five years ago in 1963 Rene Charland was well on his way to the
NASCAR Sportsman Championship as he made it two in a row at the
Utica-Rome Speedway. Cam Gagliardi
finished second with Ed Ortiz, third.
Forty years ago, in 1968, Bugsy Stevens made it two in a row at
Stafford on Friday night. Eddie Flemke, the previous week’s winner,
finished second. Nathan “Smokey” Boutwell
finished third with Reno Tulonen and Leo Cleary rounding out the top
five. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Lou Lazzaro took the top spot
over Don MacTavish, Jerry Cook, Rene Charland and Andy Romano. Bugs
Stevens took his winning ways to Norwood on Saturday where he dusted
the field. At Fonda, Ray
scored a surprise victory over Kenny Shoemaker and Ron Narducci and
at Fulton, Dutch Hoag scored the first of 12 events he would win
over the next three seasons. Eddie Flemke put the 2x of Bobby
Judkins in victory lane at Thompson while at Utica-Rome twin
features were on tap. Lou Lazzaro won the left over feature from the
previous week. Sonny Seamon finished second with Ken Platt, Dick
Fowler and Dick Clark rounding out the top five. Richie Evans who
beat out Sonny Seamon, Andy Romano, Jerry Cook and Robbie Kotary for
the top spot won the regular evening’s feature.
Thirty five years ago in 1973 Friday night racing at the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. rained out. It cleared on
Saturday and at Stafford Springs Eddie Flemke took the win over Fred
DeSarro, Ron Bouchard and Don Flynn. At Islip, Charlie Jarzombek
again bested the 1/5-mile oval, beating out Jim Hendrickson for the
win. At Tioga, Eddie Pieniezak took the win over Wayne Edwards,
George Kent and Jerry Cook. Rain washed out events scheduled at
Pocono and Utica-Rome.
Thirty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine was on a tear as he won three
out of four for the weekend. At Stafford, he beat out Ronnie
Bouchard and Leo Cleary, at Seekonk he won over Fred DeSarro and
Bugsy Stevens and at Utica-Rome he beat Jerry Cook and Richie Evans.
The only downer was a blown engine at Oswego on Sunday afternoon.
Other weekend winners were Jerry Cook at Riverside, Jeff Fuller at
Westboro, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip, Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson
and Roger Treichler at Lancaster. Maynard Troyer won the modified
half of the Port City 150 at Oswego.
Twenty five years ago in 1983, rain soaked the northeast. Stafford
ran on Friday night with Ronnie Bouchard taking the win over Bugsy
Stevens, Bobby Vee, Kenny Bouchard and Greg Sacks. Jerry Pearl was
the SK Modified winner. Marty Radwick took the victory at Riverside
Park over Ray Miller and Dennis Albro. At Tioga, Richie Evans beat
out Wayne Edwards. Waterford, Wall Stadium, Islip, Spencer and a
special modified event at Pocono, rained out.
Twenty Years ago in 1988, Stafford rained out. At Waterford on
Saturday, Ed Flemke Jr. took the win over John Jensen. At Riverhead,
it was Don Howe over John Blewett Jr. and at Tioga, Tony Hirschman
made it three in a row with Lee Sherwood, second. Mike Stefanik was
the winner at Monadnock on Sunday.
Fifteen years ago in 1993, Steve Chowanski took the Friday night win
at Stafford after the Christopher brothers tangled on the last lap.
Saturday saw rain at Waterford. Jerry Marquis got his third win at
Riverside and Brian Miller scored a win at Riverhead. Twin SK events
were run at Thompson on Sunday. John StAngelo and Ted Christopher
were the winners. Marquis made it two for two on the weekend as he
won on Sunday at Monadnock. The Modified Tour Series joined the
Busch Grandnational North/South divisions at Nazareth. Tim Connolly
won the modified event over Doug Hevron, Jamie Tomaino, Rick Fuller
and Tom Baldwin. Bob Pressley won the Busch GN event after Mike
Stefanik broke a motor mount while leading. Dale Earnhardt passed
Mark Martin with two to go to win the Winston at Charlotte.
Ten years ago in 1998 Memorial Day came a week early and the NASCAR
Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford for a 150 lapper. Mike
Stefanik started second and led all 150 laps as he went non-stop.
Chris Kopec finished second with John Blewett III, third. Carl
Pasteryak and Ed Kennedy rounded out the top five. In SK Modified
action at Stafford Bo Gunning scored his 34th career win as he out
ran Chris Jones and Jim Broderick to the checker. Tucker Reynolds
passed Jerry Pearl with 10 laps to go and went on to record the win
at Waterford. Rick Donnelly finished second while Pearl faded to
third. Eddie Flemke won a 125 lapper at Riverside Park over Bob
Polverari and Todd Ceravolo and at the Riverhead Raceway it was Ken
Heagy in victory lane. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Ted
Christopher led from lap 40 to the finish only to get disqualified
with an illegal transmission. Bert Marvin was awarded the win with
Dennis Gada moving up to second. Charlie Pasteryak, Todd Ceravolo
and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five. Mark Martin took the lead
from Jim Spencer with four laps to go and went on to win the Busch
Series 300 at Charlotte. Jeff Gordon beat out Rusty Wallace to win
the Winston Cup World 600 at Charlotte and Eddie Cheever won the
Indy 500. Tom Carey was the Busch North Series winner at the Holland
Five years ago in 2003, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
was scheduled to be at the Stafford Speedway on Friday night but
heavy rain forced the Arute family to pull the plug and reschedule
to Friday, May 30. The decision to scrub the event was made around
9:00 am which saved countless competitors and fans needless travel.
A very good and smart move! Waterford and Seekonk followed suit
early on Saturday morning. Seekonk’s Busch North Series event at
Seekonk was rescheduled to Saturday, May 31. Waterford’s holiday
program would run in July. With four events in the 2003 NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series record book John Blewett III sat
atop the point standings. Winless, Blewett had four top tens
including two top fives. The 2002 rookie sensation Todd Szegedy sat
in the second spot, one point behind Blewett. Szegedy was also
winless but had four top tens including three top fives to his
credit. Ted Christopher finished 32nd at Thompson in the season
opener but since then had come on like gangbusters and had clawed
his way to third spot, thirty five points behind the leader.
Christopher had two wins to his credit including the Spring Sizzler
at Stafford and the recent Service Electric 100 at Nazareth. In
addition to his two wins and a DNF, Christopher had one top five and
was the series money leader with $21,400 in the win column. Chuck
Hossfeld led the point standings through the first three events but
ran into miss-fortune at Nazareth when officials said he jumped the
final restart and placed him at the tail end of the lead lap in 19th
spot. Hossfeld actually crossed the finish line in 8th spot.
Although he did not actually pass the car in question he was along
side as they crossed the start line and officials felt that it was
his intent to make a pass. A questionable call to say the least.
Hossfeld, who won the season opener at Thompson, had a total of
three top tens including two top fives. Even with a slip to fourth
spot, Hossfeld was only 36 points behind the leader. Rounding out
the top five was former series champion Jerry Marquis. Marquis had
four top tens including one top five and was 41 points out of first
spot. Sixth through tenth were Tony Hirschman, Eric Beers, Rick
Fuller, Tony Ferrante Jr. and Dave Etheridge. NASCAR’s top divisions
had better luck as the big weekend at Charlotte was completed.
Jimmie Johnson was declared the winner of the Winston Cup World 600
after rain caused the race to be stopped at the 414-mile mark. Matt
Kenseth was second. On a sad note, it was learned that former
Stafford Motor Speedway pace car driver Peter Locke had passed away
at the age of 66.
Last year, 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to
the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, for the 17th annual
Connecticut Classic 150. Donnie Lia, in the Bob Garbarino Mystic
Missile made it two in a row at the Arute family owned facility.
There were 42 Modifieds on hand for the 150 lap contest. Lia started
sixth and took the lead on lap 113 from Eric Beers. James Civali,
who started on the pole finished second. Eddie Flemke Jr finished
third with Zach Sylvester and Todd Szegedy rounding out the top
five. Ted Christopher started third and was the top lap leader as he
led 84 circuits. His night came to an end after he wrecked with
Frank Ruocco in the third turn on lap 91. Christopher blamed Mike
Stefanik for the incident. Reggie Ruggerio and John Blewett III were
eliminated in a big wreck on lap 104. Defending champion and Busch
Pole Sitter Tony Hirschman continues to have bad luck as he was
eliminated on lap 114. Likewise for Chuck Hossfeld who lost a wheel
on lap 31.
Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Jamie Tomaino, Dick
Houlihan, Richard Savory and Eric Beers. Civali led the opening laps
before he was passed by Ted Christopher on lap2. Christopher
appeared to have the field covered up until the time he pitted on
lap 86. Jimmy Blewett led laps 87 through 90 before giving way to
Eric Beers who led laps 91 to 109. Lia led lap 110 before giving it
back to Beers for three laps. Lia took the lead for the final time
on lap 113. Six caution periods for 36 laps kept Lia’s speed at
Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway began with a large
field of cars, 129, including 28 Sunoco (SKtype) Modifieds. Bert
Marvin started on the outside pole of the Sunoco Modified feature
and went on to lead every lap to record the feature win. Tom
Cravenho finished a distant second with Buddy Charette, third. Kerry
Malone and Woody Pitkat followed. Sixth through tenth were John
Blewett, Jimmy Blewett, Keith Rocco, Todd Ceravolo and Josh Steeves.
The only drama for the Modifieds came after the second qualifying
heat when Jimmy Blewett was disqualified from his heat win when his
car failed to make weight. Blewett started the feature in last spot.
Other opening night winners were Tom O’Sullivan, who won his
first-ever Late Model feature, Jeff Zuidema who won the Pro Stock
feature. The Limited Sportsman winner was Jess Gleason, Mini Stock
winner, Mike Romano and TIS Mod winner was Tim Sullivan.While the
fields of Modifieds, Late Models and Limited Sportsman were
extremely healthy the Pro Stocks were dying a slow death as only 16
were on hand.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway on Friday night Bo Gunning ended a long dry spell as he
annexed the 40 lap SK Modified victory. Jim Peterson won the 30-lap
Late Model feature, Chris Matthews the 20-lap SK Light feature,
Michael Nadeau the Limited Late Model feature, and Steve Berardi the
15-lap DARE Stock feature. Gunning started the event from the
outside pole, but he had to work hard for the victory. Curt Brainard,
searching for his first win since the 2000 season, hounded Gunning
lap after lap, and nearly made several moves to the inside of
Gunning for the lead. A late caution slowed the field and set up a
four lap dash to the finish. Ted Christopher moved past Brainard
into second on the restart, but Gunning was too strong for
Christopher to overtake. Brainard came home third, with Todd Owen
and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl
Kenny Horton scored his first career win at the shoreline oval.
Dennis Gada, who is in the process of trying to annex a record
setting seventh track championship finished second. Dennis Charette,
who survived a trademark “Waterford Big One” finished third. A
grinding crash on lap two damaged the cars of Shelly Perry, Wendell
Dailey and Shawn Monahan. Monahan returned to finish sixth. Rounding
out the top five following Charette were Don Fowler and Tyler
Chadwick. Officials felt that Rob Janovic triggered the crash as
they sent him to the rear. Janovic ended up eighth in the final
tally. Tim Jordan made it three in a row in Late Model competition
as he won a classic battle with Allen Coates. This division, once
considered the best second division in New England is down to eleven
cars and could use a shot in the arm. The ISMA Supermodifieds made a
special appearance with Chris Perley
taking the win over Nokie Fornoro and Rob Summers. Other Saturday
night winners were Bill Gertsch in the Sportsman division and Phil
Evans in the Mini-Stocks.
Other weekend winners were Pete Brittain over Jan Leaty and Tony
Hirschman at the Richie Evans Memorial at Oswego, Kirk Akexander in
the True Value Modified Series at Monadnock and twin events at Wall
Township went to Jimmy Blewett and Justin Gumley.
Kasey Kahne raced to his first victory of the season, pulling away
on a late restart to win the Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor
Speedway in Concord, N.C. Casey Mears shored up his job security by
stretching his fuel to the finish line on Sunday night to win the
Coca-Cola 600, his first Nextel Cup victory. Mears, struggling
through his first season at elite Hendrick Motorsports, ran strong
all night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but only took the lead when
others ducked onto pit road for a splash of gas. Mears and his team
gambled and pushed their Chevrolet to the finish, running out of gas
moments after he took his first checkered flag. It was Hendrick's
fifth straight win and the ninth in the past 10 Nextel Cup races,
but came from the unlikeliest driver. J.J. Yeley finished second for
the first top-five finish of his career. Kyle Petty was third, his
first top five in 10 years. Reed Sorenson was fourth, and Brian
Vickers was fifth in the highest finish so far for Toyota. Tony
Stewart, who seemed to have the win after Jimmie Johnson gave it
away in the pits, wound up sixth after figuring he was two laps
short on fuel and had to make a late stop.
Dario Franchitti finally got the news he had been waiting for Sunday
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The rain is eight blocks away,"
he heard over his radio. Franchitti had stayed on the track during a
late caution, anticipating another round of thunderstorms - and the
gamble paid off. The Scotsman, who is probably best known as actress
Ashley Judd's husband, won the Indianapolis 500, arguably the
world's biggest race, when it was halted by rain 34 laps from its
scheduled end. Scott Dixon finished second at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway while two-time winner Helio Castroneves battled back from
an early mishap on pit lane to finish third.
It was announced that the Motor Racing Network, a wholly owned
subsidiary of the International Speedway Corp., would move to
Cabarrus County, NC and will be creating 50 jobs and investing $2.15
million over the next three years. The company, which provides
NASCAR radio coverage and programming, is moving from Daytona Beach,
Fla. The average weekly wage of the jobs will be $1,045 plus
benefits, which is higher than the Cabarrus County average weekly
wage of $594, not including benefits.
This week are several vintage
racing photos of New York's Cam Gagliardi provide by
Turn5 Photo & Video Courtesy of
That’s it for this week from
40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467