Tuesday June 12, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Thursday night Thunder was literally Thunder and Lightning as a pop-up storm drenched the speedway late in the afternoon. Once the storm passed it was a beautiful night for racing. The track played host to a first time winner in the Thompson Lite Modifieds, Troy Talman and a crowd pleasing door-to-door battle in the Mini-Stock division which saw Mike Veins winning out over Chad Baxter and Scott Sundeen took the win in the Limited Sportsman. Ryan Preece held off Keith Rocco for the Sunoco Modified win while Mike Scorzelli took the checkers in the Late Models. John Lowinski was the Thompson Modified winner.

Preece took the lead at lap 10 and never looked back despite Rocco’s bumper in his rear view mirror. Kerry Malone took over the lead at the drop of the green flag with Ted Christopher closing in on his bumper. Preece made it a three-way battle when he dove to the bottom of Christopher for second. Christopher shut the door on his challenges, and made his own bid on Malone out front at lap two. Christopher took the lead with Preece in tow relegating Malone to the third position. Preece was all over Christopher as Keith Rocco made his way into contention. On lap seven, Rocco dropped to the bottom and drove by Malone for the third position with Todd Ceravolo following. As the race approached lap 10, Preece got up alongside Christopher in a tight battle that lasted until turn four when Christopher went high. Preece was able to drive to the lead with Rocco taking over second and Christopher recovering for third. Rocco closed in to Preece’s bumper and dove low in turn four of lap 23 in a challenge for the lead. Preece wasn’t about to give it up that easy, however, and closed the door on his challenge. Rocco kept the pressure on and tapped Preece’s bumper through the turns - constantly reminding Preece he was there. Preece was not intimidated, however, and held the lead until the checkers dropped. Christopher ende up third and was followed by Ceravolo, Malone and John Catania. Dennis Perry recorded another fine run as he brought his Butch Perry Mount home in seventh.

More showers ruled the racing world on Friday as the SK Modified 100 ended up being postponed to Friday, June 29. Regular Friday night racing at Stafford saw Harry Wheeler get awarded the SK Light feature win after Bob Charland was placed to the rear for spinning out leader Joey Ferrigno. With six laps remaining the clouds opened up and that was that!

At the Waterford Speedbowl Jeff Pearl beat out Rob Janovic Jr. by less than a car length to win the SK Modified feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. It was the first time in three weeks the Whelen All-American Series was back in action following two straight weeks of rainouts.

Pearl took the lead from Diego Monahan on 1ap 14 of the SK Modified feature. He held off Janovic and Keith Rocco over two restarts before holding off Janovic at the finish. Rocco wound up third. Tyler Chadwick and Kyle Jamesrounded out the top five.

Other feature winners were Waterford's Dillon Moltz in the Late Model race (his third of the year), Salem's Corey Hutchings in the Street Stocks (his second of the year) and Lisbon's Ken Cassidy Jr., who won his eighth Mini Stock feature of 2012.

Lou Cicconi won the 50-lap International Supermodified Association feature, a race that was reschedule after being washed out on May 26.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 25's were the main attraction of the night. Dean Ward and Brent Elliott went pole to pole in their respective events and recorded wins.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, it had been a long time since an "outsider" won a weekly Modified event at the east end oval. Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher changed all that as the finished one-two there on Saturday night. Preece, who has been a regular there this year started on the pole and led every lap. Preece drove a car formerly driven by Bill Park. Christopher has also been a regular at Riverhead driving a car owned by Wayne Anderson.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series visited the Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night. The event drew 29 cars. Louie Mechalides took the lead on the first lap and went on to lead the entire 100 lap distance. Mechalides' only serious challenge came on lap 10 from Les Hinkley who ran side by side with the eventual winner for a short time. Hinkley eventually fade to fourth as Jon McKennedy moved into second. McKennedy had nothing for Mechalides and had to be content with the runner-up spot at the finish. Tommy Barrett finished third with Hinkley fourth and Rowan Pennink, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Joey Jarvis, Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdredge, Norm Wrenn and Rob Goodenough. Todd Szegedy finished eleventh.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series now takes a break until Friday night, June 22 when the Stafford Motor Speedway hosts the division.

This coming Saturday night, June 16 the Exeter Decorating SBM 125 will bring a group of talented drivers from all walks of pavement Modified racing, and with a winners share that could exceed $9,000 the driver entries are coming in from all four Modified touring series and the best Star Speedway regulars as well. With the most recent entries coming in this week from Southern Modified Tour drivers Andy Seuss and 2008 WSMT Champion Brian Loftin, RoC multi-time Champion Matt Hirschman and VMRS two-time Champion Jon McKennedy, the field of 24 Modifieds might just be the best of all-time at the racy quarter-mile track. The newest entries join USAC and NASCAR Champion Bobby Santos, who returns to where his career began, but in his first-ever Modified race at Star. Ryan Preece, Mike Stefanik, Star Champion Josh Cantara, Dwight Jarvis, Les Hinckley, and Modified Tour points leader Doug Coby to name a few, will be vying for close to $40,000
in prize money.

Tickets for this special event are priced at just $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and students, with kids 10 and under admitted free of charge with a paid adult.

The new short track speedway within the confines of the Daytona International Speedway has been pretty much completed. Brett Bodine, who drives the pace car for NASCAR's top divisions recently turned a few hot laps on the new track which will be introduced during 2013 Speedweeks. The 0.4-mile oval is at the exit of the Speedway's Turn 2. The course, which is part Speedway backstretch and part racetrack skid pad area, has a paperclip shape. A temporary barrier will be used to mark the inside of the course. The Battle At The Beach will serve as a preliminary to the Daytona 500 and will showcase two days of short-track racing featuring NASCAR's K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modifieds and Late Models from the Whelen All-American Series. It will be kinder like being a flat Martinsville or a stretched out Bowman Gray Stadium.

In TV land, viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday, at 6:00pm with NASCAR Race Hub. Race Hub will also be shown on Wednesday and Thursday at the same time. NASCAR Now will be on espn2 at 3:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Race viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Wednesday at noon with a replay of last weekend's Sprint Cup race at Pocono. On Thursday at 3:00pm the recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series Las Vegas event will be shown.

Speed goes live on Friday morning at 11:00am with NASCAR Live from the Michigan Speedway. Starting at 11:30am practice for both Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup divisions will take up the entire afternoon. Trackside at Michigan wraps it up at 7:00pm.

Saturday's viewing gets underway at 11:00am with Nationwide Series pole qualifying at Michigan on ESPN2. At 1:00pm the action switches to Speed for Sprint Cup qualifying at Michigan. At 3:30pm the action moves to ABC for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 3:45pm start of the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan.

Sunday's viewing starts at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on ESPN2. Speed Center on Speed follows at 9:30am. At 10:00am a two hour RaceDay on the Speed Channel previews the Michigan Sprint Cup event. At noon the action moves to TNT for the Countdown to Michigan which will lead to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan.

Speed wraps it up on Sunday night with Speed Center 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 ended the week on a positive note Speedway Motorsports went up 1.37 to 17.21 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.88 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 1.28. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.47 to 2.98 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun oil went up 0.78 to 46.75 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.62 to 10.49. The car builders also had a good week. Ford went up 0.54 to 10.66 while General Motors went up 0.04 to 22.05 and Toyota went up 1.70 to 76.51. In the home improvement sector Home Depot leaped 4.39 to 52.35 and Lowes jumped 1.56 to 27.92. The team sponsors were all positive. Dupont went up 1.79 to 49.50 while Coca-Cola went up 1.28 to 61.77, Target Department Stores went up 2.00 to 59.20, Aarons Rentals went up 1.25 to 27.66 and Fedex jumped 2.32 to 87.57.

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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