September 13, 2013
Sixty years ago in 1953,
Don Collins was the 25 lap Sportsman winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl on Wednesday night while Red Foote took top honors on Saturday
night. Lou Tetreault went two for two as he was the non-Ford winner on both
Fifty five years ago in 1958,
Ray Delisle was the 25 lap Modified winner at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl. Benny Desrosier was the non-Ford winner and Bob Duffy was the
Bomber winner. Duffy ran the Parts Counter at the John Ahr Ford Company in
Westerly RI and was the engine builder for Hully Bunns Race of Champions
winning car at Langhorne in 1951.
Fifty years ago in 1963 Area
Auto Racing News reported that Eddie Flemke, in a borrowed car normally
driven by fellow Eastern Bandit Dennis Zimmerman, won the season ending race
and wrapped up the track championship at the Old Bridge Speedway in New
Jersey. Flemke had demolished his own ride, known as the Grey Ghost, in an
accident the previous week at the Southside Speedway in Richmond, VA. The
NASCAR Modifieds ran a 300 lapper at the Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas,
VA. Runt Harris took the win over Red Foote and Ray Hendrick. Other weekend
winners included Wild Bill Slater at Norwood, Jim Hendrickson at Islip,
George Pendergast at Waterford, Ernie Gahan on the dirt at Stafford and
Wally Dallenbach at Wall Stadium.
Forty five years ago in 1968,
Gene Bergin had the M-6 in top form as he took the victory at Stafford on
Friday night. Leo finished second with Fred DeSarro, third. Bobby Santos and
Don MacTavish rounded out the top five. On Saturday afternoon, Martinsville
ran their Fall 100 with Jimmy Hensley taking the win. Saturday night at
Norwood, Leo Cleary took the top spot and at Malta, Richie Evans closed the
track’s season with a 50-lap win over Ron Narducci, Jerry Cook, Dave Gaul
and Lou Lazzaro. At the Waterford Speedbowl, George "Moose" Hewitt was the
Modified winner and Jiggs Beetham was the Daredevil winner. Donald "Dutch"
Hoag won the season ending STP 200 at Lancaster. Chuck Boos was declared the
Modified Track Champion at the western New York oval. Bugsy Stevens closed
out the weekend with a win at Thompson on Sunday.
Forty years ago in 1973, the
big event of the weekend was the All-Star 300 at the Islip Speedway on Long
Island. Jim Landry, the former Supermodified pilot from Rochester, N.H.,
took a surprise win over Jerry Cook, Bugsy Stevens and Jim Hoffman. Dick
Dunn was the 30 lap Modified winner at the Waterford Speedbowl. Mike
Daignault was the Grand American Late Model winner.
Thirty five years ago in 1978,
the Pocono Race of Champions ran on the same weekend as two modified events
in Virginia. Richie Evans had the luxury of two cars, two crews and a plane
and was able to run in all three. Ronnie Bouchard won the Martinsville 150
on Saturday afternoon over Jerry Cook, Paul Radford, Harry Gant and Brian
Ross. Evans finished eighth. At the Franklin County Speedway on Saturday
night, Evans finished fifth behind Radford, Satch Worley, Cook and Brian
Ross. At Pocono, Geoff Bodine was untouchable as he beat out Doug Hewitt for
the win. Evans lost an engine and finished 30th.
Thirty years ago in 1983,
Stafford ran a 40-lap SK event on Friday night. Jerry Pearl took the win
over Kerry Malone and Mario Fats Caruso. At Waterford on Saturday night,
Donnie Bunnell took the top spot over Gomer Taylor, Dale Holdredge and Bob
Potter. At Wall Stadium, a young Ray Everham beat out veteran Tony Siscone
for top honors. At Shangri-La, Jim Spencer beat out George Kent, Mike
McLaughlin and Richie Evans. Oxford Plains ran a 100 lapper on Sunday and it
was George Summers taking top honors. Kenny Bouchard finished second. In
Winston Cup action at Martinsville, Ricky Rudd took the win over Bobby
Twenty five years ago in 1988,
Mike McLaughlin beat out Jeff Fuller and Randy Hedger at Shangri-La.
Waterford ran twin 75,s for the Modifieds. John Anderson took the first on
with Ted Christopher, second. Richie Gallup and Anderson finished one-two in
the nightcap. Waterford also ran twin 50,s for Late Models. Phil Rondeau and
Ricky Shawn finished one-two in both events.
Twenty years ago in 1993, Jim
Broderick won a 40 lapper at Waterford over David Gada and Jerry Pearl.
Pearl wrapped up the modified title. Jay Stewart won the late model feature
and Glenn Boss won in the Strictly Stocks. In Winston Cup action at
Martinsville, Ernie Irvan took the win over Rusty Wallace and Jim Spencer.
The Busch North Series and the Modified Tour series were scheduled for
Loudon but were rained out.
Fifteen years ago, in 1998,
Mike Stefanik recorded his 12th modified win of the season as he dominated
the Stafford Fall Final 300.Stefanik took the lead on lap 220 when Rick
Fuller pitted and outran Tom Baldwin to the checker. Mike Ewanitsko finished
third and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr., Carl Pasteryak, Jim Broderick, Mike
Christopher and Tim Connolly. Because of slippery conditions, 1/3 of the
event, 100 laps were run under caution. Chris Jones was the 50 lap SK
Modified winner and was followed by Broderick, Larry Ross and Steve
Chowanski. At Waterford on Saturday night, Todd Ceravolo took the win over
Mike Gada, Tucker Reynolds and Bert Marvin. In Winston Cup action at
Martinsville, Ricky Rudd extended his winning streak to 16 straight years as
he ran to victory in 100+ degree heat. Jeff Gordon finished second with Mark
Ten years ago in 2003, The
NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour Series took a week off in order to prepare
for the final three-race stretch run which would determine the 2004 series
champion. Sophomore driver Todd Szegedy led the NASCAR Modified Tour Point
standings. Szegedy, who had four wins in 16 starts, led John Blewett III by
84 points. In 16 starts, Blewett had won twice. Chuck Hossfeld, another
sophomore driver, sat in third spot, 89 points behind the leader. Hossfeld
had three wins in 16 starts. Ted Christopher was the fourth and final
contender for the title. Christopher, 198 points behind the leader is 198
points behind the leader and had two wins to his credit. Rounding out the
top five was former series champion, Jerry Marquis, 247 points behind the
leader. Sixth through tenth were Rick Fuller, Jamie Tomaino, Ed Flemke Jr.
and Donnie Lia.
It had been a long time coming as NASCAR finally relented and
eliminated racing back to the caution for it’s top three divisions, Winston
Cup, Busch Racing Series and Craftsman Trucks. It was announced that all
three divisions would carry electronic scoring transponders and there would
be no doubt as to where competitors would line up for re-starts. There had
been a lot of close calls when competitors raced to the caution and luckily
no one had been hurt.
Hurricane Isabel didn’t hamper the racing at Thompson on Thursday
night. It was cool and a bit windy but it didn’t slow Todd Ceravolo who
romped to his third win of the season. Ceravolo staged a torrid side by side
battle with Ted Christopher during the latter part of the 30-lap feature.
Ceravolo’s win propelled him into the second spot in the point standings, 40
points behind Eric Berndt. Berndt ended up in 15th spot after a bout with
the wall in the closing laps. Berndt had been running sixth before
misfortune struck. Following Ceravolo and Christopher were Bo Gunning, Ron
Yuhas Jr. and Bert Marvin. Other Thursday night winners were GeGe Gravel in
the Pro Stocks, Charles Bailey III in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan in the
Limited Sportsman and Scott Michalski in the Mini-Stocks. Despite his
miss-fortune, Eric Berndt held a forty-point edge over Todd Ceravolo.
Ceravolo, who had come on strong, led Jeff Malave by a mere two points. Also
in the hunt for the Sunoco SK-type Modified Championship was Bert Marvin who
was behind Malave by four points. Chuck Docherty held a four-point advantage
over David Berghman for Pro Stock honors. Other point leaders at Thompson
were Glenn Boss in the Limited Sportsman and Michael Veins in the
Mini-Stocks. Scott Bronczyk had already sewed up the Late Model title.
The Stafford Speedway issued the following penalties during the
week. Defending SK Modified Champion Bo Gunning was suspended indefinitely.
The reason being actions detrimental to the sport of auto racing. In other
words, the Stafford management saw an incident between Gunning and Ted
Christopher on September 12 and evidently heard the pre-race threats that
were allegedly made. Other penalties issued were to Frank Wainwright for his
unsportsmanlike driving and the post race contact he had with another car.
Wainwright was fined $250 and was handicapped out of the top 20 for the
following weeks Fall Final. Ronnie Silk received the same fine and penalty
for a similar incident. James Civali was suspended from competing in the
Fall Final for unsportsmanlike conduct while on probation. Civali
intentionally hit another car while the speedway was under a red flag
condition. Late Model Championship contender Jay Stuart let his temper get
the best of him when he hit another competitor following the feature on
September 12. Stuart was fined and was handicapped out of the top 20 for the
Fall Final. This had an adverse effect on his championship plans. Speaking
of championships, when NASCAR and Dover Downs Speedway cancelled their Busch
North event because of an impending hurricane they all but handed Andy
Santerre the 2003 series title.
At the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night, Dennis Gada didn’t
have the best of nights, as he was involved in a devastating crash on lap
20. In spite of it all it looked like he had won the NASCAR Weekly Racing by
Dodge New England Regional title which was worth in the neighborhood of
$45,000. Gada’s rival for the regional title. Meme DeSantis who raced at the
Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania met a similar misfortune as he crashed
out of his feature event and lost his spot as the leader of both his track
points and regional points. Gada still maintained the point lead for the
Modified title at Waterford even though he finished 18th and with two more
races to go before the track's season ends he could become the tracks first
five-time champion. He was currently tied with Dick Dunn with four titles
each. Ricky Young held off Rob Janovic to take the win, his first since1996.
Young started on the pole and led 33 of the 35 laps.Rounding out the top
five in the modified feature were Chris Pasteryak, Zack Sylvester and Jeff
Pearl. Other Saturday night winners at Waterford were Wayne Coury in the
Late Models, Shawn Monihan in the Sportsman, Glen Colvin in the Mini Stocks
and Corey Williams in the Legends.
The Oswego Speedway, a 5/8-mile oval on the shores of Lake Ontario
and known as the Supermodified Capitol of the World, was sold to former
speedway competitor Steve Gioia Jr. and his partner Pat Furlong. The Caruso
Family had run the Oswego Speedway, which has also hosted some high paying
Modified events in years past, for 53 years. Since the closing of a near-by
Miller Brewery and a Nestle Chocolate factory the speedway had fallen on
NASCAR suspended Busch Series driver Shane Hmeil indefinitely for
violation of the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. Brian Vickers
won the Busch Racing Series event at Dover. In Winston Cup action, Ryan
Newman battled back after being almost two laps down to win his seventh of
Five years ago in 2008, the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour converged on the New Hampshire Motor Speedway
for the New Hampshire 100 on Saturday. Thirty-nine cars were on hand for
qualifying which was held on Thursday. Sprint Cup star Ryan Newman posted
the quickest lap in qualifying at 29.658 seconds (127.453 mph). Chuck
Hossfeld, who won the New England 100 at New Hampshire on June 28, joined
Newman on the front row with a qualifying effort of 29.745 seconds (127.080
mph). Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Jimmy Blewett, Eric Beers
and Bobby Grigas III. Series points leader Ted Christopher qualified 12th
for Saturday’s 100-lap race. Ryan Preece and Glen Reen did not go out for
timed laps. Both drivers were given provisionals. Preece, who drives the
mighty No. 3 of the Boehler family had engine trouble and had to send to
Freetown Mass for a back-up. Reen crashed hard at Thompson and was given the
opportunity to drive the Todd Szegedy back-up car. Sent packing was the No.
00 of Joe Brady which was driven by Jon McKennedy.
The New Hampshire 100 turned into a wreckfest for the Modifieds
with 18 of the original 38 starters running at the finish. Ted Christopher,
who finished second to Chuck Hossfeld by just .001 seconds in the New
England 100 at New Hampshire in June, garnered his third win of the 2008
season and extended his points lead in the process. Jimmy Blewett led seven
times in the race but had to settle for a second place finish. Ryan Preece
came all the way from a tail starting position to finish a strong third. Rob
Summers ended up fourth with Danny Sammons, fifth for his best finish of the
season. Rounding out the the top 10 were Matt Hirschman, Erick Rudolph,
Woody Pitkat, Jamie Tomaino and Eric Beers.
Numerous wrecks slowed the event that saw 15 lead changes among 5
drivers. The event started off with a bang when 12 cars were collected on
the front chute at the drop of the green. Ricky Fuller’s engine had a
malfunction and didn’t come up to speed when Fuller punched the throttle.
This incident necessitated a complete restart. Ryan Newman, Chuck Hossfeld
and Jimmy Blewett swapped the lead on numerous occasions until the red flag
was displayed on lap 62 laps because of extensive damage to the guard rail
on the backstretch caused by an accident that had Anthony Sesely making a
hard hit. Kevin Goodale and Chuck Hossfeld were involved in the most
devastating wreck of the day. Goodale spun out in turn two on lap 52 without
a yellow being displayed. Continuing on to turn four he spun again. Just as
he spun Blewett went high and Hossfeld went low as they were fighting for
the lead. Hossfeld cought the spinning Goodale with his right front tire and
almost launched himself. Because of a TV time commitment to the Craftsman
Trucks the Modified event was put on hold under red at 2:45 for a 3:00pm
start for the trucks. The race resumed at just before 6:00pm and was over by
6:30. The quote of the day came from Todd Szegedy as he talked to his crew
on the radio. “This is why they treat us like amateurs because we drive like
a bunch of a__h___s”
A tip of the hat to Jerry Gappens, the New Hampshire Motor Speedway
general manager who made the decision not to end the Modified event until
the advertised distance was completed. Gappens went on the tracks public
address system and explained to the crowd that the Modifieds would return to
run the complete distance following the Truck race. “I don’t want to cheat
anybody out of a single lap of Modified racing," he said”. This was the
third race in the last four for the Modifieds at New Hampshire to be cut
short because of television commitments for one of NASCAR’s national touring
series. On each of the two previous occasions, however, the race was called
official and cut short.
With his win, Christopher had a 99-point lead on Hirschman in the
season standings with four races to go on the schedule.
Saturday at Loudon was a busy day. In addition to the Modified 100
there was also Sprint Cup practice as well as a 125-mile event for the
NASCAR Camping World East Series (formerly Busch North) and a 200 lap event
for the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks. Former Busch North Series competitor Brad
Leighton appeared to have victory in sight when he ran out of gas on lap 120
as he exited turn two. Steve Park, who was running second, inherited the
lead but his lust for glory came up short as he was passed with two to go by
Eddie MacDonald. Park held on for the runner-up spot and was followed by
Matt Kobyluck and Matt Hirschman. Hirschman did such a good job that Gillett
Evernham will field a car for him for this Friday's Camping World East race
at Dover International Raceway. Ron Hornaday won the Truck race. Crewmembers
of Germain Racing teams for Todd Bodine and David Reutimann slugged it out
with David Starr and members of his crew as the trucks were brought to a
halt following the race. During the race, contact initiated by Starr sent
the trucks of Bodine, Reutimann and Randy Moss Motorsports driver Donny Lia
into the turn one wall.
Thursday Night Thunder at Thompson International Speedway began
with a moving tribute by long-time announcer Russ Dowd to the victims of the
September 11th attacks. There was a moment of silence before the engines
were fired. Keith Rocco roared into victory lane for his fourth win of the
2008 season. Jeff Connors, also turned in a dominating performance to score
his first Pro Stock feature win of the season. Marc Palmisano took down an
exciting win in the Late Model main event. Joe Coates of was hailed as the
winner in the Limited Sportsman division and Scott Michalski of was tops in
the Mini Stocks. Kurt Vigeant extended his point lead in the TIS Modified
division with his second win of the 2008 season.
Rocco took the lead early and went on to stretch out his lead
during the caution-free main event for the Sunoco Modifieds on Thursday
night. Tommy Cravenho started the race from the point and held the top spot
with Tim Sullivan having a strong run in the early going in second. Rocco
was on a tear on his way to the front. He made quick work of Todd Ceravolo
and with a bump and run on Tim Sullivan moved into second. Cravenho held his
line as Rocco was relentless in pursuit of the lead. With the two battling,
Ceravolo was able to catch the lead duo. A bonsai move in the inside groove
exiting turn three, gave Rocco the lead on lap 12. Ceravolo continued to
Kerry Malone, who swapped cars with teammate Woody Pitkat for the
evening was locked in a battle with Bert Marvin just outside of the
top-five. Once free of Malone, Marvin took over the fourth spot from
Sullivan. While Rocco was getting away from the pack, Ceravolo worked over
Cravenho for second. Blewett, who started scratch on the field after making
his way down from qualifying his Whelen Modified Tour car at New Hampshire
Motor Speedway, had moved by Danny Cates and Pitkat with only three laps
remaining. Rocco, never missed a beat in lapped traffic, cruising to his
fourth win of the year. Cravenho held on to finish second. Ceravolo joined
the duo on the podium. Marvin had a strong run to finish fourth. Sullivan
had a career-best top five.
The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to the elements in what was
supposed to be their final Friday night of racing.
At the Waterford Speedbowl, Jeff Pearl and Matt Gallo won the twin
25-lap SK Modified features at the Double-Down Shootout on Saturday evening.
Crowned overall Double-Down Shootout champions were Rob Janovic Jr. (SK
Modified), Bruce Thomas Jr. (Late Model), Walt Hovey Jr. (Sportsman), and
Randy Churchill Jr. (Mini Stock). Claming victories in round-two features
(rescheduled from an earlier date), were Tim Jordan (Late Model), Al Stone
III (Sportsman), and Glenn Colvin (Mini Stock). In the accompanying Legends
and X-Car main events it was Jason Palmer and Patrick D’Addario Sr.
Pearl jumped out to an early lead in the first of dual 25-lap SK
events, but was shortly chased closely by Keith Rocco. With eleven-laps
remaining, Rocco and third-place Dennis Gada tangled, the latter slamming
the wall with great force finishing both for the event. Upon resumption, it
was Pearl again, with Doug Coby in hot pursuit. With only a handful of
circuits remaining, Ron Yuhas Jr. overtook Coby for second. It was the 30th
career Speedbowl SK triumph for the 1998 champion. In the second feature, it
was veteran Pete Pavone taking the lead followed closely by Dan LaJeunesse.
A late restart shuffled the top-spots, with Tyler Chadwick getting the
advantage at the green. Yet another yellow set the stage for a 2-lap
shootout between young guns Chadwick, Matt Gallo and LaJeunesse. At the
finish, Gallo prevailed to win his first-ever SK Modified feature. Following
was 2007 champion Rob Janovic Jr., Chadwick, LaJeunesse and Doug Coby. Gallo
is a senior at Berlin , Ct. High School and a member of a long-time racing
Greg Biffle won the Sprint Cup event at Loudon. Joey Logano, the
18-year-old Connecticut native who will be replacing Tony Stewart in the No.
20 in 2009, had a long race in his Cup debut. He pulled away on an early pit
stop with the jack hanging from his car and had to return for a penalty that
mired him in the back of the field. He finished 32nd, three laps down.
Last year, 2012, The Whelen
Modified Tour headed to the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Twenty three
Modifieds, eighteen tour regulars were on hand for qualifying. Ryan Preece
was the top qualifier, started on the pole and went on to win his second
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event of the season. Preece, who has been a
regular weekly competitor at the eastern Long Island track led 168 laps
before he survived a green-white-checkered finish to earn the victory.
A caution on Lap 196 set up Preece in a battle with Jimmy Blewett
on the final restart and pushed the race to 203 laps on the quarter-mile.
Blewett was penalized to the tail end of the lead lap for jumping the
restart and finished 12th. NASCAR officials stated that Blewett passed
Preece before the start-finish line.
Justin Bonsignore finished second. Todd Szegedy was third, followed
by Riverhead regular Howie Brode and Ted Christopher. Rounding out the top
ten was Tom Rogers Jr., Eric Goodale, Donny Lia, Ron Silk and Eric Berndt.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returned to Long Island to run the
Riverhead 200, a race that was rained-out on the original date July 28th. It
was the 51st WMT race at Barbara & Jim Cromarty's quarter mile oval and
arguably the most competitive one of those 51 races with Ryan Preece
surviving a green, white checker to collect his second WMT victory of the
season. Jimmy "Showtime" Blewett Jr. actually took the checkered flag first
getting the jump on Preece on the final restart but NASCAR WMT Officials
ruled Jimmy got to the line first and dropped him to last of the lead lap
Preece got off to a fast start winning the Coors Light Pole Award
with a lap of 11.902 giving him the pole for the 200-lap event. The race was
supposed to be 175-laps but when the 25-lap Qualifying race was not needed
Barbara & Jim Cromarty along with Chad Little, WMT Race Director got
together and those 25-laps were added to the feature event.
When the field took the green flag it was Preece, a two time NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series winner at Riverhead in 2012, bolted out front
with Eric Goodale, who qualified second putting the heat on Ryan right from
the start. For the first 112 laps of the event Preece and Goodale would race
hard for the lead with Ryan leading the first 77 circuits before Eric made
an inside pass to come to the front on lap 78. Undaunted about losing the
lead Preece instead of being the hunted became the hunter and once again the
duel between him and Goodale for the lead was intense. The duo rubbed their
nerf bars on more than one occasion before Ryan Preece moved back out front
on lap 112, while Goodale not only dropped to second but soon thereafter he
faded a bit further as the handle went away on his car.
Meanwhile Todd Szegedy who was sitting third having the best seat
in the house for the Preece/Goodale tussle moved to second on lap 113.
Justin Bonsignore, defending race winner of the Riverhead 200 started to
make his way towards the front coming to third just past halfway, while
Jimmy Blewett was another driver on the march as he approached the top five
as well. Bonsignore would come to second on lap 158 passing Szegedy with
Todd returning the favor on lap 176. This was the point of the race where
things really started heating up with Bonsignore and Blewett appearing to
have the best cars of the top four and both wheelmen were hungry for a win.
The added 25-laps would prove to be, aside from the Preece/Goodale
battle for the lead, the most intense and entertaining laps of the event.
Jimmy Blewett was taking no prisoners as he worked his way past Bonsignore
and then Szegedy on lap 188 for second, once he got to second it was time to
go after race leader and go after him he did.
A late race caution for a minor spin would set-up the green, white
and checker finish and when the green light came on Blewett got the better
of Preece as the crowd went wild for the former Riverhead raceway regular.
As quickly as Jimmy came to the lead the call came over the NASCAR frequency
to post the #76 for beating the leader to the scoring loop making Preece the
race leader, with Justin Bonsignore now second even though Blewett was out
in front of them. After the final laps were run and being declared he was
the race winner, Preece noted he knew when Blewett beat him to the line
NASCAR would address the issue, "they preach to us at every meeting the
leader has to be the first to the line so I knew NASCAR would handle it".
Ryan added "I'm so happy for Eric Sandersen and this Diversified Metal
group. It's an honor to drive their car, along with Bill Park's machine here
at Riverhead. We had a good points night tonight with Doug Coby dropping out
of the race so we closed in on his points lead, I hate it for Doug but we'll
take it". Ryan also took a moment to dedicate the race to his Grandfather,
famed former car owner Bob Judkins, "my grandfather had a heart attack
yesterday, he's going to be fine but this win is for him".
With Jim Schaefer aka Long Island Mod Maniac and his bonus money program the
victory will exceed $11,000 for Preece and his team. The bonus money
included $1,000, plus $3,300 in a "gambler's buy in". Each WMT received $300
from Schaefer and his bonus program and were asked if they wanted to put
that towards the buy in, Ryan was one of eleven teams that chose to do so.
Preece also won the Tri-Track Modified Championship that was held on three
quarter mile tracks which, aside from Riverhead, included the WMT event at
Monadnock Speedway in May and an open competition race at All-Star Speedway.
The Tri-Track series was the brainchild of not only Schaefer but also Area
Auto racing News writer Kevin Rice. The remainder of Ryan's winnings came in
the form of lap money.
Goodale led a career-high 35 laps. It was just the third race in
his career that he ran out front.
Among those who had problems and failed to finish was current point
leader Doug Coby who was forced to drop out with engine problems. Coby
finished 22nd after completing only 60 laps of the eventual 203 laps run.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will race next in the F.W. Webb 100
at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this coming Saturday, Sept. 22. The race
will air live on the SPEED channel.
Thursday Night Thunder switched to Sunday. In Sunoco (SK) Modified
competition Woody Pitkat won the battle but it was Ryan Preece winning the
war as he wrapped up the 2012 Sunoco Modified Track Championship. It was
Pitkat's fourth win of the year at the Big T. Preece finished second and was
followed by Keith Rocco, Kerry Malone, Dennis Perry and Todd Ceravolo. On
lap 27, Pitkat motored by Preece in turn one. Ceravolo began to work over
Preece when the caution flew for a spin by Harry Wheeler. The
green-white-checker restart gave Preece a shot to grab back the lead and the
With the green flag flying, Ceravolo got a run to make it
three-wide for the lead. In turn two, Pitkat backed out; leaving Preece to
battle with Ceravolo. Entering three, they were three-wide again. Coming out
of four, Pitkat came out of the three-wide for the lead. The next lap,
Ceravolo slid through the turn taking Preece to the wall. Ceravolo lost the
handle on his #16 to bring out the caution. On the second attempt to finish
the race, Pitkat was able to hold the top spot but now with Rocco in second.
The caution flew for two separate incidents one on the backstretch that
found Dylan Kopec hard into the outside wall coming off turn two.
The third time was a charm for Pitkat, who got the advantage on the
third attempt at a green-white-checker restart. Rocco made contact with
Preece allowing Rocco to run under for the second spot. Pitkat was driving
away after a bump-and-run by Preece in attempt to take back second. The two
went wheel-to-wheel with Rocco just edging out Preece at the stripe for
second behind winner Woody Pitkat.
In other racing at Thompson, Larry Gelinas of Buxton, ME, was
opportunistic in his Super Late Model feature event win and Cam McDermott
took the win in the Sunoco Lite Modifieds. After tasting a first-career
victory a week previous, Damon Tinio added to his tally with his second
straight Late Model win. Jesse Gleason took top honors in the Limited
Sportsman division and a top-five finish in the Limited Sportsman division
netted Scott Sundeen not only the divisional champions but also a
(unofficially) NASCAR National championship. Jay Sundeen capped off a strong
night for his racing family with a victory in the TIS Modifieds. The
brothers Baxter were on the top of their game on Sunday at Thompson
Speedway. The duo went one-two with Joe winning the feature event. By virtue
of his runner-up spot, Chad earned the Mini Stock title. The “Outlaw”
Antique racers were also on tap with twin feature events.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series feature action and Valenti Modified Racing Series action
were featured. The Valenti Modified Racing Series made its second and final
visit of the 2012 season to Stafford for the 2nd Annual Lincoln Tech 80.
VMRS points leader Jon McKennedy helped extend his lead in the championship
chase by taking the checkered flag for his first ever victory at Stafford
Motor Speedway. Taking wins in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series feature
action was Todd Owen in the SK Modified® feature, Woody Pitkat in the Late
Model feature, Zach Aszklar in the SK Light feature, Cory Casagrande in the
Ltd. Late Model feature, and Austin Bessette in the DARE Stock feature.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco was
among those not in competition. Rocco was suspended for the remainder of the
season for his part in a confrontation with former car owner Mike Pane.
Rocco and Pane traded remarks and allegedly got physical after the running
of the SK Modified feature on Sept 8. Rocco said that he was defending
himself after Pane initiated a physical confrontation but Speedbowl Race
Director Scott Tapley chose not to believe him. Short track racing is a
contact sport and emotions run high. Keith Rocco was covering his spot in
the closing laps which is something any driver would do. Is he a saint?, no
way. Does he deserve to be tossed for the rest of the year? No way!
Todd Ceravolo, substituting for reigning track champion Keith
Rocco, captured the completion of the Budweiser Modified Nationals SK-150 on
Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. Reluctantly, the Speedbowl
awarded the victory to Rocco who actually started the car on Sept 1.
Starting in the rear of the field, Ceravolo spun on lap 55 and
managed to claw his way back into the top ten by lap 85 and eventually eased
his way into the third spot behind race leader Justin Gaydosh and Rob
Janovic. With nine laps to go Janovic made an outside move to pass for the
lead when Gaydosh rode him up into the wall between turns one and two.
Janovic's car was trashed and Gaydosh was sent to the rear and was
ultimately disqualified from the event. Ceravolo assumed the lead at that
point and went on to take the win for Rocco. Woody Pitkat, pinch hitting for
Rowan Pennink, finished second. Pennink was in competition at Riverhead.
Tyler Chadwick, Jeff Pearl and Joe Perry rounded out the top five. For his
efforts Ceravolo's first place payoff was $5,000.
Dillon Moltz won the second of two 35-lap Late Model features after
finishing second to Anthony Flannery in the first race while Walt Hovey
captured the Street Stock event, Jeff Cembruch won the Mini Stock feature
and Joey Ternullo won the Legend Cars feature.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. re-established himself as the man to beat for
the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship by winning Saturday’s Dollar
General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Stenhouse struggled most of the day,
but the driver of the No. 6 Ford made a late-race charge through the field.
Following a restart on lap 171, Stenhouse quickly drove to second and began
to chase down leader Kyle Busch.
With 20 laps left Stenhouse caught and quickly dispatched Busch at the
1.5-mile oval. From there he simply pulled away from Busch to a 2.402-second
Brad Keselowski fired the first shot of the 2012 Chase for the
Sprint Cup, winning Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at
Chicagoland Speedway. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps and finished second
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail:
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
This week are several vintage racing photos
SpeedwayLineReport.com & Dave Dyke's
Click on Photo for Full Sized
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit