Friday June 12, 2009

By Phil Smith

Forty years ago in 1969, Charlie Jarzombek returned to Stafford but this time Bugsy Stevens was ready for him as the defending National Champion was not about to let an outsider get the best of him. When the checker dropped at 30 laps, Stevens had defended his home turf and Jarzombek had to settle for second. Bobby Santos finished third and was followed by Holly Wilder and Tom Sutcliff. At Albany-Saratoga, Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row and three out of four at the upstate N.Y. oval. Guy Chartrand finished second and was followed by Rene Charland and Bernie Miller. Lazzaro repeated at Fonda on Saturday running his string to four in a row at the place they called the track of champions. Kenny Shoemaker, in the Bobby Judkins 2x finished second with Ken Platt, third.

Hop Harrington took down the Thompson 200 in the Tant/Mitchell Coupe. (Photographer Unknown)

At Norwood, Eddie Flemke in the Dave Welch-Greg Mills 79 took the win over Johnny Thompson, Billy Schulz and Pete Hamilton. Bob Potter was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Les Fletcher was the Daredevil winner. Thompson ran their 200 on Sunday. Ray Hendrick was scheduled to drive the Tant/Mitchell 11 but became fogbound at the Newark Airport. Ralph "Hop" Harrington was given the ride and ride he did as he won the event going away. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Racing at Utica-Rome on Sunday night was rained out.

Thirty five years ago in 1974, Charlie Jarzombek went three for three as he won twin events at Freeport on Friday night and a 100 lapper on Saturday night at Islip. Jarzombek had his work cut out for him as invaders Richie Evans and Jerry Cook were on hand. Evans could do no better than second and Cook ended up fourth behind Fred Harbach. It was still a good weekend for Evans as he won at Utica-Rome on Friday over Rene Charland and Ed Pieniezak and won again on Sunday at Fulton over Mike Loescher and Geoff Bodine. At Stafford on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard made it two in a row as he beat out Bugsy Stevens and Don Flynn. Also on Saturday, George Kent and Gramme Bolia shared victory lane at Shangri-La and at Waterford Lou Herman took his only Modified win. At Thompson on Sunday, Eddie Flemke in the John Steiger 7 took the win over Bob Santos, Ollie Silva and Mario "Fats" Caruso. In other weekend action, Punky Caron and Ronnie Bouchard shared victories at Monadnock on Friday.

Thirty years ago in 1979, Richie Evans started the weekend at New Egypt on Wednesday with a win over Charlie Jarzombek and Jerry Cook. Evans recorded his 198th career win by taking the Friday night 30 lapper at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard was testing tires during the day and lost the engine in the Bob Johnson 17. Don Flynn offered him his no.25 and was not disappointed as he finished second. Finishing third was Steady Eddie Flemke. Saturday at Riverside Evans made it 199 as he beat out Jerry Cook and Ron Wyckoff. At Seekonk, Brian Ross took the win over Ray Lee and Joe Arcana. Islip ran a 75 lapper and it was Wayne Anderson in for the win over Don Howe and George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Evans made it a hat trick as he went four for four and recorded his 200th win as he won at Monadnock on Sunday. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Shangri-La, John Falconi Jr. at Westboro, Rick Donnelly at Waterford, George Savory at Thompson, Punky Caron at Claremont and Maynard Troyer at Lancaster.

Twenty five years ago in 1984, Mike Mclaughlin won at Stafford over Charlie Jarzombek. Corky Cookman, who had been driving for Art Barry, finished last and was fired from the ride. Jerry Pearl was the SK Modified winner. At Riverside, Kenny Bouchard beat out Reggie Ruggerio and in twin events at Waterford, veterans Bob Potter and Glynn Shafer took victories. George Kent had a two-fer as he won both at Spencer and at Shangri-La. At Riverhead it was Tom Baldwin over Fred Harbach and at Islip, races were cancelled due to curfew. John Blewett Jr. won at New Egypt and Tony Siscone was victorious at Wall. In Winston Cup action at Pocono Raceway, David Pearson took the pole but it was Cale Yarborough taking the win.

Twenty years ago in 1989, rain washed out Stafford. At Waterford John Anderson beat Harry Rice and at Riverside it was Tom Bolles over Rick Summers. The racing community was saddened to learn that Tom Druar passed away after suffering injuries at Lancaster. At Riverhead, Bob Park won out over Dan Jivenelli and at Monadnock on Sunday in a mod tour event Reggie Ruggerio won out over Jeff Fuller and Jamie Tomaino.

Fifteen years ago this week in 1994, Mike Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Mike Paquette finished a strong second and was followed by Steve Chowanski and Bob Potter. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Lee N.H. Reggie Ruggiero was the early leader until losing an engine on lap 31.From there on it was the Fuller brothers fighting for the lead when they came together and wrecked. Jamie Tomaino was the eventual winner and was followed by Jan Leaty, Charlie Pasteryak, Steve Park and Tony Ferrenti. At Waterford, Bob Potter driving for the Bunnell Bros. took the win over Chris Jones and Mike Gada. Chris Kopec held off Reggie Ruggiero and Steve Park at Riverside and at Riverhead, Chris Young beat out Tom Tillotson for the win. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Rusty Wallace was both the pole sitter and the winner while at Myrtle Beach; Elton Sawyer was the Busch GN winner.

Ten years ago, in 1999, Lloyd Agor was declared the Friday night winner at Stafford after apparent winner Mike Christopher was disqualified for having illegal mufflers, Jeff Malave ended up second. The Featherlite modifieds were at Riverhead for a 200 lapper, John Blewett III took the win after unwittingly parking Tony Hirschman who had checked up to avoid a wreck. Tim Connolly finished second with Dan Avery, Rick Fuller and Tony Ferrenti following. Billy Sharp beat out Dennis Gada at Waterford and Bob Polverari scored his 36th career win at Riverside. Kenny Tremont made it eight in a row at Lebanon Valley. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Dale Jarrett dominated the event, which went pole to pole, caution free. Jarrett lapped 38 of the 43 starters. Dale Earnhardt was the Busch South winner at South Boston and Brad Leighton won the Busch North event at Beech Ridge.

Five years ago in 2004 the Stafford management called a mid-week meeting with its SK Modified competitors with the hope of eliminating some of the destruction of equipment on Friday nights. Less than 25 competitors showed up as the Stafford management announced that they were eliminating the use of mirrors, radios and changing tire compounds. They would also paint a yellow line on the aprons in the turns. Anyone going below the line would receive a severe penalty. In Thursday night action at the Thompson Speedway Ted Christopher scored the Sunoco SK Modified win over Jeff Malave and Bert Marvin. Christopher carried his winning ways over to Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Chuck Docherty and James Civali for the win. Tommy Fox took the SK Modified win at Waterford on Saturday night over Glen Billings and Don Fowler while at Riverhead it was Mike Andrews over John Fortin. Steven Reed got the best of John Blewett III at Wall Stadium. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at the Lake Erie Speedway. The event carried a purse of $77,753 and drew 33 cars. Tony Hirschman, who started in second spot, passed pole sitter Rob Summers on lap 14 and went on to score a victory in the 150 lap event. Todd Szegedy finished second and was followed by Jerry Marquis, Rick Fuller, Ed Flemke Jr and Summers. In other weekend action Jason Lefler won a Busch Series event at Nashville and Andy Santerre was the Busch North Series winner at Seekonk.

Last year, 2008, the Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled due to wet conditions. Bert Marvin was the current point leader in the Sunoco Modifieds. Marvin held a 14 point lead over Josh Sylvester. The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to fog on Friday night.

Last year Scott Payea was the Speedbowl ACT Tour winner. (Keith Cyr Photo)

The Waterford Speedbowl raced under clear skies and provided southeastern Connecticut race fans a full program of racing. The main event of the evening was a 100 lap American Canadian Tour contest that was won by tour regular Scott Payea. Waterford regular Bruce Thomas led the early going but in the end had to settle for second. Former Busch North Series regular Brad Leighton finished third with Ron Yuhas Jr and Nichloas Sweet rounding out the top five. Doug Coby was the SK Modified winner. Tyler Chadwick finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Jeff Paul, and Keith Rocco. Other feature winners were Mark Hudson (Late Model), Brandon Plemons (Sportsman), and Lou Bellisle (Mini Stock).

At the All Star Speedway in New Hampshire Ted Christopher had his hands full with Jimmy Blewett, who nearly got past on a late-race restart. But Christopher was up to the task, holding on to post the win. Blewett, Jon McKennedy, Ronnie Silk, and Hirschman rounded out the top five.

In NASCAR Nextel Cup competition at the Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne started from the pole, overcame an early pit road penalty that dropped him to 38th and led a race-high 69 of the 200 laps in his Dodge as he went on to take the win. Brian Vickers was second for his best finish since joining Red Bull Racing and Denny Hamlin was third to give Toyota two cars in the top three. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and appeared winded after racing more than four hours in temperatures that hovered around 90 degrees.

Kyle Busch finished last, but became the first driver to compete in all three of NASCAR's national series at three racetracks on the same weekend.

Brad Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide Series victory Saturday night, passing Clint Bowyer with six laps to go and easily holding off his closest rivals in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Joey Logano won the pole during the day, but finished 31st after a crash on lap 89. He led the first 60 laps and 64 overall. David Stremme rallied to finish second, followed by David Reutimann and Bowyer.

This week are several vintage racing photos of Plainville Stadium from the lenses of photographers Steve Kennedy & Phil Hoyt, courtesy of the &
Click on Photo for Full Size

Dave Germano (Phil Hoyt Photo)

Harvey Vallencourt
(Phil Hoyt Photo)

Jim Worez (Steve Kennedy Photo)

Tommy Ormsby (Steve Kennedy Photo)

Johnny Ziegler (Steve Kennedy Photo)

Larry Crighten (Steve Kennedy Photo)

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is:

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

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