RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Fifth Week Of July
Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1946, Eddie Casterline scored his fourth Midget victory of the year at Seekonk.
Seventy years ago in 1951 “Money Bags Moe” Gherzi was the Wednesday night winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The Speedbowl also ran on Saturday night where Dave Humphrey would take the 25 Lap Modified win. Ed McAvoy was the Claiming Car winner on both nights. Don Collins made it two in a row at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1956 Gene White, who in later years reburnished fiberglass yachts at the Mystic River Marina, was the Wednesday night 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. On Saturday night, Wild Bill Slater was the 50 lap Mid-Summer Championship. Tony Mordino and Ray LeGary were the Claiming Car winners. At Seekonk, Joe Rosenfield was the Sportsman winner and Leo Cleary took the victory in the non-Fords. Lenny Brown was the winner at Old Bridge.
Sixty years ago in 1961, Ernie Gahan was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. At Old Bridge, NJ, Bill Slater took a 100 lap win. At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Dick Beuregard was the Wednesday night Modified winner. Hank Stevens was the winner at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Bomber winners at the Speedbowl were Fred Latham and Daring Dick Caso. Dave Humphrey was the 100 lap Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Gene Bergin took the win at Norwood over Joe McNulty and Eddie Flemke
Fifty five years ago in 1966 Andy Romano scored a popular win at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Jerry Cook finished second with Bill Wimble, third. Wild Bill Slater and Pete Hamilton rounded out the top five. Pete Corey, who lived close to the Malta, NY oval, chose the dirt over the asphalt as he traveled to Stafford Springs where he won his third of the year on the dirt at the nutmeg oval.. Romano finished third to Irv Taylor and Lee Millington at Fonda on Saturday night. Doug McCarthy was the winner at Norwood on Saturday night. Charlie Webster was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Bunnell was the Bomber winner and Lou Caso was the Daredevil winner. George Summers was the Class A winner and Ed Flash Flannagan was the top dog in the Cadet division at Seekonk. Utica Rome ran a 100 lapper on Sunday night. Bill Wimble took the win over Rene Charland, Elton Hill, Jerry Cook and Eddie Flemke.
Fifty years ago in 1971, rain washed out racing at Malta and Thompson on Friday night, Stafford on Saturday night and the big open competition event scheduled for Pocono on Sunday. Fonda got their show in with Maynard Forette taking the win over Jack Johnson. Waterford also ran with Jerry Glaude taking the win over Walt Dombrowski. Fulton Raceway got their double program in with Richie Evans taking the 30-lap Modified win and Norm Mackereth winning in the Supermodifieds. Ronnie Bouchard was the Class A winner at Seekonk. At Utica-Rome on Sunday, Jerry Cook took the win over Fred DeSarro.
Forty five years ago in 1976, Plainville ran an open show on Wednesday. Eddie Flemke, who lived close by and had not raced there in years, took the event. New Egypt ran on Thursday night with Jerry Cook taking the win over Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. Rain wiped out everything else with the exception of Islip, Seekonk and Waterford the rest of the weekend. Fred Harbach was the winner at the tight 1/5 mile Long Island oval as Bob Potter won a 100 lapper at the shoreline oval. Big Mike Daignault made it three in a row in the Grand American Late Models. George Murray made it two in a row at Seekonk.
Forty years ago in 1981, Thompson ran a 40 lap-300 qualifier on Wednesday night. Geoff Bodine in the Taylor No.99 led from pole to pole to win the non stop event. Ray Miller finished second with Ronnie Bouchard, Bugsy Stevens and George Summers rounding out the top five. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night with a crowd announced to be 10,200.Richie Evans didn’t disappoint his many fans as he beat back all of his competition to take the win. Ray Miller, Ronnie Bouchard, an overheating Geoff Bodine and Greg Sacks rounded out the top five. Allen Whipple won at Monadnock and Jerry Cook beat out Doug Hewitt at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford, Seekonk and Riverside. At Westboro, Joe Howard held off Gomer Taylor for the win and at Danbury, Don LaJoie took the Modified checkers and Randy LaJoie, the Sportsman checkers. Richie Evans closed out the weekend with a win at Thompson on Sunday night. Bob Polverari finished second with Leo Cleary, third. Jeff Fuller was the late model winner.
Thirty five years ago in 1986, Ray Miller, driving for Billy Simons, won the Thompson 300 qualifier at Stafford on Friday night. George Brunnhoelzl finished second and was followed by Mike McLaughlin. George Kent won at Spencer over Tony Jankowiac. Rain washed out Waterford and Riverside. Mike Ewanitsko beat out Chris Young and Wayne Anderson to win the Thompson 300 qualifier at Riverhead. Tony Jankowiac won the Race of Champions qualifier at Lancaster. Richie Gallup won twin features at Thompson on Sunday night. Jerry Pearl suffered serious injuries including a punctured lung when he spun and hit the infield wall.
Thirty years ago in 1991, the Long Island Gang ruled at the Featherlite Modified Tour 201 at Riverhead on Wednesday night as Tiger Tom Baldwin and George Brunnhoelzl finished one-two. Mike Stefanik finished third with Jamie Tomaino, fourth. Racing at Stafford on Friday night was cancelled because of a tractor pull. The Mod Tour was at Richmond on Saturday night for a 200 lapper that saw Reggie Ruggiero take the top spot and the $18,000 first prize. Doug Hevron finished second with Tom Baldwin, third on the lead lap. Rounding out the top five were Mike Stefanik and Jan Leaty, one lap down. Jerry Marquis won at Riverside and Fred Harbach won at Riverhead while rain prevailed at Waterford.
Twenty five years ago in 1996, Mike Christopher took the Friday night win at Stafford after giving leader Lloyd Agor a nudge out of the way, with two laps to go. Agor retaliated and gave Mikey a shot on the cool down lap and was fined $100 for his actions. Steve Chowanski finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Jeff Pearl beat out David Gada and Jerry Pearl at Waterford and it was Richie Gallup over Dan Avery at Riverside. Mike Ewanitsko went pole to pole to win the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial 76 lapper at Riverhead. Chuck Steuer finished second. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Thompson on Sunday. Steve Park, who finished 12th on Friday night in a Craftsman truck at Indianapolis Raceway Park, took the lead from Rick Fuller on lap 82 of the 150 lap event and went on to record the win. Jerry Marquis finished second and was followed by Fuller, Tim Connolly and Tom Baldwin. Park also beat out Ted Christopher to win the SK type race. NASCAR’s Winston Cup division had its first ever event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a record race purse of $4.7 million. Dale Jarrett passed Ernie Irvan with seven laps to go to take the win. It was also announced on this weekend that the all but bankrupt Race of Champions promoter Joe Gerber had sold the rights to the event to New York promoters Andrew Harpell and Alex Friesan.
Twenty years ago in 2001 Jim Broderick survived a wreck fest at Thompson on Thursday night and took the win over Bert Marvin and Chris Jones. Of the 27 cars that started the 30 lapper, only nine were running at the finish. Stafford rained out on Friday night. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series went to Riverhead on Saturday night for a 200 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the lead with four laps to go and held off Jerry Marquis for the win. Fred Vordermeir finished third with Mike Ewanitsko and John Blewett III rounding out the top five. A scheduled 100 lapper at Waterford was rained out. Kevin Harvick won the Grandnational 200 at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. Jeff Gordon won the Winston Cup Brickyard 400.
Fifteen years ago in 2006 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night. Forty-one Modifieds including 11 Riverhead regulars were on hand to try and grab one of the 28 starting spots that were available for the 200-lap contest. Ted Christopher was the top qualifier as he toured the ¼ mile oval in 12.027 seconds. Second fastest was Riverhead regular Ken Heagy.
Tom Rogers, another local runner, qualified fifth and won the re-draw, which gave him the pole starting position. Rogers took the lead at the opening green and held it until lap 52 when Chuck Steuer, another Riverhead regular took the point. Meanwhile Christopher was methodically working his way to the front. Starting in eighth spot, the former Weekly Racing Champion broke into the top five on lap 20 and was in the top three by lap 53. Twelve laps later he was in the lead and never looked back. Chuck Hossfeld broke out of a season long slump as he finished second after starting seventh. Jerry Marquis started deep in the field in 18th spot and went on a determined march to the front, which rewarded him with a fourth place finish. Rounding out the top five was Mike Stefanik who came from provisional land, 24th starting spot. Sixth thru tenth were Mike Andrews, Chuck Steuer, Howie Brode, Todd Szegedy and Ed Flemke. Twelve caution periods for 85 laps kept the average speed at 41.929 MPH. Most of the cautions were for minor spins, which come with the territory of a short track. Fifteen of the original 28 starters were in the lead lap at the finish. The next stop for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is this Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Thompson Speedway fought off temperatures nearing 100 degrees and threats of rain on Thursday night. The sultry night produced four first time winners. Tommy Cravenho thrilled the crowd with a last lap pass to score his first of ‘06 in the Sunoco Modifieds. Marc Palmisano dominated in the Late Model division to win his first of the year. Former Pro Stock champion Jeff Connors also made his first visit to Pro Stock victory lane on Thursday night. It was a career first for TIS Mod man Chad Hancock. Repeat winners included Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT in the Limited Sportsman division while Shelly Perry made it two in a row in Mini Stock competition.
In the Sunoco Modifieds Cravenho made a last lap pass to the inside of Jeff Malave to ice the victory. The excitement got started even before the drop of the green flag and did not stop until the checkered flag flew. A flat tire at the start for Keith Rocco sent the pack scattering and the caution flying. Back under green the duo on the move were Marvin and Malave. Marvin moved around polesitter Buddy Charette to take the lead on lap two while Malave motored into the second spot. Ricky Shawn held the third spot but quickly had the company of Todd Ceravolo and Tommy Cravenho. A bid for the lead by Malave was halted when a spin by Geoff Gernhard brought out the event’s second caution on lap five. On the restart, Malave jumped into the lead while second-place runner Marvin was sent spinning after contact with Todd Ceravolo. Malave looked like he was shot out of a cannon on the ensuing single file restart. Cravenho took over the second position when Ceravolo got a touch out of shape in turn two. Cravenho quickly reeled in the leader Malave. Cravenho dove underneath Malave in a challenge for the lead on lap nine. Unable to make the pass stick he settled back in line. The lead duo began to get away form third place Ceravolo and a heated battle for the fourth spot between Woody Pitkat and Jimmy Blewett. The action cooled down when the caution flew for a spin by Earl Paulus. Malave was able to resume his place at the head of the pack with racing back under green. It only took a few laps for Cravenho to begin his chase for the lead. The battling inside the top-five between Ceravolo, Blewett, Piktat and Rocco was equally as exciting as that for the lead. A scary incident on lap 22 that involved Ricky Shawn, Gernhard and other slowed the action again. Back under green it was much of the same with Cravenho dogging Malave for the lead. Blewett had freed himself from Ceravolo, who now had his hands full with Piktat. Up front, Cravenho tried countless moves on leader Malave to no avail.until the final lap. Cravenho put his Falmouth Ready Mix #31 to the bottom-side of the track entering turn four, motored down the front stretch with the lead and under the checkers with the win. Malave had to settle for the second position. Blewett, Ceravolo and Piktat rounded out the top five.
The Stafford Motor Speedway returned to action on Friday night, with a NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program consisting of its five weekly divisions. Stafford competitors followed the trend set at Thompson the previous night as there were three first time winners as John Blewett, III won the SK Modified feature, Ed Ricard won the Late Model feature, and Dan Flannery was the DARE Stock feature winner, while Chris Matthews and George Nocera were both repeat winners in the SK Light and Limited Late Model feature events.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, John Blewett, III, driving the Eddie Partridge No. 12, picked up his first SK Modified feature win of the 2006 season. Kenny Horton took the lead from the pole and he led the first 23-laps of the race. But contact between Horton and Frank Ruocco while battling for the race lead sent both cars spinning and brought out the caution flag. This put Jeff Baral out front, but he was overtaken by Blewett on lap-29. Once into the lead, Blewett was never headed as he held off a hard charging Ted Christopher over the final laps to capture his first SK Modified feature win of the 2006 season. Christopher finished second, with Baral, Curt Brainard, and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top-5. Unofficial SK Modified® second place finisher Ted Christopher was disqualified from the official order of finish. Christopher’s car was found to have an illegal flywheel, and thus he was disqualified from the official August 4, 2006 SK Modified® finishing order. Unofficial SK Light Modified feature winner Chris Matthews was disqualified from the official order of finish. Matthews’ car did not meet the minimum frame height requirements, and thus he was disqualified from the official August 4, 2006 SK Light Modified finishing order. Unofficial DARE Stock feature winner Dan Flannery and second place finisher Vince Gambacorta were disqualified from the official order of finish. Both Flannery’s and Gambacorta’s cars were found to have illegal rear suspension parts, and thus both drivers were disqualified from the official August 4, 2006 DARE Stock finishing order.
Jeffrey Paul was all but born in the grandstand of the Waterford Speedbowl. His dad, Gary and his grandfather, Arthur have been sponsors there for years. Gary Paul worked on cars driven by Todd Ceravolo and at one point owned one of his championship cars. Jeff spent many a Saturday night watching his dad’s cars before moving up to a legend car after many successful years in a quarter midget. Last Saturday night Jeffrey Paul made a dream come true for himself along with his father and grandfather as he won his first SK Modified feature. Paul grabbed the lead at the start and then held off Tom Fox for 30 laps en route to his first-ever 35-lap SK-Modified feature Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Only a restart with four laps to go in interrupted the 18-year olds ride. Fox moved into second on the green and stayed right there until the checkered flag. Tim Jordan won for the fifth time in the Late Models. Other winners included Joe Curioso III (Sportsman), Richard Brooks (Mini Stocks) and Mike Keeler (Midgets) Kevin Harvick led the final 117 laps Saturday night en route to his fifth Busch Series win of the season in the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Harvick overtook pole-sitter Denny Hamlin on lap 83 and never looked back. On the final restart on lap 188, he sped away from Reed Sorenson and cruised to the checkered flag. Jimmie Johnson ended a career of frustration at Indy on Sunday by winning a race, the Brickyard 400, that had derailed his championship hopes the past two seasons.
Ten years ago in 2011, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Long Island for the Lighthouse Mission 200 at the Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on Saturday, July 30. Justin Bonsignore converted his home-track advantage into his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. The 23-year-old from Holtsville, N.Y., drove away with the Lighthouse Mission 200 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway.
Bonsignore, who started on the outside pole of the 175 lap event, took the lead from pole sitter Howie Brode on lap 18 of the slam-bang event that produced 11 caution periods for 100 laps. Todd Szegedy finished second, followed by Ron Silk, Ryan Preece and Doug Coby. Rowan Pennink rebounded from an early wreck to finish sixth. Jamie Tomaino, Patrick Emerling, Bobby Santos and Richie Pallai rounded out the top 10. The finish allowed Silk to take the points lead by five over Pennink with nine races remaining.
Fourteen of the original 28 starters finished on the lead lap. Among the notables who were down laps were Ted Christopher who started fourth and ended up seventeenth after an accident, Mike Stefanik completed only 85 laps, finishing 22nd and was listed as having a radio problem? Pole sitter Brode was eliminated on lap 69 after an accident as was Eric Rudolph. Other accident victims were Bryon Chew, Donny Lia and George Brunnhoelzl III.
With all that has been written about the recent disqualification of Ryan Newman at Loudon its plain to see that no one will admit that they actually cheated. In reality they did, as a matter of fact Newman and his team attempted to steal money that many teams of the Whelen Modified Tour Series desperately need. The main thing is, they got cought and paid the price, period!
In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the Mini Stocks took top billing with the running of the annual Mini Stock Northern Challenge. Danny Field continued his winning ways in the regular weekly division portion of the Challenge. Mark Panaroni scored the victory in the Mini Stock Northern Tour (MSNT) leg of the challenge. Chad Baxter scored one for the ‘home team’ as the overall winner of the Mini Stock Northern Tour Challenge.
In regular NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, Danny Cates held back some stiff competition to score his first Sunoco Modified victory of the season. Larry Gelinas won a barnburner in the Super Late Models. Rick Gentes was back to form in the Late Models; scoring the feature win. A dominating performance in the Limited Sportsman found Scott Sundeen in victory lane. What a difference a week made for TIS Modified winner Glenn Boss of Danielson, CT.
With five laps remaining, Keith Rocco had caught the back bumper of Cates while Woody Pitkat ran tight to Rocco’s bumper. Exiting turn four Pitkat could get a run on Rocco but could not get the run up onto the straightaway. Cates entered heavy lapped traffic with two laps to go. The lead trio was nose-to-tail. Coming to the checkers, none of the cars would step out of line. Cates crossed the stripe for his first win of the season. Rocco finished second over Pitkat. In the closing laps, Rick Fuller was able to get by Ryan Preece for fourth. Preece had to settle for fifth.
The Stafford Motor Speedway management cancelled Friday night’s races because of impending rain.
At the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco made it five in a row, nine for the season, in SK Modified action at the shoreline oval. Jeff Smith claimed his second win of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Al Stone III scored his fourth win of the year in the Street Stocks and Chris Williams found victory lane following a late race incident in the Mini Stocks. Keith Botehlo of North Attleboro, MA was the NEMA Midget winner in a special Shane Hammond Memorial event, while Andy Barrows of New Ipswich, NH took the counterpart NEMA Lite feature win.
In the 35 lap SK Modified feature Glenn Pressel took the early lead from his pole starting position. The action was hot from the drop of the green flag and by lap-3 contact was made in turn three among several cars, resulting in Joe Perry getting crossed up into the infield and Nichole Morgillo to become disabled on the backchute of lap-4 with suspension damage to her machine, drawing the first caution flag.
Tyler Chadwick raced around the outside of Pressel on the restart, bringing Rocco ahead in the outside lane up to second position. Caution was back out on lap-5 after Randy Churchill and Perry both got together on the frontstretch ending with Perry disabled in turn one. Tight racing between Chadwick, Rocco and third place Rob Janovic ensued on the next stretch of green flag racing through lap-11. During that time, Rocco dogged Chadwick who defended against each attempt. Rocco made a stellar move entering turn three on lap-11 to challenge the inside of Chadwick and powered ahead off turn four to lead the lap. Matt Gallo spun off the backstretch as the field raced lap-12 to return the race under caution with Rocco scored as the new leader.
Janovic’s top run ended on lap-13 when a flat right rear tire sent him spinning in turn two, creating another yellow situation. Rocco restarted well to get out front for an extended run of green flag racing. He
distanced himself ahead of a battle for second between Chadwick, Tom Abele Jr. and Kyle James. Chadwick ultimately claimed the spot in the final ten laps, and had enough to keep with but not challenge Rocco. They went that way to the finish with Rocco taking his fifth consecutive win by a car length over Chadwick. Abele held off Mark Bakaj over the closing laps to take third, while Bakaj had to make a great save exiting the final corner to claim fourth. James was fifth.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was scheduled to complete a recently started event at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Impending rain forced Stafford to pull the plug on the event. In some sad news VMRS Director John Hoyt passed away on Friday.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC was the scene of twin 50 lap NASCAR Modified action. In the first Modified race, Jonathan Brown took the lead from Burt Myers with a bump on Lap 43 and led the final seven laps for his first win of the year. Randy Butner won the second 50-lap Modified Division race Saturday night for his first win at Bowman Gray since 2007. Butner won the second race after starting second in the Madhouse Scramble draw. Kevin Wilson started on the pole and finished ninth. Butner had to hold off Danny Bohn, who finished second, and points leader Burt Myers, who finished third in the second race and second in the first. Burt Myers came all the way from 16th to finish third in the second race. Myers had to avoid a crash between Jason Myers and Joseph Brown on Lap 35 of 50. Joseph Brown got out of his car, walked down the front straightaway and held a fist toward Jason Myers’ car. Myers swerved toward Brown, but nothing more came of it. Also, Burt Myers had to avoid a crash between Austin Pack and Tim Brown on Lap 36. Through it all, Burt Myers moved into third place.
In Sprint Cup racing, Paul Menard became NASCAR’s newest first-time winner with an upset victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In Nationwide Series racing, Brad Keselowski stayed close to the leaders all night and then got the luck he needed when a late accident tightened the field and he ran strong on the two green-white-checkered laps at the end to win the NASCAR Kroger 200.
Five years ago in 2016, It was one hot night as the Thompson Motorsports Park sprang back into action on Wednesday with the 3rd Annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint. The speedway celebrated “For the Drivers Night” with all drivers receiving free admission to the race as local racing series and the annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint took center stage.
The 20/20 event consisted of three segments, two 20 lap races and a third ten-lap feature, with the first event ordered by qualifying, the second inverting the field for the starting lineup based off the finishing positions in the first event and the third and final segment utilizing timing in the first race to set the field.
Ryan Preese won the first 20 lapper after a heated battle with Rowan Pennink. After a rocky start that saw John Catania get trashed after hitting the wall near the entrance of turn one, Preece took the lead on lap seven and proceeded to set a torrid pace to the conclusion. Preece celebrated in victory lane, giving credit to his crew for helping him gain early momentum in the 20/20 feature. “It was pretty tough there,” Preece said. “We’ve just been struggling with the brakes with this car and it’s been making it so free, to fly up here and win, it’s a lot of fun for me,” Preece said after the first segment.
Keith Rocco, who finished fourth behind Ron Williams, rallied in the second 20 lapper to score a win over Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Preece and Williams.
Preece won the ten lap finale after a little over-agressive display of driving. Preece rode Rocco high in turn one in the early stages and did the same to Rowan Pennink at the lap 5 mark. While Rocco was attempting to recover from almost hitting the wall he accidently hit Woody Pitkat who spun. Rocco was put to the rear but in the end recovered and finished third. Pennink finished second. Ronnie Williams and Steven Kopcik rounded out the top five.
In Late Model action, Lloyd Anderson and Matt Lowinski-Loh slugged it out as the two sought their first ever respective wins in the series. In the end it was Lloyd Anderson who came out of top over Lowinski-Loh, or so it appeared. Anderson celebrated in victory lane after crossing the line in a backup car but the win was stripped away as after the event Anderson’s team was informed they were disqualified from the Late Model race due to a right front lower control arm of the car that did not meet specified measurements. This turn of events put an end to an interesting Late Model feature and gave the win to Lowinski-Loh, his first in the series. Rick Gentes finished second in the adjusted results after spinning across the finish line
Jesse Gleason was a surprise winner in the Limited Sportsman after Corey Hutchings, who was clearly the class of the field, was eliminated by Phil Jaques in a deliberate incident.
In the Mini Stocks reigning champion Dave Trudeau celebrated his fourth victory of the season in his mission to defend his 2015 series title. In the Lite Modifieds Corey Barry took advantage of a mid race caution and strong restarts to claim a dominating victory in a 20-lap dash. Damon Tinio had control of much of the first half of the event before he lost control of his car in turns one and two after the halfway point, leaving the door open for Barry to claim the win while Wesley Prucker and Marcello Rufrano rounded out the top three.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night each NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division race had an extra two laps in distance added to their feature events. Joining Stafford’s five NWAAS divisions in action were the Legend Cars as well the Junior Outlaws and Senior Champs from the Monday Night Wild Thing Kart Series. Taking down feature wins on the night were Dan Avery in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Daniel Wesson in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late Model division, Alexandra Fearn in the DARE Stock division, Teddy Hodgdon in the Legend Cars division, Mike Perry in the Senior Champs division, and Tyler Chapman in the Junior Outlaw division.
In the 42 lap SK Modified event Avery started on the pole and led every lap. Rowan Pennink got by Keith Rocco to move into second with two laps to go. Woody Pitkat was fourth behind Rocco with Williams in fifth. Pennink made a strong move to the inside of Avery as they were coming to the checkered flag but he couldn’t make it stick as Avery took the checkered flag for his first win since the 2013 season. Rocco finished third with Pitkat and Ron Williams rounding out the top-5.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain half way thru their racing program. NASCAR officials confirmed Monday, Aug 1 that they had suspended New London-Waterford Speedbowl SK Light Modified driver Andrew Molleur indefinitely for providing false age information on a NASCAR license application. Molleur had been temporarily suspended by NASCAR while they investigated issues with his age that came to light after he won his first SK Light Modified feature at the Speedbowl on July 2.
At the Star Speedway in Epping, NH Matt Hirschman won the Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 on Saturday night. For his efforts he pocketed $10,000. Les Hinkley finished second with Josh Cantara, third. Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five.
Jon McKennedy led most of the event before he made a fatal mistake when he decided not to pit for a fresh tire which most drivers, including Hirschman opted for. After catching up to McKennedy, a caution and restart with 25 laps to go put Hirschman to the outside of McKennedy. When the green waved, Hirschman wasted little time as he moved to the point after McKennedy spun his tires.
Hirschman, now in the lead opened up a good lead while Les Hinckley caught and passed McKennedy for second. With two laps to go and a big lead for Hirschman, McKennedy spun in turn four after contact from Richard Savary while the two raced for third.
Following the restart Hinkley attempted a charge but Hirschman was long gone. McKennedy ended up 15th and Savory, 19th.
The next two events for the NorthEast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Series will be held on at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Aug. 25 and Oct. 23.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had the weekend off. Doug Coby with three event wins led Timmy Solomito by 34 points. Solomito also had three wins. Donny Lia sat in third spot with Justin Bonsignore and Max Zachem rounding out the top five.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rain ruined the night.
In action at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in North Carolina twin 50’s were on tap for the NASCAR Modifieds. Tim Brown won the opener over Burt Myers and John Smith. Jason Myers, who finished fifth in the opener, won the second 50 lapper over Joseph Brown and Ronnie Clifton.
In NASCAR Sprint cup racing at the Pocono Raceway Sunday’s event was postponed until Monday because of rain. Chris Buescher, who drives for under funded Front Row Motorsports and hadn’t finished better than 14th all season, was the beneficiary. NASCAR called the red flag with 22 laps left and parked the cars on pit road. Buescher could only sit and wait in the No. 34 Ford, though NASCAR let drivers get out of their cars after about 10 minutes as they waited wait out the gloomy conditions.
He was declared the winner after about an 80-minute delay. He was doused with beer and water in a makeshift victory lane celebration inside a garage stall. Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Regan Smith, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Jeff Gordon finished 28th driving for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Last year, 2021, The Stafford Speedway saw Cory DiMatteo become a first-time winner in the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray won his first Late Model feature of the 2020 season, Alexander Pearl scored his first SK Light win, Gary Patnode notched his first 2020 Limited Late Model win, and Meghan Fuller took down her first 2020 win in the Street Stock feature.
In the SK Modified 40 lapper, DiMatteo made a move to the inside of Teddy Hodgdon on lap-8 and took the lead at the start-finish line. With 10 laps to go, DiMatteo was still in the lead with Hodgdon right behind him in second. Keith Rocco got around Marcello Rufrano to take over third with Ronnie Williams in fifth. Hodgdon was able to get to DiMatteo’s bumper but he couldn’t find a way to get by as DiMatteo scored his first career SK Modified® victory. Rocco finished third with Williams and Rufrano rounding out the top-5.
In the 20 lap SK Light feature, Alexander Pearl led the field to the checkered flag after starting eighth to pick up his first win of the 2020 season. Derek Debbis edged out Brian Sullivan at the line for second with Tyler Chapman coming home in fourth and Kyle Ellwood was fifth.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returned to the White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday night for the third race of the 2020 season. The quarter-mile speedway is located in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. Doug Coby started fifth and never let off the gas as he went on to record his 29th career Modified tour victory. It was also the first win for the team that he now owns. Coby and pole sitter Jon McKennedy traded the lead from lap 108 to 183 before Coby took it for good. In the final 17 laps Coby opened up a sizeable lead as he went on to win, uncontested. McKennedy, who led 133 laps faded to fourth in the final rundown. Kyle Bonsignore who started 18th, finished second. Matt Swanson, in the Boehler Ole Blu came back from a pit stop to finish third. Rounding out the top five was Justin Bonsignore who was off his game until a late race pit stop corrected handling problems. Calvin Carroll was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Anthony Nocella, Eric Goodale and Ron Silk.
The 200 lap event took 59 minutes 20 seconds to complete. Seven cautions slowed the event. The first caution flew on lap seven when Walter Sutcliff spun on the front stretch. The second caution flew on lap 66 when Rob Summers spun in turn four. JR Bertuccio came to a halt on the front stretch on lap 88 for caution #3. Sam Rameau spun in turn one on lap 104 for the fourth caution. Tommy Catalano was involved in a violent wreck on the front chute on lap 112.bringing out the yellow for the fifth time. The impact tore off the right front tire and suspension. Rob Summers spun again on lap 178, this time in turn 2 for caution #6. The sixth and final caution flew on lap 185. Chris Pasteryak slid up and tapped Jon McKennedy. Both spun and collected Dave Sapienza and Ron Silk. This resulted in a restart that saw Kyle Bonsignore taking the green in second spot and Matt Swanson in third spot.
With three events completed Justin Bonsignore, who won the first two events, continues to lead the point standings with a nine point buffer over Doug Coby. Jon McKennedy sits in third spot, 16 points back. Rounding out the top five are Craig Lutz and Kyle Bonsignore tied, 23 points back.
Next up on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be an event at The Jennerstown Speedway tat was originally scheduled for May 23 which has been rescheduled to Aug. 22. Monadnock is on the schedule with an event slated for Aug 29.
Thus far, seven of 17 events on the original NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event have been cancelled. Events have been cancelled at Thompson (April 5, Aug. 19), Stafford Speedway (April 26 and Aug. 7), Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (May 8), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18) and Iowa Speedway (July 31). Stafford Speedway is scheduled to host the Whelen Modified Tour on Sept. 27 as part of its NAPA Fall Final weekend though it seems highly unlikely that event will take place with 25 percent capacity restrictions in place for Connecticut tracks.
The Whelen Modified Tour had added an event to the schedule to be run May 30 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway but it was ultimately postponed due to weather. NASCAR has not rescheduled that event.
The March 21 event at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, June 6 event Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and July 11 event at Wall (N.J.) Stadium have been postponed indefinitely. The event scheduled for June 20 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway has been postponed to Oct. 17, with Riverhead still scheduled to also host the series on Sept. 19. The Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200, as part of Full Throttle Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, remains scheduled for Sept. 12. A Sept. 5 event at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway also remains scheduled. All events with the exception of the World Series at Thompson have been cancelled.
The Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island finally got to drop the green flag on the 2020 season, three months later then it was supposed to due to Covid-19 but opening night Saturday night found anticipation and excitement in the air. When the checker flag waved on the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature a familiar face would sit in victory lane as Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead made an early race pass to lay claim to his 58th career triumph. Tom now sits just five back of “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek’s 63 wins for the top spot on the all time win list. Howie Brode scored the runner-up finish while Kyle Soper crossed the line third. Roger Turbush and Dylan Slepian completed the top five.
If all goes as planned, the New London – Waterford Speedbowl will re-open this Saturday night, Aug 8. Shuttered since October of 2018, the shoreline oval has been the scene of almost a complete rebuild including new grandstands and fencing. The Modified Racing Series will be part of the program. The Speedbowl’s first Saturday night weekly program will go compete with one of the state’s biggest annual short track events as the Stafford Motor Speedway will be hosting it’s annual NAPA SK 5K.
In NASCAR cup racing, Brad Keselowski won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday for his third victory of the NASCAR season and 33rd of his career. Keselowski swapped stage wins with Denny Hamlin and took the checkered flag 1.647 seconds ahead of Hamlin. After the victory, Keselowski grabbed a U.S. flag and spun his car around in front of a masked and socially distanced crowd of several thousand.
Don Hoenig celebrated his 89th birthday
Just got my copy of The Soul of a Modified- Lenny Boehler’s Ole Blue. Lew Boyd has pulled out all the stops on this one. Len Boehler did more with less. Fred DeSarro drove Ole Blue from 1971 until 1978. Many car owners approached him with some pretty lucrative offers. His favorite answer was, “I chased that car for a lot of years and if I leave I will be chasing it again”. Check it out and grab a copy at Coastal181.com or BRERacing.com. $29.95. Coastal181.com phone: 1-877-907-8181 toll free.
July 29, 1972 Saturday night at Stafford belonged to Fred DeSarro as he put Len Boehler’s Ole Blu in victory lane. It was Senator’s Cup night plus the 100 lapper Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by Denis Giroux, Bugsy Stevens and Bobby Turner.
Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!