The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - September 26, 2017


  In Friday night racing action at the Stafford Motor Speedway the evening began with a tribute to Ted Christopher, Stafford Speedway’s all-time winningest driver with 131 career feature wins, who passed away last Saturday, Sept 16, in a plane crash while heading to Riverhead Raceway.
Taking feature wins were Keith Rocco in the SK Modified® feature, Michael Bennett in the Late Model feature, Dan Wesson in the SK Light feature, Bryan Narducci in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. scored his very first win in the DARE Stock feature.
  In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, the race started with the pole position left vacant for Ted Christopher. Keith Rocco, who is a former crew member on the Christopher race team, took the lead from Ron Williams on lap-18 while Glen Reen moved up to third with Tyler Hines fourth and Josh Wood fifth as the field completed lap-20.
 Rocco started to pull away from Williams who was in turn was pulling away from Reen, Stephen Kopcik, and Hines. Rocco led Williams to the white flag with Kopcik third, Reen fourth, and Hines in fifth. The entire field pulled down pit road after taking the white flag with Stafford Speedway announcers Ben Dodge and Matt Buckler calling Ted Christopher home as the winner. Rocco was on a mission and did his mentor proud. Very emotional and almost speechless Rocco dedicated the win to his friend, idol and teacher. It was Rocco’s 44th SK Modified win at Stafford.
  Cassie Rocco pretty much summed it up when she stated last Saturday of the Arute Family and the Stafford Speedway “Thank you for everything you did last night, you honored Ted in away that will never be topped. Everything you did for his family and friends, his fans, everyone, it goes above and beyond anyone's expectations.” She added,” The love and support that was felt last night was overwhelming to say the least but it is exactly what everyone needed, I'm honored to have you as my HomeTrack, you are an amazing family with amazing hearts.

  In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series racing at Loudon, NH, Bobby Santos found the bottom groove had the most grip on the track in the final circuits. Santos took the lead on lap 90 for the first time in Saturday's F.W. Webb 100, but lost the lead to Patrick Emerling on lap 96. He took his No. 44 Sully Tinio/Brendan Kelley Music Chevrolet back to the front on lap 97 and wasn't challenged back to the checkered flag in the final three circuits.
It was also the 32-year-old's 16th career victory in his 131st career Whelen Modified Tour start. He crossed the line 0.610 seconds ahead of Rowan Pennink. Behind Pennink, Patrick Emerling finished third after leading seven laps. Donny Lia and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Eric Goodale, Ron Silk, Woody Pitkat, Ryan Newman and Anthony Nocella. There were 28 cars on hand for the event.
  Despite the fact that the NASCAR cup and Xfinity Series cars will no longer have a fall date at Loudon beginning in 2018 a Short Track Triple Header will run at the New Hampshire oval in their place. The venue will include a 250 lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series event plus the K&N Series Late Models and the NASCAR Canadian Pinty Series.
  The F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire will air on NBCSN Thursday, Sept. 28th at 7 p.m. ET.
  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track next weekend, with the running of the NAPA Fall Final 150 scheduled for Sunday, October 1 at 3:15 p.m. ET.

  Keith Rocco carried his winning ways over to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night recording his 8th SK Modified win of the year. Kyle James had another strong run as he finished second. Matt Galko was third. Rocco brought his track win total to 147 wins, 88 of those in an SK Modified. Rocco also has 48 career Late Model victories, four Limited Sportsman division wins, three Valenti Modified Racing Series victories, two Truck Series wins, one Pro Four Modified win and one NEMA Lite win during his career at Waterford. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 248 wins which also include victories at Thompson and 44 at Stafford Speedway.
  Other wins at the shoreline oval were Andrew Moller in the SK Lites over Bryan Narducci, Chris Meyer scored his fifth win of the season in the Limited Sportsman.
  In a somewhat related fact it was forty years ago that George “Moose” Hewitt won his first of five Modified championships. This past week, his grandson, Kyle Gero won the Wacky Wednesday X Car championship at the Speedbowl.
  Out on the east end of Long Island at the Riverhead Raceway, John Baker won the 40 lap Modified event left over from Sept 2 and David Schneider won the regular 40 lapper.

  Andy Jankowiak of Tonawanda, N.Y. captured the U.S. Open 125 Race of Champions Modified Series event on Sunday afternoon at Lancaster National Speedway in western New York. Jankowiak started on the pole and lead 124 of 125 laps for his first U.S. Open Modified victory and his seventh U.S. Open win overall. Matt Hirschman cruised to his second place finish in his first Modified start at Lancaster this season. Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, N.Y. won the 75-lap Race of Champions Sunoco Sportsman feature for the second year in a row.
  The 67th annual Race of Champions weekend will take place this coming weekend at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pennsylvania as part of Presque Isle Downs & Casino Race of Champions Weekend and is the second longest consecutive auto-racing event in North America, second only to the Indianapolis 500. The race, which was advertised to pay $12,500 to the winner, has been changed to pay $13,013.13-to-win in honor of Ted Christopher, who suddenly passed away recently, with 26 starting position paying $1,000-to-start.

  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 0.05 to 35,55 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.04 to 20.53 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.05. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 0.37 to 55.81 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.34 to 18.49 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.14 to 32.57. The auto manufacturers had a positive week. Toyota went up 2.94 to 120.63, General Motors went up 0.54 to 39.42 and Ford went up 0.22 to 11.84. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.57 to 159.97 and Lowes went up 0.24 to 78.23. In big team sponsors stocks, McDonalds went up 1.99 to 158.91, Coca-Cola went up 0.41 to 209.30 and Fedex went up 5.17 to 220.00 while Aarons dropped 3.87 to 39.03 and Target Department Stores dropped 0.97 to 58.99.

  On the tube this week:

  Thursday, September 28

5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Special, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Whelen Modifieds Loudon

  Friday, September 29
10:00 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Dover practice, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR Special, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Dover practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Dover final practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, MENCS Dover qualifying, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Special, NBCSN

  Saturday, September 30
2:30 AM, NASCAR Special, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NXS Dover race, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Las Vegas qualifying, FOX Sports 1
7:30 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
8:00 PM, NCWTS Las Vegas race, FS1

  Sunday, October 1
6:30 AM, NCWTS Las Vegas race re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
2:00 PM, MENCS Dover race, NBCSN
5:30 PM, MENCS Dover Post Race Show, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

  Monday, October 2
3:00 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
2:30 PM, NASCAR 120: MENCS Dover race re-air, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

   That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
E-mail: smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
 

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: September 26, 2017

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