Sixty years ago in 1953, Dave
Roghoff won the 100 lap Fall Championship at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Schreiber was the non-Ford
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Wild Bill Slater won the 25 lap Modified feature at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford race
winner and Turk Hewitt was the master in the Bombers.
Fifty years ago in 1963,
everybody's friend George Pendergast was the 50 lap Modified race
winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. During his racing
career George would wear many hats including that of STP
representative, Thompson Speedway promoter and Advertising Manager
for Speedway Scene, a regional Racing Trade paper. Pendergast was
quite a character, to say the least. Dick Caso was the Bomber
division winner at the Speedbowl.
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Bob Potter won the 30 lap Modified feature at the Waterford
Speedbowl. Wayne Smith was the Daredevil winner.
Forty years ago in 1973, it was
all quiet with no racing.
Thirty five Years ago in 1978,
Thompson ran a 50 lapper which was won by Ray Miller. Kenny Bouchard
finished second and was followed by George Summers, Bobby Clarke,
Dick Dunn and Freddie Schulz. At Hickory, N.C., Geoff Bodine took
the win over Richie Evans, Jerry Cook and Wayne Anderson.
Thirty years ago in 1983, the
Thompson World Series modified event was a 40-lap affair. George
Summers, in the Art Barry No.21 led the entire distance and took the
win over Bob Polverari, Richie Evans and Brian Ross. In victory lane
Summers announced that he had taken his last ride and was hanging up
his helmet, thus ending a brilliant and successful career that saw
hundreds of wins and many track championships in New England.
Charlie Savage was the SK winner with Mario "Fats" Caruso, second.
Doug Hevron was the Supermodified winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
it was all-quiet as no races were scheduled.
Twenty years ago in 1993, the
only show in town was the Busch Grand National North Series at Lime
Rock and Ken Schrader was the winner.
Fifteen years ago, in 1998, Mike
Stefanik sewed up the Modified Tour Series Championship when he won
the Thompson World Series. Stefanik also became the first driver in
the 50-year history of NASCAR to win back-to-back championships in
two separate divisions. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed
by Chris Kopec, Mike Ewanitsko and Tim Connolly. Connolly led the
first 47 laps of the 125-lap event before Chris Kopec punted him.
Ted Christopher won the 30-lap SK event over Jim Broderick, Bert
Marvin, Scott Quinn and Todd Ceravolo. The Busch North Series
finished out their season at Lime Rock. In true championship style,
Stefanik won that one too. In Winston Cup action at Daytona Beach,
Jeff Gordon won the forest fire delayed event and in Busch
Grandnational action at Gateway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the win
after late race leader Buckshot Jones broke an oil line.
Ten years ago in 2003, The
NASCAR Modified Tour Series was supposed to be at the Seekonk
Speedway on Sunday but Mother Nature had different ideas as showers
fell on the track just about all day. Because of the fact that
Sunday was the last day listed on the permit that the Speedway has
with the town the entire D.Anthony Venditti Memorial program has
been canceled. This was the second event that the NASCAR Modified
Tour Series has lost in 2003. A June event at Riverhead on Long
Island was also canceled after rain-washed out the intended date.
The Stafford Speedway held their first annual Invitational on
Saturday. The event drew a fair crowd but considering all the
football and baseball, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. With
the exception of the winner, Doug Meservy, Stafford regulars took
the first six spots as Waterford Speedbowl regular Rick Young
finished seventh. Following Meservy was Ted Christopher, George
Bessette, Bob Santos III and John Sandberg. Attrition was high as
only eleven of the 25 starters were running at the finish including
five cars on the lead lap. Woody Pitkat was the Late Model winner
and Mike Como was the DARE Stock winner.
Alan Johnson won the DIRT Eckered 200 at Syracuse. Johnson started
sixth and took the lead on lap 173 after a pit stop on lap 94. Ken
Tremont finished second with Frank Cozze, third. Johnson walked out
of Syracuse with $50,000 plus $30,000 in contingency awards. Sam
Sessions won the PASS Big Dawg Pro Stock event at Wiscasset Speedway
in Maine and walked away with $100,000.
Twin features were run at Wall Township with Ken Woolley and Kevin
Flockart taking the wins. The annual Lancaster Open was also run on
this weekend. Zane Zeiner took the win over Siege Fidenza. Attrition
was high as only 12 of the original 33 starters finished.
The Winston Cup and Busch Racing Series were at Charlotte. The Busch
Series event was scheduled for Friday night but fell victim to rain
and was run on Saturday afternoon. Greg Biffle took the win after
leading the final 38 laps. Michael Waltrip finished second. The
Winston Cup event was run on Saturday night. Tony Stewart passed
Ryan Newman with 15 laps to go and went on to take the win. Newman
finished second and was followed by Jimmie Johnson, Bill Elliott and
Five years ago in 2008, The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ventured to the Chemung Speedway
in western New York. 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 until being 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
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
Last year, 2012, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour enjoyed a weekend off as competitors prepare
for the season ending World Series of Speedway Racing at the
With one race remaining Doug Coby hheld a 17-point lead over Ryan
Preece and 18 over defending tour champion Ronnie Silk. Donny Lia
and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five but had been
mathematically eliminated from championship contention.
The big event for the weekend was the annual D. Anthony Venditti
Memorial at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA. Venditti, along
with his wife Irene built the quarter mile with their bare hands.
The speedway has been operated continuously by the Venditti family
since opening day in 1946.
The highlight of the weekend was the Valenti Modified Racing Series
100. The event drew 33 Modifieds. Rowan Pennink started on the pole
and led the entire race receiving pressure early on from Geoff
Gernhard, Steven Masse, Todd Annarummo and again from Masse on laps
50-53 when the fifth caution flag was displayed then followed by a
red flag when the skies opened to end the event. With 53 laps
completed the race by rule was officially completed. Pennink’s win,
his sixth VMRS victory, is his first Seekonk victory, his second
victory this season, and he clipped 20 points off Jon McKennedy’s
point lead as the two battle it out for the series championship with
two races remaining. Pennink entered the day 57-points behind
McKennedy. The points now show McKennedy with 530 and Pennink with
The rains ended what was shaping up to be another classic finish at
the famed oval. Masse and Annarummo were strong with a hard charging
Les Hinckley who started 13th and running fourth at lap 53,
methodically working his way to the front. Rounding out the top five
was Geoff Gernhard. Sixth through tenth were Mark Bakaj, Max Zachem,
Norm Wrenn, Tim Jordan and Jon McKennedy.
In other Seekonk action Derek Ramstrom captured the 50 lap Pro Stock
In weekend action at the Waterford Speedbowl Mother Nature
interfered with WaterfordSpeedbowl’s Finale Weekend on Sunday
afternoon after just two of the scheduled six races were completed.
The visiting Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) and INEX Legend
Cars races were finished before the rain began to fall. Scoring the
two race victories were Russ Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA in the 25-lap
NEMA feature and Dave Garbo Jr. of Stonington in the Legend Cars.
The scheduled 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stock
feature was halted after 22 laps due to wet weather.
The remainder of that race, along with the rest of the scheduled
races, were postponed until Saturday, October 27. Sunday’s event was
rain-checked by management, meaning ticket stubs and wristbands from
Finale Weekend will be honored on October 27. The October 27 date
will include racing by the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK
Modifieds, Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks and the
remaining 28-laps of the Mini Stock feature. There were 29 SK
Modifieds on hand.
The Speedbowl Management's cash drawer at the pit gate was bulging
as over 200 race cars jammed Waterford Speedbowl’s pit area on
Saturday for its Finale Weekend of racing. Qualifying racing for
thirteen divisions along with eight main events took place over the
day, with six more races being set for Sunday at the track.
Taking NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories Saturday were
Corey Hutchings in the Street Stocks and David Webb in the SK Light
Modifieds. Duane Noll won an entertaining Outlaw Stock feature,
Dylan Duhaime was the winner of the NEMA Lite series feature and
Ivoryton racer Mark Panaroni won the visiting Northeast Mini Stock
Tour race. Rounding out feature winners included Eric Finkbein Jr.
in the Super X-Cars, Scott Limkemann in the X-Cars and Rene Morgillo
in the Bandoleros. Keith Rocco passed Dylan Duhaime with three laps
to go to win the 25-lap NEMA Lites feature but was disqualified
after NEMA officials stated the wing on his Midget was not approved.
Brett Hearn, the all-time victor in Super DIRT Week’s granddaddy
race collected his sixth title in the Big Block Modified VP Small
Engine Fuels 200 on Sunday in a rain-shortened affair at the New
York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. After starting third, the
Sussex, N.J., driver took the lead on the sixth lap from pole-sitter
Billy Decker and never trailed again. His biggest challenge was
hedging a bet that he wouldn’t run out of gas before the race was
called off because of a storm approaching slowly from the west.
Running 113 laps on his only tank of fuel, he won the gamble, he
estimated, with about 10 laps to spare. The victory was worth
$50,000. Placing second was Waterloo’s Matt Sheppard, followed by
Baldwinsville’s Jimmy Phelps. Justin Haers, of Phelps, and Pat Ward,
of Genoa, rounded out the top five.
None of them pitted during the race, opting to follow Hearn’s lead.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Tony Stewart tried to block his way to
victory at Talladega Superspeedway. The strategy backfired badly.
Stewart triggered one of the biggest wrecks ever seen in NASCAR
racing. The "big one" came on the last lap, when Stewart's attempt
to hold on for the win ended with his car sailing through the field
and triggering a 25-car accident. Matt Kenseth won the Good Sam
Roadside Assistance 500 under caution, and everyone else was left
wondering what happened to cause so much damage. Stewart took full
responsibility for causing the accident. He had charged to the lead
on the first lap of a two-lap sprint to the finish but got too far
ahead of the pack to keep any drafting partners.
Matt Kenseth was charging on the outside, and Michael Waltrip was
leading a line of traffic on the inside. Stewart was blocking all
over the track, and said he mistakenly chopped across the front of
Waltrip's car, triggering the accident. Jeff Gordon was scored in
second place, and Kyle Busch in third.
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: