years ago, in 1977, Geoff Bodine capped a successful season with
double wins for the weekend. Chemung ran a 100-lap Open Competition
event on Saturday. Following Bodine at the finish were
Merv Treichler, George Kent,
Maynard Troyer, and Eddie Flemke Sr. Westboro closed out their
season with a 50 lapper on Sunday. After an all night ride, Bodine
took that one too. Ronnie Bouchard finished second and was followed
by George Murray, Bugsy Stevens, Joe Howard and John Rosati.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1982, the only action was at Atlanta where
Bobby Allison took the 500-mile win over Harry Gant.
years ago, in 1987, the rained out Fall Final at Stafford was run
with Reggie Ruggiero taking the win over Jeff Fuller, Brian Ross,
Bugsy Stevens, George Brunnhoelzl and Tony Hirschman. For
Bugsy Stevens, the day marked the
end of his modified career as he stepped out of the Garbarino Mystic
Missile for the final time. A NASCAR Modified driver since 1966,
Stevens garnered three NASCAR National Modified Championships plus
numerous track titles. The SKís also closed out their season with
Bob Potter taking the win over Kerry Malone and Ted Christopher.
Phil Rondeau was the Late Model winner.
Fifteen years ago, in 1992, the Race of Champions was at the
Flemington, New Jersey Fairgrounds. Because of the fact that it was
a non-NASCAR sanctioned event the absence of the top NASCAR Modified
pilots was evident, with the exception of a few. It was very cold
and the crowd was way off but the annual running of the event still
drew 54 modifieds. New Jersey runner Lenny Boyd took the win over
Mike Ewanitsko, Tony Siscone, Ricky Fuller and Ken Woolley. Long
Islander Mark Tooker won the Street Stock event. Tony Sylvester
finished second with Jerry Young, third. The Triple A-SK Modifieds
were also on the race card. Brian Sisco took the win over Roger
Heffler and Ted Christopher
Ten years ago, in 1997, Joe Nemachek scored an emotional victory as
he won the BGN 300 at Homestead, Fla., a track, which 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 capped off their 2002
season on Saturday night with their annual awards banquet. Guest of
honor was the 2002 series champion Andy Santerre who took the title
by a mere nine points over Matt Kobyluck. Over $360,000 in point
funds and special awards were handed out. Judging from what news
filtered out it looked like the Busch North Series could very well
be running a combined event with NASCARís Winston West division at
the end of 2003. The event, which would be run in the south in
conjunction with a Winston Cup event could be costly but will give
competitors in both divisions needed exposure.
Driver Bo Gunning and car owner Eddie Partridge were officially
crowned the 2002 SK-Modified Champions at Staffordís annual banquet.
Jim Peterson took top honors in the Late Model division. Gunning and
Peterson received gold diamond rings and champions jackets as well
as a trophy.
year, 2006, The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their 2006 racing
season with an event they called Double Down.
Dennis Gada, who earlier in the
season won his sixth championship, added to his resume on Saturday
by winning both ends of the Modified segment of the season-ending
Double Down Shoot Out. The two 25-lap victories brought Gadaís SK
Modified career win total to 50. Dwayne Dorr, the 2006 Sportsman
champ, set a record with his 11th victory in the first 15 lap
Sportsman feature. Dorr, who finished fourth behind second feature
winner Richard Staskowski in the second feature was also the overall
winner. Corey Hutchings, Jeff Miller, Joe Godbout, Ken Cassidy Jr.
were also winners as the concept proved a success. The second
feature lined up with lead lap finishers from the first in reverse
order. Jason Palmer passed Chris Bakaj with eight laps left to win
the Legends race and Joey Payne Jr. dominated the 25-lap
Northeastern Midget Association race.
In other Speedbowl news, according to a report on Gary Danko's
Speedway Line Report Radio Show Monday night, the Speedbowl will be
in operation for the 2007 season. Reportedly it should be announced
within a week that the Speedbowl is being leased. It's reported that
General Manager Bill Roth will remain at the Speedbowl in his
current position. It is probably a majority of opinions the
Speedbowl would not have survived 2006 without the efforts of Bill
Roth and now retired PR Director Pete Zanardi. It remained to be
seen, if true, how this would effect foreclosure proceedings on the
property which have been put on hold by the court until June 2007.
It was also rumored that current Speedbowl owner Terry Eames would
not have any further connection with the operation of the track.
In other racing action, the Concord Motorsports Park in Concord, NC
was the site of the North-South Shootout featuring the Hoosier 100
for the Modifieds along with a 50-lap main event for the SK-Type
Practice and qualifying were the orders of the day on Friday. There
were 36 Modifieds and 31 SK Modifieds on the track for practice. By
the time qualifying began the cars counts changed to 46 Modifieds
and 34 SKís. Time trials showed that Matt Hirschman was the fastest
with southerner Burt Meyers, second fastest. Bob Grigas was third
with Brian Pack, fourth. Rounding out the top five was Bobby Santos
III in the Whelen No. 36 that was formerly driven by Ted
Christopher. Christopher was 12th fastest in the Joe Brady No. 00.
Long Islander Tom Rogers was the fastest of the SKís. Wall Township
Speedway regular Tom Farrell was second fastest. Ronnie Silk was the
only New Englander to break the top five. For most of those on hand
it was like being at home in New England as temperatures dropped to
the high 20ís once the sun went down.
The cold weather carried over to Saturday but the racers used their
heads for the most part and dealt with it. Tom Rogers won the SK
Modified 50 lapper. Bobby Santos IIIcame from 14th spot to finish
second. Woody Pitkat, who started 15th, finished third. Earl Paules
and Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. Matt Hirschman won the
100 lap Modified Shootout. Ted Christopher finished second. Eric
Beers came from 31st position to finished third with Earl Paules,
fourth. Defending race winner John Blewett III rounded out the top
five. It was a shame that Bobby Santos III never got to show his
stuff in the Whelen 36 as he was collected in a grinding crash on
Hirschman brought the field to green to start the 100 laps of green
flag racing in the Hoosier Modified 100 with Burt Myers and Bobby
Grigas taking chase. Defending race champion John Blewett was
already on the move going three wide on lap three to grab two spots.
The potential of a good night ended for Grigas when he received the
black flag for a fluid leak. Still under race conditions, Chuck
Hossfeld was hounding Myers for the second spot with Blewett in hot
pursuit. Blewett marched into third over Hossfeld on lap 13 and
immediately set his sites on Myers. A single lap later Blewett was
second. Christopher was working his way into contention. The first
caution of the event flew on lap 17 for contact between Santos, Andy
Seuss, and Ronnie Silk. Several competitors took advantage of the
yellow to make their mandatory pit stop. On the restart Hirschman
led Jo. Blewett, Myers, Ted Christopher and Hossfeld inside the top
five. Hirschman and Blewett began to pull away from third-running
Myers. George Brunnhoelzl, Jr., making his first Modified start of
the season, brought out the yellow on lap two for an incident that
also involved Daren Scherer. During the caution period, the leader
headed down pit road, taking southern competitors Brian Loftin and
Jason Myers along for the ride. John Blewett was the new leader when
the green flag few again. B. Myers, Hossfeld, Christopher and now
Todd Szegedy occupied the top five positions. B. Myers tried
mounting a challenge on Blewett but had to settle back in line. This
provided the opportunity for Hossfeld to make it a three-car battle
for the top spot. On lap 26, Hossfeld grabbed the second position
from B. Myers. Szegedy and NSS newcomer Les Hinckley teamed up to
work their way to the front. On lap 31 they each gained a position
by passing Christopher. Three laps later they made their way past B.
Myers. Recently crowned Northern Modified Tour Rookie-of-the-Year
James Civalli spun in turn four to bring out the events third
caution on lap 36. A host of front-running cars ducked down pit road
including John Blewett, B. Myers, Christopher, Beers and Brian Pack.
Hossfeld inherited the lead on the restart but looked strong at the
head of the pack. Hossfeld held the top spot over Hinckley,
Hirschman, Paulus, and Loftin. A heated battle between Paulus and
Loftin was slowed by a caution for a spinning Anthony Sesely on lap
36. Back under green, the Paulus-Loftin battle continued with Loftin
coming out on top. Loftin, now fourth, immediately began to pressure
Hirschman for third. Hossfeld began to pull away from Hinckley. The
Southern ace was able to get third from Hirschman; but not for long.
On lap 44, Hirschman rocketed back by through the dogleg. Earlier
front-runner, B. Myers spun in turn four to bring out the caution on
lap 46. The caution was trouble for Szegedy, who headed down pit
road for an unscheduled pit stop. The lap counter hit halfway with
Chuck Hossfeld leading. The Hillbilly Racing team pocketed $500 for
leading lap 50 courtesy of DMC Auto Exchange. Hirschman was back
into the second position and looking for more. Paulus sat in the
third spot with a new face of Rick Kluth in fourth. A single lap
later, incidental contact between John Blewett and Lia ended with
Lia in the outside wall. Sesely, Seuss, and Hinckley spun during the
incident as well. B. Myers received heavy damage to his car when Lia
tried to drive away from the scene, collecting Myers. Hossfeld, the
only car yet to make the mandatory stop, headed to pit road for
service. Hirschman was the new leader when racing resumed. Paulus,
Kluth, Blewett and Christopher rounded out the top-five. With
Hirschman and Paulus pulling away slightly, the best battle on the
track was for fifth position between Blewett and Beers. Christopher
began to show his muscle as well. On lap 53, Christopher took third
from Kluth and began to reel in the leaders. Kluth fell into the
clutches of Beers. There was a scary moment for Hirschman on lap 70
when Gene Pack and Ryan Preece spun in the leaders path to bring out
the caution. Unfazed, Hirschman jumped out to a comfortable lead on
the restart. Paulus continued to run in second over Christopher,
Blewett and Beers. The action at the back of the pack was heated
with several rows of side-by-side racing. A spin by Billy Pauch, Jr.
brought out the seventh yellow on lap 76. Christopher took advantage
of the restart to make a bid on Paulus while Beers made a run on
Blewett. Neither was able to make the pass stick. On lap 80, Paulus
had reached the back bumper of Hirschman. He, too, had to settle
back into line. The final caution of the event flew on lap 85 for a
spin by Hinckley. With a collective groan from the grandstand area,
the Southís favorite son, Junior Miller was forced down pit road
under the caution with an oil leak. The final 15-laps found
Hirschman getting some breathing room as Paulus, Christopher and
Beers went nose to tail. On lap 94, Christopher was able to muscle
his way by Paulus for second. Beers, who lost a cylinder during the
event, was still able to follow through to move his ailing #9 into
the third position.
Hirschman cruised to the victory in the prestigious North-South
Shootout. Hirschman was greeted in victory lane by his legendary
father Tony and his teary eyed mother, Brenda. It was a big win for
the young and rising star. In addition to his $9,000 plus bounty,
Hirschman was also presented with a custom-painted helmet to
commemorate his victory and a shotgun-a fitting trophy for Hirschman
who symbolically gunned down the competition.
One of the Whelen Modified Tour Series top crew chiefs and
fabricators packed his bags and headed south. Phil Moran had taken a
position with Bill Davis Racing in North Carolina which fields
NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series cars. Moran has been behind the
efforts of Todd Szegedy and at one time was a fabricator at
Spearpoint Auto. Moran also spent considerable time at the Carl and
Charlie Pasteryak racing garage. Tom Baldwin, Jr. apparently has
hired Phil to be in charge of the chassis shop. Baldwin has also
hired Steve Aspinwall from the Mystic Missile team for a position at
Bill Davis racing.
At the Texas Motor Speedway Tony Stewart, a two-time Nextel Cup
champion made it two in a row as he earned his 29th career win. He
also won in September at Kansas by gambling on gas and coasted under
the checkered flag. But Stewart was dominating a week previous at
Atlanta, leading 146 of 325 laps, and even stronger this week.
Jimmie Johnson finished second. An unidentified crewman for Scott
Riggs' team knocked driver Kevin Harvick, his wife and a NASCAR
official to the ground on pit road Sunday, minutes after the Dickies
500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was apparently in retaliation for an
incident late in the race. Harvick was close behind Riggs when the
latter crashed while running third on lap 332 of the 339-race event.
It appeared Harvick's car took the air off the rear deck of Riggs'
car and Riggs was unable to maintain control. Harvick won the
preliminary Busch 300 that was run on Saturday.
Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St., Westerly
R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail
Dennis Gada Photo By Steve Kennedy