ARCHIVES

Tuesday April 16, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Thompson Speedway opened for the season this past weekend with IceBreaker 2013. The Ice Breaker officially began the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. Mike Stefanik, still disappointed the way NASCAR handled the bump and run incident in which he was intentionally spun out of the lead in the February Battle at the Beach, eased the pain a bit during qualifying for the IceBreaker. The last car out in qualifying, Stefanik took the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Coors Light Pole Award on the second of his two laps in advance of Sunday’s season-opening Icebreaker. Has fast lap was recorded at 18.668 seconds (120.527 mph). The pole was the 48th of Stefanik’s career and the 10th at Thompson. From Coventry, R.I., Stefanik has a pair of wins in the Icebreaker, the last coming in 2006. He also holds the Whelen Modified Tour record for overall wins at Thompson with 14.

Prior to Stefanik’s last-lap run, Ryan Preece was in position for the Coors Light Pole. He would instead join Stefanik in the front row on Sunday thanks to a fast qualifying lap of 18.707 (120.276). Rowan Pennink qualified third at 18.745 (120.032) while Chuck Hossfeld was fourth-fastest at 18.781 (119.802). Ron Silk rounded out the top five. There were 29 cars on hand for the qualifying session. Hossfeld’s qualifying run was later disallowed after his No. 72 failed post-qualifying technical inspection. The fuel in his car failed to meet NASCAR's specs. He was placed at the rear of the starting field.

Stefanik is not an overly religious person but he got redemption following his bitter defeat at the hands of Steve Park in Daytona. After an almost fatal flub in the opening moments of the IceBreaker 150 the former NASCAR Champion regained his rhythm to come back to take the lead on a restart with ten laps to go and went on to score the victory, his 73rd, in Whelen Modified Tour Series action. Rowan Pennink finished second followed by Ryan Preece, Ron Silk and Ted Christopher. Jimmy Blewett, Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore, Chuck Hossfeld and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top ten the top 10.

Pennink, who led a race-high 79 laps, first took the lead from Preece on Lap 7. The pair swapped it two more times based on their pit strategy. Preece led 61 total laps. The race was slowed by seven cautions for 33 laps with two red flags. Three of those caution periods were caused by Gary McDonald who spun in turn 2 on lap 25, turn 4 on lap 43 and the front chute on lap 53.

There were 17 cars on the lead lap at the finish. Among those who didn't was Eric Berndt who parked it after 28 laps with an oil leak, Ron Yuhas Jr and Rob Fuller who got collected in a turn 1 wreck and Bryon Chew who was involved in a four car tangle in turn 2 on lap 135.

The Whelen Modified Tour Series takes a week off to prepare for the April 28 Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Whelen All American Series wins went to Keith Rocco, Glenn Boss, Cam McDermott, Larry Barnett, and Scott Michalski. The Granite State Pro Stocks showcased a 50-lap event that was won by George Bessette.

The Sunoco Modified feature started with a bang when a wreck on the front stretch brought the field under caution, and ended with a dominating performance by Keith Rocco, who registered his first Thompson win of the season. On the restart, Rocco got a run on the outside groove to take the lead from Ryan Preece. Kerry Malone and Woody Pitkat also passed Preece to take over second and third respectively. The top four pulled away with a car length between each spot as they set a torrid pace that fifth place driver Todd Ceravolo could not close up.

Pitkat turned up the heat on lap 13 when he dove to the bottom groove in a challenge against Malone. Malone held him off, but Pitkat was determined and continued to keep the pressure on. Meanwhile, Rocco was solid in the lead as he maneuvered through lapped traffic. On lap 19, Pitkat dove to the bottom again in turn four and drove into second place. Pitkat was on the move and closed in on Rocco. On lap 24, Pitkat used the bottom groove to his advantage again and got alongside Rocco, where he battled for an entire circuit before taking the lead at lap 26. Rocco returned the favor and challenged Pitkat from the inside. The two were side-by-side on lap 27 heading into turn two when Pitkat’s No. 00 turned around and spun into the infield grass. Rocco and Malone brought the field back to green after the caution with Rocco jumping out into the lead. Malone, Preece, Ceravolo, and Pitkat rounded out the top-five as they came around to complete the 28th circuit. Pitkat moved up to third with Rocco dominating up front as they came to the checkered flag. The official finish showed Keith Rocco taking the win over Kerry Malone, Woody Pitkat, Ryan Preece and Todd Ceravolo. Sixth through tenth were Dennis Perry, John Catania, Paul Newcomb, Nick Boivin and Joe Williams.

It appears that car counts at Thompson are headed in the right direction. There were 19 SK Modifieds that took the green. There were 24 Limited Sportsman, 22 Mini Stocks, 14 Late Models and 10 SK Lites. The speedway management expects these numbers to improve as the season progresses.

On a sad note, SK Modified division driver Jimmy Smith of Woodstock. CT passed away Saturday after suffering a medical issue in his race car at the track following a qualifying event. Smith was 62-years old. He had just finished racing in an SK Modified division heat race when he came off the track and parked his car behind his hauler in the Thompson pits.

The Thompson Speedway returns to action on Sunday, May 19 with a special 75 lap event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series plus the five regular NASCAR divisions that compete at Thompson on a weekly basis.

After a week off the Valenti Modified Racing Series heads "UP COUNTRY" to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH tis coming Saturday night for a 100 lap event.

The Waterford Speedbowl switched to its regular Saturday night venue. Once the sun went down the temperature dropped but it didn't seem to slow Tyler Chadwick who took the victory in the SK Modified feature. Chadwick took the lead from Todd Ceravolo with an inside move on lap 10, survived a challenge from Kyle James following a restart one lap later and pulled away over the final six laps to win by 10 car lengths. James finished second and Norwich's Tom Abele Jr. was third. Also claiming feature wins were Keith Rocco (Late Models), Salem's Corey Hutchings (Street Stocks), Groton's Ray Christian III (Mini Stocks), Dylan Izzo (Legends) and Jon Porter (X-Cars).

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour was at the South Boston (Va.) Speedway this past Saturday, April 13. George Brunnhoelzl III led wire-to-wire to score his 18th career victory. Brian Loftin finished second with Kyle Ebersole, third. John Smith and Tim Brown rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Burt Myers, Jason Myers, Gary Putnam, Jeremy Gerstner and Renee Dupuis.

Interest continues to build for the upcoming open competition SBM 125 at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH on Saturday, June 15. The best of all worlds of Modified Racing will be on hand to get their share of over $40,000 in cash and prizes. Race sponsors include Limodmaniac Jim Schaefer and Hoosier Tire East. Public Relations director Kevin Rice advises that just about every division of Modified racing will represented including NASCAR Modified Tour Series drivers Doug Coby, Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher and Mike Stefanik, Valenti Modified Series champions Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak and Steve Jarvis along with RoC champions Matt Hirschman and Chuck Hossfeldt.

Among the recent additions to the bonus money that will be available is the "Chuck Montville Car Owner of the Race" award. The award goes to an owner who most exemplifies Chuck's attitude at the track- His easy going get along with everyone attitude. Wayne Muffy Wildermuth and Liberty Hill Home Inspections have put up $100 for a pre-race SBM 125 award to a car owner, selected by a panel of three people.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.53 to 33.37 whileSpeedway Motorsports dropped 0.18 to 18.26 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.03 to 2.11. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.01 to 6.22 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.32 to 48.25 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.35 to 12.51. The car makers had a banner week. Leading the way was Toyota which went up 6.66 to 113.16. Ford went up 1.09 to 13.53 and General Motors went up 2.10 to 29.62. Things were booming in the home improvement sector as home depot went up 3.56 to 73.62 and Lowes went up 0.53 to 38.92. With the exception of Coca-Cola which dropped 1.13 to 60.55 the big team sponsors had a good week. Dupont went up 1.13 to 49.82. Target Department Stores went up 0.64 to 69.49. Aarons Rentals went up 1.09 to 28.75 and Fedex went up 0.83 to 96.33.

Lots of TV viewing headed your way this week:
 

4

17

Wed

12:00 PM

3:00 PM

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Replay

Texas

SPEED

4

17

Wed

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

4

18

Thurs

7:00 AM

8:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

4

18

Thurs

12:00 PM

2:30 PM

NASCAR Nationwide Series Replay

Texas

SPEED

4

18

Thurs

2:30 PM

3:00 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

4

18

Thurs

3:00 PM

4:30 PM

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Final Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

18

Thurs

6:00 PM

7:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

4

19

Fri

1:00 AM

1:30 AM

NASCAR Now

 

ESPN2

4

19

Fri

7:00 AM

8:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

4

19

Fri

12:00 PM

1:00 PM

NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography: Class of 2013

 

SPEED

4

19

Fri

1:00 PM

2:00 PM

A Racer's Life: Richard Petty

 

SPEED

4

19

Fri

2:00 PM

2:30 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

4

19

Fri

2:30 PM

4:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

19

Fri

4:00 PM

4:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Kansas

SPEED

4

19

Fri

4:30 PM

6:00 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Kansas

SPEED

4

19

Fri

6:30 PM

8:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

19

Fri

8:00 PM

8:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Kansas

SPEED

4

19

Fri

8:30 PM

10:00 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

10:00 AM

11:00 AM

NSCS Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

11:00 AM

12:00 PM

NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

12:00 PM

12:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

12:30 PM

1:30 PM

NSCS Final Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

1:30 PM

2:00 PM

NCWTS SetUp

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

2:00 PM

4:30 PM

NCWTS: SFP 250

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

4:30 PM

7:30 PM

Rolex Sports Car Series

Atlanta

SPEED

4

20

Sat

8:00 PM

9:00 PM

Trackside

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

9:00 PM

10:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

10:00 PM

11:00 PM

NSCS Final Practice

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

11:00 PM

11:30 PM

NCWTS SetUp

Kansas

SPEED

4

20

Sat

11:30 PM

2:00 AM

NCWTS: SFP 250

Kansas

SPEED

4

21

Sun

9:00 AM

10:00 AM

NASCAR Now

 

ESPN2

4

21

Sun

10:00 AM

10:30 AM

SPEED Center NASCAR Edition

 

SPEED

4

21

Sun

10:30 AM

12:30 PM

NASCAR RaceDay

Kansas

SPEED

4

21

Sun

12:30 PM

1:00 PM

NSCS Pre-Race Show

Kansas

FOX

4

21

Sun

1:00 PM

4:00 PM

NSCS: STP 400

Kansas

FOX

4

21

Sun

3:00 PM

6:00 PM

NSCS: STP 400

Kansas

FOX Deportes

4

21

Sun

4:00 PM

4:30 PM

NASCAR Victory Lane

Kansas

SPEED

4

21

Sun

8:30 PM

9:00 PM

NASCAR Victory Lane

Kansas

SPEED

4

21

Sun

9:00 PM

10:00 PM

A Racer's Life: Richard Petty

 

SPEED

 


That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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