1995 Year in Review

Former PR Director Terry Eames took over
Speedbowl operations for the 1995 season

After the Korteweg family left the Speedbowl after the 1994 season, the ownership group Waterford Sports Center, Inc leased the Speedbowl, Inc. – a newly found corporation of local businessmen that hired Terry Eames as the General Manager of the Speedbowl.  Eames had been a consultant for the owners for several years, including dealing with the noise ordinance & disgruntled neighbors in the early 1990’s.  He was also the PR Director during the 1994 season.  Eames would now operate & promote the racing events at the track.  The officiating staff would continue under Race Director Mark Geer while Pete Vander Veer took over as PR Director.  Longtime track announcer Joe Golas, affectionately known as “The Voice of the Speedbowl”, retired prior to the season.  Mark “MG” Geer replaced Golas along side Bob Freeman. One change came in the Limited Sportsmen division, which would once again be called Strictly Stocks like they were from 1988-1991.

Jeff Karns out-dueled Dan Darnstaedt for
the 1995 Mini Stock Championship

The Saturday night weekly format expanded to four divisions as the 4-cylinder Mini Stocks from the Sunday Stocker series moved to Saturday night competition.  They weren’t initially given equal billing as they ran their heats before the existing Saturday divisions ran had their practice sessions and their feature event was run before the other divisions qualified.  Despite their early start each week, the Saturday Mini Stocks inaugural season featured a classic duel for the points championship between Jeff Karns in his family owned #68 and Dan Darnstaedt in Jeff Miller‘s #53.  Collectively, the two drivers won the first 7 feature events and 13 of the first 17.  They also each won one of the two 50 lap events.  At season’s end, Karns would capture the points championship while Darnstaedt would win 11 feature events, a record that stood for 17 years.

Tom Fox teamed up with the Gaudreau family
and drove to his 2nd Speedbowl Late Model
Championship in 1995

Tom Fox drove the Gaudreau family #3 to the Late Model points championship, giving another track title to one of the most successful family operations in Speedbowl history. 20 years earlier, Peg & Al Gaudreau were the car owners of Dick Dunn‘s #3 Modified that won 4 straight track championships from 1972-1975.  Their son Tom had recently competed in both the Strictly Stock and Late Model divisions, but a back injury forced him out of the driver’s seat, which opened up the opportunity to team up with Fox.  It was the second LM Championship for Fox at the Speedbowl.  At the Street Stock portion of the Race of Champions (PA) event later in the year, Tom Fox and Dan Turbush were fighting for the win when they tangled on the last lap. Fox was sent to the rear for dumping Turbush and with it went his bid for a second ROC victory in 3 years.  6-time champ Phil Rondeau won the season’s longest event – the Finale’s LM 100.  50 lappers were won by Mark St. Hiliare, Larry Cote, Kevin Debbis, Rondeau and Fox.

Jimmy Broderick scored the 1995 SK Modified
Championship driving Harry Wyant’s #3 car

With 4 wins apiece, track champion Jimmy Broderick and veteran Jerry Pearl led a list of 13 different SK Modified feature winners.  Broderick’s wins included the Race of Champions qualifier while Pearl’s included a 40 lap event on Labor Day weekend and the 100 lap SK portion of the Shoreline 300.  Blast Off SK 95 lapper was postponed to mid-July to complete the last 80 laps – John Anderson was the winner.  Ted Christopher won a SK feature event for a 9th consecutive Speedbowl season, a 50 lapper on July 4th weekend.  1991 Champ Ricky Young won the Mid-Season SK 50.

Bud Kuehne was the 1995 Strictly Stock
Champion at Waterford

Ken Cassidy and Ed Reed Jr set new standards in the Strictly Stock division.  Cassidy’s single trip to victory lane broke his tie with Allan Wohlstrom on the career win list, setting the new mark at 14.  However, young gun Ed Reed Jr scored 6 victories during the season, which not only gave him 14 for his career as well, but tied Wohlstrom’s other record for most Strictly Stock wins in a season.  Cassidy and Reed each won 50 lappers during the season – as did Charles Bailey III who finished runner-up to two-time winner Bud Kuehne for the Track Championship.  Michael Caprio won the season-opening 30-lapper.

Strictly Stock competitor Johnny “The King” Cambino, who won a total of 4 features over the previous two seasons driving Ignazio Puleo’s #7 car in a memorable return to the Speedbowl, competed sparingly in 1995 at Waterford.  But the #7 car still made it to victory lane in 1995.  Kim Gero – daughter of 5-time modified track champion George Moose Hewitt – drove the #7 to a Powder Puff derby win over 4th of July weekend and in mid-August Speedbowl legend Dick Watson drove it to victory in the Heroes of the Bowl race during Nostalgia weekend.