Carl Berghman aka Bugs Stevens
Three Time NASCAR Champion
Bugs Stevens was born on the 11th of May, 1934 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. His real name is Carl Berghman but when he decided that he wanted to take part in stock car racing he was serving in the Air Force in Texas, and the authorities didn’t agree with their personnel taking part in Motorsports so he started driving under the assumed name of Bugs Stevens.
His first race was in 1957 at the Pan-Am Speedway in San Antonio, Texas. He started his NASCAR career in the 1960’s racing on the tracks of New England. During the years of 1966 through to 1975 Bugs was never placed lower than sixth in the NASCAR National Modified points table. He was three times NASCAR Modified champion, in three consecutive years, 1967 – 1969, driving Lenny Boehler’s blue #3 coupe, “Ole Blue” to victory each time. His first championship, in 1967, he took the victory lane in ten events and finished a massive 1,261 points ahead of fellow Massachusetts resident, Dan MacTavish.
Chasing a Second Championship
His second championship, in 1968, was an awesome endeavour with twenty nine victories and a colossal 1,930 points margin while chasing the title against Fred DeSarro and his 1969 title was gained on the strength of twenty wins and a lead of 262 points against Jerry Cook. Bugs was to say later, “1968 was a big year, we won a lot of races. We blew everybody away by a couple of thousand points, but we worked hard to get it.” As well as gaining his NASCAR Modified national titles Bugs won four track championships at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut on both dirt and asphalt, 1966 was the last year for Stafford Speedway as a dirt track, three at Monkton Speedway and two at Norwood, both in Massachusetts. He gained one track championship at each of the following – Albany-Saratoga, New York, Catamount and Thompson in Vermont. He became the all-time winner at Stafford Speedway taking the victory lane in no less than seventy three events at the North Central oval. The South Eastern racer ran, driving Richard Brown’s #36 Superbird in three events during the 1970 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, finishing in sixth place behind Donnie Allison in the World 600 at Charlotte Speedway , he also raced in the Atlanta Dixie 500 and the Darlington Southern 500 before experiencing engine problems.
Going for the NASCAR Hat Trick
Bugs made headlines off the track when he swapped from Len Boehler’s #3 and go to Sonny Kozella’s #15 and Fred DeSarro changed from the #15 to the #3. This became known as the infamous ride swap. He retired from the modified competition, running in his last event at Stafford Speedway in 1987 but made a return to take the Seekonk Pro Stock championship in 1989. He has been named as one of NASCAR’s Modified all-time Top 10 drivers and is a member of the inaugural class of the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame (1998).
Bugs can still be seen around the yard, but has long since retired. His sense of humor still remains intact.