The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


August 12, 2014

  The big news of the weekend was NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a sprint car driver who was walking on a dirt track during a race in upstate New York on Saturday night. A video of the crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park showed driver Kevin Ward Jr. walking toward Stewart's car before being hit and hurtled 50 feet. The 42-year-old Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion and frequent competitor at local sprint car events, was questioned by local police and released.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway played host to the Whelen Modified Tour Series last Friday night. Woody Pitkat, who had a combined total of 71 wins at Stafford added a Whelen Modified Tour win to his résumé. His win was also the first for car owner Buzz Chew of Long Island.

  Pitkat dominated the Call Before You Dig 811 150 and beat Ron Silk to the line by over four seconds to pick up his first career win in his 86th tour start. Donny Lia followed Silk in third with points leader Doug Coby and Eric Goodale completing the top five. Rowan Pennink finished sixth and Ted Christopher seventh. Justin Bonsignore, Ryan Preece and Matt Hirschman rounded out the top 10.

  Pitkat started second to pole sitter Bobby Santos and quickly drove his No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet to the lead on Lap 3 stayed out front for the bulk of the first half of the race until a caution on Lap 76 for Patrick Emerling stalling on the track brought the leaders to the pits. Pitkat came out of the pit stop in eighth place with Donny Lia in the lead, Ryan Preece second and Ron Silk third.

  Pitkat quickly moved up through the field and was up to fourth by Lap 92 and was second to then leader Ron Silk by Lap 102. Pitkat closed in and passed Silk on Lap 115 for the lead where he remained the rest of the night.

  The race was slowed just two times by caution with the first yellow flag given to the field on Lap 7 after Tommy Barrett Jr. stopped on the track with a flat tire. There were 23 Modifieds on hand for the event.

  Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Ryan Preece, who won his fourth SK Modified® feature of the 2014 season, Michael Bennett scored his first feature win in almost 4 years to the exact date in the Late Model feature, Stephen Kopcik was a first time winner in the SK Light Modified feature, Andrew Hayes picked up his second victory of 2014 in the Limited Late Model feature, and David Comeau won his second DARE Stock feature of 2014.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the Connecticut shoreline oval hosted the seventh annual Wings & Wheels event on Saturday night in front of a jam packed grandstand. Fans were treated to some of the fastest and most sophisticated short track racecars in the country as the International Supermodified Association made their only visit of the season and was joined by the popular Valenti Modified Racing Series, Northeastern Midget Association and NEMA Lites, plus the home track NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds® and SK Light Modifieds. Ted Christopher ended a long dry spell dating back to 2004 with his win in the Valenti Modified Racing Series feature. Mark Sammut checkered the 50-lap ISMA Supermodified race. A first time winner visited Victory Lane in the SK Modified® feature in surprise fashion after an exciting conclusion, with Agawam, MA driver Jeff Gallup recording the win. Randy Churchill took his third SK Light Modified win of the year. In NEMA action, John Zych Jr. won the Midget feature and Dan Cugini won the companion NEMA Lite race.

  Christopher scored his third career Valenti Modified Racing Series victory in the night’s 100-lap feature. He started the race in the outside pole position and tucked behind early leader Stephen Masse. Masse led through a lap-42 caution flag following a quick opening sprint. Christopher had a great restart and powered ahead of Masse on the top of the track through turns one and two and led every lap until the finish. He led comfortably over the middle of the race which stayed clean until the final laps. Christopher’s biggest test was a red flag with three laps remaining for a huge wreck that collected no less than ten cars. He restarted cleanly over series point leader Justin Bonsignore and closed out the win, his first at the track since July of 2004 when he took his last SK Modified® victory at the track. Bonsignore was second and Masse ended up third. Chris Pasteryak and Tom Abele Jr rounded out the top five.

  Gallup’s first career SK Modified® victory came following a wild finish through the final corners coming to the checkered flag. Gallup battled Waterford’s Shawn Monahan for most of the 35-lap feature, riding the outside of the track to stay in contention for the win. Monahan seemed to have control throughout, with heavy hitters Ted Christopher and Keith Rocco trailing behind in third and fourth position. Rocco got by Christopher with four laps remaining and sat behind the Monahan-Gallup duel. Monahan finally cleared Gallup on the final lap, and Rocco followed suit by diving inside Gallup. As the lead pack entered turn three coming to the checkered flag, Rocco made contact with Monahan’s rear bumper, sending his car up the track. Monahan feverishly tried to keep his car from spinning but could not, dropping through the field as he spun off turn four to the infield. Rocco crossed the finish line first, but was quickly penalized for overaggressive driving dropping him to 16th in the final rundown, giving Gallup the win. Woody Pitkat steered through the wild conclusion and finished second while Christopher wound up third. Gallup is a second generation racer. Tim Jordan and Joe Gada rounded out the top five.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Saturday night’s races scheduled for the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina were cancelled because of rain.

  Riverhead Raceway on Long Island hosted twin 50's for the Modifieds with Tom Rogers Jr. recording both wins. Ryan Preece finished second in both events.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks showed modest gains after a devastating week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.28 to 31.19 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.76 to 17.97. Dover Motorsports remained at 2.74. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 1.78 to 5.67 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.52 to 56.66 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.19 to 24.77. The auto makers showed modest gains. Ford went up 0.28 to 17.09, General Motors went up 0.09 to 33.53 and Toyota went up 0.04 to 117.63. In the home improvement sector Home Depot jumped 3.08 to 82.43 while Lowes jumped 2.13 to 49.72. In the big team sponsor's stock Coca-Cola led the field as they jumper up 9.00 to 73.28. FedEx went up 1.10 to 147.85 and Dupont went up 0.83 to 65.04 while Target Department Stores dropped 0.81 to 58.54 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.11 to 25.29.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, August 13

4:30 PM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2

Thursday, August 14
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:30 PM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS2
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

Friday, August 15
11:00 AM, The 10 NASCAR's Most Outrageous Moments, FS1
11:30 AM, The 10 NASCAR's Closest Calls, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Michigan practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NCWTS Michigan practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS Michigan final practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Michigan qualifying, FS1
7:00 PM, NSCS Michigan practice re-air, FS1
8:30 PM, NSCS Michigan qualifying re-air, FS1

Saturday, August 16
3:00 AM, NSCS Michigan qualifying re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NCWTS Michigan final practice, FS1
8:30 AM, NSCS Michigan practice, ESPN2
9:30 AM, NNS Mid-Ohio qualifying, ESPN2
9:30 AM, NCWTS Michigan qualifying, FS1
11:00 AM, NSCS Michigan final practice, ESPN2
12:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
12:30 PM, NCWTS Michigan race, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
2:45 PM, NNS Mid-Ohio race, ESPN

Sunday, August 17
3:00 AM, NCWTS Michigan race re-air, FS1
4:00 AM, NNS Mid-Ohio race re-air, ESPND
10:00 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
1:00 PM, NSCS Michigan race, ESPN
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: August 12, 2014

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