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Friday March 14, 2008

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos at bottom of Page for Full Size                                

Thirty years ago in 1978, the NASCAR Modifieds made their annual early spring trip to Martinsville. Richie Evans, who had 143 victories to his credit going into the 1978 season, added another to the list as he won the 250-lap event. Geoff Bodine, who would end up with 55 wins at seasonís end finished second. Billy Hensley finished third with Jerry Cook and Brian Ross rounding out the top five. New England favorites Bugsy Stevens and Fred DeSarro did not have luck on their side as they both dropped put with mechanical problems. DeSarro lost an engine and Stevens lost a transmission.    
           
Twenty-five years ago, in 1983, Richard Petty took the Winston Cup win at Rockingham after Geoff Bodine wrecked in the late stages while leading. Bill Elliott finished second with Darrell Waltrip, third. Bodine ended up 19th. Ron Bouchard was 20th.

Twenty years ago, in 1988, Mike Mclaughlin found himself to be a surprise winner in the NASCAR Modified 200 at Martinsville. Jim Spencer was the apparent winner until he was disqualified in a post race inspection when it was determined that he had an oversized fuel tank. Satch Worley finished second with Reggie Ruggerio, third. George Kent finished fourth with Dave Reszendes, fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Jeff Fuller, Rick Fuller, Billy Meyers, Wayne Edwards and Carl Pasteryak.

Fifteen years ago in 1993, Winston Cup and Busch Grandnational events scheduled for Atlanta were cancelled when a blizzard hit the area.

Ten years ago in 1998, the Busch Grandnationals were in Nashville as the Winston Cup stars had a weekend off. Seventeen-year-old Casey Atwood took the pole. Robert Pressley was leading with eight laps to go when he clipped Mark Green causing him to spin and wreck. Mike Mclaughlin, running second at the time, inherited the lead and took the win under caution. Atwood finished second with Dale Earnhardt Jr., third.

Five years ago in 2003, Ricky Craven passed Kurt Busch coming off the fourth turn on the last lap and after a lot of contact, won the Winston Cup event at Darlington. Because of foul weather the Busch Series was forced to run their event on Monday. Todd Bodine took the win after crashing with Jamie McMurray on the final lap.

Last year, 2007, NASCAR has announced their touring series television package and as usual the Whelen Modified Tour Series got the crumbs or better yet what the cow left behind after she jumped the fence. HDNet would air the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on August 25, while the SPEED channel would air the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire International Speedway on June 30 and the combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Modifed Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sept. 1.. In addition, SPEED would provide expanded coverage of the NASCAR Grand National Division in 2007, as the network will air 23 races as part of its Racing Across America series, re-airing all 16 of HDNetís live events while originally producing six others. SPEEDís coverage of the division would culminate with live post-season coverage of the prestigious NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown in October.
 

Itís really too bad that NASCAR didnít do more for the Whelen Modifieds as it had been proven by the Arute family at the Stafford Motor Speedway that produces NASCAR New England that TV coverage pays big dividends for both the competitors and the Speedway. Staffordís weekly car count exceeds 200.
 
The Stafford Speedway announced that Phil Kurze, Vice President of Motorsports for Whelen Engineering, would serve as the grand marshal for 36th Annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler presented by CARQUEST on April 27-29, 2007.

Jimmie Johnson passed Tony Stewart three laps from the end Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to win his second straight race in Nextel Cup competition. Johnson had the car to beat as he led 132 of the first 238 laps. But the only laps he led the rest of the way in the 325-lap event on Atlanta's 1.5-mile oval were the last three. The 25th victory of his Cup career moved Johnson within 28 points of current series leader Mark Martin. Jeff Burton didn't need any last-lap heroics this time. But he did need a little luck as he made it two Busch Series victories in a row Saturday, easily holding off Richard Childress Racing team.

This week here are several vintage racing photos of Richie Evans "Rusty Nail" Coupe courtesy of vintagemodifieds.com


                                                                                      The way things used to be $33.9 Gas!
                                                                
Photos from the collection of John Bisci's Turn5 Photo & Video

Thatís 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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