Tuesday June 14, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour continues on Spring Break for another two weeks before returning to action with the Monadnock 200 on June 25 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

Last weekend started off on a wet note as Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway fell victim to heavy rain and high winds. Its too bad that the weather front didn't arrive earlier as competitors and fans were already on hand when the plug was pulled on the night's racing. The fields of both Sunoco (SK) Modifieds was up two to 11 but there is still a long way to go to get a full field. The Valenti Modified Racing Series will highlight the competition this coming Thursday night at the Thompson International Speedway. This impressive touring series boasts a roster of Modified drivers that includes many of the very best drivers in the entire northeast. Thursday night’s appearance will be the first of two scheduled races for the VMRS at Thompson this year. Their feature will be 75 laps.

The VMRS was scheduled for an event at the Seekonk Speedway last Saturday but because of foul weather in the forecast the event was cancelled.

The Stafford Motor Speedway was the scene of the 38th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100. Ryan Preece took home the $2,600 winner's check by taking the checkered flag in the 100 lap contest, Dillon Moltz captured his second feature victory of the season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. took down his third win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Kevin Gambacorta picked up his first win of 2011 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood was a winner for the second consecutive week in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Preece went under Woody Pitkat in turn 4 on lap-32 to take race lead. Frank Ruocco was able to complete the pass on Pitkat on lap-99, but no one had anything for Preece as he took the checkered flag. Ruocco nipped Pitkat at the line for second, with Ted Christopher and Curt Brainard rounding out the top-5. Among those missing from the starting grid was NASCAR Champion Keith Rocco who suffered a dislocated shoulder in a needless wreck in a heat race. Rocco was trailing Adam Skowyra when Skowyra triggered a wreck that collected the defending national champion. The Hartford Courant reported that Skowyra was given the black (pit for consultation) flag numerous times, which he ignored. Instead of stopping scoring of the car why didn't officials just throw the caution and remove the driver from the track. The Stafford officials are just as responsible for Rocco's injuries as are Skowyra's lack of taking heed after receiving the black flag. Back in the early 1970's NASCAR Competition Director was involved in a similar situation. Cook's car was leaking fluids in the late stages of an event. He was given the black flag numerous times which he ignored. He later stated that he was unable to tell who the flag was directed at. The late Jack Arute stated that this type of situation at his track would never happen again as he purchased and had installed a lighted sign in turn one where the black flagged car's number would be displayed in big numbers so there would be no second guessing as to who the flag was directed at. Arute called the sign "The Jerry Cook Light".

In an unrelated matter, the SK Modified division was born at the Stafford Motor Speedway in 1982, twenty nine years ago. Why was this event called the 38th Annual Coors Light SK Modified® 100??

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl rain prevailed at the shoreline oval plus the precipitation bought some much needed healing time for Keith Rocco. Next Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen-All American Series racing program is highlighted by a pair of 35-lap SK Modified® features, which includes the make-up of the postponed May 28th SK Modified® feature. In addition, the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, SK Light Modifieds and New England Truck Series will all be in action at the shoreline oval.

In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, rain prevailed.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it rained there too.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday plus on Thursday. NASCAR Now on espn2 airs at 7:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday plus at 7:00pm on Friday. This weeks race viewing begins on Tuesday at 3:00pm when the Speed Channel presents the NASCAR Hall of Fame preview of the announcement of the 2012 inductees. The actual announcement starts at 4:00pm. At 8:00pm Speed has a special titled Seat Swap: Hamilton vs. Stewart. F1 driver Lewis Hamiton swaps cars with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart for laps at the Watkins Glen International circuit. Wednesday's viewing on Speed begins at noon with a NASCAR Sprint Cup replay of last weeks Pocono 500 that was held at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. On Thursday at 4:00am Speed replays the recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East that was held at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. At noon, Speed replays last years NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 that was held at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. At 3:00pm Speed replays last years NASCAR Sprint Cup Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 that was held at the Michigan International Speedway. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Slack Auto Parts 150 that was held at the Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA on June 11 follows at 6:00pm. Also at 6:00pm is the Lucas Oil Motorsport Hour on Versus. Friday's viewing gets the green at 11:00am with NASCAR Live at Michigan Intl. Speedway on Speed. NASCAR Nationwide Series practice from Michigan follows at 11:30am. At 12:30 the Sprint Cup cars begin a 90 minute practice session. Final practice for the Nationwide Series follows at 2:00pm and final practice for the Sprint Cup cars follow at 3:30pm. At 5:00pm on Speed the ARCA Racing Series Raineater Wiper Blades 200 gets the green at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. Trackside at 7:00pm on Speed and Speed Center on Speed at 8:00pm wrap up the days racing. Saturday's viewing begins at 11:00am on espn2 with Nationwide Series qualifying. The action switches to Speed at 12:30 for NASCAR Live followed by Sprint Cup qualifying from Michigan. At 3:00pm the action switches to ABC for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to a 3:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. Speed wraps up the day with Speed Center at 7:00pm. Viewing on Sunday gets the green at 8:30am with NASCAR Performance from the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Speed. At 9:00am the action switches to espn2 for NASCAR Now. At 10:00am Speed begins a two hour RaceDay preview of the Sprint Cup event to be run at Michigan. At noon, the action moves to TNT for the NASCAR Sprint Cup COUNTDOWN which will lead to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at the Michigan Intl. Speedway. Also on Sunday, ABC will provide live coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series The Milwaukee 225 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, WI. Speed Center at 7:00pm and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm sum up the day's racing. At 9:00pm Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain closes out the weekend.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks were down for the week. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation which dropped 0.69 to 27.27. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.60 to 13.25 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 1.94. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.45 to 5.22 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.49 to 40.37. Tire supplier Goodyear was also down as they dropped 1.52 to 14.99. With the exception of Toyota which went up 0.16 to 80.67, the car makers were down. Ford dropped 0.66 to 14.35 and General Motors dropped 0.27 to 28.85. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.16 to 33.47 and Lowes dropped 1.14 to 22.26. The big team sponsors were also down for the week. Dupont dropped 0.51 to 49.78 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.45 to 67.24, Target Department Stores dropped 0.70 to 46.70, Aarons Rentals dropped 2.26 to 25.34 and Fedex dropped 4.77 to 85.38.

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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