Yankee All-Star League

Outside introductions for one of the Yankee All-Star events at Waterford

EVENT HISTORY

Ken Bouchard won the 1st Yankee All-Star League event in 1975 at Waterford

Harvey Tattersall Jr bought the Waterford Speedbowl in 1975, which led to many changes at the shoreline oval – one of which was the track’s inclusion in a 6-event open competition Modified series.  It was a joint effort by 6 men representing 3 New England tracks:  Harvey and his son Harvey III from Waterford, Don Hoenig & Carl Merrill of Thompson Speedway and Ken Smith & Russ Conway from Star Speedway. Each track would host (2) 50-lap feature events, all held on Wednesdays with open competition rules and qualifying heats.  Competitors would receive purse money and points for each race, with a Yankee All Star League Champion crowned and a point fund distributed at season’s end.  

Yankee All-Star events brought some of the biggest names in modified racing history to the Speedbowl.  The very 1st Yankee All-Star League event ever held was at the Waterford Speedbowl on July 16, 1975.  61 modified teams signed into the pits that day attempting to qualify.  20 year old Ken Bouchard started on the pole in Bob Ramstrom’s #35 car and led all 50 laps to earn the victory.  Richie Evans scored his best career finish at Waterford by staying on Bouchard’s bumper for most of the event before settling for 2nd.  Paul Richardson, Speedbowl regular Art Moran and Ollie Silva rounded out the Top 5.  There were 7 caution flags in the 50 lapper with only 13 of the 30 starters finishing the race.   It was one of the most attended races at the Speedbowl during the 1975 season.

Fred DeSarro won a 1976 Yankee All-Star race at Waterford in the Len Boehler’s #3

Rain forced the 2nd Waterford race to be moved to the final race of the YAS season on August 27th.  Going into the event, only 9 points separated Bobby Santos, Paul Richardson and point leader Ken Bouchard, who needed to finish 5th or better to clinch the championship.  His brother Ron Bouchard took the lead from Billy Harman early in the event, then led the rest of the way to take the win over Bobby Santos.  Ken finished 4th in the 50-lapper to clinch the inaugural Yankee All-Star League Championship by 2 points over Santos (109-107).  Fred DeSarro finished 3rd in the race with Leo Cleary rounding out the Top 5 behind Ken Bouchard.

In the Yankee All-Star League’s sophomore season of 1976, the first Waterford event was held on July 28th.  Heat winners were Ken Bouchard, Ed Flemke and Speedbowl regular Mark LaJeunesse.  In the 50 lap main event, Bugsy Stevens scored the win over Ron Bouchard with DeSarro, Flemke and Paul Richardson rounding out the Top 5.

Charlie Jarzombek’s only career Waterford win came in the 1977 Yankee All-Star event

In the 2nd Speedbowl event on August 18, 1976, only 12 of the 30 starters finished the caution filled event.  Fred DeSarro took the win in Len Boehler’s ‘Ole Blue’ #3 for his only career modified win at Waterford.  Paul Richardson finished 2nd for his 3rd Top 5 at Waterford in YAS action.  Bugsy Stevens, Bobby Grahan and Bobby Santos rounded out the Top 5.

In 1977, multiple rain-outs reduced Waterford to just one 50 lap event, which was held on August 30th.  Heat winners were Ed Flemke, Richie Evans and Gene Bergin.  Evans led early, then Waterford stand-out Dick Dunn took over.   Evans was involved in a wreck with lapped traffic while in 2nd and did not return.  Dunn remained out front until Charlie Jarzombek took the lead on lap 33.  The two staged a great battle the rest of the way weaving through lapped traffic, but Dunn could never over take Jarzombek, who scored his only career victory at Waterford when the checkereds flew.   Rounding out the Top 5 behind Dunn were John Rosati, Flemke and Ken Bouchard.

Charlie Jarzombek leads Dick Dunn in 1977 Yankee All-Star action at Waterford

The series’ final season in 1978 saw major changes to the format as four more tracks joined the circuit – Stafford Motor Speedway, Westboro Speedway, Seekonk Speedway and Monadnock Speedway. Although the series expanded to 7 races total and the race distances doubled to 100 laps, each track would now host only 1 event.

The 100 lapper at Waterford was held on August 9th and won by Geoff Bodine, his only career win at the shoreline oval.  Bodine took the lead on lap 12 and held it until a caution on lap 44.  Ron Bouchard took the lead on the restart, but Bodine got it back on the next lap and went on to take the win.  4-time Speedbowl champ Dick Dunn got by Bouchard on last lap for his 2nd straight runner finish.  Roland Lapierre Jr finished 4th behind Bouchard.  This event may be more remembered for the wild wreck between Paul Richardson in his #97 and Dick Caso in the #7 car.

Geoff Bodine won all 7 Yankee All-Star events in 1978 driving Dick Armstrong’s #1

Bodine dominated the Yankee All-Star’s 4-year existence, winning 11 features overall, including a clean sweep of all seven 100-lap events during his dominate 1978 season.  He also won 2 of the 4 Series Championships (1976, 1978).   Ken Bouchard and Ron Bouchard both won a YAS Championship and had 3 career wins in the series.  Bugsy Stevens (2 wins) was the only other driver to win more than one YAS event.

4-time Modified Track Champion Dick Dunn’s back-to-back runner up finishes in the last 2 Yankee All Star events held at Waterford in 1977 and 1978 were the highest finishes by any regular weekly Speedbowl competitor in any YAS event throughout it’s 4 year run.

Ollie Silva and Richie Evans during the 1977 Yankee All-Star event at Waterford

Yankee All-Star League events are also notable as some of only a handful of events in Speedbowl history in which 9-time NASCAR Modified Champion Richie Evans competed. His runner-up finish to Ken Bouchard during the inaugural Yankee All-Star event at Waterford in July of 1975 was the Rapid Roman’s best career finish at the shoreline oval – making the Waterford Speedbowl one of very few tracks in the country that the NASCAR Hall of Famer competed on without ever winning a feature event.

The Yankee All Star League shows were big-time events back in the mid-70’s, and definitely had the drawing power to attract the Northeast’s finest drivers.  All 3 Yankee All Star League Champions (Ken Bouchard, Geoff Bodine and Ron Bouchard) went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors on the NASCAR Cup Series.  The series’ short existence shouldn’t diminish it’s importance to the Speedbowl’s history as one of the track’s most star-studded series of modified events during the pre-touring series era.  Below is a complete list of results from the entire Yankee All-Star League history.

Yankee All Star logo

COMPLETE SERIES RESULTS

1975

DATETRACKLAPSRACE WINNER2nd PLACE3rd PLACE4th PLACE5th PLACE
07/16Waterford Speedbowl50Ken BouchardRichie EvansPaul RichardsonArt MoranOllie Silva
07/23Thompson Speedway50Ron BouchardGeoff BodineJerry DostieLeo ClearyBobby Santos
07/30Star Speedway50Ollie SilvaBobby SantosPaul RichardsonRon BouchardKen Bouchard
08/06Waterford SpeedbowlRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
08/13Thompson Speedway50Geoff BodineEd FlemkeFred DeSarroBobby SantosJerry Dostie
08/20Star Speedway50Ken BouchardPaul RichardsonPunky CaronMike Weedon??
08/27Waterford Speedbowl50Ron BouchardBobby SantosFred DeSarroKen BouchardLeo Cleary
1975 YANKEE ALL-STAR CHAMPION – KEN BOUCHARD

1976

DATETRACKLAPSRACE WINNER2nd PLACE3rd PLACE4th PLACE5th PLACE
06/30Waterford SpeedbowlRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
07/14Star Speedway50Bugsy StevensMike WeedonPete FiandacaBob KarvonerJim Landry
07/21Thompson SpeedwayRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
07/28Waterford Speedbowl50Bugsy StevensRon BouchardFred DeSarroEd FlemkePaul Richardson
08/04Star Speedway50Ken BouchardGeoff BodineOllie SilvaDick OsborneDave Thomas
08/11Thompson Speedway50Geoff BodineFred DeSarroRon BouchardLeo Cleary??
08/18Waterford Speedbowl50Fred DeSarroPaul RichardsonBugsy StevensBobby GahanBobby Santos
08/25Thompson Speedway50Geoff BodineRichie EvansFred DeSarroJerry DostieBobby Santos
1976 YANKEE ALL-STAR CHAMPION – GEOFF BODINE

1977

DATETRACKLAPSRACE WINNER2nd PLACE3rd PLACE4th PLACE5th PLACE
07/13Star Speedway50Ron BouchardBugsy StevensDave ThomasPaul RichardsonOllie Siva
07/20Thompson Speedway50Richie EvansGeoff BodineEd FlemkeRon BouchardBugsy Stevens
07/27Waterford SpeedbowlRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
08/03Star SpeedwayRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
08/10Thompson SpeedwayRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
08/17Waterford SpeedbowlRAINRAINRAINRAINRAIN
08/30Waterford Speedbowl50Charlie JarzombekDick DunnJohn RosatiEd FlemkeKen Bouchard
08/31Thompson Speedway50Geoff BodineRon BouchardFred DeSarroRichie EvansBugsy Stevens
1977 YANKEE ALL-STAR CHAMPION – RON BOUCHARD

1978

DATETRACKLAPSRACE WINNER2nd PLACE3rd PLACE4th PLACE5th PLACE
06/28Monadnock Speedway100Geoff BodineJack BatemanPunky CaronBugsy StevensFred Schultz
07/12Star Speedway100Geoff BodineBugsy StevensGeorge SavaryJim LandryHerb Simpson
07/19Thompson Speedway100Geoff BodineFred DeSarroFred SchultzJoe HowardJerry Dostie
07/26Stafford Speedway100Geoff BodineRon BouchardFred SchultzOllie SilvaBob Polverari
08/02Seekonk Speedway100Geoff BodineGeorge SummerFred DeSarroJack BatemanRon Bouchard
08/09Waterford Speedbowl100Geoff BodineDick DunnRon BouchardRoland Lapierre JrBobby Clark
08/16Westboro Speeway100Geoff BodineLeo ClearyFred SchultzMike WeedenFats Caruso
1978 YANKEE ALL-STAR CHAMPION – GEOFF BODINE

SPEEDBOWL DOC SERIES

segment produced by Vault Productions for the Speedbowl Documentary Series

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