RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Second Week Of November

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Thirty years ago, in 1992, NASCAR’s Winston Cup division saw the end of one era and the beginning of another. Richard Petty drove his last race at Atlanta and officially retired from driving. Rick Wilson was named as his replacement. It was also at Atlanta that Jeff Gordon made his Winston Cup debut.

Twenty years ago in 2002, The Busch North Series got some good news at their awards banquet when NASCAR Touring Series Director Chris Boals announced that the successful television package with the Speed Channel had been renewed, with expanded national television coverage for the BNS in 2003 and beyond. This was a definite shot in the arm for competitors who were in the process of securing sponsorship for their race teams. The Speed Channel had also announced that they would cover USAC events in 2003. The Stafford Speedway announced plans for a special invitational event for SK-Modifieds and Late Models. Tentatively scheduled for October 11, 2003, with a possible format of twin features for each division plus a grand finale for each, should make for an exciting day of racing.

Fifteen years ago in 2007, it looked like Jimmy Blewett, who had 15 wins to his credit in 2007, would be spending his non-touring Saturday nights at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island in 2008. Blewett would compete on the tour in 2008 but not in the familiar Eddie Partridge No. 12. Blewett was scheduled be driving the George Bierce No. 19 that was driven by Ronnie Silk. Partridge consummated a deal that will saw both race teams merged into one. To supplement the Bierce team Partridge would supply an additional car plus motors and transmissions. Blewett and the Partridge SK Modified would compete weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway and at the Thompson Speedway. Silk was a candidate to drive the Curt Chase No.77 as well as the Boehler No. 3, which is if Bobby Santos III is committed to racing in the south. Eric Beers, who lives down the street from Tony Hirschman, will be stepping into the Massachusetts based No. 46 that was driven by Dick Houlihan. Beers, who drove the Boehler No.3 a while back, finished an impressive second in the No. 46 at the recent North-South Shootout. Jamie Tomaino, who is considered to be the oldest active tour driver with close to 500 starts, has his home in New Jersey up for sale and hopes to be moving to North Carolina. Once the move is made he will concentrate his racing efforts on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour with occasional starts on the northern tour.

The family of John Blewett III announced that it would be the end of an era as it will be the final appearance of the Blewett Motorsports family owned, Red, White and Blue #76 Modified. Jimmy Blewett, in honor of his late brother John who lost his life in a racing accident at the Thompson Speedway the previous summer, would race the car number for the final time in the Wall and Open Mods, and then the car will be placed in the Blewett Automotive Museum. The number 76 will be retired by Wall Speedway. The Blewett 76 has been a mainstay in Modified racing the last 4 decades.

The Stafford Motor Speedway honored its 2007 track champions at its 38th annual Champions Awards Ceremony at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor, CT. The guests of honor included Ted Christopher who was recognized as the 2007 SK Modified Champion, which is his sixth overall at the central Connecticut oval. Corey Hutchings was honored as the 2007 Late Model Champion, which he achieved in his rookie campaign at Stafford. Chris Matthews, who missed out on racing for the inaugural SK Light championship in 2006 because he was on his honeymoon, drove to the 2007 SK Light Championship in dominating fashion this season, clinching the championship with two races remaining. Sean Foster drove to four feature victories and eight top-4 finishes in the final 9 races this season and was recognized as the 2007 Limited Late Model Champion, and Norm Sears put together an amazing stretch during the second half of the 2007 season with seven podium finishes in the final eight races to win his second consecutive DARE Stock Championship.

Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year honors went to Wade Mattesen from the SK Modified division, Corey Hutchings from the Late Model division, Josh Sylvester from the SK Light division, and David Capriati from the Limited Late Model division. In addition to recognizing the 2007 track champions, other prestigious awards, including Most Improved Driver, Most Popular Driver, and the Reliable Welding & Speed Rookie of the Year awards were presented.

Matt Kenseth ended Johnson’s four-race winning streak, but Johnson’s seventh-place finish was more than enough to cap a brilliant Chase for the Nextel Cup performance and give him a 77-point final margin over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. Kurt Busch battled back from a flat tire 100 laps in to finish second. Denny Hamlin was third. Gordon ended up fourth. In Busch Series action at Homestead Jeff Burton won the Ford 300 for his 5th win of 2007 and the 27th of his career. It was the series’ final race with Anheuser-Busch as the title sponsor. Mark Martin was second followed by Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Stephen Leicht, Greg Biffle and Tony Raines. In the season ending event for the Craftsman Trucks a spin by the #08 brought about a green-white-checkered finish and gave Johnny Benson the room he needed to make the pass on then race leader, Kyle Busch to pick up the win in the Ford 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. This was Benson’s fourth win in 2007; ninth career. In the race for the championship, an early tire problem put Skinner a lap down and then again on lap 74 Skinner had tire problems as he lost the left rear wheel. Skinner had to pull the #5 Toyota into the garage losing eleven laps while the team made repairs. Ron Hornaday finished seventh to win the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Championship. In his first outing Don Lia finished 25th.

Ten years ago in 2012, the 10th annual Colors Edge John Blewett III North-South Shootout presented by PPG is took center stage at the historic Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. There were 30 Tour type Modifieds and 11 SK type Modifieds. In pre-qualifying practice on Friday, Ryan Preece who was driving the 7ny that is normally driven by Ryan Newman was one-upped by Woody Pitkat who was the fastest of the fast in practice.

Competitors ran against the clock for the top 12 starting spots for the Tour type Shootout. Burt Myers took the top spot over Matt Hirschman, Jason Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III and Kyle Ebersole. Sixth through twelfth was Ryan Preece, Erik Rudolph, Tommy Barrett, Patrick Emerling, Danny Bohn, Brian Loftin and Chuck Hossfeldt. Woody Pitkat and Chris Pasteryak were the heat winners.

In SK type time trials Michael Gervais took the pole over Matt Hirschman and TJ Zacharias.

Sticking out like a sore thumb by their absence were just about all of the northern Whelen Modified Tour competitors.

The SK types were up in the late afternoon for their 25 lap feature event. Michael Gervais, a regular in the SK Modified division at the Stafford Motor Speedway led from pole to pole to take down the win. Jimmy Zacharias finished second with Glen Reen, third.

The Modified North-South Shootout 125 lapper saw Ryan Preece, in the #7ny driven normally by Ryan Newman take a surprise win over Chuck Hossfeldt and Matt Hirschman. The Shootout was a caution filled event as the yellow was displayed 17 times for numerous spins and crashes. The most important yellow came on lap 121 when Tommy Barrett attempted to pass Woody Pitkat on the low side. Pitkat moved to block and the two collided. Both were able to restart and finished respectively in seventh (Barrett) and ninth (Pitkat).

Danny Bohn finished fourth and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Johnny Sutton, Barrett, Charlie Pasteryak, Pitkat and Kyle Ebersole.

Preece and his team, co-owned by Gary Putnam and Kevin “Bono” Manion, had their winnings cut by two-thirds for a rules infraction, track officials told RaceDayCT.

Track owner and promoter Renee Hackett confirmed that the team was fined $4,000 for an unapproved tire change during the event. Hackett read a statement from the track addressing the issue: “Following the conclusion of the event, during the [North-South Shootout] officials breakdown meeting, it was discovered that [Ryan] Preece had made an unapproved tire change. The 7NY team claimed a tire on the car was flat, but it was not. Thus resulting in the use of an unapproved tire, as he had already changed two on a previous pit stop. To be considered flat, the tire must have 12 pounds or less of air pressure. The tire in question had 15 pounds of air when checked. During the driver’s meeting all drivers were informed of the tire change rule and air pressure requirements. Drivers were informed that they would be penalized if a tire change occurred without prior approval from a [North-South Shootout] official.” Hackett said the $4,000 fine from Preece’s team would be redistributed to the teams that finished second through fifth. Hossfeld will be awarded an extra $2,500 and Hirschman an extra $1,000. Fourth place finisher Danny Bohn of Mooresville, N.C. will get an extra $300 and fifth place finisher Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon was given an extra $200.

The rules for the race said teams got a six-tire inventory for the event, which included the four tires the teams started on and two tires that could be changed during the event. Preece said the team never went outside their six-tire inventory. North-South Shootout competition director Tom Fox said the team used an unapproved third new tire during the event.

Congratulations went out to fellow scribe Kevin Rice who was the recipient of the Star(NH) Speedway Appreciation Award for his loyal support of the track. Rice is a reporter for the Lowell (Mass) Sun and trade publication Area Auto Racing News.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Phoenix Kevin Harvick snapped a 44-race losing streak by beating Kyle Busch on a pair of late restarts, the ironic winner on the same weekend news leaked he’s reportedly signed a deal to leave Richard Childress Racing to drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.

Harvick and Busch crossed the finish line ahead of a melee of crashing cars, a chain reaction caused in part because NASCAR failed to throw a caution when Danica Patrick was spun on the restart. Then others slid in oil, into Patrick’s wrecked car, bounced all over the track, and even Keselowski was hit.

But the carnage was simply the final exclamation point in a sequence triggered by four-time champion Jeff Gordon. He intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer, and that led to a full brawl in the garage and a red-flag of nearly 15 minutes for clean up on the track. Gordon slowed his car to wait for Bowyer so he could intentionally wreck him as retaliation for several weeks of on-track contact between the two. The fireworks started with seven laps left, when Bowyer made contact with Gordon, sending him into the wall. Gordon’s No. 24 car was black-flagged, but he didn’t leave the track, instead waiting for Bowyer for his chance at redemption.

After Gordon climbed from his car in the garage, he appeared to be jumped from behind by one of Bowyer’s crew members who wiped the ground using him as the broom. It led to a full brawl between the crews, with Bowyer sprinting from his car to join the fracas. Bowyer was held back by NASCAR officials from entering Gordon’s hauler.

Jeff Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points and placed on probation through the end of the season. NASCAR levied the penalties against Gordon the result of his altercation with Clint Bowyer during Sunday’s race at Phoenix Int’l Raceway.

Rick Hendrick, owner of the No. 24 car, was also penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 24 car, also was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members) and was placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

Bowyer was not penalized, but Brian Pattie, crew chief for Bowyer’s No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing car, violated Sections 12-1 and 9-4A and was fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

Point leader Brad Keselowski was fined not for his profanity-laced tirade following the race, but for carrying his cell phone in his car during the event.

Joey Logano picked up his ninth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the year Saturday at Phoenix Int’l Raceway while Elliott Sadler’s shot at the series championship may have ended after a late-race crash. Logano dominated Saturday’s Great Clips 200, but a pair of late-race caution flags nearly did him in. Logano had a comfortable lead with nine laps left when Noel Dowler lost a tire in turns three and four to bring out a caution flag.

Five years ago in 2017, The Stafford Motor Speedway welcomed a guest list of nearly 450 people consisting of teams, drivers, sponsors, and employees this past Friday night, November 17 at Maneely’s in South Windsor to officially honor Keith Rocco, Glen Reen, Cory DiMatteo, Duane Provost, and Johnny Walker as the 2017 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.

With Stafford Motor Speedway broadcaster Matt Buckler serving as the Masters of Ceremony, the 48th annual Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Champions Awards Ceremony not only honored the five track champions, they also recognized the top-10 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. Special awards that were presented during the evening’s festivities were Most Popular Driver Awards, NAPA Auto Parts Parts Rookie of the Year, R.A.D. Automachine Rookie of the Year, and the UNOH Youth Achievement Award.

Keith Rocco and the #88 Wheelers Auto team used a combination of consistency and clutch performances to take the title. Rocco began strong with 10 top-9 finishes but began to struggle in August and the beginning of September. Entering the final 2 races of the season, Rocco trailed Chase Dowling by 34 points. Rocco and the #88 team then rose to the occasion by winning the final 2 races to claim the championship by a 6 point margin over Dowling. For the season, the #88 team posted 2 wins, 9 top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes for an average finish of 5.8.

Glen Reen and the #31 LifeCare Family Chiropractic team were a model of consistency throughout the 2017 season en route to winning the championship. In 17 starts this season, Reen posted 16 top-7 finishes with his worst finish for the season an 11th place effort on Sept. 15. Despite not leading the Late Model division in wins, top-5s, or top-10s this year, Reen’s consistency carried him to the championship with Tom Fearn and Kevin Gambacorta tied for second, 8 points behind Reen. For the season, Reen and the #31 team posted 3 wins, 13 top-5, and 16 top-10 finishes and they finished on the podium in 10 of the 17 races.

Cory DiMatteo made the move from Legend Cars into SK Lights at Stafford for the 2017 season and he proved he was a quick study by winning the first 2 races of the season. DiMatteo used that early momentum to establish himself as a championship contender but several finishes outside the top-15 dropped him out of the points lead. DiMatteo spent much of the summer recovering lost points from his finishes outside the top-15 and he posted top-6 finishes in 11 of the final 12 races to erase his deficit to the point leaders and win the championship at the NAPA Fall Final with a 4th place finish. For the season DiMatteo posted 4 wins, 12 top-5s and 14 top-10s and he becomes the fourth rookie driver, joining Michael Gervais, Jr. in 2009, Matt Galko in 2010, and Jeremy Sorel in 2014 as rookie drivers who also won the SK Light championship.

While Duane Provost had a bit of luck and circumstance on his side last season in winning the Limited Late Model championship, he needed no such favors this season as he locked down a second consecutive track championship. Provost and the #88 Michael Facchini Law Firm team scored top-5 finishes in 16 of the 17 races this season with 3 wins. Provost scored back to back wins in early June and then won again on Sept. 15 to help cement his place at the top of the standings heading into the final 2 races of the season. For the season Provost scored 3 wins, 16 top-5s, and 16 top-10s.

After winning the DARE Stock championship in 2016, Johnny Walker and the #01 Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair team came back and put together one of the most dominant seasons in Stafford history in any division. After a loose steering wheel relegated him to a 12th place finish in the season opening NAPA Spring Sizzler feature event, Walker finished each of the remaining 16 races on the podium with 8 wins, 5 second place finishes, and 3 third place finishes. The 8 wins set a DARE Stock record for most wins in a season and Walker easily accumulated the highest point total of any driver at Stafford this season with 806 points over 17 races.

The NAPA Auto Parts Rookie of the Year awards were presented to Josh Wood from the SK Modified® division and Paul Arute from the Late Model division. Taking home R.A.D. Automachine Rookie of the Year honors were Cory DiMatteo in the SK Light division, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model division, and George Bessette, Jr. in the DARE Stock division. The NAPA Auto Parts rookie awards will be worth a $1,000.00 gift card redeemable at participating NAPA Stores to Wood and Arute, with DiMatteo, Fearn, and Bessette each winning a $500 bonus from R.A.D. Automachine that will be paid out in $100.00 weekly increments to each driver as they attend events during the 2018 season.

The winners of the Most Popular Driver Awards were Ted Christopher in the SK Modified® division, Tom Fearn in the Late Model division, Marcello Rufrano from the SK Light division, Alexandra Fearn from the Limited Late Model division, and Nicole Chambrello in the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver Awards are voted on by the fans who attend Stafford Motor Speedway race events and fill out the ballots found in the track’s weekly PitStopper Magazine.

The UNOH Youth Achievement award was won by SK Light Modified driver Daniel Wesson for the second consecutive season. The UNOH Youth Achievement Award is a program that is open to all drivers at Stafford between the ages of 14-17. The eligible driver who scored the most track points from their best 14 finishes this season won a $500 cash award from UNOH as well as a $500 scholarship award from UNOH.

Matt Hirschman scored his 17th win of the season as he won a 125 lap Modified event at the Myrtle Beach speedway in South Carolina. Hirschman inherited the lead following a break at the 100 lap mark when previous leader Bob Measmer Jr was sent to the rear after he entered a closed pit. Jason Myers finished second and was followed by Measmer, Darea Scherer, Danny Bohn, Bert Myers and Timmy Solomito.

Cole Custer ended his rookie season on a high note by winning his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The win for Custer during the Ford EcoBoost 300 is also the first win for the Stewart-Haas Racing XFINITY program.

Custer took the lead from Tyler Reddick early on in the first stage of the race and never looked back, leading 179 of the 200 laps. Championship contender Elliott Sadler finished eighth. After being passed by Byron with nine laps to go, Sadler made contact with Ryan Preece in turn three and four as Sadler tried to pass him. Sadler showed his frustration and things got heated, with Sadler getting in Preece’s face on pit road after the race. Preece was able to save his car after the contact with Sadler and finish fifth.

A few days prior to the Homestead event Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Preece would be a regular part of the rotating lineup in the team’s third NASCAR XFINITY Series entry in 2018 which means that Preece will share the ride with Monster Energy Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. Preece will make at least 10 starts with the team in 2018.

Martin Truex Jr won his first Cup title by winning the finale at Homestead, beating Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski for the championship. The other three were former champions. Truex was the favorite.

Last year, 2021, The Stafford Motor Speedway has been the epicenter of Modified racing in New England for over 50 years and 2022 will be no different. Jack Arute Sr started what has become a dynasty in New England auto racing. That dynasty continues today with the second and third generation taking the track foreward, almost a quarter of the way into the next century. Stafford has groomed its own feeder division in the name of the SK Lights which has provided competitors with opportunity to move up to the SK Modifieds or the open or tour type Modifieds. All Stafford competitors get worldwide exposure thanks to FloRacing which live streams every event.

The historic 50th running of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® is set to take place at Stafford Speedway April 23 & 24, 2022 featuring the Open Modifieds. Stafford Speedway officials have announced over $130,000 in prize money including $15,000 to win the 50th Spring Sizzler® and $3,500 to win each of the NAPA Duel qualifying events.

The 50th edition of the Spring Sizzler® will feature 32 starters with the field set by two 40 lap “Duel” races held Saturday April 23rd. The top 10 finishers in each duel will transfer to Sunday’s 100 lap NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler. Saturday’s NAPA Duel race lineups will be set by 8 lap heat races. All drivers not advancing from the Duel will compete in 1 of 2 Last Chance Qualifier events held on Sunday, with the top 5 in each transferring to the NAPA Spring Sizzler®.

“We want to make this event memorable,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “50 years of Spring Sizzler® history deserves a huge event. Each of the NAPA Duel races will pay $3,500 to win and will pay throughout the entire field. The 50th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® will be 100 green flag laps, teams can change 2 tires, and will pay $15,000 to win. There will be lap money and multiple bonuses available to teams competing.”

The Open Modifieds will be joined by 7 other divisions over the course of two days marking a big weekend for short track racing in Connecticut. New for 2022, the PASS Super Late Model Series will make their return to Stafford Speedway to compete in a 75 lap race as part of Saturday’s action. Also on the card for Saturday will be Stafford’s Street Stocks, Limited Late Models, and the Vintage All-Stars®.

The 2022 Stafford Speedway schedule was released on Thurs, Nov11. 24 race days make up the 2022 calendar highlighted by 12 special events kicking off with the 50th anniversary of the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® April 23rd and 24th. Weekly racing will continue to be the core of the Stafford Speedway schedule with the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light Modified, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions running weekly from May through September.

“Weekly racing continues to be very important to us at Stafford,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “The racing in each of our weekly divisions this year was excellent. There’s endless talent in all 5 Stafford divisions and we’ll continue to put those teams and drivers in the spotlight.”

The 2022 season will begin with the previously announced 50th Spring Sizzler® featuring two days of racing highlighted by a $15,000 to win 100 lap Open Modified event. A new addition to Spring Sizzler® weekend will be the PASS Super Late Models who are set for their first appearance at Stafford since 2012. Click here for more information on the 2022 NAPA Spring Sizzler.

The Open Modifieds will return to the half-mile once per month in 2022. The Call Before You Dig Open Modified 81 will kick-off the events Friday, May 20th and will be followed by the Bud Light Open 80 on June 10th, GAF Roofing Open 80 on July 1st, and the Lincoln Tech Open 80 on Friday, August 19th. New for 2022, the Tri-Track Modified Series will make a trip to Stafford Speedway Saturday, September 24th as the headliner for the 49th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final.

“We’re excited to have the Tri-Track Modified series back at Stafford after the incredible CBYD Modified Classic in 2020,” continued Arute. “The dates didn’t line-up to have them on the calendar in 2021, but they will be back in a big way in 2022 headlining the 49th NAPA Fall Final.”

Each of Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions will run an extra distance event with the SK Modifieds® going beyond their 40 lap distance twice. First with the 50 lap Senator’s Cup July 15th and again for the 9th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K. The Limited Late Models will run 5 extra laps on June 17th while the Street Stocks will compete in their annual Midstate Site Development Firecracker 30 on June 24th. Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Modifiedz Night will be held July 8th and will feature a 40 lap event for the SK Light Modified division. Finally, the Late Models will run their extra distance event September 2nd in the Paradiso Insurance Late Model 50.

“We are building off the success of the last few seasons,” continued Arute. “The drivers, teams, and fans have all rallied behind Stafford in so many ways, 2022 will be a season that will make everyone proud to call Stafford Speedway their home track. We have multiple facility improvements currently underway that fans and drivers will love. We may even have a few more surprises up our sleeve. See everyone at the Spring Sizzler.”

Season tickets for the 2022 Stafford Speedway season are now available online and by calling the track office. All pricing remains the same from 2021.

With a forecast calling for rain for much of the day on Saturday, management at Riverhead Raceway announced last Friday morning that Saturday’s Islip 300 racing card had been postponed to Sunday. Also rescheduled to a later date was the awards program for the nine champions of the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series.

John Fortin, Jr. took the win and was followed by Kyle Bonsignore , Patrick Emerling, Ryan Preece and Ed Brunnhoelzl, III. Sixth thru tenth were Jimmy Blewett, Anthony Nocella, David Sapienza, Justin Brown and Kyle Soper.

As the field went just past the 200-lap mark Preece was the leader with Silk, now second. However neither two drivers along with 80% of the field had yet pitted for their change tires. Mattered not to leader Ryan Preece as his car still showed no tire fall off. On lap 234 the question was answered when just after a caution waved and the pits were open all but a handful of cars came to the pits. When the race resumed Preece remained the race leader with Silk second but it was upstart driver JB Fortin putting himself in position to make a run for the lead.

During a 251st lap restart Silk would get the measure of Preece but Ryan would come back to reclaim the top spot some laps later, with Fortin waiting in the wings. When Ryan Preece chose the outside for a lap 276 restart JB Fortin would was scored second over Silk when the yellow waved was ready to go for broke. When the green light came on Fortin got a good launch inside and they ran even until they got back to three and four a lap later. There Fortin made Preece uncomfortable on the outside and was able to take the race lead. Preece however was not going anywhere as he stayed glued to Fortin with sitting Silk third.

On lap 286 Preece sent his car into the first turn a ton to the outside of Fortin, attempting a crossover to slide under JB exiting the second turn. Unfortunately for Ryan he just clipped the right front wheel of third place Silk. Preece spun and Silk fell to the infield with front end damage. That would not be the only time that scenario would play out. Just moments later with Fortin leading “Showtime” Jimmy Blewett tried a similar crossover in the third and fourth turn with nearly the same result. When Blewett crossed over he clipped the right front of Kyle Bonsignore who had moved to third. Blewett spun but Bonsignore was able to soldier on.

After the field was reset JB Fortin would now lead Kyle Bonsignore and Patrcik Emerling with just a handful of laps remaining in the event. When the race resumed both drivers attempted to close in on JB Fortin but over the closing laps the second generation driver was able to keep his two nearest rivals at arms length. When the dueling checker flags waved JB Fortin in the Peerless Boilers Chevy scored the biggest of his three career Riverhead Raceway wins to date.

“I knew we could do this” Fortin proclaimed in the winners circle, “thanks to my guys led by Kenny Lechner Sr., they gave me a car I could run the inside with. When I got to Ryan for the lead I knew I would have to make him uncomfortable, he like all of us really wanted to win Eddie’s race”. Not only did JB win the Islip 300 but he also in the process clinched the Crown Jewel Series title and was presented the Ted Christopher Cup, “pretty cool and honored to win Teddy’s cup, he was a giant in our game” JB reflected. The race winner also took the opportunity to let his racing family in on some exciting news, “happy to let everyone know my wife Eriin & I are going to have our first child, been pretty exciting”

In some really good news, The Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour (S.M.A.R.T) and FloSports are proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership to bring live circle track racing to the FloRacing platform. New for the 2022 season, all SMART Tour events will be streamed live on FloRacing, making SMART the first asphalt series on the nationally recognized platform.

“FloRacing is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live streamed sports. We are thrilled with the commitment they have made to the SMART Tour and its future,” Tour Director Chris Williams said.

FloRacing has become the leader in live streaming in grassroots racing with over 800 race events streamed in 2020 and over 1,400 in 2021. Annual subscriptions to FloRacing include unlimited access to all live streaming content. Also included in a subscription are the exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes access, and ride-alongs with drivers, motorsports news, archived races, and highlights that racing fans have come to expect from the FloRacing platform. FloRacing subscribers also receive complete access to the entire network of FloSports verticals ranging from cycling, wrestling, football, baseball, softball, grappling, hockey and more. Watch the races across all screens by downloading the FloSports app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast.

FloRacing subscribers will be treated to a growing 2022 asphalt racing schedule that will include all SMART Tour events, season long schedules at Stafford Motor Speedway, Oswego Speedway, and Thunder Road Speedbowl amongst others. Meanwhile, FloRacing also showcases the best of grassroots dirt track racing including the Chili Bowl, USAC, Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions, Eldora Speedway, Port Royal Speedway and weekly action from the Fonda Speedway.

It’s the best deal in auto racing!

The New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, which is overseen by the New England Antique Racers organization, welcomed their 2021 class Sunday in Westford, Mass. as part of their 24th Hall of Fame induction.

It was a return to normalcy for the organization. Due to issues involving the global pandemic there was no Hall of Fame induction in 2020.

The Hall of Fame welcomed eight regular inductees, two veteran’s committee inductions and recognized multiple other individuals with awards as part of the ceremony at the Westford Regency.

The 2021 induction class included drivers Jeff Horn, Kelley Moore, Dave Grantz and Dave Lind, car builder Bob Cuneo, announcers Pete Falconi and John Spencer Sr. and track operator Jim Haynes. Drivers Andy Cote and Ted Stack were inducted through the veteran’s committee. Promoter Dick Williams was recognized with the Ron Bouchard Award.

The Frank Maratta Award for outstanding contributions to auto racing in New England went to Skip Matczak, longtime car owner and owner of Seals It and Allyn Tool. April May Preston Elms was awarded the Charlie Stebbins Award for contributions to NEAR. Mark Alden was awarded the Danny Pardi Award for outstanding dedication and contribution to the NEAR Hall of Fame. Shawn Courchesne, publisher of RaceDayCT.com, was recognized with the Mitchell/Ratta Media Award for outstanding media coverage of New England racing.

On a sad note Ron Narducci passed away Friday, Nov 12. During his racing career, Ron competed at an estimated 60 race tracks, starting in New York state while he served in the Air Force. While stationed in New York, he took down 17 feature wins and won 2 track championships, both at Waterloo, NY.

In 1957, Ron returned to Connecticut, and, along with his father, bought a 1937 Ford Flathead Coupe. Ron won the Sportsman Championship at Waterford Speedbowl in 1958. The same year, he ran a few races at the Stafford Speedway.

From 1959 to ’66, Narducci competed at NASCAR tracks, winning 2 Modified Championships and 2 Stafford Sportsman Championships. 1960 saw him finish 2nd in sportsman points at Norwood, and he finished 3rd in Modified points at Menands, NY. During this time, he won many features, including 6 in 1963 with Sharkey Gaudiosi’s #44.

With the paving of Stafford in 1967, Ron started running the NY State circuit. He won 5 features at Fonda, his home track, that year, including a 100 lap Championship race. 1967 also saw Narducci join the All-Star League, where he was a 6 time winner on the Winning Track Team, representing Fonda, Albany-Saratoga, and Catamount Stadium.

The waning years of his career were spent in the Fingerlakes of NY, where he finished 4th in Modified points at the Weedsport in 1975. From that point until his retirement in 1982, Ron ran on the DIRT circuit. Although he hung up his helmet in 1982, Ron served as a Pit Steward for DIRT for another 4 years, before stepping back to enjoy his retirement in 1986.

Ron’s daughter-in-law Venetta who is married to Ron’s son Greg lost her battle with cancer on Saturday night.

error: Thanks For Visiting Race Pro Weekly ... Like what you see? Tell your friends to check us out!