Friday March 16, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                         

Thirty-five years ago in 1972, the NASCAR Modifieds and the Late Model Sportsman (Grandnationals) were at Martinsville for the Dogwood 500.Seventy six Modifieds were on hand. Bugsy Stevens, in the Sonny Koszela No.15 took the win over Mike Loescher, Fred DeSarro and Ray Hendrick. Rounding out the top ten were Bernie Miller, Charlie Jarzombek, Richie Evans, Geoff Bodine, Lou Lazzaro and Lew Hennesy. Sonny Hutchins in the Emanual Zervakas No.01 was the Late Model winner with Jimmie Hensley, second.

Thirty years ago in 1977, the Modifieds traveled to Hickory , N.C. for a 250-lap event. Satch Worley, in the Clarence's Steak House No.26 took the win over Paul Radford, Jerry Cook, Wayne Anderson and Dave Nichols. Geoff Bodine, in the Dick Armstrong No.1 lost an engine while running second on lap 212.Attrician was so high that Bodine still finished 12th.

Twenty-five years ago in 1982, the Modifieds were quiet as Darrell Waltrip took the pole and eventual win at Bristol in their spring Winston Cup event. Brian Ross and Bob Garbarino, who had been together as a team for almost ten years, went their separate ways. Shortly there after it was announced that Bugsy Stevens would be driving the Mystic Missile for the 1982 season.

Twenty years ago in 1987, the NASCAR Modifieds began their season at Rougemont, N.C. Mike Stefanik in the Koszela No.15 took the win with Jim Spencer, second. Pole sitter Jan Leaty led the start and he first lap until overhauled by Doug Hevron. Hevron led until lap six and from there on it was Reggie Ruggiero, which is until three laps to go in the 150 lapper when he tangled with Satch Worley. Ruggiero and Worley spun and were able to restart but it was too late as a patient Stefanik took the lead and never looked back. Pre-race favorite Charlie Jarzombek, out with a brand new RE Chassis mod, blew a tire and finished in 15th spot. Following Stefanik and Spencer were Ruggiero, Carl Pasteryak, Kenny Bouchard, Mike McLaughlin and Worley. In Winston Cup action at Atlanta , Ricky Rudd took the win.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, all was quiet.

Ten years ago in 1997, at Las Vegas , Jeff Green passed Tim Steele with 14 laps to go and went on to record his first Busch Grandnational win. Dick Trickle finished second after Steele faded. In a truck race at Homestead , Fl, John Nemacheck, Joe's brother, suffered severe head injuries after crashing hard on the driver's side. Nemacheck passed away five days later.

Five years ago in 2002, the Winston Cup and Busch Grandnational divisions of NASCAR were at Darlington . In Winston Cup qualifying Ricky Craven took the pole with Jeff Gordon on the outside. The big news was that Gordonís wife Brooke filed for divorce. Jeff Burton went pole to pole to win the BGN 200. Sterling Marlin started dead last after an engine change and charged his way to victory in the Winston Cup event. Steve Park, in his first race back since suffering head injuries, started fourth and was leading on lap 39 when he slid up into Stacey Compton, triggering a wreck that took out Craven. Tony Stewart also had a close call when he hit the lapped car of Buckshot Jones and then was hit hard by Jim Spencer. Stewart was life starred to a hospital where he was checked out to be ok.

Last year, 2006, In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series news, car-owners Dennis Charette and Chris Drouin announced that they will field the # 03 Chevrolet on the Whelen Modified Tour in the 2006 season. Charette, a Waterford Speedbowl regular and six-time winner, would pilot the car in a 10-race schedule. Embroidery Works of Berlin, CT will serve as primary sponsor. It looked like the recently married Reggie Ruggiero would again run a limited schedule. His first race for 2006 would be the 35th annual Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Nextel Cup cars were in Las Vegas where Jimmy Johnson too the win. Kasey Kahne was the Busch Series winner.

Thatís 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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