RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: First Week Of May

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years in 1947, Bob Blair won the Midget main event at the Seekonk Speedway.  Seventy years ago in 1952 rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. At the Seekonk Speedway Don Hall took the Stock car win.

Sixty five years ago in 1957 Don Collins was the 50 lap April Championship winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Don Stumph took the win at Old Bridge.

Sixty years ago in 1962 Dick Beauregard recorded his third Modified feature win at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Caso was the Bomber feature winner. The Stafford Speedway began their dirt season with hometown favorite George Janoski taking the win. Bill Slater made it three in a row at Norwood on Saturday night. At the Islip Speedway it was Al DeAngelo over Mousie Kempster. At the Seekonk Speedway Fred Luchesi was the Class A winner. On Sunday ay Old Bridge in New Jersey Pete Frazee took the win over Wally Dallenbach, Tommy Elliott and Eastern Bandit Eddie Flemke.

Fifty five years ago in 1967 the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY opened for the season. A New England invasion captured four of the top five spots. Mario “Fats” Caruso took the win with Eddie Flemke and Gene Bergin following. Kenny Shoemaker finished fourth with George Pendergast rounding out the top five. Bill Wimble was the big winner at Fonda on Saturday night. Ernie Gahan and Pete Corey followed. Fulton’s main event went to Jim Shampine. For the second week in a row the Utica – Rome Speedway fell victim to rain. The skies in southeastern Connecticut remained clear as Charlie Webster captured the final Sunday afternoon Spring Modified event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Gene Bergin took the win at Norwood and was followed by Bugsy Stevens and Fats Caruso. At Seekonk it rained.

Fifty years ago in 1972, Eddie Flemke in the Bobby Judkins 2x mastered the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Richie Evans finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Flemke carried his winning ways over to Stafford as he made it two for two as he beat out Ray Miller, DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens for the win. At Islip, Gentleman Jim Hendrickson ruled the roost in the Tony Ferrente x3. Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Frank Curtis and George Tet. Harry Peek took the win at Fonda. At the Waterford Speedbowl Daring Dick Caso took the 36 lap Modified feature win. Jerry Lilliquist was the Sportsman Sedan winner. At Seekonk Jon Astle took the Class A win

Forty five years ago in 1977, forty-four Modifieds were in the Stafford pit area on Friday night. Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Geoff Bodine, Dick Caso, Eddie Flemke and Leo Cleary. Brian Ross in the Mystic Missile finished fourth but was disqualified after a post race weigh in determined that he was 33 pounds light. Sonny Koszela broke out a new Woodchopper Special for Bugsy Stevens but spun engine bearings put him out for the night. Wayne Anderson won two features at New Egypt on Friday night and one at Islip on Saturday night. Anderson became only the second modified driver to ever win three features within a twenty four hour period. Waterford was running under the United Stock Car banner. Dick Dunn in the Peg and Albert Gaudreau No.3 took the win over Bill Greco, Rick Donnelly, Dick Ceravolo and Mark Geer. United president Harvey Tattersall announced that he was dropping the gear rule that had been in place plus was eliminating the 340 bonus. Based on the announcement, Dunn, Bob Potter and Gene Bergin stated that their days of racing at Waterford were over and quit the track. Bob Polverari took the win at Riverside over Pete Fiandaca and at Westboro, George Savory took the win over Mike Weeden and Freddie Schulz. Fred DeSarro made it three in a row at Thompson on Sunday night and at the Port City 150 at Oswego, Richie Evans took the win over Jim Shampine, Maynard Troyer and George Kent.

Forty years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks in the Ernie Wilsburg No.5 remained the combination to beat as he won the 30 lap feature at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Ray Miller, George Summers and Bob Polverari rounding out the top five. Saturday night at Waterford saw Bob Potter beat out cross town rival Moose Hewitt for the win. Jerry Pearl finished third. At Seekonk, Brian Ross, who had lost an engine at Stafford, took the win over Gomer Taylor and George Savory. At Riverside Park it was Stan Greger over Bob Polverari and Ray Miller. Bob Park had the hot set-up at Islip as he bested John Blewett Jr, Wayne Anderson and Don Howe. Less than 200 cars were in the parking lot at Thompson on Sunday but it didn’t slow George Kent as he took down the win over Jerry Cook, Bob Polverari and Marty Radwick. Pre-race favorite Greg Sacks packed it in early after losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Tenn, Darrell Waltrip took the 400-lap win over Terry Labonte and Ronnie Bouchard.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, Steve Chowanski took the Friday night win at Stafford. Bob Potter was the king-pin at Waterford and at Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero chalked up another win for Mario Fiore as he beat out Tom Bolles and Bruce Del for the win. Bill Park was the top gun at Riverhead and he was followed by Fred Harbach and Wayne Anderson. George Kent got the best of Jim Spencer at Shangri-La and at Lancaster it was Tom Druar taking the top spot.

Thirty years ago in 1992, Riverside Park ran on Thursday night with Rick Fuller taking the win. Reggie Ruggiero in the Bob Polverari No.711 finished second with Stan Greger, third. Stafford rained out on Friday. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Lloyd Agor was leading on the final lap when he was hit by Jerry Pearl who had gotten hit by Moose Hewitt. Agor bobbled and Pearl got by for the win. Agor hung on to finish second with Dennis Gada, third. Hewitt, who spun, ended up fourteenth. Double features were on tap at Riverside and Jerry Marquis and the Bobby Judkins 2x were up to the task as they won both of them. At Shangri-La, promoter Dale Campfield was evicted after a disagreement with the speedway property owner and in Modified Tour action at Nazareth, Jeff Fuller took the 150 lap win over Wayne Anderson, Rick Fuller, John Preston and Tom Baldwin. Todd Bodine won the Busch Grandnational event that was also run at Nazareth.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, Rick Martin made it two in a row at Thompson on Wednesday night. On Friday night at Stafford, Bo Gunning recorded his 20th career win at the nutmeg oval as he beat out Steve Chowanski, Bill Anderson and Bob Potter for top honors. Waterford rained out on Saturday. Riverside avoided the wet stuff and ran a 75 lap event that saw Reggie Ruggiero score his 88th career win at the Agawam oval .Bill Park won at Riverhead over John Fortin and in Busch North Series action at Loudon on Sunday, Dave Dion went pole to pole to win the 100 lap event which was held up three hours because of rain. Brad Leighton, Jerry Marquis, Jeff Barry and Mike Stefanik rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher was running within the top ten before losing a dry sump belt. The NASCAR Winston Cup event at Talledega went non-stop with Mark Martin taking the win at a race record average 188.354 mph. Dale Earnhardt Sr. finished second.

Twenty years ago in 2002, Jeff Malave was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ted Christopher finished second with Ron Silk, third. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Waterford on Saturday night for a 150-lap event. Forty-one cars were on hand. David Berghman took the lead from Todd Szegedy with eight laps to go to score a popular victory. Szegedy finished second and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Rob Summers and Ricky Fuller. Mike Ewanitsko suffered season ending back injuries after a hard crash into the first turn Armco barrier. In other Waterford action, Dennis Gada was the SK Modified winner over Rob Janovic and Tom Fox. Ed Dieneski was the winner at Riverhead and it was Tim Arre on top at Wall Township. The Busch North Series and the Busch Grandnationals were at Loudon. Brad Leighton won by inches over Andy Santerre. Kelly Moore finished second with Dale Shaw and Matt Kobyluck rounding out the top five. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the Busch Grandnational winner over Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague. In other news, Jerry Nadeau was released from Hendrick Motorsports as the Winston Cup teams enjoyed a wee off to celebrate Mother’s Day and Jack Johnson got his 138th win at the Fonda Speedway.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was in the middle of their “Spring Break”. Jimmy Blewett, who drove for Long Island car owner Eddie Partridge sat atop the point standings with a 31 point lead over second generation driver Matt Hirschman. In three starts Blewett had three top tens including one win. Hirschman, the son of multi-time Whelen Modified Champion Tony Hirschman also had three top tens but was winless. James Civali, who won the Thompson Speedway Ice Breaker, sat in third spot, 49 points behind the leader. Todd Szegedy and Chuck Hossfeld rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Donny Lia, Jerry Marquis, Ronnie Silk, Mike Stefanik and Billy Pauch Jr. In three events, fifty one different competitors had entered into competition.

Much had been said, both pro and con concerning the recent “Flash Event” at the Wall Township Speedway. It was NASCAR’s intent to make the Whelen Modified Tour Series more affordable to their weekly tracks and make the events more exciting to the paying fan. In both cases NASCAR needed to take a second look and maybe ask those involved to give their constructive criticism. From this corner it appeared that to keep competitors happy NASCAR needed to pressure promoters to get out and sell their events in order to offset costs which come with special events. To create excitement NASCAR should try to handicap the top 20 based on their last three performances and invert the field. To fill out a 30-35 car starting field NASCAR needed to run a consolation event which would afford some track time to those who need it.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Friday night second generation driver Keith Rocco captured the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Rocco is the son of retired driving great Ronnie Rocco. Tom Fearn won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chris Matthews the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand, the Limited Late Model feature, and Bill Dunn, the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. The 40-lap SK Modified feature event saw several drivers all take a shot at Keith Rocco, but Rocco was able to fend off all challengers to pick up his first feature win of the 2007 season. Rocco moved to the lead on lap-5, passing early race leader Woody Pitkat. Pitkat would spend the next 30 laps trying to get around Rocco, with several caution periods slowing the action and giving Pitkat multiple opportunities to take the lead back. Pitkat held tough on the outside groove, but was unable to get around Ruocco. The final caution came out with 4 laps to go, setting up a dash to the finish. Rocco again got the drop on the field, with Willie Hardie moving past Pitkat for second. Rocco was able to pull away from Rocco in the closing laps to take the win. Hardie finished second with Pitkat, Kerry Malone, and Jeff Malave rounding out the top-5.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Rob Janovic used a bottom-shot coming out of turn-four to pass leader Doug Coby with eight circuits remaining to capture his second consecutive 35-lap SK Modified feature at the Speedbowl on Saturday evening. Other winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (Sportsman), Joe Godbout III (Mini Stock), and Norm Wrenn (Pro-4 Modified). Coby faded in the late going and was overtaken by Shawn Monahan who ended up in second spot. Coby, Diego Monahan and Dennis Gada rounded out the top five Sixth through tenth were Jeff Pearl, Kenny Horton, Frank Mucciacciaro, Jeff Paul and Tyler Chadwick.

The Star Speedway in Epping, NH hosted a special Open Competition Modified race that attracted only 19 cars. Ted Christopher was in the lead with only eight laps remaining when he tangled with Andy Seuss under caution and suffered a flat tire. Rob Summers ended up taking the win over Jon McKennedy, Seuss, Ron Silk and Chris Pasteryak.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Bill Park took the win over Tom Rogers and JR Bertuccio.

In the RACE OF CHAMPIONS ASPHALT MODIFIED TOUR event at the Oswego Speedway Matt Hirschman went pole to pole to win the 75 lap event. Billy Putney finished second and was followed by Lee Sherwood, Zane Zeiner, Earl Paules, Eric Beers and Rick Zacharias.

In Nextel Cup action at the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina Jeff Gordon overcame an overheating engine with five laps to go to race to his third victory of the season Sunday, winning the Dodge Avenger 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Hendrick Motorsports has won four straight races, eight of the last nine, and remained perfect in the five Car of Tomorrow events. Denny Hamlin, who led a race-high 179 laps, had a chance to win before his crew dropped a pair of lug nuts on a late pit stop. Rain washed out the race Saturday night, making it the first NASCAR race run on Mother’s Day since 1986. Jimmie Johnson, last week’s winner, finished third for Hendrick. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eighth, capping a frenzied week that began when he said he’s leaving DEI at the end of the season. Denny Hamlin won the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 for the second straight year Friday night, again surviving a wreck-filled Busch Series event at historic Darlington Raceway. Hamlin, a Virginia native, then paid tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre, taking a school flag along for his victory lap

International Speedway Corp., the company that owns and manages NASCAR race tracks, will partner with the Cordish Co. to build Daytona Live, a mixed-use entertainment destination, across from Daytona International Speedway. Daytona Live will be built on 71 acres that currently are home to Speedplex Office Park. The park houses ISC’s and NASCAR’s headquarters. The project is expected to cost $250 million

Ten years ago in 2012, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series went “Up Country” to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Thanks to the efforts of Ted Hebert and Teddy Bear Pools & Spa $5000 in extra money was added to the WMT purse. This money was paid out to the drivers from positions 12 to 26. Last place paid out $810.

Ryan Preece led from pole to pole to win the 175 lap event at the New Hampshire oval. Preece withstood 10 restarts to take the win where his grandfather, Bobby Judkins had fielded winning mounts at the track in years past. It took an extreme amount of concentration on the part of Preece as he was repeatedly pressured and dogged by runner-up Doug Coby and Ted Christopher. Coby, who started second was kind of the meat in the sandwich as he had third place starter Todd Szegedy on his bumper for a good part of the distance. Ted Christopher had moved into the second spot on lap 13 but was later spun to the infield after contact from Coby. Justin Bonsignore put on the drive of the night as he came from a 14th starting spot to finish fourth. Likewise for Donnie Lia who started 17th, lost a lap at one point and rallied to make up his lap and finish sixth behind point leader Ron Silk. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Stefanik, Eric Beers and Keith Rocco. Rocco also put on a tremendous drive, rebounding from a late race pit stop to finish 10th. Rounding out those who finished on the lead lap were Jamie Tomaino, Christopher, Andy Seuss and Jimmy Blewett. Blewett actually finished sixth but was placed at the tail of the lead lap after he dumped Seuss on the final lap.

The race marked the return of Jerry Marquis after a six year retirement. Marquis who retired from driving in 2007 drove the Ralph Solhem No. 0. Marquis completed 134 laps before being forced to park it with suspension problems. Among the missing was Rowan Pennink who was attending his sisters wedding. Woody Pitkat was also absent. Jon McKennedy took over the controls of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 after Daniel Hemric felt that it would be in his best interests if he contained his racing to the southland. McKennedy qualified fourth and was headed for a decent finish before a brush with the wall ended his night, pacing him in 24th finishing spot.

The Stafford Motor Speedway finally began their Friday night racing series after a one week delay because of rain. J.J. Hill was the winner of the extra distance 40-lap Late Model feature, Eric Berndt got around Ted Christopher on a green white checkered restart to pick up his first win of the 2012 in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Dylan Kopec was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for the second consecutive week, Josh Wood also won for the second consecutive week in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Albert Saunders drove to victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature with a late race pass on Austin Bessette.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Berndt took the lead from Ted Christopher in the closing moments of the race and went on to score the victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Berndt and Christopher was Dave Gervais, Ryan Preece Preece, and Todd Owen.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco did not continue his winning streak as he was over 100 miles away competing in a Whelen Modified Tour event at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire.

Tyler Chadwick took the checkered flag in the SK Modified® feature, his second on the year, while defending Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model champion Jeff Smith returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 2012. Chris Meyer became the first repeat winner of the season in the Street Stocks and Ken Cassidy Jr. won again in the Mini Stocks, giving him six on the year.

A special 60th anniversary event for the Northeastern Midget Association was also run. The Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) is one of the nation’s oldest racing series, with roots at Waterford going back to its beginning. Greg Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA took home the prestigious win in the night’s NEMA Midget feature while Brandon Igo of Bondsville, MA won the companion NEMA Lite race.

In the SK Modified feature Chadwick took the lead from Joe Perry on lap 20 and never looked back. Perry faded in the closing moments. Nicole Morgillo eventually grabbed second from Perry on lap-29 to score her best career finish. Kyle James rallied from an early race spin to drive back up to an impressive third place at the checkered flag. Perry faded to fourth, while Joe Gada ran with the leaders all night and took fifth.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, Jonathan Brown said that he practiced at Bowman Gray Stadium all day on Saturday. Brown held off John Smith for his first win since leaving the Melvin “Puddin'” Swisher team. Michael Clifton was third, Danny Bohn was fourth and Jason Myers fifth. Burt Myers, who started the race in the points lead, finished sixth.

Brown passed Smith when the race restarted on Lap 86 and led the rest of the way.

Tom Rogers was the winner of twin 30 Modified features at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

In Valenti Modified Racing news it had been learned that series founder Jack Bateman had retired from driving and had selected Todd Owen as his replacement. The decision ends a 46 year driving career. Bateman would focus on his race team and the VMRS he started 9 years previous.

Dirt tracker Brett Hearn recorded his 100th career win at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Hearn had a win streak of four in a row going when he hit the century mark at the Malta, NY oval.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Darlington, Jimmie Johnson broke free on a restart three laps from the end to give Hendrick Motorsports its 200th Sprint Cup victory. Denny Hamlin was second, followed by Stewart and Kyle Busch. Danica Patrick, still trying to cut the mustard as a top division driver, lasted until the end of her second Sprint Cup race, finishing six laps behind Johnson in 31st. Joey Logano wrecked leader Elliott Sadler five laps from the end, then broke free during a green-white-checkered finish at Darlington Raceway for his second straight Nationwide Series victory.

On a sad note, Carroll Shelby, known in the motorsports world as the father of the Shelby Cobra and many other high-end automobiles, died in Dallas at the age of 89. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia

Five years ago in 2017, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia for round four of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. Ryan Preece would not make it two straight as he vacated the seat of his No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet to get married to his longtime girlfriend. Needing a replacement driver, car owner Ed Partridge tabbed two-time Langley winner and four-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified champion George Brunnhoelzl III.

Twenty five cars were on hand for the 150 lap event, City of Hampton “150”. Doug Coby took the pole, the 21st of his career. Second fastest was Eric Goodale. Timmy Solomito, Rob Summers and Rowan Pennick completed the top five.

Doug Coby started on the pole and for 99 laps had total control of the event. With Timmy Solomito hot on his tail, Coby set the pace of every lap with the exception of lap 55 when Solomito inched by. A competition caution shuffled the field as Rob Summers took the lead on the restart on lap 100. Coby retook the lead on lap 107 with Solomito close on his tail. Solomito tried all the tricks but to no avail. On lap143 Solomito went low between turns three and four. Coby attempted to block as Solomito hit and spun him. A caution was thrown but NASCAR took no action. Solomito then survived a restart with two laps to go and survived overtime to clinch the win. Coby was able to restart and ended up 15th at the checker. Max Zachem was sitting in the cat bird’s seat when Solomito executed the bump and run. On the ensuing restart Zachem got “freight trained” on the outside and ended up fourth. Eric Goodale finished in second, his best result of the season. Kyle Bonsignore finished third and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top-five. Rob Summers, Rowan Pennink, Danny Bohn, Kyle Ebersole and Matt Swanson completed the top 10.

The Stafford Motor Speedway beat the big noreaster that was heading to New England. Late Models had top billing with the Call Before You Dig 811 50-lap extra distance feature event. Michael Bennett was the big winner, leading all 50 laps to take home the $1,811 winner’s check. Other feature winners were Ted Christopher, who outdueled Keith Rocco with a last lap pass in the SK Modified® feature, Cory DiMatteo won the SK Light feature for the second race in a row, Cliff Saunders outlasted his twin brother Al to take the checkers in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson came out on top of a hard fought duel between himself and Johnny Walker to win the DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event. Christopher took the lead following a restart on lap 9. Rocco was in the mix by lap 26. Rocco was starting to work Christopher over for the lead as he was looking high and low for a way to make a pass for the lead on lap-26. Rocco nearly had a pass made on lap-30 but Christopher was able to shut the door on the move. Ron Williams was still in third with Tom Abele and Cam McDermott making up the top-5. Rocco was still looking high and low for a way around Christopher but he was still behind with 5 laps to go.

Rocco was finally able to make a move and he took the lead with a move in turn 3 on lap-37. Christopher wasn’t going away quietly as he was all over Rocco’s bumper. The cars took the white flag locked together. Rocco led down the backstretch and into turn 3. Christopher made a power move in turn 3 to get alongside Rocco and he took the lead by a nose coming off turn 4 and he led Rocco to the line to take the win. Williams settled for third with Abele and McDermott rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Chase Dowling, Mike Christopher, Jr., Matt Galko, Michael Gervais, Jr and Rowan Pennink.

Ted Christopher, at 58 years of age continued to be Staffords all-time winningest driver with 126 feature wins. His overall career total was 369 wins.

There was no racing at the Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island. Faced with a ominous forecast calling for perhaps two and a half inches of rain coupled with temperatures not getting above the mid fifties, Riverhead Raceway owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz called off Saturday nights NASCAR Whelen All American Series program.

The call was made Friday morning in an effort to allow loyal competitors and fans ample time to make other plans for Mother’s Day eve, a point that was appreciated by many teams judging by their posts on various social media outlets.

Down in the south land, Tim Brown increased his Bowman Gray Stadium-record win total to 81 with a victory in the first 25-lap Modified Division race, with Bobby Measmer Jr. taking second and Burt Myers taking fifth. Brown drew a “14” after the victory, forcing him to start the second 25-lap Modified race in that spot, and he was part of a first-lap wreck. Jonathan Brown, who finished 13th in the first race, won from the outside pole by beating pole-sitter Brody Jones, Randy Butner and Myers to the line.

Martin Truex Jr. scored his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of the year in a caution filled Go Bowling 400 on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.

Truex survived a restart with two laps left to get the victory, speeding away from the battle for second between Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. He got to the finish line 1.1 seconds ahead of Keselowski, who ended up second. On lap 67 a violent crash occurred in turn one. Joey Logano’s Ford suddenly snapped left entering the corner, collecting the cars of Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola in a fiery crash. Logano and Patrick were chased and released from the infield car center, but Almirola had to be cut from his car and airlifted to a local hospital for observation.

Last year, 2021, It was cold, windy and eventually rain soaked but the 49th annual Spring Sizzler got into the record books at Stafford last Friday night. Patrick Emerling went from the outhouse to victory lane in the rain shortened event. Emerling, who experienced severe electrical problems early on missed qualifying and was forced to start 23rd in the 28 car field. After losing a lap early on and then getting it back with a “Lucky Dog” Emerling worked his way to the lead pack and passed Ryan Preece who had spun out of contention on lap 124 as rain moved into the Stafford area. Emerling somehow was able to drive around the wrecked cars of Preece, Justin Bonsignore, Anthony Nocella and Ron Silk to inherit the lead and eventual win. Preece accepted responsibility. “I put too much rear brake into the car and I cost Silk the win” he said. Emerling never led a green flag lap as he paced the field for seven laps under caution when the event was called.

With only 27 laps to go, Preece and Ron Silk restarted on the front row with rain approaching the racetrack. But when he drove into turn one with the lead, the car washed out, allowing Silk to move through to the point. Once he regained control Preece locked up the right rear trying to get back to Silk.in turn 3. Preece clipped Silk’s left rear and sent him sliding in a wreck that took out the top four cars.

Matt Swanson set the fast time in qualifying and he brought the field to the green flag and took the early lead with Jon McKennedy, Craig Lutz, Doug Coby, and Anthony Nocella making up the top-5. Chuck Hossfeld’s car came to a stop coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out on lap-5.

The race went back to green on lap-7 with Swanson taking command. Lutz took second with Coby, Woody Pitkat, and Nocella making up the top-5 as McKennedy slid all the way back to eighth place behind Timmy Solomito and Eric Goodale.

With 25 laps complete, Swanson was still out front with Coby now in second. Lutz was third followed by Pitkat, Nocella, Ryan Preece, McKennedy, Tyler Rypkema, Solomito, and Goodale.

Swanson was still comfortably in command of the race with 50 laps complete followed by Coby, Lutz, Pitkat, Preece, McKennedy, Rypkema, Justin Bonsignore, Nocella, and Ron Silk. With the leaders navigating lapped traffic at this stage of the race, Coby took the lead from Swanson on lap-52. The race action was slowed on lap-62 for a spin on the backstretch by Gary Byington.

The pits opened on lap-66 and Coby led Swanson, Lutz, Pitkat, and Preece down pit road with the remainder of the lead lap cars also coming to pit road. Coby won the race off pit road followed by Swanson, Bonsignore, Preece, McKennedy, Lutz, Pitkat, Goodale, Ronnie Williams, Nocella, and the remainder of the lead lap cars. Coby’s quick pit work enabled him to keep the race lead with Swanson to his outside and Bonsignore and Preece lined up in the second row for the restart.

Swanson shot into the lead on the restart with Coby in second and Bonsignore and Preece side by side for third. Bonsignore took third from Preece and then he took second from Coby just before the caution came back out on lap-72 for an incident in turn 4 involving the cars of Dave Sapienza, Rypkema, and several others who were able to drive away from the accident scene.

Back to green on lap-79 Swanson again took the race lead with Bonsignore right on his bumper in second. McKennedy was third in line followed by Williams and the side by side duo of Nocella and Pitkat. Nocella got the better of that duel and took fifth with Silk, Lutz, Andrew Krause, and Kyle Bonsignore making up the remainder of the top-10 behind Pitkat.

Bonsignore and McKennedy swapped second place back and forth between themselves on lap-89 with Swanson continuing to hold the race lead. Williams was up to third with Justin Bonsignore fourth. Silk and Nocella were side by side for fifth place with Lutz in sixth. Positions continued to shuffle as the race was closing in on lap-100 but the action was slowed on lap-96 for a spin in the middle of turns 3+4 by Patrick Emerling.

Swanson took the lead on the lap-102 restart with Silk taking second. Silk then took the lead from Swanson on lap-103 and his move brought Lutz up to second, Preece to third, Nocella to fourth, and Justin Bonsignore fifth as Swanson slid all the way back to the rear of the field. The caution came back out on lap-105 for a multicar accident on the backstretch.

The lap-112 restart saw Preece power his way into the lead with Silk slotting into second. The caution came right back out for an incident in turn 2 involving Kyle Bonsignore, Rob Summers, Williams, Matt Galko, and Swanson.

Silk shot into the lead on the restart, but behind him Coby spun in turn 2 and collected the car of J.B. Fortin to bring the caution right back out and put Preece back in the lead for the next restart on lap 123.

Eric Goodale ended up finishing second with Tommy Catalano, third. Timmy Solomito and Craig Lutz rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth included Jon McKennedy, Andrew Krause, Chuck Hossfeld, Ronnie Williams and Kyle Bonsignore.

Earlier in the evening Stephen Kopcik scored his fifth career win in the SK Modifieds at Stafford. Pre-race favorite Keith Rocco started near the back of the 22 car field and looked to be headed for another Top three finish when something broke in the front of his car, sending him hard into the wall. Todd Owen finished second with Tyler Hines, third. Marcello Rufrano and Noah Korner rounded out the top five.

In other Stafford action, Derek Debbis beat out George Bessette Jr in the SK Lites and in the Vintage Modifieds Gary Byington took the win.

The Tri-Track Modified Series headed “Up Country” to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday night. Thirty four Modifieds were on hand.

Sam Rameau dominated early, restarted deep in the field after a pit stop, drove to the front, made a pass for the lead with two to go, and rolled to Victory Lane. Ron Silk and Matt Hirschmam finished second and third.

Two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Justin Bonsignore and Les Hinckley rounded out the top-five. Ben Byrne was sixth, followed by Woody Pitkat, Anthony Nocella, NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Preece and Joey Cipriano III.

Devin O’Connell advanced the most positions during the race, scoring the Green Construction, LLC Hard Charger award, worth $500. Earlier in the day, Justin Bonsignore, Woody Pitkat, Earl Paules and Ben Byrne won heat races, scoring $300 each courtesy of Pepsi and the Pepsi Challenge. Anthony Sesely and Brian Robie also scored $300 each from Pepsi with consi race wins.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season on Saturday night. John Beatty was the opening night 50 lap NASCAR Modified winner. Kyle Soper finished second with CJ Lehman, third. Dylan Slepian and Chris Young rounded out the top five.

In NASCAR Cup competition, Kyle Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota took the lead on a restart with two laps remaining and held off the field by .336 seconds Sunday at Kansas Speedway to give him his first NASCAR Cup Series win of the season – 58th of his career – and new crew chief Ben Beshore the first win of his career. Ryan Preece finished 32nd after being involved in an accident early on in the event.

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