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Friday May 16, 2008

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                

 
Forty-five years ago in 1963 Mr. Rene Charland took the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman win at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Lou Lazzaro finished second with Tom Kotary, third. Jim Luke and Jeep Herbert rounded out the top five.

Forty years ago, in 1968, the action was hot and heavy at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway where Rene Charland held off charging Don MacTavish for the win. Bernie Miller finished third with Dave Kotary and Ed Pieniezek rounding out the top five. At Stafford, Bugsy Stevens took the top spot over Jack Malone, Bill Slater, Lou Toro and Joe Trudeau. Saturday night action at Norwood and Fonda rained out. Bugs Stevens made it two for two on the weekend as he won at Thompson on Sunday afternoon. Sunday night racing at Utica-Rome fell victim to rain.

Thirty-five years ago in 1973, weekend action began Friday night at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y., where Fred DeSarro took the win over Eddie Flemke. On Saturday, at Stafford, Ronnie Bouchard came from deep in the field to make it three in a row. Don Flynn finished second. Dan McNamara won at Islip over Charlie Jarzombek and Jim Hendrickson. In Sunday action at Lee, Bugsy Stevens led the way over Freddie Schulz, Moose Hewitt and Bob Santos. Utica-Rome and Tioga rained out.

Thirty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it two in a row in Friday night action at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Ronnie Bouchard and Leo Cleary. Bodine ended up going three for three as he also won at Seekonk on Saturday and at Thompson on Sunday. At Waterford, Dick Dunn beat out Blaine Belz and at Westboro, Joe Howard took the win. Other weekend winners were Maynard Troyer at Spencer and George Kent at Fulton.

Twenty-five years ago in 1983, the weatherman won at Stafford as it rained. At Waterford on Saturday, Joe Tiezzi won out over Glynn Shafer and Ted Christopher. At Riverside, it was Mike Stefanik and at Islip, Fred Harbach was still winning. George Kent won out over Richie Evans at Spencer and at Tioga, Kent slipped to third behind Evans and Jim Spencer. In Winston Cup and Grandnational action at Dover Downs, Ricky Rudd took the GN win and Bobby Allison won the WC 500
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Twenty Years ago in 1988, the weatherman got another at Stafford. Richie Gallup got his third win at Waterford over Larry Lanphear and Bob Potter. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis took the win and in Modified Tour Series action at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Mike McLaughlin earned a victory over Jeff Fuller and Reggie Ruggiero. Fred Harbach won at Riverhead and at Monadnock, Kenny Bouchard took the win.

Fifteen years ago in 1993, Rick Donnelly got his first Stafford win. Bob Potter finished second and was followed by Mike and Ted Christopher. A.J.Foyt officially retired from Indy Car racing after making one final lap around the fabled Brickyard. Bob Potter scored his 89th career win at Waterford on Saturday night over Mark Lajunesse and Larry Lanphear. Ron Rocco was going for second spot until getting walled by Jim Dolan who never turned when they entered turn three. Cris Kopec got his first win at Riverside after rookie Jim Houghton was disqualified with illegal gears. Bob Park won at Riverhead and in BGNN action at Monadnock, Robbie Crouch took the win over Kelly Moore and Mike McLaughlin. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Geoff Bodine survived a vicious hammering from Ricky Rudd to take the win.

Ten years ago in 1998, Curt Brainard scored his first ever win at Stafford. In his 112th try, Brainard took the lead on lap three and led to the checker at the 50-lap mark. Steve Chowanski finished second with Mike Christopher, Chris Jones and Frank Wainwright rounding out the top five. Matt Kobyluck was running a Pro Stock when he crashed hard and suffered a broken shoulder blade and numerous broken ribs. At Waterford on Saturday night, Rick Donnelly survived 13 cautions to win the 35-lap feature that took over an hour to run. Tucker Reynolds finished second and was followed by Bert Marvin, Dennis Gada and Mike Gada. Allen Coates was the late model winner. Coats’ win was the 198th for engine shop, Larry’s Automotive. Jim Broderick scored his first win at Riverside Park. Ed Spiers, Richie Gallup, Ted Riggot and Brad Hietella followed. Howie Brode scored his first ever win at Riverhead as he won out over George Brunnhoelzl. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth for a 100 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the win after a tough battle with Tom Baldwin and Ed Flemke Jr. Dan Avery finished fourth with Jamie Tomaino rounding out the top five. Tim Fedewa won the Busch Series event that was also run at the Pennsylvania oval. Dale Earnhardt Jr was a pre-race favorite but got wrecked after a pit stop. Randy Lajoie wasn’t too happy with Buckshot Jones after being dumped into the wall. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Mark Martin won the Winston after Jeff Gordon ran out of gas on the last lap. Jeremy Mayfield won the Winston Open.

Five years ago in 2003 The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series traveled to Nazareth, Pa. Ted Christopher was the class of the field as he won the 100-lap event that was extended to 107 laps because of a late race caution. Christopher and Busch Pole sitter John Blewett III were the only leaders in the event that was slowed by 8 caution periods for 47 laps. It was Christopher’s race to lose as he had the dominant car for just about the entire distance. Christopher led the first 94 laps before giving way to Blewett who led only laps 95 through 97 before Christopher took charge for good. It was Christopher’s second Modified tour victory of the year as he had previously won the Spring Sizzle at Stafford. Blewett finished second. Eddie Flemke, who has had a string of bad luck, got the monkey off his back with a strong run, which placed him third at the finish. Nevin George and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Thirty-eight cars were on hand, a little light considering the event. Not to insult anyone but there were at least eight cars that didn’t belong in the field. Based on his strong second place finish, John Blewett III took over the point lead from Chuck Hossfeld. Hossfeld crossed the finish line in 8th spot but was placed last, 19th, on the lead lap for jumping the final re-start. Hossfeld had now slipped to fourth in the standings. Trailing Blewett by one point was Todd Szegedy. Christopher moved up into third and Jerry Marquis sat in fourth. Ted Christopher had a busy weekend for himself. In addition to racing at Nazareth, he competed at Stafford on Friday night where he finished sixth after qualifying through the consolation and on Saturday night at Waterford he finished third in a rough night at the shoreline oval. At Stafford, Brad Hietala passed Jim Civali on a lap 30 re-start and went on to take the victory in the 50 lap main event. Hietala started in seventh position. Mike Holdredge finished second with defending track champion, Bo Gunning, finishing third. Civali finished fourth with Jay Miller rounding out the top five. Rookie Curt Lenahan started on the pole and captured his first ever win at Waterford on Saturday night. For the most part, many of the heavy hitters in the modified ranks were collected in wrecks, which were the norm at the shoreline oval. Jay Miller survived to finish second with Ted Christopher, third. Ron Yuhas Jr. and John Brouwer Jr. rounded out the top five. The Busch North Series was at the Lake Erie Speedway where Andy Santerre took the win over Mike Johnson and Mike Stefanik. Kelly Moore was the pole sitter and led the early going before losing two laps when he cut down two tires and had to pit. Moore ended up 16th. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jimmie Johnson took the lead from Jeff Gordon on lap three of the final 20 lap leg of The Winston and went on to score the win. Kurt Busch finished second. In Busch Series action at Nazareth, Ron Hornady took the win after leading 148 of the 200-lap distance. Brian Vickers finished second with Mike Bliss, third.

Last year, 2007, In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the weatherman took the win. Forecasts of heavy wind and rain forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s activities. Kerry Malone was the current point leader in the SK Modified division. Malone led Eric Berndt by 10 points after three events. Rounding out the top five were Ted Christopher, Brad Heitala and Willie Hardie Jr. Defending SK Modified Champion Frank Ruocco was 11th, 54 points behind the leader. Other point leaders were Tom Butler in the Late Models, Chris Mathews in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Ltd Late Models and Barry Fluckiger in the Dare Stocks. The Stafford Speedway announced that Valvoline, in conjunction with CARQUEST Auto Parts, had signed on to become an SK Modified 1st place contingency partner for the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. Valvoline's weekly $150 contingency bonus brought the total winner's check for each SK Modified® feature event to $1,850.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman also prevailed as close to two inches of rain fell on the shoreline oval on Saturday. Shawn Monahan was the current SK Modified point leader as he held an 18 point edge over Rob Janovic. In six events Monahan had been the model of consistency as he had recorded six top 10’s including one win. Janovic had two wins but has only five top tens. Rounding out the top five were Doug Coby, Jeff Pearl and Diego Monahan. Allen Coates was the Late Model point leader, Dwayne Dorr the Sportsman leader, Ken Cassidy the Mini Stock leader and Chris Bakaj the Legends leader.

Joey Logano won his third Grand National Division race in four career starts in the Featherlite Coaches 200. And his latest win came over runner-up Kevin Harvick by nearly two and a half seconds – a day after Harvick won the NEXTEL Cup All-Star Challenge and three months after he won the Daytona 500. The first NASCAR sanctioned event at Iowa Speedway drew a facility-record estimated crowd of 24,741. It was also one of the largest stand-alone crowds in NASCAR Grand National Division history.

Kevin Harvick earned a $1 million payday, winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C., after Matt Kenseth got caught speeding and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch took each other out of contention. That made Jimmie Johnson, a two-time All-Star race winner, the last driver for Harvick to contend with.

But Johnson barely mounted a challenge, staying in line behind Harvick until the final lap at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson made one attempt at a pass, Harvick blocked it, then drove off to his second win of the season. Mark Martin finished third and was followed by Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Johnny Sauter and Kenseth. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr., who got into the race by winning the Nextel Open, rounded out the top 10.

It was announced that almost 1,700 former Sprint Corp. employees would settle their federal class-action age-discrimination lawsuit against the company for $57 million, according to a proposal filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Kansas. The employees sued after several mass layoffs between October 2001 and March 2003, alleging that a computerized performance management system used in the layoffs improperly targeted employees older than 40.The settlement amount included $21 million to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees and costs.

The Associated Press reported that NASCAR couldn’t stop AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, a federal judge ruled. NASCAR asked for the ruling to be put on hold pending appeal. A federal judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant NASCAR's requests for a stay to prevent Burton's No. 31 car from racing Saturday with the AT&T logo. The first ruling, issued just hours before the Nextel All-Star Challenge, was the second in two days from U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob. Following the second denial for a stay, NASCAR filed an emergency motion with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which also denied the request.

This week  are several vintage racing photos of Hall of Famer Bentley Warren from the R.A. Silvia Collection Courtesy of VintageModifieds.com

That’s 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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