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Tuesday October 15, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Internet racing news site RaceDayCt recently announced that Hill Enterprises, which owns the No.79 driven by Woody Pitkat on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, would cease operations following the conclusion of their season at the Thompson Speedway this coming weekend. It is another spike in the heart of NASCAR's oldest series. While those at NASCAR continue to pat themselves on the back the Modifieds continue to die a slow death. The recent Fall Final at Stafford drew 25 cars, one less than at Loudon in September. The July Loudon event drew a season high of 32. The slimmest field was at Monadnock where 23 of the ground pounders showed.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series winds up its season this weekend with a 150 lapper at the Thompson Speedway, which is part of the annual World Series which wraps up racing in the northeast for another year.

If one were to look at the big picture of the future of NASCAR Modified Tour Racing one would see a bleak one. In addition to the Hills dropping out it looks like Mike Stefanik's days are numbered. Jamie Tomaino has said that once he sells his house in New Jersey he will pack it in and head south and Bob Garbarino, now in his mid-70's has hinted that his days on the tour are numbered. Where does that leave the Modified Tour in 2014? Maybe 21 or 22 cars if they are lucky.

Mario Fiore, who has 35 Modified Tour wins to his credit pretty much hit the nail on the head when he said " Everybody is trying to come-up with reasons why racing in our area is going down the tubes. Ever hear of Super Asphalt Week ???? Hell NO cause there ain't one. There is NO marque event at this level of racing on asphalt." He added, " New Hampshire pays $10 to 14 thousand, Bristol pays under $10 thousand, the Stafford Sizzler a total joke but the big DIRT event at Syracuse pays 50 large. Look no further for one of the reasons why racing in our area is failing miserably"

Keith Rocco scored a "two-fer" at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday and in the process re-wrote track history. Rocco wrapped up the 2013 season at Connecticut shoreline oval with 24 wins overall, breaking the record of 23 wins in one season set by Don Collins in 1960. Rocco won the rain delayed 50 lap Late Model feature and the 50 lap SK Modified Fall Finale. Rocco's scorecard shows he won 10 of the 24 SK Modified features run plus 12 of the 21 Late Model races run. He also scored wins in the Pro Four Modifieds and in the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

Other Saturday winners at the Speedbowl were Josh Galvin who scored a popular victory in the Street Stock race and Garrett Denton who won a special Mini Stock Shootout event.

Rocco’s record-setting victory in the SK Modified® race was not easy. He made a steady march to the front to move into second position on lap-16, trailing leader Kyle James. James, looked strong at the front and pulled away from Rocco during a green flag run that brought the race to lap-33. A caution flag enabled Rocco to pull outside of James for the restart, which he timed perfectly to power into the lead as the field completed lap-34. James wrecked out of second position on lap-38 trying to mount a challenge to reclaim the lead from Rocco, looking to have a car to contend. He made contact with the front stretch retaining wall before his car came to rest in turn one with suspension damage. Rocco had to master two restarts over Ted Christopher the rest of the way to earn the victory. Rocco got away following the final one to race to the win, his tenth of the year in the SK Modifieds®. Christopher finished in second and Craig Lutz of Miller Place, NY was third.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Lee USA Speedway last weekend as a part of their annual Octoberfest program. Thirty Modifieds were on hand. Tommy Barrett started 12th, pitted during a caution on lap 56 when his crew changed left side tires around. Barrett then made a determined march to the front to take the lead from Steve Masse on lap 91 and went on to score the win. Masse ennded up second with Jon McKennedy, third. Richard Savory and Les Hinckley rounded out the top five. Fourteen cars were on the lead lap at the finish.

In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Burt Myers took advantage of Ryan Preece's bad luck to take the lead and eventual win. Preece had set fast time and lead 138 of the season-ending UNOH Southern Slam 150 on the 1/4 mile flat track. Preece had engine trouble in the form of a broken rocker arm. Kyle Ebersole finished second with George Brunnhoelzl III in third spot. Brunnhoelzl, the first driver to win four tour titles overall, wrapped up his third straight tour championship by taking the green flag. Tim Brown was fourth, and Danny Bohn fifth.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 1.46 to 19.21. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.66 to 32.26 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.30. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.44 to 6.00 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.37 to 22.64 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.01 to 52.00. Two of the three car makers had positive endings. Toyota went up 3.64 to 131.65 and Ford went up 0.02 while General Motors dropped 0.45 to 35.25. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.54 to 76.32 and Lowes went up 0.66 to 48.80. In the land of team sponsorship Dupont dropped 0.72 to 57.93 and Coca-Cola went up 1.00 to 61.98, Aarons Rentals went up 0.41 to 28.16 and Fedex went up 1.14 to 115.87. Target Department Stores dropped 0.20 to 62.21.

CBS Sports Network will air six major events from the World of Outlaws and Super DIRT Week, as well as a special countdown show, beginning on Sunday, Nov. 3 and continuing each Sunday at 9:00 PM, ET through Dec. 22. Coverage on CBS Sports Network kicks off with a one-hour special program entitled World of Outlaws WOW!, documenting the "Top 10 reasons why they call it 'The Greatest Show on Dirt!'" The show features wild flips, great championship battles and much more.

The first race premieres Sunday, Nov. 10, with a two-hour telecast from Williams Grove Speedway. The coverage includes World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events this fall from Williams Grove Speedway and Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, in addition to the crown jewel 42nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week at the New York State Fairgrounds, and the World of Outlaws World Finals from The Dirt Track at Charlotte featuring the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars, World of Outlaws Late Models and Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds.
 

In TV Land this week:
 
10
16
Wed
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
10
16
Wed
5:30 PM
6:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS2
 
10
17
Thurs
2:30 AM
3:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
17
Thurs
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
NASCAR K&N Pro Series
Dover
FS1
 
10
17
Thurs
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
10
17
Thurs
5:30 PM
6:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS2
 
10
18
Fri
1:30 AM
2:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
18
Fri
10:00 AM
10:30 AM
NASCAR Live
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
10:30 AM
12:30 PM
NCWTS Final Practice
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
12:30 PM
1:00 PM
NASCAR Live
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
2:30 PM
3:30 PM
NSCS Practice
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
NASCAR Live
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NSCS Final Practice
Talladega
FS1
 
10
18
Fri
5:00 PM
7:00 PM
NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying
Talladega
FS2
 
10
19
Sat
1:00 AM
3:00 AM
NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying
Talladega
FS2
 
10
19
Sat
1:30 AM
2:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
19
Sat
3:00 AM
4:00 AM
NSCS Practice
Talladega
FS1
 
10
19
Sat
4:00 AM
5:00 AM
NSCS Final Practice
Talladega
FS1
 
10
19
Sat
5:00 AM
6:00 AM
NASCAR K&N Pro Series
Dover
FS1
 
10
19
Sat
12:00 PM
2:30 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Talladega
FS2
 
10
19
Sat
3:30 PM
4:00 PM
NCWTS SetUp
Talladega
FS1
 
10
19
Sat
4:00 PM
6:30 PM
NCWTS: fred's 250
Talladega
FS1
4:22 PM
10
20
Sun
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
NASCAR RaceDay
Talladega
FS1
 
10
20
Sun
1:00 PM
2:00 PM
NSCS Countdown
Talladega
ESPN
 
10
20
Sun
2:00 PM
6:00 PM
NSCS: Camping World RV Sales 500
Talladega
ESPN
2:20 PM
10
20
Sun
7:00 PM
7:30 PM
NASCAR Victory Lane
Talladega
FS1
 
10
20
Sun
11:00 PM
12:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
21
Mon
1:00 AM
3:00 AM
NSCS: Camping World RV Sales 500
Talladega
ESPN2
 


That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


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

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