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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, Dick Schuebruk was the Midget winner at Seekonk.  Seventy years ago in 1952 rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the second week in a row. Seekonk got their stock car event in with Don Hall taking the win.

Sixty five years ago in 1957 Don Collins made it two in a row in Sportsman action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Dean was the non-Ford winner. NASCAR incurred one of its darkest and near tragic days when a Mercury driven by Billy Myers in a Grand National (Cup) event got launched into the grandstand, injuring several people. No fatalities incurred but a few days later the major auto makers pulled out of NASCAR Racing. Islip Speedway on Long Island opened for the season with Ed Hawkins as the promoter. Al DeAngelo was the opening night winner over Johnny Rocco and Jim Hendrickson. Old Bridge fell victim to rain.

Sixty years ago in 1962 Hank Stevens captured his second Modified feature win of the year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner. Ernie Gahan was the Modified winner on the dirt at Stafford. Bill Slater made it four in a row at Norwood. Jim Hendrickson took the win at Islip. At Seekonk, Roland Levesque was the Class A winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1967 Newt Palm made it four out of five as he won the Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ron Emery was the Daredevil winner. At the Norwood Arena, Pete Hamilton took the top spot over Bill Slater and Gene Bergin. Bugsy Stevens was the winner at Thompson. Jack Reinhard was the winner at Islip and Deke Astle was the Class A winner at Seekonk.

Fifty years ago in 1972, Eddie Pieniezak was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. Jerry Cook, Eddie Flemke, Richie Evans and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Saturday night racing at Stafford, Waterford, Islip and Fonda rained out. Utica-Rome remained clear as hometown favorite Clayton “Sonny” Seamon took the win over Richie Evans, Bill Henry, Ron Holmes and Bernie Miller. Waterford ran their rained out program on Sunday where Dick Caso made it two in a row. Bob Gada SR was the Sportsman Sedan winner. The Norwood Arena began what was to be its last season as a speedway. Late Model Sportsman had replaced the Modifieds. Ron Larkin took the win. Norwood would close forever at the conclusion of the 1972 season. Henri “Red” Barbeau was the winner at Seekonk.

Forty five years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens took the top spot at Stafford on Friday night. Geoff Bodine finished a strong second with Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Punky Caron made it four in a row at Monadnock as he beat out Bob Karvonen, Ollie Silva and Jack Bateman for the win. Riverhead also ran on Friday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win. Jarzombek made it two for two as he also won at Freeport on Saturday night. Stevens, who drove the Sonny Koszela Woodchopper on Friday night at Stafford, jumped into the Joe Brady No.41 at Seekonk on Saturday night and made it two for two on the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Don Dionne, George Murray and Red Barbeau rounding out the top five. Mike Weeden won at Westboro over Kenny Bouchard and Joe Howard and at Waterford; George “Moose” Hewitt took the win. Other weekend winners included Ted Wesnoski at Islip and Fred DeSarro at Thompson

Forty years ago in 1982, Brian Ross took the Friday night win at Stafford after Greg Sacks was forced to back off because of a deflating tire. Sacks finished second with Ray Miller, third. Dan Avery was the SK Modified winner. Charlie Savage was the SK mod winner at Waterford on Saturday. Jerry Pearl finished a close second. The field was light but the competition was tough as George Summers took the win at Seekonk on Saturday night. Brian Ross finished second with George Savory, third. Reggie Ruggiero took another win at Riverside but had to settle for second behind George Kent at Thompson on Sunday. Kent was also the winner at Shangri-La on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and at New Egypt, Doug Hewitt, also at Spencer, Bill Park at Islip and Gail Barber at Lancaster.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, Ted Christopher beat out Bo Gunning at Stafford. Ditto for Gunning at Waterford on Saturday as he finished second to Bob Gada. The Modified Tour was at Clearfield, Pa where Jim Spencer took the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Mclaughlin and Mike Stefanik. Stan Gregger was victorious at Riverside and at Riverhead, Tom McCann took the win. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the WINSTON.

Thirty years ago in 1992, Tom Tagg won out at Stafford over Bob Potter and Richie Gallup. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis went two for two in the Bob Judkins 2x as he won both ends of the twin bill that was presented. Marquis back it up with a win at Monadnock on Sunday. The Busch North Series was also at Monadnock. Ageless Stub Fadden took the win over Dale Shaw and Mike Rowe. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was leading the last lap of the WINSTON and rode Kyle Petty to the grass as he was attempting to pass. Petty didn’t lift and ended up spinning Earnhardt out. Davey Allison passed Petty at the finish line. Petty then hit Allison and sent him into the wall to end a wild night of racing. Racing at Waterford rained out.

Twenty five years ago in 1997,Jim Broderick, with his Mopar powered SK, took the lead after early leader Ed Flemke Jr. crashed and went on to record his second win of the season at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with Bob Potter, third. Chuck Steuer went pole to pole at Riverhead and Tom Jensen beat out Dave Berube at Riverside. It rained at Waterford and at Shangri-La. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth for a 100 lap event. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Tony Hirschman on lap seven and went on to record the win. Charlie Pasteryak finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Ed Kennedy and Jan Leaty. There were ten cautions for 47 laps. The Busch Grandnationals were also at Nazareth. Elliott Sadler recorded his first GN win with Todd Bodine, a close second. Steve Park led 92 of the first 141 laps until losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won $207,500 when he took the checkered flag in the Winston. Ricky Craven won the Winston Open.

Twenty years ago in 2002, heavy rain forced postponement of the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event on Friday night. Qualifying was completed before the rains came. Nevin George set fast time for the Busch Pole award. Ted Christopher was the second fastest. The re-draw for the start saw Christopher on the pole with Jamie Tomaino, outside. George drew the third starting spot. Forty-three Modifieds were on hand. Among the notables that missed the cut were Tom Baldwin, John Blewett III, Jim Broderick and Carl Pasteryak. At Waterford on Saturday night Ed Reed Jr. beat out Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada and at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. The Busch North Series was at Seekonk for a 150 lapper. Matt Kobyluck took the lead on lap 144 and went on to score the win. At the Adirondack Raceway second-generation driver Chris Ross won a 50 lap Pro Stock event. The Fonda Speedway celebrated its 50th anniversary. Jack Johnson, who, at 57 scored his 140th win at the historic oval. Mark Rogers won at Wall Township and Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500, the 12th win for car owner Roger Penske. In Winston Cup action in the World 600 at the Lowes Motor speedway, Mark Martin took the win after Jimmie Johnson blew a late race pit stop. Jeff Green won the Busch Series event.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the weatherman took the win. Forecasts of heavy wind and rain forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s activities. Kerry Malone was the current point leader in the SK Modified division. Malone led Eric Berndt by 10 points after three events. Rounding out the top five were Ted Christopher, Brad Heitala and Willie Hardie Jr. Defending SK Modified Champion Frank Ruocco was 11th, 54 points behind the leader. Other point leaders were Tom Butler in the Late Models, Chris Mathews in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Ltd Late Models and Barry Fluckiger in the Dare Stocks. The Stafford Speedway announced that Valvoline, in conjunction with CARQUEST Auto Parts, had signed on to become an SK Modified 1st place contingency partner for the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. Valvoline’s weekly $150 contingency bonus brought the total winner’s check for each SK Modified® feature event to $1,850.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman also prevailed as close to two inches of rain fell on the shoreline oval on Saturday. Shawn Monahan was the current SK Modified point leader as he held an 18 point edge over Rob Janovic. In six events Monahan had been the model of consistency as he had recorded six top 10’s including one win. Janovic hadtwo wins but has only five top tens. Rounding out the top five were Doug Coby, Jeff Pearl and Diego Monahan. Allen Coates was the Late Model point leader, Dwayne Dorr the Sportsman leader, Ken Cassidy the Mini Stock leader and Chris Bakaj the Legends leader.

Joey Logano won his third Grand National Division race in four career starts in the Featherlite Coaches 200. And his latest win came over runner-up Kevin Harvick by nearly two and a half seconds – a day after Harvick won the NEXTEL Cup All-Star Challenge and three months after he won the Daytona 500. The first NASCAR sanctioned event at Iowa Speedway drew a facility-record estimated crowd of 24,741. It was also one of the largest stand-alone crowds in NASCAR Grand National Division history.

Kevin Harvick earned a $1 million payday, winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C., after Matt Kenseth got caught speeding and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch took each other out of contention. That made Jimmie Johnson, a two-time All-Star race winner, the last driver for Harvick to contend with. But Johnson barely mounted a challenge, staying in line behind Harvick until the final lap at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Johnson made one attempt at a pass, Harvick blocked it, then drove off to his second win of the season. Mark Martin finished third and was followed by Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Johnny Sauter and Kenseth. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr., who got into the race by winning the Nextel Open, rounded out the top 10.

It was announced that almost 1,700 former Sprint Corp. employees would settle their federal class-action age-discrimination lawsuit against the company for $57 million, according to a proposal filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Kansas. The employees sued after several mass layoffs between October 2001 and March 2003, alleging that a computerized performance management system used in the layoffs improperly targeted employees older than 40.The settlement amount included $21 million to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and costs.

The Associated Press reported that NASCAR couldn’t stop AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, a federal judge ruled. NASCAR asked for the ruling to be put on hold pending appeal. A federal judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant NASCAR’s requests for a stay to prevent Burton’s No. 31 car from racing Saturday with the AT&T logo. The first ruling, issued just hours before the Nextel All-Star Challenge, was the second in two days from U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob. Following the second denial for a stay, NASCAR filed an emergency motion with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which also denied the request.

Ten years ago in 2012, The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of some pre-Memorial Day fireworks as Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco slugged it out in SK Modified competition. In the end, Woody Pitkat was the winner of a wild and thrilling 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Mark St. Hilaire was the a first time winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tyler Hines was a first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, and Josh Wood scored his third consecutive Limited Late Model feature victory of the 2012 season in the 20-lap feature. Albert Saunders drove to victory in the extra distance 20-lap DARE Stock feature to score his second consecutive feature victory.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper first it was Preece and Frank Ruocco fighting for the lead then it was Preece and Rocco. The duel between Ruocco and Preece ended with 20 laps complete as the two cars made contact in turn 1 with Ruocco’s car hitting the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out. Preece was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officials for the contact with Ruocco. Rocco took the lead on lap 29 and set the stage for round two of the night’s battle. On a lap 36 restart, Rocco and Preece raced side by side for 2 laps with Preece the leader at the line before Rocco got cleared of Preece on lap-38. Preece made a last ditch effort coming to the checkered flag and he made contact with Rocco’s car, which resulted in Rocco spinning. Preece took the checkered flag first, but he was penalized to the last car on the lead lap by officials for the contact with Rocco, making Pitkat the winner. Dave Gervais came home in second, with Ted Christopher, Danny Cates, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco didn’t miss a beat despite taking a week off to race in a Whelen Modified Tour event at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire as he went two for two scoring wins in the SK Modified and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models at the shoreline oval. Dan Darnstaedt won the Street Stock feature race and Ken Cassidy Jr. continued his domination of the Mini Stock division, winning his seventh race on the season. The INEX Legends Cars and Bandoleros joined the NASCAR race program, with Dana Dimatteo and Derek Debbis winning the respective divisions.

Rocco mastered the last restart attempt to pull ahead of Rob Janovic who got in line in second. Janovic got to the leader’s rear bumper in turns three and four on lap-32 however could not pull alongside. Rocco went on to the win, his fifth on the year. Janovic was second, while Keith’s twin brother Jeff ended a solid run in third place. Tom Abele and Tyler Chadwick each rebounded from spins to place fourth and fifth.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, twin 25 lap Modified features were run. Tim Brown posted his 60th career victory as he won the opener. Burt Myers was second, and his brother, Jason Myers, was third. Newcomer Dean Ward won the nightcap. Austin Pack finished second, and Junior Miller was third.

Ron Silk, the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion walked away the winner in the Richie Evans Hall Of Fame 100 for the NASCAR Modifieds at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

A picture perfect day set the backdrop for a full slate of racing action at Thompson International Speedway that featured the Modified Racing Series and six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on Sundat. A caution-filled main event saw Rowan Pennink as the survival of the fittest to post the victory.

Ryan Preece led only the checkered flag lap in the Sunoco Modifieds to score the feature event win. The 2011 TIS Modified track champion, Cam McDermott made the step up to the Lite Modified division in winning style. Marc Palmisano came on strong in the waning laps of the Late Model event to claim the victory. Art Moran III was tops in Limited Sportsman division while Mike Gorgievski earned the victory in the Mini Stocks. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. scored his first career TIS Modified feature victory.

Pennink of Huntington Valley, PA, outlasted the competition in a Modified Racing event that was marred by 11 cautions. Ted Christopher and Pennink waged a great battle for the lead in the early stages of the main event that saw 35 cars take the green flag. Christopher held the point and held back advances of Pennink. Christopher held Pennink at bay on countless restarts as attrition built. Pennink made what turned out to be the winning move on lap 34 when he dove to the inside of Christopher to take the lead. Shortly after, Christopher retired from the event. In the late stages of the race, Pennink had to hold off the persistent challenges of Richard Savary. A bobble by Savary with 10 laps to go looked as if Pennink may find some comfort in the last dash to the checkers. Savary was quick to recover; however, running down Pennink again with five laps remaining. Pennink was solid over the final laps to post his victory. The win was his fifth with the Modified Racing Series. Savary came home in second. Geoff Gernhard had a career night to finish third. Point leader Jon McKennedy and Mike Holdridge completed the top five.

A surprise ending in the Sunoco Modified main event found Ryan Preece in victory lane. Todd Ceravolo, who had led since the early stages of the event got loose exiting turn four on the final lap. With nowhere to go, Preece clipped the sliding #31 of Ceravolo. The resulting spin gave Preece the victory. Kerry Malone came home second followed by Keith Rocco. An eventful day ended with a fourth-place finish for Ted Christopher. Ceravolo had to settle for fifth.

New Englander Bobby Santos had a successfull weekend racing in the mid-West. An early-race restart gave Santos the opening he wanted to see and the Franklin, Massachusetts drivers never looked back en route to dominating Saturday night’s inaugural Hall of Fame Classic Traxxas Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Jimmie Johnson had the fastest car and the perfect strategy Saturday night to win the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson won the first of four 20-lap segments to secure a spot near the front of the field for the final 10-lap shootout, and then pulled away from Matt Kenseth and Brad Keslelowski to win the $1 million race.

Defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated Sunday’s Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 for his third consecutive victory at Iowa Speedway.

Five years ago in 2017, at Thompson on Sunday, the second annual Limited Sportsman Long Distance event took center stage. The drivers of the Limited Sportsman series ran a 30-lap long distance race with 30 cars making up the field of competitors in the biggest race the series hold all season at the Big-T. The race was a popular new addition to the calendar in 2016, extending the normal 20-lap Limited Sportsman feature an extra ten laps. The 2017 event saw its share of drama as Ryan Waterman proved to be the car to beat, leading for much of the first half of the event. However, the extra distance paid off for Brent Gleason who took the lead around halfway and never looked back, surviving numerous cautions and a hard charge from Waterman to take the win but was later disqualified after post race inspection.

The Sunoco Modifieds held their second race of the season at Thompson and it was a pair of familiar names up front battling for the checkered flag as Keith Rocco out-dueled Ryan Preece for the win after Preece took the victory in the Icebreaker when Rocco settled for a runner-up finish. The duo had to survive numerous multi-car wrecks that resulted in two red flag periods before racing to the finish in the 30-lap feature. Despite Preece’s best efforts, Rocco claimed a dominant win in his hunt for a second consecutive title. Rocco now had 235 career wins at Thompson, Waterford and Stafford. Woody Pitkat, Nick Salva and John Studley rounded out the top five.

Other Sunday winners at Thompson were Roger Turbush in the Mr Rooter Trucks, Wayne Burroughs in the Minis and Rick Gentes in the Late Models.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the Valenti Modified Racing Series in addition to their regular Friday night program. Taking the checkered flag in the 80 lapper was Anthony Nocella, for his first career Stafford VMRS victory. Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Chase Dowling in the SK Modified® feature, Kevin Gambacorta in the Late Model feature, George Nocera, Jr. in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the DARE Stock feature.

A late race restart caused Rowan Pennink to lose sight of victory. Pennink’s car wouldn’t start back up after a red flag condition and Richard Savary came to pit road out of gas, handing the race lead over to Nocella with Woody Pitkat in second spot. It took 1-hour 18 minutes to complete the first race of the year. Three front running drivers were victims of fuel shortage. Rocco, Pennink, and Richard Savary were all sidelined for engines that quit while running at or near the front.

The Nocella Paving race team purchased a brand new Race Works Chassis for the new season and the end result had Nocella pleased post race. “Can’t thank Eddie Flemke (car builder) enough. Completely different than the other one. First race out with it so we really didn’t have a clue. We were horrible in practice and then it was awesome the whole race,” said Nocella.Nocella led Pitkat to the checkered flag to pick up his first win at Stafford. Mike Willis finished third with Chris Pasteryak and Ron Williams rounding out the top-5.

With five laps to go in the regular SK Modified 40 lapper Dowling, Ted Christopher, Keith Rocco, Pennink and Williams were lined up single file. Christopher was working over Dowling while Pennink was looking high and low for a way to get around Rocco. Dowling led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his second win in three races in 2017. Rocco finished third with Pennink and Williams rounding out the top-5.

In weekly action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers of Riverhead turned in a double dip performance Saturday night when he scored the win in both the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature event as well the 15-lap Figure Eight contest later in the program. The NASCAR Modified win was the 44th of Tom’s career while the Figure Eight victory was his 27th trip to victory lane. The Granite State Pro Stock Series made their first ever Long Island appearance with Mike Mitchell of Cumberland, RI collecting his first career victory in the Riverhead 100 earning $2,000. Prior to Saturday night Mitchell had never even scored a GSPSS podium finish.

Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville was runner-up in the Kennedy L.I. Realty entry while early leader John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville had a solid race scoring a third place tally in the Suffolk Pro Cycles Chevy. Dave Brigati of Calverton and John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville completed the top five

Down in the south land, Michael Clifton has been racing for years at the Bowman Gray Stadium, but after plenty of success it took him a while to get back to the winner’s circle. On Saturday, he won his first race since June 2013 to pick up his 20th career victory at Bowman Gray Stadium, winning the second 25-lap race.

Clifton finished 11th in the first race after Tim Brown started on the pole and led from start to finish. Brown drew 14th after the Madhouse Scramble, which put Clifton on the front row for the second race. Clifton took the lead from Daniel Yates on the third lap and led the remaining 22 laps.

Brown won the first 25-lap race, giving him 82 for his career at Bowman Gray. He defeated Jason Myers, James Civali and Burt Myers.

Kyle Busch took home a $1 million paycheck for winning Saturday’s lackluster Monster Energy All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The race featured the debut of a softer option tire, which was expected to create more passing opportunities but ended up being a non-factor in the final 10 lap stage that saw Busch take the lead at the start and lead to the checkered flag.

The victory for Busch comes a day after he scored his seventh NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Charlotte, but Saturday’s victory was his first of any kind at Charlotte in a NASCAR Cup Series car.

Scott Dixon earned the pole for the 101st Indianapolis 500. The four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner delivered with speeds that had not been seen at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 21 years. He stunned the crowd, and the field with a four-lap average of 232.164 mph in his No. 9 Honda.

Last year, 2021, Friday night saw the Stafford Motor Speedway kick off it’s 21 weeks of Friday night weekly racing with 40 degree weather. New for the 2021 season at Stafford Motor Speedway, The Crafty Toolbox of Meriden, CT has become the track’s newest contingency sponsor. The Crafty Toolbox will present a weekly bonus of $50 to the third place finisher in each Street Stock feature event, bumping the third place purse up to $225. In addition, For the second consecutive season, Baker’s Woodshop will offer a $75 bonus to the third place finisher in each Limited Late Model feature event this season. The Crafty Toolbox will also have a presence at Stafford’s Monday night Wild Thing Kart Series.

It was good to hear and see Matt Buckler back in the saddle behind the mic in the announcer’s tower. Buckler had been on a two week quarantine after coming in contact with someone who had the Covid virus.

It was back to basics for Mike Christopher Sr and Jr. The first two events at Stafford were not as productive as they had wished so the Christophers reverted back to a set-up that worked and the results showed success. Christopher, Jr., started third and took the lead on the first lap from Tyler Leary before the caution came out for a multi car incident in turn 2 with 1 lap complete. Christopher took the lead on the restart with Mikey Flynn in second and Todd Owen in third. Owen worked his way by Flynn on lap-5 to take over second with Bryan Narducci in fourth and Tyler Hines and Chase Dowling side by side for fifth. Keith Rocco, who started nineth, had moved into seventh. The caution flag flew with 9 laps complete for Doug Meservey, Jr. who did a half spin through the frontstretch infield. At just about the same time Narducci got loose in turn two and made contact with Ron Williams. Narducci was forced to park it for the night.

Owen took a look to the high and low side of Christopher on the restart but Christopher was able to maintain the lead. Rocco came up to third with Hines side by side with Flynn for fourth. Tyler Hines took the fifth place on lap-12 while Stephen Kopcik took fifth on lap-13. Up front, Rocco got around Owen to take over second and he began to set his sights on Christopher for the lead.

At the halfway point of the race, Christopher still held the lead with Rocco right on his bumper. Owen was third followed by Hines and Kopcik. Noah Korner was up to sixth followed by David Arute, Ronnie Williams, Andrew Molleur, Dowling, and Tyler Leary. Hines got around Owen for third place on lap-31 while Rocco was still giving chase to Christopher for the race lead and Kopcik was still running in fifth place.

Rocco tried every move he could think of but to no avail as he couldn’t get close enough to Christopher to make a move for the lead as Christopher took down the victory. Hines finished third with Owen and Kopcik rounding out the top-5. Sixth thru tenth were Ronnie Williams, Noah Korner, Andrew Molleur, David Arute and Tyler Leary.

In other Friday night action at Stafford, Michael Bennett and Derek Debbis both made it two-for-two in 2021 by winning the Late Model and SK Light feature events respectively. Rich Hammann scored his first career Stafford feature victory in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar won the Street Stock feature.

In the SK Lites third generation racer Tyler Barry made his open wheel debut. Barry is the son of former driver Kenny Barry and the Grandson of legendary car owner Art Barry. In his first outing started 11th and finished a solid seventh in his qualifying heat. He finished 13th in the feature. Also moving up from the full fendered cars was Meghan Fuller who finished 14th.

Derek Debbis was the SK Lite winner but the event was slowed when Todd Douillard, who was running sixth at the time hit a ton in turn four, breaking the Armco barrier and brought out the red. Sami Anderson also hit hard in the same area. Both drivers were unhurt.

Coming up this Friday at Stafford is the 3rd Annual CBYD Open Modified 81 plus a regular program. Ryan Preece has indicated that he will be in competition.

The southern based SMART Modifieds paid a visit to what is known as “The Moonshine Capitol of the World”, the Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, VA last Saturday. The event drew 17 cars including Ryan Preece.

John Smith led just one lap in the SMART Modified Tour portion of the Kenny Minter Classic at Franklin County Speedway on Saturday, but it was the one lap that counted.

Smith was running inside the top-five in the final laps with a front-row view of the confrontations that broke out in front of him, first between James Civali and Burt Myers, then between James Civali and Bobby Labonte. Both Myers and Labonte had worked their way to the outside of the man who has earned the nickname “One Man Taliban,” but neither driver was able to complete the pass. Civali drove up the track to run Myers up, resulting in Myers making contact with the outside wall. A few laps later, on the first white flag lap, Labonte had passed Civali entering turn one, but spun when Civali put the bumper to him as he exited turn two, which allowed Smith to move into the second. Smith, on the final lap of the race, raced his way to Civali’s inside in turn three, gave him some of his own medicine as he took the lead and the eventual win. Civali recovered and finished second.

Jason Myers wound up finishing third while brothers Frank Fleming and Chris Fleming rounded out the top-five. Burt Myers ended up 8th, Chuck Hossfeld, 11th and Ryan Preece, 12th.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl didn’t have a Grand Opening last weekend, they sort of had a soft opening. Racing began at the shoreline oval last Saturday night with somewhere near 400 spectators in attendance. It was kind of a secret race as no one knew what was going on except those who drove by on Route 85 in Waterford and read the sign that stated that there would be racing there on Saturday.

It’s really too bad as thousands of dollars have been spent to bring the facility back to a near first class venue. Too bad the guy running the track claims to be a savior of race tracks but in reality has no clue as to what it takes to promote racing and make it profitable.

Needless to say, eight divisions were in competition. In the SK Modifieds 17 cars were on hand. Corey DiMatteo took the win over Todd Owen and Joey Gada. The SK Lites also had 17 cars with Wayne Burroughs taking the win. In the Late Models it was Jason Palmer over Ryan Morgan. John O’Sullivan was the Legends winner, Ryan Waterman was the Strictly Stock winner, Jared Roy was the Mini Stock winner, Rob Riccardi was the Pro Four winner and Jim Boyle was the Truck division winner.

There is no word as to whether the Speedbowl will be running this week. Best bet is to drive by and check the sign that is out front near the road!

Out on Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway Shawn Solomito won the 50 lap NASCAR Modified Tune-up for this weeks Modified Tour Series event. Kyle Soper finished second with Tom Rogers, third. Despite a rain delay during qualifying the entire seven division program was completed. With the three heat races scrubbed and the 21-car field set for the 50-lap feature by inverting the top 12 from the opening night event a week prior with the remaining nine cars set by points after the opener.

Patrick Emerling got the best of Matt Hirschman as he won a 75 lap Race of Champions event at the Ghemung NY Speedway. Austin Beers finished third with Zane Zeiner and Tommy Catalano rounding out the top five.

In NASCAR Cup racing, Martin Truex Jr. powered his way around Darlington Raceway, sweeping both stages and leading the final 105 laps Sunday. Kyle Larson cut into Truex’s often large lead over the final 30 laps, coming as close as two car-lengths down the stretch. But the Joe Gibbs Racing driver held him off for his third victory of the season. Kyle Busch finished third, William Byron was fourth and Denny Hamlin, who came in as the NASCAR points’ leader, was fifth. Ryan Preece finished 23rd.

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