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 Friday June 8, 2006

Forty years ago in 1966 rain washed out the Friday night racing program at the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Pete Corey edged Bill Wimble at Fonda. Ernie Gahan finished third. Kenny Shoemaker ventured to the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night where he held of an up and coming Richie Evans. Pete Hamilton finished third with Eddie Flemke and Bill Wimble rounding out the top five.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Thompson ran twin 25's on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens took the opener over Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bobby Santos. Leo Cleary took the night cap over Hop Harrington and Ernie Gahan. During the running of the second event DeSarro got airborne on the front chute and hit an infield light pole. Desarro suffered bruised ribs and the Len Boehler No. 3 was severely damaged. Joe Thomas was the Friday night winner at Malta. Dick Clark finished second and was followed by Lou Lazzaro and Rene Charland who drove the Bob Johnson No.17.Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night which saw Bugsy Stevens clean house. Gahan finished second with Bob Santos, third. At Fonda it was Harry Peek over Dave Lape and at Islip, Gene Sudziak took the win. In Open Competition action at the Fulton Raceway, Richie Evans took the 60 lap main event over Geoff Bodine, Bryan Osgood, Ronnie Wallace and Don Diffendorf. Jerry Dostie took the win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Dunn finished second with Seabury Tripler, third. The New England Supermodified Racing Association ran a special event on Sunday. Eddie West and Jim Landry, in Supers, finished one-two. Bugsy Stevens, in the Koszela Modified, finished third. Utica-Rome on Sunday night rounded out the weekend. Dick Fowler took the win over Sonny Seamon and Lou Lazzaro.

Thirty years ago in 1976, New Egypt started off the weekend on Thursday night. Bob Park took the win over Fred Harbach. Friday night at Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek beat out Tom Baldwin and at Islip, Don Howe took the win over Harbach, Jerry Cook and Greg Sacks. Geoff Bodine ruled at Stafford on Saturday night while the fans at Riverside saw Bob Polverari take the top spot. At Thompson on Sunday, Geoff Bodine won his first of what was to be four in a row.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, with over 6000 fans looking on, Richie Evans slugged it out with Bugsy Stevens to take the win at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished third and was followed by Bob Polverari and Ronnie Bouchard. Rain washed out the action at Waterford on Saturday night. Westboro saw Ronnie Bouchard take the win over John Smith and George Savory. Evans made it two for two as he won at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished second. John Rosati was the class of the field at Seekonk as he outdistanced Bugsy Stevens and George Summers Sunday action at Monadnock saw Marty Radwick take the win over Brian Ross and SJ Evonsion. Other weekend winners were Maynard Troyer at Spencer and at Lancaster, George Kent at Shangri-la and Charlie Jarzombek, at Islip. In Winston Cup action, Benny Parsons won at College Station, Texas.

Twenty years ago in 1986, rain washed out Stafford, Waterford, Riverside and Riverhead. At New Egypt, Tim Arre took the win over Bob Park and John Blewett jr and at Spencer it was Tony Hirschman over Ken Troyer and Jan Leaty. George Kent beat out Jim Spencer and Leaty at Shangri-La and at Monadnock it was Jerry Marquis.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford as he was able to hold off Bob Potter and John Sneed. Jerry Pearl won at Waterford on Saturday and Eddie Brunnhoelzl won the Richie Evans Memorial 76 lap event at Riverhead. Ron Shepherd and John Preston finished one-two at Owego and at Riverside it was Stan Gregger over Bobby Gee. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Ricky Rudd spun Davey Allison on the last lap and took the lead for the win. NASCAR reacted and black flagged Rudd, taking the win and restoring Allison to the top spot.

Ten years ago in 1996, Ted Christopher won his 37th main event at Stafford. Lloyd Agor finished second with Bo Gunning, third. Tucker Reynolds, knocking at the door for quite some time, got his first win at Waterford on Saturday night. Jim Broderick finished second and was followed by Scott Spaulding and David Gada. Tommy Fox was the late model winner and popular Eric Webster was the Strictly Stock winner. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Jennerstown for a 150 lapper. Steve Park took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 130 and went on to record the win. Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, Mike Ewanitsko and Tim Connolly. Al Ermmarino was victorious at Riverhead and at Riverside Park Eddie Spiers bea t out Richard Savory. John Blewett III won at Flemington and Bob Dragon led 102 of 145 laps at Tioga to record his 12th career Busch North Series win. In Busch South action, Todd Bodine recorded his ninth career BGN win as he won the South Boston 300 over Mike McLaughlin. In other action, Rick Martin went two for two as he won Pro Stock events at both Seekonk and Thompson.

Five years ago in 2001 Eric Berndt went two for two as he won a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night and backed it up with a win at Waterford on Saturday night. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverhead on Saturday night. Mike Stefanik, who was second fastest to pole sitter Jerry Marquis, started ninth and took the lead on lap 106 on his way to recording his 60th Modified Tour win. Marquis finished second with local favorite John Fortin recording a third. Bill Park and Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Jeff Gordon was the Busch Pole sitter and he went on to record the 100th Winston Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Last year, 2005 The Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island on Saturday night. The sun gods descended upon the eastern Long Island speedway as forty-one Modifieds attempted to qualify for 28 starting spots. Eric Beers was the Busch Pole sitter. Ted Christopher was the second of two leaders as he won his first ever at the last oval left on Long Island. Frank Vigliarolo Jr. led the first thirty-three laps before giving way to Christopher who led lap 34 to lap 150. Christopher started third. Eric Beers in the Michael and Janice Boehler No 3 got a hard-earned second. Don Lia, who cut his racing teeth at Riverhead, finished third. Jerry Marquis appeared to turn his season around as he finished fourth with Mike Stefanik, fifth. Six cautions for 52 laps kept the average speed at 43.591 mph. By virtue of his win Christopher moved into the point lead as he leads Zach Sylvester by 54 points. Sylvester finished 14th, one lap down.

The Waterford Speedbowl and its possible demise continued to be the hot topic in New England. From various sources it had been learned that the actual option on the property was taken close to a year ago and was kept a secret until recently. Word has it that $20,000 was put up to buy the property for $11 million. The LLC that currently owned the property paid in the neighborhood of $1.4million. The option ran out at the end of June and at that time it could be renewed, acted upon or dropped. Another nail in the coffin was driven on Saturday night when track operator Terry Eames failed to renew his liquor license. The Speedbowl usually sells a considerable amount of beer and is a definite money maker.

Jeff Pearl was the SK Modified winner. Rob Summers finished second with Dennis Gada, third. Tom Fox and John Bergenty rounded out the top five. Carl Erickson was the Late Model winner, Dan Darnstaedt, the Sportsman winner and Joe Godbout was the Mini-Stock winner. Jeff Paul continues to dazzle the Legends division as he now has three wins in a row.

The Thompson International Speedway began their Thursday night Thunder series this past week. Todd Ceravolo appeared to have finally shaken his string of bad luck as he was leading the Sunoco Modified feature when an engine head gasket blew with 15 laps remaining in the event and ultimately forced him to drop out. Kerry Malone, running second at the time, was the benefactor of Ceravoloís bad luck as he inherited the lead and was able to hold on to take the eventual win. Jeff Malave finished second with Bo Gunning, third and Ted Christopher, fourth. John Sandberg rounded out the top five. George "Mad Dog" Bessette won the Pro Stock feature with Jeff Zuidema taking top honors in the Late Models. Scott Sundeen was the Limited Sportsman winner. Top honors in the Mini-Stocks went to Steve Michalski and Richie Ferreira came out on top in the TIS Modifieds. The 5/8 mile oval will be quiet this Thursday, June 9, as final preparations are made for the Twin 100ís, best of both worlds events scheduled for Sunday, June 12. The best of both worlds will see the Whelen Modified Tour Series and the Busch North Series competing in separate 100 lap events. Also included in the program are the six New England Dodge weekly racing series divisions that run weekly at the historic oval.

Ted Christopher got a little closer to hitting the century mark for career wins at the Stafford Speedway on Friday as he captured his 92nd overall win. Christopher held off Frank Ruocco in a three lap sprint to the finish. Eric Berndt, Donnie Lia and Willie Hardie Jr. rounded out the top five. Rick Lanagan was the Late Model winner. Michael Bennett made it six out of seven wins in the Limited Late Models and Mike Sweeney scored his first ever DARE Stock win.

In Nextel Cup action at Dover Downs Greg Biffle took the lead with from Jimmie Johnson with 17 laps to go and went on to take the victory over Kyle Busch. In Busch Series Racing at Dover, Martin Truex JR cruised to an easy victory over Kevin Harvick. In other activity at Dover, Busch Series driver Shane Hmiel was escorted off the speedway property and suspended indefinitely as a drug test indicated illegal substances in his blood. This was his second offense.

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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