The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


June 3, 2014

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series, 34 cars strong, paid a visit to the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park last Thursday night. Tommy Barrett used an exciting last lap bonsai move under Todd Szegedy to take the win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series 75-lap feature. Winners in NASCAR Whelen All American Series action included a sweep by Ryan Preece in the Sunoco Modified division, Glenn Boss in the Late Models, Shawn Monahan in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division, and Chad Baxter in the Monster Mini Stocks. Scott Quinn checkered the Vintage Outlaw feature event.
Barrett, who is getting a reputation as a villain, played his predictable game as he faded from his outside pole starting spot leaving Todd Szegedy and Ted Christopher to slug it out and wear out their tires. Szegedy and Christopher ran nose to tail and at one point had a half lap lead on the field. By lap 55, Keith Rocco was within a car length of Christopher.

  A caution flew at lap 66 after Eric Goodale hit the turn one wall set the stage for the fireworks to come. Szegedy held off Christopher on the restart as Rocco moved into second place and relegated Christopher back to the fourth spot. Barrett, with an unbelievable burst of power, came out of nowhere to move into the third position. On lap 68 Barrett appeared to have been shot out of a cannon as he blew Rocco away and set his sight on the leader. Shortly after being passed it appeared that Rocco checked up a bit and was tagged by Christopher, sending him into the backstretch wall
On the restart, Szegedy drove out front once again with Barrett on his bumper. Rowan Pennink passed Christopher for third. Szegedy began to pull away but Barrett glued himself to Szegedy’s rear bumper. Shortly after Szegedy was given the white flag Barrett, in a last ditch bonsai move, dove low and hard into turn one. In the flash of an eye Barrett rode Szegedy high and came close to being planted in the concrete wall. Barrett went on to take the win. Szegedy recovered to finish sixth. Rowan Pennink ended up second with Christopher, third. Richard Savary and Dave Etheridge rounded out the top five.

  Barrett is bringing life and excitement back into Modified racing similar to the way Geoff Bodine did it in the mid and late 70's. Barrett's style of racing brings fans to the races. Some come to see him win and some come to see him get wrecked. Hopefully no one will get hurt in the interim.

  The Sunoco Modified division kicked off their night with the remaining 17 laps of a feature held over from May 15 with Ryan Preece in victory lane. Preece held off Keith Rocco on a late-race restart for the win. Danny Cates, Todd Ceravolo and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five.
In the regularly scheduled 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature, Preece once again proved to be the man to beat as he held off Pitkat on a late-race restart for his second straight win. Rocco finished third and was followed by Cates and Kerry Malone.

  Thompson's next event will be on Wednesday, July 30. The bill of fare includes Sunoco Modifieds (2-20 lap races; 1-10 lap sprint). Late Models, 20 Laps, Xtramart Ltd.Sportsman, 20 Laps and Mini Stocks 15 Laps.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway fell victim to violent thunder storms for the fourth week in a row. The Whelen Modified Tour Series, rained out twice, will try again at Stafford this week.

  In a prepared statement the Waterford Speedbowl management announced the creation of a new position, penalties following Saturday, May 24th’s racing program, and the departure of one member of their staff. As a result of post race inspections following the May 24th race program, SK Modified® division competitors Craig Lutz and Keith Rocco were each fined $500.00 for failure to abide by rule 2.11.5 D of the Speedbowl rulebook. The rule requires the use of wheel tethers on the front wheels of SK Modified® cars. Also announced was the departure of long time SK Modified® division tech inspector Everett Marvin who failed to conduct a pre-race inspection of the cars that had had major work done following destructive wrecks at the shoreline oval. To give Rocco and Lutz the benefit of the doubt, chances are they honestly forgot to re-install the wheel tethers.

  As a result, a new position of Race Vehicle Safety Coordinator has been created. The sole responsibility of the newly created position will be overseeing that all cars participating in the Speedbowl’s track race divisions are compliant with track mandated safety regulations.

  Lutz and Rocco paid their fines and got somewhat of a redemption as they finished one-two in Saturday night's SK Modified feature. Lutz, who travels from Long Island every week, spent the opening half of the race trying to find a way around Diego Monahan. Lutz fell to third place for a lap when Ted Christopher inched ahead of him, however slight contact between Monahan and Christopher on lap-16 sent Monahan spinning out of turn two, drawing the yellow flag. Christopher was placed to the rear of the field during the caution period, handing the lead to Lutz.

  The toughest part of the race for Lutz was holding back Keith Rocco the rest of the way. Lutz held on during an initial assault by Rocco, then got a brief breather before Rocco raced to his outside over the final four laps. The two raced inches apart and even shared some contact during the final laps. Lutz put forth a determined effort to keep Rocco’s final charge at bay, able to pull ahead out of the final corner to claim the checkered flag. Rocco was forced to settle for second and Tyler Chadwick ran among the front runners all race to finish third. Rob Janovic Jr and Shawn Thibeault rounded out the top five. Christopher recovered from his penalty to finish sixth.

  Other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series wins went to Ken Cassidy Jr. who was back in the winner’s circle during an extra-distance Mini Stock feature and Jason Palmer recorded his first Valenti Auto Mall Late Model win of the season. The Northeast Mini Stock Tour race was won by Toby Wells and Robin Berghman picked up the victory in the visiting New England Pro Four Modified race. Jordan Hadley won the X-Car feature.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, two nights of racing at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina were on tap. Jason Myers won a race without leading a green-flag lap. Myers took the lead after front runners Lee Jeffreys and Tommy Neal wrecked. During the clean up the rains came and Myers was declared the winner when the race was called. Burt Myers was the winner on Saturday night after he dumped Junior Miller on the final lap. Miller became incensed and chased Myers with his car before being subdued by police. The win stood. Myers sent Junior Miller spinning in the final turn of the final lap of a wreck-filled 100-lap Modified race and went on to notch his 60th career victory at Bowman Gray. Myers, Bowman Gray’s defending champion and current points leader, completed a worst-to-first recovery. He started from the rear of the 23-car field as result of a draw.

  Miller, Bowman Gray’s all-time leader in feature-race victories, had ended a five-year winless drought just a week earlier. He was a turn away from winning again when he got a shot from behind from Myers and went spinning. Myers gathered his partially-sideways car and made it to the checkered flag. Lee Jeffreys wound up second and Kyle Ebersole third. An enraged Miller sped after Myers and rammed his car into Myers’ car.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the week. Dover Motorsports went up 0.41 to 2.68 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.01 to 18.45 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.13 to 31.09. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.31 to 9.55, NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.49 to 56.32 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.73 to 26.37. The car builders were all positive for the week. Leading the pack was Toyota which went up 3.47 to 113.11. Ford went up 0.42 to 16.44 and General Motors went up 0.95 to 34.58. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.05 to 80.23 and Lowes went up 0.02 to 47.08. The big team sponsor stocks were mostly positive except for Aarons Rentals which went down 0.09 to 32.84 and Coca-Cola dropped 1.20 to 75.26. Dupont went up 1.21 to 69.31, Target went up 1.07 to 56.16 and FedEx went up 2.66 to 144.16.

  Dover Motorsports Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Nashville Superspeedway facility to NeXovation Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Dover Motorsports and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nashville Speedway U.S.A. Inc., will sell the Nashville Superspeedway facility along with some related equipment and assets for $27 million in cash and the assumption by NeXovation of obligations of Dover Motorsports under certain Variable Rate Tax Exempt Infrastructure Revenue Bonds.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, June 4

2:00 AM, NASCAR's The List, NBC Sports Net
2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11:00 AM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover race re-air, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR's The List, NBCSN

Thursday, June 5
2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
1:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dover race re-air, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
9:00 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI

Friday, June 6
12:00 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI
2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
8:00 AM, Cool Tools - NASCAR, DIY
10:00 AM, The 600 - History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Pocono practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Pocono qualifying, FS1
5:00 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCIENCE
7:00 PM, 100,000 Cameras - NASCAR All-Star Race
7:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
9:00 PM, NCWTS Texas race, FS1

Saturday, June 7
2:30 AM, NASCAR's The List, NBCSN
3:00 AM, NSCS Pocono practice re-air, FS1
4:00 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI
4:30 AM, NSCS Pocono qualifying re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, NSCS Pocono practice re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
11:30 AM, NSCS Pocono final practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
5:00 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI

Sunday, June 8
3:00 AM, NCWTS Texas race re-air, FS1
5:00 AM, NSCS Pocono practice re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
11:00 AM, NASCAR Race Day, FS1
1:00 PM, NSCS Pocono race, TNT
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

   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.

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: June 3, 2014

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