The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


June 24, 2014

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series made its first of three visits during the 2013 season to Stafford Motor Speedway for the Inaugural VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag was former Stafford SK Modified® regular and 2003 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Todd Szegedy. Ted Christopher started on the pole of the 80 lapper and led until lap 9 before giving way to Eric Goodale. Goodale had built up a comfortable lead but Christopher was beginning to erase that advantage as the race neared the halfway point of 40-laps. The top-2 cars had a margin of a half straightaway back to the trio of Keith Rocco, Todd Szegedy, and Rowan Pennink. With 44 laps complete, Dave Schneider, Norm Wrenn, Mike Willis, Jr., and Todd Owen spun coming out of turn 4 directly in front of Goodale, who had to stop to avoid crashing into the spun cars. Goodale was able to maintain the race lead for the restart.

  On the restart, Christopher got a good run on the outside of Goodale and he moved back to the race lead for the first time since lap-9. Szegedy was also on the outside of Goodale and he was trying to take over second. Szegedy cleared Goodale after a lap of side by side racing and now Rocco was on the outside of Goodale and he got around Goodale to move into third on lap-47.
Szegedy was now looking to make a move around Christopher for the race lead. With Szegedy looking for a way around Christopher, Rocco was looking for a way to make a pass on Szegedy as the action at the front of the pack was picking up in a hurry. The caution came back out with 50 laps complete for Dylan Kopec, who spun in turn 4.

  The restart order was Christopher and Szegedy on the front row, Rocco and Goodale in the second row, Pennink and Tommy Barrett in the third row, Justin Bonsignore and Anthony Nocella in the fourth row, and Chris Pasteryak and Richard Savary in the fifth row.

  On the restart, Savary got into the turn 2 wall and Matt Mead spun in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out before a lap could be completed.

  Back under green, Christopher took the lead with Szegedy quickly slotting himself into second behind Christopher. Rocco was third, with Goodale and Pennink lined up behind him. Szegedy made a strong move on lap-53, but Christopher was able to keep Szegedy behind him. Szegedy made another strong move on lap-58 to get alongside Christopher and he made his move stick for the lead on lap-59. With Szegedy now in front, he began to slowly pull away from Christopher after riding behind him for so many laps. Szegedy was continuing to stretch out his advantage over Christopher in the closing laps while Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Christopher’s bumper in a fight for second. Szegedy led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first VMRS feature victory. Christopher was able to hold off Rocco for second, with Pennink and Goodale rounding out the top-5.

  There were 33 Valenti Modifieds on hand. In other Friday night racing at Stafford, Chase Dowling beat out Woody Pitkat to win the 45-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature. It was the first career SK Modified victory for Dowling, who was making his fourth start in the division. Pitkat finished second with Dan Avery, third. Dylan Menditto won the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Johnny Walker, won for the second consecutive time in the 20-lap DARE Stock feature and Austin Bessette was the Limited Late Model winner.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Waterford Speedbowl last Saturday night. The event drew 28 cars and a full house of spectators for the Mr. Rooter 161. Donnie Lia in the Bob Garbarino Mystic Missile was the pole sitter. Bobby Santos was second fastest. Lia jumped out at the start and led the event for 133 laps before an inside move by Santos on the low side between turns three and four caught Lia by surprise. Santos had tried to pass Lia numerous times on the outside but to no avail. Lia, finished second. Ted Christopher finished third. Santos and Lia ran the event non-stop without a pit stop while Christopher pitted and came from the rear to the front. Justin Bonsignore and Patrick Emerling were fourth and fifth, respectively. Sixth through tenth were Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, Ron Yuhas, Jr. and Doug Coby.

  The shoreline oval took its toll on many of the competitors. One of those was Tommy Barrett who had worked his way from a 14th starting position to the runner-up spot when he fell victim to a flat tire and hit the wall which ultimately placed him 24th in the final run-down. Ron Silk was also a contender until a bout Timmy Solomito and the wall in turn three ended his night on lap 145. Silk ended up 20th.

  Justin Bonsignore took over the points lead from Doug Coby, who finished 10th, by two points. Santos is third, three back of Coby. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour now heads to the Riverhead (New York) Raceway this coming Saturday, June 28.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Ed Puleo picked up his second SK Modified® win of the season and Bruce Thomas Jr. landed his second Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature win of 2014. Bill McNeil took his first Street Stock victory and Ray Christian III won the Mini Stocks.

  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Former Legend Race Car champion Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead at just 18-years old realized his life long dream Saturday night when he topped a non-stop 35 lap NASCAR Modified feature at Riverhead Raceway. Modified weekly racing appears to be in trouble on the Island as only 12 cars were on hand.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Tim Brown ended a long dry spell as he won the first of what was supposed to be two 25 lap features for the Modifieds at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC.

  Brown won the pole and led wire-to-wire to win Saturday’s only race in the Modified Division. Rain finally ended racing for the night just as the Modified cars lined up for the second race. Brown, who now has 71 victories at the place they call "The Mad House" trails all time winner Junior Miller by two wins. Miller, who is in his 60's is still an active competitor at Bowman Gray and has recently purchased a new car from North East Race Cars. Burt Myers, the Modified Division points leader, stayed glued to Brown’s tail most of the race and wound up second.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the speedway stocks were up for the week, Speedway Motorsports went up 0.07 to 18.20 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.04 to 2.74 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 5.72 to 32.16. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.32 to 8.41 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.51 to 56.80 and NASCAR Tire Supplier Goodyear went up 1.47 to 27.71. The auto makers had a good week. Ford went up 0.11 to 16.67, General Motors went up 0.59 to 36.22 and Toyota went up 3.98 to 118.22. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 2.10 to 80.17 and Lowes went up 0.57 to 46.02. The big team sponsors were mostly positive for the week. Dupont went up 0.13 to 68.43, Coca-Cola went up 0.24 to 75.00, Target Department Stores went up 1.06 to 58.29, Aarons Rentals went up 0.91 to 35.06 and FedEx went up 7.95 to 148.12.

On the tube this week:

Thursday, June 26

3:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
9:00 AM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kentucky practice, FOX Sports1
10:30 AM, NCWTS Kentucky final practice, FS1
12:00 PM, The 600: History of NASCAR's Longest Race, FS1
4:30 PM, NCWTS Kentucky qualifying, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky practice, FS1
7:30 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS Kentucky race, FS1

Friday, June 27
2:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
3:00 AM, NCWTS Kentucky race re-air, FS1
5:00 AM, NNS Kentucky practice re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, NNS Kentucky final practice, FS1
10:30 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kentucky practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NSCS Kentucky final practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:30 PM, NNS Kentucky qualifying, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network
5:30 PM, NSCS Kentucky qualifying, FS1
7:00 PM, NNS Countdown, ESPN
7:30 PM, NNS Kentucky race, ESPN
Saturday, June 28
3:00 AM, NSCS Kentucky final practice re-air, FS1
3:00 AM, NNS Kentucky race re-air, ESPN2
4:30 AM, NSCS Kentucky qualifying re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, NCWTS Kentucky race re-air, FS1
1:00 PM, NSCS Kentucky qualifying re-air, FS1
4:00 PM, NSCS Kentucky qualifying re-air, FOX Sports 2
6:30 PM, NSCS Countdown to Green, TNT
7:30 PM, NSCS Kentucky race, TNT
Sunday, June 29
3:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
3:30 AM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
6:00 PM, Kurt Busch 36, NBCSN

   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 24, 2014

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