The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

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 Speedway.
  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 Barney.
  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 week."
  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 Sportsman feature.
  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 217.33.

  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.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: July 4, 2017

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