Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1947, 7500 fans watched Lloyd Christopher of Miami, Fl. win the Midget event a Avon’ Ct. Cherry Park Speedway. He was followed by George Rice and Tony Bonadies.
Ralph Lund hit the fence and flipped with the driver thrown on the race track. Lund lost his shoes in the wreck but walked away from the mishap. Christopher also won at Seekonk this weekend.
Seventy years ago in 1952 Freddy Luchesi continued his winning streak at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won 25 lap Sportsman features on both Wednesday and Saturday nights. Ted Dean was the Wednesday night Claiming Car winner while Harold “Curley” LeMay took Claiming Car honors on Saturday night. Frank Traverse was the Stock Car winner at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1957, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl ran on Thursday night instead of Wednesday in order to accommodate a guest appearance of the Lone Ranger. Moe Gherzi was the Sportsman winner and Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner. Red Foote was the Saturday night Sportsman winner at the shoreline oval. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner. Red Bolduc broke Hop Harrington’s strangle hold on victory lane at Seekonk as he scored the Sportsman win. Tex Barry Sr was the B division winner. Johnny Rocco made it two in a row at Islip as he beat out Johnny Zeke for the win. At Old Bridge the NASCAR GN Cup cars were in the house. Lee Petty took the win. Frankie Schenider was the Modified winner.
Sixty years ago in 1962, Bill Slater was the Modified winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. Charlie Webster was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Bomber division feature winners were Dave Hill and Ed Moody. Joe Rosenfield was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Rene Charland made it two in a row at Islip as he won a 500 lap Modified championship event. Eddie Flemke finished second with George Tet third. At Old Bridge on Sunday Don Stumph took the win over Wally Dalenbach, Elton Hildreth and George Pendergast.
Fifty five years ago in 1967, the All Star League visited the tight 1/5th mile oval at Islip on Long Island. Eddie Flemke, a master of the bullrings, lived up to his reputation as he won the 100-lap event over Jerry Cook, Bill Wimble and Fred Harbach. Bob Melnick won at Norwood on Saturday night. Fred Harbach won a 100 lapper at Islip. Johnny Tripp was the Class A winner at Seekonk.
Fifty years ago in 1972, Fred DeSarro went two for two as he won at Seekonk on Friday night and at Stafford on Saturday night. At Seekonk, Billy Clarke finished second and at Stafford, Leo Cleary, Ernie Gahan, George Summers and Hop Harrington, rounded out the top five. Bob Santos took the Friday night win at Malta. Ron Bouchard finished second with Richie Evans, third. At Fonda, on Saturday night, Maynard Forrette beat out Harry Peek and Al Castrucci for top honors. Bill Scrivener made it two in a row at Waterford. George Savory was the Late Model winner at Norwood. Modifieds from all over the East Coast converged on the Pocono Raceway for the Flight 216 modified event on the ¾ mile oval. Ninety-eight modifieds were on hand. Richie Evans won the event over Maynard Troyer and Ray Hendrick but the real story was the effort put in by Fred DeSarro and Art Barry who teamed up, just for the day. During practice, the engine in the Len Boehler No.3 spun a bearing. Without a spare engine, Boehler loaded the car and headed home. Santos, who had won Malta on Friday night, offered his ride to DeSarro. DeSarro made numerous chassis changes and even change the steering wheel. The Barry modified went and handled like it never did before and was a potential winner until slowed by a broken water pump. Sunday night action at Utica-Rome, rained out.
Forty five years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens was the winner of the Tuesday night Modified Madness. The 50-lap event drew 44 modifieds. Geoff Bodine finished second with Charlie Jarzombeck, third. When the mods returned to Stafford on Friday night, Ronnie Bouchard had it all figured out as he won, hands down. John Rosati finished second. with Ed Flemke, third. Rosati took it up a notch as he won at Seekonk on Saturday night over Ray Lee and Leo Cleary. Joe Howard ruled Westboro despite extreme pressure exerted by George Savory and Freddie Schulz in the closing stages of the 35 lap main event. At Riverside, Geoff Bodine won a 100 lapper over Reggie Ruggiero and Bob Polverari and at Thompson on Sunday night; Fred DeSarro beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke.
Forty years ago in 1982, Kenny Bouchard was awarded the Friday night win at Stafford after apparent winner Greg Sacks was disqualified with an illegal carburetor. Ray Miller finished third but he too, ran amuck with the tech inspector, and was also disqualified with an illegal carburetor. Bob Polverari ended up second with Bugsy Stevens, third. At Spencer, also on Friday, Richie Evans led Maynard Troyer, Jerry Cook and George Kent across the stripe and at New Egypt, John Blewett Jr. was the 100-lap winner. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Lightning Larry Lanphear took the win from his up front starting spot. Bob Potter finished second with Randy Lajoie, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggerio won a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier. Marty Radwick finished second with Ray Miller, third. Racing on Long Island took a weekend off. The Riverhead program was cancelled because of the lack of cars and Islip was cancelled because of a fatality. Doug Hewitt beat out Jerry Cook at Shangri-La and at Seekonk, it rained. The Bouchard brothers, Ronnie and Kenny, finished one-two at Thompson on Sunday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished third with Mike McLaughlin, fourth. In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Tim Richmond was the Busch Pole sitter. Darrell Waltrip took the win.
Thirty five years ago in 1987, Jerry Pearl was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Leading the Tri-Track point series, Pearl beat out Bo Gunning and Mike Christopher. Waterford rained out on Saturday night. Evidently it was a coastal Connecticut storm as Riverside and Riverhead got their events in. At Riverside, Mike Stefanik swept a 200 lapper, which also guaranteed him a spot in the Thompson 300. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Mike McLaughlin, third. At Riverhead, Tony Ferrente JR took the win over Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. Jimmy Spencer ruled the roost at Shangri-La as he took the checker over Tony Hirshman, and George Kent. In Sunday night SK-Modified action at Thompson, Mike Christopher held off brother Ted along with Bo Gunning, Bob Potter and Kerry Malone. In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Dale Earnhardt SR took the win.
Thirty years ago in 1992, Bob Potter lost the point lead at Stafford on Friday night after he wrecked on the first lap. Bo Gunning took the win over Richie Gallup, Lloyd Agor and Mike Christopher. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified tour was at Riverhead for a 200-lap event. Mike Ewanitsko took the win over Jeff Fuller, Steve Park and Satch Worley. At Waterford, Ted Christopher in the North End Auto Parts No.54 took the modified win. Twin features were run for the late models. Phil Rondeau won his 9th of the season and Jerry Young won the nite-cap.
Twenty five Years ago in 1997, Bo Gunning was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Ted Riggott got his fifth of the year at Riverside. The Busch North Series was also at Riverside and it was Dave Dion taking the win over Mike Stefanik and Jerry Marquis. Tucker Reynolds got his fifth win at Waterford. Jim Broderick finished third behind Todd Ceravolo but was disqualified when it was discovered using an illegal carburetor. Eddie Brunnhoelzl jr. won the Fred Harbach Memorial at Riverhead. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen with the Trucks. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Rick Fuller on lap 33 and led the final eight laps to take the win. Fuller finished second and was followed by Jan Leaty, Mike Ewanitsko, Tim Arre and Tim Connolly. Ron Fellows won the truck race. Ted Christopher finished seventh and Mike Ewanitsko finished 21st.At Bristol, Jim Spencer won the Grand National event. Steve Park finished second and sewed up the Rookie of the Year title. In the on going confrontation between Randy LaJoie and Buckshot Jones, NASCAR fined Jones $5000 for trying to ram LaJoie after the two made contact during the event. Jones missed. In the Winston Cup portion, Dale Jarrett passed Mark Martin in the closing stages of the event and took the win. Evidently there was a little confusion in a recent article concerning the date that the late Corky Cookman and Mike Hornat went out of the track and into the fourth turn grandstand at Stafford. It was on the eighth lap of a scheduled 100 lapper that John Falconi got loose as he exited turn four. Both Cookman and Hornat rode over Falconi’s wheel and sailed out of the track.
Twenty years ago in 2002, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford on Friday night. NASCAR, because of numerous complaints, changed the qualifying procedure in hopes of leveling the playing field. In the past, those who went out early to qualify had a distinct disadvantage because of the lack of rubber and debris on the track. In order to make it fair for one and all NASCAR made the following change. Each car would take its first time trial lap and then pull in. When the entire field had their lap, the process would begin again. One must give NASCAR credit with this change. There were 43 Modifieds on hand and the jury was still out as far as the change in format for qualifying. Jerry Marquis’ pole speed held but six cars did improve their times, the second time around. Among those who didn’t make the cut were Kenny Bouchard, Wade Cole, Carl Pasteryak, Jimmy Kuhn, Jake Marosz and Tom Baldwin.
Friday’s NASCAR Modified Tour Series event at Stafford served as a monument to both Ted Christopher and Bugsy Stevens. Christopher took the win, his 73rd, and broke Stevens’ all time win record. Stevens, who hadn’t turned a wheel for quite some time, was on hand for the debut of his new book, The Life and Times of Bugsy Stevens. Even though he had been retired as a driver for quite a while, he is still as popular as ever. Those who followed him during the 60’s. 70’s and 80’s still follow and speak well of him. The Bug was still the Bug, very friendly and talked to everybody and most of all; he had not forgotten where he came from. Any way, Christopher didn’t qualify all that well as he started 15th. Eddie Flemke Jr. qualified fourth and by the luck of the draw, started on the pole with the Hill Enterprises No.79. Chuck Hossfeld in the Garbarino Mystic Missile started on the outside pole and jumped out to an early lead with Flemke in tow. Flemke, who in the past has made it a point of going non-stop without a stop for tires, took the lead on lap 9 and held it thru lap 63.In the mean time, Christopher, who had previously gone the 150 lap distance at Stafford had conservatively worked his way into second spot. The opportunity to lead presented it self on lap 64 and he took it. Flemke then turned up the wick a bit and he re-took the point on lap 70. Evidently, Christopher’s set-up wasn’t exact as he began to slip a little. A caution on lap 106 presented a way out for the defending National Champion as it allowed him to pit for new rubber. Maybe it was the chill in the air or maybe not as Flemke was only able to hold the lead for 43 laps when Jerry Marquis took over the top spot on lap 114. His lead was short lived as Flemke took it back on lap 121. All the while, Christopher on fresh rubber was coming to the front. With 18 laps to go, Christopher powered by and went on to make it four for four in Tour Series action at Stafford. Flemke held on for second and was followed by Marquis, Hossfeld and Rookie sensation Todd Szegedy. All tolled sixteen cars finished on the lead lap. For the second race in a row, defending Tour Series Champion Mike Stefanik had problems and was an early out. After losing an engine at Thompson, Stefanik came to Stafford where he qualified sixth. Starting third, he was never a factor and his night ended on lap 70 when he dropped out with ignition problems.
The regular weekly racing also started last Thursday at Thompson where rain prevailed and washed out the regularly scheduled SK-Modified event. The Pro Stocks had a scheduled 75 lapper but the event was red-checkered after 39 laps when the clouds opened up. Norm Wrenn took the win. According to NASCAR Chief Steward Richard Brooks, 145 cars were on hand.
In SK-Modified action at Stafford on Friday night, Brad Hietala ended a long dry spell. Hitala previously won at Stafford in 1983. Since then it’s been a rough road. In 1985 he almost paid the ultimate price when female driver Gilda Berti planted him in the wall. Hietala suffered severe head injuries, which almost ended his racing career and his life. What made the win even sweeter is the fact that he built his car himself in a day where the majority of the cars on the track in competition come from major chassis builders. Donnie Travaglin came all the way from the rear to finish second with Jay Miller recording a third. Series point leader Bo Gunning finished 10th.
At Waterford, Ed Reed Jr. and Dennis Gada kissed and made up and are no longer mad at each other. Reed beat Gada out for the win. Reed admitted that he jumped the last three re-starts and was surprised that officials said nothing. The big story of the night was the fact that third generation driver, sixteen year old Bobby Santos III won the Boston Louie Memorial NEMA Midget event.
Fifteen years ago in 2007, The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the mid-west, Mansfield, Ohio to be exact. The entire area had been under siege from heavy rains and tornado threats but the event went on as scheduled. That is until lap 108 when the race was called after repeated attempts to dry a rain soaked track. With his brother serving as his spotter and tracking the weather on his cell phone, James Civali elected not to pit with the leaders and was out front when NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials called the rain-shortened Mansfield 150 at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Doug Coby, driving the Mansfield CT based No.77 of Curt Chase, finished second and rookie Woody Pitkat was third. Point leader and Budweiser Pole Award winner Donny Lia was fourth and Eric Beers fifth. Ronnie Silk, Matt Hirschman, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy and Bobby Grigas III rounded out the top 10.
Coby led the first 13 laps before Civali made the pass. Silk moved to the front seven laps later and led until a lap 54 caution. Silk elected to pit along with the fifth-place car of Szegedy and nine others. “We were leading and the car was really good,” Civali said. “When Ronnie got by me, the car got free. But then it stayed the same. It had 90 hard laps on it, too. But it never changed that whole run. It looked like Ronnie got free and then kept getting (more free).” Following the restart, Civali and Coby built a straightaway lead over third-place Pitkat on the half-mile banked oval. The field was bunched briefly following a lap 96 caution. Rain brought out the caution at lap 104 and the red at lap 108.
Twenty-seven cars were on hand. Donny Lia was the top qualifier as he toured the Ohio oval in 15.274mph. Ronnie Silk was second fastest with James Civali, third. Ryan Preece and Matt Hirschman rounded out the top five.
Lia maintained his points lead at 131 over Szegedy and 139 over Hirschman. The next NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race will be at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Sept. 1.
The Mansfield Motorsports Park also hosted the NASCAR Busch East division where Sean Caisse won the pole and the race. Caisse raced to the finish under the threat of rain, and the skies opened up during victory lane celebrations, but the race did get to run its advertised distance. 1) Caisse 2) Matt Kobyluck 3) Joey Logano 4) Jerry Marquis 5) Jeffrey Earnhardt.
Twin State Speedway track owner Dennis Fleury announced on Friday, Aug 17 at the drivers meeting that Twin State Speedway would not be a NASCAR track in 2008. The Twin State Speedway is located in Claremont, NH.
In True Value Modified Series action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH numerous rain delays were encountered and the scheduled 100 Lap event was stopped on lap 42 with Rob Goodenough in the lead. Goodenough took the lead from Chris Pasteryak on lap 27. The TVMRS series declared Saturday nights Monadnock race, stopped on lap 42 by the second of two thunderstorms, an official race. Rob Goodenough was declared the official winner followed by Les Hinckley and Kirk Alexander. The track had announced a Sept 22 continuation but the series felt it was in the best interests of its competitors to declare the race official. Mike Holdredge and Pasteryak rounded out the top five.
In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the management, fans, friends, and family joined the racing community in mourning the tragic loss of John Blewett III.
A night of fiercely competitive racing was a fitting homage to the fallen racer. Two races, the Late Models and Mini Stocks, were decided by mere feet at the line. An emotional Kerry Malone of Needham, MA visited victory lane in the Sunoco Modified main event held in Blewett’s memory. Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, scored his eighth win of the season in a Late Model thriller while Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI added to his win tally by inches. Norm Wrenn of Nashua, NH, took home his second win of the season in the Pro Stocks. Keith DeSanctis of Monson, MA, pulled off a similar feat with his second win in the Limited Sportman division. Tim Sullivan of S. Windsor padded his point lead with another TIS Modified feature victory on Thursday night.
Out of respect for Blewett the Sunoco Modified drivers filed side-by-side to the infield. Front row starters Josh Steeves and Danny Cates lowered the flag to half-mast before track announcer Russ Dowd gave a heartfelt tribute to John and Reverend Don Rivers led the crowd in prayer. With the safety lights on all the track vehicles, Karen Lussier delivered a tender rendition of the National Anthem. A flag, still all night, waved effortlessly during the Sunoco Modified main event.
Cates immediately motored out to a sizable lead over Steeves and Steve Masse. A scary moment near the start of the race saw the red flag flying. On lap three, Ricky Shawn launched over the tire of Bert Marvin sending his car flipping, making a complete rotation, before landing on his wheels and hitting the wall in turn three. Shawn was not hurt in the incident.
The youngsters Cates and Steeves vied for the lead when racing resumed. Their time at the head of the pack was short-lived with Kerry Malone on the move. In a half lap, Malone was the new leader. After freeing himself from Masse, he took second from Cates in turn one of lap four, he took the lead from Steeves exiting turn two. Steeves continued to run in second while Masse had his hands full with Keith Rocco. Cates began to fall back. Tommy Cravenho, who started deep in the pack after being involved in a heat race incident, was working his way through the pack. Marvin had begun to work his way back toward the front as well. After a disqualification in the heat, Pitkat was making tracks from deep in the field. The mount of Glen Griswold went up in smoke to bring out the second caution of the event. A chain of events on the ensuing restart found James Harrison hard into the outside wall. Todd Ceravolo and Pat Moreau were also involved. The restart at the halfway marker pitted Malone against Steeves with Rocco laying in wait in third. Malone easily resumed his spot at the head of the pack while Steeves and Rocco battled. Rocco came out on top of an aggressive battle for the second spot on lap 17.
Pitkat and Masse made contact in turn two. Both cars slid out of the corner with Masse eventually losing the handle. The remainder of the pack was able to avoid the spinning Masse. Pitkat lined up in the fourth position on the restart behind leader Malone, Rocco and Steeves. Cravenho rounded out the top five with ten laps to go. The race was set for an exciting finish after the restart that found Malone and Rocco on the front row. Malone got a great run to retain his lead. Pitkat made quick work of Steeves to move into the third spot. Pitkat dove low in turn one in search of the second spot, to no avail. Rocco was able to maintain the position. Malone could not get any breathing room despite the battling between Rocco and Pitkat. Equally as exciting was the battle for the third spot as Marvin and Cravenho did battle. Over the final two laps, things settled down with the top five going nose to tail. Malone ran to the checkers a wisp ahead of Rocco. Pitkat was glued to the bumper of the #6 as they streaked to the checkers. Marvin topped the secondary battle taking fourth over Cravenho.
In victory lane Malone dedicated his win to John Blewett. “I will miss racing with him,” said Malone. “I will miss that twinkle in his eyes. God Bless John Blewett.”
Woody Pitkat continued his high-speed freight train approach to racing in the SK Modified division at the Stafford Motor Speedway as he made it five feature wins in a row. Tom Fearn ended Ryan Posocco’s three-race Late Model winning streak by taking his third Late Model feature win of the 2007 season, Josh Sylvester came home a first time winner in the SK Light Modified feature, Rick Lanagan won his sixth Limited Late Model feature event of the 2007 season, and Duane Provost joined Sylvester as a first time winner by taking the DARE Stock feature event victory.
The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green with Richie Pallai, Jr. leading the first lap and then surrendering the lead to Todd Owen on lap-2. Zach Sylvester took the lead from Owen on lap-7, and by lap-10, Woody Pitkat was on Owen’s bumper looking to take the lead. Pitkat got the lead on a lap-11 restart by powering to the outside of Sylvester. Pitkat led lap-20, which earned him a $100 bonus from event sponsor Porter & Chester. The race began to take on a long green flag run, and Pitkat slowly built his advantage up over Sylvester and the rest of the field. With 5 laps to go, Pitkat’s lead was about 2 seconds ahead of Sylvester and Pitkat cruised to his fifth consecutive SK Modified feature victory. Sylvester finished second, with Owen, Malave, and Ted Christopher rounding out the top-5.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, the 2006 NASCAR Modified Rookie of the Year, came of age when he scored his first career win before a large crowd on Donaldsons VW-Subaru night in a 35-lap main event. The 18-year old driver led all the way in earning the popular victory.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Veteran Tommy Fox prevailed over Dennis Gada in one of the closest SK Modified races of the season at the shoreline oval. Exchanging the lead numerous times over the final circuits, Fox used the inside lane to keep the defending champion at bay until the checkers. Rob Janovic Jr., Jeff Pearl, and Tyler Chadwick rounded-out the top-5.
Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stock), and, Michael Gervais Jr.(Legends).
The New London Day reported that Waterford Speedbowl property ownerTerry H. Eames, 53, of 41 Pine Island Road, was charged Sunday with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and failure to obey a stop sign.
Carl Edwards clinched a berth for the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship by winning Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, leaving Dale Earnhardt JR farther from contention with his fifth-place finish. With only two races to go before the championship field is set, Earnhardt is 158 points away from the 12th and final qualifying spot. Before an estimated crowd of 115,000, Kasey Kahne won the Food City 250, his seventh career NASCAR Busch Series victory.
Ten years ago in 2012, The Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the high banks of Bristol Tenn Motor Speedway for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Ron Silk, driving for Eddie Partridge, scored his second win of the season and first in the annual combination race between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on the track known as “The World’s Fastest Half Mile.” It was also the first victory for a driver running a NASCAR-approved SPEC motor on either Modified tour. Todd Szegedy finished second, followed by Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Yuhas Jr.
George Brunnhoelzl III was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in sixth. The tour’s points leader is credited with a win, his fourth straight and fifth overall.
The event provided a lot of excitement including Silk being spun by Szegedy on the cool down lap after the checker. Szegedy, who had been the leader on lap 126 attempted to block Silk who dove underneath at the same time the caution was displayed for Ted Christopher who had spun. A replay showed that Szegedy moved down to protect his spot when contact was made and Szegedy spun, giving Silk the lead. Crew chief Phil Moran felt that Szegedy should get his position back because he felt the caution was displayed for Christopher but NASCAR disallowed his protest. Pitting for fresh tires, Szegedy made a determined run to the front with 17 laps remaining and was within striking distance in second spot when time ran out.
Forty Modifieds were on hand. There were eight caution periods for 54 laps as Mike Joy and Dick Berggren did an excellent job as they always do in calling the race. The first caution which ultimately resulted in a red flag occurred on lap 3 when Ryan Newman tapped Jon McKennedy and spun which in turn collected 23 of the original 36 starters. The second and third cautions were for southern competitor Gary Fountain who had a miss-handling car which spun on laps 41 and 52. The fourth caution flew for Ted Christopher who spun coming out of turn four with a flat tire which resulted from contact with Ryan Preece. Christopher, driving the mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family was struck by Kyle Ebersole. Christopher had been running second. The fifth caution was a “Cost Saving” competition caution. The sixth caution was for Ed Flemke who was helped into the wall on lap 103. Flemke was 15th, one lap down at that point. The seventh caution was for Don Lia who hit the front stretch wall. Lia was driving a Todd Szegedy back-up car after he wrecked the Garbarino Mystic Missile during qualifying. There were 11 cars on the lead lap at the finish.
In some not so good news it had been learned that the University of Northwestern Ohio would be dropping its sponsorship of the Whelen Modified Touring Series at Bristol. Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, the president of the University of Northwestern Ohio, says the partnership with BMS continues to be extremely beneficial for the university. “Everyone at the University of Northwestern Ohio is very excited about extending our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway to the Camping World Truck Series,” he said “We’ve been sponsoring the Modified event since 2009 and the opportunities it has given our students, staff and facility since we started have been immeasurable. Steve Farmer, Vice President of Business Development at UNOH, feels moving to the Camping World Truck Series makes perfect sense. “With the success we’ve had sponsoring the Modified race, it just makes more sense for us to be associated with the Truck Series because it is a higher profile event,” he said. “It’ll be more exposure for the University of Northwestern Ohio and our students and our programs.” UNOH is on board as sponsor of the Truck Series race through 2016. This will be the final year of its sponsorship of the Modified event.”
The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday night with 31 cars strong. Dwight Jarvis who has been running a limited schedule, took the win over Rowan Pennink, Tommy Barrett, Kirk Alexander, Jon McKennedy. Numerous cautions slowed the event. Jarvis assumed the lead on lap 80 when front-runner Todd Patnode blew a left-front tire.
Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Todd Ceravolo shake his role as runner-up as he out ran Ryan Preece for the win in the Sunoco Modified division. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder also hosted a special 50-lap Super Late Model race with Derek Ramstrom dominating the action by leading every lap on the way to the checkered flag. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series winners included Tommy O’Sullivan, Jesse Gleason, Brian Tagg, Cam McDermott, and Eric Bourgeois.
Ceravolo used restarts to his advantage to take the win in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, and ended a four-race win streak by Ryan Preece. Ceravolo held off a determined Preece on a lap 23 restart to take the lead for the third and final time of the night. Kerry Malone jumped to the early lead, but it was all Preece on the second circuit after he dropped to the bottom and drove to the front coming out of turn two. Ceravolo drove by for second before caution slowed the pace at lap four. In a surprise move, Ceravolo soared by Preece for the lead when the race resumed. Woody Pitkat followed his line for the second position with Preece all over his bumper in third. On lap six, Preece challenged Pitkat in a side-by-side battle. Pitkat had the advantage on the line, but the battle continued until Preece took over the spot in turns three and four of lap eight. Caution tightened the field back up again, and Ceravolo commanded the field once again when racing resumed. Preece rode Ceravolo’s bumper and the duo pulled away from the rest of the field by a full second. By lap 16, Ceravolo had put a little breathing room between himself and Preece, but on lap 19, he drove too high in turn two and allowed Preece to close the distance back up. Caution at lap 23 tightened the field up for a restart that saw Ceravolo choose the outside lane. Ceravolo held off Preece and resumed his position as leader. Preece, Pitkat, and Dennis Perry rounded out the top-four. Ceravolo was dominant out front, and took the checkers unchallenged.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco, still on the injured list, returned to victory lane as he won the SK Modified 40 lap feature. Also scoring wins were Corey Hutchings in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec and Frank Cardile in the twin 15-lap SK Light features, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Stephanie Berardi and Monte Gibbs in the Double Duty DARE Stock features.
In the SK Modified feature Woody Pitkat finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Todd Owen and Danny Cates rounded out the top 5.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl passed early leader Joe Perry on lap 3 and cruised to his second win of 2012. Pearl stayed out in front of Rob Janovic in a green-white-checkered finish. Janovic finished second, followed by Tyler Chadwick, Jeff Rocco and Todd Ceravolo.
Other winners included Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI who was back in the victory lane in the night’s extra distance Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Former division champion Brandon Plemons of Uncasville, CT took his first win of the year in the Street Stock race, with Ian Brew of Wood River Junction, RI won the Mini Stock feature. In INEX racing action, Paul Kusheba of Monroe, CT was the Legend Cars winner in a thrilling battle for the checkered flag all race long and Derek Debbis of Oakdale, CT won the night’s Bandolero feature.
Justin Bonsignore held off Shawn Solomito to take down the Modified feature win on I Love America Night at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Bonsignore took the lead on lap 11 after John Fortin spun out following a restart. Bonsignore was unchallenged as he kept the lead for the remaining laps and won the feature. Fortin recovered to finish seventh. Shawn Solomito finished in the runner-up spot with Howie Brode in third. Ted Christopher and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top five while Ryan Preece finished sixth.
Joey Logano picked up his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season Friday evening, winning the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Denny Hamlin won for the first time at Bristol Motor Speedway with a calculated late pass Saturday night. Hamlin flirted with Carl Edwards for the lead late in the race, and set up his move with 39 laps remaining. Hamlin used a slide move to get past Edwards, then held on as Edwards tried to use a cross-over move to get back in front. It didn’t work for Edwards, and Hamlin drove away for his third victory of the season.
Five years ago in 2017, The Tri-Track Open Modified Series ran its third of four race series events at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH on Wednesday, August 23. With a some what light field of 21 cars, Matt Hirschman turned in a dominating performance in NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series action to score the victory in the Flamingo Motorsports 100. Hirschman and Ryan Preece qualified through heat races on the front row, Series managing partner Wayne Darling posed a challenge to the duo – start tail of the field, win and pocket an extra $1,000 cash. Series point leader Hirschman opted to remain on the front row. Preece started scratch on the field. Starting on the pole, Hirschman led every lap en route to the victory. Preese started shotgun on the field, got as high as fourth before tangling with Andy Jankowiak and Brian Robie on lap 59. Preece ended up 14th at the finish.
Following Hirschman at the checker was Rowan Pennink and Tommy Barrett. During the cool down lap Barrett drilled Pennink who, in turn spun to the infield. Pennink retaliated and slammed Barrett. As a result race officials penalized both drivers. Pennink was placed in 16th spot and Barrett was placed in 17th.
When all was said and done, Les Hinkley was awarded the runner-up spot and Jon McKennedy ended up third. Woody Pitkat and Jon Kievman rounded out the top five.
The final race of the 2017 TTOMS season is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 at Seekonk Speedway with the running of the Haunted Hundred.
In racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Ted Christopher took down his fifth and second consecutive win of the 2017 season in the SK Modified® feature, Paul Arute was a first time Late Model feature winner, Cory DiMatteo won a thrilling duel with Brett Gonyaw to nail down his fourth SK Light feature win of 2017, Bryan Narducci was the Limited Late Model feature winner for the 2nd consecutive race and fourth overall in 2017, Johnny Walker scored his third consecutive and fifth overall DARE Stock feature win of 2017, and Tyler Chapman was the winner of the special Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws feature event.
Ted Christopher was the Stafford all-time winningest driver with 129 feature wins including 107 SK Modified victories. In the early going of the SK Modified 40 lapper, Keith Rocco took the lead after a lap 14 restart with Christopher moving into second. The caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin in turns 3+4 by Matt Galko. Rocco and Christopher resumed their duel for the lead on the restart but it only lasted one lap before the caution came back out for a spin in turn 2 by Tom Bolles.
On the restart, Cam McDermott touched wheels with another car which sent him up and over the car in front of him and several cars got into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.
Still on lap 16, Rocco took the lead with Christopher right on his bumper. Christopher made a move to Rocco’s inside in turns 3+4 on lap-18 to move into the lead. Todd Owen was up to third and he pulled alongside Rocco for second on lap-19. Owen got clear on lap-21 and Tony Membrino, Jr. was now fourth with Williams in fifth. Gervais spun coming out of turn 4 and Reen came to a stop on the frontstretch infield after taking an off track excursion to bring the caution out with 23 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead on the restart with Owen right on his back bumper. Rocco was third with Membrino in fourth and Williams in fifth. Owen was all over Christopher’s back bumper and he nearly made a pass coming out of turn 4 on lap-28 but he had to back out of his move which gave Rocco all the room he needed to take second from Owen.
With 10 laps to go, Christopher led Rocco, Owen, Membrino, Williams, Galko, Rowan Pennink, and Chase Dowling. Owen went around Rocco to take over second on lap-33 and then Rocco’s car dropped off the pace and he limped back to pit road.
Christopher and Owen now had a comfortable margin back to Williams in third, who now had Dowling in fourth and Pennink in fifth behind him. Christopher led Owen to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2017 season and second consecutive. Williams finished third with Dowling and Pennink rounding out the top-5.
Third generation driver Bryan Narducci led Cliff Saunders to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive Limited Late Model feature win of the 2017 season. Alexandra Fearn finished third. Narducci is the Great Grandson of NEAR Hall of Famer Ron Narducci and former SK Modified Champion Jerry Pearl.
In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing Doug Coby ended a long dry spell as he dominated the second half of the Seekonk 150 at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night and captured his first win of the 2017 season. He took the lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 63 and led all but one lap in the final stages en route to the win. Hirschman was the pole sitter and led the first 62 laps in what appeared to be a cake walk. Hirschman had the dominate car for about 50 laps before his handling started to go away. Coby, running second, tried numerous times to pass before finally making contact with the leader who ended up spinning. A video instant re-play indicated that Coby had the line going into turn three when Hirschman dropped down to block and was hit by Coby. Evidently NASCAR saw it the same way as they took no action. Coby went on to take the win over Anthony Nocella and Ryan Preece. Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five. Justin Bonsignore finished sixth with Hirschman, Max Zachem,Gary McDonald and Wade Cole rounding out the top ten.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco keeps rolling along as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded one win in the SK Modifieds at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 142 wins, 85 of those in an SK Modified. It wasn’t easy to say the least as he had a very trying day. Because of the fact that his team just finished up making the final repairs to his SK Modified from last week’s mishap, he arrived late to the speedway. Then after making contact with the #07 Stephen Masse Rocco had to head pit side for repairs to the right front of the #88. Rocco finally caught leader Todd Owens in the #81 Cooker’s Construction sponsored machine and battled side by side for the lead. As the caution flag appeared to slow do the event, it now set up a Green-white-checkered with Rocco sitting on the outside of Owens. The race again would be slowed three more times and on the fifth Green-white-checkered restart it looked like it would be all Owns as he grabbed the lead and was holding Rocco at bay. Rocco in his Wheeler’s Auto sponsored #88 got around Owens exiting turn four and grabbed the win in the 35-lap feature. With the win, Rocco was able to grab the point lead away from Kyle James. “We had a good car, Todd runs very tough here but we are here to win,” comment Rocco in victory lane. Rounding out the top-5 were Rocco, Owens, Matt Galko, Matt Gallo and Paul Buzel.
Other winners at the shoreline oval were in the 30-lap Late Model feature it was Berlin, CT’s Jason Palmer taking down the win in his return to The Speedbowl, 64-year old Nicholas Pappacoda took the win in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature, Ryan Waterman had the dominate car for the 26-lap Limited Sportsman feature, in the Mr. Rooter Truck Series / NLWS Trucks 35-lap feature it was father vs son right down to the finish. Allen Coates nudged the #81 of Chris and that little nudge was enough to put the elder Coates in victory lane and In the NEMA Lites it was Ben Mikitarian taking down the 25-lap feature.
Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, with a standing room only crowd looking on Saturday night Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead double dipped once again as the hard charging driver topped the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature as well the 15-lap Figure Eight event and in the process padded his championship lead in both divisions. Rogers 4th NASCAR Modified win of the year gives him a 35-point bulge over John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville while his 7th Figure Eight triumph of ’17 leaves him with a 22-point cushion over Tom Ferrara of Patchogue as the season enters it’s final month of competition.
Down in the south land, Burt Myers won at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. Myers, the winner of the Bowman Gray Stadium Modified Division championship this season, won his third consecutive Southern Modified Racing Series race Saturday night in the 152-lap feature at Caraway Speedway. It was his fifth-career series victory in the 19 events held to date.
The day started for Myers with a third-place run in qualifying, yielding a starting spot on the inside of the second row. He raced at the front of the field early and on lap 116 made the move past second-starting Bobby Measmer of Concord for the lead. Jeremy Gerstner of Wesley Chapel, Fla., finished second with Measmer third. Jason Myers, Burt’s brother, was fourth with Tim Brown fifth.
Last year, 2021, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had a week off as they prepare for an up-country trip to the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine this coming Saturday night. In the meantime the ACT organization presented an open competition program at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway in Connecticut.
CT’s Ronnie Williams found some late magic to win the Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer Midsummer 75 on Wednesdayevening in blistering heat with temps close to 90deg. Williams took the lead from Jon McKennedy with 17 laps remaining and got stronger as the race wound down to grab the $5,000 winner’s paycheck for the Outlaw Open Modified Series.
The multi-time SK Modified champion started on the outside pole after both he and Keith Rocco earned three passing points in their qualifying heat. However, Williams spent the first portion of the event running in the second pack as Rocco, Ryan Preece, and Matt Swanson set a torrid pace. After Rocco led the first 13 laps, Preece was on the good end of a crossover three-pack to nab the point entering turn one.
Preece started to pull away around the halfway mark while McKennedy went on the march. McKennedy started at the back after failing to finish his qualifying heat but was up to the third spot with less than 35 laps to go. Just as McKennedy reached Rocco’s rear bumper with 46 laps complete, Andrew Charron and Brett Meservey got wadded up in turn two to bring out the race’s only caution flag.
All lead-lap cars went to the pits during the yellow for a fresh right rear tire and adjustments. McKennedy’s team was one of those that also switched the left front and left rear tires with each other. This dropped them back to fifth on the restart behind Preece, Rocco, Chris Pasteryak, and Eric Goodale. Williams was alongside McKennedy in sixth place. When the green flag came back out, both McKennedy and Williams went right to work. McKennedy rumbled to third within a lap and spent several circuits inside Rocco with Williams knocking on the door. After McKennedy finally cleared Rocco, he set his sights on Preece, dipping below him entering turn three on the 55th circuit to take over the lead. However, McKennedy’s time on top was short-lived. The Gary Casella team had made the right moves for Williams during the pit stop, and he couldn’t be stopped. Williams drove below McKennedy to get the lead on lap 58 with McKennedy unsuccessfully trying to cross him over in turn one. From there, Williams went into cruise mode. As Preece dropped back with an ill-handling car, Williams went into overdrive, running his fastest lap of the race on lap 64. With no spins or other speed bumps to slow him down, Williams marched to the $5,000 payday in front of an impressive crowd.
McKennedy kept Swanson at bay over the final laps to finish second. Rocco ended up fourth followed by Pasteryak, Goodale, Preece, Tyler Barry, Paul LaPlante, and Charron. Swanson and Preece were the heat race winners.
Other Wednesday night winners at Thompson were Mark Jenison in the Late Models, Paul Newcomb in the Street Stocks, Ryan Waterman in the Limited Sportsman, Paul Charette in the SK Lights and Jared Roy in the Mini Stocks.
The ACT organization which has been promoting these events has been taking it on the chin with poor car counts despite paying a fairly good purse. Before ACT came to Thompson the Hoenig family with Jonathan Hoenig in charge all but stated that they didn’t want the weekly oval races anymore and said as much with a more than 50% cut in race purses. Coupled with the fact that there has been little to no maintenance to the grandstands which are in dire need of paint. The damage has been done with the non support of competitors and thanks to the Hoenigs one of the best oval racing facilities on the east coast in in the process of going down the tube.
With temperatures in the 90’s and humidity out of sight you could almost hear yourself sweat at Stafford on Friday night as Keith Rocco ended a long dry spell as he won the 50 lap SK Modified Senators Cup event. Rocco started ninth in the 23 car field. Rocco outdueled Todd Owen in the closing two laps to come away with his second feature win of the 2021 season with a near packed house looking on. Starting ninth, Rocco was in the lead before the half way mark.
The win also took Rocco to a career overall total of 296 wins which also include 153victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 68 at Thompson and 75 at Stafford Speedway.
Rocco and Owen ran side by side on lap-49 with Owen on the outside of Rocco and holding the lead by a nose. The two leaders ran the final lap side by side with Rocco able to edge in front of Owen coming off turn 4 and he took the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2021 season. Owen finished second with Steven Kopcik, Andrew Molleur, and Dan Wesson rounding out the top-5.
Other feature winners on the night included Michael Wray getting his first Late Model win of the season, Tyler Chapman scored his second SK Light win of the season, Devon Jencik also scored his second Limited Late Model win of the season, and Chris Meyer notched his third Street Stock feature win of the season.
The Tri-Track Series converged on the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night.with a field of 27 Modifieds. Twenty six started the 100 lap grind. Chase Dowling started his day at the back of his qualifying heat and the 100-lap feature, the end of the 100-lap special sponsored by Wonder Casino saw him park the No. 9 Start Finish Motorsports machine in Victory Lane.
As part of the random draw process, Dowling didn’t get a favorable spot to start his qualifying heat and elected to ride patiently in the 12-lap qualifying race, saving his equipment. He started the feature at the tail end of the pack, and rode at slow speed to start, continuing to save his Hoosier rubber for when it mattered most.
During one of many cautions in the race, Dowling peeled off to pit road on lap 31 and entered the track again at the rear of the field with one goal in mind: wait until the leaders pit. When the rest of the field dropped to pit road at lap 42, Dowling stayed out and entered the top-six. From there, he worked up through the few cars left in front of him and took the lead from Kirk Alexander on lap 54. He never looked back from there.
Dowling had to hold off a mix of Modified standouts en route to the $6,000 victory. The win puts him alone in second place in the Tri Track all-time wins list, only trailing Matt Hirschman, who chased him across the line in second. Hirschman chased his car from the middle of the pack late to the front after winning his qualifying heat race. The five-time Tri Track champion took over the points lead heading for the final two races of the season, while Ron Silk, who entered the race as the points leader, was involved in a wreck and finished 18th.
Justin Bonsignore was third, running a similar strategy to Dowling and contending late, with Ronnie Williams fourth and local favorite Brian Robie fifth. Joey Cipriano finished sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Kirk Alexander, Richard Savary and Chris Pasteryak.
Up next on the Tri Track circuit is a return to Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday, August 25, for the conclusion of the $10,000 to win Open Wheel Wednesday Speed51.TV Modified Madness. The show will begin at 7 p.m., with just feature events left to run. It was originally slated for June 30, but a power outage in the area that night forced it to be postponed. The series will also be back at Seekonk on Saturday, October 23, to crown the 2021 champion in the annual Haunted Hundred.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl the SK Modifieds had the week off but there was still plenty of action at the shoreline oval. Jason Palmer has enjoyed many dominating performances in the Late Model division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. but the 30-laps of brilliance he put together Saturday, however, was at the top of his all-time performance list. Palmer pulled away from Ray Christian and the rest of the field to grab his sixth win of the season. Palmer’s 82nd career Speedbowl victory was just one of the highlights on Saturday’s race program.
Other Saturday night winners at the speedbowl were Street Stocks Douglas Curry, SK Lite Modifieds: RJ Marcotte, Mini Stocks: Tommy Silva and Legends: Jordan Churchill.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina fell victim to rain. The stadium wraps up their season this coming Saturday night.
John Baker was the 50 lap NASCAR Modified feature winner at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Islandon Saturday. John Rogers Jr finished second with Kyle Soper, third. Dylan Slepian and Chris Young rounded out the top five.
In Race of Champions Modified Series action, Andy Jankowiak scored an emotional victory in the Race of Champions Modified Series Tribute to Tommy Druar and Tony Jankowiak 110 at the Holland International Speedway in upstate New York. Timmy Catalano finished second with Zane Zeiner completing the top three. Patrick Wmerling and Mike Leaty rounded out the top five.
In NASCAR Cup news, AJ Allmendinger took advantage of two frightening multi-car crashes, the leader getting spun out and a penalty — all in the final five laps — to win the Brickyard 200 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Belated congratulations to Rick Martin who scored his 100th feature win at the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday, August 7.
In some really good news it has been learned that after a long battle, Todd Ceravolo is now cancer free. He fought a long, hard battle but prayers and hopes from the entire racing community went a long way.
On a sad note, Joan Garbarino, wife of NASCAR Modified Championship car owner Bob Garbarino, passed away after a long illness on Monday, August 9, 2021. Born on September 4, 1939, Joan was the only child of Edwin and Marie Strong. She married Robert J. Garbarino, of Mystic in November 1957. She was immensely proud of the family they created together, raising three daughters and a son: Robert Jr, who pre-decrased her, Karen Spaulding, Lauren Yakaitis (Larry), and Robin Pettini (Norman), all live close to their family home in Mystic. On August 9, 2021, Joan joined, in eternal rest, her only son Bobby, the apple of her eye and her “hon boy”, whom she loved and adored for his sixteen wonderful years of life. Joan is also remembered fondly by her brother-in-law Eugene “Skip” Garbarino and his wife Patricia of Mystic as well as her nieces, Lisa O’Reilly (Brian) and Amy Tate (Phil) and their families, all of Florida.
For many years, Joan worked alongside her close friend and brother-in-law Skip at Puritan Laundry, a family business. She served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for her daughters, quietly helping to mold young women into leaders. She worked together with her husband Bob to field their NASCAR modified championship race team. For fifty-five years Joan was intricately involved in managing the “Mystic Missile” team operations and scoring. The quintessential “Team Mother,” Joan made sure that “the guys” were always well fed and taken care of as they traveled each week to compete at racetracks as far west as Indianapolis, south as Daytona and north as Ontario, Canada.
Her family received relatives and friends on Monday, August 16th from 4-8 pm at the Mystic Funeral Home located on Route 1 in Mystic. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Patrick Church 32 East Main St. in Mystic at 10:00 am on Tuesday, August 17th. Following her mass, she was buried at the Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic, Connecticut.