Forty years ago in 1969, the Norwood Arena, long a part of
the tri-track-modified circuit in New England ran its last Modified
event. The track would continue for a couple more years but would
run only late models. Roland LaPierre Sr. won the final event. He
was followed by Eddie Flemke, Fred DeSarro, Bugsy Stevens, Bob
Melnick and Billy Schulz. Freddie Schulz was the final modified
driving champion and Dick Armstrong was the final modified
championship owner. An industrial park now sits on the former site
of the high banked 1/4 mile speedway in Norwood, Mass. The Norwood
Arena Speedway was the fastest 1/4 Mile NASCAR stock car racing
track in the 1960's. The Modifieds ran their final event of the year
at Stafford on Sunday. Leo Cleary, driving the Sonny Koszela No.15
took the win over Smokey Boutwell, Ed Yerrington, Bill Slater,
DeSarro and Flemke. Airborne Park in Plattsburg, N.Y. ran a double
point event also on Sunday. Jerry Cook took the win over Dick Fowler
and Bugsy Stevens. Stevens was trying to overcome a 441 point
deficit that Jerry Cook held for the NASCAR Modified Championship.
Thirty five years ago in 1974, Staffords Fall Final featured
80 lap events for the Modifieds and 80 laps for the Busch North
division. Bugsy Stevens took the modified win over Richie Evans,
Geoff Bodine and Jerry Cook. Bob Dragon was the late model winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1984, the Oswego Speedway closed out
their season on Saturday with the Modifieds, which saw Jim Spencer
take the win over Richie Evans, Brian Ross and Roger Treichler.
Stafford ran their Fall Final on Sunday with Reggie Ruggiero taking
the win. Richie Evans finished second and sewed up the Northeast
Regional and Nascar National Modified Championship. Mike McLaughlin
Twenty years ago in 1989, the Modified Tour Series was at the
Shangri-La Speedway. Jeff Fuller, driving for Art Barry, took the
win. Steve Park finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller and
Satch Worley. Also on tap that weekend was the Fall Finale at
Waterford where Dennis Gada took the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1994,Waterford ran their Fall Finale.
Todd Ceravolo took advantage of a blown engine in leader John
Anderson’s modified and walked off with the season ending win.
Ceravolo started on the pole and led the early going until getting
passed by Anderson. Rob Janovic, driving the Mike Gada no.21 drove a
very competitive race and finished second. George"Moose"Hewitt
finished third and was followed by Jerry Pearl, Scott Spaulding,
Phil Rondeau and Jim Broderick. Jay Stuart won the Late Model main.
In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Jarrett took the win after
a dominant Geoff Bodine blew a head gasket. Terry Labonte was the
Ten years ago, in 1999, the Thompson World Series and the D.
Anthony Venditti Memorial at Seekonk rained out. Fifty-eight
Modifieds were at Thompson with Tony Hirschman taking the pole. It
was damp but not raining up in central New York State. The Race of
Champions was run at Oswego with 53 entries. Chuck Hossfeld took the
win over Mike Muldoon and Lee Sherwood. Ted Christopher was a pre
race favorite but crashed out of the event. The big event of the
weekend was the annual DIRT-Eckerd 300 K at Syracuse. Kenny Tremont
took the lead from Vic Coffey on lap 115 of the 188-lap event and
went on to record the biggest victory of his career. Tremont
received $86,525. Ken Brightbill finished second and pocketed
$31,200.Also on this weekend it was announced that NASCAR had
awarded a weekly racing sanction to Claremont Speedway for 2000. RJ
Reynolds announced that they were discontinuing sponsorship of
NASCAR's weekly racing series because of results of tobacco
litigation. Chrysler announced that they would be returning to
Winston Cup racing with Ray Everham one of the key players. Michael
Waltrip scored a Busch Grandnational win at Charlotte after Mike
McLaughlin ran out of gas on the last lap while leading. Jeff Gordon
won the rain delayed Winston Cup event that had to be run on Monday.
Five years ago in 2004, the Thompson Speedway had released
their final point standings for 2004. Todd Ceravolo, with five wins
included with 16 top 5’s was the Sunoco SK-type Modified Champion.
Ceravolo won a close battle over Jeff Malave. Malave scored two wins
included with 15 top 5’s. Ted Christopher, with four wins, ended up
in third spot. Kerry Malone and Eric Berndt rounded out the top
five. Corey Hutchings, with nine wins, took the Late Model
Championship. Dennis Botticelo, with two wins, finished second. Ryan
Posocco, with two wins, ended up in third spot. Charles Bailey III,
3 wins, and Marc Palmisano, 2 wins, rounded out the top five.
The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their racing season with the Town
Fair Fall Finale. With numerous track division titles on the line
competition was intense to say the least. In addition to qualifying
for the track’s regular divisions on Saturday features were held for
All Star Truck where Chris Correll took the win. In the Legends Jeff
Paul made it five out of eight for the year, Pro Four Modifieds
where George Sherman took the win and two divisions of X-Cars where
Brad Vogelsong and Chris Avery recorded wins.
On Sunday, the NEMA Midgets started it off with a 25-lap feature.
Ben Sikes took the win after pre race favorite Bob Santos III
dropped out with a smoking engine. Next out was a 50 lapper for the
Mini-Stocks. Richard Brooks took the lead just past the half way
mark and held off Joe Godbout for the win. Glen Colvin was awarded
the division championship. Following the Minis were the Sportsman.
Roger Perry became the surprise winner after the front three, Ed
Gertsch, Norm Root and Keith Rocco, got tangled up in turn one with
five laps to go. Gertsch and Root spun and were put to the rear.
Officials felt that Rocco was guilty of rough riding and put him to
the rear also. It was later learned that officials had made a bad
call as Gertsch had in fact suffered a flat tire, which caused him
to check up. Rocco did touch him slightly but should have not been
put to the back. In a determined bid, Rocco came from the rear of
the field after the restart and finished third and won his division
title. Corey Hutchings had previously sewed up the Late Model
division title. Hutchings put icing on the cake as he drove to a
convincing win over Allen Coats and Ed Reed Jr.
Dennis Charette took the lead from Chris Pasteryak on a lap 51
restart and went on to take the win in the Modified 100. It was a
game of luck and wits between Dennis Gada and Eddie Reed Jr. to see
who would become the 2004 Modified Champion. Gada’s luck soured
right from the start when he developed a smoky power steering leak.
After repeated pit stops while the field was under caution for
miscellaneous spins Gada’s crew was able to make repairs and keep
their driver on the lead lap. Gada later got collected in a spin but
didn’t do any damage. Reed, on the other hand, held a fair lead
going into the event and only had to stay out of harm’s way and
finish to garner his first title. Reeds luck began a downturn on lap
59 when his left front tire was beginning to lose air. A caution on
lap 65 allowed him to pit and make a change. Restarting in the rear
as the field took the green on lap 68 Reed got collected in a wreck
triggered by Shawn Monahan whom bounced off of Doug Coby. The wreck
all but sheared off the right front suspension and tire from Reed’s
car. He somehow was able to drive to the pit area where an army was
on hand to assist the Gordon Rogers crew in making repairs. Sheer
determination on the part of his crew got him back in competition.
In the meantime Gada had worked his way back to the front and was on
Charette’s bumper at the finish. Reed was able to limp home and
despite losing a lap in the closing stages finished 17th to win the
division championship. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished fourth with Chris
The Nextel Cup along with the Busch Racing Series were in Kansas
City last weekend. Joe Nemechek took the Busch Series event over
Greg Biffle. He carried his winning ways over to Sunday as he also
won the Nextel Cup event over Ricky Rudd.
Ted Christopher was among the missing at Waterford. Christopher
spent the weekend in Virginia at the Martinsville Speedway and at
the Concord Motorsports Park in North Carolina. Christopher started
dead last at Concord and took the win. At Martinsville he missed the
Tim Fuller won the DIRT Eckered 200 at Syracuse. Fuller was running
third on the final lap when leader Kenny Tremont ran out of gas and
second place runner Matt Sheppard shredded a tire. Fuller collected
$50,000 for his efforts.
Last year, 2008, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series
ventured to the Chemung Speedway in western New York last weekend.
The 3/8 mile track, originally built by the Bodine family drew a
sparse field of only 25 cars. The Chemung event with a somewhat
reduced purse consisted of time trials, two 25-lap heats and a 120
lap feature that ended up finishing under caution. Matt Hirschman,
who was the fastest on the clock, won his qualifying heat and after
starting on the pole led wire to wire to win his second NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour win of the season. Hirschman entered the event
89 points behind Ted Christopher in the championship chase. With
Christopher’s seventh place finish, Hirschman narrowed the gap to
just 55 points with only the Stafford Fall Final and Thompson World
Series weekends remaining.
Todd Szegedy dogged Hirschman for most of the event but settled for
a runner-up finish and held up his spot in third in the season
standings. Mike Stefanik finished third. Chuck Hossfeld, Ronnie
Silk, Erick Rudolph, Christopher, Bobby Grigas III, Rowan Pennink
and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top 10 finishers.
At the Waterford Speedbowl it was good news and bad news. The good
news was that competitors received their checks that had been held
back. The bad news was that they were told not to cash them until
Monday. One competitor thought he would pull a fast one and
attempted to cash his check at the bank where the check was issued.
He was told there were insufficient funds in the account to cover
The shoreline oval ran their season ending Fall Finale, a two day
event, last weekend On Saturday three SK Modified qualifying heats
were run. Taking the wins were Shawn Monahan, Dennis Gada and Jeff
Paul. In other Saturday action Jason Palmer won the 25-lap Legends
Town Fair Tire Finale feature while it was Shaun Buffington scoring
the 2008 Saturday Night Legends championship. Other feature winners
were Norm Wrenn (Pro-4 Modifieds), Todd Bertrand (NEMA Lites), Glenn
Boss (N.E Sport Modifieds), Corey Hutchings (Outlaw Stocks), David
Flammia Jr. (X-Modified),Steve Barrett (Super-X Cars), Buddy Strede
(X-Cars), Kathy Civardi (Women On Wheels Super-X), and Stephanie
Bennett (Women On Wheels X-Car).
Sunday dawned in typical Waterford fashion. It was raining cats and
dogs. Shortly before noon a strange thing happened, the rain stopped
and the sun came out. It was too late; the cards of the fans had
been dealt. Apparently many of them had made other plans as the
vintage grandstand at the shoreline oval was all but empty when
racing finally started. Because of the adverse weather the scheduled
pit party was cancelled. The actual racing started about two hours
late with Ken Cassidy coming from a dead last start to win the Mini
Stock event. Randy Cabral won the NEMA Midget event and Brandon
Plemmonds won the 50 lap Sportsman event. Things were looking up,
the SK Modifieds were on the track for a tire heating session when
the red flag was displayed bringing everything to a screeching halt.
Evidently a bad accident on nearby Route 85 deemed it necessary for
the Speedbowl’s ambulance to leave. Per state law, once the
ambulance leaves the property all racing stops. After a little over
a half hour an ambulance appeared and racing resumed. The 100 lap
Modified event was a typical Waterford slam-bang event with survival
of the fittest the order of the day. Diego Monahan led a large
portion of the race untilbe dislodged by Keith Rocco and Rob Janovic.
Both had a war of their own when on a late race restart Rocco didn’t
go which resulted in Tyler Chadwick and Monahan hitting the front
stretch wall. To make matters worse, at ten after nine, the fog
started rolling in. At 9:20pm fans and competitors breathed a sigh
of relief when the checkered flag was dropped on the event. Keith
Rocco took the win and was followed by Rob Janovic, Ron Yuhas JR and
Dennis Gada. For Gada it was monumental as he was now in a league of
his own as he is the only seven time champion in Speedbowl history.
In True Value Modified Series action at the Lee USA Speedway Jon
McKennedy took the win over Jimmy Kuhn, Les Hinkley, Ed Dachenhausen
and Mike Holdredge.
In Sprint Cup action, Tony Stewart ended his winless season at
Talladega Superspeedway when NASCAR ruled Regan Smith's last-lap
pass was illegal. Smith was in second and trailed Stewart for the
final three laps around Talladega. The rookie made one desperate
attempt for his first career victory by ducking inside the two-time
champion to attempt a pass. Stewart blocked him, and Smith went
below the yellow out-of-bounds line. After he beat Stewart to the
finish, NASCAR reviewed the move, a driver is allowed to pass if
officials believe he was forced under the line, and declared it
illegal. The ruling gave Stewart his first win of the season and
snapped a 43-race winless streak dating to Watkins Glen last year.
It also was his first career Cup win at Talladega, which has taunted
him for 10 years as he finished second a maddening six times. Paul
Menard was a career-high second and was followed by rookie David
Ragan and Chase drivers Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer. Smith was
dropped all the way to 18th. The race had a NASCAR-record 31 lead
This week are several vintage racing
photos from the Danny Pardi Collection, courtesy of
the SpeedwayLineReport.com &
Click on Photo for Full Size
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: