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Tuesday August 18, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway last Thursday night for the New England Dodge Dealers presentation of the Budweiser 150. A generous purse of $84,168 was posted for the event. Day long misty conditions and a forecast of heavy rain for the evening forced NASCAR officials and the Thompson Speedway management to postpone the event to Thursday night, September 3. The Whelen Modifieds now head for Bristol, TN for a Wednesday night event this week. For those who cannot be there the event will be televised on a delay by the channel at 7:00pm. Going into the Bristol event Ted Christopher leads Todd Szegedy by 12 points. Ryan Preece, who now has two wins in a row sits in third while Donny Lia and Rowan Pennink round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Jimmy Blewett, Woody Pitkat, Eric Beers, Ed Flemke, Jr. and Mike Stefanik.

In Friday night action at Stafford, Ted Christopher was the winner in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco was the winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Brit Andersen was the winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin Gambacorta won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Barry Fluckinger was the winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

The 40-lap SK Modified® feature took the green with Doug Coby taking the early lead ahead of Matt Gallo, Tom Bolles, Curt Brainard, and Todd Owen. Frank Ruocco was quickly on the move and Ted Christopher was right behind Ruocco as they both worked their way into fifth and sixth place by lap-5. Coby held the race lead until lap-10 when Gallo went to the outside of Coby to take the lead on a restart. Coby settled into second, but was able to retake the lead from Gallo on lap-13 when Gallo drifted up the track in turn 4. Coby then stayed out front until lap-20 when Christopher took over the top spot, bringing Woody Pitkat and Ruocco with him by Coby. The top-4 then ran in line until lap-35 when Ruocco was able to move by Pitkat to take second place. Ruocco followed Christopher to the checkered flag as Christopher nailed down his fourth win of the 2009 season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Christopher and Ruocco was Pitkat, Coby, and Bolles. Sixth through tenth were Zach Sylvester, Eric Berndt, Keith Rocco, Matt Gallo and Richie Pallai, Jr.

Dillon Moltz finished sixth in the 30-lap Late Model feature. Moltz was leading with 22 laps complete before Adam Gray made contact with him and spun him out. Gray was sent to the rear of the field for rough riding Christopher, who now has an overall win total of 18, has put himself in contention for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series short track national championship.

At the Waterford Speedbowl, the 2nd annual Wings 'n Wheels event was run in front of a packed house of fans on a hot summer night. Scoring victories were Tyler Chadwick in the SK Modifieds, Lou Cicconi in the ultra fast ISMA SuperModifieds, Rowan Pennink in the True Value Modifieds and Russ Stoehr in the NEMA Midgets. It was a long night as racing at the shoreline oval concluded at 12:20am on Sunday morning.

The SK Modified feature turned into a rolling demolition derby with many of the top contenders being knocked out of the event. Justin Gaydosh and Tom Abele Jr. shared the front row of the 25 lap event. Gaydosh moved out to the lead but the first of eight cautions waved on lap four when Dennis Charette spun out of the back half of the top five after contact entering turn one, collecting Josh Sylvester who was making his first Speedbowl appearance. Sylvester was done for the night. Eventual winner Chadwick, actually spun in turn one to bring out the second caution early in the event. He benefited by a series of multi-car incidents at the front of the field in the first ten laps, improving his position back to within striking distance.

The first of the key incidents occurred when Corey Hutchings challenged Gaydosh in the outside groove. The pair raced a little too hard for the lead, causing Hutchings to spin across the front stretch. He clipped Rob Janovic Jr which blocked the track. The wreck also collected point leader Keith Rocco and 2007 division Rookie of the Year Glenn Pressel III. The Janovic, Hutchings, and Pressel machines received extensive damage and retired from the event. Dennis Gada and Yuhas were the new front row when racing resumed. But before a lap could be completed Gada lost a left rear tire, sending him spinning into turn three wall. The field finally got some competitive racing in when the action resumed. Yuhas pulled out to the lead with Chadwick becoming a serious factor. He moved to second around the outside of Jeff Pearl on lap 12. Jeff Paul followed Chadwick into third. Chadwick was all over the leader by lap 16. Further back, Rocco was looking to re-enter the top five after his earlier incident on the back bumper of Charette. Rocco found his way past on lap 19 after looking in both the high and low grooves.
 
Chadwick made a daring inside maneuver entering turn one on lap 25 to pull alongside Yuhas. He completed the pass to claim sole possession of lead as the field hit the stripe the next time around. Chadwick had to master one final restart to go on to his first win of the season, coming after taking a week off to regroup. Yuhas, Paul, Pearl, and Rocco completed the top-five.

Rowan Pennick took advantage of Mike Stefanik’s soured engine and went on to record his first victory in the True Value Modified Series. Stefanik looked strong through the latter stages when signs of smoke started to show from his #66 machine. Pennink capitalized when the motor began to falter, Stefanik pulling low off turn four with seven laps remaining. Pennink went on to his first series win and is the eighth different winner in as many True Value Modified events held at the ‘Bowl. Chris Pasteryak came back from a mid-race pit stop to claim second and Kenny Horton scored his best effort in the series finishing third. Stefanik ended up in 15th spot. Rob Goodenough and Jacob Dore rounded out the top five.

The True Value modified racing series heads to the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Mass this coming Saturday, Aug. 22.

Young driving sensation Ryan Morgan of Mystic,CT raced for the first time at Seekonk Speedway last Friday night driving a "Allison Legacy" car. These cars are third scale NASCAR Sprint Cup cars running a sealed Mazda engine capable of speeds reaching 125-130 MPH. Morgan started the 25 lap feature event last, in sixteenth position, at the drop of the green he moved forward and was in fifth spot by lap thirteen when he was hit in the rear by another car, after a quick trip to the pits for repairs, he restarted in the rear again. As the raced progressed, Morgan worked to the front again and with three laps remaining was in second position, however, because of the earlier damage that shifted the rear more than four inches, he was not able to hold the car in the low part of the race track and settled for fourth at the stripe.

In TV land this week, NASCAR Now on espn2 will be seen on Wednesday and Thursday at 5:00pm and at 7:00pm on Friday. This weeks viewing begins on Wednesday at noon as the Speed Channel replays last weeks NASCAR Sprint Cup CARFAX 400 that was run at the Michigan International Speedway. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series takes center stage at 7:00pm on the Speed Channel with the running of the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pre-race show follows at 8:00pm which leads to an 8:30 start of the O’Reilly 200 at Bristol. Thursdays viewing on the Speed Channel starts at noon with a rerun of the 2008 Sharpie 500 at Bristol. The August 15 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West Toyota/NAPA 150 that was run at the Colorado National Speedway follows at 3:00pm. Friday will be busy. Speed goes live at 10:00am with NASCAR Live at Bristol. A ninety-minute practice session for Nationwide Series cars follows at 9:30. Live coverage continues at noon with Sprint Cup practice for 90 minutes. NASCAR Live at Bristol for a half hour will give competitors a break before the final 90-minute practice session for the Sprint Cup competitors begins at 2:00pm. NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying begins at 4:00pm followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 5:30pm. At 7:30pm the action moves to espn2 for the pre-race show for the Nationwide Series event at Bristol, which is scheduled to get the green at 8:00pm. Saturday’s viewing begins at 4:30 with a two-hour segment of NASCAR RaceDay on the Speed Channel. At 6:30pm the action moves to ESPN for a one hour preview of the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Sharpie 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway which is scheduled to get the green at 7:30pm. On Sunday, the Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report from 7:00pm to 8:00, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks had negative results for the week. Dover Downs dropped 0.03 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.71 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.61 to 27.40. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.06 to 3.85 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.19 to 25.89 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.31 to 17.80. With the exception of Ford dropping 0.18 to 7.83 car makers General Motors and Toyota had a positive week. Toyota went up 0.43 to 85.75 while GM went up 0.17 to 0.93. Team sponsors were down for the week. Dupont dropped 0.47 to 32.36, Coca-Cola dropped 0.61 to 54.03, Target Department Stores dropped 0.90 to 42.03 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.72 to 27.32. In the area of home improvement, Lowes dropped 1.02 to 22.83 and Home Depot dropped 0.12 to 27.14.

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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