RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950 Hank Stevens won the main event at the Seekonk Speedway.
Sixty years ago in 1960 Lionel Arel was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Don Collins was the Wednesday night Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm was the winner in the Bombers. George Pendergast was the Modified winner at the Bowl on Saturday night. Stack repeated in the non-Fords and Dick Dunn was the Bomber feature winner. Seekonk Speedway fell victim to rain..
Fifty five years ago in 1965 Pete Corey was the Modified feature winner at Stafford on Friday night. Bob Potter was the Modified winner at Waterford on Saturday night. Charlie Krashen was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Don Flynn was a surprise winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on Sunday. Tony Mordino finished second followed by Mike Nelson and Eddie Flemke. Rain prevailed at Fonda and at Seekonk while Jerry Cook got his sixth win of the year at the Utica – Rome Speedway.
Fifty years ago in 1970 the long Labor Day weekend began at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. on Friday night. Double features were on tap, which would settle the track title. Fred DeSarro recorded a fourth and a fifth as he sewed up the modified track championship. Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda won the first one and was followed by Jerry Cook and Dave Lape. Ronnie Newman won the nightcap and was followed by Brian Ross and Andy Romano. Stafford ran their annual 200 on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, driving the Garbarino Mystic Missile dominated the event until a restart with four laps to go. Fred DeSarro was running second. Cleary had a bitter break-up with car owner Sonny Koszela, whom DeSarro was driving for. During pit stops, Koszella made an obscene gesture toward Cleary and when the green dropped, Cleary hit the gas and the rear end spur gears broke leaving Cleary coasting and DeSarro going by for the win. Cleary was incensed to the point where he felt Koszella had hexed him and had fire in his eyes when he exited the car. DeSarro’s win sewed up the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship. Billy Harman ended up second and was followed by Bob Santos, Bernie Miller and Cleary. Waterford fell to rain. Fred Astle Sr was the A division winner at Seekonk. Pop Silvis was the B division winner.
In twin 25-lap action at Thompson on Sunday night, Cleary redeemed himself as he recorded a win and a second. In the first feature, Ralph”Hop”Harrington finished second followed by Bob Melnick. George “Moose” Hewitt won the nightcap. At the annual Utica-Rome 400, Steady Eddie Flemke drove the Richie Evans back up car to a convincing win over Robbie Kotary and Dick Fowler. Flemke was forced to pit his car in the parking lot as Evans was under suspension from NASCAR and was not allowed in the pit area. Last but not least, Bugsy Stevens recorded his highest Winston Cup finish as he finished sixth in the Darlington Southern 500.
Forty five years ago in 1975, Shangri-La ran twin events on Saturday night with Richie Evans and Maynard Troyer taking the wins. At Islip, Cliff Tyler won out over Fred Harbach. Racing at Waterford and Seekonk was cancelled due to wet conditions. On Sunday the mods ran at Pocono in the afternoon and some made it to Fulton on Sunday night. Geoff Bodine in the Armstrong No.1 won the Pocono event over Paul Radford and Ray Hendrick. At Fulton, Richie Evans, who had a no finish at Pocono, took the win over Sonny Seamon and Jerry Cook. Cook had also been at Pocono and had finished 27th. Labor Day was reserved for the 200 at Stafford, which was won by Maynard Troyer. Evans finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Cook, Fred DeSarro and Roger Treichler.
Forty years ago in 1980, New Egypt ran a 200 lapper on Wednesday. Geoff Bodine set a new track record as he toured the 1/4-mile oval in 12.204 seconds. John Blewett took the lead at the green and led all 200 laps. Bodine ran second until lap 160 when he tangled with a lapped car. Richie Evans ended up in second spot with Tony Siscone, third. Stafford ran their Labor Day classic on Friday night. With 55 modifieds on hand for the 150-lap event which drew 7725 fans. Flyin Brian Ross was on a tear as he won the event. Ray Miller finished second and was followed by Jerry Pearl, Jerry Cook, Charlie Jarzombek and Maynard Troyer. The annual Oswego 200 was on tap on Saturday night. That event drew 71 modifieds. Greg Sacks in the Cal Smalles No.41 took the lead on lap 134 and won the event by 3/4 of a lap over Richie Evans. Chuck Ciprich finished third. Jeff Fuller was a double winner at Westboro and Ron Wycoff won a 150 lapper at Riverside. At Thompson on Sunday night, Richie Evans took the win over Jerry Cook and Jeff Fuller. Cars coming in from Monadnock which had rained out were not allowed to run. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Spencer, Don Howe at Islip, Bob Potter at Waterford, Doug French at Wall and Bob Riley at Danbury. Terry Labonte won the Southern 500 at Darlington over Harry Gant.
Thirty five years ago in 1985, Riverhead held their second Mod tour event on Wednesday. Richie Evans took the win over Wayne Anderson and Jeff Fuller. Stafford and Spencer Speedways fell victim to rain on Friday, as did Waterford on Saturday. Sixty modifieds were on hand for the annual Oswego Modified 200, which saw Mike McLaughlin take the win over Jim Spencer, Randy Hedger and Tom Baldwin. Richie Evans was an early contender until losing an engine. Ted Rigott to the win at Riverside Park and Bob Park was the regular Saturday night winner at Riverhead. Stafford ran a 100 lap Mod Tour event on Labor Day, which was won by Brian Ross over Evans, Bugsy Stevens and Satch Worley. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Bill Elliott took the win and the $1 million bonus that Winston had posted.
Thirty years ago in 1990, Stafford ran their season ending Friday night program with Bob Potter taking the win over Ted Christopher and Ronnie Rocco. Mike Christopher finished 18th and sewed up the 1990 championship. Waterford rained out on Saturday. At the Oswego 200, George Kent in the Art Barry 21 pitted early and walked off with the win, which was worth $18,000.Tom Baldwin, finished second with Jeff Fuller, third. The action shifted to Loudon on Sunday where Mike McLaughlin beat out Mike Stefanik for the win.
Twenty five years ago in 1995, John Anderson won the final Friday night program of the season at Stafford. Tony Sylverter finished second with Curt Brainard, third. Waterford ran a 40 lapper on Saturday, which saw Jerry Pearl beat out David Gada. Tom Fox was the late model winner. Ed Brunnhoelzl won a Race of Champions qualifier over Bob Park at Riverhead and it was Dan Avery at Riverside. It was also on this weekend that Jeff Pearl broke his collar bone after being involved in a carting accident at Woodstock, CT. Jeff Gordon was the Winston Cup winner at Darlington and in the Grandnationals at Darlington, Mark Martin took the win.
Twenty years ago in 2000 Ted Christopher scored his 50th career win at Stafford on Friday night. Eric Berndt finished second with Kerry Malone, third. The Featherlite Modified Tour was scheduled for Waterford on Saturday night but because of rain was held over to Sunday. Jerry Marquis took the win and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero and Rob Summers. Mark LaJunesse was the SK modified winner over Ed Reed Jr, Bob Potter and Tucker Reynolds. Bob Labonte took the win in the rain at Darlington and Greg Furlong took the Oswego Supermodified Classic.
Fifteen years ago in 2005 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night for the Big Y World Class Markets 150. Tony Hirschman led the 30 cars on hand as he took the Bud Pole award. Hirschman drew seventh for the initial start and was a possible threat until he found himself collected in a lap 65 multi-car tangle. For Bob Garbarino it was a homecoming as his driver Jerry Marquis took the eventual win after passing Doug Coby on lap 83. Garbarino, a forty plus year veteran Modified Car Owner began his career at what was then called the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. In victory lane Garbarino honored one of his former drivers, Dick Watson, who passed away in 2004.
Outside pole sitter Matt Hirschman led the first ten laps before being overtaken by John Blewett III. Blewett, driving for Joe Brady, led from lap 11 to lap 20 when he was black-flagged for leaking fuel. Marquis took the point when Blewett parked it and led until lap 66. Doug Coby, who drives for Manfield Ct.car owner Curt Chase was looking to take his first win but had to give way to Marquis who was a tick better on the long runs. Marquis re-took the lead on lap 84 and never looked back. Coby finished second with Donnie Lia, third. Eddie Flemke finished fourth with Tyler Haydt recording his first top five with a fifth.
Second generation driver Richard Savory pulled off a surprise victory in Sunoco SK type Modified competition at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Because of mechanical problems Savory missed his qualifying heat and was forced to start in the rear of the 23 car starting field. Kerry Malone appeared to be an early favorite until he lost a transmission. Jimmie Blewett was also an early contender until losing an engine. As early leaders slipped out of contention Savory took his time and on lap 41 took the lead and went on to record the win. Jeff Malave finished second with Todd Ceravolo, third. Tom Cravenho and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top five. Other Thursday night winners were Jeff Connors in the Pro Stocks, Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Glen Boss in the Limited Sportsman, Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds and Ron Rixham in the Mini Stocks.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Frank Ruocco appeared to have victory in sight when his transmission malfunctioned with four laps to go and put him out of the 40 lap SK Modified feature. Todd Owen was waiting in the wings and fought off Woody Pitkat to take the win. Mike Holdredge, who led the first 15 laps of the feature, finished third. Eddie Partridge and his Long Island Gang installed a new motor for Jimmy Blewett and he brought the T/S Haulers mount home in fourth spot. Willie Hardie rounded out the top five. Mike Quintiliano won the slam-bang Late Model feature after making a dramatic four-wide pass. Andrew Durand won the Late Model Limited feature and George Noctera Jr. won the DARE Stock feature. Among the missing were Doug Coby and Don Lia who were suspended for one week and John Sandberg who has been suspended indefinitely by Frankie Sgambato, the Speedway’s Race Director. Coby was suspended for intentionally bringing out the caution which ultimately was meant to help Ted Christopher from going a lap down. Lia got a week off after he slugged Sandberg who had planted him in the fence. Sandberg received an indefinite suspension after he was removed from competition on August 19. Sandberg was found guilty of rough riding, not heeding the black flag, not heeding Race Control, unsportsmanlike conduct and not heeding security staff directives to leave the property.
Rob Summers won the SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Summers did the bump and grind with Tommy Fox with three laps remaining. Fox ended up with the short end of the stick as he found himself in the first turn wall. Jeff Pearl, with a lot of help from his dad Jerry, finished third. Pearl had taken a hard shot into the wall one week previously which did extensive damage to his Fox Hill No.71. Jerry cut the car’s snout off at the firewall and replaced it with all new components. Ronnie Silk finished third. Chris Pasteryak and Diego Monahan rounded out the top five. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Dan Darnstedt in the Sportsman, Joe Perry taking his first Late Model feature and Joe Godbout taking the Mini Stock feature.
Strange Bedfellows! The France family’s International Speedway Corp. and Bruton Smith’s Speedway Motorsports teamed up to buy Action Performance, which sells racing souvenirs, for a reported $13 a share, according to sources close to the negotiations. Action Performance and the Jack Roush-owned Team Caliber were the top two souvenir companies in the NASCAR world, and Daytona executives had been interested in acquiring souvenir rights to all NASCAR stars in order to package them as part of a stock-car racing “mall” at each of the Nextel Cup tour’s top tracks.
Ten years ago in 2010, , the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made their second annual trip to Bristol, TN. The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 carried a very generous purse of $110,491. Thirty eight NASCAR Modifieds were on hand for the 36 starting spots up for grabs. Justin Bonsignore took the Coors Lite Pole as he toured the high banked half mile oval in 14.835 seconds which equated to 129.343mph. Just a tick off was Todd Szegedy at 14.839 sec. Bobby Santos, Ryan Newman and James Civali rounded out the top five.
Szegedy jumped out to an early lead as over 5,000 looked on. Speed picked two of the best, Mike Joy and Dick Berggren, to call the race. Burt Myers, who qualified 25th with a skipping engine, changed sparkplugs and was put to the rear. Ted Christopher took the lead on the 26th lap and pretty much controlled the race until the half way break on lap 77. Before the race resumed it was stated that the crowd watching was in excess of 10,000.
Ryan Newman held off a late charge from seven-time tour champion Mike Stefanik over the closing laps to secure his second win of the season. Newman came out of nowhere as he literally blew away James Civali and Ted Christopher in one swoop in traffic on Lap 128, and chased down Stefanik three laps later. Stefanik pulled alongside Newman twice in the final five laps but was unable to complete the pass. Bobby Santos and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Christopher was the victim of engine trouble on lap 140 and dropped out, finishing in 26th spot. Sixth through tenth were Rookie Justin Bonsignore followed by Dale Quarterley, Eric Goodale, Ryan Preece and Erick Rudolph.
Newman received $10,400 for his efforts. Stefaniks payday totaled $4,800. Bobby Santos has retaken the series point lead with a 32 point cushion over Ted Christopher. Mike Stefanik, Todd Szegedy and Ron Silk round out the top five.
The Thompson International Speedway hosted their Thursday night Thunder Series under clear blue skies. Woody Pitkat dodged a bullet in the opening laps of the Sunoco Modified feature event and then looked like he was shot out of a cannon to score a dominating win. Larry Barnett reached a milestone as he recorded his 50th Limited Sportsman feature win at Thompson in dominating fashion. Derek Randstrum scored his sixth Super Late Model feature win of the season while Rick Gentes scored his fifth in Late Model action.
In other action, John Studley finally got his career first victory in the TIS Modifieds. Dwayne Dorr made it two straight in Mini Stock competition. In the visiting New England Trucks Series, Andy Linderman proved why he is the point leader with his impressive victory at Thompson on Thursday night.
Car counts continue to be a problem. There were 22 Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks along with 15 Sunoco Modifieds and Late Models, 10 Super Late Models and Thompson Modifieds and only 6 Trucks.
Rick Blanchard and Fred Michalski, who compete in the Mini-Stock class, were involved in an early incident on the track that continued into the pit area. Track management is expected to make a ruling concerning the parties involved in the physical confrontation that resulted. Thompson’s operations manager, Russ Dowd, said Friday that no official decision had been made, but track officials will meet to review the situation and determine what, if any, disciplinary actions will be taken.
The Late Model division took center stage at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night with the 3rd Annual Late Model 100, the second extra distance event of the 2010 season. Joining the Late Model 100 was Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, SK Light Modifieds, DARE Stocks, and twin 20-lap Limited Late Model feature events. J.J. Hill was the big winner of the evening, taking his first career victory in the 100-lap extra distance classic. Newly crowned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Keith Rocco took his 9th feature victory of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tommy Barrett, Jr. took his 7th win of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand and Rob Dow were the winners of the 20-lap Limited Late Model features, and Kyle Casagrande became the first three-time winner of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl competitors from across New England and New York tool on the 1/3 mile oval for the Nutmeg State 100 ACT Late Model Tour. In addition four divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series were in action.
Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, New Hampshire won an exciting ACT Tour race, beating out Brian Hoar over an exciting final five laps. Tyler Chadwick won his second SK Modified® race of the year surviving multiple restarts on his way to victory. Al Stone III of New Haven came out on top of a wild conclusion to the Street Stock race, and Keith Rocco of Wallingford took the checkered flag in an equally exciting finish in the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck event. Preston’s Greg Moran Sr. won his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race of the year to round out the night’s racing.
The Modified Racing Series headed for the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. Following a recent event at the Waterford Speedbowl when Ted Christopher and car owner Joe Brady were disqualified a dark cloud followed the series as their were hints of bias in the decision. The question of Christopher and Brady being illegal is a moot point as the question continued to be why wasn’t race winner Steve Masse’s engine checked, especially after he all but ran away with the event. Ditto for Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink and Jon McKennedy who made up the top five before the disqualification.
Brady told Lou Modestino of the Brockton Enterprise that he would file a suit against the Modified Racing Series as he contended that he, along with his driver Ted Christopher were discriminated against as they were singled out.
Todd Annarummo passed race leader Jon McKennedy, E. Chelmsford, MA., on lap 28, and went on to win the 100 lap Modified Racing Series, sponsored by BobValentiAutomall.com feature race at Seekonk Speedway. Annarummo ran a strong race from the start and set a torrid pace throughout the 100-lap contest.
It was Annarummo’s first win with the series. He became the 11th different winner in 13 races in 2010. Polesitter Ken Barry dueled with McKennedy in the early stages of the event until McKennedy claimed the top spot. The defending champion led from lap 12 through 28. Les Hinckley III chased Annarummo to the checkered flag finishing 0.159 seconds behind the winner. Dwight Jarvis finished third, followed by McKennedy and Jimmy Kuhn Jr. Sixth-tenth was Rob Goodenough, Chris Pasteryak, Barry, Joey Jarvis and Jacob Dore.
The race featured six different lead changes among four drivers. There were 28 race teams entered the event, 24 cars started the race with 16 drivers finishing on the lead lap.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina finished up their season with Burt Myers capturing his fourth Bowman Gray Stadium championship. Myers, who needed to finish 15th or better to sew up the title, did what he had to do to finish up with a ninth-place finish.
Brian Loftin, who won the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150, kept the pressure on Myers in the season-point chase for most of the race. Loftin, who capped his first full season at Bowman Gray with his second victory of the year, bumped his way past Tim Brown in the final turn of the final lap to win the 150-lap main race. Loftin used a “bump and run” to move Brown out of the way. Brown, who was the fastest qualifier for the seventh time in 14 attempts this season, lost the lead to Loftin early in the race but regained it by squeezing past Jonathan Brown with seven laps to go.
In some good news it looked like MADHOUSE would be returning for season #2 as the program’s executive producer sent camera crews to the North Carolina track for Saturday;s season ending event.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Timmy Solomito, 18, of Islip scored his second NASCAR Modified victory in three weeks. He did it with a wild last lap finish with season long rival Chris Young in a 35-lap contest.
The International Speedway Corp. announced that Chief Operating Officer Roger VanDerSnick, has left the company as part of a restructuring effort that will include layoffs and other cost cuts. ISC said it is restructuring operations because the economic recovery it expected earlier this year “has not materialized.” It expects the moves to cut operating costs by $20 million to $30 million starting in 2011.
Kyle Busch fended off strong challenges from David Reutimann and Jamie McMurray to win Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway and complete his unprecedented sweep of three NASCAR national touring events at the same track in the same week.
Five years ago in 2015, Keith Rocco ended a long dry spell as he scored a one-two punch by scoring back to back twin 25 lap wins in the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Pepsi Back to School Bash on Wednesday night as the speedway wrapped up it’s popular Wednesday night series. Rocco’s career overall total of 207 wins also include victories at Waterford and Stafford Speedways. To make the night complete for the Rocco family Keith Rocco’s brother Jeff Rocco continued on his hot streak by winning three consecutive races in the Late Model division at Thompson and four of the past five Late Model races at the track. His streak would continue as Rocco handily won a hotly contested event in the 25-lap sprint, which included three and four-wide racing at times.
In the first 25 lap Sunoco (SK type) Modified event, Rocco started in the top ten and worked his way up quickly to the lead, taking advantage of an early caution when Adam Norton, who had concerns during practice about the engine in his car, made hard contact with the turn three wall. Rocco raced his way to second with 23 laps to go and engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with Nick Ladyga for several laps before another caution slowed the field with 19 laps remaining. Rocco would benefit from a great restart and never look back holding off heavy hitters Woody Pitkat, Ryan Preece, Nick Ladyga and his own teammate Eric Berndt who rounded out the top five.
In the second 25 lap Sunoco Modified event, Rocco worked his way to the top three with fifteen of the twenty-five laps remaining and engaged in a neck-and-neck battle for the lead with Ryan Preece. A bonsai dive-bomb with ten to go gave Rocco the lead and it was pedal to the metal as he held off Preece to sweep the Sunoco Modified double header. Following Preece was Nick Ladyga, Jason Sundeen, Kerry Malone and Ryan Morgan.
Other winners at Thompson were Charlie Wilcox in the Outlaw Modifieds, Dave Trudeau in the Mini Stocks, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Jeff Rocco in the Late Models.
The entire program was over by 8:35pm. Among those on hand was Linda DeSarro Palardy. Linda’s first husband was the late Fred DeSarro who was a multi-time Modified track champion at the Connecticut oval.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night. During the week leading up to the event NASCAR issued the following rule as a few race teams on the tour were not going but were letting others use their car numbers. “If a team is using a WMT car number, said car must show up at the track in that teams hauler with that teams crew chief.” This was done to protect race teams that have supported all events.
Justin Bonsignore grabbed the lead from Doug Coby on Lap 115 of the 200 lap event on the tight quarter mile and held on through six caution restarts to take down a third career victory at his home track, and second in a row in 2015. A 12th and final caution came out on Lap 199 just after Bonsignore had taken the white flag in his No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet, and he came around to a yellow-checkered. It was the eighth career victory overall for the Holtsville, New York native. Coby and his No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet finished second, while rookie Chase Dowling, Donny Lia and Eric Goodale rounded out the top-five. Tom Rogers Jr, who won his second-consecutive Coors Light Pole Award at Riverhead earlier in the day, finished sixth. Woody Pitkat, championship points leader Ryan Preece, Todd Szegedy and rookie Jeff Goodale completed the top-10.
There were 31 cars on hand including Melissa Fifield, who as usual was the slowest of the bunch. Because of the fact that she shows up at all tour events she was able to bump her way into the starting field. She managed to complete 66 laps before giving up. There were 12 caution periods for a total of 84 laps. Bonsignore’s average speed was 43.321 mph.
The Whelen Modified Tour Series goes into a four week hibernation before heading to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 26.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night it was the Lincoln Tech Back 2 SK®ool Blitz. Taking down feature wins on the night was sophmore sensation Ronnie Williams who scored his sixth SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Brandon Michael in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legend Cars feature.
Williams, who started 10th, took the lead from Matt Galko as they completed lap-24. Rowan Pennink was third with Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece making up the top-5. Preece spun in turn 2 and collected Eric Berndt to bring the caution out with 26 laps complete. On the restart, Williams took the lead while Pennink and Galko were side by side for second and Woody Pitkat was side by side with Todd Owen for fourth. Pennink took second with Galko slipping into third. Pitkat got the better of his duel with Owen and took fourth.
In the closing laps Pennink looked like he had a stronger car getting into the corner than Williams, but Williams would stretch out his advantage once they came off the corners. The two leaders were leaving Galko behind, who was in turn all by himself as Pitkat and Owen were side by side for fourth. Williams led Pennink to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the season. Galko finished third, with Pitkat beating Owen to the line by a nose for fourth place. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Owen, Keith Rocco, Tyler Hines, Ted Christopher, Jeremy Sorel and Ryan Preece.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Chris Pasteryak scored a dominate win over rookie driver Kevin Iannarelli who chased Pasteryak through out the event. Les Hinckley followed up his win at Monadnock with a third place finish. He was filling in for Rowan Pennink who was at the Riverhead Raceway. Russ Hersey and Donnie Lashua rounded out the top five.
In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl six divisions of racing were on tap including the North East Street Stock Tour. Recording wins were Diego Monahan in the SK Modifieds, Corey Coates in the Limited Sportsman, Dana DiMatteo in the Legends, Corey Barry in the SK Lights, Larry Loomis in the Mini Stocks and Josh Galvin in the North East Street Stock Tour.
In the SK Modified feature Monahan, who was the divisions point leader in what had to be the tightest points race in recent memory at the Bowl, fought an epic battle of horsepower from the drop of the green flag. Monahan, who started 6th, moved up to 2nd by lap 7 with Tyler Chadwick hot on his rear bumper. Monahan chased leader Dylan Izzo for 8 laps, when caution came out after Ryan Morgan made contact with the backstretch wall. On the ensuing restart, it was Izzo on the inside, Monahan on the outside, Chadwick, and Ted Christopher, who is 6th in points, just 30 back of Monahan, on the outside of the 2nd row. Monahan powered his way into the lead on the restart with Christopher glued to his bumper. Caution came out again on lap 13 after Dennis Gada, driving in place of his son Joey Gada, made hard contact with the turn 3 wall. Monahan held the lead on the restart, with Keith Rocco moving into 2nd past Christopher. Monahan and Rocco battled side-by-side, with Christopher right in the mix. Christopher passed Rocco and began to work on Monahan with 10 to go. Christopher pulled along side Monahan with 4 laps remaining, and used every trick in the bag to try to pass him. Monahan was able to withstand numerous challenges from Christopher in the closing laps to take home the win. Following Monahan across the line was Christopher, Rocco, Chadwick, and Paul Kusheba.
With the New London-Waterford Speedbowl nearing the stretch run to close out one of the best seasons ever at the shoreline oval fans who haven’t seen a racing event at the Route 85 oval were urged take in a race before the snow would fly. The new management of Bruce Bemer and Shawn Monahan had taken giant steps in improving the facility from head to toe plus the racing there was second to none.
Veteran Verizon Indy Car Series driver Justin Wilson died from injuries suffered in a crash during the recent ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Wilson, 36, was involved in a crash with Sage Karam with 21 laps to go in Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Karam lost control of his car coming out of the exit of turn one and slammed hard into the outside wall while leading the race.
Wilson drove into the debris field left by Karam’s crashed car and it appeared that part of the nose that had broken loose off Karam’s Chevrolet hit Wilson, rendering him unconscious and sending his car out of control into the inside wall.
Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa., where he died the following day. Many in racing took to social media Sunday to thank Tony Stewart for donating the use of his plane to Justin Wilson’s family after Wilson was injured.
Despite losing his life after a freak Indy Car accident, Justin Wilson is living up to his reputation as a wonderful human being. On Tuesday, Wilson’s brother Stefan tweeted out that by donating Justin’s organs, the fallen driver helped save six lives.
Paul Menard led the final six laps to win Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at the ELKHART LAKE, Wis. road course
Last year, 2019, In regular weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night it was a banner night for the Rocco and Fearn families as Keith Rocco won the 40-lap SK Modified® feature and his son KJ won one of the 2 Kids Big Wheel races that were held as part of Kids Night and Tom Fearn and Alexandra Fearn were the winners of the Late Model and Limited Late Model features. Bryan Narducci won the SK Light feature, his seventh, and George Bessette, Jr. won the Street Stock feature. Joey Introvigne was the winner of the second Kids Big Wheel race and Ryan Midford was the winner of the 5-lap Wild Thing Karts Tiger Cubs exhibition race.
Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Todd Owen for the lead and he was able to take the lead on lap-13. Rocco’s move opened the door for Mike Christopher to follow him through and drop Owen back to third in line. Troy Talman and Tony Membrino were now side by side for fourth place with Gervais in sixth.
Christopher was looking high and low for a way to get around Rocco but at the halfway point of the race it was Rocco that was still in command. Owen was still third with Michael Gervais fourth and Stephen Kopcik fifth. Rob Goulet brought the caution out with 22 laps complete with a spin in turn 4.
Christopher and Rocco were side by side for the lead on the restart with Owen, Kopcik, and Gervais lined up behind them. The two leaders ran side by side until lap-25 when Rocco cleared Christopher. With 10 laps to go, Rocco was still in the lead with Christopher giving chase. Owen was third with Kopcik and Gervais behind him. Ronnie Williams took sixth from Glen Reen on lap-32.
Rocco led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2019 season. Owen finished third with Gervais and Kopcik rounding out the top-5. The win also took Rocco to a career overall total of 278 wins which include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 62 at Thompson and 66 at Stafford Speedway
Bryan Narducci made it two in a row in the SK Lights. Bryan started 9th & by lap 14 he took the lead.
On the east end of Long Island, Dylan Slepian who one week ago came within five laps of his first career NASCAR Modified win at Riverhead Raceway before yielding to Tom Rogers Jr. and finishing runner-up. This week Dylan in the Rob Pelis owned entry went out and sealed the deal scoring his first career NASCAR Modified victory in a 75-lap feature event as a standing room only crowd looked on. Tom Rogers Jr. in his Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm Chevy settled for runner-up money sending his wished the winners way, “good for Dylan and his crew congratulations to them”. Dave Brigati crossed the line third in his JDL Environmental Chevy while championship leader Kyle Soper and John Beatty Jr. completed the top five.
The Tri-Track Open Modified Series made its first ever showing in the State of Maine on the Night Before the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway Saturday. With $6,000 on the line for the winner of the 100-lap feature race, it was “Big Money” Matt Hirschman who survived a big scare and held off Ronnie Williams for his first career victory in the Pine Tree State. Starting the 100-lapper from the front row, Hirschman held off early contenders Woody Pitkat and Brad Babb, before Ronnie Williams joined the fray before a 70-lap green flag run ended with the race’s first yellow flag. After Hirschman and most of the lead lap cars came to pit lane for their one fresh tire, Andy Jankowiak and Russ Hersey stayed out taking up the front row.
With Hirschman lining up third, the front row got out of shape on the restart, with Jankowiak and Hersey colliding in turn one, sending cars scattering and ending with Hirschman getting on top of Jankowiak’s left-rear corner. As luck would have it, Hirschman not only came out of the incident intact, but with the lead back in hand, as Jankowiak and Hersey pitted to assess their cars.
Ronnie Williams chased Hirschman to the finish, coming home in second, while Jankowiak made a miraculous recovery using the outside line to go through the field to finish in the third position.
On a sad note, Russ Conway who co-promoted numerous New England Super Modified (NESMRA) events, passed away. He might be best remembered for the promotion of his Budweiser Showdown of Champions series, which for three summers in the ‘80s imported Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Tim Richmond, Ron Bouchard, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, and other NASCAR heroes to race against New England’s local stars. He also partnered with Ken Smith and Charlie Elliott to boost the profile of Supermodified racing; their NESMRA organization sanctioned events from Canada to Florida, and at various times they ran the show at New Hampshire’s Star, Lee, and Hudson speedways.
Conway, 70, was inducted into the (NEAR) New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Conway was a fixture for decades at tracks throughout New England until his passing.