Tuesday June 21, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour continues on Spring Break until this coming Saturday, June 25 when the boys of summer go "up country" to the Monadnock Speedway for the Monadnock 200 at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. Leading the charge is point leader Rowan Pennink, who, after three events, holds a 51 point edge over Ron Silk. Ted Christopher sits in third spot, 59 points out of the lead. Eric Beers and Mike Stefanik round out the top five. Defending series champion Bobby Santos is sixth, 86 points out. Matt Hirschman, Erick Rudolph, Doug Coby and Ryan Preece round out the top ten. Preece has stated that he will not be able to continue following the tour because of the lack of financing.

Sometimes bigger is better but in the case of the Sunoco Modifieds at Thompson last Thursday night smaller was the way to go. The Sunoco (SK) Modified field increased to 13 which included Woody Pitkat who took over the ride vacated by Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco who is among the walking wounded. Pitkat and Rocco provided some of the best racing and cleanest competition seen at the northeast oval in quite a while. Pitkat prevailed in the end. On lap 15 of the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature Rocco took the lead from Danny Cates with Pitkat in tow. From then on, the pair sliced and diced, trading the lead numerous times. Pitkat took the lead for the final time in turn two on lap 27. Rocco, who was wearing an arm brace and in obvious discomfort before the start of the race, settled for the runner-up spot. Cates crossed the finish line in third spot but was later disqualified when officials determined that his car had illegal mufflers. Rick Fuller was elevated to the third finishing position. Todd Ceravolo and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series made their first of two visits to Thompson. The 26-car field was a strong one. Mike Stefanik ended a long absence from victory lane as he led the 75 lap VMRS event from pole to pole. Stefanik, who had concerns for the condition of his right rear tire ran just fast enough to keep the field at bay. Series point leader Rowan Pennink moved into the second spot with 10 laps to go was never a factor as the former Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion just stepped it up a bit. Pennink finished second with Chris Pasteryak, third. Steve Masse and Les Hinckley rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jon McKennedy, Eric Goodale, Richard Savary, Rob Goodenough and Mike Holdrige.

In other action at Thompson on Thursday, Danny Field made it five for five as he continues to dominate the Mini-Stock division. Derek Ramstrom scored a commanding win in the Super Late Model main event while Tommy O’Sullivan ran to his first victory of the 2011 season in the Late Models. Shawn Monahan scored his second-straight Limited Sportsman feature event victory and R.J. Marcotte wired the field to score the victory in the TIS Modifieds. The entire race program was over at 9:55pm.

This coming Thursday, June 23rd, will mark the second try for the Super Late Models’ 40-lap extra distance race. This special event was rained out on June 9th and has been rescheduled for this week. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its second stop of the year at the Thompson International Speedway a week from this coming Thursday, June 30th for the BUDWEISER 150.

The Stafford Motor Speedway has decided not to suspend Adam Skowyra for his failure to heed both the black flag and the black flag with white cross in his heat race. Skowyra is responsible for triggering a wreck that caused defending National Champion Keith Rocco to suffer a dislocated shoulder. Skowyra was placed on probation for the next two events in which he participates and has been removed from the handicap system and must start in the rear of the next two events. He got off easy!

Stafford pulled the plug on Friday night's racing shortly after lunch due to the fact that heavy rain was eminent in the central Connecticut area.

The Modified Racing Series will make its second ever visit to Stafford Speedway this coming Friday, June 24th for the Lincoln Tech MRS 80 and leading the way will be Rowan Pennink. The former Stafford SK Modified® Rookie of the Year is the current Modified Racing Series points leader.

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl double features for the SK Modifieds were the orders for the day. Glenn Pressel III took down his first career win in the held over 35-lap SK Modified® race, while veteran Jeff Pearl picked up his 36th career win in the regularly scheduled feature. In Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model action, multi-time division champion Bruce Thomas Jr. returned to the winner’s circle. Chris Meyer won a highly entertaining and competitive Street Stock feature, Chris Williams won his second Mini Stock feature on the year and Joe Cipriano was the SK Light Modified race winner. Jonathon Avery was the winner in the New England Truck Series feature.

There were 25 SK Modifieds on hand including Ted Christopher. Christopher finished fourth in the left over event and 23rd in the nite cap. Defending National Champion Keith Rocco had a rough night as he crashed out of the left over event, finishing 17th and recorded a sixth in the regular scheduled event.

In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Dean Ward took the win in a 100 lapper. Joseph "Bobo" Brown finished second. Brian Loftin was third. Burt Myers recovered from an early spin that dropped him to the rear and finished fourth.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Justin Bonsignore took the NASCAR Modified win.

NASCAR announced the 2012 class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person class, which will be officially inducted in a ceremony during the weekend of Jan. 20, 2012 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., consists of: Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood.

Members of the 55-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2012. The announcement was made by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”

The undisputed “king” of Modified racing, Evans captured nine NASCAR Modified titles in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1978-85. In the first year of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour format in 1985, Evans won 12 races, including a sweep of all four events at Thompson, Conn. Evans ranked No. 1 in the 2003 voting of the NASCAR All-Time Modified Top 10 Drivers, and he was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998.

Evans also won Modified track championships at 11 tracks in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey. He won four championships at Thompson, two at Stafford Motor Speedway and one at the Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass.

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 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This weeks race viewing begins on Wednesday at noon when the Speed Channel replays last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 that was run at the Michigan Intl. Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. On Thursday at noon Speed replays last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250 that was run at Michigan Intl. At 3:00pm Speed replays last year's Sprint Cup event that was held at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. At 6:00pm Speed presents the June 11 NASCAR K&N Pro Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 200 that was held at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Friday's viewing starts at noon with Seat Swap: F1's Hamilton vs. NASCAR’s Stewart at Watkins Glen International. At 2:00pm Speed has Inside the Headsets: An intense, thirty-minute recap of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup All Star race. Speed goes live at 3:00pm with Sprint Cup practice from Sonoma, CA. NASCAR Live follows at 4:30pm. At 5:00pm the Speed Channel begins a five hour session that covers the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Costa Mesa, CA. At 6:00pm the Versus Network provides coverage of IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. At 11:00pm Speed will provide taped delayed coverage of Sprint Cup qualifying from Sonoma, CA. Saturday's viewing begins at 11:00am with Trackside on Speed. From 2:30 to 5:00pm Speed covers practice at Sonoma. At 5:00pm Speed begins another six hour session of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in Costa Mesa, CA. Also at 5:00pm ESPN begins their pre-race show that leads to the 5:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bucyrus 200 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. At 8:00pm Versus provides live coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. Rounding out the day is Speed Center on Speed at 11:00pm. Sunday's viewing begins at 11:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. The action switches to Speed at noon with two hours of RaceDay preview of the Sonoma Sprint Car event. At 2:00pm the action shifts to TNT for another hour of pre-race that will lead to the 3:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. If you get bored, there is another session of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction on the Speed Channel beginning at 3:00pm. 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 two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports was the only one in the green as they closed out the week at 13.47, up 0.22. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.68 to 26.59 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.01 to 1.93. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.03 to 5.19 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.45 to 38.92 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.19 to 14.80. Two of the three car makers were down for the week. General Motors kept their head above water as they closed at 29.00, up 0.15 for the week. Ford dropped 0.58 to 12.77 while Toyota dropped 1.16 to 79.51. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.06 to 34.53 while Lowes went up 0.57 to 22.83. The major team sponsors had mixed results. Coca-Cola went up 1.27 to 68.51 while Aarons Rentals went up 0.66 to 26.00 and Fedex went up 1.61 to 86.99. On the negative side, Dupont dropped 0.21 to 49.57 and Target Department Stores dropped 0.17 to 46.53.

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.

Web Design Copyright © 2009 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in Phil Smith's "Champ Trail" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility and opinions of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of"Champ Trail" contact Phil Smith @
The "Champ Trail" is Copyright © 2006-2009 Phil Smith