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Tuesday July 8, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

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. 1. Chuck Hossfeld leads the point standings with 855. Ted Christopher sits in second spot with 819. Third is Todd Szegedy with 750 with Eric.Beers in fourth with 685. Eddie Flemke,Jr. rounds out the top five with 662. Sixth through tenth are Matt Hirschman, Rowan Pennink, Mike Stefanik. Ryan Preece and James Civali. .

The True Value Modifieds made their second visit to the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Kirk Alexander managed to successfully maneuver through lapped traffic in the last 10 laps of the 100 lap event and Dwight Jarvisí #28 began to fade. Alexander would take the win, his 30th in the True Value Modified Racing Series. Dwight Jarvis held on to second while Jack Bateman finished third. Jon McKennedy and Rob Goodenough rounded out the top five. Pre-race favorites Ted Christopher, 17th, Les Hinkley, 18th, and Dave Pinkham, DNS, failed to finish.

The Thompson Speedwayís Thursday Night Thunder program avoided the rain gods and welcomed an almost full crowd to the double feature program for the Sunoco Modifieds. Jimmy Blewett scored back to back Sunoco Modified victories while Randy Cabral enjoyed an emotional NEMA Midgets victory for one of his fallen comrades. In a touching tribute, Cabral left his car in turn three where his fallen friend, Shane Hammond, lost his life in April. Derek Ramstrom continued his domination of the Pro Stock ranks with his third-straight feature win, Leo Oliveira celebrated with a victory in the biggest event of the season for the TIS Modifieds along with Limited Sportsman competitor Ernie LaRose and Mini Stocker Tim Taylor of each visited victory lane.

By virtue of their finish in Aprilís season opening Icebreaker event (on Saturday), Blewett and Icebreaker winner Bert Marvin started the 25-lapper from the front row. With Blewett taking the early lead from the outside pole, Marvin and Danny Cates tagged along for a three-car breakaway at the head of the field. Kerry Malone, Todd Ceravolo, and Josh Sylvester ran in the second pack while Pitkat and Rocco were making their way through the pack from deep in the field. Marvin began to pressure Blewett for the lead and Ceravolo was able to take the fourth spot from Malone before the caution flew for a spin by Brad Van Houten. Blewett was able to retain his lead on the lap nine restart while Ceravolo moved into third spot ahead of Cates. Sylvester was shuffled back losing spots to Malone and Pitkat once back under green. Rocco and Cravenho took chase just outside the top five. The top three began to stretch out their lead while the battle for fourth was heating up between Ceravolo, Malone, and Pitkat. The caution on lap 16 for an incident involving Eric Goodale and Carl Oberg slowed the action. The final lap served up some excitement. Leader Blewett bobbled exiting turn two; opening the door for a challenge by Marvin. The two made some contact sliding side-by-side through turn four. The crowd was on their feet as Blewett edged Marvin out for the victory. Marvin settled for second ahead of Cates, Ceravolo, and Grigas. In the closing laps of the second feature Blewett ran unchallenged to the checkers. Rocco capped off the night with a runner-up finish. Malone, Pitkat and Ceravolo completed the top five.

The Thompson Speedway will be quiet this week as preparations are made for next Saturdayís Full Fender Frenzy Special event that will feature the NASCAR Camping World East Series as well as the Pro All Star Series (PASS). Also included in the program are Thompsonís Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks. The Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds have the week off. Grandstands will open at 12:30 PM and qualifying is slated for 4:15 PM. The first of five feature races is scheduled for a 6:00 PM start. Grandstand admission is $40. Kids are $10. Pit admission is $50.

The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated the fourth of July holiday with a multimedia fireworks display set to music. The fireworks on the track were provided by Frank Ruocco, who won the SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco, who won his 30th Late Model feature, Chris Matthews, who won the SK Light Modified feature, Charlie Newman, who won the Limited Late Model feature, and Dan Flannery, who won the DARE Stock feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified feature event, Frank Ruocco drove to his first feature win of the 2008 season by out dueling Keith Rocco over the final laps. Doug Coby took the early race lead and held the top spot from the green flag to lap-22, when Ruocco overtook him on a restart. Rocco moved by Coby for second place on lap-27 and brought Ted Christopher with him past Coby. Christopher and Rocco would swap the second position several times over the final laps through several restart situations, with Rocco taking the spot on the final green white checker restart. Rocco stayed glued to the back bumper of Ruocco, but couldn't make a pass for the win. Rounding out the top-5 behind Ruocco and Rocco was Tom Bolles, Christopher, and Jimmy Blewett.

At the Waterford Speedbowl it was the annual Pepsi 300. A major water main break closed a good portion of the lower section of Route 85 but it didnít hold back the competitors or fans. Jeffrey Paul took advantage of Doug Cobyís misfortune as he scored the biggest win of his young career as he won the 100 lap SK Modified portion of the Pepsi 300. With less than 10 laps to go, Coby missed a shift on a restart and all but handed the win to Paul. Coby had passed Keith Rocco for the lead just beyond the halfway-point and looked to be on cruise control, headed for victory. Pole-sitter Tyler Chadwick led the early going of the 100-lap SK feature before he was passed by Keith Rocco. For several laps the leader was pressed by Coby, Dennis Gada, and Paul. On lap ninety-three, Frank Ruocco and Rocco made contact, the latter slamming into the back-stretch wall, with Ruocco sent to the back for rough-riding. The resultant restart saw Paul bolt into the lead, passing Coby. Coby held-on for the runner-up spot followed by Rob Janovic Jr., Ron Yuhas Jr., and defending champion and current point-leader Dennis Gada. It was the first win of 2008 for Paul.

Other feature winners were Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Al Stone III (Sportsman), and Danny Field (Mini Stocks).

In the 100-lap Late Model feature it was defending champion Bruce Thomas Jr. scoring victory in round-two of the Triple Crown series. Starting in the second-row and passing Ron Yuhas Jr. for the lead on lap forty-two, Thomas motored to a dominating twenty-seventh career triumph over Tim Jordan, Yuhas, Vin Esposito, and Diego Monahan.
Al Stone III kept his Triple Crown expectations alive with a victory in the 50-lap Sportsman feature and scoring the 50-lap Mini Stock main event by an ever-so-slight margin was Danny Field.

In TV land this week on the Speed Channel action begins on Tuesday at 2:00pm with the June 21 World of Outlaws event that was run at Dodge City in Kansas. On Thursday at noon last weekendís NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 from the Daytona Intl. Speedway gets reshown. Speed goes live at 4:30 with NASCAR Live from Chicagoland Speedway. Live coverage of Sprint Cup practice follows at 5:00. At 7:00pm the action shifts to ESPN2 for NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice at Chicagoland. At 8:30 itís back to the Speed Channel for Sprint Cup qualifying. Fridayís viewing begins at 3:00 with a 30 minute segment of NASCAR Live from Chicagoland. At 4:00pm the action switches to ESPN2 for NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying from Chicagoland. At 6:00pm itís back to Speed for final practice of the Sprint Cup cars. At 7:30 itís back to ESPN2 for the pre-race show that leads up to and 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland. Speed wraps up the day with a one hour segment of TRACKSIDE at 11:00pm. Saturdayís viewing begins at 4:30pm with a two hour NASCAR RaceDay preview from Chicagoland. At 6:30 the action moves to TNT for a half hour pre-race show which leads in to an 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland. As an alternative, ESPN will provide live coverage of the IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 200 from the Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, TN. 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 it was a down week again with the exception of NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil which went up 2.21 to 39.69. All three speedway stocks dropped for the third week in a row. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.69 to 20.03, the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.58 to 39.37 and Dover Downs dropped 0.33 to 4.59. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.40 to 8.51 while second division sponsor Nationwide dropped 0.77 to 47.63. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear also showed a loss for the week as they dropped 0.42 to 17.83. Team sponsors were also caught up in the down trend. Coca-Cola dropped 5.24 to 33.65 while Dupont dropped 0.89 to 41.80 and Target Dept. Stores dropped 0.97 to 46.90. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.48 to 22.54 and Lowes dropped 0.65 to 20.22. The parcel carriers were also down. Fedex dropped 2.28 to 74.97 and UPS dropped 0.89 to 59.47. The World Racing Group (DIRT) remains at 0.10.

Thatís 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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