Tuesday August 30, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Thirty four cars, including 13 from the southern series, were on hand for the combination Northern-Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event.

Driving the same car that was declared illegal at New Hampshire, Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman once again won one of the Whelen Modified Tour Series' highest paying events. The car number was changed and it was listed under a different car owner plus the crew chief was changed but once the race started Newman again drove away with the win. Newman led the first 86 laps as he jumped out from his fourth place starting spot with ease. After pitting four a complete set of tires Newman restarted seventh. Wasting little time the defending race winner put Todd Szegedy and James Civali away as he reclaimed the top spot on lap 128 and was out for a Sunday drive after that to claim the win. Newman exited the car and dedicated his win to a suspended owner/crew chief which was a slap in the face to NASCAR and the whole Tour. Szegedy and Civali faded in the closing laps as Justin Bonsignore raced his way into the runner-up spot. Szegedy finished third with Civali, fourth. Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five. Eric Beers was sixth, followed by Ron Silk, Frank Fleming, Andy Seuss and Eric Goodale. Fleming was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver and will be credited with a win on the tour. It is his first career victory.

Eight of the original 34 starters finished on the lead lap. First to retire were Ron Yuhas and Andy Petree who were involved in a wreck on lap 8. Southern competitor Daniel Hemric suffered rear end failure on lap 9 and second fastest qualifier Erick Rudolph lost an engine on lap 14. Corey LaJoie appeared to have a left front tire blow out on lap 42 when he hit the wall. Also collected in the accident was George Brunnhoelzl III and Bryon Chew. Gary McDonald was sidelined on lap 53 with a defective driveshaft and pole sitter Bobby Santos suffered a major setback when his engine soured on lap 76. Doug Coby also had engine trouble as he parked it on lap 95. Mike Stefanik had a real strong run going before he was collected by Tim Brown who was unable to avoid the slow car of Wade Cole. Rowan Pennink, Jamie Tomaino and LW Miller were also eliminated in a wreck. Ed Flemke only completed 136 laps because of a vibration.

Silk, by virtue of his 7th place finish, stretched his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points lead to 41 over Rowan Pennink, who finished 21st overall. Todd Szegedy is third, 16 points behind Pennink.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets back on track with the inaugural event at Delaware (Ont.) Speedway on Sept. 4.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour had a short break as they headed to the Caraway Speedway on Friday, Aug. 26.

Andy Seuss repeated his win of a year ago with a victory in the Caraway 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race on Friday night. The 24-year-old driver from Hampstead, N.H., battled L.W. Miller early and then pulled away from George Brunnhoelzl III in the late stages to score his ninth career series win - his fifth at Caraway in 23 starts. Seuss, who entered the event fifth in the championship standings, had a nearly perfect day at the .455-mile track, topping the practice speeds early and then winning his fifth career Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying.

Although he led from the drop of the green, Seuss had to battle back after L.W. Miller took the lead from him on Lap 14. Seuss muscled his way by and held command from there in his No. 11 Phoenix Pre-Owned/Triad Auto Sales Dodge. Brunnhoelzl, who started eighth on the grid, worked his way to the front in pursuit of the lead - but in the closing laps Seuss pulled away. They were followed to the finish by Jason Myers, with Frank Fleming taking fourth and John Smith in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Miller, Daniel Hemric, Renee Dupuis, Austin Pack and Burt Myers.

A slim field of 13 cars were on hand for the event.

In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway the weatherman prevailed. The August 25th race was cancelled due to the forecast of thunder storms and heavy rains. The decision, made by track owner Don Hoenig, came early in the day so that competitors and fans alike would not head for the speedway only to find themselves heading home upon their arrival. The scheduled race program had all six of Thompsonís NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions along with the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

This coming Thursday, September 1st, Thompsonís Thursday Night Thunder program is scheduled to feature all six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions with the spotlight being on the 40-lap Super Late Model main event.

The Stafford Motor Speedway got in their show ahead of Hurricane Irene. Ryan Preece picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 40-lap SK Modifiedģ feature event, Jim Mavlouganes picked up his first Late Model feature victory in 6 years in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bob Charland picked up his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Cory Casagrande picked up his second win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood picked up his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the late going of the SK Modified feature Ted Christopher got by Dave Gervais for fifth and Keith Rocco moved by Todd Owen for fourth place on lap-36 while Preece continued to lead Woody Pitkat by several car lengths. Preece led the field to the checkered flag for his fourth win of the 2011 season, but behind Preece, Rocco made a move to the inside of Eric Berndt in turn 3 they touched wheels with both cars going hard into the turn 3 wall. Pitkat finished second behind Preece with Christopher, Owen, and Gervais rounding out the top-5. Rocco ended up 18th. Among those missing from the SK Modified field was Frank Ruocco who is serving a two race sentence for over aggressive driving and Un-sportsman like conduct during the August 19 feature.

At the Waterford Speedbowl racing was cancelled due to the pending arrival of rain associated with Hurricane Irene.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series returns to action on September 9 at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Les Hinckley currently leads Chris Pasteryak by 12 points in the quest for the series championship. Rowan Pennink sits in the third spot and is followed by Mike Holdredge and Norm Wrenn. Sixth through tenth are Louie Mechalides, Dwight Jarvis, Rob Goodenough, Joe Doucette and Max Zachem.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island racing was cancelled due to the Hurricane.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Race viewing for the week begins on Wednesday at noon with last Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol. On Thursday at noon Speed will replay last Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 at Bristol. The August 13 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Toyota/TTC 150 that was held at the Montana Raceway Park follows at 6:00pm. Also at 6:00pm is the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour on the Versus Network. On Friday at 7:30pm Speed has the pre-race program for the Truck Series that will lead in to the 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Atlanta 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. On Saturday at 7:00pm the action moves to espn2 for the pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sunday's action starts at noon with the World of Outlaws, Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville, IA. At 6:30 ESPN has a one hour pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AdvoCare 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

On Sunday evening, Speed Center at 7:00pm and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm sum up the day's racing. At 9:00pm Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain closes out the weekend.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the weekend. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.43 to 23.67 and Speedway Motorsports went up 1.17 to 13.57 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.02 to 1.49. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.17 to 3.25 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.75 to 35.73 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.93 to 11.81. The car makers were all positive for the week. Toyota went up 0.95 to 71.65 while General Motors went up 0.71 to 22.87 and Ford went up 0.41 to 10.40. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.93 to 20.24 and Home Depot went up 0.12 to 34.00. The team sponsors recovered from the previous week's bloodbath. Duponr went up 2.30 to 46.09 while Coca-Cola went up 1.09 to 59.23, Target Department Stores went up 0.91 to 50.83, Aarons Rentals went up 2.61 to 26.08 and Fedex went up 1.56 75.72.

Thatís 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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