Sixty years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford Speedbowl
was closed as the facility was being prepped for asphalt that would
replace the crushed stone.
Fifty years ago in 1961 Mario “Fats” Caruso won the left over
50 lap opening night Modified event at the Norwood Arena. Rene
Charland finished second with Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut
Valley Rocket V-8, third. Caruso came back to win the regularly
scheduled 25 lapper at the Massachusetts oval. Racing at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl was canceled due to rain.
Forty five years ago in 1966 Steady Eddie Flemke continued
the New England driver domination of the Albany Saratoga Speedway as
he won the Friday night 30-lap feature. Dennis Zimmerman finished
second with Lou Toro, Mario “Fats” Caruso and Jerry Cook rounding
out the top five. At the Fonda Speedway on Saturday night Kenny
Shoemaker showed one and all who was boss as he won a 101-lap
feature. Bill Slater recorded his first win of the season at
Norwood. Pete Hamilton started on the pole and led until lap 15 of
the 30 lap feature when Slater moved into the top spot. Johnny
Thompson powered his way into the second spot on the last lap as
Hamilton faded to third. Rounding out the top five were Dennis
Zimmerman and Bob Baccioce. Sixth through tenth were Billy Schulz,
Bobby Sprague, Bugsy Stevens, Fred DeSarro and Joe Trudeau. Lou
Lazzaro finished second with Ron Narducci, third. Wild Bill Slater
Fred “Fuzzy” Baer scored a popular win at the Waterford Speedbowl on
Saturday night. Eddie Bunnell made it three in a row in the Bombers
and Fred Sentell was the Daredevil winner. At the Utica-Rome
Speedway on Sunday night Eddie Flemke took the win over Bill Wimble,
Richie Evans, Frank Mathalia and Ernie Gahan.
Forty years ago in 1971, Richie Evans was banned from running
in NASCAR sanctioned events because of the fact that he was racing
at independent New York state tracks. Malta opened for the season on
Friday night. Evans hired the master, Eddie Flemke, who, despite
having to pit in the parking lot, won the modified feature. Bugsy
Stevens finished second and was followed by Denis Giroux, Fred
DeSarro, Lou Lazzaro and Dick Fowler. That was it for the weekend as
Stafford, Waterford, Islip, Thompson and Utica-Rome had rainouts.
Thirty-five years ago in 1976, Geoff Bodine in the Armstrong
No.1 took the win at Stafford. Dick Caso, in the Ted Marsh 55
finished a strong second and was followed by Fred DeSarro, John
Rosati and Ronnie Bouchard. Bob Potter won a 35 lapper on Saturday
night and a special 50 lapper on Tuesday night at Waterford. During
the Saturday Waterford event, Billy Harman incurred severe injuries
when he flipped the Joe Zenga modified. At Islip it was Ricky Lutz
over Don Howe and at Riverside Park, Bob Polverari took the win over
Pete Fiandaca and Jap Membrino. On Sunday at Thompson, Fred DeSarro
was the small block modified winner. John Rosati finished second and
was followed by George Summers and Ronnie Bouchard.
Thirty years ago in 1981, Richie Evans won the Friday night
feature at Stafford as 5500 chilled fans looked on. Reggie Ruggiero
finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook and Corky Cookman.
Pete Fiandaca was the late model winner with Pat Chambrello taking
the win in the Street Stocks. Evans made it two for two as he
carried his winning ways over to Riverside on Saturday. At Islip,
Charlie Jarzombek showed the way as he again mastered the 1/5-mile
oval. Bill Park finished second with George Wagner, third. Billy
Griffin won at Shangri-La and Allen Whipple won at Claremont. An
81-lap event scheduled for the Westboro Speedway on Sunday was
rained out. Gerry Dinnen was the Modified winner and Tom Bressonthe
Sportsman winner at Danbury.
Twenty-five years ago in 1986, Mike Mclaughlin in the
Sheri-Cup No.12 beat out Dave Reszendes at Stafford on Friday night.
Jeff Fuller finished third. Richie Gallup was the SK Modified
winner. At Waterford on Saturday night, Bob Potter made it three in
a row. Mark Lajunesse finished second. Jimmy Lloyd continued his
strangle hold on the Super Stock division as he made it three in a
row. Dan Avery got his first win at Riverside on Saturday while at
Seekonk; Mr. Leo Cleary gave the kids a driving lesson as he took
the victory. At Riverhead it was Fred Harbach over Bill Park and
John Blewett jr and at Shangri La, Tony Hirschman dusted George Kent
and Doug Hevron. In Winston Cup action at Atlanta, Bill Elliott ran
away and hid as he won "The Winston". Dale Earnhardt finished
Twenty years ago in 1991, Steve Chowanski was the Friday
night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Bob Potter, Willie Hardie,
Rick Fuller and Pat Chambrello followed. Saturday night at Waterford
the races were halted after Bob Potter, who was driving the Ceravolo
No.31, sailed out of the track and almost thru the scoreboard.
Extensive damage was done to the fence and wall. Jan Leaty scored a
major win for Hoosier Tires as he won the Goodyear dominated
Featherlite Modified Tour at Nazareth. Jamie Tomaino finished second
and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Jeff Fuller and Bob Park. Charlie
Pasteryak won at Riverside and ageless veteran Gil Hearne scored his
100th victory at Wall Stadium. Other weekend winners were Fred
Harbach at Riverhead, Rusty Ball at Monadnock and Ron Shepherd at
Fifteen years ago in 1996, rain washed out everything except
Stafford on Friday night. Bob Potter started on the outside pole of
the SK modified 50 lapper and led for 45 laps until being pushed out
of the way by Mike Ewanitsko who went on to take the win. Potter
finished second and was followed by Bo Gunning and Ted Christopher.
On a sad note, legendary Winston Cup crew chief Harry Hyde passed
away. The Busch Grandnationals and the Busch North Series were
scheduled to run at Loudon on Sunday but they too, gave way to rain.
Ten years ago in 2001. Chuck Docherty took the Friday night
win at Stafford over Ted Christopher and Lloyd Agor. Female driver,
Renee Dupuis saw her season cut short as she suffered severe and
painful foot injuries after a crash. The modified event at Waterford
on Saturday night went pole to pole, non-stop. Dennis Gada took the
lead from John Brouwer on lap 17 of the 35 lap feature and never
looked back. Eric Berndt finished second with Ed Dachenhausen,
third. Brouwer faded to fourth in the final run-down. JR. Bertuccio
made it two in a row at Riverhead and at Loudon; Ted Christopher
took the lead with four laps to go after Tom Carey cut a tire down
in the Busch North Series event at the one mile oval. Following
Christopher at the finish were Martin Truex, Mike Johnson and Brad
Leighton. Carey, who pitted under green, lost two laps and finished
14th. Team Racing Auto Circuit (TRAC) was announced and would debut
in 2003 at non-International Speedway Corporation tracks. On a sad
note, legendary modified car owner Len Boehler passed away after a
long battle with Cancer.
Five years ago in 2006, The Stafford Motor Speedway made a
wise decision when they cancelled the races on Friday. The National
Weather Service predicted upwards of four inches of rain for the
state of Connecticut. Rain it did, for five days straight.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night the weatherman stopped
Dwayne Dorr at four in a row when no one else in the Sportsman
division could. The Speedbowl management canceled last Saturday
nights races after the infield and parts of the track were under
water. Defending Waterford Speedbowl Late Model Champion Mark St.
Hillaire would have a few weeks to collect his thoughts and cool his
jets as Speedbowl Race Director Steve Harraka suspended him from
racing in the first four events following his May 6 tantrum when he
deliberately rammed the car of Jay Lozyniak while the field was
under caution. Hilaire was also fined $70 and 24 championship points
which would eliminate him from defending his title. Lozyniak was
placed on probation for two months for speeding in the pits.
It was cold and damp on Long Island but the rain held off long
enough for the Riverhead Raceway to get their program in. Howie
Brode took the win over Sal Accardi Jr. At the Wall Township
Speedway Kevin Flockhart beat out John Blewett III for the win.
Under the lights at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina Denny
Hamlin won the Busch Series event and Greg Biffle was the Nextel Cup
Last year, 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series
returned to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Spring
Sizzler which had been rained out on April 25. The main event, 200
laps/100 miles carried a race purse of $88,142. Under bright and
sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-80's, Stafford Motor
Speedway hosted the completion of "The Greatest Race in the History
of Spring", the 39th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler.
Ted Christopher took the lead from Jimmy Blewett on lap 146 and then
held on through a green-white-checker finish to earn his 10th career
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Stafford. The event concluded
with a multi-car accident on the front stretch after the leaders had
taken the white flag, which made the race official, and secured
Christopher his fifth Whelen Modified Tour win in the Spring
Sizzler. His five wins in the event are now a record as he entered
the day tied with Mike Stefanik at four.
Christopher was followed across the line by Coors Light Pole Award
winner Bobby Santos and Stefanik. Santos led the first 54 laps of
the race before he was spun by lap traffic. Rowan Pennink, Todd
Szegedy, James Civali, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Berndt, Erick Rudolph
and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top 10 finishers in the race,
which featured 10 lead changes among nine drivers. Fifteen of the
original 32 starters finished on the lead lap. Among those who ran
into problems was Ryan Preece.Preece, who was one of the pre-race
favorites lost numerous laps after hitting the wall. Jimmy Blewett
made a move to take the lead causing Mike Stefanik to check up.
Preece hit Stefanik and hit the wall.
In addition to the Sizzler, Keith Rocco was the kingpin in the
40-lap SK Modified® feature and Dillon Moltz took top honors in the
30-lap Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco led the field
to the green flag with Ted Christopher, Frank Ruocco, Jeff Malave,
and Woody Pitkat behind him in the top-5. The top-5 quickly settled
into single file racing, but that single file was eliminated when
the caution came out with 4 laps complete for a spin by Brit
There were several attempts at the next restart with Curt Brainard,
then Matt Gallo, and then Joe Allegro, Jr., Adam Skowyra, and Glenn
Griswold each bringing the caution back out for spins. Rocco
continued to lead back under green with Christopher and Malave
behind him. Tom Bolles made a power move to go from 7th to 4th on
the restart, while Eric Berndt rounded out the top-5.
The action was slowed again with 8 laps complete for a spin by Chris
Jones. Rocco again took the lead on the restart, but a 5 car
accident involving Glenn Griswold, Jones, Keith Carzello, Michael
Gervais, Jr., and Matt Gallo brought the yellow back out one lap
after the restart. The next restart saw Christopher power by Rocco
to take the lead on lap-11. Berndt moved into third behind Rocco,
with Kurt Lenahan moving into fourth and Malave was fifth. The top-5
then ran in line until the next caution came out with 16 laps
complete for a multicar incident between Dan Avery, Kirk Zervas,
Mark Bakaj, and Bolles.
Christopher took the lead on the restart, but he would lose it to
Rocco three laps later on lap-19. Berndt continued to run in third
place, with Lenahan and Malave behind him. The running order
remained the same until lap-25 when Christopher's car dropped off
the pace and he came to pit road and was finished for the race. At
the same time that Christopher's car gave up, Frank Ruocco also had
engine troubles that brought him to pit road and ended his day.
Rocco was the leader with Berndt now up to second. Lenahan was up to
third, with Malave and Brit Andersen making up the new top-5. Rocco
was building a large lead over Berndt, who was building a large gap
back to Malave, Lenahan, and Andersen.
Rocco's large lead was erased with 34 laps complete as a piece of
sheet metal debris brought out the yellow flag. On the restart,
Rocco powered into the lead with Malave moving past Berndt for
second. Lenahan continued in fourth with Andersen in fifth. Rocco
again pulled away from his closest pursuers and he cruised to
victory in the first SK Modified® feature event of the 2010 season.
Malave came home in second, with Berndt, Lenahan, and Andersen
rounding out the top-5 at the checkered flag.
In addition to the postponed Sizzler program which was run on
Saturday the Stafford Motor Speedway began their Friday night season
with a special program for their support classes. Frank Cardile took
the checkered flag in the 30-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan
Flannery won the 25-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle
Casagrande won the 20-lap DARE Stock feature.
The Modified Racing Series 100 lapper at the Monadnock Speedway was
won by Dwight Jarvis. Jacob Dore finished second and was followed by
Jim Boniface, Rowin Pennink and Sean Bodreau. Pennick had raced at
Stafford in the afternoon where he finished fourth in the Spring
Sizzler. One of the best runs of the day was turned in by Pennick.
Pennink, who started 24th in the field, was involved in a lap 36
tangle that forced him to start last again. He made a late race
charge that led to his fourth place finish.
With the Spring Sizzler in the history books the Whelen Modified
Tour Series goes on a four week "Spring Break" before returning to
Stafford on May 28 for a 150 lapper. The Bob Valenti Modified Racing
Series, which also ran last Saturday at the Monadnock Speedway also
goes on "Spring Break" until heading to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway
on May 21 for a make-up event.
Long Island driver Johnny Bush has become the first NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour driver to run it full-time in 2010. In fact, it is
because of the SPEC that Bush even makes it to the track this year.
The SPEC engine was developed in a cooperative effort between NASCAR
and engine builder Carl Wegner of Wegner Motorsports as an
economical alternative for race teams. The engine is assembled using
“spec”ific components that produce a robust engine package. The
recipe for the SPEC engine uses components from many of the best
automotive aftermarket companies – names that are recognizable from
the contingency sponsor decals on the race cars like Edelbrock, JE
Pistons, Comp Cams, Holley and CV Products.
The New London Day reported that Dillon Moltz had won the inaugural
Richard Petty's Driver Search. As the winner of the competition
Moltz will get the chance to qualify for the ARCA Racing Series
event June 5 at Pocono Raceway in a fully-funded ride from the
Richard Petty's Driver Search program. A graduate of the Quarter
Midget ranks, Moltz has become one of the top runners in the Late
Model division at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
Keith Rocco scored a one-two punch on Saturday. In addition to his
Stafford win, he made a heated trip to the Connecticut shoreline
where he dusted the SK Modified field at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Other winners at the Speedbowl were Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model),
Al Stone III (25-lap Street Stock), Sean Caron (25-lap Mini Stock)
and Chris Lomartire (15-lap Bandoleros)
It was Rocco's second straight feature win at the Speedbowl and his
fourth victory overall. Rocco passed leader Tom Abele Jr. with three
laps remaining. Abele finished second, followed by Ron Yuhas Jr. in
third, Jeffrey Paul in fourth and Jeff Pearl in fifth. Early leader
Todd Ceravolo dropped out with mechanical problems.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC finally got their season
going after a rain-out for their opening event. Tim Brown, one of
the stars of the "MadHouse" TV series took the 200 lap win in front
of a packed house at the 17,000-seat stadium. Lee Jeffreys finished
second ahead of Brian Loftin. and Junior Miller fourth. Burt Myers,
who challenged Brown after changing tires, settled for sixth.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season. Chuck
Steuer looked like a man of a mission, winning the Modified feature.
Dirt track super-star Brett Hearn scored his 775th career victory at
Accord, NY. Hearn began his racing career in 1976.
Brad Keselowski raced to his second straight NASCAR Nationwide
Series victory, dominating all night and then rallying from fourth
in a green-white-checker finish Friday at Richmond International
Raceway. In Sprint Cup Series racing Kyle Busch became the latest
driver to deny Jeff Gordon a victory, passing him after the final
restart Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway for his
first win of the season. For Busch, it snapped a 21-race losing
streak, his longest since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008.
In some sad news, Busch Sport Scene Publisher George Campbell
announced that 2010 will be his final year publishing the popular
auto racing newsprint publication. The publication debuted in 1999
and plans are underway to make 2010 the final year
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: