Tuesday August 10, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its third of four appearances at the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night. There were 30 Modifieds on hand for the 150 lap Town Fair Tire 150 that carried a purse of $82,476. Ron Silk, who drives for Eddie Partridge was the pole sitter. The top six redrew for starting positions. Bob Grigas started the race on the pole with Erik Rudolph on the outside.

Todd Szegedy ended the longest non winning streak of his career when he won the Town Fair Tire 150 at Stafford. Szegedy, who had been winless since September 2008 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, took the lead from Mike Stefanik on Lap 100 en route to his 14th career win. It was the third triumph at Stafford for Szegedy, who led a race-high 54 laps. Stefanik finished second and Ron Silk third. It is the fifth-straight top-five finish for Silk, who earned the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day. Erick Rudolph and Ted Christopher rounded out the top five.

Eric Beers, Eric Goodale, Bobby Grigas III, Chuck Hossfeld and George Brunnhoelzl III completed the top 10. There were six caution periods, mostly for minor spins, for a total of 39 laps. In addition to Szegedy, lap leaders included Erik Rudolph, Doug Coby, Ron Silk and Mike Stefanik.

Point leader Bobby Santos suffered a blown motor in the Mystic Missile that brought out a red-flag for cleanup on Lap 100 and ended his day early. As a result, the 67-point advantage he brought into the race on Christopher was narrowed to just six. Stefanik remained third in the standings, 56 points out of first.

Conspicuous by their absence was James Civali and the Roger Hill No.79 who were at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC qualifying for a Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series event that was held on Saturday night.

The Whelen Modified Tour Series heads to the Thompson International Speedway this coming Thursday, August 12. This event will be televised on Wednesday, August 25 on the VERSUS cable network.

The Thompson International Speedway fell victim to heavy rain plus thunder and lightening on Thursday night. The rescheduled date for the event will be Sunday, September 26th. The new date will be the final Thompson points event of the season and will include Thompson’s Super 6 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions along with the Tour-Type Modified 40-lap Shoot Out. Grandstands will open at 1 PM with racing action starting at 2:15 PM.
The track now looks to this coming Thursday, August 12th when the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (WMT) invades the high-banked oval for the running of the annual August classic, The Budweiser 150.

The “Bud 150”, will include all of Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super 6 divisions. The action will get underway with WMT time trials at 5:30 PM and will then be followed by 7 feature event races that will be topped off with the running of the exciting WMT Budweiser 150.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted their regular Friday night divisions in addition to the Whelen Modified Tour. Woody Pitkat won his second race of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Michael Bennett romped to his second Late Model feature win of 2010 in the 30-lap feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. scored his fourth consecutive and sixth overall win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery scored his fifth win of the 2010 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cliff Saunders picked up his first victory of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Keith Rocco was hoping to move closer to sewing up the NASCAR National title but his hopes were dampened as he failed to finish. Rocco spun with a tire rub to bring the caution out with 37 laps complete and ended up 15th in the final tally. Rocco needed three more wins to clinch the title.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco got a little closer to his goal as he beat out Todd Ceravolo for the SK Modified win on Saturday night. Rocco needs two more wins to sew up the coveted national title. Rich Staskowski recorded his first career win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Al Stone III won his third Street Stock division event of the year to keep pace in the championship standings. Louis Bellisle doubled up the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock field, winning his second consecutive race, while teenager Anthony Flannery won his 14th Legends Cars race this season but first since July 3rd.

In the SK Modified main event Ceravolo made a move to the outside of Rocco headed into turn three of the final lap. He was able to pull alongside in a sprint to the finish out of turn four. Ceravolo fell a half-car length short at the checkered flag, while Rocco recorded his second consecutive and ninth Speedbowl win of the season. Rob Janovic, Tom Abele and Jeff Paul completed the top five.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina hosted the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on Saturday night. LW Miller used his bumper to take the lead from Burt Myers and went on to record his first victory in the 199.

Miller, the 2007 Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion, registered his first tour victory since 2008. He won for the 11th time overall on the tour, matching Brian Loftin's record of 11 career wins. With 16 laps to go, Miller put the bumper to Myers with a tap in the North turn. Myers slipped and the rest was history. "Bump and Run" is an acceptable practice there.

Myers took the lead on the 36th lap from younger brother Jason Myers, who started last night's 199-lap main event from the pole position. He successfully held off Miller in four double-file restarts after cautions, but knew, with 25 laps to go, that his lead was in jeopardy. Miller's car was getting better, and Myers' worse. Myers hung on for second, John Smith finished third, Jason Myers fourth and Andy Seuss fifth.

With his victory, Miller climbed past James Civali as the leader in tour standings after five races. Civali finished 13th, 16 laps down, at the finish.

The Bowman-Gray tour race was taped by Versus and will be broadcast on Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. Because of the fact that the August 18 Whelen Modified Tour event in Bristol, TN will be shown on the Speed Channel at 6:00pm the Bowman Gray event will be rebroadcast on Friday, August 22 at 11:00pm.

Congratulations to Kenny Barry who scored his second career win Saturday night with the Northeast’s Modified Racing Series, sponsored by, at the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, ME. Barry became the tenth different winner in eleven races and the fifth different winner of the “Beech Ridge 100.” Series point leader, Jon McKennedy, took the lead from pole-sitter Jacob Dore, on lap three and set the pace for the next 63 laps before being passed by Barry. Barry led the final 33 laps to pick up the win, the first for his father, noted car builder Art Barry.

For the second race in a row Dwight Jarvis finished second followed by Mike Holdridge, Todd Annarummo and Les Hinckley III. Sixth through tenth were Max Zachem, Rowan Pennink, David Pinkham, Jack Bateman and Eddy Spiers

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Race Hub on the Speed Channel which airs at 7:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Race viewing on Speed begins at noon on Tuesday with the WORLD OF OUTLAWS Sprints from Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH. The Whelen Modified Tour event that was run at the Riverhead Raceway is listed for 7:00pm on Versus. At 10:00pm Speed has Race in 60: the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen that was run at Watkins Glen International on August 8. That program will be repeated at 10:00am on Wednesday, August 11. At noon the Speed Channel replays the Watkins Glen Sprint Cup event from start to finish. At 5:00pm ESPN Classic replays the 1983 Northwestern Bank 400, Winston Cup event that was run at North Wilkesboro, NC. At 7:00pm the action switches to Versus for last Friday night's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event that was run at the Stafford Motor Speedway. On Wednesday at noon Speed replays the Aug 7 NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at the Glen. The 2009 CARFAX 400 that was run at the Michigan International Speedway follows at 3:00pm. At 6:00pm Speed has the June 5 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts Bonus Challenge from the Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, MT. Speed goes live on Friday at noon with Sprint Cup practice from Michigan. Nationwide Series practice at Michigan follows at 1:30pm. The Sprint Cup cars qualify at 3:30pm. NASCAR Live follows at 5:30pm. At 6:00pm Speed presents a NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography on Dale Earnhardt. Trackside (NASCAR) at Michigan follows at 7:00pm. At 10:00pm Speed presents a NASCAR Hall of Fame Special which showcases the 25 nominees for 2011. Saturday's action starts early, at 9:00am, with Sprint Cup practice from Michigan. At 10:00am the Nationwide Series cars qualify. Sprint Cup final practice follows at noon. At 1:00pm the action switches to ESPN for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 2:00pm start of the CARFAX 250 at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. At 5:30 the action returns to the Speed Channel with the NASCAR Truck Series qualifying at the Darlington Raceway. Action continues on Speed at 7:00pm with the pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Too Tough to Tame 200 at the Darlington Raceway. Sunday's action starts at 10:00am with a two hour session of NASCAR RaceDay. A one hour pre-race show on ESPN follows which will lead up to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup, CARFAX 400 at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. Rounding out the day on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm. At 11:00pm the Versus Cable network will re-show the Aug 6 Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was run at the Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the week. Speedway Motorsports, which let the cat out of the bag when they announced that they were taking the spring Sprint Cup race from Atlanta and moving it to the Kentucky Speedway, went up 0.74 to 14.46. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.22 to 26.12 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.02 to 1.59. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.12 to 4.45 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.85 to 37.52 and Goodyear went up 0.48 to 11.05. With the exception of General Motors which was flat for the week, the car makers showed positive results. Ford went up 0.27 to 13.04 and Toyota went up 1.29 to 72.52. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.17 to 17.68 while Lowes dropped 0.46 to 20.28. The major team sponsors were all over the lot. Dupont went up 1.46 to 42.13 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.70 to 50.90. Target Department Stores went up 1.00 to 52.31 while Aarons Rentals dropped 0.18 to 17.98. Fedex had a great week as they went up 2.77 to 85.32.

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

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

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