Forty years ago in 1966 the Albany Saratoga ran a 200 lap event with
Bill Wimble outlasting Eddie Flemke for the win. Bill Slater
finished third with Robbie Kotary, fourth. Fonda was still closed
for a Fair and at Utica-Rome, their annual 400 was washed out.
Thirty five years ago in 1971, Labor Day weekend meant big money,
extra distance races. The action started at the Albany-Saratoga
Speedway in Malta, NY on Friday night with a 250 lapper for the
Modifieds. Max Berrier, one of the hot dogs from North Carolina,
made one of his infrequent trips north pay off as he stole the show
from the regulars. Fifty five Modifieds were on hand to qualify for
the 30 starting spots. Guy Chartrand, in the Hemi-Cuda of Ed Cloce,
was the pole sitter with Leo Cleary in the Mystic Missile on the
outside. Berrier started seventh and wore the competition down to
record the win. Eddie Flemke, in the Art Barry No.09, finished
second and was followed by Bernie Miller, Andy Romano, Denis Giroux,
Richie Evans, Hop Harrington and Fred DeSarro. Stafford ran a 30
lap, double point event on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, now on home
turf, took the win over Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens, Bernie Miller and
Bob Santos. The action shifted to Utica-Rome on Sunday night where
Richie Evans won the New Yorker 400 over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook,
Billy Hensley and Lou Lazzaro. Modified history was made on Monday
at Stafford when Gene Bergin in the Bobby Judkins Pinto bodied 2x
broke the track qualifying record and became the first Modified to
turn the half mile in the 20.00 second bracket. Due to the efforts
of Stafford owner Jack Arute, the Pinto body was made legal for
Modified competition and would be the beginning of the end of
pre-war coupes used as bodies for Modifieds. Bergin cruised to a
convincing win over Fred DeSarro, Max Berrier, Bugs Stevens and
Eddie Flemke. Fulton Raceway also ran on Saturday and Monday. Bob
Sweeny won the Saturday 30 lapper over Neil Trusedale and Sonny
Seamon. Monday’s Labor Day 100 saw Geoff Bodine take the win over
Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro and Merv Treichler.
Thirty years ago in 1976, Ed Yerrington, the new promoter at
Stafford, was looking for a way to boost attendance at the Stafford
Speedway. He scheduled a mid week open competition event and named
it Modified Madness. To make this event different, Yerrington
allowed all females, accompanied by a male, free admission. The
result was one of the biggest crowds ever seen for a mid-week event
as the attendance was in excess of 10,000, at the Stafford oval.
Richie Evans borrowed a wing off the Super of Nolan Swift and took
home the win. Maynard Troyer finished second with Fred DeSarro and
Bugsy Stevens rounding out the top four. Riverhead ran a 200 lapper
on Friday night with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Fred
Harbach, Wayne Anderson and Jerry Cook. At Monadnock, Mike Weeden
took the feature but it was Punky Caron who won the track
championship. Saturday night saw the running of the annual Oswego
Modified 200.Maynard Troyer took the big win over southern invader
Paul Radford. Roger Treichler finished third. At Islip, Wayne
Anderson was the big winner with Jerry Cook, second. Pete Fiandaca
won at Riverside and it was Dave Dias at Seekonk. Geoff Bodine made
it two in a row at Thompson on Sunday night as once again, Fred
DeSarro had to settle for second. John Rosati, Ray Miller and Jerry
Pearl rounded out the top five. Stafford ran their annual 200 on
Monday. Bodine carried his winning ways over from Thompson to make
it two for two. Jim Spencer finished second and was followed by Tom
Baldwin, Richie Evans and Satch Worley.
Twenty five years ago in 1981, Stafford ran the Labor Day weekend
200 on Friday night. Close to 7500 saw Richie Evans take the win
over Reggie Ruggiero, Ray Miller, Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens.
Waterford ran a 100 lapper which saw Bob Potter start on the outside
pole and lead all the way to take the win over Jerry Pearl, Moose
Hewitt and Dave Webber. Geoff Bodine came north to drive the Taylor
No.99 to a convincing win in the Oswego 200. Satch Worley finished
second with Ray Miller, third. At Thompson on Sunday night, Reggie
Ruggiero took the win over Joe Howard and Corky Cookman. Other
weekend winners were Punky Caron at Monadnock, Bugsy Stevens at
Seekonk, George Wagner at Islip, Stan Greger at Riverside and Jeff
Fuller at Westboro. Doug Hevron won the Oswego Supermodified
Twenty years ago in 1986, the Labor Day weekend started on Wednesday
when the Mod Tour visited Riverhead for a 200 lapper. Tiger Tom
Baldwin took the win over Jim Spencer, Bill Park and Brian Ross. On
Friday night, George Brunnhoelzl Jr was dialed in as he took the top
spot at Stafford. Kenny Bouchard finished second. Waterford ran a 75
lapper on Saturday night with Rick Donnelly taking the win over
Harry Rice and Mark LaJunesse. George Kent used a bit of cunning to
win the Oswego Modified 200.Kent used an early pit stop to his
advantage as he was able to pass most of the competition while they
pitted later. For his efforts, he pocketed $17,535. Brian Ross
finished second and was followed by Mike McLaughlin and Jan Leaty.
Jerry Marquis won at Riverside while Steve Park and John Blewett Jr
won twin features at Riverhead. Stafford closed out the weekend with
their annual 200 on Labor Day. Proving his Friday night win was no
fluke, George Brunnhoelzl Jr. took the win over Brian Ross, Kenny
Bouchard and John Rosati. Bentley Warren won the Oswego
Supermodified Classic and in Winston Cup action at Darlington, Tim
Richmond took both the pole and the win.
Fifteen years ago in 1991,
Bob Potter took the SK modified
championship at Stafford and wrapped up the track championship.
Steve Chowanski had been a contender but found himself sitting on
the sidelines after he was thrown out of the event after wrecking Bo
Gunning. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Saturday night with Ted
Christopher taking the win in the Ronnie Berndt No.54.Don Fowler
finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Bob Potter's luck
continued to be bad as he wrecked the Ceravolo family modified for
the seventh time. Jeff Fuller took the $20,000 to win Oswego
Modified 200 after his brother Rick, in the Fiore 44 lost an engine
while leading with two laps to go. George Kent finished second and
was followed by Steve Park and Richie Gallup. Dick McCabe won the
wreck marred Busch North Series event at Riverside Park. McCabes
average speed for 150 laps was 31mph. Harry Gant was the Winston Cup
winner at Darlington and on a sad note, Winston Cup starter Harold
Kinder passed away.
Ten years ago in 1996, Bob Potter took the Friday night SK Modified
win at Stafford after Ted Christopher and Jim Broderick wrecked each
other on the last lap. Christopher still wrapped up the SK title
despite being suspended from running the Fall Final. Broderick was
fined for rough riding. The Featherlite Modifieds were also at
Stafford for a 150 lap event. Mike Stefanik took the win over
Charlie Pasteryak, Ed Flemke Jr and Bob Gegetskas. Scott Spaulding
scored his third win of the year at Waterford on Saturday night.
Mike Gada finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Riverside ran a
100 lapper with Reggie Ruggiero taking his seventh win of the season
and Tom McCann got his sixth at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at
Darlington, Terry LaBonte took the win and in Craftsman Truck racing
at Nashville it was former modified competitor Dave Reszendes taking
the win. Doug Didero won the Supermodified classic at Oswego and
Brad Leighton was the Busch North Series winner at Lee.
Five years ago in 2001, Thompson ran its final Thursday night event
of the summer, which saw Ted Christopher make it four in a row.
Christopher started 12th in the 30-car field and took the lead on
lap 9 of the 30 lap feature. Bert Marvin, Kerry Malone, Scott Quinn
and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. Christopher carried his
winning ways over to Stafford where he won twin 40’s on Friday
night. The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the NASCAR Featherlite
Modified Tour on Saturday night. Ed Flemke Jr. got shuffled from
third to eighth on the start but drove a heads up race to take the
lead from Ted Christopher on lap 123 and went on to take the win.
Christopher finished second with Mike Stefanik holding on for third.
Tom Cravenho and Rick Fuller rounded out the top five. There were
ten yellows for 49 laps. Ed Reed Jr. scored his first ever SK
Modified win in convincing fashion as he beat out Ron Yuhas and
Dennis Gada. Gary Swanander won out over Chris Young at Riverhead.
Thompson closed out the weekend with twin 20’s for the SK Modifieds.
Ted Christopher made it six in a row as he won both of them. Kerry
Malone finished second in both and Bert Marvin finished third, again
in both events. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Ward Burton,
with Tom Baldwin as his crew chief, won the event over Jeff Gordon.
Steve Park suffered severe head injuries the day before when his car
made a sharp left hand turn after his steering wheel came off. Larry
Foyt, who had nowhere to go, broadsided Park. Jeff Burton won the
Darlington Busch Grandnational event.
Last year, 2005, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the
Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night for the Big Y World Class
Markets 150. Tony Hirschman led the 30 cars on hand as he took the
Bud Pole award. Hirschman drew seventh for the initial start and was
a possible threat until he found himself collected in a lap 65
multi-car tangle. For Bob Garbarino it was a homecoming as his
driver Jerry Marquis took the eventual win after passing Doug Coby
on lap 83. Garbarino, a forty plus year veteran Modified Car Owner
began his career at what was then called the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. In victory lane Garbarino honored one of his former
drivers, Dick Watson, who passed away last year.
Outside pole sitter Matt Hirschman led the first ten laps before
being overtaken by John Blewett III. Blewett, driving for Joe Brady,
led from lap 11 to lap 20 when he was black-flagged for leaking
fuel. Marquis took the point when Blewett parked it and led until
lap 66. Doug Coby, who drives for Manfield Ct.car owner Curt Chase
was looking to take his first win but had to give way to Marquis who
was a tick better on the long runs. Marquis re-took the lead on lap
84 and never looked back. Coby finished second with Donnie Lia,
third. Eddie Flemke finished fourth with Tyler Haydt recording his
first top five with a fifth.
Second generation driver Richard Savory pulled off a surprise
victory in Sunoco SK type Modified competition at the Thompson
Speedway on Thursday night. Because of mechanical problems Savory
missed his qualifying heat and was forced to start in the rear of
the 23 car starting field. Kerry Malone appeared to be an early
favorite until he lost a transmission. Jimmie Blewett was also an
early contender until losing an engine. As early leaders slipped out
of contention Savory took his time and on lap 41 took the lead and
went on to record the win. Jeff Malave finished second with Todd
Ceravolo, third. Tom Cravenho and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top
five. Other Thursday night winners were Jeff Connors in the Pro
Stocks, Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Glen Boss in the Limited
Sportsman, Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds and Ron Rixham in
the Mini Stocks.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Frank Ruocco appeared
to have victory in sight when his transmission malfunctioned with
four laps to go and put him out of the 40 lap SK Modified feature.
Todd Owen was waiting in the wings and fought off Woody Pitkat to
take the win. Mike Holdredge, who led the first 15 laps of the
feature, finished third. Eddie Partridge and his Long Island Gang
installed a new motor for Jimmy Blewett and he brought the T/S
Haulers mount home in fourth spot. Willie Hardie rounded out the top
five. Mike Quintiliano won the slam-bang Late Model feature after
making a dramatic four-wide pass. Andrew Durand won the Late Model
Limited feature and George Nocera Jr. won the DARE Stock feature.
Among the missing were Doug Coby and Don Lia who were suspended for
one week and John Sandberg who has been suspended indefinitely by
Frankie Sgambato, the Speedway’s Race Director. Coby was suspended
for intentionally bringing out the caution which ultimately was
meant to help Ted Christopher from going a lap down. Lia got a week
off after he slugged Sandberg who had planted him in the fence.
Sandberg received an indefinite suspension after he was removed from
competition on August 19. Sandberg was found guilty of rough riding,
not heeding the black flag, not heeding Race Control,
unsportsmanlike conduct and not heeding security staff directives to
leave the property.
Rob Summers won the SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl
on Saturday night. Summers did the bump and grind with Tommy Fox
with three laps remaining. Fox ended up with the short end of the
stick as he found himself in the first turn wall. Jeff Pearl, with a
lot of help from his dad Jerry, finished third. Pearl had taken a
hard shot into the wall one week previously which did extensive
damage to his Fox Hill No.71. Jerry cut the car’s snout off at the
firewall and replaced it with all new components. Ronnie Silk
finished third. Chris Pasteryak and Diego Monahan rounded out the
top five. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Dan
Darnstedt in the Sportsman, Joe Perry taking his first Late Model
feature and Joe Godbout taking the Mini Stock feature.
Strange Bedfellows! The France family's International Speedway Corp.
and Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports announced they were teaming
to buy Action Performance, which sells racing souvenirs, for a
reported $13 a share, according to sources close to the
negotiations. Action Performance and the Jack Roush-owned Team
Caliber are the top two souvenir companies in the NASCAR world, and
Daytona executives have been interested in acquiring souvenir rights
to all NASCAR stars in order to package them as part of a stock-car
racing "mall" at each of the Nextel Cup tour's top tracks.
That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail _ HYPERLINK mailto: