Tuesday May 31, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ventured to the Stafford for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Ron Silk ended a long dry spell as he returned to Victory Lane for the first time in a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event since 2009 and he did it in dominating fashion as he went pole to pole. Driving for Eddie Partridge, Silk led all 125 laps to collect his fifth career win in his 25th start at Stafford. Once the race began, he was rarely challenged, and at one point had nearly two seconds on the field. Points leader Rowan Pennink followed in second with defending Whelen Modified Tour Champion Bobby Santos third. Ted Christopher and Erick Rudolph completed the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Doug Coby, James Civali and Matt Hirschman.

The race was slowed just three times by caution with the red flag displayed during the second yellow on Lap 53 to clean up a multi-car incident after Kevin Goodale hit the front stretch wall. There were 31 cars on hand. Seventeen of them were on the lead lap at the finish.

The Whelen Modified Tour goes back on Spring Break for another four weeks before returning to action with the Monadnock 200 on June 25 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H.

The Thompson Speedway celebrated its 71st Anniversary last week. Ryan Preece scored his first career Sunoco Modified victory. Chris “Moose” Douton took a borrowed ride to victory lane in the extra-distance Limited Sportsman event. Larry Gelinas posted his first victory of the season in Super Late Model action. John Materas continued his early season success with his second win of the year in the Late Models. Cam McDermott earned his first win of the year in the TIS Modifieds. Danny Field notched his third win on the season in the Mini Stocks. On the 71st anniversary of its first race, Thompson International Speedway hosted 95 race cars in the 6 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions.

Ryan Preece led pole to pole to score his first victory of the season in the caution-free 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature. Danny Cates and Ryan Preece were on the front row for the green flag, Preece controlled the event from when he took the lead off turn 2 and was never headed. Keith Rocco tried to advance on the low line past Todd Ceravolo but was kept at bay. Ted Christopher, whose car was repaired after a broken tie rod in the heat race, was up to fifth by lap 12. At the halfway juncture, Ryan Preece was still in command with Danny Cates in second. Ceravolo, Rocco and Christopher rounded out the top-5. Preece’s advantage over the field was some seven car lengths in his favor. On lap 18, Rocco found his opportunity to overtake Ceravolo. Ceravolo would have no part in it and used a crossover move to go back by Rocco on the next circuit. Ted Christopher was now in the mix as he got under Rocco to gain the fourth position. Christopher continued his advance past Ceravolo on lap 21 off of turn 4. With 7 circuits to go, Preece led the remainder of the event to score the win. Danny Cates was second, followed by Christopher, Ceravolo and Rocco.

Although the bottom line looks good as far as the car counts go the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds drew a scant 11 cars and the Super Late Models only totaled 7. It shall interesting to see how many open competition tour type Modifieds show up for this week's special 40 lapper.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted a 5-division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series along with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event as part of the 21st Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 on Friday, May 27th. Keith Rocco scored his second victory of the season one week after destroying his car in a heat race accident in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat picked up his first win of the 2011 season after starting shotgun on the field in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko picked up his second feature win of the season in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr. picked up his third win of the 2011 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Cliff Saunders picked up his first win of 2011 in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Pitkat had won two previous Late Model events but had them taken away because of technical issues.

In action at the Waterford Speedbowl, three of five scheduled events got in the record book before heavy fog rolled in, forcing the end of the ISMA Supermodified race three laps shy of its scheduled distance, and the postponement of the remaining two feature events. In racing action, Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley, RI picked up the victory in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, his first on the season. Defending Mini Stock champion Ken Cassidy raced to his 27th career division win, his second victory on the year. In ISMA Supermodified action Russ Wood of Pelham, NH was the winner in a crash marred race, shortened to 47 laps. The final three laps were halted after the fog was too thick to continue.

In the Southland, Saturday was a historic event for Burt Myers at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. He claimed his 46th win, tying him for sixth on the all-time featured event list. It was also a memorable night for Joseph “Bobo” Brown, who became the 119th driver on that list of featured event winners. Brown took the checkered in the second race for the GMAC Insurance Modified Series, his first Modified win ever at Bowman Gray. Burt Myers qualified on the pole for the first 25-lapper for the Modifieds. Right beside of him on the outside front row was Jonathan Brown. As the green flag fell, Brown pushed hard on the outside, riding side-by-side with Myers for several laps. Myers claimed victory in the first race. Brown finished second, and Brian Loftin.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts “Madhouse Scramble” sent Joseph Brown, the brother of Jonathan Brown, to the pole for the start of the race. Joseph “Bobo” Brown had to fight to hold his position in the initial start, but he emerged victorious 25 laps later, his first Modified win ever. Myers finished a distant 12th.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Tim Solomito made it two in a row in Modified competition.

In Modified Racing Series action Rowan Pennink survived six caution periods and three red flags to win the 100-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series event, Saturday night, at the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, NH. The victory was Pennink’s third with the VMRS and his first of the 2011 season.

Chris Pasteryakand Jon McKennedy brought the field to green with McKennedy jumping into the lead until Pasteryak took over the top spot on lap four. Pasteryak then set the pace before turning over the lead to Pennink on lap 39. Pennink led the remaining 60 laps to secure the win. Todd Patnode ended up second with Chris Pasteryak third, Dwight Jarvis, fourth, and Ken Barry, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Rob Goodenough, Les Hinckley, Aaron Fellows, Joe Doucette, and Kirk Alexander.

The race program was marred by several crashes with many competitors receiving heavy damage. Sean Bodreau, flipped end-over-end in the first qualifying race forcing the second generation driver out of the event. Bodreau was not injured. There were 27 cars on hand.

In addition to leading the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series point standings Pennink now leads the Valenti Modified Racing Series point standings.

The next event will be in two weeks at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA.

Get well wishes to longtime motorsports writer Al Robinson, who is recovering from a stroke. Al, who is the former Public Relations Director at the Dover Downs Speedway and the defunct Busch North Series had a stroke at his home. He is numb on his left side and of course not able to walk. His speech is not slurred, but not full of vigor. Cards of cheer can be sent to AL ROBINSON, 37 N Chemung St, Room #110 Waverly ,New York 14892.

On a sad note, noted photographer Howie Hodge sends word that Charles Kepley of the C&C Promotions family that was responsible for the annual North-South Shootout died suddenly.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday plus on Thursday. The Speed Channel will replay last week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 that was run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway at noon on Wednesday. Later in the day, at 6:00pm, the Versus network has the Lucas Motorsports Hour. Thursday's action begins at noon when Speed replays last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Top Gear 300 that was run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. At 3:00pm Speed replays the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Price Chopper 400 that was run at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. The May 21 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West event that was run at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA follows at 6:00pm. Friday's viewing begins at noon with NASCAR Live at Kansas Speedway. Truck series practice follows at 12:30. At 1:30pm the Sprint Cup cars take to the track for a 90 minute practice. The trucks follow with a 90 minute practice starting at 3:00pm. At 4:30 the Sprint Cup cars have another 90 minute practice session followed by NASCAR Live at 6:00pm. Saturday's viewing begins at 11:00am with Truck Series qualifying at the Kansas Speedway. Sprint Cup qualifying follows at noon. At 1:30 the Speed Channel has the pre-race show that will lead to the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at the Kansas Speedway. At 7:30pm the action moves to ESPN for the NASCAR Nationwide Series NNS 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL. At 11:00pm Speed will provide same day delayed coverage of the ARCA Racing Series ARCA 150 that was held at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL. Sundays viewing starts at 10:30am with a two hour NASCAR RaceDay. At 12:30 the action shifts to FOX for live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. At 6:00pm Versus has the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour. Speed Center on Speed and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm sum up the weekend's racing. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain goes at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Dover Motorsports was the only positive finisher as they went up 0.12 to 2.09. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.71 to 14.10 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.35 to 28.33. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.38 to 5.85 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.35 to 40.18. Tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.06 to 17.51. With the exception of Toyota which went up 2.40 to 82.26, the car makers were down. Ford dropped 0.40 to 14.60 and General Motors dropped 0.40 to 31.28. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.05 to 36.00 and Lowes dropped 0.21 to 24.25. The major team sponsors had their ups and downs. Dupont went down 0.28 to 52.56 while Coca-Cola went up 0.11 to 68.99. Target Department Stores dropped 0.32 to 49.37 while Aarons Rentals went up 0.58 to 27.77. Fedex dropped 1.92 to 91.90.

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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