The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - August 4, 2015

  Race fans, competitors and speedway officials endured 95 plus degree temperatures, oppressive humidity and a full moon as the Thompson Motorsports Park returned to oval track racing last Wednesday night, July 29 with the Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint which started with two 20-lap point races, with the second being inverted based upon finishing position in the first race. The final race was a 10-lap sprint, and the best combined finish determined the overall winner. The night also featured the return of the track's annual Whelen Night.
  Eric Berndt coupled a second in the first 20 lap event with wins in the second 20 lap event and a win in the final 10 lap sprint to score the overall win. Berndt, who was driving the Ceravolo family team car for the first time, turned in a precise performance. Coming from the rear of the 14 car starting field Berndt finished on the bumper of Ryan Preece who finished second. Woody Pitkat finished third with Adam Norton, fourth. Rookie Ryan Morgan continues to impress as he finished fifth. Preece had high hopes for a winning night but his car lost power after only four laps in the second segment. Berndt took the lead from Woody Pitkat on lap 16 with Keith Rocco in tow. Rocco finished second with Pitkat third and Kerry Malone, fourth. Ryan Morgan recorded his second fifth place finish of the night. Morgan was headed for another top five when a skipping motor negated him to a ninth place finish in the final 10 lap segment. Berndt started on the pole and led the entire ten lap distance. Rocco, in the Ceravolo team car, finished second with Pitkat, Preece and Cam McDermott rounding out the top five.
  In a victory lane interview Berndt said he was thrilled to be in victory lane and thanked his team for their hard work and for giving him a shot. “It feels great you know. These guys put in a lot of hard work for the two cars they had here tonight,” he said. “We finished first and second (in segments two and three). What more could you ask for. It’s a great organization and I’ve got to thank them for giving me the shot and here we are.”
  The combined over-all finish saw Berndt the winner, Woody Pitkat, second, Keith Rocco, third, Ryan Preece, fourth and Kerry Malone, fifth. Sixth through tenth overall included Ryan Morgan, Cam McDermott, Adam Norton, Jason Sundeen and Andrew Charron.
  In other action at Thompson, the Late Models, which ran caution free for a 25-lap feature, was dominated by Mark Curtis who started on the front row. The race featured bumping and banging by several drivers as they worked their way to the front, however Curtis never blinked in his quest for his second Thompson victory of the season. Curtis was later disqualified after Tech inspection, giving Jeff Rocco the win for the night, followed by Keith Rocco as well as Rick Gentes and Brian Tagg. The Xtramart Limited Sportsman Series, was full of action as the 20-lap feature saw an intense battle for the lead through much of the race. The biggest battle of the race saw eventual winner Jesse Gleason and runner-up Larry Barnett side by side or nose to tail for much of the race and a battle for second in the first five laps became a battle for the lead after early leader Joshua Wood lost control coming out of turn four. Gleason inherited the lead with Barnett close behind. Eric Bourgeois was the Mini-Stock winner and Scott Quinn was the Vintage Modified winner. The entire program was completed by 8:15pm.
  Next up for Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park is the Budweiser ‘King of Beers’ 150 & Limited Triple Crown Race No. 3 as the Whelen Modified Tour makes its return to the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, August 12th.

  At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the heat wasn't quite as bad as it was at Thompson on Wednesday. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins on the night were Ronnie Williams in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Joey Ferrigno in the SK Light feature, Andrew Hayes in the Limited Late Model feature, Phil Evans in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell in the Legend Cars feature.
  Williams picked up his second consecutive and fourth overall SK Modified win of the 2015 season. In the closing moments, Rowan Pennink nearly got his nose under Williams in turn 1 on lap-36 but was able to maintain the lead. Williams held Pennink off to the checkered flag. Ryan Preece finished third, with Mike Christopher, Jr. fourth and Berndt rounding out the top-5. Sixteen cars went to post for the 40 lap feature.

  Keith Rocco keeps rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded a win in the Late Model division at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 115 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 203 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford. Rocco wasn't as fortunate in the SK Modifieds as he was involved in a wreck just shy of the half way mark and finished the event in 14th spot.
  Diego Monahan jumped into the lead early on in the SK Modified feature and never looked back until taking the checker. Tyler Chadwick finished second with Craig Lutz, third. Ted Christopher and Wendell Dailey rounded out the top five. Other Saturday night winners at the Connecticut shoreline oval were Corey Barry in the SK Lites, Noah Korner in the Legends, Ken Cassidy in the Mini Stocks and Alan Coates in the Limited Sportsman.

The NASCAR Modifieds returned to action after a week off at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Vinny Biondolillo took the win over Ron Silk and Tom Rogers Jr.

  Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC competitors were afforded two nights of racing at the historic oval. On Friday night twin 50's were on tap. Jason Myers held off his brother Burt for the win and collected his fifth checkered flag of the year. He also won his 23rd race at Bowman Gray, breaking his grandfather Billy Myers’ record for 19th place, all-time at Bowman Gray. Jason Myers drew 16 after the race for the Madhouse Scramble, which meant they inverted the field starting with Jason Myers at 16. Danny Bohn defeated Chris Fleming for the second 50 lap win.
  New Jersey racer Danny Bohn capped off a successful weekend at the famed quarter-mile track by defending his NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified 199 title Saturday night after holding off pole-sitter Ryan Preece. Bohn gained the lead from George Brunnhoelzl III for the final time on Lap 155 and held on through three restarts. Polesitter Ryan Preece rallied from a flat tire early in the event to cross the finish line second while Jeremy Gerstner grabbed his first career podium in third place. Burt Myers, Bobby Measmer Jr., Andy Seuss, Joe Ryan Osborne, Kyle Ebersole, JR Bertuccio and Jason Myers rounded out the top 10. There were 21 cars on hand.
  The 199 will be telecast by NBC Sports Net on Aug. 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series ventured to the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine last Saturday for twin 50's. Nocella started the first 50-lap feature 4th in a 24-car lineup and raced around the front of the field showing a strong car that landed in victory lane. Jon McKennedy settled for second, followed by Mike Holdridge, Todd Szegedy and Woody Pitkat.
  The second 50-lap race was hotly contested at the front of the field from the drop of the green flag. Once in front, Richard Savary set a torrid pace until a late race caution created a restart with Pitkat now in second place from his 16th starting position. Pitkat, on the restart, made a daring cross-over move exiting the second turn to take the lead but contact with Savary thwarted that effort with both drivers forced from the front of the field and Todd Patnode, inherited the lead and took the win. Dennis Perry finished a strong second with Norm Wrenn, Todd Annarummo and Chris Pasteryak rounding out the top five.
  The final point standings between the two races showed Nocella coming out on top of the final tabulations. Todd Szegedy was second overall with McKennedy, third. Chris Pasteryak, Mike Holdridge, Norm Wrenn, Todd Patnode, Russ Hersey and Dennis Perry rounded out the top ten overall.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.70 to 20.95 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.61 to 34.27 while Dover Entertainment went up 0.08 to 2.31. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.07 to 3.37 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.96 to 51.20 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.86 to 30.13. All three auto manufacturers had positive week ending results. Ford went up 0.44 to 14.83 and General Motors went up 0.45 to 31.51 while Toyota went up 0.91 to 133.46. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 3.44 to 117.03 while Lowes jumped 7.58 to 69.36. In big team sponsors stocks Coca- Cola leads the way as they went up 10.38 to 162.00. McDonalds went up 3.76 to 99.86 while Fedex went up 7.01 to 171.42. Target went up 1.64 to 81.85 and Aarons Rentals went up 1.95 to 36.98.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Friday, August 7

6:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
8:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
4:30 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Saturday, August 8
1:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen qualifying, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NXS Watkins Glen race, NBCSN

  Sunday, August 9
11:00 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports1
2:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen race, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NSCS Post Race Show, NBCSN
11:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN

  Monday, August 10
12:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
3:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane re-air, 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: August 4, 2015

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