RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit – First Week Of June

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, Rusty Rushton made it three in a row in Modified action at the Seekonk Speedway.

Sixty five years ago in 1955, rain and cold forced officials at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl to cancel the racing for the weekend. The action was hot at Seekonk with Ed Hoyle taking the Modified main. Lou Tetreault was the non-Ford winner and George Landry won in the Midgets.

Sixty years ago, in 1960, Wild Bill Slater, driving the Connecticut Valley Rocket, V-8, won a 100 mile modified event at the Trenton Fairgrounds in New Jersey. The night before, Slater made it six wins in a row at the Norwood Arena as 8000 spectators looked on. At Norwood, Slater took the lead on the last lap from Mario “Fats” Caruso. Wally Silva finished third. Ernie Gahan was the winner on the dirt at Stafford. Don Collins won three Modified features in one day at the Waterford Speedbowl as the shoreline oval presented triple Modified features. Newt Palm was the Bomber winner.

Don Hall was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Bobby Sprague won in the Cut Downs.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 New Yorker Bill Wimble won his first of eight season wins at Stafford on Friday night. On Saturday, Dick Dunn won a 50 lap Modified event at the Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Bunnell was the Bomber winner. Freddie Schultz took the Modified win at Norwood. Lou Lazzaro was the winner at the Fonda Speedway and Steady Eddie Flemke won a 100 lapper at the Utica-Rome Speedway over Rene Charland and Elton Hill.

At the Seekonk Speedway Bugsy Stevens went two for two as he won a 50 lap and a 30 lap Modified feature. Eliot Goff was the B division winner. Eddie Crouse won a Modified event at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia.

Fifty years ago in 1970, Eddie Pieniezak was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Jerry Cook finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Stafford and Seekonk rained out on Saturday. At Fonda, Kenny Shoemaker in the Bob Judkins 2x and Don Wayman each won 25 lap events and at Plattsburg, Dick Fowler took the win. Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Charlie Webster took the 30 lap Modified feature. Johnny Delong won the Late Model Daredevil feature.

In twin 25’s at Thompson on Sunday, Eddie Flemke and Bob Santos shared victory lane and at Utica-Rome, local favorite Dave Kotary beat out Jerry Cook for the win.

Forty five years ago in 1975, In Friday night action at Freeport, Art Tappen took the win over Charlie Jarzombek. At Utica-Rome, Sonney Seamon bested Lou Lazzaro and Dick Fowler. Jerry Pearl was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Don Fowler made it two in a row in Late Model Daredevil action. At Stafford on Saturday night, 53 Modifieds and 5000+ spectators were on hand as Leo Cleary beat Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens. The event went non stop after three restarts. At Islip, Jarzombek turned the tables on Tappen as he took the top spot and at Lancaster, Maynard Troyer went two for two. George Kent was the top dog at Shangri-La and at Fulton on Sunday it was Richie Evans over Jerry Cook. Sunday night racing at Thompson had to be postponed when the lights went out and couldn’t be restored. Shortly there after Speedway owner Don Hoenig procured a diesel generator to make his own electricity. George Savory scored a Modified win at Seekonk. Hank Goff was the Late Model winner.

Forty years ago in 1980, the New England Drivers and Owners Club(NEDOC) met with Don Hoenig for six hours to discuss problems and requests pertaining to pit fees. NEDOC wanted Hoenig to give owners, drivers and mechanics a break on their pit fees. Nothing was settled and a strike was called. In response to NEDOC’s action, Hoenig announced that the Thompson Speedway would be closed indefinitely. At Stafford on Friday night, Ronnie Bouchard was the Modified winner as he beat out Satch Worley and Jerry Cook. At Monadnock, Kenny Bouchard took the win over Bob Karvonen and Ernie Hastings. Rain washed out action at Westboro, Spencer, Waterford and Lancaster.Richie Evans headed south to Winston Salem, NC where he scored a 200 lap win over Don Smith and Ralph Brinkley. It was the first time a northerner won at the North Carolina bull ring since Eddie Flemke Sr won back to back New Years Day Tobacco Bowl Classics in the early 60’s. At Islip it was Don Howe over Wayne Anderson and at New Egypt, Fred and Alan Harbach finished one-two.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, Reggie Ruggiero ruled the roost at Stafford on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Bobby Fuller, third. Kenny Bouchard made it three in a row at Waterford on Saturday. Richie Gallup was second with Bob Potter, third. At Riverside Park it was Marty Radwick over Dan Avery and at Riverhead,on Long Island it rained. John Blewett Jr won at New Egypt over Bob Park and Tony Siscone and at Spencer, Tom Druar took the checker. Jim Spencer outran George Kent at Shangri-La and at Oswego on Sunday, Richie Evans and Brian Ross finished one-two. In Winston Cup action at Pocono Raceway, Bill Elliott was both pole sitter and winner.

Thirty years ago in 1990, Rain washed out just about everything except Riverhead and Monadnock. Steve Park took the win at Riverhead over Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr and Don Howe. At Monadnock a NASCAR Modified championship event was run. Jamie Tomaino took the win over George Kent and Bruce Del.

Twenty five years ago in 1995, Steve Park was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Curt Brainard finished second with Bob Potter, third. In dirt track action at Malta, N.Y. Brett Hearne recorded his 400th career win. At Waterford on Saturday night, Jerry Pearl took the win after early leader Bert Marvin broke a crankshaft. Todd Ceravolo finished second with Jeff Pearl, third. At Riverside, Reggie Ruggiero scored yet another win and at Riverhead, Quinn Vollegraph scored his first win. It was also on this weekend that agless veteran Pete Fiandaca scored his 300th career win, that coming in Sunday night action at Hudson, Speedway. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Terry Labonte had a win handed to him when Jeff Gordon missed a shift in a late restart and broke a rocker arm shaft. Last but not least, Kelly Moore won a Busch Grand National North event at Beech Ridge in Maine.

Twenty years ago in 2000, Ted Christopher made it two in a row at Stafford as he won a 100 lapper there on Friday night. Christopher, who led the final 50 laps, was followed by Jim Williams, Todd Szegedy and Eric Berndt. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night. The event drew 48 cars and was won by Jerry Marquis who took the lead from Rick Fuller on lap 158. Fuller ended up in second spot and was trailed by Tim Connolly, Howie Brode, Ted Christopher and John Blewett III. Early in the evening Blewett had just missed out in trying to qualify and was headed back to New Jersey when Rob Summers had his time disallowed because of having two different ignition boxes. Blewett carried a beeper and recieved the message to return to the track as he was traveling down the Long Island Expressway. At Waterford, Dennis Gada recorded his third win of the season. Ed Reed jr finished second and was followed by Bob Potter and Tucker Reynolds. The World of Outlaws ran on the dirt at Bristol with 50,000 spectators on hand. Tracy Gordon won the Busch North Series event at Beech Ridge and on a sad note, Larry Nuber, the original co-anchor of the ESPN Midget and Winston Cup broadcasts, passed away.

Fifteen years ago in 2005 year The Whelen Modified Tour joined hands with the Busch North Series for twin 100 lap events at the Thompson Speedway on Sunday. With intense humidity and temperatures in the 90’s most of the day the twin bill turned into a test of man and machine. When it was all said and done the weatherman won another one as torrential rain hit the speedway causing yet another rain out. There were 41 Modifieds and 34 Busch North Series Late Models in the pits when the races were called.

Frank Ruocco staged a spirited battle with Jeff Malave in the closing moments of the 40 lap SK-Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night. Ruocco won out in the end as he recorded his first victory of 2005. Malave ended up second with Doug Coby, third. Ted Christopher and Lloyd Agor rounded out the top five. The SK Modified field continued to hover around the 21 car count. This was good and bad. The good was that everyone that showed up went home with a paycheck. The bad was the qualifying heats which are no more than glorified practice sessions. Joe Rzeszutek took advantage of a confrontation that escalated between Tom Fearn and Mike Quintiliano as he won the Late Model feature. Fearn and Quintiliano were battling one-two until contact and a spin after a late restart took both out of contention. Tom Butler finished second. Michael Bennett won the 20 lap Limited Late Model feature and Stacy Botticello was the DARE Stock winner.

The Waterford Speedbowl had Rob Janovic taking the win in the SK Modified feature after taking the lead from Frank Mucciacco with two laps to go in the 35 lap feature. Mucciacco faded to third after being passed by Ron Silk on the final lap. Jay Miller and Tom Fox rounded out the top five. Joe Curioso is a security officer at Electric Boat in Groton, Conn. by day and a racer by night. On Saturday night he garnered his first win in the Speedbowl’s tough Sportsman division. Bruce Thomas was the 30-lap Late Model feature winner and Nick Pappacoda took the win in the Mini-Stocks.

Jeffrey Paul continued to showcase his ability as a racer in Wednesday night’s (June 9) Wild n’ Wacky action at the Waterford Speedbowl. The 17-year old captured both the 20-lap Legends and the 15-lap X-Modified features. Paul didn’t lead the Legends’ race until lap 18 and then held off Jason Palmer. He edged Bill Leonard and Dean Christensen, in the X-Modified event. Paul was looking to make it two in a row in the Legends on Saturday night when he became involved in a violent wreck that all but destroyed his mount. George Whitney ended up taking the win.

Carl Edwards won the Nextel Cup event at the Pocono Int, Raceway and Clint Bowyer won the rain delayed Sportsman event at Nashville. On a sad note, Patrick Evans passed away at the age of 47 after a long bout with cancer.

Ten years ago in 2010, the Modified Racing Series returned to action at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Rowan Pennink got a well deserved and long over-due win as he overcame a cut tire on lap three and came back to win the 100 lap East-West Showdown at Malta, NY Speedway New Jersey runner Pete Brittain led the first forty-seven-laps before yielding the top spot to Earl Paules, Paules set a torrid pace until lap seventy-six when Pennink claimed the top spot. Pennink went on to score his second Modified Racing Series win. The victory was the third for car owner, Gary Cassela. The race was marred by 15 caution periods including, a crash that saw 2009 Koszela Speed Rookie of the Year, Jacob Dore vault over the second place car, Brittain while battling for the position.

Like Pennink, Sean Bodreau overcame an early race mishap to finish a strong third ahead of Les Hinckley, Rob Goodenough,, Daren Scherer, Norman Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Kenny Barry

The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated NASCAR Day with a Whelen Event Night race program consisting of five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. Keith Rocco picked up his second win of 2010 in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Corey Hutchings took down his first victory of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko was a first-time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera took down his first win of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood scored his first victory of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Jeff Paul broke the strangle hold that Keith Rocco had held on victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl as he claimed his first win of the year in the SK Modifieds®, snapping Keith Rocco’s three race winning streak in the division. Eighteen year old Brian Andronaco was a first time winner in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model event. Josh Galvin became the first repeat winner of the year in the Street Stocks and Louis Bellisle recorded his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock win of the season. Anthony Frissora won the visiting Allison Legacy Series tour race.

The Thompson International Speedway began their Thursday night Thunder Series before a very healthy crowd and 100 cars in the pit area. Ted Christopher had the crowd on it’s feet as he worked over Keith Rocco, finally taking the lead after the former slipped coming off turn four. Rocco, who started eighth, passed Woody Pitkat after a restart on lap 18. Christopher, who started seventh, closed in on Rocco’s bumper on lap 20 and began his assault. Back and fourth, up and down, Christopher tried every trick. It appeared that Rocco’s tires gave up as he drifted up just enough to give TC the opening he needed. Rocco held on for the runner-up spot. Ronnie Silk finished third and was followed by Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink, Tim Sullivan, Bert Marvin, Dave Salzarulo, Glenn Griswold and Ryan Preece.

Derek Ramstrom made it three straight in Super Late Model competition. Tommy O’Sullivan was victorious in Late Models while an ailing Chris “Moose” Douton was tops in the Limited Sportsman division. R.J. Marcotte scored the TIS Modified feature win while it was a career first for Lloyd Anderson in the Mini Stocks.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 50 lapper on Saturday night. MadHouse reality show star Burt Myers, who got his 41st victory in Bowman Gray’s featured Modified Division, strengthened his early-season points lead in the standings by leading the event from pole to pole with the exception of one restart. Myers started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from his brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers on the first lap. From that point, there were only two stretches of more than six laps without a caution period, which necessitate a double-file restart. Tim Brown took a short-lived lead in the eighth lap after a restart, zipping past Myers, who said he was a victim of a too-sensitive computer chip that threatened to stall his engine. In true MadHouse fashion Myers recovered with a stiff shot to Brown’s rear bumper. That loosened Brown, and Myers shot past to retake the lead by the ninth lap. Zach Brewer finished second, Brian Loftin was third and Alfred Hill finished fourth. Jason Myers rounded out the top five. Defending champion Tim Brown ended up 12th. Junior Miller was seventh.

Riverhead Raceway Co-Chief Steward Mike Capiello suffered two broken legs and a dislocated shoulder. One broken leg said to be of the “minor” variety, while the other was a compound fracture. This was a result of the Modified of Steve Booker being spun from behind during hot laps, and spinning out of control to the infield, where his car struck Capiello.

Capiello was transported first to Peconic Bay Medical Center, then later transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was to get surgery on his leg. Tom Rogers was the Modified winner.

All eyes were focused on the NASCAR Sprint Cup All Star Race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. As teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch lined up side-by-side for the final segment of the All-Star race, one way or another, a Joe Gibbs Racing victory seemed a mere 10-lap shootout away. But with a cool $1 million prize on the line, neither driver had any intention of lifting off the gas in the no-points, dash-for-cash Saturday night showdown. Hamlin used defensive driving to protect his lead, Busch wrecked and his big brother, Kurt, sailed by both JGR drivers to grab his first career All-Star victory. One Busch was celebrating, while the other was so angry he threatened to kill Hamlin over his team radio.

The inaugural five members of NASCAR’s new Hall of Fame were inducted in a ceremony that both honored auto racing’s pioneers and celebrated the entire industry.

Bill France, the founder of NASCAR, was lauded for his vision of turning unregulated beach racing into America’s premiere motorsports series. His son, Bill France Jr., was remembered as a tough taskmaster who poured his soul into NASCAR.

Richard Petty, a seven-time champion, was credited as the sport’s first superstar, while Junior Johnson was celebrated as the symbol of the sport’s roots.

And then there was Dale Earnhardt, the “champion’s champion” who epitomized the blue-collar spirit at the heart of NASCAR.

Five years ago in 2015, The stars and cars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made their second stop of the season at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Ryan Preece made it two in a row as he won the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Preece took the lead on Lap 2 from pole sitter Doug Coby and led all but six laps. Woody Pitkat and Timmy Solomito finished second and third, respectively. Todd Szegedy finished fourth and Bobby Santos in fifth. Sixth thru tenth were Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink, Keith Rocco, Patrick Emerling and Tom Rogers Jr.

There were 5 lead changes among 3 drivers. Preece took the lead for the final time on lap 107. Woody Pitkat used a power move to the inside of Timmy Solomito in the final turn on the final lap to steal the runner-up spot, while Solomitio hung on for third.

Coby, who had been running fifth in the closing laps was sent to the rear for rough riding after triggering a wreck on lap 118. He came back to finish 13th. Fourteen of the original 31 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will next get the green on Wednesday, June 10 for the Mr. Rooter 125 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

In regular weekly action at Stafford it was features only. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature were Rowan Pennink, who picked up his third win of the 2015 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his second consecutive victory in the Late Model feature, Nick Salva was a first time winner in 2015 in the SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Hayes got his first win of 2015 in the Limited Late Model feature, Zack Robinson was a first time career winner in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell picked up his second win of the 2015 season in the Legend Cars feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Pennink took the lead from Christopher with a move in turn 4 with Joey Cipriano following suit getting around Christopher to drop him back to third place. The caution came out with 36 laps complete as Christopher’s car got turned into the frontstretch wall. Pennink powered into the lead on the restart with Preece locked in a side by side fight for second with Cipriano. Preece got clear to second on lap-37 while Cipriano was now trying to hold off Keith Rocco and Reen. Pennink led Preece back to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the season. Cipriano held off Rocco in a photo finish for third, with Glen Reen rounding out the top-5.

Keith Rocco keeps rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded his third SK Modified win of the season at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 109 wins. The win also brought Rocco closer to a career overall total of 200 wins which now total 197 which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

The SK Modified win by Rocco at the speedbowl was pretty much a cake walk as he beat out Rob Janovic and Ted Christopher. Rocco finished a close second to Jason Palmer in the Late Model feature. Other feature winners were Mark Panaroni (Mini Stocks), Chris Correll (SK Lights), Al Stone III (Limited Sportsman), Randy Cabral (NEMA Lites) and Toby Wells (North East Mini Stock Tour).

The SK Modified event was 35 laps and Timmy Jordan was the man to take the early lead with Paul Kusheba right behind him ready to take the lead away. Rocco took the lead with 19 laps remaining in the event. The first caution came out with 14 laps remaining in the event. Rocco took the lead on the restart and never trailed from that position. following Christopher in the SK Modified event was Tim Jordan and Tyler Chadwick.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series paid a visit to the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. Twenty five cars were on hand for the 100 lapper. Richard Savary took the lead from Dylan Kopec near the halfway mark and held off strong challenges from Woody Pitkat and Todd Szegedy to win the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature. Rowan Pennink finished fourth and Anthony Nocella in fifth. Woody Pitkat, Charlie Pasteryak, Norm Wrenn, Dennis Perry and Donny Lashua rounded off the top ten. The win was Savary’s first of the 2015 season.

Savory started the race in third spot, passed for the lead on lap 43 from early leader Dylan Kopec and went on to win the VMRS Seekonk 100.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island presented the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek Memorial event. Ryan Preece took the win over John Fortin and Jason Agugliaro.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC twin 25-lap NASCAR Modified features were on tap. Jason Myers held off his brother Burt Myers to win the first 25-lap race. It was Jason Myers’ 20th win at Bowman Gray. Danny Bohn, who was last year’s Bowman Gray’s Modified division champion, came back from New Jersey to win his eighth race at Bowman Gray in the night’s second Modified race. In the first Modified race, Jason Myers had the fastest qualifying lap of the year and won wire-to-wire to defeat his brother for the win. In the nite-cap, Bohn defeated Frank Fleming, David Calabrese and Tim Brown.

Martin Truex led a race-high 97 laps and drove away from defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick after a late-race restart to capture the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 at the Pocono Raceway, his third-career Sprint Cup victory and the second series victory for Furniture Row Racing.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed 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. Thirty two teams entered the event, thirty one were on hand for qualifying. Doug Coby captured the pole as he toured the Seekonk oval in 11.923 seconds Second fastest was Matt Hirschman. Chase Dowling was third with Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounding out the top five. Not qualifying were Kyle Elwood and Walt Sutcliff who were bumped by Wade Cole and Melissa Fifield who were eligible for provisional spots. John Monsanto never attempted to qualify.

When Doug Coby and crew chief Phil Moran left the Seekonk Speedway to go home they had a broom attached to their race car hauler as they had made a clean sweep of the Seekonk 150. Starting on the pole, Coby lost the lead to Matt Hirschman in the opening laps but took it back on lap 15 and never looked back. From then on, Coby was in cruise control. In the late stages Hirschman faded to 12th while Justin Bonsignore moved into the second spot. Bonsignore couldn’t touch Coby and settled for the runner-up spot at the finish. Craig Lutz finished third with Ron Silk and Timmy Solomito rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Chris Pasteryak, Anthony Nocella, Matt Swanson, Patrick Emerling and Andrew Krause.

The event was started at 9:03pm by Grand Marshalls Peg and Rick Summers. The checker dropped at 9:44pm. Live streamed coverage of the Seekonk event was provided by FansChoice.tv. It must be noted that Meyhew Tools, which sponsor Coby, received thousands of dollars in TV exposure as did the Seekonk Speedway.

Friday night was Military Appreciation Night at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Andrew Molleur was a first-time winner in the SK Modified® feature, beating Michael Gervais, Jr. to the line by inches. Tom Fearn won the Late Model feature with Teddy Hodgdon winning the SK Light feature over Bryan Narducci, Jeremy Lavoie winning the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller winning the Street Stock feature.

With 10 laps to go, Todd Owen was pressuring Molleur for the race lead with Ron Williams third, Keith Rocco fourth, and Glenn Reen fifth. Mike Christopher spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 36 laps complete. Christopher was given a one lap penalty by NASCAR officials for drawing the yellow flag.

Cory DiMatteo and Reen spun on the restart to bring the caution immediately back out. The next restart saw Molleur and Owen side by side for the lead with Rocco and Michael Gervais, jr. side by side for third. Molleur got clear to the lead on lap-39 with Gervais and Owen side by side for second and Rocco in fourth. Gervais was able to get to the outside of Molleur as they came to the white flag. The two cars ran side by side for the final lap and they were still side by side coming to the checkered flag. Molleur beat Gervais to the line by inches to lock down his first career SK Modified® feature victory. Owen finished third with Rocco and Matt Vassar rounding out the top-5.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, With some 35 or so laps left in what would turn out to be a non-stop 75 lap NASCAR Modified feature at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night veteran driver John Beatty Jr. was perhaps thinking to himself second place is as good as it going to get. . However with 29 laps remaining in the race David Schneider who led the contest since the second lap went wide around some lapped cars opening the door for Beatty who pounced on the opportunity to score his first win of 2019. It was John’s 6th career NASCAR Modified triumph.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Burt Myers ended a long dry spell in a big way. Myers, a nine-time and three-time defending champion, hadn’t won a race since June 30 of 2018. Saturday night Myers won the pole, then decided to go to the back of the field after taking the Fans’ Challenge. And not only did Myers come from 24th and last place to win the race, he also collected $3,000 for finishing in the top four after accepting the Challenge. Chris Flemming finished second with James Civali, third.

In NASCAR Monster Cup racing at the Pocono Raceway Kyle Busch matched Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace for ninth on the NASCAR Cup Series career victory list with 55. He won for the fourth time this season. And the season of JGR that already includes a Daytona 500 championship and a Hall of Fame nod for patriarch Joe Gibbs shows no sign of tapering off. Brad Keselowski was second. Ryan Preece finished 23rd.

In a joint announcement from NASCAR and the Martinsville Speedway, for the first time since 2010, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Martinsville Speedway in 2020 for the MaxPro Window Films 200. The modifieds, which were a fixture at Martinsville for decades, will race the 200 lap race on Friday Night May 8, 2020 as part of the spring race weekend.

The modified division first raced at Martinsville in 1960 and raced every year through 2002. Virginian Ray Hendrick, who also is the career leader in overall wins at Martinsville with 20, is the all-time leader in modified wins at Martinsville with 15. NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans is second with 10.

Adrienne Venditti announced that her book, THE GODFATHER OF STOCK CAR RACING IN NEW ENGLAND was done and has been published and is available on Amazon.

This book is dedicated to the man whose life inspired her to tell his story. His name is D. Anthony Venditti, widely known as the Godfather of Stock Car Racing in New England. It is also dedicated to her mother, with her eternal love and devoted support of her beloved Anthony, her family, and racing. She and the Godfather enabled and empowered their family to persevere in the sport. This is to all those with unending convictions in the Godfather and to the Seekonk Fraternity of racing.

This book is a pictorial and a closer look at the life of the Godfather. He was the youngest promoter in motor sports in the United States in the 1940s. And as a twenty-five-year-old, he planned, engineered, and built his speedway. He was young and full of ambition. It was his dream, an American dream, to build, open, and operate his speedway at the end of World War II, in 1946. Yet when in his advanced years, he then became known as the oldest living promoter in stock car racing. He consecutively ran his race plant each year, faithfully opening his facility, without fail. He never missed a season under his reign-an unheard-of feat of forty-five years as a stock car racing promoter.

Seekonk Speedway continues to run without any ambiguity by the same family. The speedway is proudly still in business all these seventy-three consecutive years of racing in the books. Anthony is celebrated and acclaimed for his pioneering in the American sport of auto racing, awarded RPM’s “1978 Promoter of the Year.” It was with great adoration of the sports community that he is acknowledged for his forethought and far-reaching ideas of innovation pertaining to mechanical engineering, safety features in facility construction, and administrative procedures. Mr. Venditti is attributed to numerous awards for his devotion for the betterment of the sport of auto racing.

On a sad note, Adrienne Venditti sends word that New England racing pioneer Don Rounds has passed away. A Near Hall of Famer, Don Rounds Sr. passed on May 3rd at the age of 91. Don was Track Champion at Stafford Speedway when Stafford was still a dirt track. Don loved to travel to all the New England tracks for four decades and was well known throughout New England. His family was very proud of his racing accomplishments. Don was buried on May 8th with full military honors in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Don began racing stock cars at the dirt track of the Kingston Fairgrounds in 1948. He took down his first feature win three years later, driving the Familiar number 101, a “37” Ford Flathead. The next year he started racing at Seekonk, under the sanction of the Interstate Stock Car Racing Association, led by Lou Guiliano, and in 1950 The Tri State Racing Association led by Rusty Rushton. Don competed at dozens of tracks throughout the Northeast including Lakeville and Millers Falls in Massachusetts, Beech Ridge, Maine, Bennington and Rutland VT, and Keene, NH. He stormed through New York successfully racing at tracks in that state.