The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


May 27, 2014

  The Stafford Speedway again fell victim to rain on Friday for the third week in a row. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour tries again this coming Friday night, May 30th for the 24th Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Shortly after 8:00pm when the SK Modifieds were on the track the heavy rain plus thunder and lightening closed in on the track and brought a halt to all racing.

  Prior to the rain, the 25 cars on hand took time for starting positions. Bobby Santos III scored his seventh pole at Stafford after turning a lap in 18.827sec or 98.216 mph. Doug Coby was second fastest with Eric Goodale, third. Completed earlier was the SK Lite feature which saw nine of the 14 starters involved in a wreck. Nick Salvo survived to record the win.

  Racing action at the Waterford Speedbowl saw Keith Rocco take home his third NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifiedģ win of the year. In other NASCAR action, a new face found the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model winnerís circle as Vin Esposito claimed the checkered flag, breaking the strangle hold on the division held by Keith Rocco. Josh Galvin won again in the Street Stocks while driver Garrett Denton was victorious in the Mini Stocks. The Wild Ďn Wacky Wednesday divisions were also on hand, with Dave Yardley and Zac Thomas scoring the respective Super X-Car and X-Car wins. Dylan Izzo won in the nightís INEX Legend Cars feature.

  In the SK Modified feature, Rocco sliced through the field, arriving in second position behind leader Shawn Thibeault on lap-13 just before the second caution flag of the race came out. Rocco restarted outside of Thibeault and stayed even with him for two laps, hanging on after the two cars made contact in turn three on lap-15 before driving away. Rocco was masterful over three late race restarts to cruise to his third victory of the year, padding his lead in the championship standings. Ed Puleo and Rob Janovic Jr. both got past Thibeault in the closing laps to finish second and third, respectively, while Thibeault finished fourth. Kyle James rounded out the top-five.

  A bit of controversy erupted post race when it was discovered the cars of Rocco and Craig Lutz were not equipped with wheel tethers that are mandated by NASCAR. No disqualifications were handed out but fines are expected. In recent weeks both Rocco and Lutz have been the victims of hard crashes and have suffered severe front end damage and the lack of tethers could be just an honest mistake. It sounds like the tech inspector needs to get his head out of his butt and pay more attention to the cars he is supposed to be inspecting pre-race. There were 18 Modifieds in competition.

  In NASCAR Modified action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan Preece scored his first win of the year at the tough and tight quarter mile oval.

  It was a special night at the Seekonk Speedway as their annual Wall of Fame took place. The inductees for 2014 were drivers Wayne Dion, Don Dionne and Billy Clarke along with long time Speedway official Ron Manfredo.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Junior Miller, Bowman Gray Stadiumís all-time leader in feature-race victories, won for the first time in five years Saturday night in the second of two 25-lap Modified races. Love him or hate him, the 63 year old has won a NASCAR Sanctioned Race in the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, 2000's & Now the 2010's, 5 Decades. Miller, is in his 40th year of racing and is a six-time Bowman Gray champion.

  In the opening 25 lapper, Burt Myers registered his 59th victory but said it was a bittersweet one after his brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers went spinning after a two-lap, side-by-side duel for the lead between the two. Burt Myers led the rest of the way, Tim Brown finished second, and Lee Jeffreys third.

  The Thompson Speedway was silent last Thursday night and it was just as well as it rained in northeast Connecticut. The speedway comes alive this coming Thursday night as the Valenti Modified Racing Series comes to town. Upwards of 34 race teams from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, are expected to compete in the first of two races at the all-new Connecticut venue. A 75-lap feature race and an early season battle for the points lead highlight the May 29th program. Series regulars Todd Szegedy of Ridgefield, CT, two-time series champion Chris Pasteryak, of Lisbon, CT, reigning champion Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, Preston, Connecticutís, Max Zachem, and Justin Bonsignore, of Islip, NY, are entered. The five drivers are currently ranked one through fifth in the point standing. Also on the card will be twin Sunoco Modified features plus the highly competitive Limited Sportsman, Late Models and Mini Stocks.

  NASCAR announced the inductees who will comprise the 2015 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group, the sixth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history, consists of Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White. In addition, NASCAR announced that Anne B. France won the inaugural Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Also on the ballot was Mike Stefanik and Jerry Cook, both past champions in NASCAR' Modified division.

  James Schaefer has announced the following purse payout for the recent Bull Ring Bash Modified event at the Lee USA Speedway in New Hampshire. Race winner Matt Hirschman - $5800 (includes 600 lap money and $200 Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair long tow). Second place finisher Ryan Preece - $3000, third place Dennis Perry - $2500, fourth place Rowan Pennink - $2850 ( includes 850 in lap money) and fifth place finisher Max Zachem - $1750. It's too bad the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams chose to boycott this event as it would have been a good payday for them.

  Get well wishes to long time car owner Joe Brady. Brady recently had a shunt put in to relieve pressure around his brain. His wife said he should be up and running soon. Brady has been a Modified car owner dating back to the 60's at the Norwood Arena. Among the notables that have driven his cars are Leo Cleary, Bugsy Stevens, Bob Santos, Fred DeSarro Dick Trickle and Ted Christopher to name a few.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks finished out the week on a positive note. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.77 to 31.22 while Speedway Motorsports went up 0.36 to 18.44 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.01 to 2.27. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.23 to 9.24 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.97 to 25.64 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco, (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.32 to 35.83. The car makers with the exception of General Motors, showed modest gains for the week. Ford went up 0.26 to 16.02 and Toyota went up 0.03 to 109.64 while General Motors dropped 0.37 to 33.63. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.82 to and Lowes went up 0.70 to 47.06. With the exception of Target, which dropped 2.95 to 55.69, the racing sponsors stayed stable. Dupont went up 1.08 to 68.10, Coca-Cola went up 0.16 to 76.46, Aarons Rentals went up 0.44 to 32.93 and FedEx went up 3.27 to 141.50.

On the tube this week:

Thursday, May 29

2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 2
7:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Charlotte race re-air, FS1

Friday, May 30
11:00 AM, NSCS Dover practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover qualifying, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Dover final practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NSCS Dover qualifying, FS1
5:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
5:30 PM, NCWTS Dover race, FS1
8:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Special, FS1

Saturday, May 31
3:00 AM, NSCS Dover practice re-air, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Dover qualifying re-air, FS1
9:30 AM, NSCS Dover practice, FS1
10:30 AM, NNS Dover qualifying, ESPN2
12:30 AM, NSCS Dover final practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NNS Countdown, ESPN
2:00 PM, NNS Dover race, ESPN
7:00 PM, 1 on 1:Jimmie Johnson, FS2
7:30 PM, NCWTS Dover race re-air, FS2
10:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Special, FS2
11:00 PM, NSCS Dover final practice re-air, FS1

Sunday, June 1
3:00 AM, NNS Dover race re-air, ESPN2
9:00 AM, NSCS Dover practice re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, NSCS Dover qualifying re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:30 PM, Dover pre-race, FOX
1:00 PM, NSCS Dover race, FOX
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

   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 27, 2014

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