Champ Trail -
July 4, 2016
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is currently on a late spring break. Next up
on the schedule is the Whelen Modified Tour All-Star Shootout on July 14
followed by the Nor’easter 100 the next day, both at New Hampshire Motor
Modified action shifted to the Seekonk Speedway last week for Open Wheel
Wednesday, which featured the Tri-Track Series with a top prize of $10,000
to win. It’s a long ride from North Hampton PA to Seekonk, MA but Matt
Hirschman made it worth his while, as he became the first three-time winner
of the event. Hirschman won the fourth qualifying heat and started third in
the 100 lapper behind Justin Bonsignore and newcomer Jon Kievman.
Wasting little time, Hirschman blew by Bonsignore on lap three for the
lead and held off numerous challenges for 97 laps before taking the
checkered flag. Jon McKennedy finished second with Rowan Pennink, third.
Anthony Nocella and Tommy Barrett rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth
included Les Hinkley, Ryan Preece, Todd Annarummo, Woody Pitkat and Blake
Five caution periods slowed the event. Caution no.1 flew on lap 2 when
Doug Coby tangled with Tommy Barrett, Pennink and Eric Berndt on the
backstretch.Coby suffered severe left rear damage and was done for the
night, Coby was credited with finishing 25th. The second caution flew on lap
8 when Blake Barney stopped in turn four. The third yellow came on lap 20
when Nocella spun and collected Chris Pasteryak, Richard Savory and Eric
Goodale. The fourth yellow was for Dennis Perry who spun in turn two and
collected Dwight Jarvis. The fifth and final caution was for a spin by Kurt
Vigeant in turn 3.
The event was deemed a success with 33 Modifieds and near capacity of
fans on hand at the track they call The Cement Palace. Drivers who did not
qualify for the Seekonk event got $700 because of the money raised.
The Stafford Speedway cancelled Friday night’s June 30th racing program
due to the threat of severe weather. The Fireworks display scheduled has
been rescheduled for Friday, July 14th. The scheduled Wild Thing Kart Senior
Outlaw exhibition race will be rescheduled to Friday, July 28th.
“We tried to get the program in, but due to the sever weather forecasted for
this evening we have decided to cancel tonight’s scheduled event,” explained
Stafford General Manager, Mark Arute. “We’ll be back next week with the big
one, the 4th Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K, let’s hope we stay dry next
Racing returns to Stafford next week with the 4th Annual NAPA Auto Parts
SK 5K. The SK Modifieds® are set to run a 100-lap feature event with $34,000
in posted awards and a guaranteed $5,000 for the winner. Ted Christopher is
the defending champion and looks to continue his strong start to his 2017
season. Tickets are available online and discount tickets are available at
your local NAPA Auto Parts Store.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series made it’s first ever start at New
Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire on Saturday. The race was
part of The New England Short Track Showdown produced by race organizer Bob
Guptill. Woody Pitkat, of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, led the race 9-times
before taking down his first VMRS win for 2017. Pitkat edged Ted Christopher
of Plainville, Connecticut by 0.017 at the Sunoco Checkered Flags.
The event produced 17-lead changes, and a hard fought battle right down
to the finish. Following Pitkat and Christopher at the finish were 17-lead
changes, and a hard fought battle right down to the finish. Following Pitkat
and Christopher was Steven Masse, Zane Zeiner and Geoff Gerhard. David
Schneider, Anthony Nocella, Donnie Lashua, and Rob Richardi Jr. were sixth
through tenth place finishers.
Other winners at Loudon were Justin Trombley in the Mini-Stocks, Corey
Hutchings in the Street Stock Showdown and Eddie MacDonald won the Granite
State Pro Stock event.
Ryan Preece and his TS Haulers team indeed had plans to run their NASCAR
Modified on a quarter mile race track Saturday but that track was to be in
New Hampshire not Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. When the planned race
Preece and his team hoped to run was rained out at the Monadnock Speedway
they changed course and headed south and by the time the 67-lap NASCAR
Modified race was completed at Riverhead the former NASCAR WMT champion
notched his 16th career win at the historic quarter mile oval.
Howie Brode was runner-up in the Petro Home Services Chevy while Shawn
Solomito placed third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Tom Rogers Jr. was fourth
while championship leader John Fortin rounded out the top five.
On a sad note it was learned that Long Island racing writer Mike Fields
had passed away.
The New London Waterford Speedbowl avoided the early evening showers and
got all their racing in. Todd Owen and Keith Rocco engaged in a heated
battle in the closing stages of the SK Modified event with Owen coming out
on top and Rocco settling for runner-up. Kyle James finished third.
Other winners at the Connecticut shoreline oval were Wayne Burroughs Jr. who
won the track’s 25-lap Mini Stock feature, Dennis Charette made it two in a
row as he won the 25-lap SK Light Modified feature, Ray Christian III won
the 30-lap Late Model feature and Jordan Hadley won the 25-lap Limited
There will be no racing at the Speedbowl this coming Saturday night due
to the SailFest Fireworks display in New London harbor.
Down in the south land, the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, was
quiet as the Modified action shifted to the Hickory Motor Speedway in
Newton, NC. Where Jerry Gerstner got his first Southern Modified Racing
Series win. Gerstner started in seventh position and with the drop of the
green immediately started racing forward and took command by lap seven. He
led until lap 56 when he got caught in lapped traffic yielding the top spot
to Bobby Measmer with Burt Myers taking second and then ultimately the lead.
A caution on lap 69 sent the field to pit road and jumbled the running
order and Tyler Truex in command. Gerstner re-started sixth but again
charged forward and on lap 74 he was back at the point, taking the top spot
from Brandon Ward.
From that point, the fans were treated to a thriller as Gerstner lead
with Burt Myers applying constant pressure, even alongside the leader
multiple times. A caution on lap 108 would slow the field and rain at the
point halted the event. Series official waited nearly an hour before the
decision was made to end the night with Gerstner getting the victory.
Burt Myers finished in the second spot with John Smith third. Danny Bohn
and Bobby Measmer Jr. completed the top five.
On the speedway stock market scene, the International Speedway
Corporation went up 0.45 to 37.55 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.66 to
18.27. Dover Entertainment remained in limbo at 2.10. NASCAR cup sponsor
Monster Beverage dropped 2.31 to 49.68 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco
(Energy Transfer) went up 1.04 to 20.39 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear
went up 1.31 to 34.96. The domestic car manufacturers had a positive week as
Ford went up 0.15 to 11.19 and General Motors went up 0.73 to 34.93 while
Toyota dropped 0.24 to 105,02. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot
dropped 3.91 to 153.40 while Lowes went up 1.47 to 77.53. The big teams
sponsor’s stocks were all over the lot. McDonalds dropped 1.48 to 153.16,
Coca-Cola dropped 6.79 to 228.87, Target Department Stores went up 1.54 to
52.29, Aarons Rentals went up 0.40 to 38.90 and Fedex went up 2.03 to
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, July 5
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
Thursday, July 6
5:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kentucky qualifying, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Kentucky final practice, FS1
7:30 PM, NCWTS Kentucky race, FS1
Friday, July 7
6:30 AM, NCWTS Kentucky qualifying re-air, FS1
7:30 AM, NCWTS Kentucky race re-air, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Scan All Special: Talladega, Kansas, Charlotte, NBCSN
1:30 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Kentucky final practice, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, MENCS Kentucky qualifying, NBCSN
8:00 PM, NXS Kentucky race, NBCSN
10:30 PM, NXS Post Show, NBCSN
11:00 PM, NASCAR The Decades - The 1980s, NBCSN
Saturday, July 8
12:30 PM, NASCAR Special, NBCSN
2:00 PM, NASCAR The Decades - The 1980s, NBCSN
4:30 PM, MENCS Kentucky qualifying re-air, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN
7:30 PM, MENCS Kentucky race, NBCSN
11:00 PM, MENCS Post Show, NBCSN
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.
Smith / Champ Trail