Friday November 17, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Thirty years ago in 1976, the Falconi family that was operating the Westboro Speedway tried something different as they promoted a Modified race for mid November with heated grandstands. The Falconi's owned and operated an oil company and closed in the under part of the grandstand and used huge fuel oil powered heaters. Needless to say, the experiment worked as everyone was toasty warm. Leo Cleary in the Tiger Tom Dunn T-5 led the 50 lap main event from pole to pole. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by George Murray, Mike Murphy, Bob Santos, Pete Fiandaca, Dick Caso and Roland LaPierre Jr.

Five years ago in 1991, the Oswego Speedway was put up for sale with a price tag of $3 million. In Winston Cup racing at Atlanta, Jerry Nadeau was in the lead and heading for the win when he ran out of gas with less than a half lap to go. Bobby Labonte took the lead with less than 100 yards to go and went on to record the win. Nadeau coasted across the finish line in fourth spot.

Last year, It looked like long time Whelen Modified Tour Series competitor and former champion Jamie Tomaino would be relocating from his native New Jersey to North Carolina. Tomaino, who is the senior member of the tour, will more than likely compete on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2006. Tomaino finished 11th in the 2005 Mod Tour standings. In 17 events he scored nine top tens including only two top five’s.

The Stafford Motor Speedway held their the 36th annual Champions Awards Ceremony at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor. The Speedway honored its four 2005 track champions, Lloyd Agor, Ryan Posocco, Michael Bennett, and Joey Ferrigno. In addition to recognizing the 2005 track champions, SMS recognized the top-20 in points from the SK Modified, Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions, the top-10 finishers from the Limited Late Model division, as well as present the Most Popular and Most Improved Driver awards, and the Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year awards.
Lloyd Agor beat out Todd Owen by 30 points for the SK Modified title. In 21 starts, Agor recorded 14 top tens including two wins. Willie Hardie, Ted Christopher and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five. Ryan Posocco outdistanced Tom Butler by 46 points to win the Late Model title.

The New England Antique Racers announced their inductees to the NEAR Hall of Fame, class of 2006. Gene Angellilo, Russ Conway & Ken Smith, Robbie Crouch, Fred 'Sharkey' Gaudiosi, Jim McGee, Phil & Bob Libby, Joe Rosenfield, "Boston Louie' Seymour; Dick Wolstenhume and the V-8 guys, Vic Bombacci & Bob Vitari. Word came from Ron Hedger that the New York Stock Car Association’s 2006 Hall of Fame induction ceremony would honor a broad spectrum of achievement in the sport, with the honorees including the Empire State’s most prominent NASCAR Winston Cup driver, a longtime modified owner, a top regional racer and a husband / wife team of officials. Geoff Bodine, Ed Cloce who has been a car owner for ages with his famous Hemi-Cuda No.69, Cloce remains active, fielding Modifieds for son Tommy in NASCAR and Race of Champions events. Dick Schoonover, Jim Frye was a racer in the early 50’s but found his true calling in 1955 when he began flagging with another Hall of Fame member, the late Chet Hames. The duo worked speedways from New Jersey to Canada. Freye’s wife Barb, a scorer is also among the inductees. Both Jim and Barb have also been active in NYSSCA, having served as Sergeant at Arms and Treasurer, respectively, for a number of years.

It looked like there would be some new blood in the SK Modified division in 2006 as it looked like Jeffrey Paul would be moving up to the Waterford Speedbowl’s top division. Gary Paul, Jeff’s dad, purchased the Ron Yuhas No.6. Paul, who was the 2005 Legends Champion at the Speedbowl is also a graduate of the Quarter Midget ranks and without too much practice should be a top contender. Gary Paul is no stranger as he already had one Modified Championship under his belt at the Waterford oval with Todd Ceravolo as his driver.

In Plainfield, CT, Opponents of the domed auto racetrack that had been proposed made significant inroads on Election Day, with candidates they supported winning the first selectman's seat as well as a pivotal seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Nelson E. Lemiux, a Democrat who backed the racetrack proposed by New England Raceway LLC and its president, Eugene Arganese, was ousted from the commission. Two Republicans who opposed the project, John Meyer and Susan Hatfield, were elected.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications
 for over 3 decades.

Web Design Copyright © 2005 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in The Looking Back Column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of Looking Back contact Phil Smith @
 Looking Back is Copyright © 2005 Phil Smith