Friday May 4, 2007

By Phil Smith                                                         

Forty years ago in 1967, Billy Blum won at Fulton while at Fonda; Rene Charland beat out Maynard Forette and Jeep Herbert for the win. Rain-washed out Utica Rome on Sunday.

Thirty-five years ago in 1972, Maynard Forette was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta; N.Y. Bernie Miller finished second and was followed by Guy Chartrand, Lou Lazzaro, Bugsy Stevens, Bobby Santos and Richie Evans. At Fonda on Saturday night, Lou Lazzaro, using the same car that he ran on asphalt the night before, took the win over Kenny Shoemaker and Harry Peek. At the tight 1/5 mile oval at Islip, Charlie Jarzombek took the win over Jim Hendrickson and Wayne Anderson. Stafford ran a 30 lapper on Sunday afternoon with Gene Bergin in the Dick Armstrong No.1 taking the win over rookie Ronnie Bouchard. Leo Cleary finished third and was followed by Fred DeSarro, George Summers, Ray Miller and Nathan "Smokey" Boutwell. Sunday night racing at Utica-Rome rained out.

Thirty years ago in 1977, Forty-five Modifieds were on hand at Stafford on Friday night. Ray Miller took the 30 lap win over Eddie Flemke, Jerry Cook, Ron Bouchard, Leo Cleary and Jerry Pearl. Geoff Bodine, who had been cleaning house was an early out due to a wreck. Monadnock was also running on Friday night. Punky Caron ruled the roost as he beat out Pete Fiandaca and Bob Karvonen for the win. Islip and Freeport were battling, running against each other on Saturday night on Long Island. Tom McCann won at Islip over Jim Tyler and Fred Harbach while at Freeport, Lou Hennesy took the win over Gary Winters and Jerry Bartlett. At Waterford, Bill Greco took the win over Rick Donnelly and Gene Bergin. Fred DeSarro made it two in a row in Sunday action at Thompson. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Eddie Flemke, third.

Twenty-five years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks continued his dream season in the Ernie Wilsburg No.5 as he took the Friday night main event at Stafford. Reggie Ruggiero tried his best but had to settle for second. Ray Miller, George Summers and Bob Polverari rounded out the top five. Saturday night at Waterford belonged to Bob Potter .Moose Hewitt finished second with Jerry Pearl, third. At Riverside it was Stan Greger and at Islip, Bob Park took the win. Sacks blew an engine in warm-ups at Thompson and opened the door for George Kent who ended up with the win. A poor crowd was on hand as less than 200 spectator cars were in the parking lot at race time. Jerry Cook finished second and was followed by Bob Polverari and Marty Radwick. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Darrel Waltrip took the win with Terry Labonte, second and Ronnie Bouchard, third.

Twenty years ago in 1987, Bill Elliott set an all time qualifying record at Talledega when he qualified at 212.809 mph. Elliott dropped a valve and dropped out while running second in the event which was won by Davey Allison. The race was halted on lap 22 when Bobby Allison got airborne on the front chute and tore down the catch fence. Allison escaped unhurt but this action would set in motion a drive by NASCAR, which would require restrictor plates on carburetors at Talledega as well as at Daytona. On the local front, Bob Potter beat out Ed Flemke Jr. at Waterford. Ted Christopher, Larry Lanphear and Ronnie Rocco rounded out the top five. Brian McCarthy was awarded the Late Model win after Phil Rondeau was disqualified because of illegal a-frames. At Riverside, Mike Stefanik took the win over Ted Riggott and Dan Avery and at Riverhead; Wayne Anderson took the top spot. At Shangri-La it was Jim Spencer.

Fifteen years ago in 1992, rain after two heats, washed out the Friday night action at Stafford. On Saturday night at Riverside, the quarter mile oval suffered its fourth rain out in a row. A weather window allowed Waterford to run. Bert Marvin took the win over Jim Broderick, Chris Jones, Harry Rice and Ted Christopher. In Late Model competition, Phil Rondeau debuted a new Thunderbird bodied car and ran away with his feature. Jeff Malave won the Riverhead opener and on Sunday at Loudon before 11,000 fans, Jeff Fuller won the 125 lap modified event over Jan Leaty, Reggie Ruggiero, Doug Hevron and Mike Stefanik. Mike McLaughlin won the 125 lap Busch North Series event also at Loudon. Dave Reszendes finished second with Dick McCabe, third and Jeff Barry, fourth.

Ten years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick took advantage of Bo Gunning's soft left front as he went on to take the Friday night win at Stafford. Gunning toughed it out to finish second with Steve Chowanski, third. Saturday was a total wash out. On Sunday, Jack Bateman took the win at Monadnock over Dwight Jarvis and Rick Miller and in Busch North Series action at Jennerstown, Tom Bolles went pole to pole to win the 150 lap event over Andy Santarre and Kelly Moore. Mike Ewanitsko and Ted Christopher were fighting for the lead on lap 176 of the Waterford 200 when their bumpers locked which allowed Steve Chowanski to sneak by for the win. Ewanitsko finished second and was followed by Tucker Reynolds Jr and Christopher. In Winston Cup action at Sonoma, California, Mark Martin led 69 of the 74 lap distance to take the win.

Five years ago in 2002, the Sizzler, which had been rained out, was run with Ted Christopher taking the win. Christopher took the lead in the 200 lapper on lap 173 from Rick Fuller. Fuller hung on for second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, David Berghman and Tom Cravenho. Mike Ewanitsko was without a doubt; the fastest in the field until he lost a driveshaft on lap 159. Ed Flemke Jr. was also a factor until his power steering went away in the closing stages of the event. Bo Gunning, in the Eddie Partridge No.12 was the 40 lap SK - Modified winner. In other action over the weekend Jimmie Blewett won a 50 lapper at Wall Township, Chuck Steuer beat out Bill Park at Riverhead and at Waterford, Dennis Gada and Jeff Pearl finished one-two.

Last year, The Stafford Motor Speedway began their regular Friday night schedule. In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Jeff Baral, took the lead from Kurt Lenahan on lap-4, and from there he held off the charge of Willie Hardie to take the checkered flag. The race went green from lap-5 to 40, and Baral and Hardie slowly pulled away from the field to wage a two-car battle for the win. Ted Christopher finished third, with Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounding out the top-5. In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Woody Pitkat and Ryan Posocco took turns swapping the lead over the final two laps of the race with Pitkat emerging as the winner. A late caution set up a three-lap sprint to the finish. Pitkat was the leader on the initial restart, but as the white flag was displayed to the field, Posocco made a charge into the lead in turns 1+2. Pitkat moved back to the inside of Posocco in turns 3+4, and as they headed towards the checkered flag, the cars touched slightly, which loosened Posocco up enough to give Pitkat enough of a margin to take the checkered flag first. Todd Owen, Jim Peterson, and Wayne Coury, Jr. rounded out the top-5. Other Friday night winners were Duke Place in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Limited Late Models and Stacey Botticello in the DARE Stocks.

At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Rob Janovic Jr. beat back a late challenge from Tommy Fox and went on to capture the 35-lap SK-Modified feature, the fourth winner in as many starts. Janovic took over with 28 laps remaining and then survived a couple restarts, the last with eight remaining. Fox took up the challenge following a restart with 18 laps remaining. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished third and was followed by Diego Monahan and John Brouwer Jr. In the Late Model division a bit of road rage handed Jay Stewart a victory. Stuart took command on a lap 13 restart and then romped to victory. The road rage occured when Jay Lozyniak and Mark St. Hilaire, battling for the lead spun, tangled in the front stretch. St Hillaire was so incensed that he deliberately drove his car into that of Lozyniaks. On the green, Stuart got away from Bruce Thomas Jr. and had a seven-car length lead inside of four laps. Thomas got second back from Duane Noll in the final laps. It is expected that track officials will impose a penalty on St. Hillaire. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Dwayne Dorr making it four in a row in the Sportsman division, Jeff Civardi in the Mini Stocks and Chris Bakaj in the Legends.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season on Saturday night. Veteran Chris Young held off 59 year old and the previous years track champion Bill Park in the 35 lap Modified feature. Great runs by JR Bertuccio as he was passing guys on the outside and also third generation driver Eddie Brunnhoelzl III who finished 6th and also did some outstanding side by side racing.

The Whelen Modified Tour Series was in the middle of a three week break before resuming on Memorial Day weekend at Stafford. After two events Mike Stefanik who won the season opener at the Thompson Speedway and finished fourth in the Spring Sizzler at Stafford led the point standings with a 30-point edge over Ted Christopher. Christopher had a fourth at Thompson and a sixth at Stafford. Rookie James Civali sat in third spot. Civali had a sixth at Thompson and a seventh at Stafford and was 44 points out of the lead. Doug Coby who won the Sizzler and finished 16th at Thompson after being collected in a wreck, sat in fourth spot. Rounding out the top five was defending series champion Tony Hirschman. A fifth at Thompson and a ninth at Stafford had the former title holder 47 points in arrears. Sixth through tenth were Reggie Ruggiero, Chuck Hossfeld, Donnie Lia,, Eric Beers and Dick Houlihan.
The Waterford Speedbowl announced that they had added a second Whelen Modified Tour Series date to their schedule. In addition to their previously announced date of Saturday, July 22, the shoreline oval will run the Whelen Modifieds on Sunday, September 24 in conjunction with the already scheduled Town Fair Tire Fall Finale. The addition brought the series total events to 17.

Two New York state speedways were in the process of changing hands. Long Island racer John White purchased the Spencer Speedway in Williamson, NY and the Chemung Speedrome in Chemung, NY.

In True Value Modified Series action Windsor Locks, CT, racer Les Hinckley started outside front row Saturday night, shot into the lead at the drop of the green flag and led 92 of the scheduled 100 laps of the Chappy’s Concessions 100 presented by Northeast Waste Services and Bly Machine at the Canaan Fair Motorsports Complex, Canaan, NH, on a night that saw thirty seven modified racers from throughout the northeast travel to the ‘Upper Valley” of New Hampshire, a fifty minute late start because of rain, several persistent showers, six caution flags, a race shortened by track curfew, and high winds that created wind chills in the upper 30’s. Because of the rain delays the 100 lap race went green at 10:56pm; four minutes shy of a town ordinance that prohibits a race from starting beyond 11:00pm. Hinckley set a fast pace early on, was chased by rookie Bobby Grigas III, Marshfield, Ma, in his strongest run yet, holding down the number two spot until lap 34 when a support bar broke forcing the young driver to the sidelines. Danbury, Ct., hot shoe Ed Dachenhausen moved to the runner-up spot and chased the race leader to the finish while Ascutney, VT, veteran Dwight Jarvis, a two time winner at Canaan in 2004 turned in another solid run and finished third. Chris Wenzel, Holyoke, Ma, ran a strong race to finish fourth while Gary Casella, Saugus, Ma, rounded out the top five.

In Nextel Cup action at Richmond Dale Earnhardt JR took the win over Denny Hamlin. Kevin Harvick won the companion Busch Series event.

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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