For Tuesday Sept. 6, 2005

By Phil Smith
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia last Saturday night. With gasoline approaching the $3.50 per gallon mark there were not too many race fans heading south from New England. NASCAR Auto Racing, second only in popularity to the NFL, could take it on the chin in the upcoming months. A good percentage of fans travel with campers that get 5-7 miles per gallon. This alone will keep people home. There is nothing that NASCAR or the promoters can do as our congressmen and our President have chosen to take no action to stop the insane increases.

Forty-six Northern and Southern Modifieds were on hand for qualifying which was held on Friday night. Chuck Hossfeld was the quickest as he took the Busch Pole with a speed of 99.979 mph. Eric Beers was second fastest at 99.355 mph. Tony Hirschman, Don Lia and John Blewett III rounded out the top five. The top eight redrew for starting spots. Ted Christopher, who qualified seventh, drew the pole. Hossfeld drew the outside pole.

A 50 lap Last Chance qualifier, won by Reggie Ruggiero preceded what had to be one of the best attended stand alone, non Nextel Cup events at the Virginia oval. Years ago stand alone Modified events at Martinsville drew in excess of 20,000 fans.

Ted Christopher got back on track in his quest for the Whelen Modified Tour Series Championship, as he was able to out duel Mike Stefanik for the win. Christopher, who led a total of 164 laps of the 250-lap event, took the lead for the final time on lap 227. John Blewett III finished a strong third with Eric Beers and Doug Coby rounding out the top five. A total of 46 Modifieds were on hand.The Speed Channel taped the race which is tenatively scheduled to be shown sometime in December.

The Whelen Modified Tour Series heads for the Thompson Speedway this weekend for the annual Thompson 300. Ted Christopher has regained the Series point lead from Tony Hirschman. Jerry Marquis is third with Chuck Hossfeld fourth and Eric Beers, fifth.

Jeff Malave all but saw all his hopes for a NASCAR Division IV championship go up in smoke last Thursday night at the Thompson Speedway. Malave, a former Long Islander who now lives in Manchester, CT., was a scant two points behind Donny Reuvers of Shakopee, MN. Malave ended his night in the wall after Ronnie Silk made a bonsai move on Todd Ceravolo for the lead. Silk hit Ceravolo, spinning him to the infield. Malave got collected. Malave, who was quite upset stated that Silk had no business doing what he did. While Malave’s crew was trying to make repairs Ceravolo was given his spot back which allowed him to eventually record his third win of the season. Kerry Malone who had had a string of bad luck finished second. John Sandberg who is under suspension at Stafford finished third and was followed by Ricky Shawn and Ron Yuhas Jr. The Division IV Championship, which ends on September 18, is worth $25,000 to the winner. During the early going it appeared that Jimmy Blewett had a good chance of recording his first feature at Thompson when he was forced to retire with motor problems. Other Thursday night winners were Jeff Zuidema in the Late Models, Fred Astle Jr in the Pro Stocks, Danny Cates in the Limited Sportsman, Scott Michalski in the Mini Stocks and Leo Olivero in the Thompson Modifieds.

Jeff Malave’s bad luck carried over to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night. Malave hit the second turn wall on lap 33 of the 40 lap feature. Frank Ruocco led all but the first two laps of the feature as he notched the win. Woody Pitkat gave him some late race heat but in the end had to settle for second. Jeff Baral finished third with Mike Holdredge and Kenny Horton rounding out the top five. Other Friday night winners were Tom Fearn in the Late Models, Andrew Durand in the Limited Late Models and Mike Sweeney Jr in the DARE Stocks.

The Waterford Speedbowl continues to be a one-groove race track as Dennis Charette held his line on the bottom after taking the lead on the ninth lap of the 35 lap SK Modified feature. Rob Janovic finished second. Janovic started 14th. Ronnie Silk finished third with Don Fowler and Ron Yuhas rounding out the top five. Allen Coates was the Late Model winner with Bruce Thomas, second and Rob Summers finished third. Other Saturday night winners were Chis Bakaj in the Legends, Danny Field in the Mini Stocks and Dan Darnstaedt in the Sportsman.

In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation is now on every day, Monday thru Friday at 7:00pm. This weeks viewing begins on Wednesday at noon with last weeks Busch Series event in California. At 5:00pm its NASCAR Fast Forward which recaps the Nextel Cup and Busch Series events run in California, Later in the day the Outdoor Channel presents the World of Outlaws at 8:00pm. Thursday’s viewing begins at noon with a six-hour presentation including complete reshowings of last weeks Busch Series and Nextel Cup events in California. Speed goes live on Thursday at 8:00pm with the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks from Richmond, VA. Live coverage continues on Friday at 6:00pm with Nextel Cup qualifying from Richmond on TNT. The live action continues at 7:30 with the Busch Series Emerson Radio 250. The ARCA RE/Max Series from the Chicagoland Speedway goes live on Speed on Saturday at 2:00pm. At 7:00pm it’s back to TNT for the Nextel Cup Chevy Rock and Roll 400 from Richmond. 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 the devastation in Louisiana had its effects. Both Home Depot and Lowes ended the week on a positive note as did Sun Oil. Lowes went up 1.07 to 64.25 and Home Depot went up 0.52 to 40.33. Sun Oil, which jacked up their prises like everyone else in the oil industry, went up 1.96 to 75.25. Sun Oil has risen close to $10.00 a share since splitting on the first of August. Speedway stocks had a not so good week. Dover Downs went up 0.33 to 6.98 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 3.06 to 53.05 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.95 to 36.41. Nextel went up 0.07 to 25.46 and Action Performance went up 0.38 to 12.66. After three weeks of negative results Action Performance had a positive finish as they went up 0.38 to 12.66 and Boundless Motorsports went up 0.35 to 5.00. In the drug sector, Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.49 to 24.46 and Pfizer went up 0.44 to 25.33. It was not a good week for the parcel carriers as UPS dropped 2.35 to 68.98 and Fedex dropped 1.17 to 80.51.

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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