The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


May 13, 2014

  The Big Event in New England last weekend was the first annual Bull Ring Bash at the Lee Speedway in Lee, NH. This event, promoted by Dick Williams and his "Racing Guys" drew a huge field of 34 Modifieds, the largest drawing of asphalt Modifieds to date in 2014. Four qualifying heats were run with Tommy Barrett Jr, Todd Annarummo, Matt Swanson and Matt Galko taking the wins, Matt Hirschman won the 14 car consi with Dennis Perry a very competitive second. Johnny Kay was the Dash for Cash winner for non-qualifiers.

  Jeff Rocco jumped out to an early lead at the drop of the green. The first caution flew on lap 30 for Josh Cantara who spun. The second caution was for Jim Storace who spun on lap 47. When the green came out on lap 46 Annarummo shot into the lead with Rowan Pennink hot on his heels. Rocco faded to third. Following the top three at the half way mark was Todd Ceravolo, Galko and Barrett.

  By the time the field had clicked off 60 laps Annarummo and Pennink had opened up a sizable lead. On lap 62 Pennink took charge as he moved into the lead. Rocco, who had been running third apparently had used up his tires and began to fade. By lap 71 he was tenth. Tommy Barrett Jr had slipped out of the top ten by the 3/4 mark brought out the third caution of the day on lap 75. Among those who pitted for fresh tires were Barrett, Pennink, Annarummo, Ryan Preece, Max Zachem, Rocco, Ceravolo, Perry and Jim Dolan. Pennink was the first car out of the pits as Steve Masse assumed the lead.

  When the green waved Masse jumped out as Pennink moved inside the top 15. Jim Storace brought out caution Number 4 on lap 79 as he spun on the backstretch. On the restart, Richard Savory and Justin Bonsignore moved in behind Masse and Todd Szegedy. Jim Dolan and Storace spun, bringing out caution No. 5 as the field attempted to restart. As the field finally restarted Masse continued to lead as Savory moved into second. On lap 81 Dolan spun again, bringing out caution No. 6. Dolan's car lost a lot of water and oil and had to be towed off the track. Masse maintained the lead on yet another restart. With 11 laps remaining, Matt Hirschman has come out of nowhere as he moved into the third spot. On lap 90 he passed Savory who spun, bringing out caution no. 7 and set his sights on Masse. Hirschman shot into the lead on the restart. Jim Storace spun for the third time bringing out the eighth yellow. Masse was given back the lead for the restart. When the green dropped, Pennink and Barrett tangled bringing out yellow no.9.

  On the restart Hirschman made it official as he took the lead over Masse. Two laps later Chris Pasteryak gets loose and spins just after turn one, bringing out caution no.10. Hirschman maintained his lead on the restart. With five laps to go Johnny Kay - "Dash for Cash" winner hit the front stretch wall a ton, bringing out caution no. 11. Hirschman continued to lead Masse as the field restarted. With four laps to go, Preece, driving the famous Ole Blu, turned up the wick. As Hirschman took the checkered flag for the win action behind him boiled over. Preece made a move to pass for second. Preece and Masse were side by side racing hard for checkers when they both got out of shape. Masse spun around and Annarummo went sideways over him. Dennis Perry was also in the tangle. Preece ended up second with Perry, third.

  Rowan Pennink ended up fourth with Max Zachem, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Jon McKennedy, Todd Ceravolo, Richard Savory, Justin Bonsignore and Spencer Davis.

  The Stafford Speedway fell victim to a rainy forecast last Friday night. There will now be three extra distance feature events with extra cash up for grabs this coming Friday night. The Late Models will run their 60-lap feature event with $1,475 available to the winner, the DARE Stocks will race their 20-lap Xtra D feature with an additional $50 available to each of the top-5 finishers, and the SK Lights will run a 22-lap feature with an extra $450 from RH2way Radios to be split among the top-3 finishers.

  The Waterford Speedbowl beat an early evening shower to get their Saturday night racing program in the record books. Kyle James, after some early season bad luck, recorded his first victory of the year in SK Modifiedģ ranks. Keith Rocco continues his domination of the Late Model ranks as he won his fifth straight Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature. Rocco is now five for five in the Late Models on the season. Ken Cassidy Jr. continued his mastery of the Mini Stock division. Paul French won his first SK Light Modified race on the year and Paul Bigelow came away with the victory in the NEMA Lite feature. Josh Galvin won the nightís Street Stock race, his second in a row.

  In the closing laps of the SK Modified feature James had two heavy hitters behind him for the run to the checker. Ted Christopher lined up to his outside and Keith Rocco behind him in third. Christopher got a good restart to stay with James for a lap, but James pulled ahead into the lead with nine laps to go. From there, James slowly distanced himself as the race ran uninterrupted through the checkered flag. Rocco was able to grab second at the finish and Rob Janovic Jr. got by Christopher in the closing laps to take third. Christopher settled for fourth with Craig Lutz, fifth.

  The Valenti Modifieds take a three week vacation before heading to the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night, May 29. Thompson comes alive this coming Thursday night with itís four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions and the Lite Modifieds for Food Bank Night, benefiting ACCESS Agency and TEEG.

  The Late Model Division will take center stage as they participate in their segment race. Labeled the "20/20 Sprint," TSMPís top-tier fendered division will be showcased in three races, determining one overall winner. The first two races, which will be championship points events Ė will be 20 laps in distance, and the final sprint will be just 10 laps. A separate point system, crediting drivers with points based upon finishing position, will be used to determine the overall winner. At the end of the total 50-laps, the driver with the lowest number of points will take home the $1,200.00 winnerís purse. The total purse boasts over $7,000 not including special awards.

  The Sunoco Modified Division will participate in a 30-lap main event. Keith Rocco will look to pick up where he left off with his win at the Icebreaker, presented by Town Fair Tire. Runner up, Woody Pitkat, and defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion, and member of the NASCAR Next group, Ryan Preece, also promise to be contenders.

  The XtraMart Limited Sportsman, Mini Stock, and Lite Modified Divisions will also be on hand.

  Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) will be partnering with local food banks, ACCESS Agency and TEEG, for Food Bank Night at the Thursday night event. The track will offer $2 discount off of any regular grandstand tickets for the event to anyone who brings a can of non-perishable food for donation.

  TSMP will also be accepting donations at the event that will enter fans into basket giveaways, with products and gift cards provided by local businesses. All donations will go directly to ACCESS Agency food serving Northeast Connecticut.

  The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island was also threatened by rain but they endured and got their racing program in. A less than favorable weather forecast produced two 1-hour rain delays but in the end the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program was for the most part completed. Former three time NASCAR Modified champion John Fortin Sr. of Holtsville made a triumphant return to victory lane as he swept the headlining Twin 30 NASCAR Modified features.

  In Modified racing in the southland, Bowman Gray fell victim to rain.

  In some sad news, Danny Field, a long time racer from Deep River, Ct. who excelled in the Mini Stock ranks at the Waterford Speedbowl and at the Thompson Speedway passed away after battling cancer since last fall. A pipefitter by trade at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton Ct, Field was a true backyard racer who built and maintained his own cars, racing out of his wallet.

  During his racing career he won Mini Stock division championships at Waterford in 2005, 2006 and 2009 as well as Mini Stock Championships at Thompson in 2008 and 2011 along with the 2012 Northeast Mini Stock tour.

  An emotional Saturday night opening ceremony at the Waterford Speedbowl began the nightís program following a brief rain delay earlier in the evening. The track honored the memory of multiple time track champion with much of his family and closest supporters in attendance. Fieldís younger brother Eddie paced the Mini Stocks with an honorary pole-position behind the wheel of his brotherís #18 machine, pulling off the track before the start of the race.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.49 to 30.80, Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.41 to 17.83 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.03 to 2.25. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.11 to 8.81 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.12 to 56.12 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.38 to 23.91. The domestic car builders were down for the week as the Japanese car builders continued to rake in the money. General Motors dropped 0.74 to 34.23 and Ford dropped 0.13 to 15.77 while Toyota went up 4.94 to 108.87. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.69 to 77.71 and Lowes dropped 1.27 to 45.71. In big team sponsorship, Dupont went up 1.93 to 67.78, Aarons Rentals went up 1.78 to 32.17 and FedEx went up 0.57 to 137.52 while Coca-Cola dropped 5.50 to 77.49 and Target dropped 2.88 to 59.13.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, May 14

2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
3:00 AM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kansas race re-air, Fox Sports 1
7:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas race re-air, Fox Sports 2
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

Thursday, May 15
2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
3:30 PM, 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, NSCS Kansas race re-air, FS2

Friday, May 16
2:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11:00 AM, NCWTS Charlotte final practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte final Showdown practice, FS1
1:45 PM, NSCS Charlotte, final All-Star practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
4:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte All-Star qualifying, FS1
5:30 PM, NCWTS Charlotte qualifying, FS1
7:00 PM, Sprint Showdown, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Charlotte race, FS1

Saturday, May 17
3:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte All-Star qualifying re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NSCS Charlotte, final All-Star practice, FS1
8:30 AM, NCWTS Charlotte race re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, Sprint Showdown re-air, FS2
1:00 PM, Sprint Showdown re-air, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
8:30 PM, NSCS Charlotte All-Star race, FS1

Sunday, May 18
3:30 AM, NSCS Charlotte All-Star race re-air, FS1
1:30 PM, NNS Countdown, ESPN
2:00 PM, NNS Iowa race, ESPN
4:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte All-Star race re-air, FS2

   Thatís 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.

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: May 13, 2014

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