Fifty years ago in 1960 Dutch Hoag, a Modified legend in his
own time, won the Race of Champions on the one mile dirt track in
Langhorne, PA. Dick Tobias finished second with Wally Dallenbach,
third. Bob Malzahn and Carl Van Horn rounded out the top five.
George Pendergast won the season ending 25 lap Modified feature at
the Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner and
Dick Dunn was victorious in the Bombers. Don Collins was crowned the
track’s Modified Champion. Ted Stack was the non-Ford Champion and
Newt Palm was the Bomber Champion.
Forty five years ago in 1965, the Langhorne Speedway,
formerly a one-mile circle dirt track, was paved. Langhorne was the
site of the annual Race of Champions, which attracted close to 200
modifieds; the best there was east of the Mississippi River. Taking
the win was New England top dog Wild Bill Slater. Slater, who had
won just about everything there was to win became a New England
legend that day as he drove his famous Connecticut Valley Rocket,
the V-8, to an undisputed win. Dirt tracker Stan Ploski finished
second with Herbie Tillman, Dick Havens and Tommy McAndrew rounding
out the top five. Bugsy Stevens, in his first ROC start, finished
33rd. Dick Watson won the season ending 100 lap Modified event at
the Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Savage was the Bomber winner.
Modified Championship honors at the shoreline oval went to Sal Dee.
Bill Scrivner was the Bomber champion. Scrivner drove for Roger
Bonnville who, in later years, would provide Bob Potter with
Modified championship rides. Ralph “Hop” Harrington was the Saturday
night winner at Norwood.
Forty years ago in 1970, the NASCAR Modifieds were at
Beltsville, Maryland for a 200-lap event. Jerry Cook took the win
over Eddie Flemke and Billy Hensley. At Thompson, Jerry Dostie, in
the Ted Marsh 55, held off Leo Cleary and Lou Austin for that win.
Dick Armstrong bought the famous Tant/Mitchell No.11 that was
formerly driven by Ray Hendrick. With Hop Harrington at the wheel, a
solid fourth place finish was recorded. Rounding out the top eight
were Lou Toro, Joey Kay, Bob Vee and George Moose Hewitt.
Thirty five years ago in 1975, it was all quiet with the
modifieds as they were getting ready for the annual Cardinal 500 in
Thirty years ago in 1980, the World Series at Thompson drew
53 modifieds. It was on this date that the late Richie Evans gave
Mike Stefanik his big break as he put him in the seat of his back-up
experimental-straight axle modified known as the grey ghost. After
starting in the rear, the then young driver worked his way to the
front and was running second behind Ronnie Bouchard when he was
forced out with broken valve springs three quarters of the way
through the 50 lap event. Evans had taken the lead at the start but
also had bad luck as he was forced to pit with a flat tire on lap
33, giving way to Bouchard. Bouchard led until lap 44 when he was
passed by Greg Sacks in the Cal Smalles No.41.Sacks went on to take
the win and was followed by Bouchard, John Rosati, Bob Vee, Evans,
Ray Miller, Moose Hewitt and Kenny Bouchard. Mike Benevides who
today is a successful CPA was the late model winner and Warren
Coniam won the Supermodified portion. Ronnie Bouchard won a special
15-lap match race.
Twenty five years ago in 1985, Oswego closed out their season
on Saturday night with a 30 lap modified feature. Richie Evans took
the win and little did anyone know that this would be the last, as
the popular champion would lose his life in two weeks at
Martinsville. Mike McLaughlin finished second.
Twenty years ago in 1990, the Modifieds had the week off as
they were getting ready for the World Series at Thompson.
Fifteen years ago in 1995, Mike Stefanik scored his 32nd
Modified tour win at the World Series at Thompson. Stefanik took the
lead from Ed Flemke JR on lap 94 of the 125-lap event. Flemke
finished second and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero, Steve Park,
Tony Hirschman and Jamie Tomaino. Bo Gunning won the SK 30 lapper
over Bob Potter. The weekend was darkened when Harry Kourafas JR
lost his life after being hit broadside during the running of the
mini-stock feature. In DIRT action at Syracuse, Brett Hearne won his
5th classic at the historic mile. Mark Martin made a clean sweep at
Charlotte as he won the Busch Grandnational and Winston Cup events.
Dale Earnhardt did not qualify for the Winston Cup event but took a
provisional and ended up in second spot.
Ten years ago, in 2000, the Race of Champions, scheduled for
the weekend at the Oswego Speedway, was cancelled on Thursday
because of a forecast of rain and snow. It never rained! Seekonk ran
the D.Anthony Venditti Memorial and added the SK Modifieds as an
after thought. Only 11 SK's showed and the race distance was reduced
from 50 laps to 25 laps. Ted Christopher started on the outside pole
and went on to take the win over Ron Yuhas JR, Roger Godin and Dan
Dailey. Vinnie Annarummo beat out Rick Martin and Wayne Dion to win
the DAV main event. In victory lane he announced his retirement from
racing. At the DIRT Classic at Syracuse, Billy Decker took the lead
at the mid point and went on to take the win over Steve Paine, Ken
Brightbill and Bud Christian. Deckers winning check was worth
$50,000.00.In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Bob Labonte passed
Jerremy Mayfield with ten laps to go to take the win. In Busch
Grandnational action, Matt Kenseth took the lead and eventual win
when Joe Nemechek ran out of gas with two laps to go. Ed Flemke JR
made a surprise visit to the New River Speedway in Virginia and
walked off with the victory in the Hills Enterprises No.79.
Five years ago in 2005 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series
was at the Thompson Speedway for the annual World Series. The track
opened on Friday in order to allow competitors entrance to the pit
area. There was also supposed to be a practice session to the
non-touring divisions but rain put a damper on that. It looked
promising until last Friday night when a knock out punch in the form
of five more inches of rain was delivered. With the speedway under
water, the Thompson Speedway management and NASCAR had no choice but
to postpone the event to the following weekend, October 21-23. The
rescheduling created a conflict with the Waterford Speedbowl who had
already rescheduled their season ending Fall Finale. Chances were,
Waterford would not change again and the two speedways would go head
to head. Thanks to the efforts of the Speedbowl Management team of
Bill Roth and Pete Zanardi a plan was worked out with NASCAR’s Ed
Cox and the Fall Finale was once again scheduled for the weekend of
October 28-29-30. Plans included coordination of race day schedules
and a unique gas incentive supported by Xtra Mart convenience
stores. Competitors who are intended on racing at both the
Speedbowl’s Town Fair Tire Finale and Thompson would be able to do
so. On the 29th, qualifying heats for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series
divisions were slated to be completed at Waterford in time for
racers to make the 50-mile trek to Thompson for their features.
Also, racers who run the Speedbowl heats, compete at Thompson later
that day and return to the Speedbowl to race on Sunday the 30th will
be given fuel coupons redeemable at any Xtra Mart store.
In some sad news, Anthony "Beebe" Zalinski passed away early Tuesday
morning, October 11. He was 89 years old Mr. Zalenski worked for
many years as a diesel mechanic at Palmer Motor Coach in Palmer,
Mass. Later he owned his own speed shop. His real passion was auto
racing, first with sports cars and then with stock cars. His famous
M-6 coupe driven by many of the top drivers of the day was a
frequent winner at tracks throughout the Northeast. In 1967, with
Gene Bergin driving, they combined for 17 victories and reigned as
modified champions at the Stafford Motor Speedway. In recent years,
Mr. Zalenski was associated with the Flamingo Motor Sports Race
Team. At the age of 78, Beebe built the engines that propelled Chris
Kopec to the Riverside Park Track Championship.
Ryan Newman set a NASCAR record by winning his fifth consecutive
Busch Series race, avoiding a track-record 14 cautions Friday in the
Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Elliott
Sadler was second, followed by Paul Menard, Carl Edwards and Jason
Leffler. Jimmie Johnson overcame every problem thrown his way -
including tire troubles that turned Saturday night's event into a
laughingstock - to win his fourth consecutive race at Lowe's Motor
Speedway and move into a tie with Tony Stewart in the Chase for the
Championship. Johnson started 41st, then battled a failing
alternator, a cut right rear tire and overtime to prove no one can
beat him on the track his Lowe's-sponsored team considers its own
private playground. Johnson has won five of the past six events in
Speedway Motorsports Inc. declared a cash dividend of $0.32 per
share of common stock. The annual dividend will be payable on Nov.
21, 2005 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 8, 2005. This is the
fourth consecutive year that Speedway Motorsports has paid a cash
dividend to its stockholders and the fourth year the dividend
increased over the prior year. The Board of Directors of the
motorsports entertainment company unanimously decided to declare the
dividend after reviewing the market for the Company's stock, current
business conditions and future prospects of the Company.
Last year, 2009, At the Waterford Speedbowl the Fall Finale
wound up the racing season at the shoreline oval. Ryan Morgan
overcame adversity to checker the 20-lap Legends Car race, leading
Saturday afternoon action. Bill Leonard won the NEATV Truck Series
race and Wayne Coury Jr. won the Outlaw Stock race. Keith Rocco
would have to wait another year before he could say he had won
Modified championships at all three Connecticut NASCAR sanctioned
ovals. Rocco and Ron Yuhas Jr were locked in a battle for the SK
Modified Championship as the shoreline oval closed out its season.
It all came to an end for Rocco when he pitted with 52 laps
remaining in the close-out 100 lapper. Rocco missed the restart and
virtually handed Yuhas the title. Rocco had been leading the 100
lapper when he chose to pit during a caution when something didn’t
feel right in the front end of his car. Rocco ended up losing
numerous laps and ended up finishing in 17th spot. Yuhas finished
second behind Jeff Paul.
As is usual, Modified racing at the Speedbowl is rough and tumble
and survival of the fittest or luckiest. Joe Perry and Dennis
Charette led the 27-car SK Modified field and championship chase to
green for their 100-lap event. The fireworks started off turn four
of lap one when Tom Abele Jr., who started third, and Charette made
contact. That crossed the pair up in front of a stacked field
behind, resulting in an 11-car pig pile entering turn one.
All eyes were on point’s contenders Ron Yuhas Jr. and Keith Rocco.
Heads up driving helped them from getting collected in the incident,
as cars literally scattered in every direction around them. Dennis
Gada, Jeff Pearl, Allen Coates and Matt Gallo were among those
headed pit side in need of repair but able to continue on the lead
lap of the race.
The restart proved no better, as Abele and Janovic came together off
turn four coming to the green flag, ending with Abele’s car at rest
against the turn one wall after making race ending contact with the
wall. Once green, Jeff Paul moved inside of Perry to take over at
the front. Racing only went a few laps before something broke on
Pearl’s car, sending the Salem driver hard into the turn one wall on
lap seven. When the green returned, only one more lap was able to be
completed before caution flew again for a single car spin. That lap
proved key however, as Rocco used a bump and run move on Paul to
take over the lead off turn two on lap 10.
Rocco ran at the front with Paul and Janovic giving chase. Yuhas
moved around the outside of Perry for fourth and closed in on the
top three. Caution on lap 26 for a spin by Charette slowed what was
the first look at how the race for the win and championship would
shape up. Rocco had pressed early to get out front, with Yuhas in
tow looking all over Janovic for third. Rocco lead through lap 38
when Paul, challenging outside, capitalized on a slip by Rocco to
reclaim the top spot. Paul stretched out his lead as Rocco began
backing up, something appearing to go away on his machine. Caution
came out on lap 47 when Shawn Solomito spun off the backstretch.
Rocco used that opportunity to duck in to the pits for service on
what turned out to be a broken panhard bar. The championship hunt
turned when the race returned green with Rocco still in the pits as
his team made the repairs.
Paul reclaimed the lead when the action returned with Yuhas in
second, Dennis Gada moving to third, and Janovic battling Mark Bakaj
for fourth. Yuhas pressed Paul at the front. Gada sat three cars
back in third. Further back, Bakaj took fourth but Janovic looked to
take it back. Those two came together in turn four with 20 laps
remaining to bring out caution.
That was the final restart Paul needed to master. He did, going on
to his third victory of the season. Yuhas settled for second, good
enough to clinch his first track title in his 10th season competing
at the track.
Dennis Gada, finished third and was followed by Allen Coates and
Other winners in the Fall Finale were Ronnie Oldham Jr. in the
Street Stocks, Tim Jordan in the Late Models and Lou Bellisle III in
the Mini Stocks.
Next up at the Waterford Speedbowl was the never ending saga between
track owner Terry Eames and his creditors who had a foreclosure
slated for October 31.
The True Value Modified Racing Series converged on the Seekonk
Speedway for the annual D. Anthony Venditti Classic. Mike Stefanik
scored his first ever win at what is known as the Cement Palace.
Starting 22nd, the former NASCAR Modified Champion didn’t break into
the top ten until lap 60 of the 100 lap event. Hooked up, Stefanik
broke into the top five by lap 70 and set his sights on the victory.
By lap 85 Stefanik had zeroed in on the bumper of leader Dwight
Jarvis after passing Rowan Pennick for the second spot. Also on lap
85 Jim Dolan spun, setting the stage for a restart, which would see
Stefanik, vault into the lead for the eventual win. Jarvis held on
to finish second and was followed by Pennick, Steve Masse, Ryan
Preece, Richard Savory and Mike Douglas.
Matt Sheppard came into Super DIRT Week in Syracuse, NY with two big
goals. One was his own to achieve, while the other required help
from a competitor. Sheppard did his part by winning Sunday’s Rite
Aid 200. The second goal, winning the Mr. DIRT points championship,
eluded him by two points when New Jersey’s Brett Hearn finished 20th
to win the season title. Had Hearn finished 21st, Sheppard would
have reached both goals. With 20 laps to go, the goal of winning the
race looked unreachable. But then race leader Jimmy Phelps ran into
the first of three problems he would have on the day. His car began
to sound as if something major was wrong under the hood. Sheppard,
who was in second place, said he could see that Phelps was having
Even with the car not running well, Phelps led until just 10 laps
remained. That’s when Sheppard passed him on the backstretch. On the
next lap, Phelps shredded his right rear tire. Once he lost the
tire, he came to pit road and encountered problem number three. The
team was planning to get him back out to finish the race, but as
Phelps tried to leave he realized he no longer had high gear. And
that ended his day. Tim McCreadie, finished second despite trouble
on his final pit stop. Before the race, teams had expressed concern
about the congestion that would be on pit road with most teams
taking a mandatory pit stop soon after the halfway point of the
race. That was exactly what happened, and McCreadie got caught
behind another car in his pit stall. As he tried to exit, he made
contact with the other car twice. Fortunately for him, it only cost
him track position, and the damage to his car was minimal. Late in
the race with only five laps to go, he was able to get around fellow
North Country driver Tim Fuller to take second. He would not have
time to catch the race winner and was left to wonder what might have
In NASCAR action at Fontana, CA, Joey Logano simply got mad after
Greg Biffle put him in the wall Saturday in the Nationwide Series
race at Auto Club Speedway. His father, Tom, tried to get even, and
lost his NASCAR credentials in the process. Logano recovered to win
the 300-mile race, pulling away from Brian Vickers over the final
two laps to pick up his fifth series win of the year, and second in
a row. The elder Logano approached Biffle's car in pit lane after
the race and made at least one hand gesture in Biffle's direction
before a NASCAR official intervened.
Tom Logano was apparently upset about the scrape Biffle and his son
on lap 50. The veteran was challenging for the lead when he hinted
over the radio that he was going to put the young driver in the
fence. Moments later Biffle slid up the track while passing Logano
on the inside, a move that slightly damaged Logano's No. 20 Toyota.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Fontana, Jimmie Johnson surged past
Juan Pablo Montoya and easily survived a late challenge from
Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon to take the win.
Gary Danko's Speedway Line Report radio show reported on Monday,
Nov. 6 that US Marshalls will be auctioning off the racing equipment
from Jim Galante's Mystique Motorsports operation, which includes
six fully built or partially built Whelen Modified Tour and SK
Modifieds, a Freightliner tractor trailer and race car hauler.
Various racing equipment will also be included in the auction, which
will take place at Metro Auto Body and Towing at 722 Wethersfield
Ave. in Hartford. Included in the inventory are two complete NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour cars with Ford motors, two NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour car chassis under construction, one complete SK
Modified car with a Chevrolet engine, one SK Modified under
construction and tons of various racing parts plus a 53 foot
Featherlite Race Car trailer with Tractor.
Dick Ceravolo continued to show a slight improvement in his
condition. After first opening his eyes the popular former Waterford
Speedbowl Modified Champion progressed to the point that he began to
speak. He was fully aware what happened to put him in the hospital
as he remembered most of what transpired. A slight infection
continued to put reconstructive surgery on hold. He continued to be
in Intensive Care, now in its eighth week, at the Yale-New Haven
Hospital. Ceravolo, 70, suffered serious injuries on Aug 21 while
attempting to jumpstart a farm tractor.
The Charlotte Business Journal reported that Motorsports Authentics
needed extensions to pay off royalties and to renegotiate contracts
with various teams or it could end up in bankruptcy, according to a
Speedway Motorsports Inc. filing with the U.S. Securities and
Owned 50-50 by track operating rivals Speedway Motorsports (TRK) and
International Speedway Corp., Motorsports Authentics held the rights
to sell clothing, diecasts and other merchandise for many of the top
drivers and teams in the sport, including Dale Earnhardt Jr.,
Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing. Motorsports Authentics
stopped paying certain guaranteed royalties under several license
agreements during the summer of 2009 when royalties on the projected
sales were less than the guaranteed minimum royalties, according to
the SEC filing. The company had received notice from licensors
alleging default if Motorsports Authentics didn’t pay the unearned
royalties by certain deadlines.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Grand-Am Series driver
J.C. France, the son of Grand-Am founder Jim France and the grandson
of NASCAR founder Bill France was arrested on Oct.8 in Daytona on
drug charges. Also arrested was Russell Van Richmond, the son of one
of Jim France's former wives. The 43-year old J.C. France and the
40-year old Richmond were both charged with DUI and possession of
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
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: