Tuesday June 26, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night. The event, the first since 2006, drew 24 cars and a packed house of fans. Doug Coby, the Racing Realtor, remained hot as a pistol as he took the win. Coby led 119 laps in the No. 52 Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct Supply Chevrolet to his third victory in five races to start the 2012 season. It is his fifth career victory overall, and first in Whelen Modified Tour events at Waterford.

Justin Bonsignore crossed the line second with Ryan Preece in third. Ron Yuhas Jr. and Donny Lia rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennink, Eric Beers, Keith Rocco, polesitter Ted Christopher and Jon McKennedy.

There were three lead changes among three drivers. Christopher led from the opening green to lap 43. Coby took over on lap 44 and led the rest of the way except for lap 146 when Preece led momentarily.

Thursday night Thunder at Thompson saw racing in heat that was close to the 100 degree mark. Ted Christopher is also close to the 100 feature win mark at the Big T as he scored his 95th career win. Christopher, who won his first victory at the Stafford Motor Speedway in 1986, has 96 SK Modified wins at the Arute family owned oval as well as 33 Modified wins at Waterford. Christopher's win was his second of the year at the northeastern Connecticut oval.

Other feature winners included Tommy OíSullivan in the Late Models, Cam McDermott in the Lite Modifieds and John Lewinski-Loh in the Thompson Modifieds. Jim Banfield in the Super Late Models and Jesse Gleason in the Limited Sportsman scored their first season wins and Chad Baxter was victorious in the Mini Stocks.

In the Sunoco (SK) Modified feature as the green dropped John Catania and Kerry Malone went into turn one double-file with Malone getting the lead coming out of turn two. Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece moved into second and third with Preece all over Christopherís bumper for the second position. Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco made it a five-car bumper-to-bumper train up front.

On lap nine, Christopher shot to the bottom and took over the lead with Preece in tow. Malone squeezed into third, but was quickly passed by Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco. The frontrunners approached lapped traffic at lap 13, but continued in a tight formation without a hiccup. On lap 22, Pitkat broke free of the trio to make a bid on Preece, but lost momentum and turned his focus to Rocco, who threatened his third place position. Pitkat regained himself as Christopher continued to lead Preece less than a car length in front of him. Christopher never faltered and drove straight to the checkered flag. Preece settled for second with Pitkat, third. Rocco and Malone rounded out the top five.

The Stafford Speedway fell victim to rain and high wind that hammered central Connecticut on Friday afternoon. The Valenti Modified Series race that was also scheduled will be rescheduled to Friday, September 14th.

In regular weekly racing at the Waterford Speedbowl Rob Janovic Jr. scored his first win of the season in the track's SK Modified feature, while Greg Moran Jr. picked up a first career victory in the Street Stock division and Sean Caron was back in the winner's circle in the Mini Stock division for the first time since 2010. Bruce Thomas Jr. took the Late Model division race, the only repeat winner.

Janovic was the third leader in the 35-lap Modified feature, taking over from Kyle James following a lap-16 caution flag. Janovic raced the outside lane like a veteran, taking command down the backstretch to lead lap 17 just before the race's halfway point. Over the second half of the race Janovic had to hold off Jeff Pearl on two additional restarts, the final coming on lap 33 to set up a final sprint to the finish. Janovic held and went on to the checkered flag, his first of the year. Pearl, James, Tom Abele Jr. and Diego Monahan rounded out the top-five finishers.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina twin 25 lap Modified features were the order of the night. Tim Brown went pole to pole to win the opening event while John Smith was victorious in the second event.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week in the green. Speedway Motorsports went up 1.01 to 17.50 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 1.25 to 26.06 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.04 to 1.26. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.20 to 3.29 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.88 to 47.77 and tire supplier Goodyera went up 0.44 to 11.46. Two of the three car builders were down for the week. Toyota went up 1.30 to 76.80 while Ford dropped 0.16 to 10.19 and General Motors dropped 1.14 to 20.60. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.15 to 52.02 and Lowes dropped 0.74 to 27.31. The big team sponsors were down for the week with the exception of Coca-Cola which went up 1.25 to 63.39 and Fedex which went up 2.91 to 90.54. Dupont dropped 0.28 to 49.96 while Target Department Stores dropped 0.94 to 57.56, Aarons Rentals dropped 0.25 to 27.31.

Thatís 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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