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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford Speedbowl reopened with a new asphalt surface with a one lane dirt buffer on the outside. Stu Hillbrem was the 25 lap Modified winner. For the second week in a row racing at Seekonk fell victim to rain.

Sixty five years ago in 1956 Tommie Elliott won at Old Bridge in New Jersey. Freddie Luchesi and Mr Leo Cleary scored victories at Seekonk.

Sixty years ago in 1961, Ron Narducci was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Ted Stack made it four in a row when he won a 50 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Stack also won the non-Ford feature, his third in a row. Joe Maynard was the Bomber winner. Henri “Red” Barbeau took the Class A win at Seekonk. Eastern Bandit Steady Eddie Flemke took the Sunday night win at Old Bridge. Ray Hendrick won a 30 lapper at South Boston in Virginia and Charlie Trombley won at Catamount in Vermont.

Fifty five years ago in 1966, Pete Hamilton became the first repeat winner of the season at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Dennis Zimmerman finished second with Eddie Flemke, third. Hamilton and Zimmerman were a second-generation version of the fabled Eastern Bandits led by Flemke. Jerry Cook and Don MacTavish rounded out the top five. Pete Corey made it two in a row on the dirt at Stafford. Jerry Cook won his first race, a 25 lapper, at the Fonda Speedway on Saturday night. Bill Wimble finished second with Gene Bergin, third. Ed Yerrington, who in later years become the General Manager of the Stafford Motor Speedway won the 30 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Bunnell made it five in a row in Bomber competition and Bill Ramsley was the Daredevil winner. Joe Rosenfield was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Axel Anderson took the victory at Islip over Al DeAngelo, Fred Harbach and Jim Hendrickson. Kenny Shoemaker ruled the roost at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Eddie Flemke finished second with Gaston Demarais, third. Frank Mathalia and Jerry Cook rounded out the top five. Albany Saratoga also ran on Monday with a 100 lapper to celebrate Memorial Day. Eddie Flemke rose to the occasion to take the win with Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket V-8 in second spot. Dennis Zimmerman, Jerry Cook and Don MacTavish rounded out the top five.

Fifty years ago in 1971, racing at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY rained out. Bugsy Stevens went two for two at Stafford as he won the twin 25’s.In the opener, Leo Cleary finished second and was followed by Fred DeSarro and Ray Miller. DeSarro rallied to finish second in the nightcap. Ageless veteran Maynard Forette took the Saturday night honors at Fonda over Dave Buanno, Dave Lape, Ron Narducci and Lou Lazzaro. In open competition action at the Fulton Raceway Ronnie Wallace won a 75 lapper over Bryan Osgood, Richie Evans, Don Diffendorf and Bob Sweeny. Donnie Bunnell won the Spring Championship 36 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Nelson Rabideau was the Sportsman Sedan winner. Bobby Sprague was the Class A winner at Seekonk. At Islip, Richie Gomes got a popular win and at Thompson it was Bobby Santos and Bugsy Stevens scoring wins. Santos was the runner-up behind Stevens and was followed by DeSarro, Leo Cleary, Rene Charland and Hop Harrington. Harrington was second behind Santos and was followed by Stevens, Dick Caso and Ed Yerrington. Twin features at Utica-Rome were won by Ray Sitterly and Jerry Cook.

Forty five years ago in 1976, Charlie Jarzombek took the Friday night win at Riverhead. Greg Sacks finished second with Fred Harbach, third. Harbach rebounded to take the win at Islip on Saturday night. Riverside Park saw Bob Polverari take the win over Pete Fiandaca. At the Waterford Speedbowl local favorite Dickie “DOO” Ceravolo was the 35 lap Modified winner. Dick LaFlesh was the Grand American Late Model winner. Tex Barry Sr was the Modified winner at Seekonk. NASCAR’s Superspeedway Modifieds were at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Darrell Waltrip, in a Camaro, won the 300-mile event with Ray Hendrick, second. Geoff Bodine was third and was followed by Merv Treichler, Bobby Allison, Jerry Cook, Clayton Hustead and Joe Thurman. Back in New England, Richie Evans led all 80 laps of the postponed Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Speedway. Track owner Jack Arute had mandated 12-inch tires to cut costs. Evans complied and then some as he used 10-inch Sportsman rubber. Geoff Bodine finished second and was followed by Ray Hendrick and Fred DeSarro. Don LaJoie, driving Bob Johnson No.17 became only the second driver to leave the speedway as he rode over Charlie Jarzombek’s wheel in turn three. At Thompson, Fred DeSarro made it two for two as he inched out a win over Geoff Bodine, George Summers and Daring Dick Caso.

Forty years ago in 1981, the Friday night Modified feature at Stafford went non-stop with Kenny Bouchard in the Len Boehler No.3 taking the win. Reggie Ruggiero, in the Fiore No.44 was second and was followed by John Rosati and Bob Polverari. At the Spencer Speedway, also on Friday, Jerry Cook took the win over Doug Hewitt. At New Egypt, Tom Baldwin took the 100 lap win after Richie Evans tangled with Frankie Schnieder. Tony Siscone finished second with Bob Park, third. George Moose Hewitt was the winner at Waterford on Saturday night while at Riverside; Reggie Ruggiero won out over Ray Miller. At Westboro, seasoned veterans George Summers and Leo Cleary finished one-two. Other Saturday night winners included George Kent at Shangri-La, Alan Harbach at Islip, Tom Druar at Lancaster and Tony Siscone at Wall. Billy Greco in the Modifieds and Jay Wilson in the Sportsman were the big winners at Danbury. The big guns headed for Oswego on Sunday for the Port City 150.Maynard Troyer took that win with Kent second and Baldwin, third

Thirty five years ago in 1986, Bugsy Stevens in the Garbarino No.4 took the Friday night win at Stafford. Jamie Tomaino finished second with Mike Stefanik, third. Reggie Ruggiero took the win at Riverside while at Waterford and Seekonk, it rained. Eddie Brunnhoelzl beat out Dan Jivenelli and Don Howe at Riverhead. Oswego ran the Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Sunday. Jamie Tomaino led pole to pole as he beat out Jim Spencer, Brian Ross and Jan Leaty for the win. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt took the win. Tim Richmond was the Grandnational winner. It was also this week that Bob Cuneau and Bob Vee sold Chassis Dynamics to John Anderson and Dan Civitello.

Thirty years ago in 1991, Stafford ran the rained out Sizzler 200 on Friday night. Jeff Fuller took the win over Wayne Anderson, George Brunnhoelzl and Steve Park. Bo Gunning was the SK Modified winner. Saturday night at Waterford, Bob Potter in the Ceravolo family No.31 took the lead when Jamie Marvin spun out with two to go and went on to record his 83rd victory at the shoreline oval. Dennis Gada finished second with Donnie Bunnell, third. Reggie Ruggiero got his fourth win of the season at Riverside and Tim Connolly won a 100 lapper at Shangri-La. At the annual Oswego Port City 100,Steve Park in the Curt Chase No.77 took the win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second. Other weekend winners were Lenny Fischer at Riverhead, Jerry Marquis at Monadnock and Richie Gallup at Thompson.

Twenty five years ago in 1996, the Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for a 150 lap event. Like his late father had done many times, Ed Flemke Jr took the win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman and Jan Leaty. Mike Ewanitsko took the SK Modified 50 over Ted Christopher and Lloyd Agor. It was also on this night at Stafford that Eric Berndt went on his roof. Bob Potter annexed his 94th career win at Waterford on Saturday night after Chris Jones and Dave Kutka tangled with 14 laps to go. Brian Schofield beat Tom Jensen at Riverside and it was Tom McCann over Eddie Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead. George Kent won the Richie Evans Memorial at Tioga and Dave Dion won the Busch North Series event at Holland. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Jarrett dominated the last half of the big event as he crossed the finish line 1/3 of a lap ahead of Dale Earnhardt. Mark Martin won the Busch Grandnational Red Dog 300.

Twenty years ago in 2001 Mike Ewanitsko took advantage of Jerry Marquis who was blocked by the lapped car of Dan Avery and went on to win the Featherlite Modified Touring Series event at Stafford on Friday night. Marquis ended up in second spot with Mike Stefanik, third. Forty-one Modifieds were on hand. Willie Hardie scored his third of the season in SK Modified competition. Waterford rained out on Saturday night as JR Bertuccio took the checker at Riverhead. Sunday night at Thompson, Ted Christopher took the top spot over Zach Sylvester and Scott Quinn. Kelly Moore was the Busch North Series winner at Seekonk and in Winston Cup action at Charlotte; Ryan Newman took the pole for the World 600 and Jeff Burton, the win. Jeff Green won the Grandnational 300.Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500.

Fifteen years ago in 2006 in what turned out to be a big surprise, NASCAR’s Director of Regional Racing Development Don Hawk resigned his position with the sanctioning body. During Hawk’s tenure the Modified division had prospered to the point where they were and still are NASCAR’s top regional touring division. Despite sitting in the front office in Daytona Hawk was always available to give guidance and answer questions. He was held back only by those above him. A spokesperson for NASCAR stated that he wanted to pursue personal options. Larry Mattingly of the Jennerstown Speedway in Pa stated that anyone who works within inner sanctum does not have an easy time of it as he has to try to keep the competitors happy as well as his employer, NASCAR. Mattingly was told that “major” things were in the works but did not elaborate.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was scheduled to host their second of four Whelen Modified Tour Series events. For the third week in a row the weatherman won as heavy rain dumped on the Stafford area. The Connecticut Classic was rescheduled to Tuesday, July 4.

At the Waterford Speedbowl the Supermodifieds of ISMA were the guest attraction. Justin Belfiore won the 50-lap contest. Belfiore took the lead after the top three including Waterford regular Rob Summers were eliminated on a lap 17 crash. Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. went pole to pole to win the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Chris Pasteryak closed to within a car length at the finish with Tommy Fox third. Other winners were Jay Stuart in the 30-lap Late Model event, Billy Gertsch Jr. in the 20-lap Sportsman haul and Danny Field in the 20-lap Mini Stock race. Dwayne Dorr’s bid for a record-tying sixth straight Sportsman victory was lost in a lap seven crash.

In other weekend action Mike Leaty won the Richie Evans 100 at Oswego. Matt Hirschman finished second with Eric Beers, third. John Blewett III won at Wall Township and JR. Bertuccio won at Riverhead. Kasey Kahne won the Coke 300 at Charlotte. Defending series champion Tony Stewart broke his shoulder after hitting the wall. Sam Hornish Jr. won the Indy 500.

Ten years ago in 2011, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on Spring Break.

The Thompson Speedway fell victim to rain on Thursday night.

The Stafford Motor Speedway avoided the rain on Friday night as did Ted Christopher who drove to his second SK Modified win in a row. Christopher now had 94 SK Modified wins at Stafford.

Woody Pitkat picked up his first win of 2011 in the 30-lap Late Model feature. Pitkat had recorded a previous win but was disqualified when it was discovered that illegal fuel was in his tank. Tommy Barrett, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for the second consecutive week, Shawn Thibeault won his first race of the year in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande picked up his second feature victory of the year in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Twenty three cars started the SK Modified feature which was slowed by two cautions.

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco made it two in a row as he rose above early race problems before rallying over the final laps to take the victory. Anthony Flannery was a first time winner in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division, Al Stone returned to the winner’s circle in the Street Stocks, Glenn Colvin was the Mini Stock feature winner and Paul French won the debut event for the SK Light Modifieds. Ken Downing III was the Super X-Car winner.

Rocco, who had spun out after being tapped by Ron Yuhas Jr on lap 14 while running second, had advanced to third when a lap-32 restart set the stage for Rocco’s late race charge. Jeff Pearl got the jump on Ron Yuhas Jr but it was Rocco who made a bonsai move down low in turn one as he seized the opportunity to race to Pearl’s inside into turn one with a bold move. He cleared Pearl exiting turn two and was able to hold on over the final two laps to take his second consecutive win and fourth overall on the season. Pearl, Yuhas, Tyler Chadwick and Reynolds completed the top-five finishers.Twenty one cars, including the SK Lite of Paul French, started the SK Modified feature.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, two of the brightest young NASCAR Modified stars waged a classic battle in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 100 with Timmy Solomito of holding off a hard charging Justin Bonsignore in a battle that race fans will be talking about for years to come. The victory, Solomito’s second in three races in 2011, was worth $3,550 which included a $1,000 winner’s bonus as well as a $500 first Riverhead Raceway driver across the line from ardent race fan, Jim Schaefer.

In Modified action south of the Mason-Dixon line at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, John Smith, who is employed by Richard Childress Racing as a front-suspension specialist on the NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer, got his eighth career victory on the flat quarter mile speedway in a 100 lap event.

Smith drew the pole position and withstood five double-file restarts, holding off Lee Jeffreys and Dean Ward, both of whom were sidelined with mechanical trouble and finally endured a late challenge by Brian Loftin. Loftin, who worked his way up from the 17th starting position, finished second. Michael Clifton was third, Burt Myers fourth, Jason Myers fifth and Jonathan Brown sixth.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at Charlotte Carl Edwards won the annual All Star Race that was deemed a yawner until the checkered flag was dropped. Edwards did a show-off slide through the infield, hit a man-hole cover and destroyed the nose of his car. In Nationwide action, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. held off Sprint Cup drivers Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski to win Sunday’s NASCAR Nationwide series race in Iowa, becoming the first series regular to pick up a victory in 2011. Stenhouse took the lead from Edwards 233 laps into the 250-lap event at Iowa Speedway and held off the only Cup regulars in the field for his first career Nationwide win.

The second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, champions all, captured over 50 victories and a dozen championships in NASCAR’s premier series. The five inductees, Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Lee Petty, made up the second class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., which was officially inducted on May 23.

Alex Tagliani broke up the monopoly in the top-heavy IndyCar series and became the first Canadian to earn the pole for the Indianapolis 500. On a day each of the series’ three top teams – Andretti Autopsort, Target Chip Ganassi and Team Penske – made big mistakes, it was a 37-year-old Canadian who got it right twice with a four-lap average of 227.472 mph on the day’s final run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Five years ago in 2016, The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway began their summer series of Wednesday night NASCAR racing this past Wednesday night in somewhat chilly conditions. Once the sun went down the temps dipped into the low 50’s but the action on the track was blazing hot.

The Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series took center stage for their 40 lap, double distance event, the Limited Sportsman Long Distance, presented by Circuit One Events. The Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series took center stage at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, May 18th for their marathon event, the Limited Sportsman Long Distance, presented by Circuit One Events. Josh Wood took the checkered flag on his 22nd birthday. Wood took the lead fifteen laps into the forty-lap feature and never looked back but had to survive a series of cautions late in the race and a hard charging crew of experienced series veterans to claim his second straight win of the 2016 season. Ryan Waterman held on to finish second after making an overly aggressive move when he won his heat race. Corey Hitchings finished third and Scott Sundeen, fourth. Ed Pulio rounded out the top five.

In the Sunoco Modifieds (SK type), Keith Rocco literally cleaned house as he made it two in a row at Thompson as he also won the Sunoco Modified event at the IceBreaker. Rocco took the lead in turn two if lap 10 after running wheel to wheel with Rowan Pennink who led the early going. Ryan Preece rallied from an early race problem to finish second but his efforts fell short as his power plant was no match for Rocco’s which was Petit powered. Woody Pitkat finished third with Pennink, fourth. Ronnie Williams continues to impress as he rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Adam Norton, Jason Sundeen, Stephen Kopcik, John Studley and Joey Parker.

Rocco career total at this point was 217 career wins which also include victories at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl and at Stafford.

Good weather greeted fans and competitors at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Stafford had been rained out two weeks prior. Stafford’s regular weekly divisions were joined by the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

Rowan Pennink scored a one-two punch as he won both the Stafford SK 40 lap Modified race and the 80 lap Valenti Modified event.

According to web site Chrome Horn, the VMRS race began with pole sitter Rowan Pennink leading the field for the first 4 laps. On lap 5, Woody Pitkat charged under Pennink for the top position and charged forward to lead the field. Pitkat dominated the race at his home track race until lap 60 when Pennink tried the outside and then shot under Pitkat for the lead. Pennink went forward to take home his first 2016 VMRS race. The VMRS race began with pole sitter Rowan Pennink leading the field for the first 4 laps. On lap 5, Woody Pitkat charged under Pennink for the top position and charged forward to lead the field.

Pitkat dominated the race at his home track race until lap 60 when Pennink tried the outside and then shot under Pitkat for the lead. Pennink went forward to take home his first 2016 VMRS race. Pitkat held on to finish second with Anthony Nocella, third. Donnie Lashua and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five.

In the SK 40 lapper, Eric Berndt led the first half of the event. Shortly after half way, Rowan Pennink went under Berndt for the lead. With ten laps to go Ryan Preece was under Pennink challenging for the lead. Two laps later Preece had the lead with Pennink right on his rear bumper. Preece’s lead lasted only two laps though before Pennink came back to take the top position and win. Preece had to settle for second followed by Eric Berndt, Ted Christopher and Ronnie Williams for the top five.

Despite the fact that two big rain storms were headed to southeastern Connecticut the New London-Waterford Speedbowl persevered and got in a full program of auto racing on Saturday night that saw three first-time winners in victory lane.

Joey Polewarczyk Jr. was dominant in driving to victory in the 100-lap American Canadian Tour feature while Diego Monahan won the first 35-SK Modified feature of the evening, which was the conclusion of an event that was suspended after 17 laps because of rain on May 14.

In regular weekly action at the shoreline oval Dylan Izzo picked up his first career win in the second 35-lap SK Modified feature. Cory DiMatteo was a first-time winner in the 25-lap SK Light Modified field. Monte Gibbs joined the first timers with victories in the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature and Sean Caron got the win in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.

In the left over SK Modified feature from May, 18, Diego Monahan restarted from the top spot with Ted Christopher on his outside. Monahan was able to hold off the advances of Christopher on three restarts over the first four laps. On lap 13 Christopher spun coming off of turn four. The race restarted with Dennis Perry riding to the outside of Monahan, but there was no lane for him to find a way past the leader. Perry, rather than take a chance of getting walled, held on for second place. Paul Kusheba IV of finished third. Todd Owen and Rob Janovic Jr rounded out the top five

In the second SK Modified feature, Izzo started second and took the lead from Ryan Morgan on the first lap. From there he had little trouble creeping away from the field after numerous restarts. But with five laps remaining the caution flew which put Christopher restarting beside him. Izzo got the jump on Christopher on the restart and was able to hold him off for the win. Christopher held on for second and Bo Gunning was third. Ryan Morgan and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five.

A surprise mid week shake-up took place at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as race director Eric Webster resigned after only two events.

Riverhead Raceway on Long Island cancelled their Saturday night racing program shortly after noon on Friday because of an impending rainy forecast for Saturday night.

The Bowman- Gray stadium in Winston-Salem, NC fell victim to rain.

One of the biggest events of the season came to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH this past Saturday night May 21st. It was be the Winchester 200 featuring the Modified Touring Series, not affiliated with NASCAR. The race was 200 green flag laps and the winner, Ryan Preece went home with $15,000 and the trophy that was a 3855 Winchester rifle. Preece started on the pole of the 22 car field and led the first 26 laps of the event before being passed by Les Hinkley for the lead. Preece took it back on lap 40. Matt Hirschman, who started fifth, came alive on lap 48 as he slipped under Preece for the lead.

At the 50 lap mark Hirschman continued to lead over Preece, Eric Goodale, Chris Pasteryak and Rowan Pennink. By lap 69 Jon McKennedy was making his presence known as he slipped by Pennink and Pasteryak for the fourth spot. Preece pitted under caution on lap 72. On the restart McKennedy moved into second spot. Following a caution on lap 76 Preece had worked his way into the top ten. By lap 95 Preece had closed in Hirschman’s bumper. On lap 99 he regained the lead.At the half way mark it was Preece over Hirschman, Pennink, Todd Patnoad, Scott McMichael and Pasteryak.

Pennink pitted on lap 122 for service. by lap 125 he was in the top six. Preece pitted again on lap 158, giving the lead to McKennedy. Pennink’s and Hinkley’s night came to an end on lap 158 when Hinkley spun and collected Pennink. Pennink suffered severe right front suspension damage. When the field went back to green McKennedy led over Pasteryak, Hirschman, Holdridge, Goodale and Preece.

On a mission, Preece turned up the wick as he charged to the front. By lap 162 Preece moved into fourth and Goodale fell to fifth. On lap 167 Preece moved into second and lap 170 took the lead.

At the finish it was Preece over Goodale, Hirschman, McKennedy and Pasteryak. Sixth thru 10th were Mike Holdredge, Andy Jankowiak, Todd Patnoad, Scott MacMichael and Eric LeClair.

What James Hinchcliffe did by winning the pole for the 100th Indianapolis 500 was fairly remarkable considering that he nearly died at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just one year and four days previous. But after winning the pole during Sunday’s Pole Day for the 100th Indianapolis 500 with a dramatic four-lap run of 230.760 mph as the last driver to have a chance in the Fast Nine group of drivers that was determined during Saturday’s first-round, it’s a storyline that Hinchcliffe cannot escape.

At the end of a confusing NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Joey Logano chased down Kyle Larson in the final laps to take home a $1 million payday.

Logano took the race lead from Larson with two laps left before cruising to victory in the All-Star Race for the first time.

Last year, 2020, The balloting for the NASCAR Hall of Fame was now over. Mike Stefanik was in the running for induction. Voting closed on Monday, May18. Seven of his titles came in his primary racing series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In 2003, he was named one of the Tour’s 10 Greatest Drivers, an obvious choice if there ever was one, Stefanik holds the all-time series record in championships, wins, poles, top fives and top 10s.

Quiet since New Smyrna, the modifieds broke the ice in North Carolina on Saturday night. Twenty-four hours after North Carolina entered Phase Two of Gov. Roy Cooper’s coronavirus pandemic reopening plan, people turned out to Ace Speedway in rural Alamance County. The Winston-Salem Journal reported close to 4,000 spectators paid $15 a head, with maybe one in 10 wearing any sort of protective mask.

There were 14 cars on hand for the twin 30’s on tap. Tim Brown won the opener with Danny Bohn, second and Tommy Catalano third. Burt and Jason Myers rounded out the top five. James Civali who finished seventh in the opener won the nightcap. Chris Fleming finished second with Burt Myers, third. Tim Brown and Jason Myers rounded out the top five.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series gets the green flag this coming Saturday night at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina. The event, sponsored by Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair will honor recently deceased WMT driver Wade Cole who recently lost his life doing what he loved, working on his racer. On the down side, the event, the Wade Cole133 will be run without spectators and will carry a reduced purse paying only $4,000 to win. Fifth place pays $1,000 and from 10th on back will pay $500. With most Modified teams based in New England, Long Island and upstate New York it will involve a one way trip between 12 to 1500 miles just to get there. Following Myrtle Beach the next scheduled event that has not been cancelled is at the Wall Stadium in New Jersey on July 11.

This event was cancelled on the Tuesday leading up to the dropping of the green flag because of impending heavy rain for the weekend.

It appears that Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont had lamented on his stance concerning auto racing in the state as the Stafford Speedway has announced a gradual return to regular business operations based on Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7PP. As of May 20,2020, Private Practices may resume with strict protocol being enforced. As the State of Connecticut reduces its COVID-19 restrictions, Stafford Speedway will work to return to hosting auto racing events.

The COVID-19 Waiver of Liability:

Stafford Speedway will be abiding to the guidelines and regulations set forth by state, federal and local authorities and will follow all best practices concerning public health and social distancing. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is a contagious disease that can lead to severe illness. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

As set forth in state guidance, while these guidelines have allowed Stafford Speedway to open as safely as possible, the risks to visitors cannot be fully mitigated. Therefore by visiting Stafford Speedway, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and Stafford Speedway assumes no liability for this potential exposure. Safe health standards are first and foremost.

The New England Sports Network (NESN) reports the plan is for NASCAR to make its annual stop at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. Through a spokesperson, NHMS executive vice president David McGrath on Tuesday told NESN.com that the track intends to host a NASCAR Xfinity Series race on July 18 and a Cup Series race the next day, despite COVID-19 restrictions. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu expressed similar optimism during an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” “We haven’t finalized it and we haven’t codified it, but our hope is to kind of finalize that soon and I fully anticipate the NASCAR race happening here at Loudon,” Sununu said Tuesday morning. “Very similar to what they did with Darlington. I don’t anticipate large crowds and maybe even any crowds. But to allow it to happen, to allow the racers to do their thing, to allow them to get their TV contract, and to allow the sports betting. Don’t forget we have the sports betting here in New Hampshire.” Of course, everything is subject to change amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Granite State began the phased reopening of its economy last Monday. The 2020 NASCAR season resumed Sunday with a fan-less Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway. Next up is a Wednesday night race at Darlington (weather permitting) before Sunday’s as-scheduled running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR has no immediate plans to allow fans to attend races.

Two-time Race of Champion (RoC) Modified champion Patrick Emerling made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut on Saturday, May 30 at a track he’s quite familiar with. The New York driver partnered with Northeast Modified stalwarts Our Motorsports and Andy Seuss to take on the Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of his only NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win in 2017.

In NASCAR cup racing, Brad Keselowski extended Jimmie Johnson’s losing streak to 102 races, holding off the seven-time NASCAR champion in overtime early Monday in the Coca-Cola 600. Keselowski started in the back of the field, worked his way to the front at Charlotte Motor Speedway and gambled in not pitting when caution stopped Chase Elliott from winning with two laps remaining.

May 13, 1972 Fresh off a victory at Malta in the Richie Evans team car on Friday night, Eddie Flemke made it two for two for the weekend as he took the Stafford victory on Saturday night. Flemke drove the Frank Vigliarolo No. 34 which was the original Judkins 2x. Ray Miller, in the Meyers/Sweatland Mustang finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens rounded out the top five. Bill Tracey was the All American Sportsman winner.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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