The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

May 19, 2017

  Sixty five years ago in 1952 rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the second week in a row.

  Sixty years ago in 1957 Don Collins made it two in a row in Sportsman action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ted Dean was the non-Ford winner. NASCAR incurred one of its darkest and near tragic days when a Mercury driven by Billy Myers in a Grand National (Cup) event got launched into the grandstand, injuring several people. No fatalities incurred but a few days later the major auto makers pulled out of NASCAR Racing. Islip Speedway on Long Island opened for the season with Ed Hawkins as the promoter. Al DeAngelo was the opening night winner over Johnny Rocco and Jim Hendrickson.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962 Hank Stevens captured his second Modified feature win of the year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ed Moody was the Bomber winner. Ernie Gahan was the Modified winner on the dirt at Stafford.

  Fifty years ago in 1967 Newt Palm made it four out of five as he won the Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Ron Emery was the Daredevil winner.

  Forty five years ago in 1972, Eddie Pieniezak was the Friday night winner at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, N.Y. Jerry Cook, Eddie Flemke, Richie Evans and Lou Lazzaro rounded out the top five. Saturday night racing at Stafford, Waterford, Islip and Fonda rained out. Utica-Rome remained clear as hometown favorite Clayton "Sonny" Seamon took the win over Richie Evans, Bill Henry, Ron Holmes and Bernie Miller. Waterford ran their rained out program on Sunday where Dick Caso made it two in a row. Bob Gada SR was the Sportsman Sedan winner.

  Forty years ago in 1977, Bugsy Stevens took the top spot at Stafford on Friday night. Geoff Bodine finished a strong second with Ronnie Bouchard, Fred DeSarro and Dick Caso rounding out the top five. Punky Caron made it four in a row at Monadnock as he beat out Bob Karvonen, Ollie Silva and Jack Bateman for the win. Riverhead also ran on Friday with Charlie Jarzombek taking the win. Jarzombek made it two for two as he also won at Freeport on Saturday night. Stevens, who drove the Sonny Koszela Woodchopper on Friday night at Stafford, jumped into the Joe Brady No.41 at Seekonk on Saturday night and made it two for two on the weekend. Ronnie Bouchard finished second with Don Dionne, George Murray and Red Barbeau rounding out the top five. Mike Weeden won at Westboro over Kenny Bouchard and Joe Howard and at Waterford; George "Moose" Hewitt took the win. Other weekend winners included Ted Wesnofski at Islip and Fred DeSarro at Thompson

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, Brian Ross took the Friday night win at Stafford after Greg Sacks was forced to back off because of a deflating tire. Sacks finished second with Ray Miller, third. Dan Avery was the SK Modified winner. Charlie Savage was the SK mod winner at Waterford on Saturday. Jerry Pearl finished a close second. The field was light but the competition was tough as George Summers took the win at Seekonk on Saturday night. Brian Ross finished second with George Savory, third. Reggie Ruggiero took another win at Riverside but had to settle for second behind George Kent at Thompson on Sunday. Kent was also the winner at Shangri-La on Saturday night. Other weekend winners were Richie Evans at Spencer and at New Egypt, Doug Hewitt, also at Spencer, Bill Park at Islip and Gail Barber at Lancaster.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Ted Christopher beat out Bo Gunning at Stafford. Ditto for Gunning at Waterford on Saturday as he finished second to Bob Gada. The Modified Tour was at Clearfield, Pa where Jim Spencer took the win over Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Mclaughlin and Mike Stefanik. Stan Greger was victorious at Riverside and at Riverhead, Tom McCann took the win. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the WINSTON.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, Tom Tagg won out at Stafford over Bob Potter and Richie Gallup. At Riverside, Jerry Marquis went two for two in the Bob Judkins 2x as he won both ends of the twin bill that was presented. Marquis back it up with a win at Monadnock on Sunday. The Busch North Series was also at Monadnock. Ageless Stub Fadden took the win over Dale Shaw and Mike Rowe. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was leading the last lap of the WINSTON and rode Kyle Petty to the grass as he was attempting to pass. Petty didn't lift and ended up spinning Earnhardt out. Davey Allison passed Petty at the finish line. Petty then hit Allison and sent him into the wall to end a wild night of racing. Racing at Waterford rained out.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick, with his Mopar powered SK, took the lead after early leader Ed Flemke Jr. crashed and went on to record his second win of the season at Stafford. Bo Gunning finished second with Bob Potter, third. Chuck Steuer went pole to pole at Riverhead and Tom Jensen beat out Dave Berube at Riverside. It rained at Waterford and at Shangri-La. The Featherlite Modified Tour Series was at Nazareth for a 100 lap event. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Tony Hirschman on lap seven and went on to record the win. Charlie Pasteryak finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino, Ed Kennedy and Jan Leaty. There were ten cautions for 47 laps. The Busch Grandnationals were also at Nazareth. Elliott Sadler recorded his first GN win with Todd Bodine, a close second. Steve Park led 92 of the first 141 laps until losing an engine. In Winston Cup action at Charlotte, Jeff Gordon won $207,500 when he took the checkered flag in the Winston. Ricky Craven won the Winston Open.

  Fifteen years ago in 2002, heavy rain forced postponement of the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series event on Friday night. Qualifying was completed before the rains came. Nevin George set fast time for the Busch Pole award. Ted Christopher was the second fastest. The re-draw for the start saw Christopher on the pole with Jamie Tomaino, outside. George drew the third starting spot. Forty-three Modifieds were on hand. Among the notables that missed the cut were Tom Baldwin, John Blewett III, Jim Broderick and Carl Pasteryak. At Waterford on Saturday night Ed Reed Jr. beat out Rob Janovic and Dennis Gada and at Riverhead, JR Bertuccio made it two in a row. The Busch North Series was at Seekonk for a 150 lapper. Matt Kobyluck took the lead on lap 144 and went on to score the win. At the Adirondack Raceway second-generation driver Chris Ross won a 50 lap Pro Stock event. The Fonda Speedway celebrated its 50th anniversary. Jack Johnson, who, at 57 scored his 140th win at the historic oval. Mark Rogers won at Wall Township and Helio Castroneves won the Indy 500, the 12th win for car owner Roger Penske. In Winston Cup action in the World 600 at the Lowes Motor speedway, Mark Martin took the win after Jimmie Johnson blew a late race pit stop. Jeff Green won the Busch Series event.

  Ten years ago in 2007, In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the weatherman took the win. Forecasts of heavy wind and rain forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s activities. Kerry Malone was the current point leader in the SK Modified division. Malone led Eric Berndt by 10 points after three events. Rounding out the top five were Ted Christopher, Brad Heitala and Willie Hardie Jr. Defending SK Modified Champion Frank Ruocco was 11th, 54 points behind the leader. Other point leaders were Tom Butler in the Late Models, Chris Mathews in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Ltd Late Models and Barry Fluckiger in the Dare Stocks. The Stafford Speedway announced that Valvoline, in conjunction with CARQUEST Auto Parts, had signed on to become an SK Modified 1st place contingency partner for the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. Valvoline's weekly $150 contingency bonus brought the total winner's check for each SK Modified® feature event to $1,850.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman also prevailed as close to two inches of rain fell on the shoreline oval on Saturday. Shawn Monahan was the current SK Modified point leader as he held an 18 point edge over Rob Janovic. In six events Monahan had been the model of consistency as he had recorded six top 10’s including one win. Janovic hadtwo wins but has only five top tens. Rounding out the top five were Doug Coby, Jeff Pearl and Diego Monahan. Allen Coates was the Late Model point leader, Dwayne Dorr the Sportsman leader, Ken Cassidy the Mini Stock leader and Chris Bakaj the Legends leader.
  Joey Logano won his third Grand National Division race in four career starts in the Featherlite Coaches 200. And his latest win came over runner-up Kevin Harvick by nearly two and a half seconds – a day after Harvick won the NEXTEL Cup All-Star Challenge and three months after he won the Daytona 500. The first NASCAR sanctioned event at Iowa Speedway drew a facility-record estimated crowd of 24,741. It was also one of the largest stand-alone crowds in NASCAR Grand National Division history.
  Kevin Harvick earned a $1 million payday, winning the Nextel All-Star Challenge in Concord, N.C., after Matt Kenseth got caught speeding and brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch took each other out of contention. That made Jimmie Johnson, a two-time All-Star race winner, the last driver for Harvick to contend with. But Johnson barely mounted a challenge, staying in line behind Harvick until the final lap at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson made one attempt at a pass, Harvick blocked it, then drove off to his second win of the season. Mark Martin finished third and was followed by Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Johnny Sauter and Kenseth. Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Martin Truex Jr., who got into the race by winning the Nextel Open, rounded out the top 10.
  It was announced that almost 1,700 former Sprint Corp. employees would settle their federal class-action age-discrimination lawsuit against the company for $57 million, according to a proposal filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Kansas. The employees sued after several mass layoffs between October 2001 and March 2003, alleging that a computerized performance management system used in the layoffs improperly targeted employees older than 40.The settlement amount included $21 million to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees and costs.
  The Associated Press reported that NASCAR couldn’t stop AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, a federal judge ruled. NASCAR asked for the ruling to be put on hold pending appeal. A federal judge and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant NASCAR's requests for a stay to prevent Burton's No. 31 car from racing Saturday with the AT&T logo. The first ruling, issued just hours before the Nextel All-Star Challenge, was the second in two days from U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob. Following the second denial for a stay, NASCAR filed an emergency motion with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which also denied the request.

  Five years ago in 2012, The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of some pre-Memorial Day fireworks as Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco slugged it out in SK Modified competition. In the end, Woody Pitkat was the winner of a wild and thrilling 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Mark St. Hilaire was the a first time winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tyler Hines was a first time winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, and Josh Wood scored his third consecutive Limited Late Model feature victory of the 2012 season in the 20-lap feature. Albert Saunders drove to victory in the extra distance 20-lap DARE Stock feature to score his second consecutive feature victory.
  In the SK Modified 40 lapper first it was Preece and Frank Ruocco fighting for the lead then it was Preece and Rocco. The duel between Ruocco and Preece ended with 20 laps complete as the two cars made contact in turn 1 with Ruocco’s car hitting the turn 1 wall to bring the caution out. Preece was sent to the rear of the field by NASCAR Officials for the contact with Ruocco. Rocco took the lead on lap 29 and set the stage for round two of the night's battle. On a lap 36 restart, Rocco and Preece raced side by side for 2 laps with Preece the leader at the line before Rocco got cleared of Preece on lap-38. Preece made a last ditch effort coming to the checkered flag and he made contact with Rocco’s car, which resulted in Rocco spinning. Preece took the checkered flag first, but he was penalized to the last car on the lead lap by officials for the contact with Rocco, making Pitkat the winner. Dave Gervais came home in second, with Ted Christopher, Danny Cates, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5.
  At the Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco didn't miss a beat despite taking a week off to race in a Whelen Modified Tour event at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire as he went two for two scoring wins in the SK Modified and Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models at the shoreline oval. Dan Darnstaedt won the Street Stock feature race and Ken Cassidy Jr. continued his domination of the Mini Stock division, winning his seventh race on the season. The INEX Legends Cars and Bandoleros joined the NASCAR race program, with Dana Dimatteo and Derek Debbis winning the respective divisions.
  Rocco mastered the last restart attempt to pull ahead of Rob Janovic who got in line in second. Janovic got to the leader’s rear bumper in turns three and four on lap-32 however could not pull alongside. Rocco went on to the win, his fifth on the year. Janovic was second, while Keith’s twin brother Jeff ended a solid run in third place. Tom Abele and Tyler Chadwick each rebounded from spins to place fourth and fifth.
  In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, twin 25 lap Modified features were run. Tim Brown posted his 60th career victory as he won the opener. Burt Myers was second, and his brother, Jason Myers, was third. Newcomer Dean Ward won the nightcap. Austin Pack finished second, and Junior Miller was third.
  Ron Silk, the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion walked away the winner in the Richie Evans Hall Of Fame 100 for the NASCAR Modifieds at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.
  A picture perfect day set the backdrop for a full slate of racing action at Thompson International Speedway that featured the Modified Racing Series and six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on Sundat. A caution-filled main event saw Rowan Pennink as the survival of the fittest to post the victory.
  Ryan Preece led only the checkered flag lap in the Sunoco Modifieds to score the feature event win. The 2011 TIS Modified track champion, Cam McDermott made the step up to the Lite Modified division in winning style. Marc Palmisano came on strong in the waning laps of the Late Model event to claim the victory. Art Moran III was tops in Limited Sportsman division while Mike Gorgievski earned the victory in the Mini Stocks. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. scored his first career TIS Modified feature victory.
  Pennink of Huntington Valley, PA, outlasted the competition in a Modified Racing event that was marred by 11 cautions. Ted Christopher and Pennink waged a great battle for the lead in the early stages of the main event that saw 35 cars take the green flag. Christopher held the point and held back advances of Pennink. Christopher held Pennink at bay on countless restarts as attrition built. Pennink made what turned out to be the winning move on lap 34 when he dove to the inside of Christopher to take the lead. Shortly after, Christopher retired from the event. In the late stages of the race, Pennink had to hold off the persistent challenges of Richard Savary. A bobble by Savary with 10 laps to go looked as if Pennink may find some comfort in the last dash to the checkers. Savary was quick to recover; however, running down Pennink again with five laps remaining. Pennink was solid over the final laps to post his victory. The win was his fifth with the Modified Racing Series. Savary came home in second. Geoff Gernhard had a career night to finish third. Point leader Jon McKennedy and Mike Holdridge completed the top five.
  A surprise ending in the Sunoco Modified main event found Ryan Preece in victory lane. Todd Ceravolo, who had led since the early stages of the event got loose exiting turn four on the final lap. With nowhere to go, Preece clipped the sliding #31 of Ceravolo. The resulting spin gave Preece the victory. Kerry Malone came home second followed by Keith Rocco. An eventful day ended with a fourth-place finish for Ted Christopher. Ceravolo had to settle for fifth.
  New Englander Bobby Santos had a successful weekend racing in the mid-West. An early-race restart gave Santos the opening he wanted to see and the Franklin, Massachusetts drivers never looked back en route to dominating Saturday night’s inaugural Hall of Fame Classic Traxxas Silver Crown race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
  Jimmie Johnson had the fastest car and the perfect strategy Saturday night to win the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson won the first of four 20-lap segments to secure a spot near the front of the field for the final 10-lap shootout, and then pulled away from Matt Kenseth and Brad Keslelowski to win the $1 million race.
  Defending NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated Sunday’s Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 for his third consecutive victory at Iowa Speedway.

  Last year, 2016 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series converged on the New London - Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night for the New England Cycle Center 161 with 29 Modifieds. The event meant the 600th consecutive start for veteran Jamie Tomaino. Tomaino was given a standing ovation prior to the start.
  With forecasts of heavy rain on the way the Speedbowl management reset the racing schedule twice and their efforts paid off as they got the event in before a fairly decent crowd.
  Ron Silk, the 2011 Whelen Modified Tour champion, ended a 42-race winless streak with his first victory since August 2012. Silk started fifth and took the lead on lap 145 from Max Zachem. Zachem went on to record his best ever Tour finish, in second spot. Jimmy Blewett finished third and was followed by Jeff Goodale and Rob Summers. Brendon Bock, Matt Swanson, Doug Coby, Donny Lia and Jamie Tomaino rounded out the top ten.
  There were ten cautions that consumed 63 laps of the event. During the start of the race Nick Salva got loose and went high into turn 1 and rolling through the turn and down the track Melissa Fifield hit Salva. Andrew Krause, Wade Cole, and Walter Sutcliffe Jr. were also involved in the wreck in turn two. The wreck caused a red flag to come out and stopped the race for 12 minutes. The next caution came only 4 laps after the restart when Bobby Santos and Tom Abele Jr., went into the wall between turns one and two.
  The third caution of the event came out when Ted Christopher spun into the infield on lap 19. At the same time Christopher was spinning Rowan Pennink hit the wall between turns one and two, he was able to return to the race many laps down. On lap 39 Timmy Solomito spun 360 degrees exiting turn 4 after contact with Doug Coby and was able to keep the car moving, however the caution flag flew for the fourth time in the race.
  The 5th caution of the race came out on lap 73 when the Dowling machine had a right front tire go down and he hit the wall on the front straight away. The 6th caution came out only 13 laps later when Craig Lutz had a right front tire go down. The 7th caution came out when Dave Sapienza got into the wall in turn 3 after getting hit by Solomito. On the restart the 8th caution comes out for Doug Coby who spun into the turn 2 wall.
  The 9th caution flew when Solomito lost a tire and pushed Pitkat up and Pitkat hit the wall in turn 2, Pitkat wouldn’t be able to return to the race. The 10th caution came out on lap 150 when Solomito got spun and hit the wall in turn 4.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to action on June 3 at Stafford Motor Speedway with the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.
  In other action at the shoreline oval, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature was suspended with 18 laps remaining in the scheduled 35-lap event because of rain. Diego Monahan was leading the event, with Ted Christopher in second, when the rains came and brought the event to a halt. The 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature also fell victim to rain. Ray Christian III scored his first career Late Model victory. Jordan Hadley led every circuit to win the 25-lap Mini Stock feature. Young Jacob Perry continues impress as he scored a tenth in the Minis.
  The Bowman- Gray stadium in Winston-Salem, NC featured Kevin Powell Motorsports 100 for the NASCAR Modifieds. Taking the win was Chris Fleming with Burt Myers, second.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway is 0 for 2 as the Friday night Series of racing fell victim to rain. After a one week delay the recently revamped Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island opened for the season. In the modified feature Shawn Solomito in the #15 Wayne Anderson modified passed last years champion #0 Tom Rogers Jr. for the win and never looked back.
  Many upgrades by new owners Eddie and Connie Partridge greeted fans including clean new bathrooms, better concessions, new pace cars and trucks, the band in turn 3 who sang a great Star Spangled Banner and the new lighting system.
  On a sad note, the great Dutch Hoag, five-time winner of the National Open (which became the Race of Champions) at Pennsylvania's Langhorne Speedway and a Modified legend in his own time, passed away at the age of 89. Many drivers feared Langhorne, but tough old Dutch won on both its dirt and asphalt surfaces.
  Matt Kenseth put a frustrating start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season behind him by winning Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover Int’l Speedway after a thrilling late-race battle with young guns Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Erik Jones dominated the second half of Saturday’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover Int’l Speedway and collected his second Dash-4-Cash $100,000 bonus of the season.

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

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

Looking Back Archive

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: May 19, 2017

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