Friday November 10, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Thirty years ago in 1976, the Modifieds ran a special event at Kingsport, Tenn. Geoff Bodine ended his modified season with a win over Paul Radford and John Bryant.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, the Thompson Speedway hosted their annual banquet. Taking top honors were Richie Evans, the Modified Champion, Dave Wandzy, the Street Stock Champ and Ron Cote, the late model champ. Special awards included most Improved in the Modifieds, Corky Cookman, Late models, Fran Colson and Street Stock, Jack Crosby. Rookie honors went to Ed Kennedy in the Modifieds, Rick Armstrong in the Late Models and Rick Fuller in the Street Stocks. Dick Williams, who promoted the speedway during the year, announced that he was not renewing his lease.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Ben Dodge was hired by NASCAR to help out in the promotion and publicity of the Featherlite Modified Tour. Waterford held their annual banquet which honored Bob Potter as the SK Modified champion and Brian McCarthy as the Super Stock champion. Most improved honors went to Ed Flemke Jr in the SK's and Chuck Zentarski in the Super Stocks. Rookie of the Year honors went to David Gada in the Modifieds and Dave Wheeler in the Superstocks. Promoter Ed Yerrington announced that the 1987 Tri-Track point fund would be in excess of $100,000 which would be more than was for the Modified or Busch North Series at that time.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, November 10 turned out to be a sad day for New England Auto Racing as D. Anthony Venditti, owner and promoter of the Seekonk Speedway had passed away. Venditti was a visionary and although some of his ideas seemed off the wall sometimes, nine times out of ten he could read the future of auto racing. He had the original idea for what we now know is a Pro Stock. Venditti could be very stubborn but no matter what , he always stuck to his guns. He had the respect of just about every one who knew him.

Last year, Stafford Speedway held their annual banquet and crowned Ted Christopher the SK-Modified Track Champion. Christopher was also the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Regional and National Champion. NASCARís Winston Cup and Grand National divisions were in Homestead, Florida. Joe Nemachek took the GN win. In Winston Cup action, Bill Elliott got the first Dodge win for Ray Everham. Elliott took the lead from teammate Casey Atwood with five laps to go. Michael Waltrip finished second. During the running of the event three of Ricky Ruddís crew plus a NASCAR official were injured on pit road when Ward Burton bounced off the car of Casey Atwood and hit Ruddís car while it was being serviced. In SMART Modified competition at South Boston, Virginia, Gary Meyers took the win over Charlie Pasteryak and Jay Foley. Ed Flemke JR, in the Hill Racing No.79 was the fastest of the field and was leading with 10 laps to go when Frank Flemming drilled him into the wall on a restart. It was also announced on this weekend that NASCAR entered into agreement with Dodge for multi-year sponsorship of the sanctioning bodies Weekly Racing Series.

Thatís 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.

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