50 Greatest Modified Drivers – Ken Bouchard
“The Other Kid From Fitchburg, Mass.”
Kenny Bouchard, the younger brother of Ronnie Bouchard, has 11 lifetime Modified career wins at Stafford. As soon as he could drive, the younger Bouchard started racing Late Models at Westboro and Riverside. His first appearance at Stafford was during his senior year of high school in 1975. Stafford was racing on Saturday nights at the time and Kenny gave up going to his senior prom in order to race at Stafford. His first win at Stafford came in a Sunday-Small Block Modified open competition event and his first full bore Modified win came on May 22, 1981. He also won a Modified Madness-Open Competition event that year.
A truck driver by trade at the time, Bouchard drove the big rigs all over the east coast when he wasn’t racing. It was also during his first year in the Modifieds that he recorded mid-week Yankee All Star League wins at Waterford and Star Speedways and ultimately won the series championship. In 1976 he began racing three to four nights a week and although only recording one win, the young speedster caught the eye of Bill Corozzo, owner of the Sheri Cup racing team that would field cars in later years for Brett Bodine and Mike McLaughlin. In what was thought to be a dream team for 1977, Lady Luck didn’t smile upon them and their association ended midway through the season when Bouchard had a horrific crash in the fourth turn at Stafford that left him with a concussion. He had been on the outside of Geoff Bodine and the two appeared to touch as Frank Sgambato waved the green flag. While Bouchard’s wreck was being cleaned up, Kenny’s brother Ronnie felt that Bodine had intentionally put his brother out. Exiting his car, Ronnie ran over a car in front of him and attempted to grab Bodine, feeling that he meant to harm Kenny. Because Bodine dominated the modified ranks that year, the crowd seemed to hate him and a riot almost ensued as the fans wanted revenge. Cooler heads prevailed and Bodine went on to win.
Out of the hospital and without a ride for several weeks, Kenny was hired by Sonny Koszela when he and Bugsy Stevens split. Kenny stayed with Koszela and a few more wins came his way. As a matter of fact, it was Kenny Bouchard who was driving Koszela’s car at Thompson, in the fall of 1978, when Fred DeSarro went over the third turn wall and was fatally injured. Kenny was the first on the scene. Without waiting for the Jaws of Life to remove the injured driver, he ripped the roof off the car with his bare hands, which enabled medical personnel to attend to DeSarro.
From the late 1970’s through the mid 1980’s, Kenny drove for many car owners including Ted Marsh, Joe Brady, and Len Boehler. It was also during this time that he and Ted Marsh raced on NASCAR’s elite Winston Cup Series and Bouchard’s efforts were rewarded with Rookie of the Year honors.
Kenny Bouchard was honored as part of the Stafford Salutes NASCAR at 50 program when he was voted by the public as one of the Fifty Greatest Modified Drivers of All-time. Kenny Bouchard is yet another racing legend that Stafford fans were able to watch rise.
By: Phil Smith