ARCHIVES

Tuesday October 22, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Thompson Speedway released a comprehensive seven race schedule for 2014. Speedway General Manager Josh Vanada made the announcement Sunday morning at the drivers meeting. The schedule will consist of three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series dates, The Icebreaker on April 5-6, Bud King of Beers 150 on Wednesday, August 15 and The World Series 150 on October 17-19. The Valenti Modified Racing Series will have two dates, Thursday, May 29 and at the World Series. The Granite State Pro Stocks will run as part of the Icebreaker and the World Series. Vanada further stated that all regular Thompson racing divisions will run at all races and NASCAR points will be awarded. Something new to New England racing will be segment style races will allow enough events to qualify for NASCAR Championships. This was done at Riverhead raceway last season.

Other dates for Thompson in 2014 are Thursday, May 15, Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, Sept 4. The speedway is working to implementing universal rules for all divisions which will afford competitors from other tracks to run without making extensive changes to their cars.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series closed out the 2013 season at the Thompson Speedway. There were 29 cars on hand. Defending Sunoco World Series 150 presented by Xtra Mart winner Bobby Santos secured the Coors Light Pole Award in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifying Saturday at Thompson Speedway. Santos had a fast lap of 18.712 seconds (120.244 mph) around the .625-mile oval for his fifth Coors Light Pole of the season, and 13th of his career overall. Mike Stefanik posted the second-fastest qualifying lap at 18.715 (120.224).

Fifteen divisions of race cars and trucks were in competition. There were 10 feature events Saturday evening after Bobby Santos posted the fastest time in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifying. Keith Rocco picked up the win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 75-lapper while NASCAR Whelen All American Series victories went to Adam Norton, Corey Hutchings, Rick Gentes, and Mike Viens. Duane Noll earned the New England Truck Series win while Dan Meservey picked up a win in the Pro 4 Modified Series. Outlaw wins went to George Rego, Mike Viens and Wayne Coury, Jr.

Keith Rocco ran a dominant race in the Valenti Modified Racing Series and was followed to victory lane by 2013 series champion Rowan Pennink. Many tried, but no one could knock Rocco from the point and he led wire-to-wire in the caution-filled race. Following Rocco and Pennink at the finish was Tommy Barrett, Jr., Richard Savary, Ted Christopher, Dave Etheridge, Jon McKennedy, Ryan Preece, Louie Mechalides and Brad VanHouten. There were 33 VMRS Modifieds on hand. It was Rocco's 29th feature win of the season.

The Sunoco World Series of Auto Racing presented by Xtra Mart was highlighted by an exciting NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour finish that saw Rowan Pennink drive to victory lane and Ryan Preece earn a solid third place finish to earn the series championship. Other feature winners on the final day of the World Series were Kerry Malone in the Sunoco Modified Series, John Zych, Jr. in NEMA midgets, Ben Seitz in ISMA action, and Larry Gelinas in the Granite State Pro Stock Series.

Rowan Pennink used a late-race pass on lap 133 to take the lead and eventual win in the Sunoco World Series 150 presented by Xtra Mart Sunday afternoon. The victory was Pennink’s second win in the series. Ryan Preece’s third place finish secured the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship for the driver, who becomes the youngest champion in series history at 22 years, 11 months and 25 days old. The championship also marks the second title for Flamingo Motorsports. The team previously won with driver Mike Stefanik in 2006.

Bobby Santos led Justin Bonsignore and Mike Stefanik at the start of the 150-lap event. Doug Coby brought out the first caution on lap four after spinning in the middle of turns one and two. Coby was then penalized a lap for pulling up to pit too soon. Santos continued to lead on the restart with Pennink moving up to second and Mike Stefanik in third. Santos showed no signs of wavering and held strong out front until caution at lap 38 slowed him down. The caution was brought out when Rob Fuller spun into the front stretch inside retaining wall. Pennink made a bid for the lead on the restart, but is challenge allowed Matt Hirschman and Mike Stefanik to go by for second and third respectively. Santos pulled ahead to a comfortable lead over Hirschman for several laps, but Hirschman reeled him back in and used the bottom groove to go by for the lead on lap 66.

Caution came out on lap 70 for Woody Pitkat and saw Hirschman come down pit road to pit. Santos assumed the lead for the restart, which quickly went back to yellow. The top-three - Santos, Stefanik, and Ted Christopher - elected to stay out rather than pit. Santos beat Christopher into turn one for the lead on the restart as Christopher and Ryan Preece battled it out for third. After a side-by-side battle with Christopher, Preece took the position and set his sights on Stefanik. He looked to the high groove and then shot down low to drive by for second on lap 83. Santos held off Preece on the restart following a quick caution period, but Preece was persistent and, on lap 92, drove to the bottom heading into turn three and took over the lead. Two separate incidents on the track brought out a caution at lap 98, but Santos still opted not to pit. He finally came down during a caution at lap 103.
 
Preece, Donny Lia, Ron Silk, Justin Bonsignore, and Pennink made up the top-five for the restart at lap 109. The field strung out single file with Preece holding strong out front. Caution slowed the pace and put Preece and Lia side-by-side for a restart at lap 123. Lia got the advantage and took over the lead going into turn three. Preece and Lia continued to battle and got door-to-door on lap 127, but Pennink wanted a piece of the action and moved in to the mix. Lia retained the lead with Pennink taking over the second spot after all the dust had settled. Lia drove to the front on a lap 133 restart with Pennink up to second. Pennink passed Lia for the lead on the following circuit and pulled away to a three-car length advantage. Pennink continued to pull away as Preece kept Lia busy with his challenges for second. Pennink had a half a straightaway lead as he approached the checkered flag for the coveted World Series victory. Lia settled for the runner-up spot with Preece, third. Bobby Santos came back from a late pit stop to finish fourth with Ron Silk, fifth. Max Zachem turned in a fantastic performance as he finished sixth. Matt Hirschman, who challenged Santos in the early going, came back from a late race spin and finished seventh. Doug Coby, Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top ten.

It was a highly competitive event with six lead changes among five drivers.

Kerry Malone led every lap en route to the Sunoco Modified Series victory on Sunoco World Series presented by Xtra Mart weekend. Malone’s win was no easy feat, however, as he had to hold off a hard charging Preece through countless restarts to make it to victory lane. Woody Pitkat finished third with Dennis Perry a solid fourth. Kyle James, in his first time at Thompson, finished fifth with Keith Rocco, sixth.

Other feature winners on the final day of the World Series were John Zych, Jr. in NEMA midgets, Ben Seitz in ISMA action, and Larry Gelinas in the Granite State Pro Stock Series.

Rumor has it that the New Smyrna Speedway may be the site of the "Battle at The Beach" come next February as a new MUSCO Lighting system is being installed for "TV quality lighting" . The MUSCO system will be up and running for the Governor's Cup event next weekend October 24th through 26th at NSS. Last years "Battle" which was held at the Daytona Speedway was a total fiasco and discredit to the teams that make up NASCAR's touring divisions

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.31 to 33.57. Speedway Motor Sports went up 0.41 to 19,62 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.10 to 2.40. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.40 to 6.40 anf NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.61 to 52.61 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.01 to 22.63. With the exception of Toyota which dropped 2.13 to 129.52, the car companies had a good week. Ford went up 0.42 to 17.53 and General Motors went up 0.64 to 35.89. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.63 to 74.69 and Lowes dropped 1.14 to 47.66. Team sponsor's stocks were all positive. Dupont went up 1.69 to 59.62, Coca-Cola went up 1.74 to 63.62, Target Department Stores went up 2.46 to 64.67, Aarons Rentals went up 0.49 to 28.65 and Fedex went up 10.57 to 126.44.

In TV Land this week:

10
22
Tues
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
10
22
Tues
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS2
 
10
23
Wed
11:00 AM
11:30 AM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
10
23
Wed
5:00 PM
5:30 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS2
 
10
24
Thurs
11:30 AM
12:30 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
10
24
Thurs
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS2
 
10
25
Fri
2:00 AM
2:30 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
25
Fri
9:00 AM
10:00 AM
NCWTS Practice
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
10:00 AM
10:30 AM
NASCAR Live
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
10:30 AM
12:00 PM
NCWTS Final Practice
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
12:00 PM
1:30 PM
NSCS Practice
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
3:00 PM
3:30 PM
NASCAR Live
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
3:30 PM
5:00 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
25
Fri
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
12:00 AM
12:30 AM
NASCAR Live
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
12:30 AM
2:00 AM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
2:00 AM
3:00 AM
NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Qualifying
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
10:30 AM
11:30 AM
NSCS Practice
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
11:30 AM
12:00 PM
NASCAR Live
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
26
Sat
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
NSCS Final Practice
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
26
Sat
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
NCWTS SetUp
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
26
Sat
1:30 PM
3:30 PM
NCWTS: Kroger 200
Martinsville
FS1
1:46 PM
10
27
Sun
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
NASCAR RaceDay
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
27
Sun
11:00 AM
12:00 PM
NASCAR RaceDay
Martinsville
FS2
 
10
27
Sun
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
NASCAR K&N Pro Series
All-American
FS1
 
10
27
Sun
1:00 PM
1:30 PM
NSCS Countdown
Martinsville
ESPN
 
10
27
Sun
1:30 PM
5:30 PM
NSCS: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Martinsville
ESPN
1:43 PM
10
27
Sun
7:00 PM
7:30 PM
NASCAR Victory Lane
Martinsville
FS1
 
10
27
Sun
11:00 PM
12:00 AM
NASCAR Now
 
ESPN2
 
10
28
Mon
1:00 AM
3:00 AM
NSCS: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
Martinsville
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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