Friday 11-11-05

By Phil Smith

This is the final edition of Looking Back for 2005. Looking Back will resume in Feb, 2006, just before Speedweeks.......Phil

The Champions

Thirty-five years ago in 1970, Fred DeSarro was officially crowned the NASCAR National Modified Champion. Driving cars owned by Sonny Koszela, DeSarro entered 76 events and recorded 25 wins. In addition to the wins DeSarro recorded 37 top tens. DeSarro beat out Jerry Cook by 776 points. Bernie Miller finished third and was followed by Eddie Flemke Sr and Dick Fowler. Ed Yerrington, who would eventually become the NASCAR Chief Steward and later promoter and general manager at Stafford, was the Stafford modified champion.

Thirty years ago in 1975, Jerry Cook who is now in the front office of NASCAR was the Modified Champion. Geoff Bodine was the track champion at Stafford while Fred DeSarro was the champ at Thompson. Other New England track champions were George Murray at Seekonk, Jerry Dostie at Monadnock, Dick Dunn at Waterford and Kenny Bouchard was the Yankee All Star League Champ. On Long Island, Charlie Jarzombek and George Wagner were tied for top honors and at Islip, Fred Harbach was the track champion. Up in New York State, Richie Evans was the track champion at Shangri-La (Tioga), Maynard Troyer at Lancaster and Sonny Seamon at Fulton.

Twenty five years ago in 1980, In addition to the national title, Richie Evans won a modern day record four track championships. Evans dominated at New Smyrna plus took all the glory in New England as he won the track titles at Stafford, Riverside and Thompson. Other New England track champions were Allen Whipple at Claremont, Bugsy Stevens at Westboro, Punky Caron at Monadnock, Bob Potter at Waterford, Art Davis at Danbury, Ralph Cusac at Beech Ridge, Larry Record at Star and George Murray at Seekonk. Pete Fiandaca was the late model champion at Westboro, Monadnock and Thompson and Jerry Marquis was the late model champion at Stafford. In New Jersey, John Blewett jr was the champion at New Egypt and at Wall Stadium it was Tony Siscone. Islip was the only track running on Long Island and Charlie Jarzombek was the champ. In New York State, George Kent was the track champion at Shangri-La and Charlie Rudolph was the titleholder at Lancaster.

Twenty years ago in 1985, modified racing was still suffering from the loss of Richie Evans. Before his untimely death, the popular driver had sewed up the National title plus the northeast regional title. In addition, he was the track champion at Spencer Speedway and at Thompson. Jim Spencer was the New Smyrna Modified champion. In New England, Charlie Jarzombek was the Stafford Speedway Modified champion, Jerry Pearl was the SK modified champ and Jim Ward was the Street Stock champ. At Riverside, John Rosati was the champ and at Thompson the SK modified champion was Wayne Dion. Rick Fuller was the modified champion at Waterford and in the Super Stocks it was Phil Rondeau. Dwight Jarvis was the modified champion at Claremont and taking the championship in the Busch North Series was Randy LaJoie. At New Egypt, John Blewett jr was the champion and at Bowman Gray, Satch Worley took top honors. Fred Harbach was the Riverhead track champion and in upstate New York at Shangri-La George Kent won the title. Mike McLaughlin was the modified champion at Oswego and in the Supers, Steve Gioa was the champ. NASCAR also voted McLaughlin most popular for the modified division. Last but not least, Tom Druar was the Lancaster track champion.

Fifteen years ago in 1990, Jamie Tomaino reached a life long goal as he won the Featherlite Modified Tour Championship. Mike Christopher had a big year as he won the SK Modified championship at both Stafford and Thompson. David Gada was the Waterford Modified champion and for the fifth time, Bob Polverari was the Modified Champion at Riverside. Reggie Ruggerio was the champ at New Smyrna.

Ten years ago in 1995, Tony Hirschman, driving for Len Boehler was the Featherlite Modified Tour Champion. Overall, it was the fifth title for Boehler as a car owner. Tim Connolly was the Modified Champion at New Smyrna. At Stafford, Bob Potter won his fifth SK Modified championship. CJ Freye was the late model champ. Jim Broderick, who has all but dropped out of site lately, was the modified champion. Tom Fox was the late model champ and Jeff Karns was the main man in the Mini-stocks. Down on Long Island, Don Howe made it three track championships in a row at Riverhead. Jack Johnson won his tenth at Fonda and Mike Weeden won Pro Stock titles at Lee, Star and Thompson. Dan Avery was the titleholder at Riverside and Kelly Moore was the Busch North Series champion. Johnny Benson, with Steve Bird as his crew chief was the Busch South champion and Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup champ.

Five years ago, in 2000, Ted Christopher had quite a year for himself as he won the NASCAR Northeast Regional Championship along with track championships at New Smyrna, Thompson and Stafford. Dwight Jarvis was the Claremont champion, Frank Vigliororlo was the Riverhead champion, Brad Leighton was the Busch North Series champion and Dennis Gada was the Waterford champion. Fred Astle Jr. was the Seekonk Speedway champion and Jerry Marquis was the NASCAR Modified Tour champion. Mario Fiore was the Championship car owner. Dave Michael was the Wall Stadium champion and Jeff Green was the NASCAR Busch Grandnational champion. Bobby Labonte was the NASCAR Winston Cup champion and Matt Kenseth was the Rookie of the Year.

Last year, 2004, Eric Beers was the Modified Champion at the World Series in New Smyrna. Ted Christopher was the SK Modified Champion at Stafford. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model Champ. At Thompson it was Todd Ceravolo taking the Sunoco SK type Modified Championship. Corey Hutchings was the Late Model Champ and David Berghman was the Pro Stock Champ. Hutchings was also the Late Model Champion at Waterford where Ed Reed Jr. dethroned Dennis Gada for the championship. Keith Rocco was the Sportsman Champion. Tony Hirschman was the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series champion and Andy Santerre was the Busch North Series Champion. Tom Rogers was the Modified Champion at Riverhead and ageless veteran Dave Lape was the Champion at the Fonda Speedway. Kurt Busch was the NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion and Martin Truex Jr. was the NASCAR Busch Series champion.

Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail _ HYPERLINK mailto:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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