RPW Exclusive: Looking Back A Bit With Phil Smith – Fourth Week Of August

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Sixty five years ago in 1953, Red Foote, originally from Meriden, CT went two for two at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won 25 lap Sportsman events on Wednesday and on Saturday. Bud Matter and Frank Chapman were the non-Ford winners.

Sixty years ago in 1958, Ray Moran made it three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the Wednesday night 25 lap Modified feature. Don Collins was the Saturday night winner. Non-Ford winners were Dick Beauregard and Ted Stack.

Fifty five years ago in 1963, Mario “Fats” Caruso won the biggest race of his career as he beat a stellar field of Modified greats as he won the first annual Trenton 200 at the one mile New Jersey State Fairgrounds Speedway. Caruso had won the night before at Norwood and did an all nighter to make it to Trenton for early morning inspection. Southern invader Ray Hendrick finished second and was followed by Perk Brown, Gil Hearne and Runt Harris. Sixth through tenth were Eddie Crouse, Bill Wimble, Ed Ortiz, Joe Thurman and Eddie Pieniazek. Forty five cars started the event. The fastest qualifier was Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket, V-8. Slater failed to finish as his engine expired in a cloud of smoke. Slater, who had won a 100 mile race at Trenton in June of 1960, started on the pole after he had set a fast time of 37.03 seconds. Slater was leading the field on lap three when his engine expired. Pete Corey made it two in a row on the dirt at Stafford and Don Collins was the winner of a 100 lapper at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Other weekend winners included Fred Harbach and Dick Lewis at Fort Dix (New Egypt) and Bobby Albert at Old Bridge.

Fifty years ago, in 1968, heavy rain forced the cancellation of Friday night racing at the Stafford and Albany-Saratoga Speedways. The rain carried over to Saturday at Lancaster in western New York. Frank Faria won at Norwood on Saturday night while at Fonda; it was Jerry Cook over Ray Sitterly and Eddie Pieniezek. Daring Dick Caso was the 30 lap Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. On Sunday it was the annual Trenton 200, which pitted the best of the north against the best of the south. Mr. Modified, Ray Hendrick, driving the famous Tant/Mitchell No.11 took the win. Red Farmer finished second with Paul Radford, third. Billy Hensley and Lennie Pond rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Al Grinnan, Bugsy Stevens, Eddie Royster, Will Cagle and Perk Brown.

Forty five years ago in 1973,Malta started the week off with a 30 lapper that saw Richie Evans take the win over Denis Giroux and Jerry Cook. At Stafford, on Saturday, Giroux again finished second but this time it was behind race winner, Bugsy Stevens. Dick Dunn, in the Al Gaudreau No.3 was the 36 lap Mid Season Modified Championship event at the Waterford Speedbowl. At Tioga it was Geoff Bodine over Cook and at Utica-Rome it was Evans again but over Maynard Forette. Pocono ran a special modified event with Stevens taking the win.

Forty years ago in 1978,New Egypt ran on Wednesday. Wayne Anderson took the win and was followed by Evans and Cook. Evans and Cook finished one-two at Stafford and at Monadnock, Punky Caron won his 12th win of the season. Geoff Bodine took charge at Seekonk and at Riverside Charlie Glazier tasted victory. At Thompson on Sunday Bodine added another win as he held off Ron Bouchard and Joe Howard. Other weekend winners were Fred Harbach at Islip, Roger Treichler at Lancaster, George Kent at Tioga and Richie Evans at Utica-Rome. It was also this weekend in 1978 that New York racing legend Don Diffendorf hung up his helmet and retired.

Thirty five years ago in 1983,Thompson ran a pole qualifier for their annual 300.Richie Evans took the win and the spot over Corky Cookman. Friday night at Stafford, Bob Polverari out dueled Bugsy Stevens for the win. Rich Evans had quite a weekend as he won 200 lap events at New Egypt on Friday and at Islip on Saturday. George Kent won at Spencer on Friday and at Waterford on Saturday, Mark LaJunesse beat out Donnie Bunnell. Marty Radwick won at Riverside and Thompson was cancelled due to a power shortage that caused a brown out.

Thirty years ago in 1988,Ted Christopher got his fourth win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. At Monadnock, Dwight Jarvis was the victor. Christopher repeated at Waterford on Saturday. At Riverside, Richie Gallup took the win. Reggie Ruggerio finished second and sewed up the track championship. Tim Connolly drove his self-owned modified to a win at Tioga, which happened to be a Race of Champions qualifier. At Riverhead, Bob Park recorded his third win. Wayne Anderson finished second and wrapped up the track championship. Ted Christopher wrapped up the Thompson Championship on Sunday.

Twenty five years ago in 1993,Ted Christopher got his sixth win of the year at Stafford, beating out John Anderson. The Modified Tour Series was also at Stafford. Jeff Fuller took the lead from Jamie Tomaino on lap 71 of the 150-lap event and went on to take the win. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Mike Stefanik, third. At Waterford, on Saturday night, the races were cancelled due to a flooded parking lot. Brian Miller won at Riverhead and Dan Avery won at Riverside. In Busch Grand National action at Bristol, Todd Bodine took the win over Joe Nemacheck and in Winston Cup action, Mark Martin took the win.

Twenty years ago, in 1998, Bo Gunning recorded his 4th win of the season at Stafford on Friday night. Ted Christopher finished second. Eric Berndt was the Waterford winner despite the efforts of Jeff Pearl. Eddie Spiers beat out Rick Miller at Riverside and at Riverhead Chris Young took the win. Mike Stefanik took the BGNN point lead after he won at Jennerstown. In Sunday action at Thompson, Ted Christopher sat in victory lane. Mark Martin won the Bristol Winston Cup event and Kevin LePage was the Grand National winner.

Fifteen years ago in 2003, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series returned to the Stafford Speedway on Tuesday night to complete the rain-postponed ASB 150 from August 8. With no rain in sight, the event was completed. When the dust settled, Todd Szegedy sat in victory lane. It was his fifth career Modified tour win and his first at Stafford. Szegedy is a graduate of Stafford’s SK-Modified ranks. The action resumed after a lap 61 red flag on August 8. Eddie Flemke Jr. assumed the pole starting position. The first five laps were run under caution, which allowed competitors to change tires. Flemke elected to pit on lap 65 along with Szegedy and a host of others. Dave Etheridge to the front, followed by Don Lia and Ricky Fuller. The trio had pitted before the rains came on the initial date. Etheridge, who recently had become engaged to Renee Dupuis, led for three laps. Lia, who has shown a lot of promise and potential in his rookie season, took the lead and held it until lap 73 when he was passed by Rick Fuller. Szegedy’s big break came on lap 85 when Etheridge and Nevin George got together in turn three. As the field took evasive action to avoid the potential wreck, Szegedy made the right move and went from tenth to fourth during the melee. When the event re-started on lap 90 Szegedy wasted little time as he went from fourth to second and as the field completed lap 91, he had passed Fuller for the lead. Fuller faded to third as Szegedy took the checker. Nevin George finished second. John Blewett III and Chuck Hossfeld rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tony Hirshman, Jamie Tomaino, Tom Cravenho, Tony Ferrente Jr. and Eric Beers. There were a total of six cautions for 61 laps. Szegedy continued to lead the series point standings by 103 points over Blewett. Chuck Hossfeld sat in third spot with Ted Christopher and Jerry Marquis rounding out the top five. Christopher had a poor finish, 18th, after getting involved with Hossfeld and wrecking. Marquis ended up 23rd. Early race leader Eddie Flemke Jr. was an unfortunate victim as he was robbed of a potential win as a result of a broken shifter which resulted in a missed shift by Donnie Lia on a lap 119 re-start and resulting pig pile that saw him get turned into the front stretch wall. Flemke’s crew got him back in the event. With less than five laps from the finish something broke and he hit the wall again and ended his night in 21st spot. Ted Christopher, another potential winner, also had one of those nights as he crashed after making contact with Chuck Hossfeld on lap 126. A replay of the incident showed that Hossfeld was making a pass and was under him when he attempted to pinch him down. Hossfeld didn’t back off and the resulting contact saw Christopher in the wall, ending his night in 18th spot.

In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, the Sunoco SK-type modifieds went 75 laps. For the most part the racing was clean and green with only a few minor cautions. Bo Gunning, who has had an up and down season, took the win over Eric Berndt, Todd Ceravolo, Bert Marvin and Kerry Malone. Gunning closest challenger was Berndt who took the lead during a re-start with 15 to go. Five laps later Gunning powered his way to the lead and never looked back. Eric Berndt continued to lead the point standings with a 26-point edge over Jeff Malave. Malave was never a factor on Thursday as he finished 7th in the final rundown. Todd Ceravolo sat third in points, 18 behind Malave. Bert Marvin and Gunning rounded out the top five. Among the missing at Thompson on Thursday was defending track champion Ted Christopher. According to reports Christopher’s car never left the shop as he experienced engine problems. Other Thursday Night Thunder winners at Thompson were Joe Lemay in the Pro Stocks, RJ Marcotte in the Late Models, Mike Cavanaugh in the Limited Sportsman and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks.

At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, Bo Gunning carried his winning ways over from Thompson as he copped the first of the twin 40 lap SK-Modified features run. Gunning took the lead with five laps to go from Willie Hardie. Lloyd Agor made a late race charge and finished on Gunnings bumper. Willie Hardie, Ted Christopher and Jim Civali rounded out the top five. Jim Williams won the second 40 lapper over Jeff Baral, Chuck Docherty, Bo Gunning and Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Ryan Posocco picked up his fourth win of the season as he beat out Kenny Horton for the victory. Bob Leone was the Dare Stock winner.

At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night the flag was flying at half-mast in honor of Dan Brigham who had passed away. Brigham, a lieutenant in the Cohanzie Fire Department, was the officer in charge of Safety at the Speedbowl. The Modifieds at the shoreline oval ran twin 25’s because of the fact that time was running out to meet the minimum of 18 events required to have drivers eligible for NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing points. Dennis Gada, who was thought to be retiring at season’s end, cleared up a misunderstanding as he stated that he was retiring from the SK- Modifieds, not from racing all together. The four-time track champion is looking to climb the ladder a bit, maybe into a tour mod or a Busch North Series car. The hardest part about getting a ride in the tour series cars is money or the ability to bring it with you. In the first of the two features Gada made it three in a row and five overall for the season. Pete Pavone finished second with John Brouwer Jr., third. In the nightcap, Rob Janovic took the win after coming back from a crash in the first feature. Janovic, who is close friends with the Brigham family, dedicated his win to the recently departed Daniel. Dennis Charette finished second with Gada, third. Based on his recent finishes, Dennis Gada had moved by Ed Reed Jr. for the modified point lead. Other Saturday night winners were Russell LaJoie in the Late Models, Ed Gertsch in the Sportsman with Dan Darnstaedt and Glen Colvin victorious in the Mini Stocks.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Joe Hartmann came home the winner over John Fortin. JR Bertuccio and Frank Vigliorolo Jr. were both given a week’s suspension for their on track confrontation and at Wall Township, Kevin Flockhart took top honors over Tim Arre. The Busch North Series was at the Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine. Mike Olsen was awarded the win after apparent winner Mike Johnson was put to the rear of the rear of the lead lap cars as officials noticed that he jumped the green flag on the final restart.

In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Kurt Busch took the win and was loudly booed in victory lane by the many fans who felt that he had agitated Jim Spencer to the point where he got violent. Kevin Harvick finished second. Michael Waltrip bumped Ron Hornaday out of the lead with 34 laps to go and went on to take the Busch Series win at Bristol. Jim Spencer filed an appeal of his suspension, which was denied by the NASCAR commission.

Ten years ago in 2008, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour invaded the Thompson Speedway. Rain cancelled qualifying, which led to a start based on current point standings. All 33 cars on hand started the event.

Point leader Chuck Hossfeld led the opening laps before giving way to Todd Szegedy. An incident on lap 4 involved Eddie Flemke, Ryan Preece, Glenn Tyler, Kevin Goodale, Ricky Fuller, and Woody Pitkat. Preece and Tyler got the worst of it as they both suffered suspension damage. The pack ran single-file as the laps began to mount. Szegedy continued to lead with Hossfeld and Ted Christopher. The racing was finally slowed when the second caution flew on lap 42 for a spin by Jimmy Blewett. Blewett’s mount suffered from a broken panhard bracket mount. During the early stages of the event several front runners had encountered problems. After losing the top spot to Christopher, Szegedy encountered mechanical troubles under an early race caution necessitating a push to pit road and behind the wall. Szegedy was able to continue several laps down.

Ronnie Silk, who had worked his way to the second spot, found himself at the spinning end of a confrontation with Eddie Flemke. The field was able to miss Silk. Flemke received a penalty to the tail end of the longest line for his actions. During a caution period at lap 55 a host of cars headed to pit road for service. When things sorted out, Silk was leading with Bobby Grigas, who short-pitted, in second. Grigas capitalized on the restart; moving past Silk and into the lead. Hirschman followed through. Contact between business partners Flemke and Reggie Ruggiero necessitated another caution.

Back under green, Grigas continued to lead Hirschman. Lap-after-lap, Hirschman dogged Grigas. Early leader, Christopher, faltered while Stefanik was coming on strong. The veteran started to show his prowess after the century mark; joining Grigas and Hirschman. Silk meanwhile was fully recovered from his earlier incident to apply pressure to Stefanik. A bid for the third spot was slowed when Christopher, his tires worn, spun to bring out the caution. On the lap 112 restart, Hirschman took over the lead from Grigas with Silk following through in second. Bobby Santos was also able to motor by and into third. Silk’s march to the front was completed when he took the lead on lap 116. At lap 120, Christopher was back to eighth.

Contact between Hossfeld and Stefanik sent the Mystic Missile sliding. Both drivers were able to continue, barely missing a beat. The eleventh caution of the event flew; however, for a spin by Wade Cole on the other end of the speedway.

A handful of green flag laps led to a ruckus that began after bumper tag near the front of the pack. Hirschman was the aggressor on the lap 139 restart taking over the lead from Silk. Santos continued to run in third followed by a hard-charging Christopher. Silk was not done as he raced his way back by Hirschman and into the lead. The front five ran nose to tail as they took the white and checkered flags. With two laps remaining, Pitkat ended up against the turn four wall.

The race went into overtime, with a green, white, checker, single-file restart at lap 152. An uneventful final two laps gave Silk his third career win. Hirschman settled for second over Santos and Christopher and Stefanik.

Many tongues were still wagging over the last lap incident at Stafford between Ryan Preece and Todd Szegedy. Szegedy roughed up Preece to get the lead as they both apparently over-drove a bit going into the first turn. When the pair made contact NASCAR Director Chad Little felt that Preece had deliberately hit Szegedy. After watching a video produced on the Stafford website it appears that Szegedy was just as much at fault in the incident. Little, who is getting to be known as the “Invisible Man” made himself scarce after the call and was unavailable for comment. Preece and Boehler Racing took a lot of abuse after the event, which was uncalled for.

Thursday night Thunder Racing at Thompson came very close to being washed out as torrential rain pelted the speedway in mid-afternoon. Keith Rocco cleaned house in the Sunoco Modifieds. In other Whelen All-American Series racing, Lady Luck was finally on the side of George Bessette scored his first Pro Stock feature win of the 2008 season. It was the fifth win for Late Model ace Jeff Zuidema and Ernie Larose scored a popular win in Limited Sportsman division. Brian Sullivan took over the ride for his brother Tim in the family-owned TIS Modified to score the victory in only his second start. Scott Michalski led his racing family with a Mini Stock feature win.

Rocco looked like he was shot out of a cannon rocketing out from his fifth starting position to take the lead before the completion of the lap one restart. The second generation had the entire field covered as he survived numerous restarts throughout the 30 lap feature. On lap 25, Tom Cravenho moved to the inside groove to take the lead from Rocco. On lap 27, Rocco slid to the inside groove to retake his lead. Rocco never looked back as he ran to the finish in the No. 1 spot. Cravenho settled for second. Todd Ceravolo was able to take the third position from Danny Cates. Bob Grigas edged out Kevin Goodale to finish fifth.

The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain on Friday night. Ted Christopher led Keith Rocco by 6 points. Curt Brainard sat in third spot, 78 points behind the leader. Kenny Horton and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five. Rocco suffered a setback on August 8 when he was a victim of overaggressive driving by New Jersey racer Steven Reed. Reed was serving a one race suspension.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, the shoreline oval enjoyed one of its biggest crowds in a long time with their Racing Against Cancer Night, which brought in the International Super Modified Association along with the True Value Modified Series and the Northeastern Midget Association to compliment the tracks SK Modifieds. Lou Cicconi scored the 50-lap International Super Modified Association feature while Chris Pasteryak scored his first ever-open wheeled Modified win as he won the 100 lap True Value Modified Series event. Other feature winners were Randy Cabral (Northeastern Midget Association), and Ron Yuhas Jr. (SK Modifieds).

Opening with a bang, the 50-lap International Super Modified Association endured a pair of serious crashes before the first lap was completed. After getting underway, it was Dave Shullick Jr, executing a daring outside maneuver to snare the lead passing several cars. Out-front until the nineteenth circuit, Shullick was then overtaken by Mike Ordway Jr. Cicconi was the leader when the second red-flag occurred on lap forty-eight, setting the stage for a 2-lap dash for the checkers. Cicconi got the bite on the restart, prevailing by a comfortable margin over Mike Lichty, Chris Perley, Mike Ordway Jr., and Bobby Santos III.

Kirk Alexander led until just beyond halfway of the True Value 100 when Chris Pasteryak bolted into the top-spot after a restart. The two engaged in a see-saw battle for the lead following the numerous cautions that plagued the second-half of the event, Pasteryak getting the advantage each time. Shelly Perry pounded the first-turn wall on lap-96, evaporating the huge lead that Pasteryak had amassed. The final restart saw the popular second-generation racer again forge-ahead, finishing several lengths ahead of Alexander and Jeff Malave in scoring his first-ever victory in True Value Modified Series competition. Completing the top-5 was Dwight Jarvis and Ted Christopher.

Randy Cabral notched a popular victory in the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, his third of 2008 at the Speedbowl. Passing Mike Keeler for the lead with fourteen remaining, Cabral simply checked-out from the competition during an extremely fast-moving event that incurred only one caution period. Following Cabral was Keeler, Joey Payne, Greg Stoehr, and William Wall.

In the evening’s 35-lap SK Modified feature, pole-sitter Shawn Monahan immediately took the lead before yielding to an outside-move by Ron Yuhas Jr. with twenty-three circuits remaining. Shortly after, Monahan was eliminated for the night after the lapped-car of Kevin Orlando jacked-up the leaders resulting in the first caution. At the green it was again Yuhas, followed by Dennis Gada and defending champion Ron Janovic Jr. Within a few laps the caution again waved when Matt Gallo slammed the third-turn barrier with bone-jarring force. Next to fall victim to the wreckers was past-champion Todd Ceravolo, punted by Rob Summers after getting out-of-shape and spinning. Yuhas dominated the closing laps, finishing a comfortable margin ahead of Janovic, Gada, Doug Coby, and Keith Rocco.

Carl Edwards took the lead in the pits, then drove away for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. It was his 16th overall series win. The reigning series champion was trailing fellow Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart when the leaders drove onto pit road under a caution flag on lap 93. Edwards, driving a Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, came out in front and easily led to the end of the 125-lap race on the 2-mile oval. Edwards, who led a race-high 71 laps on the way to his third Nationwide victory of the season, was nearly 3.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Brian Vickers before Danny Efland crashed at the start of the last lap. The race finished under caution. Tony Stewart wound up third, followed by Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Mike Bliss and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano of Middletown. Joe Gibbs Racing got caught in an ugly way Saturday following the CarFax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Stewart, making his last Nationwide start for Gibbs, drove the No. 20, and 18-year-old rookie Joey Logano was seventh in the No. 18. The two Gibbs Nationwide Series teams, which have dominated competition in the division this season, weren’t working in the gray area, they weren’t bending the rules, they weren’t finding holes in the rulebook, they were caught cheating. NASCAR inspectors discovered magnets on the gas pedals of the Gibbs No. 18 car and No. 20 car before the cars were set to be tested on a NASCAR dynamometer, which measures horsepower. The magnets essentially served as stops, not allowing the gas pedal to be depressed all the way for the test, which would have altered the results to show the cars with lower horsepower than they actually had. It was an action team owner Joe Gibbs said: “Goes against everything we stand for as an organization.”

Joey Logano, who finished seventh in the No. 18 car and Tony Stewart, who was driving the No. 20 car, were penalized 150 championship points and place on probation until Dec. 31, 2008. Car owner Joe Gibbs was also penalized 150 points for each car in the owner’s standings. No. 20 team crew chief Dave Rogers and No. 18 team crew chief Jason Ratcliff were each fined $50,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. Also, from the No. 18 team, car chief Dorian Thorsen engine tuner Michael Johnson and crew member Toby Bigelow were suspended indefinitely from NASCAR. From the No. 20 team, car chief Richard Bray and engine tuner Dan Bajek were suspended indefinitely. NASCAR also put both teams, in their entirety, on probation until Dec. 31, 2008.

Carl Edwards completed a weekend sweep at Michigan International Speedway beating NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch off pit road on their last stops and driving off for his fifth Cup win of the season and second in the last three races. David Ragan held on to finish third, followed by Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.

Five years ago in 2013, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series visited the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. Mike Stefanik went from the outhouse at the season opening Battle at the Beach to the penthouse at Bristol after he won the Titan Roof 150 and went on to collect his second win of the season in the annual combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The victory also extended his Whelen Modified Tour career record for wins to 74. Donnie Lia, on the other hand went from the penthouse at Bristol to the outhouse.

Back in February Stefanik had victory on sight when he was turned by Steve Park who was punted by Eric Goodale. Lia, who was the pole sitter, led the first 91 laps only to get punted and turned by Justin Bonsignore on a restart. In all fairness to Bonsignore, he was punted from behind by Stefanik when Lia was slow on the draw for the restart. Lia’s mount, the Mystic Missile, suffered a broken panhard bar in the rear suspension. Bonsignore was able to restart and recovered to finish 8th in the event that was shortened to 135 laps from 150 because of time constraints. Lia ended up 30th. Park, who drove a team car to Todd Szegedy, failed to qualify.

After Lia spun, Ryan Preece inherited the lead which he held until he was passed on lap 102 by Szegedy. Szegedy had the misfortune of having his handling fade a bit as he got loose on lap 124 which opened the door for Stefanik. Stefanik led the final 11 laps and streaked under the checkered flag 0.092 second ahead of Szegedy. Ron Yuhas Jr, in a super spectacular run, recorded a career high third place finish after coming from a 16th place start. Preece and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.

Sixth through tenth were Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Justin Bonsignore, Burt Myers and Jimmy Zacharias.

Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway finally got a break from the weather. After four previous attempts, the Valenti Modified Racing Series got their 75-lap feature in at with Richard Savary taking down the win. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) winners in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action included Keith Rocco in the Sunoco Modified division, Damon Tinio in the Late Models, Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, Jesse Gleason in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman, and Chad Baxter in the Monster Mini Stocks. Zachery Sylvester won the New England Truck Series feature and Brian Jenink won in the Outlaw Modified division.

Second generation racer Richard Savary has raced a lot at Thompson Speedway. But, he has never won until now. Using a late-race restart, Savary used a take-no-prisoners approach to take the lead and eventual win in the 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature.

Chris Pasteryak led the field to green as Rowan Pennink quickly moved his way up to second with Louie Mechalides settling into third. The field strung out single file and approached the tail end of the field by lap 15. At the same time, Pasteryak and Pennink started to pull away from the rest of the field. At lap 20, Ted Christopher, who was fourth, decided it was time to go. He passed Mechalides for third and set his sights on closing up the distance on Pennink. Up front, Christopher could not reel in the torrid pace of the leaders as Pasteryak and Pennink remained a half-a-straightaway ahead. On lap 42, Christopher lost the third position to Savary as he, too, would try to close up the gap. Savary didn’t have to work too hard, however, as caution flew and tightened the field up for a restart. Pasteryak and Pennink were dead even into turn one and made slight contact in turn two before Pasteryak settled in out front. On lap 48, Pennink took the lead out of turn two, but a caution would put Pasteryak back out front for the restart. Pasteryak didn’t waste time getting to the front when the green dropped, but Pennink wasn’t about to settle. Coming out of turn four, Pennink dropped to the bottom and got a run on Pasteryak on the front stretch before taking the lead in turn one of lap 49. Caution set up another double-file restart at lap 51.

Pennink got the front as Keith Rocco and Savary took over second and third respectively. Rocco settled in on Pennink’s bumper with Savary close behind him. On lap 60, Rocco dropped to the bottom to look for a way around Pennink, but settled back in line. Pennink, Rocco and Savary pulled away from the rest of the field and showed no signs of slowing. On lap 67, Savary made his move and dropped to the bottom groove to take over second. On lap 69, Savary made his move again and this time, took over the lead before caution came out. The green flew with only six laps to go and Pennink was the first one to turn one, but it was Savary out front in turn two. The duo would have to do it all over again after a car hit the wall in turn two and brought out the caution before the lap was complete. Pennink again led the field into one, but this time, stayed out there through turn two. Savary closed in on Pennink and dropped to the bottom for a challenge on lap 72. Coming out of turn two, Savary took the lead and pulled ahead to a three-car length advantage. Savary was on fire and continued to pull away from Pennink as he drove to the victory.

Jon McKennedy, Tommy Barrett and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five. There were 22 cars on hand. Rounding out the top ten were; Dan Meservey, Jr, Chris Pasteryak, Max Zachem, Jeff Malave, and Louie Mechalides. The race was completed in 50:44 with 13 of the 21 starters on the lead lap at the finish.

Keith Rocco added win number five to his season record after taking the lead from Todd Ceravolo in turn two on lap 17 of the Sunoco Modified feature. John Catania took the early lead in turns one and two, but Ceravolo got alongside him going into turn three and four to take the lead on lap two. Kerry Malone and Rocco followed his line and took over second and third respectively before the trio pulled away to a comfortable lead. By lap five, Ceravolo, Malone and Rocco were bumper to bumper. Going into turn one on lap seven, Malone dropped to the bottom to challenge, but couldn’t complete the pass and fell back into line before caution slowed their pace. On the restart, Malone rocketed to the lead from the bottom groove with Ceravolo holding onto second ahead of Rocco. Woody Pitkat was making his presence known in Rocco’s rear view mirror before caution flew again. When the green dropped, Ceravolo fought back and went side-by-side with Malone for a full circuit before reclaiming the lead. Rocco also got by Malone and attached himself to Ceravolo’s bumper. The top four cars were running nose-to-tail by lap 12, and Rocco wanted a way around. On lap 17, Rocco looked high and then he looked low as they went into turn one. Ceravolo suddenly went high in turn two allowing Rocco to drive by for the lead. Malone and Preece took over second and third. Rocco was solid, however, and Malone, though less than a car length behind, could not muster a bid strong enough to knock Rocco from the point.
Following Rocco at the checker was Preece, Pitkat, Matt Gallo, Ceravolo, Nick Boivin and Dennis Perry.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece scored his division leading 8th and second consecutive win of the 2013 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn took down his fourth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling took down his sixth and second consecutive win of the 2013 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Hayes came home a first time winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande scored his second consecutive and third overall win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the SK Modified feature Ted Christopher was able to hold Preece off until lap-26 when Preece made his move to take over the lead with a pass in turn 3. Christopher was looking to the inside of Preece but Preece was able to hold Christopher off to the checkered flag to pick up his 8th win of the 2013 season. Christopher finished second, with Eric Berndt, Keith Rocco, and Dan Avery rounding out the top-5.

Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Late Model Madness take over Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl, the highlight of a five division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program. The Bob Valenti Auto Mall sponsored Late Model division took center stage with a special 50-lap race, dominated by Keith Rocco. In other races, Tyler Chadwick was back in Victory Lane for the fourth time on the year following the SK Modified® feature, Chris Meyer took his second Street Stock win and Garrett Denton ended a slump with his fourth victory in the Mini Stocks. In INEX racing, Giovanni Giarratana made it two in a row in the Legend Cars.

Chadwick was served redemption in the SK Modified feature after a win slipped away on the final lap the previous week in a photo finish with Keith Rocco. He fought his way to the front in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature this time around, climbing through the top-five to become a contender over the second half of the race.

As Chadwick tried to pull away from Todd Ceravolo, Rocco closed in on the leaders. Chadwick led the final restart against Ceravolo with just two laps remaining. He again got the jump back into the lead, leaving Ceravolo in the grips of Rocco. Rocco was able to stay inside Ceravolo and ultimately take the spot racing to the white flag. Out in front, Chadwick closed out the win, his fourth of the year. Rocco could not make a final run to contend for the win and finished second. Ceravolo ended the race third, with Kyle James fourth and Tom Abele fifth.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series went up country to the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night and performed in front of a full house. Todd Patnoad recorded his first ever win in the popular traveling Modified Racing Series. Patnode, became the second driver in two days to win their first series race. Richard Savary, scored his first 48 hours previous at Thompson, CT.

At the drop of the green in the 100 lap contest Max Zachem took the lead from his outside pole starting position. Peter Jarvis shot by for the lead on lap 44. Zachem reclaimed the lead four laps later and held the top position until passed this time by Dwight Jarvis on lap 79. Jarvis lasted until lap 84 when Patnoad took the lead.

Patnode, owner of Swanzey Oil, sponsored the race to honor his friend Victor Johnson. Johnson, a local racer and occasional VMRS competitor died two years ago in a house fire. John McKennedy finished second with Dwight Jarvis, third. Zachem finished fourth after leading most of the race with point leader Rowan Pennink, rounding out the top five. Russ Hersey, Todd Owen, Chris Pasteryak, Dana Smith, and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top ten. There were 26 cars on hand.

Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Tim Brown won the battle as he led all 150 laps in the Modified season finale to record his 70th win but it was Burt Myers who won the war as he wrapped up the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Series Track Championship.

Brown celebrated a victory in the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150. Myers celebrated his sixth season title. Brown’s path to get there seemed a bit easier. After scorching the quarter-mile track with the year’s fastest qualifying lap, he led all the way in the 150-lap main event.

Myers needed to finish in the top seven to secure the title, and he survived a few precarious moments to hang on for a good-enough, sixth-place finish. Following Brown in the season ending 150 lapper was Lee Jeffreys, Jonathan Brown, Jason Myers and John Smith.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers Jr. scored his third win of the season as he held off Ryan Preece. Jason Agugliaro finished third.

The Seekonk Speedway announced a new Race Director will rule the roost at the Massachusetts oval. With a handful of weeks left in the 2013 racing season, and an eye on 2014, Seekonk Speedway will welcome Frank Sgambato Jr to the role of Race Director. Frank comes to Seekonk after spending several years in the same role at Stafford Speedway, and returns to the speedway where his father spent many years as the chief starter. Frank will take over the role vacated by Mike Chapman, who retired several weeks ago. He took over as Race Director on Saturday, August 24.

Matt Kenseth was the NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Bristol. Kyle Busch’s Nationwide Series win on Friday night was his 60th Nationwide series win of his career, and 120th spanning NASCAR’s three national series. It was also his 15th of the season.

Last year, 2017, The Tri-Track Open Modified Series ran its third of four race series events at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH on Wednesday, August 23. With a some what light field of 21 cars, Matt Hirschman turned in a dominating performance in NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series action to score the victory in the Flamingo Motorsports 100. Hirschman and Ryan Preece qualified through heat races on the front row, Series managing partner Wayne Darling posed a challenge to the duo – start tail of the field, win and pocket an extra $1,000 cash. Series point leader Hirschman opted to remain on the front row. Preece started scratch on the field. Starting on the pole, Hirschman led every lap en route to the victory. Preese started shotgun on the field, got as high as fourth before tangling with Andy Jankowiak and Brian Robie on lap 59. Preece ended up 14th at the finish.

Following Hirschman at the checker was Rowan Pennink and Tommy Barrett. During the cool down lap Barrett drilled Pennink who, in turn spun to the infield. Pennink retaliated and slammed Barrett. As a result race officials penalized both drivers. Pennink was placed in 16th spot and Barrett was placed in 17th.

When all was said and done, Les Hinkley was awarded the runner-up spot and Jon McKennedy ended up third. Woody Pitkat and Jon Kievman rounded out the top five.

The final race of the 2017 TTOMS season is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 at Seekonk Speedway with the running of the Haunted Hundred.

In racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Ted Christopher took down his fifth and second consecutive win of the 2017 season in the SK Modified® feature, Paul Arute was a first time Late Model feature winner, Cory DiMatteo won a thrilling duel with Brett Gonyaw to nail down his fourth SK Light feature win of 2017, Bryan Narducci was the Limited Late Model feature winner for the 2nd consecutive race and fourth overall in 2017, Johnny Walker scored his third consecutive and fifth overall DARE Stock feature win of 2017, and Tyler Chapman was the winner of the special Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws feature event.

Ted Christopher is the Staffords all-time winningest driver with 129 feature wins including 107 SK Modified victories. In the early going of the SK Modified 40 lapper, Keith Rocco took the lead after a lap 14 restart with Christopher moving into second. The caution came back out with 16 laps complete for a spin in turns 3+4 by Matt Galko. Rocco and Christopher resumed their duel for the lead on the restart but it only lasted one lap before the caution came back out for a spin in turn 2 by Tom Bolles.

On the restart, Cam McDermott touched wheels with another car which sent him up and over the car in front of him and several cars got into the turn 3 wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.

Still on lap 16, Rocco took the lead with Christopher right on his bumper. Christopher made a move to Rocco’s inside in turns 3+4 on lap-18 to move into the lead. Todd Owen was up to third and he pulled alongside Rocco for second on lap-19. Owen got clear on lap-21 and Tony Membrino, Jr. was now fourth with Williams in fifth. Gervais spun coming out of turn 4 and Reen came to a stop on the frontstretch infield after taking an off track excursion to bring the caution out with 23 laps complete.

Christopher took the lead on the restart with Owen right on his back bumper. Rocco was third with Membrino in fourth and Williams in fifth. Owen was all over Christopher’s back bumper and he nearly made a pass coming out of turn 4 on lap-28 but he had to back out of his move which gave Rocco all the room he needed to take second from Owen.

With 10 laps to go, Christopher led Rocco, Owen, Membrino, Williams, Galko, Rowan Pennink, and Chase Dowling. Owen went around Rocco to take over second on lap-33 and then Rocco’s car dropped off the pace and he limped back to pit road.

Christopher and Owen now had a comfortable margin back to Williams in third, who now had Dowling in fourth and Pennink in fifth behind him. Christopher led Owen to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2017 season and second consecutive. Williams finished third with Dowling and Pennink rounding out the top-5.

Third generation driver Bryan Narducci led Cliff Saunders to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive Limited Late Model feature win of the 2017 season. Alexandra Fearn finished third. Narducci is the Great Grandson of NEAR Hall of Famer Ron Narducci and former SK Modified Champion Jerry Pearl.

In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing Doug Coby ended a long dry spell as he dominated the second half of the Seekonk 150 at Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night and captured his first win of the 2017 season. He took the lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 63 and led all but one lap in the final stages en route to the win. Hirschman was the pole sitter and led the first 62 laps in what appeared to be a cake walk. Hirschman had the dominate car for about 50 laps before his handling started to go away. Coby, running second, tried numerous times to pass before finally making contact with the leader who ended up spinning. A video instant re-play indicated that Coby had the line going into turn three when Hirschman dropped down to block and was hit by Coby. Evidently NASCAR saw it the same way as they took no action. Coby went on to take the win over Anthony Nocella and Ryan Preece. Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five. Justin Bonsignore finished sixth with Hirschman, Max Zachem,Gary McDonald and Wade Cole rounding out the top ten.

The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN Saturday Sept. 2 at 9:30 p.m. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track this coming Saturday night, Sept. 2, at the Oswego Speedway in New York.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco keeps rolling along as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded one win in the SK Modifieds at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 142 wins, 85 of those in an SK Modified. It wasn’t easy to say the least as he had a very trying day. Because of the fact that his team just finished up making the final repairs to his SK Modified from last week’s mishap, he arrived late to the speedway. Then after making contact with the #07 Stephen Masse Rocco had to head pit side for repairs to the right front of the #88. Rocco finally caught leader Todd Owens in the #81 Cooker’s Construction sponsored machine and battled side by side for the lead. As the caution flag appeared to slow do the event, it now set up a Green-white-checkered with Rocco sitting on the outside of Owens. The race again would be slowed three more times and on the fifth Green-white-checkered restart it looked like it would be all Owns as he grabbed the lead and was holding Rocco at bay. Rocco in his Wheeler’s Auto sponsored #88 got around Owens exiting turn four and grabbed the win in the 35-lap feature. With the win, Rocco was able to grab the point lead away from Kyle James. “We had a good car, Todd runs very tough here but we are here to win,” comment Rocco in victory lane. Rounding out the top-5 were Rocco, Owens, Matt Galko, Matt Gallo and Paul Buzel.

Other winners at the shoreline oval were in the 30-lap Late Model feature it was Berlin, CT’s Jason Palmer taking down the win in his return to The Speedbowl, 64-year old Nicholas Pappacoda took the win in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature, Ryan Waterman had the dominate car for the 26-lap Limited Sportsman feature, in the Mr. Rooter Truck Series / NLWS Trucks 35-lap feature it was father vs son right down to the finish. Allen Coates nudged the #81 of Chris and that little nudge was enough to put the elder Coates in victory lane and In the NEMA Lites it was Ben Mikitarian taking down the 25-lap feature.

Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, with a standing room only crowd looking on Saturday night Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead double dipped once again as the hard charging driver topped the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature as well the 15-lap Figure Eight event and in the process padded his championship lead in both divisions. Rogers 4th NASCAR Modified win of the year gives him a 35-point bulge over John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville while his 7th Figure Eight triumph of ’17 leaves him with a 22-point cushion over Tom Ferrara of Patchogue as the season enters it’s final month of competition.

Down in the south land, Burt Myers won at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. Myers, the winner of the Bowman Gray Stadium Modified Division championship this season, won his third consecutive Southern Modified Racing Series race Saturday night in the 152-lap feature at Caraway Speedway. It was his fifth-career series victory in the 19 events held to date.

The day started for Myers with a third-place run in qualifying, yielding a starting spot on the inside of the second row. He raced at the front of the field early and on lap 116 made the move past second-starting Bobby Measmer of Concord for the lead. Jeremy Gerstner of Wesley Chapel, Fla., finished second with Measmer third. Jason Myers, Burt’s brother, was fourth with Tim Brown fifth.

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

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