Tuesday May 29, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Stafford Motor Speedway this past Friday night, May 25 for the 22nd ANNUAL TSI HARLEY-DAVIDSON 125. Doug Coby followed his Spring Sizzler win with another win at the nutmeg oval. Coby slipped past Bobby Santos eight laps from the finish to win the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 and became the first driver with more than one win this season.

Coby, who was making his 118th Mod Tour start, started fifth but had to pit on Lap 27 under caution for a flat right front tire. He charged back and chased down Santos, who had won the pole and led the race from the drop of the green. Coby closed in on the leader with 10 laps to go and on his second attempt slipped by for the lead. After taking on fresh rubber Coby flew through the field and was in the top five with 50 to go. Santos tried to go the entire 125-lap distance without changing tires, and paid the price with seven laps to go. At the finish Santos had faded to second and was followed by Ron Silk, Todd Szegedy and Rowan Pennink. Sixth through tenth were Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, Jimmy Blewett and Justin Bonsignore.

There were 5 cautions for 21 laps. The first yellow flew on lap 24 flew for Ed Flemke who spun after exiting turn four. The second caution was for Gary McDonald who spun in turn two on lap 32. Richie Pallai was responsible for cautions on lap 58 and 78. The final caution was for Jamie Tomaino who spun and intentionally brought out the caution. Twenty one of the twenty six starters were on the lead lap at the finishers. Among those who failed to finish was Mike Stefanik who retired with engine trouble.

Following the Stafford event the Whelen Modified Tour Series goes on Spring Break for four weeks before heading to the Waterford Speedbowl on June 23.

Regular Friday night racing at Stafford saw Michael Gervias, Jr. taking the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event. Also securing wins Tom Fearn in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Dylan Kopec in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, D.J. Burnham in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

For Gervais, it was his first career win in any division at Stafford, Fearn won for the first time since the 2009 season, Kopec was a winner for the third time in 4 SK Light races this season, Burnham ended Josh Wood’s winning streak at three races, and Casagrande became the all-time winningest DARE Stock driver in Stafford history with his 13th career victory.

In the SK Modified feature there was extremly good racing for 14 laps until a fluid dump sent Keith Rocco into the wall and Ryan Preece spinning.

At the Waterford Speedbowl torrential rain washed out the entire racing program.

In Modified action at Bowman-Gray in North Carolina, Tim Brown got his third victory in the month of May with a win in the first of two 25-lap races for the featured Modified Division. And Michael Clifton won the second race.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, With the time restraint curfew in affect, the race was called on lap fifteen giving the 89x of Chris McGuire his first victory in the modified division.

The much anticipated return to Thursday night racing at Thompson International Speedway gets underway this coming Thursday night, May 31st. at 6 PM. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder will feature six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions in qualifying races and feature events.

Thursday night races have become a mainstay at Thompson and have proven to be very popular with both fans and competitors. The race program is run virtually non-stop. The track has set a target of 9:30 PM to have the show over. This allows fans to enjoy a fun night out and still be able to be home at an early hour.

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 at the same time. NASCAR Now will be on espn2 at 3:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
Race viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Wednesday at noon with a replay of last weekend's Sprint Cup race that was held in Charlotte. On Thursday at noon Speed will show the Charlotte Nationwide Series event. At 3:00pm the NASCAR Kids and Nephews that raced recently at the Iowa Speedway will be shown.

Speed goes live on Friday morning at 10:00am at the Dover Speedway with Truck Series qualifying. Coverage of Sprint Cup practice follows at 11:00am and Nationwide Series practice at 12:30pm. Sprint Cup final practice goes at 2:30pm. Action on the Speed Channel continues at4:30pm with the Truck Series pre-race show that will lead to the 5:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. Trackside at Dover at 7:30 and Speed Center at 8:00pm wrap up the day.

Saturday's viewing starts at 11:30 with NASCAR Live on Speed from Dover at 11:30am. NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying follows at noon. The action shifts to ESPN at 1:00pm for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 2:00pm start of the Dover Nationwide Series race also on ESPN.

On Sunday, NASCAR RaceDay begins a two hour lead in to the Dover Sprint Cup event that gets the green on FOX at 12:30pm. Speed wraps it up on Sunday night with Speed Center at 7:00pm, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 8:00pm and NASCAR Victory Lane at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speed Motorsports had a positive ending as they went up 0.17 to 16.43. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.56 to 23.45 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 1.30. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.28 to 2.62. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil was also positive as they went up 0.42 to 47.29. Tire supplier Goodyear followed suitas they went up 0.55 to 10.59. The car makers were all positive for the week. Ford went up 0.59 to 10.60 while General Motors went up 1.26 to 22.44 and Toyota went up 0.74 to 76.80. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 2.39 to 49.44 and Lowes dropped 1.24 to 27.24. The major car sponsors enjoyed a good week. Dupont went up 0.43 to 48.40 while Coca-Cola went up 0.28 to 60.75, Target Department Stores went up 2.16 to 57.62, Aarons Rentals went up 1.43 to 26.87 and Fedex went up 4.21 to 89.28.

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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