Tuesday July 20, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitors were back in action after a week off as they traveled to the high banked, quarter mile, Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH on Saturday, July 17.

A somewhat light race purse of $53,631 was up for grabs.

Ted Christopher celebrated the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour's return to the high banks with his 36th career victory. The win moved Christopher, the 2008 Tour champion, into sole possession of third place on the career win list. It's Christopher's second win of the season, allowing him to move past Tony Hirschman. The Plainville, Conn., driver now trails only Mike Stefanik (70 wins) and Reggie Ruggiero (44).

Erick Rudolph, who won his first career 21 Means 21 pole award presented by Coors Light earlier in the day, led the first 95 laps before Christopher moved to the front. The two battled each other for the lead until Christopher moved out front for the final time on Lap 152. He held off Rudolph on a green-white-checkered finish. The scheduled 175-lap race was extended to 179 laps by a late caution. Christopher led twice for 41 laps, while Rudolph led twice for 138 laps.

Ron Silk followed Rudolph in third, with Eric Berndt fourth and points leader Bobby Santos fifth. George Brunnhoelzl III, James Civali, Glen Reen, Justin Bonsignore and Eric Beers completed the top 10.

Christopher started fourth and despite a torrid pace at times averaged only 42.937mph due to the eight cautions that slowed the pace for 65 laps. Seventeen of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap.

Jim Schaeffer, a Riverhead, Long Island elementary school teacher, has done it again as he and a collective group of fellow race fans and sponsors will add an additional $10,500 in prize money to the July 31st Riverhead 200, a Flash Tour race at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's Riverhead Raceway. The winner of the 175-lap feature event of the program will now pocket a total of $5,000. Ryan Preece of Berlin, Ct. is the defending race winner. Schaffer indicated that all 28 drivers and owners that qualify for the Riverhead 200 will earn $300 that he and his fellow sponsors will present in the pit area prior to the race. Additionally the winner of the race will earn an extra $2,100 from Schaeffer and his sponsors after already receiving the $300 to qualify. The posted awards for the race for the winner sits at $2,600 and with the $2,400 in bonus money the winning team arrives at a $5,000 payday.

The Thompson International Speedway presented a 50 lap special for the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds as part of their Thursday night Thunder program. Ted Christopher was up for the task as he beat out Woody Pitkat to record his sixth win of the season at the northeastern Connecticut oval. A good field of 20 cars were on hand for the event. The drama of the night started before the green flag was displayed as NASCAR National point title contender Keith Rocco called it a night after developing transmission problems.

Pitkat settled for second. Ryan Preece, Tim Sullivan, and Ron Silk completed the top five. Among the casualties were Rowan Pennink who finished 15th and Danny Cates who finished 16th.

Larry Gelinas made it two in a row in Super Late Model action while John Materas recorded his first of the season in Late Model action. Other winners were Chris “Moose” Douton in the Limited Sportsman, Shane Michalski in the TIS Modifieds and Scott Jussaume in the Mini Stocks.

Rain was a deciding factor at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Ryan Posocco scored his third victory of the 2010 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature and Tommy Barrett, Jr. won his second consecutive and fourth overall race of the 2010 season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Rain halted the remainder of the program and as more than half of the event was completed, there will be no rain checks. The DARE Stock feature will be added to next Friday night's 7th Annual CARQUEST SK 150 program, the Limited Late Model feature will be added to the Friday, July 30th event, and the SK Modified feature will be added to the Friday, August 13th event at no extra charge for those events.

The Modified Racing Series went up country to the state of Maine as they visited the Oxford Plains Speedway for the Maine-Ly Action Sports 100 on Saturday. With temperatures in the 90's drivers sliced and diced and changed the lead several times during the event. Andy Seuss was able to use a lap 85 restart to his advantage as he took the lead that led to the eventual win over Louie Mechalides. There were 73 green laps of racing before the first caution flag flew. Joe Doucette had ignition problems that stopped his car on the backstretch bringing to an end his night of racing.

The Waterford Speedbowl was also the scene of some hot action as Tyler Chadwick checkered his first SK Modified ® feature of the year, scoring a popular win in the 35-lap main event. Ed Puleo was back in Victory Lane for the Street Stocks, his fourth win of the season and second straight. Ken Cassidy Jr. returned to the winner’s circle in the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks, and Keith Rocco scored his first ever A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck division win in impressive fashion. Glen Thomas Jr. dominated the X-Car ‘Dash for Cash’ race.

The 35-lap SK Modified® race saw Glen Pressell III lead lap one from his pole starting position, but the battle for the top spot was underway from the drop of the green flag. Todd Ceravolo and Kyle James raced behind Pressell, with Ceravolo trying to make the outside lane work to his advantage when the first caution came out on lap two when several cars came together with Joe Perry, Jeff Pearl, and Doug Coby receiving the brunt of the damage. Point leader Keith Rocco also received damage and joined them on pit road for repairs. All but Pearl were able to resume.

Pressell was able to retain his lead on the restart, but James, Ceravolo, and Chadwick were all looking for racing room behind keeping the pressure on Pressell out front. After eight laps the story remained the same when the second yellow flag came out after Diego Monahan spun from the fifth position into the infield off turn four. Just like the first restart, Pressell took back over at the front and the battle for second was now between Chadwick and James, as Ceravolo fell back to fourth. Chadwick was able to take second, then looked to challenge Pressell. Chadwick made his move on lap 11, and was able to find his way past to become the second leader on lap 12.After some impressive laps featuring great racing action around the three eighths mile oval, caution slowed the pace again when Monahan tangled with Tom Abele Jr. battling just outside the top ten on lap 17.

Chadwick held the lead throughout the remainder of the race and over the final restarts. Pressell’s great run came to an end on lap 24 when he spun exiting turn four. Ceravolo came back to life in the remaining laps, advancing his way back into second. He challenged outside Chadwick following a late restart, giving Chadwick a run to the outside for a lap before fading back and tucking in behind. Chadwick went on to take his first win of the year. Ceravolo wound up second, however his season of misfortune continued when, after taking the checkered flag, sparks flew with a lapped car literally going up and over Ceravolo’s runner-up finishing machine off turn two on the cool down lap. Jeff Paul finished third to extend his consistent season. Rob Janovic Jr. and defending champion Ron Yuhas Jr. rounded out the top five.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina fell victim to rain.

Ted Christopher is expected to return to Bowman Gray on August 7 for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour makes a stop at the historic quarter mile. Many southern fans now refer to Christopher as the "Medicine Man" after he retaliated against Junior Miller who had instigated a recent confrontation. Miller takes pride in wrecking anyone in his way. TC gave him a lesson and some of his own medicine back after he attempted to take the northern invader out.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rain washed out the 77 Lap Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial NASCAR Modified event a week ago. For some reason the rescheduled event was in direct conflict with the Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was held the same evening at the Monadnock Speedway in New Hampshire. In the Baldwin, Evans, Jarzombek Memorial 77, the No. 7NY visited Riverhead Raceway victory lane once again, courtesy of Howie Brode, who renumbered his car in honor of Baldwin.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Race Hub on the Speed Channel which airs at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and on Thursday. NASCAR Now on espn2 airs at 5:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Race viewing on the Speed Channel begins at 6:00pm on Tuesday with Race in 60 which will show the highlights of the April 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. At 10:00pm Race in 60 highlights the June 6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 that was run at the Pocono Raceway. At noon on Wednesday the Speed Channel picks up the July 18 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event that was run at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ. At 6:00pm Race in 60 covers the April 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway. Thursday's race viewing starts at noon with the July 17 NASCAR Nationwide Series event that was run at the Gateway Intl. Raceway in Madison, IL. At 3:00pm Speed revisits the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. At 6:00pm the Speed Channel presents the July 3 Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was run on the road course at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on July 3. Espn2 goes live on Friday at 2:00pm with Sprint Cup practice from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At 3:30 Speed picks up the practice session. NASCAR Live follows at 4:30pm. At 5:00pm Speed shifts to the O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont Indiana for Camping World Truck Series qualifying. At 6:30 Trackside at Indy gives a one hour break. At 7:30 Speed has the pre-race show that will lead to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series AAA Insurance 200 at the O’Reilly Raceway Park at 8:00pm. Saturday's viewing begins at 10:00am with Sprint Cup qualifying from Indianapolis on espn2. Nationwide Series final practice follows at 12:30pm at the O’Reilly Raceway Park. At 3:30 espn2 covers a 90 minute practice session for the Sprint Cup cars. At 5:00 action on espn2 continues with Nationwide Series qualifying at the O’Reilly Raceway Park. At 7:30 ESPNhas the pre-race show that will lead in to the 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200. Sunday's viewing starts at 10:00am with a two hour RaceDay preview on the Speed Channel. At noon the action switches to ESPN for the pre-race shaow that will lead to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Rounding out the day on the Speed Channel is 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 had negative results. Taking the biggest dip was Speedway Motorsports which went down 0.36 to 13.06. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.31 to 25.50 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.12 to 1.68. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.28 to 4.56 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.07 to 32.79 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.05 to 10.94. Ford was the only car maker to end the week on a positive note as they went up 0.49 to 11.34. Feneral Motors remained at 0.42 while Toyota dropped 0.32 to 70.75. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.15 to 27.11 and Lowes dropped 0.41 to 20.02. The team sponsors continue to be all over the lot. Dupont dropped 0.92 to 35.98 while Coca-Cola went up 1.25 to 50.25. Target Department Stores went up 0.43 to 50.28 and Fedex went up 0.32 to 74.54 while Aarons Rentals dropped 0.55 to 17.00.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, 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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