CRAZY FEATURE AT RIVERSIDE PARK SPEEDWAY ENDS WITH RUGGIERO VICTORY
– FRIDAY, JUNE 23RD, 1978 –
Hey NERF’ers! I was going to junk the subject we’ve been on the past few weeks, but I couldn’t do that now after viewing the final lap finish of the Riverside Park Speedway 50 lapper this past Saturday night.
What’s the old saying..? “When the shoe fits, wear it!” Well, in the case of what happened at Riverside the line would go like this. “When the shoe fits, Ouch!”
With the white flag ready to fly for the final lap, the Czarnecki Bros. Vega, driven by defending three-time Park champion Bob Polverari, belched up a motor between turn three and four, sending cars every which way out of the third turn in the fluids dumped on the track. Former three-time champion Bob Stefanik rode the wall sideways almost ending upside down in the Earl Reynold’s Bobcat. Former track champ S.J. Evonsion in the Connally-Hosmer Chevette and Charlie Glazier in the Eddie Oles Vega also exited via the same accident as did 1976 Rookie of the Year, Marty Radewick in the Fred Felton Monza.
The accident brought out John Tallini’s caution flag setting the stage for the final two-lap charge to the checkers.
Reggie Ruggiero in the Fiore-Nardi Chevette was in the lead followed by Richie Evans in the Gene DeWitt Pinto and guess who was in third? It was none other than our controversial buddy, Geoff Bodine, in the Dick Armstrong Nu-Style Jewelry Pinto.
The restart saw Ruggiero, Evans and Bodine head into turns one and two and on the back stretch the “Bellingham Bullet” got by the “Rapid Roman“. Bodine then moved in on Ruggiero’s bumper to bring about another controversial finish in the life of Geoff Bodine. Going into the third turn Bodine rode to the outside trying to overtake Ruggiero and all of a sudden sparks flew leaving Bodine sitting backwards between turns three and four. Evans and Jerry Cook, in the Hollebrand Trucking Pinto, rode past Bodine for second and third while Bodine straightened it out for fourth spot.
The controversy arises again. Was Bodine rough riding? Did Ruggiero stuff him in the wall trying to stop him?
I always sit near the fourth turn at the Park because that’s where the action seems to be.
Ruggiero was running the groove all night and going into the fourth turn he definitely rode high with Bodine on the outside. Whether by accident or on purpose Ruggiero was in the lead at the time and until he gets a passing flag the track is his. Bodine has stated on a couple of occasions, since all the incidents have happened over the past few weeks, that the man in the lead has the track right-of-way.
Once again asking different drivers and people you get umpteen different views. Ruggiero fans have their opinions, Bodine fans have theirs and all the other fans have a couple hundred more. So who knows? The best answer came from the humorous Evans who was trailing the accident. After being asked what happened, he replied, “I didn’t see anything. Remember I’m the guy who didn’t see Eddie Flemke sitting in the middle of the track at Stafford last night.”
If the man in the lead has the track right-of-way then why was Bodine so upset after the incident? Why did he turn around after the start-finish line and shake a finger at Ruggiero? Seems as though the shoe was on the other foot at Riverside and someone didn’t like the way it fit.
One of the head NASCAR officials stated, “I’ve never seen Bodine bumping like he did tonight. This kind of action is uncalled for and something is going to have to be done about it.”
He was referring to Bodine riding over Evonsion early in the race, belting Radewick, causing him and Polverari to spin and twice bumping rookie Jim Tourville in the Susies’ Auto Parts Coupe.
Oh well! The controversy continues and I suppose all the Bodine supporters will write in tellin’ us how good Bodine is and how rotten I am and just think, I didn’t even mention those you know, T-shirts..
A couple Polverari fans are looking for the address of the “Maynard Troyer Fan Club“. I wonder if they are jumping ship or do they hope to be a part of the Troyer clan when he invades New England in hopes of halting the “Bodine Express” at Stafford Motor Speedway in a couple of weeks. Anyone who has the address, drop us a line as there must be more fans out there who would like to be part of following the shiny #6 from New York.
The “Bugsy Stevens Fan Club” has their new look T-shirts now on sale at Stafford and Seekonk Speedway. If you’re a Bugsy Stevens fan, make sure you get your new T-shirt and support the Bugman. If you haven’t got your Bugsy Stevens Fan Club membership then send a $3.00 check or money order to: Bugsy Stevens Fan Club, (address withheld), Providence, R.I. 02914. For your $3 you will receive an autographed photo of the Bugman, a membership card, a newsletter and a bumper sticker. The Fan Club always has plenty of pictures of Bugs in the different cars he wheels and will also take special request photos for fans. Now that’s a real fan club.
Send in your fan club news, announcements or photos to NERF’ers Corner, c/o Robert Echo, (address withheld).