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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, Chet Gibbons took the Midget feature at Seekonk on Saturday night and on the following Wednesday Joe Ross and Frank Simonetti each won Midget features at the Seekonk oval.

Seventy years ago in 1952 George Lombardo was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Johnny Sandberg made it two in a row in Claiming Car action at the Connecticut shoreline oval. Cy Yates won a 50 lap special for the Sportsman division at the Speedbowl on Saturday night. Bud Matter was the Claiming Car winner. Seekonk fell victim to rain.

Sixty five years ago in 1957, Moe Gherzi made it two in a row as he won the 25 lap Sportsman feature on Wednesday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner. Red Foote was the Sportsman winner on Saturday night while Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner. Johnny Rocco took the win at the Islip Speedway over George Tet. Hop Harrington made it three in a row in Sportsman action at Seekonk. Fred Astle Sr was the B winner. At Old Bridge in New Jersey Pete Frazee took the win over Johnny Rocco.

Sixty years ago in 1962, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl ran on Wednesday and on Saturday. Dick Beauregard was up for the task as he won both Modified features as was Ed Moody who won both Bomber features. Ron Narducci displaced Bill Slater from victory lane as he won on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. Gil Hearne took the top spot at Islip on Saturday night over George Tet and Al DeAngelo. At Seekonk, Kenny Dayton was the Class A winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1967, Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night with Gene Bergin in the M-6 taking the win over Fred DeSarro, Fred Harbach, Eddie Flemke and Tommie Elliott. At the Albany Saratoga Speedway Kenny Shoemaker took the top spot over Andy Romano, Bill Wimble, Don Wayman and Dick Clark. At Norwood Arena on Saturday night, Mr. Leo Cleary took top honors as he won the modified main event. Fred DeSarro scored a win at Norwood on July 5. Fonda’s victory lane belonged to Bill Wimble as he out ran Dave Lape and Andy Romano for the win. Fred “Fuzzy” Baer scored a popular Modified win at Waterford while Jiggs Beetham took the checkers in the Daredevils. Islip ran the Glen Ford 100 which was taken by Jim Hendrickson. Well traveled Eddie Flemke finished second with Fred Harbach third and Don MacTavish, fourth. Deke Astle made it four in a row in Class A action at Seekonk. Utica Rome ran their rained out 100 lapper from the week before and it was Eddie Flemke taking the win over Bill Wimble, Rene Charland, Don MacTavish and Ernie Gahan.

Fifty years ago in 1972, Fred DeSarro had Len Boehler’s Ole Blu in top form as he dusted the field at Malta on Friday night. Lou Lazzaro finished second. Ronnie Bouchard, Bobby Santos and Bugsy Stevens rounded out the top five. Stafford had a 150 planned for Saturday night but rain prevailed. At Islip, Charlie Jarzombek took the top spot and at Fonda it was Harry Peek over Lou Lazzaro and Don Wayman. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, favorite son Richie Evans with his Rusty Nail Special beat out Denis Giroux, Ron Newman, Bernie Miller and Jerry Cook. Glynn Shafer was the Saturday night Modified winner at Waterford. Waterford ran a 75 lap open competition event on Wednesday. Jerry Dostie took the win. Eddie Flemke finished second with Bob Potter, Dick Watson and Ronnie Bouchard rounding out the top five. Dave Dion made it three in a row in Late Model action at Norwood. The striking Class A drivers at Seekonk forced D.Anthony Venditti to keep the Seekonk track dark but not for long. With the help of Jack Arute and Ed Yerrington from Stafford the Seekonk Speedway would soon be aligned with NASCAR.

Forty five years ago in 1977, rain washed out Friday night racing at Stafford and Monadnock. Saturday night at Seekonk saw Bugsy Stevens take a 35 lap win over George Summers, George Murray and Ronnie Bouchard. At Westboro, Jim Landry took the top spot over Ken Bouchard and Butch Walch. The annual Riverside 500 saw Geoff Bodine and Bob Stefanik team up for the win. The team of Bob Polverari and Eddie Flemke finished second. At Islip a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier was on tap and it was invader, Richie Evans, stealing the thunder from the Long Island regulars. Gary Cretty finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third and Jerry Cook, fourth. At Freeport, George Brunnhoelzl beat out Russ Klar and Eddie Brunnhoelzl and at Lancaster it was Maynard Troyer over Roger Treichler. In Sunday night action at Thompson, Geoff Bodine took the top spot over Ronnie Bouchard and Bugsy Stevens.

Forty years ago in 1982, after seven rain-outs in a row, Waterford Speedbowl promoter Dick Williams ran a Wednesday night event. Fifty laps, no points. Taking the win was Glynn Shafer in the Ron Yuhas No.6.Don Bunnell finished second with Moose Hewitt, Don Fowler and Joe Tiezzi rounding out the top five. At Stafford on Friday night, Reggie Ruggiero blasted his way to the front and beat Greg Sacks to the finish line. Kenny Bouchard finished third with Jerry Pearl,fourth. At New Egypt, John Blewett beat out Richie Evans for the win and at Spencer it was George Kent over Jerry Cook and Maynard Troyer. Fred Harbach made it two for two as he won at Riverhead on Friday night and at Islip on Saturday night. Saturday night at Waterford, it was dry for the first time since mid May. Jerry Pearl took the win over Randy Lajoie. At Seekonk, Gomer Taylor was the victor with George Savory and Eddie StAngelo in hot pursuit. Thompson ran twin 40’s on Sunday with Kenny Bouchard and Greg Sacks sharing the glory. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Darrel Waltrip took the win.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, Spencer Speedway ran a 100 lap NASCAR Modified championship event. Mike Mclaughlin took the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Kenny Bouchard, Jan Leaty and Jamie Tomaino. Double SK Modified Features were run at Stafford with Sonny O ‘Sullivan and Ted Christopher in victory lane. Christopher followed up his Stafford win with a victory at Waterford on Saturday night. At Riverside, it was Bob Polverari over Dan Avery and Mike Stefanik and at Riverhead; Dan Jivenelli took the top spot. In other Saturday night action, George Kent won out at Shangri-La over Randy Hedger. Oswego ran the Port City 150 on Sunday. Tony Hirschman rose to the occasion as he took the victory over George Brunnhoelzl and Ron Shepherd.

Thirty years ago in 1992, rain washed out Friday night racing at Stafford and Saturday night racing at Waterford plus the Featherlite Modifieds at Loudon. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero took the win over Rick Fuller and Chris Kopec and at Riverhead, Ed Brunnhoelzl beat out Bill Park for the win. Richard Petty, in his last appearance as a driver at the Daytona 400 and was a DNF.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick won the 50 lap holiday program at Stafford on Friday night. At Waterford, Todd Ceravolo recorded his fifth win of the season after passing Eric Berndt with 17 laps to go. Scott Spaulding finished second with Berndt, third. Reggie Ruggiero recorded his 89th career win at Riverside on Saturday night. Ted Christopher finished second. In Winston Cup action, John Andretti led the final 23 laps to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona and in Busch Grandnational action at Milwaukee, Randy Lajoie took the win.

Twenty years ago in 2002 the Fourth of July weekend started on Wednesday night with the NASCAR Featherlite Tour at Stafford for a 150-lap event. Ted Christopher went from pole to pole to win the event. Ed Flemke Jr. in the Hill Enterprises entry was the show as he came from the back twice to finish second. Rick Fuller, Jerry Marquis and Chris Kopec rounded out the top five. Bo Gunning won the companion 50 lap SK-Modified event. Jeff Malave survived a rough night at Thompson to take the win on Thursday night. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Kerry Malone, third. During the running of the event Eric Berndt rode over Bert Marvin after Marvin was brake checked by Ted Christopher. Christopher was later sent to the rear after he spun Bo Gunning into the wall. Christopher came from the rear and finished fourth ahead of Tom Bolles who rounded out the top five. Ted Christopher scored his 72nd career win at Stafford on Friday night. Christopher ‘s win tied him with all-time winner Bugsy Stevens. Lee Raceway ran an open competition modified event on Friday. Ed Flemke Jr. led from pole to pole to take the win over Charlie Pasteryak, Carl Pasteryak, Kirk Alexander and Matt Hirschman. At Waterford, Jeff Pearl started up front with a car that had been wrecked two weeks previous and went on to win the Saturday night feature at the shoreline oval. Dennis Gada finished second and was followed by Rob Janovic and Ed Reed Jr. The Busch North Series was also on hand at Waterford and it was veteran Kelly Moore taking the win. At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, JR Bertuccio took the holiday 50 lapper over Wayne Anderson and Bill Park. Rounding out the weekend was the Race of Champions Tour event at the Adirondack Speedway in upstate New York. Eric Beers inherited the lead on lap 134 of the 150-lap event and went on to take the win. Ted Christopher was leading the event when he was turned into the fence while trying to block George Kent. Kent was sent to the rear. Jim Willis finished second with Rick Zacharis, third. In Winston Cup action at Daytona, the DEI cars continued to dominate as Michael Waltrip took the win. On a sad note, four spectators were injured after being struck by lightening.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, N.H on Sunday for the second of three “Flash Format Events” scheduled in 2007. Posted Awards were $56,762 which was considerably less than regular Tour events. As of July 5, only 29 teams had filed entries. Among the missing were Ron Yuhas Jr, Woody Pitkat, Tony Hirschman and Bobby Santos III. Car owners were attempting to make a statement that the race purses for the “Flash Events” were sub-par. Twenty-six Modifieds, a light field in comparison to previous Whelen Modified Tour series events, were on hand for the Sunday evening event. The top six, Ronnie Silk, Ryan Preece, Matt Hirschman, Don Lia, Mike Stefanik and James Civali, qualified through time trials. Heat winners were Ted Christopher and Jon McKennedy. Hirschman was fresh off a Saturday night 75 lap Race of Champions Series win at the Lancaster Speedway in Western New York State.

James Civali avoided the raindrops and held off Matt Hirschman as he won the Twin State event. Civali took the lead from Ron Silk going into turn 1 on lap 27 of the 100-lap contest. Ronnie Silk finished third and was followed by Donnie Lia, Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik who recovered from an early spin. Civali led al but one of the final 90 laps. The race distance was extended to 117 laps because of caution laps in the first 50 laps, which were scored.

The True Value Modified Racing Series returned to Monadnock Speedway for a 100-lap feature on Saturday evening. Kirk Alexander passed Rob Goodenough with seven laps remaining to record the win at the Winchester, NH ¼ mile high banked oval. Goodenough finished second with Dwight Jarvis, third. Ted Christopher was an early contender until he was eliminated in a wreck on lap 65.

In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco scored a hard fought win as he scored his second win of the season at the northeast Connecticut oval. A late race confrontation with Bert Marvin added to the excitement. Harry Rheaume took the lead at the start followed by Danny Cates, Bert Marvin and Jimmy Blewett. The racing was slowed on lap three by a caution for a single car spin by Eric Goodale. On the ensuing restart Marvin moved ahead of Cates and set his sites on Rheaume. Marvin was able to drive around Rheaume for the lead on lap five. Jimmy Blewett moved into third ahead of Cates on the next circuit. John Blewett ran in fifth but was looking for more as he too battled with Cates. Keith Rocco joined the fray catching John Blewett in fifth. The second caution flew on lap 10 when Kerry Malone and Buddy Charette tangled exiting turn two.On the restart, Marvin jumped out to the lead followed by Jimmy Blewett Blewett made a run on Marvin but the action was halted for an incident that involved Shelly Perry, Eric Goodale, Brian Tagg and others. Marvin was again the man to beat on the restart getting the edge on Blewett. Rheaume held strong in third. Just as Blewett was making his run on the leader Marvin, the lead the race was slowed again when the Josh Steeves came to rest in turn three. The ensuing restart set off a chain reaction that claimed a number of cars including Steeves, Brett LeBlanc, and Ricky Shawn.The restart gave. Blewett the opening that he needed. Marvin and Blewett went side-by-side for nearly a lap before Blewett assumed his place at the head of the pack on lap 13. Another quick caution and a subsequent attempt at the restart was called back. Under the caution John Blewett headed down pit road for service. Once back under green, Jimmy Blewett took control of the race once again. Tommy Cravenho and Keith Rocco were locked in a battle for the third spot while Woody Pitkat sat in fifth.

Marvin pressured Blewett by running the outside groove in search of the lead once again. Jimmy Blewett appeared to bobble entering turn three opening the door for Marvin and Rocco. Contact between the three leaders ended with the leader Marvin with contact with outside wall on the front stretch. Marvin felt that Rocco had done him in and his resulting actions found him getting ejected from the event. When racing finally resumed, Rocco was the new leader. Pitkat gave Rocco a run on the restart but could not make the pass. Todd Ceravolo was able to take over the second spot from Pitkat. Pitkat, however, after regaining his composure successfully went back after Ceravolo. Pitkat ran in second again on lap 24. Meanwhile Rocco began to check out on the field. Things settled down over the closing laps with Rocco handily taking his second win of the season over Pitkat and Ceravalo. Cravenho and Cates rounded out the top five.

Other Thursday night Thunder winners at Thompson were Ben Seitz of Pocasset, MA, who carried the checkers in the traditional holiday visit of the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) to Thompson. In regular weekly series action, Kurt Vigeant earned a hard-fought victory in the annual extra-distance race for the TIS Modifieds. Also earning his second feature win of the season was Mike O’Sullivan of Springfield, MA, in the Pro Stocks.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the Late Models took center stage for the 13th Annual DiGiorgi Roofing & Siding Late Model 100. Mike O’Sullivan scored the win, with Ted Christopher winning the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Brit Andersen taking the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Bill Davis taking the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Bill Dunn winning the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. The 13th Annual DiGiorgi Late Model 100-lap feature saw Mike O’Sullivan outlast Jim Peterson to take the victory.

Ted Christopher, Stafford’s winningest driver, ended a long dry spell as he won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, his first feature victory since the 2006 Spring Sizzler. Kerry Malone held the early lead, but retired on lap-7 after contact with Bo Gunning. Malone’s misfortune put Keith Rocco out front and Rocco held the lead until lap-31 when Christopher dove under Rocco in turn 3 to take over the lead. One lap later, Rocco and Brad Hietala made contact and spun in turn 3 to bring out the caution. On the restart, Christopher powered to the lead and ran unchallenged to the checkered flag to take the victory. Woody Pitkat, who spun twice during the race, came back up through the field to finish second with Bo Gunning, Zach Sylvester, and Todd Owen rounding out the top-5.

The fastest open wheel cars in the Northeast returned to Stafford Motor Speedway on Tuesday, July 10th as the IMSA Supermodifieds made their fourth annual appearance at the Connecticut half-mile. Joining the ISMA Supers were the NEMA Midgets and the Pro-4 Modifieds, making for an exciting evening of open wheel competition. Rob Summers scored his first career ISMA Supermodified feature victory by winning the 50-lap feature, Erica Santos was the winner of the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, and Jeff Zuidema was the winner of the 20-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl eased by Diego Monahan for the lead in turn three on lap 29 of the 100 lap SK Modified feature. He survived three restarts, the last with 19 laps remaining and finished a car length in front of Dennis Gada. Gada, involved in a first-lap crash that required considerable pit work, took second from Rob Janovic Jr. on the final restart.

In other action at the shoreline oval Dennis Botticello assumed command on lap 24 and went on to win the 100-lap Late Model feature. Botticello handled a number of restarts including three over the final 10 laps. In his first-ever Speedbowl ride, Tom O’Sullivan set a track record in qualifying (a 17.370 second lap) and then romped to victory in the 50-lap Sportsman feature. Point leader Ken Cassidy Jr. won the 50-lap Mini Stock feature after battling Danny Field side-by-side over the final six laps in the closest race of the night. O’Sullivan, winner of the 50-lap Sportsman event was disqualified. According to the release from the track the Camaro run by O’Sullivan and owned by Scott Fearn was found to be: “in violation of left-side weight requirements in post-race inspection.” Bill Gertsch Jr., who finished second, was declared the winner

Jamie McMurray ended a massive losing streak in dramatic fashion, beating Kyle Busch by a bumper in the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night in Daytona Beach, Fla. McMurray snapped a 166-race winless streak by drag racing with Busch for much of the final two laps at Daytona International Speedway. The cars appeared to touch several times on their final trip around the famed track, and McMurray nosed across the finish line a mere 0.005 of a second ahead of Busch. It denied Busch a shot at a rare double victory – he won the rain-rescheduled Busch Series race 12 hours earlier.

In some sad news a twin-engine NASCAR plane crashed and destroyed two homes, killing five people. The tragedy began in Daytona Beach where Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corp. executive Lesa France Kennedy, and Michael Klemm, a pilot who had worked for NASCAR aviation for 21 years, took off for Lakeland at 8:21 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Shortly after, the pair reported smoke in the cockpit to air traffic controllers and said they would try to land at Orlando Sanford International Airport. They never made it.

Ten years ago in 2012, In Valenti Modified Racing Series action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH Todd Szegedy passed race leader Chris Pasteryak on lap 92, and went to win the 8th annual ‘Firecracker 100’. Szegedy became the series fifth different winner of 2012. Szegedy hooked up in a side-by-side, crowd-pleasing battle, with Les Hinckley for several laps, before grabbing the runner-up spot. Pasteryak led the race from lap 49 when he slipped up allowing Szegedy to take the lead. Hometown favorite Dwight Jarvis made a late race charge to finish second. Todd Patnode finished third. Hinckley and Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were: Rowan Pennink, Jon McKennedy, Norm Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Joey Jarvis.

The race, slowed by five caution flags, was completed in 44 minutes. Fourteen of the 24 cars that started the event finished on the lead lap. Thirty cars were on hand.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw another night of controversy. The Speedway featured Twin 30 lap features for the Sunoco Modifieds. Woody Pitkat made it two in a row in Sunoco Modified action in the night’s Modified the opener. In the second of the twins, Ryan Preece was declared the winner of a controversial feature event that saw Pitkat cross the checkers first. In a more conventional finish, it was Tommy O’Sullivan scoring the victory in the Late Models. Troy Talman wired the field to secure the victory in Sunoco Lite Modified. Scott Sundeen continued his domination of the Limited Sportsman division with a win. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. made it five consecutive wins in the TIS Modified division. Dave Trudeau earned top honors in the Mini Stocks. Bill Cummins earned top honors in the Vintage Outlaw Modifieds.

On lap 29 of the first Sunoco Modified feature Keith Rocco made his move on Pitkat to take over the lead. Pitkat dove low exiting the fourth turn. Pitkat and Rocco made contact. Pitkat was able to gain the advantage and edged out Rocco for the victory. Ted Christopher came home third. Ryan Preece and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. The second Sunoco Modified feature was somewhat ho-hum until the final moments. With two laps to go Rocco made a move outside of Christopher. He could not make the pass for the lead. Pitkat got along side Rocco momentarily but Rocco fought back. A spin by Kerry Malone brought out the caution flag setting the stage for an exciting restart. Christopher picked the outside groove on the restart. Rocco got the jump on the restart only to have his car falter in turn one. Christopher was able to take the lead. With the white flag flying, Pitkat muscled by Christopher in turn two to steal the lead away. Preece got by Christopher to take over the second position. Pitkat streaked under the checkers first followed by Preece and Christopher. A dissatisfied Christopher made contact with Pitkat on the cool down lap and was disqualified. When all was said and done Preece found himself in the winner’s circle. Pitkat was placed in second. Dennis Perry, Richie Gallup, and Kerry Malone completed the top five.

It’s a fore gone conclusion that at some point the Thompson management will say they have had enough and will pull the plug on the Sunoco Modifieds. The animals have taken over the running of the zoo and the only way to retake control is to shoot them!

Keith Rocco made it two in a row in SK Modified competition at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Stafford’s SK Light Modifieds took center stage with their Xtra Mart Xtra D 25-lap feature event. Zach Aszklar was the big winner of the night, picking up his first career victory, Mike Quintiliano picked up his first Late Model feature victory since the 2005 season, Josh Wood picked up his sixth feature win of the season in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and James Carroll picked up his first career feature victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Competitors at the Waterford Speedbowl were given a night off.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina George Brunnhoelzl III won the Firecracker 150 on Friday night. Brunnhoelzl dominated the day by being the fastest in practice and winning his third pole position of the season before leading the race wire-to-wire. With the victory, Brunnhoelzl, out of West Babylon, N.Y., takes over sole possession of the Southern Modified Tour’s all-time wins list at 14 after coming into the event in a tie with L.W. Miller. Brandon Ward finished as the runner-up and crossed the line .343 seconds behind the winner. Danny Bohn, who started the race from the ninth position, charged to the front and finished third. Brian Loftin, who won at Caraway earlier in the season, finished fourth and Jason Myers finished fifth.

Rookie Jon McKennedy, John Smith, Michael Speeney, Tim Brown and Joe Scarborough rounded out the top 10. The race was slowed due to caution six times for 27 laps

In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Justin Bonsignore started on pole and never looked back as he won the Cromarty Cup 50 for the Modifieds. Shawn Solomito finished second with Ryan Preece, third. Rounding out the top five were Timmy Solomito and Ron Silk. Ted Christopher finished seventh.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Daytona, Tony Stewart emerged the winner, charging past Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth on the last lap and holding on as the challengers stacked up behind him Saturday night in one of Daytona’s trademark wrecks.

Suspended NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger said that he tested positive for a stimulant and was collecting his medicines and supplements in an attempt to figure out what got him in trouble. A statement issued by Allmendinger’s business manager did not identify the stimulant and said the driver does not know what caused him to fail the random test conducted June 29. He was suspended just hours before the Daytona event and NASCAR has not revealed the substance, either.

Kurt Busch took the lead on the final lap and held on to win the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway for his second Nationwide win of the year.

Five years ago in 2017, The Stafford Speedway beat the rain with the running of the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $5,300 and a total heat race bonus of $2,000 from Wheelers Auto of Hamden, the total posted awards were over $34,000. The Gambler’s Challenge was voted on by the fans on how it would be paid out and the top-3 choices were put into a hat in victory lane with Doug Dunleavy pulling a chip with the winning formula on it. Dunleavy pulled the split among the 6th through 10th place finishers chip, giving Chase Dowling a total payday of $5,325 in purse and contingencies.

In other feature action, Michael Bennett won the Late Model feature, Wesley Prucker was a first time winner in the SK Light feature, R.J. Surdell was a first time winner in the Limited Late Model division, and Vince Gambacorta won the DARE Stock feature for his first Stafford victory since the 2006 NAPA Fall Final.

Dowling held off Ryan Preece in the closing laps to score his biggest paying victory of his Stafford career. Rowan Pennink finished third with Todd Owen and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5.

Dowling, closed out his racing weekend Saturday by winning the Exit Realty Modified Touring Series event at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. Jon McKennedy was second and Kirk Alexander third in the 17-car field at Monadnock.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to where it all started, at the Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire. Long-time New Hampshire racer Russ Hersey accomplished what he set out to do 14-years ago, to win a Valenti Modified Racing Series race and it finally happened Friday night, July 7, at historic speedway.

Hersey started 15th in a 15-car field and didn’t make a run to the front in the early going. Pole sitter Mike Willis Jr. led the first seven laps until Dylan Rock, got by and led the field for the next 30-laps.

Rock, age-17, was knocked from the lead when Sammy Rameau, age-15, battling for the top spot, made contact with the leader. Both cars were relegated to the rear of the field. On the ensuing restart Hersey took command and led the race to the finish. Dana Smith ran a steady race and finished a solid second with Anthony Nocella, third.

There was no racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night due to the SailFest Fireworks display in New London harbor. As a result the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway ran a Throw-Back event for the NASCAR K&N series. The paltry field consisted of numerous series regulars and a few drivers familiar with Thompson Speedway looking to make their own mark by using their experience on the historic oval to their advantage.

The day started with a new track record as Chase Purdy topped Martin Truex, Jr’s previous record of 20.200 with a lap time of 20.197 in group qualifying, nabbing Purdy his third consecutive pole. Purdy would lead the first few laps of the night’s main event, but eventually found himself under attack by Todd Gilliland, son of NASCAR driver David Gilliland, who started on the outside pole and had a dominant car for much of the event.

Despite Gilliland’s dominance however, the last 25 laps saw another generational driver rise to the top and find his way to victory lane. Harrison Burton, son of NASCAR staple Jeff Burton, was able to wrestle the lead away in the final quarter of the event after racing side-by-side with Gilliland for nearly five laps before finally completing a pass and never looking back. The win was Burton’s fourth of the season, and fourth in the last six races, building on his points lead as he continues to make his mark on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division.

The Sunoco Modified Series ended the night with the points leaders all having trouble in a caution littered first half of the 30-lap feature. Points leader Ryan Preece as well as his closest challengers for the title, Keith Rocco and Woody Pitkat, all experienced setbacks in different incidents over the course of the first half of the race while veteran racer Ted Christopher returned to a familiar position atop the leader board, leading much of the second half of the event. Christopher held off numerous challengers, including several charges by Todd Owen on numerous restarts. Is wasn’t until the final restart of the night that Owen managed to beat Christopher to the punch when Christopher took the outside line after having found success on the bottom groove all night, allowing Owen the chance to gain the momentum he needed to capture a win at Thompson.

Christopher ended up second with Troy Talman, third. Other winners were Wayne Burroughs, Jr.in the Mini Stocks, Brent Gleason in the Limited Sportsman, Matt Lowinski-Loh in the Late Models and Glenn Korner in the Lite Modifieds.

Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway Tom Rogers strapped into his family owned car for the second week in a row promptly steering the car to victory in the annual Baldwin Evans & Jarzombek 77. The victory was the 45th of Tom’s career as he closes in on Jim Malone Sr. (50) for second on the all time win list at the track.

Down in the south land, rain washed out action at the Bowman Gray Stadium

Martin Truex was dominant throughout and had enough left on a final restart to win the NASCAR Cup race night at Kentucky Speedway. Kyle Busch took the lead during a late caution on lap 168 Saturday and held on to win the 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race. The race had been postponed a day earlier because of storms, creating a 700-mile doubleheader for Busch and several other Cup drivers.

Last year, 2021, On Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway, the track hosted the biggest and richest SK Modified® race of the 2021 season with the 8th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k. Michael Christopher, Jr., who won $5,000 only 2 weeks previous in the TickMike.com All-Star Shoot Out, took the checkered flag to take home a total of $5,725 in purse and contingency money. Christopher won $5,000 from the race purse, $450 from contingency partners Maybury Material Handling, North East Race Cars, and TickMike.com, a $25 gas certificate from New England Racing Fuel, Sunoco Brand, and a $250 bonus from Wheelers Auto for winning his heat race.

In an event that looked for a while it would go non-stop, Christopher started fifth, and was able to make a move around Todd Owen with a pass in turn 1 on lap-66 to take over the race lead. From then on Christopher was in cruise control until the final laps of the 100 lap contest. Tyler Leary spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out for the first time with 90 laps complete.

Christopher took the lead on the restart with Owen going side by side with Chase Dowling for second before taking the position on lap-91. Stephen Kopcik made a determined charge and took second from Owen on lap-93 with Dowling coming up to third to drop Owen back to fourth with Andrew Molleur in fifth. Kopcik made a bid for the lead and completed a pass for the lead on lap-97 but that was negated by the caution flag for spins in turn 1 by Marcello Rufrano, Teddy Hodgdon, Doug Meservey, Jr., and Jon Puleo, which set the lineup back to lap-96.

Christopher and Kopcik went side by side for the lead on the restart with Dowling and Owen behind them. Christopher held the lead by a nose at the line for 2 laps before getting clear to the lead on lap-99. Kopcik took one last look but couldn’t get close enough to Christopher to make a move as Christopher took the checkered flag. Dowling finished third with Owen and Molleur rounding out the top-5. Sixth thru tenth included Ronnie Williams, David Arute, Bryan Narducci, Tyler Hines and Keith Rocco.

Internet racing news site RaceDayCt reported that police ended up involved in a pit area incident after a physical altercation between four-time and reigning Stafford SK Modified champion Keith Rocco and two-time division champion Ronnie Williams following the conclusion of the NAPA SK 5K. After the race when the cars went to the Stafford pit area Williams approached Narducci in Narducci’s pit stall.

At some point Rocco, who owns the Narducci car, approached Narducci and Williams and the incident got physical, with Rocco and Williams ultimately ending up on the ground fighting. Tom Fox, director of racing operations at Stafford, said competitors are not supposed to enter the pit area of another competitor to confront them after an event. “The general application is that if an altercation happens, you’re at fault if you’re not in your area,” Fox said. “That is supposed to deter people from starting any issues. Obviously, each situation is reviewed and the information we gather can modify that application.”

On Monday afternoon Rocco, Williams and Narducci were suspended for one week for their involvement in the altercation that took place in the pit area Friday following the NAPA SK 5K. All three drivers were cited for “Actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing” by the track.

Williams and Narducci were each suspended one week and removed from handicapping for their next event at the track. Rocco was suspended for one week and removed from handicapping for his next two events.

Other feature wins on the night were scored by Andrew Molleur, who was a first time winner in Late Model competition at Stafford in an event that took close to an hour to run, Tyler Chapman in the SK Light feature, Rich Hammann was a photo finish winner in a duel with Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Nickolas Hovey was a first time winner in the Street Stock feature.

In action along the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Matt Buckler reports that Landing on the podium at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl can be habit-forming, At least that was the case Saturday during twin SK Modified features.

The trio of Todd Owen, Cory DiMatteo and Andrew Molleur made the Top 3 in both 35-lap races — only the order was different. Todd Owen won the first 35-lap event, with Cory DiMatteo second and Andrew Moller third. In the second feature, it was Molleur’s turn to nail down a victory. DiMatteo was second again and Owen was third.

The SK twin bill was just two of nine features contested on a busy night of racing. Paul “Buddy” Charette and RJ Marcotte were winners in the SK Lite Modified 25-lap features, Ray Christian won the Late Models, Charles Canfield posted his first Mini Stock win of the year, Ryan Waterman took the Street Stock feature, Andrew Morin grabbed his first win in the Speedbowl Trucks and Cody Rose went from third to first on a restart to win the Pro 4 Modified feature.

In some startling news, due to the nationwide tire shortage, the speedbowl has had to modify their schedule to ensure competition and fairness. This affects the SK Modified® and SK Lite Modified racing schedule. These 2 divisions will be racing every other Saturday Night starting this coming Saturday night with the SK Lights having the night off.

The SK Modified® Fast 5 Race for this coming Saturday night 7/3/21 honoring Ed Flemke Sr and Ed Flemke Jr is still being held as scheduled. If there needs to be any changes for that event it will be relayed to teams no later than Wednesday.

In an effort to help make tires available longer, only SK Modified® and SK Light teams competing on race day will be allowed to purchase tires. The driver will be given a slip when they sign in which states the number of tires allowed to be purchased. This will be handed to Hoosier Tire Truck each week when buying tires. If you do not buy your tire allotment, you can still bank the unused tires to be used later in the season.

In an effort to help make tires available longer, only teams competing on race day will be allowed to purchase tires.

Any divisions with a managed tire inventory, drivers competing for the first time will still begin their inventory with 6 tires, however only 5 may be new tires and the 6th one must be a used tire.

The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina continued. Ten-time track champion Burt Myers scored his 84th career victory in the first 25-lap Modified feature while John Holleman IV’s triumph in the second feature was only win No. 2 in the division. Following Myers in the first 25 lapper was Tim Brown. Jason Myers finished third with Lee Jeffreys and Chris Fleming rounding out the top five. In the night cap, Daniel Beeson finished second with Bobo Brown, third. James Civali and John Smith comprised the top five. Burt Myers finished ninth.

Kyle Soper, at just 25 years old, scored his 20th Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified victory Saturday night at the Riverhead Raceway when he raced his way from a 10th starting position to victory in the 50-lap Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series event. Soper becomes the sixth different winner in as many races this year in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds.

Soper took the lead after a lap 14 restart. Once out front, Soper was able to get away from CJ Lehmann and the pack. Lehmann ran second until lap 31 when Dylan Slepian made his way by for second.

Dylan Slepian was runner-up up in his while rising talent Michael Rutkoski was third in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac entry. John Beatty Jr of Merrick recovered from his lap 1 spin for fourth with defending champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead fifth.

In a somewhat surprise announcement similar to that made at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, the management of the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island made the following announcement. “Due to a shortage of Hooiser Racing Tires for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds at Riverhead Raceway we regretfully announce the following changes to the 2021 NASCAR Modified schedule. The July 3rd 71-lap and the July 17th 50-lap NASCAR Modified events have been cancelled due to the tire shortage. The Four Race Crown Jewel Series for the Ted Christopher Cup will now be a Triple Crown Series starting with the August 7th Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77.

The NASCAR Modifieds in essence will now race very other week starting with last Saturday’s June 26th race through the month of July. The August schedule remains intact. We thank you in advance for your understanding and patience during these very unique times in the short track racing industry.”

American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) officials have announced a change to the division line-up for the Sam Adams Wicked Hazy IPA Spirit of 76 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, July 7. A $1,000-to-win 8-cylinder Street Stock Open will replace the Mini Stocks on the schedule of events.

The decision was made due to concerns about car counts in the Mini Stock class at the first two Thompson Speedway oval track events. The rest of the card will remain the same, with the $5,000-to-win Outlaw Open Modified Series main event, Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Vandi Auto Supply Limited Sportsmen, and SK Light Modifieds making up a six-division program.

In NASCAR cup action at Pocono Kyle Busch won the Sunday event while Ryan Preece finished eighth.

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