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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, Chet Gibbons won a Midget event at Seekonk.  Seventy years ago in 1952 Johnny Sandberg, who was a R&D Sound and Vibration Technician at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, CT, went two for two in Claiming Car action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

Don Collins was the Sportsman winner on Saturday night as rain prevailed before the Sportsman feature could be completed on Wednesday night.Don Hall was the Stock Cars winner at Seekonk.

Sixty five years ago in 1957, Melvin “Red” Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner. Islip ran on Wednesday and Saturday. Johnny Coy and Tex Ring were the winners. Fred Luchesi was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. At Old Bridge Pete Frazee took the win over Parker Bohn.

Sixty years ago in 1962, Wild Bill Slater, who was known for his proficiency on asphalt was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Don Collins was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner. Slater made it eight in a row at Norwood on Saturday night as he won a 500 lapper over Red Foote and Ralph “Hop” Harrington. Down the road at Seekonk Roland LaPierre was the Class A winner. At the Islip Speedway Jim Hendrickson took the win. At Old Bridge Joe Kelly took the win over Al DeAngelo.

Fifty five years ago in 1967, rain washed out weekend racing at Stafford, Norwood and Thompson. Spencer Speedway got their show in with Bob Hudson taking the win. The skies remained dry along the Connecticut shoreline while Newt Palm won the Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Deke Astle took his first of four in a row of Class A wins at Seekonk. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night local favorite Clayton “Sonny” Seamon took the win over Eddie Flemke, Lou Lazzaro, Kenny Shoemaker and Andy Romano.

Fifty years ago in 1972, Gene Bergin, in the Dick Armstrong No.1 took the top spot in Friday night action at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. Bob Santos finished second with Richie Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Fred DeSarro rounding out the top five. Ray Miller, in the Meyers-Sweatland Mustang, took Stafford by storm on Saturday night. Following Miller at the finish were Fred DeSarro, Billy Harman, Bob Santos and Eddie Flemke. At Islip it rained and at Fonda, Maynard Forette beat out Jerry Pennock, Ken Shoemaker and Jerry Cook. Dick Dunn, driving the Al and Peg Gaudreau Budda’s Bullet was the Modified winner at Waterford. George Summers won two open competition Modified events over the weekend at Seekonk. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Eddie Pieniezak took the win over Richie Evans, Bernie Miller and Jerry Cook.

Forty five years ago in 1977, Geoff Bodine won at Stafford on Friday night over Ron Bouchard, John Rosati and Dick Caso. Rain washed out action at Seekonk, Westboro, Waterford and Riverside on Saturday night. It remained dry at Islip where Gary Cretty took the win over Wayne Anderson, Cliff Tyler and Tom McCann. At Freeport it was Jerry Bartlett over Gary Winters and Jim Hendrickson. Riverhead ran a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier on Sunday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Jerry Cook and Fred Harbach. Kirby Monteith unseated Punky Caron as King of the Hill at Monadnock and at Thompson; Fred DeSarro made it three in a row as he beat out Ray Miller and John Rosati for the win. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and Maynard Troyer at Lancaster.

Forty years ago in 1982, Reggie Ruggiero was the Friday night modified master at Stafford as he romped to a convincing win over Bob Vee, Ray Miller, Kenny Bouchard and Bugsy Stevens. Spencer ran twin features including a 100 lapper that was won by Maynard Troyer. George Kent won the nite-cap and carried his win streak to Riverside on Saturday night where he beat out Richie Evans and Reggie Ruggiero for the win. Waterford cancelled due to high water in the infield and at Seekonk; Bugsy Stevens took the top spot with the Mystic Missile. Carl Pasteryak finished second with George Summers, third. Sunday racing at Thompson rained out. Other weekend winners were Wayne Anderson over Richie Evans and Bob Park at New Egypt and Fred Harbach at Islip. In Winston Cup action at Riverside in California, Tim Richmond took the win over Terry Labonte and Geoff Bodine.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, rain washed out Stafford, Riverhead and Riverside. At Waterford, Dickie Doo Ceravolo took a popular win as he held on to beat out Bo Gunning and John Anderson. At Shangri-La, Jim Spencer picked up his third win over Jan Leaty and Tony Hirschman. In Winston Cup action at Pocono the winner was Tim Richmond.

Thirty years ago in 1992, Ted Christopher took no prisoners at Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Bo Gunning, Bob Potter and Richie Gallup for the win. Waterford ran twin 25’s on Saturday night with Bob Potter and Rick Young each taking a victory. Tom Fox was the late model winner after Phil Rondeau and Jerry Young tangled late in the event. Jay Stuart won his fifth Pro Stock feature at Riverside and Ricky Fuller bested Chris Kopec for the modified win. Mike Ewanitsko won the Richie Evans Memorial 61 lapper at Riverhead. Bob Park finished second with Brian Miller, third.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, Stafford rained out on Friday night. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series traveled to Jennerstown, Pa. where Mike Ewanitsko scored his 16th Mod Tour win over Tony Ferrente Jr, Sam Russo and Doug French. Charlie Pasteryak had been leading with five laps to go in the 150 lapper when he broke a wheel hub and crashed. Jim Broderick took the lead for the win with two laps to go at Waterford. In victory lane he dedicated his win to Scott Spaulding’s dad who had passed away during the previous week. Riverside ran a 100 lapper on Tuesday and a 50 lapper on Saturday night. Dave Berube won the 100 lapper over Ted Riggott and Ted Christopher and in the 50 lapper on Saturday, Richie Gallup took the win over Christopher and Rene’ Dupuis. Rumors coming out of Riverside indicated that racing for 1998 could be in doubt due to consistently bad crowds. In other weekend action, Dale Shaw won the Busch North Series 150 at Beech Ridge over Mike Stefanik and Jerry Marquis and at Riverhead; Ken Matlach scored his first ever modified win.

Twenty years ago in 2002, Bert Marvin made it two in a row in Thursday night action at Thompson. Ted Christopher finished after coming from the back and was very critical of Marvin’s blocking. Tom Bolles finished third with Ron Yuhas Jr and Jeff Malave rounding out the top five. Perfect weather drew a near capacity crowd. Ed Spiers ended a long dry spell as he scored his first win since 1989 at Stafford on Friday night. During the early going Ted Christopher and John Lobo Jr. were fighting for the lead when they tangled. Christopher lost two laps while his crew changed a tire and was never a factor after that. Ron Silk finished second with Bob Georgiades, third. Lobo finished fourth. The Busch North Series was also at Stafford. Kelly Moore won the 150-lap contest over Dale Shaw and Andy Santerre. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series paid a visit to the Seekonk Speedway. The 150 lap event carried a purse of $67,675 and drew 40 Modifieds and a reported 10,000 spectators. Ed Flemke Jr. started third and took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 26, survived four re-starts and went on to record the win. David Berghman finished second and was followed by Tom Cravenho, Joey Carracia and Rob Summers. Tony Hirschman wrecked on lap five and re-injured his wrist, which all but eliminated his title hopes. Rob Janovic took the win at Waterford over Ron Yuhas Jr. and Dennis Gada. Mike Andrews took the win at Riverhead and Harry Reed got his second of the season at Wall Township. New England was well represented in a Hooters Cup event run at Indianapolis Raceway Park as former Waterford Late Model Champ Phil Rondeau finished fifth and Dale Evonsion finished eighth. George Kent Sr. won the Race of Champions Tour Series event at Tioga and in Winston Cup action at Sonoma, Cal. Ricky Rudd lucked into a win after Jerry Nadeau lost a rear in the Petty car that he drove.

Fifteen years ago in 2007 The big news of the week was that Woody Pitkat had been named as the driver of the Hillbilly Racing No.79. Pitkat replaced Chuck Hossfeld. In other big news, NASCAR listened to car owners concerns and changed the format for an upcoming “Flash” Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was to be held at the Twin State Speedway. After a comprehensive review of the “Flash” format, NASCAR announced changes effective for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event in Claremont (N.H.) on Sunday, July 8.The race, the seventh in the 16-race schedule, would be 100 laps in length. The 30-car field would be set through time trials and twin heat races. “

Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway saw six drivers red hot in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition on an uncharacteristic night of yellow fever. Thursday night featured two first time winners with Marc Jenison scoring his first Late Model triumph in the division’s marquee 50-lapper and Eric Grant besting a strong Limited Sportsman field for his career first. Keith Rocco survived a caution-filled event to score the Sunoco Modified victory while Norm Wrenn, was tops in the Pro Stocks. Tim Sullivan was victorious in the TIS Modifieds and Mike Romano in the Mini Stocks.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Woody Pitkat won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco, the 30-lap Late Model feature, Glenn Griswold the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand the Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Former Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion Rick Fuller joined the Stafford Motor Speedway TV crew as a color man. Fuller’s insights greatly enhanced the Stafford produced NASCAR New England program that was seen every Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm on NESN.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Dennis Charette passed early leader Jay Miller with ten laps to go, notching his first 35-lap SK Modified feature of the season. Dennis Gada and Diego Monahan completed the top-three. The race concluded with a grinding multi-car crash on the front chute that sent Wendell Dailey to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stock), Jason Palmer (Legends).A lot of racing equipment was damaged as numerous wrecks took place in all divisions.

In True Value Modified Series action “Lightning” Lou Mechalides returned to his old stomping grounds, Lee USA Speedway and when the checkered flag was displayed on lap 100, the veteran driver captured his third career win with the touring series. Mechalides is no stranger to feature wins at the Rte 125 oval. He is a former champion of the tracks super modified division driving for the same car owner, Marco Turcotte. Twenty-six Modified race cars towed to Lee for the “Rockingham Boat Spring Fling 100.” Three 12 lap heat races and a 15 lap last chance consolation race determined the 24 car starting field. Mechalides set a torrid pace, leading the Black Mountain Painting half way award at lap 50. A third caution flag slowed the race on lap 57 for early race leader Tony Ricci who spun. Longtime Lee racer and fan favorite, Vinnie Annarumo moved into the top five on the 57th circuit. Fans were starting to watch the Les Hinckley # 06 as the two time winner was starting to put on a late race show. By lap 70, Hinckley got past Annarummo, and cracked the top five. He dogged Kirk Alexander for several laps racing right behind the two time champ. Following a lap 88 caution for an Annarummo spin, the last ten laps got interesting. Hinckley was fifth with 10 laps to go; when the checkered flag was displayed the second-generation driver was second. The charge to the front by Hinckley thrilled the crowd but it was the hometown driver, Mechalides, that put a charge into his old stomping grounds. Jimmy Kuhn Jr, also made a late race run to the front to finish in the top five while Donny Lashua garnered a solid sixth place finish driving the Jack Bateman entry.

In Nextel Cup action Carl Edwards ended a 52-race Nextel Cup winless streak Sunday by holding off Martin Truex Jr. at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Stephen Leicht took advantage of Carl Edwards’ late wreck, then passed good friend Brad Coleman with 13 laps to go to win the Meijer 300 on Saturday night for his first NASCAR Busch Series victory.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) filed a counter claim in U.S. District Court against AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless and AT&T Inc., alleging breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and conspiracy to aid and abet wrongful interference with NEXTEL’s exclusive sponsorship agreement. NASCAR is seeking a minimum of $100 million in damages.

The NASCAR Rule Book governs participation in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and its contents are agreed to in writing by all NASCAR members and participants. Cingular is a member of NASCAR and agreed to abide by all NASCAR rules and regulations when its representatives signed official documents such as the NASCAR Membership and License Application.

NASCAR’s suit further alleges that AT&T, Cingular and its representatives breached its explicit agreements with NASCAR when they re-branded the No. 31 car; entered into contract with RCR knowing that they would litigate against NASCAR; and when they sought to ambush NEXTEL’s exclusive sponsorship rights.

NASCAR also submitted its response to a suit filed by AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless by soundly rejecting each of their claims. The response demonstrates the clarity of NASCAR’s rule book and the baseless allegations made by AT&T Mobility/Cingular Wireless in its attempts to re-brand the No. 31.

The court’s preliminary injunction allowing the No. 31 to re-brand is still on appeal by NASCAR and NEXTEL.

Ten years ago in 2012, a veteran former Modified Car Owner made a noteworthy observation. He said, “With the average team’s equity hovering around a half-million, it just seems odd that race purses continue to decline.” He added, “the latest debacle comes from the “last bastion of top paying modified purses” that being New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The entry arrived and it shows a decrease of 10% from 2011″. Mario Fiore stated that Reggie Ruggiero, driving the #44 won $18,150 back in 1992, 20 years ago. Fiore also stated that next months winner of the Modified portion at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will get $10,700 according to Nascar’s entry form !!! “Whats wrong with this picture ??”, he asks. Fiore also alluded to the fact that also on the horizon is Nascar’s plan to obsolete the Modified team’s inventory of $50,000 engines, some car owners who possess three, four or five of them.

The Star Speedway in Epping, NH ran the Exeter Decorating SBM 125 Modified Open on Saturday night. The event drew 28 cars. Matt Hirschman made the trip from Pennsylvania worth his while as he took the victory in the high paying event. Ryan Preece, who normally races at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night, finished second with Josh Cantara, third. Mike Stefanik and Dwight Jarvis rounded out the tp five. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Jim Boniface, Doug Coby, Richie Pallai and Todd Szegedy.

Numerous cases of “Yellow Fever” slowed the competition. Doug Coby stated that there were 122 laps run under caution in addition to the 125 green flag laps at the New Hampshire quarter mile oval. Hirschman of Northampton, PA., earned $8,792 in cash and prizes for his hard fought effort. The diverse field had 28 cars from ten different states on hand to compete.

Hirschman passed Preece on lap 111. Preece retook the lead on a lap 116 restart, but he was forced to give it back when a caution reset the field before that lap was completed. Hirschman was able to get the jump on the next restart, and he raced away to the lucrative victory in the J & J Motorsports 59.

The special event brought Star their largest crowd of the season, and some of the best racing as well. Todd Szegedy made it to second place before fading from the lead pack. In all, 22 of the 28 teams earned bonus money put in place through a variety of local sponsorships from race fans and area businesses. Lap 79 alone paid Hirschman $610, and the halfway bonus added $425 to his payoff.

Thursday night Thunder saw Keith Rocco come from last to first in the Sunoco (SK) Modified feature. Rocco had spent the afternoon at the Waterford Speedbowl practicing the Boehler Racing No. 3 in preparation for this weeks Whelen Modified Tour Series event. Starting scratch didn’t seem to be an issue.

Thursday night Thunder that also saw Scott Sundeen win an extended race distance for the Limited Sportsman division. Other winners included Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, Trevor Michalski in the Mini Stocks, John Lowinski-Loh in the Thompson Modifieds, and Mike Scorzelli in the Late Models.

In the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature John Catania took the early lead at the drop of the green, but as one lap was completed Todd Ceravolo had moved into the front spot. The top-four – Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, and Kerry Malone – were bumper-to-bumper as they pulled away from the rest of the field. Keith Rocco, who had to start at the tail end of the field, was fast approaching and sitting seventh when the caution flew at lap six.

Ceravolo beat Preece to the front on the restart with Malone powering to second on the inside. Malone spun to the infield grass coming out of turn two and brought out the caution with Ceravolo, Preece, and Christopher making up the top-three. Ceravolo, Preece, Christopher, and Rocco settled in single file when racing resumed, but Ceravolo put some breathing room between himself and Preece by lap 10. On lap 11, Christopher dove low and got around Preece for second with Rocco in tow. A caution on lap 12 put Ceravolo side-by-side with Christopher for the restart with a determined Rocco and Preece right behind them. When the green dropped, Christopher beat Ceravolo into turn one with Rocco looking high and low for a way around both of them. As the trio entered turn one, troubled brewed when Ceravolo took Christopher low. Christopher retaliated and Ceravolo’s night ended in the outside retaining wall in turn two. Ceravolo expressed his displeasure with Christopher’s driving as did track officials.

Christopher was penalized and sent to the rear of the field while Rocco inherited the lead. Rocco had to earn his position up front as Preece filled his rear view mirror. A caution at lap 20 slowed the pace with Rocco powering out to the front followed by Malone and Christopher. Preece was relegated to fourth and remained there until the caution came out at lap 22. On the restart, Rocco went back out front with a challenge by Malone in turn three, but Rocco shut the door. The top four fell into single file, but running bumper to bumper until Rocco took the checkered flag. Malone settled for the runner-up spot whith Christopher rebounding to finish third. Preece and Catania rounded out the top five.

Car counts continued to be an issue at Thompson. The Limited Sportsman (27) and the Mini Stocks(19) are relatively healthy. The Sunoco Mods, (SK”s) had 13 while there were only 4 SK Lites, 7 Late Models and six Thompson Modifieds.

The Stafford Speedway welcomed the beginning of summer with it’s 12th Annual Town Fair Tire Summer Blast-Off Fireworks program on Friday night. Providing the fireworks on the track were Ted Christopher, who picked up his second win of the season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Woody Pitkat, who picked up his first win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jay Goff, who picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Josh Wood, who took a thrilling fourth win of the season with a last lap pass in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Austin Bessette, who scored his first career victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the closing moments of the SK Modified 40 lap feature Ryan Preece took a look to the inside of Christopher on lap-35 in turn 3, but fell back in line behind Christopher. Preece was searching for a groove that would give him enough momentum to make a pass for the lead, but Christopher was able to hold Preece off. The jockeying between Christopher and Preece allowed Keith Rocco to close in on Preece’s bumper to make it a three-way fight for the race lead with 3 laps to go. Christopher was able to hold off Preece and Rocco to the line to pick up his second feature win of the 2012 season. Dan Avery came home in fourth with Woody Pitkat rounding out the top-5.

At the Waterford Speedbowl the track put on a briskly paced and hotly contested night of speed rts on Whelen Engineering Night at the shoreline oval. Scoring NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories included Tyler Chadwick, winning his third SK Modified® race of the year and Dillon Moltz who took down his second consecutive victory in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Other winners included Ken Cassidy Jr. who picked up his sixth straight win in the Mini Stocks and Josh Galvin who took down his first checkered flag of the year in the Street Stock division. Vin Esposito won the New England Truck Series feature.

In the SK Modified feature, Janovic got to Chadwick’s rear bumper on the final lap, stalking theleader for the final circuit to the checkered flag. Janovic couldn’t find a groove to make a serious bid and placed second for the second consecutive week while Chadwick marched to his third win of the year. Jeff Pearl finished in third while Kyle James wrestled fourth away from Tom Abele at the finish. Chadwick’s win lifted him into the point lead ahead of Pearl by just two points.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina Tim Brown, an eight-time champion at Bowman Gray Stadium, mastered the field in the Great Clips 100 on Saturday night, picking up his fourth victory, the most this season in the featured Modified Division. Brown took the lead on the fifth lap, charging past Jonathan Brown on the outside. From there, he endured seven double-file restarts on the way to his 62nd victory at Bowman Gray.

While Tim Brown spent the entire race at or near the front, eventual runner-up Danny Bohn worked his way from near the rear of the field. Bohn, originally from New Jersey, started 22nd in the 23-car field as the result of a random draw but steadily progressed with the aid of double-file restarts and took second place from Jonathan Brown on the final lap. Jonathan Brown settled for third.

The Winston-Salem (NC) Journal reported that Winston-Salem State University’s effort to buy Bowman Gray Stadium from the city was stopped when state lawmakers killed the university’s request for permission to borrow $7.5 million to buy the stadium. The legislative move opens the door wider to another potential bidder: Richard Childress, the NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner from Winston-Salem who sold peanuts as a child at Bowman Gray and started his racing career there in the 1950s.

The stadium is owned by the city of Winston-Salem. For years, members of the Winston-Salem City Council have been trying to reduce overall costs by selling some of its property, including Bowman Gray.

The stadium opened in 1937. In 1954, it was expanded to its current seating capacity of 17,000, according to the city. The stadium site has 42 acres, including 690 paved parking spaces. Civitan Park and three other tracts of land related to the stadium used for parking hold an additional 50 acres, according to the city.

In Nationwide Series racing at Michigan Joey Logano held off James Buescher and Kurt Busch for his fifth Nationwide win of the year and 14th of his career. Dale Earnhardt Jr. raced to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in four years, ending a 143-race winless streak at Michigan International Speedway.

Five years ago in 2017, The NASCAR Whelen Modified tour returned to New England this past Wednesday, June 14 for a Wednesday night event at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway. The event drew 28 cars. The race featured the second group qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour this season and saw Donny Lia take the pole, but it would be another familiar name that would come out on top at the end with Ryan Preece claiming his second win of the season and second career Whelen Modified win at Thompson. Preece led from lap 24 to lap 60 but it was on lap 107 when it counted as he took the lead from Rowan Pennink as they entered turn one. From lap 108 to the finish Preece opened up a big lead as he cruised to the win over Pennink and Bobby Santos. Doug Coby and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five.

Sixth thru tenth were Jon McKennedy, Ted Christopher, Timmy Solomito, Andrew Krause and Max Zachem. Don Lia led from the start to lap 23. Chase Dowling led from lap 61 to 81 and Pennink led from lap82 to 107. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island this coming Saturday, June 24.

Following the Whelen Modifieds was a 30-lap feature for the Sunoco Modifieds where a new face found his way to victory lane. In only his second start driving for fellow Sunoco Modified driver Keith Rocco, Troy Talman claimed a dominant win at Thompson and said he hopes to continue that success to cement his own legacy in the Sunoco Modified series. Talman started on the outside pole and jumped into the lead at the start over Steve Masse. A four car wreck before the completion of lap one eliminated Jay Sundeen, Shelly Perry, Joe Gada and Rene’ Dupuis. Ron Williams and Kyler Cafro brought out the red when they tangled on lap 12 in turn two.

As the race wore on the competitors settled down. Rocco and Ryan Preece were slugging it out for the second spot as Ted Christopher entered the picture in the closing laps. As Talman romped to the win Christopher attempted to dive under Preece. Christopher spun, Preece hesitated and Rocco moved into the runner-up spot at the finish. Preece finished third with Woody Pitkat and Timmy Jordan rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth was Rowan Pennink, Todd Owen, Steve Masse, John Studley and Andrew Charron. Christopher ended up 14th.

Other winners at Thompson on Wed night were Chad Labastie in the NEMA Lites, Ray Parent in the Late Models, Leadfoot Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.

The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain on Friday.

The New London Waterford Speedbowl will open for the 2017 Season this coming Saturday night with BowlStrong Blastoff. Divisions will include: SK Modified, SK Lite, Late Model, NLWS Trucks, Limited Sportsman, Mini Stock and Legends as well as a special feature Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 Lap race.

It was announced this past Friday, Guy Beaudoin, Jr. had joined the NLWS as the Saturday Night Race Director. He has been associated with the Modified Racing Series (MRS) for the past five years where he held such positions as Race Director and Chief Pit Stewart.

At the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night, the Pro Stocks took center stage with round one of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series, a 75 lap feature event. The feature was also the annual Brad Scott Memorial in honor of former Ellis Racing team member Brad Scott. David Darling worked his way through the pack rather quickly and slid by to take the lead just after the halfway point. From there, it was clear sailing for the Johnson’s Landscaping No. 52 into Victory Lane.

In other racing on Saturday night, Gerry DeGaspere Jr. returned to Victory Lane in a thrilling feature for the Late Model class. DeGaspere Jr. has been noticeably struggling with the handles on the No. 71 in recent years, but they seem to have found something now. He was battling newcomer Ryan Morgan down the stretch of the race and some intense racing included some heavy contact between the leaders at times. In the end, a move diving deep into turn three saw DeGaspere Jr. hold on and pick up his first win. Morgan, who has only raced at Seekonk a few times, showed some true talent behind the wheel to come from the back and grab a second place finish. Ryan Kuhn, a rookie, notched an impressive third place run.

In Modified Touring Series action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Ryan Preece charged to the lead after a Lap 56 pitstop, taking it from Dillon Steuer in the 125 lap event. It is the second MTS win of 2017 for Preece. Dillon Steuer finished second and was followed by Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat. There were 14 cars on hand.

At the drop of the green flag Woody Pitkat edged his way to lead the first lap before upstart talent Dillon Steuer moved past on lap 2. Pitkat gave chase to the race leader until the 8th lap when David Schneider whose team had to swap motors to run the 125 made his way by for position. Schneider stayed second behind Steuer until the 23rd lap as Eric Goodale made an inside pass entering the first turn for position. Once to second Goodale, a past WMT winner at Riverhead reeled in the race leader Steuer with Eric’s efforts aided by a 56th lap caution flag that would bunch up the field. It was during that yellow flag period that the likes of Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Jon McKennedy and Donny Lia all ducking to the pits for a change tire along with other adjustments. Steuer and Goodale elected to stay out and not sacrifice track position.

On the ensuing double file restart Goodale would actually lead lap 57 to the outside of Steuer with Dillon rallying back to take the lead back on lap 58. Meanwhile armed with a new tire and adjustments Ryan Preece was on the march towards the front as he caught Eric Goodale and passed him to the inside exiting the fourth turn for second on lap 75. Over the following eight lap Preece fist caught and then went to work on Islip 300 winner Steuer for the lead as the 15-year old was hoping for another big race win. Entering the third turn on lap 83 Preece was able to find a lane under Steuer to take over the race lead and once out front Preece would pull away over the final 41 circuits.

As the double checker flags waved Ryan Preece would cross the line earning his 15th career Riverhead Raceway win list moving him into sole possession of 27th on the all time win list at the historic quarter mile. Dillon Steuer was runner-up in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy while Jon McKennedy raced his way back to a podium third place finish in the Exit Realty entry. Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat completed the top five. David Schneider, Rowan Pennink, John Fortin Sr., Donny Lia and Chris Pasteryak filled out the top ten.

The cars & stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will descend upon Riverhead Raceway next Saturday night June 24th for the Riverhead 200 with defending race winner and current WMT championship leader Timmy Solomito of Islip leading the charge to the historic quarter mile oval. Solomito knows the tricky confines of Riverhead all too well having won 17 times in his career.

Twenty four-year-old Anthony Nocella continued his winning ways Saturday night, when he powered his Nocella Paving/Airgas Chevrolet modified to victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series sanctioned 100-lap race at Speedway 51, in Groveton, NH. The victory was Nocella’s second of the 2017 campaign and his eighth career win moving him into a tie with Tommy Barrett on the all-time series win list.

Nocella took command on lap-75 with Mike Douglas Jr, Jeffrey Gallup, Mike Willis Jr, Rob Richardi Jr, and Sammy Rameau, all chasing the leader. A late race mishap on lap- 98 created a green-white-checker finish with the Woburn, Massachusetts, racer prevailing.

Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, rain forced officials to pull the plug on the planned twin 25’s.

Kyle Larson took the lead late and then survived two late-race restarts to win his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the year Sunday at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Larson led a race-high 96 laps from the pole, but seemed to fade during longer runs. He found himself chasing Kyle Busch late in the race as they both attempted to stretch their fuel to the finish following a caution with 50 laps left that allowed teams to hit pit road for fuel and tires.

Denny Hamlin beat rookie William Byron in a photo finish to capture Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Irish Hills 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.

Last year, 2021, Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway Ronnie Williams and Alexander Pearl were both first time 2021 winners in the SK Modified® and SK Light Modified feature events respectively. Mike Hopkins, son of former Chief Starter at Stafford, notched his first career Limited Late Model feature victory while Michael Bennett took down his third Late Model feature win of 2021 and Chris Meyer scored his second Street Stock feature win of 2021. The Kids Night Big Wheel Race was won by 6 year old Aiden Royce of Stafford Springs.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Williams, who started ninth, completed his move to the front on lap-14 as he went around Teddy Hodgdon to take over the lead. At the halfway point of the race, Williams was still in command with Hodgdon in second. Doug Meservey was third followed by Bryan Narducci. Hodgdon and Williams ran 2 laps side by side for the lead before Williams got clear to the lead. In the closing laps, Stephen Kopcik was looking high and low for a way to get around Williams, but Williams was able to hold him off. Kopcik couldn’t get close enough to Williams on the final lap as Williams nailed down his first win of the 2021 season. Hodgdon finished third with Owen and Narducci rounding out the top-5.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series will run its first of two events at the Oswego Speedway on Saturday night.

Trouble in paradise! Among the missing at the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series at Oswego will be Dave Sapienza. Sapienza is upset with the way he was treated by promoter Josh Venada and by series director Jimmy Wilson at the recent event at Jennerstown, PA.

Todd Owen got a $3,000 gift at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night as he won the inaugural Fast Five Owen had been cruising in third spot when Mike Christopher Jr took Keith Rocco out. Christopher and Rocco got together between Turns 1 and 2, enabling Owen to inherit the lead.

Cory DiMatteo seized the lead from Owen a few laps later on a restart, but Owen quickly got it back en route to his first win of the season. Joe Gada ended up in second spot with Timmy Jordan, third. Andrew Molleur and Joe Turnullo rounded out the top five. DiMatteo faded to ninth.

In other action at the shoreline oval, Jason Chicolas held off Ryan Waterman and Al Stone to win the 25-lap Street Stick feature. Tommy Silva was a runaway winner in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.Jason Palmer won the 30-lap Late Model feature the hard way, by slashing underneath Ray Christian with 10 laps to go.

Wade Burroughs was able to navigate his way through a wreck that involved half of the field to take down the 25-lap SK Modified feature. Rob Richardi grabbed the 25-lap full-power Pro 4 Modified feature and Rob Goodenough won the Limited feature. Jordan Churchill captured his first 20-lap Legends race of the year.

The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina returned on Saturday night on June, 5. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, short-track, known as “The Madhouse,” hosted the Hayes Jewelers 200 (a 200-lap Modified contest), along with Sportsman, Street Stock and Stadium Stock division events. It marked Bowman Gray’s first on-track action since August of 2019. The venue’s 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 17,000 fans were on hand for the event.

Jonathan “JonBoy” Brown using the outside line, was able to get by 10-time track champion Tim Brown on a lap 138 restart and held him at bay on numerous restart attempts, then held off challenges from Danny Bohn during a series of late-race cautions to hold on for the win. Danny Bohn wound up finishing second after running strong all race while James Civali, Chris Fleming, and Brandon Ward rounded out the top-five.

Pole sitter Burt Myers ended up finishing 11th after struggling with power steering issues, the first time in his career that he did not win the Hayes Jewelers 200 from the pole.

Congratulations to Jacob Perry who garnered his first career open wheel Modified victory in the Modified Racing Series Milton CAT 100 Saturday at the Monadnock Raceway. Perry, 19, is a third generation driver. Tommy Barrett Jr. was second and Ronnie Williams, was third.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Just two weeks after his father John Fortin Sr. struck gold in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds at Riverhead Raceway second generation racer JB Fortin of Holtsville made it back to back wins for the Fortin clan Saturday night in a 50-lap event. JB would master a restart at the halfway mark of the race to claim his second career victory.

In NASCAR Cup racing in Sonoma, Cal, Kyle Larson beat teammate Chase Elliott in overtime to win his second consecutive race, third of the season, and help Hendrick Motorsports continue its month of dominance. Ryan Preece finished 21st.

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