The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

September 29, 2017

  Sixty five years ago in 1952 Joe McNulty won the final Wednesday night Sportsman feature of the year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Bud Matter made it three in a row in Claiming Car action. The shoreline oval shifted to Sundays with twin 25 lap Sportsman features which were won by Ray Delisle and Fred Luchesi.

  Sixty years ago in 1957, the New London-Waterford shifted to Sunday afternoon programs. George Lombardo, who normally raced at the Plainville Stadium was up for the occasion as he took the win in the 25 lap Sportsman feature at the shoreline oval. Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner.

  Fifty five years ago in 1962, Dick Beauregard won the 25 lap Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bobby Santos Sr won the 35 lap Connecticut State Bomber Championship.

  Fifty years ago in 1967, the season was slowly but surely winding down. The only action was at Stafford where Gene Bergin made it three in a row and locked up the first asphalt modified championship by taking a hard fought win over Dick Watson and Bob Melnick. Rounding out the top five were Fred Harbach and Jerry Wheeler. Bill Slater was crowned the Sportsman Champion. The midgets also ran at Stafford that weekend with Lou Fray taking the win over George Monson. Dick Dunn recorded a Modified win at Waterford. The only other action was the All-Star League which ran on the dirt at the 1-1/8 mile Nazareth Speedway. Frankie Schneider took the win over Will Cagle, Dick Havens, Sonny Hutchins and Lee Hendrickson.

  Forty five years ago in 1972, many of the modified teams in he northeast were making preparations for the following week’s Race of Champions at the Trenton Fairgrounds in New Jersey. Waterford ran their season ending 50 lapper which was won by Dick Dunn in Budda's Bullet owned by Al Gaudreau. Dick Dunn was declared the Modified Champion and Ron Cote, the Daredevil Champion at Waterford for the 1972 season.

  Forty years ago in 1977, for the second week in a row, rain washed out the 300 lap All Star event at Islip as well as a scheduled 100 lapper at Seekonk and a 30 lap event at Thompson.

  Thirty five years ago in 1982, the NASCAR Modifieds visited the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine for a 100-lap event. The third mile oval provided some hot competition but when all was said and done, Richie Evans sat in victory lane. George Kent finished second and was followed by Dave Thomas, Bob Park, Jerry Cook, Brian Ross, George Murray and Mike McLaughlin. Waterford ran a 50 lapper for the Modifieds, which saw Glynn Shafer take the top spot over Dickie Doo Ceravolo and Randy LaJoie. Brian McCarthy won the Super Stock event. On Saturday night at the Shangri-La Speedway, Jim Spencer took the win with Richie Evans, second and Jerry Cook, third. In Winston Cup action at North Wilkesboro, N.C., Darrell Waltrip won both the pole and the race

  Thirty years ago in 1987, Mike McLaughlin scored a convincing win as he won the Annual Thompson 300. Doug Hevron finished second with Brian Ross, George Kent and Dave Reszendes rounding out the top five. Ted Christopher won the 50 lap SK-Modified event over Ronnie Rocco and Bob Potter. In Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Darrell Waltrip took the win with Dale Earnhardt finishing in second spot.

  Twenty five years ago in 1992, rain again washed out the entire weekend of racing.

  Twenty years ago in 1997, Jim Broderick won his fourth of the season at Waterford on Saturday night. Don Fowler finished second with Mark LaJunesse, third. At the Fall Final 300 at Stafford, Tim Connolly took the lead on the final lap and scored a popular win. Jerry Marquis finished second and was followed by Rick Fuller, Tony Hirschman and Ed Flemke jr. Ricky Fuller drew the pole and led the first 149 laps. Reggie Ruggiero led from lap 150 to173 before giving way to Jan Leaty who led from lap 174 to 186.Fuller led again from 187 to 235 when he pitted for tires. Connolly assumed the point and led the way until lap 237 when he gave way to Marquis. During the last five laps, Connolly charged to the front from fourth spot. In SK modified action, Bill Sharp went pole to pole, crossed the line first and was disqualified because of illegal cylinder heads Mike Christopher was awarded the win with Bob Potter, second. Winston Cup action at Martinsville was rained out and the event was run on Monday. Rusty Wallace was leading with 20 laps to go when NASCAR said he jumped a restart and black-flagged him in for a stop and go which handed the win to Jeff Burton. Dale Earnhardt finished second. Wallace was later fined for swearing on TV and was fined $5,000 which he paid in pennies (500,000).

  Fifteen years ago in 2002 The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series and the Busch North Series were at Stafford for the Fall Final-Twin 150s. Both Touring series were well represented with 48 Featherlite Modifieds and 34 Busch North cars in the pit area. Chuck Hossfeld, fresh of his recent win at Loudon was the Busch Pole Sitter as he toured the half-mile oval in 18.369 seconds. Mike Johnson was the Busch North Series pole sitter. His time was 20.004. The big surprise of the day was the fact that Ted Christopher failed to qualify his Busch North Series entry. A capacity crowd was on hand. Chuck Hossfeld and car owner Bob Garbarino made the decision to go non-stop. Mike Stefanik and car owner Art Barry decided to do it with one stop with the hopes of fresh rubber giving them the edge at the finish. Needless to say, Stefanik and Barry made the right call, as they were able to over power Hossfeld on lap 91. Stefanik pitted relatively early on lap 59 and passed many of those ahead of him when they pitted on lap 84. With the exception of a brief moment when Hossfeld took the lead back from lap 126 to 128 Stefanik remained in control. Stefanik’s win coupled with Ed Flemke’s misfortune; put the defending Featherlite Modified Tour Series champion in the point lead. David Berghman had the big steam at the end but had to settle for second spot in the final order. Hossfeld held on to finish third with Jerry Marquis and Ted Christopher rounding out the top five. Flemke had his hopes dashed on lap 92 when his car suffered terminal damage after a confrontation with Joey Caraccia. Flemke was very upset over the fact that he was taken out of the event and possibly out of the championship picture.
  The series point standings showed Mike Stefanik in the lead by 8 points over Jerry Marquis. Chuck Hossfeld sat in third spot, 44 points behind the leader. Rounding out the top five were Ted Christopher and Ed Flemke. Sixth through tenth were Rick Fuller, Todd Szegedy, Nevin George, David Berghman and Jamie Tomaino.

  Ten years ago in 2007, the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour converged on the Stafford Motor Speedway for the annual Fall Final. There were 39 Modifieds on hand for qualifying. Eric Beers who has not been a tour regular this year was the Busch Pole sitter as he toured the half-mile oval in 18.267 second fastest. Second fastest was Doug Coby who was pinch-hitting for Dick Houlihan. Current point leader Donny Lia was third fastest. Rounding out the top five in time trials were Todd Szegedy and Ronnie Silk. The re-draw for starting positions for the 150 lap Fall Final saw Szegedy picking the pole with Lia picking the outside pole. Lia knew he needed to finish ninth or better to wrap up the championship for himself and car owner Bob Garbarino. He did it with two positions to spare as he finished seventh. Lia led only one lap and was content to pace himself and stay out of trouble as Mike Stefanik went on to take the win. Stefanik passed Matt Hirschman on lap 91 to take the lead. Ted Christopher followed but was shuffled back to third spot on lap 115 after a bump and grind with Tony Hirschman. Hirschman held off Christopher to finish second. Matt Hirschman finished fourth with Ronnie Silk, fifth. Eight caution periods for 42 laps kept Stefanik’s average speed at 63.395 mph. Carl Pasteryak, Ryan Preece, Jerry Marquis and Billy Pauch JR were eliminated in wrecks. Jamie Tomaino lost an engine and Woody Pitkat retired with suspension problems.
There was joy in Mystic CT and joy on Long Island at Jericho. For Bob Garbarino, winning the Whelen Modified Tour Series Championship was a life long dream. Garbarino has built and owned NASCAR Modifieds since the early 1960s and has raced them from Maine to North Carolina. From humble beginnings at the Waterford Speedbowl Garbarino has become one of the most professional and well respected car owners in the Modified division. Before the days of the Troyer chassis and the Hutter engines Garbarino fabricated his own chassis and built his own engines in a single one car garage that is attached to his home. Many top named drivers have sat in the seat of Garbarino Modifieds known as the Mystic Missile Don Bachand, Dick Watson, Joe Kelly, Leo Cleary, Gene Bergin, SJ Evonsion, Eddie Flemke, Geoff Bodine, Brian Ross, Bugsy Stevens, Jerry Marquis and Tim Connelly are a few that come to mind. All of his many years of hard work came to bare last Sunday night as the impact of winning the championship settled in. Through it all and equally deserving is Joan Garbarino who has served as scorer, trip planner, lots of patience and moral support. For Lia it was also a first for him. Lia cut his racing teeth at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island and honed is skills on bigger tracks from Connecticut to Florida. Lia’s record for the season includes six wins and 11 top fives in 15 races.
  The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out its 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season with the 35th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend. Woody Pitkat capped a spectacular 2007 SK Modified season by capturing his 8th feature victory of the year, but it was Ted Christopher who locked up the championship by 34 points over Pitkat with a second place finish. In the 40-lap Late Model feature, it was 16-year old Dillon Moltz driving to his second feature win of the season with Corey Hutchings taking the Late Model title in his rookie season at Stafford with a third place finish. The 50-lap SK Modified® feature took the green flag with Wade Mattesen taking the lead from John Cleary on the opening lap of the race. Mattesen held the race lead until lap-3 when Woody Pitkat made a hard charge to move from third place to the lead. Once Pitkat was out front, he put on a dominating drive to score his eighth feature victory of the 2007 season. Pitkat had Ted Christopher chasing him for much of the race and several caution periods kept the two cars in close proximity. But the final 22 laps of the race ran green and Pitkat was never seriously challenged by Christopher as he slowly extended his lead lap by lap. Christopher finished second with Ken Barry, Brad Hietala, and Bo Gunning rounding out the top-5.
  A penalty for speeding on pit road sent Kyle Busch to the back of the pack. All he did after that, with the help of a lot of yellow flags, was pass everyone else on the track. Busch slipped inside of Matt Kenseth with just over 17 laps to go, then held off Kenseth's challenges after a late restart to win Saturday's Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Busch's car failed the post-race inspection because the intake manifold did not meet NASCAR specifications. Kenseth dove inside the white line just before the finish of the Yellow Transportation 300, but couldn't slip past Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet. Busch won by .085 of a second on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, his third victory in his last six races and the 10th of his career. In Nextel Cup racing, darkness finally ended the disaster at Kansas Speedway, where the Chase for the championship field imploded and the finish of Sunday's event was in question long after winner Greg Biffle crossed the finish line. Biffle scored his first win of the season by winning a race that was stopped twice for rain delays, was shortened 85 miles because of darkness, ended under caution and saw six Chase drivers finish 29th or worse. And when Biffle's sputtering car slowed before the finish line, title contenders Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson passed him and both believed they finished ahead of him. Johnson, who finished third to reclaim the points lead, said Biffle wasn't the winner. “NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Biffle was the winner because the race ended under caution, the field was frozen and passing is not allowed under caution.

  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 29, 2017

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