September 2, 2014
The Valenti Modified Racing Series, with 24 cars strong, made its
third and final visit of the 2014 season to the Stafford Motor Speedway for
the 5th Annual VMRS 80. Taking the checkered flag was Tommy Barrett, Jr.,
after starting fourth, used a bold three-wide move to take the lead for the
first time on a lap-58 restart and led the rest of the way.
At the drop of the green flag, Justin Bonsignore took the lead with Max
Zachem in second. Rowan Pennink quickly moved past Zachem for second on
lap-2 and Keith Rocco followed Pennink by Zachem to take third. Behind
Zachem, Chris Pasteryak got around Tommy Barrett, Jr. to move into fifth
Rocco got around Pennink for second and he then took the lead from
Bonsignore on lap-6. Pennink was now third, with Zachem fourth and Pasteryak
was fifth. Bonsignore went back by Rocco for the lead on lap-8 and then
Rocco retook the lead from Bonsignore on lap-9.
Rocco held the lead until lap-22 when Bonsignore went back to the front.
Bonsignore’s lead was extremely short lived as Rocco went back by Bonsignore
in the next set of corners. Things then began to settle in as the top-9 cars
of Rocco, Bonsignore, Pennink, Zachem, Pasteryak, Preece, Barrett, Ted
Christopher, and Woody Pitkat were all in close contact with each other.
Preece’s run came to an end on lap-36 as his #31 dropped off the pace and he
slowly made his way back to pit road. Zachem took a look to the inside of
Pennink for third, but he was unable to make the pass stick and he settled
back into line in fourth behind Pennink.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Bonsignore in second. One lap
after the restart, contact between Barrett and Pennink sent Pennink up the
track and into the path of Zachem to bring the caution back out. Rocco took
the lead on the restart but behind Rocco, Charlie Pasteryak, Mike Willis,
Jr., and Carl Medieros, Jr. came together and spun on the backstretch to
bring the caution out.
Rocco again took the lead back under green with Bonsignore in hot
pursuit. Christopher was third with Barrett and Pasteryak making up the
top-5. Christopher’s car dropped off the pace on lap-54 and he slowly made
his way to pit road. Bonsignore was all over the back of Rocco when the
caution came back out with 57 laps complete for a spin by Bakaj.
The next restart told the story as Barrett went 3-wide to the inside of
both Rocco and Bonsignore to take over the race lead. Rocco and Bonsignore
settled into second and third with Pennink back up to fourth after his
earlier misfortunes. Woody Pitkat was up to fifth behind Pennink, his first
appearance of the night in the top-5 with 20-laps to go in the race.
Barrett pulled away from Rocco in the closing laps to pick up his third
Stafford VMRS victory. Rocco finished second, with Bonsignore, Pennink, and
Pitkat rounding out the top-5.
In other action at Stafford, Rowan Pennink won for the fourth time in the
last 6 races in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Josh Wood was a first time
winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno won for the fifth
time in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Duane Provost won for the fourth time
in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, and Brandon Michael took down his
second win in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Following Pennink, Ted Christopher beat Doug Coby to the line by a nose
to take second, with Dan Avery and Ryan Preece rounding out the top-5.
Nichole Morgillo continues to keep her racing at Stafford as she finished
15th in the SK feature.
Mike Christopher Jr who made his open wheeled debut in a SK Lite finished
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series will be idle until the Riverhead
200 on Sept. 13 at Riverhead Raceway on New York’s Long Island. One of
Modified racings legends, Eddie Flemke SR, would have been 84 last week had
he lived. A great driver, innovator and one not afraid to express his
opinions, Flemke mentored and touched many and is sorely missed.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl
the shoreline oval hosted Thunder on the Sound, a seven division motorsports
program highlighted by the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals SK
Modified® 150. The biggest race of the year for the track’s headline NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series division was won by Tyler Chadwick. Other winners
on the night included Keith Rocco in the Valenti Auto Mall Late Models,
while a pair of drivers picked up their third victories of the year, Ryan
Waterman in the Street Stocks Ray Christian III in the Mini Stocks. Paul
Buzel was a first time winner in SK Light Modified action, Mike Christopher
Jr. won in the INEX Legend Cars and Paul LaPlante won the Vintage Outlaw
Chadwick’s biggest ally in the 18th annual Budweiser Modified Nationals
may have been his patience. The 2012 division champion started the race
tenth and slowly moved into contention just before the halfway point of the
150-lap grind. Ted Christopher was out front, showing the way after he
passed early leader Ed Puleo on lap-11. Christopher led comfortably until a
caution flag came on lap-96.
Chadwick was in second on lap-70, and trailed Christopher until the
lap-96 restart. He tried to unseat Christopher on multiple occasions,
finally tucking in behind Christopher in second position. The intensity was
definitely on the rise among the lead pack as the race moved to its final
stages. Keith Rocco, who spent most of the first hundred laps outside the
top-five exhibiting patience of his own, asserted himself in the final fifty
circuits. Rocco pressed Chadwick until he gave up the outside, allowing
Rocco to move to second on lap-117. Rocco stalked Christopher for the lead
until he made a diving maneuver to the inside on lap-130 down the back
chute. The two cars came together between turns three and four, spinning
both and bringing out a caution.
Chadwick’s patience paid off as he inherited the lead while Rocco and
Christopher resumed from the tail of the field. Chadwick took off from Rob
Janovic Jr. on the restart, distancing himself from the competition over the
final dash to the finish as Rocco fired his way back through the field.
Rocco’s furious rally landed him in second, but he could not catch Chadwick
and finished in the runner-up spot. Puleo finished third, Janovic fourth and
Matt Galko was fifth.
Sixth through tenth were Craig Lutz, Ted Christopher, Dennis Perry, Joe
Gada and Diego Monahan.
Just one caution flag slowed Rocco’s roll in the 30-lap Valenti Auto Mall
Late Model race, Rocco is now tied with Don Collins with 101 overall wins at
the shoreline oval.
In Modified racing in the Southland, Burt Myers got his first NASCAR
Whelen Southern Modified Tour win of 2014 Saturday night and not without
controversy. The 38-year-old Walnut Cove, North Carolina, driver drove to
Victory Lane at Langley Speedway after a wild final lap of the Bayport
Credit Union 150. Myers was running second to George Brunnhoelzl III on the
final lap when the two made contact coming out of Turn 4. Myers gave him a
"Bowman Gray Tap" and crossed the line first as Brunnhoelzl bounced off the
outside wall and spun across the track. After a video review of the
incident, NASCAR officials upheld Myers win and Brunnholzl was scored in
second. Andy Seuss finished third, followed by J.R. Bertuccio and Jason
Kyle Ebersole, Danny Bohn, Gary Putnam, Ryan Preece and Luke Fleming
rounded out the top 10 at Langley. Earlier in the day, Preece won the Coors
Light Pole Award in qualifying, but a late race pit stop cost the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour regular a shot at the win.
Preece led a race-high 64 laps, while Brunnhoelzl led 55. The race
featured seven lead changes among four drivers. It was the first race in
which, in lieu of a mid-race break, teams were allowed to pit and change one
tire at any point in the race.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island John Fortin scored his third
Modified feature win of the season.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks finished out August on the positive side. The International Speedway
Corporation went up 1.33 to 33.49 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.60 to
18.60 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.01 to 2.70. NASCAR cup sponsor
Sprint went up 0.07 to 5.61 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy
Transfer) went up 0.98 to 57.45 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up
0.90 to 25.97. The car builders were all positive for the week. General
Motors went up 0.56 to 34.80 while Ford went up 0.24 to 17.41 and Toyota
went up 0.23 to 114.32. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot jumped up
2.47 to 93.50 while Lowes dropped 0.02 to 52.51. With the exception of
Dupont which went up 0.25 to 66.11 the big team sponsor's stocks were down.
Coca-Cola dropped 2.24 to 74.36, Target dropped 0.98 to 60.07, Aarons
Rentals dropped 0.51 to 25.62 and FedEx dropped 1.58 to 147.88.
On the tube this week:
Thursday, September 4
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
Friday, September 5
1:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Richmond practice, ESPN2
3:30 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Richmond qualifying, ESPN2
5:30 PM, NSCS Richmond qualifying, ESPN2
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN2
7:30 PM, NNS Richmond race, ESPN2
Saturday, September 6
4:00 AM, NNS race re-air, ESPND
10:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ABC
7:30 PM, NSCS Richmond race, ABC
Sunday, September 7
3:30 AM, NSCS Richmond race re-air, ESPN2
3:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
4:00 AM, NSCS Richmond race re-air, ESPND
9:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane 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