Sixty five years ago in 1951 Don Collins was the 25 lap Modified
feature winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Sixty years ago in 1956 the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl had a 100 lapper on Sunday afternoon which was
won by Don Collins. Leo Cleary, in his first ever appearance at the
shoreline oval, was the 15 lap non-Ford winner.
Fifty five years ago in 1961 saw
rain prevail at the Waterford Speedbowl.
Forty five years ago in 1971, The
Race of Champions at Langhorne and the Cardinal 500 at Martinsville went
head to head because of a previous rain out at Langhorne. Many of the NASCAR
Modified contingents at Langhorne withdrew their entries as they were
committed to the Martinsville event. Needless to say, both events went off
as planned. At Langhorne, it was to be the last ever event to be held at the
one mile circle track and it was Roger Treichler taking the win over Jim
Shampine. Bob Merz finished third with Graeme Bolia and Lou Lazzaro rounding
out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Mike Loescher, Will Cagle, Chuck
Boos, Sonny Seamon and Gary Iulg. Among those who chose not to go to
Martinsville were Ray Hendrick who finished 32nd, Geoff Bodine who finished
27th and Charlie Jarzombek who finished 26th. Richie Evans, finished 28th.
The Race of Champions, a fall tradition since 1951, would move to the 1-1/2
mile Trenton Fairgrounds Speedway for the 1972 event. At Martinsville, Fred
DeSarro took the win over Jimmy Hensley, Denis Giroux and Jerry Cook. Sonny
Hutchins was the Late Model Sportsman winner. With the NASCAR Modified
season now over, Jerry Cook was declared the division champion. Finishing
second in the point standings was Fred DeSarro with Bugsy Stevens, Bernie
Miller and Dave Lape rounding out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Billy
Harman, Dick Fowler, Denis Giroux, Billy Hensley and Lou Lazzaro.
Forty years ago in 1976, all was
Thirty five years ago in 1981, all
Thirty years ago in 1986, the World
Series was run under blustery conditions. Wes Rosner suffered severe head
injuries when his late model hit the first turn wall driver’s side first.
Rosner would survive but his racing career would be over. Corky Cookman
started on the pole of the 50 lap modified feature and led the entire
distance to record the victory. Mike McLaughlin finished second and was
followed by Jim Spencer, Jamie Tomaino, Brian Ross and Tony Jankowiak. Kerry
Malone was the SK modified winner and Dick Houlihan was the Mini-Modified
Twenty five years ago in 1991, the
season ending World Series was on tap. For the 125 lap Featherlite Modified
Tour event, Mike Stefanik took the pole. Stefanik re-drew the outside pole
but proved to be no match for Rick Fuller who jumped to an early lead.
Fuller held the lead until he pitted on lap 65.By the 100 lap mark, Fuller
was back in the lead and went on to take the win. Reggie Ruggiero ended up
in second spot and was followed by Stefanik, Tom Baldwin, George Kent, Steve
Park and Wayne Anderson. Bob Potter was the SK modified winner as he beat
out Tom Tagg for top honors. Other winners were Eddie St Angelo in the Pro
Stocks, Bentley Warren in the Supers, Nick Fornoro in the Midgets and Chuck
Docherty in the Late Models.
Twenty years ago in 1996, rain played
havoc with the World Series at Thompson. Promoter Don Hoenig pulled the plug
and rescheduled for the following week.
Fifteen years ago in 2001, the
Thompson Speedway closed out the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series
with the running of the $65,068 World Series 125. One of the biggest crowds
in the history of the speedway were on hand as 550 race cars including 55
Modifieds and 16,000 fans which forced the speedway management to close the
parking lots one hour before the noon time start. It was a season end
showdown for championship honors between Mike Stefanik and Jerry Marquis.
Ted Christopher, in his last ride in the Gary Cretty No.25 took the lead
from Stefanik on lap 65 and ran away with the event. Stefanik, with Marquis
all over him at the end, finished second and wrapped up the division
championship, his fifth, which was the first ever for car owner Art Barry.
Charlie Pasteryak finished fourth with Tony Hirschman, fifth. The Sunoco-SK
Modifieds provided their usual crashing and banging with a surprise ending.
Coming off the fourth turn on the final lap, Kerry Malone held a slight
lead. Ron Yuhas JR made a gut move to the outside and as the two headed for
the stripe Malone attempted to block. Yuhas didn’t lift and the two came
together just before the finish line. With Yuhas riding the wall, he and
Malone crossed the line together and the race was declared a dead heat.
Chuck Docherty ended up third with Ed Flemke JR and Wayne Bellefleur
rounding out the top five. At the drivers meeting it was announced that
NASCAR would be mandating head and neck restraints for their major divisions
and it was only a matter of time when they would be come mandatory at all
NASCAR events. In other weekend action, Danny Johnson walked off with
$20,000 after winning the DIRT Eastern States 200 at Middletown, N.Y. In
Winston Cup action at Talladega Dale Earnhardt JR passed Bobby Labonte on
the last lap to take the win. Labonte bumped with Bobby Hamilton who hit the
wall and triggered a 16-car wreck. Tony Stewart ended up second.
Ten years ago in 2006, Stafford,
Waterford and Thompson were quiet. NASCAR reprimanded Carl Pasteryak and
Matt Hirschman, following their actions at the World Series at Thompson,
Pasteryak got physical with Rene’ Dupuis and Hirschman got overly vocal with
Richard Savory after on-track incidents. Pasteryak, driver of the No. 75
car, was suspended from the next Whelen Modified Tour event and suspended
from NASCAR until Oct. 30. He was penalized for violating section 12-4-A of
the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book: actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved
in an altercation with another competitor on the track; verbal abuse to a
NASCAR official and failure to follow a directive from a NASCAR official.
Hirschman, driver of the No. 59 car, was also penalized for an incident
after the race. Hirschman was placed on probation until Dec. 31 for
violating section 12-4-A: actions detrimental to stock car racing; failure
to follow a directive from a NASCAR official; of the 2006 NASCAR Rulebook.
Matt Kobyluck shed the bridesmaid tag in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
at the Irwindale Speedway in California, scoring a hard-fought victory in
the NASCAR Grand National Division feature event while using the new,
cost-reducing Grand National "spec" engine under the hood of his No. 40
Mohegan Sun Chevrolet. Kobyluck, the runner-up in this event in 2004 and
2005, started sixth and took the lead for the final time from fellow Grand
National Division, Busch East Series competitor Sean Caisse on a restart
with ten laps remaining in the 150-lap race. AutoZone West Series champion
Eric Holmes made a run at the win but tangled with Caisse on the final turn,
spinning while Caisse held off AutoZone West Series driver Mike David for
second. Tracy Gordon of the Busch East Series and Brian Ickler of the
AutoZone West Series were fourth and fifth. Kobyluck was one of 11 drivers
in the all-star event utilizing the new spec engine technology, which was
introduced this season as a cost-saving alternative for NASCAR Grand
National Division teams. The spec engine includes a closely-specified set of
components to limit costs, while providing competitive performance and
durability. The new engines, which are optional, are expected to save teams
nearly 50 percent on the cost of their engines.
The southern version of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour closed out their
season at the Southern National Raceway Park in North Carolina. Junior
Miller took the win and his second series championship. Tim Brown finished
second. A last minute entry was Chuck Hossfeld in the Roger Hill No.79.
Hossfeld started scratch in the 100 lapper and finished fifth.
Les Hinckley won the True Value Modified Series season ender at the Lee
Raceway. Andy Seuss finished second with Jimmy Kuhn, third. Dale Evonsion
and Bob Goodenough rounded out the top five. Dwight Jarvis was declared the
At the Martinsville Speedway Jimmie Johnson held off Denny Hamlin to win
the Nextel Cup Subway 500. The Busch Series had a week off.
In a somewhat surprise move J&S Motorsports which owns the No. 36 that
had been driven by Ted Christopher on the Whelen Modified Tour Series
announced that they would part ways with driver Ted Christopher at the end
of the 2006 Whelen Modified Tour season. According to car owner, Ed Whelan,
this was a mutual agreement. Whelan said, “I wanted to clear the air so that
everyone understands that there is no animosity between Ted and I. We’re
still friends” Christopher was hired by Whelan to drive for J&S at the third
race of this season at Jennerstown in June. Christopher was sixth on the
all-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins list with twenty-six victories
that include ten wins in the past two seasons. When asked about his future
plans, Whelan responded, “We will run the full Whelen Modified Tour schedule
in 2007.” When asked whether he was in negotiation with a driver for 2007,
Whelan said, “I’m not planning on talking to anyone before we finish the
season.” Before teaming up with Whelen, Christopher drove cars owned by
Danbury, CT businessman Jim Galante.
On a sad note it was learned that Bobby Sprague and George Greco Sr had
Five years ago in 2011, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series wrapped up their 2011 season at the Thompson
Speedway. Ron Silk came into the event with a 59 point lead over Todd
Szegedy. Thirty four cars made up the car count. The seat in the Flamingo
Motorsports No.16 was still warm after the exit of Mike Stefanik when Ryan
Preece strapped in. Preece wasted little time as he adjusted to his new ride
in short order as he garnered the pole position for the season ending World
Series 150. Preece toured the 5/8 mile oval on 18.634 seconds. Second
fastest was Doug Coby who had a time of 18.655 seconds. Stefanik drove the
car he normally drives in Modified Racing Series events and qualified17th at
18.901 seconds. Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy and Bobby Santos rounded out
the top five. Point leader Ron Silk qualified 8th fastest. The only casualty
was Matt Hirschman who slammed the wall during qualifying. Hirschman was
allowed to take a provisional spot.
The World Series drew a total of 273 cars including 34 Whelen Tour
Modifieds, 16 Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds, 28 Supers, 22 Super Late Models
and 25 Midgets.
The Whelen Modified Tour Series provided some intense drama during the
running of the event which didn't see the championship finalized until the
final moments of the event. The drama began on lap 52 when Silk and Tony
Ferrante Jr spun and crashed into the first turn wall after hitting some oil
that leaked out of the car of Timmy Solomito. While Ferrante suffered the
most damage and had to be double hooked to the infield Silk was able to
drive away with quite a bit of damage to his left front suspension. Once in
his pit box the Eddie Partridge led crew went to work to repair the damage
only to have to stop as the field went under a red flag while the oil was
cleaned up that was spilled. After a short period the field went back under
caution and work resumed on the Silk machine. When Silk finally re-entered
the competition on lap 62 he was 10 laps down to the leader, Szegedy and it
was thought that all was lost as far as the championship was concerned.
Needless to say, Silk and the Partridge team kept digging and because of
numerous cautions were awarded free passes under the rules which got them
within three laps in arrears of Szegedy. Szegedy still had the title in hand
until lap 148 when he got collected when Ken Heagy and Woody Pitkat tangled
between turns three and four and collected Szegedy, shearing off his right
front wheel which was the deciding factor. Silk finished 16th four laps down
with 2,443 points with a 76 point cushion over Szegedy, who finished 25th.
Both competitors were deserving of the title but it just wasn't in the cards
for Szegedy, the 2003 champion, to win it. Congratulations to Silk along
with his car owners, Eddie and Connie Partridge and their entire race team.
Silk and the No. 6 T.S. Haulers/Calverton Tree Farm Chevrolet team will be
honored as part of the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Dec.
10 in Charlotte, N.C.
Glen Reen scored somewhat of an upset as he took the win in a wild event
that saw a season-high 16 cautions and the maximum three green-white-checker
events attempts for his first career victory. Reen took the lead on lap 142
from Justin Bonsignore and watched in his mirror as his competition was
eliminated. Pole sitter Ryan Preece, who had recently taken over the seat of
the Flamingo Motorsports entry that was formerly driven by Mike Stefanik,
was on cruise control for the first 36 laps, was eliminated in a wreck on
lap 145 when he broke a tie rod. Stefanik, who finished ninth in a new tour
ride, was running fourth on lap 155 when he went for an opening on the
backstretch and triggered a wreck that eliminated Justin Bonsignore and Ted
Christopher who were running second and third. Stefanik said, "the 51 moved
up and I filled up the hole between him and Christopher". "Once I got in
there", he added, "they didn't give me any room". Doug Coby and Daniel
Hemric who were running second and third behind Reen on a lap 160 restart
got together shortly after taking the green. Hemric, from Kanapolis, NC, was
driving the Roger Hill No.79 and found himself in the turn one wall and Coby
spun. NASCAR Control felt that Coby was overaggressive and placed him one
lap down. It was later clarified that NASCAR did not penalize him for
overaggression as he was the one who was taken out by the 79 on that late
restart. "I was penalized for passing cars under caution to attempt to get
my second place spot back", he said. Brian Vance, the Tour Race Director,
afterwards acknowledged that the one lap penalty was more a result of his
frustration with all of the drivers for how the race was ending, and
acknowledged that it may in fact have been inconsistent with other calls he
made that day with regards to other drivers who were incorrectly lined up on
the racetrack. On the final restart for a green-white-checker finish Reen
watched in amazement as Tom Rogers and Bobby Santos went at it as they
almost wrecked. In a gut move, going into turn three on the final lap,
Santos sunk the Mystic Missile in deep and took over the second spot behind
Reen. Rogers, who had gotten roughed up a bit by Santos, finished fifth.
Matt Hirschman brought Ole Blu home in third while Chuck Hossfeld finished
fourth. Sixth through tenth were Keith Rocco, Eric Beers, Patrick Emerling,
Stefanik and Eric Goodale.
In other World Series action at Thompson on Sunday, Chris Perley turned
in a dominating performance in the International Super Modifed Association
(ISMA) 50-lapper to score the victory. Russ Stoehr scored top honors in the
Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) ranks. In NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series action, Ryan Preece outlasted the field in a rough-and-tumble Sunoco
Modified feature. Derek Ramstrom scored his sixth Super Late Model race to
cap off the 2011 season at Thompson and Corey Hutchings survived numerous
restarts in the Late Model main event to score the win.
Following a full day of practice and qualifying at Thompson on Saturday,
ten (10) feature events were run. In Thompson regular weekly divisions it
was Scott Sundeen scoring the victory in the Limited Sportsman division; Cam
McDermott in the TIS Modifieds; and Chad Baxter in the Mini Stocks. Scoring
Outlaw division victories were Rick Gentes (Late Models), Mike O’Sullivan
(Street Stocks) and Richard Fournier (Mini Stocks). Frank Cardile
capitalized in the Sunoco Lite Main event to score the victory. Jason
Lafayette opened up the World Series feature festivities with a victory in
the N.E. Trucks Series. Andy Lindeman led green-to-checker to win the
companion Truck Series Shootout. Dan Meservey, Jr. earned the victory in the
Harry Kourafas Memorial event for the Pro-Four Modifieds.
Down in the south land, Tim Brown ended his year-long NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour winless streak with a victory he called one of his
biggest of his career. The Cana, Va., veteran scored his seventh career win
Thursday night in the UNOH Southern Slam 150 on the quarter-mile on the
front stretch at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was Brown's first trip to
Victory Lane since Sept. 4, 2010 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
Brown took the lead from George Brunnhoelzl on a Lap 123 restart and led the
rest of the way.
Brunnhoelzl, the points leader, finished second on a day in which he won
the Coors Light Pole Award and led a race-high 124 laps. Brunnhoelzl will
take a 150-point lead over Andy Seuss, who finished fourth, into the season
finale on Oct. 22 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. Defending race
winner Burt Myers finished third and his brother, Jason, was fifth. There
were 18 cars that went to post in the 150 lap event.
After a short reincarnation as an asphalt track, it was announced that
the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY would go back to being a dirt
track as it would be run by Lebanon Valley promoter Howard Commander. He had
secured a leasing deal with the Richards family while they continued to
pursue the sale of the track.
On a sad note, veteran driver Dan Wheldon, who won the Indianapolis 500
for the second time in 2011, died from injuries suffered Sunday when his car
was entangled in a horrific, 15-car wreck early in the IndyCar series'
season-ending race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Englishman was 33.
Matt Kenseth won the Sprint Cup event held at the Charlotte Motor
Speedway. Carl Edwards was the Nationwide Series winner.
Last year, 2015, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour closed out their season at the Thompson Motorsports
Park Thompson Speedway. Thirty four cars were on hand. Doug Coby took home
the Coors Light Pole Award. A lap of 18.566 seconds (121.189 mph) secured
Coby his 10th career pole. Timmy Solomito qualified second and Ted
Christopher was third. In addition, taking the pole Saturday at Thompson
earned Coby a $12,500 award bonus to be split with his crew chief Phil Moran
thanks to Doug Dunleavy of Dunleavy Truck and Trailers.
Just as the Modifieds began their pace laps a snow squall descended upon
the speedway. The threat of snow did not hinder Doug Coby’s efforts. Coby
clearly dominated the event as he scored his seventh win of the season and
with it, the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship. Coby took the
lead on the back chute on lap one and held it until pitting on lap 90.
Patrick Emerling and then Justin Bonsignore swapped the lead until Coby took
control for good with five laps to go. Following Coby and Bonsignore at the
finish was Timmy Solomito and Todd Szegedy. If there was an award for
determination it should go to Woody Pitkat who finished fifth. Pitkat was a
front runner at the start but by lap 15 his day took a downward spiral.
After losing power he was rear ended by Eric Goodale. In the process he lost
two laps. After his crew made repairs and a couple of Lucky Dogs, Pitkat
found himself inside of the top ten by the half way mark. His Hammer Down
style of racing got him back to finishing fifth when the checkered flag
waved. Sixth through tenth were Patrick Emerling, Ryan Preece, Ted
Christopher, Chase Dowling and Donny Lia.
Fall came on strong at Thompson as fans and competitors were greeted with
blustery 45 degree weather. First up was the Limited Sportsman division
which saw Corey Hutchins take the win while Scott Sundeen beat out Larry
Barnett for the division championship.
In the Sunoco Modified (SK type) 30 lapper Ryan Preece recovered from an
early race falter to take the lead and eventual win from Woody Pitkat with
two laps remaining. Pitkat lost the battle but it was Pitkat garnering the
championship, his second of the weekend. Kerry Malone finished third with
Ted Christopher and Ryan Morgan turning in a strong run to round out the top
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the World Series at Thompson
with 29 cars strong. Qualifying heats were run on Friday night with Keith
Rocco, Woody Pitkat and Eric Berndt scoring wins. The Valenti Modified
Racing Series crowned its champion as well in Woody Pitkat who started on
the pole for the 50-lap feature and ran in the top three for the duration of
the event to clinch the title. Pitkat only needed a top three finish to best
Chris Pasteryak for the championship and after starting on the pole Pitkat’s
victory was seldom in doubt. Pasteryak gave it his best shot, finally
cracking the top five after a lap 35 caution, but Pitkat held on strong and
finished second in the event to Keith Rocco to claim his first Valenti
Modified Racing Series title. The championship is also a first for car owner
Peter Kulessa. Rocco’s victory brought his career total to 210 wins. Dave
Ethridge finished third with Jon McKennedy, fourth. Chris Pasteryak rounded
out the top five.
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park crowned it’s first of fourteen
champions that would be named over weekend as the track kicked off the
biggest racing weekend in New England on Friday, October 16th, the Sunoco
World Series of Speedway Racing, presented by XtraMart. Friday’s racing
action featured the first feature event of the weekend, the final race of
the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model season.
Brian Tagg recovered from early race set backs, working his way to
fourth, one position behind Keith Rocco, which would have secured him the
championship. With less than two laps to go Rocco made a big move to pass
Jeff Smith for second, putting himself two spots ahead of Tagg and in
position to win the Late Model championship without winning a single event
on the year. With the biggest move of the night, Tagg, who would not be
defeated, passed Smith on the final lap to claim third place and win the
championship by a single point, while Larry Gelinas went on the win the
race. The event also marked the final race for Danielson, CT native, Glenn
Boss, who finished fifth.
The second night of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing weekend
saw eight champions crowned over the span of nine feature events throughout
the evening with the centerpiece of the night’s racing action being the long
awaited return of the American Canadian Late Model Tour (ACT) for the first
time since 1992.
The 100-lap feature saw some of the best Late Model drivers in both the
United States and over the border in Canada take to the track as the series
crowned it’s latest champion, Wayne Helliwell, Jr., and saw the possible end
of a storied career for one of the series most successful stars. While
Helliwell took home the big trophy at the end of the night the race itself
saw a victory for Brian Hoar who scored his 42nd career victory in the
series and capped off the night with a major announcement. “I’m just really
excited,” said Hoar who expanded on his record setting series-high win
total. “It’s been a really emotional road for me the past couple of weeks
because I made the decision to hang the helmet up for a while. This is it
for a little while.”
Other Saturday winners at Thompson were NEMA Midgets, Randy Cabral, Mini
Stocks, Louis Belisle, North East Street Stocks, Ed Puleo, New England
Trucks, Bert Oullette, New England Pro Four Modifieds, Dave Richardi and
Lite Modifieds, Tony Membrino.
Sunday winners, in addition to the Whelen Modifieds and the Sunoco
Modifieds were Corey Hutchings in the Limited Sportsman, Dave Shullick in
the Super Modifieds and Scott Bigelow in the NEMA Lites.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup competition at the Kansas Speedway, Matt Kenseth led
a race-high 160 laps in a race he needed to win to clinch a spot in the
Eliminator round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but contact between
Kenseth and Logano with four laps to go sent Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota
spinning. Logano held off Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson on a
green-white-checkered restart to score his second win in a row.
Kyle Busch overcame a pit-road speeding penalty, damage to his Toyota
Camry suffered when he hit pieces of a SAFER barrier during a late-race
yellow flag and a green-white-checkered finish to win the Kansas Lottery 300
NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
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, email@example.com.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit