Don Bunnell in the #318 coupe he drove to a victory in the 1976 Bicentennial 200
MODIFIED CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS
In the 1950’s & 1960’s, there were several “Championship” race promotions, usually named after the calendar month or whichever season of the year the event was held. But during the 1960’s, there were a string of events at the end of the season called “Modified Championships” that always attracted the Speedbowl’s biggest stars. The original and most common promotional title was the Connecticut State Modfiied Championship. They varied in length from 50 laps to 100 laps, which the last 3 events were. There was a different winner every time the event was run. It was not run in 1967, returned for one year in 1968 before being discontinued permanently.
|1962||Ted Stack||75||CT State Modified Championship|
|1963||George Pendergast||50||CT State Modified Championship|
|1964||Dick Dunn||75||New England Modified Championship|
|1965||Dick Watson||100||CT State Modified Championship|
|1966||Newt Palm||100||Fall Modified Championship|
|1967||event not held|
|1968||Don Collins||100||Fall Modified Championship|
HOTT WHEELS 100
One of the last successful promotions from the original Speedbowl ownership group was the Hott Wheels 100 event. In its first year of 1973 it was an open competition event slated to start the Speedbowl’s season. The original date was rained out twice, and finally ran on April 22 as the second event of the year. George Allum took the win, one of his 4 victories in the first 6 events that season.
Ollie Silva dominated the second event in his #0 car, basically a Super Modified with a Pinto body on it. He lapped the entire field during the event with a majority of the field lapped at least a 2nd time as well. Silva’s performance in this 1974 event was profiled in our documentary series on the history of NLWS.
Hott Wheels 100 brought big names throughout the northeast’s modified scene, but was discontinued after only 2 years when the track was sold to Harvey Tattersall Jr prior to the 1975 season.
|1974||Ollie Silva||100||Silva lapped the entire field|
THE FALL STINGER
The Fall Stinger was a United Stock Car Racing Club event that president Harvey Tattersall Jr started at Westboro (MA) Speedway. Fred DeSarro won the inaugural event in 1972. When Tattersall bought the Speedbowl in early 1975, he moved the event to the shoreline oval. It was part of the Grand Slam Series of extra-distance events which Tattersall ran in the late 1970’s. Dick Dunn won the first Stinger held at Waterford.
It was the only career wins at the Speedbowl for winners Bob Polverari and John Rosati. Rosati’s performance was notable for beating Rick Donnelly, who had a record-setting year at the Speedbowl in 1979 in his new Troyer chassis Pinto. Rosati came from a lap down early in the field to pass Donnelly once to get his lap back under green, then a second time to take the lead and eventually the win.
The Stinger was not held in 1977 or 1978, but returned for one more event in 1979, then discontinued altogether.
|1972||Fred DeSarro||100||*held at Westboro Speedway|
|1973||Deke Astle||100||*held at Westboro Speedway|
|1974||Bugs Stevens||125||*held at Westboro Speedway|
|1975||Dick Dunn||100||Dunn also won Modified Track Championship|
|1977||event not held|
|1978||event not held|
The Waterford 200 started in 1976 as the Bicentennial 200 in celebration of America’s 200th birthday. Speedbowl regular Don Bunnell won the event in his #318 coupe and took home $1776 for the victory. The following season, it was rebranded to the Waterford 200. Like many United promotions, when Dick Williams took over in 1978, he did not carry over the same events. It returned for 1979 and 1980 (both won by Bob Potter) before Williams took over again in 1981 when it was discontinued.
|1976||Don Bunnell||200||promoted as the Bicentennial 200|
|1978||event not held this season while Dick Williams was track operator/promoter|
|1979||Bob Potter||200||Race of Champions qualifier|
|1980||Bob Potter||200||Potter also won Modified Track Championship|
MATCO TOOLS 100
Dick Williams, who leased the track in 1978, returned in 1981 for a second stint as track operator under his Coastal Racing Association banner. They introduced an annual event called the Matco Tools 100 in which the winner would receive a rolling tool cart in victory lane.
The event was run every year of Williams’ last tenure at Waterford (1981-84) on Labor Day weekend. It was also the last event of the season in 1981 and 1984. The Matco Tools 100 was dominated by Bob Potter who won the 1st 3 events. Veteran Dale Holdridge broke Potter’s win streak in 1984 (Potter finished 4th). The event was discontinued when the Arute family leased the track in 1985 and implemented their own schedule of events & promotions.
|1983||Bob Potter||100||Potter also won Modified Track Championship|
WATERFORD 200 – THE SHOWDOWN
In 1989, the Korteweg family created a different version of the old Waterford 200 called The Showdown, now featuring SK Modifieds (or CT Modifieds as they were sometimes called during the Korteweg era). They initially started out as a 200 lap event run as the last point event of the season. In 1991, it was moved to Labor Day Weekend, where it remained for 3 seasons (although the 1993 event was rescheduled to late October due to rain). In 1992, the SK race was shortened to 150 laps, with Late Models (30) and Ltd Sportsman (20) lap counts added in to account for the 200. In 1994, the event was again moved to a mid-summer event in late July with another adjusted lap distribution among the 3 divisions.
All winners of the SK race were Speedbowl Champions, although none of them won the Showdown during their championship season. Dave Gada was the only driver to win the event twice. This event was discontinued in 1995 when Terry Eames became the new Speedbowl promoter.
|1992||Dave Gada||150||200 laps revised to include SK Mods (150), Late Models (30) and Ltd Sportsmen (20)|
|1994||Jeff Pearl||125||200 laps revised again to SK Mods (125), Late Models (50) and Ltd Sportsmen (25)|