NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT

–  FRIDAY, AUGUST 18TH, 1978  –

Somebody asked me last weekend, in reference to this column, whether I ever said anything nice? I told the person, sure and just to prove it, here goes. Ready?… Anything nice, anything nice, anything nice, anything nice. There I said “Anything Nice” four times and I hope that clears up the problem as to whether I can say anything nice. Yuk! Now I have to go wash my mouth out with soap.

Now on to other things of more importance… I hope.

In 1978 Tom Rosati had a winning streak in the Limited Sportsmans at Stafford Motor Speedway that rivaled the Modified's point leader, Geoff Bodine. Howie Hodge photo.
In 1978 a young Tom Rosati had a winning streak in the Limited Sportsmans at Stafford Motor Speedway that rivaled the Modified’s point leader, Geoff Bodine. Howie Hodge photo.

…1977 Stafford Motor Speedway Limited Sportsman Champion and Rookie of the Year, Tom Rosati, is presently the leading candidate for Rookie honors on the Northern NASCAR Late Model Sportsman circuit. Rosati, who turned 18 recently, leads this years Ltd Sportsman ranks by 64 points over Jeb Balise and has recorded 10 wins in 13 starts. Rosati’s closest competition for the Rookie award on the Northern circuit is 17 year old Randy Corey. I’m sure that Southern New England hopes ride with Rosati while the Northerners are rooting for young Corey.

…While on the subject of the Northern NASCAR Late Model Sportsman, Catamount Stadium’s Multiple Sclerosis – Burger King Classic on September 9th has real fan support. Fans, for the price of one penny per ballot, can vote for their favorite LMS, Grand American or Mini Stock star. The top vote getter in the three divisions will start on the pole with the second point man starting outside the front row and so on down the line. The LMS leader as of last weekend was Bobby Dragon with Robbie Crouch in second. Rounding out the top five were Dick McCabe, Langis Caron and Tom Rosati. The Grand American leader is Bruce Jaycox while Jay Yantz is in second. Harry Gammell is the top man in Mini Stocks with Steve Mishkit running right behind.

Richie Evans has increased his lead to 32 points over defending champion and cross-town rival Jerry Cook, as of August 12th, in the battle for the National NASCAR Modified Point Championship. The “Rapid Roman” now has 2,715 points to the “Cookie Monster’s” 2,673. It is a good bet that Rome, NY will be able to boast of having the top two Modified runners in the country. Wayne Anderson is presently third in the points race followed by Geoff Bodine, Fred Harbach, Paul Radford, Billy Middleton, Johnny Johnson and Melvin Swisher. Others well known to New England that are listed in the NASCAR points battle are: Gary Cretty (14), Satch Worley (15), Bob Park (18), Brian Ross (21), Charlie Jarzombek (22), Maynard Troyer (24), Ron Bouchard (27), Bugs Stevens (29), Greg Sacks (33), George Kent (34) and Roger Griffith (35).

Charlie Jarzombek
Chargin’ Charlie Jarzombek was 22nd in NASCAR National Modified Points in mid August of 1978. Howie Hodge photo.

…Here’s my pick for “Rookie of the Year” and “Most Improved Driver” at both Stafford Motor Speedway and Riverside Park Speedway, The Rookie at Stafford should be Ray McTeague while Most Improved honors should go to Dave Monaco. Frank Mich is a slight favorite for Rookie of the Year at Riverside while Jim Whipple should get the Most Improved award hands down.

…Speaking of Riverside Park, at the pre-race drivers meeting on August 5th, it was revealed that plans were underway for a third division of cars for the 1979 season at the quarter-mile oval. I wonder if officials have a feeling that the Modifieds are going to become an extinct breed, which they are, and want another division to pick up the slack as a main event class if this happens. My guess would be a Late Model Sportsman division, but you could see a Limited Sportsman or Street Stock class. Right now only the Grand Mucky-Muck knows…

…You talk about top Limited Sportsman drivers, well Stafford Motor Speedway has Tom Rosati, Jeb Balise, Bud Peckham and Jim McCallum plus many others, but Stafford doesn’t have Diane Teel. Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia can boast of having Mrs. Teel, the only woman driver in the division at the track. She is presently leading the Limited Sportsman class, has two feature wins to her credit, has finished 10 of the divisions 13 races in the top five and all 13 in the top ten. According to NASCAR, she is the first woman to win a NASCAR feature anywhere in any division. She’s also recognized as the first female NASCAR driver to lead a class this far into the season. All those Stafford Ltd. shoes had better watch out or Mrs. Teel may just come North and show ’em how a lady does it…

Cale Yarborough leads the NASCAR Grand National point race with 2,982 points over second place man Dave Marcis who has 2,824. Rounding out the top ten are Benny Parsons-2,801, Bobby Allison-2,579, Darrell Waltrip-2,568, Richard Petty-2,515, Lenny Pond-2,391, Buddy Arrington-2,328, Richard Childress-2,278 and Dick Brooks-2,245.

…The first turn wall at Stafford Motor Speedway is definitely New England’s answer to the Rock of Gibralter. The wall, like its counterpart, has never moved, not that some haven’t tried over the years. Those who have tried the durability of the wall this season and have come away losers are Leo Cleary, Eddie Flemke, Lou Tabone, Jack Bateman, Moose Hewitt, Brian Ross, Bob Polverari and Doug Zigadio. There have been other’s who’ve tried the wall and I’m sure there will be more. No matter who tests the Stafford Rock of Gibralter, we all know who will come out the winner, don’t we?

…This Sunday at 6pm Monadnock Speedway will host the “New England Classic 100” which has been sanctioned by NASCAR as a National Championship event. The track has posted $9,265 in awards with the winner taking home as much as $1,550 and 175 points towards the NASCAR National Modified Point Championsip. Present point leader, Richie Evans and defending point champion, Jerry Cook along with Wayne Anderson, Geoff Bodine and Fred Harbach are expected to appear. Southern drivers who could put in a possible appearance are Paul Radford, Satch Worley and Jimmy Hensley. Other chauffeurs who may be on hand are Maynard Troyer, Ron and Ken Bouchard, Brian Ross, Gary Cretty, Bob Park, Bugs Stevens, George Kent, Ray Miller and Bob Polverari. Don’t miss this show as it is one of only two National Modified Championship shows in New England. This is a must see show…

Richie Evans
Point leader, Richie Evans did indeed show up for the NASCAR National Modified Championship points show. Here seen at speed at Winchester, NH’s Monadnock Speedway in 1978. Mario Fiore collection.

Stafford Motor Speedway has to head the list for having one of the best weekly racing programs around, even though there has been a shortage of Modifieds. Three divisions of racing always fill the program, but what really makes the Friday nights at Stafford’s so special is a little man in a funny suite with red hair, a big red nose and a miniature replica of a Gremlin Modified. I’m talking about a clown named Seymour who puts on one hell of a show for the young and old alike. If you haven’t seen Seymour explain the racing flags and what occurs with starter Frank Sgambato following, then you’ve really missed sumthin’. If you haven’t seen Modifieds, the Limited Sportsman, the Street Stocks and especially Seymour, the mayor of the speedway, then you’ve missed probably the finest show in New England or anywhere else for that matter.

…We’d like to send out a belated pat on the back to some first time winners from a couple weeks ago. Heavy pats to Pete Fiandaca, who beat some of the best at Seekonk Speedway and to Stan Greger, who won his first ever at Riverside Park Speedway after three straight second place finishes. We also send out a hearty pat to Lenny Pond, who captured his first checkered flag in the Grand National ranks after many years of trying. He took the win in the “Talladega 500” by a scant foot over Donnie Allison

…The Northern NASCAR Late Model Sportsman point race shows Bobby Dragon out front with 532 points and Robbie Crouch is in close pursuit with 508. Rounding out the top ten are Claude Aubin-494, Dick McCabe-488, Langis Caron-464, Beaver Dragon-456, Stub Fadden-410, Jean Paul Cabana-352, Hector LeClair-346 and Tom Rosati-330.

…Add the scorers to the list of officials at Riverside Park Speedway who continue to show their ignorance. They let the fifth place car move up two positions putting him ahead of the fourth place car on a twentieth lap restart and then tried to rectify their mistake on a lap 46 restart. Who knows what might have happened in the 26 lap period if the restart had right, but now we’ll never know. This is nothing new as it seems that all the officials at the Park including the NASCAR Officials, Flagman and Scorers have been terrible. Three teams, including the one that took the checkered flag, still all lay claim to the “500” title. After watching last Saturday’s fiasco it makes one wonder who really won the “500”.

Marty Radewick
Yet again, driver Marty Radewick and Fred Felton’s Radical Racer Modified were turned away at the Park. Jim Snape photo.

The Fred Felton “Radical Racer” was not allowed to unload last Saturday at Riverside Park Speedway because it’s not built in accordance with an unwritten rule, which we’ve covered before. A rule which is written in the Park’s Rule Book or whatever is the 340 CI Motor limit. So why were three cars allowed to run with motors larger than 340 CI. I wonder how track regulars Gary Davilli, Ted Chalmers, Frank Minch, Roland Bombadier and Mike Hornat feel about not qualifying because three cars with motors above the limit were allowed to make the starting field. If that’s not enough, what about the guys who took home less money because they finished behind the illegal cars? Evidently, rules mean nothing at Riverside, written ones that is.

‘Til next time… “Keep on Track’n”.

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