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Tuesday June 12, 2007  

By Phil Smith                                                                                                

The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour continues to regroup before returning to action next Thursday, June 21. Among the biggest news items to come out of the tour ranks is that Chuck Hossfeld has been released from his driving duties of the Hillbilly Racing No. 79 that is owned by Roger and Sandra Hill of Westfield, NC. Hossfeld has been the teams driver since the beginning of the 2006 season. Team owner Roger Hill says that a new driver will be in place in time for the upcoming Thompson event. Car owner Gary Teto is spearheading an effort to get NASCAR to revamp their race format for upcoming “Flash Events” at the Twin State Speedway in New Hampshire and at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island . NASCAR came up with the “Flash” format to make events more affordable for speedways and competitors. The format was tried at the recent Whelen Tour event at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey . The result was thousands of dollars worth of damage to the series’ cars. Teto proposes that NASCAR use Don Hoenig’s suggestion of running a single consolation to fill out the fields after the top 20 has qualified by time. Hopefully NASCAR will give it a try.

Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway continues to be a top draw of both competitors and fans as 142 cars and a real good crowd were on hand. Kerry Malone, who has designs on the NASCAR Weekly Title made a statement with his strong win in the Sunoco Modified division. Larry Barnett continues to be the benchmark in the Limited Sportsman division with his win in the 50-lap main event. In full-fendered action Rick Gentes scored the Late Model victory while Mike O’Sullivan came home victorious in the Pro Stock division. Roger Larson, Jr. was tops in the TIS Modifieds while Brad Caddick scored the Mini Stock victory win. Craftsman Tools sponsored the night’s activities.

Malone made great strides the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Standings with a Sunoco Modified feature win. Steve Massey started on the front and led a talent laden-pack that went 30-strong. The first caution flew early when a chain reaction incident caused damage to Jimmy Blewett and Todd Ceravolo. Under the caution, Keith Rocco headed down pit road with a flat tire. By lap four of green flag racing, Malone was already in the second position. After a quick restart, Malone shot into the lead. Ronnie Silk spun in turn two collecting a number of cars. There was heavy damage to the cars of Butch Perry and Bill Boudreau. Paul Supernant, Josh Steeves, Brian Tagg, and Rocco were also involved. Another quick caution flew when Supernant made heavy contact with the outside wall. Once back under green, the action inside the top five heated up quickly with Malone holding on to the lead over Massey, Bert Marvin and Woody Pitkat. An incident at mid-pack involving a number of cars brought out another caution. With the green flag waving, Malone retained the top spot. A hard-charging Marvin stole second. Massey held tough in third. Marvin got along-side Malone exiting turn two on lap 12. The two ran wheel-to-wheel for much of the lap before Marvin settled back into second. Massey began to back slide moving Pitkat into third. John Blewett and Buddy Charette completed the top five. After halfway, the top three began to break away from the pack. Malone held the top spot with Marvin continuing to take chase and Pitkat solidly in third. The race began to heat up for the fourth spot with Charette working over Jo. Blewett. The action cooled when the caution flew on lap 24 for a spin by Butch Perry.On the start, John Blewett was the first to make a move getting by Pitkat for the third spot. Despite all the hardships of the early going, Rocco had worked his way into the top-five. The top-five went nose to tail with a single lap remaining. Malone held on for well-deserved victory. Marvin continued his streak of top finishes coming home second. Jimmy Blewett, Pitkat and Rocco rounded out the top five.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Frank Ruocco won the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Scott Foster, Jr. 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Gallo, the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Durand the Limited Late Model feature, and Norm Sears the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. In the words of many of those on hand the SK Modified feature was more of a rolling demolition derby rather than a race. Frank Ruocco survived the carnage to become the first SK Modified repeat feature winner of the 2007 season. Ruocco survived a flurry of cautions and took over the lead when leader Zach Sylvester spun on a restart and second place runner Ted Christopher came to the pits with nerf bar damage. Ruocco had to outduel Eric Berndt over the final laps, and he beat Berndt to the checkered flag by a nose to take the victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Ruocco and Berndt was Bo Gunning, Brad Hietala, and Mark Anderson.

NASCAR’s Busch East Series made a stop at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday. Former Busch North series regular Eddie MacDonald made his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series start of the season and came away with his first victory since 2005. MacDonald led the final 81 laps. His win also earned him a secured starting spot in the postseason Toyota All-Star Challenge. Defending Busch East champion Mike Olsen passed Matt Kobyluck with three laps to go take second, while Marc Davis and Bryon Chew were fourth and fifth respectively.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman ruled as heavy rain pounded the shoreline oval throughout the day.

In TV land this week and for the remainder of the season NASCAR Now on ESPN2 will be in the 6:30pm time slot seven days a week. This weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 9:00am with Back in the Day featuring David Pearson winning the 1974 Rebel 500 at Darlington . At noon Speed reruns last Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Federated Auto Parts 300 that was run at the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon , TN. At 4:00pm it’s the World of Outlaws Sprints from The Dirt Track at Lowes Motor Speedway. On Wednesday, June 13 at 4:00pm it’s the USAR Hooters Pro Cup from the Peach State Speedway in Jefferson , GA. Speed reruns last Sunday’s Nextel Cup Pocono 500 at 3:00pm . Speed goes live on Friday at 11:30am with Nextel Cup practice for the Citizens Bank 400 which will be run at the Michigan Intl. Speedway, Brooklyn , MI on Sunday. Live coverage of qualifying will begin at 3:30pm . Live coverage from Michigan continues at 5:00pm with the ARCA RE/MAX Series 200. At the same time ESPN2 has live coverage of NASCAR Busch Series practice from the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta . On Saturday at 3:00pm the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series gets the green on the Speed Channel at 3:00pm for the Michigan 200. At 4:00pm it’s NASCAR New England on NESN. NASCAR New England will present features and highlights from the Stafford Springs Motorspeedway The action moves to ESPN2 at 5:00 for NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the Mejer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway. At 7:00pm Speed presents final practice for Sunday’s Nextel Cup event. At 8:30pm the NASCAR Busch Series Mejer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway gets the green on ESPN2. Sunday’s viewing gets underway at 10:00am on ESPN2 with NASCAR Now. ESPN2 shows the World of Outlaws from Knoxville , IA at 11:00am . The action switches to TNT at 2:00pm for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Citizens Bank 400 at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. Wrapping up the weekend on the Speed Channel is NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00 .

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had a positive ending while the other suffered a loss. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.31 to 53.17 and Dover Downs went up 0.26 to 5.91. On the nrgative side was Speedway Motorsports which dropped 1.03 to 39.78. Nextel dropped 0.83 to 22.04 while the Sun Oil Company dropped 1.49 to 79.62. Goodyear dropped 1.00 to 35.13 while DIRT Motorsports went up 0.05 to 1.65. The news was all negative in the drug sector. Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 1.21 to 29.27 while Pfizer dropped 1.16 to 26.52. The home improvement sector was also down as Home Depot dropped 1.26 to 37.95 and Lowes dropped 0.61 to 32.05. The parcel carriers took the big hit of the week as Fedex dropped 1.89 to 109.40 and UPS dropped 5.04 to 72.32.


That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail 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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