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Tuesday June 15, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series was cancelled because of rain and tornado warnings in the northeastern Connecticut area.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was idle last week as teams make preparations for the first of two trips to Loudon, NH. Bobby Santos who has won an a record setting three out of four races leads Mike Stefanik by 89 points. Although winless so far, Stefanik has been the model of consistency with four top fives. Todd Szegedy sits third, six points behind Stefanik. Ted Christopher the only other winner on the tour so far is 49 points out of third spot and 95 points in arrears of Santos. Rounding out the top five is Ryan Preece. Rookie Justin Bonsignore along with Jimmy Blewett, rookie Richie Pallai, Jr., Erick Rudolph and Ron Silk make up the top ten. Forty six different drivers have entered into tour competition so far.

The Modified Racing Series was scheduled to appear at the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday June, 12. Rain forced cancellation with no rain date stated as yet. The Modified Racing Series moves to Thompson Speedway this coming Thursday.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway the 37th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100 was on tap. Keith Rocco defended his 100-lap victory from one year ago and scored his fourth win of the 2010 season, Ryan Posocco picked up his first win of the 2010 season and the 40th win of his Late Model career at Stafford in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Frank Cardile scored his second victory of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery scored his third win of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cory Casagrande picked up his second win of 2010 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In the 37th Annual Coors Light 100-lap SK Modified® feature event, Brit Andersen took the early race lead, but the caution came out with one lap complete for a multi-car incident in turn 3 involving Jeff Baral, Frank Ruocco, and Matt Gallo. Andersen led the race until lap-4 when Josh Sylvester went to the front. The caution came back out with 4 laps on the board as Todd Owen spun in turn 2 and collected several cars including Woody Pitkat, John Montesanto, and Brad Hietala. Pitkat was able to come to pit road and change a flat tire while Montesanto and Hietala were not so lucky.

Chris Jones took the lead from Sylvester back under green. Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco were fourth and fifth on the restart and they quickly moved into second and third. Jones held the lead until lap-16 when Christopher and Rocco both got by Jones. Once Christopher and Rocco were out front, they began a duel for the lead like they staged in last year's Coors Light SK Modified® 100. From lap-16 to lap-68, they swapped the lead a total of 15 times, with the lead changing hands on an almost seemingly lap-by-lap basis.

Once Rocco went out front on lap-68, he began to stretch out his advantage over Christopher and he appeared headed to certain victory until the yellow flag flew one final time with 97 laps complete as Raymond Grassetti made heavy contact with the turn 2 wall. Rocco took the lead on the restart and Woody Pitkat moved to the inside of Christopher for second. The side by side action between Pitkat and Christopher gave Rocco an advantage that he would not relinquish over the final three laps as he won his second consecutive Coors Light SK Modified® 100 and his fourth win of the 2010 season. Pitkat finished second with Christopher, Eric Berndt, and Ryan Preece rounding out the top-5 behind him.

The Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC avoided the rain that played havoc in the northeast. Lee Jeffreys started the first of twin 25's race in second place behind pole-sitter Terry Gaither, but quickly took the lead to pick up his second win of the season and 16th of his career. Jeffreys survived two late cautions and a hard-charging Gaither, and then drew No. 10 for the inverted-start second race. He was able to battle his way to the runner-up spot but couldn't muster a charge to pass leader and eventual winner Jonathan Brown. Burt Myers qualified 19th out of 20 cars in the first race and finished 14th. Myers finished fourth in the second 25 lapper.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island it remained dry as four-time Modified champion Bill Park out dueled three-time and defending Modified champion John Fortin for the Modified feature win.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins on Tuesday at 5:00pm with NASCAR Now on espn2. NASCAR Now will also be seen on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the same time. NASCAR Race Hub on the Speed Channel airs at 7:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Race programming on Speed starts on Tuesday at 5:00pm with a rerun of Race in 60: NASCAR Sprint Cup, Showtime Southern 500 that was run at Darlington. At 10:00pm Race in 60 reviews the June 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup, Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. On Wednesday at noon Speed has a complete re-run of the Michigan Sprint Cup event. At 6:00pm Race in 60 reviews the recent NASCAR Sprint Cup, Autism Speaks 400 that was run at Dover. At noon on Thursday Speed replays last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 that was run at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. At 3:00pm Speed replays last years Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 that was run at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. At 6:00pm Speed showcases the June 5 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event that was run at the Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, OR. Friday's action begins at 2:00pm when Speed goes live at the , Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. A ninety minute session of Sprint Cup practice from Sonoma begins at 3:00pm. NASCAR Live sums it up at 4:30pm. At 6:30 the Sprint Cup cars qualify for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma. Trackside (NASCAR) at Infineon wraps it up at 8:30. Saturdays action gets the green at 11:30am with NASCAR Live. A 2-1/2 hour Sprint Cup practice session follows at 12:30. At 3:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for the pre-race show that will lead in to the 3:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Road America 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Sunday's viewing begins at noon with a two hour session of NASCAR RaceDay on Speed. At 1:30 the Versus network will begin their coverage of the IZOD Indycar Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. At 2:00pm TNT goes live with their pre-race show that will lead to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Rounding out the day on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation was the only positive ender as they went up 0.54 to 27.41. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.23 to 13.87 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 1.90. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.09 to 4.87 while fuel supplier Sun Oil jumped 1.57 to 30.71 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.10 to 11.59. The car makers were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.10 to 11.90 while General Motors dropped 0.03 to 0.49 and Toyota dropped 0.29 to 70.81. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.07 to 32.22 while Lowes dropped 0.04 to 23.48. With the exception of Aaron's Rentals which went down 0.29 to 19.44, the team sponsors had a fairly good week. Dupont jumped 3.20 to 37.61 while Target went up 0.91 to 53.71, Coca-Cola went up 1.67 to 50.32 and Fedex went up 1.26 to 80.63.

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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