ARCHIVES

Tuesday August 20, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway finally broke the three week string of rain-outs. Bobby Santos held off Donny Lia to take the checkered flag in the Whelen Modified Tour Series Budweiser 150. Other winners at Thompson on Thursday night were Woody Pitkat who led the NASCAR Whelen All American Series action with a come-from-behind win in the Sunoco Modified division. Glenn Boss, Cam McDermott, Joe Baxter, and Bill McNeil also won their division feature events.

In the Modified Tour event, Santos took the lead on the start of the Bud 150 and commanded the field until caution slowed the pace at lap 25 for a backstretch accident involving Bryon Chew and Rick Fuller. Santos continued his dominance on the restart and led by half-a-straightaway until caution came out again at lap 109. The entire field came down pit road during the caution period. Santos stalled his machine when trying to exit his pit stall allowing Todd Szegedy to beat him out and take over the lead. Santos was relegated to sixth for the restart. Szegedyís time out front didnít last as he went high in turn two and brushed the wall on the restart paving the way for Justin Bonsignore to lead the field. On the restart, Santos rocketed right back to the lead before caution slowed the pace again. Bonsignore got the lead back for the restart and held off Santos until lap 134 when Santos got by in the middle of turn three and four. A caution set up a lap 141 restart with Santos leading the field into turn one. Donny Lia and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top-three. Caution flew at lap 148 and set up a green-white-checker finish, but a front stretch accident quickly saw a halt to the race. Pennink got hit from behind and flipped front to back until he was back on his tires. The driver was able to walk away from the accident. The race resumed at lap 157 with Santos in the lead, and despite Donny Liaís challenges, Santos went on to win his second of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

Eric Goodale finished third, followed by Doug Coby and Woody Pitkat. Current point leader Ryan Preece got stung again as he spun on the final lap and ended up 13th. Preece was running 6th. Ron Silk, Jimmy Blewett, Jamie Tomaino, Todd Szegedy and Ron Yuhas Jr. rounded out the top 10.

Rowan Pennink was also denied a top finish when he was hit from behind while running third on lap 152, causing him to roll end over end. Pennink ended up 18th.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads to Bristol Tennessee this coming Wednesday, August 21. The event will be shown live on FoxSports2 (formerly Fuel TV) starting at 6:00pm.

In Sunoco Modified action, an early-race accident didnít derail Woody Pitkat from victory. Pitkat came from the rear of the field after a lap one accident to inherit the lead at lap 24. Pitkat held off Dennis Perry on a late-race restart en route to the checkered flag and the point lead. On the start, Paul Newcomb headed into turn one as the leader, but a tangle between Pitkat and John Catania brought the race under caution before the first lap was complete. Dennis Perry hung with Newcomb on the restart and grabbed the lead coming out of turn two. Ryan Preece made his presence known by taking over the second position using the bottom groove. Preece then drove underneath Perry on lap three and battled side-by-side with him for a full circuit before settling in out front coming out of turn two.

A caution at lap six tightened the field up, but it was not stopping Preece, who jumped right back out front. Todd Ceravolo maneuvered his machine into second followed by the hard-charging Keith Rocco, who was filling Ceravoloís rear-view mirror. On lap 10, Ceravolo got high in turn two enabling Rocco to move into second and set his sights on Preece, who was leading by a comfortable ten car length advantage.

Further back in the field, Pitkat was proving to be a factor as he maneuvered around Ceravolo for the fourth spot. Up front, Rocco had reeled in Preece by lap 16 and was attached to his rear bumper as he looked for a way around. Preece, however, was not shaken by the pressure and continued to hold him off.

The race took a dramatic turn of events on lap 24 when the leaders came around turn one only to have a lapped car in the middle of the track. Preece didnít have enough time to react and he had nowhere to go but into the wall. Rocco was collected as well and the duo both had significant damage.

Pitkat inherited the lead for the restart with Perry on the outside groove. Pitkat held off his challenges and drove to the front heading into turn two. Kerry Malone settled in third. Rocco, involved in the accident, was up to eighth and on the move. Meanwhile, Pitkat put some distance over the rest of the field, and despite the battles behind him, drove on to the checkered flag.

Nick Boivin ended up fourth with Matt Gallo, rounding out the top five. Keith Rocco, Todd Ceravolo, Jay Sundeen, Rick Shawn and John Catania comprised the remaining top ten.

A big change in the landscape of the Thompson Speedway is taking place as contractors are literally moving mountains as they reconfigure the speedway property for the new road course which is is expected to be up and running by next year. Jonathan Hoenig attended the NWMT driverís meeting and made a statement. He stated that despite rumors Thompson is committed to being an oval track. The Hoenig family would still like to have three 2014 NWMT races. The construction has started at the track early so that hopefully the facility will be ready for IceBreaker 2014 weekend which had been originally scrubbed. In a somewhat cautioned statement Hoenig alluded that the track expects to run a limited oval track racing schedule in 2014.

Two more Thursday Night Thunder programs and that's it for 2013. Hopefully Thursday night racing will continue in 2014.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece scored his division leading 7th win of the 2013 season in the 40-lap SK Modifiedģ feature, Adam Gray extended his streak of consecutive podium finishes to 12 with his fifth win of the season in the Double Distance 60-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling took down his fifth win in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, David Arute claimed his third win in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande scored his second win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modifiedģ feature event, Preece made a move by Rowan Pennink to take over second place on lap-15 and he pulled alongside Woody Pitkat for the lead on lap-16. Pitkat was hanging tough in the outside groove and he wasnít about to give up the lead easily but Preece took the lead on lap-17. Eric Berndt was able to get around Danny Cates and move into the fourth position before the caution came out with 19 laps complete as Tommy Membrino, Jr. spun and collected the car of Ted Christopher.

Preece took the lead on the restart with Pitkat right behind him. Pennink and Berndt were side by side for third with Owen and Cates right behind the side-by-side duo. Pennink cleared Berndt on lap-21 and the top-6 cars were now single file with Preece beginning to stretch out his lead over Pitkat. Membrino and Dave Salzarulo spun in turn 4 to bring the caution out with 26 laps complete.

Pitkat hung with Preece for a lap before settling back into line behind him in second. Berndt was third, with Pennink and Owen making up the top-5. Right behind Owen was Cates, Cipriano, Foster, Curt Brainard, and Matt Galko. The top-5 shuffled on lap-31 as Pennink got out of shape and fell back several spots to eighth, moving Owen into fourth and Cates into fifth as Preece, Pitkat, and Berndt continued to run in the top-3 spots. Preece slowly pulled away from Pennink and he cruised to his seventh win of the 2013 season. Pitkat finished second, with Berndt, Owen, and Cates rounding out the top-5.

Friday night racing at Stafford continues through September 13.

Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco make it two in a row, seven for the year, in a photo finish over Tyler Chadwick in the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Chadwick, who led from the start, took advantage of a solid restart following a lap 32 caution to hold the top spot. He held off Rocco through lap 33, but as they came off the fourth corner prior to the start of the final lap, Rocco tucked in behind Chadwick and gave a bump to his rear bumper as the cars entered turn one. That allowed Rocco to dive under Chadwick who drifted up the track just enough to leave the opening. The two ran side-by-side to the checkered flag and photo finish.

Rocco's win was his 51st career win in a SK Modified at the shoreline oval. Rocco had a busy night as he also finished second in the Late Model race and third in the truck feature.

In other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races Saturday night, Jason Palmer won his first Late Model race of the season, Corey Hutchings won the Street Stock feature and took over the division point lead, Ian Brew won in the Mini Stock division, Giovanni Giarratana won the Legend Cars race and Duane Noll too checkered in the New England Truck Series.

Rounding out the top five in the SK Modified feature was Craig Lutz, Rob Janovic and Frank Mucciacciaro Jr.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night, 32 cars strong, for a 100 lapper. Home track favorite Todd Annarummo took the win over Steve Masse, Richard Savary, Tommy Barrett and Louie Mechalides. Annarummo started fourth and took the lead on lap 32.

Max Zachem, Rowan Pennink, Todd Patnode, Chris Pasteryak, and Norm Wrenn, finished sixth through tenth.

Despite eight caution flags, the race was completed in 51 minutes with 15 of the original 24 starters finishing on the lead lap. For the second consecutive race, 32 race teams entered the event.

Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC rain made it two in a row at the historic speedway. The final race date of the season is scheduled next Saturday night. In the event of another rainout, the season finale will be moved to Aug. 31, the lone rain date available. Bowman Gray hosts football games during the fall months.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Dave Brigati and Ron Silk scored 30 lap Modified victories.

Bill Park was inducted onto the Wall of Fame at Riverhead Raceway. Bill won 32 features as a driver at Riverhead along with four NASCAR Modified track championships. Wayne Anderson and late Joe Biondolillo Jr were also inducted onto the Wall of Fame at Riverhead. Wayne won 32 features as a driver to go along with his five NASCAR Modified track championships. Biondolillo was a six time Riverhead Raceway champion with 53 career wins in 13 seasons.

On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks finished on the negative side as Wall Street took a digger in general. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.84 to 31.47 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.22 to 17.98 while Dover Entertainment went up 0.06 to 2.49. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.33 to 6.92, NASCARfuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.10 to 50.90 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.33 to 18.72. With the exception of Toyota which went up 1.31 to 128.88 the car makers were down for the week as Ford dropped 0.72 to 16.30 and General Motors dropped 1.64 to 34.38. The home improvement sector also took a hit. Home Depot dropped 3.69 to 75.38 and Lowes dropped 1.72 to 43.96. The big team sponsors had their share of ups and downs. Coca-Cola went up 1.29 to 63.48 and Fedex went up 0.46 to 108.68 while Target dropped 2.14 to 68.58, Dupont dropped 1.46 to 58.28 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.55 to 27.53.

Nearly 18 years of motorsports tradition ended this past Saturday morning, Aug 17, when at 6:00 Eastern Time Fox pulled the plug on SPEED in the United States and started its new ESPN competitor, Fox Sports 1.

After a sad elegy from Mike Joy tracing the history of what started in 1995 as Speedvision, Curt Menefee appeared to welcome viewers to Fox Sports 1 before the network's first program, an on-tape college football preview, was aired. While much of the SPEED programming will appear on either Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2 (which had no real introduction or transition other than a Fuel TV bug turning into a Fox Sports 2 one) it's still a very sad day for racing fans.
 

In TV Land this week:
 
8
21
Wed
10:00 AM
NCWTS Practice
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
21
Wed
12:00 AM
NCWTS Final Practice
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
21
Wed
6:00 PM
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
Bristol
FoxSports2
 
8
21
Wed
8:00 PM
NCWTS: UNOH 200
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
22
Fri
9:00 AM
NNS Practice
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
22
Fri
12:00 PM
NSCS Practice
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
22
Fri
2:30 PM
NCSC Final Practice
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
22
Fri
3:30 PM
NNS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
23
Fri
5:30 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Bristol
ESPN2
 
8
23
Fri
7:00 PM
NNS Countdown
Bristol
ESPN
 
8
23
Fri
7:30 PM
NNS: Food City 250
Bristol
ESPN
 
8
24
Sat
5:00 PM
NASCAR Raceday
Bristol
FoxSports1
 
8
24
Sat
7:00 PM
NSCS Countdown
Bristol
ABC
 
8
24
Sat
7:30 PM
NSCS: IRWIN Tools Night Race
Bristol
ABC
 
8
30
Fri
3:00 PM
NSCS: Practice
Atlanta
FoxSports1


Thatís it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


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

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