Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, Frank Simonetti won a Midget main event at Seekonk. Seventy years ago in 1952 Don Collins was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed McAvoy was the Claiming Car winner.
Saturday night Sportsman action at the Speedbowl saw Al Riley take the Sportsman main event while Johnny Sandberg won his fifth of the year in the Claiming Car ranks. Don Romeo was the Stock Car winner at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1957, the New London-Waterford shifted to its summer schedule of running on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Red Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman winner on Wednesday night and Moneybags Moe Gherzi was the 50 lap Sportsman winner on Saturday night. Squeaky Rogers was the non-Ford winner on Saturday night. Hop Harrington made it two in a row in Sportsman action at Seekonk.Pete Frazee took the win at Old Bridge. Jim Hoffman was second.
Sixty years ago in 1962, Bill Slater continued his winning ways on the dirt at Stafford as he made it three in a row. At Waterford, Dick Beauregard won his first of five Modified features in a row. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner. Fats Caruso was the top dog at Norwood on Saturday night as he beat out Bill Slater and Rene Charland for the win. Dave Dias was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Sunday at Old Bridge saw Al DeAngelo take the win over Joe Kelly, Don Stumph and Red Foote.
Fifty five years ago in 1967, Catamount Stadium in Vermont ran a 100 lap NASCAR Mofified event which saw Bugsy Stevens take the win over Bob Bruno and Rene Charland. Eddie Flemke won a 50 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Stafford had a 100 lapper scheduled but was forced to cancel due to rain. Following Flemke were Pete Hamilton, Bernie Miller, Elton Hill and Lou Lazzaro. Pete Hamilton was the Saturday night feature winner at the Norwood Arena. At Fonda, Pete Corey took the win over Bill Wimble and Lazzaro. At the Islip Speedway on Saturday night Jim Hendrickson went pole to pole to win a 100 lap Trenton qualifier. Eddie Flemke finished second with Fred Harbach, third. Thompson and Utica-Rome fell victim to rain. The All Star League, the brainchild of Larry Mendelsohn and Lou Figari made its debut at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Fred Harbach took the 100 lap main event over Bill Wimble, Pete Corey, Rene Charland, Ernie Gahan, Kenny Shoemaker and Eddie Flemke. Charlie Webster won on Saturday at Waterford while Newt Palm won a 50 lap special event on July 4.Deke Astle made it three in a row in Class A action at Seekonk.
Fifty years ago in 1972, the Fourth of July weekend started on a wet note as Friday night racing at Malta rained out. Saturday night at Stafford saw Canadian Denis Giroux take a popular win over Bugsy Stevens and Tom Sutcliff. At Islip, Fred Harbach out-dueled Missippi Curtiss and Charlie Jarzombek and at Fonda it was Lou Lazzaro over Irv Taylor and Don Wayman. Waterford ran double features because of rain the previous week. Don Bunnell won the leftover Modified feature while Dick Dunn took the regularly scheduled event. Dave Dion made it two in a row in Late Model Sportsman action at Norwood. Seekonk ran a 100 lap open show on Sunday with Fred DeSarro taking the win over Ed Flemke, Bobby Sprague, Johnny Tripp and Bugsy Stevens. Utica-Rome also ran a 100 lapper with Richie Evans taking the top spot over Sonny Seamon, Denis Giroux and Jerry Cook. Stafford had a 150 lapper scheduled for Monday but tossed in the towel because of showers. The All Star League visited Fonda on Tuesday for a 100 lap contest which was won by Buzzie Reutimann over Jerry Cook, Lou Lazzaro and Ron Narducci.
Forty five years ago in 1977, Stafford started the Fourth of July weekend with a 100 lapper that drew 56 Modifieds and over 9000 spectators. Geoff Bodine took the hotly contested feature over Ronnie Bouchard, Ray Miller, John Rosati and Brett Bodine. Monadnock also ran on Friday night with a 50 lapper. Pete Fiandaca took the win over Bob Karvonen. On Long Island at Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek won out over Fred Harbach and Tom Baldwin. Saturday night was also a busy one. At Seekonk over 15,000 were on hand to cheer Bugsy Stevens as he took the victory in the Fred Fusco No.1. George Summers finished second with Eddie StAngelo, George Murray and Ray Lee rounding out the top five. Joe Howard beat out Mike Murphy at Westboro and in a 100 lapper at Waterford, Bill Greco won out over Mark Geer, George Allum, Joe Tiezzi, Mark LaJunesse and Dick Ceravolo. Geoff Bodine carried his winning ways over to Riverside Park on Saturday night with a victory over Bob Polverari and Ron Wycoff. Islip and Freeport were still butting heads and fighting for cars and fans. Greg Sacks took the win at Islip over Fred Harbach and Wayne Anderson. At Freeport, Charlie Jarzombek took the win over George Brunnhoelzl Jr. Ronnie Bouchard was the king pin at Thompson on Sunday night. Fred DeSarro finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third.
Forty years ago in 1982, Westboro ran an 82 lap open competition event on Wednesday night. Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Jamie Tomaino, Gomer Taylor and Reggie Ruggiero. Greg Sacks made it two in a row at Stafford as he beat out Bob Polverari and Reggie Ruggiero for his 13th win of the season. Bugsy Stevens, driving the Mystic Missile, had his season come to an early end as he suffered fractured lower vertebras after taking a hard shot into the turn one concrete as a result of a cut tire. It was also a not so good night for Daring Dick Caso who was given a three week suspension for making a banzai move that ended up wiping out the cars of Brett Bodine, Ronnie Bouchard, Ray Miller and Mike Hornat. Doug French took the Friday night win at New Egypt and Wayne Anderson took top honors at Riverhead. Waterford suffered a rain out on Saturday but at Seekonk it stayed dry as Mr. Leo Cleary put Joe Brady’s 00 in victory lane. Gomer Taylor finished second with Eddie StAngelo, fourth. Marty Radwick won a 100 lapper at Riverside Park and John Blewett Jr. won a 100 lapper at Islip. At Shangri-La it was Jerry Cook over Jim Spencer and Doug Hewitt. Sunday night at Thompson saw Reggie Ruggiero take the top spot over George Kent, Richie Evans and Bob Polverari.
Thirty five years ago in 1987, the NASCAR Modified Tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night event. Jim Spencer took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Mike Stefanik and Corky Cookman. Rain washed out Friday night at Stafford and Saturday night at Waterford. At Riverside Park, Stan Gregger took the win over Mike Stefanik, Tom Bolles and Bruce Del. At Riverhead, Tom McCann won the Richie Evans Memorial 61 lapper. The Mod Tour headed for Jennerstown, Pa on Sunday where Jan Leaty pulled off the win over Jim Spencer, Jeff Fuller, Mike McLaughlin and Mike Stefanik.
Thirty years ago in 1992, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Touring Series was at Riverhead on Wednesday for a 201 lap event. Mike Stefanik started on the pole and led the entire distance to take the win. Ed Brunnhoelzl finished second. Rick Fuller, Reggie Ruggiero and Steve Park rounded out the top five. Friday night at Stafford saw Ted Christopher win out over John Sneade and Mike Christopher. MikeEwanitsko made it three in a row at Riverhead on Saturday night.Racing at Waterford was delayed two hours because of rain. The Strictly Stocks started their main event and got seven laps in the books before the Connecticut DMV shut them down because of the midnight curfew. Jerry Marquis was the big winner at Riverside and Dave Dion won the Oxford 250 for the third time and pocketed $37,150 for his efforts.
Twenty five years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick got his fourth win of the season at Stafford as he put his Dodge powered SK modified in victory lane over Bo Gunning and Bob Potter. The Nascar Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen. Tim Connolly took the lead with six laps to go and went on to record the victory over Rick Fuller and Ted Christopher. Mike Stefanik juggled his schedule between Watkins Glen and the Busch Grandnational event at Nazareth. Stefanik practiced at Nazareth in the morning, flew to Watkins Glen and started the Modified event in the Brady 00, jumped out at the first caution, flew back to Nazareth for qualifying. Tucker Reynolds scored at Waterford after Todd Ceravolo pitted while leading with a leaky radiator. Don Fowler finished second. Jim Broderick was parked for the night after an altercation with Jeff Pearl and Ricky Young was suspended for two events because of a rough riding incident. Tim Continanno won at Riverhead and it was Richie Gallup at Riverside. Bob Dragon passed Jerry Marquis with five laps to go to take the Busch North Series event at Nazareth. Marquis finished second with Mike Stefanik, Tom Bolles and Andy Santarre rounding out the top five.
Twenty years ago in 2002 the weeks race schedule brought back fond memories of years ago when there was racing five days out of seven. There was something for everyone to say the least. The best of both worlds, The Busch North Series and the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour, were in Southern New England. Stafford started it off on Wednesday night with the twice-rained out Connecticut Classic 150 for the Featherlite Modifieds. Ted Christopher used his home track advantage to the fullest as he led the event from pole to pole. Some would say it was boring but if one were aware of the background drama their opinion would change. Christopher’s secret was the fact that his car was set up to the precision of a Swiss watch by crew chief Barry Kuhnel. In fact, the car was so perfect; Christopher went the 150-lap distance on the same tires in which he started. The show behind him was the one to watch as Ed Flemke Jr. came from the rear twice to finish second. The event was also a true test of human stamina and equipment durability as temperatures were in the mid 90’s and the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
There were fourteen cars on the lead lap at the finish. Rick Fuller toughed it out to finish third with Jerry Marquis and Chris Kopec rounding out the top five. Twenty-nine of the original thirty-one qualifiers were on hand. Fred Vordermeir, who missed the cut in time trials pinch hitted for injured Tony Hirschman. Vordermeir did a good job as he finished in eighth spot. Jeff Fuller qualified the No. 17, which had been driven by Mike Ewanitsko before he got hurt. Fuller and car were no-shows.
In the SK-Modifieds, Bo Gunning scored his second victory of the year. Mike Stefanik started the event as the point leader but an eleventh place finish, plus Marquis’ fourth, moved him back to second spot as Marquis moved into the lead. On to Thompson, on Thursday night, Jeff Malave found himself sitting in the catbird seat after Ted Christopher tapped Bo Gunning. Gunning and Christopher passed Malave for the lead on the 13th lap. On the next go-round, Christopher tapped Gunning who in turn spun and hit the wall a ton. NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks felt that Christopher was rough riding and black-flagged him to the rear. It was the second incident of the night involving the defending national champion. Bert Marvin, who had been riding a streak of three in a row, got wrecked on the second lap after Christopher brake checked him. Christopher, who has been doing some verbal jousting with Marvin, denied his accusation.
With Gunning and Marvin out of it Malave had a somewhat easy time of it as he took the win over Ron Yuhas Jr. and Kerry Malone. Christopher rebounded to finish fourth with Tom Bolles, fifth. A total of 29 cars took the green.
On Friday night, it was back to Stafford for the SK-Modifieds or off to Lee Raceway for the Modified open. Ted Christopher scored his 62nd career win at Jack Arute’s place. Like Malave at Thompson, Christopher got the win over another’s miss-fortune. With seven laps to go in the 50-lap feature, Ron Silk was running second and took a header into the fence after going over the roof of Doug Coby. Once the mess was cleared, Christopher drove to victory without incident. Don Travaglin finished second with Jeff Baral, third.
At Lee, Ed Flemke Jr. went pole to pole to take the 100-lap win. Charlie and Carl Pasteryak followed with Kirk Alexander, fourth.
At Waterford on Saturday night, Jeff Pearl got redemption after a bone jarring wreck a week ago that all but destroyed his car. Pearl led all but one lap to record his first victory since July 8, 2000. Pearl and his dad, Jerry, along with his crew cut the wrecked car up from behind the seat and replaced the entire rear structure of the car plus running gear and sheetmetal. Dennis Gada finished second with Rob Janovic, Ed Reed Jr. and Don Fowler rounding out the top five.
The Busch North Series made its annual stop at the shoreline oval with Kelly Moore taking the win.
Finishing out the weekend on Sunday was a Race of Champions Tour event at the all new Adirondack Speedway in upstate New York. The ROC event drew 33 modifieds including Ted Christopher. Christopher started second and led laps 71 thru 133 until getting taken out by George Kent Sr. Kent was parked for his actions and took a fit on the track. Eric Beers took the lead after the demise of Christopher and led Jim Willis and Rick Zacharias across the stripe at the finish.
Fifteen years ago in 2007 The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made it’s first of two visits to the New Hampshire International Speedway. Speedway owner and promoter Bob Bahre posted $164, 095 for the 100 lap-105.8 mile event. There were 40 Modifieds on hand for qualifying which took place on Thursday.
With the exception of John Blewett III having mechanical problems and having to take a provisional starting spot, qualifying went smooth. Ted Christopher took the Busch Pole with a speed of 126.812mph. Second fastest was Donnie Lia with a speed of 126.795 mph. Jimmy Blewett, Matt Hirschman and Eddie Flemke Jr rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tony Hirschman, Charlie Pasteryak, Bob Grigas III, Ronnie Silk and Glen Tyler.
Donnie Lia, who signed on with longtime NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Bob Garbarino just prior to the start of the season, picked up his fourth win in six races with a victory in the New England 100 at New Hampshire International Speedway last Saturday. For Garbarino, who has been a Modified car owner since the mid 1960s, its been a dream season. Never in over 40 years has he had a year like this. Lia and Co. made the strategic choice not to pit for tires or fuel, while other of the top contenders like Ted Christopher did at various stages and had to work their way back to the front.
“If we pitted today, I don’t know if we could have got through like Teddy did,” said Lia, who had five career wins in 79 career starts entering 2007. “We made our decision and stuck with it. And it was apparently the right one.” The race was abbreviated to 85 laps due to time constraints. It was slowed eight times for 38 laps, with the last caution setting up a six-lap dash for the finish between Lia, Christopher and Eddie Flemke. Lia briefly lost the lead to Flemke but used a push from Christopher to get back by and then held on as Christopher and Flemke battled for second. Christopher, who has four Modified Tour wins at NHIS, held on for the runner-up finish. Matt Hirschman and Todd Szegedy were fourth and fifth respectively. Ronnie Silk, Bobby Santos III, Ron Yuhas Jr., Charlie Pasteryak and John Blewett IIII rounded out the top 10.
Eight cautions for 38 laps kept Lia’s average speed at 67.140mph. Among those who failed to finish were Joe Hartmann who lost an engine on lap 2, Bob Grigas, Kenny Bouchard, Rick Fuller and Glen Tyler were eliminated in a lap 34 accident. James Civali lost a driveshaft on lap 35. Eric Beers and Mike Christopher lost engines while Jake Marosz and Rob Summers dropped out with suspension problems. Alex Hoag and Jimmy Blewett wrecked on lap 73.
Lia held the points lead over Szegedy by 61 and Hirschman by 63. Jimmy Blewett and Jame Civali round out the top five.
On a sad note, Whelen Modified Tour Series crew chief Greg Narducci sustained serious head injuries when he fell off a moving golf cart on Thursday night. He suffered several injuries to his facial area including possible fractures to the temple, cheekbone and area behind the eye socket. Swelling of the brain occurred with possible clots behind the front area of the skull. He was Med Flighted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in NH. Greg was touch and go for a while, but is now on his way to recovery.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway,heavy rains caused the management to cancel its Thursday Night Thompson Thunder race program. The entire northeast was hit by heavy downpours and storms forcing management’s hand after nearly two hours of work to dry the track. Needless to say he is now back 100%.
In Busch East series action at Loudon on Friday the racing was absolutely brutal. Connecticut’s Joey Logano won for the 3rd time in 6 series starts in the 125-mile event that was slowed by 10 caution periods and 2 red flags. It took two hours to finish the event. Logano held off 8-time New Hampshire International Speedway winner Brad Leighton and Tim Schendel over several late-race restarts. Twenty-four of the 43 starters finished on the lead lap. Cautions: 10 for 64 of the 126 laps completed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Zach Sylvester ended a seven year dry spell at the nutmeg oval. In addition to Sylvester who won the the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Glen Reen, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Rick Lanagna,the Limited Late Model feature and Dean Casagrande, the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature, run under a full moon, saw several attempts at getting it started with both front row starters being put back a row, which put Sylvester up front for the start, and he took the early lead. Sylvester held the lead through multiple caution periods, but would lose the lead to Willie Hardie on a lap-21 restart. Sylvester got back around Hardie on lap-23 and would hold the lead through several more restart situations until the final caution came out with 3 laps to go. Sylvester powered his way to the lead, but had Woody Pitkat and Ted Christopher all over his back bumper. Sylvester held strong and took the checkered flag ahead of Pitkat. Keith Rocco made a last lap charge into third place, with Christopher and Todd Owen rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Rob Janovic Jr. notched his third win of the season on Saturday night as he won the 35-lap SK Modified feature on “Military Appreciation Night At The Speedbowl”. Janovic passed early leader Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. with 13 laps to go and was able to hold off Dennis Gada in the closing laps. Mucciacciaro set the early pace, grabbing the top spot from pole-sitter Jeff Paul with a daring move shortly after the initial green. Paired off with the eventual winner on several restarts, he maintained the lead until Janovic moved to the outside groove. An early wreck on the backstretch triggered by Don Fowler claimed several cars, including point-leader Shawn Monahan. The victory moved Janovic within six points of current leader Shawn Monahan in the battle for the championship. Mucciacciaro, Brandon Hansen and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners at the shoreline oval were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Jim Procaccini (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock), and, Chris Bakaj (Legends).
Tom Rogers won the Cromarty Cup 50 at Riverhead and Steven Reed was the Modified winner at the Wall Township Speedway.
In Nextel Cup action at Loudon Denny Hamlin took the win. Kevin Harvick held off a late challenge by Carl Edwards to grab his second NASCAR Busch Series victory of the season Saturday at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Ten years ago in 2012, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series continued on a three week break before heading to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 100 on July 14. Doug Coby, with his victory at Waterford, had stretched his point lead to 20 points over defending series champion Ron Silk. Silk held a slim three point edge over Ryan Preece. Justin Bonsignore and Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five. Keith Rocco and Donnie Lia, tied for sixth, were only five points away from being in the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Ted Christopher, Ron Yuhas Jr and Todd Szegedy.
Its amazing that some self proclaimed experts continued to believe that all is well with the Whelen Modified Tour Series. If it were not for wealthy car owners or wealthy drivers who buy their rides the division would be hurting. Lack of television and lack of daily media coverage does little to help attract sponsorship money. For the most part the supporting tracks were paying as much as they can.
Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig felt that the more rules that NASCAR mandates, the more it costs the car owner. Instead of talking to those who currently compete on the tour NASCAR needs to talk to those who were formerly on the tour and ask what are their reasons for dropping out. Hoenig has his own problems on Thursday nights. Dwindling fields of cars for various reasons have taken their toll on the popularity of the Thursday night programs. The economy is to blame for some of it, inconsistent rules enforcement for some of it and inconsistent general officiating for some of it. The facility is great, the purses are fair and the contingency money is great.
In Valenti Modified Racing Series action at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire Les Hinckley III, visited the winner’s circle for the first time this season after surviving the final 10-laps of Friday night’s Valenti Modified Racing Series event. The 100-lap race was marred by several crashes including a 10-car pileup at lap 90 that eliminated race leader Jon McKennedy from the event. In the final 10-laps race leaders Rowan Pennink, and Jeff Malave were also knocked from the lead. Series officials blamed aggressive driving for the incidents.
Todd Owen finished second for his best finish to date. Louie Mechalides finished third. Chris
Pasteryak and Max Zachem rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were, Jimmy Dolan, Joe Doucette, Norm Wrenn, Rowan Pennink and Mark Bakaj.
Polesitter McKennedy led the first five circuits. Defending series champion Chris Pasteryak led the field through lap 17 when Pennink took command until lap 82. A hard charging McKennedy then regained the lead. Tommy Barrett who started 24th in the field, battling for the lead on lap 90, made contact with McKennedy, triggering a massive pileup. After Pennink and then Malave were eliminated from the lead, Hinckley led the final two laps to secure the win. Hinckley’s win was his 16th VMRS victory, his third at Lee tying Kirk Alexander for total wins (Lee). Seventeen of the 24 cars that started the race finished on the lead lap. Five yellow flags and one red flag on lap 90 slowed the event completed in 1 hour
Valenti Modified Racing Series competitor Tommy Barrett was given a two-race suspension and was put on probation for the rest of the 2012 season, the result of aggressive driving at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH., Friday night, June 29. Series Race Director Pete Newsham made the announcement following the notification. Barrett was fined and placed on probation by the series for the same infraction after last the June race at Seekonk, MA.
Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw repeat winners dominate victory lane in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. Cam McDermott, John Lowinski-Loh, and Tommy O’Sullivan all added to their win totals while Mike Veins became the first repeat winner in the Mini Stock division. Woody Pitkat earned his first win of the season in the Sunoco Modified division. The North East Mini Stock Tour entertained with a victory by Emerson Cayer in their stand-alone event and a Showdown victory for Thompson favorite Danny Field.
In the Sunoco Modified event Woody Pitkat earned his first Sunoco Modified victory of the season after Keith Rocco was disqualified in post-race technical inspection. Repeat winners dominated victory lane in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on Thompson’s Thursday Night Thunder program. Cam McDermott, John Lowinski-Loh, and Tommy O’Sullivan all added to their win totals while Mike Veins became the first repeat winner in the Mini Stock division. Woody Pitkat earned his first win of the season in the Sunoco Modified division. The North East Mini Stock Tour entertained with a victory by Emerson Cayer in their stand-alone event and a Showdown victory for Thompson favorite Danny Field.
Pitkat’s win came after Keith Rocco was disqualified in post-race technical inspection. Inspectors found that Rocco’s engine had heat shields that were on the bottom of the intake manifold.
John Catania drove out front on lap one of the Sunoco Modified feature, but heading into turn four, went high, and collected Shawn Thibeault as the two came flying across the front stretch and hit the inside pit road retaining wall. Catania’s No. 52 machine hit the wall hard and his night was over. Keith Rocco took the lead when the race resumed with Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top four. Preece was glued to Rocco’s bumper, occasionally moving out of line to look for a way around. Rocco never game him the chance to make a formal challenge for the lead, but Pitkat, was able to muscle his way around Christopher for the third spot at lap seven. Preece tried again to get by Rocco on lap 10 using the bottom, but Rocco closed the door. Rocco got some breathing room on lap 13 when Preece got loose coming off of turn four. Pitkat used the opportunity to his advantage and challenged Preece on lap 14, but Preece fought back and held on to the spot. On the following circuit, Pitkat darted to the outside and easily drove by Preece for the second position. Rocco drove straight to the checkered flag, but was later disqualified in tech handing the win to Pitkat.
There was also a nasty incident involving Glen Boss in the Thompson Modifieds who was involved with a confrontation with another driver and refused to acknowledge the black flag. Rather than stop the race officials allowed Boss to continue in the race, unscored. Speedway head tech inspector, chief steward Mike Kun resigned his position at the track. Kun’s son Andrew Kun also quit along with fellow official John Andrade. Andrew Kun and Andrade are both listed as “assistant inspectors” on the staff list posted on the track’s website. The speedway named Josh Vanada as its new director of competition at the track. The new position replaces the old position of “chief steward. Vanada previously held the position of assistant starter at the track. Another former NASCAR Chief Steward, Richard Brooks, is now listed as Infield Coordinator.
Keith Rocco got redemption from his Thursday night disqualification at Thompson at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night as he won the annual running of the Coors Light SK Modified® 100. Rocco took the checkered flag in the extra distance classic for his first Stafford win of the 2012 season, Corey Hutchings was a first time 2012 winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. was a career first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Josh Wood picked up his 5th win of the 2012 season in the extra distance Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande took home his fourth win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the Coors Litght 100 Frank Ruocco finished second, with Berndt, Foster, and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
On Saturday night was the 9th annual CARQUEST Super Saturday program at Stafford. Mike Lichtyp won the 50-lap ISMA Supermodified feature, Mike Horn won the 30-lap NEMA Midget feature event, and Dan Meservey, Jr. won the 25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event. In the CARQUEST Champions For Charities event, Ron Midford, Jr. took the checkered flag but the real winner was charity as the 13 champion drivers raised over $51,000 for their selected charities.
In regular weekly racing at the Waterford Speedbowl the mid-season Speedbowl.com 300 was run which put six divisions in action for a total of 300 laps of racing. The special event provided the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions with extra-distance races including the annual 100-lap SK Modified® thriller. Tyler Chadwick was the night’s big winner, picking up the victory in the SK 100 for his fourth win of the year. Jason Palmer recorded his first win of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models while Walt Hovey Jr. took down his second Street Stock race of the season. Bill Leonard scored his first Mini Stock division win and Matt Pappa won his eighth Legends Cars race of the year at the shoreline oval.
In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 50 lap Modified events were run. Jonathan Brown won the opener over Danny Bohn, Tim Brown and Burt Myers. Randy Butner won the night cap over Jason Myers, Lee Jeffreys, Bohn and Burt Myers.
In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers made it two in a row after starting from outside pole.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action Brad Keselowski did it again at Kentucky Speedway. NASCAR’s master of saving fuel, made his gasoline last during the final laps of the Quaker State 400 and he grabbed his series-leading third victory of the season, virtually clinching at least a wild card spot for the Chase to the Sprint Cup.
Driving the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge, Keselowski led the final 58 laps of the 1.5-mile superspeedway and won despite driving a back up car after crashing during the first practice session on Friday.
Austin Dillon absolutely dominated the Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway to notch his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory. Dillon started from the pole and was the class of the field, leading 192 of the 200 laps and beating Kurt Busch to the finish line by 9.828 seconds at the 1.5-mile asphalt oval.
Five years ago in 2017, Modified action shifted to the Seekonk Speedway for Open Wheel Wednesday, which featured the Tri-Track Series with a top prize of $10,000 to win. It’s a long ride from North Hampton PA to Seekonk, MA but Matt Hirschman made it worth his while, as he became the first three-time winner of the event. Hirschman won the fourth qualifying heat and started third in the 100 lapper behind Justin Bonsignore and newcomer Jon Kievman.
Wasting little time, Hirschman blew by Bonsignore on lap three for the lead and held off numerous challenges for 97 laps before taking the checkered flag. Jon McKennedy finished second with Rowan Pennink, third. Anthony Nocella and Tommy Barrett rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth included Les Hinkley, Ryan Preece, Todd Annarummo, Woody Pitkat and Blake Barney.
Five caution periods slowed the event. Caution no.1 flew on lap 2 when Doug Coby tangled with Tommy Barrett, Pennink and Eric Berndt on the backstretch.Coby suffered severe left rear damage and was done for the night, Coby was credited with finishing 25th. The second caution flew on lap 8 when Blake Barney stopped in turn four. The third yellow came on lap 20 when Nocella spun and collected Chris Pasteryak, Richard Savory and Eric Goodale. The fourth yellow was for Dennis Perry who spun in turn two and collected Dwight Jarvis. The fifth and final caution was for a spin by Kurt Vigeant in turn 3.
The event was deemed a success with 33 Modifieds and near capacity of fans on hand at the track they call The Cement Palace. Drivers who did not qualify for the Seekonk event got $700 because of the money raised.
The Stafford Speedway cancelled Friday night’s June 30th racing program due to the threat of severe weather.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series made it’s first ever start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire on Saturday. The race was part of The New England Short Track Showdown produced by race organizer Bob Guptill. Woody Pitkat, of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, led the race 9-times before taking down his first VMRS win for 2017. Pitkat edged Ted Christopher of Plainville, Connecticut by 0.017 at the Sunoco Checkered Flags.
The event produced 17-lead changes, and a hard fought battle right down to the finish. Following Pitkat and Christopher at the finish were 17-lead changes, and a hard fought battle right down to the finish. Following Pitkat and Christopher was Steven Masse, Zane Zeiner and Geoff Gerhard. David Schneider, Anthony Nocella, Donnie Lashua, and Rob Richardi Jr. were sixth through tenth place finishers.
Other winners at Loudon were Justin Trombley in the Mini-Stocks, Corey Hutchings in the Street Stock Showdown and Eddie MacDonald won the Granite State Pro Stock event.
Ryan Preece and his TS Haulers team indeed had plans to run their NASCAR Modified on a quarter mile race track Saturday but that track was to be in New Hampshire not Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. When the planned race Preece and his team hoped to run was rained out at the Monadnock Speedway they changed course and headed south and by the time the 67-lap NASCAR Modified race was completed at Riverhead the former NASCAR WMT champion notched his 16th career win at the historic quarter mile oval.
Howie Brode was runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy while Shawn Solomito placed third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. was fourth while championship leader John Fortin rounded out the top five.
On a sad note it was learned that Long Island racing writer Mike Fields had passed away.
The New London Waterford Speedbowl avoided the early evening showers and got all their racing in. Todd Owen and Keith Rocco engaged in a heated battle in the closing stages of the SK Modified event with Owen coming out on top and Rocco settling for runner-up. Kyle James finished third.
Other winners at the Connecticut shoreline oval were Wayne Burroughs Jr. who won the track’s 25-lap Mini Stock feature, Dennis Charette made it two in a row as he won the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Ray Christian III won the 30-lap Late Model feature and Jordan Hadley won the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature.
Down in the south land, the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, was quiet as the Modified action shifted to the Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton, NC. Where Jerry Gerstner got his first Southern Modified Racing Series win. Gerstner started in seventh position and with the drop of the green immediately started racing forward and took command by lap seven. He led until lap 56 when he got caught in lapped traffic yielding the top spot to Bobby Measmer with Burt Myers taking second and then ultimately the lead.
A caution on lap 69 sent the field to pit road and jumbled the running order and Tyler Truex in command. Gerstner re-started sixth but again charged forward and on lap 74 he was back at the point, taking the top spot from Brandon Ward.
From that point, the fans were treated to a thriller as Gerstner lead with Burt Myers applying constant pressure, even alongside the leader multiple times. A caution on lap 108 would slow the field and rain at the point halted the event. Series official waited nearly an hour before the decision was made to end the night with Gerstner getting the victory.
Burt Myers finished in the second spot with John Smith third. Danny Bohn and Bobby Measmer Jr. completed the top five.
In NASCAR Monster Cup racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove around David Ragan after an overtime restart and then held off the field to win Saturday’s caution-filled Coke-Zero 400 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
William Byron survived three red flag periods to score his second-straight NASCAR XFINITY Series victory on Saturday at Daytona Int’l Speedway during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250. The grandstands were all but empty!
Last year, 2021, The Thompson Motorsports Speedway was back in action on Wednesday night, June 16, under the ACT/PASS sanction Keith Rocco scored a double shot as he picked up the 67th and 68th wins of his career at the northeastern Connecticut oval.. Rocco capped the night with a thrilling victory in the Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea for the Outlaw Open Modified Series, outdueling Ronnie Williams and NASCAR Cup Series star Ryan Preece over the final laps. He also triumphed in the Sunoco Modified feature, earning him a total of $6,500 in prize money on the night.
In the Outlaw Modified feature which drew 17 cars, Anthony Nocella earned the pole in the Outlaw Open Modified feature and led the first seven laps before Jonathan McKennedy took over the point. The multi-time Modified Racing Series and International Supermodified Association champion paced the field through two yellow flags, fending off a field that included Rocco, Preece, Nocella, Williams, and Mike Christopher Jr.
On a lap-29 restart following Rob Richardi Jr.’s spin, Williams shot from fourth to second on the outside and kept McKennedy in his sights as the field strung out. When Nocella looped it in turn four to bring out the final caution with 50 laps complete, the game was afoot. Most of the field came in at that point to put on two fresh tires and make adjustments for the final shootout.
Rocco was the first car out of the pits and restarted fourth behind Dave Sapienza, Andrew Krause, and Max Zachem, who had all pitted during earlier cautions. McKennedy, meanwhile, had a slow stop and was relegated to ninth for the green flag. Sapienza led lap 51, but Rocco and Preece quickly moved their way to the front, sweeping underneath Sapienza entering turn one. Williams and Matt Swanson weren’t far behind as they settled into third and fourth. The top-three eventually broke away, running inches apart at speeds well over 100mph. Preece took a peek to Rocco’s inside on several occasions, knowing that Williams was hot on his tail should he slip up.
With three laps to go, Preece finally made his bid, diving inside Rocco on the front straightaway. However, the many-time Thompson Speedway champion kept his Modified wound up on the high side and staved off the charge. Williams took advantage of Preece’s lost momentum and roared into the second spot. There was time for Williams to mount one charge for the lead off turn two on the final lap, but Rocco took advantage that move as well to score the victory and the $5,000 winner’s purse. Williams and Preece followed with Swanson and Chris Pasteryak rounding out the top five.
Prior to his Outlaw Open Modified victory, Rocco remained perfect in the Sunoco Modifieds under the ACT/PASS sanction. Rocco started seventh in the 30-lap feature and quickly carved his way to the front, taking the lead on lap four. Troy Talman and Danny Cates were able to grab the lead back from Rocco on restarts, but Rocco took it back a lap later both times. Mike Christopher Jr. eventually moved into the second spot and caught Rocco with 10 laps to go. Christopher stalked the multi-time Thompson Speedway champion until trying an inside move entering turn three with four laps remaining. But the challenger wiggled and lost two car lengths instead. Christopher was unable to recover enough for another attempt at the lead, coming across the finish line in Rocco’s shadow. Cates finished third while Derek Gluchacki took fourth in his first Sunoco Modified start. John Lowinski-Loh, Joe Allegro Jr., Chase Cook, Christian Turrisi, Talman, and Paul LaPlante were fifth through 10th.
Rocco’s career overall total is now 296 wins which include 153 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 68 at Thompson and 75 at Stafford Speedway.
Other winners at Thompson were Brian Tagg who went wire-to-wire in the 25-lap Late Model feature, Corey Fanning , the Limited Sportsman winner, Paul “Buddy” Charette who got first SK Light Modified win and Steven Michalski who won the Mini Stock feature.
Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway there were two first time winners with Bryan Narducci winning his first career SK Modified® feature event in a Keith Rocco Racing prepared car after getting fired from the Bear Calicchio owned ride he began the 2021 season in and Adrien Paradis, III scored his first career win in the Street Stock feature. Wayne Coury, Jr. won the Late Model feature, Brian Sullivan won the SK Light feature, and Gary Patnode won the Limited Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Narducci made a move to the inside of Doug Meservey Jr for the lead on lap-9 and he took the lead coming out of turn 4. Matt Vassar moved into second with David Arute now side by side with Meservey for third place and Michael Gervais in fifth. Meservey began to slide backwards as he was stuck in the outside lane and he fell back to tenth place with 15 laps complete. As the race hit the halfway mark of 20 laps, the order was Narducci followed by Vassar, Arute, Gervais, Stephen Kopcik, Mikey Flynn, Tyler Hines, Marcello Rufrano, Todd Owen, and Michael Christopher, Jr.
Arute, who was having his best run ever, was applying heavy pressure to Vassar for second place, but he was unable to complete a pass. Narducci was starting to slowly stretch out his lead over Vassar and Arute while Kopcik was closing in on the back bumper of Arute with 11 laps to go.
With 5 laps to to, Narducci was still slowly pulling away from Vassar in second, who still had Arute looking for a way to make a pass and take over second. Hines had caught up to Kopcik to make it a four-car fight for second. No one could catch Narducci as he took the checkered flag to pick up his first career SK Modified® victory. Arute finished third, his best finish ever, with Kopcik and Hines rounding out the top-5.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway. Twenty-five cars were on hand with Justin Bonsignore taking the pole. A fierce thunderstorm with heavy rain put a damper on the racing which was postponed until Sunday.
Doug Coby won the 200 lapper and the only way to describe it is that he “Cleaned House”. One week removed from missing the Whelen Modified Tour’s stop at Oswego Speedway, Coby got back to his winning ways with relative ease, leading 149 of 200 laps Sunday en route to the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200 victory, his second win of the season and second in a row at the quarter-mile track. Bonsignore, an eight-time winner at Riverhead, led the opening 51 laps from the pole before relinquishing the lead to Coby. While battling for position, he suddenly fell outside the top 10 as his No. 51 lost power before regaining it moments later.
Coby’s week off saw him fall to eighth in the championship standings, making a bid for his seventh title much tougher. Another win helps his chances, but unfortunately for him, the top two drivers of Patrick Emerling and Justin Bonsignore finished right behind Coby’s No. 10 once again in second and third, respectively, for the second straight race at Riverhead. Ron Silk and Anthony Nocella finished fourth and fifth, respectively, earning their first top five finishes of the season. Tommy Catalano, Kyle Soper, Jon McKennedy, Dylan Slepian and Tyler Rypkema rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Coby lapped all but three of the 24 other cars in the field on the way to his 31st career Whelen Modified Tour victory, which tied him for fifth on the series’ all-time win list with Jeff Fuller. Coby and crew chief Phil Moran stumbled upon the hot set-up and are not about to give up their secret.
The race was slowed six times for on-track incidents, including a red-flag period after Fortin, Eric Goodale and Dave Sapienza were involved in a multi-car accident.
With rain forcing the postponement of the race from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, Coby, along with most other teams, were forced to make last-minute travel arrangements, causing a bit of a logistical headache. Emerling was quick to thank local driver J.B. Fortin, whose family allowed Emerling’s team to stay the night avoiding travel to and from the track on Father’s Day weekend.
While the Whelen Modified Tour Series was on Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway the Modified Racing Series (MRS) ran it’s second race of the season at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine. The event marked the debut of 15-year-old Tyler Barry, competing in a Tour-Type Modified for the very first time. It’s a dream come true for the 2019 INEX Legends Cars World Champion in more ways than one.
To make his Modified debut is actually secondary to having the opportunity to drive for his grandfather, New England Hall of Fame car owner Art Barry, in the familiar red SPAFCO Chassis car. Barry will be just one of several young drivers in Saturday’s field with aspirations of making their mark in pavement Modified racing for years to come. Among those joining Barry was Matt Swanson with the Boehler 3 and Jacob Perry.
Tony Ricci won the 75 lapper over Brian Robie. Swanson finished fourth, Perrywas sixth and Barry finished 11th. All were on the lead lap.
In the words of Matt Buckler, “The glass was half full — and half empty — at the New London Waterford Speedbowl Saturday.”
Four of the eight scheduled feature races took place before rain hit the Southeastern Connecticut area. That meant victories for John O’Sullivan in the Legends feature, Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Speedbowl Trucks, Tommy Silva in the Mini Stocks, shortened to 14 laps because of rain, and Buddy Skoad, a runaway winner in the ATQMRA 25-lap feature.
When a second batch of rain invaded the Speedbowl, however, the remainder of the race program was postponed. The 30-lap Late Model feature, the 25-lap Street Stock race, the 25-lapper for the Lite Modifieds and the 35-lapper for the SK Modifieds will be made up on dates to be announced.
The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina continued. Saving his best move for last, Jason Myers overtook Lee Jeffreys on lap 96 in the featured Modified race on Saturday night in front of around 11,000 fans at Bowman Gray Stadium.
The Kevin Powell Motorsports 100-lapper didn’t turn really “crazy” until Myers took an outside line and finally nudged in front of Jeffreys, who was on the pole. It was Myers’ 50th career win and 34th in the Modified Division and it was a long time coming. Jason Myers started in the second row and stayed behind or beside Jeffreys the whole way. nother driver who steadily moved up was Burt Myers, who is Jason’s older brother and the four-time defending champion. Burt started 18th on the blind draw for starting positions but finished sixth.
Congratulations to Ryan Preece who took the lead from Grant Enfinger with seven laps remaining in the Rockley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway to earn his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Friday night in his first race in the series. Preece, the 30-year old Connecticut native who competes full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series, is only the fifth driver in history to win in his truck series debut.
Kyle Larson continued his streak of superiority Sunday afternoon winning the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway – his third consecutive win, following three consecutive runner-up finishes. Larson’s No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet led Ross Chastain and Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Chevrolet across the Nashville finish line by 4.335-seconds. He paced the field by as much as 5 seconds in the closing 10 laps of this inaugural event. Preece finished 33rd.
Get well wishes went out to Todd Ceravolo who continued his fight against cancer. Todd went into the hospital on Sunday for a CAR-t transplant as part of a clinical trial for his cancer, and as a result, he will be separated from his family for a considerable amount of time.