The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

March 11, 2016

  Forty years ago in 1976, the Modifieds paid a visit to the Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. Richie Evans took the win over Ray Hendrick, Satch Worley, Billy Hensley, Billy Middleton and Paul Radford.

  Thirty five years ago in 1981, Harry Gant tendered his resignation from the Jack Beebe Race Hill Farms Winston Cup effort. In his place was New England Modified hot shoe, Ronnie Bouchard.

  Twenty five years ago in 1991, the modified tour opened the season at Martinsville. Thirty-four cars were on hand but the spectator count was down. During practice, Bob Park broke his shoulder after being involved in a wreck. Jeff Fuller took the 200 lap win over Carl Pasteryak, Tom Baldwin and Rick Fuller.

  Twenty years ago in 1996, the only racing was at Homestead, Fla. Dave Reszendes in a truck owned by Geoff Bodine won the truck race after a bumping incident with Jack Sprague on the last lap. Bobby Labonte was the Busch Grandnational winner.

  Fifteen years ago in 2001, The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series opened for the season at South Boston, Va. with a 200 lap event. Mike Ewanitsko, with a brand new team took the pole. The event was slowed by many wrecks as 64 laps were run under caution. Jerry Marquis, in the Mario Fiore No.44 went on to take the win. Within a week Marquis was without a ride as Fiore parked his cars. Said Fiore, "our #44 took the lead at lap 96 then proceeded to drive away til a green, white checkered allowed the second place car to restart right behind us". The race was 200 laps !! In Mario Fiore's own words, " I pulled the plug a week later certainly not a result of lack of funding as my race car just won $9,000 but because I didn't like the direction the NASCAR Mod tour was headed. No constraints on spending & shrinking purses just didn't seem like a formula for success. Mike Stefanik, in the Art Barry No.21, finished second with Ted Christopher, Tom Cravenho and Ted Riggott rounding out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Atlanta, Dale Jarrett was the pole sitter but it was Kevin Harvick who stole the show as he took the win by inches over Jeff Gordon. Harvick drove the Richard Childress No.29 which had formerly been the black No.3 driven by Dale Earnhardt Sr. Joe Nemechek was the Busch Grandnational winner.

  Ten years ago in 2006 rumors continued to fly concerning the financial condition of the Waterford Speedbowl. The latest rumor had a convenience store owner stepping up to the plate to bail the shoreline oval out of debt or at least some of it. In the mean time there were factions out there waiting for a foreclosure sale. At least two of those factions had said they would continue to operate the facility as a race track.
  Investigation into the public records of the State of Connecticut Judicial records indicated there were five separate cases pending against Terry and or Susan Eames. In addition to the Washington Mutual Foreclosure against Ten Eighty Hartford ET AL which includes also includes action by the Town of Waterford, Ct and Finkeldey Inc., there were additional suits pending including one filed by driver Ken Voight claiming "Defective Premises". A family member was hurt on the property in 2005. WM Specialty Mortgage had two foreclosure cases pending that were filed on March 2 against Eames and his wife plus a gentleman named Edward Demuzzio had filed a Contracts – Collections suit in New London Ct. against Susan Eames and Ten Eighty Hartford Road LLC.
 In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series news it had been announced that Thompson Speedway owner Don Hoenig had purchased a high-rise grandstand which would be erected on the site of the present pit grandstand. Hoenig had also purchased additional lighting for the facility. 

  Five years ago, in 2011, The snow was just about gone from the Waterford Speedbowl but the Thompson and Stafford Speedways still had ample supplies of the white stuff on the ground. At the New Hampshire International Speedway over 50 inches of the white stuff was on the ground.
  NASCAR announced updates for the 2011 NASCAR regional touring series, highlighted by changes to simplify the rookie of the year award. Also announced were two changes to race procedures, the elimination of the post-qualifying redraw for starting position in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and a cost-saving spec-fuel program for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
  In some sad news, Steve May who owned winning Modifieds at the Seekonk Speedway during the mid 70s passed away on Monday, Feb 28. May, who was 63, developed and built the "Mayco Chassis" that carried Fred Astle Sr and Leo Cleary to many wins. May was also a crew chief for the Falconi Brothers when they ran Modifieds.
  Brad Keselowski cut a tire on the final lap of Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas, and Mark Martin sailed past him for the victory. It was the fourth win in six Nationwide races at Las Vegas for Martin.
  The race will most likely be remembered, though, for Danica Patrick's history-making run and not the last-lap dramatics. Patrick placed fourth, the best finish for a woman in a national NASCAR race. The previous best was Sara Christian's fifth at Pittsburgh in 1949.
  Carl Edwards was the Sprint Cup winner.

  Last year, 2015, The 2015 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season got underway at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina with the Spring Classic 150, the first of three scheduled visits to the track for the tour this year. Long Island invader Eric Goodale was able to pass Jason Myers on Lap 124 on a restart and led the final 26 laps to earn his first career win on the southern tour. He started eighth.
  Myers held on for second. John Smith, David Calabrese and Bobby Measmer Jr. rounded out the top five.
  Completing the top 10 were Burt Myers, Gary Putnam, Frank Fleming, Tom Abele Jr and JR Bertuccio.
  Defending Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss was involved in an accident on Lap 12 that sent him hard into the wall and out of the race. Seuss would finish dead last (19th). Four-time series champion George Brunnhoelzl III, who was the dominant car through the beginning stages, blew a rear on a restart with 39 laps remaining that sent him packing. Brunnhoelzl was credited with a 16th-place finish to start the season. Whelen Modified Tour champions Ryan Preece and Doug Coby both had engine that cost them their spots in the top ten after making the long haul from the northern states.
  Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza reports that the Tri Track Open Modified Series has crossed the threshold of 50 confirmed entries for their four race series in 2015. Races will be contested at Lee USA Speedway on May 17, Monadnock Speedway on June 13, Seekonk Speedway on July 1 and New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Sunday September 13.
  Joey Logano dominated the NASCAR XFINITY Series Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200 at the Phoenix Raceway, leading 175 of 200 laps en route to his first XFINITY Series victory since 2013.
  Kevin Harvick was too fast to catch, anyway, as he dominated en route to his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. It’s also Harvick’s 30th triumph, his fourth straight win at Phoenix and, incredibly, his seventh consecutive top-two finish in Cup competition, dating back to the end of his 2014 championship season.
  Kevin Harvick also surpassed the 1,000 laps led mark at Phoenix, the first driver ever to do so, in capturing his record seventh victory at Phoenix.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

Looking Back Archive

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: March 11, 2016

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