Tuesday August 21, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour Series visits the high banks of Bristol Tenn Motor Speedway this Wednesday for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Doug Coby, who has won four of the eight events run leads Ron Silk by 41 points. Silk has one win. Ryan Preece sits third, 55 points out of the lead. Preece has one win. Jimmy Blewett and Donny Lia round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Todd Szegedy, Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Eric Beers and Justin Bonsignore. The Bristol event will also include the cars of the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. This event will be televised live by the Speed Channel starting at 6:00pm.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Ryan Preece make it four in a row and nine for the season during a great night of racing at the northeastern Connecticut oval. Preece started sixth and took the lead from Kerry Malone after a restart on lap 5. Wayne Arute started on the pole but was quickly overcome by Malone for the lead. Because of the fact that Arute was unable to come up to speed a back-up occurred which forced Ted Christopher to ride over another competitors wheel which messed up his front end handling. Two cautions slowed the highly competitive event, both for George Wilkinson who spun in turn four on lap five and again on lap 10. Following the lap 10 restart Todd Ceravolo moved in to second spot but had nothing for the leader as he settled for the runner-up spot at the finish. Woody Pitkat finished third with Christopher and Malone rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Dennis Perry, Jay Sundeen, Nick Boivin, Wayne Arute and Richie Gallup.

Other winners were Cam McDermott of Scituate, RI, in the Lite Modified division and John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. of Milford, MA, in the TIS Modifieds continuing the domination of their respective divisions. Tommy O’Sullivan of Wilbraham, MA, posted his ninth Late Model victory of the season. Bill McNeil of Putnam, CT, rebounded in the Limited Sportsman division with a victory. Chad Baxter of Pascoag, RI, posted his second win of the season in the Mini Stocks.

Spending the evening with Modified legend Leo Cleary was priceless. At 83 years of age the NEAR Hall of Fame member is sharp as a tack and can tell stories of years gone by like they happened yesterday. Cleary stated that Billy Harman recently underwent an operation and is now at home recovering.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece made it two for two on the weekend as he captured the rain shortened 40 lap SK Modified feature. Preece was leading on lap 31 when thew caution was displayed after Matt Gallo and Frank Ruocco banged wheels on the front stretch which resulted with both cars hitting the wall. With rain beginning to fall, the race was red/checkered with 31 laps complete, making Preece the winner. Ted Christopher finished second, with Dan Avery, Glen Reen, and Curt Lenahan rounding out the top-5.

Other winners at Stafford were Adam Gray in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Kris Fluckiger in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

It was good to see Keith Rocco back in action after suffering a severe lower arm injury. Rocco ran as high as fourth before dropping out after an infield spin. Rocco will miss this weeks Bristol Whelen Modified Tour Series event.

In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl the shoreline oval beat back the early day rains to stage its 5th annual ‘Wings & Wheels’ event Saturday night. The International Supermodified Association plus NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lites joined the track’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program on the night. Scoring wins included Vernon CT competitor Rob Summers in the 50-lap Supermodified feature race, while Anthony Marvuglio of East Bridgewater, MA and Avery Stoehr of Lakeville, MA each picked up first-career victories in the NEMA Midget and NEMA Lite races, respectively. In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing, Kyle James of Ashaway, RI recorded his first win since 2010 after coming out on top of a wild SK Modified® race. Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI captured his first checkered flag of the year in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Corey Hutchings of Salem took down his fourth victory of the year in the Street Stock
division and Ken Cassidy of Lisbon won his 11th Mini Stock feature of 2012.

The 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature was plagued by numerous caution flags during the race. Rich Brooks showed the way for the first five laps after starting in the pole position. Brooks led Jeffrey Gallup through lap-5 when Gallup made a bold move on the bottom of the track in attempt to take over the race lead. The two made contact, sending both spinning from the top two positions and bringing out the caution flag. During the caution, Keith Rocco pitted and turned the driver’s seat over to Doug Coby for the final 30-laps.

Joe Perry was the new leader for the lap-5 restart, holding on through lap-13 when caution returned as Diego Monahan and Jeff Rocco made contact between turns one and two with Rocco spinning while competing for a top-five position. Jeff Pearl had raced into second position and lined up next to Perry for the ensuing restart, racing hard in the outside lane once the race was back underway to take the lead. Pearl cleared Perry for good on lap-16 and led through two more caution periods that brought the race to lap-24.

On the lap-24 restart, Pearl got away from Kyle James to continue leading. Coby was on the move, climbing to third position on lap-28 behind Pearl and James. James looked outside Pearl on lap-30 as the leaders exited turn four, allowing Coby to immediately fill the gap inside of James. Pearl had two cars on his tail to hold back as James continued to threaten off Pearl’s right rear and Coby was glued all over Pearl’s back bumper. The battle among the three inside five laps remaining reached a crescendo just after they completed lap-32. The three cars made contact as they rounded turn one, with Pearl losing control and spinning. Coby also spun while James drove away into the race lead. Behind the spinning leaders, Diego Monahan and Ed Puleo both took hard trips into the turn one wall in the chaos.

When the dust had settled James was the new leader with Shawn Monahan to his outside. James pulled away on the final restart from Shawn Monahan, who swapped second position with Gallup over the final two laps. James won his first race since 2010 in the division, while Monahan took second over Gallup, who battled back from his early spin to claim his first podium finish in the division.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Tim Brown finished ninth Saturday night in the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150 and wrapped up a record ninth Bowman Gray Stadium championship.

The two-year domination of Burt Myers ended, but Myers ended the season in style as he won the 150-lap finale for the featured Modified Division. Brown finished out what he said was his best season yet, one that included eight victories and needed to finish only 12th or better to wrap up the ninth title.

Myers, who won the pole position, had his challenges as well, including one from hard-charging Dean Ward ,who took the lead in the 71st lap. Myers took the lead back on the 110th lap and held it from there, closing with a final restart challenge from his brother Jason Myers, who needed to finish 12 spots ahead of Brown to win what would have been his first title. Burt Myers led the rest of the way, registering his 50th career victory at Bowman Gray. Jonathan Brown finished second, and Jason Myers was third.

Late Saturday afternoon rain cancelled all racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

In action on the tube this week last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup event that was run at Michigan will be re-shown at noon on Wednesday by the Speed Channel. At 5:00pm Speed goes live with Truck Series qualifying from Bristol. Live action on Speed continues at 6:00pm with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series on the high banks of Bristol. The Modified race will be repeated later in the evening at 10:30pm. Following the Modified event the Truck Series has their pre-race show that will lead into the 8:00pm start of the Camping World Truck Series Volunteer 200 at Bristol. Thursday's viewing will begin at noon with a replay of the Nationwide Series event that was run at Montreal.
Friday will be a busy day. Viewing starts at 10:00am on Speed with Nationwide Series final practice at Bristol. Sprint Cup practice at Bristol follows at noon. After a short break at 2:00pm the Sprint Cup cars have their final practice at 2:30pm. Live coverage by Speed continues at 3:30pm with Nationwide Series qualifying at Bristol. At 5:00pm the action shifts to ESPN2 for Sprint Cup pole qualifying. The action shifts to ESPN at 7:00pm for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 250 at Bristol.

Saturday's viewing begins at 5:00pm with a two hour RaceDay at Bristol on Speed. At 7:00pm the action shifts to ABC for the Sprint Cup pre-race show that leads to the 7:30pm start of the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. Dover Motorsports went up 0.14 to 1.40 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.79 to 25.95 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.19 to 15.25. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.27 to 5.19 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.30 to 12.04 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.46 to 47.41. The car makers were all green for the week. Leading the way was General Motors which went up 1.47 to 22.01. Toyota went up 1.08 to 82.57 and Ford went up 0.28 to 9.63. In the home improvement sector Home Depot led the way as they went up 3.67 to 56.73. Lowes was also up as they closed at 27.87, up 1.10 from the previous week. With the exception of Dupont which dropped 0.43 to 50.65 the big team sponsors were all positive. Coca-Cola went up 1.16 to 67.44, Target Department Stores went up 1.30 to 64.14, Aarons Rentals went up 0.99
to 30.10 and Fedex went up 2.20 to 90.00.

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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