Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1949, Bob Cameron won twin features at the Buffalo Civic Center.Jim Holt was the winner at Seekonk.
Sixty five years ago in 1954 rain washed out racing on Wednesday and Saturday at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. In order to get a race in, track management opted to run on Sunday. Fred Luchesi was the 25 lap Sportsman winner and Bob Cahoon the winner in the non-Fords.
Sixty years ago in 1959, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl went on its fall schedule of running just on Saturdays. Melvin “Red” Foote was the 25 lap Sportsman winner and Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. Ben Hewitt was the Bomber winner. At Seekonk, it rained. Bill Rafter made it three in a row at the Buffalo Civic Stadium in upstate NY. Rafter also won a 25 lapper at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Tom Kotary finished second. Also in the Syracuse field was Leo Cleary who finished 20th. Doug Yochum won at Lancaster.
Fifty five years ago in 1964, Pete Corey led the New York invasion to victory on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. George Janoski and Ray Messick chased Corey across the finish line. Jack Malone took the top spot at Norwood on Saturday night. Billy Harman scored his fifth win of the season in the Modifieds at Waterford. Bill Staubley was the Bomber winner. At Seekonk, Don Hall was the 30 lap A division winner Butch Gagnon was the 15 lap Cadet winner.
Fifty years ago in 1969,the rained out 150 lap Labor Day classic at Stafford was run on Friday night. Nathan “Smokey” Boutwell in the Garuti-Arute No.14 took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Eddie Flemke, Ted Stack, Ollie Silva and Bill Slater. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Marcel Corriveau took the win over Guy Chartrand, Ron Narducci and Lou Lazzaro. At Norwood arena on Saturday, Johnny Thompson in his Ford Cobra powered No.122 outhandled the field and took the win. Bob Melnick finished second with Freddie Schulz, third. At Seekonk, Dan Stanton was the Class A winner. Bobby Sprague was the Class A 199 lap winner. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl it was Daring Dick Caso taking the Modified win. Jack Barton was the Daredevil winner. At Airborne Park it was Marcel Goddard over Dick Fowler and Dick Nephew and at Islip and Thompson it rained.
Forty five years ago in 1974, racing at Riverhead on Wednesday and at Freeport on Friday rained out. Islip ran a 200 lapper on Saturday which saw invader Richie Evans come in and clean house. Jim Hendrickson finished second with Ted Wesnoski, third. Shangri-La ran double features; George Kent won the first one and was followed by Sonney Seamon and Don Diffendorf. The nightcap saw Maynard Troyer take the victory over Ed Pieniezak and Seamon. At Waterford Mark LaJunesse was the Modified winner with Mike Daignault taking the top spot in the Grand American Late Models. At Seekonk, George Summers scored his 12th win of the season in the Class A division. Greg Bagness was the Cadet winner. Moving to Fulton on Sunday, Geoff Bodine took the win over Troyer, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. Thompson and Monadnock also ran on Sunday. Bugsy Stevens won at Monadnock over Kenny Bouchard and Gene Bergin. At Thompson it was Daring Dick Caso scoring an impressive win over Ronnie Bouchard and Fats Caruso. Caso was a true back yard racer and did the most with the least and was extremely popular during the 70’s.
Forty years ago in 1979, Star Speedway ran a special dual feature modified event on Friday night. Home track favorites Larry Record and Dave Thomas took the wins. Charlie Jarzombek finished second to Record and was followed by Mike Murphy, Ronnie Bouchard, John Falconi Jr., and Leo Cleary. Bouchard finished second to Thomas and was followed by Jarzombek, Murphy and Cleary. Saturday night at Seekonk, Ronnie Bouchard took a hard fought win over Bugsy Stevens and George Summers. At Waterford, Rick Donnelly made it five in a row at the shoreline oval. Moose Hewitt finished second with Dick Ceravolo, third. The Modifieds were active in the southland. At Caraway in North Carolina on Saturday, Jerry Cook took the win and was followed by Billy Hensley, Satch Worley, Chip Lane and Don Miller. Cook traveled all night to get to Islip which ran a 300 lapper on Sunday which ended up being a Richie Evans benefit. Cook managed to finish second with John Blewett Jr., third. Also on Sunday, Ronnie Bouchard beat out John Rosati and George Summers at Thompson. Other weekend winners included Brian Ross at Monadnock, Billy Hensley at North Wilkesboro, Maynard Troyer at Lancaster, George Kent at Shangri-La and Roland Lapierre Jr. at Westboro. In other news of the weekend, upstate New York driver Dave Nichols announced his retirement.
Thirty five years ago in 1984, Waterford ran their Matco 100 on Saturday night. Dick Ceravolo took the win but was disqualified when a larger than legal engine was found in a post race teardown. Dale Holdredge was declared the winner with Bob Gada, finishing second. At Shangri-La, Richie Evans took the win over Corky Cookman. The end of an era in Long Island racing became reality as the historic Islip Speedway ran its final event and closed for good. Taking the final checker was Bob Park. Fred Harbach finished second. The big event of the weekend was the annual Thompson 300.A total of 60 modifieds were on hand. Jim Spencer took the win over Richie Evans and Kenny Bouchard. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Darrell Waltrip was the pole sitter and the winner. Other weekend winners were Bugsy Stevens at Seekonk and Gail Barber at Lancaster.
Thirty years ago in 1989, Stafford ran their last Friday night of the year and it was Brad Thrall taking the SK Modified feature. Bob Georgiades finished second. Mikey Christopher finished fifth and sewed up the 1989 Track Championship. At Waterford on Saturday, Rick Donnelly took the win over Mike Gada and Mark Lajunesse. Riverside ran twin features with Ray Miller and Jerry Marquis sharing the glory. The Thompson 300 was the big event of the weekend. Mike Stefanik took the big win and was followed by Reggie Ruggiero and Mike McLaughlin.
Twenty five years ago in 1994, Waterford almost didn’t get to run as the Connecticut DMV pulled their race permit because of the badly damaged fence. Repairs were made and Moose Hewitt took down the Saturday night win. Jim Broderick finished second with Mike Gada, third. Riverside Park saw Steve Park take the top spot and at Sunday’s Thompsom 300, Jeff Fuller took the lead with 25 laps to go and went on to take the win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second with Satch Worley, third. C.J.Freye won the Late Model 100. In Winston Cup action at Richmond; Terry Labonte took the win after Rusty Wallace had an engine go sour. Kenny Wallace won the Grand National event.
Twenty years ago, in 1999, Friday night racing at Stafford rained out. At Waterford, Dennis Gada recorded his ninth win of the season and all but iced the track championship. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished second with Don Fowler, third. Chief Steward Bill Roberts got tough with Mike Gada. Fresh off a suspension for rough riding, Gada didn’t learn his lesson as he was first put to the rear, then parked for the night and ultimately suspended for two more weeks as he continued to hit everything but the lottery at the shoreline oval. Riverhead ran their final of the year with Ken Heagy taking the win and Frank Vigliorolo Jr. taking the track championship. Soon to close, Riverside Park ran their last ever-regular Saturday night program. Dave Berube took the historic win over Ted Riggott and Brad Hietella. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Thompson for a 200 lapper. Tony Hirschman survived 13 cautions for 65 laps to take the win. Hirschman took the lead from Tom Cravenho on lap159. Reggie Ruggerio finished second and was followed by Chris Kopec, Carl Pasteryak, Jamie Tomaino and Tony Ferrente Jr. Bert Marvin was the 30 lap SK modified winner over Scott Quinn, Ted Christopher and Todd Ceravolo. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Tony Stewart scored his first ever Cup win over Bob Labonte. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the Grandnational winner.
Fifteen years ago in 2004, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at the Thompson Speedway. With an all-new format in place qualifying heats were run. Winners of the four 20-lap sprints were Tom Bolles, Eddie Flemke Jr., Jerry Marquis and Todd Szegedy. The Thompson 300 was split into three-100 lap segments. Tom Bolles won the first over Flemke, Marquis, Ricky Fuller and Ted Christopher. Flemke won the second segment over Marquis, Todd Szegedy, Fuller and Mike Stefanik. Tony Hirschman won the nightcap over Bolles, Christopher, Stefanik and Marquis. Flemke, who was currently in a tight point battle with Tony Hirschman, was declared the overall winner and received the points normally awarded the win. Second overall was Jerry Marquis. Third through fifth overall were Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik and Rick Fuller. Because of his poor finishes in the first two segments Hirschman was placed in 11th spot. In Dodge Weekly Racing Thunder at Thompson on Saturday, Bo Gunning won the first of two 25-lap Sunoco SK-type Modified events. Bert Marvin finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Todd Ceravolo, who was in contention for track championship honors finished fourth with Jeff Malave, fifth. Other Saturday winners were Corey Hutchings in the Late Models and Steve Michalowski in the Mini-Stocks. Sunday’s action saw Ted Christopher take the Sunoco Modified win over Todd Ceravolo, Eric Berndt, Kerry Malone and Adam Norton. Corey Hutchings made it two for two on the weekend as he beat out Marc Palmissano for the Sunday Late Model win. Jeff Zuidema took the Pro Stock win and Glen Boss was the Limited Sportsman winner.
The Friday night NASCAR Dodge Racing Series at Stafford ran its last weekly event of 2004. It was more like “Friday Night at the Fights” as hand to hand combat highlighted the SK Modified feature. Jeff Baral held off Frank Ruocco and Ted Christopher for the win but the real story was the on track antics of Chris Jones. Prior to the running of the SK Modified feature Jones bragged that Ted Christopher was not going to finish the feature. Christopher, who had already sewed up the 2004 SK Modified track championship at the half-mile oval, was hoping to pad his NASCAR Regional lead. Not one to just get out there and ride, Christopher made his charge to the front. Just before the half way mark Christopher made a clean outside pass by Jones. One lap later Jones dove inside Christopher and spun him out. Jones was subsequently black flagged for his actions. Jones was asked to remove himself from the racing surface but refused. Instead he drove up to Christopher’s car, got out and commenced throwing punches at Christopher. Jones was eventually subdued by police and was escorted out of the track. As he was being led away he continually made obscene gestures to the crowd and officials. In other Friday night action, Jim Peterson took the Late Model feature and David Zienka won the DARE Stock feature.
Shawn Monahan was literally out-foxed at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Tom Fox, who had only recorded one win at the shoreline oval this year, made numerous attempts to overtake Monahan who was obviously blocking. Fox pulled a sneaky on lap 20 as he faked to the outside, then dove to the inside to take the lead and the eventual win. Jeff Pearl finished second as Monahan faded to fifth in the closing laps. Kurt Lenihan finished third. Dennis Gada’s luck continued to be bad as he fell by the wayside, while running third, with electrical problems. Gada ended up 15th and lost the point lead to Ed Reed Jr. In other action at the Bowl, Eddie Field won the Mini-Stock feature, Allen Coates made it two in a row in Late Model action, Dwayne Dorr was the Sportsman winner and Jeff Paul won the 50-lap Legands Nationals Qualifier.
The Nextel Cup and the Busch Racing Series divisions of NASCAR were at the Richmond International Raceway. Robbie Gordon was the Busch Series winner and Jeremy Mayfield was the Nextel Cup winner after Kurt Busch ran out of gas while leading with eight laps to go.
On a sad note, Lou Cady, Webmaster and founder of Modified Series Scene.com passed away. Cady provided news and chat pertaining to the Featherlite Modifieds.
Ten years ago in 2009, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was making final preparations before heading to the New Hampshire International Speedway. Ted Christopher continued to lead the point standings with 1432. Todd Szegedy with 1398, sat in the second spot. Thirty eight points behind Szegedy was Donny Lia with 1360. Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat, Ed Flemke, Jr., Chris Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik.
NASCAR and Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome announced that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the track, that was rained out on its originally scheduled date of Aug. 29, would not be made up. Not too many tears were shed as the event carried a somewhat “short purse”.
In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Ted Christopher took the Sunoco Modified win in an event that went non-stop without a caution. Keith Rocco, who was hoping to gain some ground in his quest for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title found himself mired in traffic and could do no better than third. Christopher made it look easy as he earned his fifth Sunoco Modified feature win of the season. Rick Fuller of Auburn scored a much-anticipated victory in the Super Late Model division. Tommy O’Sullivan made it two-in-a-row in Late Model action. Jesse Gleason scored his first win of the season in the Limited Sportsman division. Brian Sullivan scored his sixth TIS Modified feature event win of the season. In the Mini Stocks, Randy Churchill took the victory.
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title fight came to an end. Keith Rocco, who raced at Thompson, Waterford and Stafford trailed southerner Philip Morris going into the final weekend of the national contest. Rocco needed to win at least one, with a second and third in the other two tracks to tie Morris provided all three events have the maximum 23-car fields. Points are less if the fields of cars are short. Keith Rocco is employed at Petit Racing Engines. As he looked out the window on Friday he saw his dreams of becoming a NASCAR National Champion get washed down the drain as showers pelted the entire state of Connecticut which forced the Stafford Motor Speedway to rain-out their Friday night racing program The champion would be announced by NASCAR on Sept. 16.
Waterford Speedbowl’s Saturday night racing program fell victim to rain. A stubborn low pressure system that sat off Long Island for two days forced Riverhead Raceway promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty to cancel the final NASCAR Whelen All American Series show of the year. With the rainout John Fortin sewed-up the 2009 NASCAR Modified title, the third of his career.
Carl Edwards grabbed the lead from Kevin Harvick on pit road with 24 laps to go Friday night and won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond. The victory finished off a remarkable race for Edwards, who had to start at the back of the field after his team made adjustments to his Ford after the field was impounded.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Denny Hamlin scored a victory at his home track, Richmond International Raceway, on Saturday night to take a burst of momentum into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kyle Busch, his teammate, was shut out of the title hunt because his fifth-place finish wasn’t enough to get him into the 12-driver field.
It looked like the International Speedway Corporation was branching out to include legalized gambling in its holdings. ISC announced that Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN ) had entered into an agreement with The Cordish Company to acquire Cordish’s 50 percent interest in Kansas Entertainment, LLC (“KJV”) and their role as managing member.
Five years ago in 2014, The Valenti Modified Racing Series, with 24 cars strong, made its third and final visit of the 2014 season to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the 5th Annual VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag was Tommy Barrett, Jr., after starting fourth, used a bold three-wide move to take the lead for the first time on a lap-58 restart and led the rest of the way.
At the drop of the green flag, Justin Bonsignore took the lead with Max Zachem in second. Rowan Pennink quickly moved past Zachem for second on lap-2 and Keith Rocco followed Pennink by Zachem to take third. Behind Zachem, Chris Pasteryak got around Tommy Barrett, Jr. to move into fifth place.
Rocco got around Pennink for second and he then took the lead from Bonsignore on lap-6. Pennink was now third, with Zachem fourth and Pasteryak was fifth. Bonsignore went back by Rocco for the lead on lap-8 and then Rocco retook the lead from Bonsignore on lap-9.
Rocco held the lead until lap-22 when Bonsignore went back to the front. Bonsignore’s lead was extremely short lived as Rocco went back by Bonsignore in the next set of corners. Things then began to settle in as the top-9 cars of Rocco, Bonsignore, Pennink, Zachem, Pasteryak, Preece, Barrett, Ted Christopher, and Woody Pitkat were all in close contact with each other. Preece’s run came to an end on lap-36 as his #31 dropped off the pace and he slowly made his way back to pit road. Zachem took a look to the inside of Pennink for third, but he was unable to make the pass stick and he settled back into line in fourth behind Pennink.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Bonsignore in second. One lap after the restart, contact between Barrett and Pennink sent Pennink up the track and into the path of Zachem to bring the caution back out. Rocco took the lead on the restart but behind Rocco, Charlie Pasteryak, Mike Willis, Jr., and Carl Medieros, Jr. came together and spun on the backstretch to bring the caution out.
Rocco again took the lead back under green with Bonsignore in hot pursuit. Christopher was third with Barrett and Pasteryak making up the top-5. Christopher’s car dropped off the pace on lap-54 and he slowly made his way to pit road. Bonsignore was all over the back of Rocco when the caution came back out with 57 laps complete for a spin by Bakaj.
The next restart told the story as Barrett went 3-wide to the inside of both Rocco and Bonsignore to take over the race lead. Rocco and Bonsignore settled into second and third with Pennink back up to fourth after his earlier misfortunes. Woody Pitkat was up to fifth behind Pennink, his first appearance of the night in the top-5 with 20-laps to go in the race. Barrett pulled away from Rocco in the closing laps to pick up his third Stafford VMRS victory. Rocco finished second, with Bonsignore, Pennink, and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.
In other action at Stafford, Rowan Pennink won for the fourth time in the last 6 races in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Josh Wood was a first time winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno won for the fifth time in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Duane Provost won for the fourth time in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Brandon Michael took down his second win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Following Pennink, Ted Christopher beat Doug Coby to the line by a nose to take second, with Dan Avery and Ryan Preece rounding out the top-5. Nichole Morgillo continues to keep her racing at Stafford as she finished 15th in the SK feature. Mike Christopher Jr who made his open wheeled debut in a SK Lite finished 7th.
One of Modified racings legends, Eddie Flemke SR, would have been 84 on this week had he lived. A great driver, innovator and one not afraid to express his opinions, Flemke mentored and touched many and is sorely missed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the shoreline oval hosted Thunder on the Sound, a seven division motorsports program highlighted by the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals SK Modified® 150. The biggest race of the year for the track’s headline NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division was won by Tyler Chadwick. Other winners on the night included Keith Rocco in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, while a pair of drivers picked up their third victories of the year, Ryan Waterman in the Street Stocks Ray Christian III in the Mini Stocks. Paul Buzel was a first time winner in SK Light Modified action, Mike Christopher Jr. won in the INEX Legend Cars and Paul LaPlante won the Vintage Outlaw Modified race.
Chadwick’s biggest ally in the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals may have been his patience. The 2012 division champion started the race tenth and slowly moved into contention just before the halfway point of the 150-lap grind. Ted Christopher was out front, showing the way after he passed early leader Ed Puleo on lap-11. Christopher led comfortably until a caution flag came on lap-96.
Chadwick was in second on lap-70, and trailed Christopher until the lap-96 restart. He tried to unseat Christopher on multiple occasions, finally tucking in behind Christopher in second position. The intensity was definitely on the rise among the lead pack as the race moved to its final stages. Keith Rocco, who spent most of the first hundred laps outside the top-five exhibiting patience of his own, asserted himself in the final fifty circuits. Rocco pressed Chadwick until he gave up the outside, allowing Rocco to move to second on lap-117. Rocco stalked Christopher for the lead until he made a diving maneuver to the inside on lap-130 down the back chute. The two cars came together between turns three and four, spinning both and bringing out a caution.
Chadwick’s patience paid off as he inherited the lead while Rocco and Christopher resumed from the tail of the field. Chadwick took off from Rob Janovic Jr. on the restart, distancing himself from the competition over the final dash to the finish as Rocco fired his way back through the field. Rocco’s furious rally landed him in second, but he could not catch Chadwick and finished in the runner-up spot. Puleo finished third, Janovic fourth and Matt Galko was fifth. Sixth through tenth were Craig Lutz, Ted Christopher, Dennis Perry, Joe Gada and Diego Monahan,
Just one caution flag slowed Rocco’s roll in the 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, Rocco is now tied with Don Collins with 101 overall wins at the shoreline oval.
In Modified racing in the Southland, Burt Myers got his first NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour win of 2014 Saturday night and not without controversy. The 38-year-old Walnut Cove, North Carolina, driver drove to Victory Lane at Langley Speedway after a wild final lap of the Bayport Credit Union 150. Myers was running second to George Brunnhoelzl III on the final lap when the two made contact coming out of Turn 4. Myers gave him a “Bowman Gray Tap” and crossed the line first as Brunnhoelzl bounced off the outside wall and spun across the track. After a video review of the incident, NASCAR officials upheld Myers win and Brunnholzl was scored in second. Andy Seuss finished third, followed by J.R. Bertuccio and Jason Myers. Kyle Ebersole, Danny Bohn, Gary Putnam, Ryan Preece and Luke Fleming rounded out the top 10 at Langley. Earlier in the day, Preece won the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying, but a late race pit stop cost the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular a shot at the win.
Preece led a race-high 64 laps, while Brunnhoelzl led 55. The race featured seven lead changes among four drivers. It was the first race in which, in lieu of a mid-race break, teams were allowed to pit and change one tire at any point in the race.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup action, Kasey Kahne drove his way from third to first during a green-white-checkered restart to win Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kevin Harvick led the last 159 laps and held off Joey Logano to score his second consecutive Nationwide Series win at Atlanta and the third of his career at AMS. It’s also his third win of the season and his third with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports operation.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island John Fortin scored his third Modified feature win of the season.
Last year, 2018, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Oswego Speedway on Saturday, Sept 1 and began a busy month, with stops at Riverhead Raceway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway. The Oswego event will be shown on TV taped delayed on Thu, Sep 06 at 6:00pm. Among the missing from the line-up was Rowan Pennink. As first reported by RaceDayCT.com, Pennink confirmed to NASCAR.com that he will retire from racing, effective immediately. following the race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Pennink’s back issues crept up on him once again. It didn’t take Pennink long to make the decision that this was the right time for him to stop climbing behind the wheel after he started having pain again.
“After talking with my family, I made the decision to say enough is enough,” Pennink said. “I have a new family, and I don’t want this to get to the point where I am in pain for the rest of my life, and not able to enjoy spending time with my family. I just decided this is a good time.”
With Pennink stepping away, Boehler Racing selected Matt Swanson to drive the No. 3 Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet at Oswego.
In the last couple of years the WMT had lost some of its big names. Donnie Lia retired, Chuck Hossfeld moved to the Race of Champions Series, Ted Christopher passed away from an airplane accident, Brendon Bock moved to another venue, Jimmy Blewett cut way back as did Bobby Santos, Matt Hirschman and Ryan Preece. With the way things were going, Melissa Fifield could become a top 20 competitor before long.
Fresh off his victory in a Race of Champions event at the Spencer Speedway on Friday night Matt Hirschman rolled into NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Victory Lane for the first time since October 0f 2008 on Saturday night at Oswego Speedway. Hirschman took the lead from Justin Bonsignore on lap 120 and survived three attempts at NASCAR overtime in order to seal his third career Whelen Modified Tour victory. The win was worth $12,000.
Hirschman started from the pole position after scoring the top spot for the second straight season in group qualifying and paced the first 94 laps of the race with rising star Chase Dowling on his tail. When the caution flew on lap 92, Hirschman led the lead lap cars down pit road and took fresh Hoosier rubber, but got stuck behind another car leaving the pit area and lost several positions. Dowling and Bonsignore were among those to beat him back on the track.
The charge back through the field began immediately, and subsequently ended with Hirschman passing for the top spot with just 30 laps to go in the scheduled distance. He had to survive multiple cautions, and three green-white-checkered finishes before he could celebrate. He led a race-high 139 laps.
Bonsignore, who lined up to the outside of Hirschman for each of the three NASCAR overtime restarts, crossed the line 0.588-seconds back. Even though the Holtsville, New York, native wanted to win his third straight Whelen Modified Tour race, the points leader was able to survive an array of late cautions to score another podium finish for Kenneth Massa Motorsports.
Five-time and defending series champion Doug Coby finished third, while Woody Pitkat, who led 13 laps, finished fourth. Eric Goodale rounded out the top five. Matt Swanson was sixth, followed by Patrick Emerling, Timmy Solomito, Blake Barney and Tommy Catalano.
Ryan Preece who finished second to Hirschman on Friday night crashed hard on lap 147 and ended up 19th. Running in fourth spot, Preece climbed the wall coming out of turn four and hit the main grandstand structure. No one was injured.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday Keith Rocco outdueled Ronnie Williams in the closing laps to take down his 6th win of the season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his 11th win of the year in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci made possibly the move of the season to get by both Marcello Rufrano and Teddy Hodgon in the final corner to win his fourth SK Light race of the season, Alexandra Fearn wired the field to score her first win of 2018 in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar was also a first time winner in 2018 in the Street Stock feature.
Rocco held off a challenge from Williams on a late race restart to maintain the lead which he had held since lap 20. Mike Gervais was third in line with Mike Christopher and Glen Reen side by side behind them. Williams would get a good run on Rocco through turns 1+2 and then Rocco would have the advantage in turns 3+4. Williams got close to Rocco’s bumper several times, but he couldn’t make a pass as Rocco scored his sixth win of the 2018 season. Gervais finished third with Reen and Christopher rounding out the top-5. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 260 wins which also include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 60 at Thompson and 50 at Stafford. Williams leads the SK Modified standings by 66 points over Rocco with three events left to run.
No doubt about it, Bryan Narducci is a racer as he scored an unbelievable move to capture the win in the SK Lites. The third generation racer started 7th, got involved in a mishap, started back in 15th, came through the pack got into 3rd coming out of turn 4 on last lap & went for the lead & won. Bryan’s cousin, Alexander Pearl also had a good night. Alexander started 4th, got up to 2nd & was running good until he got squeezed back. He ended up finishing 7th.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Stafford Speedway for the 9th Annual Lincoln Tech VMRS 80. Richard Savary took the lead on lap-26 and led the rest of the way to score his first VMRS win at Stafford. Jeff Gallup finished second and was followed by Dave Etheridge. Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Ron Silk, Mike Willis, Jr., Joey Cipriano, Sam Rameau and Andrew Molleur, The race took the green flag without VMRS points leader Anthony Nocella, who blew his engine during his qualifying heat.
The event drew 31 cars and was slowed only once for a single caution.
On the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Anthony Flannery scored a one-two punch as he won twice in the Late Models. Matt Gallo was the SK Modified winner, Al Stone made it three in a row in the Sportsman division and Charles Canfield made it seven out of nine in the Mini Stocks. Other winners at the Speedbowl were Mike Blaskey in the Legends, Dwane Noll in the trucks and Dylan Cabral won the50 lap Enduro contest.
In the SK Modified feature Rob Janovic Jr.finished second with Kyle James, third. Rounding out the top five were Andrew Molleur and Timmy Jordan.
Twin 50’s were the order of the night for the NASCAR Modifieds at the Riverhead Raceway. Tom Rogers showed his expertise at the quarter mile oval as he won both events. Kyle Soper finished second in both and John Fortin Sr finished third in both.
On a sad note, Ron “Boots” Cote Sr. 79 passed away at home August 30, 2018. He was the beloved husband for 52 years of Mary (Homnick) Cote. He was employed as a truck driver for Kaman Aerospace for 43 years retiring in 2006. “Boots” was an avid racer known for driving the Number 90 Sportsman Division car at the Waterford, Thompson and Stafford Springs Speedways over 3 decades.
In NASCAR Monster Cup racing, Brad Keselowski beat leader Kyle Larson out of the pits with 22 laps to go, then pulled away on a restart to win the Southern 500 and sweep the weekend at Darlington Raceway.
Keselowski took the Xfinity race Saturday when leaders Ross Chastain and Kevin Harvick wrecked late.