Tuesday September 13, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour came together at the Thompson Speedway this past weekend for the UNOH North–South Showdown . The cars of the both Tours took to the track on Saturday for a full-day of practice and qualifying. The ‘21 Means 21’ Pole Award presented by Coors Light in the Northern Whelen Modified Tour went to Ryan Preece. Andy Seuss was tops on the speed charts for the Southern contingent. Two of the Whelen All-American Series divisions competed in feature event activity with Rick Gentes taking down the victory in the Late Models and Danny Fields scoring his 11th win in the Mini Stocks.

The Northern WMT event drew 25 Modifieds while the Southern WMT event drew 23 cars. During qualifying Keith Rocco escaped injury when a wheel hub apparently broke which caused him to crash with heavy impact. Doug Coby, Erick Rudolph, and Eric Goodale made up the remainder of the top-five in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying, Steve Masse, Burt Myers, Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.

Doug Coby, Erick Rudolph, Eric Goodale and Ronnie Silk made up the remainder of the top-five in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying, Steve Masse, Burt Myers, Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.

Justin Bonsignore who was in contention for the Riverhead Raceway weekly Modified Championship raced at the Long Island track on Saturday night, avoiding practice and qualifying at Thompson which put him in scratch starting position for the Sunday NASCAR Touring Series event. Zach Sylvester qualified his car.

In a somewhat surprise, Stephen Park and Jeff Fuller entered the NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was also held at Thompson.

Steve Masse watched the biggest win of his career get away as George Brunnhoelzl III was awarded the win in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event. NASCAR officials ruled that he jumped a restart on lap 123 and then ignored the consultation flag. Masse started second and had lead after passing Donny Lia on lap 48 of the 125 lap event. Be as it may, it could have been an error in judgment on the part of his spotter as it is most likely the one who told him to go on the restart. No matter what, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Brunnhoelzl was booed in victory lane which didn't seem fair. Masse was placed 14th in the final finish. Burt Myers ended up in the runner-up spot with Tim Brown, third. Andy Seuss and Steve Park rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Frank Flemming, Tim Solomito, Donny Lia, Thomas Stinson and Austin Pack.

The 125 lapper for the Northern Modified Tour was a little more saner. Doug Coby got a long overdue victory as he cruised to the win over James Civali and Ryan Preece. According to reports, NASCAR did not allow changing of tires during the event. Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tom Rogers, Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore.

Doug Coby, with an eight car lead over the rest of the field, won the 50 lap UNOH Showdown. Ted Christopher took the second spot. For Coby, it was the icing on the cake as he accumulated $20,000 with the lap money that he earned leading the race. Coby stated in Victory Lane that this is the same car that he won the $10,000 with recently at the Seekonk Speedway. James Civali finished third with George Brunnhoelzl III and Eric Goodale rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth wereBobby Santos, Ryan Preece, Mike Stefanik, Justin Bonsignore and Ed Flemke Jr.

In regular NASCAR weekly racing action at Thompson, Keith Rocco, who started racing at the Street division at the Waterford Speedbowl in 2003, scored his 100th career win in Sunoco Modified competition. The defending National Champion has 24 wins in 49 starts in 2011 but in reality is shoveling poop against the tide as far as the 2011 series title goes. His main competition is Philip Morris who races in the mid-Atlantic states. Morris has 20 wins in 28 starts and needs only to win this coming weekend in order to sew up the title. It's too bad but because of the fact that most of Rocco's wins have come from starting in the back and many of the events had less than full fields of cars the defending champion may be forced to pay the price of losing through no fault of his own.

The Stafford Motor Speedway continued its Friday night racing series as Ryan Preece scored his fifth win of the 2011 season in a thrilling finish with Keith Rocco in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat scored his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano scored his sixth win of 2011 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery picked up his first win of the 2011 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood scored his fifth win of 2011 with a last lap pass in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Preece and Rocco were side by side for the lead on the final restart with Preece holding the lead by a nose at he passed under the white flag. Rocco made one last ditch effort on the final turn for the lead and the win, but he came up just short as Preece won his fifth feature of the season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Preece and Rocco was Dan Avery, Ted Christopher, and Kurt Lenahan.

With one Friday night and the season ending Fall Final left to the Stafford schedule Preece needs only to finish 16th or better this coming week to wrap up the SK Modified division championship for 2011.

At the Waterford Speedbowl victories went to Tyler Chadwick who won his third SK Modified® race of the season. Rich Staskowski won his third Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year, while it was Josh Galvin in the winner’s circle for the fourth time in the Street Stocks. Chris Williams also earned his fourth win this year in the Mini Stocks. Dave Garbo Jr. continued his stellar Legends Cars season by taking the Legends Cars 50-lap race, earning him a guaranteed starting spot in the Legends Cars Nationals October 27-29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Joey Ternullo won the night’s Bandolero feature.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to action at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Chris Pasteryak was the big winner of the night, taking the lead on lap-2 and leading the rest of the way to pick up his first victory at Stafford Motor Speedway and his family's first modified victory at Stafford. Pasteryak had a few nervous moments in the closing laps when the action was slowed with 77 laps complete for a spin by Tom Bolles in turn 4, setting up a three lap dash to the finish. Pasteryak took the lead on the restart and he led Rowan Pennink around for the final 3 laps to take the victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pasteryak and Pennink was Doug Coby, Matt Hirschman, and Keith Rocco.

There were 25 cars on hand for the event. Pennink came from a 24th starting position. He was black-flagged from his heat when his car was leaking gas from the filler. Ted Christopher finished sixth and also had to come from the back because of an electrical malfunction during his qualifying heat.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, the 2011 NASCAR Modified title fight came down to the final race on Saturday night, Justin Bonsignore and John Fortin raced in the final 35-lapper of the year for the crown. John Beatty took advantage of a third-place start to win the Modified feature while Justin Bonsignore held off John Fortin for his first Modified track championship. Bonsignore started his career racing karts at Riverhead when he was only 8 years old and to be Track Champ has been a long time dream.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. NASCAR Now on espn2 will be seen on Tuesday at 3:00pm, 2:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Race viewing for the week begins on Wednesday at noon on the Speed Channel with the NASCAR Sprint Cup replay of the Wonderful Pistachios 400 that was run at Richmond, VA, last Saturday. On Thursday at noon, Speed will replay last Friday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 that was run in Richmond. At 2:00pm espn2 has a special titled " 2011 Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup Preview". At 3:00pm Speed replays the NASCAR Sprint Cup 2010 400 that was run at the Chicagoland Speedway. Action on Speed continues at 6:00pm with the Sept 5 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East event that was run at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC. Friday's action begins at 2:00pm on espn2 with NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at the Chicagoland Speedway. Live coverage of Truck Series qualifying follows at 3:30pm on the Speed Channel. The Nationwide Series has their practice at Chicagoland at 4:30 on Speed and final Sprint Cup practice follows at 6:00pm. At 7:30 Speed has the Truck Series pre-race show that will lead to the 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NCWTS 225 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Friday's action starts at 10:30am on the Speed Channel with Trackside (NASCAR) at Chicagoland Speedway. Speed Center on Speed follows at 11:30. Things get busy on Saturday. Nationwide Series qualifying at Chicagoland starts it off at noon on Speed. Sprint Cup qualifying follows at 1:30pm. The viewing shifts to espn2 at 3:00pm for the Nationwide Seriies pre-race show which will lead to the 3:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway. At 11:00pm the Versus Network goes live with the IZOD IndyCar Series Indy Japan 300 at the Twin Ring Motegi, Motegi, Japan. Sundays viewing starts at 9:00am on espn2 with NASCAR Now. Speed Center on Speed goes at 10:30 followed by a two hour session of RaceDay. As the action shifts to ESPN at 1:00pm for the pre-race show that will lead to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Geico 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL, the Speed Channel will televise their coverage of the August 2 LEGENDS BIG MONEY 100 which boasted the only $100,000 purse in Legend Car racing, this 100-lap event features competition among the nation's best Legend Car and Bandolero racers at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. At 6:00pm Speed will host the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series.

On Sunday evening, Speed Center at 7:00pm and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm sum up the weekend's racing. At 9:00pm Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain closes out the weekend.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks showed negative results. Dover Motorsports showed a no-change for the week at 1.45 per share while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.59 to 22.09 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 12.86. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.08 to 3.45 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.01 to 37.12 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.72 to 10.78. The car makers had a negative week. Toyota dropped 1.54 to 67.80 while Ford dropped 0.37 to 10.05 and General Motors dropped 0.31 to 21.76. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.31 to 31.87 while Lowes went up 0.02 to 18.96. The major team sponsors showed a mixed bag. Dupont dropped 1.49 to 45.27 and Fedex dropped 1.50 to 73.40 while Coca-Cola went up 0.34 to 55.35, Target Department Stores went up 0.31 to 50.02 and Aarons Rental went up 0.41 to 25.86.

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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