Tuesday July 24, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Internet news site reported last week that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series took a big hit when car owner Ed Whelen decided to shut down his operation and sell his equipment and long time car owner Bob Garbarino indicated that he was fed up with the way NASCAR treats the Modifieds and hinted that he may also be packing it in in the not so distant future. Whelen owns the cars driven by Ted Christopher. Whelen doesn't like the way NASCAR is heading as far as lack of television support, sub standard purses and the fact that the sanctioning body's attempt to "save the car owners money" is nothing more than a sham to get competitors to use the same "spec" engine. The NASCAR rule makers have all but ruined the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series divisions with their IROC type Cars of Tomorrow. Next will be the Modifieds or what's left of them. Long time car owner Bob Garbarino has also voiced his displeasure with the way NASCAR has treated the division.

Chad Little, the Whelen Modified Tour Series director continues to paint a pretty picture that NASCAR is doing everything it can to make it better and more affordable for the car owner. Former New England Speedway official Tony Leckey said it best when after reading Little's statement said the way it came across was "The door is open and Iíll listen to their comments all the time but at the end of the day weíre going to make a decision and sometimes they like it and sometimes they donít.Ē That tells you everything you need to know about how much NASCAR values your input. All Chad did was validate what Bob Garbarino said. The promoters and local officials bear the wrath for this but at the end of the day, NASCAR could care less.

Now that Whelen and Garbarino have spoken out against the sanctioning body they need to watch their backs when ever they compete in NASCAR events because its a known fact that those who have spoken out against the sanctioning body have been fined and or harassed.

Maybe it is time that the car owners band together to make a statement by parking their cars. That would be the only thing that NASCAR would understand. Promoters would be forced to cancel events which would mean that no sanctioning fees would go south into the NASCAR bank accounts. When you hit someone in the wallet they sit up and take notice. NASCAR will not listen to car owners. This is the only way to get their attention. Maybe they will do the car owners a favor and cancel the Modified division all together.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw Keith Rocco earn his second victory of the season after taking the lead from Kerry Malone on a restart at lap five. Malone took the early lead with Rocco and Dennis Perry on his bumper. Malone had just pulled away when the first caution of the night flew for Perry, who lost the right front on his machine. Malone and Rocco brought the field back to green on the restart with Rocco taking the lead out of turn one. Malone, Ryan Preece, and Ted Christopher rounded out the top-four as they all pulled away from the rest of the field. On lap eight, Preece dove to the bottom groove heading into turn one and drove by Malone, who was left to fend with the challenges of Christopher. Preece set his sights on Rocco, who had pulled ahead to a comfortable five-car length lead as Christopher drove by Malone for the third spot. Rocco greeted lapped traffic at the halfway mark with Preece closing up some of Roccoís lead, but it was still all Rocco up front. The race went caution-free as Rocco drove to the checkers unchallenged. Following Rocco and Preece were Ted Christopher, Kerry Malone and Richie Gallup.

Other winners in NASCAR Whelen All American Series action included Jason Chicolas who added his name to this seasonís win column in the Limited Sportsman division, Tommy OíSullivan in the Late Models, and Mike OíSullivan in a special 50-lap Super Late Model race. Jay Sundeen won an exciting contest with John Lowinski-Loh, Jr. that resulted in both drivers coming across the finish line sideways in the Thompson Modified feature. Cam McDermott and Dave Trudeau were winners in their divisions.

There were nine Sunoco (SK) Modifieds on hand for the event.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night rain prevailed and wiped out the SK Modified twin 75's until this Friday night, July 27.

In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Shawn Monahan picked up his first win of 2012 by getting the best of Keith Rocco in a spirited duel over the final 15 laps. Monahan started from the pole and led all but one lap. Tyler Chadwick was able to get by Rocco to finish second. Rocco came home third and was followed by Diego Monahan and Tom Abele. Corey Hutchings won his third Street Stock feature on the year while Wayne Burroughs picked up an exciting first-ever win in the Mini Stock division. Corey Barry won his second consecutive SK Light Modified race, Dana Dimatteo won his second Saturday Series Legend Cars event of 2012 and Chris Garside took a hometown win in the Saturday Series for the X-Car division.

In NASCAR Southern Modified action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC points leader Tim Brown edged Burt Myers in the first 25-lap Modified race, and Austin Pack bumped leader Chris Fleming around Turn 2 of the last lap in the second race and went on to a victory.

In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan Preece won the Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans, Charlie Jarzombek Memorial 77 lapper. NASCAR's Jerry Cook presented the trophy.

In action on the tube this week the Speed Channel will replay last weekends ARCA event that was held in Joliet, Ill. The telecast will be on Wednesday at noon. On Thursday at noon Speed will replay last weekends Nationwide Series event that was also held in Joliet. The World of Outlaws Dirt Late Models take center stage at noon on Friday, also on the Speed Channel.

Speed goes live on Saturday morning at 9:30 with Sprint Cup practice from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. Sprint Cup practice continues at 10:30 on ESPN2. Nationwide Series qualifying goes at 12:30 on Speed. Sprint Cup qualifying follows at 2:00pm on ESPN. Also at 2:00pm will be the World of Outlaws on the Speed Channel. At 4:00pm ESPN has the pre-race show that will lead in to the 4:00pm start of the Nationwide Series Indianapolis 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Evidently the Nationwide Series has become so boring even IMS was unable to secure a sponsor for the event.

Sunday's programming begins at 10:00am with a two hour RaceDay on Speed. At noon its over to ESPN for the Sprint Cup pre-race show that will lead to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Crown Royal "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks were in the minus column from the previous week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.79 to 25.80 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.74 to 16.96 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.15 to 1.35. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.33 to 3.66 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.16 to 48.10. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.43 to 9.81. The car makers were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.06 to 9.21 while General Motors dropped 0.26 to 19.36 and Toyota dropped 1.42 to 75.13. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.39 to 50.70 and Lowes dropped 0.93 to 25.79. The big team sponsors were up and down. Dupont went up 1.24 to 48.87, Coca-Cola went up 1.17 to 65.84, Aarons Rentals went up 0.78 to 29.11 while Target Department Stores dropped 0.58 to 61.37 and Fedex dropped 2.27 to 90.08.

Thatís 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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