The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

March 31, 2015

  The countdown to the season openers at Thompson, Stafford and New London-Waterford continues. As of this coming Friday, April 3, one week remains before the green flag drops for IceBreaker 2014 at Thompson on April 12 followed by the Spring Sizzler at Stafford on April 26 and the long awaited rebirth of the New London Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, May 2. Thompson had a practice scheduled for this past Saturday but rain and snow prevailed.

  The Icebreaker on April 11-12 marks the opening of the 75th season at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP). To commemorate the occasion, TSMP will be holding a 75 lap race for their premiere NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the Sunoco Modifieds.

  The 75-lap feature will be the highest paying Sunoco Modified race in recent history, offering $2,000 to the winner, and $250 to any driver who takes the green. Teams will be allowed up to two tire changes, throughout the race. The race will draw a strong field of Modified drivers, including NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers Justin Bonsignore and Ted Christopher. Bonsignore was the winner of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at both the Icebreaker and Budweiser 150 last year. Christopher is one of the winningest drivers at TSMP, with 98 career wins, and will also be a strong contender for the win.

  The NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series returned to the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina last week. Andy Seuss went from Zero to hero in two weeks. After finishing last in the season opener two weeks ago at Caraway Speedway, Seuss held off Eric Goodale on a green-white-checkered finish to win the Charles Kepley Memorial 150 Saturday in a return to Caraway.

  The key to success was with his pit crew. Seuss’ pit crew got him out of the pits first just in front of Eric Goodale on Lap 131, after a spin by Kyle Ebersole brought out the fifth caution flag of the race. Ryan Preece rebounded from contact with JR Bertuccio on the final restart on Lap 146 to finish third, with Bertuccio and Burt Myers completing the top five.

  For most of the race it appeared Bertuccio was on his way to his third career tour win as he took the lead from Preece on Lap 8 and remained out front until the leaders came in for the decisive pit stop. It was the most laps the Centereach, New York, native had led in competition since he led 145 in his win last April at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina.

  Jason Myers finished sixth, and Ebersole able to work back through the field after his late spin to finish seventh. Frank Fleming, Gary Putnam and John Smith completed the top 10.

  Seuss and the rest of the Southern Modified competitors will be in action next Saturday at Virginia's South Boston Speedway for the South Boston 150.

  Congratulations to Todd Ceravolo who won a 2015 Corvette in a raffle last week. Son-in law Keith Rocco will be driving the Ceravolo family Sunoco SK Modified at Thompson this season.

  In some sad news, multi-time New London-Waterford Speedbowl Modified track champion Dick Dunn passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, March 27th, 2015. He was 77. Long heralded as a top star at the Speedbowl, Dunn began his career in the shoreline oval’s support divisions before successfully transitioning to the headlining Modifieds where by the 1960s he’d become a multi-time feature winner with his own car, and also while driving for other teams.

  A pairing with car owner the late Peg Gaudreau and her late husband Al at the dawn of the 1970s proved wildly-successful for the Middletown, CT, native. Piloting the Gaudreau "Buddha’s Bullet" #3, he went on to record 4-straight Speedbowl Modified track championships beginning in 1972.

  Significant Speedbowl victories during those years included the Schaefer 100, New England 100, and Fall Stinger 100. The Dunn-Gaudreau team also notched feature event victories at other New England speedways including the Thompson Motorsports Park in Connecticut, and at New Hampshire’s Monadnock Speedway. Additionally, the team also frequently competed at the big yearly Modified shows at Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway.

  In 2000 he was named among the Speedbowl’s "50 Favorite Drivers" during a ceremony honoring the tracks 50th Anniversary. The last laps of Dunn’s Modified career were recorded at the Speedbowl aboard a Ted Marsh-owned Modified in 1987.

  The funeral was held on Monday at 11 am from the Coughlin-Lastrina Funeral Home, 491 High Street, Middletown, CT followed by a mass of Christian burial at St. Pius X Church at 12 noon. Burial was in the family plot in St. Sebastian Cemetery, Middlefield, CT.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were up for the week. Dover Entertainment was up 0.30 to 2.52 and Speedway Motorsports was up 0.17 while the International Speedway Corporation was down 0.48 to 31.77. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.63 to 26.29 while NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.23 to 4.72 and Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.29 to 55.97. The car manufacturers were down for the week. General Motors dropped 1.56 to 57.31 while Toyota dropped 0.69 to 142.40 and Ford dropped 0.49 to 15.98. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 3.63 to 113.86 and Lowes dropped 1.56 to 73.67. In big team sponsorship, Coca-Cola went up 3.98 to 111.57 and Target went up 0.25 to 81.56 while McDonalds dropped 0.09 to 96.96, Aarons Rentals went down 0.50 to 27.73 and Fedex dropped 7.45 to 164.59.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, April 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America,, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1

  Thursday, April 2
2:30 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America,, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
9:30 PM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI

  Friday, April 3
12:30 AM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI
2:30 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America - Scan All 43 Special,, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
8:00 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
8:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
9:00 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
9:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
10:00 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
10:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
11:00 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
11:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN

  Saturday, April 4
12:00 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
12:30 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
1:00 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
1:30 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
2:00 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NASCAR America - The List, NBCSN

  NASCAR’s top three divisions are off this weekend in observance of Easter.

   That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: March 31, 2015

©2015 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.   Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written prior consent