Friday September 8, 2006

By Phil Smith                                                          Click On Any Photo For Full Size Version

Forty years ago in 1966, the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran their final event of the season. Kenny Shoemaker took the win over Elton Hill, Jerry Cook, Bill Wimble and Hank Stevens. Fonda got back in action on Saturday night with twin features that were won by Lou Lazzaro and Bill Wimble. In the first feature, Wimble finished second with Pete Corey, third. Jeep Herbert finished second in the second event with Cook, third. Twin 200ís made up the New Yorker 400 at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Bill Wimble won the first 200 over Kenny Shoemaker, Rene Charland, Sonny Seamon and Jerry Cook. In the nightcap it was Don MacTavish taking the win over Robbie Kotary, Wimble, Ernie Gahan and Charland.

Thirty five years ago in 1971, Albany Saratoga ran their final event of the season. Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda Sixty Nine took the win over Richie Evans. Stafford had a 30 lapper scheduled for Saturday night but rain prevailed as it did on Sunday at Trenton, NJ where an All Star League event was planned. Waterford and Thompson were rained out

Thirty years ago in 1976, Islip ran a 300 lapper on Saturday night. Richie Evans took the win over Charlie Jarzombek, Jerry Cook, Fred Harbach and SJ Evonsion. Don LaJoie won an open competition event at Waterford and on Sunday at Thompson, Fred DeSarro broke Geoff Bodine's win streak. Leo Cleary finished second with Don LaJoie, third.

Twenty five years ago in 1981, Ray Miller scored the biggest win of his racing career as he won the Thompson 300 in front of a crowd of 12,000. Geoff Bodine finished second and was followed by Jim Spencer and Jamie Tomaino. Miller qualified 19th and took the lead on lap 280 from Geoff Bodine. Tom Sylvester won the non-qualifiers second in a close duel with Dickie Doo Ceravolo. In other weekend action, George Kent beat out Maynard Troyer at Spencer, Wayne Anderson won a 200 lapper at New Egypt, Kenny Bouchard took the win at Seekonk, Stan Greger was victorious at Riverside and Roger Treichler won his eighth of the season at Lancaster.

Twenty years ago in 1986, Jim Spencer won the Thompson 300. Spencer took the lead from Carl Pasteryak on lap 266.With worn out tires, Pasteryak faded and wound up sixth. Mike Mclaughlin finished second and was followed by Kenny Bouchard, George Brunnhoelzl and Tom Baldwin. Ted Christopher won the SK modified portion of the 300 weekend. In addition to the 300,Spencer won at Shangri-la on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Sal Accardi at Riverhead; Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and at Wall Stadium, ageless veteran Gil Hearne got his 83rd career win. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Tim Richmond took the win.

Fifteen years ago in 1991, the Thompson 300 for the Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series ran together at Thompson. Steve Park, in the Curt Chase No.77 took the lead with 20 to go from Mike Stefanik and went on to record the big win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second while Stefanik faded to finish third. Jeff Fuller had been the dominate car until he blew a tire and crashed on lap 127.Fuller ended up 28th. Rounding out the top five were Rick Fuller and Doug Hevron. Ricky Craven wrapped up the Busch North Series title in fine style as he took the BNS win over Tony Hirschman and Dave Dion. Waterford ran on Saturday night with Don Fowler taking the win over Bob Potter and Ronnie Rocco. Harry Gant delivered a one-two punch at Richmond as he won both the Busch Grandnational and Winston Cup events.

Ten years ago in 1996, it was make up weekend at Loudon for the Modifieds with a left over 40 lapper starting the weekend off on Saturday. Steve Park passed Tony Hirschman with three laps to go to win the Saturday afternoon event Hirschman finished second with Tim Connolly, Charlie Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik rounding out the top five. Park finished second in the make up for the Busch North Series behind Dale Shaw. On Sunday at Loudon, Ted Christopher led three different times for a total of 102 laps to win the Busch North Series 125.In Sundays Modified 125,Tony Hirschman took the lead from Dan Avery on lap 94 and went on to take the win over Mike Stefanik and Tim Connolly. Avery ended up fourth with Tom Baldwin rounding out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Ernie Irvan took the lead from Johnny Benson with 19 laps to go in the 400 lap event. Jeff Gordon finished second.

Five years ago in 2001, Lloyd Agor won the final Friday night event at Stafford. Eric Berndt finished second with Chuck Docherty third. Saturday night at Waterford, Eric Berndt took the win over Jay Miller, Ron Yuhas JR and John Brouwer. During a post race inspection, Waterford Tech officials felt that Berndtís shocks were illegal and disqualified him, handing the victory to Miller. The disqualification was reversed six days later after Waterford officials conferred with their counterparts at Stafford and at NASCAR in Daytona. At Riverhead, Don Lia took the season ender over Dan Jivenelli. Ted Christopher won twin-20s at Thompson and moved himself within 6 points of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series title. The Thompson 300 was run on Sunday. With over 7000 on hand, Jerry Marquis scored an impressive win over Reggie Ruggerio, Ted Christopher, Ed Flemke JR and Mike Stefanik. Marquis took the lead for the win on lap 255 from Christopher. There were 12 cautions for 61 laps. A frightening crash occurred on lap 156 when Carl Pasteryak hit the wall and burst into flames. Paul Suprenant came to his aide and pulled the paving contractor out of the wreckage, saving him from serious injury. On a sad note, Mrs. Jennie Nicol, who built and owned the Wall Stadium in New Jersey, passed away at the age of 86. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Kevin Harvick bumped Ricky Rudd out of the lead with 17 laps to go. Rudd returned the favor and bumped Harvick out of the lead with five laps to go and went on to take the win. Jim Spencer won the Richmond Grandnational event. A few days later, on September 11, our world as we know it would change, as terrorists would crash planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

Last year, 2005, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on Saturday night. With gasoline approaching the $3.50 per gallon mark there were not too many race fans heading south from New England. Forty-six Northern and Southern Modifieds were on hand for qualifying which was held on Friday night. Chuck Hossfeld was the quickest as he took the Busch Pole with a speed of 99.979 mph. Eric Beers was second fastest at 99.355 mph. Tony Hirschman, Don Lia and John Blewett III rounded out the top five. The top eight redrew for starting spots. Ted Christopher, who qualified seventh, drew the pole. Hossfeld drew the outside pole.
A 50 lap Last Chance qualifier, won by Reggie Ruggiero preceded what had to be one of the best attended stand alone, non Nextel Cup events at the Virginia oval. Years ago stand alone Modified events at Martinsville drew in excess of 20,000 fans.

Ted Christopher got back on track in his quest for the Whelen Modified Tour Series Championship, as he was able to out duel Mike Stefanik for the win. Christopher, who led a total of 164 laps of the 250-lap event, took the lead for the final time on lap 227. John Blewett III finished a strong third with Eric Beers and Doug Coby rounding out the top five. A total of 46 Modifieds were on hand. The Speed Channel taped the race which was tentatively scheduled to be shown sometime in December. Ted Christopher had regained the Series point lead from Tony Hirschman. Jerry Marquis was third with Chuck Hossfeld fourth and Eric Beers, fifth.

Jeff Malave all but saw all his hopes for a NASCAR Division IV championship go up in smoke on Thursday night at the Thompson Speedway. Malave, a former Long Islander who now lived in Manchester, CT., was a scant two points behind Donny Reuvers of Shakopee, MN. Malave ended his night in the wall after Ronnie Silk made a bonsai move on Todd Ceravolo for the lead. Silk hit Ceravolo, spinning him to the infield. Malave got collected. Malave, who was quite upset stated that Silk had no business doing what he did. While Malaveís crew was trying to make repairs Ceravolo was given his spot back which allowed him to eventually record his third win of the season. Kerry Malone, who had had a string of bad luck, finished second. John Sandberg, who was under suspension at Stafford finished third and was followed by Ricky Shawn and Ron Yuhas Jr. The Division IV Championship, which would end on September 18, was worth $25,000 to the winner. During the early going it appeared that Jimmy Blewett had a good chance of recording his first feature at Thompson when he was forced to retire with motor problems. Other Thursday night winners were Jeff Zuidema in the Late Models, Fred Astle Jr in the Pro Stocks, Danny Cates in the Limited Sportsman, Scott Michalski in the Mini Stocks and Leo Olivero in the Thompson Modifieds.

Jeff Malaveís bad luck carried over to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Malave hit the second turn wall on lap 33 of the 40 lap feature. Frank Ruocco led all but the first two laps of the feature as he notched the win. Woody Pitkat gave him some late race heat but in the end had to settle for second. Jeff Baral finished third with Mike Holdredge and Kenny Horton rounding out the top five. Other Friday night winners were Tom Fearn in the Late Models, Andrew Durand in the Limited Late Models and Mike Sweeney Jr in the DARE Stocks.
The Waterford Speedbowl continued to be a one-groove race track as Dennis Charette held his line on the bottom after taking the lead on the ninth lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Rob Janovic finished second. Janovic started 14th. Ronnie Silk finished third with Don Fowler and Ron Yuhas rounding out the top five. Allen Coates was the Late Model winner with Bruce Thomas, second and Rob Summers finished third. Other Saturday night winners were Chis Bakaj in the Legends, Danny Field in the Mini Stocks and Dan Darnstaed in the Sportsman.

Thatís 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:

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various other publications
 for over 3 decades.

Web Design Copyright © 2005 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in The Looking Back Column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of Looking Back contact Phil Smith @
 Looking Back is Copyright © 2005 Phil Smith