Tuesday August 28, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the high banks of Bristol Tenn Motor Speedway this past Wednesday for the UNOH Perfect Storm 150. Ron Silk, driving for Eddie Partridge, scored his second win of the season and first in the annual combination race between the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on the track known as "The World's Fastest Half Mile." It was also the first victory for a driver running a NASCAR-approved SPEC motor on either Modified tour. Todd Szegedy finished second, followed by Ryan Preece, Justin Bonsignore and Ron Yuhas Jr.

George Brunnhoelzl III was the top finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in sixth. The tour's points leader is credited with a win, his fourth straight and fifth overall.

The event provided a lot of excitement including Silk being spun by Szegedy on the cool down lap after the checker. Szegedy, who had been the leader on lap 126 attempted to block Silk who dove underneath at the same time the caution was displayed for Ted Christopher who had spun. A replay showed that Szegedy moved down to protect his spot when contact was made and Szegedy spun, giving Silk the lead. Crew chief Phil Moran felt that Szegedy should get his position back because he felt the caution was displayed for Christopher but NASCAR disallowed his protest. Pitting for fresh tires, Szegedy made a determined run to the front with 17 laps remaining and was within striking distance in second spot when time ran out.

Forty Modifieds were on hand. There were eight caution periods for 54 laps as Mike Joy and Dick Berggren did an excellent job as they always do in calling the race. The first caution which ultimately resulted in a red flag occurred on lap 3 when Ryan Newman tapped Jon McKennedy and spun which in turn collected 23 of the original 36 starters. The second and third cautions were for southern competitor Gary Fountain who had a miss-handling car which spun on laps 41 and 52. The fourth caution flew for Ted Christopher who spun coming out of turn four with a flat tire which resulted from contact with Ryan Preece. Christopher, driving the mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family was struck by Kyle Ebersole. Christopher had been running second. The fifth caution was a "Cost Saving" competition caution. The sixth caution was for Ed Flemke who was helped into the wall on lap 103. Flemke was 15th, one lap down at that point. The seventh caution was for Don Lia who hit the front stretch wall. Lia was driving a Todd Szegedy back-up car after he wrecked the Garbarino Mystic Missile during qualifying. There were 11 cars on the lead lap at the finish.

In some not so good news it has been learned that the University of Northwestern Ohio will be dropping its sponsorship of the Whelen Modified Touring Series at Bristol. Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, the president of the University of Northwestern Ohio, says the partnership with BMS continues to be extremely beneficial for the university. "Everyone at the University of Northwestern Ohio is very excited about extending our partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway to the Camping World Truck Series," he said "We've been sponsoring the Modified event since 2009 and the opportunities it has given our students, staff and facility since we started have been immeasurable. Steve Farmer, Vice President of Business Development at UNOH, feels moving to the Camping World Truck Series makes perfect sense. "With the success we've had sponsoring the Modified race, it just makes more sense for us to be associated with the Truck Series because it is a higher profile event," he said. "It'll be more exposure for the University of Northwestern Ohio and our students and our programs." UNOH is on board as sponsor of the Truck Series race through 2016. This will be the final year of its sponsorship of the Modified event."

The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday night with 31 cars strong. Dwight Jarvis who has been running a limited schedule, took the win over Rowan Pennink, Tommy Barrett, Kirk Alexander, Jon McKennedy. Numerous cautions slowed the event. Jarvis assumed the lead on lap 80 when front-runner Todd Patnode blew a left-front tire.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Todd Ceravolo shake his role as runner-up as he out ran Ryan Preece for the win in the Sunoco Modified division. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder also hosted a special 50-lap Super Late Model race with Derek Ramstrom dominating the action by leading every lap on the way to the checkered flag. Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series winners included Tommy OíSullivan, Jesse Gleason, Brian Tagg, Cam McDermott, and Eric Bourgeois.

Ceravolo used restarts to his advantage to take the win in the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, and ended a four-race win streak by Ryan Preece. Ceravolo held off a determined Preece on a lap 23 restart to take the lead for the third and final time of the night. Kerry Malone jumped to the early lead, but it was all Preece on the second circuit after he dropped to the bottom and drove to the front coming out of turn two. Ceravolo drove by for second before caution slowed the pace at lap four. In a surprise move, Ceravolo soared by Preece for the lead when the race resumed. Woody Pitkat followed his line for the second position with Preece all over his bumper in third. On lap six, Preece challenged Pitkat in a side-by-side battle. Pitkat had the advantage on the line, but the battle continued until Preece took over the spot in turns three and four of lap eight. Caution tightened the field back up again, and Ceravolo commanded the field once again when racing resumed. Preece rode Ceravoloís bumper and the duo pulled away from the rest of the field by a full second. By lap 16, Ceravolo had put a little breathing room between himself and Preece, but on lap 19, he drove too high in turn two and allowed Preece to close the distance back up. Caution at lap 23 tightened the field up for a restart that saw Ceravolo choose the outside lane. Ceravolo held off Preece and resumed his position as leader. Preece, Pitkat, and Dennis Perry rounded out the top-four. Ceravolo was dominant out front, and took the checkers unchallenged.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Keith Rocco, still on the injured list, returned to victory lane as he won the SK Modified 40 lap feature. Also scoring wins were Corey Hutchings in the Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec and Frank Cardile in the twin 15-lap SK Light features, Cory Casagrande in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Stephanie Berardi and Monte Gibbs in the Double Duty DARE Stock features.

In the SK Modified feature Woody Pitkat finished second with Ted Christopher, third. Todd Owen and Danny Cates rounded out the top 5.

In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl passed early leader Joe Perry on lap 3 and cruised to his second win of 2012. Pearl stayed out in front of Rob Janovic in a green-white-checkered finish. Janovic finished second, followed by Tyler Chadwick, Jeff Rocco and Todd Ceravolo.

Other winners included Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI who was back in the victory lane in the nightís extra distance Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model race. Former division champion Brandon Plemons of Uncasville, CT took his first win of the year in the Street Stock race, with Ian Brew of Wood River Junction, RI won the Mini Stock feature. In INEX racing action, Paul Kusheba of Monroe, CT was the Legend Cars winner in a thrilling battle for the checkered flag all race long and Derek Debbis of Oakdale, CT won the nightís Bandolero feature.

Justin Bonsignore held off Shawn Solomito to take down the Modified feature win on I Love America Night at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Bonsignore took the lead on lap 11 after John Fortin spun out following a restart. Bonsignore was unchallenged as he kept the lead for the remaining laps and won the feature. Fortin recovered to finish seventh. Shawn Solomito finished in the runner-up spot with Howie Brode in third. Ted Christopher and Timmy Solomito rounded out the top five while Ryan Preece finished sixth.

New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member Ron Bouchard will host the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), at his annual still show & barbeque. The annual event will again be held at Ron Bouchardís Nissan at 490 Old Union Turnpike in Lancaster , Massachusetts , things gets underway at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 15. On the agenda is a display featuring several race cars of the New England Antique racers along with a barbeque. Past events have proven to be a popular affair. Itís a chance for fans to get up close & personal with some of the most-revered personalities in New England auto racing history.

Among the first drivers inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1998, Bouchard began his career at Massachusetts former Brookline Speedway. He went on to become a dominate force within the regions modified division capturing over 200 feature victories and numerous championships. He is remembered on a national level for his achievements when he moved down south with Jack Beebe in the Race Hill Farms #47 with long time local crew chief Bob Johnson. In only his eleventh Winston Cup start, he captured the 1981 Talladega 500. That victory helped him win Winston Cup Rookie of the Year honors in 1981. Bouchard retired from competition in 1987.

In action on the tube this week last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup event that was run at Bristol will air on the Speed Channel at noon on Wednesday. The Bristol Nationwide Series event will air on Thursday at noon, also on Speed. The Speed Channel will televise the NASCAR Truck Series event from Atlanta on Friday at 8:00pm.

ESPN2 will provide live coverage of the Atlanta Nationwide Series event beginning at 8:00pm on Saturday night while ESPN will provide coverage of the Sprint Cup event at Atlanta beginning at 7:30 on Sunday night.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks showed negative results for the week. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.02 to 15.27 while the International Speedway Corporation fropped 0.55 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 1.34. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.30 to 4.89 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.16 to 11.88 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.66 to 46.75. The car makers were also down for the week. Ford dropped 0.14 to 9.49 while General Motors dropped 0.83 to 21.18 and Toyota dropped 0.09 to 82.48. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.23 to 56.96 while Lowes dropped 0.14 to 27.73. The big team sponsors finished the week on the down side. Dupont dropped 0.30 to 50.35 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.56 to 66.88, Target Department Stores dropped 0.45 to 63.69, Aarons Rentals dropped 0.21 to 29.89 and Fedex dropped 0.93 to 89.07

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.

Web Design Copyright © 2012 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in Phil Smith's "Champ Trail" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility and opinions of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of"Champ Trail" contact Phil Smith @
The "Champ Trail" is Copyright © 2006-2012 Phil Smith