The WMT Charter Cable, Internet, and
at Thompson Speedway
by Dave Meredith
Donny Lia, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino, won his third
race of season. The Charter Cable 150 was rain-shortened by 50 laps. Lia
takes over the WMT point lead with the win. The whole Mystic Missile
team is clicking at the right time. Lia was asked if he thinks he will
win the WMT championship? “If we keep running like this we surely could
win the championship.”
Richard Savary set fast time to win the Bud Pole Award
Savary’s quick time was 18.656 seconds. Eddie Flemke of
Southington, CT, was second in the #10 with a time of 18.709. Donny Lia
of Jericho, NY, in the #4 was third, crossing the stripe in 18.755
seconds. Bobby Santos and Ted Christopher had exact times with 18.757
seconds. Christopher got the nod for fourth based on owner points.
Santos is from Franklin, MA, and Christopher is from Plainville, CT.
Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT, was sixth with a time of 18.759 seconds,
while James Civali of Meriden, CT, was seventh, tripping the timer at
18.768. Civali won the season opener at Thompson in the prestigious
Tony Hirschman of Northampton, PA, had a time of 18.775
seconds, good for eighth. Zach Sylvester in the #77 was 9th and Ryan
Preece of Kensington, CT, rounded out the top ten with a time of 18.836
Rounding out qualifying were:
11) #00 Rick Fuller, Auburn MA; 12) #0 Danny Sammons, Trenton, NJ;
13) #16 Mike Stefanik, Coventry, RI; 14) #09 Bobby Grigas III,
Marshfield, MA; 15) #12 Jimmy Blewett, Howell, NJ; 16) #66 John Blewett
III, Howell, NJ; 17) #11 Anthony Sesley, Matawan, NJ; 18) # 75 Carl
Pasteryak, Lisbon, CT; 19) #90 Renee Dupuis, Glastonbury, CT; 20) #6 Ron
Yuhas, Groton, CT; 21) #58 Kevin Goodale, Riverhead, NY; 22) #13 Rick
Fuller, Auburn, MA; 23) #59 Matt Hirschman, Northampton, PA; 24) #94
Eric Beers, Northampton, PA; 25) #46 Dick Houlihan, Bridgewater, MA; 26)
#06 Billy Pauch, Frenchtown, NJ; 27) #2 Todd Szegedy, Ridgefield, CT;
28) #64 Eric Berndt, Rocky Hill, CT, 29) #8 Glenn Tyler, Hampton Bays,
NY; and 30) #93 Rowan Pennick, Huntingdon, PA.
Provisionals were awarded to: #99 Jamie Tomaino, Howell, NJ;
#79 Woody Pitkat, Stafford, CT; #05 John Hartman, Calverton, NY; #33
Wade Cole, Riverton, CT; and #9 Jake Marosz, Middletown, CT.
The top ten redrew for starting position:
#40 Ryan Preece, #28 James Civali, #10 Eddie Flemke, #4 Donny Lia,
#48 Tony Hirschman, #19 Ronnie Silk, #21 Richard Savary, #3 Bobby Santos
III, #77 Zach Sylvester. Going Home: Jonathon Mc Kennedy, Charlie
Pasteryak, and Ken Bouchard.
Jimmy Blewett of Howell, New Jersey, is the point leader
heading into the event, with James Civali of Meriden, CT, second. Civali
is also the current rookie of the year. Matt Hirschman of Northampton,
PA, is third in points, with Donny Lia of Jericho, NY, fourth, and Todd
Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT, a past WMT champion, fifth.
Zach Sylvester of Lebanon, CT, was sixth, Jerry Marquis of
Broad Brook, CT, seventh, Mike Stefanik eighth, Ronnie Silk Norwalk, CT,
ninth, and Jamie Tomaino of Howell, NJ, tenth.
Jonathon McKennedy, of Chelmsford, MA, in the #73, suffered
right front damage in practice. The team tried to fix the car, but were
unable to, so they loaded up the car. Woody Pitkat in his initial event
for the #79 Hillbilly Racing Team had a few problems -- the engine went
sour and they had to swap engines. Then he hit wall in the practice
session and needed to make repairs. Pitkat used an owner’s provisional
to make the show.
Rick Fuller in the #13 broke the frame in practice, however
he made the show qualifying 13th. The #6 of Ron Yuhas was sitting in the
pits, but I spoke with him while waiting for the race to begin. Yuhas
had to go the rear of the field on the start as this was impound race.
Ted Christopher had a flat tire on the warm-up lap and pitted -- under
the WMT rules of impound, he also had to go to the rear of the field for
The Race Is On
Civali made easy work of Ryan Preece as he takes the lead on
lap one. The first caution flies on lap 9 as Jerry Marquis slows on the
track. On the lap 12 restart, Flemke takes the lead from Civali. Eddie
Flemke has been guiding the modified career of Civali, and he showed the
youngster what it’s like to race him, though it appears Civali has the
faster car. Lap 15, Lia moves to 3rd. Lap 23 Flemke, Civali, and Lia are
nose-to-tail. Lap 27 Civali takes the lead at the line and stretches it
out. Lia moves to second. Lap 34, Lia takes the lead from Civali. The
#77 of Zach Sylvester pitted.
Lap 39, under caution again for the #66 of Blewett spinning
in turn two. Back to green on Lap 44, but it is short-lived as Pauch has
a broken suspension on the following lap to bring out caution for the
Richard Savary pits for service on lap 47. The restart has
Lia leading Flemke, Civali, and Hirschman. Preece bring caution #4 after
tangling with Blewett and Stefanik. Civali pitted on lap 55 along with
Sesely, Yuhas, Stefanik and Matt Hirschman.
Restart lap 57 and it’s Lia still in the lead, with Flemke,
Santos, Christopher, Hirschman, Silk, Szegedy, Dupuis, and Sammons
trailing. On lap 63 Christopher is on the move to the front. Lightning
in the sky may be a precursor as to what is coming soon.
With weather threatening the cautions seemed to be prolonged.
Just too many cautions for the track complete the show. On lap 70, Lia
still leads with Christopher in 2nd, Bobby Santos III, and Hirschman the
leaders. Joe Hartman in the #05 spins on lap 75 to bring out the yellow
again, and Flemke heads to the pits for tires.
Restart on lap 80, however Renee Dupuis takes a very hard hit
into the turn four wall on the next lap. She appears to be OK. One has
to wonder if all of these cautions tonight are caused by the long
layoffs between races. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much racing
since early in the race when the challenges were numerous.
Light rain begins and the track is getting wet by lap 87. The
cars are under caution and running pace laps to try to keep the track
dry. By lap 97 the rain is about stopped and it seems like the track is
drying. However, on lap 100, the race is red-flagged at 9:53 p.m. At
10:15 the race was called under red with Lia winning his third race of
the season and second in row.
If the weather had cooperated we would have seen a great
finish to this race. I still give credit to the track crew and Thompson
Speedway for getting the show in. At lap 100 NASCAR stopped counting
laps in hopes getting to a racing finish.
Donny Lia in Victory Lane:
“We’ll take a win any way we can. I can’t say enough about
everybody -- the crew, the whole team. They give me a great car every
race. That helps us win these races. We had a great car on the long run
and the #10 and #28 were really battling hard. I kind of settled in,
rode along and thought maybe they would get together, which they did in
turn 2. I was able to get Eddie Flemke on the bottom going into three. I
ran the #28 down; he was getting a little bit free. I think he pulled
over and let me go by probably as strategy. I know they pitted and here
we are, Victory Lane.”
Ted Christopher after the race:
“It was obvious the fastest car didn’t win tonight,”
Christopher said. “I'm just disgusted. I don't [care that I finished]. I
had just passed 30-something cars, one more wouldn't have been a
problem.” (Hartford Courant)
Bobby Santos III:
“Third place finish -- not bad! In the Cape Cod
Copper #3 The team worked real hard. I wouldn’t be here if weren’t for
them. Can’t complain about a third place finish. If we could have
finished I may have been able to catch the leaders. On the restart we
were good in the bottom, but after couple laps we get a little tight. We
were better on longer runs.” Will you be running any other tour races
this season? “Yes, we’re running Loudon next weekend.” Santos has full
schedule between the WMT, USAC, and running 20 races for Bill Davis
races in the ARCA series and NASCAR Busch Series.
I spoke with Tony Hirschman before the race to inquire about
his plans for the future and the upcoming Twin State Speedway flash
race. As he had indicated earlier this season he was going to miss a few
races. Twin States, Wall and Riverhead were the ones he and the #48 team
decided pass on.
Glenn Tyler, while still not completely thrilled with the
format after the changes, said at least NASCAR listened to what the
drivers wanted. While the format is not perfect, the qualifying and the
heat races lining up by qualifying finish order should be fair for all
the competitors. Two heat races of 25 laps with possible 20 car in each
could be a problem. “I’m not a fan of this format, but it’s what we have
right now,” he stated.
Caution Flags: Laps 9-12; 40-44; 45-49; 51-57; 75-79; 81-100. 6
for 46 laps.
Lap Leaders: James Civali 1-12, Eddie Flemke 13-21, James Civali
22, Eddie Flemke 23-26, James Civali 27-33, Donny Lia 34-100.
Next up for the Whelen Modified Tour is the New Hampshire International
Speedway. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying for the New England 100
is Thursday, June 28th. Race: June 30th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New
England 100 (100 Laps, 105.8 Miles) 1:10 PM.
June 25, 2007