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Friday June 6, 2008

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                

 
Forty five years ago in 1963, Steady Eddie Flemke Sr. won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Bill Wimble finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Lee Millington and Bob Zeiglar rounded out the top five.

Forty years ago in 1968, Bob Bruno was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Robbie Kotary finished second and was followed by Hop Harrington, Ed Pieniezek and Dave Kotary. At Stafford, Eddie Flemke got the best of Bugsy Stevens in traffic and came out the winner. Stevens finished second and was followed by Leo Cleary, Dick Watson and Tommy Borget. Fred DeSarro, driving his own 327 Chevy powered Sportsman took down the Saturday night feature at Norwood. Ronnie Mayer took the win at Riverside Park and on the dirt at Fonda, Eddie Pieniezek took the win over Lou Lazzaro and Don Wayman. Thompson was idle on Sunday. At the Utica-Rome Speedway Bernie Miller scored a popular win over Jerry Cook, Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro and Eddie Flemke.

Thirty five years ago in 1973 the Friday night races at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. rained out. Stafford Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night. Young sensation Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Richie Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Eddie Flemke. Bouchard backed up his Stafford win with a win in the Parodi Cigar Modified 150 at Pocono on Sunday. Jerry Cook finished second. Other Saturday night winners were Mike Loescher at Tioga and Artie Tappen at Islip. On Sunday evening, Utica-Rome ran twin features with Eddie Pieniezak and Richie Evans taking the wins. At Lee Raceway, Lou Austin won a close one over Ernie Gahan and Jim Landry.

Thirty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it five in a row at Stafford plus went three for three on the weekend as he also won at Riverside on Saturday and at Monadnock on Sunday. Because of previous rainouts, Waterford and Seekonk ran twin features. At Waterford, Dick Dunn and Moose Hewitt took the checkers and at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard and George Summers sat in victory lane. Fred DeSarro made it two in a row at Thompson on Sunday over Bouchard and Leo Cleary. Other weekend winners were Maynard Troyer, who won at Lancaster and Fulton, Tim Mislin at Spencer, George Kent at Tioga and Richie Evans at Utica-Rome.

Twenty five years ago in 1983, Reggie Ruggerio was the top banana at Stafford as he beat out Bob Polverari and Kenny Bouchard for the win. Tom Bolles was the SK modified winner. Rain washed out Waterford and Seekonk. Brian Ross won at Riverside and the first of two features at Thompson. Richie Evans was the other Thompson winner. Other weekend winners were Doug Hewitt at Spencer, Evans at Tioga and John Blewett at Islip. In Winston Cup action at Riverside in California, Ricky Rudd was the winner.

Twenty years ago in 1988, rain washed out Stafford but at Monadnock it stayed clear and Reggie Ruggerio put another notch in his gun as he won the modified main event. Jerry Marquis finished second with Punky Caron, third. On Saturday night at Waterford, Don Fowler was the winner with Dennis Gada second. Ruggerio carried his winning ways over to Riverside on Saturday where he beat out Mike Stefanik and Stan Greger for the win. At Riverhead it was Tom Baldwin holding off Wayne Anderson and Don Howe. Randy Hedger won at Tioga and Jamie Tomaino won at Wall Stadium.

Fifteen years ago in 1993, At Stafford on Friday night, Mike Christopher was given back his spot after getting spun by Bo Gunning on the last lap and went on to take the win. Gunning was put to the rear but came back in one lap to finish fourth behind Christopher, Dennis Gada and Frank Cardile. Jerry Marquis won at Monadnock. In Busch Grandnational North action at Watkins Glen, Bob Dragon took the win over Dick McCabe, Curtis Markham, Dave Reszendes and Ted Christopher. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Dale Earnhardt took the win and in Grandnational action Todd Bodine took the win. It was also announced that Randy LaJoie had secured the ride in the Moroso car. Riverside Park, Riverhead and the Thompson Speedway rained out.

Ten years ago in 1998, Ted Christopher failed to qualify for a Busch Grandnational event at Richmond and made a hasty flight to Stafford where he finished third behind brother Mike and Bo Gunning. Christopher made up for it on Saturday as he won the SK Type event at Thompson over Ed Flemke Jr. and Bert Marvin. Twin features were run at Waterford on Saturday. Bert Marvin arrived from Thompson in time to win the first one with Rick Donnelly and Jon Bunnell following. The Pearls, Jerry and Jeff ran one-two in the nightcap with Donnelly coming home third. At Riverside, Eddie Spiers held off Rob Summers and Billy Bolton. In BGN action at Richmond, Jeff Burton took the win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. The Winston Cup event was a slam bang-exciting event. Rusty Wallace gave Jeff Gordon an attitude adjustment on lap 372 when he returned a bumping favor and turned Gordon into the wall. Terry Labonte took the win after bumping Dale Jarrett out of the way with two laps to go.

Five years ago in 2003, the weekend started on a wet note as all-day rain on Thursday forced the Thompson Speedway management to cancel opening night for Thursday night Thunder. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series had a scheduled 200-lap event at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rained out. At that time there is no rain date. The Busch North Series was slated to run at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine suffered the same fate. This event would run the following Saturday night. Mike Stefanik had hopes of racing at the Lake Erie Speedway in the Art Barry modified but because of his commitment to the Busch North Series, his plans changed and he was at Beech Ridge. For the third week in a row rain-washed out racing at the Waterford Speedbowl. At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, Eric Berndt started on the outside pole and ended up leading 97 of the 100 laps scheduled SK Modified feature. Ted Christopher presented the only challenge and at one point, Lap 63 to 66, had the lead. Christopher faded in the closing laps as he experienced engine trouble. He ended up 27th in the final rundown. Chris Jones finished second with Frank Ruocco, third. Defending track champion Bo Gunning who had been a victim of some early season bad luck, finished fourth and Jim Williams rounded out the top five. In addition to wreaking havoc in New England, the never-ending rain hampered other parts of the country. Among the tracks that had been dumped on is the South Boston Speedway in Virginia that had lost six out of nine events scheduled so far.

Last year, 2007 The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued to regroup before returning to action on Thursday, June 21. Among the biggest news items to come out of the tour ranks was that Chuck Hossfeld had been released from his driving duties of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 owned by Roger and Sandra Hill of Westfield, NC. Hossfeld had been the team’s driver since the beginning of the 2006 season. Team owner Roger Hill said that a new driver would be in place in time for the upcoming Thompson event. Car owner Gary Teto was spearheading an effort to get NASCAR to revamp their race format for upcoming “Flash Events” at the Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. NASCAR came up with the “Flash” format to make events more affordable for speedways and competitors. The format was tried at the Whelen Tour event at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. The result was thousands of dollars worth of damage to the series’ cars. Teto proposed that NASCAR use Don Hoenig’s suggestion of running a single consolation to fill out the fields after the top 20 has qualified by time.
Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway continued to be a top draw of both competitors and fans as 142 cars and a real good crowd were on hand. Kerry Malone, who has designs on the NASCAR Weekly Title made a statement with his strong win in the Sunoco Modified division. Larry Barnett continued to be the benchmark in the Limited Sportsman division with his win in the 50-lap main event. In full-fendered action Rick Gentes scored the Late Model victory while Mike O’Sullivan came home victorious in the Pro Stock division. Roger Larson, Jr. was tops in the TIS Modifieds while Brad Caddick scored the Mini Stock victory win. Craftsman Tools sponsored the night’s activities.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Frank Ruocco won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Scott Foster, Jr. 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Gallo, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand the Limited Late Model feature, and Norm Sears the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. In the words of many of those on hand the SK Modified feature was more of a rolling demolition derby rather than a race. NASCAR’s Busch East Series made a stop at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday. Former Busch North series regular Eddie MacDonald made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series start of the season and came away with his first victory since 2005. MacDonald led the final 81 laps. His win also earned him a secured starting spot in the postseason Toyota All-Star Challenge. Defending Busch East champion Mike Olsen passed Matt Kobyluck with three laps to go take second, while Marc Davis and Bryon Chew were fourth and fifth respectively.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman ruled as heavy rain pounded the shoreline oval throughout the day.

Carl Edwards raced to his fourth NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday night, beating Clint Bowyer in the Federated Auto Parts 300 for the Nextel Cup driver's third straight win at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn. Gordon held off Ryan Newman to win the rain-shortened Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and give Hendrick Motorsports its 10th win in the past 12 Nextel Cup races. The race was red flagged after 106 laps of the scheduled 200-lap, 500-mile race. With darkness falling, the cars went back to pit road and never came back after a final attempt to dry the track.

This week are several vintage racing photos of Tommy Baldwin from the collection of the late Danny Pardi, Courtesy of VintageModifieds.com

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467

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

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