Champ Trail -
August 30, 2016
Day one of the four day run of racing in southern New England began on
Wednesday night at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway. Pepsi Back To
School Night featured twin 25-lap features for the Sunoco Modified division
as well as Thompson's three other NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
divisions as the championship season begins to draw to a close.
Ryan Preece, second in points in the Sunoco Modifieds, swept the duel
races and took a small chunk out of Rocco’s sizable lead with two events
remaining on the schedule at the Big T. Preece worked his way to the front
methodically in the first race, taking the lead ten laps in and never
looking back, but took a much more aggressive approach in the second race of
the night battling Rocco for the lead in the late stages and eventually
using a crossover move to take the top spot with only five laps to go,
completing an impressive sweep over his rival, Rocco, who finished runner-up
in both events.
Ronnie Williams finished third in the first Mod 25 and was followed by
Woody Pitkat, Steven Kopcik and Rowan Pennink. In the second Mod 25, Pennink
finished third with Pitkat and Williams rounding out the top five.
Other Thompson winners on Wednesday night were Wayne Burroughs in the
Mini Stocks, Scott Sundeen in the Limited Sportsman and Brian Tagg in the
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park closes out its summer season on
September 7th with it’s last Wednesday program of the year. The Way Back
Wednesday race lineup will feature the Sunoco Modifieds, Late Models,
Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks along with appearances by the NEAR and
STAR series and the Vintage Outlaws.
Racing action for day 2 shifted to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for
the 100 lap-$10,000 to win Tri-Track Series. The pit area was jammed with 44
Modifieds. In only his third race of the year, Steve Masse walked off with
the top prize after out sprinting Richard Savory following a restart on lap
88. Savary managed to hang on to finish second with Woody Pitkat, third.
Matt Hirschman, Ted Christopher and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top
five. Sixth thru tenth included Tommy Barrett, Eric Goodale, Dennis Perry
and Rowan Pennink. Speedbowl Top Gun Keith Rocco had hoped to compete but
never made it beyond practice as his car suffered motor trouble.
The Tri-Track 100 served as a tribute to the late Ronnie Bouchard. Many
of the cars that he drove were on display.
Day 3 saw action at Stafford on Friday where garnering feature wins on
the night were Rowan Pennink in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the
Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr., in the SK Light feature, Frank
L’Etoile, Jr. in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Mike Hopkins in the DARE Stock
feature, and Teddy Hodgdon in the Legend Cars feature.
In the 40 lap SK Modified feature Ted Christopher drove his heart out but
couldn’t get close enough to Pennink as Pennink took down his fifth win of
the 2016 season. Mike Christopher, Jr. finished third with Matt Galko and
Keith Rocco rounding out the top-5.
The action shifted back to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for Day 4.
Diego Monahan went from the scrap heap to the top of the heap in one week.
Monahan's car was trashed a week previous but he was able to borrow a car
from his brother in order to compete. Monahan passed early leader Bo Gunning
and held off Rob Janovic to score the win.
Dennis Perry finished third and moved into the point lead when point
leader Keith Rocco was involved in a mid-race wreck and finished 16th. Perry
now leads Rocco by two points and Joey Gada by 5.Matt Galko and Todd Owen
rounded out the top five.
Other winners Saturday included Jacob Perry in the Mini Stocks, Ed
Gertsch Jr. in the Limited Sportsman, Tony Membrino Jr. in the Magnus Racing
Products SK Lights, Peter Martin in the Super X Cars, Kyle Gero in the X
Cars and Norm Wrenn III in the Pro 4 Modifieds.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series traveled to the Riverhead Raceway
on Long Island this past weekend. The event drew 30 cars. Had it not been
for the Long Island drivers, 17 of them, it would have been a very short
field. Shawn Solomito led a top five dominance of Long Island drivers in
time trials at the east end quarter mile. Timmy Solomito who along with his
team, Flamingo Racing, had been contemplating dropping off the tour because
of the gross screwing they got by NASCAR at Bristol was second fastest. Tom
Rogers was third with Eric Goodale and Donny Lia rounding out the top five.
Bottom feeder Melissa Fifield was once again the slowest.
Justin Bonsignore led a top four Long Island sweep at the finish held off
the charge of brothers Timmy and Shawn Solomito to score the victory.
Bonsignore, who started seventh, took the lead from Timmy Solomito on lap
83. Prior to that the Solomito's dominated the front. Timmy led laps one and
two plus 16 thru 83. Shawn Solomito led laps three thru fifteen. Tom Rogers
and Chase Dowling rounded out the top five. Jimmy Blewett, Sunoco Rookie of
the Year candidate Craig Lutz, Max Zachem, Frank Vigliarolo Jr. and Eric
Goodale rounded out the top 10.
Melissa Fifield lasted four laps before dropping out.
In addition to the win, Bonsignore cut Doug Coby's championship points
lead to 13 with five races remaining. Timmy Solomito remains 35 points back
of Coby, who finished 15th. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to upstate
New York next Saturday, Sept 3, for the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by
McDonald’s at Oswego Speedway.
The Riverhead 200 will air on NBCSN this coming Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7
The Valenti Modified Racing Series went to Oxford Plains Speedway in
Maine last weekend. Anthony Nocella started tenth and methodically worked
his way through the field, taking command on lap 63 and then held off late
race charges by Jon McKennedy, David Schneider, and Todd Patnode to claim
his third series victory of the year.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series heads to the Stafford Motor Speedway,
Stafford Springs, CT. This coming Friday, September 2nd.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks ended the week on the positive side. The International Speedway
Corporation dropped 0.18 to 33.61 while Speedway Motorsports went up 0.40 to
18.05 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.17 to 2.30. NASCAR cup sponsor
Sprint went up 0.21 to 6.14 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.17
to 29.01 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 1.09 to
29.01. The car manufacturers had a negative week. Toyota dropped 1.00 to
118.62 while Ford dropped 0.01 to 12.38 and General Motors dropped 0.30 to
31.53. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.10 to 134.36 and
Lowes dropped 0.92 to 76.90. In the area of big team sponsor's stocks,
Coca-Cola went up 0.08 to 151.34 and Target Department Stores went up 0.23
to 70.35 while McDonalds dropped 0.57 to 114.44, Aarons Rentals dropped 0.49
to 24.73 and Fedex dropped 3.68 to 164.95.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, August 31
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
8:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
9:00 PM, NASCAR Lady in Black, NBC Sports Net
9:30 PM, NCWTS Michigan race re-air, FOX Sports 2
Thursday, September 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Riverhead 200 NBCSN
Friday, September 2
7:00 AM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
10:00 AM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legends of Darlington, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Darlington practice, NBCSN
1:30 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Darlington final practice, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
4:30 PM, NSCS Darlington final practice, NBSCN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legends of Darlington, NBCSN
3:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
9:00 PM, NXS Darlington final practice re-air, NBCSN
9:00 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies SCI
10:30 PM, NSCS Darlington practice re-air, NBSCN
11:30 PM, NSCS Darlington final practice re-air, NBSCN
Saturday, September 3
12:00 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies SCI
11:30 AM, NXS Darlington qualifying, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
1:30 PM, NSCS Darlington qualifying, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NXS Countdown, NBC
3:30 PM, NXS Darlington race, NBC
5:30 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Canada qualifying, FS2
11:00 PM, NSCS Darlington qualifying re-air, NBCSN
Sunday, September 4
12:30 AM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legends of Darlington, NBCSN
2:00 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
2:30 PM, NCWTS Canada race, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NSCS Darlington race, NBC
11:00 PM, NSCS Post Race Show, NBCSN
Monday, September 5
12:00 AM, NCWTS Canada race re-air, FS1
12:00 AM, NASCAR Southern Speed: Legends of Darlington, NBCSN
8:30 AM, NCWTS Canada race re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NASCAR 120: NSCS Darlington race re-air, NBCSN
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