The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - November 10, 2015

  The big racing event last weekend was the annual North-South Shootout at the Concord Speedway in North Carolina. Rainy skies and New England type cold and dampness greeted competitors and fans alike. There were 28 tour type Modifieds and eight SK type Modifieds on hand. Because of he fact that he tracks was oozing water practice was minimal and qualifying heats were eliminated. Keith Rocco just kept rolling along as he toured the the Concord oval in 15.608 seconds. Bobby Measmer, Jr. was second fastest 15.615. Tommy Barrett, Jr., who hasn't raced since being picked up under the influence earlier in the year, was third fastest at 15.629. John McKennedy and Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five in Shootout qualifying.
  Jimmy Zacharias has the pole for the Mr., Rooter 50 lap SK Modified Feature. Todd Owen was second fastest with Steve Kopcik, Keith Rocco and Jimmy Wallace rounding out the top five.
  Impending rain and a bad forecast for the evening forced officials to postpone the event to Sunday.
 Justin Bonsignore's eventual win in the Modified shootout had a dark cloud hanging over it. Matt Hirschman was first under the checkered flag but a reversal of fortune and some poor officiating after the fact took away Bonsignore's glory. Race Director Tommy Fox was forced to leave the track while the race was under a red flag with nine laps remaining for weather.
 While Fox was on his way to the airport one of Matt Hirschman's tires developed a leak. Those left in charge chose not to penalize Hirschman which is a no-no. After much discussion and some loud words the decision was made to place Hirschman in 16th place at the finish.
  Keith Rocco won the Mr Rooter SK Modified event. It was Rocco's 213th career win.

  Woody Pitkat Crowned Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion in Manchester, NH last Saturday night. Pitkat was joined by car owner Peter Kulessa, crew chief Greg Felton, and the Patterson Farms race team for the special presentations. The VMRS championship was the first for both Pitkat and Kulessa.
  In accepting his award Pitkat thanked the Perry family and Valenti (Auto Group) for all their support and sponsoring of the series. Pitkat acknowledged Jack Bateman, the series founder, saying “thank you for your hard work, time, and sacrifice, to give us a great affordable series to race at week in and week out. I admire your dedication.” Pitkat also stated winning the series title was his first ever series championship and he considered it a special feat. “I may never win another so this one means a lot.”
  He complimented VMRS drivers. “Just because I run the tour does not put me above anyone. I am a race driver and so are these guys with this series. I am grateful for the opportunity to run with them and compete here. I look at it as another addition to my resume.” Kulessa spoke proudly of his first championship. “It’s unbelievable the guys just worked so hard. Last year we made the switch to Woody and had top five finishes. We knew we had a good car and we knew we had a good driver. This year we were supposed to run a limited schedule. When July rolled around we were leading the points so we decided we might as well give it a shot.”
  In addition to the champion, the top 14 drivers were also recognized for their accomplishments. Runner-up Chris Pasteryak, Norman Wrenn, Todd Patnode, Todd Szegedy, Donnie Lashua, Mike Willis Jr, David Schneider, Dennis Perry, Jon McKennedy, Rowan Pennink, Dylan Kopec, Russ Hersey, Anthony Nocella, and Kirk Alexander were recognized.
  Jack Bateman disclosed that 14 races are on the schedule for 2016 and he anticipates two more dates to be added in the near future. The series will make the announcement as soon as those dates are finalized.

  Drivers Sam Posey, Greg Sacks, Joey Laquerre, Stan Gregor, the late Jim cCallum and the late Ronnie Marvin, car owner the late Paul Dunigan, publishers Lew Boyd and the late Jim Moffat, engine-builder Joe Fontana and promoter Red McDonald were inducted in the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame this past Sunday. Vermont’s Justin St. Louis received the Mitchell/Ratta Media Award.
  Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer, principals behind the successful Tri-Track Series, shared the 2015 New England Antique Racers’ Frank Maratta Award. The presentations, giving in recognition of their outstanding contribution and support of auto racing, were part of the agenda at the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Maneeley’s Banquet Hall, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT.
  Over the past two seasons, the Tri-Track Series has paid out over $400,000. The eight races have attracted an average car count of 40, including the top Modified teams from New England and New York. Lee, Star, Seekonk, Monadnock and Waterford have hosted Tri-Track events.
  Williams, from North Stonington, CT and Schaefer, from Riverhead, NY, are the leaders of a group that has made the Tri-Track Series a reality. According to Williams, a familiar face in New England racing for decades, the impetus was a conversation among a group of old timers. “They were saying how much they missed the old open competition events,” recalled Williams. “We thought with a little common sense it could happen again and we got four or five guys together and made it happen.”
  This year’s payout $287,000 distributed in a number of ways including lap money and last-chance races. There were six different winners in the first seven races.

  'We'll get it right,' NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said of how the sanctioning body will react to Matt Kenseth's move on Joey Logano at Martinsville. Logano was leading the race on Lap 454, when he was put into the wall by Kenseth, who was nine laps down after being hit by Logano’s teammate, Brad Keselowski, earlier in the race. Kenseth was suspended for two events, fined and put on probation.

  Another one bites the dust! Patrick Emerling, who comes from western New York indicated on web site RaceDayCt that he may be cutting back his Whelen Modified Tour Series schedule after being a regular in the series for five years. Bottom line, if you spend 5 grand to run a race, that pays 3 grand to the winner, and a few hundred to start, no matter how rich you are, or how much your sponsors give you, Eventually it will no longer be fun.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.21 to 34.90. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.20 to 18.67 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.07 to 2.32. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.14 to 32.98 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.53 to 42.01 and NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.20 to 4.53. The auto manufacturers showed some mild growth with the exception of Ford wich dropped 0.39 to 14.52. General Motors went up 0.84 to 35.75 and Toyota went up 0.30 to 122.92. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 2.34 to 125.98 while Lowes dropped 0.69 to 73.14. In big team sponsorship, McDonalds went up 1.06 to 113.31, Target went up 0.04 to 77.22, Aarons Rentals went up 0.49 to 25.14 and Fedex went up 6.33 162.38. Coca-Cola took a big dive as they dropped 22.26 to 188.95.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Friday, November 13

12:30 PM, NCWTS Phoenix qualifying, FS1
2:00 PM, NSCS Phoenix practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Phoenix practice, NBCSN
4:30 NASCAR America Live, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NXS Phoenix final practice, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix qualifying, NBCSN
8:30 PM, NCWTS Phoenix race, FS1

  Saturday, November 14
4:00 AM, NCWTS Phoenix race re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NSCS Phoenix practice, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NXS Phoenix qualifying, NBCSN
2:00 PM, NASCAR America Live, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix final practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
4:00 PM, NXS Phoenix race, NBCSN

  Sunday, November 15
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN
2:00 PM, NSCS Countdown to Green, NBC
2:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix race, NBC
3:00 PM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI
6:00 PM, NSCS Post Race Show, NBCSN
6:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
8:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
11:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, 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: November 10, 2015

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