Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, Bud Tatro was the Midget winner at Seekonk. Seventy years ago in 1952 Fred Luchesi, driving the Sgambato No.9 was the Wednesday night Sportsman feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Tex Pearce was the Claiming Car winner.
On Saturday night, Steady Eddie Flemke who would become a legend in his own time, won the 25 lap Sportsman feature. Ed McAvoy was the Claiming Car winner. Roland Banville was the Stock Car winner at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1957, rain washed out the racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday night. Saturday night at the bowl was a different story as Red Foote took the Sportsman feature win and Squeaky Rogers took the non-Ford win. At the Islip Speedway on Long Island Japanese driver George Tet took the win over Al DeAngelo. At Seekonk, Hop Harrington started another streak of four in a row wins. Billy Clarke was the B division winner. Lenny Brown took two features over the weekend at Old Bridge.
Sixty years ago in 1962, Rene Charland won the mid-season 30 lapper on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. At Waterford, Ted Stack won the 25 lap Modified feature. Ed Gladue was the Bomber feature winner. Al DeAngelo took the win at Islip over Jim Hendrickson. Seekonk fell victim to rain. Elton Hilldreth took the win at Old Bridge over Pete Frazee.
Fifty five years ago in 1967, the All Star League paid a Wednesday night visit to the Wall Stadium in Belmar, N.J. Gene Bergin took the 100 lap win over Eddie Flemke, Tommie Elliott, Ernie Gahan, Bill Wimble and Don Stives. Bob Bruno took the Thursday night win at Catamount over Rene Charland and Jerry Cook. It rained at Stafford and at the Albany Saratoga Speedways on Friday night. Spencer Speedway managed to get their races in with Merv Treichler taking the win. Saturday night action saw Rene Charland make it two in a row at Fonda as he won over Don Wayman and Maynard Forette. Dutch Hoag continued his win streak at Fulton and at Riverside Park Jerry Humiston took the win. Bobby Sprague made it two in a row at Seekonk. Newt Palm won the 75 lap July Modified Championship at Waterford. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Bill Wimble took the win over Dave Lape, Richie Evans, Dick Clark and Rene Charland.
Fifty years ago in 1972, Georgie Summers in the Ken Curley No.31 was the top dog at Seekonk on Friday night. Brian Ross finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. At Malta, Bugsy Stevens outran Jerry Cook and Richie Evans for the win. Saturday night at Stafford belonged to Fred DeSarro as he put Len Boehler’s Ole Blu in victory lane. Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by Denis Giroux, Bugsy Stevens and Bobby Turner. At Fonda, Jack Johnson was building on his legend as he took another win, this time over Maynard Forette, Dave Lape and Jerry Cook. Joe Trudeau was the winner at Waterford. At Islip, Richie Gomes took the win and in double features at Utica-Rome, Dave Lape and Lou Lazzaro took the top spots. Ron Larkin was the Late Model Sportsman winner at Norwood
Forty five years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens held off Ronnie Bouchard to take a hard fought win at Stafford on Friday night. Ray Miller, Geoff Bodine and Eddie Flemke rounded out the top five. At Monadnock, Dynamite Ollie Silva cleaned house as he won out over Pete Fiandaca and Bob Karvonen. Riverhead was also running on Friday. Charlie Jarzombek out-dueled Fred Harbach for the win at the eastern Long Island oval. George Summers, in the Frank Fedderici No.77 ruled the roost at Seekonk on Saturday night. Bobby Santos finished second with Brett Bodine,third. Veteran, Bob Stefanik mastered the Riverside Park oval despite a lot of heat from Geoff Bodine who had to settle for second. At Islip it was Tom McCann over Al Hansen and in Sunday night action at Thompson, Eddie Flemke came home the winner over Ray Miller and Leo Cleary. Other weekend winners were George Kent over Richie Evans at Shangri-La and Merv Treichler at Lancaster.
Forty years ago in 1982, Greg Sacks sheared the right front wheel off the Ernie Wilsburg No.5 during the running of Modified Madness at Stafford. A rain delay helped in making repairs and he was able to come back and take the win. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Charlie Jarzombek, third. In regular Friday night action at Stafford, Reggie Ruggiero took the win over Kenny Bouchard and Sacks. At the Spencer Speedway, George Kent took the checker but failed tech inspection as he was found with an illegal gear. Doug Hewitt was awarded the win with Jerry Cook, second. Joe Tiezzi was the Saturday night winner at Waterford. Jerry Pearl and Moose Hewitt rounded out the top three. Ray Miller was the top dog at Riverside and at Oswego, Greg Sacks beat out Maynard Troyer for the win. At Seekonk, Eddie StAngelo got one for the hometown crowd as he took the win over Rick Donnelly and Gomer Taylor. George Brunnhoelzl won a 200 lapper at Islip over John Blewett Jr, Bill Park and Bob Park. At Shangri-La, twin features were on tap with Wayne Edwards and George Kent taking the top spots. Thompson closed out the weekend with a 30-lap feature which was won by Reggie Ruggiero over George Kent, Kenny Bouchard and Corky Cookman. In Winston Cup action at Talledega, Geoff Bodine took the pole with a speed of 199.400 mph. Darrell Waltrip took the win. Bodine suffered with a broken windshield and finished 15th, three laps down.
Thirty five years ago in 1987, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series visited the Riverside Park Speedway for a 150-lap event. Reggie Ruggiero was in top form as he put the Mario Fiore No.44 in victory lane. Tom Baldwin finished second with Mike McLaughlin, third. Ricky Fuller had himself a good weekend as he put the Don Lafountaine Number 66 in victory lane at Stafford on Friday and at Thompson on Sunday. At Waterford, crowd favorite Ronnie Rocco took the top spot over Ed Flemke Jr. and John Anderson. In Winston Cup action at Talledega, Bill Elliott took the pole with a speed of 203.827 mph. Bill Elliott took the win with Davey Allison, second.
Thirty years ago in 1992, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverside for a 150 lapper. Although in a different car, the Ed Cloce No.69, Reggie Ruggiero dominated like he owned the place as he took the win over Dan Avery and Donald “Satch” Worley. At Stafford on Friday night, Steve Chowanski hammered his way to the front as he beat out Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning for the win. At Waterford, Chris Jones was the modified winner and in the late models, Todd Ceravolo scored his first ever win. It was also on this weekend that NASCAR announced that they would no longer sanction the Race of Champions because the race organizer, Joe Gerber, had got himself in financial hot water.
Twenty five years ago in 1997, the Busch North Series visited the Stafford Speedway. Andy Santarre took the win and was followed by Rick Fuller,Ted Christopher, Tom Bolles and Stub Fadden. Bob Potter was the SK-Modified winner as he beat Steve Chowanski,Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning to the stripe. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series made the long tow to the Holland Speedway for a Saturday night event. Tim Connolly took his third win of the season as he put the Mystic Missile in victory lane at the conclusion of the 150-lap contest. Connolly took the lead on lap 96. Mike Stefanik, Charlie Pasteryak, Ed Flemke Jr, and Chris Kopec rounded out the top five. At Waterford, Jim Broderick took the lead from Dennis Gada on lap 19 of the 50-lap feature and went on to record his third win of the year. Tucker Reynolds ended up second with Jerry Pearl, third. Gada faded in the closing laps and ended up in fifth spot. At Riverside Park, Ted Christopher took the place by storm as he won the 50-lap feature on Saturday night. Dave Berube finished second with Brad Hietella, third. At Riverhead, John Fortin mastered the ¼ mile oval. In other matters, Penske and the International Speedway Corporation entered into an agreement to purchase the Homestead Speedway in Florida and on a sad note, Mrs. Anne LeSeur, wife of Speedway Scene publisher Val LeSeur, passed away.
Twenty years ago in 1992 The Thompson Speedway management and competitors continued to impress as they got their Thursday night events completed by 9:00 PM. On Thursday the grandstand was ¾ full as Bert Marvin got the best of Bo Gunning as he won his fourth of the season at the 5/8-mile oval. At Stafford on Friday night, dirty Dale did it again and got away Scot free as he won the Busch North Series 150 at Jack Arute’s oval. Running third with two to go, Dale Shaw got two for the price of one as he put the bumper to second place Dale Quarterly who in turn hit leader Andy Santarre, who ended up into the wall. Bill Anderson went pole to pole to win the SK-Modified 50 lapper and Jay Stuart was the late model winner. At Waterford on Saturday night, Rob Janovic won the SK-Modified feature but it was Jeff Rocco, Keith’s twin brother, who “stole” the show. On a dare from some friends, Rocco “borrowed” one of the cars being used in a stunt show and created a smoke show that all but drove all the mosquitoes out of southeastern Connecticut. The crowd loved it, as usually the stunt shows are boring. It was too bad that those who were part of the stunt show didn’t have a sense of humor as they dragged him from the car and beat on him. The Waterford Cops pretty much saved him as they cuffed him and stuffed him in back of a car. Meanwhile back at the races, Ron Yuhas finished second with Dennis Gada, Tom Fox and Jeff Pearl, rounded out the top five.
Fifteen years ago in 2007, the Waterford Speedbowl avoided the bullet of foreclosure that was scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2007 at noon. Property owner Terry Eames finally consummated a deal with Harvey Industries late in the week in which he sold 8 acres of the Speedbowl property for $1.6 million. Before he could take the money and run, the town of Waterford had a lien on the property that had to be satisfied. Eames was forced to pay the town $188,176 for back and current taxes, as well as $29,976 for police protection that he owed. To stop the actual foreclosure Eames secured a private loan from Rocco Arbitell of Southbury and Peter Borelli of Derby, which allowed Eames and his holding company 1080 Hartford Road to pay off its debt to Washington Mutual of Seattle. Washington Mutual, a Seattle-based bank, had originally planned to foreclose on the property because of a $1.7 million mortgage debt. The 38.75-acre property is valued at $2.2 million. Arbitell is the owner of Arbitell Convenience Stores and Famous Uncle Al’s Hot Dogs.
Now that Eames had over $1 million in his bank account hopefully he would continue to pay his bills and satisfy his debt to Arbetill and Borelli. History says in a year or two it would be the same old story again! I hope I’m wrong on that one. Guess I was wrong as it was rerun all over again in 2010.
The National Speed Sport News, considered one of the leading auto sports trade publications, announced that the New York Post ran an expose on former Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari. In the story the Post stated that Molinari was paid $1.5 by the International Speedway Corporation for his help in gaining government approval for the now abandoned proposed ISC Speedway that was to be built on Staten Island in New York City. Molinari’s Public Relations firm, The Molinari Group, was paid an additional $35, 000 per month from June of 2004 to December 2006. ISC, which paid $100million for the 440 acres that would house the proposed track was forced to abandon the project after fierce opposition from taxpayers. ISC then hired a guy named Peter Vallone for $12,500 a month to help sell the partially oil contaminated property. One would have to guess that Terry Eames probably wishes that he were Buds with these guys!
Mark Mockovak was terminated as Media Coordinator of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. No replacement had been named at that time. After 14 years on the job, Mark and all the help he had been to us all would surely be missed. Mockovak put his heart and soul into promoting the Whelen Modified Tour Series but evidently someone in Daytona Beach didn’t like him.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett of Howell, NJ, held off a stellar field of Sunoco Modified competitors to score his third win of the season. Dave Berghman of Seekonk, MA, led flag-to-flag in the Pro Stock 50-Lapper to score the popular victory. In other full-fendered action, Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, scored a dramatic win to earn what appeared to be his fifth triumph of the 2007 season. Joe Arena of Kensington took down top honors in the Limited Sportsman division. Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford, MA, and Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI, were victorious in the TIS Modifieds and Mini Stocks respectively.
Jimmy Blewett enjoyed an up and down ride in the Sunoco Modified feature. Dave Salzarulo and Steve Masse both took brief turns at the head of the pack before John Blewett muscled his way into the top spot over Masse. Contact between Jimmy Blewett and Salzarulo caused a chain reaction deeper in the top ten collecting strong competitors Kerry Malone, Todd Ceravolo, Tommy Cravenho, and Geoff Gernhard.
On the restart, John resumed his lead taking brother Jimmy along for the ride. Masse got a run from third making contact with John. Jimmy was able to sneak into the lead with Rocco taking over the second spot. John settled back into the third position. Pitkat charged by Masse with ten laps down. The top three ran in a high-speed chase of leader Jimmy Blewett. John dogged Rocco for second. At halfway, Rocco made a bid on Jimmy’s lead. Rocco looked as if he would take over the top spot but he could not hold his momentum and both Blewett brothers were able to make their way past putting Jimmy back in the lead. Rocco now had his hands full with Pitkat. The excitement had settled down as the top-four continued to run nose to tail. Shelly Perry spun in front of the leaders to bring out the caution to set up a six-lap dash to the checkers. On the double file restart, Rocco made it three-wide coming down to take the green. Jimmy Blewett squeezed into the top spot over John Blewett and Rocco. Rocco could not maintain his position and lost the third spot to Pitkat. Pitkat immediately went to work on John Blewett. He moved into the second spot with two to go. He lined up behind the younger Blewett but could not reel in the leader.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat won the SK Modified and first Late Model feature for his second consecutive double shot, while Ryan Posocco won the regularly scheduled Late Model feature to break a tie with Jim Peterson as the division’s all-time winningest driver. Glen Reen took down the SK Light feature win, Rick Lanagan won the Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Nosal turned in a dominating performance to score his first career DARE Stock win in the 15-lap feature event.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature saw Woody Pitkat take down his second consecutive feature win. Willie Hardie took the lead from the pole and led the first 10 laps of the race. Pitkat made his move in turns 3+4 on lap-11 to overtake Hardie for the top spot. SK Modified points leader Ted Christopher was glued to Pitakt’s back bumper throughout the second half of the race, with several caution periods keeping the field in close contact. The two race leaders had a near disaster on lap-39 as they had to avoid the lapped car of Frank Ruocco. Both Pitkat and Christopher made it by Ruocco unscathed, but the loss of momentum by Christopher allowed Pitkat all the margin he needed on the final lap of the race. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and Christopher was Eric Berndt, Kerry Malone, and Keith Rocco.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeffrey Paul finally got the monkey off his back as he ended weeks of frustration with a win in SK Modified action. Paul, who drives a family owned mount headed by his dad, Gary, took the lead on lap 11of the 35 lap main event. Point leader Rob Janovic applied the pressure in the closing laps but the young racer never faltered.
Bruce Thomas Jr. won the 30-lap Late Model race. Other winners were Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock) and Mark Bakaj (Legends).
Rounding out the top five in the Modifieds were Matt Gallo, Dennis Charette and Jeff Pearl.
With a threat of rain and boomers closing in the Speedbowl management and competitors got the entire 5 feature race program completed in two hours and had fans heading home by 9:00pm.
Tony Stewart won the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jason Leffler got Toyota its first ever Busch Series win at O’Reilly Raceway Park as he slipped by Greg Biffle with three laps to go.
Ten years ago in 2012, The Riverhead 200, which would have been the seventh of 14 events on the 2012 Whelen Modified Tour schedule, will now be contested on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The recent firestorm created by the use of the “Spec” engine at Loudon prompted NASCAR to state their case. That main point of concern centered mostly on the SPEC engine as a means to an end for the Tour. Chief among competitors’ complaints with the engine was that it is not as durable as traditional “built” or “open” motors, that cars that opted to use the NASCAR-approved engine would be given performance breaks, and perhaps at the top of the list, NASCAR would make built motors obsolete by quickly mandating the spec engine’s use.
According to NASCAR Competition Administrator Jerry Cook, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In an official statement Cook said “We will NOT mandate the SPEC engine”. He added, “Teams could still build their own engine, that’s never been an issue. The SPEC engine is an option, but they don’t have to do it. They don’t have to do this and that’s the big thing here. No one’s telling them they have to do this.”
Cook took exception to any notion that the sanctioning body cares little about the Whelen Modified Tour or its tradition. He doesn’t view the introduction of the SPEC engine as anything other than a chance to improve the series’ overall health. As far as the car counts go, Cook sees car counts not what they were even a few years ago and wonders how many teams might have stayed in the series had they not been priced out by both technology and the economy. “Like everything these days, it’s about cost, what it costs you to race,” he said. “What it cost when I raced to what it’s come to today, it’s become very expensive. It’s like any other form of racing. It’s not cheap. Anything we can do at NASCAR to keep it affordable for people and keep it alive, to hold on to what we have, that’s what we’re going to do so people’s equipment doesn’t become obsolete.” He went on to add that the Tour is healthy, despite recent accusations in the media that NASCAR is turning a blind eye to existing problems. “I’d say it’s healthy just because it’s still in business, and there’s a lot of others that have come and gone along the way, from the Hooters ProCup Series to our own Dash and All-Pro Series, while the Modifieds are still there. It’s 27 years and counting. “Yes, car counts are down from what they were, but the quality of the cars is the best its ever been”.
Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw literally thunder and lightning along with numerous bands of showers. The speedway has postponed its Thursday Night Thompson Thunder race event to Sunday, July 29th. “The threat of severe weather being forecast for the entire state made the decision to postpone this race an easy one,” said track owner, Don Hoenig. “However, the best alternative date to run this event proved to be Sunday, July 29th. The Valenti Modified Racing Series has a very busy schedule for the balance of the summer and we did not want to have to cancel the VMRS 75-lap feature event race,” Hoenig concluded.
Despite threatening weather the Thompson Speedway got it done on Sunday. The day started on a sour note as Keith Rocco cut a tire during practice and hit the outside wall between turn one and two. He hit the wall on the driver’s side in the #4SK mod. He was brought by ambulance to the hospital and suffered a broken left wrist.
Ted Christopher earned his 97th career victory at Thompson International Speedway when he scored the checkers in the 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins were captured by Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modifieds, John Falconi in the Late Models, Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, John Lowinski-Loh in the Thompson Modifieds, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman, and Steve Violette in the Mini-Stocks.
Christopher survived a caution-filled 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event to take the victory behind the wheel of the No. 00 Joe Brady-owned machine. It was his second win of the season in the division. Christopher came from deep in the field to earn the win. Christopher inherited the lead after Rowan Pennink was black flagged for spraying water as his engine overheated.
Officials threw the black flag to Pennink on the 64th lap handing the lead to Christopher. Tim Jordan finished second with Tom Barrett, third. Jon McKennedy and Doug Coby rounded out the top five.
Ryan Preece earned the victory in the caution-filled Sunoco Modified feature event after initially taking the lead from Kerry Malone on lap two. Preece had to reclaim the lead on a lap 12 restart, and from that point on dominated the event despite a late-race caution. Woody Pitkat finished second with Dennis Perry, third. Ted Christopher and Richie Gallup rounded out the top five.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the 9th Annual CARQUEST SK 150 Twin 75 program went in the books after a one week delay because of a rain out. Taking home the big wins of the night were Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco in the twin 75-lap SK Modified® feature events, Tom Fearn was the winner of the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno was a first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Dennis Botticello picked up his second consecutive win in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande picked up his fifth win of the season in a photo finish with Cliff Saunders.
Christopher got a good run on a late race re-start, but Woody Pitakt came back strong on the outside and he was keeping pace. Ryan Preece was an early race leader before being spun to the infield. Preece, who fought his way back to the front was right behind both cars in third with Danny Cates fourth and Keith Rocco in fifth. Christopher was able to stay out front and he took the checkered flag to pick up his 98th career SK Modified® victory. Pitkat edged out Preece at the line for second, with Cates and Rocco rounding out the top-5.
Rocco and Cates slugged it out on the second 75 lapper but in the end Rocco prevailed and led the field around to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2012 season. Cates finished second, with Frank Ruocco, Sean Foster, and Pitkat rounding out the top-5. Christopher and Preece ended up 18th and 19th respectively. Ruocco was later disqualified for refusing tech inspection.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl rain washed out all the action at the shoreline oval.
In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Tim Brown was a winner for the seventh time this season leading all the way in the first of two 50-lap races for Bowman Gray’s featured Modified Division. He continued what has been quite a hot streak. Brown had finished in the top three seven times in the past 10 races entering Saturday’s second race, and he even had a shot at winning that one before getting caught in a tangle after moving up to third place. His seventh victory matched his most ever in a single season. He won seven in 2008; five Modified races remain this season.
Danny Bohn was the winner of the second race, one that was marked by seven caution periods and a run-in between two sets of brothers, Burt and Jason Myers with Jonathan and Joseph Brown.
Brown’s victory was the 65th of his career at Bowman Gray, which moved him past Ralph Brinkley and into second place on the stadium’s list of feature-division winners. Junior Miller is the all-time leader with 71 wins.
Brown had no problem enduring three double-file restarts after caution periods in the first race. Jonathan Brown made a late charge to take second place. Michael Clifton was third. In the second race, John Smith, who had finished 16th in the first race after contact and a spin with Chris Fleming, started from the pole when Brown drew No. 16 for the inverted start. He survived four restarts in a caution-filled race, but was loosened after contact with Bohn with 10 laps left. Bohn took the lead, nearly lost it a lap later before getting the best of Jonathan Brown after more contact, and hung on from there. Michael Clifton finished second and Tommy Neal was third.
In Nationwide Series racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brad Keselowski took the lead when Elliott Sadler was penalized for jumping a late restart, then held on to win a disputed finish to the inaugural Nationwide race at the historic 2½-mile track. Sadler passed Keselowski on a restart with 18 laps to go, but officials ruled that Sadler went too early and black-flagged him. Sadler stayed on the track for several laps, apparently hoping officials would reconsider the penalty, before finally coming in with 12 laps to go and giving up the lead to Keselowski.
In Sprint Cup racing at Indy nobody had a car capable of challenging Jimmie Johnson, who led 99 of 160 laps. Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. Pole sitter Denny Hamlin was sixth.
Five years ago in 2017, the big news was the victory scored by Ryan Preece in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series event at the Iowa Speedway in a top car owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. The 26-year-old Preece survived a green-white-checkered finish.
Preece, running the second of a two-race deal with the powerhouse JGR team, started from the pole and held off Kyle Benjamin on three restarts in the final 17 laps crossed the start-finish line less than a car-length ahead of Benjamin.
The 19-year-old Benjamin was a career-best second, followed by Brian Scott, Brennan Poole and rookie Cole Custer.
Preece is the grandson of legendary Modified car owner Bobby Judkins. Judkins built Modifieds carried Eddie Flemke, Ronnie Bouchard and Gene Bergin to hundreds of wins.
The Stafford Speedway held their Friday night program on a cool but dry night. Taking down feature wins on the night were Chase Dowling for a division leading fourth time this season in the SK Modified® feature, Tyler Leary was a first time career winner in the Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the SK Light feature, Robert Bloxsom, III in the Limited Late Model feature, Trace Beyer in the DARE Stock feature, and Nick Hadden was the winner of the special Wild Thing Karts Senior Champs feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dowling took the lead from Matt Galko on lap-35 with a pass in turn 2. Todd Owen was third with Keith Rocco in fourth and Cam McDermott in fifth with 5 laps to go. Once he got out front, Dowling began to pull away from Galko and he scored his division leading fourth win of the 2017 season. Owen finished third with Rocco and McDermott rounding out the top-5.
Bobby Santos, who won the Whelen Modified Tour Series event at Loudon grabbed his second consecutive USAC Silver Crown Series victory last Friday night at Toledo Speedway in Ohio, winning the Hemelgarn Racing/Super Fitness Rollie Beale Classic.
The Tri-Track Open competition Modified Series was at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH for the – SBM 125. Thirty-two Modifieds were on hand. Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA, continued his dominance of the SBM series of Modified events at Star Speedway but also of 2017 Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS) with his win on Saturday night. This victory was a repeat for Hirschman in the SBM events and his second straight TTOMS win this season. The victory was his fourth in the six-year history of the event.
Based on a draw of qualified drivers Steve Masse started on the pole and led until pitting on lap 73, during a caution. Hirschman, who had started 14th also pitted and after restarting in fourth spot, took the lead on lap 78.
Over the final stages of the event he held off challenges from a host of notable drivers to score the victory. Rowan Pennink of Huntington Valley, PA, finished second with Josh Cantara of Saco, ME, third. Anthony Nocella of Woburn, MA, and Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT, rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth included Tommy Barrett, Steve Masse, Brian Robie, Jon Kievman and Max Zachem.
The victory netted Hirschman nearly $7,000 in purse and bonuses. Heat race wins went to Todd Annarummo, Max Zachem, Carl Medeiros, Jr., and Woody Pitkat. The B-Main win went to Dillon Steuer.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of event founder Kevin Rice, a host of specialty awards were presented on the evening as well.
Kyle James had been knocking on the door of the SK Modified division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl since the start of the season. On Saturday night he kicked it in. James, of Ashaway, R.I., scored his first victory of the season in the 35-lap SK Modified feature. Ted Christopher finished in the runner-up spot with Keith Rocco, third.
In other action at the Connecticut shoreline oval Anthony Flannery was the winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Dana DiMatteo won the SK Light feature, Charles Canfield was the Mini-Stock winner, Chris Meyer was the Limited Sportsman winner and Jon Puleo won the legends feature.
Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway with a near capacity crowd on hand on Saturday night, David Schneider of Northport took the lead on lap 5 of the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature and drove off to score his first career Whelen All American Series victory. Among the interested onlookers was NASCAR CEO Brian France and his family who were vacationing in the famed Hamptons on the south fork of Long Island. France was beyond impressed with the improvements at Riverhead Raceway made by owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz since taking over the historic oval at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Down in the south land, at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC on Saturday night, in the twin 25-lap Modified races, Lee Jeffreys won his first race in a while, defeating points leader Burt Myers, and six-time champion Junior Miller won the night’s second race. Jeffreys dedicated the win to his father, Robert, who died during the offseason.
Miller, who is now 66, picked up his 74th career win and first since June 7, 2014, by holding off Joe Ryan Osborne. Miller is now one ahead of Myers for second place in career victories. Tim Brown is first with 83.
Get well wishes went out to Gary DeSarro who took a nasty fall onto a boat. Gary, the oldest son of the late Fred DeSarro, suffered a couple vertebrae fractures and cracked ribs.
Kyle Busch used a bump-and-run on Kevin Harvick to take the lead and held on to snap a 36-race losing streak and win the NASCAR Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
Last year, 2021, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to Loudon, NH this past Saturday for a 100 lap-105.8 mile event. Thirty three drivers filed entries including Bobby Santos III who won the last two events there.
Ryan Preece took advantage of a last lap blocking incident that saw then leader Ronnie Silk cut in front of Justin Bonsignore. Preece sprinted around Silk and Bonsignore to go from third to first to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s Whelen 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Bonsignore also elected not to take fuel when the caution fell at Lap 74, choosing to take tires and track position instead. Off Turn 4 on the final lap, Bonsignore said the engine stumbled, hindering any momentum coming back to the checkered flag. Silk ended up third in a backup car that had zero practice laps on it and just two qualifying circuits before Saturday’s contest. Silk wrecked his primary car in practice.
Shortly after taking the green as the field was about to complete lap 1 Matt Swanson in the Boehler No. 3 drifted wide off Turn 4 and contacted the outside wall. As the field scattered around him, Max McLaughlin was turned into the outside wall, and both drivers’ days ended early. It took forever and a day for the track crew to clean the track as the race resumed on lap 12. Once the green dropped the field ran non-stop for 62 laps. Bonsignore and Preece traded the lead numerous times during the long green.
Doug Coby, who was hoping to score a good finish saw his chances come to an end on lap 46 when he dropped out with engine problems.
At the half way mark, Bonsignore was scored the leader with Preece in second spot. Andy Seuss was having a great run in third spot with Jon McKennedy in fourth and Ron Williams in the Jamie Tomaino 99 rounded out the top five. Point leader Patrick Emmerling was not having a good day as he was lapped by the leaders at lap 70.
Bonsignore would continue to hold the lead until the caution flew on lap 74 for a blown engine in the mount of Bryan Dauzat.
The restart on lap 82 saw Silk enter the picture. By lap 85 he was in the lead. At Lap 93, Tyler Rypkema suffered a right-rear tire blow-out heading into Turn 1 and spun driver-side into the outside wall. He exited the car unhurt, climbing out under his own power.
That set up a restart with four to go. The fourth and final caution came on lap 98 when JD Fortin and Eric Goodale came together on the front stretch with Fortin ending up in the wall. Goodale felt that Fortin had cost him a good finish and hit him after the fact to show his dis-pleasure.
This incident led to the over-time green-white-checker finish. Completing the top five behind Preece, Bonsignore and Silk were Ronnie Williams and Jon McKennedy. Andy Seuss, Dave Sapienza, Bobby Santos III, Kyle Bonsignore and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top 10.
The racing was absolutely great but there was no pit reporter and no follow-up data from NASCAR’s PR department was nonexistent, with the exception of the finish.
Stafford Speedway dealt with a rain delay but in the end presented a full night of racing. Stafford’s Street Stock division took center stage on Friday, July 16 with their lone extra distance feature event of the 2021 season, the Midstate Site Development 30. Frank L’Etoile, Jr. was the big winner of the night, outdueling Chris Meyer in the closing laps to score his fourth Street Stock win of the 2021 season in the MSD 30. Other feature winners on the night included Michael Christopher, Jr. scoring his second consecutive SK Modified® feature win, Adam Gray beat Michael Bennett to the checkered flag in a thrilling photo finish to score his second Late Model feature win of the season, George Bessette, Jr. was a first time winner SK Light winner, and Matt Clement scored his second Limited Late Model win of the season.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® event, Teddy Hodgdon and Marcello Rufrano ran the first lap side by side for the lead before Rufrano took the lead in the outside lane on lap-2. Once in the lead, Rufrano opened up a huge lead. Following a restart Christopher took the lead from Rufrano on the lap-28 restart as Todd Owen moved into the third spot. Owen looked high and low over the final laps but he couldn’t find a way by Christopher and he came up a half car length short at the checkered flag as Christopher picked up his third win of the 2021 season. Tyler Hines finished third with Andrew Molleur, fourth. Rufrano faded to fifth.
There were 22 SK Modifieds on hand. Among the missing were Keith Rocco, Ronnie Williams and Bryan Narducci who were serving a one week suspension for fighting.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl It was one day before his 31st birthday, but Ray Christian III started the celebration early. He started the night at the New London Waterford Speedbowl with a Late Model win, and ended the program with another 30-lap Late Model winner. As an added bonus, he moved into the division point lead by two points over Jason Palmer, who was plagued all night by a damaged race car.
Christian’s back-to-back success stories were two of the highlights on a busy night at the New London Waterford Speedbowl.
Other highlights were defending SK Modified champ Tim Jordan grabbing his first 2021 win, Jim Boyle winning the most prestigious Speedbowl Truck race of the year, a 50-lapper, Al Stone taking down his 57th career win in the Street Stocks, John O’Sullivan winning for the fifth time this season in the Legend cars and Randy Cabral taking down a win in the Pro 4 Modifieds.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina fell victim to rain.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran without the modifieds because of a tire shortage. It was a family fun packed Advance Auto Parts Weekly series program Saturday night run under hazy, humid & hot conditions at Riverhead Raceway with three divisions running in the second leg of their Miller Lite Triple Crown Series of 2021. Scott Pedersen of Shirley won his third Figure Eight event of the year while Jack Handley Jr. of Medford in the Super Pro Trucks and Dave Antos of Lindenhurst in the Street Stocks both copped their second win of the season.
In NASCAR Cup racing at New Hampshire International Aric Almirola took the win. Ryan Preece finished 22nd.
July 15, 1972 Stafford ran their twice rained out Permatex 150 on Saturday night with Ronnie Bouchard taking the win over Bugsy Stevens, Leo Cleary and Bobby Santos who all finished on the lead lap. Bouchard started 12th after winning the second heat and took the lead on lap 72. Fred DeSarro finished fifth, one lap down. Rounding out the top ten were Ray Miller, Ernie Gahan, Jerry Cook, Gene Bergin and Ed Pieneziak.
Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!