The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

March 2, 2018

  Thirty five years ago in 1978, the NASCAR Modifieds had an early season event at Hickory, North Carolina. Geoff Bodine took the win over Richie Evans, Jerry Cook, Wayne Anderson, Gary Cretty, Joe Thurman and Fred Harbach.

  Fifteen years ago in 1998, Jim Spencer took the lead with 25 laps to go and went on to win the Busch Grandnational 300 at Las Vegas. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second. Randy Lajoie provided some excitement on the last lap when he flipped. Mark Martin was the Winston Cup winner.

  Ten years ago in 2003 the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series racing teams headed for Las Vegas. Because of intermittent rain qualifying for both events were run at night. Many of the teams arrived late after they were stuck in an ice storm in Texas. Terry Labonte was the Winston Cup Busch Pole sitter. Matt Kenseth took the lead after a pit stop on lap 237 and held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the win. Michael Waltrip finished third. In last lap action, Jimmie Johnson and Sterling Marlin wrecked while fighting for eighth spot. Joe Nemechek won the Busch Series race over Kevin Harvick.

  Ten years ago, in 2008, The big event in the northeast was the second annual Speedway Expo at the Big E in West Springfield, MA. The brainchild of Dick Berggren, Speedway Expo had something for everyone who is involved in auto racing. The show served as a preview of the upcoming season with many tracks showcasing their facilities.
  On Saturday, Speedway EXPO hosted a Toast 'n Roast and the featured guest was Ted Christopher. Among the favorite Modifieds on display was the No.61 Richie Evans Ghost Rider that was restored by Spearpoint Racing and the original Ernie Wilsberg í82 Troyer that won just about every major race in the 82-83 season with Greg Sacks and Charlie Jarzombek at the controls.
  With the announcement of the television package for the NASCAR Developmental Series, formerly Busch North, Busch East or whatever, it appears that once again the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, which in words from NASCAR is the sanctioning bodies most competitive division, has got what the cow left behind after she jumped the fence! While 24 races in the NASCAR Developmental Series would be televised, only two Modified events, June 28 at Loudon and Sept 21 at Martinsville, would be televised.
  Among the hot topics coming out of the Waterford Speedbowl was the rumor of former flagger and race official Bill Roberts taking over as General Manager, replacing Bill Roth who left at the conclusion of the 2007 season. Roberts was employed by the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics.
  In Sprint Cup racing at Las Vegas, Carl Edwards won for the second time in six days. Edwards had to overcome an early pit road penalty, escape NASCAR punishment on a second pit road mishap, then hold off a rusty Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a pair of late restarts Sunday. The celebration of Carl Edwards' second consecutive victory was short-lived: His winning Ford Fusion failed a post-race inspection at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that could lead to severe penalties for his team. NASCAR officials discovered the lid was not on the oil tank box of his race-winning car and the parts were sent back to North Carolina to be checked. Dale Earnhardt Jr finished second. Greg Biffle was third and was followed by Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. Kasey Kahne was sixth, followed by David Ragan, Travis Kvapil, Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin.
  Mark Martin took Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Victory Lane by winning the Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday, then immediately apologized for an accident he started in the closing laps that took out a teammate. Martin added to his series record with his 48th victory in a car owned by Earnhardt's JR Motorsports. But the win came at the expense of Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, who races full-time for Earnhardt, .Martin was sixth following a final round of pit stops when the race restarted with 10 laps to go. With four fresh tires on his Chevrolet, he sliced his way toward the front while chasing cars that had only taken two tires. Edwards and Keselowski were racing side-by-side when Martin closed on Edwards' bumper. Slight contact sent Edwards' car wiggling across the track, and he slid high directly into Keselowski to wreck both cars. Martin slipped into the lead, then held on in a two-lap shootout to the finish.
  Five years ago in 2013, In some good news it had been learned that NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship car owner Curt Chase of Mansfield Center, Ct would join driver Ron Yuhas, Jr. and the Mike Murphy owned KLM Motorsports as the teamís crew chief for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season .
  Bob Finan, Public Relations Chief at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island reported that Bob Raissman the Media scribe for the NY Daily News said Fox hosted a big NYC Gala to introduce their 24-hour sports network, Fox Sports 1 or FS1. The network would reside where the SPEED channel resided, not good news for the racing community. The change would place in August, just in time for the new NFL season.
  Sam Hornish Jr. snapped his winless streak in dominant fashion at the Nationwide Series The Samís Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday, surviving two late race cautions to hold off Las Vegas native Kyle Busch. In Sprint Cup racing Matt Kenseth won on his 41st birthday in just his third start for his new team, barely holding off Kasey Kahne at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 25th career victory.

  Last year, 2017, Kevin Harvick was faster than everyone at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Too fast, it turned out. Harvick ruined a dominating performance by speeding on his final pit stop, allowing Brad Keselowski to steal a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup victory
  Harvick won the first two stages under NASCARís new race format and led a staggering 293 out of 325 laps overall. But, after a late yellow came out when Austin Dillon lost power, the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford eclipsed the 45 mph speed limit going into the pits.
  The ensuing drive-thru penalty pushed Kyle Larson to the lead but he couldnít hold off Keselowski, who surged ahead on the backstretch with six laps to go and cruised to a 0.564-second victory.
  Kyle Busch took the lead during the final round of pit stops and held off Brad Keselowski to win Saturdayís NASCAR XFINITY Series Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his 87th career XFINITY Series victory. Busch started from the pole and led the first seven laps before giving up the race lead to Brad Keselowski on the eighth lap. He didnít make his way back to the front of the field again until much later thanks to a speedy pit stop late in the race.
  Kyle Larson was the race leader with 21 laps left when the engine expired in Clint Kingís No 78 Ford, forcing officials to call for the caution flag. Buschís car later failed post-race inspection when it was found to be too low on both the left and right front. Any resulting penalties will be announced next week.
  Keselowski settled for second, followed by Larson, stage two winner Kevin Harvick and XFINITY Series regular Elliott Sadler.

  Thatís 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: March 2, 2018

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