Champ Trail -
May 24, 2016
The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway began their summer series of
Wednesday night NASCAR racing this past Wednesday night in somewhat chilly
conditions. Once the sun went down the temps dipped into the low 50's but
the action on the track was blazing hot.
The Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series took center stage for their 40
lap, double distance event, the Limited Sportsman Long Distance, presented
by Circuit One Events. The Xtra Mart Limited Sportsman Series took center
stage at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, May 18th for their
marathon event, the Limited Sportsman Long Distance, presented by Circuit
One Events. Josh Wood took the checkered flag on his 22nd birthday. Wood
took the lead fifteen laps into the forty-lap feature and never looked back
but had to survive a series of cautions late in the race and a hard charging
crew of experienced series veterans to claim his second straight win of the
2016 season. Ryan Waterman held on to finish second after making an overly
aggressive move when he won his heat race. Corey Hitchings finished third
and Scott Sundeen, fourth. Ed Pulio rounded out the top five.
In the Sunoco Modifieds (SK type), Keith Rocco literally cleaned house as
he made it two in a row at Thompson as he also won the Sunoco Modified event
at the IceBreaker. Rocco took the lead in turn two if lap 10 after running
wheel to wheel with Rowan Pennink who led the early going. Ryan Preece
rallied from an early race problem to finish second but his efforts fell
short as his power plant was no match for Rocco's which was Petit powered.
Woody Pitkat finished third with Pennink, fourth. Ronnie Williams continues
to impress as he rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Adam
Norton, Jason Sundeen, Stephen Kopcik, John Studley and Joey Parker.
Rocco now has 217 career wins which also include victories at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl and at Stafford.
Next up for Thompson Speedway is Whelen Military Night on June 1st,
following Memorial Day weekend. The night will feature the 3rd Annual Late
Model 20/20 Sprint as well as features for the Sunoco Modified, Limited
Sportsman and Mini Stocks.
Good weather greeted fans and competitors at the Stafford Motor Speedway
on Friday night. Stafford had been rained out two weeks prior. Stafford's
regular weekly divisions were joined by the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
Rowan Pennink scored a one-two punch as he won both the Stafford SK 40
lap Modified race and the 80 lap Valenti Modified event.
According to web site Chrome Horn, the VMRS race began with pole sitter
Rowan Pennink leading the field for the first 4 laps. On lap 5, Woody Pitkat
charged under Pennink for the top position and charged forward to lead the
field. Pitkat dominated the race at his home track race until lap 60 when
Pennink tried the outside and then shot under Pitkat for the lead. Pennink
went forward to take home his first 2016 VMRS race. The VMRS race began with
pole sitter Rowan Pennink leading the field for the first 4 laps. On lap 5,
Woody Pitkat charged under Pennink for the top position and charged forward
to lead the field. Pitkat held on to finish second with Anthony Nocella,
third. Donnie Lashua and Keith Rocco rounded out the top five.
In the SK 40 lapper, Eric Berndt led the first half of the event. Shortly
after half way, Rowan Pennink went under Berndt for the lead. With ten laps
to go Ryan Preece was under Pennink challenging for the lead. Two laps later
Preece had the lead with Pennink right on his rear bumper. Preece's lead
lasted only two laps though before Pennink came back to take the top
position and win. Preece had to settle for second followed by Eric Berndt,
Ted Christopher and Ronnie Williams for the top five.
Despite the fact that two big rain storms were headed to southeastern
Connecticut the New London-Waterford Speedbowl persevered and got in a full
program of auto racing on Saturday night that saw three first-time winners
in victory lane.
Joey Polewarczyk Jr. was dominant in driving to victory in the 100-lap
American Canadian Tour feature while Diego Monahan won the first 35-SK
Modified feature of the evening, which was the conclusion of an event that
was suspended after 17 laps because of rain on May 14.
In regular weekly action at the shoreline oval Dylan Izzo picked up his
first career win in the second 35-lap SK Modified feature. Cory DiMatteo was
a first-time winner in the 25-lap SK Light Modified field. Monte Gibbs
joined the first timers with victories in the 25-lap Limited Sportsman
feature and Sean Caron got the win in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.
In the left over SK Modified feature from May, 18, Diego Monahan
restarted from the top spot with Ted Christopher on his outside. Monahan was
able to hold off the advances of Christopher on three restarts over the
first four laps. On lap 13 Christopher spun coming off of turn four. The
race restarted with Dennis Perry riding to the outside of Monahan, but there
was no lane for him to find a way past the leader. Perry, rather than take a
chance of getting walled, held on for second place. Paul Kusheba IV of
finished third. Todd Owen and Rob Janovic Jr rounded out the top five
In the second SK Modified feature, Izzo started second and took the lead
from Ryan Morgan on the first lap. From there he had little trouble creeping
away from the field after numerous restarts. But with five laps remaining
the caution flew which put Christopher restarting beside him. Izzo got the
jump on Christopher on the restart and was able to hold him off for the win.
Christopher held on for second and Bo Gunning was third. Ryan Morgan and
Keith Rocco rounded out the top five.
A surprise mid week shake-up took place at the New London-Waterford
Speedbowl as race director Eric Webster resigned after only two events.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island cancelled their Saturday night racing
program shortly after noon on Friday because of an impending rainy forecast
for Saturday night.
The Bowman- Gray stadium in Winston-Salem, NC fell victim to rain.
One of the biggest events of the season came to the Monadnock Speedway in
Winchester, NH this past Saturday night May 21st. It was be the Winchester
200 featuring the Modified Touring Series, not affiliated with NASCAR. The
race was 200 green flag laps and the winner, Ryan Preece went home with
$15,000 and the trophy that was a 3855 Winchester rifle. Preece started on
the pole of the 22 car field and led the first 26 laps of the event before
being passed by Les Hinkley for the lead. Preece took it back on lap 40.
Matt Hirschman, who started fifth, came alive on lap 48 as he slipped under
Preece for the lead.
At the 50 lap mark Hirschman continued to lead over Preece, Eric Goodale,
Chris Pasteryak and Rowan Pennink. By lap 69 Jon McKennedy was making his
presence known as he slipped by Pennink and Pasteryak for the fourth spot.
Preece pitted under caution on lap 72. On the restart McKennedy moved into
second spot. Following a caution on lap 76 Preece had worked his way into
the top ten. By lap 95 Preece had closed in Hirschman's bumper. On lap 99 he
regained the lead. At the half way mark it was Preece over Hirschman,
Pennink, Todd Patnode, Scott McMichael and Pasteryak.
Pennink pitted on lap 122 for service. by lap 125 he was in the top six.
Preece pitted again on lap 158, giving the lead to McKennedy. Pennink's and
Hinckley's night came to an end on lap 158 when Hinckley spun and collected
Pennink. Pennink suffered severe right front suspension damage. When the
field went back to green McKennedy led over Pasteryak, Hirschman, Holdridge,
Goodale and Preece.
On a mission, Preece turned up the wick as he charged to the front. By
lap 162 Preece moved into fourth and Goodale fell to fifth. On lap 167
Preece moved into second and lap 170 took the lead.
At the finish it was Preece over Goodale, Hirschman, McKennedy and
Pasteryak. Sixth thru 10th were Mike Holdridge, Andy Jankowiak, Todd
Patnode, Scott MacMichael and Eric LeClair.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway
stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway
Corporation went up 0.22 to 32.58 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.02 to
2.23 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.22 to 17.04. NASCAR fuel supplier
Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 2.22 to 36.52 and NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint
went up 0.15 to 3.59 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.48 to
22.17. Two of the three auto manufacturers had a positive week. Toyota went
up 1.82 to 100.61 and General Motors went up 0.05 to 30.57 while Ford
dropped 0.03 to 13.19. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped
1.28 to 131.85 while Lowes went up 4.81 to 79.82. In the area of big team
sponsor's stocks Fedex, after three straight weeks of losses gained 3.87 to
close at 161.63. For the second straight week Coca-Cola dropped like a stone
as they went down 20.04 to 128.70. McDonalds dropped 6.27 to 122.56 while
Target dropped 5.22 to 68.66. Aarons Rentals was also down as they dropped
0.43 to 23.67.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, May 25
2:30 AM, NASCAR The List - Memorable Moments, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
Thursday, May 26
8:30 AM, How It's Made - Impact Wrenches, Marble Sinks, Plantain Chips,
NASCAR Cars, SCI
2:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Charlotte practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Charlotte practice, FS1
3:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power
Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCI
4:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
5:30 PM, NXS Charlotte final practice, FS1
7:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte qualifying, FS1
9:30 PM, Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
10:00 PM, The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS1
Friday, May 27
4:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte practice re-air, FS1
5:30 AM, NXS Charlotte practice re-air, FS1
6:30 AM, NXS Charlotte final practice re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte qualifying re-air, FS1
9:30 AM, Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR America - Motorsports Special, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
Saturday, May 28
9:00 AM, The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS1
10:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte practice, FS1
11:00 AM, NXS Charlotte qualifying, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte final practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay - XFINITY, FS1
2:30 PM, NXS Charlotte race, FS1
5:00 PM, Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship, FS1
Sunday, May 29
1:30 AM, NXS Charlotte race re-air, FS1
4:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte practice re-air, FS1
5:00 AM, NSCS Charlotte final practice re-air, FS1
6:00 AM, The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS1
1:00 PM, The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
5:30 PM, NSCS Pre Show, FOX
6:00 PM, NSCS Charlotte race, FOX
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