Sixty years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford adopted a
summer schedule which would see racing at the shoreline oval twice a
week, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The first Wednesday event was a 50
lap Memorial Day special that was won by Chauncey “Jocco” Maggiacomo.
The scheduled Saturday night event fell victim to rain.
Fifty years ago in 1961 Mario “Fats” Caruso was the Saturday
night winner at the Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA. At the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl Ted Stack made it five in a row in
Modified competition. Ed Moody made it two in a row in the Bombers
and Arnie Harris made it two in a row in the non-Fords.
Forty five years ago in 1966 rain washed out the Friday night
racing program at the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. It
stayed dry in Connecticut as Bill Wimble was the Friday night winner
on the dirt at Stafford. Jerry Dostie, driving Art Barry’s #909 was
the Saturday night Modified feature winner at Norwood. Charlie
Webster annexed his second Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Eddie Bunnell made it six in a row in the Bombers and Butch Reed
took the Daredevil win. 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.
Forty 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 nightcap 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. Jerry Dostie put his Crown 7 in
Modified victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl. Big Mike Daignault
was the Sportsman Sedan winner. 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-five 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. Bob
Potter won the Waterford 200 at the shoreline oval. Gary Hartson was
the Grand American winner. At Thompson on Sunday, Geoff Bodine won
his first of what was to be four in a row.
Thirty 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. Lou Funk Jr was the Modified winner and Randy
LaJoie was the Sportsman winner at Danbury. In Winston Cup action,
Benny Parsons won at College Station, Texas.
Twenty five 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
Twenty 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 Greger 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.
Fifteen 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.
Ten 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
Five years ago in 2006 it looked like the proposed domed
speedway in Plainfield, CT was a dead issue as town zoning
commissioners voted 4-1 to eliminate a controversial one-year-old
development district that incorporated 822 acres east of Interstate
395 near exits 87 and 88. The commission voted unanimously to also
repeal the supporting zoning regulations that enabled the district
to be established.. New England Raceway LLC, a Trumbull, CT-based
firm, originally proposed the development district, which was
commonly referred to as the C5 zone. Developer Eugene Arganese, who
had previously all been run out of North Stonington, spent the
better part of the summer of 2004 garnering support for the zoning
concept and his proposal to build a nearly $400 million domed auto
racetrack. After a first failed attempt in November 2004, Arganese
was successful in getting the regulations passed and the zoning map
amended to establish the district with the Plainfield Greyhound Park
on Lathrop Road at its anchor. He secured options on hundreds of
acres in the area with promises to purchase the properties for
prices much higher than market value once he received all necessary
approvals for his project. Arganese, who did not attend the previous
week’s meeting, had never filed an application for his proposed
140,000-seat racetrack. In May, the LeBlanc family on 226 Lathrop
Road filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Arganese. Family
members allege he failed to purchase their property for the $894,700
he promised by Dec. 31, 2005.
The Thompson Speedway was scheduled to start it’s Thursday night
Thunder Series but after close to five inches of rain fell on the
speedway track owner Don Hoenig had no choice but to cancel the
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of Summer Blast-Off Night
on Friday as the weatherman finally gave the speedway a break. In
the consecutive win category, Jeff Baral racked up his second
consecutive SK Modified feature win while Woody Pitkat took home his
third consecutive Late Model feature win. Shelly Perry was the
winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, George Nocera,
Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Steve
Berardi was the 15-lap DARE Stock feature winner, and Woody Pitkat
was the winner of the Late Model 16 feature.
Conspicuous by his absence from the SK Modified feature was Ted
Christopher. Christopher had planned on competing at Stafford until
federal and state marshals raided his race shop in Plainville, CT on
Friday morning taking six cars plus truckloads of racing related
equipment and parts. The racecars that he drove belonged to Danbury
Connecticut businessman Jim Galante. Galante was arrested Friday
with others as part of a federal investigation into organized
crime's influence over the trash hauling business. Galante also owns
the Danbury Trashers hockey team. Christopher is Stafford’s all time
feature winner plus a top contender on the NASCAR Whelen Modified
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, Shawn Monahan survived
seven restarts after starting on the pole and became the seventh
different SK-Modified feature winner of the season. Monahan, who
battled defending champion Rob Summers most of the way, secured one
of two guaranteed spots for the upcoming True Value Modified Series
100. Summers had a Whelen Modified Tour commitment in Jennerstown,
PA giving the second True Value spot to Monahan’s brother Diego, a
winner earlier in the season. Diego, who finished third, fought off
Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada over the final seven laps. Other winners
included Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (20-lap
Sportsman) and Ken Cassidy (20-lap Mini Stock).
The Busch East, formerly Busch North Series, got its new beginning
on Saturday night at the Greenville- Pickens Speedway in South
Carolina. Live HD Net TV coverage and a purse of $118,911 served as
another slap in the face to the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Sean
Caisse, the 2005 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, won his first career
NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race. Caisse,
driving for four-time champion Andy Santerre, took the lead for the
final time on lap 142 of An American Revolution 150 presented by
Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet. A near-capacity crowd at NASCAR’s
second–oldest speedway, including racing legends David Pearson and
Jack Ingram, enthusiastically enjoyed the classic short track
bumping, grinding, and three-wide racing on the nearly flat half
mile track where the first live NASCAR telecast on a major network
took place 35 years ago. Brian Hoar, Mike Olsen, Matt Kobyluck, and
Bryon Chew completed the top five.
Denny Hamlin did a NASCAR version of a spin and win and captured his
first ever NEXTEL Cup victory at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500.
Hamlin led all but one lap of the first 51 when he lost a left rear
tire going into the tunnel turn. After managing to keep it off both
walls, his crew did yeoman's work both keeping that car on the lead
lap and keeping it fast and that was all he needed as he went on to
register a dominant victory. Denny led 6 times for 83 laps and
posted a 1.328 margin of victory. Kurt Busch finished second with
Tony Stewart, third. Carl Edwards drove to a dominating win in the
Federated Auto Parts 300 in Nashville, TN. He unofficially led 70 of
the last 85 laps, and beat Clint Bowyer to the finish by .920
seconds. It was Edwards' second win in the last three Busch races.
Last year, 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ended
its "Spring Break" last Friday when they returned to action at the
Stafford Motor Speedway for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. The event
carried a purse of $76,476. There were 33 Modifieds on hand for the
31 starting spots.
Bobby Santos edged Jimmy Blewett in a dramatic two-lap dash to the
finish to win the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour race. Santos and Blewett battled back-and-forth throughout the
late stages of the event, which was extended with two attempts at a
green-white-checkered finish due to late-race cautions.
After Santos jumped the final restart on lap 135, he was ordered to
let Blewett pull even at the line. Blewett nipped Santos as they
took the white flag, but Santos was able to battle back to capture
his second win of the season and the third of his career. Todd
Szegedy, Ryan Preece and Rob Summers rounded out the top five.
Completing the top 10 were Eric Berndt, Mike Stefanik, Erick
Rudolph, George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss.
Santos won his third pole in three attempts during qualifying
earlier in the day and following the redraw started the race on the
outside of the front row. Eric Berndt was successful in battling
Santos for the early lead and paced the field for the majority of
the race. Berndt had extended his lead to 2.5 seconds by lap 90, but
he lost the top spot when he faltered on a lap 108 restart, giving
the lead to Chuck Hossfeld. When Hossfeld was spun by Blewett a few
laps later, however, Santos took advantage to gain the lead. Santos
then had to contend with Blewett through the final stages of the
There were seven cautions for 35 laps. Seventeen of the 31 starters
finished on the lead lap. For his efforts Santos received $6600.
Blewett earned $2900 while Szegedy received $2500.
The Modified Racing Series ran a double header last week as they
held events at the Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY and Thunder
Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT.
In a wild last lap finish, Les Hinckley unofficially won the 100 lap
Modified Racing Series feature at the Airborne Speedway on Saturday
night. Hinckley, from his pole starting position led the first 74
laps, setting a torrid pace holding off the constant threats of Todd
Annarummo, and defending series champion, Jon McKennedy.
Unofficially the win by Hinckley is his 12th MRS victory. Rowan
Pennink, who started 15th in the 25-car field, passed Hinckley on
lap 75 and held the top spot, resulting in Hinckley chasing the new
leader. Hinckley and Dwight Jarvis pursued Pennink until lap 99,
when Hinckley and Pennink made contact racing to the checkered flag
resulting in a violent crash at the start-finish line. Both cars
came to a halt against the first turn safety barrier, neither driver
was injured. Jarvis settled for third followed by Carl Pasteryak and
Kenny Barry. The race in front of a near capacity crowd saw the top
11 drivers finish on the lead lap.
The second Modified Series event of the weekend saw 20 year old
Stephen Masse captured his second consecutive Memorial Day Classic
100 at the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl Sunday, May
30th Starting fifth in a 24-car field, Masse moved to second by lap
nine and then took over the lead from early race leader Todd
Annarummo, on lap 19. Despite 11-caution periods that slowed the
race, Masse opened up sizable leads, several times by large margins,
but was never headed. Rob Goodenough, who started the race in
seventh position, finished in the runner up spot followed by Ken
Barry, Kirk Alexander, and 17 year old Norwich (CT) Free Academy
student, Max Zachem. At one point in the race Zachem was joined in
the top five by fellow high schooler Joey Jarvis. Both drivers will
graduate from high school in June. Sixth through tenth was Les
Hinckley, Joey Jarvis, Charlie Pasteryak, Dwight Jarvis and Eddie
Spiers. Hinckley was also the recipient of a $400 bonus posted by
motorsports columnist, Kevin Rice of Area Auto Racing News for the
best average between finish the two races.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford
Motor Speedway Keith Rocco continued his winning ways by taking his
second consecutive and third overall victory of the 2010 season in
the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Woody Pitkat picked up his second
win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ted Cain picked up his
second win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Michael
Wray was a first time career winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model
feature, and Kyle Casagrande became the first DARE Stock feature
repeat winner of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature
with a last lap pass for the win.
The Waterford Speedbowl took on a new face last week as several
truck loads of ground up asphalt was dumped and leveled on the
parking area and access road to the shoreline oval. Once the summer
heat beats on it a bit the stuff will harden up and will keep some
of the dust down.
Keith Rocco, who won at Thompson and at Stafford was looking to
score a grand-slam last weekend, ended up settling for a sixth as
Justin Gaydosh pick up his first victory of the year in the 35-lap
SK Modified event. Vin Esposito won the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall
Late Model feature, securing his first win of the year. Al Stone III
took his second win of the season in the 25-lap Street Stock
feature, while Sean Caron also became a two-time winner after taking
the 25-lap Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock checkered flag.
Mike Lichty held off Chris Perley to win the wreck-marred 50-lap
ISMA SuperModified feature.
The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series
saw Keith Rocco return to victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds.
Rocco, who has his sights set on the NASCAR National Title, ran a
determined race after a last lap defeat on opening night at the
hands of Ted Christopher. Shawn Monahan took a convincing win in the
annual 50-lap extra distance event for the Limited Sportsman
division. Jim Banfield broke Derik Randstroms stranglehold on
victory lane as he wired the field to score a hard-fought victory in
the Super Late Models. Rick Gentes took top honors in a wild Late
Model event while Cam “Keith” McDermott was victorious in the TIS
Modifieds. Randy Churchill, Jr was awarded the victory in the Mini
Stocks following post-race technical inspection.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 100 lapper in
front of an absolutely huge crowd. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series driver James Civali was a surprise entry in the Roger Hill
No. 79. Civali got to see first hand why they call the North
Carolina oval "The MadHouse". Civali survived to finish fourth while
Burt Myers took his 43rd career win. Myers, who drew the pole
position, endured nine restarts before taking the win. Defending
Champion Tim Brown was the fastest in qualifying for the third time
this season. He recorded a lap of 13.432 seconds (67 mph) on the
flat quarter-mile track. But he drew the 14th starting spot. Brown
finished 13th. Lee Jeffreys finished second and Jonathan Brown was
third. Civali's intention was to get a "Heads-Up" on racing at the
track as the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series will be racing
there on Aug. 7.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers Jr. won his
second consecutive NASCAR Modified feature event in a 35-lap event
Saturday night after coming from a 14th starting position to do so.
Rogers earned $1,450 for his 11th career NASCAR Whelen All-American
It was all in the family at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch
won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 while brother Kyle won the
Nationwide Series event and the Camping World Truck event.
Dario Franchitti drove 199 nearly flawless laps, then survived the
last one with a huge break from a spectacular crash to climb back on
top of the open-wheel world Sunday with his second win at the
Two years after a failed try in NASCAR, Franchitti held on with a
scant 1.6 gallons of fuel left in the tank, a victory made possible
by a crash that sent Mike Conway airborne and into the wall, and
left the final lap to be run under a caution flag.
The victory made Franchitti's boss, Chip Ganassi, the first owner to
win Indy and NASCAR's Daytona 500 in the same year. It also
validated the Scottish driver's return to the IndyCar circuit two
years after celebrating his 2007 Indy victory by making an
unsuccessful move with Ganassi to NASCAR. England's Dan Wheldon, the
2005 winner who closed furiously as Franchitti slowed to save fuel
in the final laps, was second, and fellow Brit Alex Lloyd was third,
followed by Scott Dixon in fourth.
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: