For Tuesday Sept. 20, 2005

By Phil Smith

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, NH last Friday afternoon. It was good to see Mike Ewanitsko back in competition after a long time being on the sick list. Ewanitsko tested at Thompson on September 13 and appeared to be as sharp and fast as ever. There were 40 cars on hand including backups. One round of practice showed that Don Lia was the fastest. Second fastest was Steve Whitt. Late day rain washed out time trials. The field was set by points with Ted Christopher sitting on the pole with Tony Hirschman, in the outside pole slot.

Ted Christopher scored a one-two punch as he scored victories in the Whelen Modified Tour Series 100 and the Busch North Series 125. Mike McLaughlin pulled off a similar fete in 1990. Christopher battled with Mike Stefanik almost the entire 100-mile distance of the Modified event, taking the lead for the final time on lap 87. The big story of the day was the successful comeback of Mike Ewanitsko. Ewanitsko started 38th in the 39 car starting grid and by lap 40 found himself in the lead when many of the front runners pitted during a caution. Ewanitsko, who elected to go non-stop, actually led from lap 46 to lap 57. Ewanitsko remained in the front pack as he ended up fourth. Stefanik finished second with Chuck Hossfeld, third. Rounding out the top five was Eddie Flemke Jr. who made a strong bid from his 13th starting spot. It was good to see Donny Lia and Doug Coby racing side by side after their recent run-in at Thompson. Coby, who drives the Curt Chase entry from Mansfield, CT, ended up seventh after leading twice during the event. Tony Hirschman, who lost a little ground in his quest to repeat his series championship, finished sixth. Lia, Eric Beers and John Blewett III rounded out the top ten. Six cautions slowed the event.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series takes a week off this coming weekend before the beginning its final three race stretch drive which will see the Fall Final at Stafford on October 2, the rescheduled twin bill Busch North-Whelen Modified event at the Thompson Speedway on Saturday, October 8 and the season ending World Series at the Thompson Speedway on October 16.

Rain prevailed at the Thompson Speedway last Thursday night. Much needed rain drenched the northeast most of the day. Four race dates remain on the 2005 schedule. Weekly division track championships are far from being over. Four of the top five Sunoco Modified drivers are still mathematically eligible for the championship. Jeff Malave, with three wins, currently leads Bert Marvin by 66 points. Marvin has two wins. Defending Sunoco Modified Track Champion Todd Ceravolo, with three wins, sits 122 points back. Each event is worth 50 points which means that Ceravolo has an extremely outside chance of repeating his title. Kerry Malone and Ricky Shawn round out the top five. Charles Bailey III, with five wins, leads Woody Pitkat by a scant 20 points for the Late Model championship. Pitkat has three wins. The Pro Stock title chase is even tighter as Jeff Zuidema holds a scant six point lead over Norm Wrenn. In the Limited Sportsman division Glenn Boss, with six wins, holds a 106 point lead over Scott Sundeen. Last but not least, Ron Rixham holds an 8 point lead over Scott Michalski.

The Stafford Motor Speedway wrapped up its regular Friday night season on September 9. The 2005 schedule shows that 20 of the 21 scheduled events have been completed. The Fall Final, scheduled for October 2 will close out the year. No one has clearly dominated the tracks top division, the SK Modifieds, which had 12 different winners. Lloyd Agor, with two wins, has a two point lead over Todd Owen going into the Fall Final. Ted Christopher, who missed two events, sits third, some 42 points behind Agor. All three are still mathematically eligible to win the Championship. Frank Ruocco and Willie Hardie round out the top five. Second generation driver Keith Rocco is the odds on favorite to take Rookie of the Year honors. In 20 starts Rocco has recorded one win and 12 top tens. The Stafford Late Model division also has three drivers still eligible for Championship honors. Ryan Posocco, with 17 top tens including two wins holds a 38 point lead over Tom Butler who has four wins and 16 top tens. Ed Ricard, some 40 points behind, sits in the third spot. Jim Peterson and Scott Foster JR round out the top five. The DARE Stock Championship is equally as close as Joey Ferrigno holds a 14 point lead over Charlie Newman and Stacey Botticello who is 20 points in arrears. Michael Bennett is clearly the Limited Late Model Champion as he won 13 out of 20 races and holds a 98 point lead over Michael Nadeau.

Tickets for the three day Fall Final are priced fairly reasonable as General Admission is $35, Kids 6 to 14 is $5 and pit passes are $48.

Thunder and lightning prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Chuck Hossfeld made it to the Oswego Speedway in upstate New York to run in the 55th Race of Champions, which he won. It was a late night as the checkered flag waved at 2:00am on Sunday morning.

Congratulations to Jeff Malave and Ron Yuhas JR who will receive season end bonus’ for their top finishes in Division IV of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Malave, who competes weekly at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the Thompson Speedway, finished third in the Weekly Series and will receive $12,500 for his efforts. Yuhas, who competes weekly at the Waterford Speedbowl and at the Thompson Speedway will receive $12,000. Donny Reuvers, who competes at the Elco and Shakopee Speedways in Minnesota, is the Division IV Champion.

In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation now airs on Monday 7:00pm. This weeks viewing begins on Tuesday at 3:00pm with a one hour recap of the recent Nextel Cup event at Loudon, NH. Last Saturday’s Nascar Craftsman Truck event run at Loudon gets the rerun treatment at 4:00pm Wednesday’s action begins at 5:00pm with NASCAR Fast Forward which highlights the racing held in New Hampshire over the weekend. At 8:00pm the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws. Last weekend’s Sylvania 300 from Loudon gets the rerun treatment on Thursday at 3:00pm. Friday’s viewing starts at 11:00am with the USAR Hooters Cup. Same day coverage of Busch Series and Nextel Cup qualifying from Dover Downs begins at 2:00pm. Speed goes live from Dover at 5:00pm for a half hour recap of the day’s activities. At 5:30 it’s the Aug 20 Busch North Series event that was run at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA. The action switches to TNT on Saturday at noon for Nextel Cup final practice from Dover. TNT continues their coverage with the Busch Series Dover 200 at 1:00pm. Speed News Saturday and NASCAR Live on Speed will show the highlights at 7:00pm. The Speed Channel switches to the Las Vegas Speedway at 9:00pm for live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Las Vegas 350. NASCAR This Morning on Sunday at 11:00am will provide a 90 minute preview to the Nextel Cup Race Points 400 which goes live on TNT at 12:30pm. Speed News Saturday wraps up the day’s activities at 7:00pm. NASCAR Victory Lane, from 8:00 – 9:00pm and Wind Tunnel from 9:00 – 11:00pm wrap up the weekend’s racing. Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week just about everything racing related, with the exception of Action Performance and parcel carriers Fedex and UPS, was on the negative side. Action Performance went up 0.04 to 12.71. UPS went up 0.48 to 68.98 and Fedex rose 0.33 to 80.09. All three speedway stocks were in the red. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.28 to 53.57, Dover Downs dropped 0.16 to 6.86 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.10 to 36.89. Nextel/Sprint drew a negative as they fell 0.52 to 25.26. Sun Oil took a big hit as they dropped 6.27 to 73.38. Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.14 to 3.65 while Boundless Motorsports showed a no change at 5.00. In the drug sector, Pfizer dropped 0.39 to 25.94 and Bristol Meyers Squib dropped 0.11 to 25.00. The home improvement sector was also off. Lowes dropped 2.82 to 65.27 and Home Depot dropped 0.28 to 39.94.

ESPN reported last week that NASCAR wants a federal judge to dismiss a $400 million lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway, calling the action "a study in contradictions and irony." The lawsuit seeks to force NASCAR to award the track a Nextel Cup race. In a separate filing, another defendant, International Speedway Corp., asked U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman to dismiss the case, move it to a federal court in Florida and to schedule a hearing in which oral arguments can be presented. The filings were made Monday in Covington [KY]. Kentucky Speedway filed suit July 13 against NASCAR and ISC, both of which are controlled by the France family, alleging the companies have violated federal antitrust laws by illegally restricting the awarding of Nextel Cup races. The speedway, located in Sparta in Gallatin County, currently has NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck series races on its schedule. It's one of several tracks that have unsuccessfully sought a race in the elite Cup series. The suit also alleges antitrust violations relating to various restraints of trade involving the Busch and Craftsman Truck events. NASCAR sanctions and oversees its racing series, while ISC owns or controls 12 of the 22 tracks on which the Cup cars currently race. NASCAR did not include a date at Kentucky Speedway on its recently released Cup schedule for 2006. In their filings, NASCAR and ISC deny the antitrust allegations and use pointed language to criticize the speedway. ISC's filing calls the speedway's allegations "thinly concealed expressions of bitterness against a more successful promoter." ISC contrasted its 52 years of experience in promoting races to that of the 5-year-old speedway, which ISC says "is led by a group with no experience" promoting top NASCAR races. ISC also emphasized its claim that it is a separate company from NASCAR. NASCAR said "that Kentucky Speedway's real complaint is that it has not been awarded a Nextel Cup race so as to participate further in the success of NASCAR." It compared the speedway's complaint to a horse racing track trying to bid to host one of the three legs of that sport's Triple Crown. NASCAR contends that 11 contracts that the speedway signed between October 1999 and July 2005, for the running of Busch and Craftsman Truck races, contained a clause that specified that any lawsuit regarding the speedway's NASCAR-sanctioned races would be brought in Florida.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

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