RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit – First Week Of July

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, Dave Humphrey scored his second feature of the year at Seekonk.

Sixty five years ago in 1955, Seekonk ran a 100 lap Sportsman event and it was Waterford Speedbowl hot shoe Don Collins taking the win. Ted Dean, another Waterford competitor took the top spot in the non-Ford main.

Sixty years ago in 1960 rain washed out the Wednesday night racing program at what was called then, The New London-Waterford Speedbowl. By Saturday night the skies had cleared and bad boy Dick Beauregard won the Modified feature. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Daring Dick Caso was the Bomber winner. Freddie Schultz was the winner at the Norwood Arena. Twin A division features were run at Seekonk with Don Hall and Leo Roy taking wins. Twin novice wins were garnered by Bob Sosville and Tommy Borget.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 Don Wayman was the Friday night winner at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Rain prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. Lou Lazzaro got his third feature win at the Fonda Speedway. At Riverside Park it was George Circosta and at the Utica-Rome Speedway Dave Kotary took the 30 lap win over Sonny Seamon and Tom Kotary. Pete Hamilton won a 50 lapper at the Norwood Arena over Hop Harrington, Eddie Flemke, Wild Bill Slater and Leo Cleary. At Seekonk, it rained on Saturday night. A 100 lapper for the NEMA Midgets was run on Monday with Dave Humphrey taking the win.

Fifty years ago in 1970, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran twin features on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens took the opener over Eddie Pieniezak and Charlie Jarzombek. The nightcap saw Richie Evans take charge with a convincing win over Jarzombek, Stevens and Lou Lazzaro. The big news of the week was that New Britain construction company owner Jack Arute had taken over at Stafford which was in dire financial trouble. Along with the speedway, Arute inherited over 1000 rain checks. Steady Eddie Flemke, a modified legend in his own time, driving a modified co-owned by the Garutti Bros. and Arute won the 100 lap modified event in front of a packed house. Leo Cleary finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Ernie Gahan and Bobby Santos. Now some 50 years later, the late Jack Arute can look back with the self-satisfaction with the fact that he saved the speedway from oblivion plus he has been a force in the longevity of modified racing in general.

Waterford and Fonda rained out. At Seekonk, Billy Clarke won a 50 lap A division main. George Ponte was the B division winner. At Plattsburg Dick Fowler out ran Guy Chartrand and Dave Gault. Fowler repeated at Utica-Rome on Sunday. In twin 25 action at Thompson, Fred DeSarro won both events over Flemke and Santos.

Forty five years ago in 1975 Friday night at Freeport saw Fred Harbach take the win over Charlie Jarzombek. Stafford and Islip rained out on Saturday. Once Islip cancelled, Charlie Jarzombek headed for Seekonk for a 100 lap Modified event in which he won. George Summers was the special holiday Modified event. John St. Angelo was the Street division winner. Jack Arute announced that beginning on July 20 Stafford would be running small block open competition events against Thompson on Sunday nights. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans took the win over Jerry Cook and Sonney Seamon and at Lancaster, Roger Treichler was the victor. Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl was rained out. Sonny Seamon won a 100 lap Trenton qualifier at Fulton on Sunday night. Bill Slater, who had recently left his position at Stafford, was hired as race director at Thompson. At Thompson, the speedway management announced that they would raise their race purse, beginning the following week. Yankee All Star League racing at Star Speedway was cancelled due to rain.

Forty years ago in 1980, the Stafford Speedway presented the Ferrara 100.With an overflow crowd on hand, ticket booths and admission gates were closed at 8:30pm with people lined up out to the road. Ray Miller in the Mike Greci wrenched No.01 scored an impressive victory over Satch Worley. Richie Evans lost his stagger when a tire grew and ended up third. Rounding out the top five were Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens. Geoff Bodine was the winner of a Friday night Busch Grand National event at South Boston, Va. Rain washed out racing at Riverside, Westboro, Waterford and at Wall Stadium with Islip and Shangri-La the only Saturday night tracks to get their events in. At Islip it was Tom McCann over Bob Park and at Shangri-La Richie Evans swept an 80 lapper over George Kent. Thompson had a packed house on Sunday night as close to 10,000 looked on as Richie Evans beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Brian Ross. Other weekend winners were Wayne Anderson at New Egypt on Wednesday, Ronnie Bouchard at Monadnock on Thursday and George Kent at Spencer on Friday

Thirty five years ago in 1985, Greg Sacks, driving an R&D Winston Cup car crew chiefed by Gary Nelson, scored an upset victory when he won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Sacks flew back north to Stafford for the Ferrara 100 at Stafford and were given a standing ovation while being driven around the oval in the pace car. Driving the Art Barry modified, Sacks tried his best but was no match for Charlie Jarzombek who won the 100 lap modified event. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Brian Ross, third. The modified tour paid a visit to the Spencer Speedway where George Kent won out over Tony Hirshman. John Blewett Jr. went two for two as he won at New Egypt and at Wall while at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson took the top spot over Bill Park and Fred Harbach. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans got the jump on Jim Spencer to take the win. Rain washed out Waterford, Riverside and Thompson. Dave Dion closed out the weekend as he won the Oxford 250, which paid $30,000.

Thirty years ago in 1990, Stafford rained out but at Monadnock it stayed dry and Reggie Ruggiero took top honors with Bruce Del, second. Donnie Bunnell held off veteran Jerry Pearl to take a win at Waterford and at Riverside it was veteran Bob Polverari over Richie Gallup. The Modified Tour traveled to Jennerstown where Mike McLaughlin took the win over Tony Hirshman and Jamie Tomaino. At Shangri-La, John Preston took the win.

Twenty five years ago in 1995 auto racing pioneer and former president of the United Stock Car Racing Club, Harvey Tattersall, passed away at the age of 78. Bo Gunning scored his 25th career win in a special Tuesday night event at Stafford. Due to an on track incident and a difference of opinion with track owner Jack Arute, Chief Starter Chris Hopkins was asked to take a week off. Hopkins took offence to this and resigned which opened the door for Frankie Sgambato to take over the chief starter’s role. Because of the Winston Cup weekend, Stafford was silent on Friday. Waterford ran a non-point event on Saturday, which drew only 12 cars. Ricky Young took the win over Richie Gallup and Chris Jones. It took only 23 minutes and 38 seconds for the Featherlite Modifieds to run 40 laps at Loudon on Saturday. Steve Park took the lead on lap eight and never looked back. Tony Hirshman finished second with Tim Connolly third. Because of stoppages because of rain, it took 5-1/2 hours to run the BGNN 150, which was eventually won by Ricky Craven. Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup winner on Sunday. Riverside rained out but Riverhead was able to get their show in with Tom Tillottson taking the win.

Twenty years ago in 2000 saw one of NASCAR’s darkest days as Winston Cup driver Kenny Irwin lost his life in a practice session accident at Loudon. Fifty-six Modifieds were on hand for the Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. David Berghman was the Busch Pole sitter as he established a new record of 131.415 mph. John Blewett III came from a 29th starting spot to take the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 92 of the 100 lap event. It was the biggest win of Blewett’s career. Mike Christopher, who started 34th, finished second and was followed by Tim Connolly, Ruggiero and Tom Cravenho. Jerry Marquis finished sixth and made a hasty retreat and made it to Stafford in time to win the Friday night SK Modified feature. Jeff Pearl won at Waterford on Saturday night over Mark LaJunnesse and Frank Muccicharo and at Riverhead; Bill Park went pole to pole for the win. Tony Stewart won the NHIS Winston Cup event and in victory lane, dedicated his win to Kenny Irwin

Fifteen years ago in 2005 the big news of the week was the fact that the developer who held an option on the Waterford Speedbowl property had not renewed his option, which meant that auto racing would continue hopefully for many years to come. Terry Eames stated that he was looking into expanding the use of the Speedbowl property. A tractor-trailer training school, a large-scale flea market and possibly a drag strip are some of the ideas that have been thrown around. A drag strip would be a mistake. Those of us who were around when the Norwood Arena in Massachusetts decided to stage drag races can remember they were a deciding factor in the ultimate closing of the track because of the noise problems generated. Eames, who is also heavy into titles, announced that Pete Zanardi, formerly the Public Relations man, had been re-titled to be Vice President of Communications and Strategic Planning. Hope he got a big raise with his new title. Bill Roth, who seems to be honest and up-front, would be re-titled from being the General Manager to the Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Hope he got a big raise too. In other Speedbowl news it was announced that Bill Roberts would be leaving his position as Race Director as his primary employment location had changed. Steve Harraka would replace Roberts. For some strange reason the speedbowl management opted to run one of its biggest events on Saturday night directly opposite the New London Sailfest Grucci Fireworks display. The event which consisted of 100 lap events for the SK Modifieds and Late Models with 50 lap events for Sportsman and Mini Stocks turned into a marathon session that went close to the midnight curfew. Ron Yuhas Jr got the benefit of Ron Silks misfortune, as he was the eventual winner. Silk was leading the event in the late stages when he was taken out by one of the Monahan brothers. Rob Summers ended up second with Dennis Charette, third and Jay Miller, fourth. Corey Hutchings paid a visit to Waterford and walked off with the 100-lap Late Model win. Bruce Thomas finished second. Norm Root Jr won the 50 lap Sportsman event.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Jennerstown, PA on Saturday for the Wheeler Brothers 150. Tony Hirschman cleaned house as he lapped all but the top five to record the win. Hirschman, who started sixth, took the lead from Jerry Marquis on lap 48 of the 150 lap event. Marquis faded to fourth while Chuck Hossfeld, who started seventh, finished a close second. Ed Flemke Jr had his best showing to date as he finished third. Jamie Tomaino started fourteenth and rounded out the top five. Point leader Ted Christopher finished 23rd after losing numerous laps because of a leak.

Jeff Malave started fourth in the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night and led every lap to annex the victory. Bert Marvin finished second with Kerry Malone, third. Todd Ceravolo and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Jeff Connors was the Pro Stock winner and Glenn Boss took the Limited Sportsman feature. Rod Rixham won the Mini Stock feature and Shane Michalski took the TIS Modified feature. Twin features were run for the Late Models with Woody Pitkat and Marc Palmisano sharing victory lane.

Rain washed out the American Sleeve Bearing 100 at Stafford on Friday night. The vent has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 24. The 2005 season had reached the mid point with 10 events run so far. In the SK Modified division Ted Christopher led Todd Owen by 26 points. Christopher who had run in nine of the ten events had three wins. Owen had one win. Lloyd Agor, with two wins, sat in third spot. Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five. Jim Mavlouganes was the point leader in the track’s Late Model division. Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke through for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup victory of the season, using a two-tire strategy and holding off Matt Kenseth to win at Chicagoland Speedway.

The International Speedway Corporation reported that their second-quarter profit surged to a record on soaring revenue from broadcasts and corporate sponsorships, and the company raised its financial forecast for the 2005 fiscal year. The Daytona Beach, Florida-based motor sports promoter and racetrack owner reported net income of $26.5 million, or 50 cents a share, up from $6.1 million, or 11 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $157.4 million from $131.1 million.

The Sun Oil Company announced that its Board of Directors has approved a two-for-one stock split to be effected in the form of a stock dividend. The stock split was for shareholders of record as of July 18, 2005, and shares would be distributed on or about August 1, 2005. Holders of record of the Company’s common stock on the record date would receive one additional share of common stock for each share of common stock they own.

Ten years ago in 2010, The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series resumed on a somewhat cool but exciting night. Ted Christopher won his third feature victory of the 2010 season at Thompson in exciting fashion. Mike O’Sullivan won a thriller in the Super Late Models. Brother Tommy O’Sullivan, took a commanding victory in the Late Models. Larry Barnett scored his first win of the season in Limited Sportsman action. Brian Sullivan returned to the TIS Modified division and returned to his winning ways while Steve Michalski wired the field to score the victory in the Mini Stocks.

The Modified Racing Series was at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for the Town Fair Tire 75. A strong field of Modifieds led by Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink and Les Hinkley were on hand. Hinkley took the eventual win after Stefanik and Pennink tangled. Contact between then-leader Stefanik and Pennink on lap 56 sent the leader Stefanik spinning. Pennink was given the consolation flag for his involvement. Hinckley, who was running third, inherited the lead for the ensuing restart. Over the final 19 laps, Hinckley was able to get some distance over a heated battle between Christopher and Jon McKennedy. It was Hinkley’s third win of the season. Steve Masse finished fourth with Eric Goodale rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Charlie Pasteryak, Dwight Jarvis, Richard Savory, Stefanik and Geoff Gernhard. Pennink, the last car on the lead lap, finished 17th.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco picked up his second consecutive and fifth overall win of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett got his first win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. scored his second victory of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dave Yardley, III scored his first career victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood took his second win of 2010 in 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Rocco started 15th. Rounding out the top-5 following Rocco, Eric Berndt, and Chris Jones was Todd Owen and Jeff Baral.

The Waterford Speedbowl continued to be dominated by Keith Rocco. Rocco took the lead early in the race then ruled in several restarts to claim his sixth SK Modified® win of the year. Walt Hovey Jr. dominated the Street Stock race to collect his first win of the season, extending his lead in the championship points. Danny Field won his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race of the year in dominating fashion, while Allen Coates won the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck race and etched his name further into the Speedbowl record books. Nicholas Sowa won the Bandolero race. Over $10,000 was raised for the Lupus Foundation of America when the event had concluded.

Rocco now had 14 wins as his season total. In addition to his six wins at Waterford and his five wins at Stafford the then current NASCAR National Points contender had two wins at Thompson and one win at New Smyrna. The New Smyrna win does not count toward the NASCAR title.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC was the scene of a 100 lapper for the NASCAR Modifieds last Saturday night. Jason Myers, who is considered an underdog, took the lead from Lee Jeffreys on lap 15 and survived five restarts before recording the win. Tim Brown, with extreme overheating problems, finished second and Chris Fleming was third. John Smith and Jeffreys rounded out the top five. Point leader Burt Myers started 24th and finished sixth

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island a 50 lapper for the Modifieds provided some post race fireworks. Tom Rogers JR took the win. Shortly after taking the checker Rogers parked his car between turns three and four. He removed his driving suit and shoes and threw them over the fence where track officials were located. It had been rumored that he carried a traction control device in his suit or in his shoes.

Justin Bonsignore, who has been making a name for himself on the Whelen Modified Tour Series finished second with Chuck Steuer, third. Wayne Anderson, who is still recovering from a recent heart attack imported Jimmy Blewett for the night. Blewett finished fourth.

O Bruton Smith, owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway told WMUR TV in New Hampshire he will consider moving next year’s summer race if Loudon’s police chief doesn’t cut the cost for providing safety details. The NHMS owner said that if he can’t reach a compromise with the town on security costs, he may move next June’s race from New Hampshire. NHMS was asking Loudon to reduce its price tag for June’s upcoming race from $170,000 to $65,000. “No, we’re not prepared to do that,” said Loudon Selectman Roger Maxfield. “The answer is no, we won’t.” Maxfield said he thinks $170,000 to cover an influx of 100,000 people is reasonable, as is Fiske’s hourly rate. “He’s also in control of 80 full-time officers, so that’s a large detail,” Maxfield said. NHMS has suggested cutting 38 police officers from its campgrounds and replacing them with private security guards supported by a few officers. Fiske said that plan isn’t in the best interest of public safety. “The crime is consistent with a city of that size,” he said. Maxfield insinuated that those who go to Loudon for the races are a violent lot. “We have alleged rapes and assaults, let alone the DWIs.” He said in a statement to the TV station.

Raymond Parks, owner of NASCAR’s first championship winning car and an integral part of the series’ formation, died. He was 96. Parks was the last living member of the group of men who created NASCAR in 1947 during a meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla. He fielded the car that Red Byron drove to the inaugural Cup Series championship in 1949, NASCAR’s first season of competition.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Sonoma, CA, Marcos Ambrose had his first career Sprint Cup Series victory in sight when a late caution threw a roadblock into his path. Ambrose stalled his engine while trying to conserve gas late in Sunday’s race at Infineon Raceway, where his car came to a stop while leading with six laps remaining. He restarted and tried to reclaim his position at the front of the field, but NASCAR ordered him back to seventh place and Jimmie Johnson inherited the lead. Johnson then cruised to his first career road course win, while Ambrose had to settle for a disappointing sixth-place finish. Robby Gordon finished second.

Edwards swooped past Jacques Villeneuve on a restart with nine laps to go, then ran away from the field to win the NASCAR Nationwide series race at Road America on Saturday.

Five years ago in 2015, Keith Rocco kept rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continued to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded his fifth SK Modified win of the season plus a win in the Late Model division at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 113 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 201 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

Rocco’s 200th career win came early Saturday night as he won the Late Model feature. He annexed no. 201 later in the evening when he won the SK Modified event. In the SK event he held off arch rival Ted Christopher to make it five out of eight at the shoreline oval. Rocco took the lead from Tyler Chadwick on lap 10. Following Christopher was Joe Gada, Matt Gallo and Diego Monahan. Other Saturday night winners were Al Stone III in the Limited Sportsman, Mark Panaroni in the Mini Stocks and Paul Buzel in the SK Lites.

The big event last week was the 11th annual Open Wheel Wednesday event at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA. This years event carries a total purse payout of $37,200 with $10,000 going to the winner of the 100 lap event. Due to an impending weather forecast that called for showers and thunderstorms in the Seekonk area on Wednesday, the series and track officials decided to move the event to Thursday, July 2.

When the gates opened on Thursday forty two modifieds rolled in. Five qualifying heats were sent to post along with two consolations. Heat winners were Ryan Preece, James Civali, Norm Wrenn, Chuck Hossfield and Doug Coby. Consi winners were Keith Rocco and Zane Ziener. “B” Main winner was Anthony Nocella.

Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza reported that Richard Savary went two for two at Seekonk Speedway in 2015. Back in June, Savary claimed the win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series event and on Thursday he scored the win in round three of the Northeast Race Cars and Parts Tri Track Open Modified Series and took $10,000 home with him.

In a re-cap produced by Souza, James Civali and Steve Masse brought the ground pounders to the green with Dick Houlihan and Richard Savary closely following in behind. The story of the start of the race was a few quick sprints. A lap two caution for a spin involving four drivers, one of which Keith Rocco, slowed the field up for the first time. Once the field got back to green, the yellow light was on before driver’s even knew it. Zane Zeiner spun his No. 79 mount in turn four drawing the second straight caution and this time, Savary lined up to the outside of the front row. For the next five laps under the green following the restart, Savary and Civali battled wheel-to-wheel for the lead, neither giving an inch.

The third caution of the event flew on lap nine when Andy Jancowiak came to a halt. It was put together as a “quick yellow” and it sent the field back under the green with Civali and Savary on the front row. The two drivers continued their torid battle for the lead, rising fans to their feet. It was one of the best battles the Action Track of the East has seen in recent years. Once Savary cleared for the lead on lap 31, Todd Annarummo and Woody Pitkat were working the outside and coming through the field. They drove their way from 12th and 14th starting positions respectively and found themselves inside the middle of the top ten by half way. Savary led Civali by five car-lengths at the crossed flags with the drivers in third through eighth giving everything they had to catch them. The drivers were nose-to-tail, not giving anything when suddenly Tommy Barrett jumped out of line and passed Chuck Hossfeld for the third spot. Barrett continued to march forward when he passed Masse for third.

Leaders were in heavy lapped traffic when the fourth caution of the event flew on lap 67. It was thrown when Dwight Jarvis and Anthony Nocella spun in turn two and the pit stop game began to take shape. Leaders Savary and Civali stayed on the track under the yellow, closely followed by Pitkat, Pastreyak and Annarummo. Drivers that pitted included Masse, Matt Hirschman, Keith Rocco and Tommy Barrett.

Savary grabbed the lead on the ensuing restart, but caution quickly flew again when Barrett spun in front of the field on the front stretch, collecting defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby. Zenier left the speedway on a wrecker after the incident.

The green flag flew once again on lap 72, and Savary went back to command. A massive crash in turn two collected Masse, Nocella, Barrett, Dick Houlihan and others as the sixth caution flag of the event flew on the Speedway. Savary went back to leading the field when the green flag came back out and the race was on for second on back. Civali cut to the bottom to hold second spot, while Pitkat moved into third and Annarummo found a hole into fourth. With ten laps to go the field was strung out single file with Civali trying his best to close the gap to Savary. Beers was working hard on Annarummo in fourth, but failed to make the pass.

Savary went on to drive away with the event and score the big payday of $10,000. Civali came home second, with Pitkat third, Annarummo fourth and Beers fifth. Sixth thru tenth were Patrick Emerling, Matt Hirschman, Chris Pasteryak, Joe Doucette and Chuck Hossfeld.

Final payouts were as follows: Richard Savary $11,680 ( including $1480 in lap money, $100 CN Crown Award, $100 Seals-It, James Civali $4020 ( including $520 in lap money), Woody Pitkat $5395 ( including $500 from Bridgewater Raynham Overhead Door and $2395 Coil Over Commander, Todd Annarummo $2000 and Eric Beers $2500 ( including $1000 from Bridgewater Raynham Overhead Door).

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night it was the SK Light Xtra Mart Xtra D program night. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance SK Light feature event. Rowan Pennink scored his fifth win of the season in the SK Modified® feature in what turned out to be a thrilling finish, Tom Fearn also scored win #5 of the season in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry was a first time winner in 2015 by taking the checkered flag in the 25-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D SK Light feature, Justin Bren dominated the Limited Late Model feature for his first win of the season, Tyler Trott scored his third win of 2015 in the DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo scored his third win of the season in the Legend Cars feature.

Pennink led Matt Galko at the finish to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Woody Pitkat finished third, with Mike Gervais, and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5.

Ryan Preece scored his third win of the season at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island as he won the the July 4th Modified 65 Lap feature at the historic quarter mile oval. Timmy Solomito finished second with Tom Rogers Jr, third.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC it was all quiet. George Brunnhoelzl III took home the checkered flag in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Daggett & Shuler Attorneys at Law Rusty Harpe Memorial 150 for his 12th career victory at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. Jason Myers finished as the runner-up with Eric Goodale in third. Kyle Ebersole and Joe Ryan Osborne rounded out the top five while Gary Putnam, Seuss, Bobby Measmer Jr., Frank Fleming and JR Bertuccio completed the top 10.

Joe Skotnicki has purchased both the New York State based Race of Champions Dirt and Asphalt Series’ from Andy Harpell and will become the director of both series’ in 2016. Harpell wants to focus his efforts 100% on Five Mile Point Speedway, a dirt track in upstate New York. Skotnicki is a current member of management at Lancaster National Speedway, and former director of DIRTcar Northeast and a former employee of NASCAR.

In NASCAR Sprint cup and Xfinity series racing, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the fastest car in Sunday’s rain-delayed Coke Zero 400, but his ride to the finish was far from the night’s most spectacular.

Earnhardt led a race-high 96 laps and held off challenges from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson as well as Denny Hamlin to score the 25th win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. His victory lane celebration, however, was muted after a breathtaking multi-car crash coming to the finish line left Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS flying into the catchfence. Dillon was unhurt after what was one of the worst accidents in recent NASCAR history. NBC, which was broadcasting its first Cup race since November 2006, reported during its telecast – which didn’t conclude until 3 a.m. ET – reported that three fans were treated for minor injuries after Dillon’s crash.

Dillon found himself at the front of the NASCAR XFINITY Series field after a late-race caution eliminated race leader Brian Scott and several other contenders. He then had to survive a green-white-checkered restart before scoring his third XFINITY Series victory of the year in the Subway Firecracker 250.

Last year, 2019, The Tri-Track Open Modified Series continued at the Seekonk Speedway as part of their Open Wheel Wednesday program. The 100 lap Modified event which payed $10,000 to win drew 30 Modifieds. Ron Williams, who has been on a roll of late, took the checkered flag and the big check that went with it.

Williams took the lead from Matt Swanson on a restart with 10 laps to go. For Williams, part of his plan was pit strategy in the event. Front runners were split between pitting at lap 43 after a caution for a Carl Medeiros spin and pitting on lap 55 after a turn-four incident with Kirk Alexander and Dana DiMatteo.

Williams was among those who at lap 43, which allowed him to move ahead of contenders such as Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, Keith Rocco and more who pitted 12 laps later. Tommy Barrett also passed Swanson in the closing laps to take the runner-up spot, closing in on Williams over the final green-flag run but ultimately ran out of time. Swanson, who ended up third, went non stop. Pre-race favorite Matt Hirschman finished fourth with Todd Patnode, fifth.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night a near capacity house of fans witnessed the 6th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $5,250 with a contribution from Newtown Pools and a total heat race bonus of $1,500 from Wheelers Auto of Hamden, the total posted awards were over $34,000. Ronnie Williams became the first SK Modified® driver to win the NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K in consecutive seasons and in victory lane he pulled the 11th through 20th place finishers for the Dunleavy’s Gambler’s Challenge. Al Saunders held off Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature to score his second win of the year, Teddy Hodgdon locked down his second win of the year in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie reached victory lane for the third time this season in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. notched his second win of the year in the Street Stock feature.

In the SK 100 lapper, Williams went by Chase Dowling to move into second on lap-83 and he began to set his sights on Keith Rocco for the lead. Rocco had led since lap 72. Williams was about a tenth of a second a lap quicker than Rocco and with 13 laps to go, he was right on Rocco’s back bumper. For the final ten laps Rocco and Williams ran wheel to wheel as the put on a brilliant display of their driving talents. Williams pulled ahead as they exited turn four heading for the finish line.

Chase Dowling finished third with Joey Cipriano, fourth and Andrew Molleur, fifth. Sixth thru tenth was pole sitter Marcello Rufrano, who was followed by David Arute, Tony Membrino, Jr.,Todd Owen and Tyler Hines.

Thanks to the efforts of the Arute family and NASCAR the event was live streamed on Fanschoice.TV. Race sponsor NAPA as well as Whelen and the speedway itself received thousands of dollars in world wide exposure to potential customers.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series next competes at Monadnock Speedway July 6. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island also next Saturday, July 6.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Kyle Soper did it again as Anderson Motorsports is seven out of nine for the season in the NASCAR Modifieds.

In racing at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina Burt Myers recorded the fastest qualifying lap at Bowman Gray this season, in 13.217 seconds, and went wire-to-wire to win the first of two 25-lap Modified races Saturday night. He held off Lee Jeffreys and Jonathan Brown, who worked from fifth to third. Tim Brown recorded his 91st win when he took the checker in the second 25 lapper. Jonathan Brown, driving a car recently purchased from Jimmy Blewett, finished second with Burt Myers, third. Bowman Gray shuts down for a week and will return to racing on July 13.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park attempted to return to action on Sunday, June 30, with the second appearance by the Lock City Drift Street Series helping to headline a full card of racing. All five of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions were scheduled as their championship battles hit the halfway point. Unfortunately rain prevailed. Track officials called the race just after 4:15 p.m. telling fans their wristbands would serve as credit towards any forthcoming race in 2019 at the speedway. Lock City Drift, which served as a companion event to the oval track racing, was able to complete the second event in their 2019 Street Series schedule on the Clubhouse Circuit.The oval race was rescheduled to Sunday, September 1. Thompson Speedway’s next oval track event will take place on Sunday, July 28 again featuring the track’s five NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions.

Alex Bowman’s first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup victory at Chicagoland Speedway was as much a lesson in perseverance, determination and guts as it was a show of his raw talent. It took it all those qualities for the 26-year-old driver to reach Victory Lane for the first time in Sunday’s Camping World 400. Bowman’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet held off a hard-charging Kyle Larson for the win by .546-seconds – the two young drivers door-to-door in the closing laps, exchanging the lead twice in the final eight laps of the race.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail,smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.

  •  
  •