Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, One of the most spectacular accidents of the season wound up Sunday night’s modified stock car feature event at the Lonsdale Sports Arena, a 1/3 mile high banked oval just outside of Providence, RI and gave Ralph Moody of Taunton, Mass., his first win of the year over the one-third of a mile oval.
Ray Janelle flipped end over end midway through the back stretch and Hop Harrington, Red Bolduc, Slim Ingalls and Stan Woods, roaring down the stretch, all piled into the fence in an effort to avoid the flipping Janelle. Bill Andrews was unable to get by the tangle despite bouncing off the fence and blasted into Ingalls.
Ingalls was a trifle shaken up, but otherwise all the drivers involved escaped injury, but such couldn’t be said for the cars. Oddly enough Janelle’s car was the only on not washed out by the pileup.
In action at the Seekonk Speedway Rusty Rushton was the Modified feature winner.
Sixty five years ago in 1955 Al Norman was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Jug Mennard was the non-Ford winner and Bill Randall was the Midget winner at the Seekonk Speedway.
Sixty years ago in 1960 rain was the big winner at Stafford Springs on Friday night. Ted Stack won the Modified and Non-Ford features on Wednesday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Newt Palm was the Bomber winner. Don Collins, Dick Beauregard and Ed Moody were the Saturday night winners. The Empire Raceway in Menands New York ran a 250 lap Modified event which paid $1,000 to win. Red Foote took the top spot over Charlie Brayton, Eddie Flemke and Billy Blum. At the Seekonk Speedway, Don Hall was the A division winner, Bill Silvia was the Novice winner and Reino Tulonen reined supreme in the Cut Downs.
Fifty five years ago in 1965 Bill Wimble made it three in a row in Friday night Modified action on the dirt at Stafford. Newt Palm was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Jerry Glaude was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Elton Hill was the 25 lap Modified feature winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY on Sunday. Frank Manafort finished second and was followed by Danny Gallulo and Dick Dixon. Robbie Kotary won at Fonda while Utica – Rome fell victim to rain. Nathan “Smokey” Boutwell was the Saturday night Modified winner at the Norwood Arena. At Seekonk, Bugsy Stevens scored his seventh Modified victory of the year. Mike Lawrence was the B winner.
Fifty years ago in 1970, it was a very busy week. Tuesday the All Star League visited the Catamount Stadium in Vermont. Richie Evans won the 100 lapper over Bugsy Stevens, Geoff Bodine and Maynard Troyer. The following night the league moved to Stafford Springs where Bugsy Stevens used his home track advantage to take the win over Don Diffendorf, Evans, Bodine and Eddie Flemke. The Albany-Saratoga Speedway ran a 100 lapper on Friday night. Evans who had been under suspension by NASCAR was allowed to run and he wasted little time as he took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Robbie Kotary and Jerry Cook.
Fonda held a 200-lap National Championship event on Saturday night. In addition to their regular runners, the event drew asphalt runners who were chasing points for the national title. Harry Peek took the win over Rene Charland and Don Wayman. Modified point leader Fred DeSarro finished sixth behind Ron Narducci. Jerry Cook finished 11th, Bernie Miller, 16th and Dick Fowler, 20th. Glynn Shafer took the Modified win at Waterford. Ron Cote was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Racing at Plattsburg was cancelled because of a power outage and at Stafford; Leo Cleary scored a one-two punch as he won the twin 25’s that were run. Billy Harman finished second in the first one with Ernie Gahan, third. Ed Yerrington finished second in the nightcap with Gahan, third. Cleary carried his win streak to Thompson where he won the first feature and finished second to DeSarro in the second one. Utica-Rome rained out. At Seekonk on Saturday night, Bobby Sprague won a 100 lap Modified event. Hank Goff was the B winner.
Down in the south land at the South Boston Speedway Jimmy Hensley made it two in a row in NASCAR Late Model Sportsman action.
Forty five years ago in 1975, the schedule was light due to rain. At Stafford on Friday night, Geoff Bodine held off Eddie Flemke and Ronnie Bouchard for the win. Bodine also won the Yankee All Star event at Thompson on Wednesday. The only other action in New York was at Shangri-La and Fulton where Richie Evans went two for two. Waterford also fell victim to rain. It stayed dry at Seekonk where George Murray made it three in a row in Modified action. Joe Cerullo was the Late Model winner.
Forty years ago in 1980, Richie Evans went three for three as he won at Stafford, Riverside and Thompson. At Stafford, Corky Cookman finished second and was followed by Brian Ross and Ronnie Bouchard. At Riverside, Bob Polverari finished second but the real action took place after the races. Evidently the Agawam Police felt that Evans and his crew and friends were celebrating too much and came on the scene to quiet things down. While the cops were talking to Evans, Crew Chief Billy Nicewicz let the air out of one of the cruiser’s tires. The cops had no sense of humor and arrested Evans, Nicewicz and anyone else that was in the area including John McMullen and Speedway Scene’s, Val LeSeur. Evans got everyone out and no charges were pressed. The New England Drivers and Owners Club voted to propose a maximum motor rule (358 C.I.) for 1981.It was adopted by NASCAR and is still the rule today. Other weekend winners were Tom Baldwin at New Egypt, Doug Hewitt at Spencer, Jeff Fuller at Westboro, John Blewett Jr. at Islip, Roger Treichler at Lancaster, Don Bunnell at Waterford, Tony Hirschman at Wall, SJ Evonsion at Monadnock and Art Davis at Danbury.
Thirty five years ago in 1985, Stafford ran a challenge of Champions on Tuesday, promoted by Russ Conway. Guest of honor, Tim Richmond driving an SK Modified owned by Jack Malone took the special event over Ted Christopher and John Anderson. The Modified Tour was at Riverhead on Wednesday and it was Jim Spencer taking the win over Tony Siscone and Dan Jivenelli. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Friday which saw Charlie Jarzombek beat out George Brunnhoelzl and Corky Cookman. Rick Fuller beat out Ted Christopher and Bob Potter to win a 50 lapper at Waterford. The Mod Tour was at Catamount Stadium on Sunday night and Jim Spencer picked up his second win of the week. John Rosati finished second with Brian Ross and Richie Evans following. Richie Evans stayed close to home as he won at both Spencer and Shangri-La. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bill Elliott was the pole sitter and winner.
Thirty years ago in 1990, rain-washed out everything except Wall Stadium where Gil Hearne got his 99th career win and Thompson where Tony Sylvester won a 100-lap late model event.
Twenty five years ago in 1995, Waterford ran on Wednesday and Saturday. Mark LaJunesse won on Wednesday over Mike Gada and Todd Ceravolo. On Saturday, David Gada took the win over Jim Broderick and Bert Marvin. Phil Rondeau won late model events on both nights. On Saturday night he blew an engine in his heat, made a change in time for the consi and still took the win. Chris Kopec won a 75 lapper at Riverside and retired veteran Jim Cash suffered a heart attack and died during the running of a legend race at the Park. The Modified Tour was at Riverhead where Mike Ewanitsko led all 201 laps to take the win over Rick Fuller and Satch Worley. Jim Broderick recorded his second win at Stafford, holding off Ted Christopher and Bob Potter. At Watkins Glen, Jerry Marquis was leading the Busch North event in the late stages when he ran out of gas and handed the victory to Joe Bessey. Mark Martin was the Winston Cup winner.
Twenty years ago in 2000, Thompson started the weekend off on Thursday. Taking the SK modified win was John Sneade with Stu McCarthy finishing second. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Watkins Glen on Friday. Pole sitter Ted Christopher led all 32 laps for the victory. Jerry Marquis ended up second after Rick Fuller who had been hit by Tom Cravenho collected Tim Connolly. Charlie Pasteryak finished third with Joey Caraccia, fifth. Among the casualties of the event was Tony Hirshman. Hirshman blew an engine and was fired by car owner Gary Cretty, who had already hired Ted Christopher as his replacement. In Winston Cup action at Watkins Glen, Steve Park led the final 27 laps of the 90-lap contest to record his first Winston Cup win. Mark Martin finished second. Stafford rained out on Friday night and it was Eric Berndt taking the win at Waterford on Saturday night. At Riverhead, local politician Ed Densieski beat out veteran Wayne Anderson for the win. In other news, NASCAR racing pioneer Herb Thomas passed away at the age of 77 and Larry McReynolds, Mike Skinner’s crew chief at Richard Childress Racing, announced at seasons end he would be leaving his position to become an on-air race analyst on the FOX TV broadcasts in 2001.
Fifteen years ago in 2005 Racing in New England got an early start as the Stafford Motor Speedway ran Full Fendered Wednesday highlighted by the NASCAR Busch North Series. Second generation driver Ryan Moore gambled with a tire change and walked off a winner. Ted Christopher gambled that his tires would last. He lost and had to settle for third place at the finish. Christopher led from lap 77 to 122 until giving way to Moore. Brian Hoar took over second spot late in the race. A good representative field of 28 cars was on hand. Andy Santerre and Mike Olsen rounded out the top five. Craig Collins took the Late Model win.
Richard Savory took the Sunoco SK type Modified win at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. The second generation racer took advantage of Tom Cravenho’s bad luck to take his second victory of the year. Jeff Malave extended his point lead with a second place finish. Todd Ceravolo was also in the mix until developing suspension problems while running in the lead pack. Kerry Malone ended up third with Bo Gunning and Bert Marvin rounding out the top five. Charles Bailey III scored his fourth Late Model victory of the year. Andy Johnson took top honors in the Pro Stocks with Keith Desantis victorious in the Limited Sportsman. Other winners were Mike Veins in the Thompson Modifieds and Todd Henshaw in the Mini Stocks.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. A strong field of 37 Modifieds was on hand. Defending tour champion Tony Hirschman gambled with changing three tires when the rest of the field went with four on lap 113. Hirschman was fourth when he pitted and emerged the leader. Hirschman ran the rest of the event in the lead and went on to record his third tour win of the year. Ted Christopher ended up second and now led Hirschman by 14 points going into Thompson. Jerry Marquis finished third with Mike Stefanik, fifth. High humidity along with extreme temperatures made for a true test of man and machine.
Donnie Lia won the 40 lap SK Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night. It was his first Stafford win. Lloyd Agor finished second with Willie Hardie Jr, third. Jeff Baral and Chuck Docherty rounded out the the top five. Andy Major won the Pro Four feature. Jeff Zuidema finished second with Dan Meservy, third. Jason Hereux and Cory Cleary rounded out the top five. Cleary is the grandson of one of the all-time greatest drivers, Leo Cleary.
Frank Mucciacciaro didn’t make any friends at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night when he won his second career SK Modified feature in near 100 degree temperatures. Between the heat and Mucciacciaro’s driving, fellow competitors Tom Fox and Rob Summers were very critical of the winner’s driving tactics. Mucciaccaro started on the pole and led every lap of the 35 lap feature. Summers ended up second with Fox third. Ron Yuhas Jr and Dennis Gada rounded out the top five. Allen Coates won his fifth Late Model feature of the year while Bill Gertsch Jr went pole to pole to win the Sportsman feature that had been carried over from the Bud Nats. John Puglisi won the regularly scheduled event. Ken Cassidy Jr beat out Richard Brooks to win the Mini Stock feature and Jeffrey Paul won the Legends feature.
It was one year previous that Tiger Tom Baldwin was taken from us after a wreck at Thompson. Always outspoken, Baldwin told it like it was. A charter member of the Long Island gang, Baldwin was a Modified loyalist. He always had the best interests of the division at heart. In his late 50’s, Baldwin knew he was in the twilight of his racing career but still remained competitive. It is only fitting that we remember this fallen racer on the anniversary of his passing.
James Civali, tossed out of Stafford Speedway’s SK Modifieds, on thin ice with the Whelen Modified Tour, was on thin ice with officials of the Busch North Series. During the recent Busch North Series 150 at Stafford, Civali lost his temper again and drilled veteran Dave Dion. Dion and Civali had been making contact prior to the incident which triggered Busch North Series officials’ action to park Civali for the night. One of Civali’s friends said he is very upset with himself. He knows he made a very big mistake, and only blames himself. He was only 21 years old, and no doubt will make more mistakes in his life. By his choice the No.29 was not at Stafford on Friday night as he was taking time to reflect and think. Civali has a lot of raw talent and had shown flashes of having what it takes to be a top driver.
At Watkins Glen, Ryan Newman was the Busch Series winner and Tony Stewart won the Nextel Cup event. Sprint and Nextel Communications Inc. announced that they closed their proposed merger on Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. The companies have received all required regulatory approvals for the merger. The proposed merger between Sprint and Nextel was announced on Dec. 15, 2004 with a commitment to create Sprint Nextel — a leading communications provider that will offer a comprehensive range of innovative wireless and wireline products and services to consumer, business and government customers. After the completion of the merger, Sprint Nextel common stock would begin trading on Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “S.”
Ten years ago in 2010, Seekonk Speedway’s 6th Annual Open Wheel Wednesday finally made it into the history books with Todd Annarummo taking the win and the $10,000 first place money that went with it. Annarummo started third in the 25-car starting field and took the lead from Steve Masse on lap 86. Good weather and an excellent crowd descended on the Seekonk Mass oval that is known as the Cement Palace. Masse ended up second with early leader Jon McKennedy, third. Jimmy Kuhn and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennink, Max Zachem and Louie Mechalides.
In other Wednesday night racing action, Rick Ceravolo was the winner of the X-Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made their annual trek to the 1/4 mile Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Considered a “Flash type race” the event carried a purse of $53,631. In addition, $11,500 was donated to be used as bonus money to the event. There were 32 cars on hand. George Brunnhoelzl III was the pole sitter as he toured the quarter mile oval in 11.81 sec. Second fastest was Justin Bonsignore with an 11.86. Ryan Preece, Howie Brode and Kevin Goodale rounded out the top five. James Civali won the 25 lap qualifying race. He was followed across the line by Tony Ferrante Jr., Frank Vigliarolo Jr., Jamie Tomaino, Chuck Hossfeld, Dave Brigati and Glenn Tyler. Those seven rounded out the 28 car starting positions.
It was a long time coming as Rowan Pennink held off Ryan Preece in a late-race duel to claim the checkered flag in the Riverhead 200 and his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory Saturday night. The 24-year-old Huntingdon Valley, Pa., driver was making his 51st career start. He took the lead from Riverhead resident Kevin Goodale with 40 laps to go and weathered restarts on two ensuing cautions to bring home the win.
Preece, who suffered a mid-race spin, came back through the field to finish second. He was followed in the top five by Ron Silk, Mike Stefanik and George Brunnhoelzl III. Eric Beers, Eric Goodale, Jamie Tomaino, points leader Bobby Santos and Erick Rudolph rounded out the top 10. Brunnhoelzl led a race-high 57 laps. Kevin Goodale led 51 circuits, his first laps led since June 2008, but suffered a late-race spin and finished one lap down in 15th.
With another top-10 finish, Santos was able to grow his lead in the season standings to 67 points on Ted Christopher, who finished the race 12th.
There were 14 of the original 28 starters on the lead lap at the finish. Nine caution periods slowed the event, which took 58 minutes to run.
It had not been confirmed but word from the Southland indicated that the Whelen Modified Tour Series would not return to the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia in 2011.
The Thompson International Speedway continued to provide intense competition. Ted Christopher continued to be the King Fish as he made it seven out of 11 in the Sunoco (SK type) racing. Keith Rocco, who has been shutout since his last win on May 27, did not compete as he has a difference of opinion with track officials over tire rules.
A special night for the Mini Stocks found Chris McKinstry victorious in the Mini Stock Northern Challenge. McKinstry also scored the top honors in the Northeastern Mini Stock Touring season portion of the Challenge. Thomspon’s own Jeff Moffat also shared the limelight. A mid-season drought ended for Derek Ramstrom with a Super Late Model victory on Thursday night. Tommy O’Sullivan returned to his winning ways in the Late Models scoring his third win of the 2010 season. It is a handful of wins for Shawn Monahan who posted his fifth in the Limited Sportsman division win at Thompson. In open-wheel action, R.J. Marcotte streaked to his second straight TIS Modified victory.
For the record, of the 220 victories that Christopher had recorded in Connecticut, 76 of them were at the Thompson Speedway.
The Stafford Motor Speedway played host to the 7th Annual CARQUEST SK 150. Frank Ruocco had two early spins, but came storming back through the field to take his second consecutive victory in the extra distance classic. Woody Pitkat took his fifth victory of the 2010 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. picked up his third consecutive and fifth win of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Rob Dow scored his second consecutive victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, and Jeff Jolly and Josh Wood were the winners of the 15-lap DARE Stock feature events.
The SK Modified 150 wasn’t settled until the final moments. With 10 laps to go it was Ruocco out front with Ryan Preece giving Ruocco all he could handle in a duel for the lead. Ruocco and Preece’s duel allowed Keith Rocco and Jeff Bararl to close in and make it a four-car fight to the finish. Preece lined up one final charge to the outside of Ruocco on the final lap, but he couldn’t muster enough momentum to get by and Ruocco scored his second consecutive CARQUEST SK 150 feature victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Ruocco and Preece was Rocco, Baral, and Pitkat. Early contenders Eric Berndt and Ted Christopher finished 15th and 16th respectively.
Among the missing was Dillon Moltz who made his debut in the ARCA cars at the Pocono Raceway. Moltz, a resident of Waterford and a front runner in the Stafford Late Model division, earned his chance to compete in the event after winning the inaugural Richard Petty’s Driver Search in April.
Moltz started 16th and finished 20th in the event, which was won by Robb Brent of Shelby Township, Mich.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco ended a long dry spell as he outdueled Todd Ceravolo in a thrilling SK Modified® finish while Jeff Paul captured his first career Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model checkered flag. Walt Hovey was a winner in the Street Stocks, with Louis Bellisle taking the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race. James Logan was the winner of the visiting Allison Legacy Series event.
Ceravolo slipped in turn one of the final lap to the outside of Rocco, enabling Rocco to go on to the checkered flag. Doug Coby steered through all the action over the final laps to score second, with Ron Yuhas coming back for third. Ceravolo ended up fourth with Tyler Chadwick fifth.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina was quiet as rain put a damper on the scheduled night of racing at the track known as the MadHouse. Burt Myers who is seeking his fourth stadium championship, registered his fifth victory of the season two weeks ago, will carry a substantial 61-point lead in season standings into next Saturday night’s two 25-lap races for the featured Modified.
Tommy Ellis, a two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion (1981 and 1988) was sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion and money laundering. The 63-year-old Richmond, Va., native pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson of Richmond. The judge also sentenced Ellis’s wife, Brenda, to 12 months for her role.
According to reports and court documents, the Ellis’s kept two sets of books for their car-wash business. They paid taxes on part of their income and were caught when they brought out a second set of books while trying to sell the business to an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent.
The government charged them with understating their income by $386,397 between 2003 and 2007 and with underpaying their taxes by $133,163 over those years. In addition to prison time, the couple was ordered to repay $133,000 in back taxes and interest.
With Jack Roush recovering from injuries received in a plane crash, Greg Biffle raced to victory in an often-delayed Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday to snap a 64-race winless streak and take the checkered flag for his injured team owner. Kyle Busch raced to his sixth victory in his last seven Nationwide starts and ninth in 17 events this season Saturday night, leading 209 of 250 laps in a dominating run at Iowa Speedway.
Five years ago in 2015, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night for the Call Before You Dig 150. Twenty six cars were on hand. Ryan Preece took the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 81 and went on to record the 150 lap win. Doug Coby finished second and was followed by Woody Pitkat, Christopher, Justin Bonsignore, Patrick Emerling and Timmy Solomito. Eric Goodale, Bobby Santos and Chase Dowling rounded out the top ten.
Among the missing from the Whelen Modified field was Keith Rocco and the Robert Our #22. Rocco, who suffered a broken bone in his hand felt he could not go 150 laps and he felt it was unfair that he couldn’t give a 100% effort and it wasn’t fair for Our to spend the money to get the car to the track and enter it.
Earlier in the evening Emerling scored his first ever pole position when he toured the half mile oval in 18.739 seconds. There were six cautions for 33 laps. The first yellow was displayed on lap two for excessive dirt on the racing surface. The second caution was displayed on lap 13 when Donnie Lia came to a halt on the track with a flat right front tire. The third caution, on lap 42 was for debris and liquid on the track and the fourth caution was for Troy Talman who crashed hard in turn one. The fifth caution resulted into a red flag condition after Ken Heagy, Jamie Tomaino and Wade Cole tangled on the backstretch. The sixth and final caution came when Brendon Bock crashed into the wall in turn one.
In other Friday night action at Stafford, Rowan Pennink took the win for the sixth time this season in the SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett was also a winner for the sixth time this year in the Late Model feature, Daniel Wesson won the second race of his rookie season in the SK Light feature, Andrew Hayes won his third consecutive and fifth overall feature of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, Alexandra Fearn won for the third time in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell scored his Stafford Speedway leading seventh feature win of the year in the Legend Cars feature.
Bennett’s win in the Late Models was an emotional one. Missing from the celebration was his three-year old son Chace, who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the beginning of the week. Bennett left the speedway following his victory and went directly to the hospital to deliver his trophy and checkered flag to his son.
Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead swept the Sunoco Race Fuels night NASCAR Modified Twin 49’s Saturday at Riverhead Raceway to score his fifth and sixth wins of the 2015 as well. Twin 49’s were run in honor of recently departed Riverhead competitor Chris Young.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Jason Myers continued his winning ways, and Lee Jeffreys won his first race in more than four years in the two 25-lap Modified Division races on Saturday night. Myers started on the pole for the ninth time this year and won his sixth race of the year. Since June 20, he’s won five races. And for Jeffreys, he won his first race since June 2011.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. At 57 years of age, Ted Christopher still has the fire in his belly and the desire to win races as he took a last lap victory in a 100 lapper at the shoreline oval. Christopher passed early leader Rowan Pennink on the second lap and was on cruise control with his Joe Brady #00. Chris Pasteryak made an outside move on lap 93 which displaced Christopher to second. After taking the one to go white flag Pasteryak saw his hopes for a victory grow dim. With a green-white-checker in place to finish out the race Christopher went for broke and coming out of the fourth turn took over the lead and the win. Pasteryak settled for second with Anthony Nocella, third.
Christopher’s glory turned to glum when he was told by series officials Sunday morning that he had been disqualified from the victory for having illegal fuel. The Valenti Modified Racing Series rulebook states that Sunoco Race Fuel purchased through New England Racing Fuel is the approved fuel for the division and that: “Sunoco Standard Purple 110 Leaded and Sunoco Supreme Blue 112 Leaded are only fuels allowed at all MRS events.” Chris Pasteryak was awarded the win with Nocella moved up to second. David Schneider finished third with Norm Wrenn and Todd Szegedy rounding out the top five.
In regular weekly action at the Speedbowl, Tyler Chadwick fought off pressure from Joe Gada, Kyle James, Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature. Paul French went pole to pole for an apparent win only to see it vanish when it was discovered he had an illegal transmission. Josh Galvin was awarded the win. Seth Carlson was the NEMA Midget winner and Anthony Payne was the winner in the NEMA Lites. Mike Lichty was the SuperModified winner.
The Speedbowl’s Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks had the night off.
At Watkins Glen, NY Joey Logano swept both Xfininity and Sprint Cup events.
Belated Happy Birthday wishes to one of the elder statesmen of New England Auto Racing, Don Hoenig turned his 84th lap a week previous. Hoenig owns the Thompson Motorsports Park and the Raceway Golf Course in Thompson, Ct.
In some sad news, Buddy Baker, noted for a 34-year career in NASCAR’s Cup series that produced 19 victories including the 1980 Daytona 500, died Monday morning from lung cancer. He was 74. The 6-foot-6 Baker, the son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, was known for his all-out style, one that allowed him to win four times at Talladega, four times at Charlotte, twice at Darlington and twice at Daytona. He ranks 14th in NASCAR history with 38 poles in his 700 career starts from 1959-1992. He had 202 top-fives and 311 top-10s.
Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Speedway on Friday night. It was Doug Coby’s night before a crash in turn three suddenly changed the complexion of the race. Coby was fastest in practice, earned his sixth Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, and drove away with the race early. It was looking like Coby was going to celebrate a complete sweep of the night and his 13th career Stafford win.
But the caution changed everything. With only six cars on the lead lap, pit strategy was key in the finishing order. Teams are only allowed to take one tire per pit stop under caution, but most of them made their way down pit road more times than one during the yellow. Coby’s Mayhew Tools team elected to take three tires, but he was also down pit road another time for fuel only. After four stops, he restarted sixth for the final dash.
Matt Swanson and Justin Bonsignore took the green flag on the front row, but it wasn’t long before Silk took the top spot with a daring three-wide move off turn two. From there, it wasn’t quite clear sailing, as Jon McKennedy was on the back bumper looking to pounce. But Silk was able to hang on for his third Whelen Modified Tour win of the season.
After restarting sixth, Coby managed to charge back to a third-place finish, while Swanson was fourth, and Craig Lutz fifth. In victory lane Coby expressed his view of the one tire per stop rule with a few choice expletives. Its just plain stupid to have this rule because it is not saving anyone money.
Coby was visibly upset as he walked in circles while trying to regain his composure. When asked if he was heartbroken during his front stretch post-race interview, Coby did not mince words. “I don’t get heartbroken, I get f****** pissed off,” Coby said. He added, “Stupid f****** rules is what it is. It’s this gimmick, bullshit of this one-tire stop,” Coby said during the post-race press conference. “Why does it take five laps to even go back to green for a single car spin with whatever to go? That’s altering the race. Line us up and go… It’s just dumb.”
The event went non-stop except for a caution on lap 147 for a minor accident in turn four. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Wednesday, August 14, at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150.
After regaining his composure Coby issued the following statement: “apologize to the race fans and more importantly the kids in the stands for swearing on the PA after the race. I’ve pretty much kept my emotions in check for the bulk of my career but this one got the best of me for many reasons. Not thrilled with a 3rd but really impressed with our racecar tonight. If I didn’t have to conserve fuel I think there would have”.
In regular weekly action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night scoring Whelen All-American Series feature wins were Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Teddy Hodgdon in the SK Light feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the Street Stock feature.
In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Rocco, who started 12th, took the lead from Eric Berndt on lap-16 but Berndt came back to Rocco’s inside on lap-18 to retake the lead. Not to be outdone, Rocco steamed his way back past Berndt in turn 3 on lap-19 to take the lead at the line. Rocco cleared Berndt on lap-20 while Andrew Molleur and Glen Reen were side by side for third. Reen finally got clear of Molleur on lap-24 and Christopher followed him by Molleur to take fourth and drop Molleur back to fifth place.
With 10 laps to go, Rocco was still in command with Berndt, Reen, Mike Christopher and Cory DiMatteo in the top-5. Molleur had slid back to eighth as Ronnie Williams was up to sixth and Todd Owen was seventh. Reen got by Berndt with a pass in turn 4 on lap-34 to move into second with Christopher right behind Berndt in fourth.
Rocco led Reen to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2019 season. Berndt finished third with Christopher and DiMatteo rounding out the top-5. It was Rocco’s 65th career win at Stafford.
In the SK Lites, Jonathan Puleo couldn’t get close enough to Hodgdon to make a move as Hodgdon took down his third win of the 2019 season. Bryan Narducci finished third with Joey Ferrigno and Alexander Pearl rounding out the top-5.
In the Late Models, Tom Fearn took the lead in the final moments when Michael Bennett spun leader Tyler Leary. When Bennett was put to the rear Fearn assumed the lead and went on to record his72nd career win which ties him with Bugsy Stevens for third on the all-time win list at Stafford.
On the east end of Long Island, t had been over a month since defending Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper had visited victory lane but that all changed Saturday night at the conclusion of the 50-lap feature event as Kyle drove to his 7th win of the 2019 Whelen All American Series. The win was the 16th of Soper’s career which tying him with Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. for 27th on the all time win list. Craig Lutz of Miller Place was runner-up in his family owned Riverhead Building Supply Chevy while John Fortin Sr. scored another top three finish with a third place showing in the John’s Fuel Oil Chevy. Dylan Slepian and Tom Rogers Jr. completed the top five.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium Burt Myers continued his winning ways in the 100-lap NASCAR Modified race after defeating James Civali and Tim Brown. It was Myers’ fifth win of the season and his 83rd win in the career of Myers, who has won nine championships, including the last three. He also slightly increased his points lead over Brown, the 10-time champion.
“I don’t care who you pull for, I don’t care where you sit. If you didn’t like that tonight you need to leave,” Myers said. “Listen, nobody knows our personal lives. All you know is these car numbers. Ninety % of the guys that drive these cars put the same effort, the same blood, the same sweat, the same tears, the same time away from their family.
Saturday’s race was the final Fans’ Challenge of the season where the top four qualifiers in the Modified Division have the option to start in the back of the field. Because nobody won the last Challenge $6,000 was on the line for the drivers. Lee Jeffreys, Brandon Ward, Civali and Myers qualified in the top four, but Myers was the only one who elected not to take the Challenge. Civali finished runner-up and won all of the $6,000.
Among the missing were Jonathan Brown and Jason Myers. NASCAR penalized Brown and Myers for their roles in an incident at Bowman Gray Stadium (NC) on Saturday, July 27, levying fines and suspensions for both drivers. Per a tweet from @NASCARHomeTrack, both drivers would miss this this past Saturday’s 100-lap Modified feature and receive $1,000 fines after the incident.
The action was hot and heavy at the Thompson Motorsports Speedway last Sunday. For the second straight week, Woody Pitkat was celebrating a checkered flag. Pitkat earned his second Late Model victory in a row in the 25-lap feature, but four other drivers also joined him as winners. Keith Rocco scored his second Sunoco Modified victory of the season, while Chris ‘Moose’ Douton (Limited Sportsman), Tommy Silva (Mini Stocks) and Bryan Narducci (SK Light Modifieds®) also were in Victory Lane.
Rocco, who hadn’t been to Victory Lane since the season-opening Icebreaker in April, started sixth and worked his way to the lead by lap 11. Kyle James was able to lead the first four laps, before handing the lead over to Todd Owen. It wasn’t long before Owen, Pitkat, and Rocco were dueling it out for the top spot.
Rocco would lead the final 19 laps of the feature, earning his second victory of the season in the first six races. The win also allows the seven-time and defending champion to extend his points lead even more heading down the stretch run. The win also took Rocco to a career overall total of 276 wins which include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 61 at Thompson and 65 at Stafford Speedway.
Woody Ptikat finished second and was followed by Todd Owen, Ronnie Williams, Troy Talman and . Kyle James.
Bryan Narducci returned to his dominance in the SK Light Modified division, scoring his fifth victory in the first six races of the season. Narducci quickly got to the point on lap two and cruised to another win. In 10 career races at Thompson, Narducci has been to Victory Lane in nine of them. In the most recent event, he saw his eight-race winning streak snapped after he was dumped in turn four on the final lap while leading.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns to racing on Wednesday, August 14, when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour rolls into town for the 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150. All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions will also be in competition for the mid-week special.
In NASCAR cup racing, Chase Elliott put an emphatic end to his summer-long struggle, making a statement with a dominating win on the road course at Watkins Glen International.
A year after racing to his first career NASCAR Cup victory at The Glen, Elliott won a second time in the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday, besting Martin Truex Jr. just as he did a year ago. Elliott, who started from the pole, led 80 of 90 laps around the speedy 2.45-mile layout to become the first repeat winner in nearly a decade, since Marcos Ambrose in 2011-12.
Denny Hamlin was third, Erik Jones fourth for Gibbs and Ryan Blaney fifth in his No. 22 Penske Racing Ford after starting from the rear of the field.
The 2019 NEAR (New England Auto Racers) Hall of Fame has announced their inductions for 2019: Mike Joy – legendary motorsports announcer, Ed Flemke Jr. – Modified driver and race car fabricator, Wayne Dion – Modified driver, Vinny Annarumo – Modified driver, Jack Doyle – Drag Racer, Brad LaFontaine – longtime Modified crew chief and car builder, Ric Mariscal – operator of the ProNyne Motorsports Museum in Pawtucket, R.I. and Bob Webber Sr. – longtime operator of Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.
Chuck Hossfeld, former Whelen Modified Tour front runner, made the following announcement last week: “I’ve chosen this beautiful Friday August 2nd to announce 2019 will be my final year as a race driver. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many partners and sponsors to help me pursue my dream. The people I’ve been involved with on my team and others I’ve driven for have been 2nd to none. I’ve dedicated years to this love and don’t regret 1 minute of it. Having said that, we will continue to defend our 2018 ROC CHAMPIONSHIP and do everything in our power to repeat in 19. After that I will personally along with Sharilyn Sheesh continue our quest for “continued happiness” He added, “I always say that 😊. The fun we had should have been illegal, some was… Thanks Mom and Dad for the start some 30 years ago.”