ARCHIVES

Tuesday July 23, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Doug Coby, driving the Wayne Darling-owned Seekonk Grand Prix modified, dominated Open Wheel Wednesday at the Seekonk Speedway as he won the 100 lap main event which paid him a cool $10,000 on an extremely hot night which saw temperatures in the mid 90 degree mark. The only other leader of the event was Todd Annarummo. They shared the front row for the start, and Annarummo jumped to the lead with Coby on his bumper. Three lead-changes later, Coby roared home for the the win just ahead of Les Hinckley with Annarummo, Matt Hirschman and Anthony Nocella in pursuit.

Hinckley had started fifth and worked his way toward the front, holding third from laps 28 through 81. Annarummo took his lead and ran 26 laps at the front with Coby in pursuit. Coby made an early, outside bid on lap 5, but Rob Richardi and Kevin Iannarelli got together in turn one. It was the end of Richardi’s evening as the field relined for the green. They went door to door at the front and Coby bid on the outside for the front, but Annarummo held him off. Lap seven saw another bid on the outside and then Coby dropped under for the pass, only to have the door slammed in his face. Hinckley eased into fifth place on lap fifteen and nabbed onto Tommy Barrett’s bumper. Another lap and Barrett had been deprived of fourth. By lap 18, Annarummo was leading Coby, who was on his bumper, Todd Ceravolo, and Hinckley. Eric Berndt looped out of turn 3 to bring out caution. Annarummo and Coby lined up again with Ceravolo and Hinckley at their backs. At the green, they were wheel-to- wheel, trading the lead down the backstretch and door-to-door as they came to the stripe again. Coby gained the lead out of turn two and by lap 27, he had the front to himself with Annarummo behind him. Hinckley had come around Ceravolo for third. This trio would dominate the front three positions through the end of the feature.

With 20 laps remaining, top four finishers had been established. Hinckley pursued Coby big time, but was unable to get to the lead. Nocella managed to ease past Ceravolo into fifth. Rounding out the top ten were: Nocella, Jimmy Zacharias, Steve Masse, Ceravolo, Barrett and Jon McKennedy.

A big part of the evening was the induction of Bugsy Stevens, Ronnie Bouchard and George Summers to the Seekonk Speedway Wall of Fame. Their names were placed along side of speedway founder D.Anthony Venditti and his wife, Irene Venditti.

Matt Gallo stood out as the only first time winner in a sea of repeat winners in this week’s edition of Thursday Night Thompson Thunder. Gallo took down the victory in the Sunoco Modified portion of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series card. Repeat winners included Glenn Boss in the Late Models, Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds, and Scott Michalski in the Monster Mini Stocks. Larry Barnett and Jesse Gleason each won 20-lap Limited Sportsman features.

Gallo took the lead of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature event from his outside front row starting position and never looked back. He led every lap en route to his first career Thompson Speedway win. Gallo led the charge at the start of the race with Paul Newcomb and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top three. Gallo was on fire as he pulled away to a commanding half-a-straightaway lead over the rest of the field. The man on the move, however, was Todd Ceravolo who took over the second spot by lap four. Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco also moved up to take over third and fourth respectively.

Gallo continued to maintain a torrid pace, but Ceravolo was slowly reeling him in. The field strung out single file as Rocco looked for a way around Preece. At lap 15, Rocco dropped to the bottom heading into turn three to shoot by for the third position. Up front, Gallo was out front with only a ten-car length advantage. Rocco began to work over Ceravolo for the second spot. Rocco rode his bumper as he looked for the momentum to get by. Gallo, meanwhile, continued his dominance out front despite the car tightening up on him.

Gallo’s lead began to shrink, but it didn’t shake Gallo’s confidence as he drove to victory lane for the first time at Thompson Speedway. Ceravolo finished second with Rocco, third. Ryan Preece and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five.

In some distressing news, Racedayct, an internet racing news site, reported that there will be no Ice Breaker in 2014 at Thompson and possibly no weekly short track racing at the northeastern Connecticut oval in 2014 as the track will be under going major reconstruction in order to accommodate sports car racing. Third generation Thompson Speedway general manager Jonathan Hoenig stated that plans are in place to build a new 1.7-mile road course at Thompson Speedway. The road course will incorporate the current .625-mile oval track. Hoenig said the plans are for the road course to be operational by June 2014.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Ted Christopher scored his 100th career SK Modified win, an 80 lapper, which was also his second win of the year at the Arute family oval. Christopher was one of five drivers to take home a $300 bonus from Xtra Mart Convenience Stores as Xtra Mart put up a total of $1,500 that was divided evenly among the top-5 finishers. In other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, Adam Gray continued his hot 2013 season with his third win in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jay Goff scored his first win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light feature, D.J. Burnham was victorious for the second time in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande took his first win of the year in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Christopher kept Doug Coby behind him all the way to the checkered flag to pick up the victory. Eric Berndt finished third, with Danny Cates and Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5. Each of the top-5 finishers took home a $300 bonus from Xtra Mart Convenience Stores, who put up a $1,500 bonus for the race.

The Waterford Speedbowl saw Todd Ceravolo end a long dry spell as all his cards fell into place for him to record the SK Modified win. Ceravolo hinted that his career as a driver may be coming to a close. At 49 years of age the electrical contractor is still highly competitive but is being realistic as time is ticking by. Ceravolo will become a grandfather in the coming months. His son-inlaw, Keith Rocco finished second with Tyler Chadwick, third.

The Speedbowl beat an early rain shower before returning to NASCAR racing on Saturday evening after a scheduled week off. The track’s INEX racing divisions were vaulted to the spotlight, landing two race winners a spot in a national event for each the Bandolero and Legend Car divisions. Defending Legend Cars champion Paul Kusheba of Monroe won in a photo finish in a great race while Anthony Marvin of Colchester won the Bandolero feature. In addition to Ceravolo picking up his first victory of the year in the SK Modifieds®, two-time Street Stock champion Al Stone won his second race of the year in that division while Ken Cassidy Jr. picked up his fifth Mini Stock victory. Randy Churchill Jr. rounded out the night’s winners, scoring his fourth SK Light Modified race honors.

The 35-lap feature race for the SK Modified® division saw the return of a familiar name to the winner’s circle at the track. Ceravolo, the 1997 track champion, took his first win since the 2010 season after running a nearly flawless race. He was patient in the opening laps as the running order settled in as Frank Mucciacciaro took the race lead from pole sitter Nichole Morgillo to lead lap-1. Joe Gada held third behind the top two with Ceravolo rounding out the top four cars.

With Morgillo tailing Mucciacciaro, Ceravolo pulled out of line and made a power move under Joe Gada take third on lap-5. The first caution flag came out a lap later when a three-car battle for eighth position resulted in Adam Gada sliding through the turn four infield kicking up moisture and debris onto the race surface. Following a false restart attempt, Morgillo slid into the turn one wall after a second attempt to restart the race on lap-6.

Ceravolo lined up outside of Mucciacciaro when the race was able to restart cleanly. He spent two laps on the outside racing hard for the lead before tucking in line behind Mucciacciaro. A lap later, Ceravolo dove inside Mucciacciaro in turn three to lead the way on lap-9. Once clear of Mucciacciaro, Ceravolo pulled away to a large lead as the race ran without further incident the rest of the way.

Behind Ceravolo action was red hot as Mucciacciaro held back the advances of Tyler Chadwick, who took third from Joe Gada on lap-12. Keith Rocco followed Chadwick to fourth position. They joined Mucciacciaro in a tight three-car battle for second position that endured for several laps. As the trio put on a spirited battle Ceravolo continued to pull further ahead. On lap-23 Chadwick found the momentum to barrel underneath Mucciacciaro in turn three, bringing Rocco with him as they advanced to second and third.

Out front Ceravolo was untouchable. Rocco pestered Chadwick until he finally made the move to his inside down the front chute on lap-27, taking away second. Over the final eight laps Rocco tried to run down Ceravolo, however the lead was too much. As Ceravolo went on to his 22nd career win at the track, Rocco wound up second and Chadwick third. Mucciacciaro finished in fourth and Craig Lutz took home fifth.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had a week off to re-group from the recent event in Loudon. Many of those who compete in the Whelen Modified Tour Series are concerned what will become of their series especially if the Thompson Speedway is under construction for some or all of 2014. Thompson currently hosts four events. To lose four events would be devastating to the series. The Whelen Modified Tour Series is currently made up of 14 events. If Thompson remains closed for the entire 2014 season it could very well spell the end of Modified racing as we know it!

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to the track this coming Saturday, July 27 with the Town Fair Tire Whitcomb 200 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. The race is a makeup date for a rain out on May 11.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine. With 22 cars on hand, Rowan Pennink started 16th, battled his way to the front to take the lead on lap 76 of the 100 lapper and despite being dogged by Richard Savory, recorded the win. Savory settled for second with Tommy Barrett, third. Max Zachem and Anthony Nocella rounded out the top five.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC Burt Myers, led all the way in the first of two 25-lap races for the Modified Division and registered a season-best sixth victory. Danny Bohn won the second Modified race.

In Modified action in upstate New York, Matt Hirschman won the 63rd annual Sunoco Race of Champions at the Oswego Speedway which sits on the shore of Lake Ontario. Eric Rudolpf finished second with Chuck Hossfeldt, third.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island the careers of three drivers who each enjoyed success at Riverhead Raceway before losing their lives to the sport were honored Saturday in the 77-lap Baldwin, Evans, Jarzombek Memorial modified event.

Charlie Jarzombek, began his racing career in 1962 and compiled a record 63 wins at Riverhead. A member of the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame, Jarzombek won 187 feature events during a 25-year career. He passed away in 1987 when his car hit a retaining wall at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Jarzombek earned the nickname, "Charging Charlie" for his hard-charging and aggressive driving style. Jarzombek was a five-time Riverhead Raceway NASCAR modified champion, which ties him with Wayne Anderson and Don Howe for the most all-time at the track.

Tom Baldwin won 11 times at Riverhead and spent 20 seasons (1985-2004) on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He passed away after an accident at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway in 2004.
Richie Evans, from upstate New York, experienced much success on Long Island tracks. He won 17 races at Islip Speedway and two at Freeport Speedway. The last win of his career came at Riverhead in August 1985, two months before a fatal practice lap crash at Martinsville Speedway.

A 77 lap feature was run in their honor. Taking the win was Howie Brode. Ron Silk finished second with Tim Solomito, third. Dave Sapienza and Dave Brigati rounded out the top five. Ryan Preece finished sixth.

On the speedway stock market scene last week al three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.74 to 19.70. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.09 to 34.86 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.05 to 2.25. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.63 to 17.23 while NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.57 to 6.07 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.63 to 51.87. Two of the three car makers had a positive week. General Motors went up 0.21 to 36.61 and Toyota went up 0.67 to 130.36 while Ford dropped 0.35 to 16.76. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.44 to 44.27 while Home Depot dropped 0.65 to 79.89. The big team sponsors were all over the lot. Dupont went up 1.73 to 57.14, Coca-Cola jumped 1.78 to 64.86 and Fedex jumped 5.74 to 108.03 while Target Department stores dropped 0.01 to 72.55 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.11 to 28.57.
 

Racing on the tube:
 
7
23
Tues
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
23
Tues
7:00 PM
9:00 PM
NCWTS Practice
Eldora
SPEED
 
7
24
Wed
2:30 AM
3:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
7
24
Wed
7:00 AM
8:00 AM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
24
Wed
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
24
Wed
7:00 PM
9:00 PM
NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying
Eldora
SPEED
 
7
24
Wed
9:00 PM
9:30 PM
NCWTS SetUp
Eldora
SPEED
 
7
24
Wed
9:30 PM
11:00 PM
NCWTS: Inaugural Mudsummer Classic
Eldora
SPEED
 
7
25
Thurs
1:00 AM
1:30 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
7
25
Thurs
7:00 AM
8:00 AM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
25
Thurs
12:00 PM
2:30 PM
NNS Replay
Chicago
SPEED
 
7
25
Thurs
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
The 10
 
SPEED
 
7
25
Thurs
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
26
Fri
1:00 AM
1:30 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
7
26
Fri
7:00 AM
8:00 AM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
SPEED
 
7
26
Fri
10:30 AM
11:30 AM
NNS Final Practice
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
26
Fri
11:30 AM
1:00 PM
NSCS Practice
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
26
Fri
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
The 10
 
SPEED
 
7
26
Fri
1:30 PM
3:00 PM
NCWTS: Inaugural Mudsummer Classic
Eldora
SPEED
 
7
27
Sat
2:00 AM
2:30 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
7
27
Sat
9:00 AM
11:00 AM
NSCS Final Practice
Indianapolis
ESPN2
 
7
27
Sat
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
Trackside
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
27
Sat
12:00 PM
2:00 PM
NNS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
27
Sat
2:00 PM
4:00 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Indianapolis
ESPN
 
7
27
Sat
4:00 PM
4:30 PM
NNS Countdown
Indianapolis
ESPN
 
7
27
Sat
4:30 PM
7:00 PM
NNS: Indy 250
Indianapolis
ESPN
4:51 PM
7
28
Sun
4:00 AM
6:00 AM
NNS: Indy 250
Indianapolis
ESPN deportes
 
7
28
Sun
9:00 AM
10:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
7
28
Sun
9:30 AM
10:00 AM
SPEED Center NASCAR Edition
 
SPEED
 
7
28
Sun
10:00 AM
12:00 PM
NASCAR RaceDay
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
28
Sun
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
NSCS Countdown
Indianapolis
ESPN
 
7
28
Sun
1:00 PM
5:00 PM
NSCS: Crown Royal "Your Hero's Name Here"
400 at the Brickyard
Indianapolis
ESPN
1:20 PM
7
28
Sun
5:00 PM
5:30 PM
NASCAR Victory Lane
Indianapolis
SPEED
 
7
28
Sun
8:30 PM
9:00 PM
NASCAR Victory Lane
Indianapolis
SPEED
 


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