Sixty years ago in 1951, The New London-Waterford Speedbowl
ran it’s third and final race on their crushed stone surface. Taking
the win was NEAR Hall of Fame inductee Don Rounds. Because of
extremely dusty conditions it was determined to cover the 1/3 mile
oval with asphalt.
Fifty years ago in 1961 rain interrupted the opening night
program at the Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA. It was announced that
Carl Merrill would hold the position of NASCAR Chief Steward.
Merrill would hold that position until the track closed in the fall
of 1972. Ted Stack made it two in a row in Modified competition at
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Stack also won a 25 lap Bomber
feature. Eddie Moody won the Bomber feature.
Forty five years ago in 1966, Friday night racing at the
Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY was cancelled because of rain.
Bill Wimble took the 25 lapper at Fonda on Saturday night over Lou
Lazzaro and Pete Corey. Gene Bergin made the long haul from his home
in Manchester, Ct to Utica – Rome where he won the Sunday night 30
lap feature. Lou Toro finished second with Jerry Cook, Dave Kotary
and Don MacTavish. Rain washed out the features on Saturday night at
the Waterford Speedbowl after qualifying had been completed. The
remaining program was carried over to Sunday where Bob Potter
recorded his first feature win of the year. Eddie Bunnell made it
two in a row in the Bombers while Robbie Robertson was the Daredevil
Forty years ago in 1971, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in
Malta, NY was supposed to open on Friday night but heavy rain
changed all of that. The Stafford Motor Speedway began their
Saturday night season with twin 25's the regular format. Leo Cleary
in the Mystic Missile won the first 25-lap feature over Hop
Harrington, Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens. The second 25-lap
feature saw Stevens beat out Bobby Santos and Cleary for the win. On
Long Island at Islip, Cliff Tyler was the winner with Bob Park, Al
DeAngelo and Gary Winters following. At the Waterford Speedbowl,
Seabury Tripler, in what had to be the first Pinto bodied Modified,
took the win at the shoreline oval. Dick Dunn finished second with
Joe Trudeau, third. Bill Sweet broke Big Mike Daignault’s
stranglehold on the Sportsman Sedan division. On Sunday at Thompson
it was twin 25's.Bugsy Stevens took the first one over Bob Santos,
Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Ray Miller. Hop Harrington in the
former Tant/Mitchell coupe, now owned by Dick Armstrong took down
the nightcap. Stevens finished second with DeSarro, third. Sunday
night racing at Utica-Rome rained out.
Thirty five years ago in 1976, Stafford began their regular
Saturday night season on a somber note as speedway owner Jack Arute
announced that the track could possibly close in three weeks if the
crowds didn't pick up. Needless to say, a good crowd plus 52
Modifieds were on hand. Bugsy Stevens took the win and was followed
by John Rosati, Dale Holdredge, and Fred DeSarro. It was also on
this night at Stafford that the winning team of Ronnie Bouchard and
car owner Bob Johnson came to an end. At the Islip Speedway on Long
Island, Fred Harbach took the win over Greg Sacks. The Waterford
Speedbowl fell victim to rain for the second week in a row. On
Sunday, Wayne Anderson took the win at New Egypt and at Thompson,
Geoff Bodine, in the Armstrong No.1, took the win over George
Summers, Bugsy Stevens and John Rosati.
Thirty years ago in 1981, Ray Miller took advantage of Richie
Evans' misfortune as he won the Friday night opener at Stafford.
Evans had the lead with nine laps to go when his transmission went
sour, causing him to slow. Miller, in hot pursuit, took the lead and
the eventual win. Bugsy Stevens finished second with John Rosati,
third. Evans ended up sixth. Twin 40's were on tap at Thompson on
Sunday. Richie Evans and Charlie Jarzombek each shared in the glory
as the both won. During the running of the second event, Evans and
Mike Stefanik tangled with the end result being that Stefanik ended
up on his roof. Jerry Cook was the winner at Shangri-La on Saturday
and at Islip it was Fred Harbach over Don Howe and Wayne Anderson.
In Modified action at Danbury Rit Patchen unseated Bob Riley to take
a 50 lap win. Randy LaJoie returned to victory lane as he scored the
Twenty-five years ago in 1986, Stafford began their Friday
night season with bone chilling temperatures. Jeff Fuller in the
Jack Neusner 2x took the win. Reggie Ruggiero in the Mike Greci
No.11finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third. Mike Stefanik
and George Brunnhoelzl rounded out the top five. Bo Gunning was the
SK Modified winner. Bob Potter made it two in a row at Waterford
after coming from an 18th starting spot. At Riverside it was Mike
McLaughlin over Ted Riggott and Mike Stefanik and at Riverhead, Don
Howe bested Bob Park, Tom Baldwin and Bill Park. Racing at the
Shangri-La Speedway (Tioga) was snowed out. The NASCAR Modifieds
were at New Egypt for a 150 lapper. Wayne Anderson took the win with
Jamie Tomaino, second. Bob Park finished third. In Winston Cup
action at Talladega, the entire 42 car field qualified at over 200
mph. Bill Elliott was the pole sitter with speed of 212.229 mph.
Bobby Allison took the win after Elliott lost a transmission with 14
laps to go.
Twenty years ago in 1991, the Friday night racing at Stafford
was rained out. At Waterford on Saturday night, Mark LaJunnesse was
awarded the win when a post race inspection revealed that Bob
Potter’s engine contained illegal piston rods. Joe Tiezzi ended up
second with Don Bunnell, third. Kevin Debbis was the late model
winner. A newcomer by the name of Tim Connolly took the win at
Shangri-la. Andy Romano finished second. At Riverside it was Jerry
Marquis over Dan Avery and Rick Fuller and at the Monadnock Speedway
in Winchester, NH, Dwight Jarvis held off Bruce Del for the win. It
rained at Talladega on Sunday and the event was run on Monday. Harry
Gant took the win. Kyle Petty suffered a broken leg after being
involved in a 17-car wreck triggered by Ernie Irvan.
Fifteen years ago in 1996, rain wiped out racing at Stafford,
Waterford and Riverside. It stayed dry at Riverhead where Don Howe
took the win over Mike Ewanitsko, Bill Park and Tom Tillotson. The
Busch North Series was at Jennerstown, Pa. Andy Santarre took the
150 lap win over Dave Dion, Robbie Crouch, Dale Shaw and Mike
Stefanik. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Rusty Wallace passed
Jeff Gordon with five laps to go and took the win. NASCAR found
Wallace’s' car to be 1/4 inch too low and levied a fine of
$25,000.In other news, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway filed suit
against CART because they were calling their cars Indy Cars.
Ten years ago in 2001 Ted Christopher started his weekend off
with a 50 lap win on Friday night at Stafford. Chuck Docherty
finished second with Lloyd Agor, third. Curt Brainard and Larry Ross
rounded out the top five. Willie Hardie JR who won SK Modified
events at the Spring Sizzler suffered a broken collarbone as a
result of a wreck. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the
Waterford Speedbowl. Reggie Ruggiero took the lead from Rob Summers
on lap74 of the 200-lap contest and went on to take the win. Summers
who had led from lap 1, faded to fourth at the finish. Mike Stefanik
finished second with Ted Christopher, third. John Fortin rounded out
the top five. Eleven cautions for 62 laps slowed the event. Dennis
Gada won the regularly scheduled 35 lap SK-Modified feature over
Eddie Reed JR and Ron Yuhas JR. The previously rained out Waterford
Nationals 150 was also run. Eric Berndt led all 150 laps to collect
the $5,000 first prize plus $3079 in lap money. Ed Reed JR finished
second with Ed Dachanhausen, third. Bert Marvin and Mark LaJunesse
rounded out the top five. Marvin made a swift trip to Thompson later
in the day to win a 30-lap SK Modified event that was run in
conjunction with the Hooters Cup Late Models. In other weekend
action JR Bertuccio went pole to pole at Riverhead and Kenny Tremont
got his 90th win at Lebanon Valley. In Winston Cup action at
Richmond, Tony Stewart took the win. Jimmie Spencer was the Busch
Grandnational winner. On a sad note, Smokey Yunick died at the age
Five years ago in 2006, 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 would 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.
Last year, 2010 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series
descended upon the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Spring
Sizzler. The main event, 200 laps/100 miles carried a race purse of
$88,142. Thirty six Modifieds took time for the 33 available
starting spots. Bobby Santos III continued the momentum from the
Thompson Ice Breaker as he set a new track record with the Bob
Garbarino Mystic Missile. Santos toured the 1/2 mile oval in 17.965
seconds (100.195 mph) which surpassed Matt Hirschman’s
three-year-old record of 18.009 (99.950). Second fastest was Rowan
Pennick with a time of 18.009. Third through fifth were Erick
Rudolph, George Brunnhoelzl, III and Ron Silk. Rounding out the top
ten fastest were Ted Christopher, Jimmy Blewett, Jamie Tomaino, Eric
Berndt and Doug Coby. The top ten re-drew for starting spots. It was
Santos again as he pulled the pill with the number one on it. Coby
pulled the No. 2 pill.
As forecasted, rain moved into the Connecticut area in the wee hours
of Sunday morning causing NASCAR and the Stafford management to
postpone the Sizzler to Saturday, May 1, with a rain date of Sunday,
The weekend at Stafford wasn't a total loss. Three feature events
for Stafford's support divisions were run on Saturday. Ted Cain went
home a first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature,
Kevin Gambacorta outlasted defending track champion Andrew Durand to
take the first Limited Late Model victory of the season, and Tony
Membrino, Jr. wired the field to take the checkered flag in the
15-lap DARE Stock feature event.
The Waterford Speedbowl beat the weather as the completed their
entire racing program on Saturday night. Keith Rocco continues to
rule the roost as he now has three out of four victories in the SK
Modified division at the shoreline oval. Norm Sears was a first time
winner in the Street Stocks and Chris Williams won for the first
time in nearly a year in the Mini Stocks. Howard Payne was the
victor in the Trucks and it was Anthony Flannery taking the win for
the Legends Cars.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC had hoped to begin their
62nd season but like Connecticut on Sunday, it rained in North
Carolina on Saturday night. Light rain began about an hour before
race time in what was shaping up to be a packed house at the
17,000-seat stadium, judging from the number of early-arriving fans
and overflowing parking lots. The Madhouse television series, which
aired on the History Channel during the off season, created huge
interest in the racing at the North Carolina oval. Qualifying for
the season opening Tucson 200 was held on Friday night. Defending
Track Champion Tim Brown was the top qualifier. Second fastest was
Lee Jeffreys with Burt Myers, third.
Rain hampered the NASCAR weekend in Talladega canceling qualifying
for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series and the Saturday
Nationwide Series event which was eventually run on Sunday. Kevin
Harvick used a last-second pass of Jamie McMurray to snap a 115-race
winless streak in the Sprint Cup event and Brad Keselowski was the
Nationwide Series winner.
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: