Champ Trail -
August 29, 2017
The Tri-Track Open Modified Series ran its third of four race series events
at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH on Wednesday, August 23. With a some what
light field of 21 cars, Matt Hirschman turned in a dominating performance in
NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series action to score the
victory in the Flamingo Motorsports 100. Hirschman and Ryan Preece qualified
through heat races on the front row, Series managing partner Wayne Darling
posed a challenge to the duo - start tail of the field, win and pocket an
extra $1,000 cash. Series point leader Hirschman opted to remain on the
front row. Preece started scratch on the field. Starting on the pole,
Hirschman led every lap en route to the victory. Preece started shotgun on
the field, got as high as fourth before tangling with Andy Jankowiak and
Brian Robie on lap 59. Preece ended up 14th at the finish.
Following Hirschman at the checker was Rowan Pennink and Tommy Barrett.
During the cool down lap Barrett drilled Pennink who, in turn spun to the
infield. Pennink retaliated and slammed Barrett. As a result race officials
penalized both drivers. Pennink was placed in 16th spot and Barrett was
placed in 17th.
When all was said and done, Les Hinckley was awarded the runner-up spot
and Jon McKennedy ended up third. Woody Pitkat and Jon Kievman rounded out
the top five.
The final race of the 2017 TTOMS season is scheduled for Saturday,
October 28 at Seekonk Speedway with the running of the Haunted Hundred.
In racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway Ted Christopher took down
his fifth and second consecutive win of the 2017 season in the SK Modified®
feature, Paul Arute was a first time Late Model feature winner, Cory
DiMatteo won a thrilling duel with Brett Gonyaw to nail down his fourth SK
Light feature win of 2017, Bryan Narducci was the Limited Late Model feature
winner for the 2nd consecutive race and fourth overall in 2017, Johnny
Walker scored his third consecutive and fifth overall DARE Stock feature win
of 2017, and Tyler Chapman was the winner of the special Wild Thing Karts
Junior Outlaws feature event.
Ted Christopher is the Stafford's all-time winningest driver with 129
feature wins including 107 SK Modified victories. In the early going of the
SK Modified 40 lapper, Keith Rocco took the lead after a lap 14 restart with
Christopher moving into second. The caution came back out with 16 laps
complete for a spin in turns 3+4 by Matt Galko. Rocco and Christopher
resumed their duel for the lead on the restart but it only lasted one lap
before the caution came back out for a spin in turn 2 by Tom Bolles.
On the restart, Cam McDermott touched wheels with another car which sent
him up and over the car in front of him and several cars got into the turn 3
wall to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed.
Still on lap 16, Rocco took the lead with Christopher right on his bumper.
Christopher made a move to Rocco’s inside in turns 3+4 on lap-18 to move
into the lead. Todd Owen was up to third and he pulled alongside Rocco for
second on lap-19. Owen got clear on lap-21 and Tony Membrino, Jr. was now
fourth with Williams in fifth. Gervais spun coming out of turn 4 and Reen
came to a stop on the frontstretch infield after taking an off track
excursion to bring the caution out with 23 laps complete.
Christopher took the lead on the restart with Owen right on his back
bumper. Rocco was third with Membrino in fourth and Williams in fifth. Owen
was all over Christopher’s back bumper and he nearly made a pass coming out
of turn 4 on lap-28 but he had to back out of his move which gave Rocco all
the room he needed to take second from Owen.
With 10 laps to go, Christopher led Rocco, Owen, Membrino, Williams,
Galko, Rowan Pennink, and Chase Dowling. Owen went around Rocco to take over
second on lap-33 and then Rocco’s car dropped off the pace and he limped
back to pit road.
Christopher and Owen now had a comfortable margin back to Williams in
third, who now had Dowling in fourth and Pennink in fifth behind him.
Christopher led Owen to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the
2017 season and second consecutive. Williams finished third with Dowling and
Pennink rounding out the top-5.
Third generation driver Bryan Narducci led Cliff Saunders to the
checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive Limited Late Model feature
win of the 2017 season. Alexandra Fearn finished third. Narducci is the
Great Grandson of NEAR Hall of Famer Ron Narducci and former SK Modified
Champion Jerry Pearl.
In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing Doug Coby ended a long dry
spell as he dominated the second half of the Seekonk 150 at Seekonk Speedway
on Saturday night and captured his first win of the 2017 season. He took the
lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 63 and led all but one lap in the final
stages en route to the win. Hirschman was the pole sitter and led the first
62 laps in what appeared to be a cake walk. Hirschman had the dominate car
for about 50 laps before his handling started to go away. Coby, running
second, tried numerous times to pass before finally making contact with the
leader who ended up spinning. A video instant re-play indicated that Coby
had the line going into turn three when Hirschman dropped down to block and
was hit by Coby. Evidently NASCAR saw it the same way as they took no
action. Coby went on to take the win over Anthony Nocella and Ryan Preece.
Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienza rounded out the top five. Justin Bonsignore
finished sixth with Hirschman, Max Zachem, Gary McDonald and Wade Cole
rounding out the top ten.
The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN Saturday Sept. 2 at 9:30 p.m. The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track this coming Saturday night,
Sept. 2, at the Oswego Speedway in New York.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco keeps rolling along as
he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco
recorded one win in the SK Modifieds at the shoreline oval bringing his
track win total to 142 wins, 85 of those in an SK Modified. It wasn’t easy
to say the least as he had a very trying day. Because of the fact that his
team just finished up making the final repairs to his SK Modified from last
week’s mishap, he arrived late to the speedway. Then after making contact
with the #07 Stephen Masse Rocco had to head pit side for repairs to the
right front of the #88. Rocco finally caught leader Todd Owens in the #81
Cooker’s Construction sponsored machine and battled side by side for the
lead. As the caution flag appeared to slow do the event, it now set up a
Green-white-checkered with Rocco sitting on the outside of Owens. The race
again would be slowed three more times and on the fifth
Green-white-checkered restart it looked like it would be all Owns as he
grabbed the lead and was holding Rocco at bay. Rocco in his Wheeler’s Auto
sponsored #88 got around Owens exiting turn four and grabbed the win in the
35-lap feature. With the win, Rocco was able to grab the point lead away
from Kyle James. “We had a good car, Todd runs very tough here but we are
here to win,” comment Rocco in victory lane. Rounding out the top-5 were
Rocco, Owens, Matt Galko, Matt Gallo and Paul Buzel.
Other winners at the shoreline oval were in the 30-lap Late Model feature
it was Berlin, CT’s Jason Palmer taking down the win in his return to The
Speedbowl, 64-year old Nicholas Pappacoda took the win in the 25-lap Mini
Stock feature, Ryan Waterman had the dominate car for the 26-lap Limited
Sportsman feature, in the Mr. Rooter Truck Series / NLWS Trucks 35-lap
feature it was father vs son right down to the finish. Allen Coates nudged
the #81 of Chris and that little nudge was enough to put the elder Coates in
victory lane and In the NEMA Lites it was Ben Mikitarian taking down the
Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, with a
standing room only crowd looking on Saturday night Tom Rogers Jr. of
Riverhead double dipped once again as the hard charging driver topped the
40-lap NASCAR Modified feature as well the 15-lap Figure Eight event and in
the process padded his championship lead in both divisions. Rogers 4th
NASCAR Modified win of the year gives him a 35-point bulge over John Fortin
Sr. of Holtsville while his 7th Figure Eight triumph of ’17 leaves him with
a 22-point cushion over Tom Ferrara of Patchogue as the season enters it’s
final month of competition.
Down in the south land, Burt Myers won at Caraway Speedway in North
Carolina. Myers, the winner of the Bowman Gray Stadium Modified Division
championship this season, won his third consecutive Southern Modified Racing
Series race Saturday night in the 152-lap feature at Caraway Speedway. It
was his fifth-career series victory in the 19 events held to date.
The day started for Myers with a third-place run in qualifying, yielding
a starting spot on the inside of the second row. He raced at the front of
the field early and on lap 116 made the move past second-starting Bobby
Measmer of Concord for the lead. Jeremy Gerstner of Wesley Chapel, Fla.,
finished second with Measmer third. Jason Myers, Burt’s brother, was fourth
with Tim Brown fifth.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks were up for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up
0.93 to 34.93 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.32 to 20.80 while Dover
Entertainment dropped 0.20 to 1.95. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went
up 1.17 to 55,22 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up
0.30 to 18.56 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.32 to 30.07. The
auto manufacturers were all on the positive side. Leading the way was
Toyota, which went up 1.11 to 112.84. General Motors went up 0.77 to 35.60
and Ford went up 0.36 to 0.36 to 10.82. In the home improvement sector, Home
Depot went up 2.16 to 149.65 and Lowes went up 0.11 to 73.75. With the
exception of Coca-Cola which dropped 2.03 to 202.64 and Target which dropped
0.66 to 55.01, the big team’s sponsors stocks were positive. McDonalds went
up 1.06 to 158.82, Aarons Rentals went up 0.67 to 44.19 and Fedex went up
1.76 to 207.76.
On the tube this week:
Thursday, August 31
6:00 PM, NASCAR Special, NBC Sports Net
Friday, September 1
12:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Darlington practice, NBCSN
1:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Darlington practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Darlington final practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, MENCS Darlington final practice, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legend of Darlington, NBCSN
9:00 PM, NXS Darlington final practice, re-air, NBCSN
10:00 PM, MENCS Darlington final practice, re-air, NBCSN
11:30 PM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legend of Darlington, NBCSN
Saturday, September 2
12:30 AM, NASCAR Scan All Special, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR Scan All Special, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NXS Darlington qualifying, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
1:30 PM, MENCS Darlington qualifying, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NXS Darlington race, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NXS Post Race Show, NBCSN
9:30 PM, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Seekonk, NBC Sports Net
10:30 PM, MENCS Darlington qualifying re-air, NBCSN
Sunday, September 3
12:00 AM, MENCS Darlington final practice re-air, NBCSN
10:30 AM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legend of Darllington, NBCSN
11:30 AM, MENCS Darlington qualifying re-air, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NCWTS Canada race, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM,MENCS Darlington race, NBCSN
10:30 PM, MENCS Post Race Show, NBCSN
11:00 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