The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


August 5, 2014

  It was heard on the grapevine last week that the management of the Seekonk Speedway is putting a plan in place to add Modifieds to their Saturday night schedule in 2015. A lot of this depends on what the future holds after the impending auction sale of the Waterford Speedbowl property which is slated for October.

  The New England Antique Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductees for 2014 has been announced. Inductees include drivers Deke Astle, Jim Martel, Mike Rowe, Fred Schulz, Ron Wyckoff, drag racing icon Bob Tasca, historian R.A. Silvia and car builder/mechanic Dave Tourigny. They, along with the still to be announced pioneer class, will be inducted at NEAR’s 16th Hall of Fame banquet Sunday, Nov. 16th, at The Lodge at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT.

  The Sunoco Modifieds reclaimed center stage at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) for their 20/20 Sprint event on Whelen Night, this past Wednesday, July 30th. A real good crowd turned out for the mid-week event. Ryan Preece took advantage of missteps from his competition to claim victory in a special 20/20 Sprint event of the Sunoco (SK) Modified Series.

  The first segment saw Thompson regular Keith Rocco dominate while another Thompson Speedway regular and current Sunoco Modified points leader Ryan Preece battled Kerry Malone and Woody Pitkat for position in the top four. Pitkat dropped out with mechanical issues. Malone ended up second with Todd Ceravolo, third and Preece, fourth. Preece started on the pole with Rocco on the outside. Rocco's luck ran out in the second segment as his car slowed on lap 11 as it lost power. Preece, who had taken the lead on lap 9, never looked back as he went on to take the win over Cam McDermott, Todd Ceravolo and Kerry Malone.

  Preece went pole to pole to win the final 10 lap sprint. Malone finished second with McDermott, third and Ceravolo, fourth. The over-all finish saw Preece as the winner with Malone second, McDermott, third, Ceravolo, fourth and Troy Talman, fifth.

  Other Wednesday night winners were, Jeff Smith in the Late Models, Joe Baxter in the Mini Stocks and Corey Hutchings in the Limited Sportsman. The final checkered flag dropped at 9:00pm sending fans and competitors home at an early hour.

  Racing at Thompson resumes next week on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour BUDWEISER 'King of Beers' 150 along with their four NASCAR divisions and the Vintage Outlaws.

  The heavy rain that blanketed New England last weekend held off long enough for the Stafford Motor Speedway to get in their Friday night card of auto racing. Rowan Pennink made it two in a row by winning the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Joey Ferrigno spun and then won the 20-lap SK Light feature with a last lap pass, Duane Provost scored his third win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Brandon Michael scored his first win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Dana DiMatteo became the first repeat Legend cars feature winner of the season in the 20-lap race. Jim Peterson used a mid-race pit stop under caution to his advantage to adjust the handling on his car and he charged his way back through the field to win the 60-lap Xtra Mart Xtra D Late Model feature.

  Pennink led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive SK Modified® victory of the season. Preece beat Rocco to the checkered flag by a nose fro second, with Williams, and Avery rounding out the top-5.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the shoreline oval overcame a slow start to the day due to early rain Saturday, but rebounded for another night of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action. The racing was highlighted by an extra-distance feature for the SK Modified® division, which was claimed by Keith Rocco, who turned in a record setting performance. A pair of drivers picked up their ninth wins of the year, Rocco again in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division and Josh Galvin in the Street Stocks. Joining them in the winner’s circle were Corey Barry and Ken Cassidy Jr. each winning for the fifth time of the season in the SK Light Modified and Mini Stock divisions, respectively. Dan Meservey Jr. won the Pro 4 Modifieds of New England feature.

  Rocco’s SK Modified® win was the 63rd of his career. More significantly, that makes him the division’s all-time wins leader in the track’s 64-year history. Overall, his grand total shakes out at 98 wins which include his late model victories. Rocco dodged early incidents which plagued the 40-lap feature, eliminating multiple cars from competition. The race began with Jeff Gallup and Craig Lutz on the front row but only one lap was completed before Shawn Monahan was collected in bumper tag throughout the field, bringing out the yellow flag.

  Gallup briefly led before Lutz got around him on lap-3. Tim Jordan moved into second position and Ed Puleo third before Ted Christopher got caught up in a skirmish on the backstretch to bring out the caution flag on lap-8. A major incident occurred after the restart among cars battling for a spot among the top five. Several cars wrecked in turn one on lap-9 including Nichole Morgillo, Kyle James, Rob Janovic Jr., Jeff Rocco and Jeff Goodale, who were each done for the evening with considerable damage. Keith Rocco also received damage in the wreck, however he stayed on the race track.

  Jordan got by the outside of Lutz on the next restart, leading lap-10. Lutz and Puleo made contact entering turn one on lap-12 sending Lutz around, dropping both from the lead cars as caution waved again. Rocco jumped up to third for the ensuing restart, then moved to second on lap-13 on the inside of Paul Kusheba. He stayed on Jordan’s rear bumper until he found room to his inside on lap-15, pulling into the lead. The remainder of the race ran without another yellow flag and the field fired off the final stretch of laps under the green flag. Jordan finished runner-up and Tyler Chadwick was third. Kusheba and Diego Monahan completed the top five.

  With the win, Rocco moved ahead of Dennis Gada to ascend to the top of the SK Modified® division’s win list. Gada, the only seven time champion in track history, dominated the division in the late 1990’s through recent years prior to his retirement as a driver. The SK Modifieds® have been the headline at the track since 1985.Rocco also checkered the 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall Late model feature, his ninth of the year and third in a row in the division.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Danny Bohn survived a spin in the last lap of the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour 199 at Bowman Gray Stadium after getting clipped by Joe Ryan Osborne, who was engaged in a battle for position with Gary Putnam at the tail end of the lead lap. Bohn somehow managed to recover and finish first. Canadian Cole Powell finished second, and Luke Fleming was third.

  Andy Seuss kept his lead in the tour standings. The Hampstead, N.H., driver recovered from a collision with Jason Myers that dropped him back to 11th, but he worked his way back to fifth. It was a tough night for Bowman Gray’s Myers brothers, who between them had won three of the previous nine tour races at the stadium. Jason Myers was running fourth when he slammed into the guardrail coming out of the final turn on a restart just past the midway point, and his car was too damaged to continue. Burt Myers’ car wouldn’t start as result of a motor problem after his arrival for afternoon practice. He borrowed a car from fellow Bowman Gray driver John Smith and scrambled to get it to the track in time to race, without benefit of any practice laps. Burt Myers, who had to start at the rear of the 19-car field, made it up to eighth at one point but had car issues near the midway point and lost two laps. He wound up 10th.

  NASCAR Modified Tour regulars Ron Silk and Tommy Barrett, facing a long trip from the Northeast, canceled their scheduled appearances because of the threat of rain.

  Riverhead Raceway on Long Island had a light field of 10 Modifieds. Taking the win was Jason Agugliaro over Tom Rogers Jr. Ryan Preece finished third.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week it was a general bloodbath for just about all stocks. Just about every racing related stock was down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation was the big loser of the three speedway stocks as the France family owned company dropped 1.45 to to 29.91. Dover Entertainment dropped 0.28 to 2.74 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.22 to 17.21. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.27 to 7.45 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.90 to 56.14 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 3.64 to 24.58. The automotive industry didn't escape the wrath of Wall Street. Toyota dropped 2.04 to 117.59 while General Motors dropped 1.63 to 33.44 and Ford dropped 0.81 to 16.81. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 1.28 to 79.75 and Lowes dropped 0.11 to 47.59. The big team sponsors were hit hard. FedEx dropped 4.11 to 146.75 while Aarons Rentals dropped 2.26 to 26.40, Coca-Cola dropped 1.60 to 69.28, Dupont dropped 0.72 to 64.21 and Target Department Stores dropped 0.54 to 59.85.

On the tube this week:

Thursday, August 7

3:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono race re-air, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Cars, SCI

Friday, August 8
2:30 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Cars, SCI
9:30 AM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Watkins Glen practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Watkins Glen practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NNS Watkins Glen final practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Watking Glen practice,FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NSCS Watking Glen practice re-air,FS1
8:30 PM, NSCS Watking Glen practice re-air,FS1

Saturday, August 9
3:00 AM, NNS Watkins Glen practice re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice re-air, FS1
9:30 AM, NNS Watkins Glen qualifying, ESPN2
11:30 AM, NSCS Watkins Glen qualifying, ESPN2
2:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ABC
2:15 PM, NNS Watkins Glen race, ABC

Sunday, August 10
4:00 AM, NNS Watkins Glen race re-air, ESPND
12:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
1:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen race, ESPN
9:30 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: August 5, 2014

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