Tuesday May 9, 2006

By Phil Smith
The Stafford Motor Speedway began their regular Friday night schedule last week. In the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Jeff Baral, took the lead from Kurt Lenahan on lap-4, and from there he held off the charge of Willie Hardie to take the checkered flag. The race went green from lap-5 to 40, and Baral and Hardie slowly pulled away from the field to wage a two-car battle for the win. Ted Christopher finished third, with Eric Berndt and Frank Ruocco rounding out the top-5. In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Woody Pitkat and Ryan Posocco took turns swapping the lead over the final two laps of the race with Pitkat emerging as the winner. A late caution set up a three-lap sprint to the finish. Pitkat was the leader on the initial restart, but as the white flag was displayed to the field, Posocco made a charge into the lead in turns 1+2. Pitkat moved back to the inside of Posocco in turns 3+4, and as they headed towards the checkered flag, the cars touched slightly, which loosened Posocco up enough to give Pitkat enough of a margin to take the checkered flag first. Todd Owen, Jim Peterson, and Wayne Coury, Jr. rounded out the top-5. Other Friday night winners were Duke Place in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Limited Late Models and Stacey Botticello in the DARE Stocks.
At the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night Rob Janovic Jr. beat back a late challenge from Tommy Fox and went on to capture the 35-lap SK-Modified feature, the fourth winner in as many starts. Janovic took over with 28 laps remaining and then survived a couple restarts, the last with eight remaining. Fox took up the challenge following a restart with 18 laps remaining. Ron Yuhas Jr. finished third and was followed by Diego Monahan and John Brouwer Jr. In the Late Model division a bit of road rage handed Jay Stewart a victory. Stuart took command on a lap 13 restart and then romped to victory. The road rage occured when Jay Lozyniak and Mark St. Hilaire, battling for the lead spun, tangled in the front stretch. St Hillaire was so incensed that he deliberately drove his car into that of Lozyniaks. On the green, Stuart got away from Bruce Thomas Jr. and had a seven-car length lead inside of four laps. Thomas got second back from Duane Noll in the final laps. It is expected that track officials will impose a penalty on St. Hillaire. Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval were Dwayne Dorr making it four in a row in the Sportsman division, Jeff Civardi in the Mini Stocks and Chris Bakaj in the Legends.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season last Saturday night. Veteran Chris Young held off 59 year old and last years track champion Bill Park in the 35 lap Modified feature. Great runs by JR Bertuccio as he was passing guys on the outside and also third generation driver Eddie Brunnhoelzl III who finished 6th and also did some outstanding side by side racing.
The Whelen Modified Tour Series is in the middle of a three week break before resuming on Memorial Day weekend at Stafford. After two events Mike Stefanik who won the season opener at the Thompson Speedway and finished fourth in the Spring Sizzler at Stafford leads the point standings with a 30-point edge over Ted Christopher. Christopher had a fourth at Thompson and a sixth at Stafford. Rookie James Civali sits in third spot. Civali had a sixth at Thompson and a seventh at Stafford and is 44 points out of the lead. Doug Coby who won the Sizzler and finished 16th at Thompson after being collected in a wreck, sits in fourth spot. Rounding out the top five is defending series champion Tony Hirschman. A fifth at Thompson and a ninth at Stafford has the former title holder 47 points in arrears. Sixth through tenth are Reggie Ruggiero, Chuck Hossfeld, Donnie Lia,, Eric Beers and Dick Houlihan.
Two of the three Connecticut oval tracks are now operating on a weekly basis. The Stafford Motor Speedway began their regular Friday night series this past week and Waterford continues to run on Saturday nights. The Thompson Speedway will begin their Thursday night Thunder weekly series on June 8.
The Waterford Speedbowl announced last week that they have added a second Whelen Modified Tour Series date to their schedule. In addition to their previously announced date of Saturday, July 22, the shoreline oval will run the Whelen Modifieds on Sunday, September 24 in conjunction with the already scheduled Town Fair Tire Fall Finale. The addition brings the series total events to 17.
Two New York state speedways are in the process of changing hands. Long Island racer John White has purchased the Spencer Speedway in Williamson, NY and the Chemung Speedrome in Chemung, NY. Both speedways will continue with their present racing formats.
In TV land, this week’s viewing begins on Thursday’s at noon with a rerun of last Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series, Circuit City 250 run at Richmond, VA, Following at 2:30pm is the NASCAR Nextel Cup Crown Royal 400 that was run last Saturday night. At 5:30 Racing Across America: NASCAR Grand National AutoZone West Series United Rentals 125, Phoenix, AZ, run on January 26. Friday’s action begins at 2:30 with NASCAR Live from Darlington. NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Dodge Charger 500 follows at 3:30pm. NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the Diamond Hill Plywood 250 at Darlington goes at 5:00pm. Live coverage continues at 6:30 with NASCAR Nextel Cup final practice. At 7:30 its NASCAR Live from Darlington followed by the NASCAR Busch Series Pre-Race Show. At 8:30pm the action switches to FX for the NASCAR Busch Series, Diamond Hill Plywood 250. Trackside from Darlington Raceway on Speed wraps it up at 11:00pm. Speed goes live at noon on Saturday for an hour with NASCAR Live! from Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. At 5:00pm, a 90 minute NASCAR RaceDay program will preview Saturday night’s Dodge Charger 500 from Darlington Raceway. The action switches to FOX at 6:30 for the Darlington pre-race show, which will be followed at 7:00pm with live coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Dodge Charger 500. Sunday is Mother’s Day. On Sunday evening Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain rehashes the week’s racing.
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three-speedway stocks ended the week in the green. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports, which went up 1.37 to 39.45. Dover Downs went up 0.04 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.01 to 49.18. Nextel went up 0.09 to 24.89 while Sun Oil dropped 2.13 to 78.91. Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.02 to 4.72 while DIRT Motorsports remained neutral at 3.99. In the drug sector, Pfizer went up 0.08 to 25.41 while Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.10 to 25.28. The home improvement sector had a good week as Lowes went up 2.27 to 65.32 and Home Depot went up 1.36 to 41.29. The parcel carriers had an outstanding week as Fedex went up 4.18 to 119.31 and UPS went up 2.28 to 83.35.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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