The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - August 18, 2015

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway at the Thompson Motorsports Park last Wednesday for the Bud “King of Beers” 150, the tenth race in the fifteen-race season for the tour. Doug Coby used true grit and sheer determination to win the event. Coby was the second fastest of the 30 cars on hand. Patrick Emerling was the fastest and was the Coors Lite Pole sitter.
  Emerling led the field to the start but his glory at the front was short lived. Donnie Lia, who started fourth, was on the move as he took over the top spot on the backstretch of lap six. As Emerling began to fade, Coby began to move as he planted himself on Lia's bumper on lap 8. Coby dove under Lia in turn three on lap 14 to take the lead. The first of seven cautions flew on 18 when the about to be lapped Melissa Fifield spun in turn four and almost trashed the front runners who were closing in on her. Earlier in the evening during qualifying Fifield found herself dead last in 30th spot some 7.93mph off the pole speed of 120.00mph.
  The field restarted and took the green on lap 21 with Coby on cruise control, clearly the dominate car. Ted Christopher moved into second with Woody Pitkat, third and Lia, fourth. The second caution flew on lap 31 when Craig Lutz spun in turn four and ended up stalled on the infield grass. The field went back to green on lap 35 with Coby out front with Lia moving into the second spot and Christopher slipping to third, Chase Dowling fourth and Woody Pitkat, fifth. Pitkat moved up a spot on lap 36. The third caution flew on lap on lap 40 when Dave Salzarulo hit the wall in turn four. The green flew on lap 45 with Coby on the point followed by Todd Szegedy who moved into second. Christopher slipped to third with Pitkat, fourth. Jeff Goodale spun in turn three on lap 85 for the fourth caution. Coby led the entire field to the pit area. Some got gas while some took on new tires.
  Chase Dowling, who didn't pit, led the field to the start on lap 191. At the drop of the green Dowling didn't go and Coby did. It took four laps for NASCAR to make a decision that they felt that Coby jumped the restart. Coby was black flagged which meant a stop and go penalty in the pit area.
Coby was saved by the bell as the caution flew on lap 85 when Shawn Solomito. He was penalized for potentionally bringing out the caution. Coby pitted but emerged in front of the pace car which actually put him a lap on the field. Coby was then held at the start-finish line in order to let the field by which placed him at the raer of the lead lap cars. Coby had a few choice words for NASCAR while talking to his crew on the radio.
  Christopher assumed the lead when the green was finally displayed on lap 102 with Eric Goodale and Szegedy in tow. In a "Hammer Down" style Coby was on the move. By lap 110 he was tenth and by lap 115 he was eighth. By then Pitkat had moved into second. The caution flew again on lap 124 when Christopher recieved a tap in turn four which sent him into the turn four wall. NASCAR felt the contact was a "Racing Deal" and took no action against Pitkat. Pitkat led the restart on lap 129 with Segedy second, Ryan Preece, third and Eric Goodale, fourth, Lia, fifth and Coby, sixth. By lap 134, Coby was fourth. The caution flew on lap 135 for Derek Randstrom who spun on the front stretch. The green was displayed with ten laps to go with Pitkat leading over Szegedy, Eric Goodale and Coby. One lap later Coby turned up the wick as he surged by the top three in a brilliant and calculated move as he resumed the lead.
  At the finish it was Coby over Pitkat and Szegedy. Eric Goodale and Lia rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Preece, Emerling, Justin Bonsignore, Christopher and Timmy Solomito.
  The Whelen Modified Tour takes on the high banks of the Bristol, Tn Speedway this Wednesday, Aug 19. This event will be shown taped delayed on the NBC Sports Net on Friday, Aug 28 at 2:30pm.
  In other racing at Thompson on Wednesday night, Jeff Rocco who has won three Late Model features in a row made it a special night as he donated his entire winner's purse to Chase Bennett in his fight against leukemia. Rocco won the race handily after relinquishing the lead nine laps into the event with Keith Rocco finishing second. The Sunoco Modified Series saw a trio of familiar names run up front as Ryan Preece, Woody Pitkat and Keith Rocco finished first through third respectively with strong showings all around. Preece took the lead early while Pitkat and Rocco worked their way up from outside the top five and took advantage of their well handling cars and a few cautions to move their way through the field.
  Emerling scored his first career Modified feature win at the Lancaster Speedway in up-state New York on Saturday night as he captured the 110-lap feature. Emerling inherited the lead for good on lap 76 when Matt Hirschman pitted under caution for tires. He led the final 34 laps and survived a late-race challenge from Chuck Hossfeld to secure the victory.
  Preece said he used the opportunity to race in the Sunoco Modified at Thompson prior to the Whelen Modified Race by trying different grooves on the racetrack and was happy to come away with the win. “I didn’t know which lane to go on the restart and as racers we try to play games. I just knew what was on the top and then on the bottom it was just a little bit of contact going into three there, and then I don’t know if it knocked the toe in but it just really snugged my car quite a bit there. I was happy we didn’t have any cautions because I know those guys were pretty good behind me – We’re just happy it went green to the end and we were able to pull that win off.” rounding out the top five were Kerry Malone and Bert Marvin. Ryan Morgan finished sixth with a bent rim thanks to Bert Marvin.
  Dave Trudeau took the win in the Monster Mini Stocks and John Zych, Jr. claiming his third victory of the season in the NEMA Midgets.
  In a combined effort FANSCHOICE.TV and did an outstanding job of web casting the event. The crowd was not affected at all. Looks like the management of the Stafford Motor Speedway shot themselves in the foot as they banned these web casts. Track manager Josh Vanada stated " We are talking with NASCAR to do one more event this season." Thompson will be quiet this week but will come back next week with the Sunoco Modified Double Feature & Mini Triple Crown Race on August 26th celebrating the Pepsi Back to School Night.

  At the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night it was Ingersoll Rand contingency night with bonuses going to the winners of the SK Modified®, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock features. Ronnie Williams took his fifth win of the year in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn collected his seventh win in the Late Model feature, Payton Henry scored his second win in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost took down his second win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano won for the second time this year in the DARE Stock feature, and Teddy Hodgdon was a career first time winner at Stafford in the Legend Cars feature.
  In the SK Modified 40 lap feature Williams got around Ryan Preece to take over the lead on lap-26 while Todd Owen got out of shape behind them, allowing Woody Pitkat and Rowan Pennink to both get by as Owen fell back to fifth. Keith Rocco was right on Owen’s bumper in sixth with Williams and Preece beginning to distance themselves from the pack. Pennink went by Pitkat to move into third with 12 laps to go and nearly a full straighaway gap to make up in order to close in on the lead duo of Williams and Preece.
  With 5 laps to go, Pennink was slowly reeling the two leaders in as Preece was staying right on Williams’ back bumper and he was looking high and low for a place where he might be able to make a pass for the lead. The opportunity for Preece never materialized as Williams led him back to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2015 season. Pennink finished third, with Rocco and Pitkat rounding out the top-5.
  Stafford as well as Thompson and Waterford are feeling the pinch of the current economy as they both drew 16 cars for the SK Modified events. The New London-Waterford Speedbowl drew 18 cars for their SK Modified program

  Whelen Modified Tour Series car owner Eddie Partridge consummated the deal that put the Riverhead Raceway in his name after plunking down a cool $4-million this past Friday morning to Barbara and Jim Cromarty. The Cromarty’s have finally found their buyer in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car owner Eddie Partridge. Partridge, who also owns TS Haulers in Calverton, New York, said that current track general manager John Ellwood will remain in control, and will help run the track along with Partridge’s nephew, Tom Gatz. And for now, they will be running Riverhead Raceway at its current location. Although that could change a few years down the road. Partridge alluded to the fact that he would someday like to build a speedway on the former Grumman property in nearby Calverton. In the mean time it will be racing as usual at Riverhead.
  Web site Long Island Jam reported the Partridge’s own Hoosier Tire of Calverton which supplies tires at Riverhead Raceway along with the fuel and TS Haulers Racing which fields a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car for driver Ryan Preece and say their up for the challenge of owning a racetrack. “This is all new to us. Like the Cromarty’s they didn’t know anything about racing and all of a sudden they owned a racetrack,” Ed Partridge said, “We know about racing, we’re just going to come in here, clean the place up, try to make it more friendly to the families and the kids and go about it that way.” The Partridge’s nephew Tom Gatz and current track GM John Ellwood are also looking forward to 2016 and the future of Riverhead Raceway. “We’re very excited, I’m excited to be working with John [Ellwood] as well and excited about what the future is going to be here at the raceway and we’re really looking forward to it” Gatz said.
  Saturday at Riverhead Raceway car owner Carl Zeh was posthumously inducted into the Riverhead Wall of Fame along with drivers Mike Ewanitsko and Robin Vollmoeller.
  In NASCAR Modified action at the Long Island east end oval Ryan Preece scored his fourth win over Tom Rogers JR and Kyle Soper.

  Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC the historic venue ran it's 1000th NASCAR event. In celebration track management admitted women for $2.00 each. Close to a capacity crowd witnessed the event. NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison was the starter for the first 50-lap race, and Burt Myers came all the way from 12th to defeat his brother Jason. And Dean Ward won his second race of the year, defeating Jason Myers.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series suffered a major setback last week when Richard Savory, one of the series top competitors announced that he was all done with the series. Savory stated that series owner has gone too far with his late and somewhat cloudy decisions. He cited too much lag time in making calls and decisions. Savory's next race will be the Tri Track Series event at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in September. The VMRS returns to action this coming Saturday night at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Speaking of New Hampshire, a strong rumor being circulated at Thompson last week was that Bruton Smith is considering moving one of the New Hampshire Sprint Cup dates to Las Vegas in the near future.

  In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Ted Christopher took the SK Modified win over Rob Janovic Jr. Diego Monahan. Keith Rocco and Tyler Chadwick rounded out the top five. Christopher took the lead with 30 laps remaining in the SK Modified feature. Keith Rocco keeps rolling along as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded a win in the Late Model division 50 lapper at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 116 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 204 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways. It was the eighth victory in 10 Late Model division starts this year for Rocco.
  Other Saturday night winners were Al Stone III won the 25-lap Limited Sportsman feature. Ken Cassidy Jr. took the top spot in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.

  Just when you thought it was too hot, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts it will be super cold with a slew of snow for much of the country this coming winter. Look for above-normal snow and below-normal temperatures for much of New England and icy conditions in parts of the South.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.14 to 20.22 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.30. On the positive side, the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.36 to 33.29. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.81 to 4.18 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 3.13 to 50.00 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.42 to 32.31. The car manufacturers had an off week. Ford dropped 0.02 to 14.78, General Motors dropped 0.25 to 31.49 and Toyota dropped 1.06 to 128.19. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 2.82 to 119.75 and Lowes went up 2.58 to 72.11. In the big team sponsor's stocks, Coca-Cola dropped 5.43 to 162.85 and Fedex dropped 2.18 to 164.81 while McDonalds went up 0.35 to 99.27, Target went up 0.37 to 79.35and Aarons Rentals went up 2.74 to 39.42.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, August 19

3:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2
6:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
10:00 AM, Being Stewart Haas Racing, FOX Sports 1
11:30 AM, NASCAR Camping World TruckSeries Bristol practice, FS1
12:30 PM, Uncompromising: Kevin Harvick, FS1
4:45 PM, NCWTS Bristol qualifying, FS2
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Bristol race, FS1

  Thursday, August 20
3:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
6:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

  Friday, August 21
1:30 AM, NASCAR America: Scan All 43, NBCSN
2:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
6:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
9:30 AM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Bristol final practice, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol practice, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR America: The States of NASCAR, NBCSN
1:30 PM, NSCS Bristol final practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Bristol qualifying, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NSCS Bristol qualifying, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NXS Bristol race, NBCSN

  Saturday, August 22
1:00 AM, NASCAR America: The States of NASCAR, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS2
5:30 PM, NASCAR America Saturday, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NSCS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NSCS Bristol race, NBCSN
11:00 PM, NSCS Post Race Show, NBCSN

  Sunday, August 23
12:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
2:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane re-air, FS1
12:00 PM, Being Stewart Haas Racing, FS1
11:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN

  Monday, August 24
6:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lap re-air, NBCSN
7:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lap re-air, NBCSN

   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 18, 2015

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