Tuesday May 25, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series continues on "Spring Break" until this coming Friday when they return to action at the Stafford Motor Speedway .

The Modified Racing Series returned to action Friday night, May 21, at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Rowan Pennink got a well deserved and long over-due win as he overcame a cut tire on lap three and came back to win the 100 lap East-West Showdown at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.

The event was co-sanctioned by the Modified Racing Series, sponsored by the and the Race of Champions DART Asphalt Series.

New Jersey runner Pete Brittain led the first forty-seven-laps before yielding the top spot to Earl Paules, Paules set a torrid pace until lap seventy-six when Pennink claimed the top spot. Pennink went on to score his second Modified Racing Series win. The victory was the third for car owner, Gary Cassela. The race was marred by 15 caution periods including, a crash that saw 2009 Koszela Speed Rookie of the Year, Jacob Dore vault over the second place car, Brittain while battling for the position.
Like Pennink, Sean Bodreau overcame an early race mishap to finish a strong third ahead of Les Hinckley, Rob Goodenough,, Daren Scherer, Norman Wrenn, Mike Holdridge, and Kenny Barry.

The Modified Racing Series now moves on to a holiday double-header weekend at Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, NY May 29th and Thunder Road International Speedbowl, Barre, VT May 30th.

The Stafford Motor Speedway celebrated NASCAR Day with a Whelen Event Night race program consisting of five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. Keith Rocco picked up his second win of 2010 in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Corey Hutchings took down his first victory of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko was a first-time career winner in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera took down his first win of 2010 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Don Wood scored his first victory of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Jeff Paul broke the strangle hold that Keith Rocco had held on victory lane at the Waterford Speedbowl as he claimed his first win of the year in the SK Modifieds®, snapping Keith Rocco’s three race winning streak in the division. Eighteen year old Brian Andronaco was a first time winner in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model event. Josh Galvin became the first repeat winner of the year in the Street Stocks and Louis Bellisle recorded his first Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock win of the season. Anthony Frissora won the visiting Allison Legacy Series tour race.

Todd Ceravolo was the early leader in the SK Modified® 35-lap event. He and second place Joe Perry checked out over the field which battled intensely behind in the opening laps. Rob Janovic Jr. moved low under Diego Monahan for the third spot on lap six, leaving Jeff Pearl to challenge Monahan for fourth. Keith Rocco was advancing through the top ten when trouble in the back half of the field saw Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. and Adam Gada get together to draw the first caution on lap nine.
Ceravolo restarted strong and took over at the point. Janovic moved by Perry for second and Pearl moved by into third. Perry settled into fourth over Rocco, but the five-time winner wasted no time moving outside and past Perry to secure the fourth spot. Rocco challenged the outside of Pearl for third position two circuits later on lap 14 and the two went to battle for several laps. That culminated with the pair making contact between turns three and four as the field worked lap 18. As Rocco jumped under Pearl in turn four, with contact sending both cars towards the infield. The field stacked up behind as Rocco got into the infield and re-entered the track in turn one collecting the cars of Perry, Justin Gaydosh and Tyler Chadwick. Rocco and Pearl both resumed from the rear.

That restart was the event’s final. Janovic challenged outside Ceravolo for the lead when the green flag waved. As Ceravolo fended off Janovic through turn two, the bottom lane opened for Paul to throw his machine under both cars from his third place position. He scooted to the race lead using a heads up move. Tom Abele moved to second and Ron Yuhas Jr. emerged into third as the laps wound down and the green flag racing continued. Kyle James was in fourth and Ceravolo settled into fifth.

In the closing circuits Yuhas pulled out of line and went outside Abele for second, securing the spot with just two laps to go. A hard charging Yuhas reeled in Paul but ran out of time to challenge for the win. Paul picked up his first win of the year over Yuhas in a quickly paced race. Abele was third while James and Ceravolo held on to their top five finishes at the checkered flag.

The Thompson International Speedway began their Thursday night Thunder Series last week before a very healthy crowd and 100 cars in the pit area. Ted Christopher had the crowd on it's feet as he worked over Keith Rocco, finally taking the lead after the former slipped coming off turn four. Rocco, who started eighth, passed Woody Pitkat after a restart on lap 18. Christopher, who started seventh, closed in on Rocco's bumper on lap 20 and began his assault. Back and fourth, up and down, Christopher tried every trick. It appeared that Rocco's tires gave up as he drifted up just enough to give TC the opening he needed. Rocco held on for the runner-up spot. Ronnie Silk finished third and was followed by Woody Pitkat, Rowan Pennink, Tim Sullivan, Bert Marvin, Dave Salzarulo, Glenn Griswold and Ryan Preece.

Derek Ramstrom made it three straight in Super Late Model competition. Tommy O’Sullivan was victorious in Late Models while an ailing Chris “Moose” Douton was tops in the Limited Sportsman division. R.J. Marcotte scored the TIS Modified feature win while it was a career first for Lloyd Anderson in the Mini Stocks.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 50 lapper on Saturday night. MadHouse reality show star Burt Myers, who got his 41st victory in Bowman Gray's featured Modified Division, strengthened his early-season points lead in the standings by leading the event from pole to pole with the exception of one restart. Myers started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from his brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers on the first lap. From that point, there were only two stretches of more than six laps without a caution period, which necessitate a double-file restart. Tim Brown took a short-lived lead in the eighth lap after a restart, zipping past Myers, who said he was a victim of a too-sensitive computer chip that threatened to stall his engine. In true MadHouse fashion Myers recovered with a stiff shot to Brown's rear bumper. That loosened Brown, and Myers shot past to retake the lead by the ninth lap. Zach Brewer finished second, Brian Loftin was third and Alfred Hill finished fourth. Jason Myers rounded out the top five. Defending champion Tim Brown ended up 12th. Junior Miller was seventh.

Line-ups at Bowman-Gray are generally determined by time trials.

Riverhead Raceway Co-Chief Steward Mike Capiello suffered two broken legs and a dislocated shoulder. One broken leg said to be of the "minor" variety, while the other was a compound fracture. This was a result of the Modified of Steve Booker being spun from behind during hot laps, and spinning out of control to the infield, where his car struck Capiello.

Capiello was transported first to Peconic Bay Medical Center, then later transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he was to get surgery on his leg.
Tom Rogers was the Modified winner.

In TV land this weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 6:00pm with Race in 60: NASCAR Sprint Cup wrapup of the recent Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR Race Hub follows at7:00pm. At 8:00pm another segment of Race in 60, this time, the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race that was run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. On Wednesday at noon Speed presents a complete replay of the Sprint Cup All-Star Race at noon. At 7:00pm, the Wednesday edition of NASCAR Race Hub. Thursday's viewing begins at 1:00pm with the May 23 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event that was run at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. At 2:00pm the action shifts to Charlotte for Nationwide Series practice. Sprint Cup practice follows at 3:30pm. At 4:00pm the Versus network has a one hour special covering IndyCar: crashes and conflicts. At 5:00pm the action shifts back to Speed for Nationwide Series final practice. At 6:30pm NASCAR Race Hub breaks the action. Following at 7:00pm will be Sprint Cup qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600. At 9:30 Speed recaps the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction. Fridays viewing begins at 8:30am with Mobil 1 The Grid on Speed. At 11:00am Versus begins its coverage of Indy 500 Carburetion Day. Starting at noon, the Speed Channel will replay previously shown biography's of Bill France, Jr, Junior Johnson, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. At 7:00pm Speed goes Trackside at Charlotte. At 8:00pm the action shifts to the dirt track at Charlotte for a World of Outlaws event. Saturday's action starts at 9:30am with Nationwide Series qualifying at Charlotte. Sprint Cup practice follows at 11:30. The action shifts to ABC at 2:00pm for the pre-race show that will lead in to the NASCAR Nationwide Series Tech-Net Auto Service 300 at Charlotte that will get the green at 2:45pm. Sunday's viewing begins at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. At noon ABC has a one hour pre-race show that will lead in to the 1:00pm start of the IZOD Indycar Series, Indianapolis 500 in Indianapolis, IN. At 3:00pm Speed has a two hour Race Day Preview of the Coca-Cola 600. FOX has a one hour pre-race program that will lead to the start of the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway shortly after 6:00pm. Versus has a Indy 500 post-race show at 4:30pm. Rounding out the day on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm. On Monday, Memorial Day, the Speed Channel will provide live coverage of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series from Lime Rock, CT.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week with negative results. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.71 to 27.48 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.37 to 14.24 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.13 to 1.95. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint showed some life as they went up 0.05 to 4.41 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 2.54 to 28.36 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.92 to 11.33. With the exception of Toyota which went up 0.11 to 75.59, car makers Ford and General Motors were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.45 to 11.26 and GM dropped 0.02 to 0.56. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 2.18 to 33.02 and Lowes dropped 1.87 to 24.20. The major team sponsors were also down for the week. Dupont dropped 1.35 to 36.10 while Coca-Cola dropped 1.32 to 51.60, Target Department Stores dropped 0.82 to 54.35, Aarons Rentals dropped 1.76 to 19.95 and Fedex dropped 2.85 to 83.06.

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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