Tuesday October 24, 2006   

By Phil Smith                                                          

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will try to close out the 2006 season this Saturday at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Mike Stefanik needs only to start the Fall Final to become the 2006 series champion. Stefanik, who will start seventh, goes into the event with a 148-point lead over Ted Christopher. Eddie Flemke, who will start third, is third in points but is behind the leader. Defending series champion Tony Hirschman is fourth followed by James Civali. Rounding out the top ten are Todd Szegedy, Jerry Marquis, Donny Lia, Zach Sylvester and Eric Beers.

NASCAR has reprimanded Carl Pasteryak and Matt Hirschman, following their actions at the recent World Series at Thompson, Pasteryak got physical with Rene’ Dupuis and Hirschman with Richard Savory after on-track incidents. Pasteryak, driver of the No. 75 car, was suspended from the next Whelen Modified Tour event and suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 30. He was penalized for violating section 12-4-A of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book: actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in an altercation with another competitor on the track; verbal abuse to a NASCAR official and failure to follow a directive from a NASCAR official. Hirschman, driver of the No. 59 car, was also penalized for an incident after the race. Hirschman has been placed on probation until Dec. 31 for violating section 12-4-A: actions detrimental to stock car racing; failure to follow a directive from a NASCAR official; of the 2006 NASCAR RuleBook. Chances are, Pasteryak’s nephew Chris who failed to qualify for the Fall Final, will drive in his uncle’s place.

In weekend action, Stafford, Waterford and Thompson were quiet. Matt Kobyluck shed the bridesmaid tag in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Saturday night at the Irwindale Speedway in California, scoring a hard-fought victory in the NASCAR Grand National Division feature event while using the new, cost-reducing Grand National "spec" engine under the hood of his No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet. Kobyluck, the runner-up in this event in 2004 and 2005, started sixth and took the lead for the final time from fellow Grand National Division, Busch East Series competitor Sean Caisse on a restart with ten laps remaining in the 150-lap race. AutoZone West Series champion Eric Holmes made a run at the win but tangled with Caisse on the final turn, spinning while Caisse held off AutoZone West Series driver Mike David for second. Tracy Gordon of the Busch East Series and Brian Ickler of the AutoZone West Series were fourth and fifth. Kobyluck was one of 11 drivers in the all-star event utilizing the new spec engine technology, which was introduced this season as a cost-saving alternative for NASCAR Grand National Division teams. The spec engine includes a closely-specified set of components to limit costs, while providing competitive performance and durability. The new engines, which are optional, are expected to save teams nearly 50 percent on the cost of their engines.

The southern version of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour closed out their season at the Southern National Raceway Park in North Carolina. Junior Miller took the win and his second series championship. Tim Brown finished second. A last minute entry was Chuck Hossfeld in the Roger Hill No.79. Hossfeld started scratch in the 100 lapper and finished fifth.

In a somewhat surprise move J&S Motorsports which owns the No. 36 that has been driven by Ted Christopher on the Whelen Modified Tour Series announced that they would part ways with driver Ted Christopher at the end of the 2006 Whelen Modified Tour season. According to car owner, Ed Whelan, this was a mutual agreement. Whelan said, “I wanted to clear the air so that everyone understands that there is no animosity between Ted and I. We’re still friends” Christopher was hired by Whelan to drive for J&S at the third race of this season at Jennerstown in June. Christopher is sixth on the all-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins list with twenty-six victories that include ten wins in the past two seasons. When asked about his future plans, Whelan responded, “We will run the full Whelen Modified Tour schedule in 2007.” When asked whether he was in negotiation with a driver for 2007, Whelan said, “I’m not planning on talking to anyone before we finish the season.” Before teaming up with Whelen Christopher drove cars owned by Danbury, CT businessman Jim Galante.

In TV land this week, viewing begins on Wednesday, October 25 when the Outdoor Channel presents the World of Outlaws Sprints from the Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA. Thursday’s viewing begins at 2:30 on the Speed Channel with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay of last Sunday’s Subway 500 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA. Later in the day, at 8:00p.m., Speed presents The Chase is On: Atlanta preview. Speed goes live on Friday with NASCAR Live from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Live coverage continues at 7:00p.m. with NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. At 9:00p.m. Speed goes with Trackside from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Saturday’s action begins at 2:30 am with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event that was run last week at Martinsville. Speed goes live at 10:30am on Saturday morning with NASCAR Nextel Cup practice for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. NASCAR Live follows at 11:30 followed by the final hour of practice at noon.

The action switches to NBC at 2:00 for the NASCAR Busch Series Sam’s Town 250 from Memphis, TN. Following the Busch Series event the action moves back to the Speed Channel for Round #4 of the Crown Royal IROC Series at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Easycare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 follows at 4:30. NASCAR Performance from Atlanta follows at 7:30 and Tradin’ Paint from Atlanta at 8:00. Sundays action begins at 12:30p.m. with NASCAR Raceday which will preview the Nextel Cup Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 from Atlanta. At 2:30 change channels to NBC for the Pre-Race show followed by the drop of the green at 3:00p.m. for the Nextel Cup, Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. If the cup race puts you to sleep switch to the Speed Channel at 5:30 for the DIRT Motorsports SUPER DIRT WEEK: 358 Modified Super DIRT Series Sunoco 150 that was run on the one mile oval at the New York State Fairgrounds on October 8. The Sunoco DIRT event will be rerun on Monday at 3:00p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane wraps up the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at 7:00p.m. The SPEED Report follows at 8:00p.m. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain finishes out the day at 9:00p.m.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week in the red. Dover Downs dropped 0.12 to 5.38 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.01 to 50.45. Speedway Motorsports which just wrapped up a big week at the Lowes Motor Speedway went up 0.80 to 37.10. NASCAR Cup sponsor Nextel-Sprint dropped 0.58 to 17.21. Sun Oil (Sunoco) dropped 0.03 to 65.65. Featherlite Trailerswent up 0.04 to 6.48 while DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.33 to 2.42. In the drug sector Pfizer went up 0.09 to 27.68 while Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.06 to 24.99. The home improvement sector had a down week as Home Depot dropped 1.00 to 35.90 and Lowes dropped 0.70 to 30.25. The parcel carriers had a big week as Fedex went up 2.22 to 116.20 and UPS went up 2.69 to 76.09.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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