Tuesday October 27, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series finally completed its 2009 season last weekend with the running of the 150 lap World Series. The series championship was Donny Lia’s to lose. After a sirited race long battle with Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher Lia settled into the fourth finishing position in the closing laps as he wrapped up the title. Christopher took the lead for the final time after a restart on lap 132 and held off Preece to take the win. Doug Coby moved into third with less than five laps to go. Rowan Pennick rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Chris Pasteryak, Erick Rudolph, Kevin Goodale, Ron Silk and Woody Pitkat. Christopher led twice for 93 laps, while Lia led twice for 57 laps.

There were eight caution periods for 47 laps. The car counts was ample but still down from previous years as only 29 Modifieds were on hand for the event that carried a race purse of $85,971.

The Thompson Speedway did their best in less than ideal racing conditions, thanks to the New England weather. In an effort to be proactive with a less than stellar forecast, Speedway Management decided to run feature events for the ARTS Truck Series, the SK Lights, TIS Modifieds, and Mini Stocks on Friday as the forecast for Saturday was for rain and high winds.

After post race technical inspection, John St. Germain of West Sand Lake, NY, was scored as the winner of the ARTS Trucks. Brit Anderson of Branford, CT, scored the victory in the SK Lights Modifieds. TIS Modified champion Brian Sullivan of S. Windsor, CT, put an exclamation point on his 2009 season with a victory at the World Series. Randy Churchill of Niantic, CT, continued his prowess in the Mini Stocks with a win. Ryan Morgan of Mystic made his driving debut in the TIS Modifieds.

On a sad note, Saturday marked the 24th anniversary of the death of the great Richie Evans.

In the Sunoco (SK type) Modified feature at Thompson Ronnie Silk slugged it out with Ted Christopher to win the caution-marred event. Christopher, who led the early going, managed to finish second, after rebounding from a spin. Bert Marvin, who was waiting for Silk and Christopher to tangle, finished third. Tim Sullivan finished fourth. Among the missing was Keith Rocco who was at Wall Stadium in New Jersey. Rocco’s Thompson ride, the Bannister No. 6 had been sold and the race team has reportedly been dissolved.

In other feature events run as part of the World Series at Thompson Mike O'Sullivan won the 30-lap Super Late Model feature. Over Norm Wrenn. The 2009 division champion, Derek Ramstrom finished third. Tom O’Sullivan wonthe Late Model feature over Woody Pitkat and Corey Hutchings. Rob Richardi Jr. won the Pro Four Modified feature. Rick Gentes was the Outlaw Late Model feature winner. In an exciting finish, Chris Perley latterly blew away Dave Shullick Jr. on the final lap to win the 50-lap ISMA SuperModified feature. Nokie Fornoro won the 30-lap NEMA Midget feature. Fornoro, a 34 year veteran, implied that it could be his last race as he is seriously contemplating retirement. Beth Adams was the Outlaw Mini Stock feature winner. Last but not least, Larry Barnett won the Limited Sportsman feature.

The True Value Modified Racing Series wound up their 2009 season at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Kenny Barry took the win over Dwight Jarvis, Louie Mechalides, Jim Kuhn and Jack Bateman.

Wall Stadium in New Jersey was also running with the Tom Commerford Memorial. Originally set for Saturday, the event featuring twin 66 lap features was run on Sunday. Jimmy Blewett won the opener but was sidelined in the second one after wrecking. Anthony Sessley won the night cap. Keith Rocco recorded two third place finishes. Matt Hirschman recorded two runner-up finishes.

The scheduled second annual foreclosure proceedings of the property in which the Waterford Speedbowl is located is still on for Saturday, October 31. Property owner Terry Eames has stated that he has “turned the corner” and will stave off the impending sale of the property. Unlike Jerry Robinson who never paid competitors who race in the 2008 Fall Finale at the shoreline oval, Eames has paid his competitors when they have raced.

In TV land this week, NASCAR Now on espn2 will be shown at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. NASCAR Race Hub on the Speed Channel will air at 7:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This weeks race viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Wednesday at noon with a replay of last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup TUMS Fast Relief 500 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA. Thursday at noon Speed replays the 2008 Sprint Cup AMP Energy 500 that was run at Talladega, AL. Speed goes live at Talladega at 1:30pm on Friday. Sprint Cup practice at Talladega follows for 90 minutes at 2:00pm. NASCAR Live breaks it up at 3:30 before the final hour of Sprint Cup practice takes place at 4:00pm. The NASCAR Trucks qualify at Talladega at 5:00pm. Trackside at Talladega rounds out the day at 7:00pm. Saturday’s viewing on Speed begins at 11:00am with Trackside (NASCAR) at Talladega followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at noon. NASCAR Live goes at 3:00 followed by the Truck Series pre-race show at 3:30, which will lead to a 4:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega. Trackside at Talladega follows at 6:30pm. At 8:00pm the Speed Channel presents a two-hour special centering on the recent Super Dirt Week events that were held at the New York State Fairgrounds on Oct 7-11. Dirt Track racing from the Eldora Speedway follows at 10:00pm.

Set your clocks, VCR’s and DVR’s back one hour before going to bed as DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ENDS. Sunday’s viewing begins at10:00am with a two-hour preview of the upcoming Sprint Cup event at Talladega on the Speed Channel. The action switches to ABC at noon for another hour of pre-race hype that hopefully will lead to a 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AMP Energy 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. On Sunday evening, the Speed Channel has The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm followed by NASCAR Now on espn2 at 10:00.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.10 to 27.52 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.02 to 1.53. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.31 to 14.69. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.22 to 3.25 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.49 to 32.12. On the positive side NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.29 to 17.75. NASCAR team sponsors had an off week. Dupont dropped 0.87 to 33.23. Coca-Cola dropped 1.11 to 45.93, Target DEPARTMENT stores dropped 1.05 to 49.03 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.31 to 26.14. With the exception of Ford, which went up 0.21 to 7.63, the car makers had a down week. General Motors dropped 0.02 to 0.63 and Toyota dropped 1.48 to 77.66. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.99 to 26.27 and Lowes dropped 1.25 to 20.71.

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.

Web Design Copyright © 2009 & - 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 © 2006-2009 Phil Smith