The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

March 18, 2016

  Forty years ago in 1976, Ray Hendrick had a lap on the field at Martinsville when he crashed and handed the victory in the Dogwood 500 to Jerry Cook. Brian Ross finished second and was followed by Charlie Glazier, Harry Gant, Melvin Chilton, Jerry Dostie, Chuck Ciprich and Wayne Anderson.

  Thirty five years ago in 1981, Martinsville was the scene of one of the wildest finishes ever seen in a modified event. Arch rivals Richie Evans and Geoff Bodine banged wheels and bumpers for most of the 250-lap event. A restart, with three laps to go, set the stage for one of the most spectacular Modified race finishes ever seen. With Bodine leading, Evans was on a mission and pulled out all the stops. After taking the white flag, Evans wailed Bodine in the rear hard enough to get him squirrelly and was able to take the lead going down the backstretch. Coming out of turn four, Bodine attempted to retake the lead when the two tangled coming down for the checker. Bodine crashed into the wall as Evans took the checkered flag in mid air. Bodine managed to finish second with John Blewett Jr, third. Blewett’s day was not without incident. During a caution on lap 234 Jamie Tomaino pulled along side Blewett to express his displeasure over a previous incident. Much to Tomaino's surprise, Blewett turned right and planted Tomaino in the wall. Following Evans, Bodine and Blewett at the finish were Jerry Cook, Maynard Troyer and Roger Treichler. Bodine was the Late Model (BGN) winner over Sam Ard.

  Thirty years ago in 1986, the season got its start in Rougemont, N.C. Charlie Jarzombek in the Wilsburg No.5 took the win over Satch Worley in the Speedy Thomas No.07. Carl Pasteryak finished third and was followed by Corky Cookman, Jamie Tomaino and Jim Spencer.

  Twenty five years ago in 1991, there was no modified action as Martinsville ran on March 9.

  Twenty years ago in 1996, the action was at Atlanta. Terry Labonte was the Busch Grandnational winner and in Winston Cup action, Dale Earnhardt beat Labonte by a half a straightaway.

  Fifteen years ago in 2001 the Thompson Speedway Ice Breaker was cancelled due to the fact that four inches of ice and snow covered the speedway. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Steve Park dominated until lap 279 when Dale Jarrett took the lead after a pit stop. Park ended up second. Jeff Green was the Busch Grandnational winner.

  Ten years ago in 2006 In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series news, car-owners Dennis Charette and Chris Drouin announced that they would field the # 03 Chevrolet on the Whelen Modified Tour in the 2006 season. Charette, a Waterford Speedbowl regular and six-time winner, would pilot the car in a 10-race schedule. Embroidery Works of Berlin, CT will serve as primary sponsor. It looked like the recently married Reggie Ruggiero would again run a limited schedule. His first race for 2006 would be the 35th annual Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
  The Nextel Cup cars were in Las Vegas where Jimmy Johnson took the win. Kasey Kahne was the Busch Series winner. 

  Five years ago in 2011, While we patiently waited for our favorite speedways to open for the season, modified racing action has begun in the south land. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour began their season at the Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC where George Brunnhoelzl III took advantage of the race leader's misfortune to inherit the lead and drove away in the closing laps to win the Spring Classic 150 at Caraway Speedway. Brunnhoelzl was running third on Lap 120 when Todd Szegedy spun behind the leaders in Turn 2. L.W. Miller and Brian Loftin, who were first and second respectively, got together in Turn 3 as the caution came out. Miller was able to make it to pit road and continue, but Loftin, who won the Coors Light Pole Award in Saturday's qualifying, had to be towed off the track.
  That left Brunnhoelzl out front and he pulled away from runner-up Tim Brown to win by 1.903 seconds. It is the seventh career win and fourth at Caraway for Brunnhoelzl, the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion. Thomas Stinson finished a career-high third after qualifying 16th to earn the Coca-Cola Move of the Race Award. Miller came back to finish fourth and James Civali was fifth. John Smith finished sixth, followed by Jason Myers, Andy Seuss, Todd Szegedy and Austin Pack. Pack won the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award as the highest finisher among six rookies.
  Loftin wound up 18th. Defending champion Burt Myers led the first 60 laps but finished 14th after a subsequent penalty for a pit-road tire violation. It was mandated that no tires were to be changed during the event but for some reason Myers' crew did make a tire change. An alert official spotted the infraction and had Myers return to the pit area in order to change back to the set that he started with.
  Ted Christopher finished 19th after being eliminated on Lap 102. Christopher had just broken into the top five when he made contact with Andy Seuss. There were 22 Modifieds on hand.
  The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series' of NASCAR enjoyed a week off. The NASCAR Truck Series raced at Darlington where Kasey Kahne earned himself a NASCAR victory and to him, that's more important than a few days off. The Sprint Cup star led the final 51 laps, held off defending series champion Todd Bodine and brought more success to Kyle Busch Motorsports in winning the Camping World Trucks event. Ron Hornaday Jr. finished second, and Bodine was third. Series points leader Matt Crafton took fourth and James Buescher finished fifth.

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 18, 2016

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