The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - May 5, 2015

  The Stafford Motor Speedway opened their Friday night racing series under clear skies. Ronnie Williams took the lead early and then had to hold off challenges from Eric Berndt, Rowan Pennink, and then Keith Rocco to claim victory in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Josh Wood was the winner in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno was the winner of the 20-lap SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, Trace Beyer won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature, and Dana DiMatteo won the 20-lap Legend Cars feature.
  In the waning moments of the SK Modified feature Pennink was right on Williams’ back bumper with Rocco glued to his bumper in a 3-way fight for the lead. Rocco made an amazing move to the inside of Pennink, going as low in turn 3 as he could possibly drive his car to take over second with 3 laps to go. Rocco was right there but he couldn’t get close enough to Williams in the closing laps to make a move as Williams scored his first win of the 2015 season. Pennink finished third, with Berndt and Cipriano rounding out the top-5.
  Sixth through tenth were Matt Galko, Ryan Preece, Michael Gervais, Jr. Tom Bolles and Glen Reen.

  The long awaited Grand re-Opening of the New London-Waterford Speedbowl took place this past Saturday, May 2. The crowd was good and the morale of the competitors was high as they knew for sure they would get paid for their efforts.
  Keith Rocco scored a double whammy as he won the SK Modified and Late Model features on this historical night. Rocco’s biggest threat in the Modified event came about halfway through the event when he and Ted Christopher made contact on a restart. Christopher brushed the frontstretch wall during the incident. Christopher fell to third, got back to second, but never a threat after that. Rob Janovic finished second. Rocco blamed the bumping incident on cold tires. Christopher said it was deliberate as he felt that Rocco rode him up. Christopher was later disqualified from his second place finish. Christopher’s Prestige Motorsports owned ride was found with an illegal intake manifold following the event.
  The change moved Janovic to a second place finish and Craig Lutz Long Island to third.

  Earlier in the day Robert Our Motorsports announced that Tommy Barrett had been canned and Rocco would be the team's new permanent driver on the Whelen Modified Tour Series.

  Rocco now has 105 combined victories at the shoreline oval, one shy of the record set by Phil Rondeau.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series began their 2015 season last Saturday night at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Todd Szegedy who finished second in the Whelen Modified Tour opener at Thompson moved up a spot as he took the 100 lap win at the New Hampshire oval on Saturday. Woody Pitkat who was the WMT winner of the Spring Sizzler at Stafford, finished second. Todd Patnode finished third. Rowan Pennink and Les Hinckley rounded out the top five.

  The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island opened for the season this past Saturday. Tom Rogers scored twin 30 lap victories.

  Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium, better known as the Mad House, the season opening 200 lap Modified event was postponed a week because of rain. Burt Myers won Saturday night’s season-opening Hayes Jewelers 200, registering his seventh opening-night victory and fourth in the last five years. Myers took the lead from brother and pole-sitter Jason Myers in the 36th lap, and held off a strong challenge from his brother on a final restart with 10 laps left. In between, he endured a scare from old nemesis Junior Miller. On the 160th lap, Miller spun through the infield and landed back on the track right in front of Myers. After 40 laps of green-flag racing, Myers finally maneuvered past Miller, putting him a lap down without incident. Jason Myers wound up second, Brandon Ward third and Tim Brown fourth.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stock were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation was up 0.13 to 36.68 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 2.70 to 22.46 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.07 to 2.32. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 2.91 to 58.58 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.66 to 28.40 while NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.05 to 5.22. It was not a good week for the car manufacturers. Ford went up 0.04 to 15.81 while General Motors dropped 0.17 to 35.42 and Toyota dropped 1.25 to 139.96. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 4.15 to 109.55 and Lowes dropped 2.46 to 70.70. In big team sponsorship, Aarons Rentals went up 1.89 to 34.67 and Fedex went up 1.78 to 171.93 while McDonalds dropped 0.94 to 97.80, Coca-Cola dropped 1.85 to 111.51 and Target dropped 3.05 to 79.65.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, May 6

6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

  Thursday, May 7
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

  Friday, May 8
1:30 AM, NASCAR America - Scan All 43, NBC Sports Net
11:00 AM, NASCAR Masters of the Clock: The Legend of Martinsville, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 PM, NSCS Kansas final practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kansas qualifying, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
6:30 PM, NSCS Kansas qualifying, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Kansas race, FS1

  Saturday, May 9
3:00 AM, NCWTS Kansas race re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, NSCS qualifying re-air, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
7:30 PM, NSCS Kansas race, FS1

  Sunday, May 10
3:00 AM, NSCS Kansas race re-air, FS1

  Monday, May 11
10:00 AM, NSCS Kansas race re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

   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: May 5, 2015

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