Aug. 16, 2005

By Phil Smith

Racing in New England got an early start last week as the Stafford Motor Speedway ran Full Fendered Wednesday highlighted by the NASCAR Busch North Series. Second generation driver Ryan Moore gambled with a tire change and walked off a winner. Ted Christopher gambled that his tires would last. He lost and had to settle for third place at the finish. Christopher led from lap 77 to 122 until giving way to Moore. Brian Hoar took over second spot late in the race. A good representative field of 28 cars was on hand. Andy Santerre and Mike Olsen rounded out the top five. Craig Collins took the Late Model win.

Richard Savory took the Sunoco SK type Modified win at the Thompson Speedway last Thursday night. The second generation racer took advantage of Tom Cravenho’s bad luck to take his second victory of the year. Jeff Malave extended his point lead with a second place finish. Todd Ceravolo was also in the mix until developing suspension problems while running in the lead pack. Kerry Malone ended up third with Bo Gunning and Bert Marvin rounding out the top five. Charles Bailey III scored his fourth Late Model victory of the year. Andy Johnson took top honors in the Pro Stocks with Keith Desantis victorious in the Limited Sportsman. Other winners were Mike Veins in the Thompson Modifieds and Todd Henshaw in the Mini Stocks.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night. A strong field of 37 Modifieds were on hand. Defending tour champion Tony Hirschman gambled with changing three tires when the rest of the field went with four on lap 113. Hirschman was fourth when he pitted and emerged the leader. Hirschman ran the rest of the event in the lead and went on to record his third tour win of the year. Ted Christopher ended up second and now leads Hirschman by 14 points going into Thompson. Jerry Marquis finished third with Mike Stefanik, fifth. High humidity along with extreme temperatures made for a true test of man and machine.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series returns to the Thompson Speedway this Thursday, August 18. Retired Modified great George Summers will be leading the field to the start at Thompson.

Donnie Lia won the 40 lap SK Modified feature at Stafford on Friday night. It was his first Stafford win. Lloyd Agor finished second with Willie Hardie Jr, third. Jeff Baral and Chuck Docherty rounded out the the top five. Andy Major won the Pro Four feature. Jeff Zuidema finished second with Dan Meservy, third. Jason Hereux and Cory Cleary rounded out the top five. Cleary is the grandson of one of the all-time greatest drivers, Leo Cleary.

Frank Mucciacciaro didn’t make any friends at the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night when he won his second career SK Modified feature in near 100 degree temperatures. Between the heat and Mucciacciaro’s driving, fellow competitors Tom Fox and Rob Summers were very critical of the winner’s driving tactics. Mucciaccaro started on the pole and led every lap of the 35 lap feature. Summers ended up second with Fox third. Ron Yuhas Jr and Dennis Gada rounded out the top five. Allen Coates won his fifth Late Model feature of the year while Bill Gertsch Jr went pole to pole to win the Sportsman feature that had been carried over from the Bud Nats. John Puglisi won the regularly scheduled event. Ken Cassidy Jr beat out Richard Brooks to win the Mini Stock feature and Jeffrey Paul won the Legends feature.

It was good to hear that the annual Racearama will be moving to Foxboro, Mass. for 2006. Show promoter and Speedway Scene publisher Val LeSieur feels that the move to Foxboro in the complex that is home to the New England Patriots Football Team will bring many new fans to the show. Racearama was located in the Better Living Center of the Big E in West Springfield. In recent years the Big E has decided to charge for parking. Racearama had no control over this situation but felt that it was in their best interests that the show be moved.

It was one year ago that Tiger Tom Baldwin was taken from us after a wreck at Thompson. Always outspoken, Baldwin told it like it was. A charter member of the Long Island gang, Baldwin was a Modified loyalist. He always had the best interests of the division at heart. In his late 50’s, Baldwin knew he was in the twilight of his racing career but still remained competitive. It is only fitting that we remember this fallen racer on the anniversary of his passing.

James Civali, tossed out of Stafford Speedway’s SK Modifieds, on thin ice with the Whelen Modified Tour, is now on thin ice with officials of the Busch North Series. During last week’s Busch North Series 150 at Stafford Civali, lost his temper again and drilled veteran Dave Dion. Dion and Civali had been making contact prior to the incident which triggered Busch North Series officials’ action to park Civali for the night. One of Civali’s friends said he is very upset with himself. He knows he made a very big mistake, and only blames himself. He is only 21 years old, and no doubt will make more mistakes in his life. By his choice the No.29 was not at Stafford on Friday night as he is taking time to reflect and think. Civali has a lot of raw talent and has shown flashes of having what it takes to be a top driver. At this stage of his life the best thing that could happen to him would be a little Seekonk or Norwood Arena back lot attitude adjustment before he hurts or kills someone!

It looks like Nevin George is out of the Ralph Solhem No.0. George has been the victim of bad luck lately and both felt that it was time to explore other options.

With a little luck it is expected that Mike Ewanitsko will make his return to the Modified Tour. Since undergoing two separate operations on his eyes the Long Island racer now has 20-20 vision. The team will definitely appear at Martinsville on Labor Day weekend.

In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation is now on every day, Monday thru Friday at 7:00pm. This weeks viewing begins on Tuesday at 4:00pm with last Saturday’s Craftsman Truck event that was run in Nashville, TN this past Saturday. Last Saturday’s Busch Series Zippo 200 that was run at Watkins Glen gets rerun at noon. At 5:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward highlights last weekend’s Nextel Cup event and Busch Series event at Watkins Glen plus the truck event from Nashville. At 8:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws from Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania. The Speed Channel revisits the 2004 Nextel Cup event run at the Michigan Speedway last August at noon on Thursday. A replay of last Sunday’s Nextel Cup event run at Watkins Glen follows at 3:00pm. Friday at noon will see the August 6 Hooters Cup event that was run in South Boston, VA. The Speed Channel goes live at 5:00pm from Michigan. Live coverage on Speed continues at 5:00pm with the ARCA RE/Max Series 200 from Michigan. At 8:00pm Speed presents same day-taped delayed coverage of Nextel Cup final practice. Saturday’s live coverage begins at 10:00am with Busch Series qualifying from Michigan. Live action switches to TNT at 1:00pm for Nextel Cup qualifying followed at 3:00pm with the Busch Series Domino Pizza 250. Live action on TNT carries over to Sunday for the Nextel Cup GFS Marketplace 400 from Michigan at 2:00pm. Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.

On the Speedway Stock market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.29 to 58.11 and Dover Downs went up 0.10 to 6.80. On the negative side was Speedway Motorsports, which went down 0.54 to 38.41. Nextel dropped 1.14 to 33.32 while Sun Oil went up 1.54 to 65.72. Action Performance and Featherlite Trailers both had off weeks. Action dropped 0.15 to 10.85 and Featherlite dropped 0.14 to 3.65. Boundledd Motorsports remained a no-change at 4.65. In the drug sector, Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.15 to 25.00 and Pfizer went down 0,09 to 26.16. Home improvement was all-positive. Lowes went up 2.12 to 65.19 and Home Depot went up 0.33 to 41.28. The parcel carriers had a mixed week. Fedex went up 0.05 to 84.65 and UPS dropped 0.38 to 73.06.

Sprint and Nextel Communications Inc. announced that they closed their proposed merger on Friday, Aug. 12, 2005. The companies have received all required regulatory approvals for the merger.

The proposed merger between Sprint and Nextel was announced on Dec. 15, 2004 with a commitment to create Sprint Nextel -- a leading communications provider that will offer a comprehensive range of innovative wireless and wireline products and services to consumer, business and government customers. After the completion of the merger, Sprint Nextel common stock will begin trading on Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "S."

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

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