The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

July 21, 2017

  Sixty five years ago in 1952 Billy Tibbert was the Wednesday night Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the Claiming Car winner. The Sportsman had Saturday night off at the Speedbowl and it was just as well as the Claiming Car feature fell victim to rain after 17 laps with Jack Stansell being declared the winner.

  Sixty years ago in 1957, Red Foote made it three in a row in Sportsman action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he won on Wednesday night. Irwin Fox was the non-Ford winner. Don Collins brought a halt to Foote's win streak as he won the 50 lap Sportsman feature at the shoreline oval on Saturday night. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner. Over on the Island at Islip Al DeAngelo beat out Johnny Coy.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962, Ron Narducci was the Modified winner on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. Rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night.

  Fifty years ago in 1967, Fred Harbach scored his first and only win at Stafford on Friday. Dick Watson finished second with Leo Cleary, Fred DeSarro and Bill Slater rounding out the top five. Harbach, one of the top guns from Long Island, raced at Stafford, Norwood and Thompson throughout 1967.Rene Charland was the winner of a 40 lapper at the Albany Saratoga Speedway. Bill Wimble finished second with Lou Lazzaro, third. Jerry Cook and Ernie Gahan rounded out the top five. Charland made it two for two as he won a 100 lapper at Fonda on Saturday night. Wimble and Gahan followed. Bill Scrivener took the Modified win at Waterford. Gene Bergin was the Saturday night winner at Norwood and Dutch Hoag won again at Fulton. Sunday action at Thompson and Utica-Rome rained out

  Forty five years ago in 1972, Bugsy Stevens beat out Long Islander Dan MacNamara at Seekonk on Friday night. Many of the big guns were at Malta for a 200 lapper where Eddie Flemke prevailed in the Frank Vigliarlo No.34 (formerly the Bob Judkins 2x) Bob Santos finished second and was followed by Ron Bouchard, Richie Evans, Maynard Forette and Fred DeSarro. Saturday night at Stafford saw Santos score another runner-up with Ronnie Bouchard taking the top spot. Fonda ran a double points event with Ralph Holmes taking the win over Ron Narducci and Andy Romano. Asphalt racer Bernie Miller tried his hand on the dirt and finished 15th. Angie Cerese was the Modified winner at Waterford. At Islip it was Jim Hendrickson over Charlie Jarzombek and George Tet and at Utica-Rome on Sunday night, it rained.

  Forty years ago in 1977, Thompson ran a mid-week open competition event. Richie Evans took the top spot over Geoff Bodine and Eddie Flemke. At Stafford on Friday night, Bodine held off Bugsy Stevens and Dick Caso. Local favorite Bob Polverari took the top spot at Riverside over Bodine while at Seekonk; Corky Cookman took top honors with Jim Wilkins, Bugsy Stevens and Eddie StAngelo, following. Veteran Joe Tiezzi was the main man at Waterford. Jerry Pearl finished second with Moose Hewitt, Dick Ceravolo and Gene Bergin, following. Richie Evans invaded Islip for a 150 lapper and walked away a winner over Greg Sacks, Wayne Anderson and Fred Harbach. At Westboro, Mike Weeden won out over George Savory and Joe Howard. Thompson closed out the weekend with Fred DeSarro taking the win over Bodine and Bouchard.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, Stafford had scheduled Modified Madness for Tuesday but rain prevailed. On Wednesday night, Thompson ran the Thompson 300 outside pole qualifier. George Summers in the Art Barry no.21 took the 40 lap win over Greg Sacks, George Kent and Kenny Bouchard. Sacks made it two in a row at Stafford on Friday night. Kenny Bouchard, in the Ted Marsh No.55 ran a strong second with Bob Polverari, Reggie Ruggiero and Mike McLaughlin rounding out the top five. At Waterford on Saturday night, Don Fowler held off Don LaJoie and Joe Tiezzi. Promoter Dick Williams announced that Randy LaJoie would be in competition in the upcoming Busch North Series event that was coming up at the Speedbowl. Riverside Park ran a 200 lapper that saw Richie Evans in a class by himself as he won the event over George Kent, SJ Evonsion and Bob Polverari. Evans made it two in a row as he won at Thompson on Sunday. George Summers finished second with George Kent, third. Other weekend winners were George Kent at Spencer, Tony Siscone at New Egypt, George Brunnhoelzl at Riverhead, Gomer Taylor at Seekonk, Doug Hewitt at Shangri-La, John Blewett Jr. at Islip and Roger Treichler at Perry. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Bobby Allison took the win. Ron Bouchard finished fourth.

  Thirty years ago in 1987, the weekend was marred by the death of Corky Cookman at the Thompson Speedway on Sunday night. Cookman, a quiet but well liked driver, hit the turn three wall a ton on lap 5 of the 75 lap event and was killed almost instantly. Cookman was transported to a local hospital as the race resumed. Reggie Ruggiero ended up with the win with Jim Spencer, second. In Late Model action, Ricky Shawn made it two in a row and in SK Modified action, Bo Gunning took the win. A few days after the death of Cookman, NASCAR announced that the 390 carburetor with unaltered boosters would be the only one allowed in the division. Bo Gunning was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Richie Gallup finished second. Waterford ran twin features on Saturday night with Ricky Young and Harry Rice taking the wins. Bob Potter finished second to Young with Dickie Doo Ceravolo, Ed Flemke Jr. and Bob Gada following. Following Rice were Dale Holdredge, Gada and John Anderson. Wayne Anderson ruled the roost at Riverhead despite pressure from Don Howe and Tom Baldwin in the closing laps. At Riverside Park, Wade Cole got a surprise win over Mike McLaughlin and Reggie Ruggiero. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Tim Richmond was the pole sitter but the race belonged to Dale Earnhardt Sr.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour was at Stafford for a 150 lap event. Reggie Ruggiero in the Ed Cloce No.69 took the win over Doug Hevron in the Boehler No.3 and Jeff Fuller. Tom Tagg was the SK-Modified winner. At Monadnock, Marty Radwick scored a win over Jerry Marquis and Rusty Ball. Marquis, in the Bobby Judkins 2x, scored his seventh win of the season at Riverside Park on Saturday night. At Waterford and Riverhead, it was a night for the rookies. At Waterford, Scott Poirier scored his first ever win as he held off Mike Christopher and Bob Potter and at Riverhead, John Fortin beat out Tom Tillotson and Mike Ewanitsko.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, it was a big week for Reggie Ruggiero at Riverside Park as he recorded his 90th career win at the amusement park oval when he beat out Dan Avery and Mike Stefanik to win the Wednesday night NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series 150.Ruggiero backed it up with his 91st career victory on Saturday night over Richie Gallup and Ted Riggott. At Stafford on Friday night, Ted Christopher garnered his 46th career victory. Jim Broderick, Bo Gunning and Bob Potter followed. Broderick settled for second again on Saturday night at Waterford as Scott Spaulding took the win. Todd Ceravolo finished third. Spaulding took the lead from Broderick with five laps to go. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Dale Jarrett took the win. In other news, the International Speedway Corporation added Phoenix International Raceway to its war chest of speedways
  Fifteen years ago in 2002, the scheduled NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour event at Chemung was cancelled. At Thompson on Thursday night the fans came out in droves as the 5/8 mile speedway was almost packed as Bert Marvin won his fourth feature of the season. Bo Gunning finished second followed by Ron Yuhas Jr. and Ted Christopher. The Busch North Series visited Stafford on Friday night. Andy Santerre was leading the 150 lap event with two to go when he found himself planted in the wall after Dale Shaw hit Dale Quarterly who was running second who in turn hit Santerre. Shaw was not penalized for his actions and went on to take the win over Matt Kobyluck and Tracy Gordon. Billy Anderson won the 50 lap SK-Modified feature over Kerry Malone, Ron Silk and Lloyd Agor. Rob Janovic was the Saturday night winner at Waterford but it was one of the Rocco twins who stole the show when he borrowed one of Joey Chitwood’s stunt cars and put on a smoke show for the crowd. JR Bertuccio took his sixth win at Riverhead over Tom Cravenho who was in the Eddie Partridge modified. Peter Daniels made it seven in a row at Claremont and at Wall Township, Tom Farrell took the win. In Winston Cup action at Pocono, Bill Elliott won out over Kurt Busch and Hank Parker Jr. won the Busch Series event at Pikes Peak in Colorado. On a sad note, Booker T. Washington Jones passed away after a battle with cancer

  Ten years ago in 2007, the Waterford Speedbowl, thanks to the non payments of property owner Terry Eames, was scheduled to go up for foreclosure on Saturday, July 28. A sign posted on the property frontage indicated that the sale would take place at high noon. Anyone interested would need a $300,000 bank or certified check to participate. In 2006 the Washington Mutual Bank filed a lawsuit claiming that the track's owner, Terry Eames, had failed to make payments on a $1.7 million loan held by the Seattle-based savings bank. The lawsuit, Washington Mutual vs. 1080 Hartford et al., continued through this year, with several legal motions occurring during April and May. Eames had also failed to pay the town of Waterford more than $185,000 in taxes owed dating back to 2003. Eames was smart as he had shielded himself by an LLC titled 1080 Hartford Road LLC, a reference to its street address. In other words if he did lose the property he could walk away and thumb his nose at those he owes.
Eames, who bought the race track in 2000 had all but run the facility into the ground when he leased the track to a new company called The New Waterford Speedbowl LLC, which ran the day-to-day operations. Bill Roth served as its general manager and Jerry Robinson was its president. Both Roth and Robinson had made an honest attempt to bring the track back as they had made numerous improvements. They still faced the stigma created by Eames as they had had problems securing any credit for their business venture.
  Eames claimed he was about to sell eight acres in the northwest corner of the property to Harvey Industries, a Massachusetts-based window manufacturer that also distributes other building products.. Eames insisted that he had the necessary finances in place, which would lead one to ask how come he had not made any payments in the previous 18 months.
  The Seekonk Speedway, located just over the Mass. Line on the way to Cape Cod had Open Wheel Wednesday Modified Madness $10,000 to win scheduled for last Wednesday but heavy rain forced a cancellation to September 22.
  The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continued on their summer break.
  The True Value Modified Racing Series traveled to the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. Kirk Alexander started 15th in the 100-lap feature and took the lead for the eventual win with only five laps remaining. Les Hinkley, who started dead last in the 24 car-starting field, finished second. Dwight Jarvis, Pete Jarvis and Lisbon, Ct’s Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.
  In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the rains prevailed.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat scored a one-two punch, cleaning house as he won the Coors Light SK Modified 100 and the 30 lap Late Model feature. Alan Provost scored a first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Sean Foster took down the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Matt Chiarizio scored his first career win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. In the 100 lap SK Modified feature Pitkat battled back after changing tires with 22 laps to go. Pitkat outdueled Ted Christopher in the closing stages. Willie Hardie took the lead from the pole, and he led the first 34 laps before contact with Keith Rocco sent him spinning from the lead. Rocco was black flagged for rough riding, which handed the lead of the race to Christopher. Pitkat took the lead from Christopher on the restart, and held the lead until lap-52, when Christopher moved back out front. Pitkat slowly began to lose positions as Christopher began to build a large lead over Eric Berndt, who was now running second. A caution with 79 laps complete erased Christopher's large lead and brought Pitkat to pit road for fresh tires. Pitkat then worked his way back through traffic and avoided several wrecks to find himself in third place behind Christopher for a lap-95 restart. Pitkat moved past Christopher on the restart and then drove away to score the win. Christopher finished second, with Frank Ruocco, Kerry Malone, and Curt Brainard rounding out the top-5.
  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Shawn Monahan passed his brother Diego with 9-laps to go in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. The Monahans then set up a moving wall, which shut out Zach Sylvester and Dennis Gada in the closing laps. Other feature winners were Ed Reed Jr. (Late Model), Dwayne Dorr (Sportsman), Danny Field (Mini Stocks), and Steven Intravaia (USAC Ford Focus Midgets).
The Nextel Cup competitors had the weekend off. Reed Sorenson earned his first victory in two years, avoiding the pitfalls of a cautioned-filled Busch Gateway 250 Saturday night in Madison, Ill.
  Sorenson, who hadn't led any part of a race this season, passed David Reutimann on lap 159 moments after the eighth yellow flag was lifted. He survived the ninth and final caution with a strong restart to distance himself from Reutimann, who was third.
  Scott Wimmer earned his first pole position in 136 races and led the first 53 laps before a right flat tire forced him into the pits. He stayed near the front of the pack most of the race and finished second. Jason Leffler and David Ragan rounded out the top five.The cautions were five off the track's record of 14. Of 44 cars that started, 26 finished. The yellow flag was out for 43 of 200 laps. Sorenson, who had the second-fastest qualifying time, led 93 laps. The victory marked his third overall.

  Five years ago in 2012, Internet news site RaceDayCt reported that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series took a big hit when car owner Ed Whelen decided to shut down his operation and sell his equipment and long time car owner Bob Garbarino indicated that he was fed up with the way NASCAR treats the Modifieds and hinted that he may also be packing it in in the not so distant future. Whelen owned the cars driven by Ted Christopher. Whelen didn't like the way NASCAR was heading as far as lack of television support, sub standard purses and the fact that the sanctioning body's attempt to "save the car owners money" is nothing more than a sham to get competitors to use the same "spec" engine. The NASCAR rule makers had all but ruined the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series divisions with their IROC type Cars of Tomorrow. Next will be the Modifieds or what's left of them. Long time car owner Bob Garbarino also voiced his displeasure with the way NASCAR has treated the division.
  Chad Little, the Whelen Modified Tour Series director continued to paint a pretty picture that NASCAR was doing everything it can to make it better and more affordable for the car owner. Former New England Speedway official Tony Leckey said it best when after reading Little's statement said the way it came across was "The door is open and I’ll listen to their comments all the time but at the end of the day we’re going to make a decision and sometimes they like it and sometimes they don’t.” That tells you everything you need to know about how much NASCAR values your input. All Chad did was validate what Bob Garbarino said. The promoters and local officials bear the wrath for this but at the end of the day, NASCAR could care less.
  Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Keith Rocco earn his second victory of the season after taking the lead from Kerry Malone on a restart at lap five. Malone took the early lead with Rocco and Dennis Perry on his bumper. Malone had just pulled away when the first caution of the night flew for Perry, who lost the right front on his machine. Malone and Rocco brought the field back to green on the restart with Rocco taking the lead out of turn one. Malone, Ryan Preece, and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-four as they all pulled away from the rest of the field. On lap eight, Preece dove to the bottom groove heading into turn one and drove by Malone, who was left to fend with the challenges of Christopher. Preece set his sights on Rocco, who had pulled ahead to a comfortable five-car length lead as Christopher drove by Malone for the third spot. Rocco greeted lapped traffic at the halfway mark with Preece closing up some of Rocco’s lead, but it was still all Rocco up front. The race went caution-free as Rocco drove to the checkers unchallenged. Following Rocco and Preece were Ted Christopher, Kerry Malone and Richie Gallup.
  Other winners in NASCAR Whelen All American Series action included Jason Chicolas who added his name to this season’s win column in the Limited Sportsman division, Tommy O’Sullivan in the Late Models, and Mike O’Sullivan in a special 50-lap Super Late Model race. Jay Sundeen won an exciting contest with John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. that resulted in both drivers coming across the finish line sideways in the Thompson Modified feature. Cam McDermott and Dave Trudeau were winners in their divisions.
  There were nine Sunoco (SK) Modifieds on hand for the event.
  At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night rain prevailed and wiped out the SK Modified twin 75's until this Friday night, July 27.
  In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Shawn Monahan picked up his first win of 2012 by getting the best of Keith Rocco in a spirited duel over the final 15 laps. Monahan started from the pole and led all but one lap. Tyler Chadwick was able to get by Rocco to finish second. Rocco came home third and was followed by Diego Monahan and Tom Abele. Corey Hutchings won his third Street Stock feature on the year while Wayne Burroughs picked up an exciting first-ever win in the Mini Stock division. Corey Barry won his second consecutive SK Light Modified race, Dana Dimatteo won his second Saturday Series Legend Cars event of 2012 and Chris Garside took a hometown win in the Saturday Series for the X-Car division.
  In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC points leader Tim Brown edged Burt Myers in the first 25-lap Modified race, and Austin Pack bumped leader Chris Fleming around Turn 2 of the last lap in the second race and went on to a victory.
  In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan Preece won the Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial 77 lapper. NASCAR's Jerry Cook presented the trophy.
American-Canadian Tour late-model star Joey Polewarczyk, Jr. dominated the 39th annual TD Bank Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway Sunday.   The ACT veteran wheeled his Ford-powered Pole’s Automotive machine to one of the biggest paydays in Oxford 250 history, earning $45,500 after leading more than 200 laps
  Elliott Sadler held off a charge by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on a green-white-checker finish to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. The NASCAR Sprint Cup division had the weekend off.

  Last year, 2016, The New Hampshire Motor Speedway took center stage last weekend for the All Star Shootout and the New England 100 for the Whelen Modifieds. Bobby Santos took the lead on the last turn of the last lap to record the win. In Santos' own words Woody Pitkat and Todd Szegedy got together while fighting for the lead and Eric Goodale drifted high which allowed the third generation racer to make his move and solidify the victory. Goodale recovered to finish second with Ron Silk, third. Ryan Preece and Doug Coby rounded out the top five.
  Doug Coby led the final six laps and crossed the finish line .037 seconds ahead of Donny Lia to win the New Hampshire 100. Coby led eight times for 55 laps in a race that featured 22 lead changes among four drivers. Lia led 25 laps. Patrick Emerling finished third. Ron Silk, who won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day, was fourth and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman came home fifth. Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Todd Szegedy completed the top 10.
  The race was slowed by caution only once, for the halfway break. There were 33 cars on hand for the event.
  Matt Kenseth survived multiple late-race restarts before eventually pulling away to a comfortable victory in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The competition had nothing for Kyle Busch on Saturday afternoon as the driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Toyota drove off into the sunset in a dominant performance to win the Xfinity series AutoLotto 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ron Williams had what he thought to be a big night as he was the first across the finish line in the SK Modified feature. Joy turned to frustration during a post race inspection when Williams' car did not meet the minimum frame height requirement and he was disqualified, making Todd Owen the winner. Following Owen after the Williams disqualification was Mike Christopher Jr. Tom Bolles finished third with Eric Berndt, and Matt Galko rounding out the top-5. Other feature winners at Stafford on Friday night were Josh Wood in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. in the SK Light feature, Bryan Narducci in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Zack Robinson in the DARE Stock feature, and Teddy Hodgdon in the Legend Cars feature.
  Special congratulations to Bryan Narducci on his first ever win. Narducci's paternal grandfather, Ron Narducci was a two-time Sportsman track champion, 1960 and 1966 with nine wins on the dirt surface. Narducci's maternal grandfather Jerry Pearl is a two-time SK Modified champion with 12 wins to his credit.
  The temperature was in the low 90s and the humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife but it didn't phase Keith Rocco as he blistered his way into the lead with 11 laps remaining on his way to his fourth win of the season in the 35-lap SK Modified feature Saturday at New London Waterford Speedbowl.
  Jacob Perry, a 14-year-old from Pawcatuck, Ct won his first 25-lap Ministock feature while Chris Meyer and Monte Gibbs each captured 25-lap Sportsman features. Chris Correll won his first SK Light feature, while Cameron Morga, a visitor from New Mexico, was a winner in the 25-lap U.S. Legends feature.
  The SK Modified race was slowed by seven caution flags. Tom Abele Jr. led for the first 20 laps, but spun out into the infield once Ted Christopher passed him. He rallied to finish fourth, one sport behind Diego Monahan. Dennis Perry rounded out the top five. Rocco also captured the mid-season championship, making him a double winner.
  Rocco continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco's win in the SK Modifieds brought his track total to 127 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 223 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.
Special congratulations to third generation racer Jacob Perry who recorded his first ever win at the shoreline oval. Perry is the son of SK Modified competitor Dennis Perry and retired Modified driver Roger Perry.
  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it was another night of racing between the rain drops Saturday night and when the checker flag waved on the 40-lap NASCAR Modified main event Jason Agugliaro would go wire to wire in the non-stop race to claim victory. Once again the staff of Riverhead NASCAR Whelen All American Series officials did a stupendous job of getting all 140 laps of NASCAR feature event racing completed in just a tick over two hours under threatening conditions as a near capacity crowd looked on.
  In the NASCAR Modified 40 lapper, 14-year old NASCAR Modified rookie Dillon Steuer and Jason Agugliaro made up the front row for the feature event and when the green dropped the duo ran side by side for the first lap before Agugliaro rode the outside lane to the race lead. Another impressive NASCAR Modified rookie Cory Midgett made his way by Steuer on lap two to come to second with Dillon settling in for third. With no yellow flags in sight the top three strung out a couple of car lengths apart which was just fine with leader Jason Agugliaro. The driver on the march during the caution free affair would be Shawn Solomito who without the aid of any double file restarts was methodically making his way to the front from a 8th place starting berth. After disposing of Steuer for third Solomito the championship leader made his way to second place Cory Midgett and with just two laps remaining in the race made his way by the freshman driver for second on lap 38. When the checker flag waved on the caution free race Jason Agugliaro steering his Northeastern Bus Rebuilders Chevy who lay claim to his third career NASCAR Modified victory. Shawn Solomito of Center Moriches was runner-up
  In Modified competition below the Mason-Dixon line rain washed out all action at the Bowman Gray Stadium.

  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: July 21, 2017

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