrom and Mike O’Sullivan for Pro Stock honors. Other division point leaders were Jeff Zuidema in the Late Models, Kurt Vigeant in the Thompson Modifieds, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Danny Field in the Mini Stocks.

The Whelen All-American Series NASCAR race event at Stafford Motor Speedway featured the 5th Annual CARQUEST SK 150. Woody Pitkat scored the $4,000 winner's check by coming back from a flat tire, which put him two laps down at one point with a late race pass for the win. Joe Rzeszutek wired the field in the 30-lap Late Model feature for his first win of the 2008 season, Harry Wheeler became a first-time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand nailed down his second feature victory of the 2008 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly scored his first win of the 2008 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

In the 150-lap SK Modified feature event, Todd Owen took the lead from the pole and led the first 9 laps before giving way to Chris Jones on lap-16. Jones led to lap-27 when Frank Ruocco took over the lead. Ruocco then led to lap-54 when Keith Rocco took the lead on a restart, but Ruocco would retake the lead on lap-56. Ruocco remained out front until lap-93 when Ronnie Silk moved to the point. Silk then held the lead up to lap-102 when Ruocco went back out front. Ruocco held the race lead until Silk beat Ruocco back to the start/finish line on lap-124 with the caution coming out one lap later.

Silk held the point through lap-138. On a restart on lap-139, Rocco charged into the lead with a great move in turn 3, but a determined Silk moved back to the point several laps later on lap-141. Woody Pitkat, who had earlier spun with a flat tire and lost two laps, gained his two laps back with lucky dog awards and was now in the thick of the mix for the race lead and the battle for the win. Pitkat moved to second on lap-142 and he took the race lead for the first time on lap-143. Ruocco got back to second, but it was too late for him to catch Pitkat, who took down his third feature victory of the 2008 season. Ruocco came home second, with Rocco, Kenny Horton, and Jeff Malave rounding out the top-5. Pre-race favorite Ted Christopher, who was celebrating his fiftieth birthday, finished 23rd.

At the Waterford Speedbowl Doug Coby and Tyler Chadwick won the Town Fair Tire Night twin 35-lap SK Modified features. Other feature winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stock), and Max Zachem (Legends).

In the first of two 35-lap SK Modified features, pole-sitter Doug Coby battled with Jeff Paul during the opening stages. Upon a restart with fifteen circuits remaining the leader faltered, causing a chain-reaction that damaged several top cars, most able to return after going pitside. Entering the midway point, it was again Coby and Paul, with Rob Janovic Jr. closing quickly. During the final laps, Coby took total command. Rounding-out the top-5 was Paul, Janovic, Jeff Pearl, and Shawn Monahan.

Starting from the pole, young Tyler Chadwick led the entire measure of the caution-filled SK Modified nightcap to snare his first-ever victory. Not an easy feat, he held-off the advances of some of the Speedbowl’s best including Doug Coby, Jeff Paul, and defending champion Dennis Gada during several tense late-race restarts. Following the winner was Paul, Coby, Gada, and Jeff Pearl.

The foreclosure issues at the shoreline oval are once again in the news. Currently somewhere in the neighborhood of around $22,000 in property taxes have not been paid. Rocco Arbitell who holds the mortgage on the Speedbowl property said it’s the responsibility of Terry Eames. Eames claims it’s the responsibility of track operator Jerry Robinson The issue has become a war of words between the two. The outcome will be decided in court at a future date.
Kyle Busch led all but three laps Saturday night to win the Kroger 200, his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season. Busch's win was Toyota's 15th in 22 Nationwide races, but the first event since NASCAR's mandate Wednesday to cut down the horsepower in Series engines knocked 15 horsepower out of Toyota's engines. NASCAR changed the parameters after rival teams complained, even though Toyota was within the rules. Busch also won the event at O'Reilly Raceway Park in 2004. Polesitter Colin Braun finished second Saturday, and Mike Bliss moved up from 17th to finish third.

Jimmie Johnson celebrated his second Sprint Cup victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a burnout. Appropriately, one of his tires exploded. He was lucky he made it that long Sunday. Tire troubles derailed the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard when Goodyear's product wasn't durable enough to withstand more than 10 or so laps at a time. It created a chaotic and confusing caution-filled race that ended when Johnson outran Carl Edwards in a seven-lap sprint to the finish. Goodyear and NASCAR were left to explain why the 400-mile race became a debacle. The tire issue cropped up Saturday, when drivers learned during the first practice they could only last three to 10 laps before the rubber wore down to the cords. NASCAR and Goodyear hoped the conditions would improve as it has in years past, once enough rubber was laid on the track. But the first-time use of the Car of Tomorrow prevented any improvement. The lack of downforce on the car, combined with a higher center of gravity, created conditions that made it very hard on the right side tires. There were 11 yellow flags, and NASCAR had to throw six competition cautions to force teams to pit and change tires. It meant the longest green-flag run was an embarrassing 12 laps, causing teams to fear both tire failures and a possible supply shortage. Johnson fretted the final two stops, unsure what the right strategy would be. He took two tires on his final stop to emerge from pit road as the leader, then held off Edwards and Denny Hamlin over a final seven-lap green flag run to the finish line. Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch finished 15th. Busch was coming off a win Saturday night in the Nationwide Series Kroger 200 in Clermont, Ind. The win gave Toyota its 15th victory in 22 Nationwide races this season. It was Busch's 15th win of the season spanning NASCAR's three series, breaking the record of 14 set by Kevin Harvick in 2006.
 

This week are several  photos courtesy of photographer Steve Kennedy from last weeks Nostalgia Weekend at the Waterford Speedbowl. Many of these same cars will be on hand when the Thompson Speedway hold its annual Vintage Antique Racers Extravaganza on Saturday August 22nd from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. with admission only $10.00.
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. E-Mail is: smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

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

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