The Chrome Horn - Looking Back A Bit with Phil Smith

October 23, 2015

  Forty five years ago in 1970, the Supers and the Modifieds ran together at the Thompson World Series. Howard Brown in a Super took the win. Fred DeSarro in the Sonny Koszela No.15 finished second.

  Thirty years ago in 1985, one of the saddest, darkest days of modified racing occurred a Martinsville when champion and most popular driver Richie Evans lost his life in a practice crash. For whatever reason, the orange No.61 hit the wall in turn three and from then on, modified racing, as we knew it would never be the same. In addition to being a fierce competitor, Evans had the best interest of the division at heart and was consulted by promoters and the sanctioning body on a regular basis. Evans had over 500 wins to his credit along with nine national championships. With heavy hearts, the show at Martinsville went on because he would have wanted it to. John Bryant took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Tom Baldwin, George Kent, Doug Hevron, Brian Ross, Tony Hirschman and Jamie Tomaino. It was also during this particular week that NASCAR split with Tom Curley and his NASCAR-North late model touring series. This series would turn into being the ACT tour and NASCAR would form the Busch North Series.

  Twenty five years ago in 1990, the Modifieds converged on Martinsville for the season ending event. Tony Hirschman took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 128 of the 200-lap event and went on to record his first win at Martinsville in ten years of trying. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by George Kent, Tom Baldwin, Jamie Tomaino, George Brunnhoelzl, Mike Ewanitsko and Steve Park.

  Twenty years ago in 1995, one of the best shows ever was a rain out, make up at Thompson that featured the Busch North Series and the Featherlite Modified Tour plus the SK Modifieds. It was the best of both worlds and the grandstand was packed to see the best racing that the northeast had to offer. Steve Park took the lead in the mod 150 on lap130 from Wayne Anderson and went on to record the win. Anderson finished second and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr, Ricky Fuller and Bruce Del. Tony Hirschman finished a distant seventh but still managed to win the championship by 3 points over Park. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Martin Truex on lap 130 and took the win in the Busch North 150.Andy Santerre finished second. Bo Gunning started 33rd in the 40 car SK modified field and took the lead with 16 laps to go in the 50 lap feature and recorded an impressive win over Todd Ceravolo, Ted Christopher and Bob Potter. In Winston Cup action at Phoenix, Ricky Rudd took the win.

  Fifteen years ago in 2000, Chemung Speedrome in New York and Lee Raceway in New Hampshire were the hot spots. Chemung announced that they would be NASCAR sanctioned in 2001. J.R.Kent took the win over Chris Ross and Pete Britain. At Lee, Rob Summers in the Bear Motorsports entry started third in the 100 lap feature and took the lead on lap six. From there on he was long gone. Dave Berghman finished second and was followed by Carl Pasteryak, Charlie Pasteryak, Ted Christopher and Tucker Reynolds. Dale Jarret was the Winston Cup winner at Rockingham. Jeff Green was the BGN winner.

  Ten years ago in 2005 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series was at the Thompson Speedway last weekend for the previously postponed World Series. They were joined by the Busch North Series. The big news on Saturday morning was that it wasn’t raining. Temperatures were in the low 30’s but it didn’t seem to hold anyone back as 40 Whelen Modifieds, 40 Sunoco SK type Modifieds and 35 Busch North cars helped jam the already bulging pit area.
  In what was to be a long day of qualifying turned into another day of waiting and frustration as rain and snow hit the speedway in mid afternoon. At least the qualifying was completed for the Modifieds, Busch North and Sunoco Mods. Jerry Marquis in the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino captured his first Busch Pole of the year. Second generation driver Matt Hirschman was second fastest. Rounding out the top five were Don Lia, Zach Sylvester and Doug Coby. The top eight redrew for starting spots. Tony Hirschman drew the pole with his son, Matt, drawing the outside pole. Marquis drew eighth. Sean Caisse captured the Busch North pole. Sunoco Modified heats were won by Jeff Malave and Kerry Malone.
  All the rain and snow disappeared during the Saturday overnight. Sunday was absolutely beautiful with temperatures in the high 60’s. Ted Christopher was looking to wrap up his first Whelen Modified Tour Championship; Tony Hirschman was looking to wrap up his fifth championship. Christopher would have to wait another year while Hirschman celebrated. Christopher’s efforts came to an end on lap 10 when he took a hard shot into the wall between turns one and two after going up and over Donnie Lia. Hirschman ran near the front for most of the 125 laps and in the end finished a conservative 12th. Jerry Marquis was the eventual winner with Chuck Hossfeld, second. Doug Coby finished third with Mike Christopher and Charlie Pasteryak rounding out the top five.
  It was a brutal weekend on racecars. Mike Christopher wrecked the Hills Enterprises No.79 big time in practice. David Hills’ crew did yeoman’s duty and the end result was a fourth. Chuck Hossfeld wrecked the No.50 wrecked in qualifying. Crew Chief Phil Moran and his crew did their work and Hossfeld rewarded their efforts with a runner-up finish. The 90, 12 and 3 were cradled off of the track. The 75 (Carl Pasteryak), 59 (Matt Hirschman), 13 (Ted Christopher), 10 (Ed Flemke Jr.) and 99 (Jamie Tomaino) all received major damage although the 99 and 10 teams did amazing jobs getting their cars back on the track. Kenny Barry was under the 12 of Jimmy Blewett in the second turn when he (21) wiggled and hit the 12 sending him into the wall. Donnie Lia had a fast car and hit the 79 in the rear and spun him out. That is when the Lia was held in the pits. Mike Christopher drove like a man possessed and came on hard to finish a fine 4th.
  In Busch North Series competition, Eddie MacDonald ended his two-year drought to score the victory in the 100-lapper for the NASCAR Elite division. MacDonald led early and was never far from the lead. He took over the top spot from Mike Stefanik on a late race restart to claim the victory. By virtue of his eighth place finish Andy Santerre claimed an unprecedented fourth consecutive Busch North Series championship.
  In Supermodified action, Chris Perley of Rowley, MA took home top honors in the 50-lapper during the World Series activities. Perley won the battle but not the war as Pat Abold came home second in the feature to claim the 2005 International Supermodified Association championship. Perley jumped out to the early lead and would not be headed. Abold took chase in second followed by Russ Wood, Mark Sammut, and Randy Ritskes inside the top-five.
  In NEMA action Nokie Fornoro of Reeders, PA looked strong as he powered away to an impressive win in the 25-lap main event for the Midgets. Fornoro used the green-to-checker run to make his way to the head of the pack over Joey Payne, Randy Cabral, Ben Seitz and Adam Cantor.
  Jeff Malave of S. Windsor, CT capped off his championship run with his fourth victory of the season. Malave took the lead from his front row starting spot and would never be headed as he bested a 40-car field. With Malave on the point, the best battle on the field was for second between Ceravolo and Silk. The battling allowed Keith Rocco to join the fray as well. Silk motored into second as Ceravolo began to fade. At the checkers it was Malave over Silk, Rocco, Chuck Docherty and Tommy Cravenho
  Rick Gentes was the first to grace victory lane on the long-awaited running of the World Series on Sunday. Gentes of Woonsocket, RI took the lead from the drop of the green flag and went on to lead every lap of the caution-free 25-lap event. The two point contenders, Charles Bailey, III and Woody Pitkat ran nose to tail behind the leader. The two put on a heated battle for the remainder of the event. Pitkat muscled his way by Bailey in the closing laps taking Marc Palmisano along for the ride. Bailey came home in the fourth position to earn the 2005 Late Model championship. Jeff Hartwell rounded out the top-five.
  In Pro Stock action, Freddy Astle took down his third victory of the 2005. Astle scored the popular win over a field of competitors from a number of New England tracks. For the locals, there was a lot riding on the outcome of the main event on Sunday as four drivers were in contention for the divisional title. Zuidema held a slim lead over Norm Wrenn, Jeff Connors and Joe Lemay. Astle was able to hold off Wrenn and Zuidema for the win with Seekonk ace Ray Parent and Lemay completing the top five. By keeping Wrenn is his sites, Zuidema was able to grab the crown by a mere eight points.
  Glenn Boss of Danielson, CT put an exclamation point on his fine season at Thompson with his sixth Limited Sportsman win of 2005. The newly crowned champion led every lap en route to the victory. Keith DeSanctis, Kevin Riley, Danny Cates and Larry Barnett rounded out the top-five.
  Shelly Perry of Ashaway, RI rallied late in the Mini Stock 20-lapper to take her second triumph of the 2005 season. Perry came out on top of a heated five-car battle that also included championship chaser Scott Michalski, his brother Steve and Brian Vincent. The Michalski brothers pressured but had to settle for second and third over Brian Towle. On the final lap Ron Rixham’s car went up in smoke but the veteran was able to coast past the finish line to finish in the fifth position to secure the championship.
  In the T.I.S. Modified division, Kurt Vigeant of Oxford, MA claimed his first victory of the season. Shane Michalski and Chad Gaudiosi earned podium finishes over Leo Oliveira and Richie Ferreira. Roger Larson, Jr. came home a disappointing seventh but could still celebrate as he won the inaugural championship for the division.
  Jim Dolan, Chris Wenzel, Andy Seuss and Peter Daniels were the top four finishers in the True Value Modified Racing Series at Lee Raceway on Sunday afternoon in the Storace Construction 100, the final race of 2005. It was the best finish of the season for both Dolan and Wenzel. Dale Evonsion and Jimmy Kuhn were battling for the lead when contact was made and both were sent to the rear as a result. Kirk Alexander won his 2nd consecutive championship beating out Peter Daniels for the title. Bob Polverari made his final appearance and finished ninth. Polverari stated that he would retire following this years edition of the North – Shootout.
  The Arute family that operates the Stafford Motorspeedway announced that Stafford would become the first weekly short track to install the SAFER barrier wall protection. Steel and foam construction will reduce the impact of crashes better than concrete. The speedway was looking to cover a 140 foot stretch of wall in turn 1 with the barrier. It's an area where a pit entrance creates a stretch with a longer run than normal up to the wall and has long been pointed to by drivers as needing some sort of redesign. Upstate New York driver Tony Jankowiac lost his life there and Canadian Denis Giroux suffered long term injuries after hitting the wall in that area. The Safer Barrier project had been in the works at Stafford since February and hopefully when the 2006 season begins it will become a reality. It did!
  Carl Edwards’ victory in the Nextel Cup Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta helped him make up some ground in the chase for the championship, moving him from fifth place into a tie for fourth with Ryan Newman. Both trail leader Tony Stewart by 107 points with three races left. Edwards, who barely held off veteran Jimmie Johnson for his first Cup victory on the Georgia track in March, had a dominating car through the second half of Sunday's 325-lap race. Edwards lost a lead of more than 6 seconds when the last of nine caution flags was waved for debris on lap 283. But he was able to regain control and pulled away for his third victory of the season, beating four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon by 2.713 seconds, half the front straight-away on the 1.5-mile oval. The Busch Series had a weekend off.

  Five years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Thompson Speedway for the World Series of Speedway Racing. Fifteen different divisions of race cars and race trucks were in competition in qualifying races and feature events. The weekend began on a wet note as speedway officials were forced to cancel Fridays practice and qualifying because of wet conditions.
  Under dry but blustery skies Bobby Santos took a big step toward earning his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title as he captured the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying Saturday for the season finale Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing. Santos, driving the Garbarino Mystic Missile, turned a fast lap of 18.709 seconds (120.263 mph) in Saturday’s qualifying session to earn his fourth pole of the season. There were 37 Modifieds on hand for the season ending event that carried a posted purse of $85,567. Ted Christopher was second fastest with a lap of 18.846 (119.389). Eric Berndt was third at 18.885 (119.142). Mike Stefanik and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. Santos won the redraw for the pole starting position. Berndt drew the outside pole with Christopher drawing third and Stefanik, fourth. Among the surprise entries was recently crowned NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion Burt Myers who qualified 14th.
  Doug Coby almost stole the show but in the end Ted Christopher won the battle and Bobby Santos III won the war. Santos, who spent most of the day dealing with a mis-handling car, came home sixth to put the finishing touches on his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship. while Ted Christopher continued his mastery of Thompson International Speedway. Christopher became the first driver in Whelen Modified Tour history to earn three straight victories in the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, the traditional season-ending event For Santos, the Whelen Modified Tour title came in his first full-time season competing in the division. He gave car owner Bob Garbarino his third championship in four years. Garbarino, an owner in the division since 1961, did not win a championship until driver Donny Lia won it in 2007 and 2009.
  Santos entered the event with a 37-point lead over Stefanik, and was able to keep the nine-time NASCAR champion in his sights throughout the race. Stefanik finished fourth behind Christopher, Ryan Preece and Doug Coby. Santos finished 27 points ahead of Stefanik in the final standings, and 78 ahead of Christopher. Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five in points. Silk was also fifth in Sunday’s race and led an event-high 45 laps. Eric Beers finished seventh in Sunday's race, followed by Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink and James Civali. Burt Myers, who wrapped up the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified championship Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finished 14th.
  Outside pole sitter Eric Berndt took the lead at the drop of the green as the Santos mount appeared to have a problem. Berndt, who had a real stout engine took on the role of the rabbit. The first of seven cautions flew on lap 8 when Wade Cole spun into the wall in turn three. The race was red flagged as officials attempted to determine if someone was leaking oil. On the restart, Santos faded to third while Ted Christopher moved in on Berndt's tail. The second caution flew onlap 31 when Renee Dupuis, Gary McDonald and Cole spun between turns three and four. The field restarted on lap34 with Christopher taking the lead in turn two. Christopher led laps 35-37 when Berndt took it back in turn3 on lap 37. Berndt held the lead for a lap before getting loose in turn two on lap 38 when he again gave way to Christopher. While Berndt was trying to regain control Mike Stefanik moved into the second spot. The third caution flew on lap 46 when Glen Tyler spun in turn three. During the caution period Stefanik, Ron Silk, Santos and Todd Szegedy pitted for tires and adjustments.
  The green flew on lap 51 with Christopher leading Berndt and Rowan Pennink. Berndt retook the lead on lap 53. The fourth caution flew on lap 60 when Jimmy Blewett found himself planted in the wall between turns one and two. Christopher took the lead on the restart with Pennink, Eddie Flemke and Doug Coby in tow. By lap 71 Ron Silk had moved into second and was taking aim on Christopher's lead. At the half way mark Christopher continued to lead and was followed by Silk, Stefanik, Pennink, Coby and Ryan Preece. With fresher tires, Silk took the lead in turn three on lap 76. The fifth caution flew on lap 81 when James Civali spun on the front chute. During the caution Christopher along with Preece and Pennink pitted for tires. When the green was displayed on lap 86, Silk continued to lead and was followed by Stefanik and Coby. Coby, who came out of no where appeared to be shot out of a cannon as he took the lead on lap 121 from Silk. By lap 125 Coby had a three second lead but by then Christopher had fought his way to the fron and was closing in for the kill. Coby led until lap 146 when Christopher passed him for the lead and eventual win in turn 4. Two late cautions for spins by Todd Szegedy and Gary McDonald did not effect the outcome of the race.
  In other Sunday action at Thompson, Chris Perley of Rowley, MA, was super as he took home the victory in the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) feature event. Russ Wood of Pelham, NH, was crowned the 2010 ISMA champion. In Northeastern Midget Association action, Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA won the war winning the feature event but it was Russ Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA winning the 2010 championship. In Thompson regular divisions it was Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT, taking down the victory in the Sunoco Modifieds, Rick Fuller of Auburn, MA, in the Super Late Models and Tommy O’Sullivan Late Models.
  Modified Racing Series point leader Jon McKennedy, captured the 100-lap Twin State Fall Challenge feature race at the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, NH. The win was McKennedy’s fourth of the season, his eleventh career victory, and his second win at the New Hampshire speedway. McKennedy widened his point lead by 61 points over Dwight Jarvis. McKennedy was followed by Steve Masse, Matt Hirschman, Les Hinckley III, and Joey Jarvis. Sixth through tenth were, Ken Barry, Chris Pasteryak, Jacob Dore, Eddy Spiers, and Dwight Jarvis.
  The sixth season of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour concluded with an inaugural visit to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the running of the UNOH Southern Slam 150 on Thursday, Oct. 16. The race was contested on the quarter-mile track located along the front stretch of the 1.5-mile speedway located in Concord, N.C. Burt Myers led all but one lap in winning the UNOH Southern Slam 150 and, in the process, bypassed three title contenders to claim the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship. Myers entered the final race fourth in points and trailing first-place James Civali by 41.
  Civali, however, was involved in several racing incidents and finished 16th. One of the wrecks also included second-place Andy Seuss, who wound up 18th. Earlier in the day, Seuss had won the Coors Light Pole Award. With less than 20 to go, third-place L.W. Miller got caught up in a fracas with Civali while running in third. He was able to make it back to finish sixth. That left the door wide open for Myers, who took home the championship by 31 points over Miller (1,609-1,578). Civali finished with 1,575, followed by Seuss with 1,566 and John Smith with 1,555. Earlier in the year, Myers also won his fourth track title in the Modified Division at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina championship.
  Myers qualified seventh but drew the pole when the 10 fastest qualifiers redrew for starting position. The only lap he didn't lead was 137 when Tim Brown nosed ahead on the restart, but Myers quickly moved back into the lead. Brown finished second in the race, while Zach Brewer posted his best finish of the season in third. John Smith was fourth and Daniel Hemric fifth.
  Jamie McMurray's career came full circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night, where he returned to Victory Lane eight years after grabbing his first win with the team that gave him a second chance. McMurray passed Kyle Busch on a restart with 21 laps to go and cruised to the Sprint Cup win in his Chevrolet. In the Nationwide Series 300, Brad Keselowski led three times for 46 laps and despite battling Martin Truex, Jr. tooth and nail through the final quarter of the race, led the final 35 laps for his first victory on a 1.5-mile race track and the 11th triumph of his career before one of the smallest Charlotte Motor Speedway Nationwide Series crowds in recent memory.
  The New England Auto Racer’s Hall of Fame announced their “Class of 2011.” Drivers Punky Caron, Dan Meservey, Russ Nutting and Jerry Dolliver, car owners Rich & Ray Garuti, Stanley “Skip” Matczak, Vic Kangas, and Speedway Scene publisher Val Lesieur would be inducted at the 14th annual induction ceremony slated to take place on January 30th at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT
  The Mohegan Sun Casino announced that they would not return as the primary sponsor of former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Matt Kobyluck for the 2011 racing season. Gambling revenues had been way off this past year. Mohegan Sun as well as Foxwoods had trimmed their work force in recent months.
  It looked like the late Richie Evans and his many fans would have to wait another year as NASCAR announced the second class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That class consists of: David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, consisting of members of the Nominating Committee along with 31 others representing all facets of the NASCAR industry, met in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2011. The announcement was made in the Great Hall inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced it will race with E15 fuel in its three national touring series in 2011. Sunoco Green E15 is a 15 percent ethanol blend using American-made ethanol from corn grown by American farmers. NASCAR has tested the new blend excessively and claims race engines make more horsepower. The marine industry has seen the opposite effects of alcohol blended gas. When stored for any period of time alcohol blended gas dissolves deposits in older tanks and fuel lines plus the blended fuel attracts moisture when stored any length of time.

  Last year, 2014, This week was an important one for race fans, competitors, track operators and sanctioning bodies. First and foremost the race fans and competitors of the Waterford Speedbowl were watching and waiting to see the results of the foreclosure auction scheduled for high noon on Saturday, Oct 18. The 26.7 acre Speedbowl property had an appraised value of $2.8 million, buildings and land included, according to the Waterford assessor’s office. Waterford Town tax collector Mark Burnham said property owner Terry Eames is current on his property taxes, which total roughly $56,000 a year.
  Bruce Beamer, a petroleum company owner from Glastonbury, Ct was the high bidder. The 60 year old gentleman bid $1.75 Million and once all the papers are signed will be the new owner of the property.
  Court records listed nine creditors in the current foreclosure suit against Eames, which was filed by Rocco Arbitell and Peter Borrelli in 2008. In April, Eames estimated his debt to creditors at $1.9 million.
  Much to the relief of many who felt the Speedbowl would be devoured by a wrecking ball Beamer stated the racetrack would continue to operate more than likely with the current management in place.
  The new owner of the Speedbowl would not be allowed to expand the facility or add any new uses to the property according to Mark Wujtewicz, planner in the Waterford Department of Planning and Development.
  Arbetell was spectating with his wife at the Thompson Speedway last Sunday. He said that he is relieved that it's over, at least for himself and Borelli. They will get their money, the other parties in the foreclosure will not. He, along with his almost partner feel that the new owner should clean house at the shoreline oval and put a new management team in place.
  NASCAR had been getting some bad press as has the Valenti Modified Series. NASCAR had been accused of running the Whelen Modified Tour Series into the ground with its high fees and competition cost to members. Car counts at recent events had been sub-par. At the recent Fall Final at Stafford Speedway promoter Mark Arute told Area Auto Racing News that there would be a Spring Sizzler and Fall Final at the track but made no mention of the June or August Modified tour events that have been annually run at the track. In all fairness, Stafford had not released their 2015 schedule and Arute's non-mention of the events could just have been an oversight. Evidently somebody at NASCAR got off their butt and made phone calls to entice car owners to bring their cars to Thompson for the World Series as there were 36 on hand including a large contingent of Riverhead competitors.
  Despite the bad press generated by Tommy Barrett cheerleaders over his recent DQ at Lee, Barrett, who said he was all done with the Valenti Modifieds, was part of the 32 VMRS cars on hand at the World Series. Steve Masse started on the pole and led every lap of the 75-lap Valenti Modified Racing Series feature. Woody Pitkat finished second with Keith Rocco, third. Richard Savary, Rowan Pennink, and Ted Christopher rounded out the top six. Barrett finished out of the top ten.
  Rain, on and off made for a long day on Saturday at the World Series. Following practice for all divisions rain postponed Whelen Modified Tour Series qualifying procedures initially for two hours, but it got underway just after 5 p.m. with eleven cars taking time. A heavy rain cell delayed the conclusion until 7:30 p.m. when the rest of the field was able to complete qualifying laps. Woody Pitkat put down a lap of 119.579 mph for the pole, which was his second this season and second at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Ryan Preece was second fastest with Tommy Barrett, Jr., third. Rounding out the top five qualifiers were Doug Coby and Donny Lia.
  In addition to Modified tour qualifying and the Valenti Modified Racing Series there were five other divisions racing to just about midnight at the track. Taking wins were Nick Anderson in the Monster Mini Stocks, Wayne Coury in the Outlaw Sportsman, Toby Wells in the Northeast Mini Stocks, Phil Lausier in the Pro Four Modifieds and George Rego in the Outlaw Street Stocks.
  The sun poked out on Sunday and the remaining features of World Series weekend at Thompson ran uninterrupted. The Whelen Mod Tour championship was Doug Coby's to lose. He came close as Ted Christopher hounded him most of the way just waiting for a mis-cue or a mechanical problem. All the drama ended on lap 139 as Christopher suffered severe front end damage after a tangle with Troy Talman and Tommy Barrett Jr. Christopher drove away from the wreck only to park his car behind pit road. Following a restart on lap 143 Coby's luck ran out one lap later as his car suffered a flat right front tire. To add salt to the wound Coby was penalized by NASCAR for bringing out the caution, thus taking away any chance of a top finish. Coby was kept calm by crew chief Phil Moran who reminded him that no matter what, the championship was his.
  Ryan Preece who had a so-so season was on cruise control as he won the 150 lapper going away. The event which carried a purse of $85,336 and paid $6,000 to win saw Woody Pitkat jump out from his pole starting position at the drop of the green. Pitkat led until lap 8 when Preece passed him in turn three. Pitkat's day came to an end on lap16 when he ran over the wheel of the lapped car of Gary MacDonald. Preece led until he pitted during a caution period on lap 71 for fresh tires. Tommy Barrett led the restart on lap 75 with Preece in the sixth position. Barrett slowed on lap 76 allowing Rowan Pennink to take the lead. Running on a rail, Preece wasted little time as he re-took the lead on lap 78 in turn four and never looked back. Pennink faded to third in the closing laps as Don Lia powered the Mystic Missile home in the runner-up finishing position. Ron Silk finished fourth with Justin Bonsignore, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Spencer Davis, Eric Goodale, Max Zachem and Timmy Solomito. Coby ended up 17th and Christopher, 20th. At the conclusion of the event Preece announced that he was leaving his Flamingo Motorsports ride and would be taking over the seat in the Eddie Partridge entry.
  In a good news announcement the Thompson Motorsports Park management announced the track would host four Whelen Modified Tour Series events in 2015, up one from 2014.
  In other Sunday action at Thompson, Woody Pitkat started third and avoided a multi-car wreck at the start to grab the lead on the restart before driving on to the win in the Sunoco Modified 30-lap feature event. Over aggressive driving spelled disaster for several cars at the start of the Sunoco Modified feature. Four cars were taken off the front stretch on a hook after two cars made contact and sent one into the inside retaining wall. Ten cars were collected in the mayhem. Max Zachem and Woody Pitkat went side-by-side into turn one for the restart, but it was Pitkat with the advantage coming out of turn two. Cam McDermott settled into third with pressure from Keith Rocco. Pitkat commanded the first half of the race even as he maneuvered through lapped traffic. Rowan Pennink’s day, however, wasn’t going as well as he got black flagged from track officials at lap 16. McDermott remained a solid contender in second, running a mere five car lengths behind Pitkat. Zachem and Rocco rounded out the top four. The long green flag run only helped Pitkat, who drove on to the checkered flag unchallenged after McDermott got hung up by a lapped car in the closing laps of the race. Todd Ceravolo, rounded out the top five. Ryan Preece, who drove through the race opening wreck, finished sixth and wrapped up the Sunoco Modified Track championship.
  Charlie Rose was the Late Model winner, Derek Ramstrom, the Granite State Pro Stock winner, Randy Cabral the NEMA Midget winner, Chris Perley, the ISMA Supermodified winner, Chris Turbush, the New England Truck Series winner and Corey Hutchings, the Limited Sportsman winner.
Matt Kenseth gave Brad Keselowski the final push he needed to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, guaranteeing Keselowski a spot in the third round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The NASCAR Nationwide Series enjoyed a week off. 

  That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, 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.

Looking Back Archive

Source: Phil Smith / Looking Back A Bit
Posted: October 23, 2015

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