Tuesday July 25, 2006   

By Phil Smith

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its first of two stops at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. A total of 35 teams were signed in the pit area preparing for practice before the event was canceled shortly after noon. No rain date has been posted as yet. August 26 is the next open weekend.

The Next event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is this coming Saturday, July 29 at the Holland Speedway in western New York.

The Thompson Speedway beat the rains that came with tropical storm Beryl last Thursday night. Scoring his second Sunoco Modified feature victory of the season was Keith Rocco.. Rick Gentes also scored his second of the season in Late Model action. Fred Astle, Jr. claimed his first Pro Stock feature win of the season while career firsts went to Brian Blaise and Tim Sullivan in Limited Sportsman and TIS Modified competition respectively. Rick Blanchard of Pascoag, RI continued his domination of the Mini Stock division with his fourth win of the season.

Rocco jumped out from his third place starting spot and led the entire 30 lap distance. On a single file restart, with four laps to go, Rocco led a battle for second. Woody Pitkat dove underneath Tom Cravenho but Cravenho held strong . On the white flag, it was a replay of the same move by Pitkat. This time the move worked. Pitkat took second from Cravenho by inches to earn the runner-up spot to winner Rocco. Cravenho, whose crew worked feverishly during the week to get his car repaired after last week’s incident, finished third. Jeff Malave and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top five.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of the 33rd annual SK Modified 100. Todd Owen was the big winner of the evening, outlasting last year's winner Willie Hardie. In other weekly action, Woody Pitkat made it three in a row as he took home his sixth Late Model feature win of the season, Brit Andersen was a first-time winner in the SK Light feature, Sean Foster became a two-time winner in the Limited Late Model feature, Carla Botticello outlasted Norm Sears for her first win of the season in the DARE Stock feature, and Kenny Horton won the 21 Means 21 SK Modified feature. In the 33rd annual Coors Light SK Modified 100 feature, both John Blewett, III and Lloyd Agor were the early race leaders, setting a blistering pace at the front of the field. Near the midway point of the race, Bo Gunning, who was last week's SK Modified feature winner, moved out front and led the half-way point to pick up a $100 bonus from Reliable Welding and Speed. Gunning's good run turned sour when he and Frank Ruocco made contact while racing for the lead, which sent Gunning spinning and Ruocco to pit road for three fresh tires. Owen took over the lead of the race with Gunning and Ruocco's spin, and he led the rest of the way, outlasting Willie Hardie over the final 10-laps to take the win. Rounding out the top-5 behind Owen and Hardie were Jeff Malave, Ruocco, and Zach Sylvester. In the 30-lap Late Model feature, hometown favorite Woody Pitkat, didn't take the lead of the race until lap-25, and then had to survive several restart situations to nail down his sixth feature win of the 2006 season. Wayne Coury, Jr. led the first 24-laps of the race from the pole position, but his night ended with a crash in turn 1. Late Model points leader Jim Peterson finished second behind Pitkat, with Tom Butler, Tom Fearn, and Mark Lewis rounding out the top-5.

In TV land, this weeks viewing will begin on Wednesday, July 26 atb6:00am when the Speed Channel presents USAC Thunder from the Chicagoland Speedway. At 4:00pm the USAR Hooters Pro Cup from the Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, NC gets the green. At 8:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws. Thursday’s viewing starts at noon with a re-run of last Saturday’s Goody’s 250 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Action on the Speed Channel continues at 2:30pm with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay of the Pennsylvania 500 that was run at the Pocono Raceway last Sunday. The NASCAR Grand National Busch East Series New England 125 that was run at the New Hampshire International Speedway on July 14 follows at 5:30pm. Because of the fact that the Nextel Cup competitors have the weekend off, Friday will be somewhat quiet until the evening when the ARCA RE/MAX Series Shop 'n Save 150 gets the green at the Gateway International Raceway at 9:00pm. Saturday will be quiet until 4:00p.m. on NESN when its NASCAR New England, weekly racing from Jack Arute’s Stafford Motor Speedway. NASCAR New England also airs at 5:00p.m. on Sunday. Action continues at 5:00pm when the Outdoor Channel covers the USAC Silver Crown Midgets from the Chicagoland Speedway. SPEED News Saturday goes at 7:30 followed by the TNT presentation of the NASCAR Busch Series, Busch Silver Celebration 250, from the Gateway Intl. Raceway. Speed News Sunday at 7:00 and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 wrap up the days racing. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Speed finishes up the day at 9:00p.m.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene, all three speedway stocks were down again. Taking the big hit was Speedway Motorsports which went down 0.35 to 35.76. The International Speedway Corporation went down 0.27 to 44.10 and Dover Downs went down 0.14 to 5.50. Nextel dropped 0.01 to 19.14as Sun Oil dropped 5.03 to 62.84. Featherlite Trailers went up 0.10 to 4.57 as DIRT dropped 0.45 to 3.00. The drug sector took an upswing as Pfizer rose 1.42 to 23.83 and Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.95 to 25.51. The home improvement sector also showed some life as Lowes went up 0.23 to 28 11 and Home Depot went up 0.01 to 33.85. The parcel carriers took a mixed bag as UPS went up 0.16 to 78.73 and Fedex dropped 0.52 to 108.49.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

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