Tuesday July 27, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Rain forced postponement of Seekonk Speedway's 6th Annual Open Wheel Wednesday. The event will be run this coming Wed. July 28.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series enjoyed a week off before making their annual trek to the 1/4 mile Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Bobby Santos currently leads the point standings as he has won three of the seven events run so far this season. Santos holds a 56 point lead over Ted Christopher. Christopher has two wins to his credit. Todd Szegedy, Mike Stefanik and Ryan Preece round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Ron Silk, Justin Bonsignore, Woody Pitkat, Eric Rudolph and Chuck Hossfeld.

The Riverhead event will be televised on Wednesday, August 4, on the VERSUS cable network. The event will be rebroadcast on Sunday, August 8, at 11:00pm.

The Thompson International Speedway hosted the Pro All Star Series on Thursday night along with their regular Thursday night Thunder venue. Car counts continue to be a major concern at the northeastern Connecticut oval. There were 17 Sunoco (SK) Modifieds, 12 Late Models, 11 Super Late Models, eight Thompson Modifieds and 24 Mini Stocks and 24 Limited Sportsman. What favors Thompson is the fact that the racing is great and the track management hustles the program along as fans are usually on their way home by 9:00pm. Better than average crowds have supported these events. The best thing is the fact that fans can get their weekly racing fix without interfering with their weekend activities.

Ben Rowe of Turner, ME, made a late race surge to take down the victory in the Pro All Star Series annual visit to the 5/8-mile of Thompson International Speedway. Woody Pitkat of Stafford Springs, CT, ended his winless streak at Thompson with a convincing Sunoco Modified win on Thursday night. Larry Gelinas of Buxton, ME, posted a three-peat in the Whelen All-American Series Super Late Models while Rick Gentes of Woonsocket, RI, was tops in the Late Models. R.J. Marcotte of Millville, MA, wired the field to score his second TIS Modified win of the season. Chris “Moose” Douton streaked to his second straight victory in Limited Sportsman action. Randy Churchill, Jr., of Oakdale, MA, returned to victory lane in the Mini Stocks.

Although a contender each week, Woody Pitkat had been shut-out of Thompson’s victory lane thus far this season. Pitkat turned in a dominating performance to score the victory. Dave Salzarulo set the pace for the first lap of the SK Modified main event before giving way to Ronnie Silk. Rowan Pennink would also move past and into second. Silk and Pennink were able to get some distance on the field as Danny Cates worked over Salzarulo. Cates was able to make the pass on lap five. Salzarulo immediately fell into the clutches of Christopher. John Catania spun on the backstretch to bring out the first caution on lap six. On the ensuing restart, Silk’s mount faltered sending the field scattering. Christopher hopped wheels with Silk with his #00 getting hooked on the back bumper of Silk. Tim Sullivan also sustained minor damage.

The line-up on the second attempt at a lap six restart found Pennink on the point with Danny Cates to his outside and the point leader Christopher sitting on pit road. Pennink jumped out to the top spot with heavy pressure from Cates. Pitkat emerged as a contender taking over second from Cates on lap eight. Before the completion of the lap, Pitkat was the new leader. Cates fell in line in third followed by Keith Rocco. Pitkat was able to extend his lead over a brewing battle between Pennink, Cates, and Rocco. Cates grabbed the second position away from Pennink on lap 14. Pitkat enjoyed a sizeable advantage over Cates. Rocco began to get racy with Pennink. Rocco used the slingshot move on lap 20 to grab the third position from Pennink.

Cates had cut into Pitkat’s advantage slightly with ten laps to go. Pitkat maneuvered his way through lapped traffic with ease to maintain a comfortable margin. The final laps were clear sailing as Pitkat motored to his first victory of the 2010 season at Thompson. Cates continued to be strong coming home second. Rocco, Pennink and Salzarulo completed the top five.

The Stafford Motor Speedway postponed their Friday night event just before noon on Friday. The CARQUEST SK 150 will be run this coming Friday.

The Modified Racing Series traveled to the Canaan Fair Speedway in Canaan, NH on Saturday. Eric Goodale took the lead on lap 13 and went on to win the 112 lap, Ricky Miller Memorial Race It was Goodale’s first win with the series. He also became the ninth different winner in ten races this season.

Pole sitter Jon McKennedy led the first 12 laps giving up the lead position to Goodale on lap 13. Goodale was pursued by Steven Masse for several laps, Mike Holdridge and then Dwight Jarvis. The race was slowed on lap 101 for a caution period that closed up the field. On the restart, Jarvis tried every move possible to get by the race leader but Goodale was equal to the task. At the finish, Goodale beat Jarvis by .149 seconds with McKennedy .141 seconds behind Jarvis. There were 28 Modifieds on hand.

The Waterford Speedbowl beat the evening’s heavy downpours from Mother Nature to complete Nostalgia Night featuring exhibition racing from vintage racing groups, the Shane Hammond Memorial event for the NEMA Midgets plus four-divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. Jeff Pearl returned to the winner’s circle to claim his 33rd career SK Modified® win. Tim Jordan and Dan Field used wins in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model and Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock feature races to stay out front in their respective division point battles. Norm Sears won his second Street Stock race in dominant fashion, while Massachusetts drivers Russ Stoehr and Randy Cabral split the NEMA Midget and NEMA Lite Shane Hammond Memorial races.
The 35-lap SK Modified® race thundered out onto the track with Diego Monahan and Joe Perry leading the field to the green flag. Monahan took the race lead and with just one lap complete Doug Coby came to rest in turn four with a flat left rear tire, bringing out the first caution flag. Monahan would take back over and held his lead through two additional early incidents.

When racing settled in, Monahan was out front by two lengths over Perry. Joe Gada was third with Tom Abele holding down fourth. Ron Yuhas Jr. and Pearl put down the best battle on the track for fifth on lap 10. Pearl came to life in the outside lane, moving back by Yuhas on lap 11 after spending several laps to his outside and then pulled outside Abele for fourth. Abele bobbled on lap 14 between turns one and two causing his car to snap back up the track to create a more serious altercation that collected Jeff Paul, Rob Janovic Jr., Adam Gada and Glen Pressell III. All but Paul were done for the night after their contact.

Hard racing inside the top-ten positions took place following the lap 14 restart. Pearl raced into third around the outside of Gada with defending champion Ron Yuhas Jr., Todd Ceravolo and point leader Keith Rocco all racing hard for fifth. Tucker Reynolds Jr. and Tyler Chadwick were locked in a hard battle for eighth. Trouble on lap 17 saw Yuhas break traction racing into turn one with Ceravolo looking under his left rear. Caution waved for a spinning Yuhas, dropping him from the top five.

Monahan had serious company at the front when racing went back to green. Pearl advanced to second with Ceravolo behind in third. Pearl looked both high and low on Monahan with Ceravolo countering Pearl’s move trying to find any lane he could for second. The top three raced an exciting two laps with Ceravolo ultimately making the impressive moves on lap 21. An aggressive move under Pearl entering turn one grabbed Ceravolo second, and he wasted no time darting outside Monahan off turn two intent on taking over the race lead. He made that move stick to be the new leader on lap 22.

Ceravolo stretched out his lead over the next several laps. Pearl stalked Monahan for second, eventually making an inside move entering turn three on lap 29. Just as Pearl was clearing Monahan, Ceravolo’s machine suffered electrical failure and he dropped off the pace exiting turn four, continuing his season of utter misfortune. Pearl’s maneuver on Monahan handed him the lead. With four laps remaining Chadwick and Perry made contact battling for third sending Chadwick around in turn one for a caution. On the restart Perry and Joe Gada made contact with both cars crashing in turn one and dropping them out of the top five.

Over the final four laps Pearl went unchallenged to his second win of the year. Monahan crossed the stripe in second, but failed post-race inspection moving Yuhas up to an impressive runner-up finish after his spin mid-way through the race. Coby rebounded from his early troubles for his first podium finish of the year in third, with Reynolds Jr. and Paul completing the top-five finishers. Current point leader Keith Rocco finished sixth.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina was the scene of twin 50 lap NASCAR Modified features on Saturday night. Burt Myers won the opener while Chris Fleming won the night cap.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Bill Park took the win over John Fortin and Tom Rogers. Chuck Steuer and Wayne Anderson rounded out the top five

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 10:00pm on Tuesday with Race in 60 which shows a one hour recap of last weeks NASCAR Sprint Cup, Brickyard 400 that was run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This program will be repeated at 10:00am on Wednesday and at 2:00pm on Friday. Speed will show a complete replay of the Brickyard 400 at noon on Wednesday. Thursday's viewing begins at noon with a replay of last Saturday nights NASCAR Nationwide Series Kroger 200 that was run at the O’Reilly Raceway Park. NASCAR Hot Wired follows at 2:20pm. At 3:00pm Speed replays the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono, PA. The July 18 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Bi-Mart 125 that was run at Portland, OR follows at 6:00pm. Speed goes live at noon on Friday with Sprint Cup practice from the Pocono Raceway. NASCAR Live at Pocono follows at 1:30pm. NASCAR Live at Pocono goes at 3:00pm which will be followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 3:30pm. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice at Pocono follows at 5:30pm. Trackside at Pocono goes at 7:00pm followed at 8:00pm by same day, taped delayed coverage of Sprint Cup qualifying at Pocono. Saturday's programming starts early as Sprint Cup practice at Pocono is joined in progress at 9:30am. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying follows at 10:00am. At 11:00am a 90 minute final practice for the Sprint Cup cars hits the Pocono Raceway. At 12:30pm the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has their pre-race show that will lead in to the 1:15 start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 125. The ARCA Racing Series, Weis Markets 125 follows at 3:00pm. All eyes will be on Dillon Moltz in the ARCA event. This event will be repeated at 8:00pm. At 7:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for the pre race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series US Cellular 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. Sunday's viewing begins at 9:00am on espn2 with NASCAR Now. At 10:00am the action switches back to the Speed Channel for a two hour session of RaceDay. At noon the action moves to espn2for the NASCAR Sprint Cup countdown that will lead to the 1:00pm start on ESPN of the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway. 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 just about everything had a positive ending. All three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.86 to 13.92. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.71 to 26.21 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.04 to 1.72. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.13 to 4.69 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.85 to 33.64. Also having a good week was tire supplier Goodyear which went up 1.28 to 12.22. With the exception of General Motors, the car makers also had a good week. General Motors dropped 0.02 to 0.40 while Ford went up 1.38 to 12.72 and Toyota went up 0.56 to 71.31. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.14 to 28.25 while Lowes went up 1.09 to 21.11. The team sponsors also were riding the wave. Dupont went up 2.36 to 38.34 while Coca-Cola went up 1.93 to 52.18, Target Department Stores went up 1.61 to 51.89, Aarons Rentals went up 0.93 to 17.93 and Fedex went up 4.42 to 78.96.

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.

Web Design Copyright © 2009 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in Phil Smith's "Champ Trail" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility and opinions of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of"Champ Trail" contact Phil Smith @
The "Champ Trail" is Copyright © 2006-2009 Phil Smith