Tuesday June 8, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series was postponed due to rain showers and high humidity that made it just about impossible to dry the track. During the drivers meeting Ben Dodge alluded to the fact that may be changes in the wind at Thompson if the car counts don't improve. There were nine Thompson Modifieds, sixteen Sunoco (SKtype) Modifieds, ten Late Models, seventeen tour type Modifieds, nineteen Limited Sportsman and twenty four Mini-Modifieds. Dodge stated that the speedway is open for suggestions. If one were to read between the lines he may have been hinting that Thompson may go with an abbreviated schedule. Despite low car counts the racing at Thompson in all divisions has been very good. All things considered the crowds haven't been that bad. Once school gets out they will get better!

Before the rains came qualifying heat races were held for all NASCAR All American Series divisions along with the Tour-Type Modifieds. Richard Savary and Mike Stefanik earned an extra $100 for their victories in the 10-lap heat races for the Tour-Type Modifieds. The lack of support by Modified Tour car owners was quite evident as many were committed to leaving for Martinsville on Friday morning.

Next Thursday night, June 10, Jay Sundeen will pick up the lead for the remaining five laps of the TIS Modified main event. The Super Late Models will be added to the program that will also include the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks. The program will wind up with the Tour-Type Modified Shootout.

Qualifying on Thursday will be highlighted two qualifying heats for the Super Late Models and a consolation event for the Tour-Type Modifieds for additional teams who wish to participate.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Martinsville, VA for the the Made In America Whelen 200. This event is scheduled to be shown by the Speed Channel on a taped delayed basis. Day and time are still up in the air at this time.

There were 37 Modifieds on hand. The decision was made to allow all to start the race. The Virginia weather was stifling hot as temps hovered around the 90 degree mark and humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife. Mike Stefanik was the top qualifier. Stefanik toured the half mile oval in 19.053 seconds. Second fastest was Todd Szegedy with a 19.128. Third through fifth were Ron Silk, George Brunnhoelzl III and Bobby Santos. The re-draw for starting positions saw Stefanik draw ninth. Frank Flemming, the highest qualifying southern Modified drew the pole starting position. Flemming was seventh fastest. Ted Christopher, who was tenth fastest, drew the outside pole.

Bobby Santos' dream season continued Sunday at Martinsville Speedway as he captured the checkered flag in the Made In America Whelen 200. Santos, driving the Mystic River Marina Mystic Missile, pulled away from the field on a green-white-checkered finish to claim his third win in four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races to start the 2010 season. It was ungodly hot which had an adverse effect on the crowd which numbered less than 1000 spectators. Ticket price was not a factor as they were a modest $25 for adults. Rookie Justin Bonsignore had a career-best second-place finish, followed by Todd Szegedy. Mike Stefanik, the defending race winner, settled for fourth. Stefanik, lined up on the outside of the front row on the final restart but was shuffled back on the final two laps. MadHouse Modified man Burt Myers finished fifth. James Civali, Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat, Richie Pallai Jr. and Wade Cole rounded out the top 10. Thirteen cars finished on the lead lap. There were 18 cautions for 119 laps.

Ron Silk appeared to have a car to challenge Santos. However, he pulled out of the lead under caution on Lap 174 and ran out of gas on pit lane. He finished 15th, six laps down. Ryan Preece finished 16th after a MSD Box went bad. Ted Christopher led twice in the early going only to lose many laps as his crew was forced to fix an oil leak. He finished a distant 18th. Chris Pasteryak, Eddie Flemke Jr and Eric Goodale were eliminated in an accident. Chuck Hossfeld lost a transmission and finished 25th. Jimmy Blewett finished 30th after an accident and Rowan Pennink (I spelled it right) lost an engine and finished 32nd.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes a well deserved two week break before heading to Loudon for their next event on Saturday, June 26.

The Modified Racing Series will next appear at the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday June, 12.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway it was a history making night. Three weeks after Joey Cipriano became the youngest driver to ever win a feature race at Stafford, Tommy Barrett, Jr. lowered that record by winning the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature for his first career win. There were two other first time winners at Stafford as Matt Gallo scored his first career SK Modified® victory in the 40-lap feature, and Josh Wood was a first time career winner in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature. Woody Pitkat continued his white hot start to the 2010 season with his second consecutive and third overall win of the year in the 30-lap Late Model feature, and Kevin Gambacorta nailed down his second win of the year in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature.

The Waterford Speedbowl saw Mark Bakaj earn his first career SK Modified® win, looking impressive in route to victory. Ed Puleo returned to Street Stock victory lane for his second win of the season. Ian Brew won his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race of the year in dominating fashion, while Allen Coates won another A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck race. Anthony Flannery continued his early season mastery of the Legends Cars division, picking up another win.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC had another slam-bang night of racing with a northern flavor. Defending track Modified champion Tim Brown won the first of two 25-lap Modified races as he led all the way to his second victory of the season and his 52nd career win at the North Carolina oval. His night went south in the second 25 lapper as a confrontation with James Civali negated him to a 20th place finish. Brown, running sixth in the second race, was clipped and spun by Civali. He dropped to the rear of the field, in 20th place, and then rode Civali into the fence a few laps later. Civali said he gained 18,000 fans for spinning out Brown at the Madhouse. Brian Loftin was the eventual winner. Chris Fleming finished second with John Smith, third.

MadHouse star Burt Myers who had qualified earlier in the day at Martinsville was able to maintain his points lead as he finished 10th in the first race and fourth in the second race. It was also a tough night for Zach Brewer, who was sidelined in the second race after an opening-lap crash with Ryan Preece, and Jonathan Brown. Junior Miller was never a factor as he finished 12th and 6th.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Donny Lia not only made his return to Riverhead Raceway, but found the way to victory lane in the No. 15 of Wayne Anderson. Anderson is on the mend after suffering a heart attack.

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 and Friday at the same time. Viewing on the Speed Channel starts on Tuesday at 6:00pm with a re-run of Race in 60: NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. At 7:30 Race Hub gives the race news of the day. Race Hub will also be seen at the same time on Wednesday and Thursday. At 10 :00pm another segment of Race in 60, this time a review of last weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 that was run at the Pocono Raceway. On Wednesday at noon Speed has a complete replay of the Pocono Sprint Cup event. At 6:00pm Speed previews the "Dream at Eldora" dirt track event which will be on HBO Pay per View at 7:00pm. Thursdays viewing begins at noon with the NASCAR Nationwide Series Replay of the Federated Auto Parts 300 that was run at the Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN on June 5. At 6:00pm Speed shows last Sunday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East UNOH Performance 200 that was run in conjunction with the Whelen Modified Tour Series event at Martinsville. NASCAR is still negotiating with the Speed Channel to show the Modified event. Friday's viewing begins at 11:00 with NASCAR Live at Michigan. NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at Michigan follows at 11:30. At 1:00 its another half hour of NASCAR Live followed by Mobil 1 The Grid at 1:30. Sprint Cup qualifying at Michigan begins at 3:30. At 5:00pm Speed goes live for the ARCA Racing Series Racing for Wildlife 200 at the Michigan International Speedway. Trackside (NASCAR) at Michigan rounds out the day at 8:00pm. Saturday's viewing begins at 12:30 with Sprint Cup final practice. At 1:30 its the Truck Series pre race show that will lead to the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series VFW 200 at the Michigan Int’l Speedway. At 4:00pm the action moves to ESPN for Nationwide Series qualifying at the Kentucky Speedway. The pre-race show goes at 7:30 which will lead in to the 8:00pm start of the Nationwide Series Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. Sundays action starts at 10:00am with a two hour RACEDAY preview. At noon the action moves to TNT for the pre-race that will lead in to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn MI. 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 just about everything took a downward route. With the exception of Dover Motorsports which showed a no-change the Speedway Stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.48 to 14.10 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.02 to 26.87. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.35 to 4.78 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.73 to 29.14 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.41 to 11.49. The car makers didn't escape. Ford dropped 0.23 to 11.50 while Toyota dropped 1.24 to 71.10. General Motors posted a no change at 0.52. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 1.23 to 23.52 while Home Depot dropped 0.71 to 32.15. The team sponsors also took it on the chin. Dupont dropped 1.76 to 34.41 while Coca-Cola dropped 1.11 to 48.65 and Target Department Stores dropped 1.73 to 52.80. Aarons Rentals dropped 0.25 to 19.73 and Fedex dropped 4.12 to 79.37.

That’s 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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