Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1953, Freddy Luchesi was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ray Delisle was the 100 lap Mid-Summer Championship on Saturday night. Bud Matter and Lou Tetreault were the non-Ford winners. Rain prevailed at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1958 Ray Moran won his first and second of three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and Saturday. Dick Beauregard and Don Bachand were the non-Ford winners. Hop Harrington made it three in a row at Seekonk as he won twin 25 Stock Car events. Sunday action at Old Bridge was rained out.
Sixty years ago in 1963, Area Auto Racing News was promoting what was to be the first Trenton Modified 200 which bring the best Modified drivers from the north and south together for what would become a mid-August tradition.at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds 1 mile speedway. Among the weekly winners were Pete Corey on the dirt at Stafford, Hank Stevens at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Tom Green at Old Bridge, Mario “Fats” Caruso and Augie Moschera at Fort Dix (New Egypt) and Richie Massing at Wall Stadium. Seekonk fell victim to rain.
Fifty five years ago, in 1968, Bugsy Stevens added another win to his record at Stafford as he beat out Bobby Santos, Billy Harman, Smokey Boutwell and Tom Sutcliff. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway Phil Spiak took a surprise win. Don MacTavish finished second with Pete Corey; third, Dave Lape and Richie Evans rounded out the top five. In other Friday night action, Eddie Brunnhoelzl Sr. won at Riverhead. Norwood Arena had the Bay State 200 scheduled but the event fell victim to rain. Seekonk was also rained out. Ron Narducci beat out Jerry Cook and Andy Romano for a 100 lap win at Fonda. Newt Palm was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet was the Late Model Darevevil winner at the shoreline oval. Roger Treichler won a 30 lapper at Lancaster. At Thompson, on Sunday, Eddie Flemke took double wins and at Utica-Rome, Dave Kotary won a 50 lapper over Lou Lazzaro, Ed Pieniezek, Ron Narducci and Richie Evans.
Fifty years ago in 1973, Albany-Saratoga ran a 100 lapper. Bugsy Stevens took the win and was followed by Eddie Flemke and Denis Giroux. At Stafford on Saturday night it was Daring Dick Caso in the Billy Simons Excavator No.9 taking the win over Leo Cleary and Ronnie Bouchard. Bill Scrivener was the 30 lap Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Nels Wohlstrom was the 20 lap Grand American Late Model winner at the shoreline oval. Red Barbeau was the Late Model winner at Seekonk. At Utica-Rome on Sunday, Richie Evans took the win over Bugsy Stevens and Maynard Troyer.
Forty five years ago in 1978, Westboro ran the Yankee All Star League on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine continued his domination of the series as he won the 100-lap event. At New Egypt, Richie Evans beat out Wayne Anderson. Evans repeated the following night at Holland. Friday night at Stafford Eddie Flemke took the victory. Bobby Vee finished second with Geoff Bodine, third. Pete Fiandacca scored an upset win at Seekonk. Riverhead ran a 100 lap Race of Champions qualifier. Charlie Jarzombek took the win over Greg Sacks and Wayne Anderson. At Waterford, Jerry Pearl won a close one over Dick Dunn and Moose Hewitt. At Spencer Speedway, Maynard Troyer won his 34th feature of the year. Reggie Ruggerio cleaned house at Riverside while Geoff Bodine continued his winning ways at Seekonk. Other weekend winners were Charlie Jarzombek at Islip; Eddie Flemke at Thompson and Richie Evans beat out Geoff Bodine to win a 100 lapper at Monadnock.
Forty years ago in 1983, Monadnock ran a 100 lapper on Tuesday. Kenny Bouchard took the win over Marty Radwick and Ray Miller. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday. Brett Bodine took the win over Reggie Ruggerio and Bob Polverari. A regular 30 lapper was also run and Kenny Bouchard took the win. Jeff Fuller finished second. At Spencer, Richie Evans and Mike McLaughlin finished one-two. Saturday at Wall Stadium, an unknown by the name of Ray Everham beat out Tony Siscone for the win. At Waterford, it was Moose Hewitt over Bob Potter and at Islip, Bill Park took the victory. Don Howe won at Riverhead and Kenny Bouchard won at Riverside. Seekonk ran a 200 lapper on Sunday. Bugsy Stevens led all 200 laps to take the win. Brian Ross finished second with Mike McLaughlin, second. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Cale Yarborough took the win over Darrell Waltrip. Ronnie Bouchard qualified fourth and finished 12th.
Thirty five years ago in 1988, Ted Christopher was the Friday night winner at Stafford and Reggie Ruggerio go his seventh of the season at Monadnock. Harry Rice held off Larry Lanpher for the win at Waterford and Jerry Marquis won a 200 lapper at Riverside. Oxford Plains ran a 100 lapper, which saw Mike McLaughlin, take the win over Brian Ross. Other weekend winners were Ron Shepherd at Tioga, Bill Park at Riverhead and Tom Tagg at Thompson.
Thirty years ago in 1993, Mark Martin cleaned house at Michigan as he won both the Busch Grand National and Winston Cup events. Thompson ran a Wednesday special for SK’s with Richie Gallup taking the win over Eddie St Angelo. It rained at Stafford on Friday night. The Modified Tour was at Riverhead for a 201 lapper. Wayne Anderson took the lead from Jan Leaty on the last lap and took the win. Leaty finished second with Doug Hevron, third. It was a typical slam bang affair with 15 cautions for 73 laps. Ted Christopher beat out Ricky Young at Waterford and at Riverside, Brian Schofield scored his first career win.
Twenty five years ago, in 1998, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Speedway for a Friday night 150-lap event. Rick Fuller took the win but it was Mike Ewanitsko who stole the show, despite the fact that he finished second. Ewanitsko had taken the lead from Chris Kopec on lap 80 and had his car on cruise control when he suffered a flat left front tire. Fuller assumed the lead when Ewanitsko pitted during a timely caution on lap 93. Restarting in the rear, Ewanitsko charged to the front. At the 145-lap mark, Ewanitsko had moved into third spot and passed second place runner Mike Stefanik with one lap to go. Time ran out as Fuller took the win with Ewanitsko glued to his bumper. Stefanik hung on for third and was followed by Charlie Pasteryak and Dan Avery. Numerous spins caused the field to run under caution on 12 occasions for 52 laps; Bob Georgides won the companion 50 lapper for the SK-Modifieds. Todd Szegedy finished second with Bo Gunning, third. Todd Ceravolo passed Mike Gada with two laps to go to win the 35-lap feature at Waterford on Saturday night. Gada finished second with his brother Dennis third. Mark Lajunesse and Jerry Pearl rounded out the top five. Dan Avery and Bob Polverari won twin features at Riverside Park. Joe Hartmann beat out Chris Young and John Fortin at Riverhead. The Busch North Series visited the Star Speedway where Kelly Moore took the win over Brad Leighton and Tracy Gordon. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Jeff Gordon made it five in a row. Mark Martin finished second. The Saturday Busch Grandnational event went non-stop with Jeff Burton taking the win.
Twenty years ago in 2003, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for a 105-lap event. There were 42 cars on hand for time trials. John Blewett III took the pole. Bob Polverari was second fastest. Jimmie Kuhn drew the pole starting position and took the lead at the start. The first caution flew before the first lap was completed as Jim Broderick, Kevin Kanopka and Renee Dupuis tangled in turn four. The re-start came on lap six with Todd Szegedy taking the lead as the field entered turn one. Defending Champion Mike Stefanik was on the move. After starting ninth, Stefanik was fourth by lap 9, third by lap 1 and second by lap 34. The second caution occurred on lap 36 when Tom Bolles spun in turn four. It was then that most of the field pitted for fresh tires with the exception of Szegedy and Stefanik. The field went back to green and from then on went non-stop. Stefanik took the lead on the re-start and went on to record his 65th career win in Mod Tour competition. Szegedy finished second and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr., Chuck Hossfeld and Jerry Marquis. Eric Berndt took the win in the 30 lap Sunoco SK type modified event. Berndt took the lead on a lap 19 re-start when early leader Jeff Malave missed a shift on the re-start. Todd Ceravolo ended up second and was followed by Bert Marvin, Kerry Malone and Ted Christopher. A near capacity crowd was on hand. On Friday at Stafford, track owner Jack Arute spoke to competitors at the drivers meeting and told them he wasn’t happy with their performance as the SK Modified events had become rolling demolition derbies. Jeff Baral took the 50-lap win over Lloyd Agor and Frank Ruocco. Dennis Gada was the Saturday night winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. In victory lane he announced that 2003 would be his last in the SK Modifieds as he felt it was time to move on. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Jeff Karns, third. Mike Andrews took the win at Riverhead and Kevin Flockart shared victory lane with Mike Carpenter after they won the twin 35’s at Wall Township. The Busch North Series was at the Adirondack Speedway where Dale Quarterly took the win over Martin Truex and Andy Santerre. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Ryan Newman took the win over Kevin Harvick. During the post race cool down lap Jimmy Spencer spun Kurt Busch around on pit road. After exiting his car Spencer attacked Busch, punching him several times. NASCAR suspended Spencer for one event and fined him $25,000. Kevin Harvick won the rain shortened Busch Series event, also at Michigan. It was also on this weekend that Sunoco and NASCAR announced a 10-year agreement and on a sad note, Steve Danish, a former DIRT star at Fonda, had passed away.
Fifteen years ago in 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season reached its midway point when the New England Dodge Dealers 150 was run at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Jimmy Blewett, who was running third on the final lap got a gift from NASCAR when apparent winner Ryan Preece was stripped of the victory and placed last on the lead lap. Preece passed Todd Szegedy for the lead on a lap 86 restart and led until a lap 149 restart when Szegedy went by him on the green flag before the last lap confrontation. Szegedy admitted that he roughed up the leader in order to make the pass. Shortly after taking the lead Preece gave Szegedy a slight tap as they entered turn one which caused Szegedy to spin in turn two. Evidently NASCAR director Chad Little felt that Preece needed to be penalized as he made the call that stripped him of the win. Ed Flemke ended up in second spot and was followed by Doug Coby who has, along with Woody Pitkat, replaced James Civali in the Don King No. 28, Matt Hirschman, Eric Beers, Kevin Goodale, Mike Stefanik, Danny Sammons, Carl Pasteryak and Charlie Pasteryak. Chuck Hossfeld finished 15th and holds an 86 point lead over Ted Christopher.
There were eight caution laps for 46 laps and seven lead changes among five drivers. Among those who failed to qualify were Tom Abele, Jr., Jake Marosz, Reggie Ruggiero, Renee Dupuis, Gary McDonald and Frank Ruocco, who attempted qualifying after crashing in practice.
Doug Coby held off Blewett over the closing laps to win the 40-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature. Corey Hutchings started on the pole and led every lap on the way to victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature. It was the first victory of the season for Hutchings. Ryan Posocco passed Woody Pitkat for second place. During the running of the event Steven Reed hung a job on Keith Rocco. No action was taken by the track.
In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, it was Coby taking down his first feature win of the 2008 season with a dominating drive. Zach Sylvester took the early race lead and he lead the first 8 laps before Coby took over the lead on lap-9. Jimmy Blewett followed Coby past Sylvester and moved into second place. The race was slowed by caution with 17 laps complete with Coby still out front. The final 23 laps of the race ran green to checkered with Coby dominating the action. Blewett and Chris Jones put on a spirited battle for second in the closing laps, which allowed Coby to pull away. Blewett came home second behind Coby, with Jones, Frank Ruocco, and Wade Mattesen rounding out the top-5.
Thursday night Thunder Racing at Thompson was cancelled due to rain.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, Tyler Chadwick held off Ron Yuhus Jr. over the final 14 laps to claim the 35-lap SK-Modified feature Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl. It was the second win in three weeks for Chadwick. The win earned Chadwick a spot in SK-Modified segment of the North-South Shootout in October. Jason Palmer won the 50-lap National Qualifier Legends event. Tony Macrino won the 35-lap Late Model feature. Ronnie Oldham Jr. won both h Sportsman 20 lap features. Louie Bellisle ruled the Mini Stock 20 lapper.
In True Value Modified Series racing, Les Hinckley chased race leader Jonathan McKennedy for 94 laps on Saturday night before making an outside pass to go and win the “Wiscasset Ford 100” at the Wiscasset Raceway in Wiscasset, ME. For Hinckley , it was his second win of the 2008 season and his 11th career win with the True Value Modified Racing Series. The race, originally scheduled in June but postponed by rain, was run following a two hour rain delay because of downpours. Drivers and race crews then dealt with late night dampness and fog, which created a different race surface than what drivers practiced on mid-afternoon. McKennedy and Hinckley started one-two in an 18 car line-up and were quick to pull away from the field with Ed Dachenhausen, Tony Ricci, and Jimmy Dolan in pursuit. The race was caution free until lap 42 when Dolan came to a stop after a minor spin. It was later learned that a mechanical issue would force the Bethel , CT. , veteran out of the event.The race resumed following a caution flagged re-start, with McKennedy again enjoying a comfortable margin. McKennedy won the Black Mountain Painting half-way leader award but Hinckley continued to stay within striking distance. Completing the top ten at the half century mark were Peter Jarvis, Ricci, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdridge, Vinnie Annarummo, Dachenhausen, Rob Goodenough, and Dale Evonsion. Late in the race Jarvis was closing on Hinckley and Hinckley appeared to be biding his time with McKennedy. On lap 94, as the cars exited the second turn, with Hinckley and McKennedy side by side, the 06 powered by the race leader while flagman John Spence Jr. displayed five laps to go when they came to the line. McKennedy was all over the new leader at one point trying to make a pass but was unable too and had to settle for second. Dwight Jarvis finished third followed by Chris Pasteryak, Mike Ricci, Mike Holdridge, Vinnie Annarummo, Bob Goodenough, Jack Bateman and Ed Dachenhausen,
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Kyle Busch led 52 laps from the pole and won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International to become the first driver in NASCAR’s history to win three road course races in one season. After a 43-minute red-flag stoppage due to a multicar pileup with eight laps to go, Busch held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Stewart, who was bidding for his fifth win here in seven starts. Stewart settled for his second straight runner-up finish trails Jeff Gordon by 10 points for sixth in the standings.Marcos Ambrose of Tasmania, who started last in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, finished an amazing third a day after winning the Nationwide race. Ambrose was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr.
On a sad note, New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member Johnny Kay, an outstanding Midget driver for over 25 years, died on Aug. 11. He was 85. A win in the 1954 “Night Before the 500″ at Indianapolis’ 16th Street was the crowning event for Kay who posted victories under a number of banners including ARDC, AAA, USAC and NEMA from the post War 1940s through the 1960s.
Ten years ago in 2013, Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway finally broke the three week string of rain-outs. Bobby Santos held off Donny Lia to take the checkered flag in the Whelen Modified Tour Series Budweiser 150. Other winners at Thompson on Thursday night were Woody Pitkat who led the NASCAR Whelen All American Series action with a come-from-behind win in the Sunoco Modified division. Glenn Boss, Cam McDermott, Joe Baxter, and Bill McNeil also won their division feature events
In the Modified Tour event, Santos took the lead on the start of the Bud 150 and commanded the field until caution slowed the pace at lap 25 for a backstretch accident involving Bryon Chew and Rick Fuller. Santos continued his dominance on the restart and led by half-a-straightaway until caution came out again at lap 109. The entire field came down pit road during the caution period. Santos stalled his machine when trying to exit his pit stall allowing Todd Szegedy to beat him out and take over the lead. Santos was relegated to sixth for the restart. Szegedy’s time out front didn’t last as he went high in turn two and brushed the wall on the restart paving the way for Justin Bonsignore to lead the field. On the restart, Santos rocketed right back to the lead before caution slowed the pace again. Bonsignore got the lead back for the restart and held off Santos until lap 134 when Santos got by in the middle of turn three and four. A caution set up a lap 141 restart with Santos leading the field into turn one. Donny Lia and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top-three. Caution flew at lap 148 and set up a green-white-checker finish, but a front stretch accident quickly saw a halt to the race. Pennink got hit from behind and flipped front to back until he was back on his tires. The driver was able to walk away from the accident. The race resumed at lap 157 with Santos in the lead, and despite Donny Lia’s challenges, Santos went on to win his second of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.
Eric Goodale finished third, followed by Doug Coby and Woody Pitkat. Current point leader Ryan Preece got stung again as he spun on the final lap and ended up 13th. Preece was running 6th. Ron Silk, Jimmy Blewett, Jamie Tomaino, Todd Szegedy and Ron Yuhas Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Rowan Pennink was also denied a top finish when he was hit from behind while running third on lap 152, causing him to roll end over end. Pennink ended up 18th.
In Sunoco Modified action, an early-race accident didn’t derail Woody Pitkat from victory. Pitkat came from the rear of the field after a lap one accident to inherit the lead at lap 24. Pitkat held off Dennis Perry on a late-race restart en route to the checkered flag and the point lead. On the start, Paul Newcomb headed into turn one as the leader, but a tangle between Pitkat and John Catania brought the race under caution before the first lap was complete. Dennis Perry hung with Newcomb on the restart and grabbed the lead coming out of turn two. Ryan Preece made his presence known by taking over the second position using the bottom groove. Preece then drove underneath Perry on lap three and battled side-by-side with him for a full circuit before settling in out front coming out of turn two.
A caution at lap six tightened the field up, but it was not stopping Preece, who jumped right back out front. Todd Ceravolo maneuvered his machine into second followed by the hard-charging Keith Rocco, who was filling Ceravolo’s rear-view mirror. On lap 10, Ceravolo got high in turn two enabling Rocco to move into second and set his sights on Preece, who was leading by a comfortable ten car length advantage.
Further back in the field, Pitkat was proving to be a factor as he maneuvered around Ceravolo for the fourth spot. Up front, Rocco had reeled in Preece by lap 16 and was attached to his rear bumper as he looked for a way around. Preece, however, was not shaken by the pressure and continued to hold him off.
The race took a dramatic turn of events on lap 24 when the leaders came around turn one only to have a lapped car in the middle of the track. Preece didn’t have enough time to react and he had nowhere to go but into the wall. Rocco was collected as well and the duo both had significant damage.
Pitkat inherited the lead for the restart with Perry on the outside groove. Pitkat held off his challenges and drove to the front heading into turn two. Kerry Malone settled in third. Rocco, involved in the accident, was up to eighth and on the move. Meanwhile, Pitkat put some distance over the rest of the field, and despite the battles behind him, drove on to the checkered flag.
Nick Boivin ended up fourth with Matt Gallo, rounding out the top five. Keith Rocco, Todd Ceravolo, Jay Sundeen, Rick Shawnand John Catania comprised the remaining top ten.
A big change in the landscape of the Thompson Speedway was taking place as contractors were literally moving mountains as they reconfigured the speedway property for the new road course which was is expected to be up and running by 2014. Jonathan Hoenig attended the NWMT driver’s meeting and made a statement. He stated that despite rumors Thompson is committed to being an oval track. The Hoenig family would still like to have three 2014 NWMT races. The construction started at the track early so that hopefully the facility will be ready for IceBreaker 2014 weekend which had been originally scrubbed. In a somewhat cautioned statement Hoenig alluded that the track expects to run a limited oval track racing schedule in 2014.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece scored his division leading 7th win of the 2013 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray extended his streak of consecutive podium finishes to 12 with his fifth win of the season in the Double Distance 60-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling took down his fifth win in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, David Arute claimed his third win in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande scored his second win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Preece made a move by Rowan Pennink to take over second place on lap-15 and he pulled alongside Woody Pitkat for the lead on lap-16. Pitkat was hanging tough in the outside groove and he wasn’t about to give up the lead easily but Preece took the lead on lap-17. Eric Berndt was able to get around Danny Cates and move into the fourth position before the caution came out with 19 laps complete as Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun and collected the car of Ted Christopher.
Preece took the lead on the restart with Pitkat right behind him. Pennink and Berndt were side by side for third with Owen and Cates right behind the side-by-side duo. Pennink cleared Berndt on lap-21 and the top-6 cars were now single file with Preece beginning to stretch out his lead over Pitkat. Membrino and Dave Salzarulo spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 26 laps complete.
Pitkat hung with Preece for a lap before settling back into line behind him in second. Berndt was third, with Pennink and Owen making up the top-5. Right behind Owen was Cates, Cipriano, Foster, Curt Brainard, and Matt Galko. The top-5 shuffled on lap-31 as Pennink got out of shape and fell back several spots to eighth, moving Owen into fourth and Cates into fifth as Preece, Pitkat, and Berndt continued to run in the top-3 spots. Preece slowly pulled away from Pennink and he cruised to his seventh win of the 2013 season. Pitkat finished second, with Berndt, Owen, and Cates rounding out the top-5.
Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco make it two in a row, seven for the year, in a photo finish over Tyler Chadwick in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Chadwick, who led from the start, took advantage of a solid restart following a lap 32 caution to hold the top spot. He held off Rocco through lap 33, but as they came off the fourth corner prior to the start of the final lap, Rocco tucked in behind Chadwick and gave a bump to his rear bumper as the cars entered turn one. That allowed Rocco to dive under Chadwick who drifted up the track just enough to leave the opening. The two ran side-by-side to the checkered flag and photo finish.
Rocco’s win was his 51st career win in a SK Modified at the shoreline oval. Rocco had a busy night as he also finished second in the Late Model race and third in the truck feature.
In other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races Saturday night, Jason Palmer won his first Late Model race of the season, Corey Hutchings won the Street Stock feature and took over the division point lead, Ian Brew won in the Mini Stock division, Giovanni Giarratana won the Legend Cars race and Duane Noll too checkered in the New England Truck Series.
Rounding out the top five in the SK Modified feature was Craig Lutz, Rob Janovic and Frank Mucciacciaro Jr.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night, 32 cars strong, for a 100 lapper. Home track favorite Todd Annarummo took the win over Steve Masse, Richard Savary, Tommy Barrett and Louie Mechalides. Annarummo started fourth and took the lead on lap 32.
Max Zachem, Rowan Pennink, Todd Patnode, Chris Pasteryak, and Norm Wrenn, finished sixth through tenth.
Despite eight caution flags, the race was completed in 51 minutes with 15 of the original 24 starters finishing on the lead lap. For the second consecutive race, 32 race teams entered the event.
Tires used by series points leader Tommy Barrett Jr. along with tires from Steve Masse and Richard Savary were confiscated on suspicion of treatment by detection from the measuring meter used.
Barrett, was declared disqualified on Monday by the Valenti Modified Racing Series from aturday’s event at Seekonk Speedway for using illegally tampered tires during the event. Also disqualified from the event for the same tire issue were Steve Masse and Richard Savary.
All three drivers were removed from the Seekonk results and none were credited any points or purse for the race. Lou Mechalides was moved to second place in the Seekonk results and Max Zachem
Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC rain made it two in a row at the historic speedway. The final race date of the season is scheduled next Saturday night. In the event of another rainout, the season finale will be moved to Aug. 31, the lone rain date available. Bowman Gray hosts football games during the fall months.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Dave Brigati and Ron Silk scored 30 lap Modified victories.
Bill Park was inducted onto the Wall of Fame at Riverhead Raceway. Bill won 32 features as a driver at Riverhead along with four NASCAR Modified track championships. Wayne Anderson and late Joe Biondolillo Jr were also inducted onto the Wall of Fame at Riverhead. Wayne won 32 features as a driver to go along with his five NASCAR Modified track championships. Biondolillo was a six time Riverhead Raceway champion with 53 career wins in 13 seasons.
Nearly 18 years of motorsports tradition ended on Saturday morning, Aug 17, when at 6:00 Eastern Time Fox pulled the plug on SPEED in the United States and started its new ESPN competitor, Fox Sports 1.
After a sad eulegy from Mike Joy tracing the history of what started in 1995 as Speedvision, Curt Menefee appeared to welcome viewers to Fox Sports 1 before the network’s first program, an on-tape college football preview, was aired. While much of the SPEED programming will appear on either Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2 (which had no real introduction or transition other than a Fuel TV bug turning into a Fox Sports 2 one) it’s still a very sad day for racing fans.
AJ Allmendinger was the winner at the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Joey Logano was the Sprint Cup Series winner at Michigan.
Five years ago in 2018, In what started out as a quiet week in racing circles in New England ended up in a fire storm. Internet racing news site Racedayct broke the news that former New London-Waterford Speedbowl owner Terry Eames had been hired in general manager type of position at the Thompson Motorsports Park, which would include overseeing events on the Thompson Speedway oval, though his exact role is still to be defined.
Track ownership is currently mounting a restructuring of management at the facility that includes bringing on Eames and also partnering with the venue management group Comcast Spectra. The track’s deal with Comcast Spectra management is expected to begin on January 1, 2019.
Track owner Jon Hoenig said he could not comment at this point about any staff changes happening at the facility. Eames also said he could not comment on the situation at this point.
Eames is expected to be in his new role at the facility before the next NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event at the track, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.
RacedayCt sources have also confirmed that current Thompson Speedway general manager Josh Vanada will leave his position with the track within the next month, though he will remain involved with organization of the final two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events in 2018.
Jon Hoenig who says he is the owner of the Thompson Motorsports Park evidently didn’t look into Eames’ past very closely. As the former owner of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Eames ran the track into the ground by not paying his bills and not paying his competitors. Eames will replace Josh Venada. It will also be interesting to see how concession operator Steve Rubin fits into the equation.
Donald Hoenig took over track operation from his father in 1964. He has operated the facility successfully for years until his retirement a few years ago. Jon Hoenig is Don’s grandson
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Bristol Motor Speedway last Thursday. The Bush’s Beans 150 was the 11th race in the fight for the championship and it marked the third race in the month of August for teams. Justin Bonsignore scored his ninth career pole, fourth of the season and third at Bristol in qualifying for the Bush’s Beans 150. Bonsignore’s lap of 14.876 seconds (128.986 mph) around the 0.533-mile oval put him on the pole. Patrick Emerling, who posted the fastest lap in practice earlier, qualified second with a lap of 14.942 seconds (128.417 mph). Timmy Solomito placed his No. 16 Starrett Tools Racing Ford third in qualifying with a time of 15.027 seconds. A slim field of 21 cars attempted to qualify. As usual, Melissa Fifield was dead last with a speed of 105.9 mph which was 22.196mph off the pole speed.
Bonsignore started from the pole after posting the fastest time in qualifying but lost the lead on lap one to Patrick Emerling. From there, Bonsignore’s difficult climb back to the front of the field came to a close just after the mandatory halfway, break where teams changed their Hoosier tires.
He re-took the lead on lap 90 from Timmy Solomito, and never relinquished the top spot, cutting through lapped traffic while Chase Dowling tried everything to make a move to the lead in search of his first tour win. Dowling chased Bonsignore across the line and finished second. Rob Summers finished third, while Patrick Emerling, who led 52 laps, finished fourth. Five-time and defending series champion Doug Coby faded in the final circuits and rounded out the top five.
Sixth through tenth included Ronnie Williams who was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Rowan Pennink, Burt Myers and Eric Goodale.
Seventeen of the original 21 starters were running at the finish. Among those who failed to finish were Woody Pitkat who had electrical problems and Ken Heagy who lost an engine. Melissa Fifield’s latest excuse was power steering problems as she went fifteen laps before parking it. Maybe she needs to fire her crew chief who appears to be doing a sub-par job of maintaining her car which has not been competitive
The next stop on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is at the Oswego Speedway in New York on Saturday, September 1. The Bush’s Beans 150 is scheduled to air on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 22, at 6:00 p.m.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday officials postponed the Call Before You Dig event because of impending rain.
On the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, track management took on Mother Nature but, in the end, the state of Connecticut won as they shut down the racing at midnight because of curfew. At one time the track was all but under water because of heavy rain but after a gallant effort by the track crew most of the night’s program went on.
Keith Rocco, the all time winner at the speedbowl went pole to pole in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 lapper. When qualifying heat races were canceled because of potential bad weather, the practice times were used to establish the starting lineup. That meant Rocco started the race on the pole. The win also took Rocco to a career overall total of 259 wins which include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 60 at Thompson and 49 at Stafford Speedway. Dylan Izzo, making his first Valenti series start, finished second. He was close enough to the leader to make an occasional inside move against Rocco. He could not get past him, however. Long Island N.Y.. driver Dave Schneider finished third, followed by Mike Holdridge, who was inside the Top 5 for the second half of the race, and Ken Barry, who got as high in the standings as second before falling back late in the race.
Three other races were able to be completed Saturday after a four-hour rain delay. Rob Janovic thundered past Matt Gallo with 16 laps remaining en route to his second SK Modified win of the season. Jordan Haley came from behind to win the 25-lap Mini Stock race and a $200 bounty. Aaron Plemons led every laps in the Super X-Car event.
Features for the Late Models, SK Lite Modifieds, Mini Stocks and CT Pro 4 Modifieds were unable to be run because of Saturday’s lengthy rain delay and will be rescheduled.
In the SK Modifieds, Matt Gallo was second and Diego Monahan, in his first start of the year, was third. Shawn Monihan was fourth.
An altercation with 16 to go between Todd Owen and Kyle James eventually forced both drivers to the sidelines. Owen finished ninth and James was disqualified.
That incident lifted Janovic into the point lead by 10 over Owen and 16 over James. It was Janovic’s 33rd career win, lifting him into a tie with Don Bunnell for 31st place on the all-time Speedbowl list.
A special 100 lap open competition event paying $5,000 to win was held at the Claremont Speedway in northern New Hampshire on Saturday night. A restart with 19 laps to go gave Ron Silk a long-awaited chance to challenge Les Hinckley for the lead, which he did. Silk snagged the lead while Hinckley battled a tight racecar on the first laps of the restart. Hinckley’s car did come back in the final laps, as he hounded Silk with some bumper taps over the final three laps. But Silk was stout enough to hold on and claim the $5,000 check in his fourth win overall in 2018.
Of the 17 original starters only ten finished on the lead lap. Les Hinkley finished second with Todd Patnoad, third. Chase Dowling and Russ Hersey rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tommy Barrett, Dana Smith, Brian Robie, Jeff Murray and Kirk Alexander.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Jonathan Brown won the 150-lap race and finished second in the points behind Burt Myers, who finished sixth in the race and won his third straight series championship. It is the ninth time in Myers’ career he has won the Modified Division title. Coming into the final weekend of the year, Myers needed only finish inside the top nine if Brown won the race to first in the points race.
Racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island was rained out for the eighth time. Next up is their Wednesday Night NASCAR special this Wednesday August 22nd.
In NASCAR Monster Cup racing, Kurt Busch stole the spotlight from his younger brother Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway to snap a 58-race winless streak and grab an overdue short track victory. Kyle Larson had to go 10 extra laps on Friday night, but the payoff was worth it.
Holding off a determined Justin Allgaier in overtime, Larson won the Food City 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, collecting his first victory at the .533-mile high-banked concrete short track.
On a sad note, Ed Clark, New England Antique Racers founder passed away at the age of 78 on Aug 11. He followed his father George Clark’s footsteps by serving as a NASCAR technical inspector and official from 1960 to 1982. Mr. Clark was also a Navy veteran who served onboard the USS Tarawa CV-40 from 1956 to 1958.
Last year, 2022, Stafford Speedway returned to racing action with a Weekly Series program on Friday, August 12th. Keith Rocco took down his second win of the 2022 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his second consecutive and third overall win of the season in the Late Model feature, George Bessette, Jr. notched his third win of 2022 in the SK Light feature, Kevin Cormier became a first time Stafford winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Bobby Stirk, III racked up his fourth win of 2022 in the Street Stock feature.
Prior to his SK Modified win Keith Rocco lost the distinction of being third over all on the track win list when Tom Fearn, with his win, tied with Rocco. Evidently that motivated him as he dominated after taking the lead from Tyler Hines with a pass coming out of turn 2 on lap-11. Rocco led Hines to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2022 season. Troy Talman finished third with Todd Owen and Michael Gervais rounding out the top-5.
The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 301 wins which also include 154 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 70 at Thompson and 77 at the Stafford Speedway. The late Ted Christopher leads the track’s all-time win list with 131 victories. Woody Pitkat is second with 80 wins.
Bryan Narducci who looked extremely strong in his qualifying heat, started 6th but while on the initial pace lap the car in front of him checked up & made contact with Bryan’s right front & caused the spindle to break therefore ended his night. Narducci took the green but parked it shortly after.
The Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire hosted the Racers Honoring Racers 100. The event drew 22 cars. Matt Hirschman took the lead on lap 92 and went on to score the win over Ron Silk, Max Zachem, Sam Rameau, Joey Jarvis and Todd Patnoad. For his efforts Hirschman received $15,000.
Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Eric Berndt recorded his fifth win of the season in the SK Modified division on Saturday night. Andrew Molleur finished second and Anthony Flannery was third.
In other action, Jason Palmer took his fourth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jordan Hadley finished second and Ray Christian III was third. Aaron Plemons was the 25-lap Street Stock feature winner and Andrew Pellegrini won the 25-lap Truck feature.
Across the big pond at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, one of the biggest human interest stories of 2022 played out. In 2016 Jason Agugliaro’s life hit rock bottom as he succumbed to the evils of alcohol consumption and stepped away from racing. He made up his mind to beat it and beat it he did. He celebrated two years of sobriety, winning the NASCAR Modified 50 lap feature last Saturday at the eastern Long Island oval
Entering the 2022 NASCAR Modified race season at Riverhead Raceway, Agugliaro of Islip was working to put together his own race car but knew he’d get a very late start to his season. Enter car owner Joe Ambrose who had a seat available in his potent machine and Saturday night the new pairing found victory lane winning the 50-lap feature event.
Chris Turbush and Jason Agugliaro made up the front row of the 17-car grid with Agugliaro leading the first two laps while Turbush rode the outside trying to build momentum for a pass. On lap 3 exiting the fourth cornet Turbush, who had endured a tough stretch of racing luck found that momentum and the race lead getting by Agugliaro. A minor incident on lap 9 drew a yellow flag and set up a double file restart. When the field was being called to order Turbush chose the outside groove for the restart feeling that’s where he got the lead and that would be where he’d keep it. As the field hit the go zone Turbush didn’t fire off well and Agugliaro on the inside reclaimed his earlier advantage.
From there on it was Agugliaro all the way with Turbush on his tail to the finish. Michael Rutkoski drove from a 8th starting berth to come home third. Dylan Slepian and John Beatty Jr. rounded out the top five.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Burt Myers scored the victory in the night’s first of two 50-lap Modified Division races. The win in a feature race was the 88th of his Bowman Gray Stadium career, No. 2 all-time behind Tim Brown. (94). Jonathan Brown earned the victory in the night’s second 50-lap Modified race, with Jason Myers second and Tim Brown third.
In NASCAR cup racing a week after winning a 400-miler in Michigan, the 2014 Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick repeated in a 400-lap, 300-miler at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. He led twice for 55 laps in winning the Federated Auto Parts 400 over Christopher Bell, Chris Boucher, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Joey Logan, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney.
Get well wishes to Ben Dodge Jr who was operated on last week for a cancer connected illness.
The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!
With the cooperation of the Arute family another book has been published with pictures and biographies of the 50 Greatest Drivers at Stafford.
The Stafford Motor Speedway had become the epicenter of NASCAR Modified racing in the northeast by the late 1980’s. From its dirt beginnings to its lightning-fast asphalt, Stafford had become the toughest and most gratifying track to score a victory. The Arute family which has owned and guided the destiny of the facility commissioned their thousands of loyal fans to name their favorite drivers. In alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone:
Tom Baldwin, Gene Bergin, Brett Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Ken Bouchard, Ron Bouchard, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Ted Christopher, Leo Cleary, Tim Connolly, Jerry Cook, Corky Cookman, Pete Corey, Fred DeSarro, Richie Evans, Mike Ewanitsko, Ed Flemke, Sr., Jeff Fuller, Rick Fuller, Ernie Gahan, Bill Greco, Bo Gunning, Ray Hendrick, George “Moose” Hewitt, Tony Hirschman, George Janoski, Charlie Jarzombek, George Kent, Buddy Krebs, Randy LaJoie, Jan Leaty, Jerry Marquis, Mike McLaughlin, Ray Miller, Steve Park, Bob Polverari, Bob Potter, Brian Ross, John “Reggie” Ruggiero, Greg Sacks, Ollie Silva, “Wild” Bill Slater, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Stefanik, Carl “Bugsy” Stevens, George Summers, Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino, Maynard Troyer and Satch Worley.
Books are priced at $17.95 each and be purchased at the track at the Novelty Booth or at the Stafford Motor Speedway on line store. Books are also available at Amazon.com and at Coastal181 (877-907-8181).