Friday November 23, 2007

By Phil Smith                                             Click on Photos for Full Size                                

Twenty-five years ago, in 1982, in Winston Cup action at Riverside California, Darrell Waltrip took the pole and finished third behind winner Tim Richmond. Third was good enough as Waltrip wrapped up the 1982 Winston Cup division championship, his second in a row. Ronnie Bouchard finished sixth.

Twenty years ago, in 1987, the Oswego Speedway, the undisputed Super Modified Capitol of the World announced that they had signed a sanction with NASCAR for four Winston Modified Tour events in 1988. A year later, those in power at Oswego would express their feelings that they were not happy with the way NASCAR ran their programs and would not invite them back again.

Fifteen years ago, in 1992, NASCARís Winston Cup division saw the end of one era and the beginning of another. Richard Petty drove his last race at Atlanta and officially retired from driving. Rick Wilson was named as his replacement. It was also at Atlanta that Jeff Gordon made his Winston Cup debut.

Ten years ago, in 1997, Joe Nemachek scored an emotional victory as he won the BGN 300 at Homestead, Fla., a track that claimed the life of his brother. Randy LaJoie finished second and sewed up his second divisional title. Ted Christopher ran strong in the early going but broke an axle and ended up 34th.

Five years ago in 2002 The Busch North Series competitors were somewhat in a dither after NASCAR announced that in 2003, their rules would be combined with those of NASCARís Winston West division. Busch North series competitors will have to replace their existing 9:1compression motors with 12:1 compression motors. The Winston West competitors will have to replace their existing Winston Cup type chassis with the design presently used by the Busch North Series. Each division will have its own separate race circuit with a grand finale combination event at seasonís end. Called NASCARís Elite Division, it has been said that The Speed Channel is under contract for four years to present a total of up to 20 events a year of the new combined division. Itís going to involve a lot more travel and increased expense and hopefully NASCAR will increase the minimum purse requirements.

Last year, 2006, the True Value Modified Series, which had become a less expensive alternative to the NASCAR Series, indicated that Waterford may very well be on their schedule for 2007. The open wheel touring series, which first appeared at the Seekonk Speedway in October of 2004, would compete in four 100 green flag lap events, which would be preceded by a series of qualifying heats.

At the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas, NASCAR recognized several racetracks for their outstanding promotional efforts in 2006. Among the honorees was the Thompson Speedway, which received the Administrative award of excellence.

NASCARís Nextel Cup and Busch Series wrapped up their seasons at Homestead, Fla. Matt Kenseth took the Busch Series win. Kevin Harvick already had wrapped up the title. In Nextel Cup action, Greg Biffle took the win and Jimmie Johnson, the title.

This week here are some vintage racing photos from

A star of the 50's & 60's, George Lombardo with the Norm Kies #121 "Red Ram" Dodge at Riverside Park Speedway. George is one of the years inductees into the New England Auto Races Hall of Fame.

The Bombaci/Vitari #V8's made a star of "Wild Bill" Slater.


"Money Bags" Moe Gherzi earned his name for his penchant of winning the big money races. Moe went on to be the long time Racing Director of the Plainville (Ct.) Stadium. Photo from the Dave Dykes Collection.

Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

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

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