In the aftermath of the fatal accident involving NASCAR Sprint
Cup Series star Tony Stewart, that led to the death of Sprint Car driver
Kevin Ward Jr., NASCAR issued new rules overseeing the behavior of drivers
On Friday, August 15, NASCAR announced new rules stating that barring
emergency situations like a fire, smoke or being sprayed by hot water or
oil, a driver involved in a crash is not allowed to exit a car until
directed to do so by safety personnel or a NASCAR official. They also
mandated that after exiting their car a driver must either proceed to an
ambulance or safety vehicle. The new rules also stated that: “At no time
should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface
or apron or another moving vehicle at any time. This rule covers all NASCAR
divisions from Sprint Cup on down to weekly NASCAR sanctioned short track
racing that is held at the Stafford Motor Speedway, Thompson Speedway and
the Waterford Speedbowl.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway this
past Thursday for the Budweiser 150. The event drew 25 cars. Justin
Bonsignore earned his second Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park victory this
season behind the wheel of his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entry after
taking the late race lead and holding on through two restarts.
Donny Lia, who was the pole sitter, and Ron Yuhas led the field at the
start with Lia getting the early lead. Tommy Barrett, Jr. moved into second
on lap four before he and Lia pulled away from the rest of the field by
half-a-straightaway. Barrett attached himself to Lia’s bumper, but Lia held
strong in the lead despite the pressure. The first caution occurred on lap
12 when Bobby Santos hit the first turn wall as a result of a deflating
tire. The restart came on lap 17 with Lia jumping to the front. Ryan Preece
got by Barrett for second, but didn’t have enough to take over the lead.
Lia, Preece and Barrett pulled away from the rest of the field. Barrett
challenged Preece on the outside in turn three, but Preece pulled away
coming out of the corner. Preece started working the bottom groove to try
and make a run on Lia, but Lia was too strong and continually pulled away.
The second caution flew on lap 40 for debris spotted in turn one. Lia
continued to set the pace when racing resumed at lap 46. Preece got hung up
on the inside groove and dropped back to fourth behind Doug Coby and Yuhas.
Preece’s luck continued to turn for the worse, however, when he got turned
coming off turn four.
Racing resumed on lap 58 with Lia leading the way. Barrett and Coby
rounded out the top-three with Barrett only a car length behind Lia. The
field strung out single file until the caution flew again on lap 73 when
Patrick Emerling got loose and hit the outside wall in turn two. Emerling
pitted with a right front flat. Lia led a contingent of lead lap cars onto
pit road, but it was Timmy Solomito out first. Glen Reen inherited the lead
for the restart.
Reen held off the hard-charging Ron Silk to keep the lead on the restart,
but Silk was able to get a run on the bottom to take over the top spot on
lap 83. Barrett followed suit to take over second on lap 85 while Matt
Hirschman took over third. Lia, meanwhile, was on the move and had advanced
to third by lap 95.
The long green flag run worked into Silk’s favor as he worked his way
through lapped traffic with ease. Barrett remained within distance, but
couldn’t get close enough to challenge. The race took a surprising turn at
lap 124 when Emerling spun in turn one collecting Barrett and Lia, ending
their night. Coby and Justin Bonsignore took over second and third.
Silk drove to the front on the restart at lap 129 but caution quickly
came back out when Rowan Pennink spun in turn four. Coby took the lead when
racing resumed at lap 135, but the action wasn’t over yet. Justin Bonsignore
used the bottom groove to take the lead on lap 136 in turn four. Coby
remained glued to his bumper, but the race came to a halt quickly when Yuhas
and Eric Goodale hit hard in turn two.
Bonsignore led the field back to green with only nine laps remaining.
Coby hung tough on the inside, but Bonsignore was able to prevail and
hold on to the lead. Coby, Silk and Preece went three-wide for the second
spot with Silk coming out with the position. Caution would realign the field
back to the last completed lap with Coby back in the second position beside
Bonsignore for the restart. Bonsignore cleared Coby heading into turn one to
hold on to the lead. Hirschman advanced to second with Coby holding on to
third at the finish. Preece and Silk rounded out the top five. Sixth through
tenth were Timmy Solomito, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy,Glen Reen and
In other racing action at Thompson Kerry Malone led the way in NASCAR
Whelen All American Series action with a convincing victory in the Sunoco
Modified 30-lap feature event. Also picking up wins were Larry Gelinas in
the Late Models, Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini Stock division and Corey
Hutchings in the Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman division. Art Chartier won the
Vintage Outlaw feature.
In Sunoco (SK) Modified action, Malone used two three-wide moves to take the
lead on the third lap of the Sunoco Modified feature and led the remainder
of the 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature.
Troy Talman took the early lead, but had Malone to deal with as he shot
up to the front to challenge heading into turn three. Talman held the lead
as they came to the line. On lap three, Talman’s night took a dramatic turn
when he and Keith Rocco made contact in turn two and took him out of the
lead and out of contention. Malone used the outside groove for the restart
with Tyler Chadwick getting relegated back to the sixth spot after starting
on the front row inside groove. Todd Ceravolo, Ryan Preece, and McDermott
rounded out the top-four. Malone pulled out to a five car length lead as the
remaining top-five, which included Rocco, ran nose-to-tail.
As the laps wound down, Malone and Ceravolo pulled away from Preece, who had
slipped back by ten car lengths. Meanwhile, Rocco got by McDermott for the
fourth spot at lap 26 and began to close in on Preece. Malone approached
lapped traffic as he took the white flag, but it didn’t slow him down at all
as he cruised to checkered flag ahead of Ceravolo. Rocco, Preece and
McDermott rounded out the top five.
The Stafford Motor Speedway ran under somewhat chilly skies last Friday
night. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on
the night were Keith Rocco, his first at Stafford this year, in the 40-lap
SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, Nick Salva
in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Norm Sears in the 20-lap Limited Late Model
feature, Andy Marchese in the 15-lap DARE Stock, and Cory DiMatteo in the
20-lap Legend Cars feature.
In the SK Modified feature. Rocco got clear of Ryan Preece on lap-35 and
Rowan Pennink was almost alongside Preece but he fell back into line in
third. Pennink got ahead of Preece on lap-37 but Preece came back the very
next corner and moved back in front of Pennink for second. With all the
shuffling going on behind him, Rocco had pulled out to a slight lead and he
led the field back to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the
2014 season. Preece finished second, with Pennink, Woody Pitkat, and Dan
Avery rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl
local favorite Rob Janovic Jr. claimed the night’s SK Modified® victory, his
first of the year. Bruce Thomas Jr. took his third Valenti Auto Mall Late
Model feature win, Josh Galvin won for the tenth time in the Street Stocks,
and Ken Cassidy Jr. took his sixth Mini Stock win of the year. Brendon Bock
won his first ever Speedbowl feature in the evening’s INEX Legend Cars race
and Allen Coates recorded another win in the New England Truck Series at his
In the SK Modified feature, Keith Rocco used a late race surge to take
second, passing Tim Jordan for the spot on the final lap. Jordan was third
and Diego Monahan was fourth, with Craig Lutz fifth.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Seekonk Speedway for a 100
lapper on Saturday night. Norm Wrenn scored an upset win after the front
runners tangled on the last lap. To set the stage, Justin Bonsignore was
leading Richard Savory when the took the white flag. Savary got into the
back of Bonsignore in turn two and got them both out of shape. Rowan Pennink
got clear of both going into turn three. Bonsignore slammed Pennink in the
center of the corner, getting them both out of shape and Wrenn got by off
four to take the win. Pennink ended up second with Bonsignore, third.
Richard Savory and Bob Goodenough rounded out the top five.
Something kind of strange happened at Seekonk. It seems that local runner
Todd Annarummo has incredible luck when it comes to drawing starting
positions. Annarummo, who is not a VMS regular, started on the pole in the
second heat and started on the outside pole in the feature. It just seems
strange that when ever a Modified race is run at Seekonk Annarummo always
draws an up-front starting spot??
In Modified racing in the Southland, Burt Myers led all the way in the
first 50-lap race for Bowman Gray Stadium’s featured Modified Division and
claimed his division-leading fifth victory of the season. Chris Fleming
survived and won a wild second Modified race, capturing his career-best
third victory in one season. Myers, a six-time Bowman Gray champion, started
from the pole position in the first Modified race after a draw for the top
starting spot among the fastest six qualifiers.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island hosted twin 30's for the Modifieds. Tom
Rogers Jr won them both.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks showed modest gains. The International Speedway Corporation went up
0.28 to 31.47 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.03 to 2.77 while Speedway
Motorsports dropped 0.72 to 17.25. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.02 to
5.68 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.90 to 57.56
while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.12 to 24.89. With the
exception of Toyota which dropped 0.74 to 116.89 the car makers had a good
week as Ford went up 0.22 to 17.31 and General Motors went up 0.31 to 33.84.
In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.26 to 83.69 and Lowes
went up 0.28 to 50.00. The big team sponsors had a mixed bag for the week.
Dupont went up 0.21 to 65.25, Coca-Cola went up 0.97 to 74.25 and FedEx went
up 0.87 to 148.72 while Target Department Stores dropped 0.34 to 58.20 and
Aaron's Rentals dropped 0.28 to 25.00.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, August 20
4:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Bristol qualifying, FOX Sports 1
6:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
8:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Bristol race, FS1
Thursday, August 21
12:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Special, FS1
1:30 PM, NCWTS Bristol qualifying re-air, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS Bristol race re-air, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
Friday, August 22
11:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
1:30 PM, NSCS Bristol final practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Bristol practice, FS1
5:30 PM, NSCS Bristol qualifying, ESPN2
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
7:30 PM, NNS Bristol race, ESPN
Saturday, August 23
3:00 AM, NSCS Bristol final practice, FS1
4:00 AM, NNS Bristol qualifying re-air, FS1
4:00 AM, NNS Bristol race re-air, ESPND
6:00 AM, NCWTS Bristol race re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ABC
7:30 PM, NSCS Bristol race, ABC
7:30 PM, NSCS Bristol race, ESPND
Sunday, August 24
3:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
3:00 AM, NSCS Bristol race re-air, ESPN2
3:30 AM, 1 on 1 - Jimmie Johnson, FS1
4:00 AM, NSCS Bristol race re-air, ESPND
10:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, NCWTS Bristol race re-air, 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.
Smith / Champ Trail