Tuesday October 9, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour enjoyed a weekend off as competitors prepare for the season ending World Series of Speedway Racing at the Thompson Speedway this coming weekend.

With one race remaining Doug Coby holds a 17-point lead over Ryan Preece and 18 over defending tour champion Ronnie Silk. Donny Lia and Justin Bonsignore round out the top five but have been mathematically eliminated from championship contention.

In addition to the NASCAR Modifieds the following divisions will also have feature events: Modified Racing Series 75L, ISMA Super Modifieds 50 laps, NEMA Midgets - Sunoco Modifieds 30L, Super Late Models 50L, Late Models 25L, Lite Modifieds 15L, Thompson Modifieds 20L, Ltd. Sportsman 20L, Mini Stocks 15L, Plus Pro Four Modifieds, New England Truck Series, and Outlaw Divisions (Rain Date 19-21). Adult admission is $55, Juniors $10 and pit area admission is $75. Tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the speedway management will properly police the placement of campers as they usually hog up three to five times the space they normally need and take away from spectator parking.

The big event for last weekend was the annual D. Anthony Venditti Memorial at the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA. Venditti, along with his wife Irene built the quarter mile with their bare hands. The speedway has been operated continuously by the Venditti family since opening day in 1946.

The highlight of the weekend was the Valenti Modified Racing Series 100. The event drew 33 Modifieds. Rowan Pennink started on the pole and led the entire race receiving pressure early on from Geoff Gernhard, Steven Masse, Todd Annarummo and again from Masse on laps 50-53 when the fifth caution flag was displayed then followed by a red flag when the skies opened to end the event. With 53 laps completed the race by rule was officially completed. Pennink’s win, his sixth VMRS victory, is his first Seekonk victory, his second victory this season, and he clipped 20 points off Jon McKennedy’s point lead as the two battle it out for the series championship with two races remaining. Pennink entered the day 57-points behind McKennedy. The points now show McKennedy with 530 and Pennink with 493.

The rains ended what was shaping up to be another classic finish at the famed oval. Masse and Annarummo were strong with a hard charging Les Hinckley who started 13th and running fourth at lap 53, methodically working his way to the front. Rounding out the top five was Geoff Gernhard. Sixth through tenth were Mark Bakaj, Max Zachem, Norm Wrenn, Tim Jordan and Jon McKennedy.

In other Seekonk action Derek Ramstrom captured the 50 lap Pro Stock feature.

In weekend action at the Waterford Speedbowl Mother Nature interfered with Waterford Speedbowl’s Finale Weekend on Sunday afternoon after just two of the scheduled six races were completed. The visiting Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) and INEX Legend Cars races were finished before the rain began to fall. Scoring the two race victories were Russ Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA in the 25-lap NEMA feature and Dave Garbo Jr. of Stonington in the Legend Cars.

The scheduled 50-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Mini Stock feature was halted after 22 laps due to wet weather. The remainder of that race, along with the rest of the scheduled races, were postponed until Saturday, October 27. Sunday’s event was rain-checked by management, meaning ticket stubs and wristbands from Finale Weekend will be honored on October 27. The October 27 date will include racing by the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds, Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Models, Street Stocks and the remaining 28-laps of the Mini Stock feature. There were 29 SK Modifieds on hand.

The Speedbowl Management's cash drawer at the pit gate was bulging as over 200 race cars jammed Waterford Speedbowl’s pit area on Saturday for its Finale Weekend of racing. Qualifying racing for thirteen divisions along with eight main events took place over the day, with six more races being set for Sunday at the track.

Taking NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories Saturday were Corey Hutchings in the Street Stocks and David Webb in the SK Light Modifieds. Duane Noll won an entertaining Outlaw Stock feature, Dylan Duhaime was the winner of the NEMA Lite series feature and Ivoryton racer Mark Panaroni won the visiting Northeast Mini Stock Tour race. Rounding out feature winners included Eric Finkbein Jr. in the Super X-Cars, Scott Limkemann in the X-Cars and Rene Morgillo in the Bandoleros.

Keith Rocco passed Dylan Duhaime with three laps to go to win the 25-lap NEMA Lites feature but was disqualified after NEMA officials stated the wing on his Midget was not approved.

The big ball will be dropping in Times Square in New York City on New Years Eve but there will be Thunder in Providence RI as Len Sammons Motorsports Productions has announced that Indoor Auto Racing returns to the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence on New Years Eve.

In action on the tube this week last Sunday's Sprint Cup race that was held in Talladega will be re-run on the Speed Channel at noon on Wednesday. Speed goes live on Thursday at Charlotte with Nationwide Series practice at 2:00pm. Sprint Cup practice follows at 3:30pm. Nationwide Series final practice goes at 6:00pm, also on Speed. Viewing shifts to ESPN2 at 7:00pm for Sprint Cup pole qualifying at Charlotte.

Friday nights viewing begins at 4:00pm on ESPN2 with Nationwide Series qualifying at Charlotte. Sprint Cup series final practice at Charlotte follows at 5:30pm on ESPN2. At 7:00pm the action moves to ESPN for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Charlotte. This race will be repeated at 4:00am on ESPN2 on Saturday morning.

Saturday's race viewing begins with a two hour RaceDay on Speed at 5:00pm. The action moves to ABC at 7:00pm for the Pre-race show that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. This event will be re-run on ESPN2 at 2:30am on Sunday morning.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the week. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.64 to 16.04 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.08 to 1.47 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 3.06 to 25.31. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.32 to 5.20 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.08 to 46.75 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.55 to 12.74. Two of the three car makers had a positive week. Ford went up 0.20 to 10.16 and General Motors went up 2.05 to 24.80 while Toyota dropped 0.81 to 77.70. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 2.83 to 63.20 and Lowes went up 1.53 to 31.77. With the exception of Aarons Rentals which dropped 0.11 to 27.70 the big team sponsors showed positive results for the week. Dupont went up 0.08 to 50.35, Coca-Cola went up 1.35 to 69.45, Target went up 0.71 to 64.18 and Fedex went up 1.85 to 86.47.

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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