Forty five years ago in 1968,
Bugsy Stevens scored his first of many Martinsville wins as he won
the Dogwood 300.
Forty Years ago in 1973, Paul
Radford took the modified win at Martinsville. Richie Evans finished
second with Gene Bergin, Ed Flemke and Denis Giroux rounding out the
Thirty years ago, in 1983, the
NASCAR Modifieds had their season opener at Martinsville. Richie
Evans started on the pole and ended up winning the event. Greg Sacks
started on the outside pole. His run lasted one lap as he lost an
engine going into turn three and headed for the pits. It was not a
good weekend for Sacks as he received word on Sunday morning that
his sister and brother-in-law were involved in a bad accident on
Long Island. His brother-in-law perished and his sister was
seriously injured. Evans and Tony Hirschman pretty much dominated
the event. Hirschman ended up in second spot and was followed by
Brett Bodine, Roger Treichler, Bob Fuller and Joe Mamolito. Ray
Hendrick, Martinsville’s winningest driver, announced his
Twenty five years ago, in 1988,
the NASCAR Winston Modified Tour standings indicated that after two
events Mike McLaughlin was the point leader. Reggie Ruggerio was in
second spot with Satch Worley, Dave Reszendes and Rick Fuller
rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth included Jeff Fuller,
George Kent, Carl Pasteryak, Tom Bolles and Kerry Malone.
Twenty years ago in 1993, the
Winston Cup contingent was in Atlanta. Morgan Shepherd was a
surprise winner when Jeff Gordon pitted for fuel while leading in
the late stages of the event. Ernie Irvan finished second with Rusty
Wallace, third. Gordon finished fourth. Mark Martin dominated the
early stages before breaking a camshaft. A scheduled Busch
Grandnational event at Martinsville was cancelled due to rain.
Fifteen years ago in 1998,
Riverside Park opened up the 1998 season with a 200 lap modified
event. With 52 cars and 7200 spectators on hand Mike Stefanik took
the pole. Stefanik led the early going until getting passed by Chris
Kopec on lap 41. Reggie Ruggerio considered by many to be the master
at Riverside came from his 25th starting position to take the lead
on lap 108. While Ruggerio led, Stefanik was battling with Ted
Christopher for second spot. The pot boiled over on lap 187 when
Christopher attempted to pass and made contact with Stefanik
resulting in both of them spinning. Stefanik was able to restart and
finished in third spot behind Ruggerio who took the win and Tony
Hirschman, who finished second. In a post race interview Stefanik
quipped, “when he (Christopher) falls out of his tree he hits all
the branches on the way down”. Dan Avery finished fourth with Ed
Flemke Jr., fifth.
Ten years ago in 2003, the Wall
Township Speedway signed with NASCAR for a weekly sanction and
Featherlite Modified Tour series event. NASCAR’s elite converged
upon the Bristol Raceway for the sanctioning body’s 2000th event.
Ryan Newman took the pole with Jeff Gordon on the outside. In the
preliminary Busch Series event Kevin Harvick and Tony Raines
survived numerous wrecks to finish one-two on the event.
Twenty-three of the original 42 starters were running at the finish.
The Winston Cup was also plagued with numerous wrecks. Kurt Busch
survived to take the win. On March 23, Sammy Packard passed away at
the age of 83. Packard, originally from Rhode Island, was the last
surviving member of the group that met with Bill France Sr. in 1947
to form NASCAR.
Five years ago in 2008, the
Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series began their 2008 season on
Saturday, March 22, at the high banked Caraway Speedway in Ashboro,
NC. And the Thompson Speedway hosted the first of two open practice
sessions, also on Saturday from 12 Noon until 6 PM.
At Thompson, despite chilling conditions, a good sample of things to
come in 2008 were seen. Competitors and fans got to see the new
lighting that was installed at the speedway which would provide
daylight type conditions once the speedway began its Thursday night
Thunder series. Mike Stefanik braved the cold and the wind to give
his mount a shakedown along with numerous other competitors.
In North Carolina, LW Miller scored the victory in the Whelen
Southern Modified Tour 150 with a thrilling dash to the checked flag
over second-place finisher Ted Christopher. Southerners Brian Loftin
and Tim Brown finished third and fourth. Bob Grigas III who races on
the True Value Modified Series and the Whelen Northern Modified Tour
rounded out the top five. Ronnie Silk, who hails from Norwalk, CT
and who drove the Westfield, NC based Hill Enterprises No.79
For the first time transponders were used to score and time the
race. In the past only races at Loudon and Martinsville used this
technology. Restarts were determined by the last completed green
flag lap and double file “Cup Style”restarts with the lead lap cars
on the outside were used.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams had the weekend off to celebrate Easter.
It was not all quiet as Scott Wimmer passed Richard Childress Racing
teammate Clint Bowyer with 21 laps to go and held on to win the
Nationwide Series' Pepsi 300 on Saturday at Nashville Superspeedway.
Wimmer edged Bowyer by 0.578 seconds for his sixth victory in 149
Nationwide Series starts and first since 2003. Carl Edwards was
third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Kelly Bires. Bowyer took the
series points lead from Kevin Harvick, the fellow Childress Sprint
Cup driver who skipped the Nashville race.
Kyle Busch started on the pole and was the class of the field,
leading a race-high 125 laps before spinning out with 62 laps left.
The Sprint Cup points leader grazed Bowyer, who was passing on the
inside, and was forced to pit for repairs. Busch finished 16th. It
was the first stand-alone Nationwide race of the year and Wimmer
became the first non-Sprint Cup regular to win in the series.
Last year, 2012, Snow, rain and
a dismal forecast forced the Thompson International Speedway
management to postpone Saturday's open practice session for 24
hours. Among those taking advantage of the early season practice
session on Sunday were Whelen Modified Tour Series competitors Todd
Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Ron Yuhas, Bryon Chew, Eric Beers, Donny Lia,
Patrick Emerling, Richie Pallai, Jr, Rob Fuller and Eric Berndt.
The Waterford Speedbowl, one of the nations oldest and most historic
racing venues in the country, opened its gates for the 62nd
consecutive season-opener with the annual Budweiser Blastoff
Weekend. In addition to the shoreline ovals usual bill of fare the
NEMA Midgets and the Valenti Modified Racing Series on the racing
card. Competitors waited out the rain finally getting on the track
to practice shortly after three PM. There were 25 SK Modifieds and
28 Valenti Modified Racing Series Modifieds on hand.
First on tap for Sunday's main events were the SK Modifieds who ran
a 62 lap feature. Tom Abele, Jr brought the field down for the
green. His lead was short lived as Todd Ceravolo stormed to the lead
after a restart. Ceravolo, with his future son-in-law Keith Rocco
hot on his tail, led until lap 14 when he gave way to the defending
track champion. Rocco ran the rest of the 62 lap distance without
faltering as he captured his first win of 2012. It was his 37th
career win at the Connecticut shoreline oval.
Ceravolo had a lock on the runner-up spot until less than five laps
to go when he was passed by Rob Janovic. Janovic ended up in second
and was followed by Ceravolo, Jeff Pearl and Doug Coby.
Jon McKennedy jumped out from his outside pole starting spot and led
all 100 laps to record the win in the season opener for the Valenti
Modified Racing Series. McKennedy drove a car owned by Preston CTs
Art Barry. Rowan Pennink finished second with Norm Wrenn, third.
Even though McKennedy went pole to pole the event was far from
boring. Pennink came from deep in the field twice in the event and
Wrenn, who came from a 26th starting spot, overcame going a lap down
at one point.
Rounding out the top five were Mike Holdredge and Dave Etheridge.
Sixth through tenth were Charlie Pasteryak, Tommy Barrett, Doug Coby,
Les Hinkley and Chris Pasteryak.
In other opening weekend action at Waterford, Keith Rocco doubled
up, taking down the win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model
division event. Charles Beal of Ledyard was a first time Street
Stock winner and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon won the Mini Stock
feature. Another first time winner found victory lane in the NEMA
Midget feature, as Louisville, KY driver John Zych was victorious.
The Speedbowl also ran numerous feature races on Saturday. Picking
up wins included Paul French of Andover, who won the evening’s
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modified race, Ryan
Bigelow of East Hampton who found Victory Lane in the NEMA Light
touring series race, and Corey Coates of Ledyard who won in the
visiting New England Truck Series. In INEX racing, Dave Garbo Jr. of
Stonington claimed the win in the opening day Legends Cars feature
and Jacob Urch in the afternoon’s Bandolero race. Other winners
included Jon Porter of Canterbury in Super X-Cars, Chris Garside of
Waterford in X-Cars and James Logan of Dighton, MA in the New
England Four Cylinder Pro Stock tour event.
Lou Modestino, who has been the Brockton, MA Enterprise's
Motorsports Writer for over four decades, announced that Ted Hebert,
owner of Teddy Bear Pools and Spas of Chicopee, Mass., has agreed to
become an associate sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event
at the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night, May 12.
Following an idea created by Modified race fan Jim Schaefer at his
home track, the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, the Monadnock
NASCAR WMT event purse would be bolstered $5,000 by Teddy Bear
Pools, the #1 Dealer of Pools and Spas in all of Massachusetts. All
competing drivers who sport a provided Teddy Bear Pools sticker on
their cars will be eligible to compete for the added bonus money.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour series started their season
with a lot of heat both on and off the track, the Caraway Speedway
in North Carolina. A restart shortly after the halfway break set up
a battle at the front of the field, one that left Andy Seuss' car
both out of contention and destroyed. Contact with L.W. Miller's
machine as the two tried to make advances on eventual winner George
Brunnhoelzl III, left both crews fuming with one another and plenty
of hot tempers on a warm spring night. Seuss drove all the way from
12th on the starting grid to challenge for the lead before Lap 100.
Brunnhoelzl was on the inside of the front row, with Seuss to his
outside and Miller behind them in third as the field raced through
Turns 1 and 2 on the Lap 95 restart. Contact sent sparks flying, and
Seuss' car hit the outside wall hard with the right front.
Brunnhoelzl went on to take the win. Jason Myers eased by Miller
with two laps to go and ended up second. Miller finished third.
Rounding out the top five were Brandon Ward and John Smith.
Congratulations went out to Tom Fox, a 30 plus year veteran of
weekly short track racing, who had joined the Stafford Motor
Speedway staff as Director of Racing Operations and Competition.
Fox’s duties during the season would entail working alongside Frank
Sgambato Jr in the Race Control booth during races and oversee
post-race technical inspection in the CBYD Inspection Zone. Fox
joined the SMS staff for the final 4 races of the 2011 season as an
observer to better prepare him for his 2012 duties.
As a former racer Fox knew quite well some of the frustrations and
hard work that a competitor must go through in order to get his car
to the track and in the competition with others on the track. It
should be a good fit.
NASCAR has announced the 2012 race season programming for the NASCAR
K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on the SPEED Channel.
As in the past, the Whelen Modifieds once again got what the cow
left behind after jumping over the fence.
The case of Jeremy Mayfield vs. NASCAR may finally be over. A
three-judge panel of 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled on
the side of U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen in his previous
dismissal of the Mayfield’s complaint against NASCAR.
Mayfield was suspended by NASCAR in May of 2009 after failing a
random drug test and later sued NASCAR and its Chairman Brian France
for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices and breach of
contract. Mullen ruled that Mayfield had signed documents waiving
his right to sue and tossed the case out of court despite Mayfield’s
arguments that over-the-counter medications led to his positive
For the fourth time Kevin Harvick started on the pole for a NASCAR
Camping World Truck Series race and for the fourth time, he went to
victory lane in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.
Harvick started on the pole and led 248 of the 250 laps of the
.525-mile race track in beating his Richard Childress Racing
teammate Ty Dillon to the checkered flag by three car lengths as the
Chevrolet teammates swept the top two spots.
In Sprint Cup racing, Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and
Jimmie Johnson dominated Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at
Martinsville Speedway, but neither brought team owner Rick Hendrick
his 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
Instead Ryan Newman celebrated his first victory of the season and
the fourth for Stewart-Haas Racing. Newman lost a lap after a
pit-lane speeding penalty early in the race and was in position to
take advantage when all heck broke loose at the end of the race.
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were racing side by side for the lead
when David Reutimann stopped on the track with two laps remaining,
setting up the green-white-checkered finish. They were the only two
drivers not to pit during the yellow flag and when the green flag
waved, Clint Bowyer riding on fresh tires powered his Toyota three
wide into the first turn pushing Gordon and Johnson high on the
track with Johnson and Bowyer spinning and Ryan Newman shooting to
the lead as the yellow flag waved again.
On the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Newman and
A.J. Allmendinger battled side by side for a lap before Newman
gained control and carried his Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet to a
.537-second victory over Allmendinger in a race that ran 515 laps of
the .525-mile asphalt oval. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third.
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of 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