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 Friday June 30, 2006

Forty years ago in 1966 Wild Bill Slater took on the New York gang and walked away the Friday night winner at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Jerry Cook finished second with Gaston Demaris, third. Dennis Zimmerman and Don MacTavish rounded out the top five. Cook stepped it up a bit as he won at Fonda on Saturday night over Ron Narducci and Bill Wimble. The Utica Rome Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Sunday night with former NASCAR Sportsman Champion Rene Charland taking the win. Eddie Flemke finished second with Frank Mathalia, Cook and Wimble rounding out the top five.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Friday night action at Malta rained out. Winston Barrows led 29-1/2 laps at Stafford only to be passed by Bugsy Stevens in the last corner of the 30 lapper. Bob Melnick finished third with Hop Harrington, fourth. At Fonda it was Lou Lazzaro over Dave Lap and at Islip, Ed Brunnhoelzl Sr beat out Bob Park. Jack LeCuyer won the main event at the Riverside Park Speedway. Tom Vining, Charlie Centinaro and Bob Stefanik followed. Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Ed Barton take the win over Jiggs Beetham, Seabury Tripler, Daring Dick Caso and Don Bunnell. Fred DeSarro and Len Boehler made the trip to Utica-Rome on Sunday and came away the winners. Ron Narducci finished second and was followed by Dave Lape and Jerry Cook. Fonda hosted the All Star League on Wednesday which saw Lou Lazzaro take the win.

Thirty years ago in 1976, Fred Harback scored a one-two punch as he won at Riverhead on Friday night and again at Islip on Saturday. At Riverhead, Jim Tyler finished second with Greg Sacks, third. At Islip, Don Howe finished second with Tyler, third. Geoff Bodine took the win at Stafford and at Riverside it was Bob Polverari over Bob Stefanik. Ronnie Bouchard broke Geoff Bodine's win streak at Thompson on Sunday.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Mr. Leo Cleary in the Rollie Linblad No.48 took on the best in the business at a special open competition event at Westboro on Wednesday night. It was no cake walk as Cleary had Ronnie Bouchard breathing down his neck at the finish. Geoff Bodine finished third and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Jeff Fuller and Tom Baldwin. Friday night at Stafford, Richie Evans, fresh off a win at Holland on Wednesday night, romped home the winner over Bob Polverari and Brian Ross. Polverari was later disqualified because of an illegal rear end gear. Other Friday night winners were Punky Caron at Monadnock, John Blewett Jr at New Egypt and George Kent at Spencer. Saturday night, Russell "Butch" Perry scored a popular win at Waterford over Joe Tiezzi and Dick Dunn. Ray Miller took the top spot at Riverside and George Kent made it two for two on the weekend as he won at Shangri-La. Double modified features were on tap at Seekonk. Eddie St Angelo and Leo Cleary shared top honors. Tom Baldwin won a 100 lapper at Islip and Roger Treichler made it two in a row at Lancaster. Richie Evans was the winner at Thompson on Sunday night over Corky Cookman, Bob Fuller, Greg Sacks and Carl Pasteryak.

Twenty years ago in 1986, the Modified tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night 100 lap event. Mike McLaughlin started on the outside pole and led all 100 laps to take the win. Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by John Rosati, George Kent and Jeff Fuller. Friday night racing at Stafford and Spencer rained out. Ed Flemke Jr was the SK Modified winner at Waterford on Saturday night. Bob Potter finished second and was followed by Mark La Junesse. Mike McLaughlin made it two for two on the weekend as he put the Sheri Cup No.12 in victory lane at Riverside on Saturday night. Mike Stefanik finished second. Leo Cleary got his fourth win at Seekonk and at New Egypt it was Wayne Anderson over Jerry Cranmer.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, the Featherlite Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a Wednesday night event. Hometown favorite Mike Ewanitsko had victory in sight until his engine expired on the last .Waiting in the wings was Ricky Fuller who went on to take the win. Jeff Fuller finished second and was followed by George Brunnhoelzl, Dan Jivenelli and Ewanitsko. The Busch North Series was at Stafford on Friday night. Mike Stefanik took the win. SK Modified action saw Steve Chowanski beat out Bo Gunning and Bob Georgiades. At Waterford on Saturday, David Gada held off veteran Jerry Pearl for the win.Rick Young finished second. Reggie Ruggiero got his fifth at Riverside over Rick Young and Wade Cole. Jamie Tomaino returned to his old haunts at Wall Stadium to take a win while Chris Young won at Riverhead. Ted Christopher was the top dog at Thompson as he had more than enough for Richie Gallup, Bo Gunning and Mike Christopher. Jerry Marquis went north to Monadnock and proceeded to click off another win. Dwight Jarvis finished second with Kirby Monteith, third.

Ten years ago in 1996, the modified tour was at the Lee Raceway in New Hampshire. Rick Fuller took the win over Mike Stefanik, Tim Connolly and Jan Leaty. The event drew a good crowd but raceway owner Red MacDonald felt that overall it was a loser and hasn't had the Modified Tour back since then. Lee does run unsanctioned modified events from time to time. At Stafford, John Anderson won out over Bo Gunning and Tony Sylvester. Todd Ceravolo became a surprise winner at Waterford on Saturday night. Eric Berndt was leading the final lap when his transmission imploded, forcing him to slow. Ceravolo went on to take the win and was followed by Don Fowler, Mike Gada, Jim Broderick and David Gada. Fran Principi scored his first ever Modified win at Riverside Park and Quinn Vollegraph won at Riverhead. A Busch North Series event, scheduled for Sunday at Nazareth was rained out and run on Monday. Steve Park took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 85 of the 100 lap event and went on to take the win. Kelly Moore ended up second and was followed by Tom Bolles and Dale Shaw.

Five Years ago in 2001 Ted Christopher made it three in a row at Thompson on Thursday night. Curt Brainard finished second. At Stafford on Friday night, Jim Williams in the Donut car took the victory over Lloyd Agor and Chuck Docherty. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Richmond. Tony Hirschman took the lead with 31laps to go and walked off with the lion's share of the $93,168 purse. Mike Ewanitsko finished second with Jan Leaty, Mike Stefanik, Ken Wooley and Ed Flemke JR rounding out the top five. Eric Berndt got his fourth win at Waterford and Bill Park took the top spot at Riverhead

Last year, Donnie Lia took a Sunday drive on a Saturday night as he led from pole to pole in the Whelen 150 at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Lia had the entire field covered as no one could make a serious bid to take the lead away from the Long Island racer. There were 37 cars on hand for the first of two visits that the Whelen Modified Tour Series will make to the shoreline oval. Ted Christopher, who started seventh, moved into second spot after a lap 48 restart but could never touch Lia who had a full straight away lead when the final caution flew after Lia had taken the white flag. Tony Hirschman, who had given way to Christopher was entrenched in third spot but spun without any help after he went into turn three a little too hot. The event was finished under caution. Hirschman ended up eighth. Eric Beers, in the Boehler Racing Ole Blu, finished third with Jerry Marquis, fourth. Steve Whitt, in his best performance ever, finished fifth. Many drivers felt that because of the heat and the rubber laid down that there was no outside groove. Matt Hirschman and Chris Pasteryak made their maiden voyages on the Tour Series and did themselves proud as they managed to stay out of trouble and finish on the lead lap. Hirschman started 12th and finished 8th while Pasteryak started 11th and finished 20th. There were 21 cars on the lead lap at the finish. There were a few feathers ruffled along the way. Kenny Barry was critical of Jim Civaliís driving after the two got entangled and Barry found himself out for the night in last spot. Jim Storace took a hard lick on the front chute, which inflicted severe damage to his mount. Storace didnít mention who got into him. The green waved on lap 36. Two laps later Dave Etheridge found himself in the front chute fence. He said that Rick Fuller hit him. Etheridge ended his night in 28th spot. The fourth caution of the night came on lap 68 when Rick Fuller and Nevin George along with Jamie Tomaino tangled in turn one. Tomaino and George were done for the night. The condition of Tomainoís car was described over the PA system as being a little bit cross-eyed. Once the event was completed runner-up Ted Christopher insinuated that Lia was using a traction control device. Lea denied the charge and insisted it was just sour grapes on Christopherís part. In regular Saturday night action at the shoreline oval Don Fowler went pole to pole for the SK Modified win. Ted Christopher came from the back of the field to finish second. Richard Brooks served up a very exciting win in the Mini Stocks as he made a three wide pass for second spot with three laps to go before he took the lead and the win on the final lap. Allen Coates was the Late Model winner and Norm Root took the Sportsman win. Bert Marvin became the second repeat winner in Sunoco SK type Modified competition at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. James Civali won the opening two events at the track during Ice Breaker weekend. Marvinís win didnít come easy as he took a lot of heat from Bo Gunning. Gunning faded to tenth in the final lap as he brushed the wall and had a tire going flat. Todd Ceravolo, who started on the pole, ended up in second spot. Jeff Malave, Adam Norton and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. Jeff Zuidema won the special 50 lap Late Model feature. Other winners were Joe Lemay in the Pro Stocks, Glenn Boss in the Limiteds, Roger Larsen in the TIS Modifieds and twin features for the Mini-Stocks were taken by Shelly Perry and Terry Boudreau. Woody Pitkat picked up his first ever Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night after he passed Chuck Docherty at the half way mark. What made the victory even sweeter was the fact that Pitkat had been fired out of the car that he passed to take the win. Willie Hardie Jr finished third. Mike Quintiliano made it two in a row in the Late Models and Andrew Durand made it two in a row in the Limited Late Models. Among the missing at Stafford on Friday night was Ted Christopher who was serving a one week suspension imposed by Racing Director Frank Sqambato. Christopherís suspension came as a result of his unsportsmanlike conduct when he engaged in a fight in the pits on June 17. Christopher denies hitting anybody; he did admit to ripping Stanley Butava's shirt. Butova is Frank Ruoccoís crew chief. Christopher feels that he has been singled out as he was initially confronted by Butova. Going into Fridayís event Christopher held a 50 point lead on Lloyd Agor. Wayne Anderson made it two in a row at Riverhead.

Despite a black flag halfway through the race, Johnny Sauter had little trouble dominating the rain-shortened SBC 250 at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday night. The race was shortened from 250 to 200 miles after a storm dumped heavy rain on the track. Martin Truex Jr. was second, and Paul Menard finished third. J.J. Yeley was fourth and David Stremme fifth as 10 cars were on the lead lap when the race was stopped. Tony Stewart ended a long dry spell as he won the Nextel Cup event at Sonoma.

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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