RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Fifth Week Of May

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – Westerly, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950 the Wall Stadium in Belmar, NJ ran their first Modified race on the high banked speedway. Frankie Schneider took the win. Although not an exact copy, Wall Stadium was patterned after the Lonsdale Sports Arena speedway that was located northwest of Providence, RI.

Rusty Rushton made it two in a row in Modified action at Seekonk.

Sixty five years ago in 1955, rain washed out the Saturday night racing program at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The following Wednesday, Phil Mitchell in his powerful six cylinder Modified took the win. Lou Tetreault made it six out of 7 in the non-Fords.

George Smaldone was the Modified winner at Seekonk while the Non-Ford event was won by Mr. Leo Cleary. Benny Derosier was the Late Model winner

Sixty years ago in 1960 George Janoski and Bill Slater won the opening night NASCAR Modified features at the Stafford Springs Speedway. It was the beginning of the second year that NASCAR sanctioned races at the Connecticut oval. Slater carried his winning ways over to Saturday night at the Norwood Arena where he made it five features in a row at the fast ¼ mile oval. Buddy Krebs inherited the lead from Joe Paleski on lap 72 of a 100 lapper at Riverside Park. Gene Bergin finished second and was so exhausted that he passed out in the pit area moments after the finish. Jerry Humiston finished third and was followed by Bill Guerney, Jocco Maggiacomo and Eddie Flemke. Local favorite Don Collins was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the Non-Ford winner and Newt Palm made it three in a row in the Bombers. Waterford also ran on Monday. Collins and Webster continued their win streaks as they each won twin features that were part of the Memorial Day program.

At the Seekonk Speedway, Dave Dias was the Class A winner, Les Andrews was the Novice winner, Bobby Sprague won in the Cut Downs and Tony Romit won in the Midgets.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 Don Wayman continued the domination of the New York drivers as he recorded the Friday night Modified win on the dirt at Stafford. Rain washed out the racing at the Waterford Speedbowl. Waterford scheduled an event for Monday which was won by Charlie Webster. Bob Potter was the Bomber winner. Irv Taylor took the win at Fonda on Saturday night. Sunday night at Utica-Rome Rene Charland scored his second win as he held off Jerry Cook and Eddie Flemke SR.

In action at the Seekonk Speedway, Pop Silvia was the B division winner and Joe Csiki won in the Midgets. Bob McGinnis won a 267 lap Modified event at South Boston in Virginia.

Fifty years ago in 1970 Walt Dombrowski made it two in a row at the Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 36 lap Spring Modified Championship. Mike Daignault was the Late Model Daredevil winner. At Seekonk, Dick Costa was the Class A 75 lap winner. Hank Goff was the B division winner.

Ted Hairfield won a NASCAR Late Model Sportsman event at South Boston.

Forty five years ago in 1975, it was the first night back for the big tires at Stafford. Stafford had been running under a tire rule that mandated a narrow width which was supposed to be more economical for the car owners and provide better competition. Ronnie Bouchard in the Bob Johnson No.17 wasted little time in his run to the front and when all was said and done, came home the winner. Brian Ross finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Bob Vee and John Rosati.

At Islip, Jerry Bartlet took the win over Charlie Siebert and Fred Harbach. George Kent beat out Jerry Cook and Sonney Seamon at Shangri-La in the first of twin events. Richie Evans won the nitecap over Billy Colton and Cook. Dick Dunn, in the Albert Gaudreau No.3 took the Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Twin Modified events were run at Seekonk. George Summers in the Connie LaJoie 21 and George Savory took the wins. Doug Bagnell and Hank Goff were the Late Model winners.

At Fulton on Sunday, Maynard Troyer was the top dog over Evans, Mike Loescher and Cook. In open competition small block Modified action at Thompson on Sunday, Steady Eddie Flemke broke Fred DeSarro’s win streak. DeSarro finished second with John Rosati, third. Because of light crowds, the Stafford management announced that they were dropping their General Admission price to $4.00 starting on June 7.Also on this weekend, the formation of the New England-Yankee All Star League was announced.

Forty years ago in 1980, Richie Evans made it three in a row at Stafford as he continued to be unbeatable. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Evans carried his winning ways over to Riverside Park on Saturday as he won out over Reggie Ruggiero and Ray Miller. Geoff Bodine was also on a tear as he went three for three as he won on Friday at Spencer Speedway, Saturday at Shangri-la Speedway and on Sunday at the Oswego Speedway. In other weekend action, Bugsy Stevens won at Westboro, Mike Beebe at Waterford, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip, Bruce Batchelder at Claremont, Tony Siscone at Wall and New Evergreen, Ronnie Bouchard at Monadnock and Roger Treichler at Lancaster.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, Brian Ross in his own No.73 won the Memorial Day 100 at Stafford on Friday night over Charlie Jarzombek. At Waterford two features were on tap. Rodney Tulba won the first over John Anderson and Ted Christopher, the nitecap. At Riverside Park it was Bob Polverari and at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it was Bob Park

over Wayne Anderson. And at Wall Stadium, Tony Siscone was the king of the hill. Richie Evans won twin events at Shangri-La and Doug Hewitt was victorious at Spencer. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Darrell Waltrip won both the Winston and the WC 500.Tim Richmond was the Busch Grandnational winner.

Thirty years ago in 1990, the modified tour was at the Stafford Motor Speedway for a 100 lapper which turned into a yawner as Jeff Fuller went pole to pole in an event that saw hardly any passing. Rick Fuller finished second with Tom Bolles, third. At Waterford on Saturday night, Harry Rice beat out Jim Broderick for the win and at Riverside Park it was Reggie Ruggiero over Jerry Marquis. At Riverhead it rained and at Shangri-La, Jan Leaty went pole to pole to win out over Tony Hirschman and George Kent. The Oswego Speedway ran the Richie Evans 100 for the Modifieds without a NASCAR sanction and the car count reflected NASCAR’s drawing power as only 19 cars were on hand. With many of the top guns missing, it was a good show that saw five different leaders before Jan Leaty took the checker. Chip Graves finished second with Lee Sherwood, third. At Monadnock, also on Sunday, Mike Stefanik won out over Tom Bolles.

Twenty five years ago in 1995, the Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford for a 150 lapper. Mike Stefanik took the lead on lap 72 and never looked back. Charlie Pasteryak finished a strong second and was followed by Satch Worley, Mike Ewanitsko and Rick Fuller. Bob Potter took the 50 lap SK event after Ted Christopher and Ed Flemke Jr tangled with six laps to go. At Waterford on Saturday night, Bert Marvin passed Moose Hewitt at the half way mark of the 35 lap feature and went on to take the win. Bob Potter ended up third with Jim Broderick, third. Ted Riggot took the win at Riverside Park and Ed Brunnhoelzl won out over Don Howe at Riverhead. George Kent won at Tioga and at Seekonk, veteran retired driver Tex Barry passed away after suffering a heart attack shortly after his son won the Pro Stock feature there. In other action, Bentley

Warren won the Little 500 at Anderson, Indiana and a Supermodified event at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Twenty years ago in 2000, Eddie Flemke Jr used an early pit stop to his advantage as he brought the Hill Enterprises home in the top spot at the Featherlite Modified Tour 150 at Stafford. Flemke pitted on lap 59 and when the rest of the field stopped on lap 85 he found himself in the lead which he never gave up. Tim Connolly finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, LW Miller, Chris Kopec and Ted Christopher. Christopher overcame being put to the rear during the early going of the SK modified 50 lapper and took the lead in that event with one to go. At Waterford on Saturday, Jeff Pearl beat out Ed Reed Jr for the win and in SK Mod action at Thompson on Sunday; Christopher won out over Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Matt Kenseth took the win. Jeff Burton was the GN winner. Five pit crew members were injured during a pre-race pyro show. In Daytona Beach, a group of blacks picketed NASCAR headquarters when the sanctioning body refused an entry of a black driver In all fairness to NASCAR the driver in question was very slow in a practice session at Martinsville and wasn’t even close to being competitive. They made the right decision!

Fifteen years ago in 2005 the Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Stafford on Friday night only to get rained on. Forty-one Modifieds were on hand. Donnie Lia was the Busch Pole fastest qualifier as he toured the half-mile oval in 18.25 seconds. Tony Hirschman was second fastest with Chuck Hossfeld, third. Nevin George and Eric Beers rounded out the top five. The event was rescheduled for Sunday, July 3.In some good news it was learned that Mike Ewanitsko would be returning to the Whelen Modified Tour Series wars at Stafford on August 2 or at Thompson on August 18. Ewanitsko was scheduled to be driving for Ed Whelen. Ewanitsko was forced out of competition because of vision problems caused by sugar diabetes. With his problems behind him he felt he was ready to rejoin the tour.

The Waterford Speedbowl finally got a break from the weatherman, as they were able to complete a Saturday night program. Dennis Gada ended a yearlong dry spell as he held of Ted Christopher to record his 47th career win at the shoreline oval. Christopher attempted to rattle Gada with a few love taps with his bumper but it was all for naught. Christopher settled for second and was followed by Ron Yuhas jr, Rob Janovic and Jay Miller. John Puglisi won the 20-lap Sportsman feature, which went pole to pole without a caution. Bill Gertsch Jr. was second and Joe Curioso was third. Phil Evans picked up his second Mini Stock win of the year in the 20-lap feature. Evans started 12th, passed Bill Leonard for the lead with eight laps to go. Leonard finished second, followed by Joe Godbout. Moose Douton led every lap in winning the 30-lap Late Model feature. Defending division champion Corey Hutchings, making his first start of the season, was second. Mark St. Hilaire was third, followed by Charles Bailey III and Allen Coates. Lou Ciccone dominated the 50-lap International Supermodified Association (ISMA) feature. The main buzz around the Speedbowl was still the possible sale of the property in which the track is located. There were people out there that wanted to buy the track and keep it in its present form. Track PR man Pete Zanardi alluded to the fact that no track is safe forever from being sold and added that the closing of the track was a premature conclusion as it has been stated that racing would continue through 2005 and quite possibly 2006.

In other racing, Kirk Alexander came from a dead last starting spot to win the True Value Modified Series event at the Seekonk Speedway and Tom Rogers and JR Bertuccio shared victory lane at the Riverhead Raceway. Jimmie Johnson won the World 600 Nextel Cup event and Kyle Busch won the Busch 300. Dan Weldon won the Indianapolis 500. Female driver Danica Patrick almost won it as she finished fourth.

Ten years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series continued on “Spring Break”. Selected drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour participated in a test held by Hoosier Tire at Lime Rock Park. In preparation for the Whelen Modified Tour’s inaugural visit to Lime Rock Park on July 3, drivers Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink, Bobby Santos and Todd Szegedy took part in four 20-minute sessions throughout the afternoon at the Connecticut road course.

Selected drivers from the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Southern Modified Tours participated in a test held by Hoosier Tire on Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. In preparation for the second running of the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 combination race for both Whelen Modified Tours, Whelen Modified Tour veteran Mike Stefanik, along with Southern Tour regulars James Civali and Burt Myers took part in the all-day session.

The Stafford Motor Speedway returned to racing action with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program on Friday, May 14th. Woody Pitkat picked up his first win of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature that ended up being a war of words between Pitkat and runner-up Ted Christopher. Dillon Moltz got win number two of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano, 15, scored his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cory Casagrande was the second first time career winner of the night by taking the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Racing at the Waterford Speedbowl is a five letter word, ROCCO. Keith Rocco continued his dominance by winning for the fifth time in six event in the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl Saturday night. Rocco out handled and out drove Ron Yuhas JR on lap 25 and survived three restarts as he continued his domination of the SK Modified division at the shoreline oval. Yuhas held on for a runner-up finish. Tyler Chadwick, Rob Janovic Jr and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top five.

Other feature winners were 18-year-old Chris Meyer in the Street Stock event, Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Mini-Stock event, Allen Coates in the truck and Anthony Flannery in the Legends Cars race.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, known as the MADHOUSE, in Winston-Salem NC had scheduled twin 25 lap features for their Modified division. Local runner Lee Jeffreys was the fastest in qualifying with a lap of 13.433 seconds (67.0 mph) on the quarter-mile track, and he started from the pole position in the first Modified race as a result. Jeffreys went pole to pole for his 15th career victory. Burt Myers finished second, Jonathan Brown third, Randy Butner fourth and Tim Brown fifth. The night cap event was rained out.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in Charlotte, NC. In celebration of this event the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran a 100 lap NASCAR Modified event. Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Ron Silk took top honors in the event after waging a heated battle with Tom Rogers. Silk and car owner Eddie Partridge walked off with $3,025. Wayne Anderson, 63, 1994 NASCAR national modified champion suffered a heart attack while competing in the 100 lap race Saturday night at Riverhead, NY Raceway. Anderson was revived by the track crew. He was removed to St. Vincent’s hospital where he is said to be in “stable” condition. From Medford, N.Y. Wayne, who had been racing since 1965, is the son of the late legend, Axel Anderson.

In Sprint Cup action at Dover Kyle Busch swapped the lead with Jimmy Johnson throughout most of the 400-mile race run in front of thousands of empty seats. Busch missed the tripleheader sweep on the one-mile concrete track by just a couple gallons of gas. He was in position to win the Trucks Series race on Friday but ran out of gas at the end. He easily took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Nationwide series race as he raced about 800 miles in three days. Jeff Burton was second and Matt Kenseth third. Denny Hamlin and David Reutimann rounded out the top five.

It looked like O. Bruton Smith, owner of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH was ready to go to battle stations with the New Hampshire Governor along with State and local police. The town of Loudon was looking to be paid $174,500 for police and fire coverage, the same cost as the September 2009 race weekend. Bruton Smith believed adequate coverage could be provided for $75,000. Jerry Gappens, the speedway’s executive vice president stated that none of Smith’s seven other speedways has to pay for local emergency services. Smith says he will pay for police and fire for June’s race at $75,000.

Even after the governor assembled a committee to deal with New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s concerns about the cost of police and fire coverage at the track, the speedway and Loudon police Chief Bob Fiske were about $100,000 apart on the cost of covering next month’s NASCAR race weekend.

The Loudon NASCAR weekend runs from June 23 to June 27. With a little over a month to go there was still plenty of time to resolve the disagreement. When it comes to dealing with state and local authorities Smith is as tough as nails and in most cases gets his way. Smith has the power and the money to plow the Loudon Racetrack under and move it to another state if he has to. The state of New Hampshire and the towns around the speedway needed to realize how much money is generated into the state and local economies before making a final decision. Police officers from Loudon and towns across the state make $43 per hour to work the race weekend.

Five years in 2015, The stars and cars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the Mr. Rooter 161 on Saturday night. The event, the only stop of the year at the shoreline oval drew a near overflow crowd and a jam packed parking lot. Track owner Bruce Bemer and his staff have done wonders with the infrastructure of the facility including a manicured grassy infield, remodeled rest rooms, clean and neat concessions and a fully painted grandstand. In a statement from track General Manager Shawn Monahan “Wow. What a great night at the races. I appreciate my staff. They are so respectful and driven to succeed. The crowd was record breaking, the morale was through the roof, and the racing at the bowl is second to none. Thank you to everyone who made it happen! ” Prior to the start of the evening’s events a special plaque was presented to Keith Rocco and 108 balloons were released in honor of his landmark 108 feature wins. Rocco, by the way, is closing in on the 200 mark for career wins overall. In addition to 109 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl the 30 year old driver has 50 wins at the Stafford Motor Speedway and 37 wins at the Thompson Motorsports Park Thompson Speedway giving him a grand total of 196 career wins.

The Mr.Rooter 161 drew 33 Whelen Modifieds, 12 which are based on Long Island. Donny Lia, from Jericho, New York, posted a fast lap of 13.965 seconds (96.670 mph) around the .375-mile oval for his 21st career pole, and second in a row in this event. Keith Rocco, the winningest driver in Speedbowl history, qualified second-fastest at 13.975 (96.601). The entry blank said there would be 28 starters, NASCAR allowed all 33, including Melissa Fifield, to start the event. The young lady clearly does not belong on the track with the high speed modifieds. During qualifying she was 11.575 mph slower than the pole sitter. Starting in the rear, she was lapped in 8 laps. NASCAR needs to place her in a lower division before she hurts someone.

The starting grid for the Mr.Rooter event went straight up from time trials. Lia took the lead at the drop of the green with Rocco in tow. Ryan Preece moved into the second spot on lap 22 while Lia blocked. Lia led through lap 46 before being overpowered by Preece on lap 47 as they entered turn three. Preece survived at least three restarts before giving way to Doug Coby who managed to slip by to lead laps 128 and 129. Preece retook the lead on lap 130 following a caution when Justin Bonsignore hit the front stretch wall. Rocco, who was still a contender in the late stages saw his hopes of a top five come to an end on lap 121 when Coby forced him into contacting the wall a getting a flat.

Todd Szegedy in the Mystic Missile set the stage for a green-white-checkered finish when he hit the backstretch wall on lap 158. Going past the 161 lap mark Preece took the lead on a Lap 163 restart anf continued to lead the final two laps to record the win. Coby finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Max Zachem finished a career high fourth after starting 33rd with Woody Pitkat, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Patrick Emerling, Rowan Pennink, Spencer Davis and Keith Rocco. Twelve of the original 33 starters were on the lead lap at the finish. There were 12 cautions for 73 laps in the event that took one hour-18 minutes and 30 seconds to complete.

In other Saturday night action at the Speedbowl, Keith Rocco scored career win 109 as he won the Late Model event. Anthony Flannery was looking to run away with the race that he had led since the fourth lap and had a huge lead, but with nine to go, a spin brought out the yellow flag. Rocco who was running a distant second, blew him away on the restart. In the SK Modified 35 lapper Rocco played second fiddle to Ted Christopher. Christopher fought off a late race Rocco challenge and hung on for the win. Tyler Chadwick placed third. Chris Meyer passed Al Stone III on the final lap and won the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature. Ken Cassidy Jr. won the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco picked up his second win of the 2015 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn picked up his first win of the season in the Late Model feature, Matt Swanson was a first time career winner in the SK Light feature, Trace Beyer got his second win of the season in the DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo won his second Legend Cars feature of the season. The Xtra Mart Xtra D 25 program on Friday, May 29th on what was also Military Appreciation Night. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance Ltd. Late Model feature event. Al Saunders was the big winner, taking his second feature win of the 2015 season in the 25-lap Ltd. Late Model feature.

Rocco added to his racing legacy as he scored his 50th overall feature win at the half mile oval. Rocco got by Ryan Preece on a lap 34 restart to take over the race lead while Matt Galko and Woody Pitkat were third and fourth. Todd Owen got around Dan Avery to move into fifth but it was Rocco and Preece glued together at the front of the field with 3 laps to go. Rocco held Preece off to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season. Galko finished third, with Pitkat and Owen rounding out the top-5.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island announced that time trial qualifying would be used for the remainder of 2015. The original idea of running some features via handicapping has been scrapped. With some of the Riverhead regulars at Waterford a lean field of 13 NASCAR Modifieds were on hand. In twin 30 lap events Kyle Elwood won both. Sadly, with the format at Riverhead, competition is at an all time low.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC two nights of racing were on tap this past weekend. Tim Brown, in striking distance of Junior Miller’s all-time feature win mark of 73 for more than a year, finally pulled ahead with a win in Friday night’s Midway Mobile Storage 100. It was his 74th career victory, which put him one ahead of Miller, who is still an active competitor.

Brown, who won a record ninth Bowman Gray championship in 2012, tipped his hat to his race team for another milestone. Brown, who works full time for Michael Waltrip Racing, started third. He took the lead from Ronnie Clifton in the 63rd lap and held off runner-up John Smith and third-finishing Chris Fleming, who was the fastest qualifier with a season-best lap of 13.288 seconds (67.7 mph).

It was also a big night for Burt Myers who won a $6,000 prize by winning the Colors Edge Challenge. Myers, one of four top qualifiers who had the option to start at the rear of the field for a chance of winning the challenge bonus with a top-four finish, took the gamble and won. He started 17th and finished fourth.

Brown, who became Bowman Gray Stadium’s all-time leader for feature-race wins on Friday night, added another victory on Saturday night and boosted his record total to 75. Brown, who drew a pole starting position, led all the way in a 100-lap race for Bowman Gray’s featured Modified Division, fending off challenger Burt Myers through six double-file restarts. Myers finished second, John Smith third and Danny Bohn finished fourth and picked up a $3,000 bonus for taking the Colors Edge Challenge.

Jimmie Johnson survived multiple late-race restarts on old tires to capture Sunday’s FedEx 400, his 10th at the ‘Monster Mile’ at Dover and his series leading fourth victory of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Chris Buescher bumped teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. out of the race lead with 10 laps left, then saved enough fuel to score his second NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of the season on Saturday at Dover Int’l Speedway.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was getting ready to head to the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Mass. In operation since 1946 and under the direction of the Venditti family since day one. Dubbed the Cement Palace, the Speedway sits at the gate of the Cape Cod National seashore.

With five events in the books Doug Coby sits atop the point standings with a 19 point lead over Ron Silk. Sitting third is Jimmy Blewett. Patrick Emerling and Woody Pitkat round out the top five. Eric Goodale sits in sixth spot with defending series champion Justin Bonsignore, seventh. Despite how bad it looks Bonsignore is only 37 points behind the leader. Eighth is third generation racer Blake Barney. Barney has shown flashes of brilliance of late as he has injected new blood into the division. Ninth in the standings is second generation driver Chris Pasteryak. Pasteryak, son of Charlie and nephew of Carl Pasteryak is an even 50 points out of the lead. Rounding out the top ten is a new up and comer, Craig Lutz. Its just a matter of time before Lutz lands sin victory lane.

It looked like Dave Sapienza, who was currently 15th in the standings would step out of competition in order for his back to heal after being involved in a vicious crash at the recent event at Wall Stadium, Sapienza’s car will set idle for week but will be driven by Burt Myers at the up-coming mid-week event at Thompson. Beyond that an announcement is forthcoming. At 44, Sapienza is one of the oldest on the tour. Wade Cole, at 66 is the oldest.

Friday night was a busy one at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Modifiedz Night returned to Stafford Speedway for the 3rd consecutive year. Due to the early season rainouts, Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night became a packed card of Modified Racing with 160 laps of Modified action including 40 laps for the SK Light Modified division and 80 laps for the Open [tour-type] Modified division. A total of six divisions of racing were on tap.

In the Open Modified 80 with tour style modifieds, Keith Rocco took the lead just before halfway in the 80-lap race and he dominated the second half of the race to win the race and lead Stafford SK Modified® regulars Todd Owen and Matt Galko. Goodale nearly took the lead from Rocco in turn 4 on lap-48 but Rocco was able to hold him off. Owen then pulled to the outside of Goodale on lap-59 and he moved into second place. Owen was hounding Rocco for the lead but Rocco was able to fend off Owen’s challenges and remain in the lead.

Rocco and Owen began to slowly pull away from Goodale in third, who in turn had Dowling, Galko, Etheridge, and McDermott lined up behind him. This was the order with 10 laps to go.

Rocco led Owen to the checkered flag to win the Open Mod 80. Galko finished third with Goodale and Chase Dowling rounding out the top-5. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 272 wins which also include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 60 at Thompson and 62 at Stafford Speedway.

Stafford’s SK Lights took center stage with a 40-lap feature that paid over $10,000 in total posted awards. Noah Korner picked the perfect night to nail down his first career SK Light win at Stafford as he won the 40-lap Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night SK Light feature to take home $2,025 in total posted awards. Korner made a power move on the final lap to the inside of Teddy Hodgdon and made the pass stick. Korner and Hodgdon drag raced to the checkered flag with Korner beating him to the line by a nose. Jonathan Puleo finished third. Pre-race favorite Bryan Narducci fell victim to a flat tire early on and finished last. SK Lite rules at Stafford do not allow pitting.

I In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Ron Williams led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season at Stafford. Joey Cipriano came home in second with Nick Salva, Eric Berndt, and Michael Gervais rounding out the top-5.

Other winners on Friday night were Kevin Gambacorta in the Late Model feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Kyle Soper took the top spot in the Wayne Anderson #15. Tom Rogers finished second. Soper has now won three out of the four events run at the eastern Long Island track.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Brandon Ward took the NASCAR Modified feature over Jason Myers, Danny Bohn, Burt Myers and James Civali.

 Matt Hirschman was the winner of the opening round of the Tri Track Series Ron Bouchard Auto Sales 100 held at the Claremont Speedway in New Hampshire. Les Hinkley finished second with Ron Williams, third. Hirschman took the lead just past halfway. Under picture-perfect conditions Hirschman bested a full-field that included runner-up Les Hinckley and emerging hot-shoe Ronnie Williams. Hirschman had stretched his lead over the final few laps and cruised to the victory over Hinckley, Williams, Andy Jankowiak and Russ Hersey. Matt Swanson, Anthony Sesely, Tommy Barrett, Calvin Carroll of Andover, NJ, and Robie completed the top-ten.

Tyler Reddick won the Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday after taking the lead for good on a restart with 15 laps to go.The defending Xfinity champion led 110 of 200 laps to win for the second time this season and the second time in three races. He finished more than two seconds ahead of Justin Allgaier. Jeffrey Earnhardt was third, followed by Noah Gragson and Justin Haley.

Simon Pagenaud survived a late-race duel with Alexander Rossi to win the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Pagenaud and Rossi were engaged in a late-race war, with the pair exchanging the lead five times in the last 13 laps before Pagenaud made the race-winning pass entering turn three with two laps left.

Martin Truex Jr. overcame an early flat tire after hitting the wall, then survived a wild restart five laps from the end Sunday night to win the Coca-Cola 600 for the second time in four seasons.Truex slid into the Turn 4 wall during the first stage of NASCAR’s longest event, damaging his tire and seemingly putting his chances in serious jeopardy. But crew chief Cole Pearn radioed his driver that things were not that bad and to stay calm and remain focused. Joey Logano finished second. Ryan Preece suffered with suspension problems and finished 31st.

NASCAR announced on Wednesday,May 22 that it had reached a $2 billion merger agreement with the International Speedway Corporation, granting the organization control of key racetracks such as the Daytona International Speedway. The agreement gives NASCAR control over a total of 12 ISC tracks that host events on its schedule, including Daytona, Talladega Superspeedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. ISC shareholders will receive $45 per share. The deal, which is set to close later this year, pending the approval of non-controlling shareholders.

The merger comes as NASCAR contends with a downturn in its business. The stock car racing organization’s television ratings and event attendance have plummeted in recent years. NASCAR is said to be considering changes to its rigorous race schedule in a bid to jump start fan interest. The France family, which has controlled NASCAR for decades, will maintain control of the combined entity.