Champ Trail -
June 13, 2016
The New London Day reported last week that the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl will open for the 2017 racing season despite criminal charges
against its owner, according to a statement posted on the track’s website.
Staff at the Connecticut shoreline oval have been issuing anonymous
statements on its website and Facebook page over the past several weeks amid
accusations that its owner, Bruce Bemer, played a major role in a
decades-long prostitution scheme in which mentally disabled young men were
lured into sex with promises of friendship, money and drugs.
On Monday afternoon, June 5, they issued another statement announcing a
deal that would allow George Whitney, described as a former racer, to lease
the Route 85 track for the 2017 season, which was scheduled to begin in May.
“His latest accolades are bringing numerous drivers to National
Championships as their Crew Chief,” the statement said. “He now gets his
racing fix doing chassis set ups for many drivers as well as Legends car
According to the statement, Whitney will operate the track as Whitney
Farm Racing, a limited liability company incorporated in late May and
registered to an address in Westbrook, CT.
Late last week Whitney revealed that the first event will be on Saturday
night, June 24. Highlighting the opening night event will be the Valenti
Modified Racing Series.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified tour returns to New England this coming
Tuesday, June 14 for a Wednesday night event at the Thompson Motorsports
Park Speedway. This race is only 125-laps, creating an element of pit
strategy that doesn’t exist in some of the longer races. The NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series’ Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, and
Mini Stocks will all be in action, in addition to the NEMA Lites.
The Stafford Motor Speedway featured Dunleavy’s Modifiedz Night.
Stafford’s SK Lights took center stage with a 40-lap feature that paid over
$14,000 in total posted awards while the SK Modifieds® ran an extra 10-laps
in feature distance for an extra $4,000 in their purse. Taking down the
biggest win of the night was Brett Gonyaw, who took the checkered flag and a
pay check of over $2,700 in the 40-lap SK Light feature. Ronnie Williams
took the checkered flag in the extra distance SK Modified® feature, Michael
Wray won the Late Model feature, Duane Provost took down his second
consecutive Limited Late Model feature win, and Johnny Walker won the DARE
In the 40-lap SK Light feature event, Bob Charland was all over Gonyaw in
the closing moments for the lead but Gonyaw was able to fend off his
challenges and he took the checkered flag for the first win of his career at
Stafford. Griswold finished third with Jay Goff and Rick Williams rounding
out the top-5.
In the 50 lapper for the SKs, Ron Williams made a power move entering
turn 3 on lap-24 to overtake Glen Reen and move into the race lead. ToddOwen,
Matt Galko, Rowan Penninnk, and Ted Christopher made up the top-6. Owen got
out of shape on lap-26, which allowed Galko to make a pass and take over
third and Pennink was now side by side with Owen in a fight for fourth. The
caution came back out with 28 laps complete as Tony Membrino and D.J.
Burnham came together in turn 3.
Williams took the lead on the restart with Galko moving up to second and
Owen moving up to third as Reen fell back to fourth in the order. Pennink
was fifth with Ryan Preece now up to sixth and Keith Rocco was seventh. Reen
went high and lost two spots on lap-34 as Pennink and Preece were both able
to move around him. Christopher then got by Reen on lap-35 to drop him back
to seventh in the running order as Williams continued to lead Galko and
With 10 laps to go, Williams held the lead with Galko, Owen, Pennink, and
Christopher all giving chase. Christopher was working the outside lane
against Pennink but was unable to put a pass together. Williams held Galko
off to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2017 season. Owen
finished third with Pennink and Christopher rounding out the top-5.
In weekly action at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, Defending
NASCAR Modified champion Shawn Solomito driving the Wayne Anderson entry
executed a textbook pass to score his second straight NASCAR Modified
victory in the Mullet Madness 50. The victory was the 17th of Solomito’s
The NEW Exit Realty Modified Touring Series rolled into Seekonk Speedway
for its first race at the famed 1/3 mile oval on Saturday night, June 10.
Tommy Barrett Jr. started on the outside pole and took the lead early on
from polesitter Todd Annarummo. Barrett, Jr. survived multiple restarts and
pulled out to a three second lead on the last run to take the win at the
Massachusetts oval. Woody Pitkat finished second and was followed by Jon
Kennedy, Rowan Pennink and Eric Goodale. Sixth thru tenth were Les Hinckley,
Kirk Alexander, Todd Annarummo, Keith Rocco and Dylan Kopec. There were 24
cars on hand.
Among those missing was Matt Hirschman who dominated the Race of
Champions Modified Series Lake Erie 75 at Lake Erie Speedway (PA) on
Saturday Night, earning his first win of the 2017 season.
Hirschman picked up the win after leading the race flag-to-flag. The
driver of the No. 60 Race of Champions Modified started from the outside of
the front row after Scott Wylie had a part failure just prior to the start.
Hirschman passed Daren Scherer using the outside groove on lap one, taking
the lead and never looking back.
Down in the south land at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC,
Jason Myers won his first race of the year after winning the pole and
leading each of the 25 laps of the first Modified race. Myers defeated Tim
Brown, Myers’ brother Burt and Brandon Ward. It was Myers first win since
July 30 of last year.
James Civali, who is from Connecticut but now lives in the Tar Heel
State, won his first Bowman Gray race after defeating Ronnie Clifton. Civali
took the lead on lap 16 after passing Junior Miller and led the rest of the
On a sad note, Mrs. Lorraine Bouchard passed away. She was the mom of
Kenny and Ronnie Bouchard as well as the mom of Jo-Ann Bouchard Berggeron.
On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks
ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was Speedway
Motorsports which went up 0.75 to 18.32. The International Speedway Corp
went up 0.05 to 35.80. Dover Entertainment was also up 0.05 as they closed
at 2.15. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.18 to 35.45 while NASCAR
cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 1.22 to 50.05 and NASCAR fuel supplier
Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.40 to 20.85. All three car manufacturers
were down at weeks end. Toyota dropped 3.69 to 105.68, Ford dropped 0.22 to
11.13 and General Motors dropped 0.11 to 34.34. In the home improvement
sector, Lowes dropped 2.57 to 78.65 and Home Depot dropped 2.39 to 152.96.
In big team sponsors stocks, McDonalds dropped 2.26 to 151.48 and Coca-Cola
dropped 4.69 to 227.06 while Target went up 1.39 to 56.91, Aarons Rentals
went up 0.34 to 39.49 and Fedex went up 3.30 to 206.41.
On the tube this week:
Friday, June 16
11:00 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Michigan practice, Fox Sports 2
12:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Michigan practice, FS2
3:00 PM, NXS Michigan final practice, FS2
4:00 PM, MENCS Michigan qualifying, FS2
9:30 PM, MENCS Michigan qualifying re-air, Fox Sports 1
Saturday, June 17
7:00 AM, MENCS Michigan qualifying re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, MENCS Michigan practice, FS2
10:00 AM, NCS Michigan qualifying, FS2
11:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS2
12:00 PM, MENCS Michigan final practice, FS2
1:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay - XFINITY, FS1
1:30 PM, NXS Michigan race, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Gateway qualifying, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:30 PM, NCWTS Gateway race, FS1
Sunday, June 18
2:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Michigan race, 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.
Smith / Champ Trail