Sixty years ago in 1953, Freddy
Luchesi made it three in a row in Sportsman action at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the Wednesday night feature.
Bud Matter was the non-Ford winner. Red Foote broke the Luchesi
streak as he won a 50 lap Sportsman feature on Saturday night. Ted
Dean was the non-Ford winner.
Fifty-five years ago in 1958,
Dick Beauregard, the guy they loved to hate, won the 25 lap Modified
event on Thursday night. Hank Stevens was the non-Ford winner. Red
Foote was the Saturday night Modified winner and Beauregard was the
Fifty years ago in 1963, Steady
Eddie Flemke Sr. won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the
Utica-Rome Speedway. Bill Wimble finished second with Lou Lazzaro,
third. Lee Millington and Bob Zeiglar rounded out the top five.
Ernie Gahan made it three in a row on the dirt at Stafford. At the
New London-Waterford Speedbowl Ted Stack was the Thursday night 50
lap Modified feature winner. Maine transplant Jerry Dostie was the
Bomber feature winner. Don Bachand was the 25 lap Modified feature
winner on Saturday night at the shoreline oval. Bachand drove what
was to be a long line of Modifieds that were called the Mystic
Missile that were owned and built by Bob Garbarino at the Mystic
River Marina. Dick Caso was the Saturday night Bomber winner.
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Bob Bruno was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga
Speedway. Robbie Kotary finished second and was followed by Hop
Harrington, Ed Pieniezek and Dave Kotary. At Stafford, Eddie Flemke
got the best of Bugsy Stevens in traffic and came out the winner.
Stevens finished second and was followed by Leo Cleary, Dick Watson
and Tommy Borget. Fred DeSarro, driving his own 327 Chevy powered
Sportsman took down the Saturday night feature at Norwood. Ronnie
Mayer took the win at Riverside Park and on the dirt at Fonda, Eddie
Pieniezek took the win over Lou Lazzaro and Don Wayman. Dick Dunn
was the 30 lap Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Caso
was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Thompson was idle on Sunday. At
the Utica-Rome Speedway Bernie Miller scored a popular win over
Jerry Cook, Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro and Eddie Flemke.
Forty years ago in 1973 the
Friday night races at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y.
rained out. Stafford Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night.
Young sensation Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Richie Evans,
Bugsy Stevens and Eddie Flemke. Bouchard backed up his Stafford win
with a win in the Parodi Cigar Modified 150 at Pocono on Sunday.
Jerry Cook finished second. Other Saturday night winners were Mike
Loescher at Tioga, George Allum at Waterford and Artie Tappen at
Islip. On Sunday evening, Utica-Rome ran twin features with Eddie
Pieniezak and Richie Evans taking the wins. At Lee Raceway, Lou
Austin won a close one over Ernie Gahan and Jim Landry.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
Geoff Bodine made it five in a row at Stafford plus went three for
three on the weekend as he also won at Riverside on Saturday and at
Monadnock on Sunday. Because of previous rainouts, Waterford and
Seekonk ran twin features. At Waterford, Dick Dunn and Moose Hewitt
took the checkers and at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard and George Summers
sat in victory lane. Fred DeSarro made it two in a row at Thompson
on Sunday over Bouchard and Leo Cleary. Other weekend winners were
Maynard Troyer, who won at Lancaster and Fulton, Tim Mislin at
Spencer, George Kent at Tioga and Richie Evans at Utica-Rome.
Thirty years ago in 1983, Reggie
Ruggerio was the top banana at Stafford as he beat out Bob Polverari
and Kenny Bouchard for the win. Tom Bolles was the SK modified
winner. Rain washed out Waterford and Seekonk. Brian Ross won at
Riverside and the first of two features at Thompson. Richie Evans
was the other Thompson winner. Other weekend winners were Doug
Hewitt at Spencer, Evans at Tioga and John Blewett at Islip. In
Winston Cup action at Riverside in California, Ricky Rudd was the
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
rain washed out Stafford but at Monadnock it stayed clear and Reggie
Ruggerio put another notch in his gun as he won the modified main
event. Jerry Marquis finished second with Punky Caron, third. On
Saturday night at Waterford, Don Fowler was the winner with Dennis
Gada second. Ruggerio carried his winning ways over to Riverside on
Saturday where he beat out Mike Stefanik and Stan Gregger for the
win. At Riverhead it was Tom Baldwin holding off Wayne Anderson and
Don Howe. Randy Hedger won at Tioga and Jamie Tomaino won at Wall
Twenty years ago in 1993, At
Stafford on Friday night, Mike Christopher was given back his spot
after getting spun by Bo Gunning on the last lap and went on to take
the win. Gunning was put to the rear but came back in one lap to
finish fourth behind Christopher, Dennis Gada and Frank Cardile.
Jerry Marquis won at Monadnock. In Busch Grandnational North action
at Watkins Glen, Bob Dragon took the win over Dick McCabe, Curtis
Markham, Dave Reszendes and Ted Christopher. In Winston Cup action
at Dover Downs, Dale Earnhardt took the win and in Grandnational
action Todd Bodine took the win. It was also announced that Randy
LaJoie had secured the ride in the Moroso car. Riverside Park,
Riverhead and the Thompson Speedway rained out.
Fifteen years ago in 1998, Ted
Christopher failed to qualify for a Busch Grandnational event at
Richmond and made a hasty flight to Stafford where he finished third
behind brother Mike and Bo Gunning. Christopher made up for it on
Saturday as he won the SK Type event at Thompson over Ed Flemke Jr.
and Bert Marvin. Twin features were run at Waterford on Saturday.
Bert Marvin arrived from Thompson in time to win the first one with
Rick Donnelly and Jon Bunnell following. The Pearls, Jerry and Jeff
ran one-two in the nightcap with Donnelly coming home third. At
Riverside, Eddie Spiers held off Rob Summers and Billy Bolton. In
BGN action at Richmond, Jeff Burton took the win over Dale Earnhardt
Jr. The Winston Cup event was a slam bang-exciting event. Rusty
Wallace gave Jeff Gordon an attitude adjustment on lap 372 when he
returned a bumping favor and turned Gordon into the wall. Terry
Labonte took the win after bumping Dale Jarrett out of the way with
laps to go.
Ten years ago in 2003, the
weekend started on a wet note as all-day rain on Thursday forced the
Thompson Speedway management to cancel opening night for Thursday
night Thunder. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series had a
scheduled 200-lap event at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island
rained out. At that time there is no rain date. The Busch North
Series was slated to run at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine
suffered the same fate. This event would run the following Saturday
night. Mike Stefanik had hopes of racing at the Lake Erie Speedway
in the Art Barry modified but because of his commitment to the Busch
North Series, his plans changed and he was at Beech Ridge. For the
third week in a row rain-washed out racing at the Waterford
Speedbowl. At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, Eric Berndt
started on the outside pole and ended up leading 97 of the 100 laps
scheduled SK Modified feature. Ted Christopher presented the only
challenge and at one point, Lap 63 to 66, had the lead. Christopher
faded in the closing laps as he experienced engine trouble. He ended
up 27th in the final rundown. Chris Jones finished second with Frank
Ruocco, third. Defending track champion Bo Gunning who had been a
victim of some early season bad luck, finished fourth and Jim
Williams rounded out the top five. In addition to wreaking havoc in
New England, the never-ending rain hampered other parts of the
country. Among the tracks that had been dumped on is the South
Boston Speedway in Virginia that had lost six out of nine events
scheduled so far.
Five years ago in 2008, After a
one week delay because of rain the Thompson Speedway began their
series of Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) racing programs.
Under warm, sunny skies, 132 cars including 25 Sunoco (SK type)
Modifieds were on hand. As they are noted for, the Thompson
management ran true to form as the entire program was run in an
efficient manner with fans in their cars and on the way home by
9:30pm. Despite soaring fuel prices the Thursday night crowd was
fairly good. The new Musco Lighting System was very impressive
making for a daylight type atmosphere.
In the Sunoco Modifieds, Woody Pitkat wasted little time as he
jumped from his third starting position in the 30-lap feature and
took the lead shortly after completing the opening lap. Pitkat had a
lot of heat on his rear bumper from Keith Rocco but held fast as he
took the opening night win. Rocco settled for second and was
followed by Kerry Malone, Bert Marvin and Bob Grigas III. Tommy
Cravenho. Josh Sylvester, Todd Ceravolo, Harry Rheaume and Josh
Steeves, rounded out the top ten. Among the missing was Jimmy
Blewett who is on the sidelines with a broken wrist.
For the second year in a row, Larry Barnett took the win in the
Limited Sportsman division’s marquee 50-lapper. Veteran Fred Astle,
Jr cleaned house in the Pro Stocks while Jeff Zuidema made it two in
a row in Late Model action. Rick Blanchard was the Mini Stock winner
with R.J. Marcotte taking the victory in the TIS Modifieds.
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of an epic battle for SK
Modified supremacy between Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning.
Christopher, who was hoping to annex his 100th career win was forced
to settle for second as Gunning won his 47th feature at the
Connecticut oval. Richie Pallai, Jr. led the first lap before giving
way to Eric Berndt, who held the lead until lap-7 when Todd Owen
took over the top spot. Owen held the lead until lap-16 when he and
Berndt made contact on a restart that saw both cars spin, which
handed the race lead over to Gunning. Once the race went back to
green after several lap-16 restart situations, Gunning and Kenny
Horton began to pull away from the field. Christopher, who had
earlier been black flagged for rough riding, was back into the top-5
and was running the top-2 cars down lap by lap. Christopher took
second from Horton on lap-30 and set his sights on Gunning for the
final 10-laps. Several times Christopher nearly had a pass made, but
couldn't complete a pass. The two cars made contact in turn 2 on
lap-37, but heady driving by both competitors kept the action going.
Christopher reeled Gunning in for one last try at victory, but
Gunning was too strong to be overtaken. Horton finished third behind
Gunning and Christopher, with Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco rounding
out the top-5. Ryan Posocco extended his record for career Late
Model victories with his 29th career feature win in the Late Model
feature event, Mark Bakaj took down his first career victory in the
SK Light Modified feature, Rob Dow was the winner of the first of
two Limited Late Model feature events, while Andrew Durand took the
victory in the regularly scheduled Limited Late Model feature event,
and Dan Flannery took down the DARE Stock feature event victory.
The Waterford Speedbowl ended up a victim of thunderstorms that
hammered southeastern Connecticut late Saturday evening. Defending
champion Bruce Thomas Jr. won the rain-shortened Late Model main
event. Other feature winners were Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock) and
Kevin Iannarelli (Pro-4 Modifieds). Starting from the pole, Thomas
drove into the lead immediately and was never seriously challenged.
Behind him, the trio of Ed Reed Jr., Tim Jordan, and Ron Yuhas Jr.
battled, with Reed claiming the runner-up spot. The event was
red-checkered at lap-19 due to severe weather conditions entering
the area. Completing the top-5 was Jordan, Yuhas, and Joe Curioso
III.. Thomas’ win put him in the point lead by a mere four points.
In the Mini Stock 20-lap feature, pole sitter Chris Williams led
until passed by Phil Evans with twelve laps remaining. Ken Cassidy
Jr. slipped by Evans on a restart at the halfway point, going on to
win by several lengths. Randy Churchill, Williams, and Mark Panaroni
completed the top-5. The first win of 2008 for the defending
champion, the event was a qualifier for the Four Cylinder Nationals
to be held at Maine ’s Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on June 27.
Taking the 25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature was Kevin Iannarelli of
Maynard , Mass. Starting mid-pack he quickly worked his way to the
front, winning by a wide margin. Following was 2008 Bud Nationals
winner Norm Wrenn, Bob Richard Jr., Brian Vincent, and George
Sherman. Sixth through tenth were Cory Cleary, Phil Laujier,. Tyler
Andersen,. Dan Merservey and Robin Berghman, Berghman is the wife of
chassis builder and Modified driver David Berghman as well as the
daughter-in-law of three time NASCAR National Modified Champion and
Mrs Carl Bugsy Stevens. Cory Cleary is the grandson of Modified
great Leo Cleary. Daniel Bisignano notched the Legends Young Lions
The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Series were enjoying their second “Spring Break of the season.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at the Dover Downs Speedway Kyle Busch
led the way again, dominating the second half of the 400-mile race
Sunday at the Deleware and charging to his Sprint Cup series-best
fourth win of the season and 10th overall. Carl Edwards and Greg
Biffle were second and third in the Best Buy 400. Matt Kenseth and
Jeff Gordon rounded out the top five. Denny Hamlin made it nine
victories for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series, leading all
but 69 laps to win Saturday night at Dover Rookie Joey Logano, from
Middletown, CT, finished sixth in his NASCAR national-level debut,
running near the front of the 200-mile race with veterans such as
Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and JGR teammate Hamlin. The 18-year-old
Logano drove the No. 20 Toyota that entered leading the Nationwide
Series in owner points and has won six races in 14 starts this
season with Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Tony Stewart behind the wheel.
Edwards, who started on the pole, was second. David Stremme was
third and David Reutimann fourth.
It was also announced that Marcus Smith, son of billionaire track
owner Bruton Smith, was selected as Humpy Wheeler's successor at
Lowe's Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Last year, 2012,Thursday night
Thunder began at the Thompson Speedway. Ted Christopher- Sunoco
Modifieds, Tommy O’Sullivan-Late Models, and Jay Sundeen-Thompson
Modifieds, dominated their divisions in Thompson International
Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder by leading every lap of their
features to claim the first TNTT victory of the season. Ed Puleo-Limited
Sportsman and Jim Helger-Mini Stocks were also feature winners.
Ted Christopher held off a hard-charging Keith Rocco in the 30-lap
SK Modified feature. John Catania and Shawn Thibeault brought the
field back to green after an accident that collected Woody Pitkat
and Andrew Charron stopped the action before the first lap was
complete. Thibeault claimed the lead on the outside on the restart
after running-side-by-side almost the entire first circuit, but it
was Ted Christopher who officially led the lap after a turn four
bid. Ryan Preece was coming up quick and moved into the second spot
coming off turn two of lap three and used the inside lane to get
alongside Christopher on lap four. Keith Rocco and Todd Ceravolo got
in line behind Christopher and relegated Preece to the fourth spot.
The four cars ran bumper to bumper until lap 10 when Preece took the
outside groove to challenge Ceravolo for third. Preece fell back
into line by lap 11 as Rocco looked for a way around Christopher.
The action remained tight at the halfway mark with Christopher,
Rocco, Ceravolo, and Preece still hooked at the bumpers. Rocco
looked high and low for a way around Christopher, but the 13 machine
held steady. The four cars began to lap the field by the 25th
circuit as they set a torrid pace that could not be matched. At lap
28 Rocco slammed Christopher in turn one and almost lost control of
his mount, Ceravolo shook things up by going low under Rocco for a
battle that allowed Christopher to get some breathing room and take
the checkered flag unchallenged. Ryan Preece did a sneaky on
Ceravolo and stole the third spot at the finish. Ceravolo, and Kerry
Malone rounded out the top five. John Catania finished sixth with
Dennis Perry, seventh. Perry drove one of the fleet of cars owned by
Butch Perry and did a masterful job of running with the top dogs.
Christopher drove a car that hadn't run at Thompson in eight years.
It was probably one of the cars built by Barry Kuhnel for
Christopher when he raced for Jim Galante. Despite the fact that
Christopher would end up second at Riverhead on Saturday night he
said his racing at the Long Island Speedway has not been enjoyable.
Too much slam-bang, bump and run plus too many delays in the racing
program in general. As far as his victory at Thompson was concerned,
Christopher commented "You got to know who you are racing with".
Obviously alluding to the fact of the hard slam by Rocco in the
The tale of the tape showed 17 Sunoco Modifieds including three SK
Lites, 26 Limited Sportsman, 24 Mini Stocks, 7 Thompson Modifieds
and 7 Late Models. The SK Lites ran with the Sunoco Modifieds and
were paid $300-$200 and $100 respectively plus their finishing
position. Ben Dodge stated that the format was similar to the "340"
bonus program that ran in conjunction with the Modifieds at
Riverside Park years ago. Back in action after a year off is Kerry
Malone, one of the original SK Modified competitors when the
division was started. Also it was good to see Ryan Morgan back in
action after a devastating wreck earlier in the year in a Late Model
at the Waterford Speedbowl. The Ledyard High School senior finished
fourth in the Thompson Modifieds and has not lost his touch or
desire to compete. The wrecked Late Model has been completely
rebuilt and is expected to return to Waterford in the not so distant
The final checkered flag at Thompson on Thursday was dropped at
Regular Friday night racing at Stafford saw Ryan Preece score his
first SK Modified® feature victory of the season, Keith Rocco picked
up his second Late Model feature win, Dylan Kopec picked up his
second consecutive and fourth SK Light feature win, D.J. Burnham
picked up his second consecutive Limited Late Model feature victory,
and Kyle Casagrande won his second consecutive and third DARE Stock
feature event of the 2012 season.
At the Waterford Speedbowl rain prevailed for the second week in a
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, the Modifieds
were scheduled to run on Friday night but fell victim to rain. The
NASCAR Kids and Nephews (K&N) Development series played to a full
house of fans on Saturday night. Third-generation racer Corey LaJoie
captured his much-anticipated first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
victory in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 at historic track.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Shawn Solomito took the win
with Ted Christopher, second.
Supermodified racing fan favorite Chris Perley officially announced
his retirement as he approached the start of what would have been
his 25th year in racing, and 20th with the winged supermodifieds.
Perley retired from competition as the all-time ISMA victories
leader with 69 wins to go along with six ISMA titles.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway
marked the end of an era for Dr. Dick Berggren, who celebrated his
70th birthday on May 27. After 12 years patrolling pit road for
NASCAR on FOX, Berggren filed his final report at Dover, the same
track where he made his NASCAR broadcasting debut in 1981 alongside
his current NASCAR on FOX colleague, Mike Joy.
Berggren took a hobby and turned it into a career, something we
should all be proud of. The most important thing, despite being a
national sports reporter Berggren never forgot where he came from.
Joey Logano took advantage of a pair of lapped cars to catch and
pass Ryan Truex to win Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour
Energy 200 at Dover Int’l Speedway.
NASCAR has suspended 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt
Busch until June 13 after Busch threatened a reporter at Dover Int’l
Jimmie Johnson continued his dominance at Dover Int’l Speedway,
leading 289 laps en route to victory in the FedEx 400. It was
Johnson’s seventh victory at Dover, moving him into a tie with Bobby
Allison and Richard Petty for the most victories ever at the
one-mile concrete oval. It was his 57th career Sprint Cup victory
and second of the season.
In some sad news, Former driver and car owner Cotton Owens passed
away age 88 only weeks after being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of
Fame. Owens would officially enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame when the
enshrinement ceremonies happen on Friday, February 8, 2013. Owens
was more than successful behind the wheel, winning nine times in
NASCAR's premier series competition, including the 1957 Daytona
Beach road course which marked Pontiac's first NASCAR victory. He
nearly won the 1959 championship, finishing second to NASCAR Hall of
Fame inductee Lee Petty. Concurrently Owens raced NASCAR modified
stock cars and won the 1953-54 championships as an owner, Owens
stood out as one of the greats of NASCAR's early eras. His eye for
talent was unmatched. He hired Junior Johnson in 1962, the same
season in which he began a future championship relationship with
another NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, David Pearson
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of Tom Ormsby SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes