Tuesday September 28, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads for the Stafford Motor Speedway this weekend for the annual Fall Final. Going into this weekend Bobby Santos holds a slim seven point edge over Mike Stefanik (1845-1838). Ted Christopher sits 70 points out of the lead and 63 behind Stefanik. Rounding out the top five are Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy. Sixth through tenth are Ryan Preece, Eric Goodale, Erick Rudolph, Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers. Justin Bonsignore, who was knocked out of the top ten after an accident at Loudon, is still the leading Rookie of the Year candidate as he leads Richie Pallai by four points.

The Modifieds will time trial at 3:00pm on Saturday. The Versus Network will televise the event which is scheduled to be shown on Wednesday, October 6 Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, October 10 at 11:00pm The Fall Final on October 3 will close out the 2010 racing season.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour made its first visit to Tri-County Motor Speedway in North Carolina last Saturday night. MadHouse star Burt Myers passed John Smith with five laps to go to record his first win of the season in the Tri-County 150. It was Myers' seventh career win and first since he was credited with a victory as the highest finishing NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in the combination race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in Sept. of 2009. Smith wound up second, followed by Andy Seuss in third. Brandon Hire finished fourth and James Civali fifth.

There were 12 lead changes among six drivers with Civali using his bonus points for leading a lap to hold on to the points lead by just three points over Seuss (1,460-1,457). Myers started fifth. There were five caution periods for 21 laps. Twelve of the 19 starters finished on the lead lap.

The Tri-County 150 will air on VERSUS on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. and re-air on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 11 p.m. The 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season will conclude on the quarter-mile on the front stretch of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 14.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Kyle James of Ashaway, RI drove a great race to claim his first career SK Modified® win. Keith Rocco of Wallingford used a third place finish to clinch the division track championship and finish off his sensational season. Tim Jordan of Plainfield won his fourth Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature. Brandon Plemons of Uncasville was the Street Stock winner, his second checkered flag of the year. Waterford native Chris Williams won the Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock feature, another second time winner in 2010. Allen Coates of Ledyard and Howard Payne of Shelton split the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck races.

Ron Yuhas closed in to James’ bumper for the final two laps as Rocco made it a three-car race for the win. James held the bottom lane and did a masterful job as he went on to take his first career win in the division in his first season behind the wheel of a Modified. Yuhas was second ahead of Rocco in third. Diego Monahan and Tucker Reynolds rounded out the top-five.

Ace Photographer Howie Hodge reported that Ted Christopher won the ISMA Supermodified race on Saturday night (9/25) in Berlin, Michigan driving the Clyde Booth 61. In 1999, Christopher climbed aboard a Paul Dunigan –owned supermodified for the first time ever. It was at Thompson Speedway. He started dead last. He won. Saturday at Berlin Raceway in Michigan, Ted climbed into the Clyde Booth 61 for the first time, at a track he’d never seen before, started dead last and won! As Ted put it in victory lane, he was two for two in his supermodified competition. Not a bad record to say the least. But put the Plainville, CT driver in a good car – in any division – and he’ll race it to the max, even the tough, ultra fast, winged supermodifieds. Although new to the Midwest crowd, those who had seen the ultra-talented shoe race from Modifieds to full-bodied NASCAR cars and anything in between, were not surprised.

The Thompson Speedway ran a make-up event last Sunday which closed out their regular racing season. In a somewhat surprising announcement Special Consultant Ben Dodge hinted that the speedway management is thinking of possibly dropping Thursdays off their weekly schedule and going back to Sundays. Dodge asked the competitors what they thought of the change. This writer's opinion is to leave well enough alone. The attendance on Thursdays has been good. The shows are good and they get over early. Moving to Sundays will not improve attendance, chances are during the summer months it will hurt. With racing on Thursdays the race fan can have his cake and eat it too! Fans get their weekly racing fix without interfering with family activities on Sundays. Chances are moving to Sundays won improve car counts. The only thins that will improve car counts are higher purses and a better economy. Just my opinion!

On a blustery Sunday, the 2010 champions were crowned in all six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions at Thompson International Speedway. The evening also featured what would ultimately be the fourth leg of the Tour-Type Modified Shootout originally scheduled for August 5, 2010. Mike Stefanik of Coventry, RI, who crossed the stripe in second, was declared the winner of the event after post race technical inspection. At the checkers, it appeared as if Long Islander Justin Bonsignore had posted his first Modified victory at Thompson. Officials deemed the fuel in Bonsignore’s #51 to be in violation of the rules. Stefanik was awarded the victory. Charlie Pasteryak had a great run to come home second. Erix Goodale, Shelly Perry and Keith Rocco completed the top-five.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action Ronnie Silk turned in a dominating performance to score his first victory of the season in the Sunoco Modifieds. Ted Christopher, who finished fourth, had sewn up the championship prior to the start of the night’s events. made it a run to the end in the chase for the Super Late Model championship by winning the event. His rival Derek Ramstrom chased him to the checkers to secure the 2010 divisional title-his second straight.

In the Late Models, Tom O’Sullivan of made winning a family affair as he posted the feature victory. Rick Gentes wore the 2010 Late Model crown. Scott Sundeen bested the field in the Limited Sportsman division in an attempt to dethrone Larry Barnett. He won the battle but it was Barnett winning the war with his second straight divisional title. Keith McDermott ran to the victory in the TIS Modifieds taking the victory from the 2010 champion R.J. Marcotte. In the Mini Stocks it was Dwayne Dorr posting the feature victory while Chuck Rogers earned the championship.

Next on the schedule for the Thompson International Speedway is the World Series of Speedway racing scheduled for October 15-17, 2010. The season ending event which plays host to 15 divisions will feature the Whelen Modified Tour and the International Supermodified Association.

The 60th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions was held at the Oswego Speedway in Oswego, NY. Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Tony Hirschman came out of retirement to win the event. Chuck Hossfeld finished second with Matt Hirshman, third.

In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 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 shows the highlights of last Sundays Sprint Cup race at Dover. Race in 60 will be repeated at 10:00am on Wednesday. The entire Triple A Sprint Cup race held at Dover will be shown at noon on Wednesday. At 8:00pm the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour takes center stage at 8:00pm on the Versus Network with the Sept 15 event held at the Tri-County Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Thursday's viewing begins at noon with a replay of last Saturday's Nationwide Series event that was run at Dover. At 5:00pm Speed goes live at the Kansas Speedway for coverage of the ARCA Racing Series Kansas Lottery 150. Fridays viewing begins at noon with Race in 60 followed by live coverage of Sprint Cup practice from Kansas City. NASCAR Live at Kansas Speedway breaks it up at 2:30 followed by Nationwide Series practice also at Kansas City. Sprint Cup qualifying begins at 4:30pm on Speed with Nationwide Series final practice following at 6:00. Also at 5:00pm the Versus Network will cover the qualifying for the IZOD Indycar Series Miami Indy 300 at Homestead, FL. Trackside (NASCAR) at Kansas Speedway rounds out the day at 7:00pm. Saturday's action begins at 3:00pm on espn2 with the pre-race program that will lead to the 3:30 start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 at the Kansas Speedway. At 6:00pm Versus presents live coverage of the IZOD Indycar Series Miami Indy 300 from Homestead, FL. At almost the same time espn2 will cover the Sprint Cup final practice at the Kansas Speedway. Sunday's action begins at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. At noon the action continues on espn2 with the pre-race show that will lead into the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Price Chopper 400 at the Kansas 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. At 11:00pm Versus will reshow the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event that was run at the Tri-County Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the week. The International Speedway Corporation led the way as they went up 0.44 to 24.89. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.43 to 16.11 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.03 to 1.75. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint remained flat for the week at 4.44. Fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.40 to 34.65 while tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.34 to 10.82. In the car building industry, Toyota went up 1.55 to 73.06 while Ford gained a meager 0.07 as the closed at 12.56. General Motors remained flat at 0.36. In the home improvement sector Home Depot jumped 1.75 to 31.64 and Lowes jumped 1.46 to 22.48. The team sponsors had a positive week for the most part. Dupont went up 1.63 to 45.58 while Coca-Cola went up 1.07 to 51.47 and Target Department Stores went up 1.31 to 55.05. Aarons Rentals had a good week as they went up 1.35 to 18.05 and Fedex jumped 1.95 to 84.23.

The Motley Fool, a Wall Street newsletter reported that International Speedway Chairman James France has been making numerous purchases right around the current share price through out the summer months. International Speedway shares remain near their 52-week low (24.00) and the stock has a free cash flow yield above 10%. The Motley Fool concluded that a large stock purchase from an insider is even better than a hot stock tip. Someone who knows the company intimately has made the decision to put a significant portion of their wealth on the line. France currently owns 1,468,458 shares of ISC as of 9/22/10.

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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