Thirty 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 five 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
Fifteen 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.
Ten 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
NASCAR’s 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 season’s end. Called NASCAR’s 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. It’s
going to involve a lot more travel and increased expense and
hopefully NASCAR will increase the minimum purse requirements.
Five years ago in 2007, it
appeared that NASCAR was leaning toward using” Spec type” motors in
the Whelen Modifieds. Spec motors are designed, built and sealed by
a NASCAR approved engine builder. Their purpose was to lower the
cost and increase the longevity of engines currently in use. A top
running, professionally built Tour type engine ranges from
$40-55,000. A top running team needs at least three of them. It was
NASCAR’s intent to phase the new engines into the Modified series at
some point and hopefully the sanctioning body would allow
competitors time to use up or sell existing equipment. Gary Danko's
Speedway Line Report reported that the No. 2 team of Todd Szegedy
had a spec motor installed in one of their cars. Szegedy ran tests
at the Concord Motorsports Park with the Spec motor car and a Ford
powered car. Weather permitting, additional testing would take place
at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday Nov 30 and Saturday, Dec 1.
Mike Stefanik was slated to drive one of the cars at the Stafford
The Wall Township Speedway located on the New Jersey shore
officially closed out the 2007 racing season with Turkey Derby
XXXIV. Since 1974, the Thanksgiving classic had played out in just
about every kind of weather including near blizzard conditions. This
year those who jam packed the grandstands got to enjoy near 40
degree temperatures. Twenty six Modifieds were on hand. Southern
invader Burt Myers was the top qualifier. A re-draw of the top
qualifiers saw Reggie Ruggiero picking the pole starting position
and Jimmy Blewett picking the outside pole. James Civali pulled
third with Pete Brittain picking fourth. In what should have been an
epic battle between the seasoned veteran and the young challenger
never developed as Ruggerio and Blewett tangled before one lap was
completed which handed the race to Civali. Ruggiero parked it for
the day. Blewett was able to rejoin the fray and actually made it up
to second spot when the checkered flag flew.
Attrition was high as only ten cars were running at the finish. Tony
Ferrante finished third with Rowan Pennick and Earl Paules rounding
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tim Arre, Brian Cramner,
Danny Sammons, Billy Pauch JR and Matt Hirschman. Ruggiero was
credited with the 27th finishing position. Justin Gumley was the
winner of the SKtype 100 lapper.
In other weekend racing action Bobby Santos, III, won the USAC
Sprint Car Grand Prix at the Irwindale Speedway in Calif.! Santos
defeated a strong group of west coast and Canadian midget drivers in
this annual classic. A Toyota engine similar to the one in NASCAR’s
Busch and Craftsman Truck Series powered Bobby’s car. Other reports
reveal that Santos' driver development deal with Bill Davis Racing
had come to an end. However, the word is that another deep pocket
team would sign the local driver to an even better contract in the
The Stafford Motor Speedway announced their 2008 schedule. The
Nutmeg oval, under the management of the Arute family would again
showcase the track's SK Modified and Late Model divisions in two
extra distance events as well as four Whelen Modified Tour events.
Stafford would host a total of 23 racing events, with the 2008
NASCAR season kicking off with the 37th Annual Tech-Net Spring
Sizzler presented by CARQUEST April 25-27, and concluding with the
36th annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend on September 26-28.
Last year, 2011, Tony Stewart
used a powerful and relentless drive, some might suggest the best in
NASCAR history, on Sunday in the season finale at the
Homestead-Miami Speedway to seize his third NASCAR championship. He
overcame a hole in the grill of his Chevrolet, a rain delay, used
debatable fuel strategy and made 118 passes on the track to win.
Edwards, who started the race with a three-point lead in the
standings, did everything he could from the minute he arrived in
Florida. His Roush-Fenway Racing team put his Ford on the pole, he
led a race-high 119 of the 267 laps and still finished a helpless
The two actually ended up tied in the final standings, a NASCAR
first, but Stewart won the title based on his five victories, all in
the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship to Edwards’ one.
Stewart became the first owner/driver to win the championship since
the late Alan Kulwicki in 1992, and the driver to end Jimmie
Johnson’s record five-year title run. His last title was in 2005,
the year before Johnson’s began his reign.
Ricky Stenhouse won the Nationwide Series title long before the
checkered flag dropped at the season finale Saturday. He clinched
his first championship about 30 laps into the 200-lap race, securing
the title when six cars officially dropped out of the 300-mile event
at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stenhouse was running fourth when
NASCAR officials announced he had wrapped up the title. He finished
second behind Brad Keselowski. Carl Edwards was third, followed by
Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and Elliott Sadler.
With the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Racing season in the
history books the Arute family and their staff hosted the 42nd
Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony at the La
Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor this past Friday. In
addition to crowning their division champions the speedway released
their schedule for 2012.
Guests of honor were Ryan Preece, Ryan Posocco, Matt Galko, Kevin
Gambacorta, and Don Wood as the 2011 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series track champions. Also honored were the
top-20 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light,
Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Other awards that were
presented during the evening's festivities were Most Popular Driver
Awards, Most Improved Driver Awards, Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie
of the Year awards, and the Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award.
Receiving awards for Most Improved Driver were Michael Gervais, Jr.
in the SK Modified® division, Patrick Townsend in the Late Model
division, Steve Greer in the SK Light division, and Duane Provost in
the Limited Late Model division. The Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie
of the Year awards were presented by Brad and Linda Hietala of
Reliable Welding and Speed to Heather DesRochers from the SK
Modified® division, Peter Thickett from the Late Model division,
Cody Gneiting from the SK Light division, and D.J. Burnham from the
Limited Late Model division. The awards will be worth a $700.00
bonus to DesRochers, and $500.00 bonuses to Thickett, Gneiting, and
Burnham from Reliable Welding and Speed.
The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Woody Pitkat in
the SK Modified® and Late Model divisions, Joey Cipriano from the SK
Light division, Cory Casagrande from the Limited Late Model
division, and David Arute from the DARE Stock division. The
Craftsman Mechanic of the Year Award was awarded to Rick Casagrande.
Casagrande prepared and maintained cars for his two sons, Cory and
Kyle Casagrande. Cory won three races and narrowly missed out on
winning Rookie of the Year honors in the Limited Late Model
division, while Kyle tied for the DARE Stock division lead with 5
Congratulations were in order for Modified racing pioneers Moe
Gherzi, Jerry Humiston and Roland Lapierre, Sr. who were selected by
the Veterans Committee of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame.
The trio would be inducted along with drivers Reggie Ruggiero and
Joey Kourafas, owner/mechanics Mario Fiore and Jim Jorgensen and
track operators/promoters Irene Venditti and Donald Hoenig at the
15th annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Sunday Jan. 29, 2012 at the
LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.
Racing scribe Lou Modestino reported that New England racing history
would be featured in the new state-of-the-art Northeast Motorsports
Museum at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Racing History
Preservation Group and “The Magic Mile” announced the beginning of
fund raising efforts to create a 20,000-square-foot motorsports
museum on Rt. 106 in Loudon, N.H. The announcement was made by Jerry
Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the
speedway, RHPG president Dick Berggren and New England fan favorite
and former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Craven.
The Board was filled with New England racing greats including Ricky
Craven, Ron Bouchard, Lew Boyd, Russ Conway, Andy Cusack, Ken Smith,
Ed Shea, Joe Lombardo, Ric Mariscal, Skip Matczak, R.A. Silvia,
George Summers and Pete vonSneidern.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly
R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail
This week are several
Vintage photos, Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dykes RacingThroughTime.com
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes