– FRIDAY, APRIL 11TH, 1980 –
The new decade of auto racing in the Northeast can now be considered in full swing with the Waterford Speedbowl BLAST OFF 80 now three weeks into the history books with Marty Radewick the victor, and last weekend’s ICEBREAKER ’80 at Thompson Speedway now completed with six winners being crowned. John Rosati took the Modified win while Bently Warren captured the SuperModified feature. The Mini-Modified victory went to Dick Houlihan as Jeff Fuller made his return to the Late Model Sportsman ranks a winning one while Hank Rogers took the Midgets and Steve Johnson won the Street Stock event.
The weekend of all Spring weekends is now upon us with the “First Annual Speedway Scene Roast” set to go tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Greek Cultural Center on Plainfield Street in Springfield, Mass with SPEEDWAY SCENE editor-publisher Val LeSieur set to be roasted.
Tomorrow and Sunday features the 9th Annual SPRING SIZZLER with warmups, time trials and heats set to go Saturday with consolation races, a 50 lap Non-Qualifiers event and then the 80-Lap SIZZLER.
Saturday also marks the opener for the Southern New York Racing Association at the Danbury Fair Racearena or you can go dirt trackin’ at the Orange County Speedway in New York or down to Pennsylvania way to Grandview Speedway.
If you can’t make it over to Stafford Motor Speedway for the SPRING SIZZLER on Sunday from New York State then take in the D.I.R.T. of New York opener at Weedsport Speedway. Up in Maine you can see the “5-in1 Show” at Lincoln County Speedway or if you’d like to view the USAC Stock Car boys you can travel to Trenton International Speedway to watch the “American 250”.
This coming Wednesday through Sunday you can see some of the racing machinery that’ll be competing at Beech Ridge Speedway in 1980 by stopping out to the Maine Mall in Portland, Maine.
Friday night, the 18th, will find Albany-Saratoga Speedway kick off their season and then on Saturday for Shangri-La Speedway, Wall Stadium and at Fonda Speedway on the dirt.
On Sunday, the $400,000 NASCAR North Molson Tour begins it’s season with the SPRING GREEN at Catamount Stadium while Lee Raceway will also get away from the starting line and Weedsport will host a 50-lap dirt Modified SPRING SPECIAL.
Saturday, the 26th, Martinsville Speedway and Star Speedway hosts two day shows with 150-lap Modified event set for Martinsville the first day and then the “Virginia 500” for the Grand National stars on Sunday. Star hosts its Super Series Special on both days. Also scheduled for Saturday openers are Islip Speedway and Lebanon Valley Speedway.
On that Sunday, Oxford Plains Speedway runs its first of three NASCAR North Molson Tour events with the Pine Tree State 100 and Rolling Wheels Raceway opens their season.
These dates with take you through the month of April and just think… you have May, June, July, August, September, October and even November ahead. There is plenty of racing in the months to come and keep an eye out for the Ol Nerf and the Speedway Scene Promotional Team at your favorite racing facility. We’ll be there soon.
*The Mini Modified feature at Thompson last weekend had cheers galore as NEMMA president, Dan Meservey thrilled the crowd with his charge from 21st spot to take over the lead at one time. He finally ended up fourth in his Coke Machine 11A Volkswagon and proved one thing in doing so, “Things do go better with Coke!”
*Rumor has it that da champ, Rene Charland, is going to tie the knot in the near future. From losing his hat to getting caught with his pants down to a ring in his nose. Whew! How unlucky can ya get. Now just think, if he has to spend Spring Sizzler weekend with Wayne Carroll, he’ll really be in bad shape! Hic-up!
*The new decade of auto racing has been filled with some early tragedies. First Tim Williamson at Riverside (CA) and Ricky Knotts at Daytona and now the death of a spectator and injury of two others when the Limited Sportsman of Fred Peacock got loose in a race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA last weekend. Peacock was in the second race of his young career. The name of the spectator is not known, but our sympathy goes out to the family.
*Rich Vogler of Indianapolis took the checkered flag in the first USAC Sprint Car event of the season. The race was run at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH.
*Did you know that Thompson Speedway’s assistant flagman, Bob Gelinas has a nickname. He does! It’s Boom-Boom and it doesn’t come from being a belly dancer. It has something to do with the hotdogs at Martinsville. Next time ya see him, ask ‘im.
*Word has it that Ronnie Bodge will get himself a real pickle when Claremont Speedway opens on May 10th. Well, they do call his Modified the Pickle Wagon because of it being sponsored by Garrow’s Market of Rutland, Vermont and Garrow is known as the Pickle King. Also, Rumor has it that Sony Fleury’s Detective Agency is close to solving a two year old mystery known as the “Famous B&M Hotdog Caper” where tow boxes of hotdogs and some buns were hijacked on their way to storage from Fleury’s Snack Bar. I hear Bodge and his car owner, Karl Makela are under strong suspicion and you talk about being in a pickle. Heh! Heh!
*Did you know that popular SPEEDWAY SCENE photographer, Paul Bonneau quit school in the thrid grade, but later returned and then attended medical school where he graduated with the highest temperature! Got ya!
*We’ll have a few tickets at the door for “Roast the Rat” so come on. Enjoy a very funny night at the Greek Cultural Center at 8 Plainfield Street in Springfield, MA. It’s all to benefit the “Northeast Auto Racing Accident & Casualty Fund”.
*The Grand National ranks will now try out the rule that was run by both Modifieds and Late Model Sportsman during the Dogwood 500 at Martinsville. Any car changing tires under the caution will be penalized two-laps. They’ll try the rule out at seven events this season including the Virginia 500, Music City 420, Nashville 420, Volunteer 500, Capital City 400, Holly Farms 400 and Old Dominion 500.
‘Til next time: Old racers Never Die, They Just Keep Going In Circles!