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Tuesday July 1, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH for their first of two visits for 2008. Rain greeted fans and competitors who were on hand for qualifying on Thursday. Because of adverse weather NASCAR was forced to set the starting field of 38 cars based on point standings and the rulebook. There were 42 cars on hand, which meant that four would go home. Sent packing were Doug Coby, Jon Mckennedy, Kenny Horton and Kenny Bouchard. Among those in the field was L.W. Miller who would become the first driver to run a Spec engine in Whelen Modified Tour competition.

The four Whelen Modified Tour teams that were sent home from New Hampshire Motor Speedway after qualifying for Saturday's New England 100 was cancelled on Thursday each received tow money from the track. Track spokeman Fred Neergaard confirmed that each team was paid $500 by the track.
 
Chuck Hossfeld led only one lap but it was the one that counted as won out in a photo finish with Ted Christopher. Christopher, who had led since lap 69 had a checker on his mind but Hossfeld had other ideas as he dogged him with no mercy. Ed Flemke Jr finished third and was followed by Eric Beers and Reggie Ruggerio. Sixth through tenth were Bobby Santos, Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece, Jeff Fuller and Ronnie Silk. Hossfeld pocketed $15,600 for his efforts. Hossfeld and Christopher kept the crowd on its feet for the final ten laps as they traded positions at the front numerous times.It was by far one of the best finishes ever seen at the New Hampshire oval. Hopefully someone in the O. Bruton Smith empire will recognize the great potential the division holds. L.W. Miller, who used the new “Spec Engine” finished 20th.

The victory was the seventh of Hossfeld’s career, his third at New Hampshire and his second of the season.

The Loudon Modified event had been scheduled to be televised and was to be shown on the Speed Channel on July 18. Needless to say the Whelen Modifieds took it on the chin again as the TV coverage was scrapped. On the positive side Speedway Motorsports upper management was impressed with the Whelen Modifieds to the point where they indicated the Mods could possibly get a third date at Loudon if and when the Indy Cars are added to the track’s schedule.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will move to the Empire State for its sixth race of the 2008 season. Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y., will be the venue for the Mason Farms 100 on Saturday, July 12.

The True Value Modifieds went up country to Maine for an event on Saturday at the Wiscasset Raceway. Rain prevailed forcing a cancellation.

The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program fell victim to rain. Rain checks will be honored this week and double features for all divisions will be run.

The Stafford Motor Speedway put their Late Model division on center stage Friday night with the first of two extra distance 100-lap feature events of the 2008 season. Waterford’s Dillon Moltz drove to his third consecutive Late Model feature victory of the season in the 100-lapper, with Woody Pitkat winning the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Mark Bakaj winning the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Joey Ferrigno winning the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Robert Thompson winning the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

The 100-lap Late Model feature saw Moltz continue his hot streak by recording his third straight Late Model feature victory. Scott Cook took the early race lead from the pole and led the first 18 laps before contact from Brian Chapin sent him spinning in turn 4. Corey Hutchings took over the race lead and he led the race to lap-27 when Joe Rzeszutek took over the top spot. Rzeszutek held the lead under a long green flag stretch of the race until Moltz ran him down and took the lead on lap-67. From that point to the finish, Moltz was never seriously challenged as he scored his third consecutive feature win. Rzeszutek finished second, with Hutchings, Ryan Posocco, and Scott Foster, Jr. rounding out the top-5.

The 40-lap SK Modified saw Woody Pitkat drive to his first feature win of the 2008 season by outdueling Keith Rocco. Doug Coby led the first three laps before Pitkat streaked into the lead on lap-4. Pitkat then led the rest of the way to pick up his first feature win of the year. Pitkat first had to contend with Chris Jones and then Ted Christopher over the first 31 laps of the race until Christopher spun in turn 2. Jeff Malave then hounded Pitkat until Rocco moved to second on a green white checkered restart. Rocco applied pressure to Pitkat, but was not able to get by. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pitkat and Rocco was Malave, Todd Owen, and Dave Salzarulo.

At the Waterford Speedbowl second generation driver Jay Miller ended a long dry spell as he captured his first ever feature win at the shoreline oval. Miller is the son of NEAR Hall of Fame driver Ray Miller. Miller took the lead on the fourth lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature from Wendell Dailey but in the end had to contend with Dennis Gada and Keith Rocco for the win. Miller held on as Gada and Rocco followed across the finish line. Rob Janovic and Jeff Paul rounded out the top five.

Other feature winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Walt Hovey (Sportsman), Raymond Christian III (Mini Stock), and Shaun Buffington (Legends).

In TV land this week on the Speed Channel action begins on Wednesday at 1:00pm with a showing of the June 8 NASCAR Camping World Series East event that was run at Watkins Glen, NY. On Thursday at noon last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be rerun. At 4:00pm Speed heads south to Florida for live coverage of 90 minutes of Sprint Cup practice at the Daytona International Speedway. At 6:30 it will be another 90-minute session. Friday’s action begins at noon with 60 minutes of NASCAR Live from Daytona. Qualifying for the Sprint Cup cars begins at 3:30pm. The action switches to ESPN2 at 7:00pm for a one-hour countdown to the Nationwide Series Daytona 250 that takes the green at 8:00pm. Speed wraps it up at 11:00pm with a one-hour session of Trackside at Daytona. Saturday’s coverage begins at 4:30 with a 2 hour RaceDay preview of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. At 6:30 the action switches to TNT for the pre-race show of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, which has a scheduled start at 8:00pm. On Sunday ABC will present live coverage of the IRL IndyCar Series Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen from Watkins Glen, NY. At 3:00 Speed will present the World of Outlaws from the Dodge City Raceway in Dodge City, Kansas. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the entire market, with the exception of a few stocks, was a disaster. All three speedway stocks had negative endings. Leading the pack was the International Speedway Corporation which dropped 3.56 to 39.95. Speedway Motorsports dropped 2.21 to 20.72 and Dover Downs dropped 0.83 to 4.92. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint was one of the chosen few to post a gain for the week as they went up 2.00 to 8.91. NASCAR second tier sponsor Nationwide dropped 1.78 to 48.40. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.35 to 37.48 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 2.09 to 18.25. NASCAR team sponsors didn’t fare to well either. Aaron’s Rentals dropped 1.88 to 23.32, Target Dept Stores dropped 2.11 to 47.87, Dupont dropped 3.54 to 42.69 and Coca-Cola dropped 3.35 to 38.89. In the home improvement sector the hammer dropped. Home Depot dropped 2.23 to 24.02 and Lowes dropped 1.96 to 20.87. The parcel carriers also took a digger. Fedex dropped 3.29 to 77.25 and UPS dropped 6.01 to 60.36. At the bottom of the totem pole is the World Racing Group (DIRT Motorsports) which dropped 0.04 to 0.10.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. 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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