Tuesday September 30, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series attempted to move into the Stafford Motor Speedway last weekend for the annual Fall Final. With the forecast calling for heavy rain for Saturday, and Tropical Storm Kyle, which was predicted to intensify into a hurricane and approach the New England coastline on Sunday, the Stafford Motor Speedway announced that it has postponed its CARQUEST Fall Final to the weekend of October 10, 11, and 12.

The schedule for the Fall Final Weekend will remain the same. The 36th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend will kick off on Friday, October 10th with a practice session running from 2:00pm to 6:30pm for Stafford's weekly divisions. The General Admission grandstands will be open to the public at no charge for the practice session.

Ryan Preece was declared the winner of last weeks Martinsville race after Burt Myers was disqualified.
(Photo Credit: Howie Hodge/NASCAR)

Action will continue on Saturday, October 11th with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for both the Camping World Series and Whelen Modified Tour cars beginning at 2:00pm, followed by heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. Saturday's events wrap up with feature events for Stafford's SK Light Modified, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions, including the all-star Paradiso-Muska Shoot-Out for the DARE Stock division.

The Fall Final Weekend will wrap up on Sunday, October 12th with the famous Stafford CARQUEST Belts & Hose Pit Party kicking off the day's activities from 10:00am to 11:00am, with 370 laps of feature racing to follow. The Camping World Series 150-lap feature kicks off the day's events at noon live on HDNet at noon, followed by the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, the 150-lap Whelen Modified Tour feature, and the 30-lap Late Model feature will be the final feature event of the weekend and of the 2008 season at Stafford Motor Speedway.

Tickets for the 36th Annual CARQUEST Fall Final Weekend are now on sale at the Stafford Motor Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, $38.00 for reserved seats, and free for children ages 5 & under. Tickets are good for admission to the Saturday, October 11, and Sunday, October 12 portions of the Fall Final, with the Friday, October 10 practice session open the public free of charge. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers plenty of free parking with overnight weekend parking available. The overnight parking area will open Thursday morning, October 9th.

The tour now moves to Chemung Speedrome in New York State for a 120 Lap event this weekend.

One of the hot topics of discussion was the disqualification of Burt Myers from his Martinsville win. NASCAR Tech inspectors discovered that Myers had illegal gears in his transmission. Belated congratulations to Ryan Preece, Michael Boehler and the entire Boehler Racing team on their win.

In Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson International Speedway Jimmy Blewett won the battle in the Sunoco Modifieds but it was Kerry Malone winning the war. Fred Astle, Jr was the runner-up to George Bessette in Pro Stock action on Thursday Night to catapult him to the divisional championship. Jeff Zuidema was crowned as the 2008 Late Model Champion while Tommy O’Sullivan won the final regular feature event for the division. Chris “Moose” Douton was tops in a Limited Sportsman feature that found Scott Sundeen winning the championship. Kurt Vigeant, scored back-to-back championships in the TIS Modified division. Brian Sullivan was victorious in the final TIS Modified point race of season. Mike Romano did all he could; winning the Mini Stock feature; but, it was not enough to overtake Danny Field who earned the 2008 championship.

Blewett had the right combination of skill and luck to score his fifth Sunoco Modified victory of the 2008 season. Malone had the winning combination all year long, earning the Sunoco Modified 2008 track championship, his first Thompson title since 1993.

After two weeks of near incident free racing, the Sunoco Modifieds had a rough and tumble 35-lap feature. Before a lap could be completed, Todd Ceravolo backed into the inside wall on the backstretch. When the race went green, Josh Sylvester led with Tim Sullivan in tow as the top guns were dicing it up in traffic. Aggressive driving was the norm with cars sliding sideways and kicking up dirt. During the fray the likes of Blewett, Cravenho, and Rocco were swapping positions. Meanwhile championship contenders Malone and Danny Cates ran quietly deep in the pack. During an incident on the front stretch, Shawn Monahan got launched over a sliding Sullivan. Monahan landed, Sullivan kept going, and the green remained on the speedway. The caution did fly a lap later on the eighth circuit for a large piece of debris on the front stretch. On the ensuing restart, there was contact. Front row starters Josh Sylvester and Bert Marvin along with Keith Rocco, Cravenho and others getting involved. There was heavy damage to Cravenho and Marvin. Rocco and Cravenho were both able to continue.

When things shook out, Blewett had inherited the lead with Malone in second. Cates lined up third with Sullivan in fourth. Pitkat rounded out the top five. Under green, Blewett continued to lead with Cates glued to his back bumper. Pitkat had the best seat in third. Blewett withstood a pair of late race cautions to take his fifth win of the season. Cates, who never relented, capped off a stellar season with a second-place finish. Malone bested teammate Pitkat to finish third and to win his Sunoco Modified track championship. Sullivan rebounded nicely to finish fifth.Rounding out the top ten finishers were Shawn Monahan, Cravenho, Dave LaCroix, Brian McCarthy and Dave Nordman.

In the final Sunoco Modified point standings Danny Cates finished second, 20 points behind Malone. Jimmy Blewett finished up in third spot, two points behind Cates. Tom Cravenho finished in fourth spot with Ceravolo, fifth. A total of 58 different drivers entered into Sunoco Modified competition during the season.

At the Waterford Speedbowl it was also quiet, racing wise that is. Racing was cancelled due to the elements. The shoreline oval plans on running their Fall Finale this weekend. It is sincerely hoped that track operator Jerry Robinson can see his way clear to pay competitors who raced on Sept. 20.

Congratulations to second-generation driver Keith Rocco who has been crowned Connecticut State Champion for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Rocco raced at Waterford, Stafford and Thompson during the season. In 49 events he scored 32 top fives including 11 features. Rocco ran the majority of his races at the Waterford Speedbowl. Second in the NASCAR state standings is Woody Pitkat. Pitkat, who divided his time between Stafford and Thompson entered 29 events and recorded 13 top tens including six wins. Jimmy Blewett who divided his time between Thompson and Stafford finished third. Blewett raced in 25 events, recording 12 top tens that included four wins. Rounding out the top five in state standings were Doug Coby and Dennis Gada.

In TV land this week televised action on the Speed Channel begins on Thursday at noon with a replay of last weekend’s Sprint Cup event that was run at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. Friday at noon the action switches to the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL for NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying. Sprint Cup final practice follows at 3:30pm. NASCAR Live at Talledega goes at 4:30. At 5:00 its the ARCA RE/MAX Series ARCA RE/MAX 250 from Talladega. Trackside at Talladega follows at 7:30. Same day, taped delayed coverage of Sprint Cup practice at Talledega runs from 8:30 to 11:00pm. Saturday’s action begins at 1:00pm with Sprint Cup qualifying from Talledega. At 3:30 Speed goes live with the Craftsman Truck pre-race show which will lead to a 4:00pm start for the Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega. Sunday’s programming starts at 10:00am on ESPN2 with NASCAR Now. A two hour edition of NASCAR RaceDay follows at 11:00. At 1:00 the action switches to ABC for a one hour pre-race show that will lead in to a 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend on Sunday night with The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm. If you can stay awake ESPN2 has a one-hour NASCAR Now at 10:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week another all around down week with a few exceptions took place. All three speedway stocks took a hit. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.65 to 39.75 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.33 to 19.55 and Dover Downs dropped 0.16 to 5.66. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.23 to 6.93 as second division sponsor Nationwide went up 0.78 to 51.36. Fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.48 to 40.18 while tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.57 to 16.57. NASCAR team sponsor Coca-Cola had its third good week in a row as they went up 1.81 to 43.44. Dupont took a dive as they dropped 6.05 to 41.99. Target Department Stores dropped 1.85 to 51.47 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.33 to 26.95. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.91 to 26.46 and Lowes dropped 1.04 to 24.46. The parcel carriers also took it on the chin. Fedex dropped 8.52 to 81.56 and UPS dropped 3.26 to 64.39.Last but not least, The World Racing Group dropped 0.03 to 0.07.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. 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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