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20 Amazing Seasons that Didn’t Produce a Championship

A Track Championship at any race facility is a prestigious honor and forever etches the driver's name into the history books.  At the Speedbowl, there has been Modified champions crowned since the inaugural season of 1951 and with countless supporting divisions champs crowned over the years as well.  Sometimes however, there are some amazing seasons that get lost down memory lane because they didn't end with the championship – whether it was from a couple of bad finishes, missing a race, a disqualification or remarkable consistency from the champion.  Regardless of the reason, and with no disrespect to those champions, here are some oft-forgotten examples of some amazing seasons on the track for those who didn't clinch the Speedbowl championship at the end of the year.

Fred Luchesi – 1953 Modifieds

10 Feature Wins
Finished 3rd in points

Fred Luchesi was an absolute legend in the old 'cut-down' days of the Modifieds, the early era when safety rules were almost non-existent and drivers had balls of steel!  Fred won a total of 24 races at the Speedbowl in a 3 season span from 1952-1954, 10 of which came in 1953.  He won 3 features in a row in late May that year, but could never quite catch Red Foote in the point standings.  Foote set a record with 17 Modified wins to earn the track title.  Luchesi would earn his first Speedbowl Championship the following year, then went on to clinch a Championship at Westboro Speedway in 1955 and then a three track sweep earning titles at Seekonk (Fri), Norwood (Sat) and Lonsdale (Sun) in 1956, cementing his eventual place in the NEAR Hall of Fame.   He never raced the Speedbowl on a weekly basis again after 1954, and if it wasn't for Red Foote's incredible season in 1953, Luchesi's first Speedbowl title just may have come a year earlier.  (Shany photo)


Moe Gherzi – 1954 Modifieds

14 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points

"Moneybags" Moe Gherzi lived up to his nickname in 1954 scoring 14 feature wins in the Modified division, including five 50-lappers and the Labor Day 100 lap event – all big purse payouts.  On July 3rd, he became the first driver to win 2 features on the same day at the Speedbowl when he won a 50 lap Modified event and a 100 lap Late Model special event.  In spite of all those wins, he was still locked in a battle atop the points with 5-time winner Fred Luchesi.  It went down to the final point race on October 10.  Gherzi finished 3rd, but Luchesi finished right behind Moe in 4th and clinched his first Speedbowl Track Championship.  It was the 2nd time in the Speedbowl's first 4 seasons that Gherzi went into the final Modified race of the season with a chance to clinch the title, but came up empty both times.   (Shany photo)


Ben 'Turk' Hewitt – 1959 Bombers

11 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set Speedbowl record with 5 straight feature wins

18 seasons before his older brother George would win the 1st of a record-tying 5 Modified Championship at the Speedbowl, Ben "Turk" Hewitt had a dominate season in the early novice division called the Bombers.  The Bomber division debuted in 1958 and the following year, Hewitt was a force to be reckoned with – winning a division-best 11 features.  On June 20th, he won the 1st of 5 straight features which was an unprecedented Speedbowl record at the time.   While he was dominate, he wasn't alone as Newt Palm won 10 features that year, including his own streak of 4 in a row in August and 4 of the last 5 to clinch the title over Hewitt on the last race of the season.  Turk never won another Speedbowl feature after 1959, but the Hewitt family continues their Speedbowl tradition to this day.  Moose Hewitt's grandson Kyle Gero was crowned the 2017 X-Car Champion. (Shany photo)


Ed Moody – 1960 Bombers

15 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set Bomber record for wins in a single season

Ed Moody was the King of the Bomber division.  In the division's 9 season history from 1958-1966, Moody won 44 features – twice as many as anybody else.  In 1960, he had his 1st dominate season, winning 15 feature events including a streak of 4 in a row in early July. He also won the very first 50 lap event for the novice divison.  But like Turk Hewitt the year before, Moody had to contend with Newt Palm in the championship battle.  Palm had an excellent season as well, winning 12 features and was a little more consistent on a weekly basis to earn his 2nd straight Bomber Championship. (Shany photo)


Ed Moody – 1961 Bombers

17 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set Speedbowl record with 6 straight feature wins
set Bomber record for wins in a single season

Moody was even more dominant the next season, winning a Bomber record 17 feature wins during the season and a Speedbowl record 6 wins in a row from late-May to late-June.  Legend has it that Speedbowl Race Director John Whitehouse forced him to move up to the Modifieds briefly, but Moody returned to the Bombers later in the year.  He won 6 of the last 7 events, including the last 4 in a row.  The hiatus cost him the championship however as Hugh McAvoy – who won a single feature that year – earned the championship by season's end.  Moody's championship hopes finally came to fruition the following year when his 11 wins helped him earned the 1962 Bomber Championship (photo l-r: Speedbowl owner Anthony Albino, Moody and car-owner Fred Fox)  Ed's 43 feature wins in a single division during a 3-year span is a Speedbowl record that still stands today.  (Shany photo)


Dick Caso – 1968 Modifieds

8 Feature Wins
Finished 8th in points

Daring Dick Caso was one of the most colorful competitors in Speedbowl history.  In the days when there was a still a sand strip on the outer most groove of the racing surface, Caso frequently ran high on the asphalt groove where his tires would go onto the sand strip and shoot sand & gravel out of the race track.  He also had an aggresive driving style that created a love 'em or hate 'em type of relationship with the fans.  His 36 career wins at the shoreline oval are the most by any competitor who did not win a track championship.  He only finished 8th in the points in 1968, but his 8 wins were the most in the division that year and a career best for him at the track.  He would lead the division in wins 3 more times in the following 6 seasons, but a Speedbowl Championship always eluded him.  (Shany photo)


Mike Daignault – 1971 Sportsman Sedans

10 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
tied Late Model record for wins in a single season
set Late Model record with 4 straight feature wins to start a season

Big Mike Daignault was one of the most popular drivers in Speedbowl history, winning the MPD Award at the track several times.  And in 1971, he always had his fans on their feet as he racked up a record-tying 10 wins in the Sportsman Sedans (an early Late Model division).  Daignault came out of the gate on fire, becoming the first driver in division history to win the first 4 events of the season.   But some bad finishes hurt his points tally, and Bob Gada won the points championship by 15 points at season's end.  Daignault remained one of the front runners for several more years, including finally getting that track championship in 1973. (Rene Dugas photo)


George Allum – 1973 Modifieds

6 Feature Wins
Finished 8th in points


George Allum had his best season at the Speedbowl in 1973, when he won 4 of the first 6 Modified features, including the inaugural Hott Wheels 100 open competition event.  But only the last of those 4 wins was a point event.  Dick Dunn would lead the division with 9 wins and earn the 2nd of his record 4-straight Modified Championships.   Allum remained a heavy hitter throughout the season, winning 6 times in total including a 50 lapper in June, a double point event. But it still was not enough to move him up the standings as he also missed several races towards the end of the season.   Allum only has 8 career Modified wins at the Speedbowl, so he was clearly at the top of his game in 1973. (Rene Dugas photo)


Brian McCarthy & Bobby Gada – 1982 Super Stocks

7 Feature Wins each
McCarthy finished 2nd in points, Gada finished 4th

The 1982 Super Stocks were dominated by 2 drivers:  Brian McCarthy & Bobby Gada.  They collectively won 14 of the 18 events held, each scoring 7 victories.  McCarthy won the 2 extra-distance events (30 laps & 50 laps) while the 18 year-old Gada rattled off 3 straight wins in the middle of the season.  But it was Andy Guimond, whose only win came in the 2nd event of the year, who continually finished in the Top 3 and edged out McCarthy for the title by 2 points.  It was the 3rd time in 6 years McCarthy finished runner-up to the Championship.  He would finally get his Speedbowl title in 1986.  Bobby Gada moved up to the Modifieds, then the NASCAR Busch North Series, where he won an event at Riverside Park Speedway in 1992.  For both of them, 1982 just may have been their finest Speedbowl season.  (Rene Dugas photos)


Bob Potter – 1984 Modifieds

5 Feature Wins
Finished 3rd in points

Bob Potter eventually won 6 Modified Championships at the Speedbowl, and in 1984 he was pretty close to another. That season he won 5 features, which wasn't alot compared to others on this list, but it led the division that season and included a 50 lap & 100 lap wins in back-to-back weeks during May and then a 84-lap open competition in late August. Potter was actually the point leader going into the season-ending 100 lapper, but retired after only 10 laps with mechanical woes.  That opened up the door for George 'Moose' Hewitt and Bruce 'Gomer' Taylor, who ended up tied atop the point standings and eventually declared Co-Champions.  Potter finished in 3rd, 8 points behind.  The Master of the Modifieds was THAT close to a 7th championship.  (Rene Dugas photo)


Art Moran Jr – 1985 Super Stocks

7 Feature Wins
Finished Tied for 3rd in points

Art Moran Jr was the dominate Super Stock driver in 1985, the first season the Speedbowl operated under a NASCAR sanction.  He led the division with 7 wins, including the season-opening & season-ending 30 lappers, both of which were double point events.  But none of it was enough to catch Phil Rondeau or C.J. Frye, who battled atop the standings for most of the season.  That battle ended with Rondeau edging Frye to win the first of his 6 Late Model Championships and Moran finishing in 3rd place.  With Moran winning the most races but not the championship in '85, it's interesting to note that he did win the Super Stock Championship 2 years earlier in 1983… without winning a feature. (Howie Hodge photo)


Ted Christopher – 1991 SK Modifieds

6 Feature Wins
Finished 3rd in points

Long before his most recent Speedbowl wins in the Prestige Motorsports #13, or his days as a frequent visitor in the Mystique Motorsports cars in the late 1990's & 2000's, Teddy Christopher drove Ron Berndt's North End Auto Parts #54 SK Modified to over 20 features wins at the Speedbowl from 1988-1993, leading the division in wins in all but 1 of those seasons.  In 1991, he had his highest season win total (6).  While 6 wins isn't an earth-shattering total, it's interesting to note there were an amazing 17 differents feature winners in the SK's that year and no other driver had more than 2. One of TC's wins was a rare 200 lap SK Modified event.   But Ricky Young had the more consistent season and earned his 1st championship.  Teddy would finally get the job done the following season when he earned his only career Speedbowl title. (Rene Dugas photo)


Tom Fox – 1991 Late Models

10 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points

Tom Fox had been racing for over a decade before he become one of the Speedbowl's best during the 1990's.  1991 was his breakout season, scoring a track best 10 feature wins that year, twice as many as any other Late Model driver.  But all those wins couldn't help him catch Phil Rondeau atop the point standings.  Rondeau, who up to that point had 4 championships and 3 double-digit win seasons, scored only 2 wins this year.  But his consistency helped him earn his 5th Late Model title, while Fox had to wait a couple more seasons before capturing his 1st Speedbowl title. (Dominic Christadore video still)


Dan Darnstaedt – 1995 Mini Stocks

11 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set Mini Stock record for wins in a single season

In 1995, new Speedbowl promoter Terry Eames moved the 4-cylinder Mini Stock division from the old Sunday Stocker series to Saturday nights.  And the 4-bangers didn't dissappoint as the season featured a championship battle for the ages between veteran Dan Darnstaedt and young-gun Jeff Karns.  Darnstaedt dominated Victory Lane, winning a record 11 times – including the mid-season double point event and the season-ending 50 lapper.  But it wasn't enough to overcome the consistency of 4-time winner Jeff Karns, who won the title by the slimmest of margins (2 points).  Darnstaedt would return in 1996 to win the title, but he was this close to back-to-back championships.  (Rene Dugas photo)


Tom Fox – 1996 Late Models

11 Feature Wins
Finished 4th in points

5 years later from his previous entry, Tom Fox was now a 2-time Late Model Champion (1993, 1995) and driving the Gaudreau family's #3 car.  Going into the 1996 season as the defending champion, Fox wasted no time picking up where he left off.  He won 3 of the first 4 events, eventually racking up a career-best 11 feature wins by the end of the season – more than twice as many as any other competitor that year.  But a rough stretch of bad finishes in June killed his championship hopes.  In the end, it was John Brouwer Jr (1 win) who edged out Phil Rondeau (2 wins) by 4 points to win the '96 LM crown.  It marked the 2nd time Fox racked up double-digit feature wins without clinching the championship and gives an interesting glimpse into how close Fox was to having twice as many LM titles.  (Rene Dugas photo)


Corey Hutchings – 1999 Strictly Stocks

10 Feature Wins
Finished 4th in points
set Strictly Stock record for wins in a single season

Corey Hutchings followed up his 1998 Championship season in the Strictly Stocks with an impressive 1999 campaign, winning 10 feature events – the most by any competitor in the Saturday night divisions that season.  But he was hit with a DQ during the July 9th event, which effectively took him out of championship contention.  He went down swinging though, winning 7 of the 11 races remaining after the DQ and never finishing out of the Top 3 during that stretch.  He ended up finishing in the runner-up position, 36 points behind Chris 'Moose' Douton.  Corey moved up to the Late Models the following season, where he would soon capture 2 more Speedbowl Championships (2003-2004).  (Rene Dugas photo)


Allen Coates – 2005 Late Models

8 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points

Allen Coates is one of the best ever to compete at the Speedbowl – winning championships in the Street Stock, Late Model and Truck divisions during his career.  But in 2005, he had a shot at a 4th LM title.  His incredible season included 8 feature wins (nobody else had more than 3) and Top 3 finishes in 16 of the 22 races held that season.  But a DQ in late July put his title hopes in jeopardy.  He went into the final race trailing Mark St. Hilaire by 18 points  St. Hilaire even blew his engine in the final race and finished 17th, but Coates finished 3rd when he needed to finish 2nd and ended up 2 points shy of his 4th Late Model title.  St. Hilaire was winless in 2005, but crowned the champion.  Coates would have to wait a few years before he would win his next titles in the Truck division (2009-2010).  (Race Dog photo)


Greg Moran – 2006 Super X-cars

9 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set Super X-car record for wins in a single season

The Moran family has a long history at the Speedbowl with 3 generations winning events at the track.  Greg Moran, whose father Art won Modified features in the 1970's & brother Art Jr was a former Super Stock champ, started out in the Enduros in the 1980's. By the 2000's, he was driving on Wednesday nights in the Super X-car division.  In 2006, he was the man to beat – winning 9 feature events, a SX record for wins in a single season that still stands today.  8 of those wins came in the last 11 point events, but it wasn't enough to overtake George Correia atop the point standings.  It was the closest Greg  ever came to winning a Speedbowl championship.  (Race Dog photo)


Curt D'Addario – 2006 X-cars

10 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points
set X-car record for wins in a single season

Curt D'Addario rewrote the X-Car Record book in 2006, setting the mark for wins in a season at 10 (which still stands today).   No other driver won more than 2 X-Car features that year.   But John Kelly was the model of consistency that year, and despite going winless, he earned the track championship.  D'Addario finished 48 points behind as the runner up.  Curt won 7 more races in 2008 and has 24 career wins in the X-cars – 2nd only to Brad Vogelsong all-time.   But the championship remained elusive.  (Race Dog photo)


Dennis Gada – 2007 SK Modifieds

7 Feature Wins
Finished 2nd in points

Like Coates, Dennis Gada is one of the best ever at the Speedbowl.  By 2007, he had tied Bob Potter & Phil Rondeau as 6-time Champs and was looking for more.  He led the division in wins with 7, including 3 straight to close out the season.  But it wasn't enough to catch 3-time winner Rob Janovic Jr in the point standings.  Gada finished runner-up, 10 points behind.  As amazing of a stretch Dennis had from 1998-2009, he was this close to being 1 Championship better.  (Race Dog photo)

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