ARCHIVES

Tuesday August 27, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series visited the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee this past Wednesday. Mike Stefanik went from the outhouse at the season opening Battle at the Beach to the penthouse at Bristol after he won the Titan Roof 150 and went on to collect his second win of the season in the annual combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The victory also extended his Whelen Modified Tour career record for wins to 74. Donnie Lia, on the other hand went from the penthouse at Bristol to the outhouse.

Back in February Stefanik had victory on sight when he was turned by Steve Park who was punted by Eric Goodale. Lia, who was the pole sitter, led the first 91 laps only to get punted and turned by Justin Bonsignore on a restart. In all fairness to Bonsignore, he was punted from behind by Stefanik when Lia was slow on the draw for the restart. Lia's mount, the Mystic Missile, suffered a broken panhard bar in the rear suspension. Bonsignore was able to restart and recovered to finish 8th in the event that was shortened to 135 laps from 150 because of time constraints. Lia ended up 30th. Park, who drove a team car to Todd Szegedy, failed to qualify.

After Lia spun, Ryan Preece inherited the lead which he held until he was passed on lap 102 by Szegedy. Szegedy had the misfortune of having his handling fade a bit as he got loose on lap 124 which opened the door for Stefanik. Stefanik led the final 11 laps and streaked under the checkered flag 0.092 second ahead of Szegedy. Ron Yuhas Jr, in a super spectacular run, recorded a career high third place finish after coming from a 16th place start. Preece and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.

Sixth through tenth were Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Justin Bonsignore, Burt Myers and Jimmy Zacharias.

Thursday night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway finally got a break from the weather. After four previous attempts, the Valenti Modified Racing Series got their 75-lap feature in at with Richard Savary taking down the win. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder (TNTT) winners in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action included Keith Rocco in the Sunoco Modified division, Damon Tinio in the Late Models, Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, Jesse Gleason in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman, and Chad Baxter in the Monster Mini Stocks. Zachery Sylvester won the New England Truck Series feature and Brian Jenink won in the Outlaw Modified division.

Second generation racer Richard Savary has raced a lot at Thompson Speedway. But, he has never won until now. Using a late-race restart, Savary used a take-no-prisoners approach to take the lead and eventual win in the 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature.

Chris Pasteryak led the field to green as Rowan Pennink quickly moved his way up to second with Louie Mechalides settling into third. The field strung out single file and approached the tail end of the field by lap 15. At the same time, Pasteryak and Pennink started to pull away from the rest of the field. At lap 20, Ted Christopher, who was fourth, decided it was time to go. He passed Mechalides for third and set his sights on closing up the distance on Pennink. Up front, Christopher could not reel in the torrid pace of the leaders as Pasteryak and Pennink remained a half-a-straightaway ahead. On lap 42, Christopher lost the third position to Savary as he, too, would try to close up the gap. Savary didn’t have to work too hard, however, as caution flew and tightened the field up for a restart. Pasteryak and Pennink were dead even into turn one and made slight contact in turn two before Pasteryak settled in out front. On lap 48, Pennink took the lead out of turn two, but a caution would put Pasteryak back out front for the restart. Pasteryak didn’t waste time getting to the front when the green dropped, but Pennink wasn’t about to settle. Coming out of turn four, Pennink dropped to the bottom and got a run on Pasteryak on the front stretch before taking the lead in turn one of lap 49. Caution set up another double-file restart at lap 51. Pennink got the front as Keith Rocco and Savary took over second and third respectively. Rocco settled in on Pennink’s bumper with Savary close behind him. On lap 60, Rocco dropped to the bottom to look for a way around Pennink, but settled back in line. Pennink, Rocco and Savary pulled away from the rest of the field and showed no signs of slowing. On lap 67, Savary made his move and dropped to the bottom groove to take over second. On lap 69, Savary made his move again and this time, took over the lead before caution came out. The green flew with only six laps to go and Pennink was the first one to turn one, but it was Savary out front in turn two. The duo would have to do it all over again after a car hit the wall in turn two and brought out the caution before the lap was complete. Pennink again led the field into one, but this time, stayed out there through turn two. Savary closed in on Pennink and dropped to the bottom for a challenge on lap 72. Coming out of turn two, Savary took the lead and pulled ahead to a three-car length advantage. Savary was on fire and continued to pull away from Pennink as he drove to the victory.

Jon McKennedy, Tommy Barrett and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five. There were 22 cars on hand. Rounding out the top ten were; Dan Meservey, Jr, Chris Pasteryak, Max Zachem, Jeff Malave, and Louie Mechalides. The race was completed in 50:44 with 13 of the 21 starters on the lead lap at the finish.

Keith Rocco added win number five to his season record after taking the lead from Todd Ceravolo in turn two on lap 17 of the Sunoco Modified feature. John Catania took the early lead in turns one and two, but Ceravolo got alongside him going into turn three and four to take the lead on lap two. Kerry Malone and Rocco followed his line and took over second and third respectively before the trio pulled away to a comfortable lead. By lap five, Ceravolo, Malone and Rocco were bumper to bumper. Going into turn one on lap seven, Malone dropped to the bottom to challenge, but couldn’t complete the pass and fell back into line before caution slowed their pace. On the restart, Malone rocketed to the lead from the bottom groove with Ceravolo holding onto second ahead of Rocco. Woody Pitkat was making his presence known in Rocco’s rear view mirror before caution flew again. When the green dropped, Ceravolo fought back and went side-by-side with Malone for a full circuit before reclaiming the lead. Rocco also got by Malone and attached himself to Ceravolo’s bumper. The top four cars were running nose-to-tail by lap 12, and Rocco wanted a way around. On lap 17, Rocco looked high and then he looked low as they went into turn one. Ceravolo suddenly went high in turn two allowing Rocco to drive by for the lead. Malone and Preece took over second and third. Rocco was solid, however, and Malone, though less than a car length behind, could not muster a bid strong enough to knock Rocco from the point.

Following Rocco at the checker was Preece, Pitkat, Matt Gallo, Ceravolo, Nick Boivin and Dennis Perry.

Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway closes out their weekly schedule this week.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ryan Preece scored his division leading 8th and second consecutive win of the 2013 season in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn took down his fourth win of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Chase Dowling took down his sixth and second consecutive win of the 2013 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Hayes came home a first time winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande scored his second consecutive and third overall win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the SK Modified feature Ted Christopher was able to hold Preece off until lap-26 when Preece made his move to take over the lead with a pass in turn 3. Christopher was looking to the inside of Preece but Preece was able to hold Christopher off to the checkered flag to pick up his 8th win of the 2013 season. Christopher finished second, with Eric Berndt, Keith Rocco, and Dan Avery rounding out the top-5.

Action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Late Model Madness take over Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl, the highlight of a five division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing program. The Bob Valenti Auto Mall sponsored Late Model division took center stage with a special 50-lap race, dominated by Keith Rocco. In other races, Tyler Chadwick was back in Victory Lane for the fourth time on the year following the SK Modified® feature, Chris Meyer took his second Street Stock win and Garrett Denton ended a slump with his fourth victory in the Mini Stocks. In INEX racing, Giovanni Giarratana made it two in a row in the Legend Cars.

Chadwick was served redemption after a win slipped away on the final lap the previous week in a photo finish with Keith Rocco. He fought his way to the front in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature this time around, climbing through the top-five to become a contender over the second half of the race.

As Chadwick tried to pull away from Todd Ceravolo, Rocco closed in on the leaders. Chadwick led the final restart against Ceravolo with just two laps remaining. He again got the jump back into the lead, leaving Ceravolo in the grips of Rocco. Rocco was able to stay inside Ceravolo and ultimately take the spot racing to the white flag. Out in front, Chadwick closed out the win, his fourth of the year. Rocco could not make a final run to contend for the win and finished second. Ceravolo ended the race third, with Kyle James fourth and Tom Abele fifth.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series went up country to the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night and performed in front of a full house. Todd Patnoad recorded his first ever win in the popular traveling Modified Racing Series. Patnode, became the second driver in two days to win their first series race. Richard Savary, scored his first 48 hours previous at Thompson, CT.

At the drop of the green in the 100 lap contest Max Zachem took the lead from his outside pole starting position. Peter Jarvis shot by for the lead on lap 44. Zachem reclaimed the lead four laps later and held the top position until passed this time by Dwight Jarvis on lap 79. Jarvis lasted until lap 84 when Patnoad took the lead.

Patnode, owner of Swanzey Oil, sponsored the race to honor his friend Victor Johnson. Johnson, a local racer and occasional VMRS competitor died two years ago in a house fire. John McKennedy finished second with Dwight Jarvis, third. Zachem finished fourth after leading most of the race with point leader Rowan Pennink, rounding out the top five. Russ Hersey, Todd Owen, Chris Pasteryak, Dana Smith, and Jeff Pearl rounded out the top ten. There were 26 cars on hand.

Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Tim Brown won the battle as he led all 150 laps in the Modified season finale to record his 70th win but it was Burt Myers who won the war as he wrapped up the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Series Track Championship.
Brown celebrated a victory in the season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150. Myers celebrated his sixth season title. Brown’s path to get there seemed a bit easier. After scorching the quarter-mile track with the year’s fastest qualifying lap, he led all the way in the 150-lap main event.
Myers needed to finish in the top seven to secure the title, and he survived a few precarious moments to hang on for a good-enough, sixth-place finish. Following Brown in the season ending 150 lapper was Lee Jeffreys, Jonathan Brown, Jason Myers and John Smith.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers Jr. scored his third win of the season as he held off Ryan Preece. Jason Agugliaro finished third.

The Seekonk Speedway announced a new Race Director will rule the roost at the Massachusetts oval. With a handful of weeks left in the 2013 racing season, and an eye on 2014, Seekonk Speedway will welcome Frank Sgambato Jr to the role of Race Director. Frank comes to Seekonk after spending several years in the same role at Stafford Speedway, and returns to the speedway where his father spent many years as the chief starter. Frank will take over the role vacated by Mike Chapman, who retired several weeks ago. He took over as Race Director on Saturday, August 24.

On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were positive for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.68 to 32.15 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.46 while Dover Entertainment dropped0.85 to 2.44. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.04 to 6.96 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) jumped 1.43 to 52.33 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.11 to 18.83. With the exception of Toyota which dropped 1.87 to 127.01 the car builders had a fair week. Ford went up 0.15 to 16.45 and General Motors went up 0.68 to 35.06. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.49 to 73.89 while Lowes jumped 3.02 to 46.98. The big team sponsors were all over the lot. Dupont dropped 0.38 to 57.90 and Target Department Stores dropped 4.23 to 64.35 while Coca-Cola went up 0.64 to 64.12, Aarons Rentals went up 0.37 to 27.90 and Fedex went up 1.98 to 110.66.

In TV land this week:
 

8
30
Fri
3:00 PM
NSCS: Practice
Atlanta
FoxSports1
 
8
30
Fri
7:00 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Atlanta
FoxSports1
 
8
31
Sat
7:00 PM
NNS Countdown
Atlanta
ESPN2
 
8
31
Sat
7:30 PM
NNS: NASCAR Nationwide Series Night Race
Atlanta
ESPN2
 
9
1
Sun
1:30 PM
NCWTS SetUp
Mosport
FoxSports1
 
9
1
Sun
2:00 PM
NCWTS: Chevrolet Silverado 250
Mosport
FoxSports1
 
9
1
Sun
5:30 PM
NASCAR Raceday
Atlanta
FoxSports1
 
9
1
Sun
7:00 PM
NSCS Countdown
Atlanta
ESPN
 
9
1
Sun
7:30 PM
NSCS: AdvoCare 500
Atlanta
ESPN
 


That’s 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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