The Chrome Horn - News


CHAMP TRAIL - 07/14/09
by Phil Smith

   The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour headed to the Spencer Speedway this past Saturday, July 11.
   Following constant rain throughout Saturday morning, NASCAR and Spencer Speedway officials postponed the Spencer Speedway 155 to Sunday.
   Erick Rudolph’s first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win on Sunday in the Spencer Speedway 155 made him the youngest winner in tour history. At 17 years, 6 months, 3 days, the Ransomville, N.Y., driver eclipsed the mark set by Ryan Preece in 2008. Preece was 17 years, 10 months, 25 days when he won at the Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
   After failing to finish each of the first four races of the season, Rudolph led the final 48 laps and withstood a furious charge from Todd Szegedy on the final lap to claim the victory. On the last lap, Szegedy got by Chuck Hossfeld for second and had the nose of his car nearly up to Rudolph’s front tire as they crossed the finish line. The scheduled 125-lap event was extended to 131 by a green-white-checkered finish.
   Hossfeld followed on Rudolph’s bumper for third. Rowan Pennink and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five. Donny Lia, who would have missed the event if it had not been rescheduled, Mike Stefanik, Eric Goodale, Ron Silk and points leader Ted Christopher completed the top 10. Lia attended the wedding of his sister on Saturday when the event was originally scheduled.
Earlier in the day, Szegedy and Christopher won the two 15-lap heat races that set the feature lineup. Rudolph, who was fastest in practice, finished 12th out of 14 cars in his heat. Szegedy led a race-high 60 laps before being forced to pit for a flat tire on lap 80. He was able to cut Christopher’s point lead to 17. There were 26 Modifieds on hand. Caution Flags, the yellow was displayed on 12 occasions for 55 laps. And there were ten lead changes among four drivers.
   The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour now goes on “Summer Break for three weeks before heading for the Riverhead Raceway on August 1.

   In Thursday Night Thunder action at the Thompson Speedway on a night when the Speedway was to have been silent, there was plenty of activity on the 5/8th mile oval. Keith Rocco and Les Rose were among those taking down victories. After experiencing three rainouts thus far this season, Thompson Speedway management added a full slate of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition that included a 50 lapper for the Sunoco Modifieds. Keith Rocco came home the victor in the 50-lapper for the Sunoco Modifieds. Les Rose took home the Super Late Model victory. Tommy O’Sullivan broke into victory lane with his first feature win of the 2009 season in the Late Models. Hometown racer Paul Coutu, Jr. scored an exciting win in the Limited Sportsman division while Glenn Boss turned his luck around with a victory in the TIS Modifieds. Brad Caddick was declared the winner of the Mini Stock main event after post race technical inspection. Tim Taylor took the Mini Stock checker but was found to be under weight at a post race tech session. In victory lane Taylor voiced his displeasure with the way the Thompson officials had allegedly treated him and was quite vocal over the fact that he was moving his racing efforts to the Waterford Speedbowl.
   In the Sunoco Modified 50 lapper Rowan Pennink led the charge at the green but was overtaken by Kerry Malone on lap 2. Woody Pitkat moved into second after Pennink ran Ted Christopher up as he was attempting to make a pass. Danny Cates and Todd Ceravolo joined the battle for the third position was well.
   The caution flew on lap 18 when Henry Stamfl went up in smoke. During the caution period, Christopher, Pennink, Rocco, Jimmy Blewett and others headed down pit road to the attention of their pit crews. Pitkat gave Malone a run on the restart but had to settle back in line in the second spot. Ceravolo took chase in third followed by Cates and Josh Sylvester. Harry Rheaume was having a good run in the sixth position. Debris in turn four necessitated the caution at halfway. Rocco, who ended up restarting in the rear, came down pit road to change a soft tire under the caution. Rocco was joined on pit road by Sylvester. Back under green it was much of the same for the lead pack of Malone, Pitkat, Ceravolo, and Cates. Rheaume had moved into the fifth position but had his hands full with Christopher. After another quick caution, Ceravolo tried the low side on Pitkat but had to settle back in line. Cates and Christopher racing for the fourth position made contact. Both were able to continue; however, Christopher lost several spots. The caution flew again on lap 32 when early leader Pennink made contact with the outside wall exiting turn four. Rheaume relinquished the fifth spot to come down pit road for service. After a false start, Ceravolo gave up the third position to visit pit road as his engine was overheating. When the race went back to green Malone continued to lead Pitkat, Cates, Christopher and Rocco in the top five. The complexion of the race changed dramatically on the lap 33, a half a lap after the restart. Contact between Pitkat and Malone sent Malone spinning from the lead. Rocco shot through the narrowest of holes to miss the incident. Without completing a lap the lead would have gone to Pitkat; however, he was given the consolation flag for spinning the leader and was put to the rear. On the restart, Rocco was pitted against new leader Christopher. Cates, Tim Sullivan, and Blewett made up the top five.
   On the restart, a cross over move by Rocco on Christopher gave the youngster the lead. A spin by Blewett brought out the caution, requiring Rocco to make the move once again. Rocco made it look easy on the ensuing restart taking over the top spot with ease. Rocco immediately jumped out to a sizeable advantage. Tim Sullivan was having the race of his young SK Modified career running in the third position.
   Cates got along side Sullivan on lap 38 but could not make the pass. Ceravolo was running behind the duo in fifth. The pack ran out of running room coming out of turn four. The cars of Sullivan, Cates, Ceravolo, and Sylvester came to rest in a heap at the start-finish line. On the ensuing restart, Rocco led Christopher and Pitkat to the green flag for the restart. The duo of Rocco and Christopher immediately distanced themselves from third running Pitkat. Blewett was already back up to the fourth position followed by Rheaume in a distant fifth. The field stretched out over the final laps of the event making for an uneventful run for the checkers. Rocco scored his third win of the season to extend his point lead over Pitkat and Pennink. Christopher settled for second ahead of Pitkat, Blewett, and Rheaume.
   Ryan Truex of Mayetta, NJ, used tire conservation to win the annual visit of the Camping World East Series event on Saturday night at the Thompson International Speedway. Thompson regular Derek Ramstrom of W. Boylston, MA, led wire-to-wire to score a popular victory in the Pro All-Star Series (PASS) feature event. Jeff Zuidema was back in top form in the Late Models as part of the Pepsi Full-Fendered Frenzy. “Leadfoot” Larry Barnett extended his point lead in the Limited Sportsman division. Second-generation driver Brian Tagg scored his first career win in the TIS Modifieds. Tim Taylor scored his fourth Mini Stock win of the season.

   The Stafford Motor Speedway came alive on Tuesday night, July 7th, with the 6th annual CARQUEST Extreme Tuesday program. Chris Perley won the 50-lap ISMA Supermodified feature for the second consecutive year, Nokie Fornoro won the 30-lap NEMA Midget feature event, and Norm Wrenn made it two in a row at Stafford by taking the 25-lap Pro-4 Modified feature event.
   The Stafford Speedway returned to action on Friday night with a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program of five divisions. Ted Christopher took down his second consecutive victory in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco took his third feature victory of the 2009 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, John Montesanto came out the big winner in a thrilling duel with Jay Goff to score his first career victory in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Carla Botticello outdueled her father to take her first win of 2009 in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Barry Fluckiger took down his first feature victory of the 2009 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
   The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green with Joe Allegro, Jr. leading the first lap, but he was overtaken by Curt Brainard on lap-2. Brainard held the lead unitl lap-8 when the caution came out. On the restart, Woody Pitkat powered past Brainard in the outside groove to take the lead. Frank Ruocco followed Pitkat past Brainard, as did Ted Christopher, Jeff Malave, and Keith Rocco. The action was slowed again by the caution with 14 laps complete for a spin by Kirk Zervas. On the restart, Pitkat charged into the lead, but he was overtaken by Christopher for the lead the very next lap. The caution came back out for a spin by Dave Salzarulo and Wade Mattesen to slow the field and set up a restart. Pitkat hung tough to the outside of Christopher on the restart and he took the lead at the stripe before the caution came back out for a spin by Richie Pallai, Jr. in turns 3 & 4. Pitkat and Christopher again put on a great duel for the lead in a side by side battle that lasted for two laps before Christopher was able to move out front. Contact between Brainard and Kenny Horton in turn 2 sent both cars around and brought the caution back out.
   Christopher took the lead on the restart, but Pitkat and Rocco spun through the backstretch grass. Both cars were able to get fired up and the race stayed under green. Pitkat and Rocco were able to get caught back up to the field as the caution came out the next lap for a three-car spin in turn 1. This put Frank Ruocco alongside Christopher for the restart, and he was able to keep pace with Christopher through several more caution periods, but his night ended with a faulty distributor when the caution came out with 27 laps complete. Ruocco's misfortune put Doug Coby alongside Christopher with Malave and Rocco on row 2.
   Christopher charged into the lead, with Rocco moving to the outside of Malave to take over third place. The top-3 cars then ran in line to the checkered flag with Christopher nailing down his second consecutive victory of the 2009 season. Coby finished second, with Rocco, Malave, and Horton rounding out the top-5. It was the third victory of the season at Stafford for Christopher and the 90th of his career behind the wheel of an SK Modified at the track. Christopher now has 106 career victories at Stafford.

   The racing action at Waterford Speedbowl was fast and furious for July 11’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing event. Keith Rocco and Danny Field picked up their fourth wins of the season, extending their points lead in the SK Modifieds and Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock divisions respectively. Bruce Thomas Jr. and Tim Jordan put on a classic duel in the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature with Thomas prevailing at the last moment. Brandon Plemons picked up his first Street Stock win of the year and Jason Palmer returned to Legends Car victory lane.
   Frank Mucciacciaro and Corey Hutchings led the SK Modified field to green on Whelen Night, with Milford’s Mucciacciaro taking the lead in a superb 35-lap event. Ledyard’s Tyler Chadwick moved into second and immediately began to size up the leader, looking for a way by. Chadwick eventually chose the high line and moved alongside on lap five. The pair ran side by side when Mucciacciaro suddenly lost traction in the low groove in turn four spinning to the apron of the track to bring out the first and only caution on lap seven. Hutchings lined up outside Chadwick for the restart with Tom Abele Jr. third, Rob Janovic fourth, and Rocco in fifth. Chadwick mastered the return to green taking over into turn one, but Abele quickly challenged from third with a great run on the low side of Chadwick off turn four. Abele, of Norwich, took command on lap ten with Chadwick tucking in line behind on his bumper. The field behind was racing hard for position with
Rocco advancing to third, Dennis Charette into fourth, and Dennis Gada emerging in fifth. Chadwick patiently looked for opportunity on Abele and found that opportunity making a darting low move into turn three to pull alongside and challenge the leader. Chadwick regained the lead just before halfway, with Rocco following in the inside line past Abele. The Wallingford native began to pressure Chadwick for the lead shortly after. The youngster from Ledyard defended Rocco’s high and low moves as the race moved past halfway. Meanwhile, Ron Yuhas Jr. was moving through the field and into fifth. Rocco, the national NWAAS points leader, made another outside move and pulled even with Chadwick. The pair raced side by side for two laps before nearly running out of racing room off turn four, making contact. Chadwick bobbled but made a nice save, however dropped positions as the field raced into turn one. Abele retook second, with Gada and Yuhas trucking by Chadwick for third and fourth.
   Over the remaining laps Rocco began to stretch his lead, while Gada peeked outside Abele for several laps looking for the momentum to pull alongside for second. Yuhas flirted with moving under Gada for third as he tried Abele. The intense action all the way around the track ended with Rocco going unchallenged to the checkered flag. Abele held for second, Gada third, and Yuhas fourth as the trio crossed the stripe under a blanket. Janovic finished in fifth close behind. Every competitor was running on the lead lap at the end of the quickly raced and hard fought event.
   The True Value Modified Racing Series headed to Lee USA Speedway on Friday, July 11th for The Laticrete 100. Jimmy Kuhn, Jr. won his first ever TVMRS race. Kuhn was the sixth winner this year in the series showing that the competition has been tough and the race for the win tight. In the past Kuhn himself has come close to winning a race but in the end lady luck jumped in and robbed him of a victory. As usual the #72 team showed up at the track with their car pristinely prepared and ready to race. And yes, race they did as they won the first heat race and started the series race on the pole This has only been the second series race for the Kuhn team, but both races have found the team with the right combination for their pursuit of a win. Rob Goodenough settled for a second place finish after a late race pass. On lap 97, Goodenough lost his hopes for the win as Kuhn made his pass for the lead. Goodenough had inherited the lead on lap 63 after a race incident took out the race leaders. Goodenough held off several challenges for the number one spot during the race but in the end his efforts were not enough.
   TVMRS point leader Jon McKennedy won the third heat race, started the race in third and then went on to finish the race in third. This was a good finish after the #73 race team was plagued with issues during practice. A push truck had to come to the team’s aid when the car kept stopping on the track. But the team got close to the root cause of the issue and once the car was on the track it was hard to stop.
   The next event for the series will be Saturday, July 18th at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, ME.

   Motorsports publisher Coastal 181 announced the upcoming release of I’LL NEVER BE LAST AGAIN, the autobiography of Bill Wimble. The long-awaited memoir of the legendary racer from Lisbon, New York, was written in concert with award-winning journalist, Lew Boyd.
Wimble enjoyed a meteoric career during the prime era of sportsman-modified racing on the East Coast. He was NASCAR National Sportsman Champion in 1960 and 1961 and won seven state and fourteen track titles throughout the ’60s. The lion’s share of Wimble’s wins came aboard the state-of-the-art, signature red, black and white # 33s fielded by McCredy Motors in Sherburne, NY. The Wimble/#33 combo grew into one of the most popular and lasting brands in the history of short-track racing. In I’LL NEVER BE LAST AGAIN, Wimble details his valiant struggle as a teenager to save his family’s dairy farm along the St. Lawrence River . Later, following his near-fatal crash at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 1968, he literally started over again, re-crafting his career and honing his entrepreneurial skills. Along the way, he developed an enduring set of life principles that carry poignant messages for all of us. His is truly an American success story. I’LL NEVER BE LAST AGAIN is 234 pages, hard-cover, with black and white photography. The book is available for $26.95 plus $6 S&H at or by calling 1-877-907-8181 toll free during business hours.

   In TV land this week, NASCAR Now on espn2 will be seen at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Speed channel replays last weekends Sprint Cup 400 that ran at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL. The World of Outlaws Late Models take center stage on Speed at noon on Thursday with an event they ran at the Virginia Motor Speedway on April 18. At 3:00pm it’s the July 4 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West King Taco 200 that was run at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Ca. The World of Outlaws Sprints from the dirt track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC starts Friday’s viewing on Speed at noon. At 9:00pm the action switches to espn2 for Nationwide Series practice at the Gateway International Speedway in Illinois. Saturday’s viewing gets the green at noon on Speed with the July 4 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West King Taco 200 that was run at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Ca. At 5:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for Nationwide series qualifying at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL. At 6:30 the action switches back to the Speed Channel for the pre-race show for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 at the Kentucky Speedway, which is expected to go green at 7:15pm. At 9:30pm its back to espn2 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL. Also at 9:30 will be the ARCA RE/MAX Series Drive Smart Buckle-Up 150 at the Kentucky Speedway.
   On Sunday,NASCAR New England, which highlights the weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway is on the New England Sports Network (NESN) at 6:30pm. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report from 7:00pm to 8:00, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

   On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the three speedway stocks continued in their negative mode. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation, which dropped 1.16 to 24.09. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.74 to 13.03 and Dover Downs dropped 0.15 to 1.22. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.04 to 4.36 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.11 to 22.09. Also on the negative side was tire supplier Goodyear which dropped 0.49 to 10.98. Two of the three carmakers were also down for the week. General Motors showed promise as they went up 0.33 to 1.15 while Ford dropped 0.17 to 5.72 and Toyota dropped 0.33 to 73.76. With the exception of Target Department Stores and Lowes the team sponsors also had negative results. Home Depot dropped 0.29 to 22.52, Dupont dropped 0.17 to 24.61, Coca-Cola dropped 0.73 to 54.22 and Aaron’s Rentals dropped 0.72 to 28.81.
   That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

SourcePhil Smith / Tom Ormsby /
Posted: July 14, 2009


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