Looking Back A Bit With Phil Smith – First Week Of June

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Sixty five years ago in 1953, Rhode Island invader Freddie Luchesi scored a one-two punch at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Bob Tyson and Bob Cahoon who both began their racing at the closed Kingston Fairgrounds in RI were the non-Ford winners.

Sixty years ago in 1958, Ray Moran was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster made it three in a row in non-Ford action at the Connecticut shoreline oval.

Fifty five years ago in 1963 Rene Charland made it three in a row as he won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Bill Wimble finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Bob Zeigler and Ken Meahl rounded out the top five. Ernie Gahan made it two in a row on the dirt at Stafford. Hank Stevens scored a popular win at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Daring Dick Caso was the Bomber winner.

Fifty years ago, in 1968, on the Memorial Day weekend the Albany-Saratoga Speedway presented a 100-lap event. Jerry Cook rose to the occasion and took the win over Hop Harrington. At Stafford, Bugsy Stevens in the mighty No.3 of Len Boehler took the win over Fred DeSarro, Eddie Flemke, Fred Harbach and Tommy Borget. At Norwood, on Saturday night, Mr. Leo Cleary in the Joe Brady No.41 took the win. On the dirt at Fonda, Lou Lazzaro was unbeatable as he beat out Jerry Cook and Eddie Pieniezak for the win. Rain washed out activities at Thompson and at Waterford. At Utica-Rome, Lou Lazzaro, in the same car he ran on dirt the night before changed tires and springs and went out and won on the pavement. Paul Hamel finished second with Jerry Cook, Dick Clark and Richie Evans rounding out the top five. Chuck Boos was the 30 lap Modified winner at Lancaster on Saturday night and Roger Treichler took a 100 lapper there on Sunday.

Forty five years ago on Memorial Day weekend in 1973,Albany-Saratoga started the weekend with a special 99 lap event which saw Richie Evans take the win over Eddie Pieniezak, Fred DeSarro, Sonny Seamon and Bugsy Stevens. At Stafford Speedway on Saturday, Mr. Leo Cleary was at his best as he took a hard fought win over Bobby Santos, Eddie Flemke, Freddie Schulz and DeSarro. Down the road at Waterford Gentleman Dick Watson was the 40 lap Modified winner. Big Mike Daigneault was the Grand American Late Model winner. At Islip, Jim Hendrickson won out over Junior Ambrose and Wayne Anderson. Lee Raceway ran a 100 lapper on Sunday. Freddie Schulz took the win over Jerry Cook, Jim Landry, Ed Yerrington and Santos. Stafford had a 100 lapper scheduled for Monday but rain washed it out.

Forty Years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it four in a row at Stafford. Leo Cleary finished second and was followed by Mike McLaughlin, Bob Polverari and Ed Flemke. Saturday racing at Seekonk, Waterford and Riverside, rained out. On Sunday at Thompson, Fred DeSarro in Len Boehlers’ Ole Blu won out over Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke. Geoff Bodine was disqualified for rough riding. In upstate N.Y., Maynard Troyer won three for the weekend as he took two at Fulton and one at Spencer. Wayne Anderson won what was to be the last NASCAR sanctioned event at Chemung as NASCAR pulled the sanction shortly after the event. At New Egypt, Geoff Bodine was again in victory lane.

Thirty five years ago in 1983, rain washed out holiday events at Stafford and Waterford. Star Speedway ran the Modifieds on Saturday night. Jeff Fuller took the win over Mike Murphy and George Murray. Stafford got to run their rained out modified 100 lapper on Sunday. Reggie Ruggiero took the win with Charlie Jarzombek, Corky Cookman and John Blewett jr. following. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and Oswego, Don Owe at Islip, Stan Gregger won two at Riverside, Doug Hewitt at Holland and Tom Baldwin at New Egypt.

Thirty years ago in 1988, Ted Christopher went two for two as he won at Stafford on Friday and at Waterford on Saturday. Tom Tagg finished second at Stafford and Don Bundle finished second at Waterford. Mike Stefanik took a hard fought win at Riverside over Reggie Ruggerio and at Riverhead, Tom Baldwin beat out Chris Young. Tony Hirschman made it five in a row at Tioga and Brian Ross won the modified portion of Port City 150 at Oswego.

Twenty five years ago in 1993, Reggie Ruggerio was in top form as he won the modified tour event at Stafford. Tom Baldwin finished second and was followed by Ed Flemke jr. Tom Tagg was the SK modified winner. Twin features were run at Waterford. Chris Jones went pole to pole to win the first one and Ted Christopher won the nightcap. Wayne Anderson got his 21st career win at Riverhead over Don Howe and on Sunday at Oswego, Jeff Fuller won the Port City 150 over Rick Fuller, Doug Hevron and Jan Leaty. At Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt made up two laps to win the World 600. Michael Waltrip won the Grandnational 300. In Busch Grandnational North action at Holland, Brian Ross scored his first division win after Kelly Moore dumped Robbie Crouch with three laps to go and was put to the rear for rough riding.

Twenty years ago in 1998, it rained at Stafford. Dennis Gada was the big winner at Waterford as he won the modified main event over Jeff Pearl and Eric Berndt. Chris Wenzel won at Riverside and John Fortin scored at Riverhead. The Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen. Tim Connolly started on the outside pole and passed pole sitter Mike Stefanik on the last lap to take the win. Stefanik had led the first thirty-seven of the thirty eight-lap contest. Stefanik finished second with Chris Kopec, third.

Fifteen years ago in 2003, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series beat the foul weather that all but wiped out all racing on the East Coast a week ago. After getting rained out at Stafford on May 23 the series returned the following Friday night. The event drew 42 Modifieds for 31 starting spots. John Blewett III, who failed to qualify for this race last year, was the top time trialer. Because of a wreckfest during the SK-Modified feature the 150 lap Tour series event got a late start as they took the green flag shortly after 10:00 p.m. Long Islander Donnie Lia jumped out from his outside pole starting position to take the lead at the start. Lia, a rookie on the tour, cut his racing teeth at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Lia led the first seven laps before Blewett took command. Blewett led until lap 39 when he gave way to Todd Szegedy. Szegedy and Blewett would slug it out until Blewett’s tires would give up near the 90-lap mark of the 150-lap event.

Former series champion Jerry Marquis started in tenth spot and after pitting for tires on lap 35, slowly worked his way to the front and as Blewett backed off, moved into second spot. Szegedy held off Marquis until the final lap when he got hung up behind cars about to be lapped which allowed Marquis to make his move and take the lead and victory in the event’s final seconds. Szegedy ended up second with Ed Flemke Jr., third. Flemke, who had a string of bad luck that started in Florida in February, rebounded and was back in contention as a potential winner. Ted Christopher, who won the Spring Sizzler at Stafford a few weeks earlier, finished fourth. Donnie Lia finished fifth. Seven cars were on the lead lap at the finish. Szegedy was extremely upset with Tom Bolles who did not heed the move-over flag that was displayed by the starter and felt that the Ellington, Ct. resident cost him the race. Bolles and Jamie Tomaino were the only other drivers to finish on the lead lap. Rounding out the top ten were Chuck Hossfeld, Mike Stefanik and John Blewett III. There were six caution periods for 33 laps. John Lobo Jr. won the SK Modified 50 lapper over Jim Civali and Jim Larsen. One of the many wrecks collected 14 cars. For the second week in a row rain-washed out racing at the Waterford Speedbowl. Seekonk Speedway, in Massachusetts, which was to have hosted the Busch North Series of NASCAR, was also rained out.

In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Ryan Newman took the pole plus the win. Jeff Gordon finished second. Newman drove the final 180 miles without power steering. Bobby Labonte finished third.

Ten years ago in 2008, The Thompson Speedway hoped to begin their series of Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) racing programs on Thursday night. Mother Nature moved in and forced the cancellation of the Speedway’s opening Thursday night race program. A consistent rain and drizzle forced the hand of the track’s management to cancel the event shortly before 12 Noon. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series and the True Value Modified Series have ended their “Spring Break”. The Whelen Modifieds made their second stop of the season at Stafford and the True Value Modifieds traveled to the Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT.

In action at the Stafford Motor Speedway, the Whelen Modified Tour Series almost got scrubbed as heavy showers caused a nearly 2-1/2 hour delay. The event, scheduled to go off at 9:00pm actually got the green at 11:30. Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino, ended a personal four year dry spell as he took the win in the TSI Harley-Davidson 150 at Stafford. Hossfeld, who was also the Coors Light Pole sitter, started on the pole of the event and led 39 of the first 40 laps of the event before giving way to Bob Grigas III. Grigas and a host of the race front runners pitted on lap 92 under caution which allowed Matt Hirschman to assume the lead. Hossfeld beat Hirschman back to the starting line when the event went back to green on lap 107 and never looked back. Todd Szegedy finished second and was followed by Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik and Jimmy Blewett. Eric Beers, Ed Flemke Jr., Ryan Preece, James Civali and rookie Erick Rudolph rounded out the top 10. During post-race technical inspection, a probable illegal carburetor part was discovered on the No.19 that was driven by Blewett. The part in question will be taken back to the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation.

There were 37 Modifieds on hand and nine caution periods for 46 laps. Prior to the race NASCAR honored seven-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Mike Stefanik as part of the season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions.

In True Value Modified Series action at the Thunder Road Speedbowl in Vermont seasoned veteran Kirk Alexender did it the hard way as he came from the tail end of the starting field to win the event. Alexender methodically moved to the front and in the closing laps took the lead and the win. This was his 3rd win in the series in 4 races, with missing one race totally. Dwight Jarvis had passed Peter Jarvis with 3 laps to go to take the 2nd place finish with Jarvis settling for 3rd. 4th place through 6th were Ed Dachenhausen, Chris Pasteryak and Jack Bateman,

NASCAR announced a different format for the upcoming Thursday night Whelen Modified Tour Series event at the Thompson Speedway. The New England Dodge Dealers 75 at Thompson, the fourth race on the 2008 schedule for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take on June 19. The event would be the second of four dates for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2008 that was scheduled to run under the lights. The race would run under a unique format as it would finish upon the completion of 75 green-flag laps as those run under caution will not be counted. This will be the first of four races during 2008 that would run an alternative format. Events at Chemung, Riverhead and Spencer would feature heat races prior to the feature. This race, a 150 lapper, in 2007, carried a posted purse of $86,505 The Stafford Motor Speedway finally got to host their regular Friday night racing program. The 18th Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 150 program at Stafford Motor Speedway saw Ted Christopher victorious, for the 99th time at Stafford, in the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, while Chris Matthews and Norm Sears both took down their second consecutive wins in the 20-lap SK Light and 15-lap DARE Stock feature events. Due to a rain storm in the middle of the program, the 30-lap Late Model and 20-lap Limited Late Model feature events were postponed to a later date.

The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green flag with Wade Mattesen setting the early pace. Mattesen surrendered the lead to Brad Hietala on lap-6 with Ted Christopher also moving past Mattesen for second. On lap-10 both Hietala and Christopher spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out and put Woody Pitkat out front. Pitkat held the lead of the race from that point until lap-37 when Christopher, who had charged his way back through the field after his spin, made a power move to the inside of Pitkat in turn 3 to take the race lead. A late caution set up a green white checkered flag restart, but rain began to fall and the race was red/checkered with 39-laps complete, making Christopher a winner for the first time during the 2008 season. Pitkat was second, with Jeff Malave, Bo Gunning, and Jimmy Blewett rounding out the top-5.

The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the ISMA Supers along with their regular venue of racing. Chris Perley, of Rowley , MA . put on a stellar performance in winning the 50-lap International SuperModified Association event at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday evening, and in doing so recorded the fastest lap-ever (over 108 mph), in the 57-year history of the facility. Former Speedbowl SK champion Rob Summers set the early pace before being overtaken by Jeff Holbrook on lap twenty-one. Perley rocketed by Holbrook six circuits later, quickly distancing himself from the field. The race was red-flagged on lap thirty-six when Mike Lichty exploded a motor and slammed the wall, taking the cars of Jamie Timmons, Scott Martell and Mike Ordway with him. On the restart, Perley resumed his commanding lead, finishing several lengths ahead of Holbrook and Summers. Following was Ray Graham Jr., Bobby Bond and Dave McKnight Jr. It was the second-consecutive Speedbowl victory for Perley who won the 2007 event.

Other feature winners were Jeff Pearl (SK Modified), Ron Yuhas Jr. (Late Model), Mark Cooper (Sportsman), and Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stock). Former champion Pearl won his first of the season, fending-off a late race charge by Rob Janovic in the 35-lap SK main event. Jay Miller, running perhaps his best race of the season led the early laps before Pearl took over with twenty-seven remaining Janovic slipped by Miller during the late stages. Rounding-out the top-5 were Jeff Paul and Ron Yuhas Jr.

Congratulations were in order to Ryan Morgan, 14-years old and a recent graduate of the quarter midget ranks, who dominated the Legends 20-lap feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday evening. In capturing his first-ever win in the division, Morgan quickly distanced himself from the field finishing several lengths in front of Mike Alcaro. Thomas Gray, George Whitney, and Max Zachem completed the top-five. Morgan is the grandson of John “Jack” Morgan, an auto sports writer who covered the exploits of the late Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens in the 70’s and 80’s

Donny Lia became the first rookie in five years to win a Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday, using a last-lap pass to take the Ohio 250 at the Mansfield, Ohio Speedway. Lia who won the Whelen Modified Tour title in 2007, got by leader David Starr in the second turn of the 250th lap on the half-mile oval. Lia, Starr and 2006 series champion Todd Bodine ran side-by-side down the backstretch before Lia pulled his Chevrolet ahead to edge Starr by .241 of a second for his first victory in eight starts.

Kyle Busch drove a Toyota fielded by Braun Racing to victory Saturday night in the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, snapping a six-race winning streak Gibbs’ cars have had in the series.

Tony Stewart was handed his second heartbreaking defeat of the season Sunday night when a flat tire late in the Coca-Cola 600 gave Kasey Kahne the victory in NASCAR’s longest race.Stewart, who lost the season-opening Daytona 500 when he was passed on the last lap by Ryan Newman, had the tire go flat with three laps to go. He was forced to pit, allowing Kahne to zip past him.He wound up a frustrating 18th and stormed into his hauler without comment. He could be seen inside the truck kicking at cabinets as crew chief Greg Zipadelli was left to answer questions. Kahne, who led just five laps all season coming into Sunday, became the sixth driver, joining Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Darrell Waltrip, to win both the All-Star race and the 600 in this eight days of racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Most of the heavyweights dropped out of contention during an event that started in the late afternoon, ended in the evening and requires both intense mental focus and luck to make it to the finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose winless streak hit 74 races, Johnson, Brian Vickers and Kurt Busch all led laps but had parts failures or tire issues.Greg Biffle was second to Kahne for the second week in a row and Kyle Busch was third despite two battery changes. Jeff Gordon was fourth and was followed by Earnhardt, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Elliott Sadler, Carl Edwards and David Reutimann.

In a surprise move, Speedway Motorsports Inc. agreed to purchase Kentucky Speedway, opening the door for the northern Kentucky track to perhaps one day host a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The deal was announced this past Thursday by SMI chairman Bruton Smith could end a lengthy battle between the track’s ownership group and NASCAR. The 1.5-mile oval, located in Sparta, Ky., midway between Cincinnati and Louisville, opened in 2000 and hosts several circuits a year, including the Nationwide Series and the Indy Racing League. Kentucky Speedway filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2005 against NASCAR and International Speedway Inc. The lawsuit was dismissed in January. SMI, which operates several other tracks that host Sprint Cup events including the New Hampshire Int. Speedway, could move one of those races to Kentucky Speedway.

It was also announced that H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., would retire following the running of this past Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at the North Carolina track Wheeler began working at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1975, was named general manager in 1976 and president in 1980.

Before the race, Wheeler, 69, received a standing ovation from the drivers. Wheeler, who had spent 33 years at the track, announced his retirement one week previous after track owner Bruton Smith declined to let him move into a part-time role.

Scott Dixon, who was born in Australia but raised in New Zealand, won the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on Sunday in a day of spins, hot tempers and stout open-wheel racing. Pole-sitter Dixon, 27, gave team owner Chip Ganassi his third Indy 500 victory. Juan Pablo Montoya won for Ganassi in 2000 and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989. Panther Racing’s Vitor Meira finished second to Dixon, with Marco Andretti placing third. Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner, was fourth. Fan favorite Danica Patrick, who struggled for speed much of the day, collided with Ryan Briscoe as the pair was exiting the pits on lap 171 and was knocked out of the race. She finished 22nd, her worst performance at Indy in four starts. A fuming Patrick searched for Briscoe down pit lane afterward but was ushered away by security and track officials before she reached Briscoe’s pit box.

Five years ago in 2013, The hills of northeastern Connecticut came alive on Thursday night as the Thompson Speedway began their Thursday Night Thunder weekly racing series. Ryan Preece in the Sunoco SK Modifieds, John Studleyin the SK Lites, Rick Gentes in the Late Models, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks earned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories under warm and humid skies.

In the Sunoco Modified feature Preece started fifth and after a spirited battle with Todd Ceravolo, took the lead on a lap 8 restart. Ceravolo made numerous attempts to retake the lead but in the end, finished third after giving way to Woody Pitkat who moved into the second spot on the last lap. Keith Rocco and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. A tip of the hat to Dennis Perry who scored a solid sixth place finish and to Paul Newcomb who led the early going and recovered from a spin to finish seventh. Third generation driver Joe Gada made his debut at Thompson a successful one as he crossed the finish line in 8th spot. There were 15 SK type Modifieds on hand

The Limited Sportsman division is 31 cars strong and is highly competitive. Scott Sundeen was the eventual winner but the real battle was watching Larry Barnett march to the front. In the end Barnett ran out of time and was forced to settle for second. Jessie Gleason finished a strong third.

The Stafford Motor Speedway saw a new face in victory lane following the SK Modified feature. Danny Cates scored his first ever win in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature while Woody Pitkat took the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling won the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Austin Bessette won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Johnny Walker won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Zach Aszklar took the lead at the green. Danny Cates and Michael Gervais, Jr. dueled side by side for second before Cates took the spot. Cates then moved by Aszklar on lap-4 to take over the race lead which he never relented. Ryan Preece, fresh off his win at Thompson on Thursday night, closed in on Cates’ bumper for the white flag lap with Woody Pitkat hot on his tail in third. Cates was able to keep the lead to the checkered flag to pick up his first SK Modified® victory at Stafford. Preece, Pitkat, Frank Ruocco, and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-5. Twenty one SK Modifieds took the green.

Jeff and Keith Rocco scored a one-two punch at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. The Rocco brothers, each paid a visit to victory lane at the shoreline oval.

Jeff Rocco led from start-to-finish in capturing the 35-lap SK Modified feature while Keith out dueled Waterford’s Dillon Moltz to win the 30-lap Late Model feature.

In other feature races run during the Speedbowl’s annual Four Cylinder Fury event, Ken Cassidy Jr. won his second straight Mini Stock event, this one going 50 laps, Brad Voglesong won the 20-lap X-Car race and Andy Major checkered the visiting 25-lap Pro Four Modified race.

Jeff Rocco took the lead at the initial green flag of the SK Modified race and was in charge until the first caution came out on lap 27. Over the final 8 laps he overcame one jumped restart and late challenges by Nichole Morgillo and Diego Monahan. Todd Ceravolo of Gales Ferry eventually took second and Monahan wound up third. Jeffrey Gallup and Kyle James rounded out the top five in the 24 car starting field.

A major milestone was met at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC on Saturday night. Sixty nine years ago, Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins introduced stock-car racing at Bowman Gray Stadium. Saturday night, France’s great-grandson Ben Kennedy became a winner there. Kennedy charged to the lead with 26 laps left and stayed there for a memorable victory in front of a nearly packed house in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 for the touring K&N Pro Series East.

Burt Myers also was a winner, in a 100-lap race for Bowman Gray’s featured Modified Division. He added to the total of victories for the stadium’s most successful family, taking it to 140. Myers won for the third time this season and 53rd time in his career. He took the lead from pole-sitter Lee Jeffreys on the 15th lap after a side-by-side battle for two laps and hung on through five double-file restarts. Jeffreys wound up second, John Smith was third, and Tim Brown, the fastest qualifier who had charged from the 16th starting spot, finished fourth.

Timmy Solomito was the overall Modified winner at Riverhead on Long Island and at Seekonk’s Sunday SK Open show Matt Hirschman took top honors over Keith Rocco and Kyle James.

At Seekonk, Hirschman’s luck almost ran out in the closing stages when his engine developed a major malfunction. Hirschman had inherited the lead on lap 57 when second place running Eric Berndt spun leader Woody Pitkat. Berndt was penalized for the move, handing the lead to Hirschman. Matt Galko, and Tyler Chadwickrounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth was Doug Coby, Joey Gada, Ryan Preece, Eric Berndt and Tommy Barrett Jr.

Ryan Preese had started on the pole and quickly took over the lead, holding through lap 17, when Doug Coby closed in as lapped traffic slowed the leader. Coby moved ahead and Woody Pitkat closed in on Preese. The trio would duel through lapped traffic until Coby dislodged Preese from the lead. Pitkat began looking under Preese to take the runnerup slot. Eric Berndt was antagonizing Pitkat from behind as well.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at the Dover International Speedway, Tony Stewart drove by Juan Pablo Montoya with three laps left and pulled away to his first victory of the season. The victory didn’t come without a little bit of controversy. Jimmie Johnson, who dominated the second half of Sunday, was the leader when the caution flag waved on lap 376 when polesitter Denny Hamlin crashed in turns one and two.

All of the lead lap cars pitted, with Montoya leading Johnson and Stewart off pit road. The green flag waved for the final restart with 19 laps left and Johnson jumped the restart by a wide margin, forcing NASCAR to penalize him with a drive-thru penalty. The penalty against Johnson handed the lead back to Montoya, who was seeking his first Sprint Cup victory on an oval. He looked like he was well on his way to that victory when Stewart suddenly began closing on him with less than 10 laps left.

With five laps left Stewart caught Montoya and began looking for a way around. He first tried going low, but Montoya blocked the low lane. Stewart regrouped and with three laps left took to the high side, getting alongside Montoya in turns one and two and completing the pass for the lead in turn three.

In Nationwide Series racing at Dover, Joey Logano raced to his first Nationwide victory of the season.

Last year, 2017,. The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted The Exit Realty Modified Touring Series in addition to its NASCAR weekly venue. Jon McKennedy passed Ryan Preece with 4 laps to go to take the win in the Mod Touring Series 125 which drew 20 cars. Matt Galko won his first SK Modified® feature victory after 6 seasons, Tom Fearn won in the Late Model division, Joey Ferrigno won in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost won in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar was a first time career winner in the DARE Stock feature.

In the MTS 125 McKennedy’s persistence behind Preece finally paid off on lap-121 as he was able to make a move entering turn 3 to take over the race lead. Preece wasn’t able to get back to McKennedy as McKennedy took the checkered flag. Chris Pasteryak finished third with Richard Savary and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5. Sixth was Woody Patkat who was followed by Mike Holdridge, Dylan Kopec, Les Hinckley and Ted Christopher.

Galko took the lead following a restart on lap 38 of the 40 lap contest from Chase Dowling who was still on his outside when they took the white flag side by side. Preece was right on the leaders’ bumpers if one of them slipped up but Galko was able to get a slightly better run coming out of the last corner and he beat Dowling to the checkered flag by a half car length to pick up his first career SK Modified® feature victory in his fifth season in the division. Preece finished third with Ron Williams and Rowan Pennink rounding out the top-5.

In weekly action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, defending Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Shawn Solomito took full advantage of a rare pole starting position to race his way out of an early season slump posting a wire to wire victory in the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night. In the NEMA Midget Allan Cantor Memorial presented by IGA Food Markets former NASCAR Modified champion Justin Bonsignore scored a popular first career NEMA victory in their 25-lap main event.

Howie Brode came home second while John Fortin Sr. crossed the line third. Tom Rogers Jr. and point leader Vinny Biondolillo completed the top five.

When the New London-Waterford Speedbowl failed to open because of track owner Bruce Bemer’s personal problems it left a lot of competitors high and dry including all time winner Keith Rocco. Rocco has 135 wins at the Connecticut shoreline oval, 80 of those in an SK Modified. Rocco entered a late model at the Seekonk Speedway this past Saturday night and finished a solid third behind local runners Charlie Rose and Vinny Arrenegndo. Ryan Morgan who formerly ran in the Sunoco Modifieds and now in the Late Models at Thompson also planned on racing at the Speedbowl but was also left without a place to go on Saturday nights. Morgan took his family owned late model to Seekonk. Where he started 13th and went forward for the first 7 laps then got stuck on the outside and went backwards because of a bad lane. A determined Morgan was not to be denied as he missed some pretty wild wrecks and ended up coming back up to a 4th place finish. Other winners at the track they call the cement palace were Rick Martin in the Pro Stocks, Barry Shaw in the trucks and Vinny Panglelinan in the Sportsman.

The NEW Exit Realty Modified Touring Series rolls into Seekonk Speedway for its first race at the famed 1/3 mile oval this coming Saturday night, June 10. The Seekonk Speedway is located on Route 6 in Seekonk, Mass at the Gateway to Cape Cod.

Down in the south land, Burt Myers waited for his chance, and then he took advantage late in 100-lap Modified Division race on Saturday night at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC.
Myers, the points leader, passed Chris Fleming on lap 84 on a restart and held on from there to win for the third time this season. Showing patience after starting from the third row, Myers worked his way up and was content to stay behind Fleming for nearly half the laps. With the double-file restarts in play, it was Myers who used that to his advantage.

After qualifying, the field was determined by a blind draw and Myers was in the sixth position. He said it was a good spot to be in because it’s such a long race.

Fleming, a veteran driver at Bowman Gray, was driving in his fourth race of the season and was coming off a second-place finish last week in one of the twin 25-lap races. He finished second again and was in no mood to talk afterwards.

Fleming did an outstanding job of staying in front through five of the eight caution flags. Randy Butner, who wound up fourth, led for the first 30 laps before Fleming overtook him on a restart.
Tim Brown, who is second in the points behind Myers, worked his way up from 15th to finish third.

The final caution came on lap 94, and Myers was able to withstand a challenge from Fleming during one more restart. Myers stayed in front for the final five laps and increased his points lead ever so slightly over Brown.

Jimmie Johnson matched Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winners list with his 83rd series victory on Sunday at Dover Int’l Speedway. Johnson led only seven laps during Sunday’s AAA 400, but he was out front when it mattered to earn his 11th NASCAR Cup Series victory on Dover’s concrete one-mile oval.

Kyle Larson earned respect around the garage for his refusal last year to bump the race leader down the stretch for a win in the NASCAR Cup race at Dover.

A year later, Larson had no concerns about adhering to an unwritten race code. Larson started from the pole and easily won the Xfinity race at Dover International Speedway for his second straight victory in NASCAR’s second-tier series.

Congratulations went out to Bob Mueller who retired from Troyer Race Cars after 29 years of service. “The last 29 years have been a real ride”, he said. “There have been good times and bad times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not everyone has the opportunity to turn their hobby and passion into a living. My thanks to Bill Colton and all my co-workers at Troyer Race Cars for a great 29 years”.