Leo Cleary Takes Big T “Indian Day”
October 10, 1976
THOMPSON, CT. – “Indian Day” at the Thompson
Speedway saw the mainstays of racing, the little guy, make off with
the big bucks as Leo Cleary outraced Ronnie McCann to the wire and
take his first win of the year at the “Big T”.
A cool October afternoon was in the offering, this kept the
attendance down, but it didn’t keep the competitors from the race
track. A total of 61 small block modified race cars and 45 late
model stock cars entered into competition with full heats and
consolation events being run prior to the action packed features.
Leo "The Lion" Cleary put the Tiger
Tom T-5 into victory lane on "Indian Day" at Thompson Speedway.
At the outset of the small block
feature it appeared that John Rosati or Ray Miller would be the odds on
favorites to finish one and two. Such was not the case as McCann took the
early lead and with Nick Giardina, Ron Cote, Cleary and Rosati right on
his tail, the race for the checkered flag was on. It didn’t take Cleary
long to reach the runner-up position, for lap after lap it was McCann and
Cleary until there was five to go and traffic coming up. Cleary pet his
experience to work, made the right move and took the lead as McCann found
a lapped car in the center straight and learned that you can’t go high and
to the outside and still hold on to a slim lead.
That’s the way that it ended, Cleary the popular winner with young Ronnie
McCann turning in an equally popular second place finish. Taking down
third place in this annual “Indian Day” program was Ron Cote, Dick Dunn
was fourth and Nick Giardina fifth.
Don Fowler pictured at Waterford
Speedbowl in 1975, finished 2nd in the Late Model feature. Don raced
SK Modifieds at the Speedbowl until 2006. (Rene Dugas Photo)
Dick LaFlesh made it home first in the late model stack car feature event,
LaFlesh held the lead, lost the lead and then came back on the final lap
with a “Daytona like sling-shot move” to beat out Don Fowler and Bob
Fuller in a blanket finish.
Bruce Smith had been the early leader in this event, but gave way to
Fowler who then gave up the lead to LaFlesh. On a restart LaFlesh went
high into the first and second turns and this gave Fuller the opportunity
that he wanted and the race had a new leader. With the white flag down the
three leaders went into the third and fourth turns hard, Fuller went high
with LaFlesh taking the low groove and followed by Fowler. By the time
that Fuller had recovered, it was LaFlesh to the finish line first, Fowler
in second place by inches over Fuller.
The top 10 finishers in both divisions as follows:
SMALL BLOCK MODIFIED: Leo Cleary, Ron McCann, Ron Cote, Dick Dunn,
Nick Giardina, Ray Miller, Phil Spiak, Gary Ryan, Dave Humphrey and Ray
LATE MODEL STOCK CAR: Dick LaFlesh, Don Fowler, Bob Fuller, Bruce
Smith, Si Allen, Jeff Fuller, Don Steiner, Dave Alexandrovich, Bill Chikan
and Bob Kleeman.
THOMPSON PIT NEWS – The hard luck team on this date was the Joe
Brady and Bob Santos combo. Problems in the qualifying heats and running
well, problems in the consi after running well. The No.41M sat in the pits
at feature time and on a race date that many believed that this would be
the car to beat based upon the last few weeks performance on the track.
Kevin Coan and John Rosati would be the runner-ups for the hard luck