Friday June 22, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                                                Click on Photo for Full Size                                

Forty years ago in 1967, Bugsy Stevens was the Friday night winner at Stafford over Gene Bergin, Bobby Santos, Pete Hamilton and Leo Cleary. It was Stevens’ first win at Stafford. Double features were on tap at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Rene Charland took the opener and was followed by Bill Wimble, Eddie Flemke, Lou Lazzaro and Guy Chartrand. Kenny Shoemaker won the nightcap over Richie Evans, Wimble, Lazzaro and Flemke. Hamilton, who had taken over the Worcester Sand and Gravel No.69 that had formerly been driven by Mario "Fats" Caruso took the Saturday night win at Norwood Arena. At Fonda, it was Rene Charland over Lou Lazzaro and Jack Farquar. At the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night George Pendergast beat out Richie Evans, Pete Corey, Billy Harman and Rene Charland for the win.

Thirty five years ago in 1972, rain put a damper on the racing in New York State as Malta, Fonda and Utica-Rome pulled the plug because of the wet stuff. Bugsy Stevens was the Saturday night winner at Stafford over Eddie Flemke, Leo Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard. At Islip, Japanese driver George Tet was the winner at the tight 1/5 mile oval. Cliff Tyler finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third.

Thirty years ago in 1977, still going strong was Bugsy Stevens, now in the Koszela 15, as he blasted his way thru the field at Stafford to record a popular win over Geoff Bodine, Ray Miller and Brett Bodine. The rain stayed north and washed out Friday night action at Monadnock. Saturday night at Seekonk, Leo Cleary in the Tom Dunn T-5 Pinto Wagon showed the quick way around the 1/4 mile oval as he took the win over Jim Wilkins, John Rosati and George Murray. Waterford and Westboro were victims of rain but at Riverside it stayed dry long enough for Bob Polverari to record a win over Reggie Ruggiero. All racing for the weekend on Long Island was also wet. At Thompson on Sunday, Fred DeSarro made it four in a row. Geoff Bodine settled for second and was followed by Leo Cleary, Ronnie Bouchard and Ray Miller.

Twenty five years ago in 1982, Richie Evans scored his 11th of the season with a 150 lap win at New Egypt on Wednesday night. Tony Siscone finished second with Jerry Cook, third. New Egypt ran again on Friday night with Siscone turning the tables with a win over Evans and John Blewett Jr. Greg Sacks, enjoying his best season ever, recorded his 12th win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens finished second with George Summers, third. Tom Bolles was the SK Modified winner. Dan DeRosier beat out Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari at Riverside and at Thompson, Richie Evans and Reggie Ruggiero each scored victories. Rain washed out Waterford and Islip. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Cale Yarborough took the win.

Twenty years ago in 1987, Rick Fuller was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Richie Gallup finished second with Jerry Pearl, third. Ricky Shawn was the Late Model winner. Dickie Doo Ceravolo made it two in a row at Waterford on Saturday night as he beat out Moose Hewitt and Jerry Pearl for the win. At Riverside, Dan Avery took the win over Bob Polverari and Reggie Ruggiero and at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson went pole to pole to take the win over Tom McCann. Out in South Central New York at Shangri-La, Tony Hirschman took the win and in Winston Cup action at Riverside, Tim Richmond took the win.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, rain drenched the northeast, washing out Stafford's Busch North Series event on Friday night and Waterford on Saturday night. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series Modifieds were at Flemington for a 200 lapper which was won by local favorite Doug Hoffman. Jan Leaty finished second with Ed Flemke Jr, Tim Arre and Jeff Fuller rounding out the top five. Mike Ewanitsko ruled the roost at Riverhead and at Riverside, Bruce D'Assandro beat out John Zavisa and Ed Kennedy for the win.

Ten years ago in 1997, Steve Chowanski started his weekend right with a win at Stafford on Friday night. Bo Gunning finished second with Jim Broderick, third. At Waterford on Saturday night, Todd Ceravolo got his fourth win of the season after Jim Broderick was disqualified with an illegal transmission. Don Fowler ended up second with Dennis Gada, third. Mike Stefanik recorded his sixth modified win of the season as he won the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Touring Series 201 lap event at Riverhead. After taking the lead on lap 66, Stefanik survived nine cautions for 42 laps on his way to victory. His average speed was 46.708 mph. Mike Ewanitsko finished second and was followed by Ted Christopher, Tim Connelly and Rick Fuller.Ted Riggott got his fourth win at Riverside and in Busch North Series action at Thompson on Sunday, Jerry Marquis took the win over Martin Truex, Tom Bolles, Rick Fuller and Mike Stefanik. Marquis started sixth and was running third on lap 31 of the 150 lap event when Kelly Moore dumped leader Dale Shaw. Shaw went to the back and Moore pitted for a stop and go. In Winston Cup action at Fontana in California, Jeff Gordon took the checker on fumes as he ran out of gas on the cool down lap.

Five years ago in 2002, Bert Marvin made it three in a row in Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson. Marvin started 17th and followed Ted Christopher to the front. He passed Christopher on lap 7 and leader Stu McCarthy on lap18 of the 30-lap feature. McCarthy finished second and was followed by Christopher, Bo Gunning, Tom Bolles and Ron Yuhas Jr. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour traveled to Richmond, Virginia for a 150-lap event. Rookie sensation Todd Szegedy took the win after passing Mike Stefanik on lap 95. Stefanik finished second with Nevin George, Jerry Marquis and Chuck Hossfeld rounding out the top five. Stafford ran a 100 lapper for the SK-Modifieds. Mike Christopher drove the Mystique Motorsports No.13 for his brother who was at Richmond. Mikey started dead last and ended up taking the win over Jim Williams, Tucker Reynolds and John Lobo. Waterford was the scene of “The Big Wreck” on Saturday night. Jim Civalli got loose coming out of turn four on lap nine and ended up collecting 15 of the 22 starters in a grinding wreck. Among those sustaining race-ending damage were Dennis Gada, Jeff Pearl, Don Fowler and David Gada. Tom Fox survived to take the win over Ron Yuhas Jr., Dennis Charette and Jay Miller. Chris Young won at Riverhead and John Blewett III took Wall Township. Andy Santerre won the Busch North Series 150 at Holland and Greg Biffle won the Busch Grandnational event at Milwaukee. The Winston Cuppers had the weekend off.

Last year, The Thompson Speedway managed to beat out the weather as they put round two of Thursday night Thunder in the history books. Jimmy Blewett put the Eddie Partridge No. 12 at the top of the heap as he took the win in the Sunoco (SK) Modified division. Bert Marvin showed a lot of strength and actually led during the mid portion of the event before he was sidelined with a broken wheel hub. Marvin indicated that the broken hub was a result of Blewett driving into him. Jeff Malave finished second with Tom Cravenho, third. Opening night winner Keith Rocco was taken out after a grinding crash with Ted Christopher. Christopher was driving for John Jensen. Todd Ceravolo also had a good run going until rubbing wheels with Tom Cravenho forced him to have a tire go down in the late stages. Ceravolo ended up 10th. For the second week in a row the defending champ Malave finished second ahead of Cravenho. Woody Pitkat finished fourth over Buddy Charette. Corey Hutchings won a close one over Steve Landry in the Late Models, which went the 50-lap distance. Other winners were Jeff Zuidema in the Pro Stocks, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman, Rick Blanchard in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds.

The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain again. Because of an extremely wet spring only four events, including the Spring Sizzler had been run. Eric Berndt, with four top tens including one win sat in the SK Modified point lead. Berndt held a four-point lead over Woody Pitkat. Although winless Pitkat also had four top tens. Jeff Malave sat in a distant third spot, some 26 points behind Pitkat. Todd Owen and Bo Gunning rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jeff Baral, Lloyd Agor, Chris Jones, Frank Ruocco and Kenny Horton. Woody Pitkat, with three Late Model victories led the division. Jim Peterson and Ryan Posocco make up the top three. Bill Davis, with one win, was the Limited Late Model point leader and Shelly Perry was the SK Light point leader.

At the Waterford Speedbowl the rain gods continued their wrath as an all day monsoon all but swamped the Speedbowl grounds. Dennis Gada had gone seven for seven in top 10 finishes. Despite the fact that victory lane had eluded him he sat in the lead of the SK Modified point standings. Gada held a 12 point lead over Chris Pasteryak Veteran Tommy Fox sat in third spot, 10 points behind Pasteryak. Rounding out the top five were the Monahan brothers, Diego and Shawn. Sixth through tenth were Jeffrey Paul, John Brouwer Jr., Rob Janovic, Rob Summers and Jeff Pearl. In the Late Model division, Jay Stuart with two wins held a 28 point edge over Tim Jordan. Danny Field, with four wins led David Silvia in the Mini Stock division by 30 points. In the Sportsman division, Dwane Dorr had six wins and held a commanding 50 point lead over Bill Gertch. Mark Bakaj was the Legends leader.

It was announced that Whelen Modified Tour Series points leader Ted Christopher would be driving for the 86 Al-Lee Installations team for balance of the 2006 season. Ed Whelan would field 2 cars for the balance of the year. Ted Christopher would run all the remaining races. Mike Andrews would drive a limited schedule consisting of the remaining short track races to gain experience at the tour level.

Bryon Chew scored his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series victory after six years of trying Saturday night at Holland International Speedway, leading only three laps of the Fuccillo Auto Park HUGE 150. Dueling side-by-side with leader Mike Johnson on a restart at lap 145, the Long Island driver finally claimed the lead for good on the white flag lap, winning by 0.221 seconds. Mike Olsen edged Tracy Gordon for third and closed to within 22 points of leader Sean Caisse, who placed eighth.

In Nextel Cup action at Sonoma, CA Jeff Gordon ended a dry spell as he took his first win since October 2005 at Martinsville. Ryan Newman finished second with Terry Labonte, third. Paul Menard was the Busch Series winner at Milwaukee.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail:

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

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