RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Third Week Of April

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy-five years ago, in 1947 the Seekonk Speedway on the Gateway to Cape Cod in Massachusetts and under the direction and ownership of D.Anthony Venditti began their second year of operation. Midgets were the main bill of fare. Chet Gibbons was the opening day 25 lap feature winner.

Seventy years ago in 1952, Don Hall was the 25 Lap Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Harold “Curley” LeMay was the Claiming Car winner. D. Anthony Venditti flooded the Seekonk Speedway in order to stage boat races.

Sixty five years ago in 1957 Ray Moran won the opening day 25 lap Sportsman feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner. Gene Bergin won the season opener at Riverside Park.

Sixty years ago in 1962 Dick Beauregard won the opening day 25 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Caso was the 15 lap Bomber winner. Billy Greco won the United Stock Car Association opener at Riverside Park and Deke Astle won the opener at Westboro.

Fifty five years ago in 1967, Martinsville ran a 100 lap modified event with Sonny Hutchins of Richmond, Va. taking the win. Ray Hendrick finished second. Thirty-eight cars started the event. In the Grandnational (Winston Cup) event, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough lapped the field as they finished one-two in the 500 lap event. The Fulton Raceway in New York cleared away the snow for an open competition event that was won by Lee Osborne. Newt Palm made it two in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 30 lap Modified feature. Jiggs Beetham, who in later years would team up with Bob Potter as his car owner, was the 15 lap Daredevil feature winner. It rained at the Norwood Arena but further west at the Westboro Speedway Fred Borden took the Modified win. Capping off the weekend at the Thompson Speedway Mr. Leo Cleary put the M-2 in victory lane. Seekonk fell victim to rain.

Fifty years ago in 1972, hot off his Spring Sizzler victory, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row at Stafford as he won the Sunday afternoon 30-lap event. Bob Santos finished second and was followed by Hop Harrington, Ray Miller, Moose Hewitt, Rene Charland and Bernie Miller. South Boston also ran a modified event with Max Berrier winning the 75 lapper over Ray Hendrick, Paul Radford and Jerry Cook. Saturday night racing at Fonda rained out. The weather was clear on the Connecticut shoreline on Sunday as Joe Trudeau won the 40 lap Modified feature. Ken Greggory was the 20 lap Sportsman Sedan feature winner.

Forty five years ago in 1977, Maynard Troyer finally mastered the Stafford Speedway as he won the 80 lap Spring Sizzler. Bob Polverari, Richie Evans, Dick Caso and Ed Flemke Sr. rounded out the top five. Ron Cote was the winner of the non-qualifiers event.

Forty years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks, fresh off his Martinsville win, brought his streak to the Stafford Speedway where he won the 80 lap Sizzler. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Kenny Bouchard, George Summers, Maynard Troyer and Corky Cookman. Mike Weeden was the non-qualifiers winner with Jim Spencer, second. Also on this weekend, Richie Evans won the season opener at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Ray Miller finished second with George Kent, third. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, Darrel Waltrip was both the Busch Pole sitter and the race winner.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, Riverside Park was the only game in town as Jerry Marquis in the Bob Judkins 2x took the win over Stan Gregger, Mike McLaughlin and Wade Cole.

Thirty years ago in 1992, Riverside Park rained out for the second week in a row. Because of the Easter weekend, the only racing was a Busch Grandnational event run at Hickory, N.C., which was won by Tommy Houston.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was in Martinsville for a 200 lapper. Mike Ewanitsko started 19th, made an early pit stop and inherited the lead when Mike Stefanik pitted and went on to take the win. Stefanik, who borrowed a car from Chris Kopec after he wrecked his own as a result of a broken wheel, finished second .Ricky Fuller finished third and was followed by Jan Leaty, Reggie Ruggiero, Tim Connolly and pole sitter, Ed Flemke Jr. Events scheduled for Riverside Park, the Waterford Speedbowl and the Riverhead Raceway were rained out.

Twenty years ago in 2002, Tommy Fox took the Saturday night win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Fox was running second to Ted Christopher when he got his left front into Christopher’s right rear. Fox turned left and Christopher spun out of the lead. Dennis Gada ended up second with John Brouwer, third. Christopher ended up 15th. Dave Michael got his 60th win at Wall Stadium and in Busch North Series action at Lee it was Andy Santerre over Mike Olsen and Mike Johnson. Dale Earnhardt JR led 133 of the 108 laps at Talledega to take the Nextel Cup win. Michael Waltrip finished second. Nextel Cup car owner Jack Roush was severly injured in a plane crash. Roush hit power lines and landed upside down in a lake. Larry Hicks, a retired Marine and recovering cancer patient pulled him to safety.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series got the green flag on Sunday at the Thompson Speedway as a near capacity crowd watched James Civali sprint to victory in the 150 lap Ice Breaker. Civali took the lead on lap 109 after running wheel to wheel with John Blewett III for several laps. A late race wreck which involved Reggie Ruggiero set the stage for a green, white, checkered finish on lap 152. Chuck Hossfeld got two late race gifts as it looked like he would end his day in fourth spot. With seven laps to go the green flew after a caution. Civali led the field followed by Richard Savory, Ron Yuhas Jr, Hossfeld and Ruggerio. As the field exited turn two Ruggerio went low, passing Hossfeld and Yuhas. Ruggerio, trying to get back in line after the pass, clipped Yuhas and they both ended up hitting the back stretch wall. While the track crews were cleaning up the mess and the field was circling under caution Savory suffered a flat tire and was forced to pit, thus handing the runner-up spot to Hossfeld. Savory ended up 17th. Following Hossfeld was Ronnie Silk, Jimmy Blewett and Matt Hirschman. Sixth through tenth were Tony Ferrante Jr, Carl Pasteryak, Jon McKennedy, Bob Grigas and Zach Sylvester in the Mansfield, CT based No77 of Curt Chase.

Ted Christopher, who started on the outside pole, was the early leader as he passed pole sitter Savory in turn three before the field completed the first lap. Christopher led until a lap 23 restart when Don Lia shot by in the second turn. Lia apparently planned to go non-stop without a change of tires as almost the entire field pitted for tires during a caution on lap 71. It proved to end up being a bad decision as his tires lost their grip by lap 97 when he gave way to Civali. Lia remained in the top five despite fading fast. His undoing finally came on lap 137 when he spun out and was never a factor after that. Lia ended up 20th, four laps down. Christopher also had a bad day as he was collected in a wreck on lap 99 and ended up in 27th spot at the finish. Defending series champion was never a factor as he was eliminated after losing a wheel on lap 33 after making contact with Jerry Marquis. Stefanik ended up 34th.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly action ”Showtime” Jimmy Blewett , driving the Eddie Partridge No.12 was victorious in Sunoco Modified action. Rick Gentes doubled up in Icebreaker Late Model action (also winning last Saturday). Jeff Connors of Ellington, CT won the Pro Stock field while Keith DeSanctis won the Limited Sportsman division and Leo Adams was victorious in the TIS Modifieds. Andy Publicover scored the win in the Mini Stocks.

In Sunoco Modified action, Todd Ceravolo held the early lead over Woody Pitkat. A pack of hungry drivers, Jimmy Blewett, Keith Rocco, and Tommy Cravenho, were bearing down on the leaders. Slight contact between the lead duo opened the door for Jimmy. Blewett, who grabbed the second spot before the caution flew for Roland Bergeron. After a false start, racing resumed with Ceravolo retaining his lead. Contact between Pitkat and Rocco send Rocco hard into the turn two wall. Jimmy Blewett was able to take over the lead once racing resumed. A single lap later contact between Cravenho and Bert Marvin sent Cravenho spinning. A chain reaction accident claimed the cars of John Catania, Buddy Charette, and others. Marvin was sent to the rear for his involvement in the accident. Jimmy Blewett continued to lead Ceravolo and now his brother John when racing went back to green. Pitkat and Kerry Malone sat inside the top five. Pitkat was getting racy with John Blewett while the leader had his hands full with Ceravolo. The top four cars began to get some distance on Malone in fifth. Just after halfway, the caution flew when Harry Rheaume and Marvin made contact. Both cars were able to continue. On the restart, Jimmy. Blewett and Ceravolo were side by side for the lead; meanwhile, things got messy from third position on back. Pitkat and Marvin both sustained extensive damage in the melee. Also involved was third-running John Blewett. The battle for the lead continued when the race resumed. While Jimmy Blewett and Ceravolo began to distance themselves from the rest of the pack, Kerry Malone headed down pit road, relinquishing the third spot.

The final dash to the checkers found Jimmy. Blewett gaining some breathing room over Ceravolo. Dave Salzarulo and Danny Cates had great finish runs. Tommy Cravenho and Jo. Blewett had stormed back through the pack and put on a great show battling for the fifth position. At the finish, Jimmy Blewett scored the win over Ceravolo and Salzarulo. The rookie Danny Cates finished fourth in only his second Sunoco Modified start. John Blewett, who had won at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey on Saturday night recovered to finish fifth.

The Monahan brothers packed a one-two punch at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday evening, claiming the top-two slots in the 35-lap SK Modified feature. It was Diego prevailing, but only after an intense battle with older brother Shawn during several late-race restarts. Other winners were Rob Summers (True Value Tour Modifieds), Tim Jordan (Late Models), Al Stone III (Sportsman), and Phil Evans (Mini Stocks).

Joey Logano won a NASCAR Grand National Series event Thursday night at Phoenix International Raceway. Logano was a development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Clint Bowyer won a stirring duel with Matt Kenseth on Friday night, taking the lead with 14 laps to go and holding on in the Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Jeff Gordon took the Nextel Cup win at Phoenix on Saturday and dedicated the victory to the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

The board of directors for the International Speedway Corp. approved spending an additional $39.6 million for capital projects. With the approval, the board expects to spend $80 million to $90 million for a number of improvements at Darlington Raceway, including repaving the racing surface and aprons, constructing a new infield access tunnel, installing concrete pit stalls and other renovations. The improvements are expected to be completed in time for the facility’s 2008 Nascar Nextel Cup and Busch series weekend.

The company also announced that William C. France, William P. Graves and Christy F. Harris were re-elected and Morteza Hosseini-Kargar was elected to the board by ISC shareholders. All terms were for three years.

Ten years ago in 2012, the Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled up-country to the high-banked Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Jon McKennedy, driving the Art Barry No.2, made it two wins in a row as he won the Bond Auto Parts Spring Dash 100, at Granite State oval. McKennedy started 18th in the 24-car starting field. McKennedy slowly worked his way through traffic, used good tire management, a McKennedy trademark, passed race leader Les Hinckley on lap 78 to go on to victory. The win was McKennedy’s 14th career VMRS victory.

Norm Wrenn topped his career best third place finish with a solid second. Early race leader Hinckley fought power steering issues and finished third, Dwight Jarvis was fourth, and Jim Boniface rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink, Joey Jarvis, Max Zachem, and Louie Mechalides.

Six caution flags for minor incidents slowed the race which was completed in 48 minutes. There were 29 Modifieds on hand.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made another stop at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. George Brunnhoelzl III withstood three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish and hung on to win the Parking Lot Maintenance Headquarters 150.

Brunnhoelzl, the two-time Tour champion out of West Babylon, N.Y., dominated the day. He posted the fastest time in practice and set a new track record in qualifying before going out and leading a race-high 140 laps en route to his second victory of the season. It was his seventh career win at Caraway, but more importantly it was his 13th career Tour win which places him in a tie atop the all-time list with L.W. Miller.

In that final restart, Brunnhoelzl held off Miller and a hard-charging Jason Myers at the line. Rookies Kyle Ebersole and Michael Speeney crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively. Daniel Hemric, Thomas Stinson, Bryan Dauzat, Frank Fleming and Burt Myers rounded out the top-10 finishers on the evening.

Burt Myers was running third heading into the last restart, but was penalized for aggressive driving and was scored as the last car on the lead lap. The race was slowed due to caution 11 times for 45 laps and the race lead changed hands just two times between two drivers.

In the point standings, Brunnhoelzl opened up a six-point lead on Miller with rookie Danny Bohn sitting in third, 26 points in back of the leader.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour goes into an extended Spring Break and would be back in action next on July 6 for the Firecracker 150 at Caraway Speedway. In the mean time the Modifieds would be racing at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Ernie Saxton reported in the Area Auto Racing News that the race promoters at Bowman-Gray recently signed a lease with Stadium owners, the Winston-Salem NC City Council for the City of Winston-Salem, which would expire in August, 2031. The contract stated that $4,260 would be paid to the city per race night. Saturday night racing events at Bowman-Gray draw consistently 10,000 fans who pay $10.00 each.

A huge rain storm was bearing down on New England but the Waterford Speedbowl was able to dodge the bullet and get their entire racing program in the books. The outside groove was the hot setup as more than one race leader went that route to record their respective wins.

Tyler Chadwick went up top to take a popular victory in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified®feature. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature winners included Bruce Thomas Jr. taking the win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, Ray Downing Jr., who was impressive in taking the Street Stock race and Ian Brew who bested a highly competitive Mini Stock field for his first win of the year. In INEX racing, Matt Pappa won the 20-lap Legends Cars race and Joey Ternullo took over halfway through the 20-lap Bandolero feature to come out on top.

Diego Monahan took second easily, while Jeff Pearl worked over Kyle James over the final laps but could not muster a challenge for third. Pearl finished fourth, holding back a final charge by Morgillo to his outside. Abele got by Morgillo’s inside on the final lap to finish fifth.

An honest mistake was made during the Ice Breaker weekend at Thompson. The NASCAR press release stated that Ryan Preece had broken the track record, previously set by Bobby Santos in the Mystic Missile. Preece’s qualifying time was 18.387, but Bobby Santos’ lap in the previous year’s Icebreaker was 18.237.

In some sad news, Donna M. Harman, 68, of Niantic, CT and Port Orange, Fla., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., after a courageous battle with cancer. Her husband of 28 years, NEAR Hall of Fame member Billy Harman, was by her side throughout every stage of her illness.

In Billy’s own words, “In addition to being my wife she was my best friend”. Donna wrote most of the bios and stats that got Billy inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame.

Denny Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. in a battle of Toyotas to post his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season Sunday at Kansas Speedway. While Truex dominated the STP 400, leading 173 of the 267 laps of the 1.5-mile superspeedway, Hamlin grabbed the lead late and held off two last-ditch runs by Truex, taking the checkered flag .7 seconds ahead of Truex. The Nationwide Series had the weekend off. James Buescher was the Truck Series race winner at the Kansas Speedway.

Five years ago in 2017, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was on Spring Break getting ready to return to action for round #3 at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway. After two events Long Islander Timmy Solomito led the series point standings with a four point lead over Rowan Pennink. Sitting third was sophomore sensation Max Zachem, 10 points out of the lead. Justin Bonsignore sat fourth, 17 points out with two points behind was Woody Patkat in fifth spot.

While it was quiet in New England while just about everyone celebrated the Easter Weekend racing action was alive and hot in North Carolina as ten-time Bowman Gray Stadium Modified Champion Tim Brown got his career-first Southern Modified Racing Series win on Friday night at the Caraway Speedway.

Brown started on the pole position for the race, but fell back in the field opting to save his tires for the final run. A lap 96 caution sent everyone to the pits and Brown was third exiting pit road. He advanced to second and got the advantage on a lap 104 restart to take the lead and roll to the $3,000 win.

Jason Myers looked to be tracking Brown down in the closing laps, but a slip off turn four a few laps from the end forced him to settle for second. Jeremy Gerstner led much of the way and settled for third. Bobby Measmer Jr. and Brandon Ward completed the top five.

Saturday’s race wrapped of the five-race spring session for the SMRS; the tour would return on Saturday July 1 at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Last year, 2021, The NASCAR Modified Tour Series descended on the Martinsville Speedway on Thursday night to drop the green flag on the 2021 season. Forty cars were pre-entered. Thirty- five showed for practice on Thursday afternoon. Ryan Newman was the quickest at 101.273mph. The slowest was Melissa Fifield at 83.710mph. That’s a 25.63mph difference. NASCAR needs to put it’s foot down and for safety sake create a minimum speed to make the starting grid of events.

Ryan Preece earned the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in Thursday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 qualifying at the flat half-mile in record time. Preece qualified for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener in the No. 6 Riverhead Raceway Chevrolet in 18.607 seconds (101.768 mph). Fellow NASCAR Cup driver Ryan Newman, who was fastest in the afternoon practice, qualified second at 18.676 (101.392). Tour regular Eric Goodale was third quick at 18.755 (100.965). Tommy Catalano qualified fourth and Woody Pitkat fifth.

Eric Goodale made his 176th career start in the tour’s long-awaited return to the historic Virginia track, and walked away as the winner of Thursday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200. But for Goodale, it was more than about taking the checkered flag. It was Goodale’s fourth career win. Of the first three, one came at his home track of Riverhead Raceway in New York, one was at Bristol Motor Speedway and one was at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway.

Goodale’s #58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet held off fellow New Yorker Tyler Rypkema and defending tour champion Justin Bonsignore over a final 10-lap dash to the checkered flag. “To finally win one feels pretty damn sweet,” said Goodale of taking the Martinsville Grandfather Clock back to Long Island. “It is about that clock. I’ve wanted one for so long.” Rypkema, last year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year, finished .245 seconds behind Goodale. Bonsignore started at the back of the field after post-qualifying mechanical issues. Max McLaughlin and Kyle Bonsignore rounded out the top five. Doug Coby finished sixth, followed by Tommy Catalano, Patrick Emerling, Woody Pitkat and Jamie Tomaino.

Ryan Preece jumped out to take the lead at the start. He would lead the first 110 laps. The first of seven cautions flew on lap2 when Walter Sutcliff Jr spun with Gary Byington in turn four. The field went to caution then to red because of rain that lasted over an hour. The race restarted with 13 complete with Preece leading with Tommy Catalano glued to his bumper. Catalano showed his stuff as he ran second for much of the race. The second flew on lap 15 when an 18 car wreck developed in turn 4. Among those eliminated were Jeff Fultz, JB Fortin, Craig Lutz and Andrew Krause.

The green flew on lap 21 with Preece in command and Catalano second. Dave Sapienza got taken out by Kyle Bonsignore on lap 31. With severe front end damage Sapienza expressed his displeasure to Bonsignore. During the caution Preece, Catalano and a host of others pitted for fresh rubber. The green was displayed on lap 39 with Preece leading Catalano and Kyle Ebersol. The fourth caution flew on lap 79 when Brian Dauzat spun in turn four. When the green was displayed on lap 88 the heat was on. Preece continued to lead with Kyle Ebersol, second, Catalano, third and Woody Pitkat, fourth. After a long hard march to the front, Justin Bonsignore had broken into the top five.

The fifth caution flew on lap 100 when Tyler Rypkema spun in turn four with no damage. The green was displayed on Lap 108. By lap 110 Justin Bonsignore was in the lead with Jon McKennedy in hot pursuit. Bonsignore led for 42 laps before pitting, giving way to Max McLaughlin. McLaughlin led thru lap 60 before Bonsignore re-took the point. With 33 laps to go Eric Goodale applied the pressure to the leader and on lap 170 took the lead. Bonsignore had worn out his tires and was all done as he faded to third at the finish. A final caution on lap 179 when Gary McDonald hit the front stretch wall set the stage for a 10-lap shoot-out. Goodale sprinted to the finish and the win. Tyler Rypkema recovered from his spin at the half-way mark to finish second.

The Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 200 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, April 15 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The next stop for the Whelen Modified tour will be on Sunday, April 25, for the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford.

Hot on the heels of the Martinsville event Thompson Speedway was scheduled to open its 82nd season with the annual Icebreaker on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11. A total of 10 divisions were in competition. Based on a forecast of bad weather the Sunday program of the annual Icebreaker was rescheduled for Saturday, April 10 at approximately 5:30pm. American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series

At the conclusion of the Saturday program officials cleared both the stands and the pits. Drivers and crew members with multi-day pit wristbands were sent to the track infield. Once the stands and pits were clear, those who had Sunday tickets and pit passes re-entered for the Saturday night event. This card included the Icebreaker 125 for the Outlaw Open Modifieds along with the Thompson Late Models, Limited Sportsmen, and SK Light Modifieds.

There was a lot of excitement on the track Saturday afternoon when the 15 Sunoco (SK type) went at it for 30 laps. Keith Rocco and Mike Christopher Jr slugged it out as they each moved each other out of the way the last 10 laps. Troy Talman sat in the catbird seat waiting for the two to take each other out but in the end finished second. While Rocco basked in the victory lane area he was bombarded with the Bronx Cheer. Christopher admitted he was no saint and was just as much to blame for the antics. Todd Owen finished third and Danny Cates were fifth.

In other Saturday afternoon action at Thompson, Paul Newcomb was the Street Stock Open winner over Ryan Waterman, Derek Griffith was the Pro All Star winner over Eddie McDonald (Rocco was 14th), Bobby Santos III was the NEMA Lite winner.

Following the Saturday afternoon program the speedway shifted to their Sunday program.

Ron Silk took advantage of a late caution flag to snag the $10,000 top prize in the Icebreaker 125. Silk took the lead from Keith Rocco with 12 laps remaining and was the inaugural winner of the new Outlaw Open Modified Series at the Icebreaker nightcap.

It was the first-ever Tour-type Modified victory for Haydt Yannone Racing and came at the end of a night where Silk went up and down the running order like a yo-yo. The former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion kept fighting, though, and triumphed at the Icebreaker for the first time since 2012.

Rocco started on the pole and lead the first seven laps before Ronnie Williams took over. Williams paced the field until a mandatory fuel stop at lap 30. During that stop, Silk’s team was penalized for unauthorized use of equipment. Silk was sent to rear and pitted again for adjustments before the field went back to green.

At the front, Williams surrendered the lead back to Rocco on lap 42 before Chelmsford, MA’s Jon McKennedy took the point 10 circuits later. When the sixth yellow flew at lap 55 for Artie Pedersen’s spin, many of the leaders pitted for fresh tires and/or adjustments, leaving McKennedy and Rocco as the only drivers who hadn’t made at least one non-fuel stop.

Eric Goodale, fresh off his win at Martinsville, snatched the lead from McKennedy on lap 58 with Silk not far behind. Williams was flying through the field, though, and went to the front again with 67 laps in the books.

The next trio of cautions greatly changed the event’s outcome. A debris caution on lap 73 led to McKennedy, Rocco, Goodale, and others heading to the pits. But one lap after the restart, the field got stacked up entering turn one. McKennedy, Goodale, and Chris Pasteryak ended up piling into the wall to bring out the red flag.

Williams and Sam Rameau then pulled away before the ninth yellow on lap 89 when Anthony Sesely and Andrew Krause tangled in turn two. Another en masse visit to the pits followed, with Rocco leading the herd onto the track in fourth. Meanwhile, Williams and Silk took the green in 10th and 11th, respectively.

Rocco made short work on the restart to take the lead from J.B. Fortin on lap 91. Craig Lutz and Williams navigated their way through the field, and with laps winding down, it looked like a three-car shootout for the win. Lutz had gotten up to fourth well back of the lead trio. But on the 113th circuit, Bobby Santos III spun to bring out the 10th and final caution. Silk saw his opportunity and went for it, jumping from fourth to second on the restart and then diving beneath Rocco in turn three one lap later, with Rocco making an unsuccessful crossover attempt. Silk kept the field at bay from there, leading the final 12 laps for the Icebreaker win.

Rocco finished second. Santos put on fresh tires after his spin and tore through the field to take third. Lutz, Williams, Rameau, Matt Swanson, Sesely, Mike Christopher Jr., and Patrick Emerling completed the top-10.

Other winners included Larry Barnett, the all-time winningest Limited Sportsman driver at Thompson Speedway who returned to victory lane for the first time since 2017 Saturday in winning the division’s 25-lap lap feature. It was the 70th career Limited Sportsman victory at Thompson for Barnett, of Moosup, and his first since June 14, 2017. Jared Roy was the Mini Stock winner and Anthony Bello was the SK Lite winner.

It’s not official but 199 cars entered into competition. Among the missing was Ryan Preece who was in NASCAR Cup competition at Martinsville on Saturday night.

Winning a weekly SK Modified event is a really big deal! Stafford’s weekly contingency program continues to grow. “We set up the weekly contingency program over 20 years ago to find more support for the weekly competitors,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute.

Following an earlier announced partnership to present the SRX Racing event and SK Modified® All-Star race, TickMike.com has also joined the 2021 Stafford Speedway contingency program with a $150 weekly bonus to the winner of the SK Modified® feature. With the additional bonus from TickMike.com the weekly winner’s share for the SK Modified® division moves to $1,825.

It looks like Scott Tapley may need to take a leave of absence from his day job as internet news site RaceDayCt reported that he has accepted the position of race director at the Thunder Road Speedway in Barre Vt. On Thursday nights. Tapley is also the race director at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park along with New York’s Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

At 36 years of age Keith Rocco was looking to add to his legend this past weekend at Thompson’s IceBreaker. Rocco drove for team owner Mark Payne in Saturday’s 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature and in Sunday’s $10,000 to win Thompson Outlaw Modified Icebreaker 125. He also drove for Rollie Linblad in Saturday’s 75-lap Pro All Stars Series feature.

Going into last weekend Rocco had a career total of 292 wins including 65 at Thompson, 74 at the Stafford Motor Speedway and 153 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Following his Sunoco Modified win at Thompson his career total is 293 including 66 at Thompson.

In NASCAR Cup racing at Martinsville Martin Truex Jr beat out Chase Elliott for the win. Ryan Preece finished 36th after being caught up in a wreck.

On a sad note, Bob Finan sends word that the Long Island racing family was saddened on Thursday night upon receiving word of the passing of Lou Ewanitsko. No matter the track Lou with his ever present smile and hearty greeting made sure everyone had enough to eat and drink during and after the races always instilling a positive thought along the way. Through his Mutual Engraving business Lou along with his longtime racing partner Ira Bromley jump started the driving career of Mike Ewanitsko at Islip Speedway when Mike was just 16.

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