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 Friday June 2, 2006

By Phil Smith

Forty years ago in 1966 the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran a 30 lapper. Eddie Flemke, fresh of his Memorial Day win, made it two in a row at the 4/10 mile speedway. Elton Hill finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Dennis Zimmerman and Don MacTavish. At the Fonda Speedway Bill Wimble recorded his second victory of the year. Kenny Shoemaker and Pete Corey rounded out the top three. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night Don MacTavish took a 100 lap win over Wimble, Flemke, Cook and Frank Mathalia.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Thompson switched over to Friday nights. In the twin 25 lap features Ray Hendrick made a surprise visit and walked off with the opener. Fred DeSarro, now in the Len Boehler Ole Blu, finished second and was followed by Leo Cleary, Bob Santos and Win Barrows. Cleary, in the Garbarino Mystic Missile, won the nitecap. DeSarro was again second and was followed by Santos, Billy Harman and Hop Harrington. Hendrick didn't finish as he went into the dirt bank after a tangle with Bugsy Stevens. At the Albany Saratoga Speedway, Eddie Flemke, in a Richie Evans team car, took the win over Robbie Kotary, Ken Canestrari and Eddie Pieniezak. Evans was under suspension from NASCAR for running non-sanctioned events. While Flemke was taking top honors at Malta, Evans was at the Fulton Raceway where he finished fourth behind Merv Treichler, Lou Lazzaro and Roger Treichler. Geoff Bodine rounded out the top five. Stafford ran a 50 lapper on Saturday which saw Fred DeSarro take the win over Lou Austin, Bob Santos and Leo Cleary. At Fonda, Harry Peek beat out Maynard Forette, Lou Lazzaro and Rene Charland. Mousie Kempster won at Islip and at Utica-Rome; Fred DeSarro made the long trip from Rhode Island pay off as he beat the best to take the win. Dave Lape finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Stafford planned a 100 lap event for Monday but it rained and the event was rescheduled.

Thirty years ago in 1976, New Egypt ran on Thursday night with Fred Harbach taking the win. Friday night at Riverhead, Harbach played second fiddle to Charlie Jarzombek. Wayne Anderson finished third and was followed by Greg Sacks and Jerry Cook. Islip ran a 50 lap double point event on Saturday night and it was Anderson taking the win over Sacks, Jim Tyler and Bob Park. Bugsy Stevens added to his win total at Stafford on Saturday night as he beat out Ronnie Bouchard, John Rosati, Fred DeSarro and Jim Spencer and at Riverside, veteran Lou Tabone held off Bob Polverari and Pete Fiandacca. Sunday night racing at Thompson rained out.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, despite suffering with a case of chicken pox, Richie Evans didn't let that slow him down as he won a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night. Ray Miller finished second and was followed by John Blewett Jr and Bob Fuller. Other Friday night winners were Tony Siscone at New Egypt and George Kent at Spencer. Saturday night at Riverside saw Evans carry his winning streak as he beat out Marty Radwick for the win. At Waterford, Rick Donnelly survived a heated battle with Don Bunnell to take the win. At Westboro, it was Ronnie Bouchard over Roland LaPierre Jr, George Savory and Leo Cleary. Seekonk had only nine Modifieds but it was a good show just the same as Bugsy Stevens came home the winner over George Summers and John Rosati. Bouchard made it two for two as he took Monadnock on Sunday. Punky Caron finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. On the Island at Islip, Charlie Jarzombek took the win over Bob Park and Fred Harbach.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Mike Stefanik led the charge at Stafford where he beat out Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Mclaughlin and Corky Cookman. On Saturday night at Riverside it was a crash fest as only six of the original 22 starters survived to finish the 50 lap modified main event. Jack LeCuyer took the win over John Rosati and Bob Polverari. John Blewett Jr won a 75 lapper at Riverhead over Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach and at Seekonk; Leo Cleary got his third Pro Stock win. Other weekend action saw Tom Baldwin victorious at New Egypt, Tony Jankowiac at Spencer and Jan Leaty at Tioga. The Winston Cup cars were in Riverside, Cal where Darrell Waltrip took the pole and the win. Bobby Rahal won the Indy 500.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, It was the Teddy and Mikey Christopher show at Stafford as the twin brothers finished one-two on Friday night. Ricky Young did the deed at Waterford on Saturday night and at Riverhead it was Tom Tillotson over Wayne Anderson and Bob Park. Ricky Fuller beat out Jerry Marquis at Riverside and on Sunday, the Modified Tour was at Thompson for a 150 lapper. Jeff Fuller took the win and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Steve Park and Doug Hevron. It was also on this weekend that Todd Bodine got his first Busch Grandnational win, that coming at Dover Downs.

Ten years ago in 1996, Ted Christopher recorded his 36th career win at Stafford on Friday night as he beat Lloyd Agor and Ken Barry to the stripe. Jim Broderick got his second of the season at Waterford on Saturday night. Jerry Pearl finished second with Dennis Gada, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggerio fought long and hard as he avoided a big crash with five to go and passed Richard Savory on the last lap to take the 50 lap win. Riverhead saw Tom McCann in victory lane.The Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series were at Loudon. Steve Park led the final 51 laps of the BNS event and beat Jerry Marquis by Ĺ second. Jan Leaty dominated the Modified event until getting a flat under green which opened the door for Tony Hirschman who ended up with the win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Steve Park. Chris Aman and Jerry Marquis rounded out the top five.

Five years ago, in 2001, the Thompson Speedway held a private race on Thursday night to entertain those in the area for a Harley Davidson event. HD bought 10,000 tickets to give away but only about 300 showed up. Todd Ceravolo started fourth and took the lead on lap five and survived numerous wrecks to record the win. Dennis Boticello finished second and was followed by Kerry Malone, Scott Quinn and Zach Sylvester. Jim Williams with his donut car took the 50 lap SK-Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night with Eric Berndt, second and Kerry Malone, third. Rain washed out action at Waterford for the second week in a row but at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Jeff Gordon led 380 of the 400 lap distance as he took the win. Steve Park was closing at the end but had to settle for second. Jim Spencer was the Grandnational winner

Last year, 2005, the Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Stafford on Friday night only to get rained on. Forty-one Modifieds were on hand. Donnie Lia was the Busch Pole fastest qualifier as he toured the half-mile oval in 18.25 seconds. Tony Hirschman was second fastest with Chuck Hossfeld, third. Nevin George and Eric Beers rounded out the top five. The event was rescheduled for Sunday, July 3.In some good news it was learned that Mike Ewanitsko would be returning to the Whelen Modified Tour Series wars at Stafford on August 2 or at Thompson on August 18. Ewanitsko will be driving for Ed Whelen. Ewanitsko was forced out of competition because of vision problems. With his problems behind him he is ready to rejoin the tour.
 
The Waterford Speedbowl finally got a break from the weatherman, as they were able to complete a Saturday night program. Dennis Gada ended a yearlong dry spell as he held of Ted Christopher to record his 47th career win at the shoreline oval. Christopher attempted to rattle Gada with a few love taps with his bumper but it was all for naught. Christopher settled for second and was followed by Ron Yuhas jr, Rob Janovic and Jay Miller. John Puglisi won the 20-lap Sportsman feature, which went pole to pole without a caution. Bill Gertsch Jr. was second and Joe Curioso was third. Phil Evans picked up his second Mini Stock win of the year in the 20-lap feature. Evans started 12th, passed Bill Leonard for the lead with eight laps to go. Leonard finished second, followed by Joe Godbout. Moose Douton led every lap in winning the 30-lap Late Model feature. Defending division champion Corey Hutchings, making his first start of the season, was second. Mark St. Hilaire was third, followed by Charles Bailey III and Allen Coates. Lou Ciccone dominated the 50-lap International Supermodified Association (ISMA) feature. The main buzz around the Speedbowl is still the possible sale of the property in which the track is located. There are people out there that want to buy the track and keep it in its present form. Track PR man Pete Zanardi alluded to the fact that no track is safe forever from being sold and added that the closing of the track was a premature conclusion as it has been stated that racing will continue through 2005 and quite possibly 2006.
 
In other racing, Kirk Alexander came from a dead last starting spot to win the True Value Modified Series event at the Seekonk Speedway and Tom Rogers and JR Bertuccio shared victory lane. Jimmie Johnson won the World 600 Nextel Cup event and Kyle Busch won the Busch 300. Dan Weldon won the Indianapolis 500. Female driver Danica Patrick almost won it as she finished fourth.

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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