Champ Trail -
May 10, 2016
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is currently winding up their
mini-spring break. The tour springs back into action this coming Saturday,
May 14, at the revamped New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Those who follow the
tour will discover how much effort and improvements have put into the
shoreline oval that has been in operation since 1951.
Opening night at the Stafford Motor Speedway was rained out. Stafford
will try again next Friday night. Also falling victim of rain was the newly
revamped Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island and the Seekonk Speedway
The New London-Waterford Speedway defied the rain for a while but they
too succumbed. Two of the ten scheduled feature events were completed when
rain forced the track management to pull the plug. Because of the fact that
the Whelen Modified Tour Series will be running at the shoreline oval on
Saturday night along with a full card of Saturday night regular divisions
this event resumed on Sunday at noon with the remaining eight features to be
run. Remaining to be run Sunday will be a 35-lap SK Modified feature, 25-lap
Limited Sportsman feature, 25-lap Mini Stock feature, 25-lap SK Light
Modified feature, 25-lap Legends feature, 25-lap Mr. Rooter New England
Truck Series feature, 20-lap X-Car feature and a 20-lap Super X-Car feature.
Keith Rocco, a second generation racer, won the 30-lap Late Model feature
and Tyler Barry, a ten year old third generation racer, won the 20-lap
Bandolero feature before rain began falling.
Rocco took the lead from Ray Christian III at the drop of the green flag
and never looked back. Anthony Flannery was second and Adam Gray, third.
Barry, is the grandson of legendary Modified team owner Art Barry and the
son of former Modified driver Ken Barry. Ethan Durocher was second and
Andrew Morin was third on the track but was disqualified for an illegal
gear, moving Charles Prinz to third.
Also of note was the debut of third generation racer Jacob Perry in the
Mini Stock division. Perry, the son of Dennis Perry was sixth fastest in
practice and sixth in his qualifying heat.
The field in the SK Modified division was 24 cars strong. Heat winners
were Rowan Pennink, Keith Rocco and Paul Kusheba.
Keith Rocco added to his legend as he beat out Ted Christopher to win the
25 lap SK Modified opener. Rocco now has a total of 123 wins at the track
and a career total of 216 wins which also include victories at Thompson and
Stafford Speedways. Following Christopher at the finish was Rob Janovic. Joe
Gada and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. Dennis Perry finished sixth
and was followed by Tyler Chadwick, Dylan Izzo and Ryan Morgan.
Janovic took the SK Modified field to green from the pole with Monahan on
his outside. Caution flew on lap 12 when Bo Gunning went to the infield in
turn two. Janovic held the top spot on the restart but the caution quickly
flew again for a multi-car pileup on the front stretch on lap 13.Following
the cleanup it was Janovic again getting the advantage over Diego Monahan on
the restart. Janovic held on again through a lap 23 restart, but Monahan
gave him two hard taps before the completion of the lap.
On lap 26 Monahan stuck his nose under Janovic going into turn one. The
two had contact and Janovic was forced to save a sliding car while Monahan
went to the front. But two laps later, Monahan ended up in the front stretch
wall while battling for the lead with Rocco. The caution flew again on lap
31 when rookie Paul Buzel got into the wall in turn four. On the ensuing
restart, Christopher was able to go to the outside pass Janovic for second
place, but Christopher couldn’t get close enough to challenge Rocco at the
Other winners on Sunday included Al Stone III in the Limited Sportsman
division, Tony Membrino Jr. in the SK Light feature, Wayne Burroughs Jr. in
the Mini Stock event, Dana DiMatteo in the Legends feature, Bert Ouellette
in the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series race, Dave Gargaro Jr. in the
X-Car feature and Dave Yardley III in the Super X-Car race.
The Bowman- Gray stadium in Winston-Salem, NC opened for the season on
Saturday night with the Hayes Jewelers 200. Unfortunately rain prevailed
after 40 laps were completed. The event resumed Saturday night with Tim
Brown and Burt Myers on the front row. Brandon Ward inherited the lead after
the front runners pitted for tires on lap 159. Ward’s tire strategy had
worked out a little differently. “We had to pit early because we needed to
make adjustments. So we stopped and took our tires quite a bit earlier than
the rest of the leaders,” said Ward, who was worried about how his car would
perform later in the race. “But really once we could get out front, the car
made some really good times,” said Ward.
John Smith attempted to slip by Ward with a few double-file restarts, but
Ward held strong. Ward claimed the checkered for the 200-lapper, the biggest
win of the season and his first ever victory at the place they call The
John Smith finished in second, with Joe Ryan Osborne taking third. Danny
Bohn and Burt Myers rounded out the top five.
Get well wishes go out to former Thompson and New London Waterford
Speedbowl champion Todd Ceravolo who is on the sick list suffering from a
form of bone cancer. With a little luck and a lot of prayers he will work
his way thru this and will be able to live a normal life. Cards of cheer can
be sent to Todd Ceravolo, 1335 Baldwin Hill Road, Gales Ferry, Ct. 06335.
On a sad note, local racer Dave Berube, 66, was killed in a plane crash
Tuesday in Syosset, N.Y, a town on Long Island. Berube won the 1996 Modified
championship at Riverside Park Speedway. His last race was in 2013 at Canaan
Fair Speedway in Canaan, N.H., finishing 22nd.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway
stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.11 to 17.63
while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.38 to 33.11 and Dover
Entertainment dropped 0.02 to 2.28. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.10
to 3.53 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.04 to
35.38 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.78 to 28.19. The auto
manufacturers were down for the week. Taking the biggest dip was Toyota
which dropped 5.77 to 101.93. General Motors dropped 0.86 to 30.94 and Ford
dropped 0.12 to 13.44. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up
1.78 to 135.66 while Lowes dropped 0.48 to 75.54. In the world of big team
sponsor's stocks McDonalds Corp went up 4.06 to 130.55 and Coca-Cola went up
6.35 to 165.72 while Target Department Stores went down 0.77 to 78.73,
Aarons Rentals went down 0.67 to 25.54 and Fedex dropped 4.06 to 161.05.
Coming up this weekend is a high-octane, 3-part series that chronicles
the gritty, true story of NASCAR. CMT cable TV network will present the
series in three two hour segments beginning this Sunday night, May 8, at
On the tube this week:
Friday, May 13
10:00 AM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Dover practice, FOX Sports 1
11:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Dover practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NXS Dover final practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover qualifying, FS1
3:30 PM, NSCS Dover qualifying, FS1
5:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
5:30 PM, NCWTS Dover race, FS1
Saturday, May 14
3:00 AM, NCWTS Dover race re-air, FS1
9:30 AM, NSCS Dover practice re-air, FS1
10:30 AM, NXS Dover qualifying, FS1
12:30 PM, NSCS Dover final practice, FOX Sports 2
2:00 PM, NXS Pre-Race Show, FOX
2:30 PM, NXS Dover race, FOX
Sunday, May 15
2:30 AM, NXS Dover race re-air, FS1
8:30 AM, NXS Dover race re-air, FS1
11:00 AM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCIENCE
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NSCS Dover race, FS1
8:00 PM, NASCAR: The Rise of American Speed, Country Music TV
11:30 PM, NSCS Dover race re-air, FS1
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