RPW Exclusive: Looking Back A Bit With Phil Smith – The Last Week Of August & Into September

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Sixty five years ago in 1953, Red Foote made it three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 25 lap Sportsman winner on Wednesday night. Don Collins broke the streak as he took the win on Saturday night. Non-Ford winners were Frank Chapman and Bud Matter.

Sixty years ago in 1958 Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket V-8 went two for two at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won 25 lap Modified features on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Dick Beauregard and Ray Moran were the non-Ford winners at the shoreline oval.

Fifty five years ago in 1963, Area Auto Racing News reported that Wally Dallenbach, driving the Dick Barney No.14 had a ten race winning streak going at various New Jersey speedways. Barney’s cars are still in competition today. Dallenbach made it 11 in a row as AARN reported that he won at the Vineland Speedway in the Garden State. Other weekend winners were Eddie Flemke at Fort Dix, Gene Bergin at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Kenny Shoemaker on the dirt at Stafford, Bob Rossell at Old Bridge and Pete Frazee at Wall Stadium.

The 1/5 mile Islip Speedway ran a 500 lap NASCAR Modified-Sportsman event. Rene Charland in his Sportsman mount, lapped the field by the half way mark and went on to score the win and the $1,000 first prize. Eddie Flemke finished second with George Tet, third. Following the lead pack at the finish were Jim Hendrickson, Dennis Zimmerman, Fred Harbach and Al DeAngelo.

Fifty years ago, in 1968, the Labor Day weekend started at Stafford on Friday night where Eddie Flemke took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Fred DeSarro, Gene Bergin and Fred Harbach. With the Fonda Speedway closed the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran on Saturday night. Lou Lazzaro won the scheduled 50-lap event. Eddie Flemke finished second with Pete Corey, Dave Kotary and Don MacTavish rounding out the top five. At the Lancaster Speedway Bill Rafter won twin30 lap features. Don Collins won a 75 lapper at Waterford and Freddie Schulz in the Dave Welch/Greg Mills No.79 won at Norwood. Bugsy Stevens won at Thompson on Sunday night and at the Utica-Rome Speedway, twin 200’s made up the New Yorker 400. Lou Lazzaro won both ends of the 400. In the first 200, Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by Bernie Miller, Sonny Seamon and Ron Narducci. Seamon finished second in the nightcap with Fred Harbach, Narducci and Dick Fowler rounding out the top five. Fred DeSarro won the Labor Day Bardahal 400 at Norwood.

Forty five years ago in 1973,Richie Evans started the long Labor Day weekend off with a win at Malta on Friday night. Jerry Cook finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Saturday night at Stafford, Brian Ross took the win over Bobby Santos and Leo Cleary. Maynard Troyer had a good weekend as he won at Tioga on Saturday and the Utica-Rome 400 on Sunday. Seabury Tripler was the Modified winner at Waterford. Leo Cleary was declared the winner of the 200 at Stafford after a scoring error was found. Bugsy Stevens was first thought to be the winner but was given second spot. Eddie Flemke finished third with Denis Giroux, fourth.

Forty years ago in 1978,New Egypt started the weekend off on Wednesday with a 100 lapper which was won by Richie Evans with Jerry Cook finishing second. Geoff Bodine finished second with Fred Harbach, third. Geoff Bodine was a DNF with a blown engine. At Stafford on Friday, Bodine beat out Ronnie Bouchard. Riverhead ran a 100 lapper, which saw Charlie Jarzombek take the win over Evans and Tom Baldwin. Moose Hewitt won at Waterford and at Islip, Greg Sacks sat in victory lane. Utica-Rome ran the New Yorker 400 on Sunday which saw Richie Evans and Jerry Cook finish one-two and at Thompson, Geoff Bodine took the win over Joe Howard and George Summers. Bodine, in the Armstrong No.1 made it three out of four for the weekend as he won the Labor Day 200 at Stafford. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Jerry Cook, third. Other weekend winners were Leo Cleary at Westboro, Punky Caron at Monadnock and Ronnie Bouchard at Seekonk.

Thirty five years ago in 1983,Kenny Bouchard was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Corky Cookman finished second with Reggie Ruggerio, third. Richie Evans and Doug Hewitt won twin features at Spencer. Waterford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday with Bob Potter taking the win. S.J.Evonsion won a 200 lapper at Riverside and Gary Iulg won the 200 at Oswego. Evans and Ruggerio followed. Other weekend winners were Johnny Tripp at Seekonk; Chris Young at Islip, Jack Ely at Thompson and Brett Bodine won the 200 at Stafford. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Bobby Allison was the winner of the Southern 500.

Thirty years ago in 1988,Reggie Ruggerio got his eighth win at Monadnock on Friday. George Kent won the Oswego 200 for the third time on Saturday. Jan Leaty finished second with Jamie Tomaino, third. Dan Avery won at Riverside and Fred Harbach won at Riverhead.

Twenty five years ago in 1993,Thompson ran a modified tour series on Wednesday. Jan Leaty, who was running third on the final lap, ended up being the surprise winner. Ed Flemke Jr. was leading going into the fourth turn. Satch Worley, who was running second, made a move on the bottom side and as Flemke attempted to pinch Worley off, the two made contact and spun. Mike Ewanitsko ended up second with Steve Park, third. John Anderson won a rained shortened event at Stafford. Cris Kopec beat out Dan Avery at Riverside and at Riverhead, Ewanitsko won a101 lapper. Waterford rained out and at Oswego, Ricky Fuller won the 200.George Kent, who hadn’t driven in two years, finished second in the Art Barry No.21.Tom Baldwin, Steve Park and Jamie Tomaino rounded out the top five. Mark Martin made a clean sweep at Darlington winning both the Winston Cup Southern 500 and the companion Grand National events.

Twenty years ago in 1998,Bo Gunning won his sixth victory of the year at Stafford on Friday night. At Waterford on Saturday, Jeff Pearl survived a delay to fix the fence that was torn up. Dennis Gada finished second with Mike Christopher, third. Rick Miller won at Riverside and Frank Vigliorolo won at Riverhead. The Modified Tour Series was at Thompson on Sunday for the Shaw’s 250.Ricky Fuller took the lead on lap 203 and was cruising to victory until he crashed with the lapped car of Jake Marosz. Mike Stefanik assumed the lead and went on to record his eleventh win of the season.

Chris Kopec finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino and Mike Ewanitsko. Tracy Gordon won a BGNN event at Thunder Road and ageless veteran Bentley Warren won his sixth Super Modified Classic at Oswego. I n Winston Cup action at Darlington, Jeff Gordon took the win plus the million dollar No-Bull bonus. Dick Trickle beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. by inches to win the Darlington GN event and on a sad note, Adam Petty, who was racing on the ARCA circuit, had the misfortune of having his crew chief killed when the car was dropped on him during a pit stop.

Fifteen years ago in 2003, In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Kerry Malone took his second win of the season in the Sunoco-SK Type Modifieds. Bob Santos III finished second with Bert Marvin, third. In Pro Stock action, Chuck Docherty won the held over PASS qualifier and Norm Wrenn won the regular event. Other winners were Charles Bailey III in the Late Models, Larry Barnett in the Limited Sportsman and Joe Godbout in the Mini-Stocks.

At the Stafford Speedway on Friday night, Frank Ruocco became a first time winner as he took the lead on lap 21 in the held over 150 lapped from July 11 and went on to take the victory over Chuck Docherty and Doug Coby. In the regularly scheduled 35 lapper, Ronnie Silk took the win over Willie Hardie and Doug Coby. Woody Pitkat was the late model winner.

The NASCAR Modified Tour Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night for the Big Y World Class Market 150. Thirty-eight cars attempted to qualify for the 30 starting spots. Eric Beers, in the Bear Motorsports No.14 set fast time as he toured the 1/3-mile oval in 13.674 seconds. Second fastest was Chuck Hossfeld, in the Mystic River Marina Dodge, followed by Todd Szegedy and Ted Christopher. The start draw was key as Hossfeld picked the pole starting spot with Szegedy on the outside. Another key factor was the qualifying draw. Charlie Pasteryak, who is usually one of the top runners on the tour, was a dnq. As he paid the price of being the first one to qualify. Among those who also did not qualify were Ken Barry, David Berghman, Tom Cloce, Wade Cole and Jake Marosz. Chuck Hossfeld led from pole to pole to take the win. Todd Szegedy, who started on the outside pole finished second. On the start, Hosfeld jumped out in front. Szegedy faded and Eric Beers moved into second. By the completion of lap two Ted Christopher had moved into third spot as Szegedy continued to fade. The first of eleven cautions occurred on lap 15 when Jim Broderick stopped between turns one and two after developing a flat right front tire. Broderick would re-join the field only to drop out on lap 35 with suspension problems. The field went back to green on lap 20 but the action was short lived as the caution flew again on lap 23 when Doug Coby spun between turns one and two. The field went green on lap 30 with Christopher moving into second behind Hossfeld. The caution flew again on lap 48 when Tom Baldwin took a vicious hit when he contacted the wall in turn one. It took twelve laps for the track crew to remove the badly damaged car and do a clean up before the field went green again on lap 60. Meanwhile, Donnie Lia, who started eighth, had moved into fourth spot. Szegedy moved by Christopher and the race was on. Beers, who had been running in fifth spot, brought out the caution on lap 62 when he spun after getting a flat and losing a spring. After numerous stops, Beers’ car was repaired and he rejoined the field. The field went back to green on lap 69 with Hossfeld leading followed by Szegedy, Christopher and Lia. Christopher moved back into second on lap 70 and two laps later the field went under caution when Jerry Marquis spun after being hit. Among those who were caught up in the ensuing wreck were Tom Cravenho, Jim Long and Howie Brode who were done for the night. An excessive amount of oil was spilled on the racing surface, which caused officials to display the red flag while the mess was cleaned up. The field went green on lap 89, single file with Hossfeld in command over Christopher, Szegedy, Lia, Rick Fuller and Ed Flemke Jr. Four laps later the yellow was displayed again as Kevin Goodale spun in turn four Back to racing on lap 97 only to go yellow again on lap 102 when Jamie Tomaino slowed on the front stretch. The field went back to speed on lap 105 only to be slowed again for a wreck in turn one. The action heated up when the field went green on lap 112 as Christopher began honking the chrome horn on Hossfeld’s bumper. One lap later Christopher miss-calculated as he hit Hossfeld with his right front tire and promptly popped his tire and came within inches of smashing into the wall in turn four. Christopher was able to pit for a new tire and re-joined the field when they went back to green on lap 117. Szegedy moved into second spot and was followed by Lia, Rick Fuller, Ed Flemke Jr. and Bo Gunning. The final caution of the night came on lap 121 when Bob Polverari tangled with Ron Silk and Kevin Goodale in turn four. With 20 laps to go, the green flew again. With ten to go Flemke began backing up as his alternator had malfunctioned and was causing his motor to miss-fire. At the finish it was Hossfeld followed by Szegedy, Lia, Fuller, Gunning, Tony Hirschman, John Blewett III, Jimmy Kuhn, Doug Coby and Nevin George. Flemke ended up 14th. For Hossfeld’s car owner, Bob Garbarino, the win was especially sweet, as Waterford is where he got his start as a car owner in the early 1960’s.

In regular Dodge Series racing action Jeff Pearl made a bold move on a restart with 11 laps to go as he outdrove Ed Reed Jr. into turn one to take the lead and eventual win. Dennis Gada, who was mired in heavy traffic for most of the event, ended up third with Jeff Kraals, fourth. Second-generation driver Keith Rocco, son of modified great Ronnie Rocco won his first ever sportsman division event. Danny Field was the Mini-Stock winner. Racing at Riverhead and Wall Township fell victim to rain. The Busch North Series was at Thunder Road Speedway in Barre, Vermont. Brian Hoar took the win over Andy Santerre, Dave Dion and Matt Kobyluck. In Winston Cup action, Terry Labonte won the last Southern 500 that would be run at Darlington Raceway. Kevin Harvick finished second.

Ten years ago in 2008, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park for the Whelen 150. A strong field of 31 cars was on hand. Ted Christopher, who qualified sixth fastest but drew the No. 1 starting spot in the re-draw to sit on the front row, never trailed in the 157 lap race that went to a green-white-checker finish following a late caution. The win was his second of 2008 and the 29th of his career, which moved him out of a tie with Mike Ewanitsko on the all-time list.

In the process Christopher became the first driver to lead a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race wire-to-wire since Todd Szegedy did it in the 2006 Fall Final at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.
Jimmy Blewett (No. 19 United Crane/Ling Trucking Chevrolet) finished as the runner-up in the race and was followed closely to the line by Ryan Preece (No. 3 Mizzy Const./Reynold’s Auto Wrecking Chevrolet), Coors Light Pole Award winner Eric Beers (No. 46 Reynold’s Auto Wrecking/Sunoco Chevrolet) and Ronnie Silk (No. 79 Hill Enterprises/Coors Light/Sunoco Pontiac). Matt Hirschman, Erick Rudolph, Mike Stefanik, Kevin Goodale and Glen Reen rounded out the top 10.

It was a costly night for Chuck Hossfeld who led the point standings going into the event. After starting 13th Hossfeld went only 57 laps before being sidelined with a broken axle. Christopher now leads the point standings by 64 points over Hossfeld. Matt Hirschman sits in third spot with Mike Stefanik and Ronnie Silk rounding out the top five. Also on the racing card at Mansfield was the NASCAR Camping World Series (formerly Busch North Series). Brian Ickler took the win with Matt Kobyluck, second.

Keith Rocco made it two in a row in Thursday night Thunder Sunoco Modified Racing at Thompson. Norm Wrenn in the Pro Stocks and Rick Gentes in the Late Models each earned their first wins of the 2008 season. Larry Barnett took top honors in the Limited Sportsman division while Glenn Boss celebrated his birthday with a TIS Modified feature win. Mike Romano padded his point lead with a Mini Stock triumph.

Rocco proved to be the class of the Sunoco Modified field once again. Taking the lead early in the 30-lap main event, the Wallingford, CT, driver never looked back en route to his third win of the season and second in a row. The action was wild right from the drop of the green flag. Contact between front row starters Dave Nordman and Tim Sullivan, opened the door for Bobby Grigas, who made it three wide as they headed down for the initial start. The caution flew immediately; however, when contact deeper in the field sent cars scattering. On the ensuing restart, slipping and sliding at the head of the field allowed Jimmy Blewett to cleanly take the lead with Bobby Grigas moving into second and Todd Ceravolo in third. A spin by Rick D’Abate brought out the caution once again.

Blewett was up to the challenge and continued to lead a battle for second between Rocco and Grigas. A pass by Rocco was negated by a spin by Josh Sylvester. Kerry Malone was the man on the move on the restart moving from the fifth position to third. Up front, Blewett was having all he could do to keep Rocco in check. Grigas was able to take back the third spot from Malone. Ceravolo, Woody Pitkat, and Tommy Cravenho made up the lead pack. Grigas caught the duo of Blewett and Rocco, making it a three-car battle for the top spot. At halfway, Rocco used a slide move to take over the lead from Blewett. Once out front, Rocco checked out. Blewett dropped off the pace a lap later. Grigas inherited the second spot with Ceravolo running in third. Malone and Pitkat made up the top five. Early leader Blewett spun exiting turn two to bring out the caution. Back under green, it was all Rocco. Grigas took chase a distant second and Ceravolo in third. Malone, Cravenho, and Pitkat were looking racy for fourth. Rocco cruised unchallenged to the checkers. Grigas had a season-high finish of second followed by Ceravolo. Malone and Cravenho completed the top five.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of a classic Ruocco/Rocco battle on Friday night. Ruocco, Frank that is, prevailed as he won his second SK Modified feature of the year. Rocco, Keith that is, settled for second. Ted Christopher recovered from an early tangle with Woody Pitkat to finish third. Todd Owen and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. The highlight of the evening was the running of the 14th Annual New England Dodge Dealers Late Model 100. Like he had done in a previous 100 lapper, seventeen year old Dillon Moltz was the dominator. During the late going Moltz fought off challenges from Michael Bennett and Ryan Posocco over several late restarts. Mark Bakaj outlasted Joe Allegro, Jr. and Chris Matthews for his third win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Carla Botticello scored her first career victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Scott Roy picked up victory number two of the 2008 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, Shawn Monahan went pole to pole to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature on Saturday evening at the Waterford Speedbowl. Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Brandon Plemons (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock), Michael Gervais Jr. (Legends), and Scott Gregory (AllStar Race Trucks).

In an ultra-fast 35-lap SK Modified feature, it was hometown driver Shawn Monahan grabbing his first feature of the season. Taking the lead immediately from the pole position, he was tested only once during the events singular restart occurring when multi-feature winner Keith Rocco spun with 9-laps remaining. Handily resisting the challenges of Jeff Paul and defending champion Rob Janovic Jr. in the closing laps, Monahan cruised-home by a car-length over Paul, Janovic, Dennis Gada, and Matt Gallo.

It looked like Terry Eames (1080 Hartford Road LLC) and Jerry Robinson who leases the Waterford Speedbowl were at it again. Eames claimed that Robinson has failed to meet his obligations in making rent payments and paying property taxes. Eames had filed a suit in New London Ct Civil Court, which could have led to the eviction of Robinson from the shoreline oval.

The True Value Modified Series was at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH last Saturday night. Twenty-Two Modifieds were on hand. Kirk Alexander started sixth, took the lead on lap 10 and and never looked back. With the exception of some heat applied by Dwight Jarvis in the closing laps Alexender had an easy time of it at his home track. Jarvis settled for second and was followed by Rob Goodenough, Mike Holdredge, Jack Bateman and Chris Pasteryak.

Brad Keselowski passed Clint Bowyer with 24 laps to go Friday night and pulled away for his second victory of the season in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, capping a remarkable run from the 37th starting position at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. Bowyer dominated the race after he slipped by Dario Franchitti for the lead on lap 107, but appeared to wiggle exiting the second turn on the 227th lap as Keselowski went past him.

Carl Edwards saw Kyle Busch lead 415 consecutive laps Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, then used his bumper to nudge Busch in the first turn on lap 470. That move caused Busch’s car to wiggle just enough so that Edwards could drive by for his second consecutive victory on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After taking the checkered flag, Edwards was making his cool-down lap around the track when Busch drove up and bumped his car. Edwards clearly wasn’t amused, and when he responded by driving the nose of his car into the right side of Busch’s, the fans cheered wildly. Busch finished second, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon.

Five years ago in 2013 NASCAR announced the No. 16 team that competes in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with driver Ryan Preece was penalized as a result of rules violations committed Aug. 21 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The No. 16 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20D-10.5A (Only a one-piece magnetic steel drive shaft with a minimum outside diameter of two (2) inches and a minimum thickness of 0.090 inch will be permitted: Drive shaft did not meet the minimum thickness.) of the 2013 NASCAR rule book. The violation was discovered during post-race inspection.

Stanley “Sly” Szaban, crew chief of the No. 16 car, was fined $500, suspended from NASCAR until the fine was paid and placed on NASCAR probation until Oct. 30. Owner Eric Sanderson was penalized with the loss of six NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship car owner points, while Preece penalized with the loss of six championship driver points.

Mike Stefanik had hinted that this may be his last year. Stefanik told Area Auto Racing News scribe Kevin Rice that he is thinking of retiring at seasons’s end. Stefanik has had a long and successful career as a race car driver and has recorded championships in NASCAR’s Modified division and NASCAR’s Busch North Series which is now the K & N Series. Stefanik has represented racing quite well during his tenure and has nothing to prove or be ashamed of.

It looked like the 2014 Thompson Speedway IceBreaker may be back on the schedule. Speedway owner Don Hoenig says he expected to have all paving complete for the new Sports Car course ahead of schedule. Hoenig also hinted that weekly racing would continue at the northeastern Connecticut oval.

A lot of digging and earth moving was going on at Thompson plus the erection of new pit structures was on going.

New England lost one of its great Short Tracks. Dick Berggren reported on Aug 26 that the Sale of Cannan Fair Speedway (NH) was final and there will be no racing in 2014 and beyond. The covered grandstands will be torn down as well. Canaan is a wonderful place consisting of two tracks (one dirt, one asphalt). So, this is a double loss. This will have a huge impact on the New England racing community as it is a region that has been depleted enough already.

Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway went off as scheduled despite threatening weather, Keith Rocco, Rick Gentes, Cam McDermott, Steve Kenneway, and Eric Bourgeois earned division titles. NASCAR Whelen All American Series winners included Woody Pitkat in the Sunoco Modified division, Tom Carey, Jr. in the Late Models, Glenn Griswold in the Lite Modifieds, Scott Sundeen in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division, and Eric Bourgeois in the Mini Stocks. Toby Wells took down the victory in the North East Mini Stock 20-lap feature.

The Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds put on a brilliant display of driving, especially Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco, in their 30 lap feature. Woody Pitkat, who eventually would dominate, took the lead at lap 12 and held off a determined Keith Rocco to take down the victory in the final Sunoco Modified division point race. Rocco’s second place finish earned him the 2013 division title.

Paul Newcomb and Ryan Preece were in a tight side-by-side battle for the lead when caution came out on the first lap for a spun car off of turn four. Newcomb assumed the top spot for the restart with Preece challenging on the bottom and Nick Boivin challenging up top. Newcomb maintained the lead, but Preece was able to get a run on the bottom groove to take over the lead on lap two. Preece pulled away as Rocco looked for a way around Newcomb. Sparks began to fly from Newcomb’s machine on lap five and officials reacted with a black flag for the 71 machine. Rocco patiently waited for him to pull in before setting his sights on Preece, who now held a full second lead over the rest of the field.

The race took a dramatic turn on lap nine when Preece spun in turn three and hit the outside retaining wall. Rocco inherited the lead with Woody Pitkat on the outside for the restart. Rocco drove to the front with Pitkat on his bumper. On lap 11, Pitkat went down to the inside into turn one and came out of turn two the new leader. Pitkat held on to the lead despite the pressure from Rocco on his bumper, but would have to hold off the point leader through another restart.

Rocco had a nose length advantage on the outside heading into turn one, but Pitkat came on strong in the corner and came out of turn two in the lead. Caution put a quick halt to the battle as the field lined up for yet another restart. Pitkat shot to the front at the drop of the green with Rocco and Malone close behind. The top-five, Pitkat, Rocco, Malone, Matt Gallo and Dennis Perry, ran nose-to-tail over the next several laps, but ultimately, Pitkat, Rocco and Malone were able to pull away in a class all their own. Rocco stuck like glue to the back of Pitkat’s machine, and made a last-lap look on the bottom groove, but Pitkat was too strong and took the win. Rocco settled for second with Malone, third. Gallo and Dennis Perry rounded out the top five.

Among those spectating were George and Peg Summers. George Summers drove Modifieds for years and had recently been added to the Wall of Fame at the Seekonk Speedway.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Woody Pitkat carried over his winning ways from Thompson as he picked up his first win of the season with a thrilling last lap pass in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray picked up his sixth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ronnie Williams scored his third win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Austin Bessette took down his third win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Frank L’Etoile, Jr. scored his first career victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper with five laps to go a slugfest developed between Pitkat, Doug Coby and Rowan Pennink who was leading at the time. Coby nearly made a three wide move to the inside of Pennink and Pitkat but he fell back into linen in third behind Pennink and Pitkat. Ryan Preece was fourth and Todd Owen was fifth. Pitkat was still all over the back bumper of Pennink but he couldn’t get close enough to make a pass. Pennink held the lead as they took the white flag.

Pennink still had the lead going into turn 3 but Pitkat made a power move to the inside of Pennink to take over the lead and he led Pennink back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the season and the first win for his car owner Steve Greer. Coby finished third behind Pitkat and Pennink with Preece and Owen rounding out the top-5.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the nutmeg oval and provided lots of fireworks for those on hand. Steve Masse took the win while Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco provided the fireworks. Rocco and Christopher started side by side and battled for the lead until lap 52 when the pot boiled over.

Christopher and Rocco resumed their side by side fight for the lead on a restart. Christopher touched wheels with Rocco and Rocco spun to bring the caution out. Christopher was immediately black flagged to the rear of the field for the contact with Rocco. This put Ryan Preece and Masse on the front row with Norm Wrenn and Zane Zeiner on the second row.

In a wise decision, Masse decided to restart from the outside of the front row and he took the lead back under green. Preece was second with Wrenn, Zeiner, and Eric Goodale lined up behind him. Once Masse was out in front he began to pull away from Preece in second. Preece had his hands full with Wrenn, who was applying pressure to Preece’s bumper for second. Preece was able to hold off Wrenn’s challenges while Masse was still inching his way away from Preece. The car of David Bitondo came to a stop on the backstretch to bring the caution out with 72 laps complete.

Masse took the lead back under green with Preece, Wrenn, and Barry lined up behind them. Dave Etheridge made a move around Zeiner to move into fifth place but Masse was already beginning to stretch his lead out over Preece just as he had done on the previous green flag run. Masse pulled away from Preece and took the checkered flag ahead of Preece, Wrenn, Kenny Barry, and Etheridge. Sixth through 10th were Zane Zeiner, Richard Savary, Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher.

There were 36 cars on hand. In some good news for the series it has been said that the Valenti Modified Racing Series has a very good chance of having their events on the world wide web in 2014. If this comes to be it will be a big shot in the arrm for series sponsor, the Valenti Auto Group in Mystic Ct and the individual sponsors of race teams.

Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco, who played second fiddle to Woody Pitkat at Thompson on Thursday night got his just do on Saturday night as he won the Budweiser Nationals 150 and a reward of $5,000 at the shoreline oval. A quick paced and action packed racing program was the order of the night as the track played host to its ‘Thunder on the Sound’ event.

In total, seven drivers notched victories on the evening. Joining Rocco in the winner’s circle included a first-time winner as Jay, ME competitor David Farrington Jr. picked up an impressive victory in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division. Corey Hutchings won another Street Stock race while Ray Christian III and Glenn Griswold each picked up their second wins of the season in the Mini Stock and SK Light Modified divisions, respectively. In INEX racing Paul Kusheba won an exciting Legend Cars event and Andrew Morin won his first ever race in the Bandoleros.

Rocco took the lead on lap-83 bringing Pitkat with him around the outside of the track into second. Tyler Chadwick was on the attack, clawing into third around Tom Abele on lap-85 with his sights set on the top two. Chadwick tried to work over Pitkat for several laps to no avail, riding third until a caution on lap-99.

As Rocco got away from Pitkat on the restart, Rob Janovic survived a wild ride from fifth place off the apron into turn one, gathering his car up to keep the race green. Chadwick found an opening under Pitkat to snatch second and pick up pursuit of Rocco. The two pulled ahead with Chadwick stalking Rocco over a stretch that brought the race to lap-120. Several times Chadwick tried to get a wheel outside of Rocco but could never quite muster the momentum to pull alongside. After Chadwick finally settled in line behind, Rocco turned it up a notch with the laps closing down, pulling away from Chadwick as the race moved to its final stretch.

With Rocco streaking towards closing out an impressive win with a near straightaway advantage, Pitkat was back on Chadwick trying to pick up second in the closing laps. When it appeared the race may continue to the checkered flag, Matt Galko saw a solid effort run sour as he went up in smoke on lap-147, stopping at the top of the track in turn two to bring out a caution. That triggered two more late incidents that forced Rocco into restarting smoothly to seal the win.

With smooth and concise driving, Rocco nailed each one, the first versus Chadwick and the final against Pitkat, who was able to reclaim second on lap-148 from a fading Chadwick. Pitkat had nothing left for Rocco and finished in second. Chadwick took third and Abele ran up front all night to take a hard earned fourth. Janovic recovered to take home fifth. With the win, Rocco becomes the third driver to take back-to-back wins in the prestigious event.

Sixth through tenth were Todd Ceravolo, Craig Lutz, Joe Gada, Ron Yuhas Jr., and Ted Christopher.

Down in the south land the Whelen Southern Modified Tour visited the Langley Speedway in Virginia. Kyle Ebersole came from behind to capture his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win. Ebersole of Hummelstown, Pa., took the lead late and then held off a hard charge from three-time tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III to win the Newport News Shipbuilding/Bayport Credit Union 150. The win came in just his 19th career tour start for the driver of the No. 5 Ebersole Excavating Ford, who had started seventh on the grid.

Andy Seuss, who shattered the previous track record in winning the pole during qualifying earlier in the day, led the first half of the race – with Brunnhoelzl running in his wake. Brunnhoelzl gained the top spot just before the midway break, but later lost the lead to Tim Brown. Ebersole got by Brown coming out of Turn 4 with a strong move to the outside on Lap 137. Ebersole, who finished sixth last year in his only previous start at Langley, faced a fierce challenge from Brunnhoelzl in the closing laps, but held on for the win.

John Smith and Danny Bohn followed Tim Brown past the finish line to round out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Patrick Emerling, Burt Myers, Jason Myers, Thomas Stinson and Gary Putnam.

The Newport News Shipbuilding/Bayport Credit Union 150 was the eighth event on a 12-race tour schedule. The Southern Modified Tour will next be in action on Sept. 8, when it returns to Caraway (N.C.) Speedway for the Caraway 150.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Timmy Solomito and Howie Brode shared victory lane in twin 35 lap NASCAR Modified events.

Kevin Harvick was able to hold off a furious charge from Kyle Busch to win Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips/Grit Chips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch was able to survive multiple late-race restarts and drive away to victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 to lock up a position in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It was his fourth victory of the season. Joey Logano led the most laps but ended up second.

Last year, 2017, In racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway one could call it somewhat of a throw back in the SK Modified 40 lap feature as Rowan Pennink and Ted Christopher slugged it out both on the track and in victory lane. Years ago when the SK Modified division was a rolling demolition derby track owner Jack Arute kept two sets of boxing gloves in the infield as just about every week competitors would duke it out following the races. Fast forward to 2017: following a lap 34 restart, Pennink took the lead with Christopher sliding into second. Todd Owen was third with Ryan Preece up to fourth and Ronnie Williams in fifth. Coming to the white flag, Christopher had a run to the inside of Pennink and he took the lead with a dive bomb move in turn 1. One lap later as the two leaders hit turn 3, Pennink gave Christopher a shot to the bumper and moved him out of the way just enough to take the lead and he took the checkered flag for his first win of the 2017 season. Todd Owen finished third with Preece and Williams rounding out the top-5.

First the two crews went at it, then the two drivers. Each accused each other of dirty driving before order was restored. Later in the evening Pennink recorded his second win of the night as he took the victory in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 8th Annual VMRS 80. Christopher did not compete. Pennink led Keith Rocco to the checkered flag to score the victory. Anthony Nocella finished third with Dave Etheridge and Jeff Malave rounding out the top-5. Other Friday night winners were Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Glenn Griswold in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders in the Limited Late Model feature, and Johnny Walker in the DARE Stock feature.

In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing the Oswego New York Speedway, known as the Supermodified capitol of the world hosted NASCAR’s oldest division on Saturday night for a 150 lapper. Ryan Preece scored his fifth checkered flag of the season. Preece took the lead from Matt Hirschman on Lap 114 and never looked back.

“We came in and made a little bit of an adjustment because I felt he [Hirschman] was better in the first half,” said Preece of the halftime stop. “We were good. Just kind of tried to make him go hard the whole time.”

The victory was the 20th of Preece’s Whelen Modified Tour career and the first at Oswego. Preece ran up front all race long. After qualifying fourth, Preece quickly made his way up to second. On Lap 114, Preece dove underneath Hirschman in turn three. After taking the lead, Preece pulled away, with no one able to challenge the 25-year-old. Preece took the checkers 2.849 seconds ahead of Hirschman. Earlier in the day, Hirschman won his second straight Coors Light Pole Award and went to lead a race-high 117 laps.

Following Preece and Hirschman was Timmy Solomito, Doug Coby and Eric Goodale. Sixth thru tenth were Justin Bonsignore, Craig Lutz, Max Zachem, Dave Sapienza and Rowan Pennink.

Twelve of the original 21 starters finished on the lead lap. Among those who didn’t finish were Ted Christopher who crashed on lap 107 while running in the top five, Patrick Emerling who dropped out after running as high as fourth on lap 54, Walter Sutcliff who finished 19th after losing a clutch on lap 57, Kyle Ebersole retired with electrical problems on lap38 and the tour’s favorite stroaker Melissa “The Turtle”Fifield continued her consistent rear of the pack finishes with reported engine problems.

Preece also extended his point lead to nine over Doug Coby. Rowan Pennink is third, 16 points behind Preece and one ahead of Timmy Solomito.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco 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 143 wins, 86 of those in an SK Modified. It was a fitting way to celebrate his fifth wedding anniversary to the former Cassie Ceravolo. Rocco had to withstand numerous challenges from Ashaway, RI’s Kyle James to take down the 35-lap SK Modified Feature. It was the sixth win on the season for the Berlin, CT driver. Rocco didn’t was anytime moving to the front as on lap-8 Rocco out muscled Matt Galko down the back stretch to take the lead in the Dunleavey’s Truck and Trailer Repairs sponsored #88. Rocco had company as James also got under Galko to move in the runner up position. The two started to pull away from the field with James all over the rear bumper of Rocco. James managed to get on the outside of Rocco as the two-battled side-by-side and swapped the lead on numerous occasions as the race was winding down. James made one last ditch effort to get around Rocco but couldn’t make it stick giving Rocco the win. With the win Rocco continues to hold the points lead over James. Finishing behind James was Todd Owen, Matthew Galko and Diego Monahan who rounded out the top-5. Heat wins went to Owen and Rocco.

In the 25-lap SK Lite Modified it was Colchester, CT’s Bryan Narducci takins his first ever open wheel modified win of his career. It was his third start in the division. Narducci is the grandson of Jerry and Diane Pearl and NEAR Hall of Famer Ron Narducci. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Limited Sportsman (25-laps): Chris Meyer, Mini Stocks (25-laps): Jordan Hadley, Legends (25-laps): Joey Ternullo, New England Mini Stock Tour (50-laps): Glen Thomas, Mr. Rooter Truck Series / NLWS Trucks (35-laps): Danny Anderson and NLWS Trucks Finish: Duane Noll.

Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, the NASCAR Modified feature was ready to roll when rain descended on the speedway.

The latest class for the New England Auto Racing Hall Of Fame induction in November includes Steve Bird, Ben Dodge Jr., Tom Dunn, Russ Wood, Bobby Gahan, Gardiner Leavitt, and racing brothers Jeff and Rick Fuller .

In an unusually clean Bojangles’ Southern 500 Monster Cup event Sunday night at Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin outsmarted Martin Truex Jr. in a war of tires to capture the crown jewel event for the second time in his career.

Completing a sweep of the weekend and carrying a paint scheme honoring Virginia modified legend Ray Hendrick, Hamlin used 10-lap fresher tires to run down late-race leader Truex from 23 seconds back, taking the top spot for good coming to two laps to go after Truex lost a right front tire entering turn three. Hamlin also won the Xfinity Series event at the fabled track.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive. Westerly RI 02891.