Tuesday July 29, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continues on their mid-summer break before moving to the Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway for the next date on the schedule. The Miller Lite 140 will take place on Saturday, Aug. 2. As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, 1994 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Wayne Anderson will be honored. The third event of the four race WaterSnoGo Modified Showdown took place on Saturday, July 26 at the All-Star Speedway in Epping, NH. With no other major Modified event scheduled for the weekend, a large number of entries were received for the prestigious event. The race was 125 green flag laps in length, paying $5,000 to the winner. Matt Hirschman won his fourth race in a row after he led the race from start to finish..

The Waterford Speedbowl's pace car leads the 09 Sk Modified
of Jay Miller onto the track for one last lap. (Keith Cyr Photo)

Jon McKennedy finished second and was followed by Chris Pasteryak, Jimmy Kuhn, Jr and Ryan Preece. Sixth through tenth were Ken Barry, Mike Ordway Jr., Jimmy Blewett, Ronnie Silk and Mike Stefanik.

The Thompson Speedway’s Thursday Night Thunder program was cancelled as heavy rains and severe thunderstorms caused the management of the Thompson International Speedway to pull the plug as the speedway complex was all but flooded out. A busy racing schedule for the remainder of the year includes the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on Thursday, August 14th and a 50-lap special event for the Sunoco Modifieds on August 28th. September will also be a busy month with the annual fan favorite, Modified Mania and the final NASCAR and Thompson points races in each division to determine track champions for the 2008 racing season.

In the Sunoco Modifieds Kerry Malone is the current point leader. Malone leads Todd Ceravolo by 10 points. Six points behind Ceravolo is Danny Cates who has begun to make his mark at Thompson this year. Cates holds a 20 point edge over Jimmy Blewett. Rounding out the top five is Bert Marvin. Fred Astle JR leads Norm Wrenn, Derek Ramstrom and Mike O’Sullivan for Pro Stock honors. Other division point leaders are Jeff Zuidema in the Late Models, Kurt Vigeant in the Thompson Modifieds, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Danny Field in the Mini Stocks.

The Whelen All-American Series NASCAR race event at Stafford Motor Speedway featured the 5th Annual CARQUEST SK 150. Woody Pitkat scored the $4,000 winner's check by coming back from a flat tire, which put him two laps down at one point with a late race pass for the win. Joe Rzeszutek wired the field in the 30-lap Late Model feature for his first win of the 2008 season, Harry Wheeler became a first-time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Durand nailed down his second feature victory of the 2008 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly scored his first win of the 2008 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature event.

In the 150-lap SK Modified feature event, Todd Owen took the lead from the pole and led the first 9 laps before giving way to Chris Jones on lap-16. Jones led to lap-27 when Frank Ruocco took over the lead. Ruocco then led to lap-54 when Keith Rocco took the lead on a restart, but Ruocco would retake the lead on lap-56. Ruocco remained out front until lap-93 when Ronnie Silk moved to the point. Silk then held the lead up to lap-102 when Ruocco went back out front. Ruocco held the race lead until Silk beat Ruocco back to the start/finish line on lap-124 with the caution coming out one lap later.

Silk held the point through lap-138. On a restart on lap-139, Rocco charged into the lead with a great move in turn 3, but a determined Silk moved back to the point several laps later on lap-141. Woody Pitkat, who had earlier spun with a flat tire and lost two laps, gained his two laps back with lucky dog awards and was now in the thick of the mix for the race lead and the battle for the win. Pitkat moved to second on lap-142 and he took the race lead for the first time on lap-143. Ruocco got back to second, but it was too late for him to catch Pitkat, who took down his third feature victory of the 2008 season. Ruocco came home second, with Rocco, Kenny Horton, and Jeff Malave rounding out the top-5. Pre-race favorite Ted Christopher, who was celebrating his fiftieth birthday, finished 23rd.

At the Waterford Speedbowl Doug Coby and Tyler Chadwick won the Town Fair Tire Night twin 35-lap SK Modified features. Other feature winners were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), Ben Bargnesi (Mini Stock), and Max Zachem (Legends).

The Jay Miller 09 took one last lap before the first SK Modified feature. The popular Miller passed away unexpectedly July 15th. three weeks after winning his first SK Modified feature.

In the first of two 35-lap SK Modified features, pole-sitter Doug Coby battled with Jeff Paul during the opening stages. Upon a restart with fifteen circuits remaining the leader faltered, causing a chain-reaction that damaged several top cars, most able to return after going pitside. Entering the midway point, it was again Coby and Paul, with Rob Janovic Jr. closing quickly. During the final laps, Coby took total command. Rounding-out the top-5 was Paul, Janovic, Jeff Pearl, and Shawn Monahan.

Starting from the pole, young Tyler Chadwick led the entire measure of the caution-filled SK Modified nightcap to snare his first-ever victory. Not an easy feat, he held-off the advances of some of the Speedbowl’s best including Doug Coby, Jeff Paul, and defending champion Dennis Gada during several tense late-race restarts. Following the winner was Paul, Coby, Gada, and Jeff Pearl.

The foreclosure issues at the shoreline oval are once again in the news. Currently somewhere in the neighborhood of around $22,000 in property taxes have not been paid. Rocco Arbitell who holds the mortgage on the Speedbowl property said it’s the responsibility of Terry Eames. Eames claims it’s the responsibility of track operator Jerry Robinson The issue has become a war of words between the two. The outcome will be decided in court at a future date.

In TV land this week televised action begins on Wednesday at noon on the Speed Channel with the July 19 NASCAR Camping World Series East Series from the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, TN. Thursday’s action begins at noon with last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Allstate 400 at the Brickyard that was run at the Indianapolis Speedway. At 2:00 ESPN Classic will show the NASCAR 1999 Pepsi 400 from Brooklyn, MI. The action returns to the Speed Channel on Friday at noon with a 90 minute NASCAR Sprint Cup practice session from the Pocono Raceway. NASCAR Live follows at 1:30. The action moves to ESPN2 at 2:00 for a 90 minute practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal, Canada. At 3:30 it’s back to Pocono for NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying. Trackside at Pocono at 7:00 finishes out the day. Saturday’s action begins at10:00am on ESPN2 with final practice for the Sprint Cup cars at Pocono. At 12:30 ESPN2 goes to Montreal for NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying. After a 60 minute pre-race show the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200 gets the green at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal at 3:30. Also on Saturday afternoon the Speed Channel presents the World of Outlaws at 4:00pm. NASCAR Now on ESPN2 starts off Saturday at 10:00am. The action moves to Speed at 11:00am with a two hour NASCAR RaceDay. At 1:00 the action moves to ESPN for a one hour countdown which will lead to a 2:00 start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend on Sunday night 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 all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the pack was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.28 to 19.16. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.26 to 37.21 and Dover Downs went up 0.14 to 4.44. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint/Nextel went up 0.21 to 8.74 while NASCAR second division sponsor Nationwide dropped 1.91 to 44.39. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil (SUNOCO) dropped 2.03 to 34.67 as Goodyear gained 0.96 to 19.49. NASCAR team sponsor Aaron’s Rentals went up 1.41 to 27.47 while Target Stores dropped 2.30 to 44.57. Dupont dropped 0.39 to 43.81 while Coca-Cola went up 1.16 to 35.05. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.36 to 23.80 while Lowes went up 0.05 to 19.98. The parcel carriers had a mixed week. UPS went up 1.74 to 62.55 while Fedex dropped 0.03 to 79.49. The World Racing Group dropped 0.02 to 0.13.

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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