The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


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 Stocks.

  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 Christopher, 20th.

  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.

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: October 21, 2014

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