THE CHROME CHRONICLES:
BOBBY SANTOS GETS FIRST WMT WIN AT
CIVALI GETS ROUGHING PENALTY
by Richie Grodski
It was a beautiful, crisp day for the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour 150 at Thompson Sunday. Saturday, the parking
lots were totally filled by roughly 1pm and they started parking
cars in the grass field north of the track. It seems as of late,
many more campers have been showing up for major events at Thompson
and they have been letting them take up the parking area right
outside the main entrance and parking the cars in the grass area
just north of the track. I believe they should evaluate this
situation and possibly move those campers to the grass area as they
stay for the weekend and the fans in cars only come for the day. It
is a good walk from the grass field to the main entrance. I hope
Thompson can address this for next year.
Racing Against Cancer had a booth set up in back of the
main grandstands and before all got under way, Rick Fuller was at
the booth giving items away and signing autographs. This is a great
organization and more information can be found at
Against Cancer Website.
I just want to send a congrats out to the #12 TS Haulers SK team,
for Jimmy Blewett's dominant win in the Sunday SK Modified race.
From the start, Jimmy pulled out front and really never looked back.
The car ran so smooth as he just pulled away from the pack. He had a
full straightaway lead before the caution fell and when the pack
bunched back up for the restart, he held on for a well deserved win.
Great job by Jimmy and the TS Haulers team!!!
The field had already qualified the day before with Tony
Ferrante Jr. taking a well deserved fast time. The front line up was
#31 Ferrante and #3 Bobby Santos III on the front row. Second row
had #06 Billy Pauch Jr. and #88 Doug Coby. Starting in the third row
were #4 Donny Lia and #2 Todd Szegedy. At the green flag, Ferrante
and Santos would stay side by side till Lap 3 when Santos took the
lead. Following Santos in line were Ferrante, Coby and Szegedy. This
group pulled a bit away from the field. #14 Reggie Ruggiero and #28
James Civali were making low passes from the back, picking off cars
1 by 1. On Lap 7, Szegedy pulled his car into the pits with some
type of problem and then returned to the field way back.
On Lap 11, Santos was clearly out front with Ferrante and
Coby trying to keep up. #48 Tony
was all over Pauch, trying to take 4th place away. On Lap 16, #79
Woody Pitkat slowed and dropped low and finally pulled into the pits
on Lap 17. By Lap 19, the 3 leaders, Santos, Coby and Ferrante,
had distanced themselves from each other and a big gap to the rest
of the field. By Lap 22, Santos had a full straightaway lead to 4th
place Tony Hirschman. The #48 was closing in on Ferrante by Lap 26
for 3rd place.
#36 Ted Christopher was still moving through the pack and was
trying to get by #4 Donny Lia, while Lia was all over #19 Ronnie
Silk. On Lap 29, Lia got by Silk for 7th with Christopher in tow. 2
laps later, Tony Hirschman got by Ferrante for 3rd. The leaders at
Lap 40 were Santos, Coby, T. Hirschman and Christopher. Lap 42, a
caution came out for #11 Anthony Sesely with M. Hirschman, Ferrante,
Lia, Silk, Stefanik, Flemke, Civali, Marquis, Blewett and Savary all
pitting the next lap when the pits opened. Lap 44 was the green flag
with the leaders the same as none had pitted. After a full lap of
green, Santos maintained the lead with T. Hirschman, Christopher and
Coby in line behind the leader. Christopher then put the pressure on
T. Hirschman for 2nd when the caution flew for #11 Anthony Sesely
spinning in Turn 3 on Lap 48. The next lap, Coby and #00 Jerry
Marquis pit with Marquis having an issue as the crew popped his hood
off in the pits. lap 50, Flemke and Blewett enter the pits with the
leaders still staying on the track.
Back to green on Lap 52 with Santos, T. Hirschman and Christopher
leading when Christopher spins in Turn 2 bringing out the caution
again. No cars pit and Christopher just pulls back in line at
the end of the field. Lap 56 brings out the green with Santos and
Hirschman leading the field with #14 Reggie Ruggiero now pulling
into 3rd. The leaders on Lap 57 are Santos, T. Hirschman, Ruggerio,
#40 Ryan Preece and #59 Matt Hirschman in 5th. On Lap 58, #09
Bobby Grigas III ends up in the Turn 3 wall bringing out another
caution. When the pits open, Ruggiero makes his pit and returns
at the back of the field. On the Lap 64 restart, Santos takes a
clean lead going into Turn 1 with T. Hirschman, Preece, M.
Hirschman, Lia and Coby battling behind. The next lap, M. Hirschman
and Lia bolt by Preece for 3rd and 4th. All settles in and by Lap 66
we have a tight freight train of Santos, T. Hirschman, M. Hirschman,
Lia, Preece, Ferrante and Civali and a large space to 8th.
Ferrante dives under Preece and takes 5th spot on Lap 67. Meanwhile
further back, Ruggiero and Christopher are making there march back
through the field. A caution is
again for #05 Joey Hartmann and #6 Ron Yuhas who wreck hard in Turn
1. This wreck takes awhile to clean up as Santos and T.
Hirschman head to the pits and Blewett follows the next lap. Lap 79
goes green with M.Hirschman leading Lia, Ferrante, Preece, Civali,
Silk, Pauch and Savary. coming out of the turn Lia passes M.
Hirschman for the lead. Silk spins on lap 82 but stays out of the
way and no caution is thrown. The new leaders on lap 85 are Lia, M.
Hirschman, Silk, Preece, Ferrante and Civali when Lia drops low down
the frontstretch. They announce that Lia blows his motor although
the finish says it was his ignition. #59 Matt Hirshman becomes
the new leader. Ferrante again goes under Preece, this time to take
3rd place with Civali trying to follow suit and completes the pass
on Preece on Lap 91. We now have M. Hirschman leading Silk,
Ferrante, Civali, Preece, Ruggiero and Coby.
Reggie starts working on Preece and gets by on Lap 95 for 5th
spot. Meanwhile in the back, Christopher is still trying to get back
to the front in 11th place. #93 Rowan Pennick brings out the caution
for a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 98. When the pits open, Preece,
Christopher, Pauch, Sesely, Tyler, Cole and Beers
take a stop. Lap
103 green and Civali dives under Ferrante for 3rd spot. The leaders
are now M. Hirschman, Silk, Civali, Coby, #58 Kevin Goodale, Santos,
Ferrante and Ruggiero. Santos is on the move and by Lap 106 is into
5th position, passing Goodale. The Top 5 now pull away from the
pack. Lap 109, Santos passes Coby for 4th. 2 laps later Santos gets
3rd by passing Civali. Ruggiero, now in 6th keeps heavy pressure on
Coby for 5th. A lot of front action going on as Santos passes Silk
for 2nd and Ruggiero passes Coby for 5th on Lap 117. Santos finally
grabs the lead on the backstretch on Lap 118 and pulls away. The
leaders are now Santos, M. Hirschman, Ruggiero, Silk and Civali.
Santos starts to stretch his lead as Ruggiero starts to pressure
The caution falls again for Sesely on Lap 127. The green
waves on Lap 131 with Santos leading M. Hirschman, Ruggiero, Silk
and Civali. After settling in, the line is Santos, M. Hirschman,
Silk and Ruggiero. Ruggiero starts to pressure Silk and grabs 3rd
spot on Lap 137. Silk, now in 4th, feels pressure from Christopher
who is now in 5th. Lap 143, Christopher gets by Silk but the leaders
have pulled to far away to mount a challenge. Santos ends up taking
the checkered as Flemke, Coby and Grigas tangle due to Civali, who
NASCAR penalizes for his actions and sets Civali to a last place
NOTES: A great day of racing has finished the Whelen
Modified Tour season. Many of the regular top runners had major
problems and made for a different than expected finish. Overall, the
fans got a great show on a beautiful day for the season ending race.
Congrats to Donny Lia and the Bob Garbarino race team for
their well earned championship. Donny had a fantastic season and
nice to have the champion from Long Island, NY again. Last and
other was Wayne Anderson in the Boehler #3.
Although #16 Mike Stefanik had a decent finish, 8th, his day
went very poorly. Actually, Mike has had one of his worst seasons as
of late. I guess this happens to everyone eventually but I believe
Mike and the Flamingo Motorsports team will be a threat again come
Lia, Szegedy, Marquis and Stefanik all had their share of major
issues and it was a shame as all could have been winners. Especially
Lia who was leading at the time his motor died.
Dick Houlihan announced his retirement from racing. A nice
commencement took place on the start/finish line where Dick was
asked if he is truly retiring where he answered, "I just got a deal
to run 4 TVMRS races next year just before walking onto the track".
So much for retiring!!!!
Kudos to #36 Ted Christopher. Ted spun on a Lap 52 restart
and had to line up at the tail end of the field. For the rest of the
rest, Ted kept cool and slowly worked his way through the pack, one
by one to finish a fine 4th.
Well that's it from here and I wish all a great off season.
There is still the North/South Shootout and the Turkey Derby, so we
are not quite over yet but as for point races we are. Please be safe
during our fall and winter holidays and hope to see a few of you
during the off season races.
October 15, 2007