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

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950 Don Romeo was the winner at the Seekonk Speedway.

Sixty five years ago in 1955 Dave Humphrey was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Mr Leo Cleary was the non-Ford winner and Moe Gherzi was the Late Model winner.

Sixty years ago in 1960 Tommy Fenley, a former competitor at the half mile Kingston Fairgrounds in Rhode Island was the Modified feature winner at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Don Collins was the big winner at the Waterford Speedbowl as he won Modified events on Wednesday and Saturday. Ted Stack, in the non-Fords and Ed Moody followed suit as they also recorded double features at the shoreline oval. Red Foote was the winner at the Norwood Arena. At Seekonk, Jil Almedia was the A division and Tony Cortez won in the Cut Downs.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 Don Wayman made it two in a row on the Dirt at Stafford Springs on Friday night. Ed Moody was the Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Krashen was the Bomber winner. Lou Lazzaro made it two in a row in Saturday night action at the Fonda Speedway. Ralph “HOP” Harrington was the main event winner at Norwood. Bob Hall finished second with Leo Cleary, third. Eddie Flemke and Don McCullough rounded out the top five. Rounding out the top ten was Pete Hamilton, Fats Caruso, Johnny Thompson, Bill Slater and Barnie Matte. Dave Humphrey won a 100 lapper for the Midgets at Seekonk. Bugsy Stevens won a 50 lap Modified event at the cement palace, Dave Pettey was the B winner.Ken Orr took the win at Riverside Park and Tom Kotary took the win at Utica-Rome. Finishing second was an unknown by the name of Richie Evans. Dave Kotary was third.

Fifty years ago in 1970, it was a busy week to say the least. The All Star League took to the dirt on Tuesday at the Orange County Speedway in Middletown, N.Y. Rags Carter took the 100 lap win over Will Cagle and Lou Lazzaro. Asphalt standouts Charlie Jarzombek, Fred DeSarro and Richie Evans finished eighth through tenth. At Malta on Friday night, Fred DeSarro, well on his way to taking the track championship, took the top spot over Eddie Pieniezak and Dave Gault. Stafford’s twin 25’s went to Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens. At the Waterford Speedbowl, Glynn Shafer in the Ron Yuhas No. 6 took the Modified feature win. Ron Cote was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Seekonk fell victim to rain. On Sunday, Thompson ran a 100 lap-double point event, which saw Bugsy Stevens take the top spot over Cleary, Ed Yerrington, Jack Malone, Bernie Miller, Bob Santos and Billy Harman. Pocono ran an open competition event which saw Geoff Bodine make one of his first big track appearances and he almost won it until traffic master, Ray Hendrick gave him a lesson in how to pass lapped cars. Hendrick ended up with the win and was followed by Bodine, Maynard Troyer and Bryan Osgood. Ron Newman was the winner at Utica-Rome on Sunday night. Tiny Lund won a NASCAR Grand American event at South Boston, Va.

Forty five years ago in 1975, Charlie Jarzombek went two out of three on Long Island as he won Friday night at Freeport and Sunday at Westhampton. On Saturday at Islip, the Long Island legend finished second to Gary Winters. Saturday night at Stafford saw Bob Vee win his first and only feature at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished second with Ronnie Bouchard, third. Bob Potter took the 35 lap Modified win at Waterford. Joe Mullins was the Grand American Late Model winner. Seekonk rained out.

Forty years ago in 1980, Waterford and New Egypt ran on Wednesday night. At Waterford, Bob Potter won a 100-lap open over Rick Donnelly and Dickie Doo Ceravolo. Ceravolo was elevated to second spot after Donnelly was disqualified for illegally altering his tires. At New Egypt, Gary Cretty scored his first win. Wayne Anderson finished second. On Thursday night, Punky Caron returned to his old haunts at Monadnock and kicked butt as he took a convincing win over John Rosati and Jack Bateman. Friday night at Stafford, Ronnie Bouchard was on a tear as he won the 30 lap modified feature over Corky Cookman, Bugsy Stevens and Richie Evans. Bouchard carried his winning ways to Westboro on Saturday where he scored two more victories. Bob Fuller and Leo Cleary scored seconds. Bouchard was going for four when lack of oil pressure forced him to park it at Thompson on Sunday. Jerry Cook ended up with the win with Bob Fuller, second. Other weekend winners included Don LaJoie who scored his 50th win at Danbury, Maynard Troyer at Spencer, Charlie Jarzombek at Islip, Billy Griffin at Shangri-La, Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and Alan Whipple at Claremont. Up north, Geoff Bodine walked off with $12000 after taking the win in the Oxford 250.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, Thompson ran a 35 lap special on Tuesday nights, which saw John Rosati, score an upset victory over Charlie Jarzombek and Richie Evans. The modified Tour was at Riverhead on Wednesday Jim Spencer and Brian Ross broke the strong hold that the regulars had as they finished one-two. Fred Harbach finished third with George Kent, fourth. Stafford rained out on Friday night but Spencer and New Egypt was spared. Doug Hewitt won at Spencer and Tony Siscone won at New Egypt. Waterford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night. Ed Flemke Jr. took the win over Ted Christopher. Richie Evans won at Shangri-La and at Riverside Park, SJ Evonsion beat out Mike McLaughlin. Chris Young won riverheads regular Saturday modified program. The modifieds ventured to Claremont for a Sunday event, which drew 29 cars. Richie Evans took the 100-lap win over Jim Spencer and Dwight Jarvis. The Busch North Series was at Thompson on Sunday. Randy LaJoie took the win and in the SK division it was Wayne Dion.

Thirty years ago in 1990, Star Speedway hosted the NASCAR Modified tour for a 150-lap event. Tony Hirschman took the win over Mike Stefanik, Reggie Ruggiero and George Brunhoelzl. At Stafford on Friday night, Steve Chowanski beat out Tom Bolles for the win and at Monadnock; Reggie Ruggiero was on a roll as he won out over Jerry Marquis. Ruggiero carried over his winning ways to Riverside on Saturday where he again took the win. Richie Gallup finished second with Tom Bolles, third. Lennie Fischer got his first win in 14 years of trying at Riverhead on Saturday. Don Howe finished second. At Waterford it was Gary Dyer over David Gada and at Shangri-La Randy Hedger beat out Jan Leaty. The New Hampshire International Speedway celebrated their grand opening with the Chevy Dealers 300 for NASCAR’s Grand National division. The event drew 50,000 spectators who looked on as Tommy Ellis took the win over Harry Gant, Chuck Bown and Morgan Shepherd.

Twenty five years ago in 1995, Jim Broderick was first under the checker at Stafford but almost found himself in the fence during the cool down lap when a frustrated and mad Ted Christopher, spun him out. Christopher, who finished second was fined $200 and put on probation for two weeks. At Waterford on Saturday night, Todd Ceravolo won out over David Gada and Mark LaJunesse and at Riverside it was Dan Avery in victory lane. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Jennerstown. The scheduled 150-lap event was called after 132 laps when the lights went out and wouldn’t come back on. Steve Park was declared the winner with Ed Flemke Jr., Jan Leaty, Tony Hirshman and Tom Baldwin rounding out the top five. Al Ermarino won at Riverhead and Dave Dion won the Busch North Series event at Shangri-La. In Winston Cup action at the Pocono Raceway, Dale Jarrett took the win and ran out of gas on the cool down lap. Jeff Gordon finished second with Ricky Rudd, third.

Twenty years ago in 2000, Ted Christopher started his weekend with a win over Todd Ceravolo and Steve Lombardo at Thompson on Thursday night. At Stafford on Friday it was again, Christopher. Brad Hietella finished second. Rain washed out Waterford. At Nazareth on Sunday, Ron Hornaday won the BGN 100.Mike Stefanik in a Cretty Motorsports Team car made a surprise entry to the modified portion and proceeded to come home a winner. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Ted Christopher, Jerry Marquis and Ed Flemke Jr.

Fifteen years ago in 2005 the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH on Friday. Forty Modifieds were on hand for time trials which were supposed to be held on Thursday afternoon. Heavy rain and high winds put an end to that. High winds that topped out near 60 MPH overturned protective tents that competitors had been using to shield themselves and their equipment from the heat of the Sun. Electricity was also knocked out. When it became apparent that time trials would not be held NASCAR made the decision to base the starting lineup on the latest point standings.

Based on the point standings going into the event Ted Christopher was placed on the pole with Chuck Hossfeld, outside. Christopher led twice, the first 26 laps and more importantly the last four as he made it three wins in a row as he beat Tony Hirschman to the finish line by a bumper. With 10 laps to go in the 100 lapper Eric Beers was leading the field under caution. Doug Coby was running second with Christopher, Hirschman and Steve Whitt following. When the green came out on lap 91 Coby took the lead. Beers slipped to fourth while Christopher and Hirschman closed in on the leader. On lap 97 Christopher made his bid as he passed Coby. Coby also gave way to Hirschman who closed in on Christopher’s bumper. Beers ended up third with Steve Whitt rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Rick Fuller, Chuck Hossfeld, Jerry Marquis, Mike Christopher and Nevin George. Twenty-five of the original 40 starters were running on the lead lap at the finish. Later in the day Christopher ran in the Busch North Series event which he didn’t finish. Mike Stefanik took that win.

Kerry Malone made a miraculous recovery from a devastating wreck on the third of thirty laps in the Sunoco SK type Modified feature at the Thompson Speedway on Wednesday night. Malone got caught up in a wreck during a restart. His car sustained a lot of damage including a destroyed oil cooler, a broken tie rod and a pulverized rear spoiler. Because of the fact that it took a lot of time to remove the wrecked car of Richard Savory, Malone’s crew was able to remove the damaged oil cooler and replace it with a jumper hose plus replace the tie rod. Malone restarted in the rear of the field without losing a lap and clawed his way through the field to take the lead from Todd Ceravolo on lap 26. Ceravolo had inherited the lead after leaders Tom Cravenho and Bert Marvin tangled and spun on lap 24. Ceravolo finished second and was followed by Jeff Malave. Cravenho and Marvin recovered to finish fourth and fifth. Other winners at Thompson included Norm Wrenn in the Pro Stocks, Roger Larsen JR in the Mini Stocks, Charles Bailey III in the Late Models and Larry Barnett in the limited Sportsman.

The Stafford Speedway also ran on Wednesday night as they featured the NEMA Midgets and the ISMA Supers along with Pro Fours. Special guests included Erin Crocker, Dave Blaney, Carl Edwards and Ken Schrader along with Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Indy veteran Al Unser Sr. Despite the fact that Stafford and Thompson are less than 60 miles apart both tracks drew decent crowds for their mid-week events.

At Stafford on Friday night Frank Ruocco won the 40 lap SK Modified feature over Jeff Malave and Lloyd Agor. Ted Christopher made his grand entrance from Loudon in a helicopter and finished fourth. Todd Owen rounded out the top five. Among those in the field was Chris Jones who up until last Friday had been on indefinite suspension. Evidently the Stafford management has relented and forgiven Jones of all his prior sins. It has also been rumored that Bo Gunning will be back at Stafford for this Friday night’s 100 lapper. Other Friday night winners at Stafford were Tom Butler in the Late Models, Michael Bennett in the Limited Late Models and Robert Dow in the DARE Stocks.

The Waterford Speedbowl had one of its earliest nights of the season as the entire Saturday night program was completed by 9:30pm. Second generation SK Modified driver Chris Pasteryak ended a dry spell that went back to July of 2003 as he took his second career victory at the shoreline oval. Pasteryak took the lead from Ronnie Silk with 13 of the scheduled 35 laps to go. Rob Summers finished third with Frank Mucciacciaro and Dennis Gada rounding out the top five. Other Saturday night winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. in the Late Models, Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Mini Stocks, Chris Correll in the All Star Trucks and John Puglisi in the Sportsman.

Martin Truex held off a late surge by Carl Edwards to take a green-white-checkered flag in Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series New England 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway for his circuit-high fifth victory of the season. Tony Stewart led 232 of 300 laps and beat the Ford of Kurt Busch by 0.851 seconds in the New England 300 at Loudon.

Kentucky Speedway owners filed suit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., claiming NASCAR violated federal antitrust laws and illegally restricted the award of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races. Kentucky Speedway, in Sparta, Ky., also said NASCAR illegally awarded NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races to the International Speedway Corp. owned tracks. Kentucky Speedway also alleged antitrust violations relating to various restraints of trade involving the NASCAR Busch Series races and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races. The lawsuit had been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington. The International Speedway Corporation which is controlled by the same family that owns and controls NASCAR announced that they had chosen a spot outside the greater Seattle, Washington area to build a $250 million NASCAR racetrack.

Ten years ago in 2010, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headed to Loudon, NH for the New Hampshire 100. With a race purse of $166,513 it would be a shame to lose this event because local officials would not negotiate with track owner O. Bruton Smith over security costs. This event was scheduled to be televised by the Speed Channel on a taped delayed basis. In a somewhat related mater word has it that the INDY cars would return to Loudon in 2011 on July 30-31. It had been mentioned that they would be joined by the Whelen Modified Tour Series.

With 38 Modifieds running against the time clock Ryan Newman earned the Coors Light Pole Award for the New Hampshire 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a lap of 29.663 mph (128.402) around the 1.058-mile oval. Bobby Santos will start on the outside of the front row after he posted a qualifying lap of 29.778 (127.907). Santos entered the weekend as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points leader after he became the first driver in Tour history to win three of the first four races. He finished second in the other race, and has three Coors Light Pole Awards.

Todd Szegedy qualified third at 29.867 (127.525). Erick Rudolph and Rob Summers rounded out the top five. Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Ron Silk, Ted Christopher, Rob Fuller and Jimmy Blewett.

Newman passed Ted Christopher in Turn 3 of the final lap and held off New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s winningest driver to earn his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. Newman, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular, made his fifth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start for car owner and 2010 Daytona 500 winning crew chief Kevin Manion. Newman and Christopher put on a memorable show in the closing laps of the New England 100. They came to the white flag side by side, and after Christopher nosed into the lead on the backstretch, Newman used the outside to make the winning pass.

Newman’s margin of victory was .125 seconds. Newman led three times for 28 laps. Christopher, who led six times for a race-high 40 laps. Ryan Preece followed across the line in third to tie his previous career-best finish in Loudon, while points leader Bobby Santos came home fourth. Ron Silk rounded out the top five. Ed Flemke Jr. was sixth, followed by James Civali, Doug Coby, Woody Pitkat and Eric Beers.

There were 21 cars on the lead lap at the finish. There were seven caution periods for 26 laps. Among those who has less than good results was Mike Stefanik who suffered heavy front end damage as a result of a wreck on lap three. There were 15 official lead changes between six drivers.

Despite a season-low finish, Santos distanced himself in the season standings. He now has 900 points through five races while Christopher moved into second with 771. Todd Szegedy is third with 758, while Mike Stefanik fell from second to fourth with 728.

The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder series dodged a few thunder showers as they got to complete their race program. Features included the continuation of an event that was postponed back on June 3 after rains halted the program. In addition to the Tour-Type Modifieds, all six of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions were in competition.

In weekly racing action, Ted Christopher scored his fourth Sunoco Modified victory of the season. Derek Ramstrom, who just graduated from High School continued his winning ways in the Super Late Models; also scoring his fourth feature victory of ‘10. John Falconi turned his luck around this season with a commanding victory in the Late Model division. Falconi kept a family tradition alive at Thompson with his Late Model victory on Thursday night. Speedway announcer Russ Dowd pointed out that a member of the Falconi Family has posted at least one race win a season at Thompson for the last seven decades. After what has been a dismal start to the 2010 season, Falconi turned in a dominating performance to score the win for the family. Paul Coutu scored a convincing victory in the Limited Sportsman division. Keith McDermott was the winner in a controversial TIS Modified dash. Leo Defevers was tops in the Mini Stocks. The Super Late Models, Late Models and the Limited Sportsman division all treated the fans to caution-free main events.

Ronnie Silk was in the right place at the right time to earn the victory in the Town Fair Tire Tour-Type Modified Shootout. The crowd was on their feet for the double-file restart with five laps remaining. Woody Pitkat held the top spot with Mike Stefanik to his outside. On the backstretch, contact between Pitkat and Stefanik sent Pitkat into the outside wall. Pitkat’s crippled #98 was collected by Butch Perry as it sat in turn three. Stefanik was put to the rear of the field for his involvement.Silk found himself as the new leader with five laps to go. Christopher, Mechalides, Reed and Keith Rocco made up the top-five for the last dash to the finish. Silk got a great restart to lead his first competitive laps of the event. After falling back to third on the initial start, Christopher was able to get back by and into second. Reed ran a slight distance back in fourth. Over the final laps, Silk was able to extend his advantage over Christopher to take down the win. Christopher came home second followed by Mechalides, Reed and Rocco.

The Sunoco Modified event turned into another barn burner. With ten laps to go, Christopher was pressuring Keith Rocco for the lead. Christopher got a great run on lap 21 getting alongside Rocco in turn one and again in turn four. Each time, Christopher had to settle back in line on the straight-aways. On lap 23, Christopher was up for the challenge making the pass stick in turn one to lead lap 24. Once out front, Christopher was able to gain a car-length advantage over Rocco. Pitkat ran a distance back in third. Sullivan was an equal distance back in fourth. Over the final laps, Christopher was able to stretch the advantage over Rocco. It was the fourth victory of the season for Christopher. Rocco settled for second over Pitkat. Sullivan posted his best finish of the season in fourth. Quietly Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco made it three in a row as he raised his feature win total to 15. As it was at Thompson, one night previous, it was again the Keith and Teddy show but unlike it was at Thompson where Christopher won, Rocco prevailed. Woody Pitkat got win number four of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Gallo scored his second victory of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery won his fourth race of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes picked up his first win of 2010 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event with six laps remaining in the SK Modified feature Frank Ruocco was in the lead with Christopher and Rocco on his bumper. Christopher, with Rocco in tow, shot by Ruocco on lap 37. Two laps later Christopher slipped enough for Rocco to pass on the inside and that’s all she wrote! At the finish Ruocco had faded to fourth as Zach Sylvester moved into the third spot. Rounding out the top five was Woody Pitkat.

The Waterford Speedbowl saw Jeff Pearl return to victory lane, his first win of the year in the 35-lap SK Modified® feature. Jeff Smith won his first career feature taking the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Defending Street Stock champion Brandon Plemons found the checkered flag for the first time of the year while Louis Bellisle was the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock winner. Anthony Flannery continued to tear up Legends Cars competition, taking his record 11th straight win in the division, a new Speedbowl record. Pearl claimed his first win of the season and 32nd of his career over Rob Janovic and Ron Yuhas in the podium finishing positions. Jeff Paul ended up fourth with Tom Abele fifth.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC was the scene of a Myers Brothers sweep. In twin 25 lap Modified action at the flat quarter mile oval known as the MadHouse Jason Myers won the opener while brother Burt won the nightcap.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Dave Brigati started from the pole, and with his Whelen Southern Modified Tour Modified and led green to checker in the Modified feature

NASCAR suspended former driver Randy LaJoie for failing a drug test, and he said he’s enrolled in a substance-abuse program. LaJoie, who has not raced at any of NASCAR’s top three national levels since 2006, said in a statement that he smoked marijuana once in May.

Kyle Busch held off Brad Keselowski, who finished second in the Nationwide Series event at Loudon and had his solid run derailed by a poor pit stop. Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne round out the top five.

In Sprint Cup racing at Loudon, Kurt Busch tried to bump-and-run past Jimmie Johnson for a win. Johnson paid back Busch with a poke of his own in the final stretch to surge ahead with two laps left and win the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday for his fifth victory of the season.

Five years ago in 2015, Racing resumed on Wednesday at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) where the track played host to the 2nd annual Late Model 20/20 Sprint featuring TSMP’s premier fendered division. The first two 20-lap races gave the opportunity for Late Model teams to earn championship points. The third 10-lap race, though not counting for points, was factored into determining the purse for the evening, which included a $1,000 prize for the race winner. As an added bonus, the winner also earned a position as a guaranteed starter for the 100-lap American Canadian Tour race at the World Series on Oct. 16-18, 2015.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Late Model 20/20 Sprint also included TSMP’s three other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions of racing.

The first segment of the event started quiet but 15 laps into the event a crash in turns one and two slowed the field with yet another accident sparked on the restart seeing Chad LaBastie, running second at the time, spin out in turn two, collecting a series of cars in the ensuing chaos. Following another quick caution, again in turns one and two, the segment went green for the final five laps as Jeff Rocco took a victory in segment one. Rocco started on the pole. Larry Gelinas finished second and was followed by Brian Tagg, Keith Rocco and Marc Curtis.

John Lowinski-loh started on the pole of the second segment but in the end it was Brian Tagg taking the win over Glen Boss. Lowinski-loh finished third with Jeff Rocco, fourth.

The third segment, a 10-lap sprint, had drivers line up using the fastest laps times from the first segment for the front row and average finish in the previous segments determining the rest of the field. Jeff and Keith Rocco started side by side but in the end it was Curtis who was the spoiler. Jeff Rocco won the ten lap sprint followed by Curtis, Keith Rocco and Gelinas.

Jeff Rocco was declared the winner overall followed by Tagg and Keith Rocco.

In other Thompson racing action, a 30-lap sprint for the Sunoco Modified division proved to be disastrous for a few heavy hitters in the series as Cam McDermott stayed out of trouble and scored his first ever Sunoco Modified SK type win. The action started early when defending champion and series points leader Ryan Preece, who started near the rear in the 14-car field, hit the wall attempting a pass on lap two going into turn one. While Preece’s car continued the race it would not survive long, stalling on the track during a caution six laps in and requiring a push to pit lane. He would continue the race after falling several laps down.

Keith Rocco found himself out of the race after failing to clear Kerry Malone out of turn four eight laps into the event. Malone, who had momentum coming off the turn, clipped Rocco’s right rear quarter panel, sending Rocco into the outside wall and ending his day. Malone would continue the race and would be collected in a wreck after a restart 24-laps into the race as drivers scrambled to gain position going into turn one. Malone who drove the wrong way on the track and the wrong way in the pit area was parked for the night by officials. The troubles for Preece, Rocco and Malone meant all three of the frontrunners in the points had trouble during the 30-lap feature.

The drama continued when the race restarted after Nick Ladyga, who led most of the race to that point and was chasing his first Thompson win, was black-flagged after dogging it on the restart and failing to maintain speed. While Ladyga would come from the rear and go on to finish fourth, it was Cam McDermott who took home the hardware with his first win in the division after holding off a hard charging Woody Pitkat for the final five laps. Having a great run with some heads-up driving was Ryan Morgan who recorded a solid third. Rounding out the top five was Ladyga and John Studly.

Other Wednesday night winners were Scott Michalski in the Mini-Stocks and Corey Hurchins in the Limited Sportsman. The entire racing program was completed by 8:45pm. Racing resumes at Thompson on Wednesday, July 29.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the 2nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $30,000 was the main attraction. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $7,500, which included a contribution from Rayner Real Estate, the total posted awards were over $38,000. The Gambler’s Challenge was voted on by the fans on how it would be paid out and the top-3 choices were put into a hat in victory lane with Ryan Preece pulling a chip with the winning formula on it. He pulled the winner take all chip, giving himself a payday of $12,825 dollars. In other feature action, Michael Bennett scored his fourth win of the year in the Late Model feature, D.J. Burnham scored his second win of 2015 in the SK Light feature, David Arute scored his second win of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, Phil Evans won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo won his fourth race of the season in the Legend Cars feature.

Preece, who took the lead after Frank Ruocco and Ron Williams tangled on lap 86 of the 100 lap main, staged a spirited battle with Justin Bonsignore as the pair finished up one-two when the checkered flag was displayed. Keith Rocco finished third with Williams and Jeff Malave rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth was Ted Christopher, Ruocco, Jeremy Sorel, Eric Berndt and Joey Cipriano.

It was rumored that Bonsignore’s finish would be disallowed as word leaked out that his car was underweight at the finish. It was officially announced the following Monday.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series headed north to the Claremont Speedway in northwestern New Hampshire on Friday night. The 100 lap event drew 24 cars. The event, which took an hour and a half to run, turned into a crash fest as 13 of the original starters were running at the finish. Szegedy passed race leader Chris Pasteryak on lap 92. Mike Douglas Jr. finished third. Rounding out the top five were Norm Wrenn and Todd Patnode. Sixth thru tenth were Russ Hersey, Jon McKennedy, Richard Savary, Steve Masse and Mike Willis Jr.

Following post race inspections at Claremont Speedway, Claremont, NH, on July 10, 2015, the # 85 car, powered by an 18-degree engine, was found to have a non-compliant carburetor pursuant to the 2015 Modified Racing Series rulebook. As a result, Todd Szegedy and the # 85 car owned by Kevin Stuart was disqualified from Friday’s event. Car # 5ct (Chris Pasteryak) was declared the winner with everyone behind him moving up a spot.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl was quiet on Saturday night as the track gave way to the annual New London Sailfest and Fireworks. In the SK Modified division Keith Rocco led Tyler Chadwick by 21 points. James “Diego” Monahan sat in third, 30 points behind the leader. One point behind Monahan was Joe Gada and one point behind Gada was Rob Janovic

John Fortin scored his first win of the season at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Ryan Preece finished second with Vinny Biondolillo, third. Preece actually finished ahead of Fortin but was put back as he passed for the lead below the yellow line.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC it was New Jersey driver Danny Bohn who held off Burt Myers to win the final 100-lap Modified race of the season, but it was Lee Jeffreys who stole the show by winning the Colors Edge Challenge. With the challenge victory, he won $6,000 because it was the final Colors Edge Challenge of the year.

Bohn took second in the draw and overtook draw winner Cale Gale five laps into the race. Jeffreys qualified third, and by qualifying in the top four during a challenge, he elected to go to the back of the field and started 20th. He was the only one of the pack of Burt Myers, Jason Myers and Tim Brown who elected to take the challenge.

For Jeffreys, it was great to pick up the money after struggling lately. He started strong with five top-5 finishes and eight top 10s. He started Saturday’s race in fifth place in the points race. Tim Brown started and remained in first place after starting the race third and finishing third.

Jeffreys said starting in the back was nothing new for him. He overtook Chris Fleming on the 78th lap for fourth place and had to hold off Jason Myers in the final 22 laps.

Burt Myers and Tim Brown went for position with three laps to go. Myers held off Brown for the final three laps.

Kyle Busch won his second NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway. Joey Logano broke up a 1-2-3-4 Joe Gibbs Racing finish by winding up second after a spirited battle with Busch, whose teammates Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth settled for third, fourth and fifth. It’s the first time in team history all four JGR cars finished in the top five. Brad Keselowski passed Erik Jones with eight laps to go after Jones was unable to clear David Starr’s lapped car on the bottom in turns three and four in the companion Xfinity Series event.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island. The event, which drew 31 cars, was live streamed by Fanschoice.tv, was blacked out to race fans and possible new fans in New York state, New England and New Jersey.

Saturday night short-track racing can be the highest level of modified racing or the lowest level. The first of two Whelen Modified Tour events at the eastern Long Island facility was a slam-bang affair that produced nine caution periods for 68 of the posted 200 laps. There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Bonsignore restarted to the inside of track regular John Beatty Jr. in overtime, and coming to the checkered flag, contact between the two drivers sent Beatty up the track, and Bonsignore spinning nose-first towards the frontstretch wall. In the midst of his spin it was just luck that he crossed the line first in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200. The victory was Bonsignore’s third of the season and his 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He becomes just the third driver in series history to win three straight at Riverhead, joining Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Beatty looked to have the car to beat in the final stages. He passed Timmy Solomito for the lead on lap 150 and was at the point for a near run to the finish, until a caution for a wreck down the backstretch with three laps to go closed the field up. Beatty selected the top lane, and when the field went down into turn one at the green, the contact started between the two leaders.

They leaned on each other the final two laps, until the contact in turn four, coming to the checkered, sent Bonsignore spinning. Beatty, a regular in Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Modified class, was disappointed in the result, but happy with his effort. He nearly became the first track regular in more than two decades to win a Whelen Modified Tour race at the oval.

Timmy Solomito, who led 37 laps, crossed the line third. Solomito took the lead for the first time on lap 76, after dumping Doug Coby who was in the lead at the time. Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounded out the top-five. Coby rebounded to sixth, while Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers Jr. and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of their annual Monster Energy Cup Series weekend on Saturday, July 20. Select drivers will also compete in the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire on Friday, July 19.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night scoring feature wins were Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci in the SK Light feature, Matt Clement in the Limited Late Model feature, George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature, and Cadence DeLorge in the Wild Thing Karts Junior Outlaws feature.

For Rocco it ended a long dry spell as he had not won at Stafford since May 4. His career overall total is now 273 wins which also include 150 victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, 60 at Thompson and 63 at Stafford. Rocco and Williams slugged it out for the last half of the 40 lapper. Williams took the lead back from Rocco by a nose on lap-24 and the two cars ran side by side until lap-27 when Rocco powered his way by with a move in turn 3. Williams then came back to Rocco’s inside on lap-28 and the two cars were once again side by side with Rocco the leader at the line by inches. Mike Christopher, Jr. brought the caution back out with 29 laps complete with a spin in turns 3+4.

Williams and Rocco resumed their side by side duel with Glen Reen and Todd Owen side by side for third behind the lead duo. Rocco and Williams were still side by side with 7 laps to go while Owen was third, Reen fourth and Michael Gervais, Jr. was up to fifth.

Williams fell back into line behind Rocco on lap-36 while behind them, Gervais nearly went 3-wide with Owen and Reen for third on lap-37. Williams could get a good run in turns 1+2 to the outside of Rocco but Rocco was able to fend off his challenge down the backstretch and get clear heading back to the start/finish line. Williams made one last ditch effort on the final lap but Rocco was again able to keep Williams behind him as he locked down his second win of the 2019 season. Reen finished third with Owen and Gervais rounding out the top-5.

Bryan Narducci got redemption in the SK Lite 20 lapper as nothing fell off his car and nobody accused him of hitting anyone as he scored his eighth career win at the track.

Tom Fearn was the late model winner and Matt Clement was the Limited Late Model winner while the girls ruled the roost in the Street Stocks (Megan Fuller) and Wild Thing Karts (Cadence DeLorge).

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night July 6. Todd Patnode passed Les Hinckley III for the lead on lap 25 and then scored the victory in the rain shortened 100 lapper that had been scheduled. The race was stopped because of rain after 66 laps. Patnode took the lead on lap-25 when he passed pole sitter Les Hinckley, a 19-time series winner who was making his first start of the season.

The victory is Patnode’s fifth series win that ties him with Andy Seuss and Ted Christopher on the series all- time win list. He also ties Dwight Jarvis with five wins at Monadnock. Jeffrey Gallup, who scored his first series win this season, finished a solid second, with Rob Richardi Jr, third, for his best finish of the season. Hinckley and Brian Robie rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Ronnie Williams, Kirk Alexander, Joey Kendall, Geoff Rollins, and Ben Byrne.

A 500-1 longshot making just his third career Cup start, Justin Haley won the rain-postponed, rain-shortened race at Daytona on Sunday. He inherited the lead after a 17 car accident decimated the field and a lightning strike forced NASCAR to stop the race.

Haley waited out the delay in a conference room inside the historic speedway, admittedly too nervous to do more than pray for the skies to open and the race to be called once and for all.

The wait of 2 hours, 12 minutes was well worth it for the 20-year-old Indiana native driving for first-year team Spire Motorsports.

The race – the last surrounding the July Fourth holiday at Daytona since 1959 – was scheduled for Saturday night but forced into Sunday afternoon because of persistent rain and lightning that washed out most of this final Independence Day party at NASCAR’s birthplace. As the clouds darkened over the track at the start of the third stage, drivers picked up the intensity and started racing as if the event would end at the first drop of rain.

Clint Bowyer pulled out of line and tried to pass Austin Dillon for the lead, but Dillon would not relinquish the spot. His Chevrolet wiggled, Bowyer hit him from behind in his Ford, and because they were at the front of the field, it caused a huge wreck.

Get well wishes went out to multi-time Stafford, Waterford and Thompson track champion Bob Potter who was on the mend from colon surgery.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail,smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.