Friday May 11, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                         

Forty years ago in 1967 the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY opened for the season. A New England invasion captured four of the top five spots. Mario “Fats” Caruso took the win with Eddie Flemke and Gene Bergin following. Kenny Shoemaker finished fourth with George Pendergast rounding out the top five. Bill Wimble was the big winner at Fonda on Saturday night. Ernie Gahan and Pete Corey followed. Fulton’s main event went to Jim Shampine. For the second week in a row the Utica – Rome Speedway fell victim to rain.

Thirty-five years ago in 1972, Eddie Flemke in the Bobby Judkins 2x mastered the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Richie Evans finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Flemke carried his winning ways over to Stafford as he made it two for two as he beat out Ray Miller, DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens for the win. At Islip, Gentleman Jim Hendrickson ruled the roost in the Tony Ferrente x3. Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Frank Curtis and George Tet. Harry Peek took the win at Fonda.

Thirty years ago in 1977, forty-four Modifieds were in the Stafford pit area on Friday night. Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Geoff Bodine, Dick Caso, Eddie Flemke and Leo Cleary. Brian Ross in the Mystic Missile finished fourth but was disqualified after a post race weigh in determined that he was 33 pounds light. Sonny Koszela broke out a new Woodchopper Special for Bugsy Stevens but spun engine bearings put him out for the night. Wayne Anderson won two features at New Egypt on Friday night and one at Islip on Saturday night. Anderson became only the second modified driver to ever win three features within a twenty four hour period. Waterford was running under the United Stock Car banner. Dick Dunn in the Peg and Albert Gaudreau No.3 took the win over Bill Greco, Rick Donnelly, Dick Ceravolo and Mark Geer. United president Harvey Tattersall announced that he was dropping the gear rule that had been in place plus was eliminating the 340 bonus. Based on the announcement, Dunn, Bob Potter and Gene Bergin stated that their days of racing at Waterford were over and quit the track. Bob Polverari took the win at Riverside over Pete Fiandaca and at Westboro, George Savory took the win over Mike Weeden and Freddie Schulz. Fred DeSarro made it three in a row at Thompson on Sunday night and at the Port City 150 at Oswego, Richie Evans took the win over Jim Shampine, Maynard Troyer and George Kent.

Twenty-five years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks in the Ernie Wilsburg No.5 remained the combination to beat as he won the 30 lap feature at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Ray Miller, George Summers and Bob Polverari rounding out the top five. Saturday night at Waterford saw Bob Potter beat out cross town rival Moose Hewitt for the win. Jerry Pearl finished third. At Seekonk, Brian Ross, who had lost an engine at Stafford, took the win over Gomer Taylor and George Savory. At Riverside Park it was Stan Greger over Bob Polverari and Ray Miller. Bob Park had the hot set-up at Islip as he bested John Blewett Jr, Wayne Anderson and Don Howe. Less than 200 cars were in the parking lot at Thompson on Sunday but it didn't slow George Kent as he took down the win over Jerry Cook, Bob Polverari and Marty Radwick. Pre-race favorite Greg Sacks packed it in early after losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Tenn, Darrell Waltrip took the 400-lap win over Terry Labonte and Ronnie Bouchard.

Twenty years ago in 1987, Steve Chowanski took the Friday night win at Stafford. Bob Potter was the king-pin at Waterford and at Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero chalked up another win for Mario Fiore as he beat out Tom Bolles and Bruce Del for the win. Bill Park was the top gun at Riverhead and he was followed by Fred Harbach and Wayne Anderson. George Kent got the best of Jim Spencer at Shangri-La and at Lancaster it was Tom Druar taking the top spot.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, Riverside Park ran on Thursday night with Rick Fuller taking the win. Reggie Ruggiero in the Bob Polverari No.711 finished second with Stan Greger, third. Stafford rained out on Friday. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Lloyd Agor was leading on the final lap when he was hit by Jerry Pearl who had gotten hit by Moose Hewitt. Agor bobbled and Pearl got by for the win. Agor hung on to finish second with Dennis Gada, third. Hewitt, who spun, ended up fourteenth. Double features were on tap at Riverside and Jerry Marquis and the Bobby Judkins 2x were up to the task as they won both of them. At Shangri-La, promoter Dale Campfield was evicted after a disagreement with the speedway property owner and in Modified Tour action at Nazareth, Jeff Fuller took the 150 lap win over Wayne Anderson, Rick Fuller, John Preston and Tom Baldwin. Todd Bodine won the Busch Grandnational event that was also run at Nazareth.

Ten years ago in 1997, Rick Martin made it two in a row at Thompson on Wednesday night. On Friday night at Stafford, Bo Gunning recorded his 20th career win at the nutmeg oval as he beat out Steve Chowanski, Bill Anderson and Bob Potter for top honors. Waterford rained out on Saturday. Riverside avoided the wet stuff and ran a 75 lap event that saw Reggie Ruggiero score his 88th career win at the Agawam oval .Bill Park won at Riverhead over John Fortin and in Busch North Series action at Loudon on Sunday, Dave Dion went pole to pole to win the 100 lap event which was held up three hours because of rain. Brad Leighton, Jerry Marquis, Jeff Barry and Mike Stefanik rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher was running within the top ten before losing a dry sump belt. The NASCAR Winston Cup event at Talledega went non-stop with Mark Martin taking the win at a race record average 188.354 mph. Dale Earnhardt Sr. finished second.

Five years ago in 2002, Jeff Malave was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ted Christopher finished second with Ron Silk, third. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Waterford on Saturday night for a 150-lap event. Forty-one cars were on hand. David Berghman took the lead from Todd Szegedy with eight laps to go to score a popular victory. Szegedy finished second and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Rob Summers and Ricky Fuller. Mike Ewanitsko suffered season ending back injuries after a hard crash into the first turn Armco barrier. In other Waterford action, Dennis Gada was the SK Modified winner over Rob Janovic and Tom Fox. Ed Dieneski was the winner at Riverhead and it was Tim Arre on top at Wall Township. The Busch North Series and the Busch Grandnationals were at Loudon. Brad Leighton won by inches over Andy Santerre. Kelly Moore finished second with Dale Shaw and Matt Kobyluck rounding out the top five. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the Busch Grandnational winner over Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague. In other news, Jerry Nadeau was released from Hendrick Motorsports as the Winston Cup teams enjoyed a wee off to celebrate Mother’s Day and Jack Johnson got his 138th win at the Fonda Speedway.

Last year, 2006 The Stafford Motor Speedway made a wise decision when they cancelled the races on Friday. The National Weather Service predicted upwards of four inches of rain for the state of Connecticut. Rain it did, for five days straight.

At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night the weatherman stopped Dwayne Dorr at four in a row when no one else in the Sportsman division could. The Speedbowl management canceled last Saturday nights races after the infield and parts of the track were under water. Defending Waterford Speedbowl Late Model Champion Mark St. Hillaire would have a few weeks to collect his thoughts and cool his jets as Speedbowl Race Director Steve Harraka suspended him from racing in the first four events following his May 6 tantrum when he deliberately rammed the car of Jay Lozyniak while the field was under caution. Hilaire was also fined $70 and 24 championship points which would eliminate him from defending his title. Lozyniak was placed on probation for two months for speeding in the pits.

It was cold and damp on Long Island but the rain held off long enough for the Riverhead Raceway to get their program in. Howie Brode took the win over Sal Accardi Jr. At the Wall Township Speedway Kevin Flockhart beat out John Blewett III for the win.

Under the lights at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina Denny Hamlin won the Busch Series event and Greg Biffle was the Nextel Cup winner.

That’s 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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