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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1953, racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl rained out for the third week in a row. Seekonk also rained out.

Sixty-five years ago in 1958, Dick Beauregard was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner.

Sixty years ago in 1963, Jim Luke won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Ken Meahl finished second with Bobby Cain, third. Rene Charland and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Ted Stack was the 50 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner. Dick Costa was victorious in Class A action at Seekonk. Bill Slater was the opening night winner at the Norwood Arena. Ray Hendrick took a 50 lap Modified win at South Boston. Slater made it two in a row at Old Bridge on Sunday.

Fifty-five years ago in 1968 the Fonda Speedway opened for the season with Eddie Pieniezek taking the win over Jerry Cook and Ron Narducci. Ray Hendrick won the Spring 100 at Martinsville. Steady Eddie Flemke, in the Bobby Judkins No.2x went two for two as he won season openers at Norwood Arena on Saturday night and Thompson on Sunday afternoon. In other northeast action, Cam Gagliardi won a 30 lapper at Lancaster and at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Daring Dick Caso was the 30-lap Modified winner while Bill Sweet made it two in a row in Late Model Daredevil action. Seekonk fell victim to rain.

Fifty years ago in 1973, Stafford was running on Saturday nights. Ronnie Bouchard took the 30-lap win over Bob Santos, Eddie Flemke, and Leo Cleary. Islip opened for the season with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Jim Hendrickson and Fred Harbach. Seekonk ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Leo Cleary in the RGM 87 took the win. Jerry Cook finished second and was followed by Freddie Schulz, Flemke and Bugsy Stevens. George Allum made it two in a row as he won the Hott Wheels 100 at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bobby Sprague took the win at Seekonk.

Forty-five years ago in 1978, opening night at Stafford rained out. At Waterford Ron Bouchard made it two in a row. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Moose Hewitt in third. At Westboro, George Savory took the top spot over George Summers. Down on the Island at Islip, Tom McCann was the big winner. At Thompson on Sunday, Cleary in the Steve May no.15 out ran Fred DeSarro to victory. Ray Miller, Bugsy Stevens and Freddie Schulz rounded out the top five. Other weekend winners were Dunk Rudolph at Monadnock, Dave Thomas at Star and Maynard Troyer at Fulton.

Forty years ago in 1983, Stan Gregger won at Riverside on Saturday over Ray Miller and SJ Evonsion. Gil Hearne scored his 70th career win at Wall Stadium and at Islip, Alan Harbach held off Don Howe for the win. Waterford cancelled because of high water in the infield. Thompson ran twin 30’s on Sunday. Richie Evans won them both.

Thirty five years ago in 1988, Bob Potter won at Waterford on Saturday. Ted Christopher finished second with Dickie Doo Ceravolo, third. At Riverside, Charlie Pasteryak braved the cold to get a well-deserved win and at Riverhead, Tom Baldwin won out over Ed Brunnhoelzl. In SK modified action at Thompson, Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning finished one-two. The Mod Tour traveled to Jennerstown, Pa., where Reggie Ruggiero got his second tour win of the year. Jim Spencer finished second and was followed by Brian Ross and Steve Park

Thirty years ago in 1993, Bo Gunning was the Friday night SK-Modified winner at Stafford. At Waterford, on Saturday night, Ricky Young came home the surprise winner after Ted Christopher and Dennis Gada spun while fighting for the lead on the final lap. Christopher, running second, made a move outside of Gada. Gada moved up to block and subsequently hit Christopher. Both spun and crashed. Bob Potter ended up in second spot. Bob Gegetskas won out over Dan Avery and Larry Moore at Riverside and at the Riverhead Raceway, on Long Island, Tim Continaro went pole to pole to win the 36 lap Modified feature. Jeff Malave finished second with Ed Brunnhoelzl, third. The Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series were at Loudon on Sunday. With 16,000 fans looking on, Reggie Ruggerio won the 125-mile contest. Mike Stefanik tried his darndest but couldn’t muster a charge and ended up second. Doug Hevron finished third with Tim Arre and Bob Park rounding out the top five. Jamie Aube was the BNS winner. Kelly Moore finished second with Mike Mclaughlin and Dave Reszendes following. Thompson ran SK-Modifieds on Sunday with Mike Christopher taking the win over Tom Tagg and Lloyd Agor. Less than 1,000 spectators were on hand. In Winston Cup action at Talledega, Ernie Irvan took the win over Jim Spencer and Dale Jarrett. Rusty Wallace took a mean looking dump as he went end over end after getting some help from Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Twenty five years ago, in 1998, the rained out Spring Sizzler at Stafford was finally run. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Doug French on lap 134 of the 200-lap event and held off Tim Connolly for the win. Tony Ferrente Jr. finished third with Jan Leaty and Carl Pasteryak rounding out the top five. In a post race interview Stefanik said he felt that Ed Flemke Jr. didn’t give him a fare shake as he attempted to pass him. Mike Christopher was the 40 lap SK-Modified winner. In other weekend action, Waterford was fogged out; Riverside Park hosted the Busch North Series on Saturday night where Tom Carey took the win over Kelly Moore and Jerry Marquis. Dan Avery was the modified winner. Bill Park took the checker at Riverhead and was disqualified when a post race inspection revealed an illegal clutch in his car. John Fortin was awarded the win and Ed Brunnhoelzl moved up to finish second.

Twenty years ago in 2003 opening night at Stafford rained out. It cleared out on Saturday as Riverhead opened for the season with a 50 lapper. JR Bertuccio took the win over Joe Hartmann and John Fortin. At Waterford, Dennis Gada picked up his first win of the season beating out Jeff Pearl, Rob Janovic and Ed Reed Jr. Frank Polimedia won out at Wall Township with Jimmy Blewett, second. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Terry Labonte took the pole. Jerry Nadeau crashed hard during Happy Hour. He spun between turns one and two, and then hit the wall on the driver’s side. Nadeau, who had to be cut from the car and life starred to the hospital received severe head injuries which, for all intents, ended his racing career. Joe Nemachek was the Winston Cup winner with Bobby Labonte finishing second. The event went 392 of the scheduled 400 laps because of rain. A major confrontation erupted in the pit area after Jeff Green and Kevin Harvick tangled and Green ended up getting wrecked. Both drivers, in cars owned by Richard Childress, verbally assaulted each other over what happened, plus Green argued with Childress. The end result was that Green ended up getting fired from his ride.

Fifteen years ago in 2008, The Stafford Motor Speedway opened for the season under sunny skies with qualifying for the annual Spring Sizzler, an event that has run continuously since 1972 featuring the NASCAR Modifieds. Thirty five Modifieds were on hand for qualifying for the 200 lap event that carried a purse of $94,676.

Ted Christopher got a little closer to the 100 feature win mark as he won his 98th career win at the nutmeg oval as he won the 200 lap Spring Sizzler. Christopher pitted after Wade Cole spun on lap 141. Restarting in 12th spot, Christopher made a determined march to the front. He broke into the top five by lap 156 after Kevin Goodale spun. By lap 167 Christopher had moved into second spot, turning up the heat on leader Eric Beers. Christopher put Beers away on lap 172 and never looked back. Beers ended up in second spot and was followed by Chuck Hossfeld, Mike Stefanik and James Civali. Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennick, Richard Savory, Jamie Tomaino, Todd Szegedy and Glen Tyler.

Ryan Preece, who became the youngest Coors Light Pole Award winner on Saturday, led 64 laps in the event but exited the race on lap 91 while in the lead with engine failure.

Numerous cautions, 13 for 71 laps, slowed the event and at one point the event had to be red flagged. It was on lap180 after Jimmy Blewett made a hard impact with the SAFER barrier in Turn 1. He climbed out of the vehicle then expressed displeasure at Matt Hirschman before taking his mandatory ambulance ride. Blewett’s 19 car was briefly airborne and needed the double hook to be removed from the track.

In SK Modified action Rob Summers took the 40 lap feature over Woody Pitkat and Chris Jones. Keith Rocco, Doug Coby and Jimmy Blewett followed. Among those in the field was Steve Reed who was one of the top runners at the now closed Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey. Reed finished eighth.

The Waterford Speedbowl continued its regular Saturday night schedule. Dennis Gada charged from a 20th-place starting spot to pass Jeff Pearl with 10-laps remaining to win the 35-lap SK Modified at the shoreline oval It was the second victory of the season for the 6-time champion. Following Gada across the line was Ron Yuhas Jr, Keith Rocco, Pearl, and, Frank Ruocco.

SK Modified driver Ron Yuhas Jr. took the first Late Model win of his career. Starting deep in the field, he passed early leader Ed Reed Jr. following a late-race caution. Defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. slipped past Reed for second. Completing the top-5 were Marc Curtis, and, Tim Jordan.

Other feature winners were Chuck Rodgers (Sportsman), Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stocks), and, Michael Gervais Jr. (Legends).

The True Value Modified Series moved to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH for an event on Saturday night. Point leader and defending series champion Kirk Alexander returned to his home race track, started last in a 26 car field, passed cross town rival Rob Goodenough on lap 86, to win the” Bond Auto Parts 100” in front of a near capacity crowd at the fast high banked quarter mile oval. The True Value Modified Racing Series event was Alexander’s 28th career victory and his third season opening win at the track known as “Mad Dog.”.

Pole sitter Chris Pasteryak set a torrid pace holding off the constant challenges of 2007 Rookie of the Year, Peter Jarvis, Jarvis stayed within striking distance of Pasteryak with Bryan Shumway last years winner, Les Hinckley and 2006 champion Dwight Jarvis in hot pursuit. By lap 20, Danbury CT ’s Ed Dachenhausen worked his way into fifth and ran strong until a late race mishap would force him to the sidelines. The race pace was fast early on with the first of six caution flags not displayed until lap 38 for a Chris Wenzel spin. The Holyoke , MA . veteran was able to rejoin the race which stayed under green until lap 54 when a David Pinkhamand Jon McKennedy spin drew the caution. On the restart, Peter Jarvis vaulted into the top spot and held it until lap 66 when Goodnough powered by. At this point, Alexander was fast making his move to the front and by lap 70, the three-time champion was in third and quickly closing in on Jarvis. Lap 73 saw Alexander pass Jarvis setting up a great battle with Goodnough for the top spot. A caution period slowed the pace on lap 85 resulting in Alexander motoring by Goodenough on the restart lap. The two former Monadnock pro-stock standouts raced hard and clean often side by side bringing the crowd to it’s feet several times. When the checkers dropped on the 100th circuit, Alexander’s margin of victory was a car length and a half over Goodenough. Goodenough, Pinkham, Dwight Jarvis, Peter Jarvis, Hinckley, Mike Holdridge, Pasteryak, Dale Evonsion, and Rookie of the Year contender Kenny White.Jr, rounded out the top ten.

Tony Stewart held off Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s last-lap charge to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday for his first career victory at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Stewart started from the pole, led 81 of the 117 laps, and sat comfortably out front in the waning laps with Earnhardt on his rear bumper. Caution came out with five laps to go for debris, setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish. They raced nose-to-tail for the first lap, then Earnhardt pulled out of line to make his charge. But Earnhardt didn’t have enough momentum and didn’t get the help he needed to race past Stewart. It allowed Stewart to go virtually unchallenged for the final lap, as Earnhardt faded to sixth. David Stremme finished second, his best result since he finished second in Milwaukee in 2004. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was third. The race was slowed by eight cautions for 27 laps, including a 12-car accident that brought a red flag stoppage of 25 minutes.

The accident happened when Kevin Lepage pitted for a loose wheel under green and blended back onto the track right ahead of the field as the pack headed into the first turn. He wasn’t at the same speed, and the cars couldn’t avoid running over him.The first wreck occurred 10 laps in when Dario Franchitti lost his right rear tire, hit the wall and spiraled down the track. He was on the apron when his car was T-boned by Larry Gunselman. Both drivers were transported to a hospital for observation, and X-rays showed Franchitti broke his left ankle.

In Sprint Cup action at Talladega Kyle Busch came back from a lap down for his first win which was won under caution when a 12-car accident brought out the yellow flag on the final lap. It froze the field and allowed Busch to slowly make his way across the finish line. Juan Pablo Montoya finished second to match his career best on an oval since moving to NASCAR midway through 2006. Denny Hamlin, Busch’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third.

Ten years ago in 2013, in Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco, who suffered a broken left wrist during a heat race on April 27, won the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Other winners in the weekly Saturday night NASCAR Whelen All-American series were Cam McDermott in the SK Light Modified race, Garrett Denton in the Mini Stock feature – his third win in five races – Dylan Izzo in the Legends Cars and Chris Meyers in a special 50-lap Street Stock feature.

In the SK Modified feature, Rocco took the lead on lap-12 from Jeff Gallup and survived numerous restarts. On lap 23, an incident collected over half of the field in a pileup in turn one. Once the race resumed, Rocco had to hold off serious bid from Craig Lutz. The two made contact and swapped the lead twice over the final five laps, but Rocco held off Lutz to earn a trip to victory lane. Todd Ceravolo finished third. Diego Monahan and Tyler Chadwick rounded out the top five

The 35-lap race took more than an hour because of a red flag with 12 laps to go. Lutz and Diego Monahan made came together at the front of the field and set off a chain-reaction that collected 12 cars behind them.

A touching opening ceremony kicked off the night. Steve Barrett of Preston was surprised with a brand new Street Stock racecar in a heartfelt presentation by several members of the racing community. Barrett, a member of the US Army National Guard’s 1109th TASMG unit based in Groton,CT had just returned from ten months active duty overseas. During his deployment a group around the track organized a cause, “Racers for a Soldier”, taking donations to help build Barrett the car presented on Saturday. The effort was spearheaded by Jeff Winsor of Moosup. Barrett destroyed his racecar beyond repair in early 2012 prior to his deployment. He has competed at the track for the past several seasons.

The Riverhead Raceway, the last remaining speedway on Long Island, opened for the season last Saturday night. The NASCAR Modifieds ran twin 30 lap features. The Modifieds took to the track next for their twin 30-lap features. Timmy Solomito set fast time during time trails posting a fast lap of 11.761 seconds. The Modifieds did a re-draw of the top eight and Solomito re-drew seventh. His brother, and defending track champion Shawn Solomito won the draw and started the race on the pole Solomito was able to hold off John Beatty for the victory in the first 30 laps. The second 30-lap race started the same way the previous race finished, but this time all restarts were single-file. The first caution came out 17 laps in when McGuire spun out in turn one. Solomito restarted with Beatty right behind him, followed by Dave Brigati, Eric Goodale, and Timmy Solomito. Three laps after the restart Ryan Preece got by Timmy Solomito for fifth place. One lap later Timmy Solomito was in the wall. Tom Rogers Jr. dove underneath Solomito entering turn one. Solomito hopped the right-front tire of Rogers and both went up and into the outside wall. Rogers was able to drive back to the pits, but Solomito was taken off by a Brigandi Brothers Tow Vehicle. On the next restart, Shawn Solomito held onto the lead and maintained it all the way to the finish, keeping the Solomito Opening Night Win Streak. He led all 60 laps over the course of both 30-lap races. Going into the final lap, exiting turn two, John Beatty’s No. 14 lost power on the back straight causing everyone behind him to scatter in order to avoid him. Resulting in a top five which include: Shawn Solomito, Dave Brigati, Eric Goodale, Ryan Preece and Howie Brode.

In open wheeled Modified action south of the Mason-Dixon line at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Burt Myers found the right combination and won the first of two 25-lap races for the featured Modified Division. Randy Butner picked up a victory in the second.

Dirt track Modified racer Kenny Tremont recorded his 300th career win when he won the main event at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY.

On a sad note it was reported by Pete Zanardi that Jerry Wheeler had passed away. Wheeler was the first to use a Chevy V-8 for power in a Modified.

In NASCAR Nationwide Series racing, Regan Smith finally got his victory at Talladega Superspeedway. With the field crashing in the tri-oval on the white flag lap of NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, NASCAR was forced to wave the caution flag just before the leaders got to the start-finish line. With the field frozen at the time of the caution flag, it was determined that Smith was the race leader at the time of the caution.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Front Row Motorsports teammates David Ragan and David Gilliland teamed up on the final lap of Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 to pull off a massive upset at Talladega Superspeedway. Ragan, using a massive push from Gilliland down the backstretch on the final lap, dove below Carl Edwards entering turn three to take the lead. Ragan stayed side-by-side with Edwards until he got out of turn four until Gilliland gave him one final push to the front.

Once clear of Edwards Ragan quickly went high to break the momentum of the No. 99 Ford before returning to the low side to pick up his teammate Gilliland once again. By then the battle was for second as Ragan crossed the finish line .213 of a second ahead of Gilliland to score his second NASCAR Sprint Cup victory and the first for team owner Bob Jenkins.

The Earnhardt era of NASCAR opened its final chapter when the driver known simply as Junior said he will retire at the end of this season, his 18th in the Cup series. It will bring to a close the golden days of the sport, when Lee and Richard Petty helped build a stock car series that they turned over to Dale Earnhardt to carry into the next phase. Earnhardt has won NASCAR’s most popular driver award a record 14 times. He has 26 career Cup victories and is a two-time champion of NASCAR’s second- tier Xfinity series, where he plans to race twice next year. But the son of the late champion has never won a Cup title after more than 600 career series starts.

Five years ago in 2018, the Stafford Motor Speedway began their 2018 season with healthy fields of SK Modifieds and SK Lites and a hearty group of fans. There were 24 SK Modifieds nd 23 SK Lites. Defending SK Modified champion Keith Rocco scored his second win in a row this season and his fourth consecutive SK Modified® victory at Stafford dating back to last season, Michael Wray won the 30-lap Late Model feature, George Nocera, Jr. won the 20-lap SK Light feature with Bryan Narducci a strong second, Jeremy Lavoie won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Meg Fuller, the daughter of former Whelen Modified Tour Champion Rick Fuller, scored her first career win in the 20-lap Street Stock feature.

The SK Modified win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 253 wins which also include 149 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 58 at Thompson and 46 at Stafford Speedway.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl began its 68th season Rowan Pennink, of New Egypt, New Jersey, grabbed the win in Saturday’s Valenti Modified Racing Series 100-lap race at the shoreline oval. Pennink started outside front row in a field of 27-cars but did not lead the event until lap-74 when he went by Woody Pitkat, of Stafford Springs, CT. to nail down the win.

There was no adjustment period for climbing into an SK Light as far as Jonathan Puleo of North Branford was concerned on Sunday. In his first SK Light start, the 14-year-old Puleo led every lap to win Sunday’s 25-lap SK Light Modified Race during the rain-shortened Speedbowl Blastoff, presented by Levine Distributors, at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Also grabbing wins Sunday were Nathan Taylor in the 25-lap Mini-Stock feature, Mike Blaskey in the 25-lap Legends feature and Jim Boyle in the 25-lap Speedbowl Truck feature.

Rain, however, short-circuited the rest of the program. The Sportsman feature was suspended after nine of 30 laps were run, with Phil Evans in the lead. The race will be finished Saturday as part of the regular-scheduled race program.

The 30-lap Late Model and 80-lap SK Modified feature, however, were completely wiped out by rain. The SK 80-lapper will be run Saturday in place of the originally scheduled 40-lap feature. The Late Model race will be added to the race program for May 19.

Across the big pond on Long Island, Kyle Soper of Manorville could not have dreamed of a better way to get his 2018 Riverhead Raceway season underway as the rising driving talent won both the 40-lap NASCAR Modified and 25-lap Late Model feature events during the Cinco de Mayo opening night NASCAR Whelen All American Series program Saturday evening. For Kyle his NASCAR Modified triumph was his 6th career triumph, second for current car owner Wayne Anderson while the Late Model win was the 7th of his career with all those wins coming for car owner Rob Pelis who he combined with to win the 2017 championship. A healthy 22 cars signed in for opening night in the NASCAR Modifieds.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Tim Brown’s dry spell ended. Brown slipped past Burt Myers on lap 91 of what was scheduled for 100 laps and held on for the win in what turned out to be 103 laps Saturday night at historic oval. In just the third week of the season and fourth race, Brown started second behind George Brunnhoezl and survived through nine cautions to win his 85th race of his career

Myers, who had won two of the first three races, took the lead on lap 51. However, after a restart on lap 91, Myers, Brown and Brandon Ward went three wide. Ward and Myers bumped a little and Brown slipped past both to take the lead. After cautions on laps 92 and 96 there were only nine of the 18 cars that started on the track. The race restarted on lap 101 and after two green laps Brown cruised to the win.

In NASCAR cup racing at Dover, De. Kevin Harvick took the win. Justin Alligier was the Xfinity Series winner

Last year, 2022, Competitors in New England Modified Racing went up-country to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester , New Hampshire for the first of five Monaco Ford Modified Tri-Track Series events on Saturday and on Sunday for a brand new series, the Whitcomb 5 Series which is part of the NHSTRA Modified division in New Hampshire

At Monadnock on Saturday night, Matt Hirschman waited until time was right, pounced, and rocketed to another Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series win. Hirschman tamed the high-banks of Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire, scoring a $10,000 prize and once again living up to his “Big Money” name. After starting 18th, Hirschman passed Monadnock NHSTRA Modified regular Matthew Kimball and held off some of the top Modified contenders on multiple final restarts to capture the checkered flag. Sam Rameau, a two-time Tri-Track winner at Monadnock, crossed the line second, while Brian Robie was third.

Rameau, who was at the front of the field for nearly the entire first half of the race, decided to play a different strategy than most and stay out while nearly everyone else pitted. Laps later, from the lead, when another caution flew, Rameau decided it was time to head down for fresh Hoosier racing rubber. He would restart outside the top-15, and charge through the field to finish second. The Westminster, Massachusetts, native was back on the podium at his home track.

Hirschman, who never shows his hand early, played the strategy of pitting with everyone else, after riding at the rear in typical Hirschman fashion early, saving his equipment for when it mattered most. Hirschman’s strategy took shape in the heat races. With every car in the pits guaranteed to start, the Northampton, Penn. veteran saved his tires, rolling off 18th in the 100-lap feature. While Sammy Rameau set a brisk pace out front, Hirschman rode in the back.

Rameau, the defending race winner, built an early advantage over Richard Savary and Chase Dowling, but his lead was erased on lap 37 when Joey Jarvis launched himself over Dylan Izzo’s nose in turn four. The night’s first caution put most teams’ pit strategy into play early, with Rameau and only three other leaders staying on the track. Dowling emerged from the pits in 12th, with Hirschman 13th.

Rameau and Kimball, a weekly NHSTRA Modified contender, looked none the worse for wear on the restart, with Robie and Jake Johnson holding steady in third and fourth. But when another yellow flew just shy of halfway, Rameau and Robie ducked into the pits, leaving Kimball on the point for the restart.

A quick caution for Derek Robbie gave way to another green-flag run, with Kimball putting distance between himself and a lead pack that now included Hirschman and Connecticut star Ronnie Williams. Chris Pasteryak’s lap-60 spin brought Hirschman and Williams back to Kimball, who had yet to pit for a tire.

Jake Johnson got into Richard Savary with only five laps remaining, setting the stage for a battle to the finish.

Taking advantage of the series’ new “cone rule” for restarts, Rameau vaulted into second on the restart, lining up alongside Hirschman for a shot at the win. Rameau indeed took his shot, delivering it to Hirschman’s rear bumper after the restart, but the Pennsylvanian kept Rameau at bay until a front stretch spin for Cory Plummer gave the field one last shot at victory.

This time, Robie gambled on the cone rule, bringing Dowling and Williams along on the high side to jumble the top five. Rameau would line up behind Hirschman with two laps to go. But Hirschman timed his restart perfectly, leaving Robie to battle Rameau as he drove to his first victory at “Mad Dog” since 2015.

Hirschman’s $10,000 prize, followed by Rameau’s $6,000 check, was only part of a purse that was over $40,000 for the event. Hirschman’s win was his 15th career in 36 series starts, now 10 races above anyone else in history. The race also included the debut of the Call 811 Before You Dig “Cone” rule, where drivers must select their restart lane when they approach the orange cone. The addition of the cone rule allowed competitors to gain positions if they were brave enough to try a different lane.

Following the top three were Kimble and Chase Dowling. Sixth thru tenth included Ronnie Williams, Todd Patnode, Chris Pasteryak, Kirk Alexander and Les Hinkley.

Following the event Hirschman didn’t let any grass grow as he did an all-nighter back to Pennsylvania to compete last Sunday at the Evergreen Speedway. That event rained out.

In Sunday racing at Monadnock, Todd Patnode was the NHSTRA Modified winner. Sam Rameau finished second.

In other Saturday Modified racing, twin 25 lap events were run at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Jonathan Brown went pole to pole to win the first event over Jason Myers, Randy Butner and Paul Hall. Burt Myers rounded out the top five. Randy Butner won the night cap. Eleven-time Modified champion Tim Brown scored ninth- and third-place finishes. Ten-time champion Burt Myers finished fourth and ninth.

The Winston Salem Journal reported that the Bowman Gray Stadium will get more improvements thanks to a Motorsports Grant Fund Award from the state of North Carolina. The state’s budget includes $46 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and according to the N.C. Department of Commerce, Bowman Gray Stadium will receive $530,020 for improvements.

According to the act, the funds are intended to enhance amenities and increase opportunities for events in recognition of the impact of these venues on the local tourism, travel, and hospitality industries.

Ben Rowe, the assistant city manager, said: “The grant will be used to address a number of needs, including HVAC upgrades to the tickets booths, lighting in the stadium stock pit, guardrail renovation, dedicated fiber optics, signage supports, permanent covers for the sponsor hospitality areas, permanent storage on the concourse, replacement of the flag stand, lighting and security improvements for Forest Park, and improvements to the east parking lot.”

These improvements come on top of the $9 million in limited-obligation bond money that funded upgrades over the last two years. The final phase of that project went to the repaving of the asphalt track. The other noticeable improvements were the complete upgrade of the bathrooms and concession areas on the concourse.

In NASCAR Cup racing at Dover, Delaware, Chase Elliott snatched the lead from Ross Chastain, last week’s watermelon-smashing winner at Talladega Superspeedway, and pulled away on the concrete. Chastain led 86 laps and Kyle Busch, who finished seventh, led a race-high 103. Ryan Preece finished 23rd.

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