Friday May 18, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                         

Thirty-five years ago in 1972, Eddie Pieniezak was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. Jerry Cook, Eddie Flemke, Richie Evans and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Saturday night racing at Stafford, Waterford, Islip and Fonda rained out. Utica-Rome remained clear as hometown favorite Clayton "Sonny" Seamon took the win over Richie Evans, Bill Henry, Ron Holmes and Bernie Miller.

Thirty years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens took the top spot at Stafford on Friday night. Geoff Bodine finished a strong second with Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Punky Caron made it four in a row at Monadnock as he beat out Bob Karvonen, Ollie Silva and Jack Bateman for the win. Riverhead also ran on Friday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win. Jarzombek made it two for two as he also won at Freeport on Saturday night. Stevens, who drove the Sonny Koszela Woodchopper on Friday night at Stafford, jumped into the Joe Brady No.41 at Seekonk on Saturday night and made it two for two on the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Don Dionne, George Murray and Red Barbeau rounding out the top five. Mike Weeden won at Westboro over Kenny Bouchard and Joe Howard and at Waterford; Don Bunnell took the win over Dave Monacco and Charlie Savage. Other weekend winners included Ted Wesnoski at Islip and Fred DeSarro at Thompson

Twenty-five years ago in 1982, Brian Ross took the Friday night win at Stafford after Greg Sacks was forced to back off because of a deflating tire. Sacks finished second with Ray Miller, third. Dan Avery was the SK Modified winner. Charlie Savage was the SK mod winner at Waterford on Saturday. Jerry Pearl finished a close second. The field was light but the competition was tough as George Summers took the win at Seekonk on Saturday night. Brian Ross finished second with George Savory, third. Reggie Ruggiero took another win at Riverside but had to settle for second behind George Kent at Thompson on Sunday. Kent was also the winner at Shangri-La on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and at New Egypt, Doug Hewitt, also at Spencer, Bill Park at Islip and Gail Barber at Lancaster.

Twenty years ago in 1987, Ted Christopher beat out Bo Gunning at Stafford. Ditto for Gunning at Waterford on Saturday as he finished second to Bob Gada. The Modified Tour was at Clearfield, Pa where Jim Spencer took the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Mclaughlin and Mike Stefanik. Stan Greger was victorious at Riverside and at Riverhead, Tom McCann took the win. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the WINSTON.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, Tom Tagg won out at Stafford over Bob Potter and Richie Gallup. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis went two for two in the Bob Judkins 2x as he won both ends of the twin bill that was presented. Marquis back it up with a win at Monadnock on Sunday. The Busch North Series was also at Monadnock. Ageless Stub Fadden took the win over Dale Shaw and Mike Rowe. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was leading the last lap of the WINSTON and rode Kyle Petty to the grass as he was attempting to pass. Petty didn't lift and ended up spinning Earnhardt out. Davey Allison passed Petty at the finish line. Petty then hit Allison and sent him into the wall to end a wild night of racing. Racing at Waterford rained out.

Ten years ago in 1997,Jim Broderick, with his Mopar powered SK, took the lead after early leader Ed Flemke Jr. crashed and went on to record his second win of the season at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with Bob Potter, third. Chuck Steuer went pole to pole at Riverhead and Tom Jensen beat out Dave Berube at Riverside. It rained at Waterford and at Shangri-La. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth for a 100 lap event. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Tony Hirschman on lap seven and went on to record the win. Charlie Pasteryak finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Ed Kennedy and Jan Leaty. There were ten cautions for 47 laps. The Busch Grandnationals were also at Nazareth. Elliott Sadler recorded his first GN win with Todd Bodine, a close second. Steve Park led 92 of the first 141 laps until losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won $207,500 when he took the checkered flag in the Winston. Ricky Craven won the Winston Open.

Five years ago in 2002, heavy rain forced postponement of the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event on Friday night. Qualifying was completed before the rains came. Nevin George set fast time for the Busch Pole award. Ted Christopher was the second fastest. The re-draw for the start saw Christopher on the pole with Jamie Tomaino, outside. George drew the third starting spot. Forty-three Modifieds were on hand. Among the notables that missed the cut were Tom Baldwin, John Blewett III, Jim Broderick and Carl Pasteryak. At Waterford on Saturday night Ed Reed Jr. beat out Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada and at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. The Busch North Series was at Seekonk for a 150 lapper. Matt Kobyluck took the lead on lap 144 and went on to score the win. At the Adirondack Raceway second-generation driver Chris Ross won a 50 lap Pro Stock event. The Fonda Speedway celebrated its 50th anniversary. Jack Johnson, who, at 57 scored his 140th win at the historic oval. Mark Rogers won at Wall Township and Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500, the 12th win for car owner Roger Penske. In Winston Cup action in the World 600 at the Lowes Motor speedway, Mark Martin took the win after Jimmie Johnson blew a late race pit stop. Jeff Green won the Busch Series event.

Last year, 2006, The Stafford Motor Speedway suffered a rain out for the second week in a row. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dwayne Door made it five in a row in the Sportsman division, thus setting a division mark. Dorr, who started 12th, needed only six laps to take the lead. He then survived a restart- challenge from eventual runner-up Jim Procaccini with four laps left to the 20 lap feature. Jeff Pearl scored his first win of the season as he beat back advances from Dennis Gada. Chris Pasteryak finished third with rookie contender, Tyler Chadwick, fourth and Rob Summers, fifth. Other winners at the shoreline oval were Tim Jordan in the Late Models, Danny Field in the Mini-Stocks and Mark Bakaj in the Legends. In some sad news, Don Fowler, who finished sixth in the SK Modified feature suffered a stroke shortly after returning to his home in Clinton, CT.

In other Saturday night action, John Blewett III scored his 15th career at the Wall Township Speedway. At the Riverhead Raceway Chris Young won his second Modified feature of the year. True Value Modified Series racing at the Lee Raceway rained out. Bob Santos III won a USAC Midget event at Concord, NC.

It looked like many of Nextel Cup star Dale Jarrett’s fans would be burning their t-shirts, hats and jackets as they voiced their protests of him leaving the Ford camp for Toyota. Jarrett, who was 49, was in the twilight of his career with maybe only a couple years remaining of his competitive career. It was all about money and greed. Jarrett would drive a Toyota bodied Nextel Cup car owned by Michael Waltrip and financed by Toyota. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Jimmie Johnson won the Nextel All-Star Challenge and its $1 million prize Scott Riggs won the Nextel Open.

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was almost one mile-an-hour faster than anyone else on the track and easily captured the pole for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. The No.6 Penske Racing Honda posted a four-lap average of 228.985 m.p.h. for his first Indianapolis 500 pole.

The DIRT MotorSports Inc. head office in Norman, Okla., appears to have taken a more professional direction in the business of auto racing entertainment with in its top management. Paul Kruger, who first approached DIRT founder Glenn Donnelly with Boundless Motor Sports Racing's offer to purchase Donnelly's organization, resigned his position as president and CEO of the new DIRT MotorSports and sold the majority of his holdings in the company. In his place, Tom Deery was named acting CEO. Deery, a former NASCAR official whose family runs Rockford Speedway in Illinois, also is president of DIRT MotorSports, which includes the World of Outlaws sprint and late model series, DIRT NorthEast and both the UMP and MARS late model series.

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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