Tuesday October 30, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their season Saturday, and championships were decided in both the SK Modified and Street Stock events. Jeff Rocco, twin brother to Keith Rocco, took his first career victory in the 50-lap SK Modified race while Tyler Chadwick of Ledyard secured his first ever Speedbowl title in the division. Walt Hovey left no doubt in the Street Stocks, winning both the race and the track championship. Also winning races Saturday were Bruce Thomas Jr in the Late Models and Ken Cassidy Jr. in the Mini Stocks.

Rocco was the man to beat once he made his way into the race lead. Craig Lutz started in the pole position and led through a lap 3 restart. Lutz gave way to Kyle James while Rocco moved into second position. Another caution on lap 5 enabled Rocco to line up alongside James for the ensuing restart. Rocco powered past James when racing resumed, leading lap 6. Rocco survived four more restarts the rest of the way.

Todd Ceravolo finished out the year on a high note, finished second to Rocco in the SK Modified race while Shawn Monahan came from the rear to finish third. Jeff Rocco is the twin brother of two-time track champion Keith Rocco. Chadwick began the event with a 21-point lead over Jeff Pearl. He finished the race ninth, running a cautious race to stay out of trouble and claim the crown.

Thomas led throughout the Late Model race, with Jeff Smith finishing second and Dillon Moltz the champion in the division, finishing third.

Hovey rose to the lead on lap 24 in the Street Stocks race then survived multiple caution flags over the remainder of the race. Corey Hutchings was second and Chris Meyer came in third. Cassidy resumed the final 28 laps of the Mini Stock race from a lead he held back on October 7th when rain halted the race. Ray Christian III of Norwich was second and Jeff Cembruch finished third. Cassidy's victory was his 12th of the year in the division, good for the all-time single season record in division wins.

On a sad note Auto Racing lost a true friend with the passing of Charlie Mitchell. Charlie was well known and highly respected by his peers for his writing in the Norwalk (CT) Hour. Charlie was the dean of New England racing writers. The respect he had from competitors, from promoters, from fans and, especially from other media members, remains unparalleled. Having Charlie in the press box signified that it was indeed an event worthy of coverage. He brought the skills he used covering other sports to auto racing. He was one of a tiny group that was instrumental in making our sport part of the general media scene. In that regard, he was a revolutionary figure in New England auto racing history.

With the 2012 Stafford Motor Speedway season concluded, the speedway will honor its track champions at the 43rd Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 16th at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor.

In addition to recognizing the 2012 track champions, other prestigious awards, including Most Improved Driver, Most Popular Driver, the SPAFCO Race Chassis & Parts Rookie of the Year Awards, and the UNOH Ultimate Track Mechanic of the Year Award will also be presented. Stafford Motor Speedway will also recognize the top-20 finishers from the 2012 SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock points standings.

Headlining the night’s festivities, Ted Christopher will be recognized as the 2012 SK Modified® Champion, which is his 8th career SK Modified® championship; Woody Pitkat will be honored as the 2012 Late Model track champion for the second time in his career; Zach Aszklar will be honored as the SK Light Modified champion; Cory Casagrande will be honored as the 2012 Limited Late Model track champion; and Cliff Saunders will be honored as the 2012 DARE Stock track champion. Aszklar, Casagrande, and Saunders are each first-time champions.

Stafford Motor Speedway Most Popular Driver candidates include Todd Owen, Ryan Preece, and Kyle Spencer from the SK Modified® division, Tom Fearn, Jim Peterson, and Woody Pitkat from the Late Model division, Jay Goff, Dylan Kopec, and Ronnie Williams from the SK Light division, David Arute, D.J. Burnham, and Duane Provost from the Limited Late Model division, and Andy Marchese, Doug Phelps, and Cliff Saunders from the DARE Stock division. The Most Popular Driver winners were voted upon by the fans, who submitted Most Popular Driver Ballots from the PitStopper Magazine to the Speedway Office throughout the 2012 season.

Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year honors will go to Matt Galko from the SK Modified® division, Kevin Gambacorta from the Late Model division, Joey Ferrigno from the SK Light division, and Josh Wood from the Limited Late Model division.

The Most Improved Driver Award will be presented to one driver each from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light Modified, and Limited Late Model divisions who exhibits the greatest degree of improvement in on-track performance over the past season. Most Improved Driver winners are selected and voted upon by a committee of Stafford Motor Speedway management and track officials.

The UNOH Ultimate Track Mechanic of the Year Award will be presented to the registered Stafford mechanic whose driver scored the most points in their best 14 finishes this season at Stafford.

Tickets to the 43rd Annual Stafford Motor Speedway Champions Awards Ceremony are $45 per person and can be ordered by calling the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or by downloading an order form from and mailing the form to the track office.

The Big Block Modifieds of DIRT will be showcased on the Speed Channel this coming Saturday night at 8:00pm as they will broadcast The World Finals from The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The Modifieds will be joined by the World of Outlaw Sprint Cars and the World of Outlaw Late Models as all three series wrap up their seasons and crown champions.

In action on the tube this week last weekend's Sprint Cup race that was held at the Martinsville Speedway will be re-run on Wednesday at noon on the Speed Channel. On Thursday at noon the recent Super Dirt Modified 200 will be replayed. Speed goes to Texas on Friday for Sprint Cup practice at 12:30pm. At 2:00pm will be Nationwide Series practice at Texas followed by Truck Series practice at 3:00pm. At 4:30 the action shifts to ESPN2 for Sprint Cup qualifying. The action shifts back to Speed at 6:00pm for Nationwide Series practice and live coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at the Texas Speedway.

Saturday's action begins at 3:00pm with Sprint Cup practice at the Texas Speedway. Nationwide Series qualifying follows at 4:00pm. Final practice for the Sprint Cup cars goes at 5:30pm on Speed. At 7:30pm the action shifts to ESPN for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Fort Worth 200.

Sunday's viewing begins at noon with a two hour segment of RaceDay on Speed. At 2:00pm the action shifts to ESPN for the Sprint Cup pre-race show that will lead to the start of the AAA Texas 500 at 3:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. Speedway Motorsports went down 0.69 to 17.02 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.68 to 25.49 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.03 to 1.44. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.16 to 5.49 and NASCAR Tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.37 to 11.02 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil/Energy Transfer went up 0.70 to 42.95. With the exception of Ford going up 0.18 to 10.36 the car makers were down for the week as General Motors dropped 1.31 to 23.28 and Toyota dropped 0.47 to 77.36. The home improvement sector took a hit despite a run on plywood because of Hurricane Sandy. Home Depot dropped 1.85 to 60.04 and Lowes dropped 1.28 to 31.36. In the area of major team sponsorship Target Department Stores went up 1.69 to 63.92 and Aaron's Rentals went up 2.65 to 30.15 while Dupont dropped 4.16 to 45.18, Fedex dropped 1.42 to 90.69 and Coca-Cola dropped 0.21 to 68.35.

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 © 2012 & - 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 © 2006-2012 Phil Smith