Forty years ago in 1965, Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket No. V-8 won the first ever open wheel Modified race at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Bob Bahre, who purchased the speedway in 1964, tore down the original wooden grandstand and erected a new steel high rise grandstand that would hold 15,000.
Thirty five years ago in 1970, Jerry Cook was desperately trying to make up some lost ground on the national point ladder as he went to Martinsville where he won the Fall 100 over John Bryant and Melvin Puddin Swisher. Conspicuous by his absence was Ray Hendrick who went north to Oswego where he took a big win. Stafford ran their final event of the year which saw Bugsy Stevens take the win over Ray Miller, Fred DeSarro who also wrapped up the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship, Moose Hewitt and Bernie Miller. Ed Yerrington finished eighth and wrapped up the Stafford track championship. Sunday racing at Thompson rained out.
Thirty years ago in 1975, Richie Evans went two for three as he won at Fulton on Friday night over Sonny Seamon, Geoff Bodine and Fred DeSarro. On Sunday, Evans traveled to Islip where he led from pole to pole to win the All-Star 300.Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Maynard Troyer. In between all of that was the Oswego Modified 200 which saw Maynard Troyer take the win which was worth in excess of $15,000.Bodine finished second and was followed by Evans, Roger Treichler and Greme Bolia.
Twenty-five years ago in 1980, it was Race of Champions weekend at Pocono. Close to 100 cars were on hand and when all was said and done, Richie Evans took the win over Geoff Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Greg Sacks and Bugsy Stevens. Evans passed Bouchard for the lead on lap 286 of the 300-lap event. The night before Pocono, Evans flew to Riverside where he won a 50 lapper over Bob Polverari. While Evans was in the north, Bodine was in the south where he won a 300-lap Late Model Sportsman (Busch Grandnational) event at South Boston. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Bobby Allison took the win.
Twenty years ago in 1985, Stan Greger was the Saturday night winner at Riverside while at Waterford; Dickie Doo Ceravolo scored a win for the hometown crowd. Ceravolo beat out Bob Potter and Mark LaJunesse for the win. Art Moran Jr. was the Super Stock winner. The Nascar modifieds were busy. They ran a 150 lapper at Shangri-La on Saturday night where George Kent took the win over Jan Leaty and Richie Evans. After an all night ride to Maine, they did it all over at Oxford Plains where Evans took the win over Brian Ross and Doug Hevron. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1990, Bill Zacharis won a 150 lapper at Shangri-La and sewed up the track championship. Andy Romano finished second with Lee Sherwood, third. At Lancaster, Doug Hevron won the season ending 200 over Mike McLaughlin and Siege Fidenza. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Sunday, which saw Bob Potter take the win. David Gada finished second and sewed up the track championship.
Ten years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick won the Race of Champions qualifier at Waterford as he out ran Tucker Reynolds Jr., Scott Spaulding and Mike Gada. The NASCAR Featherlite Modifieds were at Loudon. Steve Park took the win as a mad scramble occurred behind him. Satch Worley attempted to go under Mike Stefanik on the last lap when they touched and triggered a pileup. Jan Leaty, who was running eighth, moved into second spot at the finish. Ed Kennedy finished third and was followed by Tom Cravenho and was followed by Mike Ewanitsko. Joe Bessey was the Busch North Series winner over Robbie Crouch and Jeff Barry and Steve Kinser won his 400th main event in World of Outlaws competition. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Dale Earnhardt took the win.
Five years ago, in 1990, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. Included were the modifieds who again put on the best show of the weekend. Mike Ewanitsko took the 100 lap win with six laps to go when Ted Christopher's motor went to skipping and losing power. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by John Blewett III, Rick Fuller and Dan Avery. Christopher sputtered home in sixth spot. Andy Santarre won the Busch North Series event and in Winston Cup action, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps in one of the most boring Winston Cup events ever run as NASCAR really blew it when they mandated restrictor plates in hopes of making the race safer in the wake of two deaths, those of Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty. Rob Janovic won at Waterford on Saturday night. Ron Silk finished second with Tom Fox, third. During the evenings events it was announced that track operator Terry Eames had purchased the property where the Speedbowl was located for $1.85 million. It was also this week that Wally Saleeba passed away. Wally had been a close friend and confidant of D. Anthony Venditti for many years.
Last year, 2004, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Fall Final. The Modifieds continue to be the big draw for any of NASCARís touring divisions as 48 cars were on hand. Ted Christopher was the Busch Pole sitter and as luck should have it, picked the pole starting position. Christopher led the first 10 laps before giving way to Mike Stefanik whom led to lap 23. Christopher took it back after a restart on lap 24. Chuck Hossfeld, who had been rumored to be considering changing rides, put the Mystic Missile out in front on lap 38. Tony Hirschman and Ed Flemke, who had been battling for the series title kept each other in sight and on lap 75 displaced Hossfeld for the lead. With only 20 points separating them going into the event Hirschman knew he had to finish ahead of Flemke if he had any hope of getting the title. Hirschman passed Flemke for the lead on lap 87 and never looked back as he went on to score the win. Flemke glued himself to Hirschman and wasnít about to give up another spot as he held off Stefanik to finish second. Rounding out the top five were Jerry Marquis and Hossfeld. Hirschman left Stafford leading Flemke by 30 points going into the season finale at Thompson. Jerry Marquis sits in third spot with Christopher fourth and Jamie Tomaino, fifth.
In Dodge Weekly Racing Thunder at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night Todd Ceravolo was looking to sew up the 2004 Sunoco SK-type Modified title but lady luck had other ideas. During his qualifying heat the Ledyard, Connecticut driver was hit from behind and ended up suffering severe damage to his family owned modified. Mike Finkeldey was gracious enough to loan his car to Ceravolo for the 30-lap feature but lady luck stepped in again, causing electrical problems and an ultimate low finishing spot. Kerry Malone, who was second in points going into the event, suffered a similar fate, as he was involved in an accident, which also resulted in a low finish. Bert Marvin, who has had terrible luck this season, took his second win of 2004. Bo Gunning finished second with Richard Savory, third. Ted Christopher recovered from an early spin and finished fourth. Jeff Malave rounded out the top five and put himself in second spot in the point standings, 20 points behind Ceravolo. Norm Wrenn won the Pro Stock feature. David Berghman, despite a 16th place finish, sewed up the division championship. Glenn Boss won the Limited Sportsman feature but it was Larry Barnett who sewed up his division championship with a third place finish. Rick Gentes was the Late Model winner, Seth Duval won the All-Star Truck feature and Scott Michalski was the Mini Stock winner.
For once NASCAR Dodge Racing Series at Stafford was tame. Willie Hardie Jr. won the SK Modified portion of the Fall Final. Chuck Docherty finished second with Jeff Malave, third. Malave was later disqualified as it was determined that his engine had a light weight flywheel. Ted Christopher who had previously sewed up the track championship, finished seventh. Ryan Posocco was the Late Model winner and also the track champion for his division. Brian Hitchcock was the DARE Stock winner and Larry Barnett won the first-ever Limited Sportsman feature run at the track.
Eddie Reed Jr. got a little closer to gaining his first SK-Modified championship at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Reed didnít win, in fact he finished fifth, but his main challenger Dennis Gada was eliminated early enough to give Reed a 40 point cushion going into the final two events at the shoreline oval. Gada had been hoping to set an all time record of six championships in a row but unless a miracle happened, it would be a done deal for Reed. Ronnie Silk started second in the 35-lap feature and led every lap to score his first win of the 2004 season. Don Fowler ended up second with Chris Pasteryak and Rob Janovic following. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Jay Lozyniak in the Sportsman division, Timmy Jordan in the Mini-Stocks and Jeff Paul in the Legends. The tracks Late Models had the night off.
The Nextel Cup along with the Busch Racing Series and Busch North Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Dover Downs Speedway in Delaware. Dale Quarterly won the MBNA 150 for the Busch North Series event. Andy Santerre finished fifth and sewed up his third series total in a row. Twenty-eight started the event that saw six finish on the lead lap. Mike Stefanik finished fourth and Jerry Marquis experienced overheating problems and finished 18th. Ryan Newman took the Nextel Cup win over Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon. Martin Truex and Mike McLaughlin finished one-two in the Busch Series event.
On again, off again. According to those at NASCAR that oversee the Dodge Weekly Racing Series everything was on the up and up at the Lee USA Speedway when Richard Wolf was declared the winner on September 11 after the first two finishers ahead of him were disqualified. Ted Christopher, who had been in the top spot of the New England Region, was been moved back to the second spot in the standings as Wolf has been designated the Region Champion. The change made for a big cut in pay for Christopher as the Champion would receive $45,000 and the runner-up received $24,000. Christopher, fresh off his dominating win in the Featherlite Modifieds at Loudon was extremely unhappy, not so much with NASCAR but with the Stafford Speedway as he feels that the track gave him "the business" on September 3 when he was put to the rear in the second of two 30 lap events. The incident in question involved Chris Jones who had since been put on indefinite suspension for his actions against Christopher. Christopher feels that if he werenít put to the rear on September 3 he would have won and would have been in a better position to win the regional title. The Stafford management felt they made the right decision. Jeff Strunk, who competed at the Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania, finished third in the standings with Ledyard Connecticutís Todd Ceravolo in fourth. Ceravolo, who competed at the Thompson Speedway, would receive $16,000 for his and his familyís efforts. Waterford Connecticutís Ed Reed JR who competed at the Speedbowl would receive $8200 for his sixth place finish. Its also official that Corey Hutchings is the New England Region Short Track Champion. Hutchings, who hails from Salem, Connecticut, was the point leader at both the Thompson Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl and had a combined feature win total of 14. Hutchings would receive $2,500 plus a $1,000 bonus for each track title at seasonís end.
The town hall in Plainfield, CT was the scene of a meeting between the developer of the proposed domed speedway and the townís Economic Development Commission. The object of the meeting was to change local zoning laws to allow the proposed project to go foreward. The commission did not take action that would have allowed for comprehensive entertainment and amusement facilities, hotels, etc. The application also called for allowing special revenue facilities. Some people in the town believed that the race track proposal was just a smoke screen which would hide the fact that another casino would be coming to the state. The New England Raceway Corporation continued to project that they would host approximately nine events per year including one Nextel Cup event or "Tier One" drag racing, two Busch Series races or two CART events. The NASCAR legal department had notified that there is no agreement in place or any promise made that any NASCAR sanctioned events would be held in Plainfield. The commission would re-convene on October 14. Later in the week, word was let out that the International Speedway Corporation planned to build a ĺ mile oval that will seat 75,000 in Washington State on the West Coast.
Forbes Magazine listed the 400 wealthiest people in the country last week. Tied in 215th spot are Bill France JR and his brother Jim who own and control NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation along with O. Bruton Smith who owns Speedway Motorsports. Forbes says they are each worth $1,300 million. Top man on the list is Bill Gates of Microsoft who is worth a cool $4.8 billion.