The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

September 9, 2016

  Sixty five years ago in 1951 Dave Humphrey, who would go on to become the first Modified Champion at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, was the 25 lap Modified winner on Wednesday night. Moe Gherzi won a 25 lapper on Saturday night and on Labor Day, Wild Bill Slater won a 50 lap Modified feature.

  Sixty years ago in 1956 Don Collins was the Wednesday night winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Red Bolduc won a 100 lapper at the shoreline oval on Labor Day.

  Fifty five years ago in 1961, Ted Stack was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. At the Waterford Speedbowl, Johnny Sandberg was the Wednesday night winner. It rained at the shoreline oval on Saturday night but cleared by Labor Day where Don Bachand put one of the early versions of the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missiles in victory lane.

 Fifty years ago in 1966, the Albany Saratoga Speedway ran their final event of the season. Kenny Shoemaker took the win over Elton Hill, Jerry Cook, Bill Wimble and Hank Stevens. Pete Corey took the win on the dirt at Stafford. Fonda got back in action on Saturday night with twin features that were won by Lou Lazzaro and Bill Wimble. In the first feature, Wimble finished second with Pete Corey, third. Jeep Herbert finished second in the second event with Cook, third. At the Waterford Speedbowl, Don Collins took the 30 lap Modified feature while Eddie Bunnell was the Bomber winner. Twin 200’s made up the New Yorker 400 at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Bill Wimble won the first 200 over Kenny Shoemaker, Rene Charland, Sonny Seamon and Jerry Cook. In the nightcap it was Don MacTavish taking the win over Robbie Kotary, Wimble, Ernie Gahan and Charland.

  Forty five years ago in 1971, Albany Saratoga ran their final event of the season. Guy Chartrand in the Ed Cloce Hemi-Cuda took the win over Richie Evans. Stafford had a 30 lapper scheduled for Saturday night but rain prevailed as it did on Sunday at Trenton, NJ where an All Star League event was planned. Waterford and Thompson were rained out

  Forty years ago in 1976, Islip ran a 300 lapper on Saturday night. Richie Evans took the win over Charlie Jarzombek, Jerry Cook, Fred Harbach and SJ Evonsion. Dick Dunn, in the Al Gaudreau No. 3 won a 100 lapper at Waterford and on Sunday at Thompson, Fred DeSarro broke Geoff Bodine's win streak. Leo Cleary finished second with Don LaJoie, third.

  Thirty five years ago in 1981, Ray Miller scored the biggest win of his racing career as he won the Thompson 300 in front of a crowd of 12,000.Geoff Bodine finished second and was followed by Jim Spencer and Jamie Tomaino. Miller qualified 19th and took the lead on lap 280 from Geoff Bodine. Tom Sylvester won the non-qualifiers second in a close duel with Dickie Doo Ceravolo. In other weekend action, George Kent beat out Maynard Troyer at Spencer, Wayne Anderson won a 200 lapper at New Egypt, Kenny Bouchard took the win at Seekonk, Stan Greger was victorious at Riverside and Roger Treichler won his eighth of the season at Lancaster. At the Danbury RaceArena Lou Funk was the winner over Don LaJoie in a 50 lap Modified feature

  Thirty years ago in 1986, Jim Spencer won the Thompson 300.Spencer took the lead from Carl Pasteryak on lap 266.With worn out tires, Pasteryak faded and wound up sixth. Mike McLaughlin finished second and was followed by Kenny Bouchard, George Brunnhoelzl and Tom Baldwin. Ted Christopher won the SK modified portion of the 300 weekend. In addition to the 300,Spencer won at Shangri-la on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Sal Accardi at Riverhead; Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside and at Wall Stadium, ageless veteran Gil Hearne got his 83rd career win. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Tim Richmond took the win.

  Twenty five years ago in 1991, the Thompson 300 for the Featherlite Modifieds and the Busch North Series ran together at Thompson. Steve Park, in the Curt Chase No.77 took the lead with 20 to go from Mike Stefanik and went on to record the big win. Reggie Ruggiero finished second while Stefanik faded to finish third. Jeff Fuller had been the dominant car until he blew a tire and crashed on lap 127.Fuller ended up 28th. Rounding out the top five were Rick Fuller and Doug Hevron. Ricky Craven wrapped up the Busch North Series title in fine style as he took the BNS win over Tony Hirschman and Dave Dion. Waterford ran on Saturday night with Don Fowler taking the win over Bob Potter and Ronnie Rocco. Harry Gant delivered a one-two punch at Richmond as he won both the Busch Grandnational and Winston Cup events.

  Twenty years ago in 1996, it was make up weekend at Loudon for the Modifieds with a left over 40 lapper starting the weekend off on Saturday. Steve Park passed Tony Hirschman with three laps to go to win the Saturday afternoon event Hirschman finished second with Tim Connolly, Charlie Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik rounding out the top five. Park finished second in the make up for the Busch North Series behind Dale Shaw. On Sunday at Loudon, Ted Christopher led three different times for a total of 102 laps to win the Busch North Series 125.In Sundays Modified 125,Tony Hirschman took the lead from Dan Avery on lap 94 and went on to take the win over Mike Stefanik and Tim Connolly. Avery ended up fourth with Tom Baldwin rounding out the top five. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Ernie Irvan took the lead from Johnny Benson with 19 laps to go in the 400-lap event. Jeff Gordon finished second.

  Fifteen years ago in 2001, Lloyd Agor won the final Friday night event at Stafford. Eric Berndt finished second with Chuck Docherty third. Saturday night at Waterford, Eric Berndt took the win over Jay Miller, Ron Yuhas JR and John Brouwer. During a post race inspection, Waterford Tech officials felt that Berndt’s shocks were illegal and disqualified him, handing the victory to Miller. The disqualification was reversed six days later after Waterford officials conferred with their counterparts at Stafford and at NASCAR in Daytona. At Riverhead, Don Lia took the season ender over Dan Jivanelli. Ted Christopher won twin-20s at Thompson and moved himself within 6 points of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series title. The Thompson 300 was run on Sunday. With over 7000 on hand, Jerry Marquis scored an impressive win over Reggie Ruggiero, Ted Christopher, Ed Flemke JR and Mike Stefanik. Marquis took the lead for the win on lap 255 from Christopher. There were 12 cautions for 61 laps. A frightening crash occurred on lap 156 when Carl Pasteryak hit the wall and burst into flames. Paul Suprenant came to his aide and pulled the paving contractor out of the wreckage, saving him from serious injury. On a sad note, Mrs.Jennie Nicol, who built and owned the Wall Stadium in New Jersey, passed away at the age of 86. In Winston Cup action at Richmond, Kevin Harvick bumped Ricky Rudd out of the lead with 17 laps to go. Rudd returned the favor and bumped Harvick out of the lead with five laps to go and went on to take the win. Jim Spencer won the Richmond Grandnational event. A few days later, on September 11, our world as we know it would change, as terrorists would crash planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

  Ten years ago in 2006, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was part of what was called Modified Mania at the Thompson Speedway. Modified Mania replaced what was the Thompson 300. The 150 lap Whelen Modified event carried a posted purse of $86,753. A somewhat slim field of 39 cars was on hand to qualify for the 36 starting spots up for grabs. Donny Lia, who had somewhat of a bland season, took the Busch Pole as he toured the 5/8-mile oval in 18.793 seconds. Tony Hirschman Jr. was second fastest with a run of 18.798 seconds. The re-draw for starting positions saw Ron Silk draw the pole with Matt Hirschman drawing the outside pole. Tony Ferrente Jr., Tony Hirschman and Eric Beers drew positions three through five. Rounding out the top ten starting spots were Ron Yuhas Jr., Mike Stefanik, Reggie Ruggiero, Lia and Jerry Marquis.
  Eric Beers finally got the monkey off his back as he put the mighty No.3 of Michael and Janice Boehler in victory lane. Beers pitted just before the 1/3 mark of the 150-lap event for fresh tires and did a masterful job of working his way to the front and took the lead from Ed Flemke Jr. on lap 102. Flemke faded in the later stages as he ended up fourth in the final rundown. Reggie Ruggiero ended up second with John Blewett III in third spot. Rounding out the top five were Flemke and Tony Ferrante Jr. Sixth thru tenth were Jerry Marquis, Doug Coby, Matt Hirschman, Mike Stefanik and Rick Fuller. Of the 36 starters, 26 of them were running on the lead lap at the end. For the most part it was a clean race with only 8 cautions for 38 laps slowing the field. There were four lead changes among four drivers. Matt Hirschman led from his outside pole starting spot to lap 52. Mike Stefanik, who still leads the point standings, led from lap 53 to lap 73. Stefanik currently holds a 94 point edge over Ted Christopher who finished 28th, three laps down at the finish. Matt Hirschman led again from lap 74 to lap 87 and Flemke led from lap 88 to lap 101 before giving way to Beers who led the rest of the way.
  In addition to the Whelen Modifieds the True Value Modifieds, Race of Champions Modifieds, Sunoco SK type Modifieds and Pro Four Modifieds also raced at the Thompson Speedway last weekend. The support events provided numerous wrecks. Woody Pitkat won the Sunoco SK type Modified event over Jeff Malave, Tom Cravenho and Todd Ceravolo.
  Woody Pitkat of Stafford, CT scored his fourth Sunoco Modified victory of the season to extend his lead another two points over race runner-up Jeff Malave. The Sunoco Modifieds went 35-strong for the 50-lap special for Sunoco Modified Mania. Steve Masse led the opening lap but a caution flew immediately when the accordion effect at the head of the field put Joe Lemay in the outside wall. On the ensuing restart, Bert Marvin was able to jump out to the lead. Masse was slow exiting turn two bunching up the pack once again to send cars at the rear of the field scattering and spinning. Marvin had to contend with Salzarulo, Malave and Cravenho on the restart. Marvin was up to the task resuming his lead with Malave in second and Keith Rocco charging into third. Malave immediately got alongside Marvin and was able to take over the top spot on lap three. Malave led Marvin, Rocco, Ceravolo and a battle for fourth between Jimmy Blewett and Ted Christopher. Blewett got by Christopher leaving him to fight off Pitkat. On lap 8, Pitkat moved into sixth while Christopher continued to backslide losing a position to Tommy Cravenho as well. The leader began to stretch his lead over Marvin. The best battle was for the third position with Rocco, Ceravolo, Blewett and Pitkat. Ceravolo got a run inside Rocco and the two made contact. Rocco held on while Blewett was able to get by both. Blewett started to chase down Marvin. Malave watched his lead evaporate when the caution flew for an incident involving Ryan Stone and David LaCroix. Under the caution, Rocco headed down pit road for a chassis adjustment. The restart order found Malave, Marvin, Blewett, Pitkat and Ceravolo inside the top five. Malave was out front with Blewett and Marvin running nerf-bar to nerf bar for second. Blewett was able to grab the runner-up position. Cravenho was also able to advance moving into the fifth position over Ceravolo. Pitkat began his run to the front taking over the third position from Marvin, taking Cravenho along for the ride. Blewett completed his charge over the second position from Malave on lap 22. The halfway marker was marred by a scary wreck that resulted in John Catania sliding down the backstretch on his roof. Catania was uninjured. Both Marvin and Christopher pitted under the caution. With Blewett back out front, Malave bobbled on the restart giving up the second spot to Pitkat. Pitkat got alongside Blewett for the lead on lap 26. The two ran side-by-side for several laps before a slide by Pitkat gave Blewett the lead. Malave made a run on Pitkat in second to no avail. The action was slowed on lap 32 when Dan LaJeunesse spun on the front stretch. Other cars were ultimately involved in the incident. Blewett handily ran out to the lead again as Pitkat and Malave resumed their battle for the second spot. Action was halted immediately for Dave Nordman and Russ Blanco. Matt Hirschman, making a rare appearance in the Sunoco Modifieds, failed to come up to speed on the ensuing restart sending cars scrambling. Rocco caught a wheel and launched into the outside wall. The car burst into flames. Rocco was able to walk away from the incident. There was a shocking development when leader Jimmy Blewett headed down pit road with mechanical woes as the rear end in his car broke. Pitkat inherited the lead with Malave in second, Cravenho in third. Ceravolo ran fourth and Earl Paulus in fifth. With ten laps remaining the top five got strung out with Pitkat stretching his lead ever-so-slightly over Malave.
  The northern New England based True Value Modified Series finished under a yellow-checker after a massive wreck on a restart with two laps to go. Kirk Alexander took the eventual win over Les Hinkley, Jon McKennedy and Dwight Jarvis. Earl Paules won the Race of Champions Modified Tour event over Matt Hirschman and Eric Beers.
  The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway hosted round two of its September Series on Friday night. Two more Friday night events remain before the season CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend, scheduled for September 30th and October 1st. Willie Hardie drove to his second SK Modified feature win in the last three weeks, Tom Fearn won his first Late Model feature win of the 2006 season, Chris Matthews won his fourth SK Light Modified feature of the 2006 season, Paul Conte scored his firsts career Ltd. Late Model feature win, and Norm Sears picked up his first DARE Stock feature win of the 2006 season.
  In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Willie Hardie, of Stafford Springs, battled with Lloyd Agor for several laps before taking the lead on lap-25. Once Hardie was in the lead, he was never headed as he picked up his second win in the last three weeks to put himself in the thick of the SK Modified championship race. Curt Brainard led the first 11 laps before giving up the lead to Agor on lap-12. Agor then led until lap-25, when Hardie took over. Rounding out the top-5 behind Hardie was Agor, Jeff Baral, Chris Jones, and Eric Berndt. It was a bad night to be a points leader, as Woody Pitkat, Todd Owen, and Frank Ruocco all experienced difficulties during the race, relegating them to poor finishes and tightening the championship battle. Pitkat only completed 8 laps before retiring, Ruocco lost a radiator in an accident and lost 5 laps before getting back on track to finish 17th, and Owen finished 18th after his crew had to repair a broken driveshaft. In the chase for the SK Modified championship, Frank Ruocco holds a 14-point lead over Eric Berndt, 536-522. Willie Hardie is third, 16 points behind, Todd Owen is fourth, 22 points behind, and Jeff Malave is fifth, 28 points behind.
  The Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to a mid-evening shower and was able to complete only part of their program before track management was forced to call a halt to the racing and pull the plug around 9pm after thundershowers moved in. The Sportsman completed their first scheduled event with Billy Gertsch winning followed by Dwayne Dorr and Ed Puleo. The Legends completed their feature with Michael Gervais winning. The Modified feature had 12 laps completed when the rains came. Tom Fox was leading over Shawn Monahan, Dennis Gada, and Jeff Pearl.
  It looked like there would be racing at the Waterford Speedbowl at least until June of 2007 as Terry Eames was given an extension to the foreclosure proceedings that were impending on the property in which the Speedbowl is located. Eames stated that Harvey Industries, a supplier of windows and doors, was looking to purchase eight of the Speedbowl’s 38.75 acres. Eames at the time had $1.6 million in debt hanging over his head. In a somewhat related matter, driver Ken Voite’s Defective Premises suit against Eames was scheduled for pre-trial conference on January 18th of 2007. There was a movement underway to buy Eames out which was stalled at the time.
  NASCAR suspended Kevin Grubb indefinitely because he refused to submit to a random drug test following the Busch Series race at Richmond International Speedway. Kevin Harvick was the Nextel Cup winner at Richmond.

  Five years ago in 2011, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Canada for the first Tour event to be run out of the country, the Delaware 150 at the Delaware (Ont.) Speedway. Erick Rudolph earned his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 21 Means 21 Pole Award Presented by Coors Light Saturday in qualifying for the inaugural Delaware 150. Rudolph, from Ransomville, N.Y., posted a fast lap of 17.585 seconds (102.360 mph). A slim field of 18 cars was on hand. Many competitors who are tour regulars including Mike Stefanik, Woody Pitkat, and Ron Yuhas jr felt that it was not cost effective to make the long haul to Canada. Also missing was Ted Christopher.
  Ron Silk appeared to have a game plan that even a 48-minute rain delay could not derail. He patiently waited for the right moment and won the Delaware 150. In the tour’s inaugural race beyond the borders of the United States, Silk started from the outside pole position and held on to that track position until it was time make his move. That time came with a Lap 107 pass of Erick Rudolph, who led the race’s first 106 circuits after earning his second career pole position. From there, it looked as if it was going to be smooth sailing for Silk behind the wheel of the Eddie Partridge No. 6 T.S. Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm Chevrolet. By Lap 132, he built a 1.222-second lead on Rudolph, but a spin in Turn 4 by Rowan Pennink brought out the caution flag and allowed weather into the equation.
  Pennink’s broken oil line forced NASCAR officials to display the red flag to allow the clean-up crew easier access to the spill which trailed from Turn 1 all the way into Turn 3 on the half-mile track. In the meantime, rain began to fall on the track. The weather coupled with the clean up sent the cars to pit road on Lap 143. After the weather delay, Silk survived two green-white-checkered finish attempts before beating Doug Coby to the finish line. Todd Szegedy picked up third followed by James Civali and Eric Beers in fourth and fifth, respectively. Eric Berndt, Justin Bonsignore, D.J. Kennington, Jaime Tomaino and Patrick Emerling rounded out the top 10.
  The race was slowed due to caution a season-high 13 times. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to familiar territory for its next outing to take on its counterparts from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on Sunday, Sept. 11 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in the UNOH Showdown. Each tour will have a 125-lap feature event followed by a 50-lap exhibition event with competitors from each tour pitted against one another.
  It looked like Ted Christopher and crew chief Brad LaFountaine had kissed and made up as the Hartford Courant reported that the Ed Whelen No.36 will make its return to the Whelen Modified Tour Series at the Thompson Speedway in the UNOH Showdown. Both Christopher and LaFountaine were at the top of their game and when this condition exists there are differences of opinion. Car owner Ed Whelen shut the team down when the in-fighting got out of hand.
  In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway track owner Don Hoenig was forced to cancel the event due to the adverse conditions created by Hurricane Irene. The track property incurred little damage but the big problem was no electricity. There is a generator on site but it is unable to handle the entire electrical load that is required.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway began the month of September with a new face in victory lane at the conclusion of the SK Modified feature. Woody Pitkat nailed down his first win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Corey Hutchings picked up his first win of 2011 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano scored his fifth win of 2011 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, D.J. Burnham picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande picked up his division leading 5th win of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
  In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Curt Brainard took the lead at the drop of the green with Brian Sullivan and Sean Foster locked in a side by side duel for second. Side by side behind Brian Sullivan and Foster was Nichole Morgillo and Dan Avery. Sullivan got cleared of Foster for second with Avery taking third. Glen Reen was now into fourth and Woody Pitkat was up to fifth with 8 laps compete.
  Brainard held the lead until lap-9 when Sullivan went to the front, but his lead was short lived as Avery moved to the front on lap-10. Pitkat moved into second behind Avery with Eric Berndt moving by Sullivan to take over third place. Pitkat quickly moved by Avery to take the lead on lap-12. Berndt got by Avery for second place on lap-17 while Pitkat continued to lead the race.
  After a trip through the grass that lost his several positions a few laps earlier, Ryan Preece was charging his way back towards the front of the pack as he moved into sixth on lap-18. Berndt pulled to the outside of Pitkat and the two cars began to run side by side for the race lead with Pitkat able to keep Berndt behind him at the start/finish line.
  Berndt made the pass for the lead on lap-22 as Preece went by Todd Owen to take over fifth place. The order was now Berndt ahead of Pitkat, Avery, Glen Reen, and Preece. The top-5 remained unchanged until lap-33 when Preece moved by Reen for fourth place, but Reen came right back and took the spot back. Preece made another pass on Reen for fourth place on lap-37 in turns 1+2 and this time he made the pass stick. As the cars came back around and down the frontstretch, Reen made a run back to the inside of Preece and the cars touched wheels with Reen climbing Preece's tires, which launched his car into the air for a split second and the caution came out as Reen's car was showering sparks as it made its way back to pit road.
  Back under green, Pitkat charged into the lead with Berndt settling into second. Todd Owen made a great move to get up to third with Preece behind him in fourth. Pitkat lead Berndt to the checkered flag by less than a car length to score his first victory of the 2011 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and Berndt was Owen, Preece, and Brainard.
  Among the missing were Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher, the division's biggest stars. Rocco was suspended from competition for one event following his crash with Eric Berndt on August 26. Christopher was at the Oswego Speedway competing in a SuperModified event. Rocco's car was in competition with Berndt doing the driving. Christopher finished seventh at Oswego.
  At the Waterford Speedbowl Woody Pitkat carried his winning ways over to the shoreline oval as he won the Thunder on the Sound SK Modified event. Pitkat brought his Thompson car, the No. 00 of Jimmy Paige. Starting mid field, Pitkat drove a smart race and was in the right place at the right time. When Todd Ceravolo encountered fuel delivery problems while leading with 17 laps to go in the 150 lap event Pitkat was in the cat bird seat, ready to pounce. Once in the lead Pitkat was never headed. Ceravolo, driving a car owned by Harry Rhaume, rebounded to finish fifth. Pitkat, who got the jump on the final restart ahead of Diego Monahan, ran unchallenged the rest of the way. Ted Christopher raced by Monahan but had nothing left to throw Pitkat’s way. Monahan held back Rob Janovic for third, while Janovic rebounded from a late pit stop to take fourth.
  The event was one of eight features as part of the track’s Thunder on the Sound program, presented by the Connecticut National Guard. The win, carrying a $5,000 payday, was Pitkat’s first at the Speedbowl and came in just his second career start in the SK Modified® division at the track.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, John Fortin continued his hot streak by winning again, which further reduced points leader Justin Bonsignore's point lead. Bonsignore had a lot on his plate as he headed to Canada for the Whelen Modified Tour Series event held there following the Riverhead event.
  In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action, New Englander Andy Suess held off the field in a 14-lap dash to the checkered flag to win the Newport News Shipbuilding 150 in NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action on Saturday at Langley Speedway in Virginia.
  Seuss started from the outside pole position and fell back early, but he battled back to take the lead on Lap 129 and led the rest of the way. A debris caution on Lap 132 set up a sprint to the finish that he was able to manage in his No. 11 Phoenix Pre-Owned/Triad Auto Sales Chevrolet. John Smith crossed the line in second followed by Thomas Stinson, who led a race-high 88 laps, in third. Polesitter and defending tour champion Burt Myers finished fourth while Jason Myers finished in the fifth position. A light field of 13 cars was on hand.
  In the annual Labor Day Modified Classic at the Oswego Speedway in New York, Chuck Hossfeld ran a smooth, heady race, avoiding all the tangles that shortened the field to just 10 finishers. The Ransomville, NY driver was rewarded with a $6,500 winner’s check in a hectic green-white-checkers finish.
  Both Tony Hirschman and Jimmy Zacharias lost top-three finishes when they tangled on lap 198. Daren Scherer pushed Hossfeld to the finish, but had to settle for second. Lee Sherwood, Kyle Ebersole and Earl Paules completed the top five.
  Otto Sitterly could not have waited any longer. The New York driver passed teammate Mike Lichty on the last turn of the final lap to win the Budweiser International SuperModified Classic at the Oswego Speedway. It was the only time Sitterly led in the 200-lap race, which is the top event of the year in supermodified racing.
  Carl Edwards recovered after a pit-stop penalty early in the race and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night. With the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee bearing down on Georgia, NASCAR postponed its Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway until 11 a.m. Tuesday. Jeff Gordon won the rain-delayed NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his third victory of the season and 85th of his career.
  In some sad news, passing away was Raymond "Hully" Bunn, 91, of Bristol. His passion for racing spanned over 60 years. He won the first 100 Mile Langhorne National Open for Modified Sportsman Stock Cars, which is now known as the Race of Champions. He also won the first race ever held at Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York. His winning spirit on the racetrack carried through to him professionally as owner of B&M Machine Shop and B&M Gem Shop, as well as a proud member of the 7th armored division commanded by Gen. Patton during World War II

  Last year, 2015, At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night taking down weekly feature wins were Woody Pitkat in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Daniel Wesson in the SK Light feature, David Arute in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Frank L’Etoile, Jr. in the DARE Stock feature, and Mikey Flynn in the Legend Cars feature.
  Pitkat led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2015 season and the very first win for his car owners, the Skowyra family. Ted Christopher finished second, with Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5.
  The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Stafford Speedway on Friday night. Chris Pasteryak took the lead from Woody Pitkat on a restart with 20 laps, of the 80 lap feature, to go and then held Pitkat off to the checkered flag to pick up his 5th VMRS feature win of the 2015 season.
  Mike Willis, Jr. finished third with Ted Christopher and Norm Wrenn rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth included Dave Etheridge, Keith Rocco, Dylan Kopec, Dan Meservy, Jr and Matt Swanson. There were 32 cars on hand.
  Dylan Kopec brought the field to green leading the first 9-laps when Rowan Pennink displaced Kopec and led the field until lap-11. Todd Szegedy held the top spot for one circuit before Pitkat took the lead and became the class of the field. The race stayed green until lap-58 when the first of a series of caution flags and a red flag were needed for spins and crashes. Todd Szegedy, while running second and after a restart, spun collecting four other cars that would change the scenario for others when the race went back to green.
  Pitkat led the field to a short-lived green flag with Pasteryak, Norman Wrenn, Kopec, and David Schneider following. Following another yellow flag on lap-60, Pasteryak sprinted by Pitkat on the re-start when the race leader did not come up to speed. Pitkat then put on a tremendous drive to catch Pasteryak but fell short at the finish by 0.118 seconds.
  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returned to action at the Langley Speedway in Virginia on Saturday night. George Brunnhoelzl III, the four-time tour champion from Long Island won the Coors Light Pole Award and cruised to the win in the Bayport Credit Union 150 presented by Budweiser. Brunnhoelzl's No. 28 Composite Tech/Dunleavy's Truck & Trailer/Oval Speed Chevrolet finished .387 seconds ahead of Kyle Ebersole, who edged Andy Seuss for the runnner-up spot.
  It was Brunnhoelzl's 24th career win and second at Langley. He also had a pair of seconds and a third in the last six tour races at the .396-mile oval. Brunnhoelzl led 141 laps and pulled away from Seuss on a Lap 148 restart. Burt Myers finished fourth and his brother Jason Myers, the championship points leader entering the night, was fifth. Jason Myers now leads Seuss and Burt Myers by just one point apiece, and Ebersole by five. Brunnhoelzl, in search of a fifth title, is just nine points out of the lead.
  Jeremy Gerstner was sixth, followed by Bobby Measmer Jr., Frank Fleming, Joe Ryan Osborne and David Calabrese. There were 14 cars on hand.
  In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco celebrated the fact that his wife Cassie was expecting their second child by ending a long dry spell in the SK Modified ranks at the shoreline oval. Rocco had been winless in the SK Modifieds at the bowl since July 4. After starting seventh and taking the lead on lap 13 of the SK Modified 35 lapper Rocco cruised to his fifth victory of the year in the division. His track win total was then 118 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 208 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways. Following Rocco was Ted Christopher, Paul Kusheba IV, Joe Gada and Zach Sylvester.
  Timmy Jordan took the lead early and held the lead through the first caution of the event which came out on the first lap. Only 3 laps later Jordan was stripped of the lead as Paul Kusheba IV took the lead away. With 23 laps remaining in the event Keith Rocco took the lead away from Kusheba IV and was able to keep that lead through the rest of the race. There were 2 more yellow flags that were thrown in the event.
  Other Saturday night winners at the Speedbowl were Jason Palmer in the late Models over Keith Rocco, Ed Gertsch in the Limited Sportsman, Jordan Hadley in the Mini Stocks and Dana Dimatto in the Legends.
  The Riverhead Raceway ran twin 30's for the NASCAR Modifieds on Saturday night. Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead took a big step towards his third career Riverhead Raceway NASCAR Modified championship Saturday night when he swept the Miller Lite night Twin 30 feature events for his 7th and 8th victories of the season. The second race was shortened to 16-laps when a massive multi car pile-up entering turn three ensued, the wreck was the worst of it's kind in recent memory doing serious damage to several race cars. For the most part all drivers were able to walk away from the carnage.
  When the first race concluded Tom Rogers Jr. was first under the checker flag in the Jessup Landscaping Chevy with Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. settling for runner-up money in the TS Haulers Chevy. Rookie driver Kyle Soper of Manorville kept himself in the mix for the win and was third over the line in the Jack Anthony Pools entry. Ron Silk was fourth with Dave Sapienza of Riverhead completing the top five.
  When the field lined up for the second Twin 30 Ryan Preece was well aware if he were to have a chance at passing Tom Rogers Jr. it would have to be on the initial drop of the green and that is exactly what he did but again Tom Rogers was equal to the task. Ryan did all he could to gain a run on Tommy to the outside and in the process might have used up his right rear tire as he got loose as the race wore on. Sensing the current WMT championship leader was fighting his car Kyle Soper on lap 15 was able to work his way under Preece for second just one lap before the "big one" unfolded.
  As the field entered the third turn contact was made by two cars with the result finding no less than 7 cars getting caught up by the exit gate. Involved were Vinny Biondolillo, Ron Silk, John Fortin Sr., Kyle Ellwood, Rob McCormick, John Fortin Jr. and Ken Darch. Fortin Jr. was transported to the hospital with an injured left wrist/arm but was released to seek further care from an Orthopedic specialist on Tuesday, all other drivers were okay. Ken Darch received the most damage to his car when his body was torn from the car, the "brain" bar part of NASCAR'S rigid safety requirements as well as Darch's helmet had tire marks on them indicating how lucky the veteran driver was to walk away. With just six cars left on the track NASCAR officials threw the checker flag with Tom Rogers Jr. earning his 39th career NASCAR Modified win. Kyle Soper was second to Rogers in the second race while Ryan Preece crossed the line third. Howie Brode of East Islip and Dave Sapienza completed the top five.
  In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Carl Edwards captured his first Southern 500 win in the race’s return to Labor Day weekend. Denny Hamlin led 117 of 147 laps in the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver needed a flawless final 10 laps to emerge victorious. Hamlin, who also won the pole, passed JGR teammate Daniel Suarez with three laps to go to clinch his fourth career win at Darlington.

  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 9, 2016

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