Tuesday October 12, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads for the Thompson Speedway this coming weekend for the World Series of Speedway Racing. Fifteen different divisions of race cars and race trucks will be in competition in qualifying races and feature events. Joining the Whelen Modifieds will be ISMA Super Modifieds who will share top billing. The Midgets of NEMA, Thompson’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions, N.E. Trucks, Pro 4 Modifieds, SK Sunoco Light Modifieds and a variety of “outlaw” divisions complete the line up of racers that will compete in the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by XTRA MART. This years World Series will mark the 37th consecutive year that the event has been run.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline the Waterford Speedbowl the Fall Finale wrapped up the 2010 season with two days of qualifying and racing. Qualifying for the Budweiser Modified Nationals and ACT-150 events was completed. Ted Christopher took the Bud Pole Award for the $5,000 to win SK Modified® race setting a fast lap of 14.061 seconds in time trials. Five feature events were also completed on the day with Wayne Coury Jr. found the winner’s circle in the Outlaw Stock race while Allen Coates was the winner of the Trucks in competition for the race. Speedbowl Mini Stock champion Ken Cassidy Jr. took the checkered flag in the Outlaw Mini Stock feature. Wild ‘n Wacky Wednesday champions Charles Beal and Dan D’addario took down wins in the Super X and X-Car features, while Nick Sweet from was the Allison Legacy Series race winner.

In Budweiser Modified National time trials, Christopher tied the previous division record lap to take the $500.00 bonus. He bested Shawn Solomito, Jeff Rocco, 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco and defending event winner Ron Yuhas Jr. The top-20 cars were qualified by time with 2004 track champion Ed Reed Jr. winning the consolation race. Reed was qualifying the car for fellow racer Justin Gaydosh who will start scratch in the event. Seven-time track champion Dennis Gada took a past champion’s provisional to enter tomorrow’s 150-lap race which will start all 27 cars that were on hand.

ACT Tour Late Model qualifying was also complete, setting the stage for their 150-lap season ending event. Speedbowl regular Joe Curioso, series leader Brian Hoar, and veteran racer Jean-Paul Cyr were the qualifying event winners.

Ron Yuhas Jr saved the best for last as scored a convincing victory in the Fall Finale last Sunday. Keith Rocco finished second with Diego Monahan, third and Jeff Pearl, fourth. Ted Christopher rounded out the top five.

In other action at the shoreline oval Joey Polewarcyk Jr cleaned house as he lapped all but the top five finishers of the original 28 starters. Brian Hoar of Williston, Vt. finished second with Glen Luce of Turner, Me, third. Shawn Monahan was the apparent winner of the Street Stock feature but was disqualified when he refused tech inspection, handing victory to Al Stone III. Dana Dimatteo recorded his first career win at the Speedbowl in the 25-lap Legends Cars feature.

After taking his second consecutive win in the race, Yuhas was riding the high. “You’re going against two of the best drivers in the Northeast and maybe the country. To come out on top and keep this (win) at home, there’s nothing better.”

The strategy for the Yuhas-piloted, Murphy owned #4 prevailed in the end. “I kind of sat back once we got back up to third. Keith and Teddy were going back and forth, so I just saved my stuff to put myself in contention for the end.”
Rocco had winning on his agenda headed into the event, so second was a little bittersweet for the national champion. “Yuhas came in for tires. If we were all on the same playing field, we would have been the car to beat. But that’s the risk you take when you’re up front and don’t come in.” The second generation racer enjoyed his run with Christopher. “That was fun. I was just having fun there trying not to use up all my car battling, but it was a good show for the fans”.
There were 17 cautions that slowed the 150 lap event. The "Big Wreck" occurred with 60 laps to go when Todd Ceravolo made contact with the backstretch wall and collected a group of cars.

While there was Thunder along the shore at Waterford the D.Anthony Venditti Classic was taking place at the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts. The Modified Racing Series was on hand, 35 cars strong. Qualifying heats were won by Jon McKennedy, Richard Savory and Lou Mechalides. Jon McKennedy won the 100 lap contest and was followed by Todd Annarummo, Steve Masse, Ken Barry and Dave Berghman. Les Hinckley, Ryan Preece, Max Zachem, Jack Bateman and Louie Mechalides rounded out the top ten.

McKennedy held off the constant challenges of Savary for the first 70 laps. Annarummo, moved to second on a restart following a red flag situation due to a severe glare problem caused by bright sunshine that created a safety hazard for competitors. When the race resumed, Annarummo pressured McKennedy to the finish but was unable to get by the race leader.

The New York State based DIRT Modifieds had their big weekend at the one mile track at the Syracuse Fairgrounds. Billy Decker dominated the Salute to the Troops 150, the feature event Saturday. He won the race for 358-modifieds for the third year in a row and now has a total of 23 wins including qualifiers during Super DIRT Week. Decker started on the pole, led 87 of 150 laps.

Stewart Friesen became the first Canadian driver to win the big-block feature during Super DIRT Week on Sunday as he held off hard-charging Jimmy Phelps for the victory in the SEF 200. Friesen, 27. of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, won the race on speed and fuel economy, managing to go 132 laps on a tank of gas, which is unprecedented at the Syracuse Mile. Phelps finished second followed by Jimmy Horton, Kenny Tremont Jr., Ryan Godown, Vic Coffey, J.R. Heffner, Danny Johnson, Rick Laubach and Keith Flach. The win was worth $50,000.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00pm. NASCAR Now on espn2 can be viewed at 5:00pm on Tuesday thru Thursday. This weeks race programming begins Tuesday at 10:00pm on the Speed Channel with Race in 60 with a one hour summation of last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi Max 400 that was run at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. This program will be repeated on Wednesday at 10:00am. The entire event will be rerun at noon. Thursdays action heats up at noon on Speed with a rerun of last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 that was run at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. At 3:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for Sprint Cup practice at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. At 7:00pm espn2 covers Sprint Cup qualifying at Charlotte. Friday's action gets the green at 7:30pm with live coverage by espn2 of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Trackside (NASCAR) at Charlotte Motor Speedway follows at 11:00pm on Speed. Saturday's race coverage on Speed begins at 2:30pm with the Whelen Southern Modified Tour event that was run at Charlotte on Thursday. This event will be repeated on Saturday at noon. Speed goes live at 5:00pm with a two hour segment of RaceDay. At 7:00pm the action switches to ABC for the pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Rounding out the weekend on Sunday evening on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports was the only gainer as they went up 0.03 to 15.81. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.08 to 1.88 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.03 to 23.43. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.24 to 4.48 while fuel supplier Sun Oil jumped 2.64 to 39.23 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.72 to 11.57. The domestic car makers had a positive week while Toyota dropped 0.73 to 71.07. Ford went up 0.40 to 13.26 and General Motors went up 0.01 to 0.34. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.35 to 22.70 while Home Depot went up 0.07 to 31.89. For the most part the team sponsors had a good week. Dupont went up 1.81 to 46.66 while Coca-Cola went up 0.92 to 53.86, Target Department Stores went up 0.73 to 54.20 and Fedex went up 3.05 to 88.69. On the down side was Aaron's Rentals which dropped 0.94 to 17.22.

The International Speedway Corp. announced last week that its third-quarter net income fell 18 percent as the difficult economy continued to weigh on attendance at its motorsports events. The company attributed the lower profits to weak attendance at events, which it has sought to offset with television and media contracts. The company launched a restructuring in August that it hopes will cut operating costs by $20 million to $30 million starting in 2011.

National Speed-Sport News, an auto racing trade paper, reported last week that NASCAR appears (according to SportsBusiness Journal) on the verge of signing a significant sponsorship contract with Growth Energy, which produces Ethanol. Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR, will remain in that capacity with the possibility that NASCAR’s racing machines could make the eventual transition to a 15-percent Ethanol blend. NASCAR, Sunoco and Growth Energy are reportedly working through some concerns about the agreement.

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.

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