The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


August 19, 2014

  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 during events.

  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 Spencer Davis.

  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 home track.

  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.

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: August 19, 2014

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