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

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy five years ago in 1946 Eddie Casterline was the Midget winner at Seekonk.

Seventy years ago in 1951, Wes Kingsley was the Wednesday night winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. On Saturday night a young man by the name of Bill Slater won his first ever Modified feature at the shoreline oval. Dan Stanton won a 50 lapper at Seekonk

Sixty five years ago in 1956, John Georgiates, who in later years would become a pit steward at the Stafford Motor Speedway where his son John raced and his son-in-law Dan Pardi oversaw the early days of the SK Modified division, was the Modified feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ralph Banning was the non-Ford winner. Dave Humphrey was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Pete Frazee took the win at Old Bridge.

Sixty years ago in 1961, Ernie Gahan, driving the John Koszela Woodchopper Special, made it four in a row on the dirt at Stafford. Taking the lead on the final lap of the feature, Eddie Flemke went on to score his second victory of the year at the Norwood Arena on Saturday night. Ted Stack won 25 lap Modified features on Tuesday and Saturday at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Moody and Daring Dick Caso shared top honors in the Bombers. At Seekonk, Dave Dias was the Sportsman winner and John Silvia was the Novice winner. Elton Hildreth took the win at Old Bridge.

Fifty five years ago in 1966 Bob Bruno was the Thursday night winner at Catamount. Kenny Shoemaker took the top spot in a 40 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway on Friday night. Dick Dixon finished second with Eddie Flemke, third. Jerry Cook, who had become an accomplished dirt track racer, won a 50 lapper at Fonda on Saturday night. Bill Wimble finished second with Ernie Gahan, third. At Lancaster, Donald “Dutch” Hoag was the winner. At Norwood Arena Carl “Bugs” Stevens won his first of many feature wins at the Route 1 oval. The NASCAR Grandnational Northern Tour visited the 1/5 mile Islip Speedway on Long Island. Bobby Allison took the win. Bert Taylor, a close friend of Billy Harman, won the 30 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Fred Astle Sr was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Lou Lazzaro closed out his weekend with a win at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Cook finished second and was followed by Gaston Demaris, Flemke and Gahan. Ray Hendrick made it two in a row at South Boston.

Fifty years ago in 1971, Denis Giroux was the Friday night winner at Malta. Joe Thomas finished second with Dick Fowler, Bill Henry and Andy Romano rounding out the top five. At the Fulton Raceway Mike Loescher won a 60 lapper over Richie Evans, Sonny Seamon, Dave Nichols and Guy Chartrand In NESMRA competition at Thompson on Friday night Big Don MacClaren got the best of Dynamite Ollie Silva. Deke Astle was the Class A winner at Seekonk. Fred DeSarro was in top form at Stafford on Saturday night as he put the Ole Blu of Len Boehler in victory lane. Hop Harrington finished second and was followed by Bugsy Stevens, Freddie Schulz, Ernie Gahan, Ray Miller and Billy Harman. Glynn Shafer took the win at Waterford over Dick Caso, Bob Potter and Don Kibbe. Bill Sweet was the Sportsman Sedan winner at the shoreline oval. Dave Lape won at Fonda over Maynard Forette, Ken Shoemaker and Lou Lazzaro. Lazzaro, using the same car he had run on the dirt at Fonda, was the winner at the paved Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Following Lazzaro were Ken Cannestrari and Bernie Miller. Stafford ran an open competition on Tuesday, July 14.Bugsy Stevens took the win over Ernie Gahan but the big story of the night was the fact that a young kid from Fitchburg, Mass by the name of Ronnie Bouchard made his first ever appearance at Stafford. A four-time champion at Seekonk, Bouchard had never been on a track bigger than a 1/4 mile. Although he could do no better than third, a lasting impression was made on many who were there. Little did anyone know at the time that Bouchard would become one of the all time greatest NASCAR Modified drivers who would eventually move on to the Winston Cup division and score a win at Talladega, Ala.

Forty five years ago in 1976, the Yankee All Star league paid a visit to Star Speedway on Wednesday night. Bugsy Stevens in the Bob Judkins 2x took the win over Mike Weeden, Pete Fiandaca, Bob Karvonen and Jim Landry. New Egypt ran on Thursdaty night with Fred Harbach taking the win over John Blewett Jr. Riverhead rained out on Friday but it didn’t stop Harbach as he came back to take the checker at Islip on Saturday night. Fred DeSarro scored a popular win at Stafford on Saturday night as he beat out Ronnie Bouchard and Eddie Flemke for the win. George Summers in the Billy Hood No. 7 was the Modified winner at Seekonk. At Riverside, also on Saturday, Pete Fiandaca lived up to his name of being the traveling man as he won the nights modified feature over Bob Stefanik. Bob Potter scored a 35 lap Modified win at the Waterford Speedbowl. Andy Guimond was the late Model Grand American winner. Rain washed out action at Westboro and at Monadnock on Sunday; Geoff Bodine won a 100 lapper.

Forty years ago in 1981, Waterford ran an open competition event on Wednesday night which saw the first six finish the 100 lap event under a blanket. Taking the win was Kenny Bouchard in the Len Boehler 3. Rick Donnelly finished second with John Rosati, third. Friday night at Stafford saw Ray Miller take the top spot over Kenny Bouchard and Reggie Ruggiero. Punky Caron got his 45th career win at Monadnock and Doug Hewitt won at Spencer. Rain washed out Waterford, Riverside and Seekonk on Saturday night. At Westboro, Pete Swartz took the win and at Islip, Richie Evans won his 25th of the year over Don Howe and Wayne Anderson. Charlie Jarzombek had a difference of opinion with the Islip management and went to the Wall Stadium where he walked off the winner beating out Gil Hearne. At Danbury Bones Stevens took the Modified feature while Randy LaJoie annexed another Sportsman win. Reggie Ruggiero took the win at Thompson on Sunday over Ray Miller and Corky Cookman.

Thirty five years ago in 1986, the Mod tour ran at Riverside on Wednesday. Mike Stefanik took the win over John Blewett Jr and Tom Baldwin. Charlie Jarzombek was the top gun at Stafford on Friday night. John Rosati finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Rain washed out Waterford and Riverside. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Spencer and Jan Leaty at Shangri-La.Due to rain in Maine on Sunday, the Oxford 250 was run on Monday night with Chuck Bown taking the lions share, $28,000 for the win.

Thirty years ago in 1991, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night winner at Stafford over Bob Potter. At Monadnock, Jerry Marquis won the Whitcomb 100 over Reggie Ruggiero and Richie Gallup. All Saturday and Sunday racing rained out.

Twenty five years ago in 1996, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon. NASCAR announced that Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre, who had jointly bought the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina, would each take a Winston Cup date. Smith’s date would be moved to his new speedway in Texas and NHIS would now have two dates. To this day, North Wilkesboro sits idle. Stafford had a Tuesday show scheduled but gave way to rain. Claremont ran on Thursday with Jack Bateman taking the win over Dwight Jarvis. Randy LaJoie dominated the BGN Stanley 200 run on Friday at Loudon. LaJoie led 173 of the 200 laps. Terry LaBonte finished second. Brad Leighton won the Friday Busch North Series event. Ted Christopher was running third with 15 laps to go when he blew a tire and hit the wall. The Busch North Series were also scheduled for a Saturday event along with an event for the Modifieds. Both events were rained out and not rescheduled. In Winston Cup action, Ernie Irvan scored an emotional win as he won the Loudon event in the Robert Yates 28.It was Irvans first win since an accident two years previous at Michigan that almost took his life. Dale Jarrett finished second.

Twenty years ago in 2001 Ted Christopher recorded his 55th career win at Stafford on Friday night as he won the scheduled 150 lap SK-Modified feature. Lloyd Agor finished second with Eric Berndt, third. Waterford remained silent as there was a big fireworks display in New London. Thompson ran on Saturday night with Ted Christopher taking the win over Todd Ceravolo, Eric Berndt and Jim Broderick. At Riverhead it was JR Bertuccio and at Wall Stadium, John Blewett III beat out little brother Jimmy for top honors. In a surprise move, NASCAR suspended George Kent because of failure to submit to a drug test. Kent’s’ suspension did not effect his participation at independent tracks in New York state. In Winston Cup action at the Chicagoland Speedway, Kevin Harvick took the win. Jimmie Johnson was the Grandnational winner. Based on an agreement with the US Government, RJ Reynolds designated NASCAR’s Winston Cup division as their dedicated sponsorship. The NHRA and NASCAR Weekly Racing Series were dropped.

Fifteen years ago in 2006 it was stated that a few years ago Terry Eames called a press conference at the Groton Inn and Suites. Members of the media and NASCAR Officials were in attendance. He announced that he was taking control of the Waterford Speedbowl. Many who knew him in the local business community felt that he would drain the business dry, then drop it like a hot potato. He proclaimed, “I’m in it for the long haul, I’m not going anywhere”. How quick we forget! It seems that “Long Haul Eames” had hit a bump in the road and had landed face down in a ditch. In addition to owing $1.6 million, hundreds of thousands of dollars were owed to newspapers, lumberyards, police, sanitation companies and who knows whom else. All the talk of the demise of the shoreline oval had had a profound effect on the competitors. Fields of cars were down to the point where consolation events were no longer needed. No one was building cars because of the uncertainty of the future of the track

Eames announced on Monday, July 10, 2006 that he had reached an agreement with a developer to sell a portion of the track’s excess property in an effort to alleviate financial issues that had plagued the track. According to lawyers for the Washington Mutual Bank, which was owed $1.6 million, nothing was signed. Speedbowl owner Terry Eames may have a verbal agreement but nothing was cast in stone.

Speaking of speedways, the Boston Globe reported that 79-year-old Bob Bahre, owner of the New Hampshire International Speedway stated that his speedway is definitely not for sale. He did allude to the fact that if and when he dies, his son Gary will sell the track before he is in the ground!

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the New Hampshire International Speedway forty-five cars strong. Practice and qualifying were held on Thursday despite rain that blanketed the area and flooded the tunnel leading into the track. The Modifieds got on the track shortly after noon. Zach Sylvester, who was the 45th car to time trial took the pole for the 100 mile event with a speed of 125.595 mph. Second fastest and taking the outside pole was Jimmy Blewett. Danny Sammonds who had a problem during the practice session and Tom Cloce who crashed and caught fire did not take time. Reggie Ruggiero, Tony Hirschman and Eric Beers rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Todd Szegedy, Doug Coby in the Mansfield, CT based entry of Curt Chase, Ted Christopher, Donny Lia and Kevin Goodale.

In what should have been the most exciting race of the weekend that had 28 lead changes among 9 drivers the 100 lap Whelen Modified Tour Series turned out to be a display of confusion and indecision by NASCAR scoring. James Civali was originally declared the winner. Forty-five minutes later the win was given to John Blewett III. Upon completion of the event Blewett exited the speedway to catch a plane that would take him to the Wall Township Speedway located on the New Jersey shore. Blewett ended up winning the Garden State Classic at the New Jersey oval. While Civali sat in victory lane NASCAR reviewed some pictures and decided that Blewett did in fact have the lead when the final caution of the event was waved on the final lap. Civali was leading at the conclusion of the last green flag lap, lap 99. NASCAR rules dictate that who ever is leading when the caution comes out is the race leader. A picture taken at the time of the final caution clearly showed Blewett in the lead. Blewett was well on his way to New Jersey when he got the news. Civali ended up settling for the second spot. Almost half the event was run under caution. There were seven caution periods for 47 laps.

With an estimated 44,000 fans on hand the Modifieds provided some great racing when the green flag was out. Reggie Ruggerio ended up third with Ed Flemke and Mike Stefanik rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Todd Szegedy, Ted Christopher, Jerry Marquis, Tony Stewart and Ronnie Silk. Stewart had some unkind words for Jerry Marquis during a post race encounter on pit road. Stewart, who has been arrogant at times has the attitude that anybody in his way should just move over and let him by. With the money lap in sight, Marquis wasn’t about to roll over for Tony Stewart or anyone else. It was the 9th career win for Blewett and his third at NHIS. He led a total of 17 laps in the Blewett Motorsports Chevrolet.

Twenty-nine of the original 42 starters were running at the finish. Twenty-six of them were on the lead lap. Outside pole sitter and early leader Jimmy Blewett was the first out after a tangle with Ken Barry, which resulted in his Eddie Partridge, owned mount getting consumed in a ball of fire. Blewett emerged unhurt but his car was severely trashed. Nevin George crashed on lap 23. Nextel Cup star Carl Edwards retired on lap 43 with severe front-end damage after a confrontation with the retaining wall. Donny Lia was hoping for a good showing after qualifying ninth but ended up 38th after losing an engine. Doug Coby, in the Mansfield, CT based No.77 of Curt Chase retired from the event after a hard hit on lap 66. He finished 33rd.

The Thompson Speedway fell victim to severe weather and was forced to postpone Wednesday’s Nextel Fan Appreciation Night for 24 hours. The Pro All Star Series (PASS) made their annual visit to Thompson International Speedway on Thursday night. Their regularly star-studded cast was made brighter with Kenny Wallace and Jimmy Spencer joining the field. The crowd was treated to commentating by John Roberts of SPEED TV. Cassius Clark of Farmington, ME was dialed in to take the PASS victory on Nextel Fan Appreciation Night presented by Charter Communications. In addition, five divisions of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series were also part of the festivities. Claiming victories were Woody Pitkat in the Sunoco Modifieds, Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, and Shelly Perry in the Mini Stocks. The Limited Sportsman and TIS Modifieds found new winners in victory lane with Larry Barnett of Ledyard, CT and Kurt Vigeant of Oxford, MA capturing victories respectively.

The 75-lapper for the Pro All Star Series was a day later then originally planned but the event was worth the wait. Cassius Clark continued his domination of the Touring Series with his fourth victory. Johnny Clark took the lead in the opening laps before relinquishing the lead to Wallace. Ben Rowe then took his turn at the head of the field taking over the point from Wallace on lap 25. C. Clark made his way into the runner-up spot before hunting down Wallace. Rowe and C. Clark waged a tremendous battle for the lead at the halfway marker. Rowe had the spot but was dogged lap after lap by C. Clark while Wallace and Spencer ran third and fourth. While battling for the lead Rowe and C. Clark made contact. Rowe cut down a tire ending with impact in the wall. Once out front, Clark set sail. In the late stages of the event, Spencer took the runner-up spot from Wallace. The dominating performance was made even special by beating the likes of Wallace and Spencer. J. Clark and Travis Benjamin rounded out the top five.

Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT turned in a dominating performance to win his second Sunoco Modified feature event of the 2006 season at Thompson. Buddy Charette, who continues to get stronger week after week, led the field to the green over Joe Lemay and Pitkat. Action was halted on lap two when the caution flew when point leader Jeff Malave and Keith Rocco spun on the backstretch. On the restart, Lemay was able to get alongside Charette before the second caution flew almost immediately when Tommy Cravenho spun in turn two while running in fifth. Henry Stampfl had nowhere to go making hard contact with Cravenho’s Falmouth Ready Mix #31. Under the caution, Lemay brought his race car down pit road with a flat right rear tire. Charette relinquished his lead to Pitkat on the lap two restart. One lap later, Marvin moved into second. By lap 10, the front two had checked out on the rest of the field. Pitkat held a half straightway lead on Marvin, who in turn had half straight on Charette. By lap four, Jimmy Blewett, who had started scratch on the field after arriving at Thompson late after qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour event at NHIS, had moved into sixth. Malave had worked his way back up to the seventh position by lap seven. On lap 12, Blewett caught Ceravolo. With the duo of Pitkat and Marvin out front, the likes of Charette, Ricky Shawn, Ceravolo and Blewett ran in a tight pack. Ceravolo had the crowd on their feet on lap 14 when went around Shawn in turn two and under Charette between turns three and four. A caution on lap 19 bunched up the field for a restart. Back under green Pitkat led the freight train that included Marvin, Ceravolo, Charette, Blewett, Shawn, Malave, and Rocco. The first car to step out of line was Blewett. He made the pass stick to take away the fourth position from Charette. Over the closing laps, Pitkat stretched his lead, leaving Marvin and Ceravolo to fight for second. Ceravolo closed but could not make any serious challenge to Marvin. Pitkat soared to the victory over Marvin, Ceravolo, Blewett and Charette. Ricky Shawn held on for sixth over Malave, Rocco, Lemay, and Dan LaJeunesse.

The Stafford Motor Speedway ran on Tuesday night, July 11th. On tap was the 3rd annual CARQUEST Extreme Wednesday program at Stafford Motor Speedway. 1989 Nextel Cup Champion Rusty Wallace bested an all-star field of drivers to win the 15-lap CARQUEST Clash, Chris Perley continued his dominant season in the ISMA Supermodified division by winning the 50-lap feature, Bobby Santos, III was the winner of the 25-lap NEMA Midget feature, and Jeff Zuidema was the winner of the 20-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.

Stafford’s week continued on Friday night when Bo Gunning ended a long dry spell as he recorded his 45th career win. Gunning, who started on the outside pole, jumped out to an early lead and in the closing stages held off Frank Ruocco to take the win in the SK Modified 40 lapper. Willie Hardie finished third followed by Zach Sylvester and Jeff Malave. Woody Pitkat, who finished sixth in the SK event, won the 30 lap Late Model event, his fourth of the year.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, some new sticky stuff was applied to the asphalt in order to make the cars handle better and hopefully eliminate many of the wrecks that have plagued the shoreline oval this year. They also bounced Jay Stewart for the rest of the year. The sticky stuff did its job and no one missed Stewart. The entire six feature race program was run in two hours and 10 minutes.

Bruce Thomas Jr. and Tim Jordan were the twin Late Model winners while Dennis Gada recorded his 48th career victory in the SK Modifieds. Dexter Dorr took his eighth victory in the Sportsman division and Phil Evans beat out Dave Silvia for top honors in the Mini Stocks. Mark Bakaj was the 20-lap Legends feature winner.

Ten years ago in 2011, In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco made it two in a row in Sunoco Modified competition while the incredible Danny Field made it seven for seven in Mini Stock competition. Jeff Connors stretched his point lead with his first victory of the season in the Super Late Models. Mike Scorzelli was victorious in the Late Models. Shawn Monahan earned his third victory of the season in the Limited Sportsman division and Glenn Boss made it two in a row in TIS Modified competition. Added to the program was the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) for the annual Marvin Rifchin Memorial event. Mike Horn of Ashland, MA, made a bold move on the opening lap that proved to be the winning one.

Waterford was also quiet as they gave way to a fireworks display that was held in New London on Saturday night.

It looked like ticket prices at Connecticut Speedways were going up as Area Auto Racing News scribe Kevin Rice advised that a new tax law, which specifically mentions the racetracks of Thompson, Waterford, Stafford and Lime Rock Park would now be asking for a “sales use tax” from these tracks. For each ticket sold, the state will charge a tax of 6.35 percent. In addition, the hotel-motel tax rate will increase in the state from 12 to 15 percent. The web site yankeeinstitute.org states that the admissions tax exemptions for these race facilities have been eliminated. The changes are among 77 separate tax increases over 24 categories as part of changes recently made by the state General Assembly, according to the site.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series defied the weather at the Lee USA Speedway in southern New Hampshire on Friday night. Chris Pasteryak took the lead after passing race leader Joe Doucette on lap 52 to go on and win the Laticrete “Port City 100” Friday night.

The win was Pasteryak’s first at Lee, his second of the season, and his fifth

career victory with the VMRS. Pole-sitter Louie Mechalides was the early leader until Doucette took the top spot on lap three. Doucette led for the next 49 laps as he fought off Mechalides and then several side-by-side attempts by Pasteryak for five circuits before the 2008 series champion was able to move by.

Veteran Dwight Jarvis finished in the runner-up position after starting eighth in the 19-car field. Defending series champion Jon McKennedy made a late race charge to finish third, Les Hinckley III, was fourth, and Ken Barry, with abrand new car, finished fifth. Sixth through tenth were, Rowan Pennink, Jimmy Kuhn, Norman Wrenn, Doucette, and Rob Goodenough.

Pasteryak’s victory moved him into a tie for the point lead with Pennink. Hinckley

is four points back from the leaders.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC was silent over the July 4th weekend and resumed their weekly racing with a 100 la Modified event on Saturday night. Tim Brown, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday, kicked off the second half of the season in impressive fashion, and trimmed some of Burt Myers’ lead in the season standings on a double-points night. But Myers, who broke a part in his car’s rear end in pre-race practice and got his car repaired just in time, came out in relatively good shape with a fourth-place finish. Brown managed to cut Myers’ lead from 40 to 28 points.

Brown was the fastest in qualifying for the fourth time this season, with a lap of 13.331 seconds (67.5 mph) on the quarter-mile track. He drew the No. 2 starting position. Brown took the lead on the start and led the entire distance. Junior Miller started third and was able to challenge Brown from the outside on the final four double-file restarts, but couldn’t catch him in the late stages. Chris Fleming, who made it through a heated exchange with Jonathan Brown in the closing laps, finished third. Myers drew the seventh starting spot and managed to work his way to fourth.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Tom Rogers JR took the NASCAR Modified win. The July 30th Whelen Modified tour race will pay $6000 to win and $300 to every driver who shows up.

Jim Schaefer, aka Long Island Mod Maniac, announced that he had put together from various sources bonus money that will find the winner of the event taking home a handsome $6,000, while each starter among the 28 drivers will earn $300 in tow money. There will also be an additional $500 split among the first three positions, courtesy of Lighthouse Mission.

Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Kentucky Speedway, stretching his fuel over the final 67 laps to pick up his first win in the series this year. Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch rolled to victory in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at the 1.5-mile oval, pulling away from Jimmie Johnson on a restart with three laps to go to collect his third victory of the season and jump into the points lead with two months to go before NASCAR’s Chase for the championship begins.

The real story of the inaugural race at the track tucked among the hills in northern Kentucky was unfolding over the wall behind Turns 3 and 4 as Busch roared to the start/finish line. Cars, many of them stuck in gridlock for hours on nearby Interstate 71, continued to inch along the overstuffed access roads. The maddening parade continued as the laps ticked off, with some fans eventually being asked to turn around after the race passed its halfway point so the track could start allowing those that did manage to make it in to leave. The 15-mile backups getting put a damper on the memorable show Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith promised to deliver when he received permission from NASCAR to move a date from Atlanta Motor Speedway to Kentucky last summer. The track’s first night on the series’ biggest stage was memorable all right, but for all the wrong reasons. Though more than 100,000 packed the revitalized grandstand, the race will be remembered more for the sea of brake lights along the interstate than for Busch’s third win of the season.

Five years ago in 2016, Ted Christopher left little doubt that he is the undisputed King of the SK Modifieds at the Stafford Motor Speedway after he won the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $5,600 and a total heat race bonus of $2,000 from Wheelers Auto of Hamden, the total posted awards were over $33,000. The Gambler’s Challenge was voted on by the fans on how it would be paid out and the top-3 choices were put into a hat in victory lane with Doug Dunleavy pulling a chip with the winning formula on it. Dunleavy pulled the winner takes all chip, giving Christopher a final payday of $11,175.

Christopher, the nine time track champion, took the lead in the 100 lap event from Eric Berndt on lap 66 and went on to record his 125th overall win at the Connecticut oval. His SK Modified total victories number 103.

In other feature action, Michael Wray won the Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno won the SK Light feature, Duane Provost won the Limited Late Model feature, and Trace Beyer was the winner of the DARE Stock feature for the second week in a row.

In the SK Modified 100 Rowan Pennink finished a strong second with Berndt, third. Ron Williams and Mike Christopher, Jr. rounded out the top-5.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series also raced on Friday night with an event at Claremont, NH. Woody Pitkat, a regular in the series, found himself between a rock and a hard place as he had a commitment to race at Stafford in their SK 5K event. Pitkat procured Todd Szegedy to take his place in the Claremont event and Szegedy produced! Szegedy took the lead from Todd Patnoad on lap 15. Dave Schneider, Jon McKennedy, Todd Patnode, and Mike Willis Jr rounded out the top five. Pitkat finished sixth at Stafford.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl went silent on Saturday night because of a huge fireworks display sponsored by Foxwoods Casino in the New London harbor.

While the sky was being lit up in New London the racing action shifted to the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway which hosted its “For The Fans” night with several racing series taking to the track throughout the evening to provide for a great show, despite a little bit of input from Mother Nature.

The event saw several on-site promotions for fans to enjoy as well as a special barbecue and celebration for the women of racing as well to compliment the theme of the day. Despite a late shower that pushed the final event back by two hours and forced the rescheduling of the night’s Sunoco Modified event, the evening proved to be a fun one for all who attended and saw a few familiar names reach victory lane for the first time this season.

The second triple crown event for the Limited Sportsman series was the main feature for the night, closing the evening after the two-hour rain delay halted action on the track. When drivers finally got onto the track however, the action was worth the wait with a popular name returning to victory lane.

After two dominant seasons, series regular Corey Hutchings has had a tough go in 2016, but his luck finally turned around after the man known to many as “The Entertainer” made a strong push during the second half of the 20-lap main feature to return to victory lane, overcoming some tough competition from other regulars Al Stone, Scott Sundeen, Ryan Waterman and Jesse Gleason.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island John Baker won his first career NASCAR Modified feature in the first Twin 30 feature while championship leader Shawn Solomito won the nightcap. Ageless “Dynamite” Dan Turbush at 65-years young won the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series Riverhead Nationals 55-lapper earning $2,000 for his 80th career win at Riverhead.

In Modified competition below the Mason-Dixon line Danny Bohn rolled up at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday aiming to leave with the $9,000 Fans’ Challenge prize money. That didn’t pan out for the former champ, so he grabbed the checkered instead. The heat was on from the beginning as a first-lap caution flag led to the first of many double-file restarts. Brandon Ward took to the outside and tried to muscle ahead of Bohn. Ward couldn’t make the pass stick – at first. On the third restart, some mind games between Bohn and Ward allowed Ward to rocket into the lead. As they moved into turn one, Bohn gave a stiff shot to the bumper of Ward to send him spinning out of the lead he held so briefly. Evidently officials felt it was a “racing deal” as Bohn went on to grab the checkered with Burt Myers finishing second and Tim Brown taking third.

Lee Jeffreys ended up pulling off what Bohn had initially aimed at. Jeffreys elected to start in the rear and then finished fourth to earn the $9,000 Fans’ Challenge prize pool.

Brad Keselowski had just enough fuel to hold off Carl Edwards in the final laps to win Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway for his series-best fourth victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and his second straight. Despite yet another green-white-checkered finish in a NASCAR stock car race, Kyle Busch put an exclamation point on a dominant performance at Kentucky Speedway in Friday night’s ALSCO 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

It was Busch’s 81st career XFINITY Series victory, as he led 185 of 201 laps for his fourth consecutive victory on a 1.5-mile race track. It was his fifth victory of the season.

Last year, 2020, For the second week in a row rain washed out the entire racing program at Stafford.

In a somewhat surprise, the Stafford Motor Speedway dropped their NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event that was scheduled for August 7. “Unfortunately we were unable to come to an agreement with NASCAR to make the State of CT mandate of 25% capacity number work for the August Modified Tour event,” explained Stafford President Mark Arute. “2020 has been very challenging but we are happy to be racing and think we’ve come up with a great schedule for July and August.”

NASCAR announced that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour would return to White Mountain Motorsports Park for the third race of the 2020 season. The quarter-mile in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, will host the tour on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. On July 25 the SBM-Tri Track event will be held at the Star Speedway in Epping, New Hampshire. Both events should be slam-bang events as officials from both series now permit the bump and run tactic. Les Hinkley owes Craig Lutz one and Matt Hirschman owes Justin Bonsignore one. Let the games begin!

Cole Custer became the first rookie winner in the NASCAR Cup Series in nearly four years, surging to the lead in a four-wide, final-lap scramble Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. were dueling side by side for the lead on the final restart when Custer, with a push from Matt DiBenedetto on the outside in the backstretch, made his move in the No. 41 Stewart- Haas Racing Ford. As the leaders bunched in Turn 1, Custer slid ahead and outlasted Truex’s Toyota.

In some sad news, Langley Speedway in Virginia lost one of its giants on Saturday night. Shawn Balluzzo, 64, died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during a Modified feature at the Hampton, Virginia short track. Balluzzo struck a wall opening in Turn 2 on the 13th lap of the second feature of the night.

Balluzzo captured 11 Langley Speedway Modified track championships, four more than any other champion in track history. He made numerous Late Model Stock appearances across the region as well. He competed in four NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified events. He had won 35 Modified features since the track reopened in 2017. He won 16 of 17 last season, leading to a bounty against him.

Balluzzo finished second to Matt Carter in the first 50 lap feature on Saturday night. Balluzzo started the second in seventh-place and was running third when he and Chris Johnson came together out of Turn 2 on Lap 13. Baluluzzo went airborne and suffered a front facing crash into the Turn 2 wall. The track confirmed his passing on Sunday morning.

Said the speedway management, “Our hearts are heavy this morning. Driver Shawn Balluzzo passed away following an incident during Saturday Night’s modified feature at Langley Speedway, leaving behind a championship legacy both on and off the track. He won the hearts of our fans with 11 track championships and a driving style that made him one of the most respected competitors we’ve ever known.

June 17, 1972 Ray Miller in the Meyers-Sweatland Mustang took Stafford by storm on Saturday night. Following Miller at the finish were Fred DeSarro, Billy Harman, Bob Santos and Eddie Flemke. Del Cushing 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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