ARCHIVES

Tuesday September 24, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled up north for the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this past Saturday, Sept. 21. A somewhat short field of 26 Modifieds were on hand for qualifying. The Modified Tour suffered another setback when internet news site RaceDayct broke the news that the tours biggest star, Mike Stefanik, will no longer be a part of the tour once the 2013 season comes to a close.

Ryan Newman posted his fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Coors Light Pole Award at the track in qualifying for Saturday’s F.W. Webb 100. Newman, from South Bend, Ind., toured the 1.058-mile oval with a fast lap of 29.475 seconds (129.221 mph) for the fifth overall Whelen Modified Tour pole.
 
Two-time New Hampshire winner Donny Lia joined Newman on the front row thanks to a fast lap of 29.508 (129.077) while championship points leader Ryan Preece was third-fastest at 29.528 (128.989). Todd Szegedy, Bobby Santos, Doug Coby, Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Rowan Pennink and Ron Silk rounded out the top 10 in the qualifying.

Todd Szegedy ended a long dry spell, winless in 28 events, and a string of bad luck as he won the F.W. Webb 100 over Ryan Newman and Donny Lia. Bobby Santos and Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five. Mike Stefanik finished sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Ron Silk, Woody Pitkat and Ed Flemke Jr.

Following the race Szegedy acknowledged the contact he made with Lia to make the last-lap pass, but the desire to end that winless drought provided the motivation to do whatever it took. “I sent it in and drove it in as hard as I could,” Szegedy said. “I tried not to hit him, but I knew that we were going to hit. Trying to justify what he did, “I don’t knock guys out of the way to get victories, but I needed this one really bad.”

Despite the fact that there were 23 lead changes among 5 drivers it was simple to see that Ryan Newman had the field covered as he could take the lead whenever he pleased especially in the first half. Newman did make a late bid for the lead coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap but settled for second. A victim of bad timing.

Nineteen of the 26 starters finished on the lead lap. There were only three cautions for 11 laps, one of those was for the half time break. A minor spin which involved two cars and a hard crash in turn one on lap 60 which saw Rowan Pennink hit head-on and Ted Christopher take a slap shot on the driver’s side. Both drivers escaped injury.

Series point leader Ryan Preece finished 12th but was able to extend his points lead over Doug Coby to 41 (480-439) with two races remaining. Coby, the defending tour champion, finished 13th. Preece, who announced that he would return to the Bill Park entry at Riverhead in 2014, stated that his car felt good when he was running near the front but lacked the horsepower to pass the leaders.

Woody Pitkat complained of a sticking throttle but toughed it out to the end. Pitkat has done a great job in the Hillbilly Racing No. 79.

Patrick Emerling turned twenty-one this past week and part of the birthday celebration included a brand new race car purchased from Northeast RaceCars.

With two events left on the schedule the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to the CARQUEST Fall Final at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.this coming Sunday, Sept. 29.

A record setting night took place Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl as it hosted a six division NASCAR Whelen All-American Series race program. Leading the way was a win by Nichole Morgillo in the SK Modified® feature, becoming the first woman to win a race in the track’s premier division in the 63-year history of the race track. Earlier in the night, Victoria Bergenty captured a victory in the SK Light Modified feature to join Morgillo as winning women in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, a first at the oval. Keith Rocco unofficially captured the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model track championship following his tenth win of the season to become just the second driver to win titles in three different divisions at the track. Ken Cassidy Jr. took one step further in his quest for a fifth championship in one division as he won the night’s Mini Stock feature, his 51st career win at the shoreline oval and Corey Hutchings won his seventh Street Stock race of the year. In INEX racing, Dylan Izzo won his fourth Saturday night Legend Cars feature of 2013.

Morgillo’s historic run in the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified® feature was hard fought down to the checkered flag. She held back a charging Ted Christopher over the final 11 laps to take the win, capping a memorable day at the track. Earlier in the night Morgillo’s boyfriend and fellow SK Modified® driver Shawn Thibeault proposed to her on the track’s front stretch before the crowd as part of the evening’s opening festivities. Rob Janovic, Jeff Gallup and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top five. Keith Rocco had a rough night as he finished 11th after missing the final restart.

Congratulations to Jacob Perry on his win on the Big Stage in the Gifford's Famous Ice Cream Bandolero Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Perry, son of Dennis Perry who competes weekly at Thompson, is a third generation racer. At 11 years of age he can now say that he won at Loudon on Cup weekend.

It looks like Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece will have to wait another year as Lee Pulliam won NASCAR’s national championship of weekly short track auto racing for a second consecutive year in 2013. Pulliam becomes just the third driver in the series’ 32 years to win the national championship more than once and to win consecutive titles.

is now an iconic champion in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history.

Pulliam, 25, of Semora, N.C., scored the maximum of 810 points available this season. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series has had various points systems since it began in 1982, and Pulliam is just the fourth to win the title with a “perfect record.” Pulliam finished with 27 wins, 40 top fives and 44 top 10s in 47 starts to out-distance fellow asphalt Late Model driver Deac McCaskill, who finished second with 794 points. Pulliam’s wins came at four tracks in two states: South Boston (Va.) Speedway (16), Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., (8), Southern National Speedway in Kenly, N.C., (2), and Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. (1).

It must be noted that most of Pulliam's wins came from front row starting positions while Rocco and Preece did it the hard way as they came from the rear in handicapped starts.

Rocco continued his iron man-style consistency in the series this year. He won a hard-fight battle with Ryan Preece for the third and final podium position in a match-up of asphalt modified drivers. The 28-year-old from Wallingford, Conn., finished in the top three of national points for the fifth consecutive year and has finished no worse than fourth over the last seven years. Rocco has nothing to be ashamed of as he matched his 2012 win total of 14 and won his sixth consecutive Connecticut championship. He recorded 30 top fives and 39 top 10s in 48 starts at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl. He also won his fourth Sunoco Modified Division championship at Thompson.

Preece, 22 of Berlin, Conn., placed fourth in series points racing at Thompson, Stafford and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway. Preece leads the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour point race with three races remaining on the 2013 schedule. Rounding out the top-five in points is dirt modified driver Craig VonDohren who races at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards will take place on Friday, Dec. 13. Among those honored will be the 2013 national champion, as well as track champions from 55 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and province champions, and top rookies.

On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.78 to 32.21. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.53 to 18.59 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.13 to 2.31. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprintdropped 0.46 to 6.26 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.47 to 51.34. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.40 to 22.22. The car builders had a purely positive week. Leading the way was Toyota which went up 2.65 to 129.45. General Motors went up 0.77 to 36.83 and Ford went up 0.04 to 17.39. Things were also booming in the home improvement sector. Home Depot went up 1.89 to 77.00 and Lowes went up 0.98 to 47.84. In the arena of team sponsors all was good as Fedex led the way as they went up 9.59 to 116.83. Dupont went up 0.54 to 59.42 while Coca-Cola went up 0.16 to 63.86, Target Department Stores went up went up 0.79 to 64.55 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.37 to 27.45.

Making News last week on web site www.myfoxtampabay.com was the fact that privately held NAPA and Nationwide Insurance would be moving their sponsorship dollars. NAPA is upset over the fact that Michael Waltrip Racing was caught trying to rig the finish of a cup race and Nationwide is upset over the fact that fans still refer to their titled series in NASCAR as the once titled Busch Series.

On a more serious note, Customers of one rent-to-own company may have been getting much more than they bargained for. Aaron's stores are accused of keeping an eye on customers are little too closely. In a new lawsuit, the company is accused of having 185,000 e-mails containing personal and sensitive information. Those e-mails were sent secretly from computers people had rented from the store, and they were allegedly sent to the company's corporate computers.

Aaron's is now facing a huge class action lawsuit. It alleges the company installed spyware software on computers it leased. According to the filings, that spyware secretly sent those e-mails back to the company. Some of them even contained naked pictures and other personal information.

The lawsuit says it was all secretly snapped by the computers' webcams. It isn't the first time the company has faced accusations like this.
 

In TV action this week:
 

9
24
Tues
4:30 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
9
25
Wed
4:30 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
9
26
Thurs
4:30 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
 
9
27
Fri
11:00 AM
NSCS Practice
Dover
FS1
 
9
27
Fri
12:30 PM
NNS Practice
Dover
FS1
 
9
27
Fri
3:00 PM
NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Dover
ESPN2
 
9
28
Sat
11:00 AM
NSCS Practice
Dover
FS2
 
9
28
Sat
12:00 PM
NNS Coors Light Pole Qualifying
Dover
FS2
 
9
28
Sat
3:30 PM
NNS: OneMain Financial 200
Dover
ESPN
3:46 PM
9
28
Sat
8:00 PM
NCWTS SetUp
Las Vegas
FS1
 
9
28
Sat
8:30 PM
NCWTS: Smith's 350
Las Vegas
FS1
8:49 PM
9
29
Sun
12:00 AM
NSCS Final Practice (SDD)
Dover
FS2
 
9
29
Sun
10:00 AM
NASCAR RaceDay
Dover
FS1
 
9
29
Sun
1:00 PM
NSCS Countdown
Dover
ESPN
 
9
29
Sun
2:00 PM
NSCS: AAA 400
Dover
ESPN
2:15 PM
9
29
Sun
7:00 PM
NASCAR Victory Lane
Dover
FS1
 


That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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