Tuesday November 13, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The 10th annual Colors Edge John Blewett III North-South Shootout presented by PPG is took center stage at the historic Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. There were 30 Tour type Modifieds and 11 SK type Modifieds. In pre-qualifying practice on Friday, Ryan Preece who was driving the 7ny that is normally driven by Ryan Newman was one-upped by Woody Pitkat who was the fastest of the fast in practice.

Competitors ran against the clock for the top 12 starting spots for the Tour type Shootout. Burt Myers took the top spot over Matt Hirschman, Jason Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III and Kyle Ebersole. Sixth through twelfth was Ryan Preece, Erik Rudolph, Tommy Barrett, Patrick Emerling, Danny Bohn, Brian Loftin and Chuck Hossfeldt. Woody Pitkat and Chris Pasteryak were the heat winners.

In SK type time trials Michael Gervais took the pole over Matt Hirschman and TJ Zacharias.

Sticking out like a sore thumb by their absence were just about all of the northern Whelen Modified Tour competitors.
The SK types were up in the late afternoon for their 25 lap feature event. Michael Gervais, a regular in the SK Modified division at the Stafford Motor Speedway led from pole to pole to take down the win. Jimmy Zacharias finished second with Glen Reen, third.

The Modified North-South Shootout 125 lapper saw Ryan Preece, in the #7ny driven normally by Ryan Newman take a surprise win over Chuck Hossfeldt and Matt Hirschman. The Shootout was a caution filled event as the yellow was displayed 17 times for numerous spins and crashes. The most important yellow came on lap 121 when Tommy Barrett attempted to pass Woody Pitkat on the low side. Pitkat moved to block and the two collided. Both were able to restart and finished respectively in seventh (Barrett) and ninth (Pitkat).

Danny Bohn finished fourth and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Johnny Sutton, Barrett, Charlie Pasteryak, Pitkat and Kyle Ebersole.

Next up and finishing up the 2012 Modified season will be the Turkey Derby XXXIX at the Wall Stadium Speedway in Wall, NJ on the weekend following Thanksgiving. The Modified Turkey Derby will be run on Saturday, Nov 24. The 150 lapper will award $5,000 to the winner. The Wall/SK Modifieds will run 100 laps and will pay $4,000 to win. Also running on Saturday will be Three Quarter Midgets, Dirt Modifieds and Street Stocks.

Congratulations to fellow scribe Kevin Rice who was the recipient of the Star(NH) Speedway Appreciation Award for his loyal support of the track. Rice is a reporter for the Lowell (Mass) Sun and trade publication Area Auto Racing News.

The Stafford Motor Speedway will honor its 2012 champions this coming Friday night, Nov 16, at the LaRenaisance Banquet facility in East Windsor, CT. Among the honorees are Ted Christopher, SK Modified and Woody Pitkat, Late Model Champions.

The Thompson International Speedway is preparing to honor those who excelled in the racing competition during the 2012 season. The trackís NASCAR Whelen All-American Series featured seven different divisions of race cars competing at the historic speedway and the efforts of top finishing race teams will be rewarded on Friday, December 14th and Saturday, December 15th . These events will be held at the Raceway Restaurant and Lounge on the grounds of the Thompson Speedway.

Because of the large number of competitors that typically attend the trackís annual awards banquets, two nights have been set aside to accommodate all of those expected to be part of the gala celebrations. Fridayís banquet will spotlight the efforts of competitors in the trackís Late Model, Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman and Monster Mini Stock divisions. Saturdayís gathering will focus on the Sunoco Modifieds, Super Late Models, Thompson Modifieds and the LKQ/Keystone Lite Modifieds.

Awards will be presented to the race teams finishing the year In the top ten in points in the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman and Monster Mini Stocks. The Super Late Models ran a very limited schedule in 2012 and as a result the top five will be honored. The top five will also be honored in the Thompson Modified and LKQ/Keystone Lite Modified divisions.

Ryan Preece will occupy the head table as the champion of the trackís NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature division. Preece drove the Al and Kathy Moniz # 31 Sunoco Modified to an impressive ten wins during the extremely competitive 2012 season. Preece had a great season. In nineteen outings, he never finished outside the top five and posted an amazing 922 track points. Following Preece in the final rundown was Kerry Malone, Dennis Perry, Ted Christopher, Woody Pitkat, Todd Ceravolo, Keith Rocco and Wayne Arute. Nineteen Sunoco Modified events were run with 49 different drivers in competition.

Derek Ramstrom gained his third Thompson title in the Super Late Model division by a mere six points over Jim Banfield. Each of Ramstromís championships has been extremely close with the 2010 contest ending in a tie with Mike OíSullivan. NASCARíS tie breaking procedures were used to determine the champ. His 2009 title was also decided by a margin of only six points.

Late Model championship honors will go to Tommy OíSullivan for the second year in a row. OíSullivan had a very strong year claiming eleven wins in an eighteen-race schedule. However, the driver with the most wins at Thompson in 2012 was LKQ/Keystone Lite Modified driver Cam McDermott. McDermott, who was the 2011 Thompson Modified champ, chose to move up to the Lite Modified division rather than attempt to defend his Thompson Modified crown. It proved to be a very good move for the Scituate, RI driver as he won fourteen of the seventeen-race schedule.

John Lowinski-Loh, Jr., the 2011 Thompson Modified division Rookie of the year, claimed the top spot in that division with nine wins and 876 points. He will be honored for his championship season as will Scott Sundeen who took top honors in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division. Sundeen visited victory lane eight times and racked up 790 points. He also received national recognition from NASCAR for winning of the sanctioning bodyís Division III asphalt track competition. Fellow Limited sportsman competitor, Jesse Gleason, finished second in this national competition.

Thompsonís extremely popular Monster Mini Stock division saw another close race for the divisionís crown. But, after eighteen races, Chad Baxter won it all by a margin of eight points over Eric Bourgeois. Baxter was one of eleven drivers who graced victory lane in 2012 making the Monster Minis the most unpredictable and competitive division in Thompsonís race program.

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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