The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


September 9, 2014

  The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returned to oval track action on Thursday night featuring twin 20 lap Sunoco (SK type) Modified features. Keith Rocco scored a one-two punch as he clearly had the dominate car to win both features, his 15th and 16th of the year in the Northeast.

  Rick Gentes won the Late Model feature while Corey Hutchings took down the win in the Limited Sportsman division. Dave Trudeau picked up the Mini Stock win.

  Rocco took the lead from Ryan Preece for the final time at lap 20 in the first feature, and took it away from Todd Ceravolo in the second one. In both races, Rocco went to the checkered flag unchallenged.

  Tyler Chadwick took the early lead at the drop of the green in the first 25-lap feature, but caution quickly emerged on lap two when Todd Ceravolo spun in the middle of turn one and two. Chadwick held off Cam McDermott on the restart, but a multi-car wreck on the backstretch put them under caution before the lap was over. McDermott took the lead on the restart and held off a three-wide challenge in turn four to keep it at the line. On the following circuit, Preece drove up on McDermott’s bumper before dropping to the bottom groove to claim the lead in turn three of lap four. Kerry Malone moved into second and attached himself to Preece’s bumper. Rocco settled into third, but soon inherited the second position when Malone blew up on the front stretch at lap 14.

  Preece and Rocco brought the field back to green with a tight door-to-door battle through turns one and two. In the middle of turn three, Rocco pulled ahead by a slight advantage, but lost it to Preece when they crossed the line. The battle continued and the duo swapped the lead several times before Rocco settled in out front at the wave of a caution flag on lap 17. Preece cleared Rocco on the restart to assume the lead, but Rocco drove back out front in turn four. Preece reclaimed the lead before the lap was over, but Rocco wasn’t done and drove back out front on lap 20. This time, however, Rocco opened up a five car length advantage – the largest over Preece for the night. Rocco continued to pull away over the last couple of laps and took down the victory in the first of dual 25-lap features. Preece settled for second with Danny Cates, third. Cam McDermott and Todd Ceravolo rounded out the top five.

  Without a doubt, Rocco had the field covered as he took the lead from Todd Ceravolo on lap 14 and never looked back. Ceravolo held on for second with Preece, third. Shawn Thibeault and Max Zachem rounded out the top five.

  Action was at a fever pitch at Stafford on Friday night as Rowan Pennink made it three in a row in SK Modified competition. Pennink and Ryan Preece had been slugging it out from the early going and were headed for a photo finish when Ted Christopher entered the mix on the final lap which allowed Pennink to take the win. Pennink and Preece had taken the white flag and were racing side by side going into turn three when Christopher gave Preece an upsetting bump which caused him to momentarily lift. Joey Cipriano came through to finish second, with Preece, Christopher, and Todd Owen rounding out the top five. NASCAR National Championship contender Keith Rocco finished sixth. Nicole Morgillo completed her third week of competition at Stafford and finished 12th. Based on a three week handicap she should be starting at or near the front this coming Friday night.

  Also scoring wins on Friday night were Adam Gray who scored his fourth win of the year in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Jay Goff who scored his first win of the year in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Andrew Hayes locked down his fourth win of the season in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature, Alexandra Fearn scored her second win of the season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Cory DiMatteo scored his third win of the season in the 20-lap Legend Cars feature.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburg, NY for a 100 lap event. Justin Bonsignore in the Art and Kenny Barry No. 21 took the win over Tommy Barrett JR and Chris Pasteryak.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series will be idle until this coming Saturday when the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island presents the Riverhead 200. Word has it that one of the Modified Tour's most prominent teams will not be in competition as they are in the process of regrouping so as to be ready for Loudon on September 20. Car owner Bob Garbarino said that the decision to not participate in the Riverhead 200 is based solely upon trying to break the team’s run of bad luck this season. His No. 4 entry, driven by Donny Lia, has been unable to finish six of the 10 tour races this year, including five of the last six. Four were due to accidents and two the result mechanical failures.

  “Hopefully we’re just going to break the chain of bad luck, that’s really all there is to it,” Garbarino said. “We’ve got to find a way to get rid of this. We’ve got to do something to shake ourselves up here.” Garbarino has participated on the Whelen Modified Tour since it was established in 1985, and his No. 4 has started in every race since the beginning of the 1989 season.

  In an unrelated matter a 13.5 acre parcel of land directly across the street from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway will go on the auction block on Saturday, Sept 20th at 10:00am. Suggested opening bid for this property which has 600 feet of frontage on Route 106 is $275,000.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the shoreline oval ended up getting skunked by the weather man. The National Weather Service predicted high winds and heavy rain for southeastern Connecticut for Saturday night. Needless to say it was humid ans uncomfortable in the Waterford area on Saturday night but no rain fell until after midnight.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series was at the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. Burt Myers took the lead from points leader Andy Seuss on the restart of a green-white-checkered finish attempt and held on for his second consecutive win of the season and 13th career victory. It was Myers' first victory at the .455-mile banked asphalt oval since the series' second event there in April 2005. Seuss, who entered the event looking for his fifth consecutive win at Caraway dating back to last season and 11th of his career, was forced to settle for a runner-up finish. He was followed by Kyle Ebersole, David Calabrese and Danny Bohn. Luke Fleming, J.R. Bertuccio, Bryan Dauzat, Daniel Speeney and Gary Putnam completed the top 10.

  At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island the scheduled twin 30 lap NASCAR Modified features were replaced by a single 40 lapper because of impending rain. Jason Agugliaro scored his second win of the season over Ryan Preece, Tom Rogers Jr, Kyle Elwood and Ron Silk.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks ended in the red from the previous week. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation which dropped 0.49 to 33.00. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.30 to 18.30 and Dover Entertainment dropped dropped 0.11 to 2.59. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.28 to 5.89 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.78 to 25.19 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.42 to 56.93.The domestic car builders were down while Toyota was on the rise. The Japan based car maker went up 2.07 wile Ford dropped 27 to 17.14 and General Motors dropped 0.22 to 34.58. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 1.60 to 54.11 while Home Depot dropped 1.89 to 91.61. In the area of big team sponsors Dupont went down 0.11 while Coca-Cola went up 0.25 to 74.61, Target went up 1.01 to 61.08, Aarons Rentals went up 0.19 to 25.81 and FedEx went up 5.32 to 153.20.

On the tube this week:

Tuesday, September 9

5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, The 10 - NASCAR's Most Outrageous Moments, FOX Sports 2
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
7:30 PM, The 10 - NASCAR's Closest Calls, FS2

Wednesday, September 10
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Special, FS1
1:00 PM, Mega RV Countdown - Epic NASCAR RV, Travel Channel
2:00 PM, American Restoration - NASCAR History 300 - Dales of Thunder, HISTORY Channel
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

Thursday, September 11
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

Friday, September 12
1:00 AM, NASCAR's The List - Iconic Cars, NBCSN
1:30 AM, NASCAR's The List - Tracks, NBCSN
2:00 AM, NASCAR's The List - Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Moments, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NNS Chicagoland practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS Chicagoland qualifying, FS1
4:30 PM, NNS Chicagoland final practice, FS1
6:30 PM, NSCS Chicagoland qualifying, ESPN2
8:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Chicagoland race, FS1

Saturday, September 13
3:00 AM, The 10 - NASCAR's Most Bizarre Moments, FS1
11:00 AM, NSCS Chicagoland practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NNS Chicagoland qualifying, FS2
1:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS2
2:00 PM, NSCS Chicagoland final practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NNS Chicagoland race, ESPN2

Sunday, September 14
4:00 AM, NNS Chicagoland race re-air, ESPND
9:00 AM, NSCS Chicagoland final practice re-air, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCR Race Day, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
2:00 PM, NSCS Chicagoland race, ESPN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
11:30 PM, NSCS Chicagoaland race re-air, ESPN2

   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: September 9, 2014

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