October 21, 2014
Last week was an important one for race fans, competitors, track
operators and sanctioning bodies. First and foremost the race fans and
competitors of the Waterford Speedbowl were watching and waiting to see the
results of the foreclosure auction scheduled for high noon on Saturday. The
26.7 acre Speedbowl property had an appraised value of $2.8 million,
buildings and land included, according to the Waterford assessorís office.
Town tax collector Mark Burnham said property owner Terry Eames is current
on his property taxes, which total roughly $56,000 a year.
Bruce Beamer, a petroleum company owner from Glastonbury, Ct was the high
bidder. The 60 year old gentleman bid $1.75 Million and once all the papers
are signed will be the new owner of the property.
Court records list nine creditors in the current foreclosure suit against
Eames, which was filed by Rocco Arbitell and Peter Borrelli in 2008. In
April, Eames estimated his debt to creditors at $1.9 million.
Much to the relief of many who felt the Speedbowl would be devoured by a
wrecking ball Beamer stated the racetrack would continue to operate more
than likely with the current management in place.
The new owner of the Speedbowl will not be allowed to expand the facility
or add any new uses to the property according to Mark Wujtewicz, planner in
the Waterford Department of Planning and Development.
Arbetell was spectating with his wife at the Thompson Speedway last
Sunday. He said that he is relieved that it's over, at least for himself and
Borelli. They will get their money, the other parties in the foreclosure
will not. He, along with his almost partner feel that the new owner should
clean house at the shoreline oval and put a new management team in place.
NASCAR has been getting some bad press as has the Valenti Modified
Series. NASCAR has been accused of running the Whelen Modified Tour Series
into the ground with its high fees and competition cost to members. Car
counts at recent events have been sub-par. At the recent Fall Final at
Stafford Speedway promoter Mark Arute told Area Auto Racing News that there
would be a Spring Sizzler and Fall Final at the track but made no mention of
the June or August Modified tour events that have been annually run at the
track. In all fairness, Stafford has not released their 2015 schedule and
Arute's non-mention of the events could just be an oversight. Evidently
somebody at NASCAR got off their butt and made phone calls to entice car
owners to bring their cars to Thompson for the World Series as there were 36
on hand including a large contingent of Riverhead competitors.
Despite the bad press generated by Tommy Barrett cheerleaders over his
recent DQ at Lee, Barrett, who said he was all done with the Valenti
Modifieds, was part of the 32 VMRS cars on hand at the World Series. Steve
Masse started on the pole and led every lap of the 75-lap Valenti Modified
Racing Series feature. Woody Pitkat finished second with Keith Rocco, third.
Richard Savary, Rowan Pennink, and Ted Christopher rounded out the top six.
Barrett finished out of the top ten.
Rain, on and off made for a long day on Saturday at the World Series.
Following practice for all divisions rain postponed Whelen Modified Tour
Series qualifying procedures initially for two hours, but it got underway
just after 5 p.m. with eleven cars taking time. A heavy rain cell delayed
the conclusion until 7:30 p.m. when the rest of the field was able to
complete qualifying laps. Woody Pitkat put down a lap of 119.579 mph for the
pole, which was his second this season and second at Thompson Speedway
Motorsports Park. Ryan Preece was second fastest with Tommy Barrett, Jr.,
third. Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Doug Coby and Donny Lia.
In addition to Modified tour qualifying and the Valenti Modified Racing
Series there were five other divisions racing to just about midnight at the
track. Taking wins were Nick Anderson in the Monster Mini Stocks, Wayne
Coury in the Outlaw Sportsman, Toby Wells in the Northeast Mini Stocks, Phil
Lausier in the Pro Four Modifieds and George Rego in the Outlaw Street
The sun poked out on Sunday and the remaining features of World Series
weekend at Thompson ran uninterrupted. The Whelen Mod Tour championship was
Doug Coby's to lose. He came close as Ted Christopher hounded him most of
the way just waiting for a mis-cue or a mechanical problem. All the drama
ended on lap 139 as Christopher suffered severe front end damage after a
tangle with Troy Talman and Tommy Barrett Jr. Christopher drove away from
the wreck only to park his car behind pit road. Following a restart on lap
143 Coby's luck ran out one lap later as his car suffered a flat right front
tire. To add salt to the wound Coby was penalized by NASCAR for bringing out
the caution, thus taking away any chance of a top finish. Coby was kept calm
by crew chief Phil Moran who reminded him that no matter what, the
championship was his.
Ryan Preece who had a so-so season was on cruise control as he won the
150 lapper going away. The event which carried a purse of $85,336 and paid
$6,000 to win saw Woody Pitkat jump out from his pole starting position at
the drop of the green. Pitkat led until lap 8 when Preece passed him in turn
three. Pitkat's day came to an end on lap16 when he ran over the wheel of
the lapped car of Gary MacDonald. Preece led until he pitted during a
caution period on lap 71 for fresh tires. Tommy Barrett led the restart on
lap 75 with Preece in the sixth position. Barrett slowed on lap 76 allowing
Rowan Pennink to take the lead. Running on a rail, Preece wasted little time
as he re-took the lead on lap 78 in turn four and never looked back. Pennink
faded to third in the closing laps as Don Lia powered the Mystic Missile
home in the runner-up finishing position. Ron Silk finished fourth with
Justin Bonsignore, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Spencer
Davis, Eric Goodale, Max Zachem and Timmy Solomito. Coby ended up 17th and
In a good news announcement the Thompson Motorsports Park management
announced the track would host four Whelen Modified Tour Series events in
2015, up one from 2014.
In other Sunday action at Thompson, Woody Pitkat started third and
avoided a multi-car wreck at the start to grab the lead on the restart
before driving on to the win in the Sunoco Modified 30-lap feature event.
Over aggressive driving spelled disaster for several cars at the start of
the Sunoco Modified feature. Four cars were taken off the front stretch on a
hook after two cars made contact and sent one into the inside retaining
wall. Ten cars were collected in the mayhem.
Max Zachem and Woody Pitkat went side-by-side into turn one for the
restart, but it was Pitkat with the advantage coming out of turn two. Cam
McDermott settled into third with pressure from Keith Rocco. Pitkat
commanded the first half of the race even as he maneuvered through lapped
traffic. Rowan Penninkís day, however, wasnít going as well as he got black
flagged from track officials at lap 16. McDermott remained a solid contender
in second, running a mere five car lengths behind Pitkat. Zachem and Rocco
rounded out the top four. The long green flag run only helped Pitkat, who
drove on to the checkered flag unchallenged after McDermott got hung up by a
lapped car in the closing laps of the race. Todd Ceravolo, rounded out the
top five. Ryan Preece, who drove through the race opening wreck, finished
sixth and wrapped up the Sunoco Modified Track championship.
Charlie Rose was the Late Model winner, Derek Ramstrom, the Granite State
Pro Stock winner, Randy Cabral the NEMA Midget winner, Chris Perley, the
ISMA Supermodified winner, Chris Turbush, the New England Truck Series
winner and Corey Hutchings, the Limited Sportsman winner.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks showed modest gains. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.58 to 17.49 and
the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.56 to 29.27 while Dover
Entertainment dropped 0.03 to 2.27. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy
Transfer) made a slight recovery from the previous weeks blood bath as they
went up 1.80 to 62.10. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.23 to 6.03 and
NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.04 to 20.21. Two of the three car
builders were down for the week. Foed went up 0.23 to 14.02 while General
Motors dropped 0.05 to 30.24 and Toyota dropped 4.18 to 109.79. In the home
improvement sector Home Depot dropped 2.31 to 90.24 and Lowes dropped 1.19
to 52.51. The big team sponsor's stocks were a mixed bag. Dupont went up
0.44 66.98, Coca-Cola went up 2.92 to 81.51 and FedEx went up 1.37 to 156.12
while Target Department Stores dropped 1.52 to 59.07 and Aaron's Rentals
dropped 0.10 to 24.10.
On the tube this week:
Thursday, October 23
8:30 AM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2
7:00 PM, NASCAR America - Scan all 43 Special, NBCSN
Friday, October 24
8:30 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Martinsville practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS Martinsville final practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
Saturday, October 25
9:00 AM, NSCS Martinsville practice, FS1
10:00 AM, NCWTS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR Live, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Martinsville final practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
1:30 PM, NCWTS Martinsville race, FS1
Sunday, October 26
5:00 AM, NSCS Martinsville final practice re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
1:30 PM, NSCS Martinsville race, ESPN
8:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
Monday, October 27
1:00 AM, NSCS Martinsville 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.
Smith / Champ Trail