Remembering FIVE decades by the “9’s”

Remembering FIVE decades by the “9’s”

Bill Hanna, ARRA


TEN YEARS AGO (May 30, 2009)


Chuck McKee celebrated his 51st birthday in the best way a driver could as the Middletown Missile earned his 25th career Modified Win in the 30-lap Modified Feature tonight.  It was also on this date twenty years ago that the chauffer was involved in a horrific crash featuring a violent series of flips on the homestretch and was knocked unconscious.  McKee in pocketing his second win of the season also took sole possession of the season long point standings as the leader.  Starting eighth in the 26-car field, McKee took the lead from Steve Dodd on lap 15 and held on despite two late cautions that allowed Brett Hearn to apply pressure for the popular win.  Following McKee and Hearn at the finish was early leader Dodd, Kirk Horton, and Gary Edwards Jr.

MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps) – Chuck McKee, Hearn, Dodd, K Horton, Edwards Jr., David Van Horn Jr., Danny Creeden, Chris Whitehead, Jesse Kline, Ric Hill

Reigning Sportsman Champion Mike Ruggerio became the first multiple feature winner of the season in taking the 20-lap checkered flag.  Ruggerio came from a 16th starting position and overtook Bobby Hassenmayer entering the third turn on lap 10 and went on to the easy victory, rebounding from a few weeks of bad luck after winning on opening night.  Joe Conklin followed in second, with Erik Holmgren, Matt Hitchcock, and Anthony Perrego rounding out the top five.  

SPORTSMAN FEATURE (20 laps) – Mike Ruggerio, Conklin, Holmgren, Hitchcock, Perrego, John Ferrier, Hassenmayer, Frank Venezia, Jimmy Spellman, Frank Doty 

Bill Pascual started fourth in the Pro Stock 20-lap feature and quickly shot into the lead on the very first lap and was never headed as he recorded his third win of the season.  The remainder of the 12-car field had nothing for Pascual tonight, and Scott Kehr headed them in taking the runner-up position at the finish.  Mike Dutka, Bobby Schade, and Tim McCarthy rounded out the top five.

Jay Pepin recorded his third win of the year in the 15-lap Veterans Division Pure Stock combined feature.  Matt Burke was awarded his first career Amateur Division win as followed Pepin across the finish line.  Pepin’s drive was impressive as he started 17th in the 19-car field and passed early leader Tom Consales on lap four and never looked back.

PRO STOCK FEATURE (20 laps) – Bill Pascual, Kehr, Dutka, Schade, McCarthy, Troy Arnold, Roger Obina Jr., Steven Shortway, Stevie Galgano, John Velde

VETERAN PURE STOCK FEATURE (15 laps) – Jay Pepin, Marty Van Neiuwland, Mike Vigiletti, John Dore, John Hechinger, Emerson Cargain Sr.

AMATEUR PURE STOCK FEATURE (15 laps) – Matt Burke, Mike Consales, Dave Van Sise, Frank Thissen, Stan Vishinski Jr., Charles Donald, Tom Behrman, Joe Paino, Tom Shortway, Kenny Reed


TWENTY YEARS AGO (May 29,1999)


Many drivers probably left tonight with “heartburn” as the Brioschi-sponsored cars driven by Bud Christmann and Brett Hearn drove away with victories in Modified Competition at Orange County.  Christmann, whom has been struggling all season became the sixth different winner in the 1999 Modified season as we are yet to see a repeat winner this year.  His Teo-Pro # 18 owned by Brioschi executive Mike Brizzalara started from the pole in the 30-lap feature and survived intense late-race pressure from Joe Winne to claim his second career modified win one year and one day after his first. Winne settled for second, with Tommy Meier, Gary Edwards Jr., and Frank Jashembowski rounding out the top five.  Current point leader Brett Hearn continued to hold onto the point lead with a sixth-place finish.

MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps) – Bud Christmann, Winne, Meier, Edwards Jr., Jashembowski, Hearn. Bill Wilson, Mike Petruska, Frank Cozze, Andy Bachetti

The first Syracuse Qualifier for Orange County saw Brett Hearn aboard his Brioschi sponsored, Ford-powered Teo-Pro car take the win and starting spot for the 358-Mdified Championship race at the Syracuse Mile in the fall.  Hearn, took the lead on lap 11 from Chad Loiodice and was never headed, winning by a half-straightaway ahead of Andy Bachetti.  Loiodice held onto third, as Lee Niznik and Jackie Brown Jr. rounded out the top five.

358 MODIFIED FEATURE (25 laps) – Brett Hearn, Bachetti, Loiodice, Niznik Brown Jr., Joe Winne, John Leiby, Tim Hindley, Rick Mill, Chris Shultz

Bill Haley regained the season long point lead in the DIRT Sportsman division by winning his third 20-lap feature of the season.  Haley grabbed the lead on a lap seven restart and led the rest of the way for the win over Chad Loiodice, Chris Shultz, Greg Sleight, and John Ferrier.

SPORTSMAN FEATURE (20 laps) – Bill Haley, Loiodice, Shultz, Sleight, J Ferrier. Alan Sturhann, Mike DePalma, Craig Mitchell, Mark Hufcut, Bill Papula

Bill Pascual of Cortland Manor, NY won the 12-lap Novice Pro Stock feature and Anthony Cannizzaro of Mahpec, NY was the winner in the 10-lap Rookie Pro Stock feature.  It was the first win of the season for both drivers.

PRO STOCK NOVICE FEATURE (12 laps) – Bill Pascual, Cliff Tinnelly, Tom Kuck, Tom Byrne, Dave Barmann

PRO STOCK ROOKIE FEATURE (10 laps) – Anthony Cannizzaro, Clark Bradford, Mike Hintze, Wayne Eckerson, Rob Rowe


THIRTY YEARS AGO (May 27, 1989)


Mike Ricci overtook Kevin Collins on the final lap to claim an exciting win in the Indy 50-lap Modified feature tonight at Orange County.  The New Paltz, NY youngster also stopped the four-race win streak of Brett Hearn aboard the Mike Cisnarale owned Coors Light # 8.  Collins, whom had led from lap 17 encountered lapped traffic on the final lap and drifted just high enough to allow Ricci room to nose underneath the ABC Racing Team # 32.  Collins reflected afterwards, claiming “it was my own fault”, but none the less, his runner-up finish was the best of the season.  Robbie Green, Richie Eurich, and Hearn rounded out the top five.

MODIFIED FEATURE (50 laps) – Mike Ricci, Collins, Green, Eurich, Hearn, Chuck McKee, Scott Goodrich, John McGill, Mike Barlow, Sammy Rogers

HEATS – Barlow, McGill, Steve Bottcher, Collins CONSI – Rick Wean

Brett Hearn continued his hold on the 358-Modified division in 1989 with another win aboard the Freightliner # 6 in the extended 30-lap feature event.  Hearn started 21st in the 30-car field, and methodically worked his way to the front.  Lap 19 saw Hearn move into second behind Bill Cherry and it looked that he might be beat, but Cherry slipped on lap 27 exiting turn two and it was all the “Corporate Jet” needed to take the lead.  It was Hearn’s third win of the year in the 358-Modified division.  Cherry held on for second with Bud Christmann, Rich Ricci Sr., and Gary LaBagh bringing home the Brim Recycling # 38 in fifth.

358 MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps) – Brett Hearn, Cherry, Christmann, Ricci Sr., LaBagh, Jimmy Johnson, Don Shepherd, Stan Sherman, Gary Huff, Chris Tuthill

HEATS – Shawn George, Cherry, Ricci Sr., Johnson CONSI – Rich Ricci Jr., Hearn

Sportsman features saw results changed after the checkered as in the first feature as the top three crossing the line were ALL failing post-race inspection giving the win to John Winter.  The remainder of the top five were Bobby Taylor, Tim Hindley, Jimmy Tuit, and Eddie Redner.  The second Sportsman feature found the same as first across the line Mark Huber as well as John Kissel and Ron Huber were all sent to the failed inspection line and gave Matt Matthews the win with Greg Sleight, Scott Muller, Ed Sartori, Barrett Hill officially rounding out the top five.

FIRST SPORTSMAN FEATURE (15 laps) – John Winter, Taylor, Tim Hindley, Tuit, Redner

SECOND SPORTSMAN FEATURE (15 laps) – Mark Huber, Sleight, Muller, Sartori, Hill

Street Stock Feature Wins were garnered by Johan Hogne and Mike Flynn in the Rookie Class, and Tom Kuck and Tony Coneski in the Novice Class.

FIRST ROOKIE STREET STOCK FEATURE – Johan Hogne, Mark Braun, Jim Redner, Pat Kelly, Tom Rhoades

SECOND ROOKIE STREET STOCK FEATURE – Mike Flynn, George Platania, Tim Green, Bill Johnson, Scott Kehr

FIRST NOVICE STREET STOCK FEATURE – Tom Kuck, Eddie Petro, Dan Freese, Rob Pedynski, Ken Tompkins, Paul Doty

SECOND NOVICE STREET STOCK FEATURE – Tony Coneski, Tom Meier, Dan Nappi, Joe Aulabaugh, Don Mill


FORTY YEARS AGO (May 26, 1979)


Despite 49 modifieds, 76 sportsman, and 30 invading ARDC Midgets this year’s nemesis or as noted Orange County race columnist Regina Hartley wrote in her report “Ray N” again took the headlines for the fifth time in seven attempts this year.  Long time announcer Ray Martin could recall a year when racing was cancelled four weeks in a row, but never a year that started with so many rainouts.  Well the management at Orange County will try again next Saturday with another added attraction as the URC Sprint Cars are coming in for a Saturday night appearance.  Perhaps Mother Nature likes sprint cars ?????


FIFTY YEARS AGO (May 31, 1969)


Tonight, we celebrate the 13th annual “Nostalgia Night” and one of the regular attendees was the victor fifty years ago here at Orange County.  That is no other than Emil Lloyd “Buzzie” Reutimann claimed his first win of the 1969 campaign.  Buzzie overtook race leader Pee Wee Griffin after a 11-lap battle with his fellow Floridian, taking the lead on lap 22.  Reutimann held on despite a momentary tangle with Griffin on lap 26 that bent the steering on the # 72 and allowed Rags Carter to overtake him for the runner-up position at the finish.  Griffin held onto third, with Budd Olsen and Vince Pantuso rounding out the top five.


MODIFIED FEATURE (30 laps) – Buzzie Reutimann, Carter, Griffin, B Olsen, Pantuso, Ed Farley, Rich Ricci Sr., Leon Manchester, Paul Conley, Roy Kincaid


HEATS – Cagle/Griffin (DEAD HEAT), Bobby Bottcher, Reutimann CONSI – Conley 


The Limited Sportsman were in the spotlight tonight as they ran a 50-lap championship race and Bob Dean captured his third win of the season and the $350 winner’s share.  Dean came from his 18th starting position in the 24-car field, moved quickly into fourth by lap 10 and followed Dick Pendell to the front until taking the lead from Bob on lap 15.  He continued to lead as many trying to catch him dropped out during the extra distance event including early leader Pendell on lap 44 and a strong running Richie Eurich on lap 47 while in second.  The remainder of the top five at the finish behind Dean was Bob Brueckner, Jack Zuidema, Pat Patterson, and Jim Walker.


LIMITED SPORTSMAN FEATURE (50 laps) – Bob Dean, Brueckner, Zuidema, Patterson, Walker, Stan Sherman


HEATS – Dean, Bob Meshach, Fred DeGroot CONSI – Tiny Milano


The 20-lap Semi-Late Model Feature saw Bob Gibson return to his early season form as he won his third feature of the season.  Jake Rassiga in his 300 was the early leader, but when Rassiga encountered mechanical issues on lap 5, Gibson was there to assume the lead and took it to the checkered flag.  Though the racing was hot and heavy behind Gibson, no one was able to challenge for the win.  The top five ended up with Frank Susczyneski taking runner-up with Norm Tosti, Dick Bohm, and Mel Naugle following.


SEMI-LATE MODEL FEATURE (20 laps) – Bob Gibson, Susczyneski, Tosti, Bohm, Naugle, John Owen, Ed Woodruff


HEATS: Rassiga, Ron Goodrich