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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years in 1946 rain washed out all the action at Seekonk.

Seventy years ago in 1951 the Wednesday racing card at the Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain. The Speedbowl did run on Saturday night with Don Romeo taking the win. Dave Humphrey was the winner at Seekonk.

Sixty five years ago in 1956 Triple features were run at Seekonk with Ray Smaldone,Leo Cleary and Red Bolduc taking the wins. Joe Lanzaro was the winner at Old Bridge.

Sixty years ago in 1961 Curtis Turner and Bruton Smith resigned their positions at the Charlotte Motor Speedway after a board of directors meeting. Wild Bill Slater put the Connecticut Valley Rocket V-8 in victory lane at the Norwood Arena. George Pendergast was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Moody made it three in a row in the Bombers and Ted Stack won in the non-Fords also at the shoreline Connecticut oval. Tex Barry was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Johnny Rocco was the top gun at Islip as he beat out Axel Anderson and Al DeAngelo for the win. At Old Bridge Joe Kelly took the win.

Fifty five years ago in 1966 Don MacTavish took the Friday night win at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Jerry Cook finished second with Dick Dixon, third. Eddie Flemke and Pete Hamilton rounded out the top five. Racing on the dirt at the Stafford Speedway was rained out. Pete Corey made it two in a row at Fonda on Saturday night. Newt Palm, who would become one of the all-time greats at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl won the 30 lap Modified feature there on Saturday night. Glynn Shafer was the winner in the Bombers and Bob Clear was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Billy Clarke too the top spot at Seekonk. Jerry Dostie in the Art Barry 909 took the win at Norwood. Leo Cleary took the win at Thompson on Sunday afternoon. Jerry Cook finished out the weekend with a win over Eddie Flemke at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Irv Taylor, Ernie Gahan and Kenny Shoemaker rounded out the top five.

Fifty years ago in 1971, Bugsy Stevens went two for two as he won the twin 25’s at Thompson on Friday night. Dynamite Ollie Silva finished second in the first event and was followed by Ernie Gahan and Daring Dick Caso. Following Stevens in the nightcap was Gahan, Silva and Bob Santos who was subbing for Fred DeSarro who was injured the previous week when he hit an infield light pole. At the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, also on Friday, Lou Lazzaro took the win over Guy Chartrand and Denis Giroux. Stafford ran a 30 lapper on Saturday night. Stevens made it three for three on the weekend as he beat out Billy Harman and Bob Vee. In other Saturday night action, Eddie Brunnhoelzl won at Islip and Don Wayman won at Fonda. At the Waterford Speedbowl Jerry Glaude won out over Bob Tetreault, Walt Dombrowski and Dick Watson. Big Mike Daignault was the Sportsman Sedan winner. George won his first of three in a row at Seekonk. At the Fulton Raceway, Richie Evans made it two in a row. Lou Lazzaro made it two for two on the weekend as he won at Utica-Rome on Sunday night. Bernie Miller finished second with Dick Clark, third. The Waterford Speedbowl ran a mid-week open competition event on Wednesday. The 150 lap event drew forty cars and a full house. Bugsy Stevens took the win over Ron Wycoff, Jerry Glaude, Bobby Santos and Don Bunnell.

Forty five years ago in 1976, Wayne Anderson was the Thursday night winner at New Egypt. Fred Harbach finished second. On Friday night, Riverhead ran a 100 lap double point event and it was Greg Sacks, in his family owned modified, taking the win. Charlie Jarzombek finished second and was followed by Jim Tyler and Jerry Cook. Rain washed out Saturday night racing at Stafford and Islip but somehow, Riverside got their show in as Bob Polverari took the win over Johnny Lobo and Pete Fiandaca. Waterford also beat the rain as Dickie “Doo” Ceravolo scored his second Modified win of the year. Keith Eves was the Grand American Late Model winner. Twin features were held at Seekonk with Norm Holden and Leo Cleary sharing victory lane. At Thompson on Sunday, Geoff Bodine made it two in a row as he again beat Fred DeSarro, Bob Santos and Ed Flemke. In other weekend action, Ronnie Bouchard won the Yankee 100 at Monadnock and Bugsy Stevens won at Westboro.

Forty years ago in 1981, On Friday night, Stafford rained out. At Spencer, George Kent took the win over Maynard Troyer and Doug Hewitt. Alan and Fred Harbach finished one-two at New Egypt. Saturday night was a busy one. Rodney Tulba beat out Jerry Pearl and Bob Potter at Waterford and at Westboro, Ronnie Bouchard was the kingpin as he out dueled veteran George Savory for the win. George Wagner kept Alan Harbach at bay at Islip and at Seekonk it was George Summers over Kenny Bouchard and John Rosati. At Riverside it was Richie Evans over Marty Radwick. Geoff Bodine won the South Boston 200 Late Model Sportsman event over Sonny Hutchins. The Danbury Racearena fell victim to rain. The Modified Tour was at Thompson on Sunday. Richie Evans pitted on lap 10 with a flat tire but was able to come back and take the lead and eventual win. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Kenny Bouchard, third. In Winston Cup action at Riverside, Cal, Darrell Waltrip took the win.

Thirty five years ago in 1986, the Modified tour was at Star Speedway for a Wednesday night event which saw John Blewett Jr take the win over Kenny Bouchard and Reggie Ruggiero. Friday night at Stafford saw Dave Reszendes take a well earned win as he held off Reggie Ruggiero and Jeff Fuller. Ted Christopher was the SK Modified winner. Spencer ran a 100 lapper that drew only 18 cars. Jim Spencer took the win over George Kent and Jan Leaty. New Egypt also ran on Friday night and they too, had a light field. Jerry Solomito took the win. Riverside ran a 100 lapper on Saturday night with Stan Gregger taking the win over Bob Polverari and John Rosati. Jim Spencer made it two for two on the weekend as he beat out Don Pratt for the win at Shangri-La on Saturday night. At Waterford it was Rick Donnelly over Bob Potter and at Riverhead it was Mike Ewanitsko over Tom Baldwin

Thirty years ago in 1991, Bob Potter became a surprised winner at Stafford after leaders Mike Christopher and Bo Gunning took each other out on the last lap. Tom Tagg finished second with Bob Georgiades, third. A major fiasco occurred at Flemington on Saturday night during the closing moments of the Nascar Featherlite Modified Tour. Reggie Ruggiero was leading the final lap when the yellow flag was waved and the yellow light came on. Figuring the event would restart and go green-white-checker, Ruggiero lifted. George Kent, who was running fourth at the time, stood on the gas, passing Ruggiero and as he came under the starters stand, was given the checkered flag and the win. Ruggiero came across in second spot and was extremely upset after the event was over. Jan Leaty finished third and was followed by Mike Stefanik and Steve Park. At Waterford, Ted Christopher got his third win of the year and at Riverhead, Wayne Anderson was the top dog. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis in the Judkins 2x won out over Dan Avery. Marquis also finished second to Kirby Monteith at Monadnock on Sunday. Sunday night SK action at Thompson rained out.

Twenty five years ago in 1996, Ted Christopher recorded his 38th career victory at Stafford on Friday night. Steve Park finished second with Curt Brainard, third. At Waterford on Saturday night, Scott Spaulding took the lead from Eric Berndt with nine laps to go and went on to record a popular win. Berndt finished second and was followed by Don Fowler and David Gada. Matt Kobyluck was the late model winner. Richie Gallup beat out Ted Riggott at Riverside and it was Don Howe at Riverhead. Jay Miller got his first Pro Stock win at Stafford and Rick Martin made it four out of six at Seekonk. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Jeff Gordon took the pole and the win.

Twenty years ago in 2001 Ted Christopher was the Thursday night winner at Thompson over Josh Steeves and Kerry Malone. Christopher took the lead on lap 12 of the 30 lap feature and won by a full straight. Christopher followed up his Thompson win with a win at Stafford on Friday night as he beat out Lloyd Agor and Willie Hardie for the top spot. John Brouwer Jr held off Ed Reed Jr at Waterford with Ron Yuhas Jr, third. Mike Curtiss scored his first ever win at Riverhead and at Lancaster, Siege Fidenza won the Bud 100 at Lancaster after drawing the pole and leading all the way. Rob Summers in the Bear Motorsports No.14 was an early contender but faded to seventh at the checker. Kevin Harvick won the BGN Outback 300 at Kentucky and in Winston Cup action at Pocono; Ricky Rudd took the win over Jeff Gordon.

Fifteen years ago in 2006 the Thompson Speedway grandstands can normally hold close to 16,000 fans when filled to capacity. On Thursday night they looked to be about half full. Not bad considering it was a mid week event. The speedway management team headed by Ben Dodge and Russ Dowd prided themselves in running a fast, efficient race program. The final checkered flag of the night was waved at 9:20pm. Taking victories were Keith Rocco in the Sunoco Modifieds, George “Mad Dog” Bessette in the Pro Stocks, Rick Gentes in the Late Models, Ed Puleo in the Limited Sportsman, Shelly Perry in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds. Rocco, a second-generation racer, staged a knock down, drag out, door-to-door battle with Jimmy Blewett and Jeff Malave. As close as they ran, they never touched which is a true testimate of their abilities. In the end Malave settled for second over Blewett, Bert Marvin and Tom Cravenho. There were 165 cars, including 27 Sunoco Modifieds on hand.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted a double header on Friday night, which included the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series and the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Touring Series. When one mentions the “Big One” in racing circles most people think of the high-speed multi-car wrecks that occur in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup events. The Stafford Speedway had their own version during the running of the 40 lap SK Modified feature. A mid race bump and grind took out the front-runners. Eric Berndt was in the right place at the right time as he managed to drive through the carnage to take the lead and the ultimate win. Jeff Malave finished second, with Todd Owen third. Woody Pitkat was on a mission after an earlier spin and he charged through the field in the closing laps to come home fourth. Zach Sylvester rounded out the top-5. Berndt’s victory, combined with Pitkat’s fourth place finish, makes Berndt the new SK Modified points leader heading into this coming Friday night’s action. John Blewett III, who took over the driving chores of the Eddie Partridge No. 12 finished 26th. Ted Christopher, who was on hand to drive a Busch East car did not have a ride for the SK Modified feature.

In Late Model feature action, Jim Peterson ended Woody Pitkat’s three-race winning streak with his 21st career Late Model victory. Chris Matthews was the winner of the SK Light Modified feature to become the first repeat feature winner in that division, Charlie Newman scored his first career victory in the Limited Late Model feature event, and David Gambacorta came away the winner of the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event

Sean Caisse won his second straight NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race of the season. Caisse came out the winner after a fierce duel with Matt Kobyluck in the TSI Harley-Davidson 150 at Stafford Motor Speedway. The pair, who started on the front row, were the only race leaders, swapping the lead among themselves eight times. Caisse took the lead for the final time after Kobyluck got wiggly in speedy-dry on a restart with 12 laps to go. Mike Olsen, who shadowed the leaders for much of the race, was third for the second week in a row. Dave Dion, making his 2006 debut, charged into contention in the closing laps to grab fourth, while southern visitor Jody Lavender made up for a late-race disappointment on home turf in South Carolina a week ago by completing the top five. Charles Lewandoski, Ryan Seaman, Joey McCarthy, Jeff Anton, and Bryon Chew were sixth through tenth. It represented a best career finish for both Lavender and Lewandoski. Stafford favorite Ted Christopher was a prime contender until an accident, which also involved John Salemi sent him to the pits after 122 laps. A few laps later, a strong run by Mike Johnson ended in a turn one accident. Brian Hoar, runner-up in the season opener, never took the green flag due to last-minute engine trouble. Ten caution periods resulted in 63 laps being run under the yellow flag. Attrition was high, with only 18 cars running at the finish, of whom a dozen were on the lead lap.

The Stafford Speedway suspended Jimmy Blewett for the remainder of the 2006 season. During the running of the SK Modified feature of June 9 Frank Ruocco drove Blewett up high coming out of turn four. Blewett appeared to retaliate and tagged Ruocco, sending him into the wall. Blewett said he got loose and it wasn’t intentional. The Stafford management felt that it was intentional. Needless to say, it looked like John Blewett III would be in the Eddie Partridge No.12 at least at Stafford for the rest of the year. After viewing a video of the incident one could see that Blewett was being over aggressive. A couple of weeks off rather than a full season would have been more appropriate for the first offense.

At the Waterford Speedbowl. Danny Field won the 20-lap Mini Stock and Jim Procaccini won the 20-lap Sportsman feature. Robert Gingras III won the True Value Modified Racing Series event. The race, scheduled for 100 laps, was stopped after 53 laps because of track and state curfew rules. The SK Modified and Late Model features were postponed because of a rain delay of over 2 hrs. Grigas III won his first race ever on the TVM tour. He led every lap from the pole. Jimmy Dolan was 2nd and Dale Evonsion 3rd. Jeff Pearl was the highest finishing Speedbowl regular as he finished fifth.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at Jennerstown, PA on Saturday night. After being silent for 48 days NASCAR’s oldest division didn’t disappoint as Eddie Flemke Jr. led from the start to almost the end when Ted Christopher in the Ed Whelan No.36 stole his thunder. With two laps of the 100-lap distance remaining Christopher and Tony Hirschman slipped by as Flemke faded to third. Eric Beers and Don Lia rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jerry Marquis, Chuck Hossfeld, Todd Szegedy, Doug Coby and Jon McKennedy. Unofficially Christopher now leads the series standings with a 30 point margin over Mike Stefanik. Stefanik finished the race in 11th. Hirschman was the Bud Pole Winner, setting fast time in qualifying. Flemke earned the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award. Steve Whitt was the recipient of the Powerade Power Move of the Race Award. Jon McKennedy was the rookie of the race. There were 35 Modifieds on hand.

Other weekend winners were Kasey Kahne in the rain shortened Michigan 400, David Gilliland in a Busch Series event at Kentucky Speedway, JR. Bertuccio at Riverhead and Steven Reed over John Blewett III at Wall Township.

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

The weekend started off on a wet note as Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway fell victim to heavy rain and high winds. Its too bad that the weather front didn’t arrive earlier as competitors and fans were already on hand when the plug was pulled on the night’s racing. The fields of both Sunoco(SK)Modifieds was up two to 11 but there is still a long way to go to get a full field. The Valenti Modified Racing Series will highlight the competition this coming Thursday night at the Thompson International Speedway. This impressive touring series boasts a roster of Modified drivers that includes many of the very best drivers in the entire northeast. Thursday night’s appearance will be the first of two scheduled races for the VMRS at Thompson this year. Their feature will be 75 laps.

The VMRS was scheduled for an event at the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday but because of foul weather in the forecast the event was cancelled.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of the 38th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100. Ryan Preece took home the $2,600 winner’s check by taking the checkered flag in the 100 lap contest, Dillon Moltz captured his second feature victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. took down his third win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin Gambacorta picked up his first win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood was a winner for the second consecutive week in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Preece went under Woody Pitkat in turn 4 on lap-32 to take race lead. Frank Ruocco was able to complete the pass on Pitkat on lap-99, but no one had anything for Preece as he took the checkered flag. Ruocco nipped Pitkat at the line for second, with Ted Christopher and Curt Brainard rounding out the top-5. Among those missing from the starting grid was NASCAR Champion Keith Rocco who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a needless wreck in a heat race. Rocco was trailing Adam Skowyra when Skowyra triggered a wreck that collected the defending national champion. The Hartford Courant reported that Skowyra was given the black (pit for consultation) flag numerous times, which he ignored. Instead of stopping scoring of the car why didn’t officials just throw the caution and remove the driver from the track.

The Stafford officials are just as responsible for Rocco’s injuries as are Skowyra’s lack of taking heed after receiving the black flag. Back in the early 1970’s NASCAR Competition Director Jerry Cook was involved in a similar situation. Cook’s car was leaking fluids in the late stages of an event. He was given the black flag numerous times which he ignored. He later stated that he was unable to tell who the flag was directed at. The late Jack Arute stated that this type of situation at his track would never happen again as he purchased and had installed a lighted sign in turn one where the black flagged car’s number would be displayed in big numbers so there would be no second guessing as to who the flag was directed at. Arute called the sign “The Jerry Cook Light”.

In an unrelated matter, the SK Modified division was born at the Stafford Motor Speedway in 1982, twenty nine years previous. Why was this event called the 38th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100??

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl rain prevailed at the shoreline oval plus the precipitation bought some much needed healing time for Keith Rocco.

In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, rain prevailed.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it rained there too.

In NASCAR Sprint Cup action at the Pocono Raceway, Jeff Gordon took the win.

Five years ago in 2016, In weekly racing at Stafford, Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $1,500 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance SK Modified® feature event. Woody Pitkat was the big winner of the night, taking his second win of the season in the 45-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his third win of the year in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. continued his strong performance with his fourth win of 2016 in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Robert Bloxsom scored his very first feature win in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Brandon Michael won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Noah Korner was the Legend Cars feature winner.

In the SK Modified feature, Eric Berndt was able to pull alongside Pitkat in the outside groove on lap-43 and they took the white flag side by side. They were neck and neck down the backstretch and stayed that way through turns 3+4. As they came off turn 4, Pitkat had just enough to pull Berndt down the frontstretch and he took the checkered flag by a nose. Ted Christopher finished third, with Michael Gervais and Ronnie Williams rounding out the top-5.

Heavy rain showers washed out the racing action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. The Town Night promotion that had been scheduled that offered free admission to anyone from towns or cities beginning with the letters A through M will now be held on Saturday July 16. The Town Night for the letters N through Z will be held as scheduled this coming Saturday night on June 18. In a related matter, former Speedbowl Modified Champion Bob Potter was inducted into the Norwich (Ct) Sports Hall of Fame.

At the Speedbowl Potter won six track titles, three in the Modified division (1976, ’80 and ’83) and three in the SK Modified division (1986, ’87 and ’89). His 93 career victories rank him third all-time at the shoreline oval. At the Stafford Motor Speedway he won five SK Modified championships and ranks fourth all-time on the track’s SK Modified win list with 24 career victories. His last win at the track came in 1999. He won titles in the division in 1988, ’91, ’92, ’94 and ’95. Potter also won 30 SK Modified races at the Thompson Motorsports Park.

Also falling victim to the weather was the much anticipated Tri Track Racing Series scheduled on Saturday night at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. This event was slated to be the Ron Bouchard Tribute race.

The NASCAR Modifieds ran a 100 lapper at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Tim Brown took the win over Burt Myers and Jason Myers. Joe Ryan Osborne and John Smith rounded out the top five.

The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island saw owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz out wait two rain storms to present the Mullet Madness 100 which featured Twin 50 events for the NASCAR Modifieds. One driver especially happy the new owners pushed forward with the program was NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Timmy Solomito who swept both ends of the doubleheader.

Vinny Biondolillo of Farmingville was quickest in qualifying with a lap of 12.019 with Timmy Solomito second with a lap of 12.024. A lucky fan drew the #1 pill after qualifying meaning the field would start straight up from time in the first 50 which was contested first on the race card. At the drop of the green flag Solomito on the outside would get the early race advantage moving out front on Biondolillo who ran second. A long green flag run allowed Timmy to open up a comfortable lead until a lap 29 caution for a Cory Midgett spin. With the field bunched up for the restart the race went back to green with Solomito picking up where he left off as the race leader and pulling away. Biondolillo meantime had Howie Brode breathing down his neck for second which further allowed the race leader to pull away. Brode would sneak by Biondolillo with an inside pass exiting turn four on the 39th lap. At the checker Timmy Solomito was a popular winner with Howie Brode runner-up and Vinny Biondolillo third. Tom Rogers Jr. and point leader Shawn Solomito rounded out the top five.

The second 50 lapper found John Fortin Sr. on the pole with Timmy Solomito to the outside and when the race went green Solomito once again getting good bite off the corners was able to race his way out front with Fortin tucking into second. Like the first race Timmy was able to put some distance between himself and second place John Fortin who later in the race was under pressure from Shawn Solomito for second. On lap 19 Shawn was able to work his way by Fortin for second and was left with the task of reeling in his younger brother. Shawn’s efforts were aided by a lap 30 caution flag for a David Schneider spin in turn one. On the ensuing double file restart the Solomito boys lined-up side by side and when they hit the first and second turn Timmy drifted up the hill forcing Shawn to lift losing a few positions in the exchange. John Fortin Sr. was able to reclaim second in the shuffle but could only watch as Timmy Solomito drove off to victory. John Fortin Sr. was runner-up in the second race while Shawn Solomito after falling back as far as sixth on the lap 30 restart roared back for third in his Eastport Feeds entry. Howie Brode and John Fortin Jr. rounded out the top five in the second 50.

Joey Logano dominated Sunday’s crash-plagued Firekeepers Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Rookie Chase Elliott, driving a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, led 35 laps and finished a career-best second despite losing the lead during a late-race restart. Kyle Larson finished third. Mexico’s Daniel Suarez had been on the verge of his first NASCAR victory for nearly two years and on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Int’l Speedway he finally broke through by winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Menards 250 after a late-race duel with Kyle Busch.

Last year, 2020, The Asphalt Modifieds made their return in the Northeast with an event that didn’t disappoint. The John “Peepers” Yerger Tribute 77 at the Mahoning Valley ¼ mile Speedway in Pennsylvania will be a race that many won’t soon forget, with a packed house, a star-studded field (32 cars) and a finish that was far from what anyone expected.

In an event that was riddled with cautions, it was clear that Pennsylvania locals Eric Beers and Matt Hirschman were the class of the field. The duo ran nose to tail for the majority of the race but contact late in the closing moments would send both cars to the back, handing the lead and the eventual win to New Jersey native Jimmy Blewett.

When the green flag dropped on the 24-car field, it was Beers and Todd Baer who led the field to turn one. As the early laps clicked off, Beers would hold a solid lead, but it was Hirschman who would put on a charge to the front. After starting eighth, he would find himself in the runner-up position by lap 21, nipping at the heels of the Beers No 45. Through numerous cautions, Hirschman and Beers would keep the top two spots as the field continued to shuffle behind them.

With seventeen laps to go, Hirschman took a look to the inside of Beers coming off of the second turn on lap 60 of the scheduled 77-lap distance. As they approached turn three, the space got small and minimal contact was made between the rear end of Beers and the nose of Hirschman. The contact turned Beers sideways as he drifted his way through turn three, eventually coming the full way around in turn four and bringing out the caution flag. Race control would send Hirschman to the rear for contact as he would give a wave to take blame to Beers while joining him at the tail of the field.

The on-track action would become a gift to Wall Stadium Speedway regular Jimmy Blewett, who was making his first ever appearance to the tight oval. As the field tried to complete the remainder of the race, it was a slew of caution flags to the finish. The checkered flag waved on lap 66 of the scheduled 77 on a green-white-checkered due to the number of cautions. Blewett would score the victory over Mahoning Valley regular Josh Scherer and invader Blake Barney. Although the contact took both Beers and Hirschman out of contention for the win, both drivers finished the race and no hard feelings were had between them. While Beers was able to salvage a sixth-place finish, Hirschman would have to settle for 11th. Following Blewett at the finish was Josh Scherer, Blake Barney, Austin Kochenash and Chuck Hossfeld.

The Stafford Motor Speedway management announced Saturday, June 13 through Facebook that the track has tentatively scheduled its first Friday night racing event of the season for June 26. It was also announced that the track would hold an open practice on Saturday June 20.

New state guidance in regard to reopening plans due to the COVID-19 global pandemic shutdown opened the door for outdoor events to take place. Under new state guidelines the state will allow outdoor events to take place on June 17. Stafford Motor Speedway has been unable to host racing events because of shutdowns due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Paul Arute stated that track’s reopening plan calls for their season to be extended with events through late October. The track typically run its final racing events in late September or early October.

As NASCAR Weekly Series sanctioned events begin to return at select tracks across North America, NASCAR and Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, today announced a multiyear official partnership, designating Advance Auto Parts as the series entitlement sponsor. As part of the agreement, Advance also becomes the “Official Auto Parts Retailer of NASCAR.” Whelen is no longer the title sponsor for the National Weekly Racing Series program.

Race fans can catch select NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series races live and on-demand via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, the new streaming service from NASCAR and NBC Sports. NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series races are part of the NASCAR Roots package for $2.99/month or $19.99/annually. The full TrackPass package, which includes NASCAR Roots, IMSA and American Flat Track events is available for $4.99/month or $44.99/year. TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will be available on desktop web browsers and via the NBC Sports app on iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV (Gen 4), Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AndroidTV, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Chromecast devices connected via HDMI.

NAPA is a big sponsor at Stafford and certainly a competitor of Advanced Auto Parts. It will be interesting to see how the Stafford Speedway handles this. Nascar used to have a rule at the cup level anyway that you couldn’t have competing sponsors but it is believed current sponsors were grandfathered in.

In NASCAR Cup racing, Denny Hamlin found the magic once again at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hamlin took the lead for the final time with 30 laps left and held off Chase Elliott for his record-tying third NASCAR Cup Series victory at Homestead. Ryan Blaney was third in a race delayed by rain and lightning. Tyler Reddick finished fourth. Ryan Preece finished 24th, one lap down.

Fans, 1,000 of them, mostly invited military members who could each bring a guest, were back at a NASCAR race for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started, and there were no banned flags in sight. Most of those fans were gone when Hamlin drove under the checkered flag at 10:46 p.m., ending the marathon day.

May 29, 1972 Stafford ran their 100 lap Memorial Day Classic on Monday. Fred DeSarro took the win over Ed Flemke, Ronnie Bouchard, Denis Giroux and George Summers.DeSarro, in the Len Boehler coupe grabbed the lead on the 64th lap when Flemke spun while leading. Flemke, driving the former Judkins 2x that was owned by Frank Vigliarolo made a miraculous recovery and closed to within a foot of DeSarro’s bumper by lap 90 but in the end, settled for the runner-up spot. Johnny Mann won the NEMA Midget feature.

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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