RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, Ralph “Hop” Harrington was the Modified winner at Seekonk. Lou Tetreault was the non-Ford winner and
Sixty five years ago in 1955, Moneybags Moe Gherzi won the first extra distance Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a 50 lap Modified event. Lou Tetreault won his fourth non-Ford feature at the shoreline oval. Lou Tetreault carried his winning ways to Seekonk the next day where he won a non-Ford event run there. Benny Derosier was the Late Model winner.
Sixty years ago in 1960 Bill Slater made it three in a row at the Norwood Arena. He also took his third Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl as the shoreline oval continued to run on Sundays. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Newt Palm annexed his second win in the Bombers. At the Seekonk Speedway, Fred Astle Sr was the Class A winner and Gavin Couper won in the Cut Downs. Johnny Roberts made it three in a row at South Boston, Va.
Fifty five years ago in 1965 Ron Narducci was the opening Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. At the Waterford Speedbowl Ray DeLisle was the Modified feature winner and Daring Dick Caso was the Bomber winner. At Fonda, Ken Shoemaker made it two in a row and three for the year in Modified action at the New York State oval. Lou Smith was fatally injured after his car hit the wall during the feature. At Utica-Rome it rained. Ted Stack put the Mystic River Marina V4 in victory lane at Thompson. Car owner Bob Garbarino used an experimental 396 cubic inch Chevy big block for power. Bugsy Stevens was the 30 lap Modified winner at Seekonk on Saturday night. Butch Gagnon was the B winner.
Fifty years ago in 1970, Fred DeSarro hit full stride in his quest for the NASCAR Modified National Championship as he won on Friday night at Malta and twin 50’s at Stafford on Saturday night. Eddie Flemke was just as hot as he finished second to DeSarro in all three events. At Malta, Charlie Jarzombek finished third and was followed by Andy Romano and Lou Lazzaro. In the first 50 lapper at Stafford, Lou Austin finished third with Bernie Miller, fourth. In the nightcap, Bobby Santos finished third with Austin, fourth. Ron Narducci who was inducted in the NEAR Hall of Fame won at Fonda over Don Wayman. Rain washed out all action at the Waterford Speedbowl and at the Seekonk Speedway. On Sunday, Thompson ran a 200-lap NASCAR championship event. Ray Hendrick was scheduled to drive the famous Tant/Mitchell No.11. Hendrick became fog bound in Newark airport so on the advice of Eddie Flemke, Hop Harrington was given the ride for the day. Harrington didn’t disappoint his mentor as he went out and won the event. Bernie Miller finished second with Eddie Flemke, Moose Hewitt and Frank Faria rounding out the top five.
Forty five years ago in 1975, Stafford Speedway had been under duress since the beginning of the season when Jack Arute mandated that narrow tires be used on the modifieds. Stafford car owners voted to return to the fifteen-inch wide rubber and Arute gave in after a long fight. It was also on this weekend that Bill Slater tended his resignation from the Stafford management over differences of opinion. On the final weekend of running the narrow tires, Eddie Flemke in the Manchester Sand and Gravel No.10 took the Friday night win over Freddie Schulz, Bugsy Stevens and Lenny Cleaves. Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Monday, Memorial Day. This event, the last on narrow tires was to be the biggest win of the late George Moose Hewitt. Ronnie Bouchard with a small block for power finished second and was followed by Ray Miller, Flemke and Richie Evans. In other weekend action, George Wagner won at Freeport on Friday night over Gary Winters, Jerry Cook and Charlie Jarzombek. Winters turned the tables on Wagner on Saturday at Islip with Jarzombek again third. Freeport ran a 100 lapper on Monday and it was Richie Evans outgunning Fred Harbach for the win. Billy Harman was the Modified feature winner at Waterford. Bob Gada Sr was the Grand American Late Model winner. George Savory was the Modified winner at Seekonk. Ken Howard was the Late Model winner. In Sunday action in New England, Eddie Flemke won out over Fred DeSarro and John Rosati at Thompson and at Monadnock, also on Sunday it was Brian Ross over Ray Miller and Jerry Dostie.
Forty years ago in 1980, Over 5000 fans were on hand at Stafford on Friday night as Richie Evans made it two in a row. Bugsy Stevens finished second and was followed by Ronnie Bouchard, Ray Miller and Corky Cookman. Mike Benevides who has since retired from racing and is now a CPA won his first late model feature. Evans carried his winning ways over to Saturday as he took a convincing win over Reggie Ruggerio and Miller. Ron Bouchard won at Westboro while Mike Beebe held off Bob Potter for the win at Waterford. Geoff Bodine had a busy weekend as he won the modified feature at Spencer in the Lee Allard modified, won a Late Model Sportsman event at South Boston, Va. in the Zervakas No.01 and on Sunday jumped back in the Allard No.99 to beat out Satch Worley and Jerry Cook at North Wilkesboro, N.C. Other weekend winners were Larry Record at Star, Tom McCann at Islip, Allen Whipple at Clairmont, George LeBlanc at Danbury and Charlie Jarzombek at Plainville.
Thirty five years ago in 1985, Charlie Jarzombek was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Reggie Ruggerio finished second with Corky Cookman, third. Riverside ran a 100 lapper on Saturday, which saw only eight cars finish. Ruggerio survived to take the win over Wade Cole and John Rosati. Randy Hedger beat out Richie Evans at Spencer and at Waterford, Bob Potter and Dale Holdredge finished one-two. Bob Park scored a win at Riverhead and in SK action at Thompson, Wayne Dion in Brad LaFountain’s 66 won out over Kerry Malone and Lloyd Agor. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Bill Elliott emerged the winner.
Thirty years ago in 1990, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Mike Christopher finished second with Wayne Dion, third. Christopher stepped it up at Waterford on Saturday, as he was no match for David Gada. Bob Polverari was the winner at Riverside over Jerry Marquis and at Riverhead; Bob Park beat out Frank Vigliorlo for the win. The racing world was saddened when it was learned that AJ Michaels had died at Oswego and the big news of the weekend was that Brian Ross had decided to retire from modified racing as he felt the modifieds were getting to the point that they were unsafe.
Twenty five years ago in 1995, Friday night action at Stafford rained out. At Waterford, Mark LaJunesse scored a popular win over Bert Marvin and Todd Ceravolo. At Seekonk, starter Ron Manfredo was struck accidentally by Tony Dias Jr. while directing cars for a restart lineup. Manfredo received a broken leg, a bad nose gash and many scrapes. At Riverside it was Reggie Ruggerio over Doug Meservy and at Riverhead, Bill Park took the top spot. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Nazareth for a 100 lapper. Tony Hirschman, in the Len Boehler No.3 passed Tim Connoly with two laps to go to take the win. Connoly, in the Bob Fuller No.17 finished second and was followed by Ed Kennedy, Tom Cravenho and Mike Stefanik. Tim Fedewa won the wreck marred Busch Grandnational event, also at Nazareth. At Charlotte Motor Speedway, Todd Bodine won the Winston Open and Jeff Gordon won the Winston.
Twenty years ago, in 1990, rain played havoc in the northeast, washing just about everything out. Thompson drew 53 mods for the Featherlite modified tour event. Tim Connolly in the Mystic Missile took the pole with Tony Hirshman, second fastest. Todd Ceravolo and Ted Christopher were the SK mod heat winners and that’s as far as they got as the skies opened up.
Fifteen years ago in 2005 saw Todd Owen, Tom Butler, Michael Bennett, Charlie Newman, and Jim Mavlouganes drive to victory lane in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series feature events at the Stafford Speedway. Both Owen and Newman were first time feature winners, while Bennett’s win was his third in four events of the season. In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Owen, of Somers, took the lead on a lap-5 restart and led the rest of the way to pick up the first career SK Modified feature win of his career at Stafford. Owen had Ted Christopher lined up behind him on a lap 19 restart but drove away from Christopher in the closing laps to score a convincing win. Christopher finished second, with Eric Berndt, Jeff Baral, and John Sandberg rounding out the top-5 behind him.
After three rainouts in a row the Waterford Speedbowl finally got their Saturday night racing program in. Tommy Fox avoided a multitude of wrecks and spins to go on to record his first win of the year. Fox led all but four laps. He battled Ron Yuhas Jr. over the final seven laps. Kurt Lenahan, Don Fowler and Rob Summers rounded out the top five. Allen Coates became the first two-time winner of the season as he won the Late Model 30 lapper. Coates took the lead at the halfway point and beat several restart challenges from Chris Douton. Carl Eriksson, Mark St.Hilaire and Charles Bailey III rounded out the top five. Roger Perry won the 20 lap Sportsman event and Jeff Miller was the winner of the Mini Stock feature. Jeffrey Paul was the 20-lap Legends Car winner.
First it was the Tioga Speedway in Owego, NY, and then it was the Wall Township Speedway in Belmar, NJ now it appeared maybe the Waterford Speedbowl was on thin ice. The May 15 edition of the Hartford Courant hinted to the fact that the Speedbowl, in existence since 1951 may shut down at season’s end. The Speedbowl had been at the mercy of the weather in 2005 and with no money coming in the management had been put in a somewhat of a bad way. Speedbowl operator Terry Eames acknowledged that there was a study going on involving alternative uses of the property, which is owned by 1080 Hartford Road LLC. He said he had a “fiduciary responsibility” to other stockholders in that regard but cautions the “speculation” may be premature. “There are absolutely no firm plans to do anything at this time,” Eames said. “We have some big events on the immediate horizon including the Budweiser Modified Nationals and that is the Speedbowl’s primary concern right now,” Eames continued. “We have a dedicated group of competitors and fans and, many believe, the best racing in the area. We’re not about to just throw all of that away.” In the event that Eames does decide to pull the plug on his operation the word on the street has an interested group ready to step up to the plate.
The Pro All Star Series was at the Thompson International Speedway on Sunday for the running of the Pro Stock Shootout 100. It proved to be a Shootout between Cassius Clark and Ben Rowe. At the end, C. Clark was the last man “standing”. In NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series action, Bert Marvin of Waterford, CT scored an impressive win in the Sunoco Modified Division. Charles Bailey, III picked up where he left off, winning the Late Model feature. Limited Sportsman honors went to Larry Barnett, Mini Stock checkers flew for Terry Boudreau.. It was a dominating win for Bernie Singer in All Star Truck Series competition. Ben Rowe summed it up best in his post-race interview. “He (Cassius) was the class of the field. Cassius Clark of Farmington, ME led much of the early going of the 100 lapper, only to lose the lead to Ben Rowe with just over 30 laps to go. Over the remaining 25 laps, the two went fender-to-fender swapping the lead a number of times. A caution with 14 laps remaining set up a final duel between the two. C. Clark got a great jump of the restart but Rowe retained the lead. A bobble by Rowe on lap 89 opened the door for both Cassius and Johnny Clark. The three had a comfortable distance between one another as they headed for the finish while Corey Williams and Scott Mulkern battled for fourth. In the waning laps, Rowe began to backslide a bit even falling into the clutches of Williams. Rowe was able to hold on to the podium finish with winner C. Clark and runner-up J. Clark. Williams and Mulkern finished rounded out the top-five. Bert Marvin drove a smart race to win his first of the season in Sunoco Modified feature action. Bo Gunning led the charge early while Tommy Cravenho and Jeff Malave were coming through the pack. Gunning held the point while positions were changing inside the top five. Marvin got the second position on lap 10 while Cravenho and Malave followed through into the third and fourth positions. Malave began to pressure Cravenho before the yellow came out. Just as the crossed flags were displayed the caution flew for a spin by Russ Savoy. The restart found Gunning with Marvin to his outside and Cravenho and Malave in the second row. Cravenho sailed his car into turn four to take over the second position from Marvin with Malave following through. The caution came out for a spin by Darin Renihan to negate the pass. Cravenho made the same move work a second time to take the second spot when they went back to green. Malave continued to take chase in fourth followed by Adam Norton. Cravenho caught Gunning and pressed for the lead. Contact between the two sent Gunning over the #31 of Cravenho and hard into the wall. Cravenho was sent to the rear for his involvement in the incident. Marvin and Malave lined up one and two for the restart with ten laps to go. Kerry Malone started to make his presence known on the restart. The battle up front began to heat up as well between Marvin and Malave. George Bessette was turning in a great performance in his debut in the #2. After several attempts at green flag racing the final shootout came with five laps remaining and a single-file restart. Malave glued his Interstate Diesel #6 to the bumper of Marvin. Malave even looked inside coming out of two but settled for second behind winner Bert Marvin. Malone finished third followed by Ricky Shawn and John Sandburg. Charles Bailey, III made it two in a row in the Late Model division.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series were in Virginia at the Richmond Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards took the Busch Series win and Kasey Kahne got his first Nextel Cup win.
Reigning Indy Racing League champion Tony Kanaan took the pole for the May 29 Indianapolis 500. Kanaan, last year’s Indy runner-up, had a four-lap qualifying run at 227.566 mph.
Ten years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series returned to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Spring Sizzler which had been rained out on April 25. The main event, 200 laps/100 miles carried a race purse of $88,142. Under bright and sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-80’s, Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the completion of “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring”, the 39th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler.
Ted Christopher took the lead from Jimmy Blewett on lap 146 and then held on through a green-white-checker finish to earn his 10th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Stafford. The event concluded with a multi-car accident on the front stretch after the leaders had taken the white flag, which made the race official, and secured Christopher his fifth Whelen Modified Tour win in the Spring Sizzler. His five wins in the event are now a record as he entered the day tied with Mike Stefanik at four.
Christopher was followed across the line by Coors Light Pole Award winner Bobby Santos and Stefanik. Santos led the first 54 laps of the race before he was spun by lap traffic. Rowan Pennink, Todd Szegedy, James Civali, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Berndt, Erick Rudolph and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top 10 finishers in the race, which featured 10 lead changes among nine drivers. Fifteen of the original 32 starters finished on the lead lap. Among those who ran into problems was Ryan Preece.Preece, who was one of the pre-race favorites lost numerous laps after hitting the wall. Jimmy Blewett made a move to take the lead causing Mike Stefanik to check up. Preece hit Stefanik and hit the wall.
In addition to the Sizzler, Keith Rocco was the kingpin in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature and Dillon Moltz took top honors in the 30-lap Late Model feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Keith Rocco led the field to the green flag with Ted Christopher, Frank Ruocco, Jeff Malave, and Woody Pitkat behind him in the top-5. The top-5 quickly settled into single file racing, but that single file was eliminated when the caution came out with 4 laps complete for a spin by Brit Andersen.
There were several attempts at the next restart with Curt Brainard, then Matt Gallo, and then Joe Allegro, Jr., Adam Skowyra, and Glenn Griswold each bringing the caution back out for spins. Rocco continued to lead back under green with Christopher and Malave behind him. Tom Bolles made a power move to go from 7th to 4th on the restart, while Eric Berndt rounded out the top-5.
The action was slowed again with 8 laps complete for a spin by Chris Jones. Rocco again took the lead on the restart, but a 5 car accident involving Glenn Griswold, Jones, Keith Carzello, Michael Gervais, Jr., and Matt Gallo brought the yellow back out one lap after the restart. The next restart saw Christopher power by Rocco to take the lead on lap-11. Berndt moved into third behind Rocco, with Kurt Lenahan moving into fourth and Malave was fifth. The top-5 then ran in line until the next caution came out with 16 laps complete for a multicar incident between Dan Avery, Kirk Zervas, Mark Bakaj, and Bolles.
Christopher took the lead on the restart, but he would lose it to Rocco three laps later on lap-19. Berndt continued to run in third place, with Lenahan and Malave behind him. The running order remained the same until lap-25 when Christopher’s car dropped off the pace and he came to pit road and was finished for the race. At the same time that Christopher’s car gave up, Frank Ruocco also had engine troubles that brought him to pit road and ended his day. Rocco was the leader with Berndt now up to second. Lenahan was up to third, with Malave and Brit Andersen making up the new top-5. Rocco was building a large lead over Berndt, who was building a large gap back to Malave, Lenahan, and Andersen.
Rocco’s large lead was erased with 34 laps complete as a piece of sheet metal debris brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, Rocco powered into the lead with Malave moving past Berndt for second. Lenahan continued in fourth with Andersen in fifth. Rocco again pulled away from his closest pursuers and he cruised to victory in the first SK Modified® feature event of the 2010 season. Malave came home in second, with Berndt, Lenahan, and Andersen rounding out the top-5 at the checkered flag.
In addition to the postponed Sizzler program which was run on Saturday the Stafford Motor Speedway began their Friday night season with a special program for their support classes. Frank Cardile took the checkered flag in the 30-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery won the 25-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande won the 20-lap DARE Stock feature.
The Modified Racing Series 100 lapper at the Monadnock Speedway was won by Dwight Jarvis. Jacob Dore finished second and was followed by Jim Boniface, Rowin Pennink and Sean Bodreau. Pennick had raced at Stafford in the afternoon where he finished fourth in the Spring Sizzler. One of the best runs of the day was turned in by Pennick. Pennink, who started 24th in the field, was involved in a lap 36 tangle that forced him to start last again. He made a late race charge that led to his fourth place finish.
With the Spring Sizzler in the history books the Whelen Modified Tour Series goes on a four week “Spring Break” before returning to Stafford on May 28 for a 150 lapper. The Bob Valenti Modified Racing Series, which also ran last Saturday at the Monadnock Speedway also goes on “Spring Break” until heading to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway on May 21 for a make-up event.
Long Island driver Johnny Bush has become the first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver to run a “Spec Engine” full-time in 2010. In fact, it is because of the SPEC that Bush even makes it to the track this year. The SPEC engine was developed in a cooperative effort between NASCAR and engine builder Carl Wegner of Wegner Motorsports as an economical alternative for race teams. The engine is assembled using “spec”ific components that produce a robust engine package. The recipe for the SPEC engine uses components from many of the best automotive aftermarket companies – names that are recognizable from the contingency sponsor decals on the race cars like Edelbrock, JE Pistons, Comp Cams, Holley and CV Products.
The New London Day reported that Dillon Moltz had won the inaugural Richard Petty’s Driver Search. As the winner of the competition Moltz will get the chance to qualify for the ARCA Racing Series event June 5 at Pocono Raceway in a fully-funded ride from the Richard Petty’s Driver Search program. A graduate of the Quarter Midget ranks, Moltz has become one of the top runners in the Late Model division at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
Keith Rocco scored a one-two punch on Saturday. In addition to his Stafford win, he made a heated trip to the Connecticut shoreline where he dusted the SK Modified field at the Waterford Speedbowl. Other winners at the Speedbowl were Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model), Al Stone III (25-lap Street Stock), Sean Caron (25-lap Mini Stock) and Chris Lomartire (15-lap Bandoleros)
It was Rocco’s second straight feature win at the Speedbowl and his fourth victory overall. Rocco passed leader Tom Abele Jr. with three laps remaining. Abele finished second, followed by Ron Yuhas Jr. in third, Jeffrey Paul in fourth and Jeff Pearl in fifth. Early leader Todd Ceravolo dropped out with mechanical problems.
The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC finally got their season going after a rain-out for their opening event. Tim Brown, one of the stars of the “MadHouse” TV series took the 200 lap win in front of a packed house at the 17,000-seat stadium. Lee Jeffreys finished second ahead of Brian Loftin. and Junior Miller fourth. Burt Myers, who challenged Brown after changing tires, settled for sixth.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season. Chuck Steuer looked like a man of a mission, winning the Modified feature.
Dirt track super-star Brett Hearn scored his 775th career victory at Accord, NY. Hearn began his racing career in 1976.
Brad Keselowski raced to his second straight NASCAR Nationwide Series victory, dominating all night and then rallying from fourth in a green-white-checker finish Friday at Richmond International Raceway. In Sprint Cup Series racing Kyle Busch became the latest driver to deny Jeff Gordon a victory, passing him after the final restart Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway for his first win of the season. For Busch, it snapped a 21-race losing streak, his longest since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008.
In some sad news, Busch Sport Scene Publisher George Campbell announced that 2010 will be his final year publishing the popular auto racing newsprint publication. The publication debuted in 1999 and plans are underway to make 2010 the final year.
Five years ago in 2015, The big event in New England was the opening round of the Tri-Track Modified Series at the Lee USA Speedway. Titled The Bullring Bash, the event was hosted and promoted by The Racing Guys and the “Long Island Mod Maniac” Jim Schaefer. The group put a lot of hard work and time into making this big money event a reality for the Mighty Modifieds. Summer like temps in the 80s greeted fans and competitors.
Chris Pasteryak got by race leader Steve Masse when he got loose on the backstretch with ten laps remaining. Finishing up with a green-white-checker finish, Pasteryak scored an impressive win over Todd Annarummo, Woody Pitkat, Andy Seuss and Anthony Nocella.
Pitkat took the lead at the start in the event that had only two cautions. Pitkat led through lap 24 when Steve Masse powered by to the top spot. Masse set a torrid pace and appeared headed for victory when his tires wore out ten laps from the finish. Pasteryak, who had started fifth, jumped at the opportunity when Masse had problems. In the final ten laps Masse faded and ended up 14th at the finish. Sixth through tenth were Richard Savory, Norm Wrenn, Todd Szegedy, Todd Patnoad and Ryan Preece.
The first caution flag of the event flew on lap 18, when multiple cars spun in a cloud of smoke at the end of the frontstretch. Cars involved included Richard Savary and Matt Hirschman, the defending race winner. The tangle eventually forced the defending race winner to the pit area for the remainder of the event.
Event organizer Jim Schaefer that Chris Pasteryak’s payout totaled $5540, Steve Masse $4400, Todd Annarummo $3000, Woody Pitkat $2960, Todd Patnode $2200 and Andy Seuss $2000.
The first race NorthEast Race Cars & Parts Tri Track Open Modified Series at Lee USA Speedway paid out $55,500. That included purse and all sorts of lap money, bonus money, sponsorship money.
The Tri Track Open Modified Series will return to action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on June 13.
Tommy Barrett Jr., a driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, was placed on indefinite probation with conditions for violations of the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book. Barrett Jr. was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4.9A (behavioral penalty). It also appeared that Barrett, who was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on April 17 in Willimantic, CT would also be ineligible to compete in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. The Valenti series recently added a rule stating that one must have a valid drivers license in order to drive in any events. In most cases a driver’s license is suspended pending the outcome of court action.
The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the DARE Stock Xtra Mart Xtra D 50 program on Friday, May 15th on what was also Whelen Event Night with three Ingersoll Rand contingency bonuses going to the winners of the SK Modified®, Late Model, and SK Light features. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $250 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance DARE Stock feature event. Dan Dembek was the big winner, taking his second feature win of the 2015 season in the 20-lap DARE Stock feature. Ronnie Williams became the first repeat winner in the SK Modified® ranks, outdueling Eric Berndt and Ryan Preece in the process. Adam Gray picked up his first win of the season after three second place finishes, Tony Membrino, Jr. won his second consecutive feature in the SK Lights, Cliff Saunders got his second win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, and Dana DiMatteo won his third consecutive Legend Cars feature.
In the SK Modified event, Williams, who originally started 10th, and Eric Berndt ran side by side until Williams got clear to the lead on lap-39. Williams led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season and become the first repeat SK Modified® feature winner. Berndt finished second, with Ryan Preece, Keith Rocco, and Dan Avery rounding out the top-5.
Adam Gray was officially disqualified from victory in the 30-lap Late Model division feature from Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway. Gray was disqualified from the victory for us an unapproved part, which was a driveshaft that didn’t meet measurement requirements. Stafford Motor Speedway also announced that SK Modified driver Ron Silk of Norwalk was disqualified from his 18th place finish in the 40-lap feature for that division on Friday.Silk was disqualified for use of unapproved shocks. He was also penalized for actions detrimental to the sport for use of unsecured lead weights in his car. He was fined $500 for that violation.Silk was running the Glenn Johnson owned SK Modified in place of its usual driver Jeff Rocco.
Keith Rocco would have to wait another week for immortality at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Rocco tied the all-time feature win record set by Phil Rondeau when he won the Late Model feature at the shoreline oval on Saturday night, May 2. Stiff competition and a garage accident were determining factors. The SK Modified feature was highlighted by a 14 lap battle between Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco. Christopher took the lead at lap 21, passing Ed Puleo coming off of turn 4 as Rocco made his move through turns 1 and 2 and latched himself to the bumper of Christopher for 5 laps. Christopher was not to be denied as he pulled away and left the rest of the field in the dust. It was Christopher’s first win in the division since 2004. Following Christopher to the checkers was Keith Rocco, Nick Ladyga, Diego Monahan, and Paul Kusheba IV.
Rocco finished second to Jason Palmer in the Late Models. Earlier in the day Rocco sustained facial injuries when hit in the jaw with a tire iron in a garage accident. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Wayne Burroughs in the Mini Stocks, Dana DiMatteo in the Legends and Chris Meyer in the Limited Sportsman.
The Speedbowl has now completed three weeks of competition by the new management of owner Bruce Bemer and General Manager Shawn Monihan. Nothing but good vibes have been emitted from the track that less than a year ago was on the brink of extinction. Continued good luck to the new management!
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island beat the rain on Saturday night. Tom Rogers took the NASCAR Modified win over Ryan Preece and Howie Brode.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Jason Myers won the first of two 25-lap Modified races while Burt Myers struggled with brake failure and it was a big night for David Calabrese, a Modified tour driver from New Jersey who now builds racecars in Mooresville, NC. Calabrese won the second 25-lap race, registering his first Bowman Gray victory. Burt Myers, who had won the first two Modified races of the season, had brake problems and finished 15th and 13th.
Perfect track position helped Denny Hamlin leave Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night with a million dollars more than he had when he arrived. Hamlin won the pole, restarted first in the final 10-lap segment of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, and held off a late charge from Kevin Harvick to score the victory. It’s the first All-Star win of Hamlin’s career, and the first one for his Joe Gibbs Racing team.
Chase Elliott led more laps than anyone in Sunday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway, but Chris Buescher was the man in front when the race ended. Elliott paced the field for a race-high 114 laps, but he stayed out after the event’s final caution to preserve track position. Fresher tires prevailed, as Buescher dove to the inside, cleared Elliott and Ryan Reed in half a lap and sped to his second career XFINITY victory.
Scott Dixon punctuated the day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole position in qualifications for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, recorded a four-lap average speed of 226.760 mph on the 2.5-mile oval.
Last year, 2019, The Stafford Motor Speedway and NASCAR have shifted gears as the 48th edition of the NAPA Spring Sizzler® at Stafford Speedway was postponed because of impending rain two weeks ago and was rescheduled for a one-day, May 10, event. Due to the rain expected this past Friday, the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® Whelen Modified Tour 200 was moved to last Saturday, May 11th, in an afternoon format. All 5 of Stafford’s weekly divisions would compete in a feature only format. Needless to say it was Rain-3, Racing-0.
Doug Coby was going for his fourth NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 victory Saturday. Craig Lutz was chasing his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win. In the end, it was the veteran Coby who made the winning move, diving under Lutz with just over 10 laps remaining and then fending off the fierce challenge in the closing laps to return to Victory Lane in the iconic event that’s earned the moniker, “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”
It was Coby’s 26th career win on the tour and his 12th at Stafford. His first career win came in the 2006 Spring Sizzler, Stafford’s iconic early-season event. He also won the race in 2012 and 2016.
“This is the race everybody wants to win,” said Coby. “That was the hardest I’ve ever drove a race car, to hold off Craig. I just kept drive harder and driving harder.” Following Lutz, Ron Silk, Max Zachem and Eric Goodale who rounded out the top five.
It was the third career runner-up finish in 56 career starts for Lutz including one in last year’s NAPA Fall Final at Stafford. Justin Bonsignore came home sixth. Bonsignore was fastest in practice back on April 26, the weekend the event was originally slated. Bonsignore was then fastest in final practice and won the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award. Patrick Emerling finished seventh, followed by rookie Sam Rameau, Timmy Solomito and Blake Barney.
With Coby’s second win in four races in 2019, the five-time tour champion has opened a 17-point lead on second-place Emerling and 20 over Silk. Blewett and defending tour champion Bonsignore are fourth and fifth, respectively.
Fourteen of the original 34 starters were on the lead lap at the finish. Among those who failed to finish were Walter Sutcliff who crashed on lap 176, Tyler Rypkema crashed on lap 171, Chase Dowling had a rear end failure on lap 169, Joey Mucciacciaro had handling problems on lap 155,Chris Pasteryak crashed on lap 143, Anthony Nocella and Jeff Rocco crashed on lap125, Ken Heagy crashed on lap 119, Dave Sapienza and Rob Summers crashed on lap 117, Joey Cipriano crashed on lap 100, Melissa Fifield crashed on lap 75 and Matt Swanson dropped out with rear end problems on lap 70.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be back this coming Saturday night with the Jersey Shore 150 at Wall Stadium Speedway on Saturday, May 18. Wall Stadium, in close proximity to the Monmoth Airport was closely modeled after the no shuttered Lonsdale Arena in Rhode Island. Its long chutes and tight high banked turns are guaranteed to provide tight, high speed competition. This event is scheduled to be live streamed by FansChoice.TV
Eric Berndt was the 40 lap caution filled SK Modified race winner over Todd Owen, Michael Gervais, Ronnie Williams and Tyler Hines. Keith Rocco was headed to the front with hopes of making it two in a row but was collected in a wreck on lap 7 and ended up 25th.
In the SK lites it was third generation Alexander Pearl taking the win. Pearl is the grandson of two time Stafford champion Jerry Pearl and the son of former Waterford champion Jeff Pearl. Mark Bakaj finished second followed by Jonathan Puleo, in third spot.
Other winners at Stafford included Cliff Saunders in the Late Models, Johnny Walker in the Street Stocks and Matt Clement in the Limited Late Models.
The Stafford Motor Speedway now shifts to its regular Friday night format.
Heading into the second week of NASCAR Modified competition at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Saturday, Tom Rogers Jr. and team were not sure what their repaired car had in store for them after a heavy opening night crash. The team made repairs trying to avoid installing a new front clip on the car but after the second round of practice Rogers and crew knew they needed a plan B. Enter Denise & Ken Darch who had their NASCAR Modified at the track minus driver Justin Bonsignore and the rest as they say is history. In the borrowed car Rogers broke the seven year old track qualifying record with a lap of 11.482 and scored his 53rd career win in the 75-lap main event.
John Baker was runner-up in his Staria Automotive Chevy while John Fortin was third in the John’s Tree Removal entry. David Schneider and John Beatty Jr. completed the top five.
Down in the Southland in North Carolina, racing at the Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday night was once again postponed because of rain. In the first four scheduled weeks, three weeks have been rained out.
Brad Keselowski has raced to his third NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, holding off a charging pack in overtime to take the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski took the lead from Alex Bowman with seven laps to go, building a big lead before a caution came out for Matt DiBenedetto. Keselowski roared away on the restart and held off Bowman and Erik Jones to add to his victories this season at Atlanta and Martinsville.