The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


August 26, 2014

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the high banks of the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee this past Wednesday. A field of 39 cars including 19 from the north were on hand. Rookie Tommy Barrett Jr. out-ran veterans Bobby Santos and Justin Bonsignore with a dozen laps to go and drove on to his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in Wednesday’s Bush’s Beans 150.

  Barrett, from Millis, Massachusetts, was running third in the late stages of the hotly-contested race when he drove through and by Bonsignore and Santos, who had been the dominant cars of the night, on Lap 139. The 19-year-old held on to the lead in his No. 22 Canto Paving/Ferguson Waterworks Chevrolet through one final restart on Lap 146 for his milestone first victory.

  It was just his 10th career start, and first time competing in the sixth annual combination race between the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours.

  Santos held on for a runner-up finish and Ron Silk joined him on the podium in third. Whelen Modified points leader Doug Coby crossed the line fourth and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Ryan Newman was fifth. Bonsignore, the event’s Coors Light Pole Award winner, slipped to sixth in the final running order followed by Eric Goodale, Patrick Emerling, Timmy Solomito and Jimmy Zacharias.

  JR Bertuccio ended up as the highest-finishing Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver in the event, 13th overall, and was credited with a victory for that tour. Southern tour points leader Andy Seuss was scored 27th in the final rundown.

  The Bush’s Beans 150 will air on Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 31 at 12 p.m. EDT.

   Twenty six of the original 39 starters were on the lead lap at the finish. Among those who failed to finish was Gary McDonald who was involved in an accident on lap 94, Todd Szegedy dropped out on lap 79 with rear end failure, Don Lia dropped out on lap 62 with engine failure, Wade Cole lasted 38 laps before overheating and Jason Myers had a mechanical failure on lap 3.

  With four events remaining on the Whelen Modified Tour schedule, Coby leads Bonsignore 407-403 in the championship standings with Ted Christopher in third at 374. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour has seven events remaining and Seuss now leads George Brunnhoelzl III 301-286 with Bertuccio ranked third at 274.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will return to action with the Bayport Credit Union 150 on Aug. 30 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be idle until the Riverhead 200 on Sept. 13 at Riverhead Raceway on New York’s Long Island.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway ran under cloudy and cool skies. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins were Rowan Pennink in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, Branden Dion in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Hayes in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Ryan Fearn in the 15-lap DARE Stock, and Mike Christopher, Jr. in the 20-lap Legend Cars feature.

  In the SK Mod 40 lapper, Pennink led Preece back to the checkered flag to pick up his third win of the 2014 season. Keith Rocco finished third, with Woody Pitkat and Eric Berndt rounding out the top-5. Nichole Morgillo, who joined the SK Modified ranks at Stafford after a dispute with officials at the Waterford Speedbowl a week previous, finished 13th.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco went two for two cleaning house as he scored wins in both the SK Modified® and Valenti Auto Mall Late Model features to reach his 100th career victory at the track. Al Stone III was the winner of a thrilling Street Stock race, Garrett Denton won his fourth Mini Stock feature and Randy Churchill won for the second consecutive outing for the SK Light Modifieds. Mike Christopher Jr. won for the twentieth time of the year in INEX Legend Cars.

  Rocco’s night began with his tenth win of the year in the SK Modified® ranks, coming after some late race heroics in the division’s 35-lap feature. Rocco started the race twelfth, moving up while Ed Puleo led. A lengthy green flag run saw Tyler Chadwick get by Rob Janovic Jr. for second, clearing him for the spot on lap-15. Rocco made his way into the picture by lap-20, completing and outside pass on Janovic for third. While Chadwick looked for a way to unseat Puleo, Rocco struck. He made a diving move underneath Chadwick to the third turn on lap-25, taking second. Puleo was able to hold back Rocco’s charges for six laps before he was victim of a well-executed crossover maneuver on lap-31. Rocco went from the top of the track down to the bottom lane in turn four to get underneath Puleo as they raced to first turn. Rocco completed the move, led lap-32, then survived three green-white-checkered flag restarts for late race incidents behind him. Tim Jordan was able to race his way to a runner-up finish late in the going. Puleo wrecked hard out of the final corner coming to the finish line, enabling Chadwick to take third. Paul Kusheba IV finished fourth while Puleo had enough forward momentum to finish fifth.

  Rocco recorded the 100th victory after his win in the night’s extra-distance Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, his second win of the night. He joins Phil Rondeau and Don Collins as the only drivers to ever reach the century mark in career wins in the track’s 64-year history. Rondeau is the the all-time wins leader at the track with 106 victories. Rocco’s first win came on August 30, 2003 in the Street Stock division.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series went "up country" to the Monadnock Speedway on Saturday night. Dwight Jarvis won the annual ‘Victor Johnson Memorial 100’. Jarvis, of Ascutney, Vermont, started 22nd in a 25-car field, worked his way to the front like he’s done many times. Maintaining tire usage, staying out of trouble, and passing cars when he felt it was time to go, Jarvis moved to third bringing the crowd alive and stayed there until a lap-71 restart when he slipped by Woody Pitkat to settle into second. With heavy fog rolling in over the speedway, Jarvis used a lapped car to his advantage to pass Rowan Pennink of Huntingdon Valley,PA, on lap 93 and went on to win his eighth career VMRS race. It was the sixth series win at Monadnock.

  Pennink hung on for second and was followed by Pitkat. Max Zachem and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Kirk Alexander, Richard Savory, Russ Hersey, Jean Paul Cyr and Rob Goodenough.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Danny Bohn won Saturday night’s season-ending Carolina Farm Credit 150 at the Bowman Gray Stadium, and wound up finishing far enough ahead of Lee Jeffreys to claim his first NASCAR Modified title. Bohn took the lead in the 80th lap after leader Tim Brown, who returned to race for the first time since being penalized for his part in a July 19 skirmish with Burt Myers, got caught behind a lapped car. Bohn led the rest of the way.
Bohn had to wait out a 45-minute rain delay to run the race’s final three laps. Just before raindrops began to fall, Jonathan Brown, driving Bohn’s backup car, sent title-contender Jason Myers spinning from the third position to out of the top 10. Burt Myers then spun Jonathan Brown. Tim Brown ended up second with Jonathan Brown recovering to finish third. Burt Myers and Tony Black rounded out the top five

  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Ryan Preece scored his third win of the season as he best out Howie Brode for the win. There were only twelve Modifieds at the east end oval.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.75 to 18.00 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.69 to 32.16 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 2.71. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.15 to 5.54 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 1.09 to 56.47 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.18 to 25.07. Two of the three auto manufacturers were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.14 to 17.17 and Toyota dropped 2.89 to 114.09 while General Motors went up 0.40 to 34.24. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 7.34 to 91.03 while Lowes went up 2.53 to 52.53. The big team sponsors were all in the green for the week. Dupont went up 0.61 to 65.86, Coca-Cola went up 0.35 to 74.60, Target went up 2.85 to 61.05, Aarons Rentals went up 1.13 to 26.13 and FedEx went up 0.74 to 149.46.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, August 27

5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
10:03 PM, American Restoration - NASCAR History 300 - Dales of Thunder, HIST

Thursday, August 28
2:04 AM, American Restoration - NASCAR History 300 - Dales of Thunder, HIST
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, The 600 - History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS2
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

Friday, August 29
2:00 PM, 1 on 1 - Jimmie Johnson, FS1
2:30 PM, NSCS Atlanta practice, FS1
4:00 PM, NNS Atlanta practice, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NNS Atlanta final practice, FS1
7:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying, FS1

Saturday, August 30
3:30 AM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying re-air, FS1
5:00 AM, NNS Atlanta practice re-air, FS1
10:30 AM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying re-air, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR America - Scan All 43 Special, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta practice, FS2
4:00 PM, NNS Atlanta qualifying re-air, FS2
5:30 PM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS2
6:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta final practice re-air, FS2
7:00 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN2
7:30 PM, NNS Atlanta race, ESPN2

Sunday, August 31
12:00 AM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying re-air, FS2
1:30 AM, NSCS Atlanta final practice re-air, FS2
2:00 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI
4:00 AM, NNS Atlanta race re-air, ESPND
12:00 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour-Bristol
1:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
1:30 PM, NCWTS Canada race, FS1
3:00 PM, American Restoration - NASCAR History 300 - Dales of Thunder, HIST
4:30 PM, 100,000 Cameras - NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
7:30 PM, NSCS Atlanta race, ESPN

Monday, September 1
12:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
1:00 AM, NSCS Atlanta race re-air, ESPN2
4:00 AM, NSCS Atlanta race re-air, ESPND

   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 26, 2014

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