Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Sixty five years ago in 1953, Leo Boudreau was the 25 lap Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Dean was the non-Ford winner. Johnny Thompson, who began his racing career at the Kingston Fairgrounds in Rhode Island, was the Sportsman winner at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Thompson, a refrigeration mechanic by trade would enjoy his greatest days during the 1960s at the Norwood Arena. Lou Tetreault was the Saturday night non-Ford winner.
Sixty years ago in 1958, Ray Moran was the Wednesday night winner in the Modifieds at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Beauregard was the non-Ford winner and Turk Hewitt was the Bomber winner. Johnny Sandberg was the Saturday night Modified winner at the Speedbowl. Moran and John Arrigoni won support races.
Fifty five years ago in 1963 trade publication Area Auto Racing News reported that Eddie Flemke led the Eastern Bandits on a southern swing that took them to the Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas Virginia for a 200 lap Modified event. Flemke started 28th and by the time the race was flagged two to go Flemke had taken the lead only to run out a fuel and was forced to give way to New Jersey driver Bob Rossell who went on to take the win. Flemke had hoped to redeem himself at Old Bridge on Sunday but was thwarted by the rain. Rene Charland was the Friday night winner at the Fort Dix (New Egypt) Speedway. Don Collins was the 50 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue was the Bomber winner. A special Bomber program was run on Sunday, Aug 4,1963. It was on this date that Bob Potter won his first of almost 100 feature wins at the Waterford Speedbowl. George Janoski was the Modified winner on the dirt at Stafford.
Fifty years ago in 1968, Eddie Flemke began the weekend with a win at Stafford on Friday night. Driving the Bobby Judkins 2x, Flemke beat out Gene Bergin, Bugsy Stevens, Don MacTavish and Bob Santos. Pete Corey made a rare appearance at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway and walked away with a win. Andy Romano finished second with Jerry Cook, Dave Lape and Dave Kotary rounding out the top five. Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row at Fonda on Saturday night as he won a 50 lapper at the historic oval over Corey and Ed Pieniezek. Leo Cleary put the Joe Brady 41 in victory lane at Norwood and at Islip, John Berkowski took the win. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl it was Daring Dick Caso taking top honors in the Modifieds. Howard “Jiggs” Beetham who would become a championship car owner with Bob Potter as his driver, was the Daredevil winner. Bugsy Stevens took a win at Thompson on Sunday night and at Utica-Rome, Pete Corey got his second win of the weekend as he took the 30-lap win over Jerry Cook, Bernie Miller, Sonny Seamon and Lou Lazzaro. In open competition action at Fulton on Sunday, Jim Shampine took the win.
Forty five years ago, in 1973, a 100 lapper scheduled at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, on Friday night, rained out. At Stafford on Saturday night, Ronnie Bouchard out-dueled Eddie Flemke for the win. Dennis Giroux finished third with Freddie Schulz and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Islip ran a 200-lap championship event that saw Richie Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Jerry Cook upstage the locals as they took the top three spots. Dan MacNamara finished fourth with Jim Hendrickson, fifth. Shangri-La ran twin features with Grame Bolia and Bryan Osgood taking the checkers. Dick Dunn made it three in a row in the Al Gaudreau No.3 at the Waterford Speedbowl. Paul Coutu was the Grand American Late Model winner. Rounding out the weekend at Utica-Rome on Sunday night, Sonny Seamon took the win over Maynard Troyer, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook.
Forty years ago, in 1978, the Yankee All Star League made a mid-week stop at the Waterford Speedbowl. Geoff Bodine continued his domination of the series as he took the win from local favorite Dick Dunn. Ron Bouchard finished third and was followed by Roland LaPierre Jr. and Bobby Clark. Richie Evans, Fred Harbach and Jerry Cook took the top three spots at New Egypt. Bodine went two for two at Stafford on Friday night as he won a left-over100 lapper plus the regularly scheduled 30 lapper. At Monadnock, Punky Caron ruled the roost. Riverside was not on Bodine’s venue for Saturday as Reggie Ruggiero took the win at the amusement park oval. Bodine went to Seekonk where the rain prevailed. Bodine made it four for four on the weekend as he won the Sunday night event at Thompson. Ron Bouchard finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. It was also a good weekend for Richie Evans and Maynard Troyer. In addition to his win at New Egypt on Wednesday, Evans won a 200 lapper at Islip on Saturday and a 30 lapper at Utica-Rome on Sunday night. Troyer also hit a triple as he won at Spencer on Friday night plus double features at Lancaster on Saturday night.
Thirty five years ago, in 1983, a scheduled 100 lapper at Stafford had to be stopped after Corky Cookman ran over John Falconi’s wheel in turn four and went through the catch fence and landed in the fourth turn bleachers. Mike Hornat also went out. Fans in the area escaped with minor injuries. John Anderson won the preliminary SK-Modified event. It was also on this night that the dream team of Greg Sacks and Ernie Wilsburg came to an end. Billy Colton, who would eventually head up Troyer Engineering, won the Friday night event at the Spencer Speedway and at New Egypt it was Tom Mauser over John Blewett Jr. Bob Potter added to his feature win total at Waterford on Saturday night as he beat out Roland LaPierreJr. Other Saturday night winners were SJ Evonsion at Riverside, Jim Spencer at Shangri La and Siege Fidenza at Lancaster. Seekonk rained out, as did Thompson on Sunday. In action on Long Island, Wayne Anderson won out over Don Howe and Richie Evans at Riverhead on Friday night and it was Evans over Tom Baldwin at Islip on Saturday night.
Thirty years ago, in 1988, Ted Christopher won his second race of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Point leader Bob Potter finished second with Mike Christopher, third. Phil Rondeau was the late model winner. At Monadnock, Marty Radwick won out over Reggie Ruggiero and Dwight Jarvis. John Jensen took the Saturday night win at Waterford and it was Bruce D’Assssandro over Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside. In other Saturday night action it was Dan Jivenelli over Wayne Anderson at Riverhead and Tony Hirschman over Lee Sherwood at Shangri-La. The Modified Tour was at Thompson on Sunday. Jim Spencer took the win over Mike Stefanik, Mike Mclaughlin, Brian Ross and Jamie Tomaino. Jeff Fuller won the SK-Modified feature in a car owned by Brad Lafountaine.
Twenty five years ago, in 1993, the NASCAR Modified Tour visited the Lee Raceway. The biggest crowd in the history of the track, 7500, was on hand. Reggie Ruggiero, in the Ed Cloce 69, took the lead from Jeff Fuller when he suffered a flat on lap 8 and went on to take the 100-lap win. Rick Fuller finished second followed by Satch Worley, Tom Baldwin and Charlie Pasteryak. At Stafford on Friday night, Ted Christopher recorded his 30th career win at the Nutmeg oval. Mike Christopher finished second with Mike Paquett, Bo Gunning and Curt Brainard rounding out the top five. Phil Rondeau took the modified feature at Waterford after a nine-car wreck triggered by Ted Christopher took out many of the front runners. At Riverside it was Chris Kopec over Jerry Marquis and Steve Park and at Riverhead, Mike Ewanitsko won the Charlie Jarzombek Memorial. Wayne Anderson finished second with Don Howe, third and Eddie Brunnhoelzl, fourth. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Mark Martin took the win after Kyle Petty spun and collected Dale Earnhardt Sr. with six laps to go. The Busch North Series was at Loudon where Kelly Moore took the win over Robbie Crouch, Mike Stefanik and Mike Mclaughlin.
Twenty years ago, in 1998, Bo Gunning won the No-Bull 100 at Stafford. Mike Christopher finished second with Bob Potter, third. The event was a re-scheduled rainout. Lloyd Agor won the regular event. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series visited the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Hometown favorite Mike Ewanitsko took the 201-lap win. Howie Brode finished second with Tom Cravenho, third. Jamie Tomaino and Tony Ferrente rounded out the top five. Frank Vigliarolo led the first 17 laps until being passed by Ewanitsko. There were 13 cautions for 60 laps. At Waterford, Mike Holdredge recorded his second career win and at Riverside, Ricky Miller took the checker. In Sunday night action at Thompson, Bert Marvin held off Mike Christopher and Jim Broderick to take the win. Watkins Glen hosted the Winston Cup division and Busch North Series. Kim Baker outran John Preston and Joe Piezza in the Busch North Series portion and Jeff Gordon won the Winston Cup event. Mark Martin finished second. Ted Christopher drove in relief for Dick Trickle and had worked his way to second spot before he pitted. A sour engine robbed him of a high finish. It was also on this weekend that Bob Bahre announced that the IRL would be dropped from the Loudon schedule because of poor crowd draw and poor attendance of cars. Paul Sawyer canceled the modified race at Richmond because of a conflict with the powers in Daytona Beach and on a sad note, midget driver Len Duncan died at 87.
Fifteen years ago in 2003, in Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, rain threatened and in the end prevailed but not before most of the evening racing was completed. Eric Berndt inherited the lead just past the half way mark of the 30 lap Sunoco SK-type modified event when Bo Gunning made contact with early leader Bob Santos III. Santos was done for the night and Gunning restarted in the rear. Berndt led the rest of the way with a spirited battle with Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin. Ceravolo got a run on Berndt on the last lap and as the pair exited turn four heading for the checkered flag they were side by side. At the line it was Berndt by inches. Ceravolo settled for second and was followed by Marvin, Kerry Malone, Ted Christopher and Gunning. Scott Bronczyk won the Late Model feature, Jess Gleason, the Limited Sportsman and Mike Veins, the Mini-Stocks. The final event on the evening’s schedule was a 75 lap Pro Stock event that went 25 laps before the skies opened up. Just before the rain began David Berghman and Jeff Connors were battling for the lead when they tangled and ultimately collected the next ten cars behind them. At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was in town for the ASB American Classic 150. There were 44 modifieds on hand. Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Bob Garbarino Mystic River Marina Dodge was the Busch Pole sitter. Eddie Flemke Jr. led from the opening green and appeared to have his season turned around until rain interrupted his quest for victory. The event went to caution on lap 44 and never went back to green as rain intensified. Flemke led the field under caution until lap 61 when the race was finally halted. The event was resumed the following week on Tuesday evening. Prior to the Featherlite Modified Tour event Ted Christopher annexed his 69th career win at Stafford as he survived numerous wrecks to win the 50 lap SK-Modified event. Christopher had spent most of Friday in Watkins Glen, N.Y. where he qualified 17th for Saturday’s Busch North Series event that was run at the historic road course. The Stafford Speedway announced that double features would be the rule for the remaining events in August. Early season and mid-season rain were the cause of numerous cancellations. Six SK Modified feature events and four late model features would be run in a three week span. The NASCAR Busch North Series event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. also fell victim to rain but the event was called after the half way mark and Ted Christopher was declared the winner after 41 of the scheduled 62 laps were run. While the leaders pitted, Christopher gambled that it would rain before he ran out of gas. His gamble paid off as one by one, those ahead of him pitted for fuel and he ultimately inherited the lead and eventual win.
Ten years ago in 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ended their mid-summer break as they moved to the Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for the Miller Lite 140 on Saturday. 2. As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, 1994 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Wayne Anderson was honored. Jimmy Blewett registered his third career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour when he took the checkered flag. Blewett was strong throughout the evening as he led three times for 80 laps, including the final 46. After qualifying fourth fastest, Blewett took the win in the second of two 25-lap heat races that preceded the 140-lap main. He was then able to parlay his qualifying success into running up front in the feature. After staring on the outside pole, Blewett led the first 10 circuits and swapped the lead with pole-sitter Bill Park twice in the early going. He would take his third and final lead of the night on a restart on lap 102. For the second race in a row, Ronnie Silk finished as the runner-up. With four top-10s in a row, including a win, Silk has moved up to seventh in the season points standings after a slow start. Making his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start of the year after he captured the series title a year ago, Donny Lia finished third and was followed in the top five by Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece. The fifth place finish was the best of Preece’s young career. Ken Heagy, Mike Stefanik, Dan Jivanelli, Glenn Tyler and Eric Beers filled out the top 10. Chuck Hossfeld came home 18th in the race and suffered his first finish outside the top five this year, but will retain a 44-point lead over Christopher in the season standings.
As usual, the Riverhead event was slam-bang with lots of wrecks and extended caution periods. Of the 147 actually run, 95 were under caution. James Civali was fired on the spot during the event after he spun Rowan Pennick while under caution. NASCAR also felt it was intentional. Civali was found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor’s car during a caution period) of the 2008 NASCAR rulebook. The violation occurred during the Aug. 2 race. As a result, Civali was suspended from the next two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 15, 2008, and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2008. It was announced that Woody Pitkat and Doug Coby would share the driving chores of the vacated King Modified.
The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program got held up almost two hours because of showers but the track management and competitors persevered, getting the program in. Woody Pitkat made it two in a row in the Sunoco Modified division. Danny Fields scored the victory in an ultra-competitive 50 lap event for the Mini Stocks. Jeff Zuidema and Marc Palmisano shared Late Model victory lane in the division’s doubleheader. Mike O’Sullivan in the Pro Stocks; Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman; and Glenn Boss in the TIS Modifieds; turned their luck around with victories in their respective divisions.
The Whelen All-American Series NASCAR race event at Stafford Motor Speedway saw Ted Christopher, who last won on June 13, score his 101st career win at the Connecticut oval. Christopher won the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Ryan Posocco picked up his fifth feature win of 2008 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Earl Pelletier was a first time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Rob Dow scored his second feature win of 2008 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande came up a first time career winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.
At the Waterford Speedbowl Ryan Morgan survived a host of restarts and finished with Jon Porter on his bumper en route to his first-ever Legends Car victory at the Wacky Wednesday racing program at the shoreline oval.
Keith Rocco continued to make a name for himself as he won his fifth race of the season on Saturday night at the shoreline oval as he took the checkered flag in the 35-lap SK Modified featurel. Other feature winners were Joe Curioso III (Late Model), Walt Hovey Jr. (Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock) and Greg Stoehr (Northeastern Midget Association). Rocco passed defending champion Rob Janovic Jr. with 18 laps remaining. Janovic jumped out to an early lead and was trailed by Dennis Gada before a third-turn pileup involving Gada and several other frontrunners scattered the field. Rocco pressured Janovic for several laps before getting the advantage with an outside move during the feature’s final restart. Jeff Pearl, Doug Coby and Gada rounded out the top five.
Gary Danko, who had a highly regarded radio show with racing news had Waterford Speedbowl mortgage holder Rocky Arbitell on his program. Arbitell stated that the current foreclosure problems at the shoreline oval were precipitated by the fact that Terry Eames had violated the financial contract that he had with Arbitell. Arbitell further stated that he has no connection with current track operator Jerry Robinson. Like Eames, Robinson did not deserve to be called a promoter as he was rapidly gaining a reputation as being not friendly with competitors, media or fans. Robinson had, however, improved the concessions at the shoreline oval.
In NASCAR Nationwise Series racing at rainy Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada, Ron Fellows splashed his way to victory in the event that ended 26 laps early because of heavy rain and poor visibility. It was the first NASCAR points race run on grooved rain tires. Fellows, driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports, led the final seven laps. Marcos Ambrose finished third after leading a race-high 27 laps.
In Sprint Cup action, Carl Edwards won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., gambling with a pit strategy he thought would cost him the race. Edwards pitted from the lead just before rain caused a 41-minute red flag and had the driver arguing with crew chief Bob Osborne over the decision. But the plan worked as the race wound up going to completion. Edwards stretched his last tank of fuel to earn his fourth victory of the season. The race started in sunshine and it appeared Mark Martin, who took the lead from pole-winner Jimmie Johnson at the start and took control would be the one to beat. But Martin had problems on two pit stops that put him back into the pack and then dark clouds began moving in, changing some strategies.Rain began falling on lap 127 of the 200-lap event and, moments later, Edwards and several other leaders ducked onto pit road. Nineteen other drivers, led by June Pocono winner Kasey Kahne and Martin, who led a race-high 55 laps, stayed out to gain track position, waiting to see if the rain might end the race prematurely. But the racing continued and Edwards found himself back on top for good when Martin, the last of the drivers on the alternate strategy, had to finally pit on lap 187. Tony Stewart was second, almost 4 seconds behind. Johnson was third. Kevin Harvick, who crashed with Joe Nemechek on the first lap, came back to finish fourth, just ahead of David Ragan.
Five years ago in 2013, Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway was cancelled for the third week in a row due to rain.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the rain prevailed as over an inch of the wet stuff fell on the speedway area as well as all of New England.
Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco score his 50th career SK Modified win. Rocco made a two-fer as he came back later in the evening to win the
Keith Rocco won his 50th career SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl early Saturday night, but he wasn’t finished. Valenti Modified Racing Series 100-lap feature before a large crowd that gathered as part of the Speedbowl’s annual Wings & Wheels event.
Other winners at the Connecticut shoreline oval were Jon McKennedy in the 50-lap International Supermodified Association feature, Todd Bertrand in the NEMA Midgets, Scott Bigelow in the NEMA Lite feature and Corey Barry in the SK Modified Light race.
Rocco’s win in the 35-lap SK Modified race, was his sixth of the season at Waterford. Rocco also has wins at Thompson and at Stafford for an overall season total of 17.
In the SK Modified feature Rocco made a methodical move to the front, moving into fourth place on lap 10 and passing Craig Lutz and Rob Janovic following a restart a lap later to move into second behind Ed Puleo. Puleo was able to hold Rocco off until a lap 18 restart, when Rocco took the lead for good, although he had to survive one last restart with two laps remaining to hold off Kyle James. Puleo finished third. Ted Christopher and Frank Mucciacciaro rounded out the top five. Dennis Gada is the all-time SK Modified® division win leader with 62.
In the Valenti Modified Racing Series 100 at the Speedbowl Rocco scored his second career victory in front of a home track crowd. The division’s 100-lap feature saw Rocco rally to the front early in the going, taking command on the outside of Chris Pasteryak on lap-9. Rocco led easily over a long stretch of racing that took the event through a caution on lap-89 when Todd Owen’s car spewed fluid around the track. Following a lengthy delay for the cleanup, Rocco hung tough and survived four additional caution periods over the final nine laps which took its toll on the field behind him. Rocco handled every restart and subsequent challenger to take his first series win at the Speedbowl, marking the seventh different division he has won in at the track, tops all-time in the track’s 63-year history. Series point leader Rowan Pennink, who started 17th, finished in second and Pasteryak ended up third. Tommy Barrett and veteran racer Dwight Jarvis avoided the late trouble to finish fourth and fifth. Sixth through tenth were Steve Masse, Woody Pitkat, Richard Savary, Rob Goodenough, and Louie Mechalides.
Eight caution flags slowed the race including an opening lap crash that saw Ted Christopher get booted into the turn four wall. There were 32 Modifieds on hand for the event.
Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC rain washed out all racing activity.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan Preece scored his third win of the season as he beat out Jason Agugliaro and Dave Sapienza for the win. Preece started fifth and led the final seven laps to score his NASCAR Whelen All American Series win.
Brad Keselowski led 49 laps in the Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen and finally notched his first career road course victory. Kyle Busch was the Sprint Cup winner.
Last year, 2017, The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway played host to the Whelen Modified Tour Series along with their weekly venue last Wednesday night. Ryan Preece will never be accused of being a stroaker or one who just rides along to collect points. Just the opposite, as he is one of the hardest chargers in the division. Preece was in top form last Wednesday as he left little doubt after a commanding win in the Bud 150.
In the early going Preece took the lead from pole sitter Rowan Pennink in turn two on lap six. Preece led Pennink until a lap 74 caution when Pennink pitted for tires. Craig Lutz inherited the runner up spot but it was short lived. Justin Bonsignore was on the move and by lap 82 had displaced Lutz and Preece who was backing up as his tires gave up. Timmy Solomito took the lead from Bonsignore on lap 87 as Preece continued to fade at an alarming pace. On lap 114 Preece mysteriously spun in turn two, bringing out a caution, which allowed him to pit for three new tires. Preece said he felt a “nudge” before he spun and NASCAR didn’t disagree. Restarting in 14th position when the green dropped on lap 119 Preece made a determined march to the front. He was up to seventh on lap 123, 5th on lap 124, 4th on lap 125, 3rd on lap 126 as Doug Coby took the lead and second on lap 127. By lap 130 Preece had glued himself to Coby’s bumper. Coby blocked for two laps but couldn’t hold Preece off. Preece took the lead in turn one on lap 133. From then on, except for some last lap drama it was all Preece. As Preece and Coby took the white flag Coby’s right front tire blew out from apparent contact and he gave the wall going into turn one a wallop.
With the checker and caution flying Preece took the checker. Ted Christopher crossed the line on Preece’s tail. NASCAR reverted back to the last completed green flag lap and awarded Doug Coby the second spot and pushing Christopher back to third. Timmy Solomito and Bobby Santos rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Andrew Krause, Rowan Pennink, Eric Goodale, Jon McKennedy and Woody Pitkat. Christopher was extremely upset with NASCAR’s decision as he voiced his opinion with numerous expletives.
As an added note Eddie Partridge hinted that Ryan Preece may be heading to ”The Madhouse” following this weeks Bristol Mod Tour event.
The Sunoco Modifieds took to the track prior to the running of the tour event. Keith Rocco took the lead on lap 22 in turn one from Steve Masse. It was Rocco’s 242nd career win but it didn’t come easy. Masse led the early going after pole sitter Jason Sundeen spun out on lap one. Woody Pitkat was a mid-race leader before he spun with Ted Christopher and Troy Talman. Following a lap 17 restart with Rocco on the point, Masse ran him up in turn one to take the lead. Rocco dogged him until lap 22 when he retook the lead for good. Following Rocco at the finish was Masse and Christopher. Woody Pitkat and Todd Owen rounded out the top five.
Other Wednesday night winners were Randy Cabral in the NEMA Midgets, Brent Gleason in the Limited Sportsman and Wayne Burroughs, Jr in the Mini-Stocks. Woody Pitkat was awarded the Late Model win fter Rick Gentes was disqualified.
Oval track racing action returns to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, September 10 with the Sunoco 20/20 “For the Fans” event. The evening of racing will be the final opportunity for local racing division competitors to gain points, wins, or momentum as the season draws closer to the October World Series of Weekend where local champions and the Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned.
The Thompson Whelen Modified Tour Bud 150 will be shown by NBC Sports Net on Thursday, August 17 at 7:oopm.
The Stafford Speedway continued their Friday night series of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing action with the Wild Thing Karts Senior Outlaws joining Stafford’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions as part of Call Before You Dig 811 Night. Before the racing hit the track, Stafford Speedway honored the five winners of the CBYD 811 Challenge with each driver winning an $811 bonus from CBYD. The five winners were Chase Dowling, Michael Bennett, Bryan Narducci, Robert Bloxsom, III, and George Bessette, Jr. Taking down feature wins on the night were Ted Christopher in the SK Modified® feature, Glen Reen in the Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the SK Light feature, Bryan Narducci in the Limited Late Model feature, Johnny Walker in the DARE Stock feature, and Christopher Buffone in the special Wild Thing Karts Senior Outlaws feature.
In the 40 lap SK Modified feature, Ted Christopher took the lead after a lap 9 restart with Rowan Pennink hot on his tail. Christopher was able to get clear on lap-15 and Todd Owen was now on the outside of Pennink in a challenge for second. Pennink won that battle and Owen was now side by side with Christopher, Jr. for third with Matt Galko and Chase Dowling side by side for fifth. At the halfway point, Ted Christopher still had Pennink glued to his back bumper with Christopher, Jr., Owen, and Dowling lined up in third to fifth. Tommy Membrino came to a stop on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 25 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead back under green and he held the lead until lap-28 when Pennink went to the front. Christopher took the lead back on lap-31 while behind them, Christopher, Jr. was holding off strong challenges from Owen and Williams. Owen and Williams touched tires and got into the turn 4 wall to bring the caution out with 31 laps complete.
Back under green Christopher and Pennink were swapping the lead again with Christopher taking the lead on the restart, but Pennink went to the front on lap-33. Pennink held the lead for 2 laps before Christopher went back to the front on lap-36. With the lead swapping back and forth, Dowling was now up to third with Christopher, Jr. in fourth and Tyler Hines was up to fifth.
Christopher was able to hold off Pennink to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2017 season. Pennink got loose in the last corner and nearly lost second to Dowling, but he was abel to beat Dowling to the line by inches. Christopher, Jr. finished fourth with Hines rounding out the top-5.
Ted Christopher is the Staffords all-time winningest driver with 129 feature wins including 107 in the SK modifieds. Overall his career total is 371 victories. Now 59, Christopher shows no sign of slowing down.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Waterford, CT driver Rob Janovic Jr grabbed his first win of the 2017 season in the 35-lap SK Modified portion of Wings and Wheels. Janovic Jr started outside pole and had to fight a ill handling car as well as fend off a hard charging Kyle James to take down his first dual checkered flags of the year. “The car wasn’t good at all tonight, I had to make sure I hit all of my marks. The last lap we got together it was more of me backing into him than him tapping me,” explained Janovic after the event. Rounding out the top five were Kyle James, Keith Rocco, Todd Owen and Matthew Galko.
In the 25-lap SK Lite Modified event it was Dana DiMatteo taking the win. For the Farmington, CT driver, it was his third win of the season. The NEMA Midgets were up next for their 25-lap event. It was Lakeville, MA Avery Stoehr putting the Bertrand Motorsports #39 machine into victory lane.
Taking to the speedway next was the Valenti Modified Racing Series for their scheduled 100-lap event. Plainville, CT Ted Christopher dominated the event. Christopher shot out to the lead as the green waved. For Christopher, he had to withstand nine restarts and had to use tire management as the race was also red flagged as a crew member of the Steve Masse Team was clipped by another car during a pitstop. At the end, it was TC pulling ahead from the field to post the win. Rounding out the top five were Kyle James, Sammy Rameau, Donnie Lashua and Chris Pasteryak.
The NEMA Lites 25-lap feature was over quickly as they ran from the green to checker. Pole sitter Megan Cugini shot out of a canon and grabbed the lead. Cugini lead for 24-laps and left the door open on the inside for Dylan Duhaime. It was the only lap Duhaime led and it took him the checkered flag. The ATQ Midgets ran a carbon copy of the NEMA Lite feature with the same outcome. The 25-lap feature went green to checker. Matt Janish grabbed the lead as the green waved and pulled away from the field. With three laps to go Ryan Tidman caught Janish with two laps to go and powered around Janish and took down his fifth win of the season.
The ISMA Modifieds started the day running two sets of group qualifying events to set up the heat lineups for the scheduled 75-lap feature. 14-cars took time and it was Michael Muldoon taking the top spot. After a three-car mishap that started the event, the red flag waved to put a halt on the event. The race continued only to have another red flag to wave. The #61 Mike Ordway smacked the back-stretch wall. When the race was getting ready to continue it was announced the feature would be shortened to 50-laps. Timmy Jedrzejek and Trent Stephens battled for the lead as the race was winding down. The caution flew on lap-39 as the sky opened and the race was red/checkered and the win went to Jimmy Jedrzejek.
Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, Dave Brigati of Calverton pulled triple duty once again during the Donaldson’s VW-Subaru night NASCAR Whelen All American series program and in the process drove to his 10th career NASCAR Modified victory in their 40-lap main event. Prior to his win Brigati placed 5th in the 30-lap Super Pro Truck event and runner-up in the 25-lap Eagle Auto Mall Modified Crate race with a large crowd looking on.
Down in the south land, at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC on Saturday night, Danny Bohn and Tim Brown won the two 50-lap Modified races Saturday. Only a 150-lap finale remains on the 2017 schedule, Brown was fourth in the points standings before pairing a sixth-place showing with his 84th career win.
Brown passed pole-sitter Jonathan Brown on the sixth lap of a relatively clean second race and used a solid night to jump to second in the standings. Burt Myers has a 79-point lead heading into the finale.
Making only his seventh and eighth Modified starts of the season at Bowman Gray, Bohn picked up his second consecutive victory four days after a carburetor inspection at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord upheld his Aug. 5 win in a 100-lap race. Bohn qualified 13th on Saturday for the first 50-lap race, which featured several big wrecks. Jason Myers and Tim Brown were the only two cars not slowed up by a fourth-turn pileup on the opening lap, and only three cars weren’t affected by a similar pileup on the third lap.
On lap 12, Myers and Brown were still in front when they wrecked, allowing Jonathan Brown and Bohn to move to the front. Jonathan Brown frequently held the lead over the next 25 laps, but Bohn nudged him up the track as they moved between the first two turns on lap 39 and slid underneath to put himself in a favorable position to complete the crossover pass.
Bohn, who followed his victory Saturday by finishing third, behind the two Browns, plans to race this coming weekend at Wall Stadium in New Jersey.
Among those at the Madhouse was Timmy Solomito who recorded a 19th and a 15th. Ryan Preece will try his luck this week in the season finale.
On a sad note, Ed Bolles passed away on Saturday August 5, 2017. NASCAR was his true passion and the #76 racing team was everything to him over the past 40 years. Ed’s sons competed in the Sportsman and Modified Divisions and the Busch North Tour. His son Brian was his first driver and then his younger son Tom took over the wheel, currently in the SK Division at Stafford Motor Speedway. Ed was 86.
Also passing this past week was NEAR Hall of Fame member George Lombardo. Lombardo raced from the late 1940s through the mid 1960s. During that span, he took down over 125 wins, at Riverside Park, Waterford Speedbowl, West Haven Speedway, and Plainville Stadium. At Plainville, he won a pair of track championships, in 1962 and ’63.
In NASCAR Monster Energy cup racing at the Michigan Raceway, Kyle Larson surprised the field, moving up from fourth to first in overtime to win his third consecutive Cup race at the 2-mile oval. He passed Martin Truex Jr., who led the field to green, on the first of the final two laps.
Sam Hornish Jr. survived several chaotic restarts en route to winning Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Mid-Ohio Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI