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July 13, 2012

By Phil Smith

Sixty five years ago in 1947 Cherry Park in Avon, Ct. ran a 25 lap Midget event before a reported 12,000 fans with Chet Gibbons taking the win over George Rice with Dutch Schaeffer third. Some of the name drivers competing included George Flemke, Ted Tappett, Al Keller and Rex Records.

Sixty years ago in 1952
rain prevailed on Wednesday night action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Saturday night at the shoreline oval Cy Yates made it two in a row when he won the 25 lap Sportsman main event. Harold “Curley” LeMay was the 20 lap Claiming Car winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1957 Red Foote made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the Wednesday night Sportsman feature. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner. Rain ruled the roost at Waterford on Saturday night.

Fifty years ago in 1962, Waterford continued to run on Wednesday and Saturday. Dick Beauregard continued his win streak as he won Modified features on both nights bringing his streak to five in a row. Ed Gladue won Bomber features on both nights. George Janoski was the victor on the dirt at Stafford Springs. At Plainville Stadium Tony Mordino took the win with George Lombardo second followed by Johnny Georgiades, Tony "Jap" Membrino and Chuck Brennan. At Riverside Park Speedway Gene Bergin took the win over Billy Greco, Buddy Krebs, Danny Galullo and Dick Dixon.

Forty five 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. Rain washed out the action at Waterford. At Riverside Park Speedway Tom Vining was the winner over Bill Gurney and Phil Plumley. 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.

Forty 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. Jerry Glaude was the Modified winner at Waterford. 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. Riverside Park ran their annual 500 lap team race with the team of Billy Greco and Bob Stefanik taking the win over Gary Colturi/Lou Toro, and the team of Ken Latour/John Georgiades. Dave Germano was the winner at Plainville Stadium over Jack Proulx, Reggie Ruggiero, Don Moon and Bob Vivari. Lee Genest was the Novice winner.

Thirty five 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.

Thirty 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 five 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.

Twenty 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.

Fifteen 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.

Ten 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.

Five years ago in 2007 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors were on their mid-summer break. Their next event would be a “Flash Format” contest at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night, August 4. Donny Lia, who had won four of the seven events run so far in 2007, led the series’ point standings with a 53 point edge over Matt Hirschman. Lia was also the top money winner with $43,300 in the bank. Todd Szegedy, who had been in second spot, slipped to third. James Civali, with two wins, sat in fourth spot with Ron Silk rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik, Ed Flemke Jr and Jamie Tomaino. Fifty-seven different drivers had entered into competition so far. The qualifying format for the first ever NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour “Flash” event at Riverhead Raceway was announced by WMT director Ed Cox in conjunction with Barbara and Jim Cromarty of Riverhead Raceway.

In True Value Modified Series racing Les Hinckley captured his third win of the season in the 100 lap Mid-Summer Modified Shootout at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH. The True Value Modified Racing Series event served as a guaranteed starter race for Mod Mania 400 weekend at Thompson, CT; in September 8, 9.

The Thompson Speedway was quiet on Thursday night as they hosted a special event on Saturday night. Sean Caisse of Pelham, NH, led all but two lap to score the victory in the NASCAR Busch East Series Pepsi 100. Ben Rowe of Turner, ME turned in a dominating performance to take top honors in the Pro All Star Series 75-lapper during Thompson’s Full-Fendered Frenzy. In weekly series action, Mark Jenison of Danielson continues to show his prowess in the late Model division with this third win in four weeks while Scott Sundeen of Douglas, MA, kept the streak alive for his racing family with his victory in the Limited Sportsman division. After being shut out of victory lane thus far in the 2007 season, Rick Blanchard of Pascoag, RI, swept the twin bill for the Mini Stocks.

The Busch East Series event started under a shower of fireworks in honor of the Freedom Team Salute that honors the fine men and women of our military. Brigadier General Steven Scorzato, Assistant Adjunct General of the CT National Guard, gave the command to start engines. The fireworks continued well into the night as Sean Caisse survived a number of late race restarts in the caution-marred event to post victory.

Rookie Marc Davis led lap one but it was all Caisse from that point on. Despite a single slip on lap 92 when Matt Kobyluck snuck in to lead a lap, Caisse showed the way throughout nine caution periods. In the late stages of the event, as Caisse worked to hold off Kobyluck, Olsen and Joey Logano were locked in a battle of their own. The sparks flew late in the race with a pair of cautions for incidents further back in the pack. After two failed attempts to end the race under green, the yellow checker flew for Caisse on lap 108. In the end it was like old home night for the Busch East Series at Thompson with a New England sweep of the podium. Sean Caisse of Pelham, NH held off all the challenges from Matt Kobyluck of Uncasville, CT and Mike Olsen of North Haverhill, NH. Joey Logano and Brad Leighton rounded out the top five.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco drove to victory lane in the 40-lap SK Modified feature for his second win of the season, Glen Reen took the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for his third win of the season, Andrew Durand scored his 4th win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Carla Botticello scored her second feature win of the 2007 season by winning the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. The 30-lap Late Model feature was halted by rain with two laps complete. The race will be resumed from lap-3 at a date to be determined. The lead was swapped fast and furiously at the start of the race with Kerry Malone leading lap-1, Brad Hietala leading lap-2, and then Frank Ruocco leading lap-3. Ruocco led the race until lap-31 when Rocco moved past Ruocco to take over the lead. A caution with 32 laps complete slowed the field and set up a series of restarts that saw Woody Pitkat and then Ruocco put back a row for jumping the restarts. This put Ted Christopher alongside Rocco for the restart, but Ruocco got under Christopher on the restart for second while Rocco continued to set the pace out front. Christopher got back around Ruocco for second place on lap-38, but couldn't make a pass on Rocco for the victory. Christopher finished second, with Pitkat, Ruocco, and Ronnie Silk rounding out the top-5.

Christopher hopped a plane on Saturday morning which took him to Virginia where he won a 150 lap Modified event at the Franklin County Speedway which is a few miles north of Martinsville.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Dennis Gada passed early leader Tyler Chadwick with 16-laps to go and went on to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the shoreline oval. It was the third of the season and 53rd career victory for the defending track champion. Gada, who started ninth, chased 18-year-old Chadwick, the only other leader, for several laps before the final yellow showed. He took the lead after a lap of side-by-side combat and went on to a seven car-length win over Chadwick. Shawn Monahan, Rob Janovic Jr. and Diego Monahan finished nose-to-tail behind Chadwick. Other winners included Ed Reed Jr. in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jack Aquilina in the Sportsman 20-lapper, Joe Godbout in the Mini Stock 20 lapper and Chris Bakaj in the Mini Stock 20 lapper.

Tony Stewart finally broke through for his first victory of the season, holding off Matt Kenseth on several late-race restarts Sunday to win the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart broke a 20-race winless streak dating to last season thanks in part to a hard crash by contender Jimmie Johnson, who was running second behind Stewart with 45 laps left when his tire went flat. Kevin Harvick was the Busch Series winner.

Last year, 2011, In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco made it two in a row in Sunoco Modified competition while the incredible Danny Field made it seven for seven in Mini Stock competition. Jeff Connors stretched his point lead with his first victory of the season in the Super Late Models. Mike Scorzelli was victorious in the Late Models. Shawn Monahan earned his third victory of the season in the Limited Sportsman division and Glenn Boss made it two in a row in TIS Modified competition. Added to the program was the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) for the annual Marvin Rifchin Memorial event. Mike Horn of Ashland, MA, made a bold move on the opening lap that proved to be the winning one.

Waterford was also quiet as they gave way to a fireworks display that was held in New London on Saturday night.

It looked like ticket prices at Connecticut Speedways were going up as Area Auto Racing News scribe Kevin Rice advised that a new tax law, which specifically mentions the racetracks of Thompson, Waterford, Stafford and Lime Rock Park would now be asking for a “sales use tax” from these tracks. For each ticket sold, the state will charge a tax of 6.35 percent. In addition, the hotel-motel tax rate will increase in the state from 12 to 15 percent. The web site yankeeinstitute.org states that the admissions tax exemptions for these race facilities have been eliminated. The changes are among 77 separate tax increases over 24 categories as part of changes recently made by the state General Assembly, according to the site.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series defied the weather at the Lee USA Speedway in southern New Hampshire on Friday night. Chris Pasteryak took the lead after passing race leader Joe Doucette on lap 52 to go on and win the Laticrete “Port City 100” Friday night.

The win was Pasteryak’s first at Lee, his second of the season, and his fifth career victory with the VMRS. Pole-sitter Louie Mechalides was the early leader until Doucette took the top spot on lap three. Doucette led for the next 49 laps as he fought off Mechalides and then several side-by-side attempts by Pasteryak for five circuits before the 2008 series champion was able to move by.

Veteran Dwight Jarvis finished in the runner-up position after starting eighth in the 19-car field. Defending series champion Jon McKennedy made a late race charge to finish third, Les Hinckley III, was fourth, and Ken Barry, with abrand new car, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were, Rowan Pennink, Jimmy Kuhn, Norman Wrenn, Doucette, and Rob Goodenough.

Pasteryak’s victory moved him into a tie for the point lead with Pennink. Hinckley is four points back from the leaders.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC was silent over the July 4th weekend and resumed their weekly racing with a 100 la Modified event on Saturday night. Tim Brown, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday, kicked off the second half of the season in impressive fashion, and trimmed some of Burt Myers' lead in the season standings on a double-points night. But Myers, who broke a part in his car's rear end in pre-race practice and got his car repaired just in time, came out in relatively good shape with a fourth-place finish. Brown managed to cut Myers' lead from 40 to 28 points.

Brown was the fastest in qualifying for the fourth time this season, with a lap of 13.331 seconds (67.5 mph) on the quarter-mile track. He drew the No. 2 starting position. Brown took the lead on the start and led the entire distance. Junior Miller started third and was able to challenge Brown from the outside on the final four double-file restarts, but couldn't catch him in the late stages. Chris Fleming, who made it through a heated exchange with Jonathan Brown in the closing laps, finished third. Myers drew the seventh starting spot and managed to work his way to fourth.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Tom Rogers JR took the NASCAR Modified win. The July 30th Whelen Modified tour race will pay $6000 to win and $300 to every driver who shows up.

Jim Schaefer, aka Long Island Mod Maniac, announced that he had put together from various sources bonus money that will find the winner of the event taking home a handsome $6,000, while each starter among the 28 drivers will earn $300 in tow money. There will also be an additional $500 split among the first three positions, courtesy of Lighthouse Mission.

Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Kentucky Speedway, stretching his fuel over the final 67 laps to pick up his first win in the series this year. Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch rolled to victory in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at the 1.5-mile oval, pulling away from Jimmie Johnson on a restart with three laps to go to collect his third victory of the season and jump into the points lead with two months to go before NASCAR’s Chase for the championship begins.

The real story of the inaugural race at the track tucked among the hills in northern Kentucky was unfolding over the wall behind Turns 3 and 4 as Busch roared to the start/finish line. Cars, many of them stuck in gridlock for hours on nearby Interstate 71, continued to inch along the overstuffed access roads. The maddening parade continued as the laps ticked off, with some fans eventually being asked to turn around after the race passed its halfway point so the track could start allowing those that did manage to make it in to leave. The 15-mile backups getting put a damper on the memorable show Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith promised to deliver when he received permission from NASCAR to move a date from Atlanta Motor Speedway to Kentucky last summer. The track's first night on the series' biggest stage was memorable all right, but for all the wrong reasons. Though more than 100,000 packed the revitalized grandstand, the race will be remembered more for the sea of brakelights along the interstate than for Busch's third win of the season.

This week are several photos, Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size


Freddie Schulz


Mario "Fats" Caruso


Dave Germano


Rob Kotary

George Rice

Tom Vining

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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