Tuesday June 28, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour ended it's Spring Break last Sunday when the boys of summer went "up country" to the Monadnock Speedway for the Monadnock 200 at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. The event had originally been scheduled for Saturday but a pending bad forecast pushed the date back a day.

Todd Szegedy showed everyone why he is still someone to watch on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Szegedy, the 2003 tour champion, started from the pole and led every lap to win the Monadnock 200 Sunday for his 15th career tour win and first since August of last year. With his win Szegedy became the fourth different winner in as many races this season on the tour and it was his first top-five finish of the season. Szegedy held off Justin Bosingnore who followed in second while Matt Hirschman was third. Ron Silk was fourth and James Civali completed the top five.Defending race winner ted Christopher finished sixth with Mike Stefanik seventh and Ron Yuhas Jr. eighth. Erick Rudolph and point leader Rowan Pennink completed the top 10.

The race was slowed six times for cautions which kept Szegedy's average speed down to 48.491 mph. All yellows were for spin-outs. Bryon Chew spun on lap 2, Wade Cole on lap 38, Andy Seuss on lap 48, Ed Flemke Jr on lap 85, Doug Coby on lap 106 and Richie Pallai on lap 154. There were 28 cars on hand. Sixteen of the original 28 starters finished on the lead lap. According to reports the event drew a respectable amount of fans.

Defending series champion Bobby Santos had somewhat of a lackluster day. After starting thirteenth, Santos worked his way to ninth by lap 100 only to have his tires give up as he faded to 15th by lap 130 and was lapped by lap 153. Saved by the Lucky Dog provision Santos managed to salvage a 15th for the day.

Pennink used his solid 10th place finish to retain the series points lead by 25 over Ron Silk (644-619. Ted Christopher, Mike Stefanik and Matt Hirschman round out the top 5. Sixth through tenth are Eric Beers, Eric Rudolph, Bobby Santos, Todd Szegedy and Ron Yuhas Jr.

The Stafford Motor Speedway attempted to run the Inaugural Lincoln Tech Modified Racing Series event but to no avail as rains brought the racing action to a halt after 32 laps had been completed. The SK Modifieds were also victims of the wet stuff. Both events will be run on Friday, June 29. Keith Rocco was leading when the event was stopped.

The big story of the night was the fact that Ted Christopher was not allowed to compete in the Modified Racing Series event because the engine in the Joe Brady #00 was deemed illegal. The Hartford Courant reported that Series motor inspector Bob Carrita said car owner Joe Brady tried to "blatantly bend the rules". Evidently "someone" installed material in a cylinder that would give a faulty reading when compression tests were conducted.

Before the rains came Stafford support classes got their features in. Picking up feature wins were Keith Rocco in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Membrino, Jr. in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Shawn Thibeault in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl Defending track and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco returned to Victory Lane, picking up the checkered flag in the night’s SK Modified® feature. Jason Palmer picked up a career first win in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division. The two Street Stock feature races were swept by defending champion Al Stone III. Glenn Colvin won the Mini Stock race. Other winners on the night included Paul Luggelle and Dana Dimatteo in their respective NEMA Lite and Legends Carsfeatures.

Rocco led the SK Modified® field to the green flag in their 35-lap feature looking to end a string of finishes outside the top-five, including two 17th place finishes. Nichole Morgillo, Kyle James, Jeff Pearl and Tyler Chadwick raced to the top-five positions behind Rocco in the opening laps. James was the first to pull out of line, challenging Morgillo’s outside on lap-3. After three laps of pursuit, James moved into the position for good in turn three. Pearl followed suit and was in third when the field completed lap-7. James quickly chased down the lead Rocco briefly gained over the field and looked ready to mount a challenge. Pearl ran alone in third while Rob Janovic Jr. and Chadwick made up the top-five as the race moved past halfway continuing under green flag conditions. The first caution finally slowed the torrid pace on lap-21 when Diego Monahan cut a left front tire and stopped on the track in turn three.

Rocco got a great jump over James on the restart. Pearl filled the gap to James’ inside and the pair spent five-laps battling for the spot before Pearl finally pulled ahead. Rocco was slowly able to stretch his advantage over Pearl as the race wore on. The interruption on lap-21 proved to be the only one in a cleanly competed event. Rocco checked out to the win by several lengths over Pearl at the checkered flag. He wired the field for his fifth win on the year and cut into Pearl’s point lead. James held off Janovic to take third position with Chadwick finishing in fifth.

In the Southland at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Lee Jeffreys and Burt Myers won twin 25 lap Modified features.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Wayne Anderson took the NASCAR Modified feature win.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. NASCAR Now on espn2 airs at 5:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. This weeks race viewing begins on Tuesday at 1:00pm with a re-run of the 1967 Indy 500 on ESPN Classic. A re-run of the 1969 Indy 500 follows at 2:00pm. On Wednesday at noon the Speed Channel re-runs last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 that was held at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. On Thursday, Speed replays last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Bucyrus 200 that was run at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Speed goes live at 2:30pm for Nationwide Series practice at Daytona. Sprint Cup practice follows at 4:00pm. At 6:00pm Versus presents the Lucas Oil Motorsport Hour. Live coverage by Speed continues at 6:30pm from Daytona with 90 minutes of the final Sprint Cup practice session. At 8:00pm Speed presents The Day: On the Fourth of July, 1984, racing's living legend Richard
Petty won his 200th and final NASCAR race. On Friday at noon Speed presents the June 18 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event, the Langley 175, at the Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA. At 4:00pm, Speed goes live with Sprint Cup qualifying from Daytona. Speed Center follows at 6:30pm. At 7:00pm the action shifts to ESPN for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeño 250 at the Daytona Intl. Speedway. Trackside on Speed follows at 11:00pm. Saturday's viewing starts at 10:30am with NASCAR Performance from the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Speed. Trackside at Daytona follows at 11:00am. At 4:30pm NASCAR RaceDay previews the upcoming Sprint Cup event at Daytona. At 6:30pm the action shifts to TNT for a one hour pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona Intl. Speedway. On Sunday, 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 had positive results for the week. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.37 to 13.84 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.24 to 26.83 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.01 to 1.92. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.19 to 5.00 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.23 to 39.15. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.08 to 15.88. Two of the three car makers were up for the week. Leading the way was Toyota which went up 1.78 to 81.29. General Motors went up 0.92 to 29.92 while Ford dropped 0.03 to 13.24. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.55 to 35.08 and Lowes went up 0.42 to 23.25. The big team sponsors were hot and cold. Dupont went up 2.39 to 51.96 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.67 to 67.84. Target Department Stores dropped 0.20 to 46.33 while Aarons Rentals went up 1.00 to 27.00 and Fedex went up 4.88 to 91.87.

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