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

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Sixty five years ago in 1953, Don Collins had his No. 106 tuned to perfection as he won the 25 lap Sportsman event on Wednesday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Leo Boudreau won on Saturday night. Bud Matter won non-Ford events on both nights.

Sixty years ago in 1958 a new team which had made its debut a few weeks earlier at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl won their first feature. Gene White, who had raced at Riverside Park was the driver. The car, a Chevy powered coupe, was owned by two Connecticut River Valley residents, Bob Vitale and Vic Bombacci and carried the unique Number V-8. White won the Modified feature on Wednesday night while Red Foote won on Saturday night. Hank Stevens and Charlie Webster won non-Ford features. A few weeks later Vitale and Bombacci would split with Gene White. Replacing White would be Wild Bill Slater and the rest would be history. Slater along with his new team would become a powerful force in races from Maine to New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Fifty five years ago in 1963 Bill Wimble won the 25 lap NASCAR Sportsman feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Ed Ortiz finished second with Jim Luke, third. Bob Zeigler and Rene Charland rounded out the top five. Ortiz headed south on Sunday and captured the Modified feature at Old Bridge in New Jersey. The late Joe Csiki won the Midget feature at Old Bridge. Rene Charland, traveling with Eddie Flemke and the Eastern Bandits surprised the locals at the Islip Speedway on Long Island where he took the win. Flemke took the win at Fort Dix (New Egypt). Flemke’s brother George survived a nasty wreck when his mount flipped and burned. Rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl and at the Stafford Speedway.

Fifty years ago in 1968, Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens started the weekend with 25 lap wins at the Catamount Stadium on Thursday night. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday night with Bugsy Stevens taking the win over Fred Harbach, Smokey Boutwell, Leo Cleary and Frank Faria. A t the Albany-Saratoga Speedway 50 laps was the main event. Don MacTavish drove to a convincing win over Andy Romano, Jerry Cook, Rene Charland and Lou Lazzaro. Leo Cleary took the top spot at Norwood on Saturday night while at Fonda Lou Lazzaro took the victory over Dave Lape and Don MacTavish. Daring Dick Casowas the 30 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Sweet was the Daredevil winner. Thompson ran twin 25’s on Sunday with Bugsy Stevens taking them both. Utica Rome rounded out the weekend on Sunday night with Dick Fowler taking the win over Robbie Kotary, Sonny Seamon, Dick Clark and Bernie Miller.

Forty five years ago in 1973, racing at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Friday night, rained out. The rain carried over to Saturday and washed out Stafford. At Tioga, Richie Evans won a special holiday program over Jerry Cook and Mike Loescher. It stayed dry on Long Island where Jim Tyler took the win. It was also dry at Waterford where George Allum won the 50 lap Modified June Championship. Jerry Pearl was the Late Model Grand American winner. Sunday night at Utica-Rome saw more rain. Stafford ran a night before the fourth 150 lapper on Tuesday. Ronnie Bouchard continued his hot streak as he took the win over Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. On the Fourth, Islip ran a 100 lapper. Geoff Bodine took the win over Evans and Dan MacNamara.

Forty years ago in 1978,Catamount Stadium in Milton, Vermont started the Fourth of July weekend on Tuesday. John Rosati took the modified special event held there. Donnie Ayer finished second with Richie Evans, third. New Egypt ran a 100 lapper on the fourth. Geoff Bodine who dropped out of the Catamount event with a flat won the event and was followed by Jerry Cook, Fred Harbach and Greg Sacks. Friday night saw Bugsy Stevens in victory lane at Stafford, Punky Caron get his seventh win of the season at Monadnock and Charlie Jarzombek won a 100 lap double pointer over Richie Evans at Riverhead. Jarzombek went on to go two for two as he won again on Saturday at Islip. At Waterford it was Bob Potter over Moose Hewitt and Mike Beebe. Seekonk saw Fred DeSarro hold off Ronnie Bouchard and Corky Cookman and at Riverside, Bob Polverari and Jerry Cook teamed up to win the Riverside 500. Richie Evans and Reggie Ruggiero finished second..Bouchard and DeSarro reversed roles at Thompson on Sunday. Other holiday weekend winners were Roland LaPierre JR at Westboro, Mike Murphy at Hudson; Dean Hoag at Tioga, Maynard Troyer, two at Spencer and one at Lancaster and Richie Evans won at Utica-Rome.

Thirty five years ago in 1983, Holland ran the Modifieds on Wednesday night and Richie Evans was there to take the win. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday. Reggie Ruggiero in the mighty no.44 of Mario Fiore cleaned house. Corky Cookman finished second with Bobby Vee, third. At Spencer, Magic Shoes, Mike McLaughlin beat out Jim Spencer and Richie Evans. Ruggerio carried his winning ways over to Saturday at Oswego where he won a 100 lap modified event over Evans and Jamie Tomaino. Stan Gregger won at Riverside while Bob Potter won a 100 lapper at Waterford and Riverhead went to Don Howe. In Winston Cup action in the Daytona 400, Buddy Baker won out over Morgan Shepherd.

Thirty years ago in 1988, Stafford ran twin 50’s.Ted Christopher won the first one and Bob Potter, the second. Monadnock went to Marty Radwick. Christopher backed up his Friday night win with a 50-lap win at Waterford on Saturday. Jerry Marquis won at Riverside and Tom Tillotson won at Riverhead. Oswego again went to Ruggiero. Tom Baldwin finished second with Tomaino, third.

Twenty five years ago in 1993 Friday night racing at Stafford rained out. Mike Ewanitsko beat out Ed Kennedy to win at Monadnock. Ewanitsko finished third behind Reggie Ruggiero and Jerry Marquis at Riverside Park. At Waterford on Saturday, Dale Holdredge took the win over Jerry Pearl and Bert Marvin. Todd Ceravolo was the late model winner. In Winston Cup action at Daytona, Ken Schrader, who was suspended from four events for altering his carburetor, was reinstated and fined $5,000. Schrader started last in the Daytona 400 and finished second behind Dale Earnhardt

Twenty years ago in 1998, Thompson started the weekend on Thursday with a 100 lapper for the SK’s. Thirty-three of the first 54 laps were run under caution because of spins and wrecks. The last half was a little smoother as Teddy and Mikey Christopher finished one-two. Riding high after his Thompson win, Teddy went to Stafford on Friday night and won the 50 Lap SK Modified event there and was leading the Busch North Series event also at Stafford with three to go when he lost his brakes and crashed. Ricky Fuller inherited the lead and the eventual win. Christopher’s SK Modified win was his 40th at the Connecticut half-mile oval.

The International Speedway Corporation which owns and operates the Daytona Int. Speedway announced that the Pepsi 400 Winston Cup event scheduled there had been cancelled and would be run later in the year because of wild fires that were devastating central Florida.

On Saturday night at Waterford, Mike Holdredge won his first ever-modified feature as he held off Dennis and Mike Gada at the checker.

At Riverside, Ted Riggott beat out Dan Avery and at Riverhead; Howie Brode was the victor with Bill Park, second. In other weekend action, Ralph Nason won the Oxford 250 and Chris Ross scored his first ever Pro Stock win at Evans Mills, N.Y.

Fifteen years ago in 2003 NASCAR announced that they had tested and approved the installation of the energy absorbing Steel and foam SAFER barriers at the New Hampshire International Speedway and the Richmond Raceway. The SAFER barrier is designed to absorb energy from a racecar when it hits a concrete wall.

In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Bo Gunning was the feature winner in the Sunoco-SK Type Modifieds. After much frustration because of various wrecks and just being in the wrong place at the wrong time Gunning finally got the monkey off his back. Bobby Santos III, grandson of racing legend and NEAR Hall of Fame Inductee Bob Santos finished second. Eric Berndt, Jeff Malave, Todd Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top six. Like Gunning at Thompson, Ted Christopher has had his share of frustrations at Stafford. Since winning the twin 40 lap SK-Modified events on April 27 at the Nutmeg oval, Christopher has come up empty. On Friday night, He too, got redemption. After starting fifth in the regularly scheduled 50 lap main event, Christopher took the lead on a lap 15 restart and went on to record his 66th career win at the Stafford track. Jim Civali finished second with Kerry Malone, third.

The Featherlite NASCAR Modified Tour Series took the Fourth of July weekend off. With seven events into the 2003 season John Blewett III was in the point lead by 35 over Todd Szegedy. Of the sixty-seven drivers entered into competition, Blewett was the only driver to finish in the top ten in all events. Blewett had one win to his credit, as did Szegedy. Ted Christopher was the only repeat winner at this point in the season with two victories to his credit. Christopher sat third in points, 94 behind the leader. Former series champion Jerry Marquis, 112 points behind the leader, sat in fourth spot. Rounding out the top five was Chuck Hossfeld, 142 points behind the leader. Sixth through tenth were Jamie Tomaino, Rick Fuller, Eric Beers, Tony Hirshman and Dave Etheridge. The fields of Modifieds continued to be strong, as there was 35-40 at each event. Seventeen of the top twenty had run in all events.

Lee Raceway, in New Hampshire, presented an open competition Tour type Modified event on Friday, July 4. That event, promoted by Ben Dodge, was 100 laps and carried a purse in excess of $30,000. Thirty-two Modifieds were on hand with Charlie Pasteryak taking the win over Tom Bolles, David Berghman and Jamie Tomaino.

It was a hot night at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night as Dennis Charette garnered his first win. Ed Reed Jr. made a late race challenge but because of a traction problem in the outside groove, had to settle for second. Tom Fox finished third with Rob Janovic and Ron Yuhas Jr., rounding out the top five. Brent Dragon won the 100 lap American-Canadian Tour event. Harry Reed won at Wall Township. At Riverhead, Ken Heagy took the win. Conspicuous by his absence was JR Bertuccio who sat out the event because of family problems.

Those who supported the Race of Champions Series event at the Mountain Speedway in Pennsylvania became quite upset when their purse wasn’t paid at the completion of the event.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. started on the pole for the Daytona Busch Series event and made a shambles of the race as he led every lap and took the win. Greg Biffle won the Winston Cup Pepsi 400.

Ten years ago in 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH for their first of two visits for 2008. Rain greeted fans and competitors who were on hand for qualifying on Thursday. Because of adverse weather NASCAR was forced to set the starting field of 38 cars based on point standings and the rulebook. There were 42 cars on hand, which meant that four would go home. Sent packing were Doug Coby, Jon Mckennedy, Kenny Horton and Kenny Bouchard. Among those in the field was L.W. Miller who would become the first driver to run a Spec engine in Whelen Modified Tour competition.

The four Whelen Modified Tour teams that were sent home from New Hampshire Motor Speedway after qualifying for Saturday’s New England 100 was cancelled on Thursday each received tow money from the track. Track spokeman Fred Neergaard confirmed that each team was paid $500 by the track.

Chuck Hossfeld led only one lap but it was the one that counted as won out in a photo finish with Ted Christopher. Christopher, who had led since lap 69 had a checker on his mind but Hossfeld had other ideas as he dogged him with no mercy. Ed Flemke Jr finished third and was followed by Eric Beers and Reggie Ruggerio. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Jeff Fuller and Ronnie Silk. Hossfeld pocketed $15,600 for his efforts. Hossfeld and Christopher kept the crowd on its feet for the final ten laps as they traded positions at the front numerous times.It was by far one of the best finishes ever seen at the New Hampshire oval. Hopefully someone in the O. Bruton Smith empire will recognize the great potential the division holds. L.W. Miller, who used the new “Spec Engine” finished 20th.

The victory was the seventh of Hossfeld’s career, his third at New Hampshire and his second of the season. The Loudon Modified event had been scheduled to be televised and was to be shown on the Speed Channel on July 18. Needless to say the Whelen Modifieds took it on the chin again as the TV coverage was scrapped. On the positive side Speedway Motorsports upper management was impressed with the Whelen Modifieds to the point where they indicated the Mods could possibly get a third date at Loudon if and when the Indy Cars are added to the track’s schedule.

The True Value Modifieds went up country to Maine for an event on Saturday at the Wiscasset Raceway. Rain prevailed forcing a cancellation.

The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program fell victim to rain.

The Stafford Motor Speedway put their Late Model division on center stage Friday night with the first of two extra distance 100-lap feature events of the 2008 season. Waterford’s Dillon Moltz drove to his third consecutive Late Model feature victory of the season in the 100-lapper, with Woody Pitkat winning the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Mark Bakaj winning the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Joey Ferrigno winning the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Robert Thompson winning the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

At the Waterford Speedbowl second generation driver Jay Miller ended a long dry spell as he captured his first ever feature win at the shoreline oval. Miller is the son of NEAR Hall of Fame driver Ray Miller. Miller took the lead on the fourth lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature from Wendell Dailey but in the end had to contend with Dennis Gada and Keith Rocco for the win. Miller held on as Gada and Rocco followed across the finish line. Rob Janovic and Jeff Paul rounded out the top five.
Other feature winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Walt Hovey (Sportsman), Raymond Christian III (Mini Stock), and Shaun Buffington (Legends).

In Sprint Cup racing at Loudon, Kurt Busch had strategy and luck on his side. Tony Stewart had neither. Busch wound up ending his 29-race winless string in the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301, while the frustrated Stewart simply added another disheartening loss to his own winless string that has reached 31 races. It is the first victory for the Penske Racing driver since September at California Speedway, and it came on a day when two-time Cup champion Stewart dominated, leading 132 of 284 laps, only to see the hard luck that has dogged him all season continue.

Runner-up Michael Waltrip, who had not finished better than 23rd, used the same strategy as Busch. The two-time Daytona 500 winner said he was hoping the race would go to the end because he believed he had a faster car than Busch. But Busch believed he could hold the top spot. Stewart, who dominated the second half of the race on the 1.058-mile oval, held off a challenge from two-time reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson late in the race and appeared on the way to his first victory since August at Watkins Glen, N.Y. But Stewart and most of the other drivers who had been racing at the front of the pack did not have enough gas to get to the end. On lap 271, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had been in the top 10 all day, started toward pit road and was hit from behind by Jamie McMurray, who then spun into David Ragan, bringing out a caution. Stewart and the rest of the front-runners pitted under the ensuing yellow flag, while Busch and seven other drivers who had pitted more recently than the leaders, stayed on track. The race restarted on lap 279, but there was another caution on lap 280, with Clint Bowyer and rookie Sam Hornish Jr. crashing, then Juan Pablo Montoya slamming into series points leader Kyle Busch, Kurt’s younger brother, moments later. Montoya was later assessed a two-lap penalty by NASCAR for rough driving and finished 32nd.

The rain that had been threatening for much of the afternoon began falling during that caution and, moments after the cars were red-flagged onto pit lane just before completing lap 285, NASCAR called the race, leaving Busch on top, ahead of Waltrip, J.J. Yeley, Martin Truex Jr., Elliott Sadler, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears, all of whom had stayed on track during the previous caution.

In Nationwide action at Loudon Tony Stewart got track position, restarting third after taking just two tires during his final pit stop on lap 129 of the 200-lap event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He took the lead on lap 136 from fellow Cup star Carl Edwards on lap 136 and led the rest of the way. Teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished second and third.

Five years ago in 2013, The Thompson Speedway was quiet.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece, for the second consecutive week and fifth overall of the 2013 season, took the win in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Mark St. Hilaire won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling racked up his division leading third win in the Xtra Mart Xtra D 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Albert Saunders was a first time winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and his twin brother Cliff Saunders was the big winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper it appeared that Keith Rocco would unseat Ryan Preece as top dog but it wasn’t meant to be. Rocco went from third to the lead on the first lap and was
holding his own. It all came to an end on lap 13. Ryan Preece had moved by Todd Owen to take over the second spot. Somehow Owen got back by Preece and made contact with Rocco as they exited turn four. Rocco spun out of the lead and Owens car was inflicted with severe damage to the right front of his car. Once the dust settled Preece had inherited the lead.

In the end, Preece picked up his second consecutive victory and his fifth of the 2013 season. Woody Pitkat came home in second, with Eric Berndt, Danny Cates, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5. Ted Christopher had been running third on lap 24 when he dropped out with mechanical issues. He was credited with an 18th place finish in the 20 car starting field. Rocco rallied from his spin to finish 11th.

From Stafford Preece headed for the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island where he continued his winning ways.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH with 30 cars strong, a huge crowd and 90 degree plus heat. Dwight Jarvis, a 40 year veteran of the open wheeled Modified wars took the lead from Chris Pasteryak on a lap 87 restart and went to win the 10th annual Valenti Modified Racing Series ‘Firecracker 100’. The win was Jarvis first of the season, his fifth series victory at Monadnock, and his seventh career win under the VMRS banner. He also becomes the fifth different winner in five races to date.

Jarvis made a late drive through the pack he beat Pasteryak for the lead when the Connecticut driver spun his tires on a late restart. Pasteryak, who in the end settled for second, had led the race a total of 66-laps. Defending series champion Jon McKennedy finished third in the Art Barry owned car after starting 15th. Rowan Pennink and Richard Savary rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth place finishers were, Norm Wrenn, Dale Holdridge, Max Zachem, Tommy Barrett, and Jim Boniface.

There were nine caution flags, mostly for minor spins.

With temperatures in the high 90’s action at the Waterford was a a fever pitch. The popular
shoreline oval hosted the Overdrive Radio 300, its mid-season championship event for its six core racing divisions. Winning extra-distance NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races on the night included Tyler Chadwick who scored a memorable victory in the night’s big 100-lap SK Modified® race. Keith Rocco picked up his fifth win of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division while Corey Hutchings and Ken Cassidy Jr. each won for the fourth time of the year in the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks, respectively. Glenn Griswold was a first-ever winner at the Speedbowl in the SK Light Modified division and Dylan Izzo scored his third INEX Legend Cars win of 2013. Chadwick beat back one of the division’s best-ever to claim the NASCARWhelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature. Keith Rocco moved in over the final charge to the checkered flag to stage a great finish with Chadwick that had fans on the edge of their seats. Kyle James hung on to third over Ted Christopher, who was fourth. Rob Janovic rounded out the top-five. The win was Chadwick’s third on the year and second consecutive in the extra-distance SK 100 event. Chadwick also picked up the “Rough & Tumble” driver of the race award for his hard earned victory. Twenty two Modifieds went to post for the event.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had a week off to prepare before heading to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 100. The event would be shown live by the Speed Channel beginning at 1:00pm.

Ryan Preece, who had won three of the five events run this season, leads the point standings by 32 points over Rowan Pennink. Three points behind Pennink was Mike Stefanik. Justin Bonsignore and Doug Coby rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Ron Silk, Don Lia, Ted Christopher, Eric Goodale and Bobby Santos.

It’s become somewhat of a joke as shortly after the recent Riverhead Raceway event that Ted Christopher has hit just about everything there is to hit except the lottery. Christopher
hopes to hit the lottery in New Hampshire when he gets redemption with a win. Christopher was in contention to take the win at New Hampshire last fall when he was hit and turned into the wall in the closing moments by Don Lia.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC the lights were out as the southern Modifieds were at the Caraway Speedway. George Brunnhoelzl III went wire-to-wire on Saturday to score a record 20th career win. Brunnhoelzl’s biggest threat came late in the race when Andy Seuss challenged for the lead. He pushed Brunnhoelzl through Turn 4 on Lap 135, but spun while going for the lead a lap later, bringing out the fifth caution of the night. Seuss made a fierce charge back to the front after the restart, taking third at the finish behind Kyle Ebersole. They were followed by Brian Loftin and Gary Putnam, with his first career top-five finish. Sixth through 10th were Burt Myers, Luke Fleming, Danny Bohn, J.R. Bertuccio and Mike Norman.

Jimmie Johnson, after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup 400, became the first driver in 31 years to sweep Daytona International Speedway, accomplishing the feat with a dominating run Saturday night for his fourth win of the season. The Daytona 500 winner was the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1982, and the fifth overall, to win both races in a season at Daytona.

Matt Kenseth pulled away from traffic on the final restart of Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona, cruising to a comfortable win.

Last year, 2017, The Stafford Speedway beat the rain with the running of the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $5,300 and a total heat race bonus of $2,000 from Wheelers Auto of Hamden, the total posted awards were over $34,000. The Gambler’s Challenge was voted on by the fans on how it would be paid out and the top-3 choices were put into a hat in victory lane with Doug Dunleavy pulling a chip with the winning formula on it. Dunleavy pulled the split among the 6th through 10th place finishers chip, giving Chase Dowling a total payday of $5,325 in purse and contingencies. In other feature action, Michael Bennett won the Late Model feature, Wesley Prucker was a first time winner in the SK Light feature, R.J. Surdell was a first time winner in the Limited Late Model division, and Vince Gambacorta won the DARE Stock feature for his first Stafford victory since the 2006 NAPA Fall Final.

Dowling held off Ryan Preece in the closing laps to score his biggest paying victory of his Stafford career. Rowan Pennink finished third with Todd Owen and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5.

Dowling, closed out his racing weekend Saturday by winning the Exit Realty Modified Touring Series event at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.
Jon McKennedy was second and Kirk Alexander third in the 17-car field at Monadnock.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to where it all started, at the Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire. Long-time New Hampshire racer Russ Hersey accomplished what he set out to do 14-years ago, to win a Valenti Modified Racing Series race and it finally happened Friday night, July 7, at historic speedway.

Hersey started 15th in a 15-car field and didn’t make a run to the front in the early going. Pole sitter Mike Willis Jr. led the first seven laps until Dylan Rock, got by and led the field for the next 30-laps.

Rock, age-17, was knocked from the lead when Sammy Rameau, age-15, battling for the top spot, made contact with the leader. Both cars were relegated to the rear of the field. On the ensuing restart Hersey took command and led the race to the finish.

Dana Smith ran a steady race and finished a solid second with Anthony Nocella, third.

There was no racing at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night due to the SailFest Fireworks display in New London harbor. As a result the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway ran a Throw-Back event for the NASCAR K&N series. The paltry field consisted of numerous series regulars and a few drivers familiar with Thompson Speedway looking to make their own mark by using their experience on the historic oval to their advantage. The day started with a new track record as Chase Purdy topped Martin Truex, Jr’s previous record of 20.200 with a lap time of 20.197 in group qualifying, nabbing Purdy his third consecutive pole. Purdy would lead the first few laps of the night’s main event, but eventually found himself under attack by Todd Gilliland, son of NASCAR driver David Gilliland, who started on the outside pole and had a dominant car for much of the event.

Despite Gilliland’s dominance however, the last 25 laps saw another generational driver rise to the top and find his way to victory lane. Harrison Burton, son of NASCAR staple Jeff Burton, was able to wrestle the lead away in the final quarter of the event after racing side-by-side with Gilliland for nearly five laps before finally completing a pass and never looking back. The win was Burton’s fourth of the season, and fourth in the last six races, building on his points lead as he continues to make his mark on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Division.

The Sunoco Modified Series ended the night with the points leaders all having trouble in a caution littered first half of the 30-lap feature. Points leader Ryan Preece as well as his closest challengers for the title, Keith Rocco and Woody Pitkat, all experienced setbacks in different incidents over the course of the first half of the race while veteran racer Ted Christopher returned to a familiar position atop the leader board, leading much of the second half of the event. Christopher held off numerous challengers, including several charges by Todd Owen on numerous restarts. Is wasn’t until the final restart of the night that Owen managed to beat Christopher to the punch when Christopher took the outside line after having found success on the bottom groove all night, allowing Owen the chance to gain the momentum he needed to capture a win at Thompson.

Christopher ended up second with Troy Talman, third. Other winners were Wayne Burroughs, Jr.in the Mini Stocks, Brent Gleason in the Limited Sportsman, Matt Lowinski-Loh in the Late Models and Glenn Korner in the Lite Modifieds.

Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway Tom Rogers strapped into his family owned car for the second week in a row promptly steering the car to victory in the annual Baldwin Evans & Jarzombek 77. The victory was the 45th of Tom’s career as he closes in on Jim Malone Sr. (50) for second on the all time win list at the track.

Down in the south land, rain washed out action at the Bowman Gray Stadium

Martin Truex was dominant throughout and had enough left on a final restart to win the NASCAR Cup race night at Kentucky Speedway. Kyle Busch took the lead during a late caution on lap 168 Saturday and held on to win the 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race. The race had been postponed a day earlier because of storms, creating a 700-mile doubleheader for Busch and several other Cup drivers.