Sixty five years ago in 1948 the
Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA opened. The Midgets were the headline
division. Johnny Bernardi was the inaugural winner. At Cherry Park
in Avon, Ct. Ted Tappett won his 11th feature of the 1948 season and
2nd of the season at Cherry Park over Len Duncan and George Rice.
The Class B feature was won by George Flemke over Jerry Jerome and
Sixty years ago in 1953, the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl staged events on Sunday, Wednesday and
the following Saturday. Joe McNulty was the Sunday winner while Red
Foote won on Wednesday and Cy Yates won on Saturday.
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Red Foote was the Saturday night Modified winner at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the Wednesday night
Non-Ford winner while Hank Stevens won on Wednesday.
Fifty years ago in 1963 Ernie
Gahan won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman 25 lap feature at the
Utica-Rome Speedway. Bob Zeigler finished second with Jim Luke,
third. New York Big Gun Pete Corey was the winner on the Dirt at
Stafford. Ken Shoemaker was second followed by George Janoski, Jerry
Townely and Jim Koehler. Pete Hamilton was the winner in the Hobby
Division. Ted Stack was the Modified winner at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl followed by Don Collins, Billy Harman and
Hank Stevens. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner. At Riverside Park
Speedway Johnny Lobo was the winner with Charlie Brayton second
followed by Paul Humiston, Dick Dixon and Andy Rock. Johnny
Georgiades was the winner at Plainville Stadium over Jap Membrino,
Kenny Orr, George Hotchkiss and Russ Faust. Pat Della Vecchia was
the Novice winner over Ronnie Wyckoff.
Racing news and gossip was hard to come by. There was little or no
coverage in daily papers unless there was a fatality. Many race fans
and competitors got their news from either National Speed Sport News
or Illustrated Speedway News.
On June 14, Len and Maude Sammons brought a new dimension to
covering weekly racing news with the birth of Area Auto Racing News,
which provided much needed coverage of racing in New York, New
Jersey and New England. National Speed Sport News and Illustrated
Speedway News are long gone. Area Auto, now under the guidance of
Lenny Sammons has survived with their up to date coverage and weekly
columns. A tip of the hat to Lenny and his staff!
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Don Wayman was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga
Speedway. Richie Evans finished second and was followed by Dave
Gaul, Ray Sitterly and Ken Canestrary. Bugsy Stevens put the mighty
No.3 of Len Boehler in victory lane at Stafford. Don MacTavish
finished second with Eddie Flemke, Holly Wildler and Mario Fats
Caruso rounding out the top five. Saturday night action at Norwood
was rained out. The Waterford Speedbowl ran their 50 lap Spring
Championship Modified 50 lapper which was won by Newt Palm. At the
Fulton Raceway Bob Merz scored his first of ten features he would
win in three years of competing at the track. Rene Charland was the
top banana at Fonda as he beat out Ed Pieniezek for the win. Sunday
action at Utica-Rome and at Thompson rained out.
Forty years ago in 1973, the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N Y. ran a 100 lapper that saw
Richie Evans take the win over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook and Bugsy
Stevens. Saturday night at Stafford, there was no stopping Bugsy
Stevens as he won the 30-lap feature going away. Eddie Flemke
finished second and was followed by Bobby Santos and Ray Miller.
Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Bill
Scrivener was the winner of the 30 lap Modified feature. Roger
Charbonneau was the Grand American Late Model winner. It rained on
Long Island, washing out a 100 lapper at Islip. Tioga ran with
George Kent taking the win. Sunday at Lee, NH saw Ernie Gahan take
the top spot over Jim Landry and Ed Yerrington. Evans scored his
second win of the weekend on Sunday night at Utica-Rome. Sonny
Seamon finished second with Jerry Cook, third.
Thirty-five years ago in 1978,
Geoff Bodine made it six in a row at Stafford. At Waterford, George
"Moose" Hewitt took the win over Joe Tiezzi, Glynn Shafer and Jerry
Pearl. At Seekonk it was George Summers and at Westboro it was
Freddie Schulz. Reggie Ruggerio beat out Richie Evans and Jack
LeCuyer and at Islip; Greg Sacks took the top spot over Charlie
Jarzombek and Fred Harbach. On Sunday at Thompson, Ronnie Bouchard
trimmed the field. Leo Cleary finished second with Bugsy Stevens
third. Maynard Troyer won at Fulton and Evans won at New Egypt.
Thirty years ago in 1983, Brett
Bodine was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens
finished second and was followed by Brian Ross and Kenny Bouchard.
At Waterford on Saturday, Donnie Fowler held off Dale Holdredge to
take the win. Ted Christopher finished third. Reggie Ruggiero was
the main man at Riverside as he beat out Jack LeCuyer and SJ
Evonsion. The SKs ran at Seekonk with local favorite Eddie StAngelo
taking the win over Kerry Malone and Richie Gallup. Other weekend
winners were George Kent at Tioga, Richie Evans at Spencer, Tony
Siscone at New Egypt, Bill Park at Islip and George Brunnhoelzl at
Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Darrell Waltrip was the
pole sitter and Bobby Allison was the race winner.
Twenty-five years ago in 1988,
Stafford ran twin SK modified events. Jeff Barry and Bo Gunning took
the wins. Reggie Ruggerio took the win at Riverside with Charlie
Pasteryak a close second. Ted Christopher won at Waterford and at
Tioga, Rod Spaulding took the win over newcomer, Tim Connolly. Eddie
Brunnhoelzl beat out Fred Harbach at Riverhead.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Ted
Christopher recorded his 26th career win at Stafford. Bo Gunning
finished second with John Anderson third and Bob Potter, fourth. At
Waterford, Bert Marvin beat out Jim Broderick and Tom Jensen for the
win. At Riverside Park, Reggie Ruggerio took yet another win as he
led Stan Gregger and Chris Kopec across the stripe. Thompson ran a
non-tour-modified event, which drew only 22 cars and a light crowd.
Ruggerio took the win over Carl Pasteryak, Jan Leaty, Tom Baldwin
and Tony Forente. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Ken Schrader took
the pole and Kyle Petty, the win. Jeff and Ward Burton finished
one-two at Myrtle Beach. In Busch Grandnational North competition at
Jennerstown, Dick McCabe was the winner over Jeff Barry and Mike
Fifteen years ago in 1998 rain
played havoc in the northeast the entire weekend. Mike Stefanik flew
to Jennerstown Penn. after the Beech Ridge Busch North event rained
out. Needless to say, Stefanik continued his domination in the
Modifieds as he won the event over Mike Ewanitsko, Reggie Ruggiero
and Tim Connolly. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Mark Martin
took the win over Dale Jarrett.
Ten years ago in 2003, the
Thompson Speedway began their summer series, Thursday night Thunder.
Rain and showers were in Connecticut all day but the speedway
management held fast and the event was run. Being in the right place
at the right time was a definite factor for Ron Yuhas Jr. Yuhas was
running second to Bobby Santos III when the third generation racer
spun in turn four on lap 22 of the scheduled 30 lap feature. Santos
and Yuhas tangled but officials felt it was a racing accident and
didn’t penalize Santos. Three laps later, the skies opened up and
the event was declared completed with Yuhas the winner. Twenty-eight
Sunoco SK type modifieds went to post with Todd Ceravolo on the pole
and Santos on the outside pole. Ceravolo jumped out to an early
lead, opening up a wide margin on Santos. Ted Christopher, who
started fifth, began his march to the front and by lap 12 had moved
into second spot. Bo Gunning, who started deep in the field, also
moved into the top five. The complexion of the event took a drastic
change during a caution period on lap 14 when Ted Christopher and Bo
Gunning got together and ended up in the turn two wall and out for
the night. Ceravolo continued to lead until lap 16 when he spun in
turn four. Officials felt that Ceravolo got help from Bert Marvin
and place the pair in the rear for the re-start. Santos assumed the
lead at that point. With all the scrambling at the end, Jeff Malave
ended up second with Matty Adanti, third. Ceravolo recovered from
his spin and finished fourth. John Brouwer Jr. finished fifth with
Bert Marvin, sixth.
Other opening night winners included Jeff Connors in the Pro Stocks,
Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman
and Andy Publicover in the Mini Stocks.
The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Lake Erie Speedway
in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Todd Szegedy, in his sophomore
season on the tour, got redemption for being snookered at Stafford
on the last lap as he took the victory at the variable banked 3/8
mile oval. John Blewett III finished second with Eric Beers, Chuck
Hossfeld and Ricky Fuller rounding out the top five. Jamie Tomaino
started on the pole by luck of the draw. Ted Christopher was
eliminated on lap two after a confrontation with Tony Hirschman.
Tomaino led until a lap eight re-start when Eric Beers out powered
him to take the lead. Beers held the point until Szegedy took
command on lap 62. Close behind Beers at the time was Jerry Marquis
who settled in, in second spot. Marquis held the spot until lap 100
when he dropped out with suspension problems. From then on it was
Blewett casing Szegedy to the finish. Donnie Lia was the pole sitter
and after drawing tenth, ended up 14th, one lap down. He had a
strong run going until he tangled with Ed Flemke Jr and was put to
the rear for rough riding after spinning Flemke out. Flemke, who
started ninth, had a confrontation with officials over his pit road
speed and ended up losing a lap. Flemke finished fifteenth.
According to various reports the speedway did well as the
grandstands were over 2/3 full.
For the fourth week in a row, rain washed out racing at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Not since 1978 had the Speedbowl had this many
The Labor Day weekend tradition at the Darlington Raceway came to an
end as NASCAR announced that they had approved the request of the
International Speedway Corporation to move the Labor Day Winston Cup
date to the California Speedway. Darlington would still have two
dates, as the speedway took a date formerly held by the Rockingham
Speedway in North Carolina. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bob
Labonte was the Busch Pole sitter. Kurt Busch took the lead from
Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go and went on to record his third win
of the year. Bobby Labonte finished second and Jeff Gordon faded to
third. It was announced that Jeff and Brooke Gordon had reached a
divorce settlement rather than go to trial. Brooke got a reported
Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig, on his way to get a fireworks
permit, was involved in an accident, which destroyed his pace car.
Five years ago in 2008, the
Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled due
to wet conditions. The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to fog on
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).
The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series were enjoying their second “Spring Break of the season.
In a somewhat racing related manner, James Galante, a major
Connecticut trash hauler at the center of a sweeping federal
corruption probe of mob influence in the industry pleaded guilty on
June 3 and agreed to surrender dozens of businesses worth more than
$100 million. The New London Day reported that Galante of Danbury
entered guilty pleas to racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to
defraud the Internal Revenue Service and wire fraud conspiracy. He
faced 70 to 87 months in prison and a fine of up to $750,000.
Galante sponsored and owned Ted Christopher’s racing endeavors from
1995 until June of 2006 when the Galante/Christopher race shop was
raided by the feds who confiscated five complete Modified Type cars
plus another one in the process of being built. One of the cars was
a four-time winner at Loudon.
A 17 page indictment stated that Galante is "knowingly and willingly
turning over to the U.S. Government": "Six racing cars, marked with
numbers 01 thru 06, on the front frame rails and one 1997 53 foot
Featherlie Trailer." Galante agreed to take all steps as requested
by the United States to pass clear title to all of the assets listed
over to the United States Government.".
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.
Last year, 2012, Thursday night
Thunder at the Thompson Speedway was literally Thunder and Lightning
as a pop-up storm drenched the speedway late in the afternoon. Once
the storm passed it was a beautiful night for racing. The track
played host to a first time winner in the Thompson Lite Modifieds,
Troy Talman and a crowd pleasing door-to-door battle in the
Mini-Stock division which saw Mike Veins winning out over Chad
Baxter and Scott Sundeen took the win in the Limited Sportsman. Ryan
Preece held off Keith Rocco for the Sunoco Modified win while Mike
Scorzelli took the checkers in the Late Models. John Lowinski was
the Thompson Modified winner.
Preece took the lead at lap 10 and never looked back despite Rocco’s
bumper in his rear view mirror. Kerry Malone took over the lead at
the drop of the green flag with Ted Christopher closing in on his
bumper. Preece made it a three-way battle when he dove to the bottom
of Christopher for second. Christopher shut the door on his
challenges, and made his own bid on Malone out front at lap two.
Christopher took the lead with Preece in tow relegating Malone to
the third position. Preece was all over Christopher as Keith Rocco
made his way into contention. On lap seven, Rocco dropped to the
bottom and drove by Malone for the third position with Todd Ceravolo
following. As the race approached lap 10, Preece got up alongside
Christopher in a tight battle that lasted until turn four when
Christopher went high. Preece was able to drive to the lead with
Rocco taking over second and Christopher recovering for third. Rocco
closed in to Preece’s bumper and dove low in turn four of lap 23 in
a challenge for the lead. Preece wasn’t about to give it up that
easy, however, and closed the door on his challenge. Rocco kept the
pressure on and tapped Preece’s bumper through the turns -
constantly reminding Preece he was there. Preece was not
intimidated, however, and held the lead until the checkers dropped.
Christopher ended up third and was followed by Ceravolo, Malone and
John Catania. Dennis Perry recorded another fine run as he brought
his Butch Perry Mount home in seventh.
More showers ruled the racing world on Friday as the SK Modified 100
ended up being postponed to Friday, June 29. Regular Friday night
racing at Stafford saw Harry Wheeler get awarded the SK Light
feature win after Bob Charland was placed to the rear for spinning
out leader Joey Ferrigno. With six laps remaining the clouds opened
up and that was that!
At the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl beat out Rob Janovic Jr. by
less than a car length to win the SK Modified feature at the
Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. It was the first time in
three weeks the Whelen All-American Series was back in action
following two straight weeks of rainouts.
Pearl took the lead from Diego Monahan on 1ap 14 of the SK Modified
feature. He held off Janovic and Keith Rocco over two restarts
before holding off Janovic at the finish. Rocco wound up third.
Tyler Chadwick and Kyle James rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners were Waterford's Dillon Moltz in the Late
Model race (his third of the year), Salem's Corey Hutchings in the
Street Stocks (his second of the year) and Lisbon's Ken Cassidy Jr.,
who won his eighth Mini Stock feature of 2012.
Lou Cicconi won the 50-lap International Supermodified Association
feature, a race that was reschedule after being washed out on May
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 25's were
the main attraction of the night. Dean Ward and Brent Elliott went
pole to pole in their respective events and recorded wins.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it had been a long time
since an "outsider" won a weekly Modified event at the east end
oval. Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher changed all that as they
finished one-two there on Saturday night. Preece, who has been a
regular there this year started on the pole and led every lap.
Preece drove a car formerly driven by Bill Park. Christopher has
also been a regular at Riverhead driving a car owned by Wayne
The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Seekonk Speedway on
Saturday night. The event drew 29 cars. Louie Mechalides took the
lead on the first lap and went on to lead the entire 100 lap
distance. Mechalides' only serious challenge came on lap 10 from Les
Hinkley who ran side by side with the eventual winner for a short
time. Hinkley eventually fade to fourth as Jon McKennedy moved into
second. McKennedy had nothing for Mechalides and had to be content
with the runner-up spot at the finish. Tommy Barrett finished third
with Hinkley fourth and Rowan Pennink, fifth. Sixth through tenth
were Joey Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdredge, Norm Wrenn and
Rob Goodenough. Todd Szegedy finished eleventh.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Joey Logano overtook Mark Martin with
four laps left and drove away to earn his second NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series victory at Pocono Raceway. Tony Stewart chased the lead pair
home in third. Jimmie Johnson, who received two pit road speeding
penalties earlier in the day, rallied to finish fourth ahead of
Denny Hamlin in fifth.
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of Tom Ormsby SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes