Tuesday August 24, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made their second annual trip to Bristol, TN. The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 carried a very generous purse of $110,491. Thirty eight NASCAR Modifieds were on hand for the 36 starting spots up for grabs. Justin Bonsignore took the Coors Lite Pole as he toured the high banked half mile oval in 14.835 seconds which equated to 129.343mph. Just a tick off was Todd Szegedy at 14.839 sec. Bobby Santos, Ryan Newman and James Civali rounded out the top five.

Szegedy jumped out to an early lead as over 5,000 looked on. Speed picked two of the best, Mike Joy and Dick Berggren, to call the race. Burt Myers, who qualified 25th with a skipping engine, changed sparkplugs and was put to the rear. Ted Christopher took the lead on the 26th lap and pretty much controlled the race until the half way break on lap 77. Before the race resumed it was stated that the crowd watching was in excess of 10,000.

Ryan Newman held off a late charge from seven-time tour champion Mike Stefanik over the closing laps to secure his second win of the season. Newman came out of nowhere as he literally blew away James Civali and Ted Christopher in one swoop in traffic on Lap 128, and chased down Stefanik three laps later. Stefanik pulled alongside Newman twice in the final five laps but was unable to complete the pass. Bobby Santos and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Christopher was the victim of engine trouble on lap 140 and dropped out, finishing in 26th spot. Sixth through tenth were Rookie Justin Bonsignore followed by Dale Quarterley, Eric Goodale, Ryan Preece and Erick Rudolph.

Newman received $10,400 for his efforts. Stefaniks payday totaled $4,800. Bobby Santos has retaken the series point lead with a 32 point cushion over Ted Christopher. Mike Stefanik, Todd Szegedy and Ron Silk round out the top five. The Whelen Modified Tour Series takes a four week vacation before heading to Loudon, NH on Sept. 18.

The Budweiser Kings of Beers 150 from Thompson International Speedway will air on VERSUS on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m.

The Thompson International Speedway hosted their Thursday night Thunder Series under clear blue skies. Woody Pitkat dodged a bullet in the opening laps of the Sunoco Modified feature event and then looked like he was shot out of a cannon to score a dominating win. Larry Barnett reached a milestone as he recorded his 50th Limited Sportsman feature win at Thompson in dominating fashion. Derek scored his sixth Super Late Model feature win of the season while Rick Gentes scored his fifth in Late Model action.

In other action, John Studley finally got his career first victory in the TIS Modifieds. Dwayne Dorr made it two straight in Mini Stock competition. In the visiting New England Trucks Series, Andy Linderman proved why he is the point leader with his impressive victory at Thompson on Thursday night.

Car counts continue to be a problem. There were 22 Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks along with 15 Sunoco Modifieds and Late Models, 10 Super Late Models and Thompson Modifieds and only 6 Trucks.

Woody Pitkat was both lucky and flawless in the Sunoco Modified main event to score the victory. Tim Sullivan brought the field to green to start. The complexion of the Sunoco Modified main event changed drastically with a lap one incident. The #44 of Dave Salzarulo slowed coming out of turn two. In the chain reaction, several cars were collected including point leader Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink, Bert Marvin, Ricky Shawn and Carl Oberg. Christopher was able to make repairs to his car to rejoin the field. The rest were done for the night. Ronnie Silk made quick work of Sullivan to take over the top spot on the complete restart. Not to be outdone, Sullivan made a bold move exiting turn one to take over the top spot once again. Danny Cates joined the fray making it a three-car battle for the lead. Cates bobbled slightly on lap three; opening the door for Pitkat. Pitkat got alongside Silk in turn one and grabbed the second spot in turn two. He
duplicated the move in turn two this time taking the lead from Sullivan. Once out front, Pitkat immediately ran out to a commanding lead. The best battle was for the third position between Cates and Silk. On lap eight, Cates was able to move past Silk to take over third; meanwhile, Christopher had moved into the top-five after passing Salzarulo.

A spin by the #5 of Ryan Stone brought out the caution on lap 10. Under the caution, teammate Silk headed to pit road for service to his ride. On the ensuing restart, Pitkat got the edge once again. Christopher, who had moved up to fourth after Silk’s visit to pit road, was giving Cates a run for his money. A spin by Andy Gaspar brought out the caution once again to slow the action. Another attempt at a restart found Pitkat again as the leader. Sullivan was getting a double-barrel assault from Cates and Christopher. Cates motored into the second spot while Christopher fell back to fourth behind Sullivan. Pitkat edged away from Cates as Sullivan had to contend with Christopher for third.

At halfway, Pitkat enjoyed a 10-car length advantage over Cates. Sullivan ran in fourth followed by Christopher and a hard-charging Silk. With the long green flag run the field got strung out with Pitkat enjoying a sizeable lead over Cates, who enjoyed an equally as comfortable advantage over Sullivan. Silk began to run down Christopher for fourth. With five laps to go, Silk had caught Christopher. The duo appeared to be cutting down the margin to Sullivan as well. Out front, it was all Pitkat, who was enjoying a straightaway advantage over Cates. Over the final two laps, Christopher caught Sullivan while Silk faded.

Pitkat would not be denied as he blistered the field to score his second win of the season at Thompson. Cates posted a strong finish in second. Sullivan held on to the third position followed by Christopher. Silk rounded out the top five.
Rick Blanchard and Fred Michalski, who compete in the Mini-Stock class, were involved in an early incident on the track that continued into the pit area. Track management is expected to make a ruling concerning the parties involved in the physical confrontation that resulted. Thompson’s operations manager, Russ Dowd, said Friday that no official decision had been made, but track officials will meet this week to review the situation and determine what, if any, disciplinary actions will be taken.

The Late Model division took center stage at Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night with the 3rd Annual Late Model 100, the second extra distance event of the 2010 season. Joining the Late Model 100 was Stafford's SK Modifieds®, SK Light Modifieds, DARE Stocks, and twin 20-lap Limited Late Model feature events. J.J. Hill was the big winner of the evening, taking his first career victory in the 100-lap extra distance classic. Newly crowned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion Keith Rocco took his 9th feature victory of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Tommy Barrett, Jr. took his 7th win of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand and Rob Dow were the winners of the 20-lap Limited Late Model features, and Kyle Casagrande became the first three-time winner of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl competitors from across New England and New York tool on the 1/3 mile oval for the Nutmeg State 100 ACT Late Model Tour. In addition four divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series were in action.

Joey Polewarczyk Jr. of Hudson, New Hampshire won an exciting ACT Tour race, beating out Brian Hoar over an exciting final five laps. Tyler Chadwick won his second SK Modified® race of the year surviving multiple restarts on his way to victory. Al Stone III of New Haven came out on top of a wild conclusion to the Street Stock race, and Keith Rocco of Wallingford took the checkered flag in an equally exciting finish in the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck event. Preston’s Greg Moran Sr. won his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race of the year to round out the night’s racing.

The 35-lap SK Modified® race saw Jeff Paul bolt from third to first by turn three on the opening lap. Trouble behind the leaders saw Tucker Reynolds Jr., Diego Monahan, Glenn Pressell, Todd Ceravolo, Adam Gada and Joe Gada all get out of shape into turn one to draw the first caution flag with just a lap in the books.

Paul was back out front when the green flag returned with Chadwick coming up to second. Another caution waved on lap 4 for a spin in turn one involving Jeff Gallup and Mike Sweeney. Chadwick challenged the outside of Paul after the restart, trying to hang with the leader. Ron Yuhas Jr., Keith Rocco and Jeff Pearl raced their way into the top five to join the top two. Chadwick was able to edge ahead into the lead over Paul on lap 7.

Further back the jockeying for position sent Doug Coby around in turn one as he battled just outside the top five. Several drivers took evasive action to avoid Coby’s machine and caution was back out on lap 8.

One more lap was complete before caution again was put out as Rocco and Pearl had contact for fourth headed into turn three. Those two got out of shape and collected several others, with many headed to the pit area for repairs. Ceravolo was done for the night after the incident, with Rocco and Pearl resuming from the rear. Another crash off turn two on lap 10 sidelined Joe Gada and Sweeney.

Racing went back green for just four laps when Monahan spun from the top ten in turn four, sending Pearl airborne and crashing into the tire barrier in turn four. Chadwick led over Yuhas when racing went green. Rob Janovic was third with Paul and Tom Abele Jr. holding the top five positions as the race moved past halfway. Racing stayed clean with the best battle on the speedway for seventh as Rocco pestered Monahan for the spot for several laps. Finally, Rocco was able to make the move inside Monahan on lap 33 to take the spot.

Up front Chadwick closed it out to take his second win of the season. Yuhas, Janovic, Paul and Abele completed the top five.

The Modified Racing Series headed for the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. Following the recent event at the Waterford Speedbowl when Ted Christopher and car owner Joe Brady were disqualified a dark cloud followed the series as their were hints of bias in the decision. The question of Christopher and Brady being illegal is a moot point as the question continues to be why wasn't race winner Steve Masse's engine checked, especially after he all but ran away with the event. Ditto for Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink and Jon McKennedy who made up the top five before the disqualification. If this series is to succeed, rules need to be followed and enforcement needs to be consistent and fair for all competitors.

Brady told Lou Modestino of the Brockton Enterprise that he will file a suit against the Modified Racing Series as he contends that he, along with his driver Ted Christopher were discriminated against as they were singled out.

Todd Annarummo passed race leader Jon McKennedy, E. Chelmsford, MA., on lap 28, and went on to win the 100 lap Modified Racing Series, sponsored by feature race at Seekonk Speedway. Annarummo ran a strong race from the start and set a torrid pace throughout the 100-lap contest.

It was Annarummo’s first win with the series. He became the 11th different winner in 13 races in 2010. Polesitter Ken Barry dueled with McKennedy in the early stages of the event until McKennedy claimed the top spot. The defending champion led from lap 12 through 28. Les Hinckley III chased Annarummo to the checkered flag finishing 0.159 seconds behind the winner. Dwight Jarvis finished third, followed by McKennedy and Jimmy Kuhn Jr. Sixth-tenth was Rob Goodenough, Chris Pasteryak, Barry, Joey Jarvis and Jacob Dore.

The race featured six different lead changes among four drivers. There were 28 race teams entered the event, 24 cars started the race with 16 drivers finishing on the lead lap.

The next event for the Modified Racing Series is at Thompson International Speedway, Thompson, CT. Thursday night August 26.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina finished up their season with Burt Myers capturing his fourth Bowman Gray Stadium championship. Myers, who needed to finish 15th or better to sew up the title, did what he had to do to finish up with a ninth-place finish.

Brian Loftin, who won the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150, kept the pressure on Myers in the season-point chase for most of the race. Loftin, who capped his first full season at Bowman Gray with his second victory of the year, bumped his way past Tim Brown in the final turn of the final lap to win the 150-lap main race. Loftin used a "bump and run" to move Brown out of the way. Brown, who was the fastest qualifier for the seventh time in 14 attempts this season, lost the lead to Loftin early in the race but regained it by squeezing past Jonathan Brown with seven laps to go.

In some good news it looks like MADHOUSE may be returning for season #2 as the program's executive producer sent camera crews to the North Carolina track for last Saturday;s season ending event.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Timmy Solomito, 18, of Islip scored his second NASCAR Modified victory in three weeks. He did it with a wild last lap finish with season long rival Chris Young in a 35-lap contest.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Now on espn2 which will be aired on Tuesday at 5:00pm, Wednesday at 5:00pm plus Thursday at 6:00pm and Friday at 5:00pm. NASCAR Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm. On Tuesday evening at 7:00pm the Versus Network will rebroadcast the August 7 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 199 that was run at the Bowman-Gray Stadium. At 10:00 on Speed Race in 60 will highlight the Aug 21 Nextel Cup event at Bristol. This program will be repeated on Wednesday at 10:00am. On Wednesday at noon Speed will replay the entire Bristol Nextel Cup event. On Wednesday night at 7:00 the Versus Network will telecast the August 12 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Budweiser 150 that was run at the Thompson International Speedway in Thompson, CT. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel will replay the Aug 20 NASCAR Nationwide Series event that was run at Bristol. Action on Speed continues at 3:00pm with the 2006 Bass Pro Shops 500 Nextel Cup event that was run at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. At 6:00pm Speed televises the Aug 14 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts Bonus Challenge 150 that was run at the Colorado National Speedway in Dacono, CO. Speed goes live on Friday at 4:30pm with Truck Series qualifying at the Chicagoland Speedway. At 5:00pm, Versus breaks in with Indy Car qualifying from Chicagoland. At 6:00pm on Speed, Race in 60 highlights the February Daytona 500. Live coverage of the ARCA Racing Series Ansell Protective Gloves 150 at the Chicagoland Speedway follows at 7:00pm. Live coverage on Speed continues at 8:30pm with the pre-race show that will lead to the 9:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 225 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Saturday's action begins at 11:30am on espn2 with a 90 minute practice session for the Nationwide Series that is in Montreal for the weekend. At 4:30pm, Speed goes live for the Knoxville Nationals where top drivers from the National Sprint Tour and World of Outlaws compete against the stars of local and regional series to become The Knoxville Nationals Champion. The Nationwide Series cars will qualify at Montreal at 5:00pm on espn2. At 7:00pm the action switches to the Versus Network for live coverage of the IZOD Indycar Series PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Sunday's viewing starts at 2:00pm on espn2 with the pre-race show for the Nationwide Series which will lead to the 2:30pm start of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal. . 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 12 Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was run at the Thompson Speedway in Thompson, CT.

The International Speedway Corp. announced that Chief Operating Officer Roger VanDerSnick, has left the company as part of a restructuring effort that will include layoffs and other cost cuts. ISC said it is restructuring operations because the economic recovery it expected earlier this year "has not materialized." It expects the moves to cut operating costs by $20 million to $30 million starting in 2011.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks had negative results for the week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.61 to 23.65 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.29 to 13.09 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.04 to 1.85. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.29 to 4.19 as fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.69 to 35.01 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.13 to 9.85. With the exception of Toyota which went up 0.56 to 70.43 the car makers were off for the week as Ford dropped 0.38 to 11.77 and General Motors dropped 0.01 to 0.43. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.86 to 28.17 and Lowes went up 1.05 to 20.64. For the most part the team sponsors had positive results for the week. One exception was Aarons Rentals which dropped 0.11 to 17.04. Dupont went up 0.02 to 40.34 while Coca-Cola went up 0.83 to 50.13, Target Department Stores went up 1.34 to 52.15 and Fedex went up 0.43 to 81.23.

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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