RPW Exclusive: Looking Back A Bit; Third Week Of April

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1949 the scheduled opening of the Seekonk Speedway was rained out.

Sixty five years ago in 1954, Melvin “Red” Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman winner at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. Irwin Fox was the non-Ford winner.

Sixty years ago in 1959 Leo Cleary was the Modified winner at the Norwood Arena. Jerry Humiston and George Lombardo were the Modified winners at Riverside. Dick Beauregard was the 25 lap Sportsman winner while Charlie Webster won in the non-Fords and Ed Priest made it two in a row in the Bombers at the New London Waterford Speedbowl.

Fifty five years ago in 1964 Wild Bill Slater had become the Master of Competition at the Norwood Arena in the mighty V-8. Slater took the Modified feature win while Bobby Santos was the Hobby Division winner at the Norwood oval. Ed Patnoad won at Riverside and “The Flying Finn” Reino Tulonan took the win at Westboro. Ray Delisle scored his third Modified victory of the season at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bill Scrivener was the Bomber winner.

Fifty years ago in 1969 Bill Slater, one of the greatest drivers to ever turn a wheel in New England retired as a driver and went to work for Mal Barlow as the Race Director and General Manager of the Stafford Speedway. At the Waterford Speedbowl George “Moose” Hewitt was the Modified winner while Bill Sweet made it two in a row in Daredevil action.

Forty five years ago in 1974, the competition was in New York State. At Shangri-La on Saturday, Maynard Troyer took the top spot over Geoff Bodine, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. At Fulton on Sunday, the roles were reversed as Bodine took the top spot and Troyer played second fiddle. Evans and Cook again followed. Art Moran Sr, who was the head mechanic at Ed Yerrington’s Service Station in Ledyard, CT, was the Modified feature winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Ron Cote made it three in a row in Grand American action.

Forty years ago in 1979,the rescheduled Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Speedway took center stage. Maynard Troyer won the 80-lap event over Ronnie Bouchard and Ed Flemke. Tom Druar was the 50-lap non-qualifiers event. Richie Evans and Jerry Cook elected to go south. It paid off for Evans as he won a 150-lap event at Martinsville plus a 100-lap event at Ashboro

Thirty five years ago in 1984, Jim Spencer scored a one-two punch as he won at Riverside on Saturday night and the Spring Sizzler on Sunday. At Riverside, Bob Polverari finished second and was followed by Richie Evans and George Kent. Corky Cookman was the runner up to Spencer at Stafford with Brian Ross, Eddie StAngelo and Tony Hirshman, following. John Falconi won the 50-lap non-qualifiers event over Tom Baldwin.

Thirty years ago in 1989, Stan Gregger was the Saturday night winner at Riverside. Mike Stefanik won the modified 150 at Martinsville over Reggie Ruggerio and Tony Hirshman. At the Waterford opener, Ronnie Rocco won an 89-lap event but was protested by Ted Christopher. Rocco was disqualified but a day later had his win reinstated when it was found out that the scales were not working properly. As an added note, Seekonk suffered its fifth rainout.

Twenty five years ago, in 1994 Mike Ewanitsko took the lead from Jamie Tomaino on lap 97 of the 200 lap Spring Sizzler and went on to win the event over Jan Leaty and Reggie Ruggiero. John Anderson was the SK winner. At Riverside, Marty Radwick scored his first win in seven years and at Riverhead, Chris Young held off Tom McCann for the win. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Rusty Wallace was both the Busch pole winner and the race winner.

Twenty years ago in 1999, Waterford and Riverside ran on Saturday night with the Stafford Spring Sizzler on Sunday. Twin events were run at Riverside. Rene’ Dupuis became the first modern day woman to win a Modified event as she beat out Dan Avery. Dave Berube was the other mod winner at Riverside. At Waterford, Bill Sharp won the 35 lap modified event. Mike Gada finished second with Bert Marvin, third. Phil Rondeau scored his 98th career late model win. At Stafford, Rick Fuller changed tires with two to go and blasted his way to the 200 lap Sizzler win. Chris Kopec finished second and was followed by Tom Baldwin, Tony Hirschman and Carl Pasteryak. Second generation driver, David Berghman suffered a broken rib and an injured spleen after a big wreck on the front chute. Twin SK-40s were run as part of Sizzler weekend. Taking wins were Todd Szegedy and Bob Potter. In Winston Cup action at Talledega, Dale Earnhardt took the lead from Dale Jarrett with 13 laps to go and went on to take the win. Terry Labonte was the Busch Grandnational winner.

Fifteen years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the 33rd Annual Spring Sizzler. A total of 52 Modifieds were on hand looking to qualify for 33 starting spots. Todd Szegedy, who was the Busch Pole sitter at the Thompson, made it two for two, as he was the fastest of the fast. Second fastest was Tour Series part timer Jeff Malave. Reggie Ruggiero was third with Tony Hirschman and John Blewett III rounding out the top five. The top ten re-drew for starting spots with Eddie Flemke Jr. picking the pole and Ted Christopher the outside pole. Szegedy picked eighth and Malave, ninth. Qualifying for a Featherlite Modified Tour Series event had become extremely difficult as only 1.621 mph separated the pole sitter from the 28th and final time trialed spot.

Saturday at Stafford was extremely busy as the track’s regular divisions were also in competition. The first of two SK Modified features to be run saw Eric Berndt jump out from his outside pole starting position to lead the entire 35-lap distance. Ted Christopher finished second with Mike Holdredge, third. Shawn Monahan won the 21 means 21 feature that actually is a consolation event. Five-time track Champion Bob Potter finished second. Monahan ended up 12th in the first feature and Potter finished 26th. Chuck Hossfeld in his first outing in an SK finished 22nd.

When Jerry Marquis and car owners Mike and Janice Boehler left Thompson after getting wrecked in the closing stages of the IceBreaker they were totally dejected. They felt they had a good shot to win until an untimely trip into the wall put an end to their day. The Boehlers and Marquis are racers. They put their defeat behind them and rebuilt the legendary Ole Blu for the Stafford Sizzler. Their efforts paid off as they came from a 29th starting position to take the win in the 33rd Annual event. Ironically, a Boehler car won the First Spring Sizzler, run in 1972 with the late Fred DeSarro driving. Tony Hirschman finished second in the 200-lap grind with Ed Flemke Jr., third. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Szegedy, Tom Bolles, Ted Christopher, Ricky Fuller, Tony Ferrente Jr., Zach Sylvester and Jamie Tomaino.

Marquis took a lot of pressure from Ed Flemke Jr and Tony Hirschman in the closing laps. Pole sitter Ed Flemke Jr led the first ten laps before giving way to Chuck Hossfeld. Hossfeld led until lap 117 when he pitted under caution when it became apparent that a shower would not shorten the event. Marquis, who started in 29th spot, made a determined run to the front and inherited the lead when Hossfeld pitted. Ole Blu had the necessary handles to run the low groove. Hirschman got real close but couldn’t muster that little extra that would have put him in the lead at the end. Ted Christopher was the Sunday SK-Modified winner and Mike Quintiliano was the late model winner.

At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night Justin Gaydosh had good reason to celebrate his 20th birthday when he scored his first ever-modified feature win. Blocking big time in the closing laps, Gaydosh was able to keep second place finisher Ed Reed Jr. at bay. Chris Pasteryak finished third. Ted Christopher made a quick trip from Stafford but fell victim to ignition problems in the early going. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Norman Root in the Sportsman, Glen Colvin in the Mini-Stocks and Mike Pepe in the Legends Cars.

The Nextel Cup division along with the Busch Racing Series of NASCAR was in Talladega, Alabama. Martin Truex Jr., a graduate of the Busch North Series, took the Busch Series win over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon took the lead in Sundays Aarons 499 Nextel Cup event six laps from the finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was running second. Earnhardt was making a run at Gordon with four laps to go when a wreck brought the field under caution. NASCAR rules state there is no more racing to the finish line when the caution is displayed and it was determined that Gordon had three quarters of a car length on Earnhardt at the time of the caution. NASCAR was unable to restart the event and Gordon was declared the winner. When Gordon took his victory lap he was greeted by unruly and unhappy race fans that threw everything from Beer cans to chicken bones on the track.

The Busch North Series opened their season at the Lee USA Speedway. Andy Santerre took the win over Joey McCarthy, Eddie MacDonald, Ryan Moore and Mike Stefanik. Dave Dion was the Busch Pole sitter. There were only 27 cars on hand for the 150 lap event that saw seven caution periods for 48 laps

It appeared that the anti-trust lawsuit against NASCAR over the awarding of Nextel Cup dates might be coming to an end. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Texas Motor Speedway would get a second Nextel Cup date as part of the settlement. Other tracks could very well be paying the price as it had been said and written that race dates at Rockingham, North Carolina and at Darlington in South Carolina may go away.

Ten years ago in 2009, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was on a two week break before heading to Stafford Springs Connecticut for the annual Spring Sizzler. In the mean time NASCAR made a ruling that could very well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Hartford Courant reported that competitors, drivers and owners, would be required to attend the season ending banquet in order to receive their point moneys and season ending awards. The vast majority of Whelen Modified Tour Series competitors have been fiercely loyal to NASCAR in the past but that could very well be changing. What really has the competitors riled up is the fact that they signed and agreement to comply with NASCAR’s banquet requirements without even knowing it. That’s what happens when you sign your name to something before you read it. Defending series Champion Ted Christopher said he was not happy with having to go to Charlotte but in the end, he was there. The competitors were, as had happened many times before, hoodwinked by NASCAR. The agreement that the competitors signed stipulated that the competitors must attend the season ending banquet as they had in previous years, never stating that the venue had changed. It was a gutless move on NASCAR’s part to say the least!

Like the formerly loyal competitors to the Busch North Series before them, NASCAR was slowly but surely putting the screws to the competitors who race on the Whelen Modified Tour. Many of the former Busch North Series competitors now compete in the ACT Series or the PASS series. Slowly but surely the Modified competitors are leaning toward the True Value Modified Series.

Jason Christley, NASCAR manager of communications for the weekly and touring divisions had all but called the competitors including defending WMT Champion Ted Christopher ignorant and stupid as he referred to those who compete and follow the Modifieds as the “”torch-and-pitchfork mob”. Hopefully when some of them show up in Charlotte this fall they would be wearing their Sunday best bib over-alls and carrying pitchforks unless of course NASCAR has a hidden dress code clause that the competitors signed without knowing.

Rumor had it that NASCAR may hire Jerry Robinson to sit in a dunk tank just in case any Waterford competitors show up in Charlotte this fall!

After three straight weeks of rainouts the Waterford Speedbowl finally got to open their doors for the 2009 season. Keith Rocco picked up where he left off in 2008 as he won the opener as he nipped Ron Yuhas Jr at the finish line in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Yuhas, who started on the pole, was the only other leader of the event. Rob Janovic Jr. was third, followed by defending champion Dennis Gada. Tyler Chadwick rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Diego Monahan, Jeff Pearl, Frank Mucciacciaro Jr., Don Fowler, and Justin Gaydosh. Among those who ran into tough luck was Jeffrey Paul who dropped out with engine problems.

Bruce Thomas Jr picked up his 30th career win at the shoreline oval as he went pole to pole to take the victory. Vin Esposito finished second and Allen Coates was third. Flyin Ryan Morgan of Mystic made his grandfather Jack a happy guy as he scored his first win of the season Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl by winning the twenty lap Legend’s feature. Morgan had to survive three caution flags with two laps to go, however, the 15 year old was able to pull away on the restarts to hold off second place finisher, Joe Cipriano and Tony Flanagan who finished third.

Other winners were Danny Field (Mini Stocks) and Josh Galvin (Street Stocks).

Ted Christopher and Joe Brady were a little off their game as they settled for a seventh place finish in a NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series event at the Lanier Speedway in Braselton, Ga. Andy Seuss took the lead in the 150 lap event on lap 43 from Christopher. George Brunnhoelzl III finished second. L.W. Miller and Burt Myers made contact in Turn 2 on the final lap while racing for third, and Myers went spinning. Miller went on to score his best finish of the year in third, with Brian Loftin and Jason Myers completing the top five. There were only 14 Modifieds in competition. Seuss received $2,000 for his efforts.

In Nationwide Series racing at the Phoenix Int Speedway Greg Biffle and his Roush Fenway Racing team gambled their way to a record win Friday night. Biffle didn’t pit on the last stop, holding onto his lead by staying on the track while almost all the competition ducked in for fresh tires. A bunch of late cautions prevented anyone from catching Biffle, and he held on for the win. He had to hold off Jason Leffler over several late restarts, and again on a final two-lap sprint to the finish. Leffler also chose not to pit on the last stop, a decision that moved him up to second, where he finished behind Biffle. The victory gave team owner Jack Roush 100 wins in the Nationwide Series.

Brad Keselowski finished third for the third consecutive week. Joey Logano, the previous week’s winner at Nashville, was fourth and was followed by Kevin Harvick.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at Phoenix Mark Martin took a popular win. At 50 years, three months and nine days, Martin became the third-oldest winner in NASCAR history with the victory. He broke a 97-race winless streak dating back to Kansas in 2005, and solidified what everyone inside NASCAR already knew: The guy is still at the top of his game. Tony Stewart finished second.

Brad Leighton of Center Harbor, N.H. won the American Canadian Tour New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150 at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. The race was the first qualifying event for the ACT Invitational, which will be run Sept. 19, 2009, at NHMS. Leighton got by Joey Polewarczyk, last year’s Governor’s Cup winner, for the lead on lap 130 and led the rest of the way. Polewarczyk, of Hudson, N.H., held on for second and Scott Payea of Milton, Vt. was third.

Former Camping World East Series star Sean Caisse bested longtime Sprint Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader to pick up his first ARCA RE/MAX Series victory Sunday in the Carolina 200 at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway. Caisse, of Pelham, N.H., spent much of the afternoon in Rockingham chasing Schrader at the front of the field. But with less than three laps remaining Schrader ran out of fuel, opening to the door for Caisse to go to the front in his Venturini Motorsports ride.

It was the sixth career ARCA start for Caisse, who was the Camping World East Series runner-up in both 2006 and 2007, winning seven events in the division during that span. Schrader led 185 of 200 laps at Rockingham. The only laps Caisse led all day were the final three.

The International Speedway Corporation announced that James C. France, 64, was stepping down from the role of Chief Executive Officer effective June 1, 2009. Mr. France would remain Chairman of the Board of Directors in a non-executive capacity. In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors announced the promotions, also effective June 1, 2009, of several executives to positions of new responsibility.

Business First of Louisville reported that the likelihood that Kentucky Speedway will be awarded a 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup race had become even more remote because an antitrust lawsuit by the track founders against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. now likely won’t be resolved until July at the earliest. The case, which is in U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, is not included in the hearing calendar finalized Monday for a two-week session beginning April 20. Although the court could still add the case to the schedule, that would be rare in a case such as this one. The next two-week hearing session begins June 8 – the Monday prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said that NASCAR will not consider a realignment request for a Sprint Cup date from current owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. until the case is resolved. NASCAR typically begins the sanctioning process in April or May, and France has said that the track is running out of time to begin the realignment process.

The appeal hearing would center on whether there is enough evidence for a trial, and a decision on whether to affirm or repeal a judge’s January 2008 ruling in favor of NASCAR and ISC likely would come anywhere from three weeks to six months after the hearing. If the Kentucky Speedway founders win the appeal, the case would then be scheduled for trial.

The founders of Kentucky Speedway, who sold the track to SMI in December, allege that sanctioning body NASCAR and track operator ISC illegally conspire to keep tracks such as Kentucky from obtaining Cup dates. NASCAR, a private company owned by the France family, and the publicly traded ISC, whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family, deny those claims. SMI is listed as a co-conspirator in the case.

The Associated Press reported that Brazilian race car driver and “Dancing With The Stars” champ Helio Castroneves was acquitted on April 17 of most charges that he worked with his sister and lawyer to evade more than $2.3 million in U.S. income taxes.

A federal jury acquitted Castroneves on six counts of tax evasion but hung on one count of conspiracy. When the sentence was read, Castroneves broke into sobs and leaned against his attorneys for support. The jury also acquitted Katiucia Castroneves, 35, who is her 33-year-old brother’s business manager, on the tax evasion counts but also hung on the conspiracy. Michigan motorsports attorney Alan Miller, 71, was acquitted on all three counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy. The jury deliberated six days after a six-week trial.

Five years ago in 2014, The main event in New England was the running of the re-scheduled Blast Off at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday and Sunday. Literally tons of cars from New England and Long Island were at the Connecticut shoreline oval. In total, 13 race divisions saw action on the three-eighths mile oval, with seven feature races run Saturday evening.

Keith Rocco hit a home run as he went three for three on Sunday as he won the SK Modified 64 lap Blast Off, the Late Model feature and the 100 lap Valenti Modified Racing Series 100. Rocco, clearly the class of the field in all three divisions, took the lead in the 64 lap SK Modified feature on lap 10. He started on the pole in the 100 lap VMRS event and led every lap.

Following Rocco in the SK 64 lapper was Craig Lutz, Kyle James, Ted Christopher and Shawn Thibeault. Chris Pasteryak finished second to Rocco in the Valenti Mods, Todd Szegedy finished third with Jeff Rocco, fourth and Max Zachem, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Mike Holdridge, Eric Goodale, Anthony Nocella, Todd Annarummo and Mike Willis, Jr. In the Late Model feature Bruce Thomas finished second with Jason Palmer, third. Glenn Boss and Vince Esposito rounded out the top five. Sixth through twelth were Jeff Smith, Anthony Ryan, Nick Sowa, Joe Gada, Mike Sweeney, Rich Duranti and Ryan Morgan.

Qualifying for Sunday’s six big events took place Saturday afternoon. Leading the way were the Rocco brothers, as Jeff and Keith each picked up heat race wins in the Valenti Modified Racing series. Ted Christopher won the Series’ third heat race while Justin Bonsignore won the 15-lap consolation race. Jeff Rocco followed up his strong Valenti Modified run by earning pole position honors for Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® division’s 64-lap race which commemorates the track’s number of years in operation. He won his qualifying race in that division as well, joining Christopher and Todd Ceravolo as winners in the three qualifiers.

In features run on Saturday night at Waterford, Rick Williams scored a first-ever victory in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Light Modified race. Dylan Izzo continued his domination of the INEX Legend Cars division winning for the second straight week while Zach Thomas and Jon Porter won for consecutive weeks in the X-Car and Super X-Cars, respectively. In touring series races, P.J. Stergios of Candia, NH won the NEMA Lite feature and Chris Turbush of Riverhead, NY won the NewEngland Truck Series race. Oakdale’s Derek Debbis checkered the INEX Bandolero feature for the youth racing class.

There were 33 Valenti Modified Racing Series Modifieds on hand. The SK Modified car count totaled 25. The next event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series is a 100 lapper at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was off as competitors made preparations for the upcoming Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway on April 27. While most of the Modified teams enjoyed the weekend off their southern counter parts were racing at the Langley Speedway in Virginia.

George Brunnhoelzl III led the final 67 laps of the 150 lap event after passing points leader Andy Seuss, and survived a green-white-checkered finish for his first win of the season. Twice in the first three races, Brunnhoelzl finished second to Seuss. It also extended Brunnhoelzl’s tour record for career wins to 21. Seuss came home second and David Calabrese was third. Luke Fleming and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five. Seuss took the lead on Lap 62 from Ryan Preece, who won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day. Burt Myers was sixth, followed by rookies Bobby Measmer Jr. and Joe Ryan Osborne, Jason Myers and Gary Putnam. There were 17 cars on hand.

Chase Elliott drove around Elliott Sadler on the last lap of Friday’s VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway to score his second-straight series victory.

Kevin Harvick turned around all the bad luck he has faced in the last five weeks by winning Saturday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Harvick dominated at the 1.366-mile oval Saturday after starting from the pole, leading 239 of 374 laps.

Last year, 2018, With two events of the Whelen Modified Tour Series in the history books the point standings showed Justin Bonsignore at the top of the heap. Craig Lutz and Chase Dowling were tied in the second spot, eight points back. Fourth, 15 points back, was Jon McKennedy. Rounding out the top five was Rob Summers. Sixth thru tenth were Doug Coby, Timmy Solomito, Calvin Carroll, Burt Myers and Jimmy Blewett.

Next stop on the tour was the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Spring Sizzler on April 29. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner George Bierce posted $500 bonuses in memory of Ted Christopher for each of the three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events being held at Stafford Speedway this season. Starting with the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® 200 on Sunday, April 29th, competitors will be eligible for the bonus which will be paid throughout the field. The 13th place qualifier, 13th place car on lap 13, and 13th place finisher will each receive a $100 bonus while the winner will receive $200 for a total bonus of $500.

“I wanted to do something to honor Teddy,” explained George Bierce, owner and operator of Major Motion Transport. “I’ve known Ted for a long time. I sponsored his cars when he ran for Billy “Bear” Calicchio and raced against him for a long time. He was a fierce competitor and a friend, we’ll miss him. I’m glad we can put up a bonus in his honor.”

Christopher, with 374 career wins is the Stafford Motor Speedway all-time winningest driver with 131 feature wins, 109 of them in the SK Modifieds. He is also the winningest driver in NAPA Spring Sizzler® history with 6 wins. He also accumulated nine SK Modified championships at the Arute family owned track.

The $500 bonus will be paid out for each of the three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events held at Stafford, including the April 29th NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler®, the August 3rd Starrett 150, and the September 29th NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final. Bierce, a long time supporter of short track racing, has had a long list of modified talent compete in his signature #19 modified. Drivers including Ted Christopher, Jimmy Blewett, Eric Beers, Ron Silk, and 5-time champion Doug Coby have all piloted the Major Motion Transport #19.

The bonus posted by George Bierce adds to the weekly SK Modified® bonus posted by Kevin Harvick and KHI Management in honor of Ted Christopher. In addition, the Stafford management is working on a special SK Modified® event in memory Ted Christopher scheduled for Friday, July 13th in honor of the Stafford legend.

The 47th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® takes the green flag April 27-29. Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Discount Tickets are now available at participating NAPA Auto Parts stores. For a full list of the 72 participating locations throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, please call the speedway office or point your web browser to ww.staffordmotorspeedway.com/participating-napa-auto-parts-stores.

Congratulations to Ryan Preece on his big win in Bristol, Tennessee. Preece won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. The win also included a $100,000 bonus Dash for Cash. Preece, who scored his first Xfinity Series at the Iowa Speedway last summer is eligible to run in a Dash for Cash event at Richmond this week but is not entered.

Kyle Busch won the rain-delayed, run on Monday, Monster Cup Series race on a cold, dark day at Bristol Motor Speedway.Busch passed Kyle Larson with five laps remaining to win his second straight Cup Series race. It was Busch’s 45th career Cup win and marks the fifth time in his career that he has won back-to-back races; he won the previous week at Texas. It also Busch’s seventh victory at Bristol.

Larson finished second while Jimmie Johnson finished third to claim his first top-five finish of the season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth and Alex Bowman finished fifth.

On a sad note, Michael Casalaspro who we all knew as Mike Cass passed away on Wednesday, April 11. For over 40 years Mike was a dedicated NASCAR Official on Long Island as well during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Under the Campi family Mike served as the Chief Steward at Freeport Stadium. He also worked Islip and Riverhead in later years with his good buddy and mentor “Big” Bob O’Rourke. His most recent role in racing was with the late Bill & Ellen Denniston as they ran the Hoosier Tire franchise at Riverhead Raceway. Mike was a loyal longtime employee of Cremosa Cheese.