five years ago in 1963 Rene Charland made it three in a row as he
won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway.
Bill Wimble finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Bob Zeigler and
Ken Meahl rounded out the top
Forty years ago, in 1968, on the Memorial Day weekend the
Albany-Saratoga Speedway presented a 100-lap event. Jerry Cook rose
to the occasion and took the win over Hop Harrington. At Stafford,
Bugsy Stevens in the mighty No.3 of Len Boehler took the win over
Fred DeSarro, Eddie Flemke, Fred Harbach and Tommy Borget. At
Norwood, on Saturday night, Mr. Leo Cleary in the Joe Brady No.41
took the win. On the dirt at Fonda, Lou Lazzaro was unbeatable as he
beat out Jerry Cook and Eddie Pieniezak for the win. Rain washed out
activities at Thompson. At Utica-Rome, Lou Lazzaro, in the same car
he ran on dirt the night before changed tires and springs and went
out and won on the pavement. Paul Hamel finished second with Jerry
Cook, Dick Clark and Richie Evans rounding out the top five.
five years ago on Memorial Day weekend in 1973, Albany-Saratoga
started the weekend with a special 99 lap event which saw Richie
Evans take the win over Eddie Pieniezak, Fred DeSarro,
Sonney Seamon and Bugsy Stevens. At
Stafford Speedway on Saturday, Mr. Leo Cleary was at his best as he
took a hard fought win over Bobby Santos, Eddie Flemke, Freddie
Schulz and DeSarro. At Islip, Jim Hendrickson won out over Junior
Ambrose and Wayne Anderson. Lee Raceway ran a 100 lapper on Sunday.
Freddie Schulz took the win over Jerry Cook, Jim Landry, Ed
Yerrington and Santos. Stafford had a 100 lapper scheduled for
Monday but rain washed it out.
Thirty Years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it four in a row at
Stafford. Leo Cleary finished second and was followed by Mike
McLaughlin, Bob Polverari and Ed Flemke. Saturday racing at Seekonk,
Waterford and Riverside, rained out. On Sunday at Thompson, Fred
DeSarro in Len Boehlers' Ole Blu won out over Ronnie Bouchard and
Eddie Flemke. Geoff Bodine was disqualified for rough riding. In
upstate N.Y., Maynard Troyer won three for the weekend as he took
two at Fulton and one at Spencer. Wayne Anderson won what was to be
the last NASCAR sanctioned event at Chemung as NASCAR pulled the
sanction shortly after the event. At New Egypt, Geoff Bodine was
again in victory lane.
Twenty five years ago in 1983, rain washed out holiday events at
Stafford and Waterford. Star Speedway ran the Modifieds on Saturday
night. Jeff Fuller took the win over Mike Murphy and George Murray.
Stafford got to run their rained out modified 100 lapper on Sunday.
Reggie Ruggiero took the win with Charlie Jarzombek, Corky Cookman
and John Blewett jr. following. Other weekend winners were Richie
Evans at Spencer and Oswego, Don Owe at Islip, Stan Greger won two
at Riverside, Doug Hewitt at Holland and Tom Baldwin at New Egypt.
Twenty years ago in 1988, Ted Christopher went two for two as he won
at Stafford on Friday and at Waterford on Saturday. Tom Tagg
finished second at Stafford and Don Bundle finished second at
Waterford. Mike Stefanik took a hard fought win at Riverside over
Reggie Ruggerio and at Riverhead, Tom Baldwin beat out Chris Young.
Tony Hirschman made it five in a row at Tioga and Brian Ross won the
modified portion of Port City 150 at Oswego.
Fifteen years ago in 1993, Reggie Ruggerio was in top form as he won
the modified tour event at Stafford. Tom Baldwin finished second and
was followed by Ed Flemke jr. Tom Tagg was the SK modified winner.
Twin features were run at Waterford. Chris Jones went pole to pole
to win the first one and Ted Christopher won the nightcap. Wayne
Anderson got his 21st career win at Riverhead over Don Howe and on
Sunday at Oswego, Jeff Fuller won the Port City 150 over Rick
Fuller, Doug Hevron and Jan Leaty. At Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt made
up two laps to win the World 600. Michael Waltrip won the
Grandnational 300. In Busch Grandnational North action at Holland,
Brian Ross scored his first division win after Kelly Moore dumped
Robbie Crouch with three laps to go and was put to the rear for
Ten years ago in 1998, it rained at Stafford. Dennis Gada was the
big winner at Waterford as he won the modified main event over Jeff
Pearl and Eric Berndt. Chris Wenzel won at Riverside and John Fortin
scored at Riverhead. The Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen.
Tim Connolly started on the outside pole and passed pole sitter Mike
Stefanik on the last lap to take the win. Stefanik had led the first
thirty-seven of the thirty eight-lap contest. Stefanik finished
second with Chris Kopec, third.
Five years ago in 2003, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
beat the foul weather that all but wiped out all racing on the East
Coast a week ago. After getting rained out at Stafford on May 23 the
series returned the following Friday night. The event drew 42
Modifieds for 31 starting spots. John Blewett III, who failed to
qualify for this race last year, was the top time trialer. Because
of a wreckfest during the SK-Modified feature the 150 lap Tour
series event got a late start as they took the green flag shortly
after 10:00 p.m. Long Islander Donnie Lia jumped out from his
outside pole starting position to take the lead at the start. Lia, a
rookie on the tour, cut his racing teeth at the Riverhead Raceway on
Long Island. Lia led the first seven laps before Blewett took
command. Blewett led until lap 39 when he gave way to Todd Szegedy.
Szegedy and Blewett would slug it out until Blewett’s tires would
give up near the 90-lap mark of the 150-lap event. Former series
champion Jerry Marquis started in tenth spot and after pitting for
tires on lap 35, slowly worked his way to the front and as Blewett
backed off, moved into second spot. Szegedy held off Marquis until
the final lap when he got hung up behind cars about to be lapped
which allowed Marquis to make his move and take the lead and victory
in the event’s final seconds. Szegedy ended up second with Ed Flemke
Jr., third. Flemke, who had a string of bad luck that started in
Florida in February, rebounded and was back in contention as a
potential winner. Ted Christopher, who won the Spring Sizzler at
Stafford a few weeks earlier, finished fourth. Donnie Lia finished
fifth. Seven cars were on the lead lap at the finish. Szegedy was
extremely upset with Tom Bolles who did not heed the move-over flag
that was displayed by the starter and felt that the Ellington, Ct.
resident cost him the race. Bolles and Jamie Tomaino were the only
other drivers to finish on the lead lap. Rounding out the top ten
were Chuck Hossfeld, Mike Stefanik and John Blewett III. There were
six caution periods for 33 laps. John Lobo Jr. won the SK Modified
50 lapper over Jim Civali and Jim Larsen. One of the many wrecks
collected 14 cars. For the second week in a row rain-washed out
racing at the Waterford Speedbowl. Seekonk Speedway, in
Massachusetts, which was to have hosted the Busch North Series of
NASCAR, was also rained out. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs,
Ryan Newman took the pole plus the win. Jeff Gordon finished second.
Newman drove the final 180 miles without power steering. Bobby
Labonte finished third.
Last year, 2007, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued to
regroup before coming alive for their “Summer Session” which began
on Thursday, June 21 at the Thompson Int. Speedway. Jimmy Blewett
held a slim three point lead over James Civali. Two points behind
Civali was Matt Hirschman. Blewett and Civali have won, Hirschman
had not. Donny Lia with two wins to his credit sat in fourth spot,
thirteen points behind Hirschman. Rounding out the top five was Todd
Szegedy. Sixth through tenth were Zach Sylvester, Jerry Marquis,
Mike Stefanik, Ronnie Silk and Jamie Tomaino. The NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour Series continued to be strong as 52 different drivers
had entered into competition in four events.
Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway was canceled when
Thunder Showers descended upon the speedway shortly after qualifying
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor
Speedway on Friday night Woody Pitkat won the 40-lap SK Modified
feature, Scott Cook, the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen,
the 20-lap SK Light feature, Sean Foster the Limited Late Model
feature, and Carla Botticello the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. The
40-lap SK Modified feature saw Woody Pitkat and Zach Sylvester duel
for much of the race, with Pitkat having to hold off Ted Christopher
to take his first win of the 2007 season. Sylvester took the lead at
the drop of the green, and set the early pace. Pitkat settled into
second, but moved past Sylvester on lap-6 to take over the lead.
Pitkat then held the lead until lap-20 when Sylvester moved back out
front. Sylvester then held the lead until lap-33, when Pitkat moved
back by Sylvester to take the lead back. Ted Christopher followed
Pitkat by Sylvester to move into second. Christopher hounded the
bumper of Pitkat, but was unable to make a pass for the win.
Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and Sylvester was Todd Owen,
Sylvester, and Ryan Posocco.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford
Speedbowl Jeff Pearl scored his 25th career win at the shoreline
oval. Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Jack
Aquilina (Sportsman), Joe Godbout III (Mini Stock), and Chris Bakaj
Pearl passed early leader Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. on the ninth lap.
With the victory, Pearl earned a guaranteed starting spot for this
Saturday’s True Value Modified Tour 100 at the Speedbowl. Diego
Monahan, Dennis Charette, Ron Janovic Jr., and Frank Ruocco (subbing
for Jimmy Horton), rounded-out the top-5. Sixth through tenth were
Zach Sylvester in a new entry owned by Dick Ceravolo, Shawn Monahan,
Wendell Dailey, Mucciacciaro and Jay Miller.
In Late Model action, it was Bruce Thomas Jr. collecting his 3rd
feature victory of the season. After a long intense side-by-side
battle with multi-time champion Allen Coates that resulted in one of
the closest finishes in Speedbowl history, Following Thomas and
Coates was Tony Macrino, Ernie Bertrand, and Larry Goss.
Les Hinckley, Windsor Locks, CT; scored his second win of the season
Sunday afternoon, June 3, at Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, NH;
capturing the “Canaan 100” for modified race cars, his seventh
career win with the True Value Modified Racing Series. The second
generation driver captured the same event last spring at the Granite
State oval. “I’ve always loved this place, we came here year’s ago
with the pro stock, won an open comp show, love to come back,”
Hinckley said, after being chased to the finish by point leader Kirk
Alexander, Hinckley, who started the race 15th out of 28 racers,
took the lead from Louie Mechalides; at lap 50, and was never
headed. Mechalides pursued Hinckley until lap 90 when he yielded the
second spot to Alexander. Alexander gave chase to Hinckley but was
unable to get close enough to contest for the win. Lou Mechalides,
Dwight Jarvis and Andy Seuss rounded out the top five.
There were 450 people in the stands at the Riverhead Raceway on Long
Island. And it’s not just the front gate that was dwindling. Car
counts were down, as well. Only the Blunderbusts and Modifieds had
full fields. There were 16 cars for a double-point Charger race, 12
cars for the Late Model race, and 10 cars for the Figure Eights
Carl Edwards, who passed Matt Kenseth with 13 laps left in the Busch
Series Dover 200, extended his overall points lead and won for the
third time this season. He popped his head out of the window, pumped
his fist to the crowd and nailed his trademark backflip, making a
clean landing on the concrete. The Nextel Cup race scheduled for
Sunday was run on Monday. Martin Truex Jr became a first time winner
as he took the checkered flag in the rescheduled event.
NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France, whose leadership helped turn
a family-owned company into a national phenomenon, died at 1:00pm on
June 4, 2007 at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the age of 74.
France served as NASCAR’s president from 1972-2000, taking over from
his father, NASCAR founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France. In 2000,
France, known as “Bill Jr.”, became NASCAR’s CEO and the chairman of
the newly created NASCAR Board of Directors.
This week are several vintage
racing photos of Connecticut's Denny Zimmerman who went on to become
the 1971 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, Courtesy of
That’s it for this week from
40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467