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Tuesday December 24, 2013

 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Eastern Motorsports Press Association recently announced that former NASCAR National Modified Champion Fred DeSarro and legendary NASCAR Modified car owner Len Boehler will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame in January. DeSarro, who drove the Sonny Koszela Woodchopper Special to the 1970 NASCAR Modified Championship, switched rides with Bugsy Stevens in the spring of 1971. Stevens had driven the Boehler car, known as Ole Blu, to three consecutive NASCAR Modified Championships, 1967-68-69.

The DeSarro-Boehler team was one of the most feared in the northeast where they won numerous events and track championships including the Race of Champions at the Trenton Speedway in New Jersey. DeSarro and Boehler won where ever they raced. From the deep woods of Maine to the sandy beaches in New Smyrna Beach Florida DeSarro and Boehler won.

DeSarro won four consecutive Thompson Speedway Championships starting in 1974, taking down 14 feature wins in ‘’74 alone at the 5/8 mile track. He was the 1970 Modified Track Champion at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY and was the Modified Track Champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway in 1972 and 1976. DeSarro finished in the Top 10 in the NASCAR National Modified Championship 5 Years in a row between 1968 and 1972. He also finished 2nd in the points race in 1968 and 1971.

Sadly DeSarro lost his life on Nov 1, 1978 following an accident at the Thompson Speedway. The cancer that had almost claimed Boehler's life in 1978 reared its ugly head again in 2001. Lenny never gave up. While most of the fabricating and preparation was done by Peter Caron and Michael Boehler, Lenny oversaw the operation. The checkered flag for Len Boehler fell on May 13, 2001.

In six decades Boehler’s cars amassed over 300 wins. Among his major wins were the Trenton 200 in 1967, the Dogwood 300 in Martinsville, Va. in 1968, The Thompson 500 in 1969, the Islip 200 in 1971, back to back wins in the Fall 100 and the Cardinal 500 at Martinsville in 1971, the Spring Sizzler at Stafford in 1972, the Race of Champions at Trenton in 1974, the Oswego 200 in 1985, the Richmond 200 in 1992 and four wins at Loudon, New Hampshire including three in a row with Tony Hirschman in 1996.

The Stafford Motor Speedway has released its 2014 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event schedule. The 2014 schedule will consist of 22 racing events, with the season kicking off with the 43rd Annual Spring Sizzler on April 25-27, and concluding with the 42nd Annual Fall Final Weekend on September 27-28.

Highlighting the 2014 schedule will be 7 events featuring Modified touring divisions. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make their customary four visits to Stafford, and the Valenti Modified Racing Series will make three stops to the Connecticut half-mile. The Whelen Modified Tour comes to Stafford on April 25-27 for the Spring Sizzler, May 23 for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, Aug. 8 for the Stafford 150, and Sept. 27-28 for the Fall Final Weeeknd. The VMRS visits Stafford on June 20 for the Town Fair Tire 80, July 18 for the VMRS 80, and Aug. 29 for the VMRS 80.

On a sad note, George Martin, former handicapper at the Seekonk Speedway died Thursday, December 19, 2013, peacefully at home with his family by his side after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 73.

On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks had a positive ending. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.31 to 34.47. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.07 to 20.00 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.02 to 2.47. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 1.43 to 9.86 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.29 to 52.52 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.31 to 22.93. Two of the three car makers were down for the week. Ford dropped 1.17 to 15.42 and Toyota dropped 0.47 to 118.75 while General Motors went up 0.95 to 40.99. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.03 to 80.04 and Lowes went up 0.86 to 47.97. The team sponsor stocks were all positive. Dupont went up 2.31 to 62.55, Coca-Cola went up 2.58 to 72.24, Target went up 0.13 to 62.49, Aarons Rentals went up 0.25 to 28.93 and Fedex jumped 4.81 to 142.71.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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