Champ Trail -
August 2, 2016
It was one hot night as the Thompson Motorsports Park sprang back into
action on Wednesday with the 3rd Annual Sunoco Modified 20/20 Sprint. The
speedway celebrated “For the Drivers Night” with all drivers receiving free
admission to the race as local racing series and the annual Sunoco Modified
20/20 Sprint took center stage.
The 20/20 event consisted of three segments, two 20 lap races and a third
ten-lap feature, with the first event ordered by qualifying, the second
inverting the field for the starting lineup based off the finishing
positions in the first event and the third and final segment utilizing
timing in the first race to set the field.
Ryan Preece won the first 20 lapper after a heated battle with Rowan
Pennink. After a rocky start that saw John Catania get trashed after hitting
the wall near the entrance of turn one, Preece took the lead on lap seven
and proceeded to set a torrid pace to the conclusion. Preece celebrated in
victory lane, giving credit to his crew for helping him gain early momentum
in the 20/20 feature. “It was pretty tough there,” Preece said. “We’ve just
been struggling with the brakes with this car and it’s been making it so
free, to fly up here and win, it’s a lot of fun for me,” Preece said after
the first segment.
Keith Rocco, who finished fourth behind Ron Williams, rallied in the
second 20 lapper to score a win over Pennink, Woody Pitkat, Preece and
Preece won the ten lap finale after a little over-agressive display of
driving. Preece rode Rocco high in turn one in the early stages and did the
same to Rowan Pennink at the lap 5 mark. While Rocco was attempting to
recover from almost hitting the wall he accidentally hit Woody Pitkat who
spun. Rocco was put to the rear but in the end recovered and finished third.
Pennink finished second. Ronnie Williams and Steven Kopcik rounded out the
In Late Model action, Lloyd Anderson and Matt Lowinski-Loh slugged it out
as the two sought their first ever respective wins in the series. In the end
it was Lloyd Anderson who came out of top over Lowinski-Loh, or so it
appeared. Anderson celebrated in victory lane after crossing the line in a
backup car but the win was stripped away as after the event Anderson’s team
was informed they were disqualified from the Late Model race due to a right
front lower control arm of the car that did not meet specified measurements.
This turn of events put an end to an interesting Late Model feature and gave
the win to Lowinski-Loh, his first in the series. Rick Gentes finished
second in the adjusted results after spinning across the finish line
Jesse Gleason was a surprise winner in the Limited Sportsman after Corey
Hutchings, who was clearly the class of the field, was eliminated by Phil
Jaques in a deliberate incident.
In the Mini Stocks reigning champion Dave Trudeau celebrated his fourth
victory of the season in his mission to defend his 2015 series title. In the
Lite Modifieds Corey Barry took advantage of a mid race caution and strong
restarts to claim a dominating victory in a 20-lap dash. Damon Tinio had
control of much of the first half of the event before he lost control of his
car in turns one and two after the halfway point, leaving the door open for
Barry to claim the win while Wesley Prucker and Marcello Rufrano rounded out
the top three.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park will welcome the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour back to Northeastern Connecticut on Wednesday, August 10th for
more racing action with the 27th annual Bud “King of Beers” 150. The event
will also include the NEMA Midgets as well as Thompson’s own four divisions.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night each NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series division race had an extra two laps in distance added to
their feature events. Joining Stafford’s five NWAAS divisions in action were
the Legend Cars as well the Junior Outlaws and Senior Champs from the Monday
Night Wild Thing Kart Series. Taking down feature wins on the night were Dan
Avery in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model
feature, Daniel Wesson in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late
Model division, Alexandra Fearn in the DARE Stock division, Teddy Hodgdon in
the Legend Cars division, Mike Perry in the Senior Champs division, and
Tyler Chapman in the Junior Outlaw division.
In the 42 lap SK Modified event Avery started on the pole and led every lap.
Rowan Pennink got by Keith Rocco to move into second with two laps to go.
Woody Pitkat was fourth behind Rocco with Williams in fifth. Pennink made a
strong move to the inside of Avery as they were coming to the checkered flag
but he couldn’t make it stick as Avery took the checkered flag for his first
win since the 2013 season. Rocco finished third with Pitkat and Ron Williams
rounding out the top-5.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain half way thru
their racing program.
At the Star Speedway in Epping, NH Matt Hirschman won the Northeast Race
Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series SBM 125 on Saturday night. For
his efforts he pocketed $10,000. Les Hinkley finished second with Josh
Cantara, third. Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five.
Jon McKennedy led most of the event before he made a fatal mistake when
he decided not to pit for a fresh tire which most drivers, including
Hirschman opted for. After catching up to McKennedy, a caution and restart
with 25 laps to go put Hirschman to the outside of McKennedy. When the green
waved, Hirschman wasted little time as he moved to the point after McKennedy
spun his tires.
Hirschman, now in the lead opened up a good lead while Les Hinckley
caught and passed McKennedy for second. With two laps to go and a big lead
for Hirschman, McKennedy spun in turn four after contact from Richard Savary
while the two raced for third.
Following the restart Hinckley attempted a charge but Hirschman was long
gone. McKennedy ended up 15th and Savory, 19th.
The next two events for the NorthEast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Series
will be held on at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Aug. 25 and Oct.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series had the weekend off. The Tour's
next stop is at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway this coming Friday,
Aug. 5, for the third of its four visits to the half-mile. Doug Coby with
three event wins leads Timmy Solomito by 34 points. Solomito also has three
wins. Donny Lia sits in third spot with Justin Bonsignore and Max Zachem
rounding out the top five.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island rain ruined the night.
In action at the Bowman-Gray Stadium in North Carolina twin 50's were on
tap for the NASCAR Modifieds. Tim Brown won the opener over Burt Myers and
John Smith. Jason Myers, who finished fifth in the opener, won the second 50
lapper over Joseph Brown and Ronnie Clifton.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three speedway stocks
were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports took the big dip as they
dropped 0.81 to 17.67. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.73
to 33.77 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.06 to 2.10. NASCAR cup sponsor
Sprint surged up 1.52 to 6.14 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up
1.62 to 28.67. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.93 to
39.50. With the exception of Toyota which went up 1.92 to 111.60, the car
builders had a tough week. Ford dropped 1.18 to 12.66 and General Motors
dropped 0.62 to 31.54. In the home improvemnt sector, Home Depot went up
1.72 to 138.24 and Lowes went up 1.63 to 82.28. Big team sponsor's stocks
were a mixed bag. McDonalds dropped 10.61 to 117.65 and Coca-Cola dropped
6.89 to 142.61. On the positive side, Target went up 0.41 to 75.33, Aarons
Rentals went up 0.22 to 22.95 and Fedex went up 1.13 to 161.90.
On the tube this week:
Friday, August 5
7:00 AM, NASCAR The List, NBC Sports Net
7:30 AM, NASCAR The List, NBCSN
8:00 AM, NASCAR The List, NBCSN
9:30 AM, Scan All 43, NBCSN
10:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
11:00 AM, NASCAR The List, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR The List, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR The List, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
4:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Watkins Glen qualifying, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
8:00 PM, NXS Watkins Glen practice tape delay, NBCSN
9:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice re-air, NBCSN
10:30 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen practice re-air, NBCSN
Saturday, August 6
12:00 AM, NXS Watkins Glen qualifying re-air, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR The List - Iconic Cars, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen qualifying, CNBC
1:30 PM, NXS Countdown, CNBC
2:00 PM, NXS Watkins Glen race, CNBC
4:30 PM, NXS Post Show, CNBC
Sunday, August 7
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 2
2:00 PM, NSCS Countdown, USA
2:30 PM, NSCS Watkins Glen race, USA
5:30 PM, NSCS Post Show, CNBC
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