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

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1948 the Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA opened. The Midgets were the headline division. Johnny Bernardi was the inaugural winner.

Sixty five years ago in 1953, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl staged events on Sunday, Wednesday and the following Saturday. Joe McNulty was the Sunday winner while Red Foote won on Wednesday and Cy Yates won on Saturday.

Sixty years ago in 1958, Red Foote was the Saturday night Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the Wednesday night Non-Ford winner while Hank Stevens won on Wednesday.

Fifty five years ago in 1963 Ernie Gahan won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman 25 lap feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Bob Zeigler finished second with Jim Luke, third. New York Big Gun Pete Corey was the winner on the Dirt at Stafford. Ted Stack was the Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner. Jersey hot shoe Joe Kelly was three laps shy of winning a 200 lapper at Old Bridge Stadium when he ran out of gas. Ed Ortiz from upstate New York inherited the lead and the eventual win. Bob Rossell finished second with Ernie Gahan, third. Eddie Krause and Mario Fats Caruso rounded out the top five.

Racing news and gossip was hard to come by. There was little or no coverage in daily papers unless there was a fatality. Many race fans and competitors got their news from either National Speed Sport News or Illustrated Speedway News. On June 14, Len and Maude Sammons brought a new dimension to covering weekly racing news with the birth of Area Auto Racing News, which provided much needed coverage of racing in New York, New Jersey and New England. National Speed Sport News and Illustrated Speedway News are long gone. Area Auto, now under the guidance of Lenny Sammons has survived with their up to date coverage and weekly columns. A tip of the hat to Lenny and his staff!

Fifty years ago in 1968, Don Wayman was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Richie Evans finished second and was followed by Dave Gaul, Ray Sitterly and Ken Canestrary. Bugsy Stevens put the mighty No.3 of Len Boehler in victory lane at Stafford. Don MacTavish finished second with Eddie Flemke, Holly Wildler and Mario Fats Caruso rounding out the top five. Saturday night action at Norwood was rained out. The Waterford Speedbowl ran their 50 lap Spring Championship Modified 50 lapper which was won by Newt Palm. At the Fulton Raceway Bob Merz scored his first of ten features he would win in three years of competing at the track. Rene Charland was the top banana at Fonda as he beat out Ed Pieniezek for the win. Sunday action at Utica-Rome and at Thompson rained out.

Forty five years ago in 1973, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N Y. ran a 100 lapper that saw Richie Evans take the win over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook and Bugsy Stevens. Saturday night at Stafford, there was no stopping Bugsy Stevens as he won the 30-lap feature going away. Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by Bobby Santos and Ray Miller. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Bill Scrivener was the winner of the 30 lap Modified feature. Roger Charbonneau was the Grand American Late Model winner. It rained on Long Island, washing out a 100 lapper at Islip. Tioga ran with George Kent taking the win. Sunday at Lee, NH saw Ernie Gahan take the top spot over Jim Landry and Ed Yerrington. Evans scored his second win of the weekend on Sunday night at Utica-Rome. Sonny Seamon finished second with Jerry Cook, third.

Forty years ago in 1978, Geoff Bodine made it six in a row at Stafford. At Waterford, George “Moose” Hewitt took the win over Joe Tiezzi, Glynn Shafer and Jerry Pearl. At Seekonk it was George Summers and at Westboro it was Freddie Schulz. Reggie Ruggerio beat out Richie Evans and Jack LeCuyer and at Islip; Greg Sacks took the top spot over Charlie Jarzombek and Fred Harbach. On Sunday at Thompson, Ronnie Bouchard trimmed the field. Leo Cleary finished second with Bugsy Stevens third. Maynard Troyer won at Fulton and Evans won at New Egypt.

Thirty five years ago in 1983, Brett Bodine was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Brian Ross and Kenny Bouchard. At Waterford on Saturday, Donnie Fowler held off Dale Holdredge to take the win. Ted Christopher finished third. Reggie Ruggiero was the main man at Riverside as he beat out Jack LeCuyer and SJ Evonsion. The SKs ran at Seekonk with local favorite Eddie StAngelo taking the win over Kerry Malone and Richie Gallup. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Tioga, Richie Evans at Spencer, Tony Siscone at New Egypt, Bill Park at Islip and George Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Darrell Waltrip was the pole sitter and Bobby Allison was the race winner.

Thirty years ago in 1988, Stafford ran twin SK modified events. Jeff Barry and Bo Gunning took the wins. Reggie Ruggerio took the win at Riverside with Charlie Pasteryak a close second. Ted Christopher won at Waterford and at Tioga, Rod Spaulding took the win over newcomer, Tim Connolly. Eddie Brunnhoelzl beat out Fred Harbach at Riverhead.

Twenty five years ago in 1993, Ted Christopher recorded his 26th career win at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with John Anderson third and Bob Potter, fourth. At Waterford, Bert Marvin beat out Jim Broderick and Tom Jensen for the win. At Riverside Park, Reggie Ruggerio took yet another win as he led Stan Gregger and Chris Kopec across the stripe. Thompson ran a non-tour-modified event, which drew only 22 cars and a light crowd. Ruggerio took the win over Carl Pasteryak, Jan Leaty, Tom Baldwin and Tony Forente. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Ken Schrader took the pole and Kyle Petty, the win. Jeff and Ward Burton finished one-two at Myrtle Beach. In Busch Grandnational North competition at Jennerstown, Dick McCabe was the winner over Jeff Barry and Mike McLaughlin.

Twenty years ago in 1998 rain played havoc in the northeast the entire weekend. Mike Stefanik flew to Jennerstown Penn. after the Beech Ridge Busch North event rained out. Needless to say, Stefanik continued his domination in the Modifieds as he won the event over Mike Ewanitsko, Reggie Ruggiero and Tim Connolly. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Mark Martin took the win over Dale Jarrett.

Fifteen years ago in 2003, the Thompson Speedway began their summer series, Thursday night Thunder. Rain and showers were in Connecticut all day but the speedway management held fast and the event was run. Being in the right place at the right time was a definite factor for Ron Yuhas Jr. Yuhas was running second to Bobby Santos III when the third generation racer spun in turn four on lap 22 of the scheduled 30 lap feature. Santos and Yuhas tangled but officials felt it was a racing accident and didn’t penalize Santos. Three laps later, the skies opened up and the event was declared completed with Yuhas the winner. Twenty-eight Sunoco SK type modifieds went to post with Todd Ceravolo on the pole and Santos on the outside pole. Ceravolo jumped out to an early lead, opening up a wide margin on Santos. Ted Christopher, who started fifth, began his march to the front and by lap 12 had moved into second spot. Bo Gunning, who started deep in the field, also moved into the top five. The complexion of the event took a drastic change during a caution period on lap 14 when Ted Christopher and Bo Gunning got together and ended up in the turn two wall and out for the night. Ceravolo continued to lead until lap 16 when he spun in turn four. Officials felt that Ceravolo got help from Bert Marvin and place the pair in the rear for the re-start. Santos assumed the lead at that point. With all the scrambling at the end, Jeff Malave ended up second with Matty Adanti, third. Ceravolo recovered from his spin and finished fourth. John Brouwer Jr. finished fifth with Bert Marvin, sixth.

Other opening night winners included Jeff Connors in the Pro Stocks, Woody Pitkat in the Late Models, Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman and Andy Publicover in the Mini Stocks.

The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Lake Erie Speedway in Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Todd Szegedy, in his sophomore season on the tour, got redemption for being snookered at Stafford on the last lap as he took the victory at the variable banked 3/8 mile oval. John Blewett III finished second with Eric Beers, Chuck Hossfeld and Ricky Fuller rounding out the top five. Jamie Tomaino started on the pole by luck of the draw. Ted Christopher was eliminated on lap two after a confrontation with Tony Hirschman. Tomaino led until a lap eight re-start when Eric Beers out powered him to take the lead. Beers held the point until Szegedy took command on lap 62. Close behind Beers at the time was Jerry Marquis who settled in, in second spot. Marquis held the spot until lap 100 when he dropped out with suspension problems. From then on it was Blewett casing Szegedy to the finish. Donnie Lia was the pole sitter and after drawing tenth, ended up 14th, one lap down. He had a strong run going until he tangled with Ed Flemke Jr and was put to the rear for rough riding after spinning Flemke out. Flemke, who started ninth, had a confrontation with officials over his pit road speed and ended up losing a lap. Flemke finished fifteenth. According to various reports the speedway did well as the grandstands were over 2/3 full.

For the fourth week in a row, rain washed out racing at the Waterford Speedbowl. Not since 1978 had the Speedbowl had this many rainouts.

The Labor Day weekend tradition at the Darlington Raceway came to an end as NASCAR announced that they had approved the request of the International Speedway Corporation to move the Labor Day Winston Cup date to the California Speedway. Darlington would still have two dates, as the speedway took a date formerly held by the Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bob Labonte was the Busch Pole sitter. Kurt Busch took the lead from Jeff Gordon with 24 laps to go and went on to record his third win of the year. Bobby Labonte finished second and Jeff Gordon faded to third. It was announced that Jeff and Brooke Gordon had reached a divorce settlement rather than go to trial. Brooke got a reported $15.2 million.

Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig, on his way to get a fireworks permit, was involved in an accident, which destroyed his pace car.

Ten years ago in 2008, the Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled due to wet conditions. The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to fog on Friday night.

The Waterford Speedbowl raced under clear skies and provided southeastern Connecticut race fans a full program of racing. The main event of the evening was a 100 lap American Canadian Tour contest that was won by tour regular Scott Payea. Waterford regular Bruce Thomas led the early going but in the end had to settle for second. Former Busch North Series regular Brad Leighton finished third with Ron Yuhas Jr and Nichloas Sweet rounding out the top five. Doug Coby was the SK Modified winner. Tyler Chadwick finished second and was followed by Dennis Gada, Jeff Paul, and Keith Rocco.

Other feature winners were Mark Hudson (Late Model), Brandon Plemons (Sportsman), and Lou Bellisle (Mini Stock).

The True Value Modified Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series were enjoying their second “Spring Break of the season.

In a somewhat racing related manner, James Galante, a major Connecticut trash hauler at the center of a sweeping federal corruption probe of mob influence in the industry pleaded guilty on June 3 and agreed to surrender dozens of businesses worth more than $100 million. The New London Day reported that Galante of Danbury entered guilty pleas to racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and wire fraud conspiracy. He faced 70 to 87 months in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. Galante sponsored and owned Ted Christopher’s racing endeavors from 1995 until June of 2006 when the Galante/Christopher race shop was raided by the feds who confiscated five complete Modified Type cars plus another one in the process of being built. One of the cars was a four-time winner at Loudon.

A 17 page indictment stated that Galante is “knowingly and willingly turning over to the U.S. Government”: “Six racing cars, marked with numbers 01 thru 06, on the front frame rails and one 1997 53 foot Featherlie Trailer.” Galante agreed to take all steps as requested by the United States to pass clear title to all of the assets listed over to the United States Government.”.

In NASCAR Nextel Cup competition at the Pocono Raceway, Kasey Kahne started from the pole, overcame an early pit road penalty that dropped him to 38th and led a race-high 69 of the 200 laps in his Dodge as he went on to take the win. Brian Vickers was second for his best finish since joining Red Bull Racing and Denny Hamlin was third to give Toyota two cars in the top three. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fourth and appeared winded after racing more than four hours in temperatures that hovered around 90 degrees. Kyle Busch finished last, but became the first driver to compete in all three of NASCAR’s national series at three racetracks on the same weekend. Brad Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide Series victory Saturday night, passing Clint Bowyer with six laps to go and easily holding off his closest rivals in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. Joey Logano won the pole during the day, but finished 31st after a crash on lap 89. He led the first 60 laps and 64 overall. David Stremme rallied to finish second, followed by David Reutimann and Bowyer.

Five years ago in 2013, It had been in the making since Memorial Day weekend as the Stafford Motor Speedway finally got to run their TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series event. There were 27 cars on hand. Bobby Santos scored his 10th career pole award and started in the front row along side Ryan Preece

On the initial start, Preece had the misfortune of getting a flat tire which caused him to spin. Preece and Santos made contact shortly afer taking the green with a cut tire resulting. Preece restarted in the rear and after a determined march to the front took the lead from Ron Silk who led the first 106 laps.

Preece, second fasted in qualifying, began the race in the rear after cutting a tire prior to the official start of the race. He watched Ron Silk dominate the field for the first 106 laps before moving past the leader and holding on through the final 18 laps. Silk finished in the runner-up spot – followed by Rowan Pennink, Donny Lia and pole winner Bobby Santos. Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore, Mike Stefanik, Jimmy Blewett and Woody Pitkat completed the top 10.

It was Preece’s second come-from-behind win of the evening. In a Whelen All-American Series SK Modified event earlier in the evening, Preece found himself behind the rest of the field after spinning out in lap two. In similar fashion, he worked his way back up to the front, capturing the lead in the final laps.

Todd Szegedy was a pre race favorite but ended up 13th as his bad luck continued. Szegedy got up into second spot when the right rear went flat. He then spun out and got hit in the left front. That ended his chance for a good finish. Ted Christopher, another pre race favorite, had worked his way to sixth when he was sent to the rear for over aggressive driving. In the end he was 14th.

The Thompson Speedway didn’t carry their luck over from June 6 when they just barely beat the rain as the Sunoco Modified feature ended. With a heavy downpour forecast by meteorologists throughout New England, Thompson Speedway pulled the plug just before noon on Wednesday for the Thursday Night Thompson Thunder race program.

With three events in the books Keith Rocco led the Sunoco Modified (SK type) standings with a two point edge over Woody Pitkat. Two points behind Pitkat was Ryan Preece. Rocco had two wins and Preece, one. Kerry Malone and Dennis Perry rounded out the top five. Other division leaders included Rick Gentes, Late Model, Keith McDermott, Lite Modifieds, Larry Barnett, Limited Sportsman and Louis Belisle, Mini Stock.

The highly touted open competition SBM 125 at the Star Speedway was run under cool and clear skies last Saturday night. With an excess of $45,000 on purse money the event drew 32 modifieds. Matt Hirschman was the quickest in time trials as he toured the 1/4 mile speedway in 12.347 seconds. Qualifying heat winners were Hirschman, Jon McKennedy, Les Hinkley and Ron Silk. Josh Cantara was the consolation winner. Non-qualifiers were Ken Barry, Lou Mechalides, Chris Ross, George Sherman, Jim Boniface, Chris Bolton and Russ Wood. The top 8 redrew for the feature start. Max Zachem drew the pole and Hirschman drew the outside pole.

Hirschman jumped out from his starting spot and led the entire 125 lap distnce and collected $9,595.64 in winnings. It was no cake-walk as Hirschman survived numerous cautions and a lot of pressure from numerous second place runners to take the win. Les Hinkley ended up second with Ryan Preece, third. Steve Masse and Richard Savory rounded out the top five. Among those who were in contention was Tommy Barrett who had worked his way into the second spot by lap 96 only to experience radiator problems which caused him not to finish. Mike Stefanik and Ted Christopher also had their problems and finished out of the top ten.

Sixth through tenth were Todd Patnode, Andy Seuss, Jacob Dore, Zane Zeiner and Austin Kochenash.

The event was deemed a rousing success as the grandstand was full and the draw of cars was ample.

Defending champion Tyler Chadwick won the slam-bang 35-lap SK Modified feature on Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Jeff Smith won the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Each notched their second wins of the year. New faces visiting Victory Lane included Corey Barry and Al Stone, winning the SKLight Modified and Street Stock races respectively to each pick up their first wins of 2013. Ken Cassidy Jr. continued his hot streak and took his third win in the past four Mini Stock events, while Corey Hutchings was a surprise winner in the visiting New England Truck Series race.

In the SK Modified feature, Chadwick took the lead from Nichole Morgillo following a lap 15 restart, passing her on the outside of turns one and two. But he had to survive five more caution flags, including three on lap 29. After the final yellow flag, Chadwick held off Todd Ceravolo over the final six laps. It was Ceravolo’s fourth straight second-place finish while Morgillo wound up third.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Tom Rogers took the win.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC five-time Modified champion Burt Myers, already enjoying a healthy lead in the season standings, racked up a division-leading fourth victory in a 100-lap main event. He battled past up-and-comer Tony Black for the lead and held it against younger brother Jason Myers for his 54th career victory.

Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that NASCAR Next driver Ryan Preece will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (F.W. Webb 200) in July.

Preece, the grandson of NEAR Hall of Fame Car Owner Bobby Judkins, was selected as one of the 2013 NASCAR Next drivers. The NASCAR Next program began in 2011, and is a way to help spotlight up-and-coming drivers from around the world. This year’s elite drivers range from ages 15-24 and represent three different countries. Preece was chosen, by a voting panel for the great achievements in his young racing career thus far.

It appeared that someone was trying to put the screws to the Lee, New Hampshire Speedway and its owner Red MacDonald. Town officials and the owners of the Lee USA Speedway were working diligently to resolve issues that caused the town administrator to revoke the operations license for the business.

“There were some issues of concern at the Lee USA Speedway that the town felt were important to address,” Julie Glover, town administrator, said. During a May 28 selectmen’s meeting, Fire Chief Peter Hoyt, had said there were no violations at the Speedway. Despite that, the state fire marshal and electrical inspector had been called and the speedway has been shut down since. MacDonald and his staff were optimistic that the dispute with the town would be resolved.

In some sad news, Jason Leffler was driving a sprint car at the Bridgeport Speedway dirt track in New Jersey last Wednesday night when it flipped on the track’s front stretch and hit a wall, according to USA Today. He was extracted from the wreck by rescue personnel and airlifted from the track in a helicopter.

Leffler, 37, drove in NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events.

Greg Biffle raced to his second consecutive Sprint Cup win at Michigan International Speedway, easily holding off Kevin Harvick in the Quicken Loans 400 after points leader Jimmie Johnson smacked the wall in the final laps. It was the 1,000th victory for Ford Motor Company across NASCAR’s three national series, Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.

In Nationwide Series racing at Michigan, Regan Smith, the Nationwide series leader, held off Kyle Larson in the final 10 laps after taking the lead with 13 laps left when Parker Kligerman had to pit. Kligerman led for 13 laps toward the end, but the rain that might have helped him didn’t start in time.

Last year, 2017, The NASCAR Whelen Modified tour returned to New England this past Wednesday, June 14 for a Wednesday night event at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway. The event drew 28 cars. The race featured the second group qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour this season and saw Donny Lia take the pole, but it would be another familiar name that would come out on top at the end with Ryan Preece claiming his second win of the season and second career Whelen Modified win at Thompson. Preece led from lap 24 to lap 60 but it was on lap 107 when it counted as he took the lead from Rowan Pennink as they entered turn one. From lap 108 to the finish Preece opened up a big lead as he cruised to the win over Pennink and Bobby Santos. Doug Coby and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five.

Sixth thru tenth were Jon McKennedy, Ted Christopher, Timmy Solomito, Andrew Krause and Max Zachem. Don Lia led from the start to lap 23. Chase Dowling led from lap 61 to 81 and Pennink led from lap82 to 107. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island this coming Saturday, June 24.

Following the Whelen Modifieds was a 30-lap feature for the Sunoco Modifieds where a new face found his way to victory lane. In only his second start driving for fellow Sunoco Modified driver Keith Rocco, Troy Talman claimed a dominant win at Thompson and said he hopes to continue that success to cement his own legacy in the Sunoco Modified series. Talman started on the outside pole and jumped into the lead at the start over Steve Masse. A four car wreck before the completion of lap one eliminated Jay Sundeen, Shelly Perry, Joe Gada and Rene’ Dupuis. Ron Williams and Kyler Cafro brought out the red when they tangled on lap 12 in turn two.

As the race wore on the competitors settled down. Rocco and Ryan Preece were slugging it out for the second spot as Ted Christopher entered the picture in the closing laps. As Talman romped to the win Christopher attempted to dive under Preece. Christopher spun, Preece hesitated and Rocco moved into the runner-up spot at the finish. Preece finished third with Woody Pitkat and Timmy Jordan rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth was Rowan Pennink, Todd Owen, Steve Masse, John Studley and Andrew Charron. Christopher ended up 14th.

Other winners at Thompson on Wed night were Chad Labastie in the NEMA Lites, Ray Parent in the Late Models, Leadfoot Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.

The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain on Friday.

The New London Waterford Speedbowl will open for the 2017 Season this coming Saturday night with BowlStrong Blastoff. Divisions will include: SK Modified, SK Lite, Late Model, NLWS Trucks, Limited Sportsman, Mini Stock and Legends as well as a special feature Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 Lap race.

It was announced this past Friday, Guy Beaudoin, Jr. had joined the NLWS as the Saturday Night Race Director. He has been associated with the Modified Racing Series (MRS) for the past five years where he held such positions as Race Director and Chief Pit Stewart.

At the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night, the Pro Stocks took center stage with round one of the Phil’s Propane Triple Crown Series, a 75 lap feature event. The feature was also the annual Brad Scott Memorial in honor of former Ellis Racing team member Brad Scott. David Darling worked his way through the pack rather quickly and slid by to take the lead just after the halfway point. From there, it was clear sailing for the Johnson’s Landscaping No. 52 into Victory Lane.

In other racing on Saturday night, Gerry DeGaspere Jr. returned to Victory Lane in a thrilling feature for the Late Model class. DeGaspere Jr. has been noticeably struggling with the handles on the No. 71 in recent years, but they seem to have found something now. He was battling newcomer Ryan Morgan down the stretch of the race and some intense racing included some heavy contact between the leaders at times. In the end, a move diving deep into turn three saw DeGaspere Jr. hold on and pick up his first win. Morgan, who has only raced at Seekonk a few times, showed some true talent behind the wheel to come from the back and grab a second place finish. Ryan Kuhn, a rookie, notched an impressive third place run.

In Modified Touring Series action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Ryan Preece charged to the lead after a Lap 56 pitstop, taking it from Dillon Steuer in the 125 lap event. It is the second MTS win of 2017 for Preece. Dillon Steuer finished second and was followed by Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat. There were 14 cars on hand.

At the drop of the green flag Woody Pitkat edged his way to lead the first lap before upstart talent Dillon Steuer moved past on lap 2. Pitkat gave chase to the race leader until the 8th lap when David Schneider whose team had to swap motors to run the 125 made his way by for position. Schneider stayed second behind Steuer until the 23rd lap as Eric Goodale made an inside pass entering the first turn for position. Once to second Goodale, a past WMT winner at Riverhead reeled in the race leader Steuer with Eric’s efforts aided by a 56th lap caution flag that would bunch up the field. It was during that yellow flag period that the likes of Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Jon McKennedy and Donny Lia all ducking to the pits for a change tire along with other adjustments. Steuer and Goodale elected to stay out and not sacrifice track position.

On the ensuing double file restart Goodale would actually lead lap 57 to the outside of Steuer with Dillon rallying back to take the lead back on lap 58. Meanwhile armed with a new tire and adjustments Ryan Preece was on the march towards the front as he caught Eric Goodale and passed him to the inside exiting the fourth turn for second on lap 75. Over the following eight lap Preece fist caught and then went to work on Islip 300 winner Steuer for the lead as the 15-year old was hoping for another big race win. Entering the third turn on lap 83 Preece was able to find a lane under Steuer to take over the race lead and once out front Preece would pull away over the final 41 circuits.

As the double checker flags waved Ryan Preece would cross the line earning his 15th career Riverhead Raceway win list moving him into sole possession of 27th on the all time win list at the historic quarter mile. Dillon Steuer was runner-up in the Northeastern Office Equipment Chevy while Jon McKennedy raced his way back to a podium third place finish in the Exit Realty entry. Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat completed the top five. David Schneider, Rowan Pennink, John Fortin Sr., Donny Lia and Chris Pasteryak filled out the top ten.
T
he cars & stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will descend upon Riverhead Raceway next Saturday night June 24th for the Riverhead 200 with defending race winner and current WMT championship leader Timmy Solomito of Islip leading the charge to the historic quarter mile oval. Solomito knows the tricky confines of Riverhead all too well having won 17 times in his career.

Twenty four-year-old Anthony Nocella continued his winning ways Saturday night, when he powered his Nocella Paving/Airgas Chevrolet modified to victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series sanctioned 100-lap race at Speedway 51, in Groveton, NH. The victory was Nocella’s second of the 2017 campaign and his eighth career win moving him into a tie with Tommy Barrett on the all-time series win list.

Nocella took command on lap-75 with Mike Douglas Jr, Jeffrey Gallup, Mike Willis Jr, Rob Richardi Jr, and Sammy Rameau, all chasing the leader. A late race mishap on lap- 98 created a green-white-checker finish with the Woburn, Massachusetts, racer prevailing.

Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, rain forced officials to pull the plug on the planned twin 25’s.
Kyle Larson took the lead late and then survived two late-race restarts to win his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the year Sunday at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Larson led a race-high 96 laps from the pole, but seemed to fade during longer runs. He found himself chasing Kyle Busch late in the race as they both attempted to stretch their fuel to the finish following a caution with 50 laps left that allowed teams to hit pit road for fuel and tires.

Denny Hamlin beat rookie William Byron in a photo finish to capture Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Irish Hills 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI.

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