For Tuesday October 4, 2005

By Phil Smith                                                     Donny Lia Photo Courtesy of  Howie Hodge
                                                                            Kurt Lenehan Photo Courtesy of Keith Cyr

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series made its final stop of the year at Stafford last weekend for the annual Fall Final. There were 43 Modifieds on hand for the 150 lapper that carried a purse of $80,328. Taking the top spot in time trials was Donny Lia who turned the half-mile oval in 18.469 seconds. Second fastest was Tony Hirschman who was a tick slower at 18.524 seconds. The top six redrew for starting positions. Carl Pasteryak, who was sixth fastest, drew the pole. Jimmy Blewett, who was fourth fastest, drew the outside pole. Hirschman drew third, Jamire Tomaino, fourth, Lia, fifth and Ted Christopher, sixth. Among those who didn’t qualify were Tom Bolles and Mike Ewanitsko.

Tony Hirschman got a little closer to Ted Christopher’s point lead last Sunday as he won the Fall Final 150. Hirschman passed outside pole sitter and early race leader Jimmy Blewett on lap 17 and went non-stop to record the win. Blewett ended up 13th. Busch Pole sitter Donny Lia provided some late race excitement when his left front spindle broke on the final lap. Lia maintained control and finished second on three wheels. Chuck Hossfeld finished third with Jerry Marquis and Ted Christopher rounding out the the top five. Pole sitter Carl Pasteryak finished 15th, one lap down. Sixth through tenth were Charlie Pasteryak, Eric Beers, Jamie Tomaino, John Blewett III and Reggie Ruggiero.

The Thompson Speedway closed out their regular season on a wet note as showers put a damper on the final Thursday night Thunder program last week. According to the speedway's web site the point season will carry over to this week’s combination show that includes the Busch North Series and the Whelen Modified Tour Series. Jeff Malave, with 18 top tens including three wins is the 2005 Sunoco Modified Champion. Malave survived a season long battle with Burt Marvin as he won the title by 90 points. Marvin had 17 top tens including two wins. Defending champion Todd Ceravolo rebounded after a slow start to finish third, 78 points behind Marvin. Ceravolo had 15 top tens including three wins. Kerry Malone had an absolute horrible season but somehow managed to finish fourth in the final standings. Malone also scored three wins but had only 14 top tens. Rounding out the top five was Tom Cravenho with 11 top fives including 1 feature win. Malone and Cravenho still have a shot at third spot. Malone is only four points behind Ceravolo while Cravenho is 18 points out of third. Despite going winnless Ricky Shawn recorded 12 top tens which was good enough to put him in sixth spot and make him a best bet for Rookie of the Year honors. Dave Salzarulo, Richard Savory, John Sandberg and Frank Malec round out the top ten. Charles Bailey III, with 6 wins, leads Woody Pitkat by 22 points for the Late Model championship. Pitkat has three wins to his credit. In the Pro Stock division Jeff Zuidema used consistancy to his advantage to take the division point lead. Although winless, Zuidema leads Norm Wrenn, who had two wins, by 10 points. Rounding out the top five are Jeff Connors, Joe Lemay and Mike O'Sullivan. Glenn Boss was the big winner at the speedway in 2005 as he put his Limited Sportsman in victory lane on six occasions. His efforts paid off with a championship. Scott Sundeen, 108 points back, finished second. Larry Barnett and Keith DeSantis are tied for third with Eddie Pulio rounding out the top five. Ron Rixham, with two wins, leads the Mini Stock championship. Rixham beat Scott Michalski by 10 points.

The season at the Thompson Speedway is far from over. On tap this weekend are the Twin 100's for the Whelen Modifieds and Busch North Series that were rained out on June 12. Outside of their visits at Loudon, this is the only venue where race fans can see the best of both worlds at the same track on the same day. Adult admission is set at $35. Kids 6-14 are $5 and 5 and under are free.

The Waterford Speedbowl ran one of their quickest programs ever as the final checkered flag dropped around 9:00p.m. Kurt Lenahan went pole to pole to record his first win in two years. Dennis Gada ended up in second spot after Jay Miller faded in the latter stages of the event. Tom Fox finished third. Jeffrey Paul, who is rumored to be moving up next year, recorded his seventh victory in the Legends Cars. Other winners were Wayne Coury in the Late Models, Bill Gertsch in the Sportsman and Joe Godbout in the Mini Stocks. The shoreline oval winds up its season this Sunday with the Fall Finale

The Stafford Motor Speedway also wrapped up its regular season with the Fall Final last Sunday. Jimmy Blewett won the SK Modified portion.

In some sad news, Rick "Sleepy" Knapp, 53, of North Windham, Ct died Saturday Sept. 24, 2005 at Windham Hospital. He was an auto body technician by trade having worked in several places in the Windham/Chaplin area. At the time of his death, he was employed at Chris's Automotive in Chaplin. Rick began his racing career at the Waterford Speed Bowl at the age of 15. He drove is car, Sweet 16, in the Late Model division at theWaterford Speed Bowl, Stafford Speedway and Thompson Speedway until the early 1980' s when he began driving in the modified division. Rick held 3 track championships at Thompson.

In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation now airs on Monday 7:00pm. At 9:00pm its Monday Night NASCAR with Geoff Bodine on ESPNews. Also on a weekly basis is "Back Seat Drivers" which looks at hot topics circulating in the garage area. "Back Seat Drivers" airs on Wednesday at 7:00pm. This weeks viewing begins on Wednesday at noon with last Saturday’s ARCA RE/Max event that was run at the Talledega Speedway in Alabama. At 5:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward recaps last weeks Nextel Cup event at Talledega. At 8:00pm the action moves to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws Sprinters from Beaver Dam Wisconsin. Thursday’s action begins at noon with a revisit to last years Banquet 400 at the Kansas Speedway. At 3:00pm it’s a complete replay of last Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup event from Talledega. The August 27 Fisher Snow Plows Busch North Series 150 takes center stage on Friday at 1:00pm. The Speed Channel goes live at 3:30pm with Nextel Cup practice followed by Busch Series qualifying from the Kansas Speedway. Trackside from the Kansas Speedway wraps up the days activities at 7:00pm. Saturdays viewing begins with NASCAR Live at 11:00am on Speed followed by Nextel Cup qualifying at 11:30am. The action switches to NBC at 2:00pm for the Busch Series United Way 300 from Kansas Speedway. NASCAR Speed News and Speed News Sunday wrap up the weekend’s racing at 7:00pm. Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three-speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.81 to 52.47 while Dover Downs went up 0.59 to 6.84. Not to be left behind, Speedway Motorsports went up 0.44 to 36.33. For the third week in a row Nextel was down as they dropped 0.58 to 23.78. Sun Oil was up 0.68 to 78.20 as was Action Performance, which went up 0.25 to 12.50. Featherlite Trailers had another negative week as they dropped 0.08 to 3.45. Boundless Motorsports had a positive ending as they went up 0.35 to 5.00. In the drug sector, Pfizer went up 0.10 to 24.97 while Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.14 to 24.06. The home improvement sector had a negative week. Lowes dropped 0.99 to 64.40 and Home Depot followed suit as they dropped 0.39 to 38.14. For the second week in a row Parcel carrier showed a tremendous gain as they went up 4.03 to 87.13. UPS was a little more modest as they went up 0.76 to 69.13.

The International Speedway Corporation announced last Friday, Sept.30,that Rocky Mountain Speedway Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of ISC, has entered into an agreement to purchase the assets of Pikes Peak International Raceway ("Pikes Peak"). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ISC plans to petition NASCAR to realign the facility's NASCAR Busch Series event to Martinsville Speedway for 2006. The transaction is expected to close within the next week, and is expected to have minimal impact on the Company's future earnings. The purchase price is fully supported by the appraised value of Pikes Peak's tangible assets, including land and certain fixed assets ISC intends to relocate to other facilities in its portfolio. These assets include grandstand seating and other structures that can be utilized for future speedway expansion projects. ISC will honor all of Pikes Peak's currently scheduled community uses and rentals through October 31, 2005. After that date, ISC expects to close the facility and begin to market the approximate 1,200-acre parcel for sale, with the requirement that the property not be used for motor sports-related events.

Pikes Peak International, which includes a 1 mile oval, was completed in 1997 at a cost of $35 million. The facility, which also includes a 1.315 mile road course, has permanent seating for 42,787.

Forbes Magazine released its list of the 400 richest people in the USA last week. Among those on the list were Jim France and Bill France JR. who are tied in 198th spot with assets of $1.6 billion each. Also on the list is O. Bruton Smith, owner of Speedway Motorsports who is 207th on the list with $1.5 billion. At the top of the list is Microsoft’s Bill Gates with $51 billion.

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.
For Phil's and other weekly features found in the Speedway Scene
Click Below for information on Subscribing To:

Web Design Copyright © 2005 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in Phil Smith's "Champ Trail" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility and opinions of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of"Champ Trail" contact Phil Smith @
The "Champ Trail" is Copyright © 2005 Phil Smith