years ago, in 1977, rainouts split the modified fields of cars as
some went to Martinsville for the Cardinal 500 and some went to
Thompson for the World Series. Martinsville had the NASCAR sanction
and drew most of the top stars. The World Series, at that time was
open competition. Bugsy Stevens took the win in Virginia. Local
favorite Billy Hensley finished second with Brian Ross, Hank Thomas
and Brett Bodine rounding out the top five. At Thompson,
Fred DeSarro took the win over
Freddie Schulz, Leo Cleary, George Summers and Bobby Clark.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1982, the NASCAR Modifieds were in
Martinsville for the season ending Cardinal 500. Fifty-seven cars
were on hand. Best appearing awards went to Tony Siscone and the
Dick Barney No.14 modified and the No.32 Late Model Sportsman driven
by Dale Jarrett. The modified 250 lapper saw Jim Spencer jump out to
an early lead over Doug Hevron and George Kent. Greg Sacks, who had
all but dominated the modified ranks was on the move and by lap 27
had taken the lead. Sacks led until lap 92 when he, along with
Richie Evans, Tony Siscone and Brett Bodine pitted for fuel. Spencer
led the restart on lap 98 with Jerry Cranmer, Sacks, Bodine, Evans
and Siscone in tow. Spencer led until lap 124 when he lost a
driveshaft and Evans assumed the lead. A terrible crash and a
horrific fire occurred on lap166. Ray Everham hit the wall and
stopped on the backstretch. Tony Siscone,
with nowhere to go,
Everhams car, splitting the gas tank. Flames engulfed both cars.
Everham escaped but Siscone, who was pulled out by Brian Ross and
Geoff Bodine, suffered serious burns. Just before the crash, Siscone
had removed his driving gloves, as they had become sweaty. After a
long red flag period the race was resumed with Kent in the lead as
Evans had pitted. Sacks, who was hoping to end his season with a
win, dropped out on lap 187 when his right front suspension broke.
Evans made a gallant charge in the closing laps but in the end had
to settle for second behind Kent. Satch Worley finished third with
Jerry Cranmer, fourth and Brett Bodine, fifth. Sixth through tenth
were Paul Radford, Bob Vee, Gail Barber, Jean Michaud and Tom
Baldwin. It would take over a year for Tony Siscone to heal and be
able to race again, which he did. In fact, Siscone came back to
Martinsville to record a well-deserved win. The Martinsville event
was also the final race of Jerry Cooks driving career as he retired
to accept a position as Technical Coordinator in the Northeast for
Twenty years ago, in 1987, the Winston Modified Tour headed for
Martinsville for what was supposed to be the last event of the year
but because of the fact that the Stafford Fall Final had to be
re-scheduled to the following week the Martinsville event did not
determine the series champion. George Kent took the win with Jamie
Tomaino finishing a strong second. Third thru fifth were Mike
Mclaughlin, Satch Worley and Brian Ross.
Fifteen years ago, in 1992, the Thompson World Series took center
stage as the Winston Modified Tour season came to a close. Reggie
Ruggerio took the 125 lap win but had to settle for the runner-up
spot in the final standings to Jeff Fuller who finished tenth. Satch
Worley, in the Mystic Missile finished second with Mike Ewanitsko in
third spot. Doug Hevron and Ricky Fuller rounded out the top five.
Ted Christopher won the SK_Modified portion of the World Series as
he beat out Eddie StAngelo and Mike Christopher. The final Modified
Tour standings showed Jeff Fuller as taking the championship over
Ruggerio, Tom Baldwin, Steve Park and Satch Worley.
Ten years ago, in 1997, the Richmond International Speedway closed
out the 1997 Nascar Modified Tour Series with a 150-lap event. Mike
Stefanik ended his championship season in fine style as he took the
lead from Ted Christopher on lap 113 and never looked back.
Finishing second was pole sitter Tony Hirshman. Jan Leaty finished
third and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr, Rick Fuller, Tom Cravenho,
Tom Baldwin and Christopher.
Five years ago in 2002, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
had closed out the year with Mike Stefanik taking the driving title.
The tour consisted of 19 events with a total of 99 different
competitors. Of those, 14 ran in all events. Their participation
percentage was 14%. Looking at other NASCAR divisions, the Winston
Cup has had, 84 different competitors in 28 events. Their
participation percentage is the highest, 33%. The Busch
Grandnationals have the highest car counts with 123 cars in
competition. Nineteen ran all events for a percentage of 15%. The
Craftsman Trucks have drawn 107 vehicles for 20 events. Twenty
competitors ran all events for a percentage participation of 19%.
The Busch North Series had a total of 18 events with a total
participation of 64, which puts their percentage at 25%. The Goody’s
Dash Series, which would be dropped by NASCAR after 2003 ran only 14
events. Eighty-seven cars ran with 12 running all events for a
participation percentage at 14%.
Competitors of the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series were
still waiting for their 2003 schedule. Waterford announced theirs a
few weeks back, May 10 and August 30. Last week word leaked from
Riverhead that their dates were June 7 and August 2. Chances are
that Stafford will announce their entire 2003 schedule at their
banquet this week. From all indications the New Hampshire
International Speedway will have their Featherlite Modified Tour
Series events on Friday, July 18 and on Friday, September 12. Many
competitors of the Busch North Series and the Featherlite Modified
tour were hoping that NASCAR and the Speed Channel would announce
their 2003 Touring Series coverage schedule as now was the time for
race teams to be out beating the bushes for sponsorship dollars and
it would be a big plus for a competitor to give a potential sponsor
the word that his product will be on the television.
The Busch North Series Champion Andy Santerre won $95,185 in 18
events. Santerre scored three wins included with 10 top 5’s. Matt
Kobyluck finished second, 38 points behind the leader. Kobyluck
recorded two wins and 11 top fives. Brad Leighton, Kelly Moore and
Tracy Gordon rounded out the top five. Featherlite Modified Tour
Series Champion Mike Stefanik won $87,890 in 19 events. Stefanik won
two events, which included seven top fives. Ted Christopher was the
leading winner with five victories to his credit including ten top
5’s. He finished 50 points behind Stefanik with a season total of
$76,745. Chuck Hossfeld, Jerry Marquis and Rick Fuller rounded out
the top five. Schedules for both touring series are due out any day.
Overall, both New England based series provided good competition and
were good draws at the gate where ever they raced.
Auto racing in the northeast lost two staunch supporters. Ronald
Marquis, Jerry Marquis’ dad and Tony Vecchio Sr. Mr. Marquis was
very instrumental in his sons auto racing career and Mr. Vecchio
played a vital part as he supplied both Modifieds and Busch North
Series cars for Tony Hirschman, both would be missed.
Last year, 2006, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was originally
scheduled for Saturday but because of impending rain, the event was
rescheduled for Sunday against the Waterford Speedbowl Double Down
event. As predicted, high winds close to 50mph and heavy rain, close
to two inches in spots, blanketed the entire New England – Long
Island area on Saturday. Race teams and fans coming from Long Island
were forced to drive around through New York City when the ferry
terminal on Orient Point, Long Island became submerged after 6-10
foot waves from Gardners Bay crashed ashore. The Waterford Speedbowl
fell victim to a flooded parking lot and track after it rained for
over seven hours on Saturday. The Double Down Showdown was postponed
to Saturday, November 4.
Stafford’s Fall Final took the green shortly after 4:00p.m. on
Sunday. Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT jumped from his pole starting
position and went non-stop for 150 laps to take the green. Despite
the fact that there were no lead changes there was action a plenty
going on. Mike Stefanik became the Whelen Modified Tour Series
Champion when he took the green as he had a decisive point lead
going into the event over Ted Christopher. Stefanik finished sixth.
Christopher, who crashed while running second on lap 51, lost second
spot in the final standings by one point to Eddie Flemke Jr. who
finished ninth. Christopher was credited with 25th finishing spot.
Christopher’s car broke a left rear brake rotor, which caused his
car to turn sharply into the wall. Preston City Connecticut’s
favorite son, Kenny Barry finished a strong second after coming from
a 19th starting spot. Zach Sylvester, from Lebanon, CT, finished
third with defending series champion Tony Hirschman, fourth.
Rounding out the top five was John Blewett III. Stefanik finished
sixth with Donny Lia, Ronnie Silk, Flemke and Jerry Marquis rounding
out the top ten.
Eight caution periods for 42 laps kept the average speed down to
64.518mph. In addition to the Christopher crash on lap 51 there were
others who went out on the hook of a wrecker including Reggie
Ruggerio who wrecked with Chuck Hossfeld on lap 29, Jimmy Blewett
who was part of a six car wreck on lap 7 and Rob Summers who wrecked
on lap 21.
In other racing action at Stafford, three track championships were
decided on the track, as Frank Ruocco won the SK Modified
championship, Woody Pitkat won the Late Model championship, and
Shelly Perry won a 4-way battle to take the SK Light championship.
Feature winners included Willie Hardie winning the 50-lap SK
Modified feature, Ryan Posocco winning the Late Model feature, and
Matt Gallo won the 20-lap SK Light feature.In the 50-lap SK Modified
feature event, Willie Hardie won the battle, but Frank Ruocco ended
up winning the war. Hardie did all that he could do to overtake
Ruocco for the championship by winning the race, but Ruocco ran just
aggressively enough to stay in a championship clinching position
throughout the 50-lapper. The race started with Jeff Malave leading
the early laps, but Woody Pitkat overtook Malave on lap-6. Pitkat
held the race lead until he dropped off the pace and pulled behind
the wall on lap-45, which gave the lead of the race to Hardie, who
had worked his way up to second. Ruocco and Hardie started the race
side by side in the 5th row, and while Hardie set sail for the front
of the pack, Ruocco was never more than several positions behind
Hardie, keeping himself in championship contention. Hardie took the
checkered flag ahead of Malave, Zach Sylvester, Brad Hietala, and
Eric Berndt. Ruocco finished seventh to win the championship by 6
points over Hardie.
a sad note Midget Great Johnny Coy
passed away on Saturday Oct 28th. Johnny raced everything from
jalopies to Modifieds, but it was the midgets where he excelled. In
1958 NASCAR had a midget division. Out of 25 races Johnny won 14 of
them and the NASCAR Midget Crown.
Tony Stewart was the Nextel Cup winner at Atlanta and Kevin Harvick
was the Busch Series winner at Memphis.
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: