Tuesday August 22, 2006   

By Phil Smith                                                           Click on any photo for Full Size Version

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the Thompson International Speedway last Thursday night for the New England Dodge Dealers/Budweiser 150. Ted Christopher, who started 20th ended up an unpopular winner as he was given the Bronx Cheer in victory lane. Christopher, who along with John Blewett III staged a torrid side by side duel for the lead from lap 131 to lap 140. Christopher had just exited turn two when he made contact with Blewett, sending him into the wall. Christopher said he didnít mean for it to happen, Blewett and the almost capacity crowd felt different as they voiced their disapproval. NASCAR Tour director Ed Cox felt it was a racing accident and took no action. Blewett actually chased Christopher on foot to no avail. Had he caught him would have made for a different scenario. A few years back at Stafford, Blewett went after Carl Pasteryak and actually jumped aboard his car and began ripping at wires until the car shut off. Once the wrecked car of Blewett was removed Christopher ran the final three laps uncontested. Tony Hirschman, who was the Busch Pole sitter, ended up second with Zach Sylvester, third. Tom Bolles and Jimmy Blewett rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Mike Stefanik, Ed Flemke, Ron Yuhas, Don Lia and Jerry Marquis.

There were 38 cars on hand. Among those who didnít make the 33 car starting field was Reggie Ruggiero who was the victim of motor trouble as his crankshaft broke during practice. Alex Hoag also had motor trouble while Kevin Goodale hit the wall. Eric Berndt and Jake Marosz failed to make it on time.

Pole sitter Hirschman led the opening laps which turned into a high speed freight train. Hirschman led for 45 laps before giving way to Mike Stefanik. A caution period on lap 30 saw John Blewett III pitting for a tire. Stefanik led until lap 82 when he pitted during a caution that came out when James Civali rode over Eric Beersí wheel. Beers expressed his displeasure of Civaliís driving while Blewett pitted again for two more tires. A quick stop enabled Blewett to get a good spot for the restart as he was able to tale the lead from Steve Whitt on lap 98. From then until the Blewett wreck the racing was at a fever pitch.

It is anticipated that Blewett and Christopher will meet again. The Whelen Modified Tour takes a week off before heading to Martinsville, Va. On Labor Day weekend.

In regular weekly racing action Glen Boss took the win in the TIS Modifieds, Shelly Perry won her fifth Mini Stock feature, Jeff Zuidema took the Late Model main and Mike OíSullivan won a squeaker in the Pro Stock feature. Larry Barnet was the Limited Sportsman winner and Jimmy Blewett gave a pay back body slam to Keith Rocco as he took the Sunoco Modified feature.

The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway started their week on Tuesday night. Billed as CARQUEST Presents the Big One, drivers had a chance to make history with the largest Northeastern payout ever offered with the Valvoline $50,000 challenge. If a driver could win both the 30-lap Midget race and then start last and win the 100 lap PRA Big Car Series race, then that driver would leave Stafford Speedway with a $50,000 bonus provided by Valvoline, CARQUEST Auto Parts, and Stafford Motor Speedway. Bobby Santos, III first won the 30-lap midget feature event, and then went out and won the 100-lap PRA Big Car Series race after starting shotgun on the field to leave Stafford $50,000 richer. Santos, a third generation racer is home grown from Franklin, Mass.
Stafford Speedway returned to action on Friday night with five NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series feature divisions all in action. In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Woody Pitkat collected his second SK Modified feature win of the 2006 season by holding off a determined challenge from Frank Ruocco. Lloyd Agor led the first lap with Kurt Lenahan taking the lead on lap-2. Lenahan held the lead until lap-5 when Pitkat moved out front. Ruocco took second from Lenahan on lap-7, and he spent the next 33 laps glued to Pitkat' s bumper, looking for a weak point to use to his advantage and overtake Pitkat for the race lead. But that weak point was never exhibited to Ruocco as Pitkat was able to fend him off for the victory. Chris Jones finished third, with Jeff Malave, and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5. In the chase for the 2006 SK Modified track championship, Jeff Malave holds a slim lead by 6 points over Frank Ruocco. Todd Owen is third, 14 points behind, Pitkat is fourth, 26 points behind, and Jeff Baral is fifth, 34 points behind. Jim Peterson continued his winning ways with his second consecutive Late Model feature win, Glen Reen was a first time winner in the SK Light Modified feature while Mike Sweeney was also a first time winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Hubbell was the DARE Stock feature winner, his first feature win of the 2006 season.

The NASCAR Busch East, formerly Busch North Series, was at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Matt Kobyluck treated the home folks with a victory after a paint swapping deal that saw Sean Caisse brush the wall. Bryan Chew ended up in second spot in a race that finished up in the rain. Earlier in the evening Jeff Pearl beat Chris Pasteryak on a green-white-checkered restart and held on to capture his third Waterford Speedbowl 35-lap SK-Modified feature of the season. Pasteryak, who stated he missed a shift fell to third as Shawn Monahan slipped into the second spot. Tommy Fox and Diego Monahan rounded out the top five. Jeff Miller won the 20-lap Mini Stock race. Rain ended the Late Model feature after nine laps. The final 21 will be completed this coming Saturday night. The washed out Sportsman feature will be run as part of the Sept. 9 event.

In TV land this week viewing begins on Wednesday at 4:00pm with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Late Models from Madison, WI. At 8:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws from the Princeton Speedway in Princeton, MN. The Speed Channel goes live at 9:00pm with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series OíReilly 200 from Bristol, TN. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel reruns last Saturdayís NASCAR Busch Series Carfax 250 from the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. A NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay of the GFS Marketplace 400 from MIS follows at 2:30. Fridayís live coverage from Bristol begins at 2:30pm with NASCAR Live. NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for Saturday nightís Sharpie 500 follows at 3:30. NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for Friday nightís Food City 250 goes live at 5:00pm. The action switches to TNT at 7:45 for live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series Food City 250 from Bristol, TN. The Speed Channel wraps up the day at 11:00pm with Trackside at Bristol. Saturdayís racing begins at 4:00 on NESN with NASCAR New England which showcases the weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway. At 5:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for USAC Thunder: National Sprints from Salem, IN. Also at 5:00, on the Speed Channel is NASCAR RaceDay which will preview todayís Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The NEXTEL Cup Sharpie 500 from Bristol gets the green at 7:30 on TNT. Sunday will be quiet until 6:00pm when the World of Outlaws Late Model Series gets the green at the Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio. NASCAR Victory Lane from Bristol follows at 7:00pm. The Speed Report on the Speed Channel goes at 8:00pm followed by Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene, two of the three speedway stocks were in the green for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 2.66 to 48.12 and Speedway Motorsports went up 1.01 to 36.57. On the negative side was Dover Downs, which went down 0.07 to 5.50. Nextel continues to drop as they went down 0.21 to 16.41. Sun Oil was also down as they dropped 1.38 to 77.03. Featherlite Trailers went up 0.01 to 6.34 and DIRT rose 0.55 to 3.10. In the drug sector Pfizer went up 1.23 to 27.05 and Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 1.40 to 21.64. The home improvement sector also had a positive week as Home Depot went up 1.50 to 34.27 and Lowes went up 1.42 to 29.52. The parcel carriers had another big week as Fedex went up 5.54 to 103.88 and UPS went up 4.57 to 71.08.

Photo Credit: Fran Lawlor

Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail  

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