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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1946 the Seekonk Speedway ran its second event of record which was won by Joe Sostillo.

Seventy years ago in 1951 the New London-Waterford adopted a summer schedule which would see racing at the shoreline oval twice a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The first Wednesday event was a 50 lap Memorial Day special that was won by Chauncey “Jocco” Maggiacomo. The scheduled Saturday night event fell victim to rain. At the Seekonk Speedway Hank Stevens was the stock car winner.

Sixty years ago in 1956, rain washed out the action at Old Bridge. Twin 50s were run for the Sportsman cars at Seekonk with Red Cummings and Leo Cleary scoring the wins.

Sixty years ago in 1961 Mario “Fats” Caruso was the Saturday night winner at the Norwood Arena in Norwood, MA over Red Foote and Eddie Flemke. At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Ted Stack made it five in a row in Modified competition. Ed Moody made it two in a row in the Bombers and Arnie Harris made it two in a row in the non-Fords. Dave Humphrey was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Al DeAngelo took the win at Islip over Axel Anderson and Johnny Rocco. Wally Dallenbach took the win at Old Bridge in New Jersey.

Fifty five years ago in 1966 Marcel Goddard won at Catamount on Thursday night as rain washed out the Friday night racing program at the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. It stayed dry in Connecticut as Bill Wimble was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Jerry Dostie, driving Art Barry’s #909 was the Saturday night Modified feature winner at Norwood. Charlie Webster annexed his second Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Bunnell made it six in a row in the Bombers and Butch Reed took the Daredevil win. Pete Corey edged Bill Wimble at Fonda. Ernie Gahan finished third. Billy Clarke was the Class A winner and Ed “Flash” Flannagan was the Cadet winner at Seekonk.Kenny Shoemaker ventured to the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night where he held of an up and coming Richie Evans. Pete Hamilton finished third with Eddie Flemke and Bill Wimble rounding out the top five.

Fifty years ago in 1971, Thompson ran twin 25’s on Friday night. Bugsy Stevens took the opener over Fred DeSarro, Leo Cleary and Bobby Santos. Leo Cleary took the nightcap over Hop Harrington and Ernie Gahan. During the running of the second event DeSarro got airborne on the front chute and hit an infield light pole. DeSarro suffered bruised ribs and the Len Boehler No. 3 was severely damaged. Joe Thomas was the Friday night winner at Malta. Dick Clark finished second and was followed by Lou Lazzaro and Rene Charland who drove the Bob Johnson No.17.Stafford ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night which saw Bugsy Stevens clean house. Gahan finished second with Bob Santos, third. Jerry Dostie put his Crown 7 in Modified victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl. Big Mike Daignault was the Sportsman Sedan winner. At Fonda, it was Harry Peek over Dave Lape and at Islip, Gene Sudziak took the win. In Open Competition action at the Fulton Raceway, Richie Evans took the 60 lap main event over Geoff Bodine, Bryan Osgood, Ronnie Wallace and Don Diffendorf. Jerry Dostie took the win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Dick Dunn finished second with Seabury Tripler, third. Ronnie Bouchard scored his second win of the season at Seekonk. The New England Supermodified Racing Association ran a special event on Sunday. Eddie West and Jim Landry, in Supers, finished one-two. Bugsy Stevens, in the Koszela Modified, finished third. Utica-Rome on Sunday night rounded out the weekend. Dick Fowler took the win over Sonny Seamon and Lou Lazzaro.

Forty five years ago in 1976, New Egypt started off the weekend on Thursday night. Bob Park took the win over Fred Harbach. Friday night at Riverhead, Charlie Jarzombek beat out Tom Baldwin and at Islip; Don Howe took the win over Harbach, Jerry Cook and Greg Sacks. Geoff Bodine ruled at Stafford on Saturday night while the fans at Riverside saw Bob Polverari take the top spot. Bob Potter won the Waterford 200 at the shoreline oval. Gary Hartson was the Grand American winner. Manny Silvia was the winner at Seekonk. At Thompson on Sunday, Geoff Bodine won his first of what was to be four in a row.

Forty years ago in 1981, with over 6000 fans looking on, Richie Evans slugged it out with Bugsy Stevens to take the win at Stafford on Friday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished third and was followed by Bob Polverari and Ronnie Bouchard. Rain washed out the action at Waterford on Saturday night. Westboro saw Ronnie Bouchard take the win over John Smith and George Savory. Evans made it two for two as he won at Riverside Park on Saturday night. Reggie Ruggiero finished second. John Rosati was the class of the field at Seekonk as he outdistanced Bugsy Stevens and George Summers Sunday action at Monadnock saw Marty Radwick take the win over Brian Ross and SJ Evonsion. Other weekend winners were Maynard Troyer at Spencer and at Lancaster, George Kent at Shangri-la and Charlie Jarzombek, at Islip. Lou Funk Jr was the Modified winner and Randy LaJoie was the Sportsman winner at Danbury. In Winston Cup action, Benny Parsons won at College Station, Texas.

Thirty five years ago in 1986, rain washed out Stafford, Waterford, Riverside and Riverhead. At New Egypt, Tim Arre took the win over Bob Park and John Blewett jr and at Spencer it was Tony Hirschman over Ken Troyer and Jan Leaty. George Kent beat out Jim Spencer and Leaty at Shangri-La and at Monadnock it was Jerry Marquis.

Thirty years ago in 1991, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford as he was able to hold off Bob Potter and John Sneed. Jerry Pearl won at Waterford on Saturday and Eddie Brunnhoelzl won the Richie Evans Memorial 76 lap event at Riverhead. Ron Shepherd and John Preston finished one-two at Owego and at Riverside it was Stan Gregger over Bobby Gee. In Winston Cup action at Sears Point, Ricky Rudd spun Davey Allison on the last lap and took the lead for the win. NASCAR reacted and black-flagged Rudd, taking the win and restoring Allison to the top spot.

Twenty five years ago in 1996, Ted Christopher won his 37th main event at Stafford. Lloyd Agor finished second with Bo Gunning, third. Tucker Reynolds, knocking at the door for quite some time, got his first win at Waterford on Saturday night. Jim Broderick finished second and was followed by Scott Spaulding and David Gada. Tommy Fox was the late model winner and popular Eric Webster was the Strictly Stock winner. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Jennerstown for a 150 lapper. Steve Park took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 130 and went on to record the win. Ruggiero finished second and was followed by Tony Hirschman, Mike Ewanitsko and Tim Connolly. Al Ermmarino was victorious at Riverhead and at Riverside Park Eddie Spiers bea t out Richard Savory. John Blewett III won at Flemington and Bob Dragon led 102 of 145 laps at Tioga to record his 12th career Busch North Series win. In Busch South action, Todd Bodine recorded his ninth career BGN win as he won the South Boston 300 over Mike McLaughlin. In other action, Rick Martin went two for two as he won Pro Stock events at both Seekonk and Thompson.

Twenty years ago in 2001 Eric Berndt went two for two as he won a 100 lapper at Stafford on Friday night and backed it up with a win at Waterford on Saturday night. The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Riverhead on Saturday night. Mike Stefanik, who was second fastest to pole sitter Jerry Marquis, started ninth and took the lead on lap 106 on his way to recording his 60th Modified Tour win. Marquis finished second with local favorite John Fortin recording a third. Bill Park and Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Jeff Gordon was the Busch Pole sitter and he went on to record the 100th Winston Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Fifteen years ago in 2006 it looked like the proposed domed speedway in Plainfield, CT was a dead issue as town zoning commissioners voted 4-1 to eliminate a controversial one-year-old development district that incorporated 822 acres east of Interstate 395 near exits 87 and 88. The commission voted unanimously to also repeal the supporting zoning regulations that enabled the district to be established.. New England Raceway LLC, a Trumbull, CT-based firm, originally proposed the development district, which was commonly referred to as the C5 zone. Developer Eugene Arganese, who had previously all been run out of North Stonington, spent the better part of the summer of 2004 garnering support for the zoning concept and his proposal to build a nearly $400 million domed auto racetrack. After a first failed attempt in November 2004, Arganese was successful in getting the regulations passed and the zoning map amended to establish the district with the Plainfield Greyhound Park on Lathrop Road at its anchor. He secured options on hundreds of acres in the area with promises to purchase the properties for prices much higher than market value once he received all necessary approvals for his project. Arganese, who did not attend the previous week’s meeting, had never filed an application for his proposed 140,000-seat racetrack. In May, the LeBlanc family on 226 Lathrop Road filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Arganese. Family members allege he failed to purchase their property for the $894,700 he promised by Dec. 31, 2005.

The Thompson Speedway was scheduled to start it’s Thursday night Thunder Series but after close to five inches of rain fell on the speedway track owner Don Hoenig had no choice but to cancel the event.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of Summer Blast-Off Night on Friday as the weatherman finally gave the speedway a break. In the consecutive win category, Jeff Baral racked up his second consecutive SK Modified feature win while Woody Pitkat took home his third consecutive Late Model feature win. Shelly Perry was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature event, George Nocera, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Steve Berardi was the 15-lap DARE Stock feature winner, and Woody Pitkat was the winner of the Late Model 16 feature.

Conspicuous by his absence from the SK Modified feature was Ted Christopher. Christopher had planned on competing at Stafford until federal and state marshals raided his race shop in Plainville, CT on Friday morning taking six cars plus truckloads of racing related equipment and parts. The racecars that he drove belonged to Danbury Connecticut businessman Jim Galante. Galante was arrested Friday with others as part of a federal investigation into organized crime’s influence over the trash hauling business. Galante also owns the Danbury Trashers hockey team. Christopher is Stafford’s all time feature winner plus a top contender on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.

At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, Shawn Monahan survived seven restarts after starting on the pole and became the seventh different SK-Modified feature winner of the season. Monahan, who battled defending champion Rob Summers most of the way, secured one of two guaranteed spots for the upcoming True Value Modified Series 100. Summers had a Whelen Modified Tour commitment in Jennerstown, PA giving the second True Value spot to Monahan’s brother Diego, a winner earlier in the season. Diego, who finished third, fought off Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada over the final seven laps. Other winners included Tim Jordan (30-lap Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (20-lap Sportsman) and Ken Cassidy (20-lap Mini Stock).

The Busch East, formerly Busch North Series, got its new beginning on Saturday night at the Greenville- Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. Live HD Net TV coverage and a purse of $118,911 served as another slap in the face to the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Sean Caisse, the 2005 Sunoco Rookie of the Year, won his first career NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race. Caisse, driving for four-time champion Andy Santerre, took the lead for the final time on lap 142 of An American Revolution 150 presented by Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet. A near-capacity crowd at NASCAR’s second–oldest speedway, including racing legends David Pearson and Jack Ingram, enthusiastically enjoyed the classic short track bumping, grinding, and three-wide racing on the nearly flat half mile track where the first live NASCAR telecast on a major network took place 35 years ago. Brian Hoar, Mike Olsen, Matt Kobyluck, and Bryon Chew completed the top five

Denny Hamlin did a NASCAR version of a spin and win and captured his first ever NEXTEL Cup victory at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500. Hamlin led all but one lap of the first 51 when he lost a left rear tire going into the tunnel turn. After managing to keep it off both walls, his crew did yeoman’s work both keeping that car on the lead lap and keeping it fast and that was all he needed as he went on to register a dominant victory. Denny led 6 times for 83 laps and posted a 1.328 margin of victory. Kurt Busch finished second with Tony Stewart, third. Carl Edwards drove to a dominating win in the Federated Auto Parts 300 in Nashville, TN. He unofficially led 70 of the last 85 laps, and beat Clint Bowyer to the finish by .920 seconds. It was Edwards’ second win in the last three Busch races.

Ten years ago in 2011, The Whelen Modified Tour went back on Spring Break for another four weeks before returning to action with the Monadnock 200 on June 25 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

Some of the tour regulars were not content to stay idle as they ventured to the Thompson Speedway Thursday night for a 40 lap open competition shoot out. Fifteen tour type Modifieds were on hand for the first of three events planned for 2011. Todd Szegedy, who started fourth, took the lead for the second and final time at lap 25 and held off a hard charging Ted Christopher at the finish. Christopher who was debuting a new car that had just been finished by Troyer Engineering, started on the pole position but on the long chutes of Thompson the Jack Roush Ford prevailed with its superior horsepower.

Ryan Preece finished a strong third with Mike Stefanik, fourth. Steven Reed, who had traveled north from New Jersey, finished a distant fifth.

In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, National Champion Keith Rocco drove to victory lane in the Sunoco Modified Feature for his second win of the season. The victory put Rocco, who is the divisions first repeat winner this season, in the early season point lead.Danny Cates finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Preece and Rick Fuller rounded out the top five. Tough luck fell upon Todd Ceravolo who had his motor go sour on the parade lap.

Other Thursday night winners at Thompson were Cam McDermott who scored his second consecutive win in the 20-lap Thompson Modified feature, Rick Gentes in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan in the Limited Sportsman while Danny Field made it four for four in Mini Stock action.

The fields of cars continued to be a somewhat sore spot. Rick Fuller joined the field of Sunoco Modifieds but the count remained at nine. There were 10 Thompson Modifieds, fifteen tour type Modifieds, 10 Late Models along with 24 Limited Sportsman and 22 Mini Stocks.

Ted Christopher had been a part of the SK Modified division since almost day one. He has seen it evolve from a so-called used car division with home made motors to just about being a full fledged NASCAR Tour Modified. Originally the division rules dictated cast iron cylinder heads with stock valve springs. When competitors started twisting the motors too much the valve springs broke. Rules makers relented to competitor demands for racing valve springs and the cost went up from there. Said Christopher, “The biggest mistake Thompson made was going with motor rules that are different than those at Stafford and Waterford” He added, “during the years of the Tri-Track Series many of us ran all three tracks with the same motors and the same tires, that was affordable racing and all three tracks had good fields of cars” With the Thompson motor rules the way they are now there are maybe five or six competitors who can actually handle the speed. “Its real simple, just watch”, he said, “there is a big difference between the top five or six and the rest of the field so after a while some just give up and stay home”, he added. “Hopefully the Speedway management will get the rules more in line with Stafford and Waterford which will go a long way in bringing back bigger fields of cars.”

The Stafford Motor Speedway enjoyed clear but chilly skies on Friday night. During the week a tornado touched down in nearby Monson, MA and did considerable damage. Those who live in the Stafford area said that all they saw was a little wind and a lot of rain. On the track was another story. Hot off his win at Thompson on Thursday night Keith Rocco carried the momentum over to Stafford as he scored his second consecutive victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat took his second consecutive victory in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano came home the big winner in a thrilling duel for the win to pick up his second win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Norm Sears picked up his second feature win of the season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood picked up his first feature victory of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Ted Christopher took second from Ryan Preece at the white flag, but Rocco was able to hold him off at the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive win and his third win of the 2011 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Rocco and Christopher was Preece, Woody Pitkat, and Reen.

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action was highlighted by a 50-lap Mini Stock race, captured by Ken Cassidy Jr., his second consecutive victory and third on the year in the division. Tyler Chadwick came out on top of the SK Modified® feature, holding back the last lap charges of Kyle James. Calvin Rose of Turner, ME dominated the second half of the 50-lap Northeast Mini Stock Tour race, going on to the win. Josh Galvin won his second Street Stock race on the season, Dan D’addario won the X-Car feature and Rose returned to victory lane to win the open-comp four cylinder race to close out the night’s festivities.

Keith Rocco’s bid to make it three for three on the weekend was spoiled by an early race tangle in the SK Modified feature.

In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Chris Fleming drew the pole position for the nights 100 lap Modified main event and stayed up front until Jonathan Brown passed him in the 34th lap. Brown led until the 85th lap, when he slowed on a restart and triggered a multi-car pileup. Fleming slipped past and led the rest of the way. Joseph Brown finished second and Burt Myers, who retained his lead in the season standings, was third. Jonathan Brown finished fourth.

The stadium also hosted NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East which turned into a rolling demolition derby. Matt DiBenedetto took the lead at the start and remained up front avoiding the carnage behind him in a wreck-filled Army Strong 150. Eighty-seven of the 156 laps were run under caution.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Dave Brigati was the Modified feature winner.

A special high paying open competition Modified race was held at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. Its a shame that only 16 showed for the event but those that did went home with an ample payday thanks to Kevin Rice and those who worked with him to make the event a success.

Laticrete 125 winner Jon McKennedy went home with $7,225. Second place finisher Chris Pasteryak collected $2,875, third place James Civali took home $2,800 and fourth place finisher Andy Seuss pocketed $1,775. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Preece who got $3,215. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Rob Summers, Lou Mechalides, Ted Christopher and Rowan Pennink.

In Nationwide Series racing at the Chicagoland Speedway, Justin Allgaier saw Carl Edwards’ car start to wobble as it ran out of fuel. And that’s when Allgaier knew he would be able to get around him.

Allgaier made his move for the lead coming into the third turn and once he got by, his tank was empty, too. Somehow the momentum from having just a little bit more fuel allowed Allgaier to coast to the finish line Saturday night with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne closing fast on both cars.

At the Kansas Speedway Brad Keselowski led the final nine laps for his second Sprint Cup victory in 66 races.

Sprint Cup car owner Richard Childress was fined $150,000 on Monday for assaulting Kyle Busch, the latest incident in an ongoing feud between NASCAR’s most polarizing driver and Childress’ race teams. NASCAR also placed Childress on probation through the end of the year, finding the team owner solely at fault for Saturday’s incident at Kansas Speedway. The 65-year-old grandfather apparently approached Busch after the Trucks race, placed him in a headlock, and punched him several times.

The 7th Annual Norwood Arena Reunion at Bezema Motors was the most successful one yet. The dealership on the Automile was packed with an overflow of fans, former competitors, race, classic and muscle cars as well as hot rods. Among the drivers in attendance were Steve Delaney of Dedham, Daryl Stampfl of Norwood, Jeff Lynch of Townsend, Gary Sager of Seekonk, Henry Stampfl of Plainville, Mike McCullen, Demo Derby King Bob Anderson of Brockton, Pete Desjardins of Cape Cod, 1970 Daytona 500 winner, Pete Hamilton of Maine, Joe Rosenfield, Jr. of Bridgewater, Jim Rosenfield of Middleboro, Fran Voss of Lexington, Jack Malone of Needham, Leo Cleary of Hanover, Bob Healey of Stoughton, George Savory of Westwood, Jerry Capozolli of Stoughton, Jeff Horn of Ashland, George Summers of Upton, Don McCoullough of Walpole, Lew Boyd of Newburyport and Joey Kourafas of Randolph. Former Norwood Arena Chief Steward Carl Merrill of Newton was also on hand.

Five years ago in 2016, In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Doug Coby and crew chief Phil Moran left little doubt that they were at the top of their game and are not ready to step down from their dominating position. Coby had won three of the four tour races run in 2016. Coby led 129 of the 130 laps run, pulling away on a green-white-checkered finish to claim the 26th Annual TSI Harley Davidson 125.

A caution on lap 122 for Chase Dowling who stalled on the track set the stage for the event going in to overtime for a total of 130 laps.

Jimmy Blewett scored his second straight runner-up finish, while Donny Lia, Eric Goodale and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five. In post race conversations Blewett expressed his displeasure with Rowan Pennink who ended up sixth. Blewett, who said he is no longer going to be a nice guy, felt that his aggressive driving was the result of Timmy Solomito getting stuffed into the wall on lap 117. It wasn’t a threat but it led one to believe that there would be a pay-back in the future.

Rowan Pennink, who won the tracks’ NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I feature earlier in the night, finished sixth. Ron Silk, Bobby Santos, Brendon Bock and Max Zachem completed the top 10. Championship contender Timmy Solomito was caught up in a late race incident that dropped him from second to seventh in points. Coby stretched his lead to 24 over Bonsignore and 28 over Donny Lia.

In weekly racing at Stafford, Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink for the third time in four races in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn got his second win of 2016 in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. picked up his third win in four races in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders picked up his first win of the year in the Limited Late Model feature, and Ryan Fearn scored his first win of the year in the DARE Stock feature.

Pennink moved to the lead on lap-26 and he brought Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher with him as Dan Avery fell back to fourth place. Pennink stretched out his lead over Rocco to nearly a second and he maintained that gap right to the checkered flag as he recorded his third win of the 2016 season. Ted Christopher finished third, with Avery and Stephen Kopcik rounding out the top-5.

Keith Rocco missed scoring a hat trick by on spot as he was two for three on the weekend. Rocco scored wins at Thompson on Wednesday and at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. At Thompson, Rocco defended his unbeaten streak in 2016 with a strong performance and dominant win during the 30-lap Sunoco Modified Series event. Rocco had to fight off a strong run by series regular Ryan Preece, but in the end Rocco would not be denied another victory. Steven Kopcik finished third with Ronnie Williams and Adam Norton rounding out the top five. At the Speedbowl, Rocco took the lead on a lap 10 restart. Tyler Chadwick ended up in second spot with Todd Owen, third. Dennis Perry, with a strong showing, finished fourth with Dylan Izzo, fifth. Paul Kusheba IV, Joey Gada, Ryan Morgan, Rob Janovic Jr., and Diego Monahan, finished sixth thru tenth.

Rocco keeps rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continued to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco’s win brought his Waterford track win total to 124 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 219 wins which also included victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

Other winners on Saturday night at the shoreline oval were Glen Thomas Jr. in the 50-lap North East Mini Stock Tour feature, Bruce Thomas Jr. in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tony Membrino Jr. in the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Al Stone III in the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature, Seth Carlson in the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association feature and Robin Berghman in the 25-lap New England Pro Four Modified feature.

Twin 25’s were scheduled to run at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Just as the Modifieds lined up on the track rain closed in washing out the night’s action.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Seekonk Speedway with 26 Modifieds in competition. Anthony Nocella passed early race leader Dan Meservey Jr. after a lap-38 caution flag and went on to dominate the 100-lap race on Saturday night. By virtue of winning the first heat race, Meservey started on the pole and looked impressive early on until Nocella took command. Chris Pasteryak chased the race leaders until a lap 73 flat tire knocked him from contention. Then Richard Savary, Woody Pitkat, Chase Dowling and Dave Schneider gave chase.

In the late stages, Jon McKennedy hunted down the race leader after being involved in contact with another car on lap-61. McKennedy pitted, went to the rear of the field, and then electrified the crowd as he attempted to get back to the front. By lap-70 he was 11th, lap-80 fourth, and on lap-93 was challenging Savary leading to a side-by-side duel until McKennedy slipped by for the runner-up spot. n the late stages, Jon McKennedy hunted down the race leader after being involved in contact with another car on lap-61. McKennedy pitted, went to the rear of the field, and then electrified the crowd as he attempted to get back to the front. By lap-70 he was 11th, lap-80 fourth, and on lap-93 was challenging Savary leading to a side-by-side duel until McKennedy slipped by. Richard Savary finished third with Woody Pitkat, fourth.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island ran the Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial Modified 77. John Fortin took the win over Dave Brigati, Ron Silk and John Fortin.

Kurt Busch did everything right Monday afternoon at Pocono Raceway as the former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion saved enough fuel to win the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400. The victory, his first of the season, came in a race that was postponed on Sunday because of persistent storms in the Pocono Mountain region.

Kyle Larson finally had a little bit of luck on his side on Saturday afternoon as he found himself out front when rain swept across Pocono Raceway, eventually forcing officials to call the NASCAR XFINITY Series Pocono Green 250 after just 53 laps.

Last year, 2020, In some real good news, it looks like the Stafford Motor Speedway may drop the green flag on racing as soon as the first week of July. Under Connecticut guidelines the track will be limited to allowing a 50% capacity to their admission. Stafford holds 10,000 people which would allow 5,000 fans. A tentative schedule calls for 20 events which would push their season out to the end of October. The track had not released when and how its three Whelen Modified Tour events will be run. Tour events generally draw in excess of 5,000 fans.

NASCAR has announced that the ARCA Menards Series East and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will resume their 2020 seasons and fans can watch the races live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will open its season with the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair at Jennerstown Speedway on Sunday, June 21 at 2:30 p.m.

In a related matter NASCAR and New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials announced that the July 18 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Nor’Easter 100 had been cancelled. NHMS officials made the announcement in conjunction with announcing that the previously scheduled July 19 Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 has been postponed to Aug. 2.The NASCAR Xfinity Series event scheduled for the track on July 18 has been moved to Kentucky Speedway.

The Stafford Motor Speedway is doing its best to keep the interest up in racing at their track which appears to be the only game in town at this point. The grandstands are up at Waterford but work has come to a screeching halt and the powers that be at Thompson could care less at this time .Stafford has presented IRacing events which have become quite popular and the state of Connecticut has begun to allow private test sessions.

Stafford is toying with the idea of staging live racing without fans on a pay per view basis. A cost of $20 per event has been thrown around. All things considered with Stafford’s great announcing staff and their top flight production crew the pay per view idea could turn into a hit. Recently Stafford has been uploading some of its prior events, the latest being the 100th SK Modified feature.

The New York State based Race of Champions Modified Series and the Lake Erie Speedway located in management have been able to secure a return to racing date with events taking place on Friday, June 26 and the originally scheduled show on Saturday, June 27.

Masks or facial coverings will be recommended, and social distancing will be practiced due to state and county established restrictions due to COVID-19 as Erie County Pennsylvania moves into the “green” phase of the state’s reopening plan.

Phased reopening in all states varies based on the guidelines set forth by local, regional and state authorities. Until spectators are permitted In New York it is not financially feasible for many speedways and series, including the Race of Champions management plan at Spencer Speedway in Williamson NY, to conduct racing events. All Race of Champions events that are run will follow all guidelines as set forth by any authority including the CDC.

The Race of Champions is a sanctioning body presenting Modified and Stock Car racing on asphalt and dirt surfaces throughout the Northeast, with events in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey with primary marketing partners Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Printed Image of Buffalo, Waddell Communications, Pilat Graphic Design, TDH Refrigeration, RPM Newsletter and Workshops; Sherwood Racing Wheels, DirtTrackDigest.com, Wilbert’s U-Pull It and Speed51.com. The 70th annual Race of Champions weekend will take place in 2020 at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania and is the second longest consecutive auto-racing event in North America, second only to the Indianapolis 500.

There was racing in New England this past weekend. The grandstands might have been quiet, but the pit area wasn’t Friday night at Claremont Motorsports Park in northern New Hampshire. The Granite State Pro Stock Series opened their season at the New Hampshire oval with no spectators in attendance due to state and local guidance and the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a full field of cars in four divisions, including the Pro Stocks, and a live broadcast on Speed51.com, track and series operator Mike Parks put together a show that was the first of its kind in the region.

In the top event of the night, Ray Christian III used a late pass of Angelo Belsito to net the victory in the Let’s Go Racing 100 for the Pro Stocks. Christian worked inside the top-five for much of the race, while pouncing late, passing DJ Shaw for second and Angelo Belsito for the lead. He would drive to victory at Claremont for the second straight time. Christian was victorious on Labor Day weekend of 2019 as well at the tricky oval. Belsito, a former Pro Stock champion at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts, took the lead early, but struggled to get off the corners late, settling for third at the checkered. Shaw would pass Belsito late and finished .615 seconds behind Christian.

Just hours after a very successful test session at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Thursday June 4th Long Island based MSM Elite Motorsports team owner Mark S. Mina announced that his team with veteran driver John Beatty Jr. of Merrick at the wheel would enter the delayed 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener Sunday June 21st at Jennerstown Speedway. The Long Island based MSM Elite Motorsports team will venture out to western Pennsylvania to compete in the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair.

The Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair will be the 14th career start on the WMT for John Beatty Jr. who along the way has posted two top fives and four top tens in 13 previous starts. Beatty also has a NASCAR WMT pole to his credit on June 28th, 2014 prior to the 200-lap WMT event at Riverhead Raceway. John led 108-laps total in the race eventually won by Eric Goodale of Riverhead, Beatty would finish 12th in his family owned machine.

In NASCAR Cup racing, Kevin Harvick cruised to victory Sunday over Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. in the event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, leading the final 55 laps on a day that began with the series acknowledging the social unrest in the country.

Before taking the green flag, the 40 cars stopped in front of the towering, empty grandstands on the front stretch to listen to a message from NASCAR president Steve Phelps and observe a 30-second moment of silence in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody.

Ryan Preece finished 26th.

In some sad news, Robert Bagot who video recorded races at Stafford, Waterford and Thompson has passed away. Robert posted his work on U-Tube for everyone to enjoy. RIP.