Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago Bill Randall won twin 50 lap events for the Midgets at Seekonk.
Seventy years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford Speedbowl ran its final Wednesday night race meet. Charlie Busiere took the 25 lap Modified win and Jim Tourjee winning in the Claimers. At the Speedbowl on Sunday, George Lombardo took the Modified win and Charlie Webster in the Claiming Cars
Sixty five years ago in 1956 Don Collins took all the money as he won a 75 lap Modified event on Sunday afternoon at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. Parker Bohn was the winner at Old Bridge.
Sixty years ago in 1961 Don Hall closed out the season at the Stafford Speedway with a win. Red Foote was the Saturday night winner at Norwood. At Waterford, Ted Stack won the 25 lap Modified feature. Ed Moody was the winner in the Bombers. Joe Rosenfield won a 100 lapper at Seekonk. Red Hill took the win at Norwood.
Fifty five years ago in 1966, an era came to an end in Stafford Springs Connecticut as Pete Corey would win the last ever dirt track feature. The track would be paved over the winter months and would open in 1967 with an all-new look and all new competitors with the exception of a few. Corey would never again race in Connecticut, as he would do his entire racing in New York from then on. Mario “Fats” Caruso was the Saturday night winner at Norwood. The New London -Waterford Speedbowl wrapped up their season with a 100 lapper for the Modifieds on Sunday afternoon which was won by Newt Palm. Jiggs Beetham was the Daredevil winner. Deke Astle won a 100 lap Class A event at Seekonk.
Fifty years ago in 1971, the annual Race of Champions was scheduled to be run at the Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, Pa. It rained all weekend and competitors were dismayed and split over the fact that the event would go head to head with the season ending NASCAR modified event at Martinsville. Thompson also had an event scheduled but that too, was rained out. George Murray won a 100 lap Modified event at Seekonk.
Forty five years ago in 1976, Fred DeSarro in the Len Boehler Ole Blu made up three laps and was closing on leader Maynard Troyer when Troyer took the win in the annual Race of Champions at Trenton. DeSarro settled for second and was followed by Charlie Jarzombek, Geoff Bodine, Bugsy Stevens, Paul Radford, Merv Treichler, Jerry Cook and Bob Potter. Thompson Speedway ran a 30 lap program which saw Freddie Schulz take the win over Jim Landry, Ron Cote, Dick Dunn and Nick Gardinia.
Forty years ago in 1981, Oswego ran their season ending Modified 30 lapper which saw Richie Evans take the win over George Kent and Jerry Cook. Merv Treichler was the big winner of the Super Dirt Week events at Syracuse. Treichler pocketed $25,085 for his efforts. Seekonk ran a 100 lapper on Sunday with Bugsy Stevens taking the win over Jim Landry and Leo Cleary.
Thirty five years ago in 1986, Stafford ran the Fall Final which was 100 laps. Jamie Tomaino scored a big win over Jim Spencer, Brian Ross and Mike Mclaughlin but the big news was to come two days later when Stafford along with the Spencer Speedway announced that they were dropping the Modifieds from their weekly racing venue. Stafford said they would upgrade their SK Modifieds to lead division status in 1987 and Spencer would lead with their late models.
Thirty years ago in 1991, the only action for the weekend was at Charlotte, NC. where Harry Gant won the Busch Grandnational event and Geoff Bodine was the Winston Cup winner.
Twenty five years ago in 1996, Flemington ran two events on the weekend. Their Challenge of Champions event, run on Saturday was won by John Blewett III. Billy Pauch finished second with Lee Sherwood, Ted Christopher and Pete Britain following. The Featherlite Modifieds ran on Sunday. Mike Stefanik had the field covered and was headed for victory when he wrecked while leading. Stefanik had gotten into oil dropped by a blown engine. Jan Leaty avoided the wreck and drove to victory. Steve Park finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller, Charlie Pasteryak and Tim Arre. Waterford also ran a 100 lapper on Sunday with Jim Broderick taking the win over Steve Chowanski, Tom Fox, Tucker Reynolds JR and Scott Spaulding. In Winston Cup and Busch Grandnational action at Charlotte, Mark Martin was the BGN winner and it was Terry Labonte taking the Winston Cup event .It was also on this weekend that dirt driver AJ Romano received serious injuries after being thrown from a car near his home in Syracuse, NY.
Twenty years ago in 2001 the northeast tracks were quiet with the exception of the DIRT 200 at Syracuse. Billy Decker won the event, his third in four years at the Moody Mile. For his efforts, he pocketed $50,000. Kenny Tremont finished second and walked of with $25,000. Second generation driver Tim McCready was by far the fastest and would have been a factor had he not lost an engine, while leading by a half lap, on lap 89. On the local scene, the racing world was saddened when news of Jimmy Waterman’s passing was made public. Waterman was a vital part of the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour as he served as tech inspector. He was also a former official at Stafford and Seekonk. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Sterling Marlin took the win. The big news was off the track where speedway promoter Humpy Wheeler went head to head with NBC over the fact that they would not mention the Speedway as ”Lowes Motor Speedway” unless they were paid to do it. Wheeler threatened to take an ax to all their cables and have their equipment towed off the property. Needless to say, Wheeler won his case and the TV production went on as planned. On a sad note, Blaise Alexander was killed during the running of the ARCA race, also on the same weekend. Alexander had just taken the lead in the event from Kerry Earnhardt and as he appeared to cut down, made contact with Earnhardt and went head on into the wall and died instantly. Earnhardt ended up flipping and was declared the race winner when the event was halted. In other action at Charlotte, Greg Biffle won the Busch Grandnational 300 after Matt Kenseth spun out while leading, with two laps to go.
Fifteen years ago in 2006, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Waterford Speedbowl. There were 32 cars on hand for the 30 available starting spots. Jerry Marquis was the Busch Pole sitter as he turned the 1/3-mile oval in 13.618 seconds. Marquis drew fifth after the re-draw. The event was run on a very cold track due to the fact that the backstretch track lighting failed to come on due to the fact that an underground cable had broken. Engines were started at 8:15 following a 90-minute delay when the tracks lighting refused to come on. Eddie Flemke started on the pole and jumped out to an early lead. Mike Stefanik started on the outside but faded almost immediately. Ron Yuhas Jr. was an early contender as he ran side by side with Flemke for many laps. Donny Lia, who took the lead from Flemke on lap 128, also ran side by side with Flemke before he was able to execute the winning pass. Once in the lead Lia was able to open up a sizable cushion which ended up being over ten car lengths at the finish. Flemke ended up second with Ted Christopher, third. Stefanik toughed it out to finish fourth. Zach Sylvester rounded out the top five. His day went from bad to worse when he lost an engine during practice. His crew had to run home to Hebron, CT to retrieve a replacement. Chris Pasteryak finished sixth with Yuhas seventh and Eric Berndt, eighth.
Defending Series champion Tony Hirschman had a day he would like to forget. During time trials Hirschman hit the front stretch wall and after making repairs ended up crashing again on lap 22 of the feature. Marquis was involved in his share of wrecks also.
The Waterford Speedbowl ended its regular season. Dennis Gada finished second in the 100 lap SK Modified feature to Rob Janovic after numerous laps of wheel banging. Gada did, however solidify his SK Modified Championship, his sixth which tied Bob Potter. Jimmy Blewett finished third with Don Fowler, fourth. Dwayne Dorr went into the Limited Sportsman feature a scant four points behind Joe Curioso and came out the winner and division champion. Curioso’s day went sour right from the start as he suffered a flat tire on the parade lap. Once in the feature his car was like a ping-pong ball as it was hit numerous times in multi-accidents. In the end Curioso finished thirteenth. In the Late Model feature Corey Hutchins and Allen Coates slugged it out for close to 100 laps with Coates coming out the winner by inches.
In what had to be an ideal day for racing the Speedbowl had a marginal crowd, mainly because of the total lack of advertising.
In other weekend racing Danny Johnson figured there was no way he was winning the DIRT Motorsports Eckerd 200, the main event of Super DIRT Week at the Syracuse, NY Fairgrounds. To win he needed to run the final 114 laps on one tank of fuel. He didn’t think it could be done. Later, while clinging to the lead with just nine laps remaining, two-time winner Jimmy Horton whizzed past a surprised Johnson. At that point, Johnson figured the race was over, that there was no passing Horton in the final nine laps. Yet when you’re on a hot streak like Johnson, you somehow find a way to win. The Rochester native passed Horton on lap 191 and squeezed enough fuel out of his No. 27J car to earn the victory and a $100,000 pay day.
In Nextel Cup action at Talladega Brian Vickers stole his first career Nextel Cup victory Sunday by spinning Jimmie Johnson into leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the last lap of the Talladega 500.
At the D. Anthony Venditti Memorial at the Seekonk Speedway, With New England Hall of Fame racers on hand, including his legendary father Carl “Bugsy” Stevens, Seekonk, MA, veteran Dave Berghman scored the win Sunday afternoon in the “DAV 100” for the True Value Modified Racing Series. It was Berghman’s first with the series and the first for car owner Bill Eaton on the third year tour. Berghman becomes the 11th different winner in 2006. On lap 28,Mechalides drew the attention of tour officials when a fluid leak was seen coming from his racer prompting officials to display the black flag for the hard charging veteran driver for 3 laps. The fluid leak seemed to subside during a caution period on lap 34 and Mechalides was allowed to continue to race. It was at the end of the race that the driver and his crew were informed that, “as a result of not adhering to the black flag displayed for 3 consecutive laps, as well as several radio transmissions to the team’s spotter advising him of the same, the # 40 car would be placed back one position in the official finish”. As a result, Mechalides and Berghman swapped the first two positions, the result of the tour official’s decision.
Ten years ago in 2011 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Fall Final. Rain and fog greeted fans and competitors on Saturday morning. By mid-morning the precipitation quit and the 30 cars on hand were permitted to practice.
The Long Island Gang dominated the qualifying session. Justin Bonsignore earned the Coors Light Pole Award for the second year in a row in the CARQUEST Fall Final when he posted the fastest time trial in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifying. Bonsignore posted a fast lap of 18.427 seconds (97.683 mph) to earn his third career Coors Light Pole Award. Taking the outside pole position was fellow Long Islander Donny Lia. Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and Kevin Goodale rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Ron Silk, Ryan Preece, Eric Goodale and Mike Stefanik. All 30 cars on hand made the field including Chuck Hossfeld who did not take time because of a broken engine rocker arm.
Ben Dodge, Stafford Motor Speedway’s host announcer, was the Grand Marshal of Stafford Motor Speedway’s 39th annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend. With the 39th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend, Dodge wrapped up his 41st season as part of the Stafford Motor Speedway announce team. Dodge, who is was the special assistant to Don Hoenig at the Thompson Speedway, gave the command to send the Whelen Modified Tour on its way with the most famous words in motorsports, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines”.
Bonsignore took the lead at the start with Christopher and Lia hot on his tail. Todd Szegedy, who started 15th was the first casualty as he appeared to have a tire deflating as he faded to the rear of the field by lap 7. Szegedy got a gift on lap 7 as Richie Pallai spun in turn two, bringing out the first caution. Szegedy was able to rejoin the field without losing a lap. Glen Griswold brought out the second caution on lap 18 when he spun in turn two. Evidently there was something about turn two as Szegedy brought out the third caution with a spin on lap 32. On lap 37 the green was displayed. Bonsignore jumped to the lead as Donny Lia passed Ted Christopher bringing Eric Beers along with him. Christopher fell to fourth spot.
Jamie Tomaino broke the spin cycle that had plagued turn two as he spun in turn four on lap 38, bringing out the fourth caution. Bonsignore continued to lead. The fifth caution flew on lap 46 as Rowan Pennink spun with Matt Hirschman and Bryon Chew in turn four. Matt Hirschman was also collected and suffered a flat right rear tire. The green came out on lap 51 with Bonsignore still on the point. On the race restart Eric Beers did not come up to speed as Ryan Preece made the pass and took over second spot. As the lead pair pulled away from the field the sixth caution came out on lap 56 for Tom Rogers who spun between turns one and two. The green was again displayed on lap 62 with Bonsignore and Preece still running one-two. Mike Stefanik, who was never in contention, saw his day end on lap 66 when his engine developed issues. At the half way mark, 75 laps, Bonsignore continued to lead with Preece second and Christopher, third. Szegedy who had numerous problems early on was able to recover and was running ninth. The seventh caution flew for Richie Pallai who spun between turns one and two on lap 77. Under caution the front runners, including Bonsignore, Preece and Christopher pitted. When the green was displayed on lap 82 Erick Rudolph pulled ahead to take the lead and was followed by Glen Reen and Todd Szegedy who didn’t pit during the latest caution. More yellow fever on lap 85, this time for Kevin Goodale who spun.
When the green flag dropped on lap 90, Szegedy went under Glen Reen for second spot as Rudolph continued to lead. The eighth caution was for a multi-car spin on lap 97 that collected Eric Berndt, Santos, Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Ron Silk. During this caution Chris Kopec and Chuck Hossfeldt retired with motor issues. Also pitting were Christopher, Silk and Bonsignore. Rudolph continued to lead as the field went back to green on lap 105. Szegedy was second with Don Lia, third.
The caution was displayed for the ninth time on lap 111 when Rowan Pennink got into the back of Matt Hirschman and the two cars spun going into turn four. During the caution Santos parked the Mystic Missile which was experiencing rear end problems. The field went back to green on lap 115 with Rudolph leading Szegedy and Lia. Rowan Pennink, who was running 18th, brought out the 12th caution on lap 119 when he spun in turn two. The field went green again on lap 124. The natives were getting restless! As Rudolph led the restart, Szegedy got sideways which opened the door for Ted Christopher to move into the fourth spot. Christopher turned up the wick as he put the pressure on Beers and on lap 139 got the third spot as Beers got a little sideways. The cautions continued. The 10th yellow flew on lap 142 for Eric Goodale who spun into the outside wall in turn 4. On the race restart Erick Rudolph had Ted Christopher right on his rear bumper as Ryan Preece shot for third. The 11th caution was displayed for Szegedy who saw his day come to an end when he lost a left front wheel. After a short red flag period the field went back to caution for what would be a three lap shootout.
On the final restart, Christopher took lead as Rudolph got shoved out of line. A NASCAR replay showed that Christopher was under Rudolph entering turn 1, Rudolph turned to block and Christopher held his ground. The two made contact, which slowed Rudolph enough that Christopher was able to clear him easily. A frustrated Rudolph came up behind Ted Christoper’s #36 car and gave him a bump in the rear following the conclusion. In victory lane Christopher said that he had fresher tires and that Erick Rudolph did a turn left on him. Ryan Preece finished second and was followed by Lia, Beers and Rudolph. Sixth through tenth were Kevin Goodale, Silk, Hirschman, Doug Coby and Bonsignore.
In regular weekly racing at Stafford, Eric Berndt won the 40 lap SK Modified feature over Glen Reen and Ted Christopher. Tom Bolles and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five. Ryan Preece, who had previously wrapped up the SK Modified track championship, finished sixth. Woody Pitkat won the Late Model feature over Mark St Hillaire, Dillon Moltz, and Patrick Townsend. Moltz was later disqualified for failure to submit to tech inspection. Ryan Posocco, who was moved up to fourth in the final rundown, won his sixth Late Model Championship. Woody Pitkat, driver of the No. 88 Late Model, and Ryan Posocco, driver of the No. 48 Late Model and Mark St. Hilaire, driver of the No. 3 Late Model were disqualified for rules infractions
In Whelen Southern Modified Tour action south of the Mason-Dixon line Andy Seuss led flag-to-flag to win the Caraway 150 at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina on Saturday night. The victory on the .455-mile paved oval marked the third win this year and 11th career win for the Hampstead, N.H., driver. It was his sixth race win at Caraway. While Seuss gained ground in the championship standings with the win – his teammate, George Brunnhoelzl III, maintained a commanding lead in the points by finishing second. Brunnhoelzl’s lead dropped from 150 points to 130 on the night.
Seuss jumped into the lead past pole-sitter Brunnhoelzl at the drop of the green and then maintained command through two early restarts. He paced the field from there to the finish, with his biggest challenge appearing to be working lapped traffic late in the race. Seuss won by a margin of 2.785 seconds over Brunnhoelzl. Tim Brown took third, with Brian Loftin fourth and Brandon Ward charging forward to take fifth. Thomas Stinson, Jason Myers, Burt Myers, Austin Pack and LW Miller completed the top 10.
There were only 13 cars on hand for the event. The blistering pace was such as there were only seven cars on the lead lap at the finish. NASCAR has got to realize the fact that the Whelen Southern Modified Tour is in trouble. Poor fields of cars can be blamed on the economy in general but paltry race purses make it almost impossible for race teams to break even. Evidently NASCAR is ashamed of their Modified Series race purses as they are no longer published or made available to the media
In NASCAR weekly racing action at Thompson, rain again prevailed. The Speedway will close out the 2011 season on October 16 with the Annual World Series of Speedway Racing. For the third week in a row the speedway management was forced to pull the plug and postpone the final weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event of the season to Thursday, Oct 6.
At the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco won his 12th SK Modified feature of the year and sewed up the division championship at the shoreline oval. The Speedbowl, which wrapped up it’s Saturday night season, also saw Bruce Thomas Jr. claim his fifth win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models and Ray Christian win his first of the year in the Mini Stocks. Al Stone III made it two in a row in Street Stock action. Stone has seven over all victories for the year.
In other action, Dave Garbo Jr. won another Legends Cars feature and Dana Dimatteo added the Saturday series championship to his Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday series crown to unofficially sweep the division titles. Ken Morin Jr. won the night’s Bandolero feature and Taylor Martin wrapped up the division’s Saturday series championship.
In the Modified feature, Rocco spent three laps trailing Glen Pressel before wrestling the lead away with an inside move in turn four on lap-22. Rocco surged into the lead while Jeff Pearl slipped under Pressel to take the second spot. Rob Janovic snatched third away from Pressel as the field raced in tight formation, which resulted with Frank Mucciacciaro spinning in turn three for the final caution on lap-24.
Rocco outpowered Pearl on the final restart to hold the lead. Pearl lost second to Janovic, then third to Tyler Chadwick who moved to Pearl’s inside. Kyle James was fifth and the top-five singled out for the stretch run to the checkered flag. Janovic and Chadwick stayed in contention behind Rocco but were unable to find racing room for a bid to win.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Kurt Busch stormed into contention for a second Cup championship, holding off fellow Chase drivers Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards to win at Dover International Speedway. Carl Edwards dominated again at Dover International Speedway, winning his seventh race of the season in the Nationwide Series. Ron Hornaday picked up his 50th victory in the Trucks Series with a Saturday night win at Kentucky Speedway.
Five years ago in 2016, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ran the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. For those who were there for the weekend there was a special treat as there was an Open House for folks to view the all new, New England Auto Racing Museum building.
The Modifieds were greeted with rain showers on Friday morning which cancelled the first practice session for the 26 cars on hand. They were given a 25 minute window starting at 1:00pm. After 20 minutes of practice rain fell again on the track forcing a cancellation of practice. The starting positions would be determined by the rule book which states the starting order will be determined by the last ten minutes of the first practice results. Woody Pitkat was the fastest when the rains came. His speed was 129.459mph. Second fastest was Bobby Santos at 129.459mph. Rounding out the top five was Rowan Pennink, Doug Coby and Ryan Newman.
Among the slowest was Melissa Fifield at 118.850, 10.609mph slower than Pitkat. Behind her was Gary Byington at 113.947 and Gary McDonald at 103.593. These three had no business being in the field !
Bonsignore dominated the FW Webb 100, lead 77 laps and holding off the field in a green-white-checkered finish to score his first win at the “Magic Mile.” Ron Silk finished second, followed by Doug Coby, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Matt Swanson and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman.
Patrick Emerling, Jimmy Blewett, Max Zachem, Timmy Solomito and Donny Lia, Jericho rounded out the top ten.
Nineteen of the original 26 starters were on the lead lap. Among those who had problems and failed to finish was Rowan Pennink who led five laps and was in contention for the win when engine issues in Ole Blu on Lap 98 ended his day. It also brought out the race’s final caution and pushed the event to 106 laps.
Bobby Santos was the first out after hitting the wall a ton after making contact with another competitor. Melissa Fifield continued her string of non competitive driving and called it a day after completing 19 laps. Pole sitter Woody Pitkat dropped out with suspension problems after making contact with another competitor. Dave Sapienza was eliminated after he rode up Jeff Goodale on a restart following a lap 53 caution for debris on the track. Craig Lutz was eliminated after hitting the backstretch wall on lap 69.
In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina, George Brunnhoelzl III passed Andy Seuss on Lap 119 and remained out front the rest of the way to win the Caraway 150 at Caraway Speedway. Brunnhoelzl also used the win to break a tie with Seuss for the most tour wins at Caraway with his 13th triumph in the 60th race held at the unofficial home track for the southern modifieds.
Points leader Burt Myers finished second with Jason Myers third. Seuss followed in fourth and Danny Bohn completed the top five.
At the western New York Lancaster National Speedway, Patrick Emerling completed a season sweep of the Race of Champions Modified Series events at Lancaster with his win in the 28th annual U.S. Open 125 on Sunday afternoon. Emerling passed teammate Mike Leaty with eight laps to go to secure his first career U.S. Open win. It was his fourth Modified win at Lancaster in 2016 as he won the Queen City Clash 75, Ol’ Boy Cup 60 and the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 earlier this season.
Despite coming up short to Matt Bowling in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship series, it was another banner year for Keith Rocco. The 31-year-old from Wallingford, Connecticut, won 14 races and collected 30 top fives and 39 top 10s in 45 starts in the Modified divisions at Connecticut’s three tracks: Thompson Motorsports Park, Stafford Motor Speedway, and the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Rocco, the 2010 national champion, finished in the top five in the national standings for the ninth straight season. He also won his ninth straight Connecticut championship. Rocco has races remaining at Thompson and New London-Waterford. While they won’t count toward national or state standings, those events do go to the track’s respective championships. If Rocco were to win both, he holds the points lead at each track, it would give him 13 career NASCAR Division I track titles and move him into a tie for third all-time.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Kevin Harvick, surging ahead of Matt Kenseth after a restart with six laps left in the 300-lap event at the 1.058-mile track, pulled away to win by .442 seconds and joined Chicagoland winner Martin Truex Jr. in the Chase’s Round of 12.
Elliott Sadler made the most of a late-race restart to steal the race lead away from Ryan Blaney and pull away to win Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway.
Last year, 2020, On a cold and chilly night as temps dipped to the high 40s by feature time the Stafford Speedway hosted Weekly Racing action with all 5 of its divisions in feature action. Michael Christopher, Jr. scored his first win of the 2020 season in a thrilling SK Modified® feature event that saw Keith Rocco set a NASCAR record by clinching his 18th career Division 1 track championship. Adam Gray moved closer to locking down his third career Late Model track championship at Stafford by scoring his sixth win of 2020 in the Late Model feature, Derek Debbis continued his red hot rookie season with his 5th win of the season in the SK Light feature, Andrew Durand scored his seventh win of 2020 in the Limited Late Model division, and Meghan Fuller took over the Street Stock points lead with 1 race left by winning her third consecutive feature event of the 2020 season and her fourth overall.
With 2 laps to go in the SK Modified 40 lapper Keith Rocco and Todd Owen were side by side but Rocco got clear of Owen as they came to the white flag. Mike Christopher Jr was third in line with Ron Williams and Bryan Narducci side by side for fourth. Christopher shot from third to the lead as the leaders raced through turn 2 on the final lap. Rocco and Todd Owen made contact in turns one and two. Rocco slowed to save a sliding car, allowing Mike Christopher Jr. to move to the lead and grab the win and he held off the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2020 season in spectacular fashion. Williams came through to take second behind Christopher with Rocco, Narducci and Owen rounding out the top-5. Rocco’s third place finish was good enough to make him the 2020 SK Modified® track champion. Rocco’s title was his fourth SK Modified® crown at Stafford and it is his 18th career NASCAR Weekly Series Division 1 track championship, setting a NASCAR record by breaking a tie he held with Joe Kosiski.
The New London Waterford Speedbowl ran under chilly skies. Eric Berndt was the victor in the SK Modified main event. Timmy Jordan finished second with Kyle James, third. In the SK Lites Robert Bloxsom took the win over Charlie McDougall, Corey Caddick and Jacob Perry. Ryan Morgan made it two in a row in the Late Models. Jason Palmer finished second. In the Sportsman division Shawn Monahan took the win over Al Stone III. Charles Canfield was the Mini Stock winner and David Petty took the Open Street win. Conner Holderbach was the Legend Car winner and Kenny Cassidy was the Truck division winner.
Clearly, the most exciting race of the night was the 5o lap Late Model event. “It was a close one,” Morgan said after claiming the biggest payday of his racing career, $1,200 plus a $151 bonus from the Racing Guys. More accurately, he won by the microscopic margin of .003seconds.
In the SK Mod 40 lapper, Berndt started the race on the outside pole. After Kyle James led the first handful of laps, Berndt took command and never looked back. It was his 16th career win at the Speedbowl.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve always loved this place,” Berndt said. “It was like old home week coming back here. We made the right adjustments after qualifying and the car was great.”
Tim Jordan moved into second and maintained his point lead. Keith Rocco was considered an early threat until taken out by Jordan in the early going.
The Riverhead Raceway honored Richie Evans along with “Tiger” Tom Baldwin and “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek with their tribute 77-lap NASCAR Modified race on Saturday evening. Kyle Ellwood took full advantage of a rare NASCAR Modified start Saturday in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 by going out and winning the prestigious race that honors three NASCAR Modified legends. Ellwood has been spending his time in 2020 serving as crew chief for Michael Rutkoski and drove a team car to Rutkoski out of the Buzz Chew Chevrolet race shops to collect his 5th career triumph. It’s a shame that only 12 cars started the event.
At the 60 lap marker it looked like Tom Rogers was going to grab his 61st career win in the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 but soon thereafter things began to change. Ellwood was now all over Rogers for the race lead and on the 66th lap was able to close in on Rogers who got a tick loose in the third and fourth turn. Faced with making a decision that it might be now or never Ellwood shot the gap under Rogers to take the race lead with just 10-laps to go in the contest. Over the final 10-laps of the race Kyle Ellwood was able to stay out front to take home the biggest win of his NASCAR Modified career in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet machine.
Dylan Slepian was runner-up in the Eastport Feeds Chevy Kyle Soper was third also in a car backed by Eastport Feeds. Tom Rogers Jr faded to fourth at the finish with many observers noting his car developed a wheel hop in the final dozen laps or so on the left rear while CJ Lehmann posted another solid top five effort.
All eyes will be on the Stafford Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 24 when the Tri-Track Modified Series comes to the half-mile for the first time in the series history. The Inaugural 81-lap event will pay a whopping $10,000 to the winner with total posted awards of nearly $50,000.
It was announced that the operation of the 58th annual World Series will run under new management in 2020! Cris Michaud (American Canadian Tour) and Tom Mayberry (Pro All Star Series) have leased the track and will be running operations for the prestigious event! They have a stout list of divisions, a lucrative purse structure for all, and a vision to take oval racing at Thompson back to the top!
Ryan Preece turned in a stout run at Talladega where he finished tenth.
September 4, 1971 Stafford ran a 30 lap, double point event on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, took the win over Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens, Bernie Miller and Bob Santos
Labor Day weekend meant big money, extra distance races. The action started at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. 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. The action shifted to the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night where Richie Evans won the New Yorker 400 over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook, Billy Hensley and Lou Lazzaro.
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!