The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - October 27, 2015

  The New London-Waterford Speedbowl concluded its 2015 racing season this past weekend with Bemer's Super Bowl of Auto Racing. Bruce Bemer, a Glastonbury businessman is responsible for keeping the facility as a race track. The two-day event included all nine of the Speedbowl's weekly series, plus the New England Trucks, the Granite State Pro Stock Series, the 19th annual SK Modified Nationals, where the winner received $5,000 and the Tri Track Open Modified Series where close to 50 drivers were entered.
  Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza reported that Derek Ramstrom showed up at New London-Waterford Speedbowl with the fastest car in the Granite State Pro Stock Series on Saturday. He was fastest in practice and fastest in the feature event, never looking back after he passed D.J. Shaw for the lead just before lap fifty. Ramstrom scored his first victory of the 2015 season in his final start which put a cap on what was a tough season for the Seekonk Grand Prix No. 35 team. While he won the feature event, Derek Griffith, an 18-year-old driver, collected the 2015 Granite State Pro Stock Series championship crown with his third place finish.
  There were 31 SK Modifieds on hand for three qualifying heats for the Sunday 75 lapper. Scoring wins were Paul Kusheba, Jimmy Zacharias and Craig Lutz. Ryan Preece won the consolation event. In other Saturday action at the shoreline oval Ethan Durocher inherited the Bandolero 20 lap feature win Saturday evening, after winner Jacob Perry failed to past post-race technical inspection. Brandon Plemens found himself picking up a $1,000 check by scoring the win in the 40 lap Limited Sportsman feature event. Pete Zakerite survived a rough, wreck-filled Mini Stock feature to notch his second straight Mini Stock win in New England.
  Woody Pitkat continued his late season winning surge as he won the Tri-Track Series 75 lapper at the Speedbowl. Starting ninth, a determined Pitkat charged his way to the front and by lap 19 was in the second spot behind Les Hinckley when the caution was waved. On the restart Pitkat jumped into the lead and never looked back as he romped to victory. Pitkat earned a little over $8,000 for his efforts.
  While Pitkat opened up a good lead Hinckley began to fade. Hinckley was able to hang on for the runner-up finish despite the efforts of Ron Silk who settled for third. Rounding out the top five was Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece. Sixth through tenth were Steve Masse, Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak, Matt Hirschman and Chase Dowling.
  New London-Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified Track Champion Keith Rocco had a disappointing 19th place finish in the Tri Track event but more than made up for it as he won the 19th annual SK Modified® Nationals 75-lap event and the 30 lap Late Model event. bringing his track win total to 121 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 212 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.
  On lap-30 Rocco had cleared Ted Christopher, only to see Christopher take the top spot back in turn one on lap-35 with a bold inside maneuver. A lap later, Rocco was back inside of Christopher through turns three and four, leaving Christopher to try and counter. While all eyes were out front, Matt Hirschman quietly worked his way into the top-five looking poised to make a run over the second half of the race.
  Hirschman restarted third after a lap-42 yellow flag and pit stops for some teams reset the running order behind Rocco and Christopher. From there, Hirschman remained a factor the rest of the way. Rocco would never officially relinquish his lead, however six additional yellow flags over the remaining laps enabled both Christopher and Hirschman to fire shots Rocco’s way in attempt to derail his efforts at a third consecutive Modified Nationals victory.
  After trading blows with Christopher to finally take second, Hirschman’s best shot at Rocco came on a lap-65 restart. Contact between the two coming to the green flag had Hirschman making a nice recovery to hold second while Rocco squirted away in the lead. Rocco needed to master one final restart on lap-72, doing so to pull ahead to a three car length victory. Hirschman’s race ended with a runner-up finish at the checkered flag, and Christopher was in contention until the conclusion to take third. Eric Berndt overcame a lap-10 incident to finish a strong showing in fourth, and Ryan Preece rallied from a rough first half of the race to take home a well-earned fifth place.
  In other Sunday action at the shoreline oval Nick Salva was the SK Light winner and Dylan was the Legends winner.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour closed out their season at the Thompson Motorsports Park Thompson Speedway. Doug Coby sealed the championship with a convincing win at the recent World Series. In 15 events Coby scored seven wins which included 11 top five finishes. Ryan Preece, who was tied with Coby going into the finale fell 11 points shy. Preece, in 15 starts scored four wins which included seven top fives. Woody Pitkat drove his heart out at the World Series but in the end was 13 points shy of the champion. Pitkat ran the entire 15 race schedule and scored one win which included 11 top fives. Todd Szegedy, who teamed up with Bob Garbarino at the last minute to drive the famed Mystic Missile, finished the year in fourth spot. Rounding out the top five was Patrick Emerling. Although winless, Emerling ran in all 15 events and recorded nine top tens. Sixth through tenth in the final standings are Timmy Solomito, Donny Lia, Eric Goodale, Chase Dowling and Justin Bonsignore. Dowling was the highest finishing rookie. Eleventh through twentieth in the standings are Bobby Santos, Max Zachem, Ted Christopher, Jamie Tomaino, Jeff Goodale, Shawn Solomito, Dave Sapienza, Rowan Pennink, Ken Heagy and Gary McDonald
  In a somewhat surprise move, Robert Our who owns the no. 22 driven by Ted Christopher said his race team had suspended operations. On a positive note, NASCAR's George Silverman told Area Auto Racing News that TV coverage for the sanctioning body's touring divisions has been "Huge" and he expects a greater focus on touring series coverage by NBC Sports net next year. It is also a good bet that the Seekonk Speedway will host a Whelen Modified Touring Series date in 2016 and it is a strong rumor that the Oswego Speedway in up-state New York would like to bring back their Labor Day weekend Modified 200 with a NASCAR sanction. Years ago the Oswego 200 Modified event was one of the best paying events in the northeast with the winner receiving in excess of $18,000.

  Internet Racing News web site RaceDayCt reported that Bob Potter of Norwich is set to return to racing full-time in 2016 in the SK Light Modified division at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
  The 74-year old Potter will drive a car owned by Carlos Gray of Manchester, who competes full-time in the SK Light Modified divisions at Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford. Gray will continue to race full-time at Stafford and Waterford while fielding the car for Potter.
He won five SK Modified championships at Stafford and ranks fourth all-time on the track’s SK Modified win list with 24 career victories. His last win at the track came in 1999. He won titles in the division in 1988, ’91, ’92, ’94 and ’95.
  At Waterford Potter won six track titles, three in the Modified division (1976, ’80 and ’83) and three in the SK Modified division (1986, ’87 and ’89). His 93 career victories rank him third all-time at Waterford. He’s second all-time in the old Modified division with 58 victories from 1965-84. He ranks fourth all-time in the SK Modified division with 29 victories from 1985-96. He also has five wins in the track’s old Bomber division from 1963-65 and one Late Model win at the track in 1983. Potter was inducted into the New England Auto Racer’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.55 to 36.37 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.31 to 19.28 while Dover Entertainment went up 0.04 to 2.25. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.42 to 4.71 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.29 to 32.97 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 3.26 to 43.59. The auto makers had a real good week. Toyota went up 1.78 to 125.74 and General Motors went up 2.80 to 35.95 while Ford went up 0.39 to 15.67. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.87 to 124.61 and Lowes went up 0.77 to 73.55.In the world of big team sponsor's stock Target Department Stores dropped 2.11 to 72.94 and Aaron's Rentals dropped 1.59 to 36.89 while McDonalds went up 7.77 to 112.59, Coca-Cola went up 0.56 to 212.56 and Fedex went up 7.04 to 159.52.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Friday, October 30

6:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville practice, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Martinsville practice, FOX Sports 1
2:00 PM, The 10 Greatest Truck Series Moments, FS1
2:30 PM, NCWTS Martinsville final practice, FS1
6:00 PM, NSCS Martinsville qualifying, NBCSN (Same Day Delayed)

  Saturday, October 31
9:00 AM, NSCS Martinsville practice, CNBC
10:00 AM, NCWTS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Martinsville final practice, CNBC
1:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
1:30 PM, NCWTS Martinsville race, FS1

  Sunday, November 1
9:00 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
11:00 AM, NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NSCS Martinsville race, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NSCS Post Race Show, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
11:30 PM, 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: October 27, 2015

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