Looking Back: The Reg Vs. TC At Martinsville In 2000

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

(Photo: Courtesy NASCAR)

By Paul Lambert/NASCAR

In a star-studded field of Modifieds that visited Martinsville Speedway in the fall of 2000, veteran Reggie Ruggiero grabbed his fourth NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour victory in Goody’s Body Pain 200.

In typical Martinsville fashion, it was not without drama, controversy and more than a few damaged race cars and hurt feelings.

It was Ted Christopher, who led 34 laps and appeared to be cruising to the victory before a late-race caution allowed Ruggiero one last shot at the win.

The winning pass occurred with nine laps to go, when Ruggiero dove under Christopher for the lead in turn one. The two made contact, and Christopher spun into the wall and out of the race.

The win was the second of the season for Ruggiero and the 41st of his career.

Christopher wound up 19th.

Coming into the penultimate race of the 2000 season, Ruggiero and Jerry Marquis were in the midst of a fierce championship battle. Both drivers were in search of their first Tour championship. Marquis was in his second full-time season on the Tour. Ruggiero, after finishing second in points six times prior, was making yet another run at the title.

RELATED: 2000 Goody’s Body Pain 200 Results | Final 2000 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour standings

Marquis had won the week prior at Stafford, retaking the point lead in the process. He was ahead of Ruggiero by just 18 points heading into Martinsville.

Along with Marquis and Ruggiero in the field that day were Tony Hirschman, Ted Christopher, Rick Fuller, and Jamie Tomaino, all of whom were Tour champions. Joining them were fellow Modified stars John Blewett III, Tom Baldwin, Ed Flemke Jr, and Tim Connelly. Making his second Tour start was a 24-year-old Burt Myers.

The 200-lap race saw six lead changes between five different drivers.

Ruggiero likely never would have gotten to Christopher’s back bumper, if it weren’t for contact between Marquis and Ruggiero. Marquis was trying to find a way under the slower Ruggiero when he clipped the inside curb and spun himself.

Despite a late-race spin, Marquis was able to rally up to second by the checkered flag. He and Ruggiero headed to the season-finale at Thompson separated by a mere eight points.

While Ruggiero won the race, it would be Marquis who won the championship, wrapping up the title with a fifth-place finish two weeks later at Thompson with a scant 36-point cushion. It would mark the seventh time that Ruggiero finished as the championship runner-up.


  1. solstaseson says

    Just always wonder what Rowan Pennick thought when he heard the news TC was gone, Stuff a guy into the wall hard,,,,,,,, who had a bad back.

  2. The Atomic Punk says


  3. Ruggiero really is the perfect pick for the Balboa in the SRX race. Certainly better then Rocco or Coby. Everyone loves Reggie or most everyone. True he’s a bit long in the tooth at 69 but Ribbs is no spring chicken either at 66. Ruggiero could do well simply by muscle memory. Great back story to working for a top NASCAR team as well.

  4. Looks remarkably like some of the racing we have today. You know the kind that many fans with rose colored long term memory say never happened with the greats of the past. Not passing on the high side. Not proving you’re faster or allowing the leader to run his line by racing around him. Not backing off a bit and showing the leader respect if you aren’t fast enough to do it on the outside. Nope, a pretty typical dive bomb move only this one taking out the leader and with no penalty.
    Or the notion that there was a time when top racers were white knights that always earned victories clean and raced for the win on the outside NEVER EXISTED!

  5. Thank you for the flashback! I appreciate it, genuinely!

  6. The Atomic Punk says

    Reggie was under him…. TC came down on him….. Reggie!!!!

  7. A lot of my favorite drivers where running back then. No Mike Stefanik? I would not miss a local Nascar modified race back then. Now I get to 1 or 2 a season. Racing is good today. Racing was great back then. I think this was right around the time Nascar cup series exploded in popularity and the local tracks saw a spill over in new fans. Thanks for sharing. Fade out to Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen.

  8. The Atomic Punk says

    100% csg. Its what happens when race car drivers are replaced with Kids with well funded Dads. To quote Mario Andretti ” You don’t send a boy to do a Mans job”.

  9. csg hits the 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯 🎯

    Mod racing is so much different today, and it so different because of the change in characters.

    Don’t believe that? NASCAR Cup hasn’t been the same since the loss of Dale Sr. That void remains. The NHL hasn’t been the same since Gretzky retired. These names, these types of marquee characters leave huge voids when they are gone.

    Modifieds lost luster when when the racing no longer had Evans, Jarzombek, Baldwin Sr., Leaty, Kent, Spencer, Bodine, Reg, Stefanik, TC, Marquis, Tony Hirschman, and others. These guys were great drivers that let the driving do the talking, but they were also great characters. These guy are role models. Why anybody would dare to be different is foolish.

    What do we have today? Coby and Bonsignore. These guys could never compete with the list above. Not even close. Combined, they don’t have the personality and charisma of the pinky toenail of any of the others in the list above. A few years ago, somebody posted on these forums that he chatted up Coby, and he said Coby went from idiot to zero (or maybe it was zero to idiot) in no time. Coby and JBon think they are the funniest guys around.

    It has been a huge detriment to the NWMT that drivers like Santos, Silk and McKennedy have been mostly part-timers for the last few years. Their presence is sorely needed.

  10. No doubt in the mid 80’s old men were bemoaning that fact that guys like Jarzombek, Evans and all the rest they were viewing with their fancy helmets, fire suits, cars and engines could not hold a candle to the real men that raced in hard hats and shirt sleeves in cars and engines they built themselves when they were young.
    Such are the universal themes of old men looking back with rose colored glasses.
    If you referencing racing in the mid 80’s it looked something like this. No NWMT or just starting with modified racing mostly a local track events. Support divisions limited. A core of drivers at each track racing for points with wandering teams popping in for big events or if there was rain at their usual track far, far away. Most importantly modified car counts dwindling and the expense is just out of control. Queue the NWMT in 1985 that changes it all as premier teams congregate in a tour, the only tour at the time. As local tracks drop full modifieds like Stafford or keep them but with substantially diminished numbers and quality.
    Versus now. A vibrant array of offerings with different classes of modifieds appearing at local tracks, in opens and in tours. Multiple tours each having their own strengths. The NWMT still the premier touring series but with other offerings that abound that didn’t exist in the 1980’s.
    Back to the mid 80’s cars ended up in the stands and racers like Evans and Jarzombek died. Quite a few actually.
    Seriously these are the magical times you’re harkening back to?
    Tracks less for sure now and fans scarcer as well. However the tracks that race are far safer as are the cars, the choices far more varied and accessibility to racing unprecedented.
    My view it’s better now. As for that nonsense about racers always racing for the pass clean on the outside. That too is the foggy memories of old guys that only recollect the best of what they saw but as a common practice never existed.

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