The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

May 20, 2016

  Sixty five years ago in 1951 the final touches were being done to the new asphalt surface at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

  Fifty five years ago in 1961, Johnny Thompson was the Saturday night winner at the Norwood Arena. At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Ted Stack made it three in a row in Sunday Modified action at the shoreline oval. Stack also won the non-Ford feature and the Modified feature on the dirt at Stafford while Joe Maynard was the Bomber winner at the shoreline oval..

  Fifty years ago in 1966 New York hot shoe Pete Corey was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Jerry Cook broke the stronghold that New England drivers held at the Albany Saratoga Speedway as he won the Friday night 30 lap feature. Mario “Fats” Caruso finished second and was followed by Dennis Zimmerman, Rene Charland and Gaston Demaris. Crowd favorite Pete Corey went two for two on the weekend as he took the 25 lap win at Fonda on Saturday night over Irv Taylor and Ernie Gahan. Dave Dias was the Saturday night winner at Norwood. Local favorite Charlie Webster won the Modified 30 lap feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Eddie Bunnell made it four in a row in the Bombers and Bill Sweet was the Daredevil winner. At Utica-Rome on Sunday night Cook backed up his Friday night win with a victory at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Lou Toro finished second with Bill Wimble, third. Dave Kotary and Richie Evans rounded out the top five.

  Forty five years ago in 1971, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY saw the best in the business come together on Friday night. When the checkered flag flew it was two of New England’s best leading the way as Bugsy Stevens took down the win with Steady Eddie Flemke coming home in second spot. Guy Chartrand finished third and was followed by Jerry Cook, Andy Romano and Leo Cleary. Stevens continued his winning streak to Stafford on Saturday night as he won both ends of the twin-25 lap program. At Islip, Charlie Jarzombek outdistanced Art Tappen and at Fonda, Lou Lazzaro beat out Maynard Forette. Racing on Sunday at Utica-Rome and at Thompson was rained out. It also rained at Waterford on Saturday night.

  Forty years ago in 1976, Riverhead ran on Friday night with Fred Harbach taking the win over Gary Winters, Charlie Jarzombek and Greg Sacks. Harbach tried to carry his streak to Islip on Saturday night but when all was said and done, the Flying Dutchman had to settle for second behind Tiger Tom Baldwin. Jerry Cook finished third with Wayne Anderson, fourth. Stafford pulled the plug because of rain and cold but they ran at Riverside despite the fact that only 3600 were in the stands. Charlie Glazier took the win over Ronnie Rocco, Ron Wycoff and Sonny O'Sullivan. Waterford also beat the weather as Bob Potter ruled the roost at the shoreline oval in the Modified division. Potter was hot as a pistol as his win made it three in a row. Don Fowler was the Grand American Late Model winner. At New Egypt it was Ricky Lutz over John Blewett Jr and Wayne Anderson. On Sunday, a NASCAR Modified event was run at Cayuga where Roger Treichler took the win over Ed Howe, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook

  Thirty five years ago in 1981, rain washed out all racing in the Northeast except at Claremont, Danbury and Lancaster. Punky Caron beat out Dwight Jarvis at the New Hampshire oval and Siege Fidenza won at Lancaster. Lou Funk Jr in the Modifieds and Randy LaJoie in the Sportsman were the winners at Danbury. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Jody Ridley got his first and only win in NASCAR’s top division. Bobby Allison finished second. Ronnie Bouchard qualified 12th but crashed 22 laps into the event and finished 27th.

  Thirty years ago in 1986, Jamie Tomaino beat the best there was at Stafford on Friday night. Mike Stefanik finished second and was followed by Greg Sacks and Kenny Bouchard. There were only 19 Modifieds on hand and despite the fact that they were all good ones, the Stafford management was having thoughts of dropping the mighty Mods from their weekly schedule. Saturday night at Waterford, Dale Holdridge held off Ricky Young to take the win. At Riverside it was Reggie Ruggiero and at Riverhead Wayne Anderson led Steve Park to the checker. The Modified tour was at Monadnock on Sunday. Kenny Bouchard took the win over Jim Spencer, Jamie Tomaino and John Rosati. In other weekend action, Leo Cleary was the Pro Stock winner at Seekonk and Jim Spencer was the Modified winner at Shangri-La. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Geoff Bodine started third and won the 500 lap-500 mile grind that saw temperatures in the 90's.Darrell Waltrip was the Busch Grandnational winner.

  Twenty five years ago in 1991, Stafford rained out on Friday night but Ted Christopher more than made up for it on Saturday night as he went two for two as he won a left over 75 lapper and the regular Saturday night 35 lapper at the Waterford Speedbowl. Reggie Ruggiero beat out Jerry Marquis at Riverside and Eddie Brunnhoelzl Jr took Riverhead. Ken Wooly won an open competition event at New Egypt on Sunday as he out distanced Tony Siscone and Jamie Tomaino. At Monadnock, Kirby Monteith ruled the roost as he won out over Dwight Jarvis, Jerry Marquis and Mike Ewanitsko.

  Twenty years ago in 1996, Lloyd Agor took the lead on lap 42 of the 50 lap feature at Stafford and went on to take the win over Bo Gunning and Tony Sylvester. Indy pole sitter Scott Brayton died in a practice crash caused by a deflated tire. On Saturday the Waterford Speedbowl management called the night’s races at noon because of impending rain. Needless to say, they got skunked by the weatherman and it never did rain. Waterford’s events were run on Sunday. After a big wreck on the start, Scott Spaulding went on to take the win. Tom Rosati, pinch-hitting for Reggie Ruggiero who was at Nazareth for a Mod tour event got credit for the win at Riverside on Saturday. Ruggiero arrived late and jumped into the car in the mid stages but Rosati started the event and got credit for the win. Ted Riggott finished second. Double features were run at Riverhead with Tom McCann and Chuck Steuer taking the wins. The Modified Tour was at Nazareth for a 100 lapper on Sunday. Reggie Ruggiero led for 71 laps and was going into the final turn on the last lap when he was dumped by Jan Leaty, who went on to take the win. A very unhappy Ruggiero restarted and ended up 19th.Tony Hirschman finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller, Ed Kennedy, Ken Wooley and Tony Ferrante Jr. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Michael Waltrip took the lead with nine laps to go and won the Winston. It was also on this weekend that Alan Johnson got his 100th DIRT victory, that coming at Canadaigua

  Fifteen years ago in 2001 Ted Christopher beat out Eric Berndt and Lloyd Agor at Stafford on Friday night. Christopher started 13th and took the lead on lap 9 of the 50 lap feature. Dennis Gada made it three in a row at Waterford on Saturday night. Mark LaJunesse finished second with Ed Reed Jr, third. John Fortin won a 50 lapper at Riverhead and Mike Carpenter beat out Jimmie Blewett at Wall. The NASCAR Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth. Ted Christopher took the pole and led the first 15 laps before losing a drive shaft. Mike Stefanik led from lap 16 to 42 when he pitted. Nevin George and Tom Cravenho had their time at the point until lap 62 when Stefanik re-assumed the lead with Mike Ewanitsko in tow. The two swapped the lead until lap 76 when Stefanik hit the wall after banging wheels with Ewanitsko. Ewanitsko went on to take the win and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr, John Blewett III, Charlie Pasteryak and Zane Zeiner. There were a total of nine cautions in the 100 lap event. Greg Biffle won the BGN 150, also at Nazareth. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won the Winston in his back-up car after wrecking his original car on the start. Because of wet track conditions, NASCAR allowed this to happen. Todd Bodine won the No-Bull 5 Winston Open. Maynard Forette, at 65 years of age won the Saturday night modified event at Lebanon Valley and Scott Sharp took the Indy 500 pole with a speed of 226.037 mph.

  Ten years go in 2006 the Stafford Motor Speedway suffered a rain out for the second week in a row. At the Waterford Speedbowl Dwayne Door made it five in a row in the Sportsman division, thus setting a division mark. Dorr, who started 12th, needed only six laps to take the lead. He then survived a restart- challenge from eventual runner-up Jim Procaccini with four laps left to the 20 lap feature. Jeff Pearl scored his first win of the season as he beat back advances from Dennis Gada. Chris Pasteryak finished third with rookie contender, Tyler Chadwick, fourth and Rob Summers, fifth. Other winners at the shoreline oval were Tim Jordan in the Late Models, Danny Field in the Mini-Stocks and Mark Bakaj in the Legends. In some sad news, Don Fowler, who finished sixth in the SK Modified feature suffered a stroke shortly after returning to his home in Clinton, CT.
  In other Saturday night action, John Blewett III scored his 15th career at the Wall Township Speedway. At the Riverhead Raceway Chris Young won his second Modified feature of the year. True Value Modified Series racing at the Lee Raceway rained out. Bob Santos III won a USAC Midget event at Concord, NC.
  It looked like many of Nextel Cup star Dale Jarrett’s fans would be burning their t-shirts, hats and jackets as they voiced their protests of him leaving the Ford camp for Toyota. Jarrett, who was 49, was in the twilight of his career with maybe only a couple years remaining of his competitive career. It was all about money and greed. Jarrett would drive a Toyota bodied Nextel Cup car owned by Michael Waltrip and financed by Toyota. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Jimmie Johnson won the Nextel All-Star Challenge and its $1 million prize Scott Riggs won the Nextel Open.
  Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was almost one mile-an-hour faster than anyone else on the track and easily captured the pole for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. The No.6 Penske Racing Honda posted a four-lap average of 228.985 m.p.h. for his first Indianapolis 500 pole.
  The DIRT MotorSports Inc. head office in Norman, Okla., appeared to have taken a more professional direction in the business of auto racing entertainment with in its top management. Paul Kruger, who first approached DIRT founder Glenn Donnelly with Boundless Motor Sports Racing's offer to purchase Donnelly's organization, resigned his position as president and CEO of the new DIRT MotorSports and sold the majority of his holdings in the company. In his place, Tom Deery was named acting CEO. Deery, a former NASCAR official whose family runs Rockford Speedway in Illinois, also is president of DIRT MotorSports, which includes the World of Outlaws sprint and late model series, DIRT NorthEast and both the UMP and MARS late model series.

  Five years ago in 2011, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on Spring Break before returning on Friday, May 27 at Stafford for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.
  The Thompson Speedway began its weekly Thursday Night Thunder Series. Keith Rocco of held off Ted Christopher to score the victory in the Sunoco Modified feature event. Derek Ramstrom was the feature winner of the Super Late Models and Rick Gentes was triumphant in Late Model action. Jay Sundeen wired the field to score the victory in the TIS Modifieds while Larry Barnett the all-time winning most driver in the Limited Sportsman division, added to his tally with a victory and Danny Field was the top dog in the Mini Stock main event; making it two-in-a-row for the Icebreaker winner.
  Once the sun went down the temperatures dropped but the action on the track kept spectators warm. The competition was very good but the fields of cars, with the exception of the Limited Sportsman (26) and the Mini Stocks (23) was sparse. There were 13 Late Models, eleven Sunoco (SK) Modifieds, eight Super Late Models and nine Thompson Modifieds
  Keith Rocco led green to checker to score the victory in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature event. Ted Christopher finished second followed by Todd Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, and Danny Cates.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway ran on Friday night and boasted 25 SK Modifieds in the pit area. Ted Christopher recovered from his race ending broken crankshaft on opening night to pick up his first win of the 2011 season with a dominating performance in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dillon Moltz was the winner of the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr. became the first repeat feature winner of the 2011 season with a victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes drove to victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
  In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, Six divisions were in competition on Saturday night, with Keith Rocco, the defending division champion, returning to the winner’s circle in the SK Modifieds®.
  Brian Andronaco Jr. was the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race, his first on the season. Ed Puleo made it two in a row in the Street Stocks. A first time winner took the checkered flag in the Mini Stock feature with third generation racer Jeffrey Cembruch took the win. Rounding out the night’s winners were Dana Dimatteo in the Legends Cars and Taylor Martin who won the Bandolero feature.
  Waterford drew 19 Modifieds which is fairly respectable. The Street Stock field, which at on time numbered over 100 per night, was a mere 11.
  In Modified action south of the Mason-Dixon line at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC early evening rain forced cancellation of the scheduled event.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, John Fortin used an 11th lap double file restart to his advantage to score the victory in the 35-lap NASCAR Modified feature event for the Whelen All-American Series. The victory was worth $1,450 to the former three time track champion and his 24th career visit to victory lane.
  In Nationwide Series racing at Dover, Carl Edwards was sure he tapped Joey Logano on the last lap but Edwards missed him, and all the mayhem behind him as Logano lost control on his own and tagged the wall, triggering a wreck-filled final lap that knocked out several contenders and let Edwards win the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Dover International Speedway. Matt Kenseth was the Sprint Cup winner.

  Last year, 2015, The big event in New England was the opening round of the Tri-Track Modified Series at the Lee USA Speedway. Titled The Bullring Bash, the event was hosted hosted and promoted by The Racing Guys and the "Long Island Mod Maniac" Jim Schaefer. The group put a lot of hard work and time into making this big money event a reality for the Mighty Modifieds. Summer like temps in the 80s greeted fans and competitors.
  Chris Pasteryak got by race leader Steve Masse when he got loose on the backstretch with ten laps remaining. Finishing up with a green-white-checker finish, Pasteryak scored an impressive win over Todd Annarummo, Woody Pitkat, Andy Seuss and Anthony Nocella.
Pitkat took the lead at the start in the event that had only two cautions. Pitkat led through lap 24 when Steve Masse powered by to the top spot. Masse set a torrid pace and appeared headed for victory when his tires wore out ten laps from the finish. Pasteryak, who had started fifth, jumped at the opportunity when Masse had problems. In the final ten laps Masse faded and ended up 14th at the finish. Sixth through tenth were Richard Savory, Norm Wrenn, Todd Szegedy, Todd Patnode and Ryan Preece.
  The first caution flag of the event flew on lap 18, when multiple cars spun in a cloud of smoke at the end of the frontstretch. Cars involved included Richard Savary and Matt Hirschman, the defending race winner. The tangle eventually forced the defending race winner to the pit area for the remainder of the event.
  Event organizer Jim Schaefer that Chris Pasteryak's payout totaled $5540, Steve Masse $4400, Todd Annarummo $3000, Woody Pitkat $2960, Todd Patnode $2200 and Andy Seuss $2000.
  The first race NorthEast Race Cars & Parts Tri Track Open Modified Series at Lee USA Speedway paid out $55,500. That included purse and all sorts of lap money, bonus money, sponsorship money.
  The Tri Track Open Modified Series will return to action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on June 13.
  Tommy Barrett Jr., a driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, was placed on indefinite probation with conditions for violations of the 2015 NASCAR Rule Book. Barrett Jr. was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4.9A (behavioral penalty). It also appeared that Barrett, who was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on April 17 in Willimantic, CT would also be ineligible to compete in the Valenti Modified Racing Series. The Valenti series recently added a rule stating that one must have a valid drivers license in order to drive in any events. In most cases a driver's license is suspended pending the outcome of court action.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the DARE Stock Xtra Mart Xtra D 50 program on Friday, May 15th on what was also Whelen Event Night with three Ingersoll Rand contingency bonuses going to the winners of the SK Modified®, Late Model, and SK Light features. Xtra Mart Convenience Stores put up a $250 bonus that was split evenly among the top-5 finishers in the extra distance DARE Stock feature event. Dan Dembek was the big winner, taking his second feature win of the 2015 season in the 20-lap DARE Stock feature. Ronnie Williams became the first repeat winner in the SK Modified® ranks, outdueling Eric Berndt and Ryan Preece in the process. Adam Gray picked up his first win of the season after three second place finishes, Tony Membrino, Jr. won his second consecutive feature in the SK Lights, Cliff Saunders got his second win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, and Dana DiMatteo won his third consecutive Legend Cars feature.
  In the SK Modified event, Williams, who originally started 10th, and Eric Berndt ran side by side until Williams got clear to the lead on lap-39. Williams led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2015 season and become the first repeat SK Modified® feature winner. Berndt finished second, with Ryan Preece, Keith Rocco, and Dan Avery rounding out the top-5.
  Adam Gray was officially disqualified from victory in the 30-lap Late Model division feature from Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway. Gray was disqualified from the victory for us an unapproved part, which was a driveshaft that didn’t meet measurement requirements. Stafford Motor Speedway also announced that SK Modified driver Ron Silk of Norwalk was disqualified from his 18th place finish in the 40-lap feature for that division on Friday. Silk was disqualified for use of unapproved shocks. He was also penalized for actions detrimental to the sport for use of unsecured lead weights in his car. He was fined $500 for that violation. Silk was running the Glenn Johnson owned SK Modified in place of its usual driver Jeff Rocco.
  Keith Rocco would have to wait another week for immortality at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Rocco tied the all-time feature win record set by Phil Rondeau when he won the Late Model feature at the shoreline oval on Saturday night, May 2. Stiff competition and a garage accident were determining factors. The SK Modified feature was highlighted by a 14 lap battle between Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco. Christopher took the lead at lap 21, passing Ed Puleo coming off of turn 4 as Rocco made his move through turns 1 and 2 and latched himself to the bumper of Christopher for 5 laps. Christopher was not to be denied as he pulled away and left the rest of the field in the dust. It was Christopher's first win in the division since 2004. Following Christopher to the checkers was Keith Rocco, Nick Ladyga, Diego Monahan, and Paul Kusheba IV.
  Rocco finished second to Jason Palmer in the Late Models. Earlier in the day Rocco sustained facial injuries when hit in the jaw with a tire iron in a garage accident. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Wayne Burroughs in the Mini Stocks, Dana DiMatteo in the Legends and Chris Meyer in the Limited Sportsman.
  The Speedbowl has now completed three weeks of competition by the new management of owner Bruce Bemer and General Manager Shawn Monahan. Nothing but good vibes have been emitted from the track that less than a year ago was on the brink of extinction. Continued good luck to the new management!
  The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island beat the rain on Saturday night. Tom Rogers took the NASCAR Modified win over Ryan Preece and Howie Brode.
  Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Jason Myers won the first of two 25-lap Modified races while Burt Myers struggled with brake failure and it was a big night for David Calabrese, a Modified tour driver from New Jersey who now builds racecars in Mooresville, NC. Calabrese won the second 25-lap race, registering his first Bowman Gray victory. Burt Myers, who had won the first two Modified races of the season, had brake problems and finished 15th and 13th.
  Perfect track position helped Denny Hamlin leave Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night with a million dollars more than he had when he arrived. Hamlin won the pole, restarted first in the final 10-lap segment of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, and held off a late charge from Kevin Harvick to score the victory. It’s the first All-Star win of Hamlin’s career, and the first one for his Joe Gibbs Racing team.
  Chase Elliott led more laps than anyone in Sunday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series 3M 250 at Iowa Speedway, but Chris Buescher was the man in front when the race ended. Elliott paced the field for a race-high 114 laps, but he stayed out after the event’s final caution to preserve track position. Fresher tires prevailed, as Buescher dove to the inside, cleared Elliott and Ryan Reed in half a lap and sped to his second career XFINITY victory.
  Scott Dixon punctuated the day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway by earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole position in qualifications for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
  Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, recorded a four-lap average speed of 226.760 mph on the 2.5-mile oval.

  That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail,

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: May 20, 2016

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