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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1952 the New London-Waterford Speedbowl began its summer schedule which saw two nights of racing, Wednesday and Saturday at the shoreline oval. Fred Luchesi was the 25 lap Sportsman winner on Wednesday night while Don Collins won the 25 lap Sportsman feature on Saturday night.

Following successful racing careers both drivers were inducted into the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame. John Sandberg and Charlie Webster were the Claiming Car winners. In Stock Car action at Seekonk, Dave Humphrey who would become Wally Saleeba’s brother-in-law took the Stock Car victory.

Sixty five years ago in 1957 Don Collins made it three in a row and four for the season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier was the non-Ford winner. A special 100 lapper was run on Thursday (Memorial Day) which was won by Wild Bill Slater. Desrosier was again the non-Ford winner .Al DeAngelo made it two in a row at the 1/5 mile Islip Speedway on Long Island. Seekonk opened for the season featuring scaled back Modified Stock Cars which were called Sportsman. Fred Luchesi took the win. At Old Bridge Pete Frazee took the win over Parker Bohn.

Sixty years ago in 1962 Hank Stevens made it two in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner. Ron Narducci was the Friday night winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Bill Slater made it five in a row at Norwood. Red Barbeau was the winner at Seekonk. At the Islip Speedway Jim Hendrickson took the win over Axel Anderson and George Tet. It rained at Seekonk. At Old Bridge, Wally Dallenbach took the win over Fats Caruso and Pete Frazee.

Fifty five years ago in 1967 Catamount Stadium, a 1/3 mile banked speedway in Milton, Vermont opened for the season with Mario “Fats” Caruso taking the win over Jean Paul Cabana. Don MacTavish took the top spot at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. It was an all New England top five as Pete Hamilton finished second and Tommy Borget finished third. Billy Harman and Gene Bergin rounded out the top five, At the Fonda Speedway Irv Taylor beat out Lou Lazzaro and Dave Lape and at the Utica-Rome Speedway Bill Wimble outlasted Bruce Dostal for the win. Dick Clark, Dave Lape and Rene Charland rounded out the top five. At Thompson on Sunday, Pete Hamilton took the Modified win over Gene Bergin and Leo Cleary. Bill Scrivener was the winner of a special Memorial Day 50 lapper at the Waterford Speedbowl. Jiggs Beetham was the Daredevil winner. The Albany Saratoga Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day. MacTavish made it two in a row at the Malta oval. Pete Hamilton again finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Guy Chartrand and Ernie Gahan rounded out the top five.

Fifty years ago in 1972,Eddie Flemke, in the Vigliorolo No.34, which was the original Bob Judkins Pinto, started off the weekend on the right foot as he won the Friday night feature at Malta, N.Y. and the Saturday night feature at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished second on both nights. At Islip on Saturday night, Gary Winters mastered the 1/5 mile oval as he took the main event over Cliff Tyler and Jack Reinhardt. At Fonda it was Dave Lape over Lou Lazzaro. Dick Dunn won a 36 lap Modified feature at Waterford. Seekonk fell victim to rain. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Ed Pieniezak won out over Al Clark. Stafford ran their 100 lap Memorial Day Classic on Monday. Fred DeSarro took the win over Ed Flemke, Ronnie Bouchard, Denis Giroux and George Summers.

Forty five years ago in 1977, Fred DeSarro was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ron Bouchard finished second with Bugsy Stevens, Brian Ross and Ed Flemke rounding out the top five. Allen Whipple was the winner at Monadnock and at Riverhead it was Charlie Jarzombek over Fred Harbach. Saturday night was busy. At Waterford it was Bill Greco taking a 100 lap win over Don Bunnell, at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard and Freddie Schulz finished one-two and at Westboro, Mike Murphy, Mike Weeden and Gomer Taylor were the top three. Pete Fiandaca beat out Bob Stefanik and Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and at Charlotte a Super-Speedway Modified event was run with Harry Gant taking the win over Jerry Makara, Jerry Cook and Lennie Pond. Sunday night at Thompson, Ronnie Bouchard mastered the 5/8 mile oval. Fred DeSarro finished second with Ray Miller, third.

Forty years ago in 1982, Ray Miller took the Friday night win at Stafford with Reggie Ruggiero, second and Ronnie Bouchard, third. Everything else in New England for the weekend was rained out. At New Egypt Richie Evans won a 100 lapper over Wayne Anderson and Tony Siscone. Evans carried over his winning ways to Shangri-La where he beat out George Kent and Jerry Cook. At Islip John Blewett Jr took the nights feature over Don Howe and Fred Harbach.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, the Modified Tour Series was at Stafford on Friday night for a 100 lapper. Reggie Ruggiero in the Mario Fiore No.44 was the class of the field as he took the victory over Jeff Fuller, Kenny Bouchard, Brian Ross and Corky Cookman. Richie Gallup was the SK-Modified winner. At Waterford on Saturday night, Bob Potter recorded his 74th career win at the shoreline oval. Dick Ceravolo finished second with Bob Gada, third. At Riverhead it was Tom McCann over Don Howe and at Seekonk and Riverside, it rained. Don Pratt won at Shangri-La on Saturday and on Sunday for the Port City Classic at Oswego, Tony Hirschman won the 100 lap event over Jan Leaty, Jamie Tomaino and Wayne Edwards. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Kyle Petty took the win. Harry Gant was the Busch Grandnational winner.

Thirty years ago in 1992, the modified Tour Series was at Stafford for a 150 lapper. Reggie Ruggiero, in the Ed Cloce No.69 took the win with Jeff Fuller, second. Jamie Tomaino, Wayne Anderson and Ed Flemke Jr. rounded out the top five. Ricky Young was the big winner at Waterford on Saturday night as he beat out Mark Lajunesse and Ted Christopher for the win. Jerry Marquis got his fifth of the year in the Judkins 2x at Riverside and it was Carl Miller over Dan Jivenelli at Riverhead. Jan Leaty won the Port City Classic at Oswego. Jim Rudolf, Reggie Ruggiero and Chris Amen followed. In Sunday night SK-Modified action at Thompson, Richie Gallup in the Ceravolo No.31 took the win over Bo Gunning and Tom Tagg.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, Mike Stefanik recorded his 38th Featherlite Modified Tour Series win as he beat out Tony Hirschman, Reggie Ruggerio and Rick Fuller in a 150 lap event at Stafford. Ken Barry was the SK winner. Tucker Reynolds took the Saturday night win at Waterford Jeff Pearl led the early going until getting bumped out of the way by Reynolds with 15 laps to go. At Waterford it was announced that long time driver and race official Ed “Spinner” Smith had passed away at the age of 82. Chris Kopec won at Riverside and Frank Vigliorolo won at Riverhead. George Kent won the Richie Evans Memorial at Shangri-La and Dave Dion won the Busch North Series event at Holland. Mike Stefanik finished second. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. announced the Steve Park would drive in five Winston Cup races in 1998.Jeff Gordon won the rain delayed World 600 at Charlotte.

Twenty years ago in 2002, heavy rain and high winds wiped out the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event at Stafford. Eddie Reed Jr. beat Dennis Gada by a bumper to make it two in a row at Waterford on Saturday night. Tom Fox finished third. JR Bertuccio made it three in a row at Riverhead as he beat out Howie Brode and Wayne Anderson. At Wall Township on Saturday night, Jimmie Blewett took the win over Marc Rogers and Tim Arre. The Race of Champions Championship Trail was at Wall Township on Sunday for a 100 lapper. Doug Wolcott went pole to pole to take the event over George Kent Sr, Jamie Tomaino and John Blewett III. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Jimmie Johnson took the win with Bill Elliott, second.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, for the 17th annual Connecticut Classic 150. Donnie Lia, in the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile made it two in a row at the Arute family owned facility. There were 42 Modifieds on hand for the 150 lap contest. Lia started sixth and took the lead on lap 113 from Eric Beers. James Civali, who started on the pole finished second. Eddie Flemke Jr finished third with Zach Sylvester and Todd Szegedy rounding out the top five. Ted Christopher started third and was the top lap leader as he led 84 circuits. His night came to an end after he wrecked with Frank Ruocco in the third turn on lap 91. Christopher blamed Mike Stefanik for the incident. Reggie Ruggerio and John Blewett III were eliminated in a big wreck on lap 104. Defending champion and Busch Pole Sitter Tony Hirschman continues to have bad luck as he was eliminated on lap 114. Likewise for Chuck Hossfeld who lost a wheel on lap 31.

Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Jamie Tomaino, Dick Houlihan, Richard Savory and Eric Beers. Civali led the opening laps before he was passed by Ted Christopher on lap2. Christopher appeared to have the field covered up until the time he pitted on lap 86. Jimmy Blewett led laps 87 through 90 before giving way to Eric Beers who led laps 91 to 109. Lia led lap 110 before giving it back to Beers for three laps. Lia took the lead for the final time on lap 113. Six caution periods for 36 laps kept Lia’s speed at 58.568 mph.

Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway began with a large field of cars, 129, including 28 Sunoco (SKtype) Modifieds. Bert Marvin started on the outside pole of the Sunoco Modified feature and went on to lead every lap to record the feature win. Tom Cravenho finished a distant second with Buddy Charette, third. Kerry Malone and Woody Pitkat followed. Sixth through tenth were John Blewett, Jimmy Blewett, Keith Rocco, Todd Ceravolo and Josh Steeves. The only drama for the Modifieds came after the second qualifying heat when Jimmy Blewett was disqualified from his heat win when his car failed to make weight. Blewett started the feature in last spot.

Other opening night winners were Tom O’Sullivan, who won his first-ever Late Model feature, Jeff Zuidema who won the Pro Stock feature. The Limited Sportsman winner was Jess Gleason, Mini Stock winner, Mike Romano and TIS Mod winner was Tim Sullivan.While the fields of Modifieds, Late Models and Limited Sportsman were extremely healthy the Pro Stocks were dying a slow death as only 16 were on hand.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Bo Gunning ended a long dry spell as he annexed the 40 lap SK Modified victory. Jim Peterson won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chris Matthews the 20-lap SK Light feature, Michael Nadeau the Limited Late Model feature, and Steve Berardi the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. Gunning started the event from the outside pole, but he had to work hard for the victory. Curt Brainard, searching for his first win since the 2000 season, hounded Gunning lap after lap, and nearly made several moves to the inside of Gunning for the lead. A late caution slowed the field and set up a four lap dash to the finish. Ted Christopher moved past Brainard into second on the restart, but Gunning was too strong for Christopher to overtake. Brainard came home third, with Todd Owen and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Kenny Horton scored his first career win at the shoreline oval. Dennis Gada, who is in the process of trying to annex a record setting seventh track championship finished second. Dennis Charette, who survived a trademark “Waterford Big One” finished third. A grinding crash on lap two damaged the cars of Shelly Perry, Wendell Dailey and Shawn Monahan. Monahan returned to finish sixth. Rounding out the top five following Charette were Don Fowler and Tyler Chadwick. Officials felt that Rob Janovic triggered the crash as they sent him to the rear. Janovic ended up eighth in the final tally. Tim Jordan made it three in a row in Late Model competition as he won a classic battle with Allen Coates. This division, once considered the best second division in New England is down to eleven cars and could use a shot in the arm. The ISMA Supermodifieds made a special appearance with Chris Perley taking the win over Nokie Fornoro and Rob Summers. Other Saturday night winners were Bill Gertsch in the Sportsman division and Phil Evans in the Mini-Stocks.

Other weekend winners were Pete Brittain over Jan Leaty and Tony Hirschman at the Richie Evans Memorial at Oswego, Kirk Akexander in the True Value Modified Series at Monadnock and twin events at Wall Township went to Jimmy Blewett and Justin Gumley.

Kasey Kahne raced to his first victory of the season, pulling away on a late restart to win the Busch Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Casey Mears shored up his job security by stretching his fuel to the finish line on Sunday night to win the Coca-Cola 600, his first Nextel Cup victory. Mears, struggling through his first season at elite Hendrick Motorsports, ran strong all night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but only took the lead when others ducked onto pit road for a splash of gas. Mears and his team gambled and pushed their Chevrolet to the finish, running out of gas moments after he took his first checkered flag. It was Hendrick’s fifth straight win and the ninth in the past 10 Nextel Cup races, but came from the unlikeliest driver. J.J. Yeley finished second for the first top-five finish of his career. Kyle Petty was third, his first top five in 10 years. Reed Sorenson was fourth, and Brian Vickers was fifth in the highest finish so far for Toyota. Tony Stewart, who seemed to have the win after Jimmie Johnson gave it away in the pits, wound up sixth after figuring he was two laps short on fuel and had to make a late stop.

Dario Franchitti finally got the news he had been waiting for Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The rain is eight blocks away,” he heard over his radio. Franchitti had stayed on the track during a late caution, anticipating another round of thunderstorms – and the gamble paid off. The Scotsman, who is probably best known as actress Ashley Judd’s husband, won the Indianapolis 500, arguably the world’s biggest race, when it was halted by rain 34 laps from its scheduled end. Scott Dixon finished second at Indianapolis Motor Speedway while two-time winner Helio Castroneves battled back from an early mishap on pit lane to finish third.

It was announced that the Motor Racing Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Speedway Corp., will move to Cabarrus County, NC and will be creating 50 jobs and investing $2.15 million over the next three years. The company, which provides NASCAR radio coverage and programming, is moving from Daytona Beach, Fla. The average weekly wage of the jobs will be $1,045 plus benefits, which is higher than the Cabarrus County average weekly wage of $594, not including benefits.

Ten years ago in 2012, The Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the 22nd ANNUAL TSI HARLEY-DAVIDSON 125. Doug Coby followed his Spring Sizzler win with another win at the nutmeg oval. Coby slipped past Bobby Santos eight laps from the finish to win the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 and became the first driver with more than one win this season.

Coby, who was making his 118th Mod Tour start, started fifth but had to pit on Lap 27 under caution for a flat right front tire. He charged back and chased down Santos, who had won the pole and led the race from the drop of the green. Coby closed in on the leader with 10 laps to go and on his second attempt slipped by for the lead. After taking on fresh rubber Coby flew through the field and was in the top five with 50 to go. Santos tried to go the entire 125-lap distance without changing tires, and paid the price with seven laps to go. At the finish Santos had faded to second and was followed by Ron Silk, Todd Szegedy and Rowan Pennink. Sixth through tenth were Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, Jimmy Blewett and Justin Bonsignore.

There were 5 cautions for 21 laps. The first yellow flew on lap 24 flew for Ed Flemke who spun after exiting turn four. The second caution was for Gary McDonald who spun in turn two on lap 32. Richie Pallai was responsible for cautions on lap 58 and 78. The final caution was for Jamie Tomaino who spun and intentionally brought out the caution. Twenty one of the twenty six starters were on the lead lap at the finishers. Among those who failed to finish was Mike Stefanik who retired with engine trouble

Following the Stafford event the Whelen Modified Tour Series went on Spring Break for four weeks before heading to the Waterford Speedbowl on June 23.

Regular Friday night racing at Stafford saw Michael Gervias, Jr. taking the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event. Also securing wins Tom Fearn in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, D.J. Burnham in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

For Gervais, it was his first career win in any division at Stafford, Fearn won for the first time since the 2009 season, Kopec was a winner for the third time in 4 SK Light races this season, Burnham ended Josh Wood’s winning streak at three races, and Casagrande became the all-time winningest DARE Stock driver in Stafford history with his 13th career victory.

In the SK Modified feature there was extremly good racing for 14 laps until a fluid dump sent Keith Rocco into the wall and Ryan Preece spinning.

At the Waterford Speedbowl torrential rain washed out the entire racing program.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, Tim Brown got his third victory in the month of May with a win in the first of two 25-lap races for the featured Modified Division. And Michael Clifton won the second race.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, With the time restraint curfew in affect, the race was called on lap fifteen giving the 89x of Chris McGuire his first victory in the modified division.

Brad Keselowski collected his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season at the Charlotte Motor Speedway as Sprint Cup Series regulars dominated the History 300.

Pit strategy made the difference with 57 laps remaining when Keselowski’s crew chief Jeremy Billins called for the Penske Racing Dodge driver to remain on the race track. Keselowski made his fuel last and held off Denny Hamlin by .838 seconds to earn his 18th Nationwide Series victory and his second triumph at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Kasey Kahne put his rough start to the 2012 season behind him by winning his third Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. With less than 30 laps to go it looked as if Denny Hamlin was chasing Kahne down, closing to within a few car lengths. Kahne, driving the No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet, seemingly turned on the afterburners at that point. He pulled away from Hamlin and cruised to victory, winning by more than four seconds.

Five years ago in 2017, The Stafford Motor Speedway pulled the plug on their Friday night racing program. Due to a change in weather patterns and forecast for the rest of the afternoon and early evening, Stafford Speedway officials decided to postpone the Inaugural Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Modifiedz Night to Friday June 9th. All activities scheduled for Dunleavy Modifiedz Night will be held on Friday, June 9th including the 40-lap SK Light Modified $2,500 to win special event, 50-lap SK Modified event, Fireworks, as well as special pricing for members of the Armed Services.

In weekly action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it was Throw-Back weekend with the running of the Islip 300. Fifteen year old sophomore driver Dillon Steuer stood the Tour Type Modified world on it’s collective ear Saturday night at the eastern Long Island track when he scored an upset victory in the $32,650 Islip 300. Steuer took the lead from Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead with 37 laps remaining in the race and drove off to an extremely popular win worth $7,000.

Qualifying found Ryan Preece. setting fast time and winning the pole for the 300 with a lap of 11.845 in his East West Marine Chevy with Steuer second quick at 11.960 earning the outside pole. As the 20 car field came to the green Preece would move out front with Steuer giving chase for the first lap before he was passed to the inside off turn four on lap 2 by Dave Brigati. It was evident early on that Preece and his team’s game plan were to run as hard as they could early on with the hopes of putting the rest of the field a lap down. While Preece was on a tear at the front of the field Brigati would battle for second with Shawn Solomito who took the spot on lap 53 with an inside pass entering the first turn. With some extended green flag laps being clicked off Preece’s plan was working out just fine. A third of the way through the race Preece had lapped all but the second place car of Solomito.

Things would start to change however as some caution flags would wave prior to and just past the halfway mark with most contending drivers heading to the pits to utilize the two change tires teams were allowed for the 300 which changed the complexion of the race. By lap 200 most everyone pitted for tires with the exception of Preece and Howie Brode. Shawn Solomito with two fresh tires made his way Preece for the lead with an inside pass up the backstretch to take the race lead on lap 146 with Preece sitting second on the tires he started the race on. On a lap 192 restart John Fortin Sr. would make his way to second behind Solomito and would chase the leader until lap 209 when he made he way by Solomito with an inside pass heading into the third turn. Preece in the meantime hanging on with his old tires but soon found himself fighting to stay on the lead lap but to no avail. By the time Ryan pitted for tires he’d be a lap down.

Fortin, a 30 time career winner at Riverhead would lead the way until lap 212 when he was overtaken by Tom Rogers Jr. to the inside entering the third turn. Drivers also making their way into contention after pitting for fresh tires included Dave Schneider and Dillon Steuer with Steuer making his way to second after he passed Fortin on lap 246. Once to second Dillon quickly reeled in 44-time career winner Rogers but catching the leader would be one thing, passing him would be quite another story. Steuer attempted the crossover maneuver several time on Rogers exiting the second corner but to no avail as Roger slowed his car from the center off trying to break the challengers momentum.

Steuer’s big break would come on lap 262 as he and Rogers were working lapped traffic through the third and fourth turn. Exiting the turn Rogers went to the outside while Steuer chose to go to the inside of the lapped car and by the time they hit the first turn Dillon Steuer would be the new race leader. At first Rogers tried to make a crossover move of his own but as the laps clicked off Steuer was able to motor away. In fact in the final few laps Rogers would have a mirror full of third place driver Dave Schneider who was turning in a career performance of his own in the 300.

With the checker flag waving off turn four and the large crowd on their feet Dillon Steuer drove off turn four to score what will be the first of many Tour Type Modified victories as the crowd roared with approval. Dillon then proceeded to do several burnouts for the fans and by the time he arrived in victory lane his left rear tire was cooked right off the car. After track owners Eddie & Connie Partridge & Tom Gatz present Dillon with a five foot tall Islip 300 trophy Dillon was asked if he ever imagined his first career Modified win would come in such a big race the soft spoken Steuer admitted, “no not really but my team had a great game plan tonight. We pitted right around where we wanted to and the car was just perfect”. Steuer who’ll return to classes at Connetquot High School Tuesday morning added, “I can’t thank my owner Grant Williams and my Dad enough for all they do for me along with Northeastern Office Equipment, Sayville South Bay Auto Repair, Coram Materials, KAMO Motorsports and TJ’S Heros.”

Tom Rogers Jr would settle for runner-up money in his SGS Stone Works Chevy and afterwards pointed to his right rear tire noting, “my right rear is gone but hey good for Dillon and his family”. Dave Schneider of Northport was in the mix all race long and would come home third in his Schneider Racing entry, “this is pretty cool to run among the leaders and come away with a podium finish” Dave commented. Ryan Preece and Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches would complete the top five. By the time Preece did eventually get his lap back by passing Steuer it was too little, too late.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, NH last weekend. It took over 15 years to win his second race at what he calls his ‘home’ race track, but Auburn New Hampshire’s Mike Douglas Jr. finally put it all together Saturday afternoon May 27, and won his first Valenti Modified Racing Series event at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH. Douglas first trip to victory lane was in the tracks Hobby Stock division in 2003.

Saturdays race was a special holiday weekend presentation by the Lee track with qualifying heat race winners receiving $500 to win and $3,000 was awarded to the winner. Douglas was clearly the class of the field as he won his heat race and then the 50-lap main event. The second-generation driver started on the pole and led the entire race.

Donnie Lashua, of Canaan, NH, and Dana Smith, of Sunapee, NH, gave chase early on with Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, and Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, MA, providing some late race drama when Savary pulled alongside Douglas with Nocella on his heels. While Savary was dealing with a tight car and Nocella, Douglas pulled away to notch his first VMRS victory. Douglas’ car was a nine year old Race Works Chassis.

Les Hinckley III finished fourth with Todd Annarummo, fifth. Sixth was Dana Smith. Mike Willis, Jeff Rocco, Carl Medieros and Dennis Perry rounded out the top ten.

Down in the south land, Tim Brown recorded his track-record 83rd career victory at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, winning the pole for the first 25-lap Modified race and leading the entire way.

Brown beat Chris Fleming, Lee Jeffreys, Jason Myers and Burt Myers to the line at the end of the first Modified race Saturday. Fleming made an attempt to get under Brown coming out of the fourth turn on lap 10 but slowed up to keep control of his car as it hit the infield grass. Brown sped away and led by a comfortable margin as he maneuvered around slower traffic for the final 15 laps.

Brown drew an “8” in the post-race “Madhouse Scramble,” meaning the order of the top eight finishers was inverted for the start of the second race, and he moved from eighth to sixth in that event. Randy Butner started third, survived an opening-lap wreck, passed Michael Clifton for the lead on lap 3 and held off Burt Myers for the win.

The New London Day reported that a spokesperson for the owner of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl is taking back an announcement that the racetrack would hold races in 2017.

After track management canceled the first spring weekend of racing, an anonymous post issued on the Speedbowl’s website declared plans to open to racers next month.

“There is currently a working agreement for the Speedbowl to be leased for the 2017 racing season,” the post read. That post has since been taken down, and Chuck Coursey, a spokesman for track owner Bruce Bemer who is working with a law firm that represents Bemer’s propane business in a separate case, said the announcement was “premature.”

“Although any announcement regarding a possible agreement to lease the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the upcoming season is premature, management is working to preserve the upcoming season and jobs at the Speedbowl,” Coursey said in a statement. He did not comment further on the lease agreement referenced in the Sunday night announcement.

NASCAR released the 2018 schedules for all three national divisions, with substantial changes made to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar. The first change is moving the annual Daytona 500 back to President’s Day weekend. The race will now be held on Feb. 18, 2018. Once again many fans will take it on the chin as reservations for motel and time-shares will again have to be changed.

In an unrelated matter, Many in the northeast, especially the Whelen Modified Tour competitors and fans were disappointed that Mike Stefanik was not included when NASCAR announced the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018. The five-person group – the ninth since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ken Squier and Robert Yates. In addition, NASCAR announced that Jim France earned the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

Andrew Krause raced to victory Saturday night in the 40-lap main event for the Freehold Ford Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium Speedway. It was his first win of the year and broke a three race-win streak by Jimmy Blewett who finished second.

Austin Dillon won the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night when he stayed out instead of pitting and made it to the finish line ahead of Kyle Busch. Martin Truex Jr. was third after leading 233 of 400 laps.

It was Dillon’s first NASCAR Cup victory and returned the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet — owned by grandfather Richard Childress and driven to fame by Dale Earnhardt — to victory lane.

Ryan Blaney passed Harvick on a restart with three laps to go and held on to win the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Blaney went from last to first for his fifth career Xfinity victory. He had qualified third, but was sent to the back of the field to start the race because of unapproved tire changes to his No. 12 Ford.

Takuma Sato, 40, won the 101st running of the Indy 500 on Sunday by holding off a charging Helio Castroneves in the final laps, becoming the first Japanese driver to capture the Memorial Day weekend classic.

Last year, 2021, Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway was round one of the Call Before You Dig 811 Modified Challenge.

The Stafford Motor Speedway and the Connecticut Department of Health joined hands to offer free Covid-19 vaccinations at the Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81 event on Friday, May 14th. Vaccinations were available at the mobile unit located in the front parking lot from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on race day. All those who received a vaccination prior to the event were eligible for a free Hummel Brothers Hot Dog from the concession stand.

The CBYD 81 drew 33 tour type modifieds. Four qualifying heats were run to set the field. The first heat was won by Craig Lutz with Keith Rocco, second. The eight lap event finished under yellow as Jeff Gallup lost control on the final lap in turn one, taking Brett Meservy with him. The second qualifying heat was won by Joey Cipriano over Todd Owen. That heat saw Brett Gunyaw spin on the initial drop of the green and upon entering turn one went straight into the wall. Mike Christopher jr led Burt Myers and Ryan Preece to the checker. Matt Galko got into Anthony Noscella between turns three and four, taking him out. The fourth heat was run without incident. Ron Williams took the win over Marcello Rufrano and Cam McDermott.

Mike Christopher, Jr., driving for Tommy Baldwin, Jr., took the lead from NASCAR Cup Series competitor Ryan Preece on lap-50 and he led the final 31 laps to pick up winning contingency bonuses of $1,000 from GAF Roofing and $500 from New England Racing Fuel to push his winner’s check up to $5,000. Starting sixth, Christopher dealt with some heavy hitters along the way. Chase Dowling led the early going but had the misfortune of dropping out due to a broken shifter. Anthony Nocella was also a factor but Christophers’s main challenge came from Ryan Preece. Preece dogged the second- generation driver for close to 30 laps before settling for the runner-up spot. Patrick Emerling, Anthony Nocella and Joey Cipriano rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Eric Goodale, Ronnie Williams, Cam McDermott, Keith Rocco and Todd Owen.

Keith Rocco increased his career overall total to 294 wins including 75 at Stafford when he took the 40 lap SK Modified win. His career overall total include 153 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl and 66 victories at the Thompson Speedway Rocco started 14th and took the lead the first time onlap 24 only to lose it on lap 27 to Stephen Kopcik. Rocco and Kopcik ran nose to tail until the last lap when Rocco made an inside move to take the lead and the eventual win. Kopcik settled for second with Todd Owen, third. Tyler Hines and Mikey Flynn rounded out the top five.

Other Friday night winners at Stafford included Tom Fearn who won his first Late Model feature since August 2019, Brian Sullivan scored his first win of 2021 in the SK Light feature, Matt Clement was a first time 2021 winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. was a 2021 first time winner in the Street Stock feature.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night, May 15. Twenty six cars were on hand for the first of three Mod Tour events to be held at the Long Island-1/4 mile track. Justin Bonsignore was the Meyhew Pole sitter.

It took 20 starts, and close to two decades, but Doug Coby finally parked his car in Victory Lane at the Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night. The six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion took the lead from Justin Bonsignore with 25 laps to go in the Miller Lite 200 and drove away from the field to win by over three seconds.

Justin Bonsignore came up two spots short of a fifth straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in a row at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, May 15. The two-time series champion scored the Mayhew Tools pole in qualifying and led the first 175 laps from the top spot but was passed by Doug Coby, then Patrick Emerling, in the final laps. Bonsignore settled for a solid third-place finish, his second top-five in the first three races of the season driving the No. 51, Phoenix Communications Inc. machine for Kenneth Massa Motorsports. Kyle Bonsignore and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series takes a week off before heading to the Jennerstown Speedwat in Pennsylvania on May 29.

It was a wise decision to put Matt Buckler in charge of getting the word out about the happenings at The New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Buckler reported that Joey Gada, working on the outside groove, was able to vapor trail past leader Mike Christopher Jr. late in the race and stay in control to post his first win of the season and the fifth SK race of his career.

In other action at the Connecticut shoreline oval, Jason Palmer and Ken Cassidy Jr. each achieved milestone wins. Palmer pulled it off in the 30-lap Late Model and Cassidy came through in the 25-lap Speedbowl Trucks race.

The most emotional win of the night was produced by Aaron Plemons, as he won for the first time in the Street Stocks.Paul “Buddy” Charette went from fourth to first after a late three-car skirmish and held on to win the first open-wheel race of his career in the 25-lap SK Lite Modified feature.

Tommy Silva ended a 19-year dry spell when he captured the 25-lap Mini Stock feature and John O’Sullivan won the 20-lap Legends feature for the second straight week.

In the SK Modified feature, Joe’s cousin, Adam Gada, dominated the early portion of the race, leading for the first 13 laps.When Adam Gada had a problem, Christopher stampeded in the lead.

Gada’s car, however, kept getting stronger. He got some energy from the outside groove and was able to swirl past Christopher, who held on for second. Rob Janovic Jr. was third. Todd Owen and Anthony Flannery rounded out the top five.

The New London/Waterford Speedbowl and The Racing Guys along with the Ron Bouchard Auto Stores family and friends partnered to bring “The Ron Bouchard Auto Sales Fast Five Racing Series”. The races will consist of five modified races at the Speedbowl with various laps and purses. This series will crown its own champion and is open to all SK type modified competitors. The race dates and corresponding honorees are listed as follows:

  • Race #1 – 5/29/2021 Ron & Ken Bouchard “50” – $3,000.00 to win.
  • Race #2 – 7/3/2021 Ed Flemke Sr & Jr “75” – $4,000.00 to win.
  • Race #3 – 8/7/2021 Bill Slater & Ed Flemke Sr. “100”- $7,000.00 to win.
  • Race #4 – 9/18/2021 George & Ricky Summers “50” – $3,000.00 to win.
  • Race #5 – 10/17/2021 The Waterford Racers “75” – $4,000.00 to win

The total payout for the series is in excess of $120,000.00

In NASCAR cup racing at Dover Downs Alex Bowman led Hendrick Motorsports to a sensational 1-2-3-4 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series races. Kyle Larson was second, Chase Elliott third and William Byron fourth. Ryan Preece finished 18th, one lap down.

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