The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


September 16, 2014

  Keith Rocco broke the strangle hold that Rowan Pennink had on the SK Modified division at Stafford on Friday night. Pennink, up until Friday night, had a string of three wins in a row. It was also not a good night for Ryan Preece who lost the division point lead to Ted Christopher after his car developed problems and he was forced to drop out. Other winners were Adam Gray, who won his fifth feature of the year in the 30-lap Late Model Feature, and Justin Bren, who won his second Limited Late Model feature of the year. They were joined in NAPA Victory Lane by three first –time winners at Stafford and they were Paul French in the SK Light feature, Dan Dembek in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legends Car feature.

  In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Pennink finished second while Woody Pitkat beat Dan Avery to the checkered flag by a nose for third, and Eric Berndt got around Christopher for fifth. Christopher hung on for sixth. Preece ended up 20th while Nicole Morgillo finished 23rd. Preece had a very ambitious weekend planned as he intended to compete at Riverhead on Long Island on Saturday and at the Oswego Speedway in the Race of Champions on Sunday.

  Rocco has won at all three Connecticut tracks and has a total of 27 feature wins to his credit which include 15 in Modified competition and 12 in the Late Models at Waterford.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series will be idle until Sunday, October 5 when they travel to the Waterford Speedbowl.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was scheduled for a 200 lap event a the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island this past weekend. Rain moved over the track during afternoon practice and persisted into the evening, forcing the cancellation of the event by NASCAR and track officials. There were 30 cars on hand.

  Due to local regulations that prohibit Riverhead Raceway from running events after the month of September, no make-up date is available to reschedule the Riverhead 200. The Whelen Modified Tour has scheduled events the next two weekends, first Loudon and then Stafford, to close out the month. The Whelen Modified Tour will return to action this coming Saturday, Sept. 20 with the F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  Once the cancellation was made Ryan Preece made a hasty retreat and did an all nighter to Oswego, NY where he finished third behind Chuck Hossfeld and Tony Hanbury on the annual 200 lap Race of Champions.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the races were cancelled for the second week in a row. Rain moved into the Waterford Ct area shortly after 5:00pm on Saturday afternoon. The only action at the speedbowl during the week was the final night of Wacky Wednesday competition which saw Mike Christopher Jr record his 23rd win if the season in Legends competition at the shoreline oval.

  Christopher has already made his debut in open wheeled competition as he has recorded a 15th and a sixth in SK Lite competition. Ryan Morgan who had been a top runner in the Legends in past years will be moving up to the SK Modifieds in 2015.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Kyle Ebersole decided to change up his pit strategy and pitted early on Lap 53 and was able to hold off a late charge by Andy Seuss to win the South Boston 150 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event at South Boston Speedway. It was the second career victory for Ebersole. His first came in 2013 at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia. Andy Seuss made several attempts in his quest for a season sweep at South Boston, but was ultimately forced to settle for second. He was followed across the line by George Brunnhoelzl III, Burt Myers and J.R. Bertuccio. Pole winner Danny Bohn, rookie Spencer Davis, Jason Myers, Joe Ryan Osborne, and Thomas Stinson rounded out the top-10 finishers. There were 19 cars on hand.

  Local racers from the legendary to the up and coming will be appearing at the Willimantic Third Thursday street celebration on Sept. 18. Bob Potter, multi time track champion at Waterford, Stafford and Thompson will lead a group of seven drivers who will be appearing at the event representing the Willimantic Chronicle. Also on hand will be Stafford Motor Speedway Limited Late Model driver Norm Sears, Waterford Speedbowl X-Car driver and Northeast Mini Stock Tour competitor Mitch Bombard, Stafford Speedway Limited Late Model driver Kelsey Rottino, Waterford Speedbowl Wacky Wednesday drivers Chuck McDonald and Kim Bickford and Quarter Midget driver Hailey Desaulniers.

  The festival takes place on Main St. in Willimantic from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Parking and admission are free.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks were down from the previous week. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation which went down 0.49 to 32.57. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.42 to 17.88 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.18 to 2.41. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 1.41 to 7.00 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 1.07 to 58.00 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.59 to 24.60. With the exception of Toyota which went up 0.72 to 117.11, the car manufacturers were down as Ford dropped 0.55 to 16.59 and General Motors dropped 1.31 to 33.27. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 2.77 to 88.86 and Lowes dropped 1.14 to 52.97. In the area of big team sponsorship, Dupont dropped 1.22 to 64.78 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.21 to 25.60 while Coca-Cola went up 1.84 to 76.45, Target went up 1.45 to 62.53 and FedEx went up 0.57 to 153.77.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, September 17

5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2

Thursday, September 18
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC SN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
7:30 PM, The 10 - NASCAR's Wildest Throw downs, FS2

Friday, September 19
10:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub Special, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series New Hampshire practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS New Hampshire final practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS New Hampshire qualifying, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Kentucky final practice, FS1
7:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1

Saturday, September 20
3:00 AM, NSCS New Hampshire qualifying re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NCWTS New Hampshire final practice re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, NSCS New Hampshire practice, FS1
10:00 AM, NCWTS New Hampshire qualifying, FS1
11:30 AM, NSCS New Hampshire final practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
1:00 PM, NCWTS New Hampshire race, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPNEWS
7:30 PM, NNS Kentucky race, ESPNEWS

Sunday, September 21
12:30 AM, NCWTS New Hampshire race re-air, FS1
4:00 AM, NNS Kentucky race re-air, ESPND
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Day, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
2:00 PM, NSCS New Hampshire race, ESPN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

Monday, September 22
12:30 AM, NSCS New Hampshire race re-air, ESPN2
3:00 AM, NCWTS New Hampshire 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: September 16, 2014

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