Tuesday July 15, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour moved to the Spencer Speedway in Williamson, N.Y for its sixth race of the 2008 season. Matt Hirschman reached Victory Lane for the first time in his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour career after he led 79 laps and won the Mason Farms 100. Hirschman, who won the second of two 25-lap heat races earlier in the evening, led four times throughout the 100-lap main and was the car to beat all night. After Mike Stefanik had moved through the field and took the lead on lap 89, the veteran was caught up in an accident coming out of Turn 3 and Hirschman took back a lead that he would never relinquish. Hirschman’s first victory came in his 45th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start. Ronnie Silk was the runner-up to Hirschman in the race which marked his third top 10 finish in a row. Chuck Hossfeld, who won the first heat race, came home third, and has yet to finish outside the top five in six races this year. Jimmy Blewett followed Hossfeld across the finish line while Stefanik wound up fifth. They were followed in the top 10 by Glen Reen, Todd Szegedy, Wade Cole, Danny Sammons and Bobby Grigas III. The finish was the best of Reen’s rookie season. Hirschman received a paltry $3,700 for his efforts.

Earlier in the evening Williamson native Jan Leaty captured the Coors Light Pole Award following group qualifying, but suffered a crash on the first lap of the main and could not continue. From many reports it appeared that it was the scene of a lot of follow the leader racing. Nine caution periods ket the competition to a minimum. With six races in the books, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will move to Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for the next date on the schedule. The Miller Lite 140 will take place on Saturday, Aug. 2.

The True Value Modifieds were at the Lee USA Speedway last Friday night. Ed Dachenhausen took the win over Les Hinkley, Mike Holdredge, David Pinkham and Joe Doucette. A sparse field of 20 Modifieds were on hand.

The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program took a night off as the speedway prepared for The Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy, which featured the NASCAR Camping World East series, the Pro All Star (PASS) Pro Stocks, and Thompson’s Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock divisions. Trevor Bayne of Knoxville, TN, had never seen Thompson Speedway before Saturday night when he left he was a winner at the country’s oldest paved racetrack. Conversely, veteran Rick Martin of Westport, MA, a long-time campaigner at the Speedway took top honors in the visit by the Pro All Star Series. In regular weekly competition it was Pete Yetman of Peru, MA, scoring a commanding victory in the Late Models; Joe Arena of Bristol, CT, earning a career first in the Limited Sportsman division; and Danny Fields of Deep River, CT taking his second Mini Stock feature win of the season.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted the 5th annual CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday program plus their regular Friday night program last week. Chris Perley scored his third ISMA Supermodified feature victory at Stafford in five years by winning the 50-lap feature, Bobby Santos, III was the winner of the 30-lap NEMA Midget feature, and Norm Wrenn was the winner of the 25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.

On Friday night, July 11th, it was Whelen Event Night at Stafford. Kenny Horton was victorious in the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Ryan Posocco drove to his second consecutive Late Model feature victory, Chris Bakaj scored his first career victory in the SK Light Modified feature, Sean Foster returned to victory lane in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood scored the victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, it was Kenny Horton outdueling Doug Coby, Keith Rocco, and Zach Sylvester in a fast and furious finish. Chris Jones led the first lap before Horton moved to the front on lap-2. Rocco and Coby got by Horton at the half-way point of the race, which set off a series of lead changes and jockeying for position at the front of the field. Coby and Rocco contested the lead with Horton getting by Rocco for second place on lap-26. Rocco would move back by Horton for second and he took the lead from Coby on lap-32. Rocco's pass for the lead allowed Horton to follow Rocco past Coby for second place. Horton moved to the inside of Rocco in turn 2 and contact from Coby shot him into Rocco's car with Rocco going around. The race stayed under green as Horton took the lead with Coby and Sylvester behind him. Horton was able to hold Coby off to the checkered flag to record his first win of the 2008 season. Coby finished second with Sylvester, Pitkat, and Bolles rounding out the top-5. Rocco, after being knocked off the pace, finished 20th and lost his Stafford point lead. Ted Christopher finished sixth and now has taken an unofficial four-point lead in the track’s SK Modified standings.

At the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco won the 35-lap SK Modified feature. Other Feature winners were Vin Esposito (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), Ken Cassidy Jr. (Mini Stock), and Jason Palmer (Legends).

Pole-sitter Wendell Dailey led the charge in the 35-lap SK Modified feature before nearly spinning and allowing Ed Reed Jr. and Keith Rocco to pass. Chaos ensued with twenty-three laps remaining when after a restart second-place Reed violently slammed the turn-4 wall in a multi-car crash that involved several other frontrunners including Doug Coby, Tyler Chadwick, and Ron Yuhas Jr. No injuries resulted from the red-flag incident, though the Reed mount was severely damaged. Rocco again assumed the lead after battling with Jeff Paul, later fighting-back the charges of both defending champion Rob Janovic Jr. and Jeff Pearl to score his third victory of 2008.

The events that take place normally on Thursday evenings at Thompson, Friday at Stafford and Saturday at Waterford fall under the umbrella of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series.

In TV land this week on the Speed Channel action begins on Wednesday at noon with the recent NASCAR Camping World Series East Heluva Good!® Summer 125 that was run at the New Hampshire Intl. Speedway on June 27. On Thursday at noon last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 that was run at the Chicagoland Speedway will be reshown. On Friday at noon Speed will show the July 4th NASCAR Camping World Series West California Highway Patrol 200 that was run at Irwindale, CA. At 4:30 Speed goes live at the Kentucky Speedway for ARCA RE/MAX qualifying. Craftsman Truck Series practice follows at 6:30. The Speed Channel takes a look at grassroots racing in America with a new show, For the Love of Racing, at 7:30. Speed goes live at 8:00pm with flag to flag coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series Kentucky 150 at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. Saturday’s viewing begins at 1:30 with the July 12 World of Outlaws sprint event that was run at the Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series midyear review follows at 3:00. The Craftsman Trucks qualify at 4:30 at the Kentucky Speedway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 gets the green at 7:00pm. At 9:00pm the action switches to ESPN2 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at the Gateway Intl. Raceway in St. Louis, MO. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend on Sunday night with The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Confidential at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks were down again. Leading the pack was the International Speedway Corporation which went down 2.91 to 36.46. Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.03 to 19.00 and Dover Downs dropped 0.48 to 4.14. NASCAR Cup series sponsor Sprint dropped 0.08 to 8.43 while second division sponsor Nationwide dropped 1.80 to 45.83. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil took a big dip as they dropped 5.00 to 34.69. Goodyear, who supplies tires for NASCAR events dropped 0.85 to 16.98. NASCAR team sponsor Coke went up 0.19 to 33.84 while Dupont went down 0.33 to 41.47. Target Department stores dropped 2.16 to 44.74 while Aaron’s Rentals went up 0.52 to 23.50. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 1.32 to 18.90 while Home Depot dropped 0.96 to 21.58. The parcel carriers were also down. UPS dropped 1.48 to 57.99 and Fedex dropped 1.03 to 73.94. The World Racing Group (DIRT Motorsports) dropped 0.02 to 0.08.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891 . Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

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

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