The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

September 2, 2016

  Sixty five years ago in 1951 Moe Gherzi made it three in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won the 25 lap Modified feature on Wednesday night. Dick Dixon was the Claiming Car winner. Red Bolduc was the Saturday night Modified winner.

  Sixty years ago in 1956, Wild Bill Slater in the Baldy Simonds No.11 scored the Wednesday night Modified win at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Don Collins was the Saturday night winner at the shoreline oval. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner.

  Fifty five years ago in 1961 Ernie Gahan was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. At Norwood, Red Foote beat out Rene Charland to win the Minuteman 400. Ernie Gahan finished third with Eddie Flemke, fourth. Ted Stack was the Modified winner at Waterford.

  Fifty years ago in 1966 the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran a 200-lap event with Bill Wimble outlasting Eddie Flemke for the win. Bill Slater finished third with Robbie Kotary, fourth. Fonda was still closed for a Fair and at Utica-Rome; their annual 400 was washed out. Maynard Forette was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Bob Potter won a 30 lapper at Waterford. Glynn Shafer made it two in a row in the Bombers. On Labor Day Waterford ran a 45 lap Modified Special event that was won by Bill Scrivener. Also on Labor Day, Norwood ran the Bardhal 400 which were in reality twin 200s. Sharing the winners circle after they recorded wins were Johnny Thompson and Bugs Stevens.

  Forty five years ago in 1971, Labor Day weekend meant big money, extra distance races. The action started at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY on Friday night with a 250 lapper for the Modifieds. Max Berrier, one of the hot dogs from North Carolina, made one of his infrequent trips north pay off as he stole the show from the regulars. Fifty-five Modifieds were on hand to qualify for the 30 starting spots. Guy Chartrand, in the Hemi-Cuda of Ed Cloce, was the pole sitter with Leo Cleary in the Mystic Missile on the outside. Berrier started seventh and wore the competition down to record the win. Eddie Flemke, in the Art Barry No.09, finished second and was followed by Bernie Miller, Andy Romano, Denis Giroux, Richie Evans, Hop Harrington and Fred DeSarro. Stafford ran a 30 lap, double point event on Saturday night. Leo Cleary, now on home turf, took the win over Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens, Bernie Miller and Bob Santos. At Waterford Bob Potter won a 50 lap Modified event on Saturday and Daring Dick Caso won a 75 lapper on Labor Day. The action shifted to Utica-Rome on Sunday night where Richie Evans won the New Yorker 400 over Fred DeSarro, Jerry Cook, Billy Hensley and Lou Lazzaro. Modified history was made on Monday at Stafford when Gene Bergin in the Bobby Judkins Pinto bodied 2x broke the track qualifying record and became the first Modified to turn the half-mile speedway in the 20.00 second bracket. Due to the efforts of Stafford owner Jack Arute, the Pinto body was made legal for Modified competition and would be the beginning of the end of pre-war coupes used as bodies for Modifieds. Bergin cruised to a convincing win over Fred DeSarro, Max Berrier, Bugs Stevens and Eddie Flemke. Fulton Raceway also ran on Saturday and Monday. Bob Sweeny won the Saturday 30 lapper over Neil Trusedale and Sonny Seamon. Monday’s Labor Day 100 saw Geoff Bodine take the win over Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro and Merv Treichler.

  Forty years ago in 1976, Ed Yerrington, the new promoter at Stafford, was looking for a way to boost attendance at the Stafford Speedway. He scheduled a mid week open competition event and named it Modified Madness. To make this event different, Yerrington allowed all females, accompanied by a male, free admission. The result was one of the biggest crowds ever seen for a mid-week event as the attendance was in excess of 10,000, at the Stafford oval. Richie Evans borrowed a wing off the Super of Nolan Swift and took home the win. Maynard Troyer finished second with Fred DeSarro and Bugsy Stevens rounding out the top four. Riverhead ran a 200 lapper on Friday night with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win over Fred Harbach, Wayne Anderson and Jerry Cook. At Monadnock, Mike Weeden took the feature but it was Punky Caron who won the track championship. Saturday night saw the running of the annual Oswego Modified 200.Maynard Troyer took the big win over southern invader Paul Radford. Roger Treichler finished third. At Islip, Wayne Anderson was the big winner with Jerry Cook, second. Pete Fiandaca won at Riverside and it was Dave Dias at Seekonk. Geoff Bodine made it two in a row at Thompson on Sunday night as once again, Fred DeSarro had to settle for second. John Rosati, Ray Miller and Jerry Pearl rounded out the top five. Stafford ran their annual 200 on Monday. Bodine carried his winning ways over from Thompson to make it two for two. Jim Spencer finished second and was followed by Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans and Satch Worley.

  Thirty five years ago in 1981, Stafford ran the Labor Day weekend 200 on Friday night. Close to 7500 saw Richie Evans take the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Ray Miller, Corky Cookman and Bugsy Stevens. Waterford ran a 100 lapper, which saw Bob Potter start on the outside pole and lead all the way to take the win over Jerry Pearl, Moose Hewitt and Dave Webber. Geoff Bodine came north to drive the Taylor No.99 to a convincing win in the Oswego 200. Satch Worley finished second with Ray Miller, third. Randy LaJoie returned to victory lane in the Sportsman division at Danbury. Gino Spada was the Modified winner. At Thompson on Sunday night, Reggie Ruggiero took the win over Joe Howard and Corky Cookman. Other weekend winners were Punky Caron at Monadnock, Bugsy Stevens at Seekonk, George Wagner at Islip, Stan Greger at Riverside and Jeff Fuller at Westboro. Doug Hevron won the Oswego Supermodified Classic.

  Thirty years ago in 1986, the Labor Day weekend started on Wednesday when the NASCAR Modified Tour visited the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island for a 200 lapper. Tiger Tom Baldwin took the win over Jim Spencer, Bill Park and Brian Ross. On Friday night, George Brunnhoelzl Jr was dialed in as he took the top spot at Stafford. Kenny Bouchard finished second. Waterford ran a 75 lapper on Saturday night with Rick Donnelly taking the win over Harry Rice and Mark LaJunesse. George Kent used a bit of cunning to win the Oswego Modified 200.Kent used an early pit stop to his advantage as he was able to pass most of the competition while they pitted later. For his efforts, he pocketed $17,535. Brian Ross finished second and was followed by Mike McLaughlin and Jan Leaty. Jerry Marquis won at Riverside while Steve Park and John Blewett Jr won twin features at Riverhead. Stafford closed out the weekend with their annual 200 on Labor Day. Proving his Friday night win was no fluke, George Brunnhoelzl Jr. took the win over Brian Ross, Kenny Bouchard and John Rosati. Bentley Warren won the Oswego Supermodified Classic and in Winston Cup action at Darlington, Tim Richmond took both the pole and the win.

  Twenty five years ago in 1991, Bob Potter won the SK modified feature at Stafford and wrapped up the track championship. Steve Chowanski had been a contender but found himself sitting on the sidelines after he was thrown out of the event after wrecking Bo Gunning. Waterford ran a 200 lapper on Saturday night with Ted Christopher taking the win in the Ronnie Berndt No.54.Don Fowler finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Bob Potter's luck at the shoreline oval continued to be bad as he wrecked the Ceravolo family modified for the seventh time. Jeff Fuller took the $20,000 to win Oswego Modified 200 after his brother Rick, in the Fiore 44 lost an engine while leading with two laps to go. George Kent finished second and was followed by Steve Park and Richie Gallup. Dick McCabe won the wreck marred Busch North Series event at Riverside Park. McCabe's average speed for 150 laps was 31mph. Harry Gant was the Winston Cup winner at Darlington and on a sad note, Winston Cup starter Harold Kinder passed away.

  Twenty years ago in 1996, Bob Potter took the Friday night SK Modified win at Stafford after Ted Christopher and Jim Broderick wrecked each other on the last lap. Christopher still wrapped up the SK title despite being suspended from running the Fall Final. Broderick was fined for rough riding. The Featherlite Modifieds were also at Stafford for a 150-lap event. Mike Stefanik took the win over Charlie Pasteryak, Ed Flemke Jr. and Bob Gegetskas. Scott Spaulding scored his third win of the year at Waterford on Saturday night. Mike Gada finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Riverside ran a 100 lapper with Reggie Ruggiero taking his seventh win of the season and Tom McCann got his sixth at Riverhead. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Terry Labonte took the win and in Craftsman Truck racing at Nashville it was former modified competitor Dave Reszendes taking the win. Doug Didero won the Supermodified classic at Oswego and Brad Leighton was the Busch North Series winner at Lee.

  Fifteen years ago in 2001, Thompson ran its final Thursday night event of the summer, which saw Ted Christopher make it four in a row. Christopher started 12th in the 30-car field and took the lead on lap 9 of the 30 lap feature. Bert Marvin, Kerry Malone, Scott Quinn and Jeff Malave rounded out the top five. Christopher carried his winning ways over to Stafford where he won twin 40’s on Friday night. The Waterford Speedbowl hosted the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour on Saturday night. Ed Flemke Jr. got shuffled from third to eighth on the start but drove a heads up race to take the lead from Ted Christopher on lap 123 and went on to take the win. Christopher finished second with Mike Stefanik holding on for third. Tom Cravenho and Rick Fuller rounded out the top five. There were ten yellows for 49 laps. Ed Reed Jr. scored his first ever SK Modified win in convincing fashion as he beat out Ron Yuhas and Dennis Gada. Gary Swanander won out over Chris Young at Riverhead. Thompson closed out the weekend with twin 20’s for the SK Modifieds. Ted Christopher made it six in a row as he won both of them. Kerry Malone finished second in both and Bert Marvin finished third, again in both events. In Winston Cup action at Darlington, Ward Burton, with Tom Baldwin as his crew chief, won the event over Jeff Gordon. Steve Park suffered severe head injuries the day before when his car made a sharp left hand turn after his steering wheel came off. Larry Foyt, who had nowhere to go, broadsided Park. Jeff Burton won the Darlington Busch Grandnational event.

  Ten years ago in 2006, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headed into the eye of Hurricane Ernesto as the competitors traveled to the Martinsville Speedway on Thursday and Friday. For the most part much of the storm headed north by late Friday allowing qualifying to take place. There were 49 Modifieds on hand and when all was said and done Mike Stefanik took the Busch Pole as he toured the .525 mile speedway in 18.833 seconds which was to the tune of 100.547 MPH. Todd Szegedy was second fastest with a speed of 99.974 MPH. Rounding out the top five were Donnie Lia, Jerry Marquis and Eric Beers. Twenty cars qualified with the balance of the field to be determined by a 50-lap consolation event. The top eight redrew for starting positions with Eddie Flemke Jr. drawing the pole position with Tony Hirschman drawing the second spot. Stefanik drew the fourth starting spot.
  The 50-lap consolation event was slated to start at 7:00p.m. but a heavy shower drenched the track shortly after 6:00p.m. The consi didn’t get the green until almost 9:00p.m. Kevin Goodale took the eventual win over Ron Silk.
  The main event, originally scheduled for 300 laps got the green flag at around 10:15p.m. Mike Stefanik had the dominant car but in the end, at 200 laps when the race was called, Jimmy Blewett had the Eddie Partridge No.12 in the top spot. Blewett and Partridge, who dedicated their win to the late Charlie Jarzombek, led only 20 laps. With 19 laps to go on lap 182 Blewett was following Stefanik into turn two. Stefanik drifted up slightly, which opened up a hole on the low side. Blewett went for the spot and in doing so nudged Stefanik. Ted Christopher, who ended up in second spot was also part of the controversy as he nudged Zach Sylvester out of the way. Stefanik and Sylvester finished 14th and 15th respectively. James Civali, Todd Szegedy and Doug Coby who drives the Curt Chase No.77 based in Mansfield, rounded out the top five. Coby and his crew were extremely happy as they recovered from qualifying problems, which forced them to take a provisional starting spot in the rear of the field. Just missing the top five but turning in a fine run was rookie Ron Yuhas Jr. who finished sixth. Matt Hirschman and Kevin Goodale finished seventh and eighth while southerners Tim Brown and Gene Pack rounded out the top ten. It was close to 1:00am when the checkered flag was displayed. Fifteen of the original 43 starters were running at the end. Early leader Jerry Marquis lost a lap in the late going and ended up 16th.
  Corey Hutchings had a good shot at becoming the 2006 Late Model Champion at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night until he came unglued on the 13th lap of his 25 lap feature. Hutchings, who has four victories to his credit, was battling with RJ Marcotte for fourth spot when contact was made on the backstretch, which resulted in Hutchings spinning around. Hutchings felt the contact and resulting spin was intentional. Chief Steward Richard Brooks also felt it was intentional and ordered Marcotte to restart in the rear. Marcotte refused to comply forcing Brooks to rule that even if he continued to race he would no longer be scored. Hutchings evidently didn’t get the word that the track had reacted to the situation and chose to retaliate on his own. After a pit stop Hutchings reentered the track and went after Marcotte, finally cutting him off in turn four. Hutchings then exited his car and went to Marcotte and started punching him. When all was said and done both Hutchings and Marcotte found themselves thrown out of the event and parked in the infield. Hutching is facing possibly a multi race suspension. Repeat winners were the other stories at Thompson International Speedway on Thursday night. Tommy Cravenho of Raynham, MA took down his second win of the season in the Sunoco Modifieds. Fred Astle of N. Westport, MA scored his second Pro Stock win at the Connecticut oval while TIS Modified racer Leo Oliviera also of Raynham posted his second. Dave Trudeau of Mansfield, CT. proved that the third time is a charm with his Late Model victory. New faces in victory lane included Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI, who earned a career first in the Mini Stocks and Keith DeSanctis of Monson, MA, who claimed his first triumph of the season in the Limited Sportsman nightcapper.
  The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway beat the onslaught of the remains of Hurricane Ernesto as their September Series of Friday night racing went off as planned. Eric Berndt drove to his third SK Modified® feature win of the 2006 season, Scott Foster, Jr. won his first Late Model feature win of the 2006 season, Brit Andersen won his fourth SK Light Modified feature win of the 2006 season, Kevin Gambacorta scored his second Ltd. Late Model feature win of the 2006 season, and Jim Brice was a first time winner in the DARE Stock feature.
  Impending rain from what was Hurricane Ernesto prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. The entire program was postponed until Saturday, October 7. Racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island and at Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey was also rained out.
  Kasey Kahne scored a double at the California Speedway as he won both the Busch Series event and the Nextel Cup event.

  Five years ago in 2011 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Thirty four cars, including 13 from the southern series, were on hand for the combination Northern-Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event.
  Driving the same car that was declared illegal at New Hampshire, Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman once again won one of the Whelen Modified Tour Series' highest paying events. The car number was changed and it was listed under a different car owner plus the crew chief was changed but once the race started Newman again drove away with the win. Newman led the first 86 laps as he jumped out from his fourth place starting spot with ease. After pitting four a complete set of tires Newman restarted seventh. Wasting little time the defending race winner put Todd Szegedy and James Civali away as he reclaimed the top spot on lap 128 and was out for a Sunday drive after that to claim the win. Newman exited the car and dedicated his win to a suspended owner/crew chief which was a slap in the face to NASCAR and the whole Tour. Szegedy and Civali faded in the closing laps as Justin Bonsignore raced his way into the runner-up spot. Szegedy finished third with Civali, fourth. Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five. Eric Beers was sixth, followed by Ron Silk, Frank Fleming, Andy Seuss and Eric Goodale. Fleming was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver and will be credited with a win on the tour. It is his first career victory.
  Eight of the original 34 starters finished on the lead lap. First to retire were Ron Yuhas and Andy Petree who were involved in a wreck on lap 8. Southern competitor Daniel Hemric suffered rear end failure on lap 9 and second fastest qualifier Erick Rudolph lost an engine on lap 14. Corey LaJoie appeared to have a left front tire blow out on lap 42 when he hit the wall. Also collected in the accident was George Brunnhoelzl III and Bryon Chew. Gary McDonald was sidelined on lap 53 with a defective driveshaft and pole sitter Bobby Santos suffered a major setback when his engine soured on lap 76. Doug Coby also had engine trouble as he parked it on lap 95. Mike Stefanik had a real strong run going before he was collected by Tim Brown who was unable to avoid the slow car of Wade Cole. Rowan Pennink, Jamie Tomaino and LW Miller were also eliminated in a wreck. Ed Flemke only completed 136 laps because of a vibration.
  Silk, by virtue of his 7th place finish, stretched his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points lead to 41 over Rowan Pennink, who finished 21st overall. Todd Szegedy is third, 16 points behind Pennink.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets back on track with the inaugural event at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway on Sept. 4.
  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour had a short break as they headed to the Caraway Speedway on Friday, Aug. 26.
  Andy Seuss repeated his win of a year ago with a victory in the Caraway 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race on Friday night. The 24-year-old driver from Hampstead, N.H., battled L.W. Miller early and then pulled away from George Brunnhoelzl III in the late stages to score his ninth career series win - his fifth at Caraway in 23 starts. Seuss, who entered the event fifth in the championship standings, had a nearly perfect day at the .455-mile track, topping the practice speeds early and then winning his fifth career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.
  Although he led from the drop of the green, Seuss had to battle back after L.W. Miller took the lead from him on Lap 14. Seuss muscled his way by and held command from there in his No. 11 Phoenix Pre-Owned/Triad Auto Sales Dodge. Brunnhoelzl, who started eighth on the grid, worked his way to the front in pursuit of the lead - but in the closing laps Seuss pulled away. They were followed to the finish by Jason Myers, with Frank Fleming taking fourth and John Smith in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Miller, Daniel Hemric, Renee Dupuis, Austin Pack and Burt Myers. A slim field of 13 cars were on hand for the event.
  In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the weatherman prevailed. The August 25th race was cancelled due to the forecast of thunder storms and heavy rains. The decision, made by track owner Don Hoenig, came early in the day so that competitors and fans alike would not head for the speedway only to find themselves heading home upon their arrival.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway got in their show ahead of Hurricane Irene. Ryan Preece picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Jim Mavlouganes picked up his first Late Model feature victory in 6 years in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bob Charland picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Cory Casagrande picked up his second win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
  In the late going of the SK Modified feature Ted Christopher got by Dave Gervais for fifth and Keith Rocco moved by Todd Owen for fourth place on lap-36 while Preece continued to lead Woody Pitkat by several car lengths. Preece led the field to the checkered flag for his fourth win of the 2011 season, but behind Preece, Rocco made a move to the inside of Eric Berndt in turn 3 they touched wheels with both cars going hard into the turn 3 wall. Pitkat finished second behind Preece with Christopher, Owen, and Gervais rounding out the top-5. Rocco ended up 18th. Following the event Rocco was given a one week suspension for overaggressive driving into 54 of Berndt during the feature and conduct detrimental to the sport of Auto Racing. Among those missing from the SK Modified field was Frank Ruocco who is serving a two race sentence for over aggressive driving and Un-sportsman like conduct during the August 19 feature.
  At the Waterford Speedbowl racing was cancelled due to the pending arrival of rain associated with Hurricane Irene.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island racing was cancelled due to the Hurricane.
  Kyle Busch edged teammate Joey Logano at the Bristol Motor Speedway finish line Friday night to become the all-time winningest driver in Nationwide Series. The win was the 50th of Busch's career in NASCAR's second-tier series and broke a tie the 26-year-old had with Mark Martin.
  In Sprint Cup racing at Bristol, Brad Keselowski picked up his third win of the season - second since breaking his ankle in an Aug. 3 crash.
  On a sad note, Raymond “Hully” Bunn of Bristol, CT died at age 91 on August 25 at Bristol Hospital after an illness. His biggest win may have been the first 100 Mile Langhorne National Open for Modified Sportsman Stock Cars (now known as the Race of Champions) at Langhorne, PA on October 14, 1951 with relief from his friend and colleague Dick Eagan. Bunn won more than a hundred Stock Car races in a career that lasted from 1949 to 1965 and was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.

  Last year, 2015 Keith Rocco ended a long dry spell as he scored a one-two punch by scoring back to back twin 25 lap wins in the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Pepsi Back to School Bash on Wednesday night as the speedway wrapped up it's popular Wednesday night series. Rocco's career overall total of 207 wins also include victories at Waterford and Stafford Speedways. To make the night complete for the Rocco family Keith Rocco’s brother Jeff Rocco continued on his hot streak by winning three consecutive races in the Late Model division at Thompson and four of the past five Late Model races at the track. His streak would continue as Rocco handily won a hotly contested event in the 25-lap sprint, which included three and four-wide racing at times.
  In the first 25 lap Sunoco (SK type) Modified event, Rocco started in the top ten and worked his way up quickly to the lead, taking advantage of an early caution when Adam Norton, who had concerns during practice about the engine in his car, made hard contact with the turn three wall. Rocco raced his way to second with 23 laps to go and engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with Nick Ladyga for several laps before another caution slowed the field with 19 laps remaining. Rocco would benefit from a great restart and never look back holding off heavy hitters Woody Pitkat, Ryan Preece, Nick Ladyga and his own teammate Eric Berndt who rounded out the top five.
  In the second 25 lap Sunoco Modified event, Rocco worked his way to the top three with fifteen of the twenty-five laps remaining and engaged in a neck-and-neck battle for the lead with Ryan Preece. A bonsai dive-bomb with ten to go gave Rocco the lead and it was pedal to the metal as he held off Preece to sweep the Sunoco Modified double header. Following Preece was Nick Ladyga, Jason Sundeen, Kerry Malone and Ryan Morgan.
  Other winners at Thompson were Charlie Wilcox in the Outlaw Modifieds, Dave Trudeau in the Mini Stocks, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Jeff Rocco in the Late Models.
  The entire program was over by 8:35pm. Among those on hand was Linda DeSarro Palardy. Linda's first husband was the late Fred DeSarro who was a multi-time Modified track champion at the Connecticut oval.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night. During the week leading up to the event NASCAR issued the following rule as a few race teams on the tour were not going but were letting others use their car numbers. "If a team is using a WMT car number, said car must show up at the track in that teams hauler with that teams crew chief." This was done to protect race teams that have supported all events.
  Justin Bonsignore grabbed the lead from Doug Coby on Lap 115 of the 200 lap event on the tight quarter mile and held on through six caution restarts to take down a third career victory at his home track, and second in a row in 2015. A 12th and final caution came out on Lap 199 just after Bonsignore had taken the white flag in his No. 51 M3 Technology Chevrolet, and he came around to a yellow-checkered. It was the eighth career victory overall for the Holtsville, New York native. Coby and his No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair/A&J Romano Construction Chevrolet finished second, while rookie Chase Dowling, Donny Lia and Eric Goodale rounded out the top-five. Tom Rogers Jr., who won his second-consecutive Coors Light Pole Award at Riverhead earlier in the day, finished sixth. Woody Pitkat, championship points leader Ryan Preece, Todd Szegedy and rookie Jeff Goodale completed the top-10.
  There were 31 cars on hand including Melissa Fifield, who as usual was the slowest of the bunch. Because of the fact that she shows up at all tour events she was able to bump her way into the starting field. She managed to complete 66 laps before giving up. There were 12 caution periods for a total of 84 laps. Bonsignore's average speed was 43.321 mph.
  The Whelen Modified Tour Series goes into a four week hibernation before heading to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 26.
  At the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night it was the Lincoln Tech Back 2 SK®ool Blitz. Taking down feature wins on the night was sophmore sensation Ronnie Williams who scored his sixth SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Brandon Michael in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legend Cars feature.
  Williams, who started 10th, took the lead from Matt Galko as they completed lap-24. Rowan Pennink was third with Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece making up the top-5. Preece spun in turn 2 and collected Eric Berndt to bring the caution out with 26 laps complete. On the restart, Williams took the lead while Pennink and Galko were side by side for second and Woody Pitkat was side by side with Todd Owen for fourth. Pennink took second with Galko slipping into third. Pitkat got the better of his duel with Owen and took fourth.
  In the closing laps Pennink looked like he had a stronger car getting into the corner than Williams, but Williams would stretch out his advantage once they came off the corners. The two leaders were leaving Galko behind, who was in turn all by himself as Pitkat and Owen were side by side for fourth. Williams led Pennink to the checkered flag to pick up his sixth win of the season. Galko finished third, with Pitkat beating Owen to the line by a nose for fourth place. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Owen, Keith Rocco, Tyler Hines, Ted Christopher, Jeremy Sorel and Ryan Preece.
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Chris Pasteryak scored a dominate win over rookie driver Kevin Iannarelli who chased Pasteryak through out the event. Les Hinckley followed up his win at Monadnock with a third place finish. He was filling in for Rowan Pennink who was at the Riverhead Raceway. Russ Hersey and Donnie Lashua rounded out the top five.
  In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl six divisions of racing were on tap including the North East Street Stock Tour. Recording wins were Diego Monahan in the SK Modifieds, Corey Coates in the Limited Sportsman, Dana DiMatteo in the Legends, Corey Barry in the SK Lights, Larry Loomis in the Mini Stocks and Josh Galvin in the North East Street Stock Tour.
  In the SK Modified feature Monahan, who was the divisions point leader in what had to be the tightest points race in recent memory at the Bowl, fought an epic battle of horsepower from the drop of the green flag. Monahan, who started 6th, moved up to 2nd by lap 7 with Tyler Chadwick hot on his rear bumper. Monahan chased leader Dylan Izzo for 8 laps, when caution came out after Ryan Morgan made contact with the backstretch wall. On the ensuing restart, it was Izzo on the inside, Monahan on the outside, Chadwick, and Ted Christopher, who is 6th in points, just 30 back of Monahan, on the outside of the 2nd row. Monahan powered his way into the lead on the restart with Christopher glued to his bumper. Caution came out again on lap 13 after Dennis Gada, driving in place of his son Joey Gada, made hard contact with the turn 3 wall. Monahan held the lead on the restart, with Keith Rocco moving into 2nd past Christopher. Monahan and Rocco battled side-by-side, with Christopher right in the mix. Christopher passed Rocco and began to work on Monahan with 10 to go. Christopher pulled along side Monahan with 4 laps remaining, and used every trick in the bag to try to pass him. Monahan was able to withstand numerous challenges from Christopher in the closing laps to take home the win. Following Monahan across the line was Christopher, Rocco, Chadwick, and Paul Kusheba.
  With the New London-Waterford Speedbowl nearing the stretch run to close out one of the best seasons ever at the shoreline oval fans who haven't seen a racing event at the Route 85 oval were urged take in a race before the snow would fly. The new management of Bruce Bemer and Shawn Monahan had taken giant steps in improving the facility from head to toe plus the racing there was second to none.
  Veteran Verizon Indy Car Series driver Justin Wilson died from injuries suffered in a crash during the recent ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Wilson, 36, was involved in a crash with Sage Karam with 21 laps to go in Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Karam lost control of his car coming out of the exit of turn one and slammed hard into the outside wall while leading the race.
  Wilson drove into the debris field left by Karam’s crashed car and it appeared that part of the nose that had broken loose off Karam’s Chevrolet hit Wilson, rendering him unconscious and sending his car out of control into the inside wall.
  Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pa., where he died the following day. Many in racing took to social media Sunday to thank Tony Stewart for donating the use of his plane to Justin Wilson’s family after Wilson was injured.
  Despite losing his life after a freak Indy Car accident, Justin Wilson is living up to his reputation as a wonderful human being. On Tuesday, Wilson's brother Stefan tweeted out that by donating Justin's organs, the fallen driver helped save six lives.
  Paul Menard led the final six laps to win Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race, the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at the ELKHART LAKE, Wis. road course.

  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: September 2, 2016

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