Champ Trail -
September 5, 2017
In racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway one could call it somewhat
of a throw back in the SK Modified 40 lap feature as Rowan Pennink and Ted
Christopher slugged it out both on the track and in victory lane. Years ago
when the SK Modified division was a rolling demolition derby track owner
Jack Arute kept two sets of boxing gloves in the infield as just about every
week competitors would duke it out following the races. Fast forward to
2017: following a lap 34 restart, Pennink took the lead with Christopher
sliding into second. Todd Owen was third with Ryan Preece up to fourth and
Ronnie Williams in fifth. Coming to the white flag, Christopher had a run to
the inside of Pennink and he took the lead with a dive bomb move in turn 1.
One lap later as the two leaders hit turn 3, Pennink gave Christopher a shot
to the bumper and moved him out of the way just enough to take the lead and
he took the checkered flag for his first win of the 2017 season. Todd Owen
finished third with Preece and Williams rounding out the top-5.
First the two crews went at it, then the two drivers. Each accused each
other of dirty driving before order was restored. Later in the evening
Pennink recorded his second win of the night as he took the victory in the
Valenti Modified Racing Series 8th Annual VMRS 80. Christopher did not
compete. Pennink led Keith Rocco to the checkered flag to score the victory.
Anthony Nocella finished third with Dave Etheridge and Jeff Malave rounding
out the top-5. Other Friday night winners were Tom Fearn in the Late Model
feature, Glenn Griswold in the SK Light feature, Cliff Saunders in the
Limited Late Model feature, and Johnny Walker in the DARE Stock feature.
In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing the Oswego New York
Speedway, known as the Supermodified capitol of the world hosted NASCAR’s
oldest division on Saturday night for a 150 lapper. Ryan Preece scored his
fifth checkered flag of the season. Preece took the lead from Matt Hirschman
on Lap 114 and never looked back.
“We came in and made a little bit of an adjustment because I felt he
[Hirschman] was better in the first half,” said Preece of the halftime stop.
"We were good. Just kind of tried to make him go hard the whole time.”
The victory was the 20th of Preece’s Whelen Modified Tour career and the
first at Oswego. Preece ran up front all race long. After qualifying fourth,
Preece quickly made his way up to second. On Lap 114, Preece dove underneath
Hirschman in turn three. After taking the lead, Preece pulled away, with no
one able to challenge the 25-year-old. Preece took the checkers 2.849
seconds ahead of Hirschman. Earlier in the day, Hirschman won his second
straight Coors Light Pole Award and went to lead a race-high 117 laps.
Following Preece and Hirschman was Timmy Solomito, Doug Coby and Eric
Goodale. Sixth thru tenth were Justin Bonsignore, Craig Lutz, Max Zachem,
Dave Sapienza and Rowan Pennink.
Twelve of the original 21 starters finished on the lead lap. Among those
who didn’t finish were Ted Christopher who crashed on lap 107 while running
in the top five, Patrick Emerling who dropped out after running as high as
fourth on lap 54, Walter Sutcliff who finished 19th after losing a clutch on
lap 57, Kyle Ebersole retired with electrical problems on lap 38 and the
tour’s favorite stroaker Melissa “The Turtle” Fifield continued her
consistent rear of the pack finishes with reported engine problems.
Preece also extended his point lead to nine over Doug Coby. Rowan Pennink
is third, 16 points behind Preece and one ahead of Timmy Solomito.
The Toyota Mod Classic 150 will air on NBCSN Thursday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes a two week break before heading to the
Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, Sept. 16.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Keith Rocco 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 143 wins, 86
of those in an SK Modified. It was a fitting way to celebrate his fifth
wedding anniversary to the former Cassie Ceravolo. Rocco had to withstand
numerous challenges from Ashaway, RI’s Kyle James to take down the 35-lap SK
Modified Feature. It was the sixth win on the season for the Berlin, CT
driver. Rocco didn’t was anytime moving to the front as on lap-8 Rocco out
muscled Matt Galko down the back stretch to take the lead in the Dunleavey’s
Truck and Trailer Repairs sponsored #88. Rocco had company as James also got
under Galko to move in the runner up position. The two started to pull away
from the field with James all over the rear bumper of Rocco. James managed
to get on the outside of Rocco as the two-battled side-by-side and swapped
the lead on numerous occasions as the race was winding down. James made one
last ditch effort to get around Rocco but couldn’t make it stick giving
Rocco the win. With the win Rocco continues to hold the points lead over
James. Finishing behind James was Todd Owen, Matthew Galko and Diego Monahan
who rounded out the top-5. Heat wins went to Owen and Rocco.
In the 25-lap SK Lite Modified it was Colchester, CT’s Bryan Narducci
taking his first ever open wheel modified win of his career. It was his
third start in the division. Narducci is the grandson of Jerry and Diane
Pearl and NEAR Hall of Famer Ron Narducci. Other Saturday night winners at
the shoreline oval were Limited Sportsman (25-laps): Chris Meyer, Mini
Stocks (25-laps): Jordan Hadley, Legends (25-laps): Joey Ternullo, New
England Mini Stock Tour (50-laps): Glen Thomas, Mr. Rooter Truck Series /
NLWS Trucks (35-laps): Danny Anderson and NLWS Trucks Finish: Duane Noll.
Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, the NASCAR
Modified feature was ready to roll when rain descended on the speedway.
The latest class for the New England Auto Racing Hall Of Fame induction
in November includes Steve Bird, Ben Dodge Jr., Tom Dunn, Russ Wood, Bobby
Gahan, Gardiner Leavitt, and racing brothers Jeff and Rick Fuller .
On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks
ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was the International
Speedway Corporation which went up 0.97 to 35.90. Speedway Motorsports went
up 0.30 to 21.10 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.20 to 2.15. NASCAR cup
sponsor Monster Energy went up 0.86 to 56.08 while NASCAR fuel supplier
Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.75 to 19.31 and NASCAR tire supplier
Goodyear went up 0.47 to 30.54. The car manufacturers were also on the
positive for the week. General Motors led the way as they went up 1.76 to
37.36. Ford went up 0.53 to 11.35 and Toyota went up 0.19 to 113.03. In the
home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.13 to 150.78 and Lowes went up
0.90 to 74.65. Coca-Cola led the way in big team sponsor’s stocks as they
went up 10.31 to 212.95. Fedex went up 7.39 to 215.05, McDonalds went up
0.99 to 159.81, Target went up 1.21 to 56.22 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.31
On the tube this week:
Thursday, September 7
7:00 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Oswego, NY
Friday, September 8
8:00 AM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Richmond practice, NBC Sports App
10:00 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Richmond practice, NBC Sports Net
12:00 PM, MENCS Richmond final practice, NBCSN
4:00 PM, NXS Richmond qualifying, NBCSN
5:30 PM, MENCS Richmond qualifying, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NXS Richmond race, NBCSN
10:00 PM, NXS Post Race Show, NBCSN
Saturday, September 9
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, MENCS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
7:30 PM, MENCS Richmond race, NBCSN
11:00 PM, MENCS Post Race 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