RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: First Week Of August

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, the Lonsdale Sports Arena, just outside of Providence, R.I. opened. Lonsdale featured a 1/3-mile high-banked speedway with the midgets as headliners.

onsdale was also one of the first speedways to hold races for production automobiles, which was the forerunner of what we consider today as being stock cars. Lonsdale took four months to build and was dubbed the Worlds Greatest Midget Track. The chutes were 45 feet wide with a 7-foot bank.

The turns were 60 feet wide with a 15-foot bank. Lonsdale ran until 1953 when the track was severely damaged by a flood, which wiped out half of the backstretch. The track was never rebuilt.

The remains are still there on the banks of the Blackstone River. If in operation today, the track would be perfect for the modern modifieds as it would be comparable to a mini-Bristol. Wall Stadium, in Belmar, NJ is an almost carbon copy of the Rhode Island oval.

A short distance away in Seekonk, Mass. the Seekonk Speedway was enjoying its second year of operation with Midgets as their top division. Taking the win on this weekend was the great Bill Schindler.

Seventy years ago in 1952, rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday night. Cy Yates won the 50 lap mid-season Sportsman championship at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Ed McAvoy was the Claiming Car winner. Roland Bonnville was the Stock Car winner at Seekonk. At Old Bridge on Sunday, Pete Frazee took the win with Eastern Bandit Eddie Flemke, second.

Sixty five years ago in 1957 Red Bolduc made it three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the Wednesday night Sportsman feature. Irwin Fox was the non-Ford winner. Saturday night racing at the Speedbowl rained out. Johnny Zeke was the feature winner at Islip. Hop Harrington made it three in a row in the Sportsman division at Seekonk. At Old Bridge, Johnny Rocco won on Saturday and Pete Frazee won on Sunday.

Sixty years ago in 1962, Dick Beauregard was the 50 lap Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Moody was the Bomber feature winner. Marty Zengali was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Bud Crotty was the Cut Down winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1967, the All Star League had a scheduled stop at Riverside Park but rain prevailed. Friday night at Stafford saw Gene Bergin make it two in a row as he won the 30-lap feature. Eddie Flemke finished second with Ted Stack, Smokey Boutwell and Wild Bill Slater rounding out the top five. Ernie Gahan, like Bergin, made it two in a row as he won the Friday night 30 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. George Pendergast finished second with Bob Bruno, third. Don MacTavish and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Lee Osborne made it two in a row at Fulton and George Wagner took a victory at the Riverhead Raceway. Fonda ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night. Rene Charland made it four in a row at the Track of Champions. Bill Wimble finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Newt Palm scored his ninth Modified win of the season at Waterford. Bobby Sprague made it four in a row in Class A action at Seekonk.Airborne Park Speedway near Plattsburg, NY ran twin 50’s with Eddie Flemke winning both. In the first event, Pete Hamilton finished with Don MacTavish, third. Billy Harman, who was racing full time, finished seventh. In the night cap, Hamilton and MacTavish followed with Richie Evans, fourth. Harman finished eighth. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Defending NASCAR Modified Champion Ernie Gahan took the win in the scheduled 30-lap feature. Lou Lazzaro finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook, Bernie Miller and Rene Charland.

Fifty years ago in 1972, Bobby Sprague was the big winner at Seekonk on Friday night. Freddie Schulz finished second with Johnny Tripp, third. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Eddie Pieniezak took the win over Denis Giroux, Dave Lape and Eddie Flemke. George Summers, in the Ken Curley No.31 took a popular win at Stafford on Saturday night. Eddie Flemke finished second with Fred DeSarro, Bob Santos and Ernie Gahan rounding out the top five. Islip ran a 200-lap national championship event on Saturday night, which drew in many outsiders. Once the checker dropped and the dust settled it was Jim Hendrickson sitting in victory lane. Jerry Cook finished second with Bernie Miller, third. Fonda ran a double point event with Jack Johnson taking the win. Dick Watson was the Modified winner at Waterford. In Late Model Sportsman action at the Norwood Arena Jack Malone took the win over Bob Melnick. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Dave Kotary held off Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook and Denis Giroux for the win.

Forty five years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens made it three in a row at Stafford in Friday night modified action. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Ray Miller, third. At Riverhead, also on Friday, Fred Harbach took the win over Wayne Anderson and Charlie Jarzombek. At Seekonk, on Saturday night, John Rosati took on the big boys and came home the winner. Henri ”Red” Barbeau finished second with Jim Wilkins, third. At Westboro, George Savory mastered the high-banked quarter mile oval. Mike Murphy finished second with Butch Walch, third. It rained at Waterford and Thompson but at Monadnock on Sunday night, Donnie Ayer beat the rain and Don Miller to take down the win. Brian Ross finished third.

Forty years ago in 1982, Reggie Ruggiero won a hotly contested 40 lap-Thompson 300 Pole Qualifier over Greg Sacks and Ronnie Bouchard. Ruggerio took the lead on the start from pole sitter, Ronnie Bouchard. Sacks was declared the winner after a post race inspection indicated that Ruggerio’s carburetor was illegal. Ray Miller took the Friday night win at Stafford despite the fact that Ruggerio was breathing down his neck during most of the feature. Ruggerio settled for second with Greg Sacks, third. In other Friday night action, George Kent won at Spencer over Jerry Cook and Billy Griffin, John Blewett JR won a 100 lapper at Riverhead over Fred Harback and George Brunnhoelzl and at New Egypt, Richie Evans won out over Jamie Tomaino and Tony Siscone. Thirty-four Modifieds were on hand at Waterford on Saturday night. Harry Rice took the win over Randy Lajoie and Moose Hewitt. Brian McCarthy was the Super Stock winner. At Riverside Park it was Mike Stefanik over Stan Gregger and at Seekonk, George Summers outran Ronnie Bouchard and Mike Murphy for the win. George Kent made it two for two on the weekend as he took the win at Shangri-La over Doug Hewitt and Richie Evans. At Islip, Wayne Anderson mastered the 1/5th mile oval.

Thirty five years ago in 1987, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverhead for a 151 lapper on Wednesday night. Rain postponed the event to Thursday night. Mike Ewanitsko slipped by Bob Park on lap 132 and went on to record the win. Tom Baldwin led the early going until he got caught up in a wreck, which had been triggered by a blown engine in the Don Howe car. Park finished second and was followed by Mike Stefanik, Bill Park and Jim Spencer. Ed Flemke JR was the SK-Modified winner at Stafford on Friday night but the big story was that NASCAR Chief Steward, Leo Waters, resigned after a dispute with General Manager Ed Yerrington. What happened was that Waters had suspended and fined Bo Gunning for a rough riding incident the previous week. During the week, Gunning appealed to Yerrington who, in turn, over-ruled Waters. Needless to say, Yerrington never told Waters of his decision. Waters felt that Yerrington had made a fool out of him and quit on the spot and would never return. Saturday night at Waterford, Moose Hewitt beat out Jerry Pearl and Ronnie Rocco. At Riverside it was Dan Avery over Stan Gregger and at Riverhead, Bill Park beat out Tom Baldwin and Eddie Brunnhoelzl. In other weekend activity, Lee Sherwood took the win at Tioga and rain prevailed at Thompson on Sunday


Thirty years ago in 1992, Mike Christopher was the Wednesday night winner at Thompson. Tom Tagg finished second. Bo Gunning put the S&S 33 in victory lane at Stafford on Friday night. Richie Gallup finished second with Ronnie Rocco, third. Ricky Fuller went two for two as he put the Mario Fiore No.44 in the winners circle at Monadnock on Friday and at Riverside on Saturday. At Waterford on Saturday night, Ted Christopher drove the North End Auto Parts No.54 to victory lane over Jerry Pearl. In late model action, Phil Rondeau scored his eighth win of the season. Mike Ewanitsko won the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial at Riverhead and Tony Siscone won his fifth of the season at Wall.

Twenty five years ago in 1997, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Todd Ceravolo won his sixth of the year at Waterford on Saturday night. Don Fowler finished second with Eric Berndt, third. John Brouwer was the late model winner. Ted Christopher made it three in a row at Riverside and backed it up with a Busch North Series win at Watkins Glen. In the BNS event, Christopher started third and had to pit on the first lap when his shifter jammed. Restarting in the rear, Christopher marched to the front and took the lead with 27 laps to go. Kim Baker finished second with Martin Truex, third. Pole sitter Mike Stefanik led the first two laps before losing a transmission.The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverhead for a 201-lap event. Mike Ewanitsko took the lead on lap 60 and managed to weave his way through the lapped traffic to take the win over Mike Stefanik, Tom Cravenho and Tim Connolly. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Jeff Gordon scored his first ever road course win. Geoff Bodine finished second with Rusty Wallace, third. In other news, NASCAR announced that the Las Vegas Speedway would have a Winston Cup date in 1998. Dave Blaney won $1 million in a sprinter at Eldora Speedway in Ohio and Danny Johnson won $17,500 in the Mr.DIRT USA event at the Lebanon Valley Speedway.

Twenty years ago in 1992, the racing weekend started on Thursday at Thompson where an elated John Brouwer Jr. won his first feature at the 5/8-mile oval amid some tough customers. Brouwer, who left the Waterford Speedbowl after an early season dispute with track officials, made Thompson his new home. In fact, it was probably a good career move especially if Brouwer has a design to move up to one of NASCAR’s touring divisions. Brouwer took the lead on lap five of the 30 lap main event and led the rest of the way to take the victory over Bobby Santos III. Ted Christopher fought with an ill handling car and finished third. Bo Gunning and Tom Tagg finished fourth and fifth after recovering from a first lap jingle with Eric Berndt. Defending track champion Bert Marvin finished sixth. Stafford ran a 150 lapper for the SK-Modifieds on Friday night. With $3,500 and valuable track points on the line, Bo Gunning was hoping to pad his point lead and get car owner Eddie Partridge his first track championship. Gunning seemed to have the race well in hand until a lap 86 restart when Lloyd Agor booted him. The spin and eventual wreck also collected Ted Christopher and Jeff Baral. Ron Silk, who had been running second, took the lead and went on to record his first Stafford win. Eric Berndt, who has had a miserable season, got the monkey off his back as he came home in second spot. Doug Coby, Lloyd Agor and Mike Holdredge rounded out the top five. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was represented by Ed Flemke Jr. who finished seventh and rookie sensation Todd Szegedy who finished 33rd. Gunning ended up 23rd and Christopher finished out the night in 24th spot. There were ten cautions 109 of the scheduled 150 laps run under green. The regular Saturday night racing program saw Dennis Gada score his fifth win of the season. It was also a milestone for car owner Harry Wyatt as it was his 50th win at the shoreline oval. It looked like tech inspector Everett Marvin was not fooling around as he made extensive checks looking for traction control devices. Marvin even had those checked remove their body tin. All those checked were legal. Ed Reed JR finished second.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour started the weekend of on a wet note as rain washed out the scheduled event at Stafford on Friday. The entire event was rescheduled for Saturday night. Ted Christopher ended an almost year long dry spell as he won the event over Todd Szegedy and Mike Stefanik. It was Christopher’s seventh win at the track where he is the all-time winningest driver and the points leader in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series’ SK Modified Division. But it was his first trip to Victory Lane on the Whelen Modified Tour since Aug. 17, 2006 at Thompson (Conn.). Christopher led 58 laps before pitting on lap 76. He quickly worked his way back up front and retook the lead on lap 114. Doug Coby, making his first start of the season for the No. 77 Race Against Cancer Foxwoods/Subway Pontiac, finished fourth. Donny Lia (No. 4 Dodge), who won the first two Whelen Modified Tour stops of the season at Stafford, was fifth. Matt Hirschman, Jerry Marquis, Eric Beers, Jimmy Blewett and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top 10. Thirty-two cars, light by Tour standards, were on hand. All started the event. Numerous wrecks and spins were the cause of 13 caution periods as almost half (73laps) of the 150-lap distance was run under the yellow.

In True Value Modified Series action Jon McKennedy took the checkers at the Canaan Speedway in New Hampshire.

In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco picked up his third Sunoco Modified (Sk) win of the year. Jay Macedonio wired the field for his first-career Pro Stock win. Rick Gentes continued his dominance of the Late Model division with his sixth win of the season. Larry Barnett turned his recent bad luck around with a win in the Limited Sportman division while Kurt Vigeant made it two in a row in TIS Modified competition. Brad Caddick scored his second Mini Stock feature win of the season. Rocco of Wallingford, CT, scored his win with an impressive performance in the Sunoco Modified division. The headline division was stacked up three-wide before they entered turn one on lap one. Things got worse when a struggling pole-sitter, Danny LaJeunesse, spun in turn two. Bad luck continues to plague Todd Ceravolo, who, once again, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Danny Cates and Steve Masse occupied the front row when the racing went back to green on lap one. Masse lost ground on the restart handing the lead temporarily to Danny Cates. Before the completion of the lap, Tommy Cravenho was the new leader. A grinding wreck in turn one that included Russ Blanco, Brian Tagg, LaJeunesse and Dave Lacroix brought the action to a halt with the red flag on lap three. Under caution, Jimmy. Blewett headed to pit road. When racing resumed, Cravenho continued to show the way with Rocco moving into the second position. The caution flew on lap six when the #5 of John Blewett came to rest with a ball of flame in turn four. The restart pitted Rocco against Cravenho for the lead. The two went wheel to wheel, even bouncing off each other, as they headed toward the start/finish line. Rocco was able to grab the top spot from Cravenho on lap eight. Masse and Cates were hanging tough inside the top five. Kerry Malone, Woody Pitkat and Bert Marvin were getting racey for the fifth position. The duo of Rocco and Cravenho were putting some distance back to third. They watched their lead fade when the caution flew on lap 14 for further troubles for the T.S. Haulers Team. Jimmy Blewett came to rest in the infield off of turn two. The green flew again one lap shy of halfway with Rocco and Cravenho still showing the way. Rocco got away a bit from Cravenho while they went two-by-two inside the top five. The fourth spot was a busy place with Masse holding off Cates, and Marvin, who had made quick work of Pitkat and Malone after the restart. Again, it was a two-car breakaway with Rocco leading Cravenho. Masse ran third while Cates was being hounded by Marvin. Pitkat, Buddy Charrette and Kerry Malone took chase. Marvin was able to take the third spot from Cates with less than ten laps remaining. Marvin caught Masse with five laps to go. Pitkat and Malone ganged up on Cates as they were able to advance their positions on the rookie. With Rocco checked out on Cravenho, Marvin continued to dog Cates. Malone turned up the heat on Pitkat for the fifth position. At the finish, it was all Rocco. Cravenho settled for the second position. Steve Masse had a career day in the Modified finishing third. Marvin ran a smart race to quietly finish fourth over Pitkat.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat and Ryan Posocco continued their streaks with Pitkat taking his fourth consecutive SK Modified® feature victory, while Posocco scored his third consecutive Late Model feature win. Glen Reen took down the SK Light feature win for his fifth win of the 2007 season, Rick Lanagan scored his fifth Limited Late Model feature win of 2007, and Megan Bienkowski scored her first career victory in the 15-lap feature event. The 40-lap SK Modified® feature took the green with Todd Owen leading the field, but he was surpassed for the lead by Jeff Malave on lap-4. The first 27 laps of the race ran under green flag conditions, with Malave building up a full straightaway lead over Owen before the caution erased that margin. Woody Pitkat moved from third to second on the restart on lap-31 and then took the lead from Malave on lap-34. Pitkat held serve on two final restarts in the last four laps to score the feature win. Brad Hietala charged through the pack in the closing laps to come home second, with Malave, Ted Christopher, and Frank Ruocco rounding out the top-5.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Tommy Fox went pole to pole as he ended a shutout season at the shoreline oval. Fox held off Shawn Monahan during the final two restarts. Tom Fox won his first feature of what has been a tough season for the veteran driver, leading from wire to wire and holding off Shawn Monahan on two restarts, the last with 14 laps to go. Dennis Charette was third and Donnie Fowler fourth, with Jeff Pearl, fifth. Bruce Thomas Jr won his ninth Late Model feature of the year and has all but wrapped up the division title. Phil Evans won his fourth Mini Stock feature of the season. Mark Lajoie passed Jim Procaccini, who led from the start, on the outside with just two laps to go, to win his first career Sportsman feature and Michael Gervais spun out Jason Palmer on the final turn of the last lap, so track officials awarded Glen Billings, who was running third, the victory for a win in the Legends INEX Nationals qualifier in a caution-filled 50-lap feature.

Dirt tracker Brett Hearn scored his 500th win when he won a 100 lapper at the Lebanon Valley Speedway on Saturday night.

Kevin Harvick had victory lane to himself, using perfect pit strategy to win the Busch Series Zippo 200 Saturday at Watkins Glen International. Harvick, the defending Busch Series champion, led 37 laps and beat Jeff Burton by 3.5 seconds for his second consecutive win, fifth this season and 31st of his career. That ties him with Jack Ingram for second all-time behind Mark Martin’s 47. Polesitter Kurt Busch was third, followed by Paul Menard and rookie Brad Coleman. Juan Pablo Montoya, who started on the front row and was seeking a record third NASCAR road course win of the season, ran up front much of the day but finished 33rd after being caught up in a crash with Jason Leffler on a restart with 14 laps remaining in the 82-lap race. With just two laps remaining in Sunday’s Nextel Cup Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, Jeff Gordon had a two car-length lead on Tony Stewart. NASCAR’s top two road racers were preparing for a final clash. It never happened. Gordon spun out on his own heading into the first turn, Stewart zoomed past, held off a late charge from Carl Edwards, and won for the third time in four races.

Ten years ago in 2012, The Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Donny Lia took over the lead with 21 laps to go and pulled away to win the Budweiser King of Beers 150. Lia, who started ninth on the grid in the No. 4 Mystic Missile Racing Dodge, initially challenged pole-sitter Mike Stefanik for the lead on Lap 59. Stefanik battled back, however, to regain the lead and stay out front to the midway point of the race. Lia, meanwhile, lost a lap to the leaders due to a problem with a lug nut during a pit stop. He gained the lap back as the beneficiary during a caution on Lap 83. Lia steadily worked his way forward from there. He was up to sixth by Lap 95 and moved by Todd Szegedy for second on Lap 108. Lia moved by Ron Silk for the lead on Lap 129 and never looked back. Other lap leaders were Stefanik, lap 1 through 74, Szegedy, lap 75 to 94 and Silk, lap 95 to 128.

Silk held off Doug Coby for second. Ted Christopher, who was penalized for aggressive driving and sent to the back of the pack on Lap 84, rebounded to finish fourth. Stefanik was fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Rowan Pennink, Jimmy Blewett, Bobby Santos, Ron Yuhas Jr. and Szegedy.

With this win, he secured a locked-in starting position for the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach during 2013 Speedweeks on a temporary short track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

There were 25 Modifieds on hand as the car counts continue to drop. Fourteen of the original 25 starters finished on the lead lap. There were eight cautions for 34 laps. The first yellow flew on lap 16 when Justin Bonsignore and Patrick Emerling wrecked in turn two. Bonsignore’s damage was terminal while Emerling was able to have repairs and despite losing laps was able to work his way back as a “Lucky Dog” and ended the day on the lead lap in 12th spot at the finish. The second caution came on lap 24 when Rob Fuller and Eric Berndt were involved in an accident in turn two. Both would continue but would finish laps down at the finish. The third caution flew on lap 45 for Jon McKennedy who spun on the front stretch. McKennedy recovered to finish 14th on the lead lap. Jimmy Blewett spun out in turn four on lap 63, bringing out the fourth caution. Blewett stormed back to finish seventh. Six laps later on lap 69 Rowan Pennink spun in turn two for the fifth caution. The yellow was displayed for the sixth time when Bobby Santos was spun out by Ted Christopher. NASCAR felt that Christopher, who was driving the famous ole Blu of the Boehler family, was overly aggressive and put him to the rear. The sixth caution came on lap 83 when Woody Pitkat and Ed Flemke wrecked on the backstretch. A red flag resulted while track crews removed Flemke’s car from atop Pitkats. The eighth and final caution came on lap 116 when Ryan Preece spun in turn two.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified division, Danny Gamache, Jr. visited Thompson International Speedway victory lane for the first time in his career when he checkered the Thompson Modified division in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. Other winners included Tommy O’Sullivan in the Late Models, Jesse Gleason in the Limited Sportsman division, Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini Stocks, and Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds.

Preece took the lead in the Sunoco Modified feature event at lap two and never looked back en route to his third consecutive win and eighth victory of the season. Kerry Malone drove right out front at the drop of the green flag with Dennis Perry and Todd Ceravolo rounding out the top three. On lap two, Ryan Preece shot to the outside groove and drove by Ceravolo before taking over the second spot from Perry on the inside groove. Caution flew at lap six for a spun car in turn two putting Preece side-by-side with Malone. Malone drove to the front, but Preece was persistent in his challenges. On lap eight, Preece dropped to the bottom and drove by Malone for the lead. Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-four. On lap 13, Ceravolo went underneath Malone in a battle for second. Christopher got into the mix and used the same line to try and take over third, but Malone fought back and shut the door on his challenges. On lap 19, Christopher was able to get the momentum to drive by Malone and take over third. Meanwhile, Preece had pulled away to a half-a-straightaway lead over the rest of the field. Preece, who has three wins in a row has now won 8 of the 14 events run at Thompson.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night heavy showers forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s racing.

In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl continuing rain kept the shoreline oval quiet.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC the rain prevailed there too!

Shawn Solomito led from pole to pole as he won the NASCAR Modified feature at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Ryan Preece, who started fifth, finished second with Ted Christopher, third.

When push came to shove, Carl Edwards got the better of Brad Keselowski. Edwards, making his first Nationwide Series start of the season, beat Keselowski on a two-lap dash to the checkered flag on Saturday and won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Austin Dillon’s blown right-front tire brought out the final stoppage of the 82-lap race around the 11-turn, 2.45-mile layout, and Edwards beat Keselowski on a restart for the second straight time in the race.

Slipping and sliding around oil-spattered Watkins Glen International on the last lap and fighting for the lead, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski didn’t know what was around the next turn. Ambrose finally passed Keselowski heading to the final turn in a stunning fender-banging duel Sunday and won the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen. It was his second straight Sprint Cup victory at the track.

Five years ago in 2017, The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway played host to the Whelen Modified Tour Series along with their weekly venue last Wednesday night. Ryan Preece will never be accused of being a stroaker or one who just rides along to collect points. Just the opposite, as he is one of the hardest chargers in the division. Preece was in top form last Wednesday as he left little doubt after a commanding win in the Bud 150.

In the early going Preece took the lead from pole sitter Rowan Pennink in turn two on lap six. Preece led Pennink until a lap 74 caution when Pennink pitted for tires. Craig Lutz inherited the runner up spot but it was short lived. Justin Bonsignore was on the move and by lap 82 had displaced Lutz and Preece who was backing up as his tires gave up. Timmy Solomito took the lead from Bonsignore on lap 87 as Preece continued to fade at an alarming pace. On lap 114 Preece mysteriously spun in turn two, bringing out a caution, which allowed him to pit for three new tires. Preece said he felt a “nudge” before he spun and NASCAR didn’t disagree. Restarting in 14th position when the green dropped on lap 119 Preece made a determined march to the front. He was up to seventh on lap 123, 5th on lap 124, 4th on lap 125, 3rd on lap 126 as Doug Coby took the lead and second on lap 127. By lap 130 Preece had glued himself to Coby’s bumper. Coby blocked for two laps but couldn’t hold Preece off. Preece took the lead in turn one on lap 133. From then on, except for some last lap drama it was all Preece. As Preece and Coby took the white flag Coby’s right front tire blew out from apparent contact and he gave the wall going into turn one a wallop.

With the checker and caution flying Preece took the checker. Ted Christopher crossed the line on Preece’s tail. NASCAR reverted back to the last completed green flag lap and awarded Doug Coby the second spot and pushing Christopher back to third. Timmy Solomito and Bobby Santos rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Andrew Krause, Rowan Pennink, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy and Woody Pitkat. Christopher was extremely upset with NASCAR’s decision as he voiced his opinion with numerous expletives.

As an added note Eddie Partridge hinted that Ryan Preece may be heading to ”The Madhouse” following this weeks Bristol Mod Tour event.

The Sunoco Modifieds took to the track prior to the running of the tour event. Keith Rocco took the lead on lap 22 in turn one from Steve Masse. It was Rocco’s 242nd career win but it didn’t come easy. Masse led the early going after pole sitter Jason Sundeen spun out on lap one. Woody Pitkat was a mid-race leader before he spun with Ted Christopher and Troy Talman. Following a lap 17 restart with Rocco on the point, Masse ran him up in turn one to take the lead. Rocco dogged him until lap 22 when he retook the lead for good. Following Rocco at the finish was Masse and Christopher. Woody Pitkat and Todd Owen rounded out the top five.

Other Wednesday night winners were Randy Cabral in the NEMA Midgets, Brent Gleason in the Limited Sportsman and Wayne Burroughs, Jr in the Mini-Stocks. Woody Pitkat was awarded the Late Model win fter Rick Gentes was disqualified.

Oval track racing action returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 10 with the Sunoco 20/20 “For the Fans” event. The evening of racing will be the final opportunity for local racing division competitors to gain points, wins, or momentum as the season draws closer to the October World Series of Weekend where local champions and the Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned.

The Thompson Whelen Modified Tour Bud 150 will be shown by NBC Sports Net on Thursday, August 17 at 7:oopm.

The Stafford Speedway continued their Friday night series of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Wild Thing Karts Senior Outlaws joining Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions as part of Call Before You Dig 811 Night. Before the racing hit the track, Stafford Speedway honored the five winners of the CBYD 811 Challenge with each driver winning an $811 bonus from CBYD. The five winners were Chase Dowling, Michael Bennett, Bryan Narducci, Robert Bloxsom, III, and George Bessette, Jr. Taking down feature wins on the night were Ted Christopher in the SK Modified® feature, Glen Reen in the Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the SK Light feature, Bryan Narducci in the Limited Late Model feature, Johnny Walker in the DARE Stock feature, and Christopher Buffone in the special Wild Thing Karts Senior Outlaws feature.

In the 40 lap SK Modified feature, Ted Christopher took the lead after a lap 9 restart with Rowan Pennink hot on his tail. Christopher was able to get clear on lap-15 and Todd Owen was now on the outside of Pennink in a challenge for second. Pennink won that battle and Owen was now side by side with Christopher, Jr. for third with Matt Galko and Chase Dowling side by side for fifth. At the halfway point, Ted Christopher still had Pennink glued to his back bumper with Christopher, Jr., Owen, and Dowling lined up in third to fifth. Tommy Membrino came to a stop on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 25 laps complete.

Christopher took the lead back under green and he held the lead until lap-28 when Pennink went to the front. Christopher took the lead back on lap-31 while behind them, Christopher, Jr. was holding off strong challenges from Owen and Williams. Owen and Williams touched tires and got into the turn 4 wall to bring the caution out with 31 laps complete.

Back under green Christopher and Pennink were swapping the lead again with Christopher taking the lead on the restart, but Pennink went to the front on lap-33. Pennink held the lead for 2 laps before Christopher went back to the front on lap-36. With the lead swapping back and forth, Dowling was now up to third with Christopher, Jr. in fourth and Tyler Hines was up to fifth.

Christopher was able to hold off Pennink to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2017 season. Pennink got loose in the last corner and nearly lost second to Dowling, but he was abel to beat Dowling to the line by inches. Christopher, Jr. finished fourth with Hines rounding out the top-5.

Ted Christopher is the Staffords all-time winningest driver with 129 feature wins including 107 in the SK modifieds. Overall his career total is 371 victories. Now 59, Christopher shows no sign of slowing down.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, CT driver Rob Janovic Jr grabbed his first win of the 2017 season in the 35-lap SK Modified portion of Wings and Wheels. Janovic Jr started outside pole and had to fight a ill handling car as well as fend off a hard charging Kyle James to take down his first dual checkered flags of the year. “The car wasn’t good at all tonight, I had to make sure I hit all of my marks. The last lap we got together it was more of me backing into him than him tapping me,” explained Janovic after the event. Rounding out the top five were Kyle James, Keith Rocco, Todd Owen and Matthew Galko.

In the 25-lap SK Lite Modified event it was Dana DiMatteo taking the win. For the Farmington, CT driver, it was his third win of the season. The NEMA Midgets were up next for their 25-lap event. It was Lakeville, MA Avery Stoehr putting the Bertrand Motorsports #39 machine into victory lane.

Taking to the speedway next was the Valenti Modified Racing Series for their scheduled 100-lap event. Plainville, CT Ted Christopher dominated the event. Christopher shot out to the lead as the green waved. For Christopher, he had to withstand nine restarts and had to use tire management as the race was also red flagged as a crew member of the Steve Masse Team was clipped by another car during a pitstop. At the end, it was TC pulling ahead from the field to post the win. Rounding out the top five were Kyle James, Sammy Rameau, Donnie Lashua and Chris Pasteryak.

The NEMA Lites 25-lap feature was over quickly as they ran from the green to checker. Pole sitter Megan Cugini shot out of a canon and grabbed the lead. Cugini lead for 24-laps and left the door open on the inside for Dylan Duhaime. It was the only lap Duhaime led and it took him the checkered flag. The ATQ Midgets ran a carbon copy of the NEMA Lite feature with the same outcome. The 25-lap feature went green to checker. Matt Janish grabbed the lead as the green waved and pulled away from the field. With three laps to go Ryan Tidman caught Janish with two laps to go and powered around Janish and took down his fifth win of the season.

The ISMA Modifieds started the day running two sets of group qualifying events to set up the heat lineups for the scheduled 75-lap feature. 14-cars took time and it was Michael Muldoon taking the top spot. After a three-car mishap that started the event, the red flag waved to put a halt on the event. The race continued only to have another red flag to wave. The #61 Mike Ordway smacked the back-stretch wall. When the race was getting ready to continue it was announced the feature would be shortened to 50-laps. Timmy Jedrzejek and Trent Stephens battled for the lead as the race was winding down. The caution flew on lap-39 as the sky opened and the race was red/checkered and the win went to Jimmy Jedrzejek.

Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, Dave Brigati of Calverton pulled triple duty once again during the Donaldson’s VW-Subaru night NASCAR Whelen All American series program and in the process drove to his 10th career NASCAR Modified victory in their 40-lap main event. Prior to his win Brigati placed 5th in the 30-lap Super Pro Truck event and runner-up in the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate race with a large crowd looking on.

Down in the south land, at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC on Saturday night, Danny Bohn and Tim Brown won the two 50-lap Modified races Saturday. Only a 150-lap finale remains on the 2017 schedule, Brown was fourth in the points standings before pairing a sixth-place showing with his 84th career win.

Brown passed pole-sitter Jonathan Brown on the sixth lap of a relatively clean second race and used a solid night to jump to second in the standings. Burt Myers has a 79-point lead heading into the finale.

Making only his seventh and eighth Modified starts of the season at Bowman Gray, Bohn picked up his second consecutive victory four days after a carburetor inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord upheld his Aug. 5 win in a 100-lap race. Bohn qualified 13th on Saturday for the first 50-lap race, which featured several big wrecks. Jason Myers and Tim Brown were the only two cars not slowed up by a fourth-turn pileup on the opening lap, and only three cars weren’t affected by a similar pileup on the third lap.

On lap 12, Myers and Brown were still in front when they wrecked, allowing Jonathan Brown and Bohn to move to the front. Jonathan Brown frequently held the lead over the next 25 laps, but Bohn nudged him up the track as they moved between the first two turns on lap 39 and slid underneath to put himself in a favorable position to complete the crossover pass.

Bohn, who followed his victory Saturday by finishing third, behind the two Browns, plans to race this coming weekend at Wall Stadium in New Jersey.

Among those at the Madhouse was Timmy Solomito who recorded a 19th and a 15th. Ryan Preece will try his luck this week in the season finale.

On a sad note, Ed Bolles passed away on Saturday August 5, 2017. NASCAR was his true passion and the #76 racing team was everything to him over the past 40 years. Ed’s sons competed in the Sportsman and Modified Divisions and the Busch North Tour. His son Brian was his first driver and then his younger son Tom took over the wheel, currently in the SK Division at Stafford Motor Speedway. Ed was 86.

Also passing this past week was NEAR Hall of Fame member George Lombardo. Lombardo raced from the late 1940s through the mid 1960s. During that span, he took down over 125 wins, at Riverside Park, Waterford Speedbowl, West Haven Speedway, and Plainville Stadium. At Plainville, he won a pair of track championships, in 1962 and ’63.

In NASCAR Monster Energy cup racing at the Michigan Raceway, Kyle Larson surprised the field, moving up from fourth to first in overtime to win his third consecutive Cup race at the 2-mile oval. He passed Martin Truex Jr., who led the field to green, on the first of the final two laps.

Sam Hornish Jr. survived several chaotic restarts en route to winning Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Last year, 2021, Johnny Clark won the inaugural Bay State Classic for the Pro All Star Series at the Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday night. The event paid $10,000 to win.

Stafford Speedway presented the 4th Annual Bud Light Open Modified 80 plus a regular weekly program on Friday night.. Twenty seven tour type modifieds were on hand. At the drop of the green Ryan Preece jumped out to a comfortable lead and appeared to be taking a Sunday drive on Friday night. After pitting for right side tires following a caution on lap 41, Preece’s mount was not the same as before. Chase Dowling went wheel to wheel on the outside of Preece for 2 laps after the restart before getting clear into the lead on lap-53. Woody Pitkat was up to third with Ron Williams fourth and Joey Cipriano in fifth. Brett Gonyaw spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 57 laps complete.

Dowling took the lead on the restart with Pitkat getting around Preece, who was fading fast, to move into second. Williams was fourth in line with Cipriano right behind him in fifth

With 10 laps to go, Dowling had pulled away from Pitkat in second, who had pulled away from a host of cars that included Preece, Williams, Cipriano, and Chris Pasteryak. Williams got around Preece to move into third on lap-74 and Cipriano took fourth from Preece on lap-75.

Dowling cruised to his second consecutive Open Modified victory at Stafford with Pitkat coming home in second. Williams finished third with Cipriano and Pasteryak rounding out the top-5.

Todd Owen scored his first SK Modified® win of the 2021 season, Zack Robinson took down his first career Late Model feature win, Nick Anglace notched his second SK Light win of 2021, Devon Jencik became a first time winner at Stafford in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar took down his second Street Stock win of the 2021 season.

The 40 lap SK Modified event provided a surprise ending with Todd Owen recording his first win of the year. Owen was surprised as anyone as he watched leaders Tyler Hines and Stephen Kopcik tangle with two laps to go. Kopcik was under Hines as they exited the fourth turn when they touched with the end result that showed Hines hitting the wall. Hines was extremely upset with Kopcik. Owen led the restart and was able to hold off Chase Dowling for the win. Mike Christopher Jr came from a starting position of 14th to finish third. Andrew Molleur and Matt Vassar rounded out the top five. Hines ended up 16th and Kopcik, 17th. Keith Rocco continued to be snake bit as he was eliminated along with Bryan Narducci in a lap four crash in turn one. Narducci ended up 22nd and Rocco, 23rd.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature, third generation racer Tyler Barry appeared to be headed for his first win only to be foiled on a restart with five laps left in the feature. Nick Anglace and Barry went wheel to wheel on the restart with Anglace taking lead by a nose at the line. Derek Debbis was up to third and he took second as Anglace took the elad with Barry falling back to third on lap-19. Debbis made a move for the lead coming to the checkered flag but Anglace picked up his second win of the 2021 season. Barry finished third, his first podium finish.

Other winners included Zack Robinson who took down his first career Late Model feature win, Devon Jencik became a first time winner at Stafford in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar who took down his second Street Stock win of the 2021 season.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its first visit to the Lancaster Speedway in western New York state on Saturday night. Patrick Emerling grew up in Orchard Park, New York, just 30 minutes south of Lancaster (New York International Raceway Park) where the track sits. The hard charger, in a car crew chiefed by Jan Leaty, excelled late and led the final 30 laps en route to his second tour victory of 2021 to reclaim the series points lead. After a late-race restart pitted the western New York native against Justin Bonsignore, his nearest threat for the championship, Emerling fended off a fierce charge on the final corner to win the inaugural Nu-Way Auto Parts 150.

Jon McKennedy began the night on the pole and was untouchable for the first 90 laps despite heated pressure from Bonsignore and Max McLaughlin. Eventually, though, Bonsignore reeled in McKennedy and made the pass for the lead on Lap 91 in the midst of a long green-flag run that followed an early caution at Lap 28.

Not long after Bonsignore set sail in the lead, Emerling’s car seemingly came to life. The long-run speed of the No. 07 allowed Emerling to erase a 1.14-second deficit in just 10 laps before leapfrogging Bonsignore into the top spot. Bonsignore was attempting to lap another driver when he caught the marbles in Turn 2, allowing Emerling to pass through cleanly on the inside for the lead.

The last 26 laps of the contest, however, became suddenly filled with cautions. On Lap 124, Scott Wylie and Walter Sutcliffe Jr. tangled in Turns 1 and 2 to bring out the second yellow flag of the evening. Under that caution period, the leaders all came to pit road. Emerling maintained his lead but Bonsignore lost considerable track position and came out mired in the middle of the top 10.

One lap after the restart, McKennedy and Anthony Nocella made contact entering Turn 1 and sent both cars sideways at the front of the field. Eric Goodale suffered significant damage while Andy Jankowiak and J.B. Fortin also got collected.

The ensuing restart on Lap 141 wasn’t much better. Chuck Hossfeld seemed to suffer a right-front suspension issue entering Turn 1 and clipped the back bumper of Silk’s No. 85 machine. Silk attempted to make the corner but was caught on the outside three-wide and triggered a pile-up that gathered up Tommy Catalano, Ken Heagy, Timmy Solomito, Mike Leaty and Nocella.

At the finish, McLaughlin finished third behind Emerling and Bonsignore while McKennedy and Goodale rounded out the top five. Tyler Rypkema came home sixth ahead of Hossfeld and Fortin, who completed the lead-lap finishers. Doug Coby finished ninth, one lap down, after starting the race two laps down. The six-time champ needed his shifter replaced before the field took the green flag. Rounding out the top 10 was Kyle Bonsignore.

The victory for Emerling inches him closer to the points lead one race after losing the top position to Bonsignore. That battle, with Bonsignore currently six points ahead, will heat up as the tour heads to Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 6.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl It took defending SK Modified champion Tim Jordan more than two months to post his first 2021 win of the season. Now that he’s found the key to victory lane, however, he’s not about to lose it. Jordan surged past Mike Christopher Jr. on a lap 10 restart on his way to his second consecutive win Saturday to highlight the action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

In other action, Ray Christian won his fourth 30-lap Late Model feature, Jason Chapman nailed down his first SK Lite Modified win, and Jared Roy took the lead early and held on to win the 25-lap Mini Stock feature. Randy Burr grabbed his first 35-lap Truck win of the season, Jordan Churchill held off his teammate John O’Sullivan for a victory in the 20-lap Legends feature and Christopher Buffone finally figured out a way to get by Bo Norman with seven laps remaining to prevail in the 25-lap Open Street Sock feature.

While Jordan took the lead on lap 10, the turning point of the race took place a few laps earlier. Adam Gada and Jordan were fighting for second place when the two cars made contact. Jordan was able to dive down through the infield grass and come back on the asphalt to maintain his second place spot behind Christopher.

A few laps later, he beat Christopher on a restart to grab the lead for good. Christopher held on for second while Rob Janovic finished third.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina continues to pack them in as over 11,000 fans filled the stadium. John Holleman IV did something that hasn’t been done since 1953, winning from the pole in the Modified Division as a rookie. Holleman accomplished that in the first 25-lap Modified race to do it for the first time since Glen Wood in 1953. It was Holleman’s third win of the year as he led from flag to flag withstanding four caution flags. Brandon Ward was second and Burt Myers, who was in his backup car, finished third. Points’ leader Tim Brown finished sixth.

In the second Modified race, Chris Fleming showed he’s still got a little left in the tank as he held off Tim Brown over 25 laps to get the victory.

Fleming, 62, is one of the more popular drivers at the track because of his deep family ties to the stadium. There’s a reason three other drivers left the pits to be in Victory Lane with Fleming.

Riverhead Raceway on Long Island gave the Modifieds the week off because of the current tire shortage.

July 22, 1972 Ronnie Bouchard made it two in a row. Bobby Santos, who finished second to Eddie Flemke in a 200 lapper at Malta the night before scored another runnerup finish. Fred DeSarro, Phil Spiak and Moose Hewitt rounded out the top five.

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!

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