Tuesday July 10, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series will end a three week break as they head to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 100 on Saturday, July 14.

In Valenti Modified Racing Series action at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH Todd Szegedy passed race leader Chris Pasteryak on lap 92, and went to win the 8th annual ‘Firecracker 100’ Saturday night. Szegedy became the series fifth different winner of 2012. Szegedy hooked up in a side-by-side, crowd-pleasing battle, with Les Hinckley for several laps, before grabbing the runner-up spot. Pasteryak led the race from lap 49 when he slipped up allowing Szegedy to take the lead. Hometown favorite Dwight Jarvis made a late race charge to finish second. Todd Patnode finished third. Hinckley and Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were: Rowan Pennink, Jon McKennedy, Norm Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Joey Jarvis.

The race, slowed by five caution flags, was completed in 44 minutes. Fourteen of the 24 cars that started the event finished on the lead lap. Thirty cars were on hand.

Next Event: Canaan Fair Speedway, Canaan, NH. July 14, 2012.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw another night of controversy. The Speedway featured Twin 30 lap features for the Sunoco Modifieds. Woody Pitkat made it two in a row in Sunoco Modified action in the night’s Modified the opener. In the second of the twins, Ryan Preece was declared the winner of a controversial feature event that saw Pitkat cross the checkers first. In a more conventional finish, it was Tommy O’Sullivan scoring the victory in the Late Models. Troy Talman wired the field to secure the victory in Sunoco Lite Modified. Scott Sundeen continued his domination of the Limited Sportsman division with a win. John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. made it five consecutive wins in the TIS Modified division. Dave Trudeau earned top honors in the Mini Stocks. Bill Cummins earned top honors in the Vintage Outlaw Modifieds.

On lap 29 of the first Sunoco Modified feature Keith Rocco made his move on Pitkat to take over the lead. Pitkat dove low exiting the fourth turn. Pitkat and Rocco made contact. Pitkat was able to gain the advantage and edged out Rocco for the victory. Ted Christopher came home third. Ryan Preece and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. The second Sunoco Modified feature was somewhat ho-hum until the final moments. With two laps to go Rocco made a move outside of Christopher. He could not make the pass for the lead. Pitkat got along side Rocco momentarily but Rocco fought back. A spin by Kerry Malone brought out the caution flag setting the stage for an exciting restart. Christopher picked the outside groove on the restart. Rocco got the jump on the restart only to have his car falter in turn one. Christopher was able to take the lead. With the white flag flying, Pitkat muscled by Christopher in turn two to steal the lead away. Preece got by Christopher to take over the second position. Pitkat streaked under the checkers first followed by Preece and Christopher. A dissatisfied Christopher made contact with Pitkat on the cool down lap and was disqualified. When all was said and done Preece found himself in the winner's circle. Pitkat was placed in second. Dennis Perry, Richie Gallup, and Kerry Malone completed the top five.

It's a fore gone conclusion that at some point the Thompson management will say they have had enough and will pull the plug on the Sunoco Modifieds. The animals have taken over the running of the zoo and the only way to retake control is to shoot them!

Keith Rocco made it two in a row in SK Modified competition at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Stafford's SK Light Modifieds took center stage with their Xtra Mart Xtra D 25-lap feature event. Zach Aszklar was the big winner of the night, picking up his first career victory, Mike Quintiliano picked up his first Late Model feature victory since the 2005 season, Josh Wood picked up his sixth feature win of the season in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and James Carroll picked up his first career feature victory in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Competitors at the Waterford Speedbowl were given a night off.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina George Brunnhoelzl III won the Firecracker 150 on Friday night. Brunnhoelzl dominated the day by being the fastest in practice and winning his third pole position of the season before leading the race wire-to-wire. With the victory, Brunnhoelzl, out of West Babylon, N.Y., takes over sole possession of the Southern Modified Tour’s all-time wins list at 14 after coming into the event in a tie with L.W. Miller. Brandon Ward finished as the runner-up and crossed the line .343 seconds behind the winner. Danny Bohn, who started the race from the ninth position, charged to the front and finished third. Brian Loftin, who won at Caraway earlier in the season, finished fourth and Jason Myers finished fifth.

Rookie Jon McKennedy, John Smith, Michael Speeney, Tim Brown and Joe Scarborough rounded out the top 10. The race was slowed due to caution six times for 27 laps

In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Justin Bonsignore started on pole and never looked back as he won the Cromarty Cup 50 for the Modifieds. Shawn Solomito finished second with Ryan Preece, third. Rounding out the top five were Timmy Solomito and Ron Silk. Ted Christopher finished seventh.

In action on the tube this week the Speed Channel will replay last weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup event that was held in Daytona at noon on Wednesday. The Daytona Nationwide Series event will be shown by Speed at noon on Thursday. Starting at noon on Friday Speed will provide continuous coverage of practice and qualifying from New Hampshire.

On Saturday the action shifts to ESPN for the Nationwide Series event in New Hampshire at 3:30pm. The Speed Channel will televise the NASCAR Truck event being held at the Iowa Speedway beginning at 8:30pm. On Sunday TNT will provide coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 301 beginning at 1:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks finished on the positive for the week. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.58 to 17.49 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.59 to 26.77 while Dover Motorsports remained a no-change for the week. NASCAR Cup sponsor sprint went up 0.03 to 3.29 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.39 to 47.89. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.72 to 11.09. Two of the three major car builders were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.09 and Yoyota dropped 0.34 to 80.14. General Motors was the only gainer as they went up 0.59 to 20.31. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.84 to 52.15 and Lowes dropped 0.59 to 27.85. With the exception of Coca-Cola which went up 0.48 the big team sponsors had an off week. Dupont dropped 1.67 to 48.90 while Target Department Stores dropped 0.12 to 58.07, Aarons Rentals dropped 0.18 to 28.13 and Fedex dropped 0.33 to 91.28.

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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