Tuesday June 27, 2006

By Phil Smith

The Thompson Speedway managed to beat out the weather as they put round two of Thursday night Thunder in the history books. Jimmy Blewett put the Eddie Partridge No. 12 at the top of the heap as he took the win in the Sunoco (SK) Modified division. Bert Marvin showed a lot of strength and actually led during the mid portion of the event before he was sidelined with a broken wheel hub. Marvin indicated that the broken hub was a result of Blewett driving into him. Jeff Malave finished second with Tom Cravenho, third. Opening night winner Keith Rocco was taken out after a grinding crash with Ted Christopher. Christopher was driving for John Jensen. Todd Ceravolo also had a good run going until rubbing wheels with Tom Cravenho forced him to have a tire go down in the late stages. Ceravolo ended up 10th. For the second week in a row the defending champ Malave finished second ahead of Cravenho. Woody Pitkat finished fourth over Buddy Charette. Corey Hutchings won a close one over Steve Landry in the Late Models, which went the 50-lap distance. Other winners were Jeff Zuidema in the Pro Stocks, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman, Rick Blanchard in the Mini Stocks and Roger Larsen in the Thompson Modifieds.

The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to rain again last week. Because of an extremely wet spring only four events, including the Spring Sizzler have been run. Eric Berndt, with four top tens including one win sits in the SK Modified point lead. Berndt holds a four-point lead over Woody Pitkat. Although winless Pitkat also has four top tens. Jeff Malave sits in a distant third spot, some 26 points behind Pitkat. Todd Owen and Bo Gunning round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Jeff Baral, Lloyd Agor, Chris Jones, Frank Ruocco and Kenny Horton. Woody Pitkat, with three Late Model victories leads the division. Jim Peterson and Ryan Posocco make up the top three. Bill Davis, with one win, is the Limited Late Model point leader and Shelly Perry is the SK Light point leader.

At the Waterford Speedbowl the rain gods continued their wrath as an all day monsoon all but swamped the Speedbowl grounds. Dennis Gada has gone seven for seven in top 10 finishes so far. Despite the fact that victory lane had eluded him he sits in the lead of the SK Modified point standings. Gada holds a 12 point lead over Chris Pasteryak Veteran Tommy Fox sits in third spot, 10 points behind Pasteryak. Rounding out the top five are the Monahan brothers, Diego and Shawn. Sixth through tenth are Jeffrey Paul, John Brouwer Jr., Rob Janovic, Rob Summers and Jeff Pearl. In the Late Model division, Jay Stuart with two wins holds a 28 point edge over Tim Jordan. Danny Field, with four wins leads David Silvia in the Mini Stock division by 30 points. In the Sportsman division, Dwane Dorr has six wins and holds a commanding 50 point lead over Bill Gertch. Mark Bakaj is the Legends leader.

A couple of holiday weekend specials will put the summer season in motion. Long a fan favorite, the Friday night, June 30 Big Y World Class Markets Night of Destruction will be followed by the traditional mid-season gem, the Saturday night, July 1 Pepsi 300.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads for the Thompson Speedway this Thursday where they will share top billing with NASCARs Busch East Series (formerly Busch North Series). This event will be the only one of its kind with the exception of those at Loudon during Nextel Cup weekends. Twin 100s are scheduled plus the regular Thompson Speedway Thursday Night Thunder venue.

After three events Ted Christopher, with one win, sits in the point standing lead with a 20 point edge over Mike Stefanik. Tony Hirschman Jr. sits in third spot, some seven points behind Stefanik. Donnie Lia and Chuck Hossfeld round out the top five. Sixth through tenth include Doug Coby, Eric Beers, James Civali, Todd Szegedy and Reggie Ruggiero.

Series points leader Ted Christopher will be driving for the 86 Al-Lee Installations team for balance of the 2006 season. Ed Whelan will field 2 cars for the balance of the year. Ted Christopher run all the remaining races. Mike Andrews will drive a limited schedule consisting of the remaining short track races to gain experience at the tour level.

In TV land, this weeks viewing will begin on Wednesday, June 28 at noon on the Speed Channel with RACING ACROSS AMERICA: the June 16th NASCAR Grand National Busch East from the Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford Springs, CT. At 4:00pm its the June 24th USAR Hooters Pro Cup event that was run at Myrtle Beach, SC. Action switches to the Outdoor Channel at 8:00pm for the World of Outlaws from Nebraska. Thursdays viewing begins at 11:30am with the June 24th NASCAR Busch Series, AT&T 250 that was run at Milwaukee, WI. The NASCAR Nextel Cup, Dodge/Save Mart 350, run last Sunday at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA follows at 2:00pm. The Speed Channel goes live from Daytona Beach at 5:00pm with NASCAR Busch Series Practice for Friday nights Winn-Dixie 250. Nextel Cup final practice for the Pepsi 400 follows at 6:00pm. The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 goes live at 7:00pm on Speed. The Speed Channel will also provide live coverage of the Crown Royal IROC Series, which gets the green at 10:00pm. Fridays coverage begins at 11:00am with NASCAR Live from Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Pepsi 400 goes live at 4:30pm. FX picks up the action at 7:30 with the NASCAR Busch Series pre-race show which will be followed by the Winn-Dixie 250 at 8:00pm. Saturdays action begins at 3:00pm with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, OReilly Auto Parts 250 from the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. At 4:00p.m. on NESN its NASCAR New England, weekly racing from Jack Arutes Stafford Motor Speedway. NASCAR New England also airs at 5:00p.m. on Sunday. At 5:00 on the Outdoor Channel its the USAC Midgets from Knoxville, IA. NASCAR RaceDay, which previews the Pepsi 400, goes for 90 minutes beginning at 6:00pm. At 7:30, FOX goes live with the NASCAR Coupe Nextel: Pepsi 400. The Speed Channel picks up the action on Sunday with the ARCA RE/MAX Series Kansas Lottery $200 Grand at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. Speed News Sunday at 7:00 and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 wrap up the days racing. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Speed finishes up the day at 9:00p.m.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene, just about everything with the exception of parcel carriers FEDEX and UPS were down for the week. FEDEX went up 5.40 to 115.04 and UPS went up 1.12 to 80.40. All three-speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. The International Speedway Corporation took the biggest hit as they dropped 0.87 to 46.06. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.58 to 36.53 and Dover Downs dropped 0.05 to 5.80. Nextel was down for the third week in a row as they dropped 0.97 to 19.62. The Sun Oil Company was also down as they dropped 1.33 to 62.67. Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.27 to 4.45 and DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.04 to 3.75. In the drug sector, Pfizer announced that they were closing the production portion of their Groton, CT site and would be putting close to 300 employees on layoff. The announcement didnt help their stock as the drug giant dropped 0.79 to 22.69. Bristol Meyers-Squib, on the other hand, went up 0.33 to 25.51. The home improvement sector was also down. Lowes dropped 1.38 to 60.86 and Home Depot dropped 0.50 to 36.41.

Thatís about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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