Friday October 27, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966 at the World Series at Thompson, season ending twin 50's were won by Sal Dee and Bugsy Stevens. Ed Flemke Sr was the overall winner.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, NESMRA promoted the World Series event at Thompson which saw Supers and Modifieds running together. The Supers of the day were very unreliable which gave the full bodied cars a chance. The 50 lap main event was won by Eddie West in a Super, who had a two lap lead on the field. Don McLaren, also in a Super was second. Finishing third was Eddie Flemke who drove the Mystic Missile. Howard Brown, in a Super was fourth. Rounding out the top six were Bob Potter in the Billy Simons Excavator Special and Leo Cleary in the Armando Riccio Flying Nine.

Thirty years ago in 1976, Geoff Bodine and Ray Hendrick, driving team cars owned by Richard Armstrong finished one-two in the season ending Cardinal 250 at Martinsville. Pole sitter Harry Gant in the William Mason No.45 led the event until retiring with a blown engine. John Bryant also led the event until losing two tires. Paul Radford finished third with Richie Evans, fourth. The 250 lap Sportsman (Busch Grandnational) event was snowed out.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Geoff Bodine dominated the season ending Cardinal 250 at Martinsville as he led all but 15 laps to record his ninth win of the season. Bodine drove a modified owned by Phil Taylor. Bugsy Stevens in Bodine's old ride, the Armstrong No.1, finished second. It was a war of attrition as only 15 of the original 40 starters were running at the finish. A challenge from Richie Evans never materialized as he dropped out after only five laps with a broken master cylinder. Maynard Troyer finished third and was followed by Kenny Bouchard, Ray Miller and Doug Hewitt.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Charlie Jarzombek capped a successful season as he won the season ending Modified 200 at Martinsville. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by George Kent, Jeff Fuller, Jim Spencer and Carl Pasteryak.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, the Featherlite Modified Tour was at Martinsville for a 200 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Jan Leaty on lap 128 and held off Leaty to take the win. Jeff Fuller finished third and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Wayne Anderson, Steve Park, Jamie Tomaino and Satch Worley. Harry Gant won the Busch Grandnational 200 lapper over Chuck Bown and Dale Jarrett.

Ten years ago in 1996, after a one week postponement because of rain, Thompson ran the season ending World Series. Steve Park, who had the pole position, cleaned house as he took the lead from Mike Stefanik on lap 105 of the 125 lap event. Stefanik had nothing for Park and had to settle for second in the final run down. Jerry Marquis finished third and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr, Tom Bolles, Bert Marvin, Tim Arre and Mike Ewanitsko. Tony Hirschman, in the Len Boehler No.3, finished 10th and sewed up the series championship. Because of numerous wrecks, the SK 30 lapper was shortened to 20 laps with Bob Potter getting the win over Jim Broderick, Scott Spaulding, Ricky Young and Don Fowler.

Five years ago in 2001, the only action was at Phoenix where Casey Atwood was the Winston Cup Busch Pole sitter. Jeff Burton took the win. The Busch Grandnationals were also at Phoenix. Jim Spencer was the pole sitter and was the class of the field until his transmission blew. Waiting in the wings was Greg Biffle who went on to take the win.

Last year, 2005, based on the fact that the forecast for the weekend was for more rain the World Series was cancelled again. The decision was made at noon on Friday which should have saved both competitors and fans wasting the time and fuel to travel to Thompson.
Eddie Partridge and the gang at T/S Haulers in Riverhead, NY were in the process of restoring the 1982 Troyer Modified that was owned by Ernie Wilsberg and won every major race that year. With Greg Sacks behind the wheel that car cleaned house where ever it went. Partridge also owns and maintains the Modifieds and SK Modifieds that were driven by Jimmy Blewett.

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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