RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Eighty years ago in 1940 a brand new race track in opened in Thompson, CT. The land on which the track was built had been transformed from a dairy farm into a speedway following the farm’s destruction at the hands of the infamous 1938 hurricane.
Property owner John Hoenig had constructed the largest race track in the northeast and had bucked conventional wisdom by making the racing surface out of macadam instead of the traditional dirt, clay or wood that topped most tracks of the day. Hoenig had built the first ‘asphalt’ race track in the United States. Racers of the day could not wait to test the all-new, high banked speedway. None had ever raced on a surface like the one Hoenig had used, but that did not keep them or race fans away. A full field of racecars and the huge grandstands were filled to capacity for this grand opening. Opening day had brought virtually every big name in the sport.
The grandstands, made from trees that had been blown down in the hurricane, were full and when the time trial session was complete, it was the D’Amore #10 that had set the fast time of the day at 26.4 seconds. “Dizzy” Vance then drove the D’Amore #10 to a win in the very first qualifying race at Thompson.
Once the qualifying heats and the consolation race were completed, the race teams worked feverishly to improve the performance of their dirt track racecars. After all, none had ever competed on a hard and fast surface like they encountered on that day in May of 1940. The feature event cars were then lined up and the green flag dropped on the field of twelve cars. Excitement filled the air and the cars roared down the long straight-a-ways and slid sideways through the turns just as if they were on a dirt track. The competition was fierce, but when the final flag flew on this historic opening day, it was the D’Amore #10 that had done it all. Yes, “Dizzy” Vance had set fast time, won his qualifying heat and then went on to claim victory in the very first feature race ever run at the Thompson Speedway.
Special thanks to Russ Dowd who provided the info on the Grand Opening of the Big T.
Seventy years ago in 1950, Rusty Rushton was a double winner in the Modifieds at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1955, Don Collins scored his fourth win of the season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Tetreault, who was equally as hot, scored his fifth of the year in the non-Fords. Fred Astle Sr. and Moe Gherzi shared Sportsman wins and Lou Tetreault was the Late Model winner at the Cement Palace.
Sixty years ago, in 1960, Bill Slater won his fourth feature in a row at the Norwood Arena. Ted Stack was the Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. In other action at the shoreline oval Tom Sutcliff was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm scored his third Bomber win. At Seekonk, Ed Hoyle was the Class A winner while Hop Harrington won a Cut Down event. The Cut Downs were an early version to what we now call Super Modifieds. Johnny Roberts made it three in a row in Modified action at South Boston in Virginia.
Fifty five years ago in 1965 Ted Stack was still winning at the Waterford Speedbowl as he took the Modified feature. Bill Scrivner was the winner in the Bomber ranks. Pete Corey led the New York State invasion at Stafford as he won the Friday night event on the dirt. Paul Marshall took the win at Fonda on Saturday night. At Riverside Park, Dick Dixon recorded the win. Little did anyone know it would be his last win at the amusement park speedway as he would lose his life later in the year at the Thompson Speedway when he hit a light pole on the backstretch. Jerry Cook took the Sunday night win at Utica-Rome. Tom Kotary and Elton Hill followed. Down in the southland at the Southside Speedway in Richmond, VA, Ted Hairfield won a 150 lap Modified event. Ed Flemke was scheduled to appear but fell victim to car trouble while enroute to the track and never made it.
Fifty years ago in 1970, Fred DeSarro made it two in a row in Friday night action at Malta. Eddie Pieniezak finished second with Dick Fowler, third. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night. Ray Hendrick, up from Virginia for the weekend was a surprise winner after DeSarro had a brake lock up while leading. The biased New England crowd booed Hendrick in victory lane because they thought he had put out DeSarro. De Sarro got on the mike and told the crowd what really happened and the entire mood of the crowd changed. This was to be Hendricks’ only career win at Stafford. Eddie Flemke finished second and was followed by DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bobby Santos. Eddie Pieniezak and Irv Taylor shared victory lane in twin 25’s at Fonda and at Plattsburg it was Dick Nephew over Andy Romano. Walt Dombrowski, a sheet metal fabricator at the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton , CT won his second Modified feature of the year driving the Majewski L&M. George Allum was the Late Model Daredevil winner. At the Seekonk Speedway a youngster by the name of Ronnie Bouchard was the Class A winner. Don Dionne was the B division winner. At Thompson on Sunday, Hendrick won a 100 lapper over DeSarro and Flemke. A make-up 35 lapper was also run with Flemke taking the win over Hendrick and Santos. John Kollar was the Sunday night winner at Utica-Rome.
Forty five years ago in 1975, rain washed out Friday night action at Stafford, Freeport, Seekonk and Utica-Rome. Islip ran a 100-lap double point event with Fred Harbach taking the win over Tom McCann and Gary Winters. At Lancaster it was Maynard Troyer over Roger Treichler and Dean Hoag. Billy Harman made it two in a row in Modified action at Waterford. Don Fowler scored his second Late Model Daredevil win of the season at the shoreline oval. Sunday night at Fulton saw Richie Evans returned to his winning ways as he beat out George Kent and Jerry Cook. At Thompson, it rained.
Forty years ago in 1980, the New England Drivers and Owners Club, (NEDOC), voted to notify track operators of Stafford, Thompson, Westboro and Monadnock that they wanted a reduction in pit fees for drivers, owners and mechanics. With the exception of Thompson, all complied with NEDOC’s wishes. Stafford ran the Manchester Oil Heat 100 on Friday night. Richie Evans took the win over Ronnie Bouchard, Satch Worley, Jerry Cook and Mike Stefanik. Evans carried his winning ways over to Riverside on Saturday where he took the victory over Bob Polverari and Ray Miller. At Westboro it was Ronnie Bouchard over Bob Fuller. Shangri-La, Spencer, Waterford, Islip and Claremont fell victim to rain. Other weekend action saw John Blewett Jr. take the win at New Egypt on Wednesday following a tangle by leaders Jerry Cook and Evans. Stash Gregger took a 100 lap open event at Plainville, also on Wednesday, after Charlie Jarzombek hit the wall. On Sunday, a strike was called at Thompson and the Sunday night racing was cancelled after only six cars entered the pit area.
Thirty five years ago in 1985, Brian Ross made it two in a row in Friday night action at Stafford. Jeff Fuller finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Kerry Malone was the SK mod winner. New Egypt ran a 100 lapper with Bob Park holding off Jim Spencer for the win. Saturday night at Waterford, Kenny Bouchard in the Ted Marsh No.55 took the top spot over Bob Potter. Mike Lovetere was the Superstock winner. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans was in top form as he beat out Jim Spencer and Jan Leaty. At Riverside it was Doug Hevron over Bob Polverari and at Riverhead, Don Howe edged out Bob Park for the win. At Thompson on Sunday, Charlie Jarzombek closed out the weekend with a convincing win over Evans and Hevron. In SK type Modified action at Thompson, Kerry Malone took his second win of the weekend.
In Winston Cup action at Riverside, California, Terry LaBonte mastered the twisting road course.
Thirty years ago in 1990, SK modified action at Stafford saw Bob Potter take the win. At Riverhead on Saturday night, Mike Ewanitsko beat veteran Fred Harbach for the win and at Riverside, Reggie Ruggerio won a 100 lapper over Bob Polverari and Mike Stefanik. At Shangri La, Andy Romano ended a 20-year dry spell as he won the mod feature over Dave Nichols. The mod tour was at Thompson on Sunday for a 100 lapper. NASCAR put in a mandatory pit stop, which made the racing better, but when the dust had settled, it was Mike Stefanik taking the win over Mike McLaughlin. Jeff Barry was the SK mod winner. Also on Sunday, Jerry Marquis in the Bob Judkins 2x won at Monadnock over Bruce Dell and Kirby Montieth.
Twenty five years ago in 1995, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with Mike Christopher, third. It was a night of intense action and contact. Jim Broderick and Ted Christopher were ejected for rough riding and John Anderson was ejected for climbing the starters stand to vent his feelings. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Lee Raceway. Tim Connolly in the Bobby Fuller No.17 took the win over Tony Hirshman, Ed Flemke Jr and Tom Cravenho. Waterford cancelled at 11:00am on Saturday because of forecasted rain and by race time the sun was out! At Riverside Park, Steve Park in the Brady Bunch modified took the win over Doug Meservy and Reggie Ruggerio and at Riverhead, Tim Cintarino beat out Tom Tillotson for the win. Mike McLaughlin got his first Busch Grandnational win at Dover Downs on Saturday at the expense of fellow New Yorker, Doug Hevron who lost an engine while leading the late stages of the event. Kyle Petty won the Winston Cup event.
Twenty years ago in 2000, Eddie Flemke Jr used an early pit stop to his advantage as he brought the Hill Enterprises No.79 home in the top spot at the Featherlite Modified Tour 150 at Stafford. Flemke pitted on lap 59 and when the rest of the field stopped on lap 85 he found himself in the lead, which he never gave up. Tim Connolly finished second and was followed by Tony Hirshman, LW Miller, Chris Kopec and Ted Christopher. Christopher overcame being put to the rear during the early going of the SK modified 50 lapper and took the lead in that event with one to go. At Waterford on Saturday, Jeff Pearl beat out Ed Reed Jr for the win and in SK Mod action at Thompson on Sunday; Christopher won out over Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Matt Kenseth took the win. Jeff Burton was the GN winner. Five pit crewmembers were injured during a pre-race pyro show. In Daytona Beach, a group of blacks picketed NASCAR headquarters when the sanctioning body refused an entry of a black driver. In all fairness to NASCAR, the driver in question was very slow in a practice session at Martinsville and wasn’t even close to being competitive. They made the right decision!
Fifteen years ago in 2005 At Stafford on Friday night Ted Christopher collected his 79th career win in the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Woody Pitkat appeared to be heading for the win when, on the last lap, he and Frank Ruocco tangled. While Pitkat and Ruocco were trying to collect themselves, Christopher who was running third, took advantage of their misfortune as he assumed the lead and eventual win. Pitkat recovered to finish second with Ruocco, third. Jeff Baral and Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Jay Stuart took a controversial win in the Late Models and Michael Bennett scored his fourth win in five starts in the Limited Sportsman division. Joey Ferrigno was the Dare Stock feature winner.
The Waterford Speedbowl continues to keep fans and competitors buzzing over the recent announcement that the track’s days are numbered. Speedbowl operator Terry Eames called a meeting on Wednesday, May 18, to explain to competitors what was really going on. Speaking in general terms Eames told those in attendance that the property owner, 1080 Hartford Road, LLC, had entered into an agreement that could potentially sell the property on which the Speedbowl is located to a real estate developer. He did specify that the 2005 season would continue as planned and there was a good chance that the 2006 season would also go on as planned. Rumor had it that the asking price was close to $5 million. Property values in southeastern Connecticut had soared in the last ten years and have created a housing shortage. It was also announced that the New London Submarine Base was on the US Government’s Base Closure list. If that became a reality property values could take a dive and building houses or condos on the Speedbowl property could be a bad investment. Electric Boat, which builds submarines for the US Navy had cut their workforce in half over the last ten years. The regions largest employers are the casinos which, in many cases, have hired displaced workers at low paying jobs. It’s a good guess that if the base goes the Speedbowl will stay. There are some who feel that Eames had betrayed them. When he took over operation of the track a few years back he stated that he was in it for “The Long Haul”. Evidently he hit a bump in the road !
Seventeen year old Jeffrey Paul made his open wheel Modified debut at the shoreline oval in the “Wacky Wednesday” program. A standout competitor in the Legends Cars, Paul took to the limited X-Modified like a duck would take to water as he won the event Paul came back to the Speedbowl on Saturday to win the 20 lap Legends race. In Bud Nationals qualifying at Waterford on Saturday there were 29 SK Modifieds on hand. Despite the increased purse only two non-regulars plus Jim Broderick who was pinch hitting for Mark Pane who had a date at the altar, were on hand. Broderick who has been semi-retired the last few years hasn’t lost his touch as he set fast time for the 150-lap event during time trials. Frank Ruocco was second fastest with Tom Fox, third and Ted Christopher, fourth. Rounding out the top five qualifiers was Chris Pasteryak. Drizzle and the prediction for more forced the postponement of the second day of the Budweiser Modified Nationals Sunday at Waterford Speedbowl.
In some sad news, Freddy Doolittle of Norwich, CT, a Modified car owner and sponsor for many years passed away at the age of 77 on Monday, May 16. Fred owned and operated Freddy’s TV in Norwich for 52 years. During his 30+ years as a car owner the Freddy’s TV No.23 ran up and down the east coast with drivers like Bob Potter, Ron Narducci, Ed Yerrington, Moose Hewitt and Kenny Bouchard at the controls.
Ten years ago in 2010, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series continued on “Spring Break” After two events Bobby Santos sat firmly atop the point standings with a 15 point lead over Ted Christopher. Mike Stefanik sat in third spot, some 25 points behind the leader. Tied for fourth spot were Rowan Pennick and Todd Szegedy. Sixth through tenth were Eric Berndt, Ryan Preece, Chris Pasteryak, Eric Goodale and Erick Rudolph. After two events a total of 39 different drivers had entered into competition.
The Late Model division took center stage on Friday at the Stafford Motor Speedway with the 16th Annual Lincoln Technical Institute Late Model 100. Woody Pitkat scored a dominating win, leading the race from lap-17 all the way to lap-100 to pick up his first win of the 2010 season and the first win ever for his car owner Billy Snow, Sr. Frank Ruocco scored a dominating feature victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, David Webb won the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr. won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly wired the field in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Ted Christopher took the lead from Frank Ruocco in the outside groove to lead the field, but Ruocco was glued to Christopher’s back bumper. After several cautions slowed the action in the first several laps of the race, Christopher held the lead until lap-6 when Ruocco went to the front of the field. Keith Rocco was third behind Christopher with Mark Bakaj in fourth and Zach Sylvester in fifth.
Ruocco continued to hold the lead while Christopher and Rocco were having a great duel for second place. Rocco worked Christopher over and he finally was able to get by Christopher for second on lap-20. A spin by Brad Hietala brought the yellow out with 20 laps complete. Ruocco continued to lead on the restart, with Rocco and Christopher side by side for second. Christopher took the spot, but he spun on lap-23 after contact with Rocco, which brought the caution back out. Rocco was sent to the rear of the field for over aggressive driving, moving Sylvester into second, Jeff Malave into third, and Jeff Baral into fourth for the restart.
Ruocco again held the lead with Sylvester, Malave, Baral, and Dan Avery behind him in the top-5. The top-5 ran in line until the caution came back out with 29 laps complete for a spin by Brad Hietala. Ruocco again got a good restart and kept the lead with Malave moving into second and Baral into third. Keith Rocco was now back in the mix after his penalty and moved into fourth with Ryan Preece moving into fifth place. Rocco got by Baral on the last lap, but it was all Ruocco as he led the race from lap-6 to the checkered flag to take his first SK Modified® feature victory of the 2010 season. Malave finished second, with Rocco, Baral, and Preece rounding out the top-5.
Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl was cancelled due to rain. The sun was out at 3:00pm and it ended up being a pleasant day and evening. There was lots of standing water in the infield which meant that the water table at the shoreline oval was quite high. Keith Rocco held a commanding 19 point lead over Ron Yuhas jr in the SK Modified division. Sitting in third, 64 points in arears was Diego Monahan. Tyler Chadwick and Rob Janovic were tied for fifth.
In Long Island racing action, defending NASCAR Modified champion John Fortin of Holtsville escaped a close call late in Saturday’s 35-lap feature event at Riverhead Raceway to drive to his 23rd career victory before a chilled and windswept collection of die hard fans. The win moved John into sole possession of 11th on the all-time win list, four behind Don Howe and John Berkoski who share 9th at 27 victories.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night in front of another packed house. MadHouse TV star Burt Myers scored his first victory of the year at the historic track. Myers started 16th on the field. Brian Loftin finished second with Brentt Elliott, third and Brad Robbins, fourth. Defending track champ Tim Brown rounded out the top five. Jason Myers, another MadHouse star finished ninth after drawing the scratch starting spot. Junior Miller ended up 15th.
Internet web site Speed 51 reported that defending Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) Modified champion and Madhouse television personality Tim Brown told Speed 51 Radio that SPEED TV had been negotiating with the History Channel to buy the rights to the reality television show. Brown said that even though he wasn’t happy with how he was portrayed in the first season of the show he would consider being a part of a second season. He told 51 Radio that although a film crew has been taping at Bowman Gray this year, it might be too late into the season for a deal to be made and a possible SPEED version of Madhouse might not appear until the 2011 season.
Because of the fact that it was Mother’s Day weekend the Nationwide Series ran on Friday and the Sprint Cup race was run on Saturday night at the Darlington Raceway. The weekend belonged to Denny Hamlin as he won both events.
Five years ago in 2015, Keith Rocco achieved immortality at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night as he became the shoreline oval’s all time feature winner. Rocco scored a one-two punch as he won the Late Model and SK Modified feature events which gave him an overall feature win total of 108, besting a total of 106 wins by Late Model competitor Phil Rondeau who is now retired as a driver. Rocco, who is 30, has at least 20 good years of racing ahead of him and could very well set a record that will never be broken.
Other winners were Ryan Waterman in the Limited Sportsman, Corey Barry in the SK Lites and Wayne Burroughs Jr in the Mini-Stocks.
In the SK Modified event Rocco took the lead shortly after the half way mark and was never pressured after that. Diego Monahan finished second with Joe Gada, third. Rounding out the top five was Tyler Chadwick and Ted Christopher.
The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the Valenti Modified Racing Series this past Friday night in addition to their regular racing program. Doing double duty were Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink, and Keith Rocco.
In the Valenti Modified Racing Series 80 lapper Woody Pitkat took the win over Keith Rocco, Todd Szegedy, Ted Christopher and Todd Patnode.
Pitkat took the lead at the 50 lap mark with Ryan Preece in second. Rocco was side by side with Szegedy for third with Kirk Alexander right behind them. A multicar incident in turn 2 brought the caution out with 51 laps complete.
Rocco, who led the early going, went back to the lead on the restart with Pitkat second, Todd Szegedy third, Preece fourth, and Todd Patnode fifth. Pitkat was applying pressure to Rocco’s back bumper but was unable to make a pass. Rocco and Pitkat were beginning to pull away from Szegedy in third in a 2-car fight for the lead. Pitkat was able to make a pass for the lead on lap-68 and with 10 laps to go, Rocco was looking high and low to get back around Pitkat. The caution came back out with 74 laps complete as Norm Wrenn took a hard hit into the wall coming out of turn 4.
The order for the restart was Pitkat and Rocco on the front row, Szegedy and Christopher in the second row, and Preece and Patnode in the third row. Pitkat took the lead on the restart with Rocco slotting into second behind him. Szegedy got by Christopher for third and Patnode was fifth. Pitkat was able to hold Rocco off to the checkered flag to pick up his first Valenti Modified Racing Series feature victory.
Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett scored his third win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno won for the second time in 2015 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Duane Provost won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Frank L’Etoile won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell was the winner of the 20-lap Legend Cars feature.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island saw Ryan Preece take the Modified win over John Fortin and Kyle Soper.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Tim Brown won the first of two 25-lap races for the Modified Division and matched Junior Miller’s all-time mark of 73 wins. Brown beat out John Smith and Chris Fleming in the first of two twin 25 lap events. In the night cap, Dean Ward took the win over Burt Myers and Randy Butner.
In other Modified racing in the south, Burt Myers out ran his brother Jason in Concord, NC KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Main on Friday night. The 1/2-mile tri-oval at the Concord Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina came alive again for the first time since late 2012 to a packed house and a full pit area.
In a somewhat related manner it was announced the North-South Shootout would return to Concord in the fall.
Juan Pablo Montoya won the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and held off reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power by 0.1046 of a second.
At the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards’ final fuel run lasted 59 green-flag laps, just enough to capture his first Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup victory. Edwards, runner-up Greg Biffle and third-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. saved the requisite fuel after pitting when most of the race leaders stayed out on a lap 338 caution. Fortune favored the bold trio. Austin Dillon won the Xfinity Series event.
Three former champions, a legendary hard-living driver and a successful track executive have been selected for the Class of 2016 into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The men will be inducted on Jan. 22 in the NASCAR facility in uptown Charlotte, N.C.
The late Sprint Cup champion Bobby Isaac made the HOF on his fifth try. Two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte made it on his second and six-time Modified Series champion Jerry Cook made it on his sixth. The late Curtis Turner, one of stock car racing’s most endearing personalities, made it on his seventh. And in something of a surprise, Bruton Smith of Speedway Motorsports Inc. made the Hall on his third try.
Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series invaded the Jersey shore track, Wall Stadium for a 150 lap event last Saturday. Wall drew 28 Modifieds and a packed house of fans. The event, called by many as a Rumble at the Jersey Shore, lived up to its name as it was more a race, it was a rolling demolition derby. It became a game of high-speed chess as it required quick reflexes in order to survive.
When all was said and done Woody Pitkat, who started 19th, took the win over Blake Barney. Barney was involved in a crash on lap 113 with Anthony Sesely but was able to make up a lost lap and avoid further trouble. Rob Summers finished third in mid air after making contact with Timmy Catalano and Dave Sapienza as they came off the fourth turn, heading for the checker. Catalano finished fourth as he and Sapienza spun off the track. Sapienza, who hit the infield wall head on, finished fifth. Eric Goodale finished sixth and was followed by Ken Heagy, Ron Silk and Tommy Catalano, all on the lead lap. Doug Coby rounded out the top ten, one lap down.
Justin Bonsignore started on the pole with Wall regular regular Andrew Krause second. The two slugged it out from the start until lap 33 when Bonsignore lit up his tires and spun. By the 1/3 mark Coby had come from his sixth starting spot to move into the runner-up position behind Krause. Following a re-start on lap 67, Coby powered into the lead. NASCAR had planned a competition caution around the 100 lap mark because Wall has no infield pitting. Smoke began coming from the right rear of Coby’s car on lap 95. The competition caution actually flew at lap 101 which allowed Coby’s crew, led by Phil Moran, to make repairs and replace the tire.
Coby led the restart followed by Krause, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and Jimmy Blewett. Blewett blew it on lap 131 when he took himself out after hitting the front stretch wall. On a lap 139 restart Coby and Krause made contact which caused the pair to spin with Krause hitting the wall backwards. Silk assumed the lead on the restart. His time in the spotlight was short lived. On a lap 146 restart Silk and Timmy Catalano made contact with Silk hitting the wall and collecting Justin Bonsignore in the process, triggering a big wreck.
. On the ensuing restart on lap 146, Catalano and Silk made contact, turn Silk spinning just after the green flag flew. Simultaneously behind Silk and Catalano, third place runner Calvin Carroll made contact with Bonsignore in fourth, sending Bonsignore into the back and back down the track, setting off another huge wreck.
Going past the posted 150 lap distance the event went into overtime setting up a green-white checker situation with Timmy Catalano in the lead. Pitkat shot by Timmy Catalano when the green was displayed. As Pitkat streaked under the checker another big wreck ensued. Barney moved into the second spot as Summers got airborne and finished third.
In addition to the top ten there were other stories. Wade Cole and Melissa Fifield who are usually back markers had their best finishes in quite a while. Cole started 24th, avoided all confrontations and brought his mount home in 11th spot. Fifield, despite being lapped six times managed to receive two “Lucky Dogs” and finished a career high 15th. Jimmy Blewett recovered from his wall banger and finished 12th, down three. Justin Bonsignore ended up 13th, four laps down because of multiple crashes and Matt Swanson brought Ole Blu home in 14th spot, two laps down. Calvin Carroll, who was running at the end finished16th, eight laps down because of crashes and Andrew Krause finished a disappointing 17th after crashing out while fighting for the lead on lap 138.Chris Pasteryak finished 18th, 25 laps down as he lost laps making repairs to his left front suspension. Kyle Elwood finished 19th after dropping out after wrecking with Calvin Carroll on lap 125. John Fortin finished 20th after a lap 124 crash. Anthony Sesely who finished 21st almost went out of the ballpark in turn four after a tangle with Blake Barney on lap 111. Sam Rameau finished 22nd after dropping out with ignition problems on lap 104 and Patrick Emerling finished 23rd after dropping out on lap 72 with transmission problems. Jamie Tomaino who has found new success as a car owner decided to drive is own car last Saturday night. Tomaino started 28th and ended his night on lap 57 with a hard crash between turns three and four. Timmy Solomito started fifth and only made it to lap 49 when the rear end in his car sprung a leak and put him out in 25th spot. Craig Lutz who was on a high from his Stafford Sizzler runner-up finish, qualified 17th and as a result of a blown tire and resulting crash on lap 43, broke his oil cooler and ended up 26th. Danny Bohn qualified ninth in the Eddie Harvey No. 1 crashed on lap 22 in turn 2, placing him in 27th spot. Last but not least, Joey Mucciacciaro finished 28th after losing his brakes on lap 12.
Overall, Fanschoice.tv did a great job of presenting the event live streamed. Track announcer Earl Krause was at his all time best with his description and notes of the event. There were many fans who traveled from New England, New York state and Long Island. Wall Stadium provided it all! Close competition and excitement that lasted to the final laps. Many car owners got close up recognition for their sponsors and the NASCAR Modifieds did not disappoint as they provided close competition at a fever pitch!
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Saturday, June 1, as the series makes a trip to Massachusetts and the Seekonk Speedway. Live stream coverage will be provided by FansChoice.tv.
It had been raining every weekend, on and off since mid-February. After finally getting the season opening Sizzler in on the third try the Stafford Motor Speedway finally shifted to its regular Friday night format. Glen Reen wired the field to take the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Al Saunders followed up his twin brother Cliff’s feature win at the Spring Sizzler with a win of his own in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci took down his second win of 2019 in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Duane Provost took the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature, Zack Robinson won the 20-lap Street Stock feature, and 5-year old Madelyn Boudreau from Stafford won the Kids Big Wheel race that was held on the front stretch as part of Scout Night.
In the 40 lap SK Modified feature, Reen took the lead on the restart on lap 28 with Tyler Hines and Stephen Kopcik going side by side for second. Nick Salva was fourth with Mike Christopher Jr in fifth. Joey Cipriano spun coming out of turn 2 and collected several others cars including Tony Membrino, Jr. and Andrew Molleur to bring the caution back out with 30 laps complete.
Reen took the lead back under green with Kopcik taking second. Christopher took third with Todd Owen moving into fourth and Salva was side by side with Hines for fifth before taking the spot while Christopher also got by Kopcik to move into second as Reen began to stretch out his advantage on lap-33. Eric Berndt brought the caution back out with 36 laps complete with a spin coming out of turn 4.
There was a pileup of several cars mid-pack as the cars were coming back to green that kept the caution flag out. The next restart saw Reen take the lead with Christopher glued to his back bumper. Kopcik and Owen were side by side for third with Kopcik taking the position on lap-38. Reen led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Kopcik finished third with Owen and Dave Gervais rounding out the top-5.
Bryan Narducci continues to be the real deal as he scored his 13th career victory at Stafford. He had six victories in the Limited Late Model division during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Friday’s victory was his second this season and his seventh overall in the SK Light Modified division since last year. Narducci’s 13thcareer victory gave him one more win than his grandfather. Jerry Pearl had 12 SK Modified victories from 1983-1989. Narducci took the lead from Mikey Flynn on a lap 13 restart and held off the challenges of Flynn over the closing laps to win the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature..
The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway returned to action on Sunday. In an unprecedented move, the speedway admitted all active military and veterans free of charge. General admission was reduced to $18, Senior citizens over 65 had tickets priced at $16 and kids, 12 and under were free.
Extra distance events were held for all divisions. First up was a 40 lapper for the Late Models. To quote announcer Matt Buckler ”Ryan Morgan exploded like lava out of a volcano”. Morgan took the lead shortly after half way in the event and held off the aggression of Willie Wall and Woody Pitkat to take the win. Wall made a last ditch effort as he and Morgan exited turn four. At the finish line it was Morgan by 2/1000 of a second.
Bryan Narducci continues to be the “Real Deal” as he made it two for the weekend and six in a row at Thompson. Narducci, who started tenth, took advantage of early leader Steve Chapman who dropped out after a restart, midway in the event. Noah Porter finished a distant second with Mikey Flynn, third.
It took almost an hour for the Limited Sportsman division to run 30 laps. In the end, Shawn Monahan endured as he held off Ryan Waterman for the win. Larry Barnett finished third.
The full moon which cast its spell on the Whelen Modified Tour at Wall Stadium on Saturday night carried over to the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds on Sunday afternoon. By the time the event was over there were nine of the original 21 starters still running with the rest sitting wrecked in the infield. Pole sitter Ronnie Williams held off challenger after challenger to hold on to the lead and it all came down to the closing laps as Keith Rocco, who recovered from a penalty that sent him to the rear of the field for the final restart, stole the top spot. Williams would not be denied, pushing Rocco up the track in turns three and four on the final corner edging Rocco in a drag race to the line. Williams’ margin of victory was .03 seconds. An extremely unhappy Rocco finished second. Timmy Jordan, Corey Barry and Justin Albernaz rounded out the top five;..
Jared Roy was the Mini Stock feature winner.
In Valenti Modified Racing Series action Jeffrey Gallup passed race leader Mike Willis Jr late in the race, to win the first of two 50-lap events in Sunday’s “May Madness” at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH. The victory was Gallup’s first win with the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Gallup, the son of former modified racer Richie Gallup, chased after early race leader Mike Willis Jr. When Gallup took command of the race on lap-25, it was Willis who chased the leader to the checkered flag. Dylan Rock finished third. One caution flag slowed race on lap-45 followed by a restart caution.
In the second race, Andy Shaw overcame a first race incident when his crew got him race ready to become the class of the field until Nocella had other plans. The former serious champion passed Shaw with two laps remaining in the race. The win was Nocella’s first of the season and his 11th VMRS victory.
The next event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series will be Saturday June 8, at Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, NH.
Down in the Southland in North Carolina, Tim Brown also added to his legacy at Bowman Gray. He picked up his 90th career win in the Modified Division, which just added to his lead at Bowman Gray. Brown, who also leads with 10 career championships, leads second-place Burt Myers by 12 wins. Brown defeated Jonathan Brown in the first 25-lap Modified race. James Civali, Jason Myers and Lee Jeffreys finished third-fifth respectively.
In the second 25-lap Modified race, Tim Brown’s teammate Carson Ware, won after racing in his first race at Bowman Gray. Ware defeated Frank Fleming, Civali, Jonathan Brown and Daniel Beeson.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, defending NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper survived a rough and tumble NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night to score his second win of the young season in Whelen All American Series action. Soper also had to rebound from brake issues during his heat race earlier in the day that saw him a drop to the infield just laps into the qualifier. The win was the 11th of Kyle’s career tying him with the late “Tiger” Tom Baldwin for 30th on the all time win list.
With a move that looked like it came straight from a superspeedway playbook, Kyle Larson won the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race and banked a $1 million payday at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Larson, who restarted sixth with 13 laps to go in the final stage, knifed his way up the middle with a huge push from Kevin Harvick and carved his way through three rows of traffic before passing Chase Elliott for the lead with an inside sweep in turn three.
From there, the Elk Grove, Calif., native held off late charges from both Harvick and Kyle Busch to notch his first All-Star Race victory and his first win in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car since September of 2017 at Virginia’s Richmond Raceway.
Larson won the 50-lap Monster Energy Open earlier in the day, coming from 18th in the 19-car field to take the victory. He is the first Open winner to cash the million-dollar check in All-Star Race history.
Special Happy Birthday wishes to former Long Island competitor Al DeAngelo who would have turned 92 this past week. His career spanned five decades, 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. His era was the 1950’s were he won 8 of his 11 stock car track titles. His first came in 1949 and his last in 1963. In 1963 he also won the ATQMRA title at Pine Brook Stadium edging out a new comer named Mario Andretti. He holds the Islip Speedway record for track championships with 7 and modified feature event win with 63. 1953 was his finest year winning the Allstate Circuit Championship with track titles at Islip, Freeport and Dexter Park and along the way winning 22 out of 26 feature events. He represented Islip 3 times in the All Star Racing League and made 2 trips to Daytona. For those fortunate enough and old enough to have seen him compete in his prime nothing more needs to be said. For those too young, you missed a hell of a show. Besides being one of the best in his era he was the consummate showman, from the beginning of his career till the end nobody could play the crowd like he could. In 1984 a year after he passed he was inducted into the Pocono Race Of Champions Hall Of Fame.