Champ Trail -
April 12, 2016
After a week’s delay because of weather the 43rd Annual Icebreaker at the
Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway got the green under sunny skies. There
were 31 NASCAR Tour Modifieds on hand and 25 Sunoco (SK type Modifieds).
Ryan Preece won the opening round 30 lap Sunoco Modified (SK) event. Ted
Christopher led from the start until lap 3. Preece took the lead following a
restart on lap 4 and never looked back. Christopher dogged Preece until lap
16 when he pitted with a flat right front tire. Rowan Pennink took over the
runner-up spot until five to go was displayed. Keith Rocco moved into the
second spot and held it over the final circuits and finished second. Pennink
finished third and was followed by Woody Pitkat and Ron Williams.
In Whelen Modified Tour qualifying Timmy Solomito, the defending
IceBreaker winner, took the pole position with a 18.865 second run on the
5/8 mile oval. Second fastest was Chase Dowling. Doug Coby, Rowan Pennink
and Craig Lutz rounded out the top five.
Solomito led the start. Dowling failed to come up to speed and triggered
a mee-lee going into turn one. As a result Max Zachem ended up in the grass
and as the field slowed Preece and Coby got together with Coby ending up in
the wall with severe damage which resulted in him being double hooked by
wreckers to the pit area. The red was displayed to clean up the mess. Both
Preece and Coby were done for the day.
Solomito led the restart but was overhauled by Pennink on lap21. By the half
way mark Pennink had opened up a big lead but that all came to an end on lap
78 when Shawn Solomito in the Wayne Anderson entry hit the wall a ton. There
were 16 cars on the lead lap at the time. Solomito faded to the bottom of
the top ten by lap 100. Moving into contention were Bobby Santos, Ron Silk
and Max Zachem.
Jimmy Blewett spun out on lap 122 which brought out the caution which saw
the leaders including Pennink, pit for tires. Pennink restarted in seventh
spot on lap 132. Ron Silk led the restart.followed by Eric Goodale and
Justin Bonsignore. Santos, who was fifth, rocketed into second on lap135 and
took the lead one lap later. Pennink moved into second. Silk spun around in
turn two on lap 135 as does Pitkat and Blewett. After riding around under
caution, NASCAR threw the red on lap 141 which would set up a dash to the
On the restart another jumble occurred in turn one which eliminated among
others, Silk and Andy Seuss. Another red was displayed. With six laps to the
finish the field restarted with the field going green on lap. The final
green flew on lap 147. Santos led going into turn one but by the time the
field reached turn three Pennink had shot into the lead with Timmy Solomito
and Max Zachem following while Santos faded to fourth. Patrick Emerling
rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Eric Goodale, Matt Swanson,
Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore and Todd Szegedy
In Southern Modified Racing Series action at the Southern National
Speedway in North Carolina Brandon Ward made it three in a row in SMRS
action as he held off Burt Myers for the win. Jeremy Gerstner finished third
with Bobby Measmer, fourth and Danny Bohn, fifth. Twelve cars were on hand.
(WTNH) TV 8 in New Haven, CT reported that two of the victims from the
Danbury sex trafficking ring are suing the suspects in a civil case.
According to a release from the attorneys representing the victims, their
clients are suing both Bruce Bemer, of Glastonbury, and William Trefzger, of
Westport, who were recently arrested for their involvement in a sex
trafficking ring that targeted young men with mental disabilities for
racketeering and sexual trafficking. Bemer is a well-known business man who
owns two businesses in the state, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in
Waterford and Bemer Petroleum in Glastonbury.
The victims are looking to receive financial justice after Bemer and
Trefzger allegedly forced them into drug addiction, drug use, and
prostitution over the course of many years. According to court arrest
warrants, Bemer admitted to police that he repeatedly coerced sex from
victims. Bemer and Trefzger would promise access to vintage cars and
aircraft to coerce the victims with mental illnesses into partaking in
sexual acts. Following his arraignment, Bemer was released on a $500,000
The victims have filed a motion to freeze the assets of the defendants up
to $10,000,000. If the motion is approved, the defendants will not be able
to sell or transfer their assets until the civil case is settled.
In the mean time, Speedbowl race officials have resigned their positions as
well as NASCAR pulling their sanctions for both weekly racing and the Whelen
Modified Tour Series. Scott Gregory, who has been running the day to day
operations at the Speedbowl told Auto Racing trade paper Area Auto Racing
News stated “I’m doing everything on my power to keep the race track as a
race track in 2017”. The racing season is scheduled to begin on Friday, May
5 with a practice session followed by the beginning of the actual racing
season on Sunday, May 7.
Dennis Perry, a driver, owner, fan and his family have supported the
Speedbowl thru three generations of family involvement, summed up what many
are feeling about all that has happed at and to the shoreline oval. “Ok I'm
done I have kept quiet thru all this Speedbowl drama but I can't sit here
and watch supposed fans and supporters share all the negativity. I know
there are things happening that could save the bowl. Sharing every negative
post and crying the sky is falling helps no one. Over the last week I don't
know how many people I have had to explain to that the bowl is not the
enemy. The acts were done by a man not a location. I don't condone in anyway
what was done but I also don't condone the tearing apart of a historic site
that has been a part of so many people's lives. I have serious issues with
the way NASCAR pulled out and the way Inex did too. These are both companies
that exist due to the support of racers. I understand distancing yourself
from Bruce and in doing so the Speedbowl but what have they offered the
racers who paid the 2017 fees and what support have they shown those same
He added, “Unfortunately the bowl is now the face of this scandal do to
the media and the people who claim to be supporters who helped share it. I
have faith a buyer is in the wings and the old girl doesn't need her so
called family of racers showing a lack of support for the facility”.
On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway
stocks ended the week on the positive side. The International Speedway
Corporation went up 0.95 to 37.90 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.54 to
19.38 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.15 to 2.05. NASCAR cup sponsor
Monster Beverage dropped 0.92 to 45.85 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear
dropped 0.82 to 35.18 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer)
dropped 0.17 to 36.35. The car manufacturers were all negative. Ford dropped
0.41 to 11.23, General Motors dropped 0.65 to 33.71 and Toyota dropped 2.71
to 105.91. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.30 to 147.13
while Lowes dropped 0.07 to 82.14. In the area of big team sponsor’s stocks,
McDonalds went up 0.35 to 129.96, Aarons Rentals went up 0.65 to 30.39 and
Fedex went up 0.50 to 195.65 while Coca-Cola dropped 6.81 to 199.21 and
Target dropped 1.95 to 53.24.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, April 12
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
Thursday, April 13
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
Friday, April 14 NASCAR's top three divisions are off to celebrate
Easter with their families.
Sunday, April 16
5:30 PM, Classic NASCAR - 1997 Daytona 500, 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