Tuesday September 21, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH last weekend for the F.W. Webb 100 which carried a race purse of $166,513. Thirty five Modifieds were on hand for practice and qualifying. NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor Ryan Newman won the Coors Light Pole Award with a speed of 129.300 mph. Second fastest and taking the outside pole was Todd Szegedy who went 127.816mph. Third through fifth were Ryan Preece, Bobby Santos JR and Ed Flemke Jr. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Stefanik, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Goodale, Erick Rudolph and defending race winner Ron Silk.

Ryan Newman didn't do the Whelen Modified Tour Series any favors as he won the FW Webb 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. For the most part Newman had the field covered as it looked they regular tour runners were racing for second place. Jimmy Blewett, who triggered a big wreck on lap 37 that eliminated Ted Christopher, Ed Flemke Jr and Jamie Tomaino, provided some last lap drama as he made an unsuccessful run at Newman. Blewett ended up second. It was a big day point wise for Mike Stefanik. Stefanik finished third and closed to within two points of series leader Bobby Santos III. Stefanik was in the hunt all day but had nothing for Newman. Doug Coby made a remarkable run as he came from starting dead last to finish fourth. Coby also had a shot at Newman on the final restart but fell short. Rounding out the top five was Ron Silk. Sixth through tenth were Dale Quarterly, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Goodale, Joe Hartmann and Rookie sensation Richie Pallai Jr.
There were 16 changes involving 6 drivers which made for much excitement on the track they call the magic mile. There were seven cautions for 28 laps. The first yellow was displayed on lap seven when Glen Reen and Rowan Pennink spun and crashed in turn two. Pennink was all done for the day after the incident. The second caution flew on lap 28 when James Civali spun the Roger Hill No. 79 in turn four. Civali had handling issues all day as he finished in 17th spot. The third caution was for Rob Summers and Andy Seuss who wrecked on the front stretch. The fourth caution was one of the biggest wrecks of the day which was triggered when Jimmy Blewett got into Ed Flemke Jr in turn four. Blewett drove away while Mike and Ted Christopher along with Kevin Goodale , Richard Savory and Justin Bonsignore were eliminated. Flemke continued on for 20 more laps before calling it a day in 26th spot. The fifth caution was displayed on lap 66 when Jake Marosz spun in turn two. George Brunnhoelzl III and Rene' Dupuis spin on lap 92 brought out the sixth caution and the seventh and final caution was brought out when Ryan Preece and Bobby Santos made contact between turns three and four which resulted in both taking a hard shot into the wall which eliminated them as well as Glen Reen. Santos was credited with 19th spot in the final rundown. Preece ended up 20th and Reen, 21st.

Thursday night Thunder Racing at the Thompson Speedway was cancelled due to a forecast of heavy rain and high winds for northeast Connecticut. Mother Nature handed NASCAR Whelen All-American division championships to Sunoco Modified driver, Ted Christopher and Mini Stock driver, Chuck Rogers. Both Christopher and Rogers had built up enough track points to clinch their crowns before the final points race on September 26th.

Christopher had an exceptional 2010 season at Thompson. He started his remarkable season with a win on Icebreaker weekend and went on to claim nine more victories. His 2010 record shows fourteen finishes in the top five. The 2010 crown for the Plainville, CT driver is his third Sunoco Modified title in the past ten years.

Chuck Rogers of Quaker Hill, CT claimed his first Thompson championship by being both fast and consistent. Rogers did not visit victory lane but he secured twelve top ten finishes with five of those in the top five. That effort enabled him to gather enough points to put himself sixty makers ahead of his nearest competitor, Jeff Moffat. This division title is a first for Rogers at the Thompson International Speedway.

With two track titles settled, four more remain to be determined. The Super Late Model division is far from settled with Derek Ramstrom holding onto a slim two points advantage over both Larry Gelinas and Mike O’Sullivan who are tied in points.

The Tour-Type Modifieds will top the race card at Thompson International Speedway this coming Sunday, September 26th. This will mark the 4th appearance of the year for these ultra fast racers and they will help to draw down the curtain on weekly racing for the season. Upon completion of this race, which will consist of seven different divisions of competition, the track will then turn its attention to the annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by XTRAMART.

The Stafford Speedway was back in action with its final Friday night program. Ryan Preece outdueled Woody Pitkat to score his first career SK Modified® feature victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Ryan Posocco scored his fourth win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Tommy Barrett, Jr. scored his 10th win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, George Nocera, Jr., won his second consecutive feature of 2010 in spectacular fashion by crossing the start/finish line sideways in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Jeff Jolly scored his third win of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

The Fall Final on October 3 will close out the 2010 racing season.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl defending division champion Ron Yuhas Jr. took the lead on the 18th lap and was able to keep it on four separate restarts to take the checkered flag in Saturday's 35-lap SK-Modified feature. Yuhas was pressured by some of the division's top drivers, including national champion and current division leader Keith Rocco, Rob Janovic Jr., Todd Ceravolo and Tyler Chadwick, but was able to pull out the win, holding off a late charge by Rocco, who finished second. Tucker Reynolds Jr. was third, followed by Joe Perry and Jeff Pearl.

Other winners on Saturday were Bill Leonard (Mini Stocks), Anthony Flannery (Legends) and Corey Coates (A.B. CDL Trucks).

In some good news, Speedway Illustrated is back on track. And some familiar names are in the driver’s seat, ready to steer it in the right direction. Karl Fredrickson, publisher of Traction Media, has acquired the rights to Speedway Illustrated and will resume its publishing schedule. Fredrickson stated if you have an active subscription to Speedway Illustrated, Traction Media will honor it, even though it is under no obligation to do so. Said Fredrickson, “It’s about doing the right thing and treating people fairly.”

Back on board are Bones Bourcier, Joyce Standridge, Mike Adaskaveg, Lew Boyd, Rob Sneddon, J.A. Ackley, Dan Anderson, and the rest of the award-winning editorial team – including the magazine’s founder and namesake. Yes, Dick Berggren, who launched Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated in 2000 but left the magazine in 2009, has returned.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00pm. NASCAR Now on espn2 can be viewed at 5:00pm on Tuesday thru Thursday. This weeks race programming on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 10:00pm with Race in 60 which highlights last weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 that ran at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This program repeats at 10:00am on Wednesday. Speed replays the entire Loudon Sprint Cup event at noon on Wednesday. Thursdays race programming on Speed starts at noon with last weekends NASCAR K&N Pro Series East New Hampshire 125 that was run at Loudon. Last years Sprint Cup race at Dover airs at 1:00pm. Seven hours of coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction in the Arena at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas follows at 4:00pm. Speed goes live at Dover on Friday at 11:00am. Sprint Cup practice follows at 11:30am. At 1:00pm the action switches to espn2 for two hours of Nationwide Series practice from Dover. Sprint Cup qualifying from Dover follows at 3:00pm. Speed has another seven hour session of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction starting at 4:00pm. Saturday's action begins at 10:30am on espn2 with Nationwide Series qualifying at Dover. Sprint Cup practice on Speed follows at 12:30pm. The action moves to espn2 at 3:00pm for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 3:30 start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover 200. At 9:30pm the Speed Channel will provide live coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Las Vegas 350 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada. Sunday's viewing begins at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. A two hour session of NASCAR RaceDay on Speed follows at 10:00am. The action switches back to espn2 at noon for the Sprint Cup pre-race program that will lead to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA 400 at the Dover Intl. Speedway. Rounding out the day on the Speed Channel is The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market all three speedway stocks had positive results. Leading the pack was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.90 to 24.45. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.71 to 15.68 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.15 to 1.78. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.01 to 4.44 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.79 to 34.25. Tire supplier Goodyear had a good week as they went up 0.81 to 11.16. The car builders had a positive week. Ford went up 0.70 to 12.49 while General Motors went up 0.02 to 0.36 and Toyota went up 0.91 to 71.51. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.21 to 29.89 while Lowes dropped 0.50 to 21.02. Some of the team sponsors had a good week while others didn't. Dupont went up 1.66 to 43.95 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.88 to 50.40. Target Department Stores went up 0.68 to 53.74 while Aarons Rentals went up 0.10 to 16.70. Fedex had a down week as they dropped 1.88 to 82.28.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, 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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