The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


September 23, 2014

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to Loudon, NH for the FW Webb 100. Woody Pitkat held off Todd Szegedy on a green-white-checkered finish to earn his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. It was Pitkatís first trip to Victory Lane in 16 starts at the Loudon, New Hampshire oval. Szegedy crossed the line second and championship points leader Doug Coby finished third. Ted Christopher and Rowan Pennink completed the top five. Patrick Emerling, Donny Lia, Bobby Santos, Tommy Barrett Jr. and Mike Stefanik rounded out the top 10.

  Cobyís third place finish, combined with a mid-race engine failure for Justin Bonsignore, resulted in a big points swing. Coby entered New Hampshire four points up on Bonsignore, but leaves with a 448-422 edge.

  The action started as soon as the green flag dropped with the lead up for grabs throughout the first half of the race. There were a total of 15 lead changes among four drivers throughout the event. Pitkat and his Buzz Chew entry proved to be the class of the field, however. The Stafford, Connecticut, native posted his fifth top-five finish in 11 races this year after grabbing the checkered flag ahead of 18-time race winner Szegedy.

  The F.W. Webb 100 ran relatively clean in the first half of the race, but the final half was not without incident with eight cautions and one red flag lasting 20 minutes. The red flag was caused by a six-car accident coming out of turn two on Lap 99.

  The F.W. Webb 100 will be telecast on FOX Sports 1 this coming Saturday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. EDT.

  The Whelen Modified Tour has just two races remaining on the 2014 schedule starting with the NAPA Fall Final 150 on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Stafford.

  Loudon Notes:
  The NASCAR Modifieds, 27 of them, rolled into Loudon for registration and inspection on Thursday. Included in the field were eight competitors running the NASCAR Spec engine. Tommy Barrett, Justin Bonsignore, Ted Christopher, Ryan Newman, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Timmy Solomito, and Danny Watts.

  Friday dawned bright and chilly as temperatures were in the 40's before the sun came up. The first practice was slated for 8:30am. Prior to the start of the practice the teams of Ryan Newman and Gary McDonald's team were told that they would be held for five minutes at the beginning of this practice session due to the fact that their spotters were late to the driver/spotters meeting. Twenty four of the 27 cars entered took part in the practice session. Fastest of the fast was Timmy Solomito in the Wayne Anderson No. 75. Ron Silk was second fastest with Todd Szegedy, third. Among those who did not take part was Ryan Newman who arrived at Loudon during the wee hours and chose to get some sleep. Ken Heagy and Gary McDonald also missed the practice.

  Just about everyone took part in the second and final practice with many testing their drafting skills. When the session closed shortly after noon Bobby Santos was on top of the speed charts. His soon to be brother in law, Woody Pitkat was second fastest with Donny Lia, third.
Shortly before 5:00pm as the sun was fading fast in the west NASCAR Sprint Cup top gun Brad Keselowski set a new track record with a speed of 139.614. Despite the fact that the track was cold it was lightning fast. The Modifieds finally got on the track for qualifying at 5:45pm.
Ryan Newman, from South Bend, Indiana, posted a fast lap of 29.067 seconds (131.035 mph) to capture the F.W. Webb 100 pole for the second year in a row. Ron Silk joined Newman on the front row after his fast lap of 29.136 (130.725) qualified second. July NHMS winner Bobby Santos was third-fastest at 29.193 (130.470). Five-time Loudon victor Ted Christopher qualified fourth and defending F.W. Webb 100 winner Todd Szegedy was fifth. Woody Pitkat, points leader Doug Coby, Donny Lia, Rowan Pennink and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.

  Once qualifying ended another race began as competitors headed to the Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut. Ryan Preece, who was 10 points behind Ted Christopher for track championship honors opted for a helicopter ride for the tune of $3500. Christopher said that by the time he ran his lap and got to the helipad, he estimated that it would be close to 7:00 p.m. before he would take off. He said the trip from Loudon to Stafford is 50 minutes in a helicopter without a headwind. He felt that those factors plus the heavy price tag for the helicopter ride were not cost effective and made driving a much better option. Woody Pitkat who also planned to fly, sided with Christopher as the two drove to Connecticut together. All three made it in time for their main event. Pitkat faired the best as he ended up in second spot. Preece ran in the top five, survived a flat tire and a wreck and finished seventh. Christopher recovered from a spin to finish ninth.

  It was Jamie Tomaino's 600th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start. The grandstand population was extremely good.

  The first caution of the day came on lap 3 when Mike Stefanik and Ryan Preece rubbed nerf bars causing both cars spin. The second caution came on lap 17 when Tommy Barrett spun on his own in turn two. No damage as Barrett restarted and pulled away. Caution No. 3 was for Matt Hirschman on lap 25 when he took a head on hit into the Safe barrier in between turn three and four. It appeared that his car had a broken brake rotor causing him to make a sharp left turn into the wall. Hirschman removed himself from the wrecked vehicle. Doug Coby was the cause of caution No.4. On lap 55 Coby and Patrick Emerling make contact. One lap later Coby hit the outside wall in turn two. Glen Reen's day came to an end on lap 79 when he hit the front stretch wall and his right front wheel came off causing caution No. 5. Things got interesting with five laps to go. Ryan Newman was trying to get under Doug Coby to make the pass when he hit Coby's rear and spun on the apron in turn 4, bringing out caution No. 6. At that point Newman had enough for the day and parked it.

  With the end in sight, the field took the green on lap 99 and a wreck again slowed the progress of the event. Four cars were involved in a massive pile up in turn two. Mike Stefanik spun coming out of turn two, came across the track and hit Danny Watts as Timmy Solomito was hit from behind by Ron Yuhas JR. Yuhas went up and over, landing on his roof for caution No. 7 which turned into a 20 minute red flag condition. Yuhas emerged unhurt. The final restart came on lap 103. Bobby Santos put the bumper to Pitkat setting up a bump draft which put Pitkat out in front and in the lead. Todd Szegedy tried every trick to upset the leader but Pitkat never wavered as he streaked under the checkered flag for his first New Hampshire win. Pitkat's margin of victory was 0.298 seconds. Officially there were 15 lead changes among four drivers.

  The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island closed out their season this past Saturday night. Howie Brode won the Modified 50 Lap main event over John Fortin.

  The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their Friday night series last week. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Michael Gervais, Jr. in the SK Modifiedģ feature, Michael Scorzelli was a first time career winner in the Late Model feature as was Stephen Kopcik in the SK Light feature, Glenn Bartkowski in the Limited Late Model feature, and Jordan LaMothe in the Legends Car feature, and Frank LíEtoile, Jr. won the DARE Stock feature.

  Gervais and Woody Pitkat were locked in a side by side duel for the lead for the final 2 laps and coming to the checkered flag, Gervais held off Chase Dowling on his inside and Pitkat on his outside to take his first win of the 2014 season. Pitkat barely beat Dowling to the line for second with Rowan Pennink and Frank Ruocco rounding out the top-5.

  Stafford closes out their 2014 season with the NAPA Fall Final next weekend on Sept. 27-28.

  In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl Diego Monahan, Anthony Ryan Jr. and Pete Zaikarite were first-time winners at the Waterford Speedbowl this season Monahan was a dramatic winner of the SK-Modified feature, Ryan won the Late Model race and Zaikarite captured the Mini Stock feature. Al Stone III (Street Stocks), Paul Buzel (SK Light Modifieds) and Mike Christopher Jr. (Legend Cars) also earned trips to Victory Lane.

  Monahan came out on top of a wild 35-lap SK Modified race where more than three cars each had a shot to win over two green-white-checkered flag attempts to finish the race. Monahan battled with his brother Shawn and three-time track champion Keith Rocco over a thrilling final nine laps that began with a lap 26 restart. Diego Monahan held the lead through lap 33, but Rocco made a charge coming to the white flag only to have a spin behind the leaders return the race to the yellow caution flag.

  On the restart Diego Monahan fended off an outside bid by his brother over the final lap to earn the win with Rocco getting past Shawn Monahan to finish second.

  Christopher won a special 50-lap Legends Car feature for his 24th overall win of the year.

  In Modified racing in the Southland, Burt Myers led every lap to win the Southern National 150 at Southern National Motorsports Park in North Carolina, after holding off a hard charge from George Brunnhoelzl III, to pick up his third victory in the past four races. Kyle Ebersole, who won one week previous at South Boston Speedway, followed in third with David Calabrese and rookie Joe Ryan Osborne completing the top five.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks had negative endings from the previous week Taking the biggest dip was Speedway Motorsports which dropped 0.22 to 17.66. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.07 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.08 to 2.33. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.12 to 6.88 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.69 to 23.91 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) jumped up 2.93 to 60.93. The car builders had a productive week. Ford jumped 0.06 to 16.65 and General Motors jumped 0.67 to 33.94 while Toyota jumped 1.65 to 118.76. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot jumped 3.50 to 92.34 and Lowes jumped 1.12 to 54.09. With the exception of Aarons Rentals which dropped 0.65 to 24.95 the big team sponsors had a banner week. Dupont jumped 6.47 to 71.25 while Coca-Cola went up 0.96 to 27.41, Target went up 1.28 to 63.81 and FedEx went up 4.56 to 158.33.

  The Rockingham Speedway has taken another step towards being a part of racing history as attorneys for track co-owners Andy Hillenburg, of Harrsburg, N.C., and Bill Silas, of Stuart, Fla., are due in Richmond County Superior Court later this month.

  Attorneys David M. Schilli and Brian L. Church, represent the Salisbury bank Farmers and Merchants. The bank owns the note on the loan. According to court records, Hillenburg and Silas owed $4,532,796.23 as of Aug. 8. The parties are due in court at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. Both Hillenburg and Silas, who together own Rockingham Racing Park LLC, were served on Aug. 28.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, September 24

3:00 PM, NCWTS New Hampshire race re-air, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
7:30 PM, The 10 - NASCAR's Most Bizarre Moments, FS2

Thursday, September 25
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

Friday, September 26
10:00 AM, NNS Dover practice, FS1
11:00 AM, NSCS Dover practice, FS1
12:30 PM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
2:00 PM, NNS Dover practice, ESPN2
3:30 PM, NSCS Dover qualifying, ESPN2
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

Saturday, September 27
10:00 AM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New Hampshire 100
11:00 AM, NSCS Dover practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NNS Dover practice, FS2
1:30 PM, Empty Cup - Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS2
2:00 PM, NSCS Dover final practice, FS2
3:30 PM, NNS Dover race, ESPN
10:00 PM, NCWTS Las Vegas race, FS1

Sunday, September 28
4:00 AM, NNS Dover race re-air, ESPND
9:00 AM, NSCS Dover final practice, re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, NASCAR Race Day, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
2:00 PM, NSCS Dover race, ESPN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
9:00 PM, NCWTS Las Vegas race re-air, FS2

Monday, September 29
1:00 AM, NSCS Dover race re-air, ESPN2

   Thatís 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 23, 2014

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