Forty five years ago in 1968,
Ray Hendrick won the first ever 500-lap race for the modifieds at
Martinsville. Thompson also ran with Fred DeSarro taking the win.
Don Collins won the season ending 100 lapper at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Rick Taylor was the Daredevil winner.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
Geoff Bodine scored his 54th victory of the season in the Dick
Armstrong No.1 as he won the season ender at Martinsville. George
Summers finished second and was followed by Satch Worley, Bobby
Santos, Charlie Jarzombek and Ronnie Bouchard. Richie Evans annexed
his second driving title. It was also 35 years ago this week that
Fred DeSarro passed away after lying in a coma for close to a month
after an accident at Thompson. Cale Yarborough made it three in a
row Winston Cup Championships. Bobby Allison was second with Darrell
Waltrip, third. Ronnie Thomas was the Rookie of the Year and Butch
Lindley was the Late Model Sportsman Champion.
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
the only action was twin 100s at Waterford for modifieds and SK type
modifieds. Mike McLaughlin won the modified portion and Ted
Christopher was the SK mod winner. Following Christopher were Tom
Jensen, John Anderson and Jim Broderick.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Steve
Grissom sewed up the Busch Grand National title at Hickory, N,C.
Hermie Sadler was named BGN Rookie of the Year.
Fifteen years ago, in 1998, Jeff
Gordon won the Winston Cup event at Atlanta after waiting through a
6-1/2 hour rain delay. On a sad note, Dick Moroso passed away after
a battle with cancer.
Ten years ago in 2003, The
Stafford Motor Speedway held its annual competitors meetings. The
DARE Stocks met on Monday, the Late Models met on Wednesday,
November 5 and the SK Modifieds met on Friday. New rules for 2004
were discussed. Conspicuous by his absence was long time employee
Dan Pardi, who had been released from his position at Stafford.
Pardi had been in the rules and competition end of things and had
been a loyal employee for over 20 years. In Winston Cup action at
Phoenix Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the win over Jimmie Johnson and Ryan
Newman. In Busch Series action at Phoenix Bobby Hamilton Jr. scored
his fourth win of the season.
Five years ago in 2008, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series closed out another successful
season. Car counts were down a bit but overall the competition was
great. When the final checker dropped at Thompson, Ted Christopher
led the championship standings by 127 points over Matt Hirschman.
Hirschman, who lost his ride in the Bennett mount, was one of the
first to congratulate the new champion. Todd Szegedy finished the
year in third spot with Chuck Hossfeld and Ronnie Silk rounding out
the top five. Rounding out the top ten in the final standings are
Eric Beers, Mike Stefanik, Rowan Pennick, Jimmy Blewett and Ryan
Preece. Next on the agenda is the annual Banquet of Champions at the
Mohegan Sun Casino in December.
At the Waterford Speedbowl competitors were still wondering if and
or when they would be paid for the Fall Finale. Word had it that
track operator Jerry Robinson would not renew his lease of the
shoreline oval, which meant that the purse would never be paid.
NASCAR, which competitors at Waterford were forced to join needed to
go after the non-paying promoter and take legal action if necessary
in order to protect their paying members. In the end, NASCAR did
In True Value Modified Series action at the Twin State Speedway Matt
Hirschman, who had won 12 times in three of four Modified racing
series won the Ricky Miller Memorial 100. Hirschman started 16th.
Lisbon Connecticutís Chris Pasteryak came from last starting spot to
finish seventh and sewed up the series championship. In the 100
lapper, Dwight Jarvis finished second and was followed by Kirk
Alexander, Jon McKennedy and Bob Goodenough.
In All Star Modified action at Epping, NH on Saturday night a paltry
field of only 15 Modifieds were on hand. According to reports Ronnie
Silk led about 2/3 of the 100 lapper before being passed by Mike
Stefanik for the lead and eventual win. Silk hung on for second with
Matt Hirschman, third. Kyle Ebersol and Rowan Pennick rounded out
the top five. Among those who didnít finish was Ted Christopher who
ended up 11th.
In Nationwide Series action, Carl Edwards held off David Reutimann
to win the Kroger On Track for the Cure 250 on Saturday at the
Memphis Motorsports Park, keeping alive his hopes for a second
straight NASCAR Nationwide Series title. Edwards, who missed
qualifying because of practice for Sunday's Sprint Cup Race in
Atlanta, started 34th in his No. 60 Ford but made an early stop for
fresh tires and gained ground quickly. He took the lead from Mike
Bliss on lap 69, and never trailed after that. Reutimann kept his
Toyota on Edwards' rear bumper for the final two laps, but couldn't
overtake him for the lead.
In Sprint Cup action at Atlanta Motor Speedway Carl Edwards passed
Denny Hamlin on a late restart, then held on to win Sunday to keep
his championship hopes alive. But his seventh win of the season
barely dented Jimmie Johnson's points lead. Johnson had a rough
start to the race, earning a rare pit-road penalty that dropped him
a lap off the pace, but stormed back to finish second with an
impressive final sprint through the field.
Last year, 2012, The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their season and
championships were decided in both the SK Modified and Street Stock
events. Jeff Rocco, twin brother to Keith Rocco, took his first
career victory in the 50-lap SK Modified race while Tyler Chadwick
of Ledyard secured his first ever Speedbowl title in the division.
Walt Hovey left no doubt in the Street Stocks, winning both the race
and the track championship. Also winning races Saturday were Bruce
Thomas Jr in the Late Models and Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Mini Stocks.
Rocco was the man to beat once he made his way into the race lead.
Craig Lutz started in the pole position and led through a lap 3
restart. Lutz gave way to Kyle James while Rocco moved into second
position. Another caution on lap 5 enabled Rocco to line up
alongside James for the ensuing restart. Rocco powered past James
when racing resumed, leading lap 6. Rocco survived four more
restarts the rest of the way.
Todd Ceravolo finished out the year on a high note, finished second
to Rocco in the SK Modified race while Shawn Monahan came from the
rear to finish third. Jeff Rocco is the twin brother of two-time
track champion Keith Rocco. Chadwick began the event with a 21-point
lead over Jeff Pearl. He finished the race ninth, running a cautious
race to stay out of trouble and claim the crown.
Thomas led throughout the Late Model race, with Jeff Smith finishing
second and Dillon Moltz the champion in the division, finishing
Hovey rose to the lead on lap 24 in the Street Stocks race then
survived multiple caution flags over the remainder of the race.
Corey Hutchings was second and Chris Meyer came in third. Cassidy
resumed the final 28 laps of the Mini Stock race from a lead he held
back on October 7th when rain halted the race. Ray Christian III of
Norwich was second and Jeff Cembruch finished third. Cassidy's
victory was his 12th of the year in the division, good for the
all-time single season record in division wins.
On a sad note Auto Racing lost a true friend with the passing of
Charlie Mitchell. Charlie was well known and highly respected by his
peers for his writing in the Norwalk (CT) Hour. Charlie was the dean
of New England racing writers. The respect he had from competitors,
from promoters, from fans and, especially from other media members,
remains unparalleled. Having Charlie in the press box signified that
it was indeed an event worthy of coverage. He brought the skills he
used covering other sports to auto racing. He was one of a tiny
group that was instrumental in making our sport part of the general
media scene. In that regard, he was a revolutionary figure in New
England auto racing history.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Martinsville Speedway, Jimmie
Johnson started from the pole and dominated the race, leading 191 of
the 500 laps en route to his seventh victory at the historic
.526-mile asphalt oval. However, the victory didnít come easy.
Jeff Gordon was attempting to work his way around Johnson when the
caution flag waved on lap 474 when Kevin Harvickís engine expired.
All of the lead-lap cars pitted under caution except championship
leader Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Johnson restarted
third behind Keselowski and Earnhardt and quickly drove his way
around both drivers, retaking the lead on lap 485. On lap 491 the
final caution flag of the day waved when Carl Edwards and Earnhardt
spun in turn two, giving second-place Kyle Busch one final shot at
The field returned to green-flag racing with five laps left and
Johnson quickly pulled into the lead with Busch in hot pursuit.
Busch gave it everything he could, but Johnson was able to hold on
for the victory.
The Nationwide Series was off for the weekend.
This week are several vintage racing
photos Courtesy of SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's Racing
Click on Photo for Full Size
Thatís it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is: