Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1949, Jim Holt made it two in a row in Stock Car competition at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1954 security guards at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gave the bum’s rush to Bill France Sr who was in the garage area of the historic speedway with a borrowed credential. Moe Gherzi scored his second win of the season in the Sportsman division at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Irwin Fox would make it three out of six in the non-Fords at the shoreline oval. At Seekonk, Dave Humphrey made it two in a row in the A division.
Sixty years ago in 1959,. Dick Beauregard scored his second victory in the Sportsman division at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier won the non-Ford feature and Lou Caso took the top spot in the Bombers.
Up in New York State the Buffalo Civic Stadium opened for the season with Roy Campbell taking the win over Gene Blair and Bill Rafter. In the 1940’s and 1950’s a number of stadiums were home to auto racing at a time when midget race cars were enjoying tremendous popularity across the United States. Western New York, Pennsylvania and southern Ontario were caught up in the craze and were fortunate to have Civic Stadium as a venue for the smaller cars. Civic Stadium, also known the Rockpile was built between 1935 and 1938 as part of a federal make program, under the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The stadium was built on the corner of Best and Masten Streets. It was originally named Roesch Memorial Stadium after Charles E. Roesch, the city’s mayor prior to the start of construction.
Racing at Civic Stadium started in 1948 and featured the Midgets, which were well suited for the racing action on the tight quarter mile oval. The cars had motorcycle engines for power and because they were extremely light they could get around the track very quickly. Racing at the track was halted after the 1959 season to make room for the Buffalo Bisons baseball team and for the Buffalo Bills football team. The team was home to the Bills until 1972 when their current home at Ralph Wilson Stadium opened with state of the art amenities. Many thanks to Chuck Pastor for the results.
Fifty five years ago in 1964 New Yorker Don Wayman opened the dirt track racing series at the Stafford Springs Ct Speedway on Friday night with a win. Bill Wimble finished second with Ernie Gahan, third. Fred Harbach was the Modified feature winner at the Islip Speedway on Long Island. Ray Delisle scored his fourth feature of the year in the Modifieds at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Gladue made it two in a row in the Bombers at the Bowl. At Seekonk, Marty Zengali took the top spot in a 30 lapper for the A division. Bob Overlord was the 15 lap cadet winner.
Fifty years ago in 1969 rain washed out Friday night action at Stafford and Malta. Saturday night at Norwood, Freddie Schulz got Dick Armstrong his first win as a car owner. Jack Malone finished second and was followed by Johnny Thompson, Lou Austin, Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens. Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row at Fonda and Rene Charland was again second. Ron Narducci was third with Ray Sitterly, fourth. At Islip, Cliff Tyler took the win at the tough 1/5 mile oval. Mousie Kempster finished second with Japanese driver, George Tet, third. Dick Caso took the Modified win at Waterford. Seekonk fell victim to rain. On Sunday it rained out at Thompson and it snowed at Utica-Rome.
Forty five years ago in 1974 a 100 lapper scheduled for Utica-Rome on Friday was rained out. At Freeport, George Wagner took the top spot over Ted Wesnoski, Fred Harbach and Bob Park and at Metrolina in North Carolina, John Bryant took the win over Pudin Swisher and Harry Gant. At Stafford on Saturday night it was Steady Eddie Flemke in the Judkins 2x over Don Flynn. Geoff Bodine outran Richie Evans at Shangri-La and at Islip, George Wagner made it two for two on the weekend. Gary Winters finished second and was followed by Jim Hendrickson in the Ferrente x3. Dick Dunn was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Seekonk opened for the season with George Summers in the Connie LaJoie #21 taking the Modified win. Russ Webber was the 25 lap Late Model winner.
Forty years ago in 1979 Bugsy Stevens in the Brady Bunch 00 took the Friday night win at Stafford over Bobby Vee and Jerry Cook. On Saturday at Westboro, Jeff Fuller made his modified debut as he was asked to pilot the Tom Dunn T-5. Roland LaPierre JR took the win with Fuller finishing second. At Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard took the win over Leo Cleary and Eddie StAngelo. George Murray suffered burns in an accident. Riverside, Islip, Waterford, Monadnock and Thompson rained out.
Thirty five years ago in 1984 Richie Evans was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Rain washed out Spencer, Waterford and Riverside on Saturday night. At Shangri-La the rain quit and Evans made it two for two on the weekend. George Kent and Jan Leaty followed. In Winston Cup action at Nashville, Darrell Waltrip won both the pole and the main event.
Thirty years ago in 1989 Stafford pulled the plug on the night’s schedule because of rain. On Saturday night the Modified Tour Series was at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. Mike McLaughlin took an impressive win over Tony Hirschman, Tony Jankowiac and Satch Worley. Dan Jivenelli was the victor at Riverhead and at Riverside it was Jerry Marquis. Waterford rained out.
Twenty five years ago in 1994 NASCAR announced that they were in the process of forming a truck touring series which would debut in 1995.In Friday action at Stafford Mike and Ted Christopher finished one-two ahead of John Anderson and Bob Potter. Jay Stewart started 18th and won the late model feature. Twin features were run at Waterford on Saturday night with David Gada and Mark LaJunesse taking victories. Twins were also run at Riverhead with Wayne Anderson and Eddie Brunnhoelzl taking wins. At Riverside it was Dan Avery over Reggie Ruggiero. The Modified Tour Series was at Thompson on Sunday and it was a memorable day for Charlie Pasteryak as he won the 125-lap event over Tom Baldwin and Bruce Dell and Wayne Anderson. Rick Fuller was the apparent winner until he suffered a flat on lap 111 of the 125-lap event. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Ernie Irvan took the win over Geoff Bodine and at Indianapolis, Al Unser Jr. took the Indy 500 pole with a speed of 228.011 mph.
Twenty years ago in 1999 the Featherlite Modifieds converged on the Richmond Raceway, 51 cars strong. It took two days to run 131 of a scheduled 150 laps but when the event was finally checkered, Ted Christopher and Joe Brady sat in victory lane. Tom Baldwin ended up second, Jamie Tomaino, third and Bruce Driver, fourth. At Stafford on Friday night, Mike Christopher won out over Frank Wainwright in an action filled night which saw Chris Jones removed and suspended indefinitely by the Connecticut DMV for intentionally ramming Christopher. Dennis Gada beat out Bert Marvin at Waterford while Ted Riggot won at Riverside and Ed Brunnhoelzl won at Riverhead. Kelly Moore won the BGNN200 at Thompson after taking the lead from Martin Truex on lap 120.Ted Christopher won the companion SK Modified event over Dave Kukta and Scott Spaulding. Lou Lazzaro who won his first modified feature at Fonda in 1961 recorded his 113th career win at the historic New York State dirt track. In the last 30 years, the 64-year-old legend has recorded at least one win every year. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Dale Jarrett took the win.
Fifteen years ago in 2004 the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Waterford Speedbowl. The 150-lap event, which drew 47 Modifieds, had to one of the most exciting and competitive run at the shoreline oval in quite a while. Busch Pole sitter Chuck Hossfeld, driving the Garbarino Bros. Mystic Missile, picked the pole starting position and led the first 80 laps. Hossfeld, who appeared to have the car to beat was hounded by Ted Christopher who, after starting third, shot by Tony Hirschman and moved into second spot on the first lap. During a restart from the third caution on lap 79 Christopher powered his way into the lead. One lap later, Hossfeld tapped him as they came out of turn four. Christopher and a host of others spun which allowed Mike Stefanik to inherit the lead. Hossfeld was put to the rear for rough riding. Stefanik with Eddie Flemke in hot pursuit led what was left of the 30 car-starting field. The race was supposed to end at the 150-lap mark but because of the inefficiency of the Waterford wreckers and track crews to clean up a minor wreck on lap 140 the event was extended to 152 laps in order to provide a green-white-checkered finish. In a single file restart Stefanik took the green on lap 150. Flemke glued himself to the former national champion’s bumper. With victory in sight Stefanik hit some dirt and debris kicked up by a spinning Doug Coby in the fourth turn on the final lap. Stefanik drifted up and it was all that Flemke needed as he floored his Hill Enterprises mount and took the victory by inches. Stefanik ended up second with Tony Hirschman, third. Jerry Marquis came from a 12th starting spot to finish fourth. Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. It was a great victory for car owners Roger and Sandra Hill who make the long trip north for every Mod Tour event from their base of operations in Westfield, North Carolina. Hossfeld finished 12th and Christopher, who came across the finish line in sixth was placed last on the lead lap in 15th for failure to restart in the proper spot. Following Szegedy to round out the top ten were Nevin George, John Blewett III, Tony Ferrante Jr, Jamie Tomaino and Rob Summers. There were seven cautions for 54 laps. Fifteen of the original 30 starters completed the entire race distance.
Ted Christopher is known to be an intimidator at times at Stafford but on Friday night he became intimidated. Christopher was leading the final lap of the 40 lap SK Modified feature when he became the victim of his own making. Chuck Hossfeld was second when they took the white flag. In a move made many times by Christopher, Hossfeld dove low into turn one. Christopher saw him coming and tried to pinch him off. It was then that the pair made contact and slid up the track. Jeff Baral, who was running third at the time shot under the tangled cars and went on to take the win. Hossfeld and Christopher managed to keep pointed in the same direction and kept going. Hossfeld finished second with Christopher, third. At least that’s what he thought. The top finishing cars were then weighed and at that time it was discovered that Christopher’s car had an illegal left side weight. With Christopher disqualified, Jim Civale was moved up to the third spot. Shawn Tryon and Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Former Pro Stock driver Tom Fearn broke the stranglehold that Mike Quintialano had on the Late Model division as he took the Late Model feature event. Quintialano, who finished sixth, was disqualified as it was discovered in a post race inspection that his car had an illegal suspension part. Fran Siana was the Dare Stock winner.
At the Waterford Speedbowl in regular weekly competition on Saturday night, Doug Coby had to get mad to get aggressive in order to win. Coby led Jeff Pearl across the finish line after he had his lead taken away at one point for jumping on the restart. Pearl led a good portion of the event but in the end had nothing for Coby. Dennis Gada finished third with Ted Christopher and Chris Pasteryak rounding out the top five. Jay Stuart won the LateModel feature that went non-stop. Other Saturday night winners were Joe Bavolacco in the Mini Stocks and Bill Mcneil in the Sportsman division.
The Nextel Cup division of NASCAR along with the Busch Racing Series was in Richmond, Virginia last weekend. The announcement that NASCAR had awarded a second Nextel Cup date to the Texas Motor Speedway was the big news. The International Speedway Corporation announced that the North Carolina Speedway had been sold to Speedway Motorsports. Speedway Motorsports, which owns the Texas Speedway asked for and received approval from NASCAR to move the Rockingham race date to Texas. The sale price was $100 million. With Texas getting their second date meant that the anti-trust suit filed by a Speedway Motorsports stockholder against NASCAR would go away. The new Texas date would be November 6, 2005. It was also announced that the International Speedway Corporation had purchased the Martinsville Speedway from the Earles and France families. It was also indicated that the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina would lose one of its dates as Phoenix gets a second date. In a somewhat related announcement the International Speedway Corporation announced that they would cease racing operations at Nazareth. Their Busch Racing Series and IRL dates would be moved to another track, rumored to be Watkins Glen. As for the Featherlite Modified Touring Series date, no mention of its future was stated so it looked like it will just fade away. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the Nextel Cup win in Richmond after taking the lead from Tony Stewart with 54 laps remaining in the 400-lap contest. Jimmie Johnson finished second with Bobby Labonte, third. Stewart ended up fourth. Kyle Busch won the Busch Racing Series event at Richmond.
The New Hampshire International Speedway sued Action Performance, which makes and markets auto-racing collectibles. NHIS alleged that Action Performance was guilty of breech of contract, fraud and a violation of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act. NHIS felt that Action Performance had fraudulently underreported gross sales since 1993. NHIS charges a minimum fee of $5,000 or 25 percent commission which ever is higher. A similar legal action took place at the Dover Downs Speedway earlier in the year.
Ten years ago in 2009, the Friday night racing season opener at the Stafford Motor Speedway avoided the elements until the very end. The speedway opened up its regular Friday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series schedule with the Late Model division taking center stage for the 15th Annual Late Model 100. Dillon Moltz outlasted veterans Jim Peterson and Ryan Posocco over the final 15 laps of the race to take home his third consecutive extra distance feature victory at Stafford. Jeff Malave drove a strong race to score his first SK Modified® feature win in over 4 years in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tony Santangelo was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, and Andrew Durand made it two-for-two in 2009 with his second consecutive victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature. The 15-lap DARE Stock feature was halted by rain with two laps complete.
Dennis Gada, who has had less than a spectacular start to the season took advantage of a mis-cue by Cory Hutchings and found himself in victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. After numerous restarts Gada was unable to overtake Hutchings. All of a sudden with less than ten laps remaining, Hutchings lost control near turn two and spun out. Gada took advantage of Hutchings predicament as he inherited the lead and went on to record his first win of the 2009 season. Jeffrey Paul finished second and was followed by Rob Janovic Jr, and Shawn Solomito. Keith Rocco, who had won the previous two features, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were Ron Yuhas Jr., Justin Gaydosh, Todd Ceravolo, Jeff Pearl and Wendell Dailey. Hutchings finished 14th. Twenty three Modifieds started the event.
Other winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model feature), Mark Panaroni (Mini Stocks) and Mark Cooper (Street Stocks). There were only nine cars in the Late Model field.
The True Value Modified Series made its first of two visits to the shoreline oval. In his first-ever start on the True Value Modified tour, Doug Coby took the win in the 100-lap feature. Coby, who is a former competitor on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, took the lead from polesitter Chris Pasteryak late in the race and kept it on two restarts, including one with three laps left. Mike Stefanik finished second and Pasteryak was third. Coby, who started 11th, was in the top five just past the 1/3 mark.
At the end of the 100 lap grind that was slowed by eight caution periods, former Waterford winner Les Hinckley finished fourth after overcoming earlier handling problems, second year driver Steven Masse was fifth, his best finish with the series. Ted Christopher, driving the Joe Brady owned #00, cut a tire while running ninth on lap 13 and made contact with the turn three aarmco barrier, ending his night early in 25th spot.
John Fortin took the Modified win at Riverhead Raceway when he went wire to wire to win the opening night 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event for the Whelen All-American Series. The triumph was the 18th of Fortin’s career and worth $1,435.
Matt Kenseth found one of the few ways to beat Kyle Busch. Kenseth took advantage when Busch’s dominant car got a flat with two laps to go Friday night, lifting him to his first Nationwide Series win this year and capping a record-setting day at Darlington Raceway. Busch led 143 laps and looked like he would ease to victory. Then a late collision between Scott Legasse Jr. and Joe Nemechek brought out the race’s 10th caution and set up a two-lap sprint to the finish. As Busch ran through the wreckage, he got a flat in his right rear tire. Busch tested the tire for several laps before rolling into the pits to loud cheers from Darlington fans.
Kenseth, who earlier set a track record to win the Southern 500 pole, still faced a green-white-checkered finish. That, too, went Kenseth’s way when Morgan Shepherd spun out on the restart, ending the race. Jason Leffler finished second, followed by Carl Edwards, and Nationwide rookies Erik Darnell and Justin Allgaier. Busch wound up 16th.
Former Nationwide Series driver Kevin Grubb was found dead in a Richmond-area motel room from what police said was an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Grubb was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after a second failed drug test in 2006 and never raced again in a NASCAR sanctioned event. Jeremy Mayfield was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Saturday for failing a random drug test, becoming the first driver to violate a toughened new policy that went into effect this season. Mayfield tested positive for a banned substance at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter would not reveal what banned substance Mayfield used, but Hunter said it was not an alcohol-related offense.
In Sprint Cup racing at Darlington, Mark Martin led the final 46 laps to win his 37th career Sprint Cup victory. Martin had to show as much patience as speed, handling a record 17 cautions on Darlington’s 2-year-old pavement. The wrecks surpassed the previous high of 15 set in Darlington’s spring race 14 years ago, and more than doubled the eight of last year after the track was freshly paved. Jimmie Johnson wrecked in qualifying and had to start 42nd. He made it all the way to Martin’s bumper before settling for second. Tony Stewart finished third. Ryan Newman, Stewart’s teammate, was fourth, followed by points leader Jeff Gordon.
Less than a month after being acquitted of charges of tax evasion, Helio Castroneves was right where he wanted to be, back in the cockpit and on the pole for the Indianapolis 500. Castroneves’s four-lap average of 224.864 mph on the historic 2.5-mile oval came with less than two hours remaining in the six-hour opening round of time trials for the May 24 race.
Five years ago in 2014, Stafford Speedway was back on track under the lights for the first time in 2014 with the BFF Friday program on Friday night, May 2nd. Ryan Preece made it two for two in 2014 as he picked up the win in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray was the winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Glenn Griswold was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light feature, Albert Saunders won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, David Comeau won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo won the 20-lap Legend Cars feature.
Ted Christopher was able to close to Preece’s bumper, but he couldn’t make a pass a Preece scored his second consecutive SK Modified® feature win to start the 2014 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Preece and Christopher was Doug Coby, Keith Rocco, and Eric Berndt.
Rowan Pennink continues with bad luck. Pennink, who was disqualified from the SK event on Sizzler weekend found himself on his roof on Friday night
The Waterford Speedbowl was again the scene of some hot competition on a cold night. Hottest of the hot was Keith Rocco who won the SK Modified and Late Model features. Rocco has the distinction of having a total family commitment and total dedication of his crew. During the early part of the evening Rocco was swept up in a crash that did considerable damage to his car which was considered un-repairable.
Ron Rocco, Keith’s dad, jumped into action and headed out to Wallingford, Ct to pick up the team’s Thompson car which has been sitting idle since the Thompson Speedway IceBreaker. From Waterford to Wallingford its 48 miles one way and 57 minutes driving normal. Ron Rocco, a former distinguished racer himself, does not drive normal and made the round trip in record time. Once at the track, Rocco’s crew prepared the car and sent him out to start the feature at the rear of the field in the nights 35 lap feature.
It took Rocco 20 laps to weave his way through the field to get within striking distance of race leader Tim Jordan. Kyle James, who had recovered from an early race spin entered the picture to put some heat on Rocco.
James quickly joined the battle at the front over the final seven laps. He took second position from Rocco on lap-29 after Rocco continued trying to work Jordan’s outside. A final caution flag on lap-30 set the stage for a final five lap shootout by the top three. Jordan got a good start and Rocco took second back from James. That set up his pivotal move on Jordan for the race lead on lap-32. With the laps winding down Rocco slid inside Jordan into turn one and came away with the lead. Jordan reached Rocco’s rear bumper the next two laps but Rocco hung on. Jordan finished second while James ended up placing third. Craig Lutz finished fourth and Diego Monahan rounded out the top-five.
Rocco’s run in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature tied a 43-year old record. It marked his fourth straight win in the division to begin the season, equaling the benchmark set by Mike Daigneault in 1971. Rocco trailed an early battle for the lead between Jason Palmer and Jeff Smith. Those two cars came together which sent both spinning between turns three and four on lap-8. Rocco got tagged from behind in the incident, which drew the yellow flag, but was able to drive through it into the race lead. Once out front Rocco was never seriously challenged. Bruce Thomas Jr. finished second and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver Tommy Barrett Jr. was third.
In other action at the shoreline oval, Josh Galvin took top honors as he scored the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Street Stock Showdown race, an extra-distance event for the division. Ken Cassidy Jr. was back in Victory Lane following the Mini Stock race and Randy Churchill checkered the SK Light Modified feature. Jordan Hadley won his first career race in the X-Car division.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was part of the 69th season opener at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts. Richard Savory beat the elements and the competition to take the win in the 100 lap Modified win. Savory and Todd Annarummo swapped the lead numerous times in the event that was run in 29 minutes. Savory took the lead for the final time on lap 46. Thirteen of the original 23 starters were in the lead lap at the end. Annarummo faded to fifth in the final run-down. Justin Bonsignore finished second with Anthony Nocella, Stephen Masse and Annarummo rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jeff Rocco, Rowan Pennink, Chris Pasteryak, Max Zachem and Todd Szegedy.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season on Saturday night. Shawn Solomito was the winner of Twin 30’s for the NASCAR Modifieds. Tom Rogers Jr. and Shawn’s brother Timmy Solomito followed in the first event. With the second 30-lap main event lined up by the finish of the first race Shawn Solomito broke out front while Rogers and Timmy Solomito began an intense battle for second. That race for position got too close on lap 3 when the duo made contact ending Timmy’s race, with Rogers having to go to the rear after the contact and ensuing yellow flag. When the race resumes Solomito found yet another family member to contend with as his cousin Eric Goodale was lined-up second on the restart with defending NASCAR Modified champion Howie Brode third.
Once again Shawn was a master of the restarts as he stayed out front with Goodale and Brode racing for second with Howie passing Eric for the position on lap 4. Once to second Brode was able to keep in step with the race leader and at times was able to pull up to his rear bumper but that would be as close as he got over the final half of the race. Once again at the checkers it was Shawn Solomito taking the victory over Howie Brode. Dave Sapienza of Riverhead was third after an intense battle with 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece who ended up fourth.
In Modified racing in the southland, Burt Myers made it two for two, and Chris Fleming ended a two-year drought at Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina on Saturday night. Myers, Bowman Gray’s defending champion, followed up a victory in the season-opening race last weekend by leading pole to pole. And he sailed on to his 58th career victory at Bowman Gray. Jason Myers finished second in the first race, with Tim Brown third, Danny Bohn fourth and John Smith fifth.
Fleming snatched the lead from Cale Gale, a veteran stock-car racer but Modified rookie, and went on to victory in the second race.
Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career after out-dueling Greg Biffle and holding the lead when a last-lap caution froze the field. Elliott Sadler won the Aaron’s 312 Nationwide Series event, also at Talladega Superspeedway.
Last Year, 2018, The Stafford Motor Speedway started the weekend off with their Friday night program. Taking top billing were the Street Stocks with the Casagrande Builders Street Stock 25. Michael Hopkins took down the extra distance win while other feature winners on the night included Keith Rocco winning his 3rd race in as many starts this season in the SK Modified® feature, Darrell Keane was a first time career winner in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci was also a first time winner in the SK Light feature, and Ryan Fearn outdueled his sister Alexandra to win the Limited Late Model feature.
For Rocco, it was actually five wins in a row as he won the final two events at the track in 2017. Starting 14th, Rocco took the lead following a restart on lap 17. Eric Berndt and Mike Christopher Jr followed.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain. Impending rain forced the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island to pull the plug early Saturday morning.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina two new faces sat in victory lane. Jonathan Brown and Bobby Measmer Jr. both scored wins for the first time this season. It was Brown’s 12th career win at the track, and a history-making night for Measmer as his first since starting his career on the Bowman Gray weekly series two years ago.
In the first Modified race, Brown qualified for second on the outside position next to Lee Jeffreys on pole. In the first lap, Measmer passed Jeffreys to take the lead briefly before Brown pushed past. Brown earned the checkered flag with Measmer taking second and Jeffreys coming in third, with just one caution on the 11th lap.
Following the race, the Madhouse Scramble was used to draw Brown’s starting position for the second Modified showdown. He drew a 10 for the additional 25-laps. Measmer qualified fourth for the first race, and then started ninth in the second. One week previous, he placed 13th in the Kevin Powell Motorsports 100-lap Modified feature race after qualifying for pole. Measmer becme the 135th driver after having won a main event in a feature division at Bowman Gray since racing began at the stadium in 1949. Measmer edged out Frank Fleming with Jason Myers coming in third.
Congratulations to Seekonk Speedway competitors Vinnie Annarummo and Eddie StAngelo who were voted into the Seekonk Speedway Hall of Fame.
Belated Happy Birthday wishes to Henriette Koszela who turned 80 last week. The wife of championship car owner John “Sonny” Koszela and mother-in-law of multi-time NASCAR Modified champion Mike Stefanik went Zip Lining at Foxwoods Casino on her special day. Bugsy Stevens who drove for the Koszela family turned 84 last week. Bugsy was the NASCAR National Modified Champion in 1967-68 and 69.
On a couple of sad notes, condolences to the family & friends of New London-Waterford Speedbowl racer Eddie Bunnell who passed-away on April 30th following an extended illness. Eddie, part of a renowned local racing family, was a former Bomber class champion, a modified competitor and was named one of the Waterford Speedbowl’s “50 Most Popular Drivers” in 2000.
Modified racing legend Maynard Troyer died at the age of 79. Troyer, who was born in New York and raised in Ohio, won his first race after he bought a 1949 Ford for $50 and made it into a race car. After that first race in 1958, Troyer just kept on winning and became one of the best asphalt modified stock car drivers of his time.
After starting his racing career running late models at New York’s Spencer Speedway, Troyer quickly transitioned to modifieds. His familiar No. 6 Falcons and Pintos were well known throughout the East. Troyer was one of the big stars of the 1970s, racing against other modified legends such as Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Geoff Bodine, Ray Hendrick, Ed Flemke Sr. and Bugsy Stevens. He won significant events, such as the 1976 Race of Champions at the 1.5-mile asphalt Trenton (N.J.) Speedway, as well as the event’s 1977 edition on the 2.5-mile asphalt triangle at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
Among his major short-track victories were three-straight (1977-’79) Spring Sizzler wins at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.
Troyer also won the Atlantic Coast 300-mile NASCAR Modified race at the one-mile Dover (Del.) Int’l Speedway on Aug. 21, 1977, driving his No. 60 Nagle Ford Mustang. Then, on Sept. 19, 1977, he backed that victory up with a 150-lap triumph on the old half-mile Richmond (Va.) Int’l Raceway.
Troyer dabbled in NASCAR Cup Series racing, running 14 races between 1971 and ’73 and scoring a best finish of fourth. However, Troyer’s Cup Series career may be best remembered for the wild flip he endured on the 10th lap of the 1971 Daytona 500, which was his first Cup Series start.
He later opened Troyer Race Cars, designing and building revolutionary cars for both dirt and asphalt modified racing.
He retired from racing in 1982 and founded Troyer Machine, which built specialized racing parts.
Troyer is a member of the Eastern Motorsports Press Ass’n Hall of Fame.
Clint Hanks, a long time car owner at Riverside Park passed away last week.
ESPN reported that the France family, who owns NASCAR, has engaged investment bank Goldman Sachs to explore a sale of the sanctioning body, ESPN has confirmed.
Reuters news service first reported the potential for a sale, which has been rumored for more than a decade. Those rumors have increased over the past year amid NASCAR’s struggles to attract fans, both in-person and on television. The three public companies that own tracks where NASCAR races take place have reported a combined attendance revenue decline of 54 percent over the past decade.
NASCAR does not comment on its ownership structure, but according to court documents in various lawsuits, it is co-owned by Jim France, the one surviving son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and Lesa France Kennedy, the granddaughter of France Sr. and daughter of Bill France Jr.
What would be included in any type of sale is unclear. Lesa spends much of her time focused on her role as CEO of International Speedway Corp., the publicly traded company that operates 12 racetracks. The France family, which includes Lesa’s brother Brian, who serves as NASCAR’s chairman and CEO, owns 74 percent of the company’s stock
Possible bidders include Marcus Smith, president of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Insiders say Smith wants to make his own legacy in sports, separate from his father Bruton. While the Smiths had interest in buying the Carolina Panthers, the $2 billion-plus price tag was too much for them to become majority owners. Comcast is also bound to come up, not only because of its sponsorship of the Xfinity Series, but because the idea of a media company buying a racing series for content is fresh in minds after Formula One was purchased by Liberty Media.
In NASCAR Monster Cup racing, Kevin Harvick surged past Martin Truex Jr. with one lap to go Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, winning for the fifth time in what has turned out to be a record-setting start to the year.