years ago in 1966, Ernie Gahan won the Nascar National Modified
Championship. Finishing second in his first year of NASCAR Modified
competition was Carl Bugsy Stevens. Ray Hendrick finished third. Don
MacTavish was the Sportsman Champion. Following MacTavish in the
standings were Wild Bill Slater, Rene Charland, Ralph Earnhardt,
Bill Wimble, Tiny Lund, Joe Thurman, Pete Hamilton and Andre Manny.
David Pearson was the Grandnational (Nextel) Cup Champion
Thirty five years ago in 1971, NASCAR declared Jerry Cook the
National Modified Champion. For the year, Cook entered 74 sanctioned
events. Of those, he recorded four wins and 44 top tens, including
28 top fives. Cooks win percentage was 5%.Fred DeSarro finished
second. DeSarro entered 66 events and recorded 19 wins and 31 top
tens including 28 top fives. DeSarro's win percentage was 29%.Bugsy
Stevens finished third in points. Stevens entered 58 events and
recorded 25 wins and 33 top tens including 25 top fives. Stevens'
win percentage was 43%. Richard Petty was the Grandnational (Nextel)
years ago in 1976, Jerry Cook was still chasing points and was again
the Nascar Modified National Champion. Among the track champions in
the northeast were Fred DeSarro at Stafford and Thompson, Bobby
Santos at Westboro, Geoff Bodine in the Yankee All Star League,
George Murray at Seekonk, Bob Potter at Waterford, Punky Caron at
Monadnock and Claremont, Fred Harbach at Islip and New Egypt,
Charlie Jarzombek at Freeport and Riverhead, Richie Evans at
Spencer, Maynard Troyer at Lancaster, Sonney Seamon at Shangri-La,
George Kent at Fulton, Bob Polverari at Riverside, Jim Shampine at
Oswego, Will Cagle on the DIRT Circuit and Jim Hendrickson at Wall
Stadium. Cale Yarborough was the Winston Cup Champion.
Twenty five years ago in 1981, Richie Evans was the Nascar National
Modified Champion. Evans also recorded track championships at
Stafford and Thompson in addition to the World Series title at New
Smyrna. Other champions of note included George "Moose" Hewitt in
the Modifieds at Waterford, Harry Rice in the Superstocks, also at
Waterford, Rit Patchen at Danbury, Wayne Anderson at Islip, Jerry
Marquis was the Limited Sportsman Champ at Stafford, Punky Caron at
Monadnock, Jeff Fuller at Westboro, George Kent at Spencer and
Shangri-La, Bugsy Stevens at Seekonk, Roger Treichler at Lancaster,
Stash Gregger at Riverside, John Blewett Jr at New Egypt, Doug
Hevron in the Supers at Oswego, Mike Weeden at Lee and Darrell
Waltrip was the Winston Cup Champion. Last but not least, Ronnie
Bouchard was named NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie of the Year.
Twenty years ago in 1986, the following champions were announced.
Dale Earnhardt, Winston Cup, Larry Pearson, Busch Grandnational,
NASCAR Modified-Jim Spencer, NASCAR Northeast Region-George Kent.
Kent also won the Shangri-La track championship. Wayne Anderson at
New Egypt, Reggie Ruggiero at New Smyrna, Bob Potter at Waterford
plus Perfect Circle-Waterford, Stafford and Thompson combined,
Bentley Warren in the Supers and Brian Ross in the Modifieds at
Oswego, Mike Stefanik at Stafford, Wayne Dion in the SK's at both
Stafford and Thompson, Jan Leaty at Spencer, Ken Troyer at
Lancaster, John Rosati-Modified and Tom Rosati-Pro Stock at
Riverside, John Blewett Jr at Riverhead and Tom Mauser at Wall
Fifteen years ago in 1991, Dale Earnhardt was the Winston Cup
Champion and Bob Labonte was the Busch Grandnational champ. Ricky
Craven was the GN North(Busch North Series)champion and Mike
Stefanik was the Modified Tour Champion. Jerry Marquis was the
NASCAR Northeast Regional champ plus was the track champion at
Riverside Park and Monadnock. Other track champions were Mike
Ewanitsko at New Smyrna, Wayne Anderson at Riverhead, Lee Sherwood
at Shangri-La, and Mike Christopher in the SK's at Thompson, Bob
Potter in the SK's at Stafford and Ricky Young in the SK's at
Ten years ago in 1996, Tony Hirschman was crowned the Featherlite
Modified Champion. Following Hirschman were Steve Park, Ricky
Fuller, Jan Leaty, Mike Stefanik, Tim Connolly, Jerry Marquis and Ed
Flemke Jr. Taking track championships were Tom Baldwin at New
Smyrna, Doug Diderio at Oswego, Ted Christopher at Stafford, Dave
Berube at Riverside, Jim Broderick at Waterford, Chuck Steuer at
Riverhead, Siege Fidenza at Lancaster, Dave Dion in the Busch North
Series and Randy Lajoie made it two in a row in the Busch South
Five years ago in 1991, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
held their awards banquet where Mike Stefanik and Art Barry were
officially crowned series champions. During the evening, a 19-race
schedule for 2002 was announced as well as a general increase in
race purses. NASCAR stated that there was a TV package in the works.
The First Annual Len Boehler Dedication to Modified Racing Award was
presented to Bob Garbarino who has built and owned Modifieds since
the mid-60s. Ted Christopher received the Gatorade Front Runner
Award, Ricky Miller, the Rookie of the Year Award and David Berghman,
Last year, 2005, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series was at the
Thompson Speedway for the previously postponed World Series. They
were joined by the Busch North Series. The big news on Saturday
morning was that it wasnít raining. Temperatures were in the low
30ís but it didnít seem to hold anyone back as 40 Whelen Modifieds,
40 Sunoco SK type Modifieds and 35 Busch North cars helped jam the
already bulging pit area.
In what was to be a long day of qualifying turned into another day
of waiting and frustration as rain and snow hit the speedway in mid
afternoon. At least the qualifying was completed for the Modifieds,
Busch North and Sunoco Mods. Jerry Marquis in the Mystic Missile of
Bob Garbarino captured his first Busch Pole of the year. Second
generation driver Matt Hirschman was second fastest. Rounding out
the top five were Don Lia, Zach Sylvester and Doug Coby. The top
eight redrew for starting spots. Tony Hirschman drew the pole with
his son, Matt, drawing the outside pole. Marquis drew eighth. Sean
Caisse captured the Busch North pole. Sunoco Modified heats were won
by Jeff Malave and Kerry Malone.
All the rain and snow disappeared during the Saturday overnight.
Sunday was absolutely beautiful with temperatures in the high 60ís.
Ted Christopher was looking to wrap up his first Whelen Modified
Tour Championship; Tony Hirschman was looking to wrap up his fifth
championship. Christopher will have to wait another year while
Hirschman celebrates. Christopherís efforts came to an end on lap 10
when he took a hard shot into the wall between turns one and two
after going up and over Donnie Lia. Hirschman ran near the front for
most of the 125 laps and in the end finished a conservative 12th.
Jerry Marquis was the eventual winner with Chuck Hossfeld, second.
Doug Coby finished third with Mike Christopher and Charlie Pasteryak
rounding out the top five.
It was a brutal weekend on racecars. Mike Christopher wrecked the
Hills Enterprises No.79 big time in practice. David Hillsí crew did
yeomanís duty and the end result was a fourth. Chuck Hossfeld
wrecked the No.50 wrecked in qualifying. Crew Chief Phil Moran and
his crew did their work and Hossfeld rewarded their efforts with a
runner-up finish. The 90, 12 and 3 were cradled off of the track.
The 75 (Carl Pasteryak), 59 (Matt Hirschman), 13 (Ted Christopher),
10 (Ed Flemke Jr.) and 99 (Jamie Tomaino) all received major damage
although the 99 and 10 teams did amazing jobs getting their cars
back on the track. Kenny Barry was under the 12 of Jimmy Blewett in
the second turn when he (21) wiggled and hit the 12 sending him into
the wall. Donnie Lia had a fast car and hit the 79 in the rear and
spun him out. That is when the Lia was held in the pits. Mike
Christopher drove like a man possessed and came on hard to finish a
Jeff Malave was the Sunoco SK Modified winner. Ronnie Silk finished
second with Keith Rocco, third.
The Arute family that operates the Stafford Motorspeedway deserves a
big tip of the hat as they have announced that Stafford would become
the first weekly short track to install the SAFER barrier wall
protection. Steel and foam construction will reduce the impact of
crashes better than concrete. The speedway was looking to cover a
140 foot stretch of wall in turn 1 with the barrier. It's an area
where a pit entrance creates a stretch with a longer run than normal
up to the wall and has long been pointed to by drivers as needing
some sort of redesign. Upstate New York driver Tony Jankowiac lost
his life there and Canadian Denis Giroux suffered long term injuries
after hitting the wall in that area. The Safer Barrier project had
been in the works at Stafford since February and hopefully when the
2006 season begins it would become a reality.
Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail: