Champ Trail -
April 12, 2016
Icebreaker weekend at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway dawned with
brisk temperatures in the low 40's. Twenty seven Whelen Modifieds were on
hand. Picking up where he left off at the close of the 2015 season Doug Coby
continued to be the fastest of the fast as he took the pole position in time
trials held late Saturday. Coby turned the 5/8 mile oval in 18.641sec. Just
a tick off was Ryan Preece who turned a 18.666sec lap which put him on the
outside pole. Donnie Lia, Chase Dowling and Ron Silk rounded out the top
five. True to form and consistent with past performance was Melissa Fifield
who at 20.94 is 2.3 seconds slower than the pole sitter. Always in the way,
NASCAR needs to park her before someone gets hurt. As per usual she went her
normal 40 laps before parking it, some three laps down.
On Long Island they call him "The Natural", at Thompson on Sunday they
called him "The Winner". Timmy Solomito became a first time winner on the
Whelen Modified Tour Series as he beat the best there is. Solomito took the
lead on a restart shortly after the 115 lap mark and by lap 126 had checked
out on the field. Ryan Preece took the lead from Doug Coby on the start.
Preece led the field for 81 laps before the first caution was displayed when
Jimmy Blewett spun in turn four. Justin Bonsignore led the field following
pit stops before Solomito took command.
Preece finished second and was followed by Bonsignore, Coby, Ron Silk,
Donnie Lia, Eric Goodale, Blewett, Rowan Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Max Zachem
and Bobby Santos. There were only two caution flags which consumed 16 laps.
Solomito's average speed was 93.464 mph.
In Sunoco Modified (SK type) racing at Thompson Keith Rocco beat out a
stellar field to record the opening day 30 lap feature win. Rocco, who
started on the pole, led every lap. It was not a cake walk by any means as a
lot of hot competition was breathing down his neck, first by Ryan Preece and
then by Ted Christopher. Ronnie Williams in a car owned by Rocco finished
third. For Rocco it was his 214th career win. A decent opening day field of
20 cars were on hand.
Sibling rivalry hit a fever pitch and boiled over during the running of
the Late Model event. The Rocco brothers, Jeff and Keith, were running
one-two on lap 18 when they tangled between turns three and four and spun
rear end first into the concrete. Both cars suffered severe damage and were
out of the event. Keith felt that his brother had done him wrong and
expressed his displeasure with the outcome. Jeff later accepted
responsibility for the incident. Ernie LaRose inherited the lead but he too
ended up with a trashed car after making contact with Rick Gentes. William
Wall inherited the lead from there and ran without incident to record his
first ever win. Larry Gelinas finished second.
Other weekend winners at Thompson were NEW ENGLAND PRO FOUR MODIFIEDS:
Norm Wrenn, III, NORTHEAST STREET STOCK TOUR: Joe Arena, NEMA LITES: Dan
Cugini, VINTAGE OUTLAW Jim Lowrey, NEW ENGLAND TRUCK SERIES: Bert Ouellette,
III, LITE MODIFIEDS: Tony Membrino, JR, XTRA MART LIMITED SPORTSMAN: Joshua
Wood, PRO ALL STAR SERIES RACE: Garrett Hall and MINI STOCKS Dave Trudeau.
Ryan Preece made a hasty trip back to New England after he finished 28th
Friday night in his first race at Texas Motor Speedway. Preece qualified a
solid 21st for the OíReilly Auto Parts 300 Xfinity Series race and brought
the G&K Services Chevrolet home 28th after recovering from a turn-two spin
on the second lap.
Russ Dowd closed out a long and brilliant career as operations manager
and announcer of the oval track at Thompson, one of several titles he has
held at the speedway. When the Icebreaker finished on Sunday evening, he
left his track office desk for one last time. Dowd who, after over thirty
years with the speedway, announced his retirement in the off season. Dowd
was honored in a pre-race ceremony on Sunday afternoon and has provided
play-by-play for all 130 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson
A tip of the hat to Fanschoice.TV who provided fantastic coverage of the
The NASCAR Southern Modified Tour was at the South Boston Speedway in
Virginia on Saturday. A scant twelve cars showed for the event. Burt Myers
was the pole sitter. George Brunnhoelzl III was second fastest with Kyle
Bonsignore, third. Andy Seuss and Danny Bohn rounded out the top five.
Brunnhoelzl passed Andy Seuss on Lap 125 to regain the lead and held off
Burt Myers to win the South Boston 150.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks had negative endings. The International Speedway Corporation dropped
2.27 to 4.60 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.34 to 18.43. Dover
Entertainment all but flat lined as they went up 0.01 to 2.30. NASCAR fuel
supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.87 to 32.47 while NASCAR tire
supplier Goodyear dropped 1.53 to 30.96 and NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint
dropped 0.13 to 3.50. The car manufacturers were all negative for the week.
Ford dropped 0.55 to 12.55 and Toyota dropped 2.88 to 100.66 and General
Motors dropped 1.04 to 29.37. In the home improvement sector Home Depot
dropped 1.26 to 133.62 and Lowes dropped1.47 to 75.03. In big team sponsor's
stocks, McDonalds went up 0.94 to 127.96 and Coca-Cola went up 3.22 to
165.91 while Target dropped 1.88 to 80.88 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.99 to
26.34. Fedex continued to soar as they went up 1.87 to 163.42.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, April 13
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
Thursday, April 14
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
Friday, April 15
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
11:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol Practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Bristol Practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
3:00 PM, NXS Final Bristol Practice, FS1
4:00 PM, NSCS Bristol Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1
5:30 PM, 1979 DAYTONA 500, FS1
Saturday, April 16
5:30 AM, NSCS Bristol Practice re-air, FS1
7:00 AM, NSCS Bristol Coors Light Pole Qualifying re-air, FS1
8:30 AM, NSCS Bristol Practice, FS1
9:30 AM, NXS Bristol Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1
11:00 AM, NSCS Final Bristol Practice, FS1
12:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FS1
12:30 PM, NXS: XFINITY 300 at Bristol, FS1
Sunday, April 17
1:00 AM, NXS: XFINITY 300 at Bristol re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NSCS Bristol Practice re-air, FS1
5:30 AM, NSCS Final Bristol Practice re-air, FS1
6:30 AM, The 10 Greatest Bristol Moments, FS1
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:30 PM, NSCS FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
1:00 PM, NSCS: Food City 500 from Bristol, FOX
5:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
Thatís 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