Forty years ago in 1969, Labor Day
weekend meant many extra distance events were on the schedule.
Albany -Saratoga started it off with a regular program, which
saw Lou Lazzaro take the top spot over Bugsy Stevens and Jerry
Pennock. Saturday night at Norwood Eddie Flemke won a double
point event over Freddie Schulz and Bob Bacciocce. At Airborne
it was Dick Nephew over Guy Chartrand and in South Boston, Va.,
Mr Modified, Ray Hendrick won a 400 lapper over Perk Brown and
Jimmie Hensley. Charlie Jarzombek made it two in a row at Islip
as he beat out Jim Hendrickson and Fred Harbach. Waterford ran
on Saturday night as well as on Monday.
Fred “Fuzzy” Baer was the Saturday night winner
with Don Collins taking the victory on Monday. Lou Lazzaro made
it two for two on the weekend as he won the Utica-Rome 400 on
Fuzzy Baer was the Waterford
winner in 1969. (Shany Photo)
Dave Lape finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Jerry
Cook, Perk Brown and Bill Slater. From Utica it was off to Dover
Downs for the All Star 100. Ray Hendrick cleaned house for the win.
Sonny Hutchins finished second and was followed by Buzzie Reutiman,
Bill Greco, Charlie Jarzombek and Bugsy Stevens. A 150 lapper
scheduled for Labor Day at Stafford was cancelled. It was also
during this week that NASCAR Winston Cup drivers formed the Pro
Drivers Association and elected Richard Petty as their president.
Thirty-five years ago in 1974, Wednesday night racing at
Riverhead and Friday night racing at Freeport rained out. Utica-Rome
ran a 100 lapper on Friday, which saw Geoff Bodine take the win. Lou
Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook and Richie
Evans. Saturday night at Islip saw Charlie Jarzombek take the win
over Charlie Siebert and at Stafford Bugsy Stevens edged out Leo
Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard. Racing at Shangri-La was cancelled due
to a power failure. Rain prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. At
Fulton on Sunday, Clayton Sonney Seamon held off Bernie Miller and
Maynard Troyer. In New England, Monadnock, Seekonk and Thompson went
head to head. Jerry Pearl won at Thompson while it was Eddie Flemke
at Seekonk and Brian Ross at Monadnock. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on
Labor Day and Bugsy Stevens made it two for two at the half-mile
oval for the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Fred
Ronnie Rocco took down a
Plainville Stadium win in 1979.
(Phil Hoyt Photo)
Thirty years ago in 1979, Labor Day
weekend started on Wednesday with a 200 lap event at New Egypt.
Richie Evans took the win over Jerry Cook and John Blewett Jr.
Friday night at Stafford belonged to Ronnie Bouchard who led the
way to victory over Evans. Oswego ran their annual Modified 200
on Saturday, which drew 72 Modifieds. Geoff Bodine and Jerry
Cook finished one-two in a lap by themselves. Richie Evans
finished third, one lap down. At Seekonk, Leo Cleary gave Eddie
StAngelo a driving lesson and at Waterford, Rick Donnelly took
the win. Charlie Jarzombek beat out Greg Sacks at Islip and at
Westboro; Jeff Fuller took the top spot. Stafford capped off the
weekend with their annual 200, which drew 60 Modifieds. Richie
Evans took the win and sewed up the track championship.
Maynard Troyer finished second and was followed by Mark Malcuit, Gil
Hearne and Jerry Pearl. Other weekend winners were Reggie Ruggiero
at Riverside and Monadnock, Jerry Cook at Spencer, Bruce Batchelder
at Claremont, Ronnie Rocco at
Plainville and Ronnie Bouchard at Thompson. Joe Howard sewed up the
Thompson championship. Two days after his Oswego win, Geoff Bodine
and car owner Lee Allard split up.
Twenty-five years ago in 1984, Reggie Ruggiero was the
kingpin at Stafford as he won the Friday night 30 lapper and the
Labor Day 200. Kenny Bouchard finished second on Friday and was
followed by George Brunnhoelzl and Ray Miller. Richie Evans finished
second in the 200 and was followed by Bouchard, Brian Ross and Mike
McLaughlin. At Waterford on Saturday, Dale Holdredge beat out Gomer
Taylor and at Riverside John Rosati took the win. The Oswego 200 was
still the race to win as 62 Modifieds were on hand. Richie Evans
took the win, which was worth $17,500. Jeff Fuller finished second
and was followed by George Kent, Roger Treichler and Tony Hirschman.
Other weekend winners included Kent at Spencer, Don Howe at Islip
and Tom McCann at Wall Stadium. Down in the southland, Ronnie
Bouchard won the Saturday Grandnational event at Darlington.
Twenty years ago in 1989, it rained at Stafford on Friday
night. At Waterford on Saturday, Richie Gallup was the winner and
Phil Rondeau scored his 12th win of the season in the late model
ranks. The Oswego 200 was won by Tony Hirschman. Brad Hietella won
at Riverside and Fred Harbach took the win at Riverhead.
Fifteen years ago in 1994, Thompson ran on Wednesday. Wayne
Dion took the win over John Sneade and Frank Cardile. Ted
Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter
finished second with John Jensen,third. Waterford ran double
features with Jim Broderick winning both. Dan Avery won at Riverside
and Dan Watts won at Riverhead. The Modified Tour Series was at
Apple Valley (Shangri-La). Mike Ewanitsko recovered from a mid race
flat tire to win the event. Wayne Anderson finished second and was
followed by Charlie Pasteryak. Richie Gallup and Rick Fuller were
eliminated in separate wrecks after tangles with Ed Flemke Jr.
Flemke ended up seventh. At Darlington, Mark Martin was the Grand
National winner and Bill Elliott won the Winston Cup event.
Ten years ago in 1999, Willie Hardie took the Friday night SK
Modified win at Stafford. Todd Szegedy finished second with Curt
Brainard, third. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour made its final
visit to the soon to be closed Riverside Park Speedway for a 200
lapper. The event drew 49 Modifieds and a packed grandstand. Pole
sitter Bob Polverari. Polverari led the first 61 laps before giving
way to Reggie Ruggiero. Ruggiero held the point until passed by
Ricky Miller on lap 126. Ruggerio faded to eventually finish 15th
while Miller went on to take the win. Mike Ewanitsko, in the Art
Barry No. 21, finished second and was followed by Ted Riggot, Tony
Hirschman and Ricky Fuller. Dennis Gada scored his eighth win of the
season at Waterford. David Gada, who initially finished fourth was
moved up to second after it was discovered that the cylinder heads
on the cars of Todd Ceravolo and Tucker Reynolds were illegal. Jay
Stuart recorded his fourth in a row in Late Model competition and
Richard Brooks took the Mini Stock feature. Eddie Brunnhoelzl won at
Riverhead and at Thompson on Sunday Todd Ceravolo took the win over
Curt Brainard. In Winston Cup action at Darlington Jeff Burton won
the rain shortened Southern 500. Burton also earned the No-Bull
$1million bonus. Ward Burton finished second. Mark Martin won the
Darlington Busch Series 300.
Five years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour
Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Tongues
were wagging in a positive way over the announcement that Whelen
Engineering would take over as title sponsor of the series in 2005.
Thirty-four Modifieds were on hand for the event that carried a
$70,000 purse. Tony Hirschman took the Busch Pole. The draw for
starting spots saw Hirschman draw the outside pole along side Eddie
Flemke Jr. who drew the pole. Flemke took the lead at the start and
held the position for 42 laps when Doug Coby was able to get by Coby
lasted five laps on the point until Flemke took it back. The lead
seesawed back and forth until lap 76 when Coby became the victim of
a slipping clutch, ending his night. Flemke led until lap 96 when he
began backing up, giving the lead to Todd Szegedy. Szegedy led the
remaining distance to complete the 150-lap distance. Jerry Marquis,
who started 12th, moved into the second spot on lap 96 but couldn’t
catch Szegedy sleeping. Marquis settled for second. Mike Stefanik
ran virtually without fanfare and ended up third while Flemke
slipped to fourth at the finish. Tony Hirschman, in a determined run
after having to pit with a flat tire, finished fifth. Sixth through
tenth were Chuck Hossfeld, Kevin Konopka, Kenny Barry, Jamie Tomaino
and Greg Shivers. Seven cautions for 42 laps slowed the event The
most severe came as the field completed the first lap when a
multi-car tangle occurred on the front stretch which resulted in Ted
Christopher receiving severe rear end damage. Christopher drove to
the pit area but never returned.
The Modified Tour Series continued to be the strongest regional
touring series that NASCAR has. Among those missing from the
Waterford Mod Tour event were Bobby Santos III who normally drives
the Joe Brady No.00. John Blewett III pinch-hit for Santos while he
was at Oswego, NY for their annual Supermodified Classic. Santos
finished second to Greg Furlong in the 200-lap grind. In the
companion ISMA Super Nationals Santos swapped spots with Furlong as
he took the win.
In Dodge Weekly Racing Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson
Speedway Todd Ceravolo put himself back on top of the Sunoco
Modified standings with a convincing win over Bert Marvin and Kerry
Malone. It was his fifth win in which may be his final season.
Ceravolo, an electrical contractor, had indicated that he would
retire from racing at season’s end and would like nothing better
than to go out as a champion. Ceravolo also stands a good chance of
a high finish in the first tier of the NASCAR Dodge Regional
standings. A single file re-start with three laps to go told the
story. Bert Marvin was looking to record the win until Ceravolo
powered by on the backstretch and that’s all she wrote. Following
Ceravolo and Marvin at the finish were Kerry Malone, Eric Berndt,
Jeff Malave and Richard Savory. Ted Christopher, who was the odds on
favorite to become the NASCAR regional champion finished eighth
after recovering from a lap six spin. David Berghman rebounded from
a two-race slump as he recorded his seventh Pro Stock win of the
season. Other Thursday night Thunder winners were Ryan Posocco in
the Late Models, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Jason
Paquette in the Mini-Stocks. On a sad note, Bo Gunning took a mean
fall from atop the Eddie Partridge hauler and had to be transported
to a nearby hospital. Evidently Gunning was assisting his crew in
the removal of his car from the hauler when his cell phone rang
which diverted his attention. The car rolled out of the truck on to
the elevator ramp, striking Gunning. Gunning was taken to the
hospital and released. Car owner Eddie Partridge made the decision
to call it a night and did not enter his car into competition.
Partridge, who was at Waterford on Saturday night stated that
Gunning was sore but had no broken bones.
Double features were on tap at Stafford on Friday night. Ted
Christopher wrapped up his fifth track championship but it wasn’t
pretty and he wasn’t happy. Steve Chowanski won the opening 30 lap
SK Modified event with Jeff Malave hot on his tail. Todd Owen
finished third. Christopher finished a conservative 10th.
Christopher needed to finish 20th in the second event. Jeff Malave
ended up taking the win in the second event after Christopher was
put to the tail of the field for rough riding and ended up finishing
tenth, again. Chris Jones, who has a short temper at times started
on the pole of the second event and was able to hold onto the front
spot until the five to go signal was given. All of a sudden Jones’
car drifted up and Christopher, running in second made a move to
take the lead. Once Jones realized what was happening he turned left
to block, making contact with Christopher and ended up spinning into
the infield. Taking somewhat of a fit,
Jones spun his car in the dirt. Race director Frank Sgambato Jr.
gave the word that Jones was done for the night. The next thing you
know, he puts Christopher to the rear for rough riding. Christopher,
not a saint by any means, was the victim of a bad call. Jones came
into him, period! Christopher vented his frustration with the
Stafford management on Saturday night at Waterford. “I hope they
enjoy themselves at the banquet this year, I know I won’t be there”,
he said. In Late Model action Ryan Posocco made it three in a row.
The tech man at the Waterford Speedbowl got tough on Saturday night.
Doug Coby, who apparently had won the SK Modified main event found
himself disqualified after the tech man discovered illegal chassis
height. Rob Janovic, who finished second, was declared the winner.
Tom Fox ended up second with Ed Reed Jr., third. Allen Coates, who
was unhappy to hear he had to pay income tax on the vehicle he won
in the Funkmaster event, took his fourth Late Model victory of the
year. Richard Brooks made it two in a row in Mini Stock action and
Jim Procaccini won the Sportsman feature. Twin 25’s at Wall Township
were won by Kevin Flockart and Shannon Mongeau. At Riverhead, Bill
Park took the win.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were
at the California Speedway in Fontana last weekend. For the first
time since 1950 the Nextel Cup and Busch Racing series was not at
the Darlington Speedway in South Carolina as NASCAR and the
International Speedway Corporation has seen fit to break tradition.
Gregg Biffle won the Busch Series event after putting the fender to
Casey Mears late in the race. Elliott Sadler was the Nextel Cup
Last year, 2008, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had the
Labor Day weekend off before moving on to Thompson International
Speedway for the Sunoco Modified Mania 150 on Sunday, Sept 7. Ted
Christopher led the point standings as he had a 60 point lead over
Chuck Hossfeld. Matt Hirschman sat in third spot, 26 points behind.
Mike Stefanik and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top five. Sixth
through 10th were Todd Szegedy, Eric Beers, Jimmy Blewett, Ed Flemke
Jr and Rowan Pennick.
Don Lia, who was the series champion in 2007 was released from his
NASCAR Craftsman Truck ride. He had 12th at Bristol in his last
outing in the #71 Chevy TRG Motorsports entry. Lia recorded a win in
the truck series earlier in the year at Mansfield Ohio and had been
a consistent top ten finisher. Word had it that Lia will be entered
in the upcoming Whelen Modified Tour Series event at Loudon and will
be driving new '09 Troyer House car normally driven in the New York
Race of Champions Series by Chuck Hossfeld.
It was literally “Showtime” at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday
night as the Sunoco Modifieds (SK type) took center stage with a 50
lap event. Jimmy Blewett, driving the Eddie Partridge owned No. 12
started fifth on the grid and wasted little time in marching to the
front. Kerry Malone was the initial leader but could not hold back
the advances of Blewett who took the lead on lap four. After
withstanding numerous restarts Blewett streaked under the checkers
almost a half straightaway over Woody Pitkat and Malone. Todd
Ceravolo who entered the event as the point leader increased his
lead by two points over Danny Cates as he finished fourth. Cates,
who has come into his own this year, has been persistent as he
continues to keep Ceravolo in sight. Cates rounded out the top five.
Keith Rocco, who had been fourth in track points plus is ranked high
in NASCAR Whelen Weekly Racing Series points suffered a major
setback when his engine expired shortly after the opening green.
In other Thursday Night Thunder action at Thompson George “MadDog”
Bessette cleaned house in the Pro Stock division. Rick Gentes made
it two in a row in the Late Models. Scott Sundeen MA, took top
honors in the Limited Sportsman feature. Scott Michalski scored a
victory in Mini Stocks while Leo Oliveira triumphed in the TIS
The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of another classic battle
between Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco. Christopher, fresh off his
recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series win in Mansfield, Ohio won
out over his former crew chief as he scored his 102nd career win at
the Arute Family oval. Christopher and Rocco are also locked into a
torrid battle for the track’s SK Modified Championship. Christopher
is the defending champion. With the Stafford season rapidly winding
down there won’t be too many opportunities left for Rocco to
overtake his mentor. There are only two more Friday night dates
remaining before the season ending Fall Final on September 28.
In other Friday night action at the Nutmeg oval, Dillon Moltz won
his second consecutive and fifth overall Late Model feature of the
2008 season. Matt Chiarizio took the 15-lap DARE Stock feature and
there were two first-time winners as Raymond Grassetti took the
20-lap SK Light feature and Darrin Havenec won the 20-lap Limited
Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Christopher outlasted Rocco
to take home the victory. Corey Hutchings jumped out to the early
lead from the outside pole, but gave way to Curt Brainard on lap-3.
Rocco moved by Brainard one lap later to take the lead and had Zach
Sylvester hot on his bumper. Sylvester moved by Rocco for the lead
on lap-10, but Rocco took the lead back on a lap-11 restart. Rocco
held the lead to the half-way point of the race, which is when
Christopher moved to the front of the field for the first time.
Rocco gave chase to Christopher the entire second half of the race,
but was unable to get by as Christopher took down his fourth victory
of the 2008 season. Rocco finished second, with Jeff Malave,
Sylvester, and Richie Pallai, Jr. rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, it was Waterford High School
student Dillon Moltz taking his second consecutive feature win.
Scott Cook took the early lead and led the first two laps before
spinning in turn 2, which handed the race lead over to Michael
Bennett. Bennett held the lead until lap-6 when Moltz charged into
the lead. Moltz held the lead until lap-14 when Bennett went back to
the front, but Moltz went back by Bennett on the next lap to retake
the race lead. The race went green to the checkered flag with Moltz
pulling away from Bennett to take his second consecutive feature win
and fifth overall win of the 2008 season. Bennett finished second,
with Ryan Posocco, Woody Pitkat, and Mike Mordino rounding out the
At the Waterford Speedbowl, the action began
with Wacky Wednesday where Ryan Morgan, 14, scored his third
Legends Cars victory of the season. Morgan absolutely dominated
20-lap Legends feature action. The Ledyard High School student
had the field fully-covered by the early laps, and went on to
triumph over perennial front-runners Jason Palmer and Max Zachem
by a wide-margin.
On Saturday, heavy fog rolled into the area before the Waterford
Speedbowl’s Double Down Shootout presented by Mohegan Sun Casino
could be completed. Only three of the scheduled eight main
events were run before cancellation.
Ryan Morgan scored his 3rd
victory of the 2008 season.
(Keith Cyr Photo)
Winning features in the abbreviated event were Bruce Thomas Jr.,
(Late Model), Walt Hovey Jr. (Sportsman), and Randy Churchill Jr.
(Mini Stock). Both 25-lap SK Modified features were victims of the
Phil Rondeau, who has over 100 career victories at the shoreline
oval, returned to action in the Late Model ranks and recorded a
ninth place finish.
The New London Day reported that Terry Eames, the principal owner of
1080 Hartford Road, LLC, which owns the Waterford Speedbowl, would
be in court on Sept 2 after filing a suit against Jerry Robinson,
the leaseholder and president of the New Waterford Speedbowl, LLC,
which runs the day-to-day operations of the track.
The suit was filed Friday, Aug. 15 in New London Civil Court. Eames
said that Robinson has failed to pay property taxes in the
neighborhood of $45,000 and has also failed to meet a payment plan
for rent money from last year, 2007, when he began running the
track, as well as this year. Eames admitted the property taxes are
ultimately the responsibility of both he and Robinson, but said,
“it's fairly common for a tenant to lease things on what they call a
A triple-net lease is a lease agreement on a property where the
tenant agrees to pay all real estate taxes, building insurance and
maintenance on the property, in addition to any normal fees that are
expected under the agreement, including rent. In such a lease, the
tenant is responsible for all costs associated with repairs of the
structural building elements of the property.
The True Value Modified Series suffered a rain-out at their
scheduled holiday event at the Seekonk Speedway. With a steady rain
through mid afternoon, a forecast that showed more of the same for
the evening, and rain in surrounding areas, Seekonk management was
forced to cancel the Del's Lemonade 100 for the True Value Modified
Get well wishes to three time NASCAR National Modified Champion Carl
Bugsy Stevens who was recovering from the effects of Lyme disease.
In some good news, the Wall Township Speedway, which had remained
closed for the 2008 season will host the annual Turkey Derby on
Thanksgiving weekend. Former Public Relations director Mike Clayton
made the announcement this past Sunday. Turkey Derby XXXV is a go
for November 28th and 29th, 2008. Practice the two weekends before.
Jim Morton is renting the track to run this race. No track owners
involved. More details will be available next weekend, September
Kyle Busch was dominant Saturday night on the 2-mile oval at Auto
Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., leading 144 of the 150 laps to
race off with his seventh Nationwide Series victory of the season.
Busch held off Sprint Cup rival Carl Edwards on a pair of late-race
restarts, piling up his record 18th NASCAR victory of the season,
including eight in Cup, and three in the Craftsman Truck Series.
Edwards, the defending Nationwide champion who is locked in a
three-way points battle with leader Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski,
finished second, followed by Brian Vickers, Jeff Burton, Jamie
McMurray, Joey Logano and Clint Bowyer. Jimmie Johnson overpowered
the field Sunday night at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for
his third NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season. Runner-up Greg
Biffle had the next best car throughout the race, but he couldn't
keep up with Johnson's No.48 Chevrolet, finishing more than 2
The Charlotte NC Business Journal reported that Bruton Smith, the
Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman and chief executive expects the
$78 million acquisition of the Kentucky Speedway announced in May to
be completed later in the month. Concord-based Speedway Motorsports
(NYSE:TRK) had a 90-day option from the time the deal was announced
to make the purchase. With that deadline arriving this month, Smith
says an announcement on the completion of the deal could come within
a few days.
This week are several vintage racing
photos from the Danny Pardi Collection, courtesy of
the SpeedwayLineReport.com &
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: