Tuesday October 31, 2006   

By Phil Smith                                     Click on Photo for Full Size Version                                                       

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was originally scheduled for last Saturday but because of impending rain, the event was rescheduled for Sunday against the Waterford Speedbowl Double Down event. As predicted, high winds close to 50mph and heavy rain, close to two inches in spots, blanketed the entire New England – Long Island area on Saturday. Race teams and fans coming from Long Island were forced to drive around through New York City when the ferry terminal on Orient Point, Long Island became submerged after 6-10 foot waves from Gardners Bay crashed ashore. The Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to a flooded parking lot and track after it rained for over seven hours on Saturday. The Double Down Showdown has been postponed to this coming Saturday, November 4.
Stafford’s Fall Final took the green shortly after 4:00p.m. Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT jumped from his pole starting position and went non-stop for 150 laps to take the green. Despite the fact that there were no lead changes there was action a plenty going on. Mike Stefanik became the Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion when he took the green as he had a decisive point lead going into the event over Ted Christopher. Stefanik finished sixth. Christopher, who crashed while running second on lap 51, lost second spot in the final standings by one point to Eddie Flemke Jr. who finished ninth. Christopher was credited with 25th finishing spot. Christopher’s car broke a left rear brake rotor, which caused his car to turn sharply into the wall. Preston City Connecticut’s favorite son, Kenny Barry finished a strong second after coming from a 19th starting spot. Zach Sylvester, from Lebanon, CT, finished third with defending series champion Tony Hirschman, fourth. Rounding out the top five was John Blewett III. Stefanik finished sixth with Donny Lia, Ronnie Silk, Flemke and Jerry Marquis rounding out the top ten.
Eight caution periods for 42 laps kept the average speed down to 64.518mph. In addition to the Christopher crash on lap 51 there were others who went out on the hook of a wrecker including Reggie Ruggerio who wrecked with Chuck Hossfeld on lap 29, Jimmy Blewett who was part of a six car wreck on lap 7 and Rob Summers who wrecked on lap 21.

The 2006 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is now over. The next order of business will be the official crowning of the 2006 Champion Mike Stefanik at the annual awards banquet that is scheduled for December 16 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT.

In other racing action at Stafford, three track championships were decided on the track, as Frank Ruocco won the SK Modified championship, Woody Pitkat won the Late Model championship, and Brit Andersen won a 4-way battle to take the SK Light championship. Feature winners included Willie Hardie winning the 50-lap SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco winning the Late Model feature, and Matt Gallo won the 20-lap SK Light feature.In the 50-lap SK Modified feature event, Willie Hardie won the battle, but Frank Ruocco ended up winning the war. Hardie did all that he could do to overtake Ruocco for the championship by winning the race, but Ruocco ran just aggressively enough to stay in a championship clinching position throughout the 50-lapper. The race started with Jeff Malave leading the early laps, but Woody Pitkat overtook Malave on lap-6. Pitkat held the race lead until he dropped off the pace and pulled behind the wall on lap-45, which gave the lead of the race to Hardie, who had worked his way up to second. Ruocco and Hardie started the race side by side in the 5th row, and while Hardie set sail for the front of the pack, Ruocco was never more than several positions behind Hardie, keeping himself in championship contention. Hardie took the checkered flag ahead of Malave, Zach Sylvester, Brad Hietala, and Eric Berndt. Ruocco finished seventh to win the championship by 6 points over Hardie.

Racing action switches to the sunny south at the Concorde Speedway in North Carolina for the annual North – South Shootout. The 4th Annual North-South Shootout is set for this Friday and Saturday nights, November 3&4, 2006 at Concord Motorsports Park. The 100-lap Modified event will highlight an action-packed two-day racing event that will also feature SK-type Modifieds, Pro-Four/Four Cylinders, Vintage Modifieds and Vintage Sportsman.

A hot rumor these days is that NASCAR is considering moving their Toyota Showdown from the Irwindale Speedway in California to a speedway east of the Mississippi River. If in fact that comes to be, another rumor has the Whelen Modified Tour Series included in the prestigious event.

In TV land this week, viewing begins on Wednesday at 4:00p.m. on the Speed Channel with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series Race No. 4 that was held at Myrtle Beach, SC on Oct 28. At 8:p.m. the Outdoor Channel takes center stage as they present the World of Outlaws sprint cars at the USA Race Park in Tuscon, AZ. The Speed Channel will show a rerun of last Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Sam’s Town 250 that was run in Memphis, TN starting at noon. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay of last Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 that was run at Atlanta, GA last Sunday follows at 2:30. Speed goes live at 8:00p.m. with the Chase is On: Texas preview. Friday’s lineup on Speed includes the Lucas Oil Knoxville Late Model Nationals that were run at the Knoxville Raceway on Sept 30. Speed goes live at 4:00p.m. with NASCAR Live from the Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Dickies 500 at Texas follows at 4:00p.m. Live action continues at 6:30 with NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the O’Reilly Challenge, also to be run at the Texas Speedway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Silverado 350 from the Texas Motor Speedway gets the green at 8:30p.m. Trackside from Texas Motor Speedway wraps up the days racing at 11:30p.m. Saturday’s viewing begins at 1:00p.m. with NASCAR Live from the Texas Motor Speedway. At 2:00p.m. the action switches to TNT for live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series O’Reilly Challenge from the Texas Speedway. NASCAR Performance on Speed followed by Tradin’ Paint from Texas starts at 7:30p.m. Sunday’s viewing begins at 12:30p.m. with NASCAR RaceDay which will preview the Dickies 500 from Texas Motor Speedway. NBC will provide live coverage beginning at 2:30p.m. At 5:00p.m. the Speed Channel presents the crown jewel of DIRT Modified Racing, the SUPER DIRT WEEK: Eckerd 200, Modified Super DIRT Series event that was run at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY on Oct 8. NASCAR Victory Lane wraps up the Dickies 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 were up. Only Dover Downs, which dropped 0.28 to 5.10 ended the week in the red. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.57 to 37.67 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 1.30 to 51.75. NASCAR Cup sponsor Nextel had a good week as they went up 1.96 to 19.17. Sun Oil (Sunoco) also had a good week as they went up 2.85 to 66.40. Featherlite Trailers went up 0.01 to 6.49 and DIRT Motorsports was also up as they gained 0.08 to settle out at 2.50 at week’s end. The drug sector was a mixed bag. Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.20 to 24.69 while Pfizer dropped 0.46 to 27.22. The home improvement sector had a positive week. Home Depot went up 1.08 to 37.07 while Lowes went up 0.09 to 30.34. The parcel carriers backpedaled a bit. UPS dropped 1.13 to 74.87 and Fedex dropped 2.17 to 114.03.

Dover Motorsports, Inc. (Dover Downs Speedway) Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on both classes of common stock of $.015 per share. The dividend will be payable on December 10, 2006 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 10, 2006.

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

Photo Credit: Fran Lawlor 

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

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