Tuesday July 31, 2007  

By Phil Smith                                                                                                

Once again the Waterford Speedbowl avoided the bullet of foreclosure that was scheduled for Saturday, July 28, 2007 at noon.

Property owner Terry Eames finally consummated a deal with Harvey Industries late last week in which he sold 8 acres of the Speedbowl property for $1.6 million. Before he could take the money and run the town of Waterford had a lien on the property that had to be satisfied. Eames was forced to pay the town $188,176 for back and current taxes, as well as $29,976 for police protection that he owed. To stop the actual foreclosure Eames secured a private loan from Rocco Arbitell of Southbury and Peter Borelli of Derby, which allowed Eames and his holding company 1080 Hartford Road to pay off its debt to Washington Mutual of Seattle. Washington Mutual, a Seattle-based bank, had originally planned to foreclose on the property because of a $1.7 million mortgage debt. The 38.75-acre property is valued at $2.2 million.

Arbitell is the owner of Arbitell Convenience Stores and Famous Uncle Al's Hot Dogs. The Speedbowl should be a great place to market his product.

Now that Eames has over $1 million in his bank account hopefully he will continue to pay his bills and satisfy his debt to Arbetill and Borelli. History says in a year or two it will be the same old story again! I hope I’m wrong on that one.

The National Speed Sport News, considered one of the leading auto sports trade publications, recently announced that the New York Post ran an expose on former Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari. In the story the Post stated that Molinari was paid $1.5 by the International Speedway Corporation for his help in gaining government approval for the now abandoned proposed ISC Speedway that was to be built on Staten Island in New York City. Molinari’s Public Relations firm, The Molinari Group, was paid an additional $35, 000 per month from June of 2004 to December 2006. ISC, which paid $100million for the 440 acres that would house the proposed track was forced to abandon the project after fierce opposition from taxpayers. ISC then hired a guy named Peter Vallone for $12,500 a month to help sell the partially oil contaminated property. One would have to guess that Terry Eames probably wishes that he were Buds with these guys!

The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ends their summer break this weekend when they make their annual visit on Saturday night to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. The qualifying format for the first ever NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour “Flash” event at Riverhead Raceway was announced by WMT director Ed Cox in conjunction with Barbara and Jim Cromarty owners of the raceway.

Qualifying will find 20% of the cars entered to qualify through time trials, for example if 40 cars enter then 8 would transfer through time. The cars that make the show through time would then later redraw for their staring positions in the main event. Two 25-lap qualifying races will then be run, with odd number cars from time trials in one qualifying race, while the those who qualify in an even number going to the second qualifying race. How many cars make the feature from the heats will be announced when the prior to the qualifying races. The remainder of the 28-car field would be filled out by provisional starting positions as noted on the WMT entry blank. After all the qualifying has been completed it will then be time for the Miller Lite 140-lap feature event for the cars and stars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the Riverhead Raceway drivers who make the 28-car starting grid.

Time Trials for the “Flash” event will start at 5:15 pm with the twin 25 lap qualifying races at 6:30pm.

Mark Mockovak has been terminated as Media Coordinator of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. No replacement has been named at this time. After 14 years on the job, Mark and all the help he has been to us all will surely be missed. Mockovak put his heart and soul into promoting the Whelen Modified Tour Series but evidently someone in Daytona Beach didn’t like him.

In regular Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett of Howell, NJ, held off a stellar field of Sunoco Modified competitors to score his third win of the season. Dave Berghman of Seekonk, MA, led flag-to-flag in the Pro Stock 50-Lapper to score the popular victory. In other full-fendered action, Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, scored a dramatic win to earn what appears to be his fifth triumph of the 2007 season. Joe Arena of Kensington took down top honors in the Limited Sportsman division. Roger Larson, Jr. of Milford, MA, and Mike Romano of Pascoag, RI, were victorious in the TIS Modifieds and Mini Stocks respectively.
Jimmy Blewett enjoyed an up and down ride in the Sunoco Modified feature. Dave Salzarulo and Steve Masse both took brief turns at the head of the pack before John Blewett muscled his way into the top spot over Masse. Contact between Jimmy Blewett and Salzarulo caused a chain reaction deeper in the top ten collecting strong competitors Kerry Malone, Todd Ceravolo, Tommy Cravenho, and Geoff Gernhard.

On the restart, John resumed his lead taking brother Jimmy along for the ride. Masse got a run from third making contact with John. Jimmy was able to sneak into the lead with Rocco taking over the second spot. John settled back into the third position. Pitkat charged by Masse with ten laps down. The top three ran in a high-speed chase of leader Jimmy Blewett. John dogged Rocco for second. At halfway, Rocco made a bid on Jimmy’s lead. Rocco looked as if he would take over the top spot but he could not hold his momentum and both Blewett brothers were able to make their way past putting Jimmy back in the lead. Rocco now had his hands full with Pitkat. The excitement had settled down as the top-four continued to run nose to tail. Shelly Perry spun in front of the leaders to bring out the caution to set up a six-lap dash to the checkers. On the double file restart, Rocco made it three-wide coming down to take the green. Jimmy Blewett squeezed into the top spot over John Blewett and Rocco. Rocco could not maintain his position and lost the third spot to Pitkat. Pitkat immediately went to work on John Blewett. He moved into the second spot with two to go. He lined up behind the younger Blewett but could not reel in the leader.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Woody Pitkat won the SK Modified and first Late Model feature for his second consecutive double shot, while Ryan Posocco won the regularly scheduled Late Model feature to break a tie with Jim Peterson as the division's all-time winningest driver. Glen Reen took down the SK Light feature win, Rick Lanagan won the Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Nosal turned in a dominating performance to score his first career DARE Stock win in the 15-lap feature event.

The 40-lap SK Modified feature saw Woody Pitkat take down his second consecutive feature win. Willie Hardie took the lead from the pole and led the first 10 laps of the race. Pitkat made his move in turns 3+4 on lap-11 to overtake Hardie for the top spot. SK Modified points leader Ted Christopher was glued to Pitakt's back bumper throughout the second half of the race, with several caution periods keeping the field in close contact. The two race leaders had a near disaster on lap-39 as they had to avoid the lapped car of Frank Ruocco. Both Pitkat and Christopher made it by Ruocco unscathed, but the loss of momentum by Christopher allowed Pitkat all the margin he needed on the final lap of the race. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and Christopher was Eric Berndt, Kerry Malone, and Keith Rocco.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Jeffrey Paul finally got the monkey off his back as he ended weeks of frustration with a win in SK Modified action. Paul, who drives a family owned mount headed by his dad, Gary, took the lead on lap 11of the 35 lap main event. Point leader Rob Janovic applied the pressure in the closing laps but the young racer never faltered.
Bruce Thomas Jr. won the 30-lap Late Model race. Other winners were Jack Aquilina (Sportsman), Phil Evans (Mini Stock) and Mark Bakaj (Legends).

Rounding out the top five in the Modifieds were Matt Gallo, Dennis Charette and Jeff Pearl.
With a threat of rain and boomers closing in the Speedbowl management and competitors got the entire 5 feature race program completed in two hours and had fans heading home by 9:00pm.

In TV land this week and for the remainder of the season NASCAR Now on ESPN2 will be in the 6:30pm time slot. ESPN, which televised last weeks Nextel Cup Brickyard 400 is evidently not making the event available for broadcast on the Speed Channel. This weeks viewing begins at 2:00pm on Friday when ESPN2 provides live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series final practice for the Canadian NAPA Auto Parts 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, At 3:30 ESPN goes live at the Pocono Raceway for NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying. If you want to see racing go to the Speed Channel at 1:00pm for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Pennsylvania 200 at the Pocono Raceway. At 3:30 the NASCAR Busch Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Montreal gets the green on ESPN2. At 4:00 it’s NASCAR New England on NESN. NASCAR New England will present features and highlights from the Stafford Springs Motor speedway. Sunday’s action begins at 12:30pm with the World of Outlaws sprint cars on ESPN2. At 1:00 the action switches to ESPN for the NASCAR Nextel Cup countdown to the Pennsylvania 500. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 2:00pm. Wrapping up the weekend on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week it appeared that another market correction was in progress as negative numbers came in at weeks end in most cases. All three-speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation took the big hit as they dropped 1.97 to 48.16. Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.90 to 36.83 and Dover Downs dropped 0.12 to 5.87. Sprint/Nextel dropped 1.37 to 20.61 while Sun Oil (Sunoco) took a big digger as they dropped 10.43 to 65.81. Goodyear dropped 7.95 to 27.00 while DIRT Motorsports showed some signs of life as they went up 0.04 to 1.01. In the drug sector, Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 2.90 to 28.64 and Pfizer dropped 1.11 to 23.79. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 2.64 to 36.75 while Lowes dropped 1.86 to 27.77. Parcel carrier UPS went up 0.66 to 75.67 while Fedex dropped 6.04 to 109.63.

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

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

Web Design Copyright © 2006 & - 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 © 2006-2007 Phil Smith