September 22, 2017
Fifty years ago, in 1967, rain washed out all racing in New
England. The only action was at the Utica-Rome Speedway where a 150-lap
season finale was held. Don MacTavish took the win over Jerry Cook, Bill
Wimble, Sonney Seamon and Kenny Shoemaker. Wimble was crowned the Modified
Track Champion and Bernie Miller was the Sportsman champion. In Winston Cup
action at Martinsville, Richard Petty won the 500-lap event by four laps
over Dick Hutcherson.
Forty five years ago, in 1972, the
modifieds headed to Martinsville for a 100 lapper. Local favorite Paul
Radford took the win over Denis Giroux, Jerry Cook, Billy Hensley and Bugsy
Stevens. Stevens’ hopes of a fourth national title were going away as Cook
held an 890-point lead. Jim Shampine took the season ending Oswego
Modified-Sportsman 200.Eddie Flemke finished second with Mike Loescher,
Roger Treichler and Geoff Bodine rounding out the top five.
Forty years ago in 1977, a full
plate of racing was to be had both in the northeast and in the south.
Stafford ran an open competition 30 lapper on Friday night with Ronnie
Bouchard being declared the winner after the event was stopped after 19 laps
because of rain. Bugsy Stevens ended up in second with John Rosati, third.
Seekonk’s 100 lap open and Islip’s All Star 300 also fell victim to rain as
well as the Sunday Small Block Modified event at Thompson. In the Southland,
Donald ”Satch” Worley won the fall 150 at Martinsville on Saturday
afternoon. Maynard Troyer, Jerry Cook, Billy Hensley and Wayne Anderson
rounded out the top 5. The modifieds headed up the road on Saturday night to
the Franklin County Speedway where Geoff Bodine took the win over Paul
Radford, Worley, Troyer and Cook.
Thirty five years ago in 1982, Greg
Sacks continued his dream year of almost total domination of the modifieds
as he won the annual Race of Champions at the Pocono International Speedway.
Sacks took the lead from Jim Spencer on lap 160 of the 250-lap event. Richie
Evans moved past Spencer on lap 169 and dogged Sacks to the finish. Spencer
held is own in third spot until he lost an engine on lap 221. Ray Miller
ended up third with Graeme Bolia fourth and George Summers rounding out the
top five. During pre-race activities, driver and car builder Maynard Troyer
was presented the Fred DeSarro Memorial Award. Shortly after the
presentation Troyer announced that he was retiring from driving at the
conclusion of the event. Brian Horn won the National Parts Peddler Street
Stock Championship event. Jan Leaty finished second. Waterford’s Mike
Lovetere finished fourth. Among those in the street stock event was Ricky
Fuller. Although he didn’t finish in the top five in the main, Fuller was
the big show in the consi as he came from a 27th starting spot to take the
lead in six laps on the tricky ¾ mile oval. In Winston Cup action at Dover,
Darrell Waltrip took the 500-mile win over Kyle Petty.
Thirty years ago in 1987, George
Brunnhoelzl Jr. made his mark in the record books as he won the Race of
Champions at Pocono. Brunnhoelzl took the lead from John Blewett Jr. on lap
185 and never looked back for the remainder of the 250-lap event. Doug
Hevron finished second and was followed by George Kent, Wayne Edwards, Roger
Treichler and Ron Shepherd. Peter”Buzzie”Erickson was the winner of the
companion Street Stock event. Two Hundred Forty eight cars, including 108
modifieds were entered into competition. In Winston Cup action at Dover,
Ricky Rudd took the win over Davey Allison.
Twenty five years ago in 1992, the
entire East Coast was covered with rain.
Twenty years ago in 1997, the re-born
Race of Champions was run at Oswego. With the exception of Tony Hirschman,
Jan Leaty, Tim Arre and Ted Christopher, the event drew mostly local drivers
from Lancaster and Tioga. Hirshman, driving a Leaty teamcar, won the 200-lap
event. Leaty finished second and was followed by Arre. At one time, the ROC
was 'THE" modified event but since falling on hard times a few years ago
when promoters checks bounced, many competitors chose to ignore the event
now. Saturday night action at Waterford rained out. At Dover Downs, Buckshot
Jones spun while leading with 14 laps to go and handed the Grand National
victory to Joe Bessey. Randy LaJoie finished second. In Winston Cup action
at Dover, Kyle Petty had the field covered until he was forced to pit for
fuel with 20 laps to go. Mark Martin took the win with Dale Earnhardt coming
home in second spot.
Fifteen years ago in 2002 The NASCAR
Featherlite Modified Tour Series was off .The series point standings showed
Eddie Flemke still leading by a slim margin of five points over Jerry
Marquis. Mike Stefanik, who had all but conceded a repeat title until his
Thompson 300 win, sat third, seventeen points behind Flemke. By virtue of
his Loudon win, Chuck Hossfeld had moved to within 48 points of the leader.
Fifth thru tenth were Rick Fuller, Ted Christopher, Todd Szegedy, Nevin
George, John Blewett III and Jamie Tomaino. NASCAR’s Jim Hunter said, “The
short tracks and the regional tours are the backbone of NASCAR. NASCAR”s
Chris Boals said that the sanctioning body was developing a strategic plan
to boost these series. Boals said that just about everything was now in
place and an announcement should be coming from NASCAR in the not too
distant future. Evidently part of the plan was the announcement made that
The National NWRS Champion, Peter Daniels, will be invited to the NYC
Banquet. Also, all of the Regional Touring Series Champions (including the
FMS and the BNS) will be a part of the banquet. This was announced in the
Drivers Meeting at New Hampshire.
The regular weekly racing in Southern New England was slowly but surely
coming to a halt. Thompsom ran their final Thursday night Thunder series,
which turned into a slugfest between Bo Gunning and Ted Christopher. Gunning
had taken the lead from Christopher on lap 14 and was holding the former
National Champion at bay until the final lap. Christopher made a move to the
bottom and the two came together. Gunning went on to take the win as
Christopher gathered it back up to finish second. Christopher claims the
move was deliberate, Gunning, on the other hand said, “That’s racing”. Tom
Fox finished third. Stafford was idle on Friday night. Tom Fox got a
definite gift at Waterford on Saturday night. Dennis Charette had led a good
part of the event with Fox on the outside. With 12 laps to go, Fox got a
little wiggly in turn four and the next thing you know, both were in the
fence. Both were able to drive away. Charette pitted and Fox took a position
at the head of the field. Fox definitely lost foreword motion and should
have re-started in the rear. It is common practice that when one causes the
caution, which he did, and when one loses foreword motion, which he did, the
car in question goes to the rear. Ed Reed Jr. finished second and closed the
gap to 28 points behind Dennis Gada who is looking to win the championship.
Gada had his problems and had to pit with a broken tie rod but made a
remarkable recovery as he came from the back to nip Ron Yuhas Jr. at the
finish line and record a fourth place finish. Mark Lajunesse finished third
as he too, received a gift from officials. During the closing laps Ron Silk
was attempting to pass Lajunesse on the outside in turn two when Silk felt
that Lajunesse rode him up and he hit the wall. With obvious right side
damage, Silk managed to make the next re-start and dumped Lajunesse into the
infield as a pay back. Silk was black flagged and bounced for the night and
Lajunesse was given his spot back.
Ten years ago in 2007 The 2007 NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour headed back to Thompson to complete the Modified Mania
weekend that was cut short by rain on September 9. As the weekend approached
it appeared that NASCAR was dragging its feet as far as declaring officially
who was the winner of the recent event at Loudon on September 15. Todd
Szegedy had taken the apparent win when NASCAR decided to take a closer look
at his intake manifold before making an official decision. It took five days
to make a decision as it was announced late on Thursday that the part in
question was declared legal and the win would stand.
Ronnie Silk earned his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour during
the running of part two of Modified Mania II. Silk scored a popular win in
the Whelen Modified Tour 150 at Thompson in front of a crowded house. In the
opening stages of the event current point leader Donnie Lia and Ron Yuhas,
Jr. ran at the head of the field. After making tracks through the pack,
Christopher dogged leader Lia. At lap 55, the bulk of the field came down to
pit road for service. Christopher opted to stay out on the track to inherit
the lead on the restart. Silk had moved into the third spot with Reggie
Ruggiero taking chase.During a long green flag run, Silk’s car continued to
get better. He was able to take the top spot from Christopher one lap shy of
the century mark taking Ruggiero along for the ride. Szegedy had gotten by
Lia and started to make his presence known.On a restart late in the race,
Ruggiero was able to power by Silk to take command of the race. Silk, never
far behind, continued to chase the new leader. On lap 137, Silk got
underneath Ruggiero and with sparks flying Silk was the leader once again on
lap 138. A caution on lap 139 shook up the running order inside the top
five. Contact between Christopher and Flemke ended with Flemke in the
outside wall and Christopher on pit road to serve a one-lap penalty. Silk
easily held off the competition on the final single file restart to score
the popular win. Ruggiero settled for second ahead of Szegedy. Bobby Santos
and James Civali rounded out the top five. Series point leader Don Lia
In True Value Modified Racing at Thompson Louie Mechalides turned in a
dominating performance to win the 75-lapper for the northern New England
based series. The event, which had been stopped by rain two weeks previous
resumed on lap four with Andy Seuss at the helm with Chris Pasteryak and
Jimmy Kuhn taking chase. Seuss held the top spot through a number of early
race cautions. An early incident directly behind the leader that started
when Brian Schofield got out of shape, caused a chain reaction that
collected a number of cars including championship contenders Kirk Alexander
and Les Hinckley along with Rich Savary and others. Alexander was taken off
the track by double hook.The young driver held off several advances from
Mechalides before relinquishing the lead on lap 15. Seuss saw his great run
come to an end on lap 27 when his racer made hard contact with the outside
wall. Everything was going Mechalides way as Hinckley was making great
strides heading back to the front of the pack. Thompson Speedway regular
Tommy Cravenho made it interesting in the closing laps giving Mechalides all
he could handle. In the end, Mechalides was up to the task taking down the
victory over Cravenho. Jon McKennedy came home third ahead of Jimmy Kuhn and
In regular NASCAR Whelen Weekly Racing action at the Thompson Speedway a
season packed with racing excitement at Thompson International Speedway came
down to the final Thursday night with champions crowned in all six NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series divisions. At the night’s end, Woody Pitkat made
his first appearance in Sunoco Modified victory lane. But, it was Keith
Rocco who drove his Bannister Motorsports #6 to a fifth place finish to earn
the team their second championship in three seasons. In Pro Stock action,
Mike O’Sullivan, scored his second Thompson Pro Stock championship in
winning-style taking down Thursday night’s feature win. In similar fashion,
Kurt Vigeant capped off his first TIS Modified championship with a feature
win in the regular season finale. John Materas earned his first career Late
Model win in a wild main event that also found Rick Gentes in for the
divisional championship. Larry Barnett scored his fourth Limited Sportsman
feature win while a seventh place finish allowed a retiring Keith DeSanctis
to go out as a champion. Scott Michalski made it two in a row in Mini Stock
competition but it was Mike Romano who took the championship.
Pitkat saved the best for last; earning his lone feature win in the
finale. After a 2007 season of consistent finishes, Pitkat was in the
running for the track title on the final night. He took the lead just after
halfway and withstood heavy pressure from Kerry Malone to score the victory;
however it was not enough to catch the point leader Rocco. An opening lap
melee that started with contact in the front row ended with Masse hard into
the outside wall in the turn one. Also collected were championship
contenders Rocco and Tommy Cravenho as well as Bert Marvin. With the race
underway, Geoff Gernhard was the early leader with Josh Steeves coming along
for the ride in second. Steeves made a move on Gernhard to take the lead on
lap four with Malone and Pitkat battling hard for the third spot. A pair of
laps later, Pitkat was able to race ahead of Gernhard to take over the
second spot. Malone put the young driver back to fourth. Meanwhile, Cravenho
and Rocco were making their way back to the front. On lap 10, Cravenho was
sixth and Rocco eighth. Up front, Steeves continued to lead Pitkat. Malone
ran in second a comfortable margin ahead of Gernhard. On lap 13, Cravenho
joined the top five. Rocco mirrored his moves to run in the sixth position.
The #0 of Danny LeJeunesse came to rest on the backstretch on lap 14 to
bring out the second caution. The restart pitted Steeves against Pitkat for
the top spot. Steeves was up for the challenge and held on to the lead on
the race. On lap 16, Pitkat got a run Steeves to take over the top spot.
Steeves bobbled after contact with Pitkat; opening the door for Malone.
Steeves was shuffled back into third. Cravenho had cleared Gernhard to move
into the fourth. Rocco made his first appearance in the top-five on lap 21.
Malone tailed Pitkat lap after lap while Cravenho was getting racy for
third. Despite the efforts of both Malone and Cravenho they had to settle
back in line. At the checkers, it was Pitkat in for the win over Malone.
Steeves edged out Cravenho by inches to finish third. The newly crowned
champion Rocco rounded out the top five.
The Stafford Motor Speedway closed out their regular Friday night season.
Taking feature wins were Keith Rocco, who had wrapped up the Thompson
Speedway Sunoco Modified Championship the previous evening, won the 40-lap
SK Modified feature, Ryan Posocco in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joe
Allegro, Jr. in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Rick Lanagan in the 20-lap
Limited Late Model feature, and Rob Lawrence in the 15-lap DARE Stock
The 40-lap SK Modified feature took the green with Willie Hardie leading
the first two laps of the race before Lloyd Agor moved out front. Agor held
the lead until lap-6 when Jeff Malave moved out front. Malave's pass allowed
Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher to both move by Agor, dropping him from the
lead to fourth place. Agor would continue to backslide as Woody Pitkat and
Brad Hietala moved into the fourth and fifth positions. The race ran green
to lap-32 before the first caution came out and erased a sizeable lead for
Malave. Malave would hold the race lead until lap-38 when he drifted up the
track just enough in turn 4 to allow Rocco to dive to the bottom and take
the lead. The caution came back out and set up a green white checkered
finish. Rocco took the lead on the restart with Ted Christopher and Malave
locked in a side by side duel for second. That side by side action gave
Rocco all the cushion he needed as he took his fourth feature win of the
2007 season. Christopher finished second, with Pitkat, Malave, and Doug Coby
rounding out the top-5.
In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl
the shoreline oval wrapped up its 2007 season with the Town Fair Tire Fall
Finale. Dennis Gada won the battle but lost the war as Rob Janovic finished
third and wrapped up the track championship. Don Fowler finished second with
Diego Monahan and Jeff Pearl rounding out the top five. According to reports
the Speedbowl took it on the chin at the front gate as attendance was way
off for this event. The Thompson Speedway opted to run their rained out
Modified Mania on the same date so as to accommodate an event that was held
at the Oswego Speedway in New York. Because of the fact that Waterford and
Thompson are NASCAR sanctioned and Oswego is not makes it hard to believe
why NASCAR would let this conflict occur between two of their tracks that
are less than 60 miles apart and draw from the same fan base. Both tracks
shell out considerable money to the Daytona based organization. Letting a
situation like this occur leads one to believe that NASCAR doesn’t care two
cents about its short tracks.
Carl Edwards was the Nextel Cup winner at Dover Downs. Denny Hamlin was
the Busch Series winner. Joey Logano finished second but became the NASCAR
Busch East Series’ first rookie champion in the Sunoco 150 at Dover
International Speedway Friday afternoon. Sean Caisse took the race lead from
Logano with just eight laps to go, and then withstood a final charge by
Logano to win by a car length.
Five years ago in 2012, The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Loudon, NH for the F.W. Webb 100 at the New
Hampshire Motor Speedway. Thirty One Modifieds were on hand for the event.
In early Friday morning practice Donnie Lia was the fastest of the fast as
he topped the speed chart in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice. Lia
toured the Magic Mile in 28.952 seconds at an average speed of 131.556 mph.
Rowan Pennink was second quickest in the 95-minute practice session, turning
a lap of 29.196 seconds (130.456 mph). He was followed by Ron Silk, Ted
Christopher and Patrick Emerling. Completing the top 10 were Eric Beers,
Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett, Mike Stefanik and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular
Lia carried his speed over to qualifying as he won the Coors Light Pole
for the F.W. Webb 100. The two-time tour champion lapped the Loudon oval in
29.352 seconds at an average speed of 129.763 mph. Doug Coby, was second
quickest with a lap of 29.571 seconds (128.802 mph). He was followed by Ron
Silk, Ryan Preece and Ted Christopher. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan
Newman turned in the sixth fastest lap on his first qualifying lap, then
bounced off the Turn 2 wall on his second lap. Newman drove to the garage
with damage to the nose of his car. Jimmy Blewett, Justin Bonsignore, Eric
Goodale and Mike Stefanik completed the top 10 in qualifying.
Doug Coby held on in a two-lap dash to the finish to win the F.W. Webb 100
at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to score his fifth NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour win of the season. In a race that featured lead changes on nearly every
lap early on, Coby took command on Lap 84 and never relinquished the top
spot. While he charged to the checkered flag after a restart with two laps
remaining, second-place running Ted Christopher ended up slamming the wall
after contact from Donny Lia, who went on to take the runner-up spot as the
race finished under caution. Lia, who restarted fourth clipped Christopher
from behind and turned him into the front stretch wall. Christopher bounced
off the wall and careened into the inside wall that protects the pit area.
Christopher used a few choice expletives to express his displeasure with
Lia's driving. Lia had a different story. “We were gonna fight for the win
and I got a run there on the 3 car [Christopher] and got into the back of
him, unintentionally, and caused a wreck,” Lia said. “It’s racing, I feel
really bad about it, by no means was it intentional. I got a run and was
trying to go to the bottom and got him in the left rear corner.” Following
Coby and Lia across the finish line were Ron Silk, Ryan Newman and Rowan
Pennink. Eric Beers, Richie Pallai Jr., Matt Hirschman, Ron Yuhas Jr. and
Ryan Preece rounded out the top 10.
Perfect weather, clear and in the low 70's greeted competitors alike.
Prior to the start of the event
Boehler Racing Crew Chief Scott Richards gave Ted Christopher his
marching orders. "Turn the fans on when the green drops and treat the first
50 laps as a practice session". After starting fifth he ran consistently
between fifth and tenth until the half way break. Following the break
Christopher began his march to the front. By lap 76 Christopher was in the
lead as he passed Doug Coby in turn three. Coby and Christopher were left to
settle it prior to the hit by Lia.
The planned 50 lap break took a lot of pressure off crews to perform but
it robbed the fans of the excitement that pit stops generate. The only
excitement was the possibility of a fire when an individual who was fueling
Patrick Emerling's car accidentally spilled a lot of gas on the ground.
Woody Pitkat, who was parked directly behind Emerling stated "Who ever
fueled the 07 is a retard".
Mike Stefanik, who won the July race in Loudon returned with a new car
and great expectations for a repeat performance. Stefanik started tenth and
got as high as sixth at one point before his engine suffered an internal
malfunction on lap 31 and ended his day.
Sixteen of the original 31 starters finished on the lead lap. In addition
to Christopher getting wrecked on lap 99 Eric Goodale was also collected in
the same incident. Wade Cole started 30th and finished two laps down in19th
spot. Extremely under funded, Cole stayed out of trouble and all things
considered had a good day.
Mike Christopher made his only start of 2012. Starting 28th, his car
appeared to be under powered as he was never a factor as he too was two laps
down at the finish ending his day in 20th spot. Long Islander Johnny Bush
also had an off day as he was also two laps down in 21st position.
Patrick Emerling, who finished 12th on the lead lap, triggered a big
wreck on lap 92 in turn one that took out Woody Pitkat, Bryan Chew, Todd
Szegedy and Matt Hirschman. Emerling bounced off the lapped car of Jimmy
Donny Lia, who went on to take the runner-up spot as the race finished
under caution, was not penalized for his over aggressiveness by NASCAR.
There were five cautions for 17 laps. The event went non-stop until the
mandatory stop at lap 50. The second caution was for Jimmy Blewett who spun
between turns three and four. The third caution came on lap 87 when it
appeared that Blewett dropped oil on the track. The third caution was for
the Emerling triggered wreck on lap 92, the fourth and fifth cautions were
for the Christopher wreck and the ultimate finish under caution
There were 23 official lead changes among six drivers. D. Lia 1-3; R.
Preece 4; D. Lia 5; R. Preece 6-11; R. Silk 12; R. Preece 13-14; R. Silk 15;
R. Preece 16; R. Silk 17; R. Preece 18-19; D. Lia 20-23; R. Silk 24; D. Lia
25; D. Coby 26; D. Lia 27; D. Coby 28; D. Lia 29-45; P. Emerling 46; D. Lia
47-61; D. Coby 62-68; D. Lia 69-73; D. Coby 74-76; T. Christopher 77-83; D.
Coby 84-100. There were numerous lead changes within the laps.
Doug Coby leads the point standings by 22 over Ryan Preece. Ron Silk sits
third with Don Lia, fourth. Todd Szegedy rounds out the top five.
The purse for the 100 lap modified event was $159, 528. With Doug Coby
earning $12,000 plus for his win, a nice amount but when one considers past
winners were earning upwards of $18,000 grand, that is a big drop. Donny Lia
earned $8,600 for second and Ronnie Silk earned $6,600 for third but the big
question is why wasn’t the field filled, even if it was teams pulling out a
backup car just to do a start and park for the roughly $2,000 to take the
green. In the past, that was a common factor but with the field being short,
that $159,000 purse was reduced by $10,000.
A spokesperson for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway stated that the
Whelen Modifieds would be back for two events in 2013. That announcement
would leave one to believe that Speedway Motorsports has no intention of
moving any events away from NHMS at this time. The Whelen Modified Tour
Series heads to the Stafford Motor Speedway for the Fall Final this weekend.
At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night it was a well deserved
week off as track management and competitors prepare for the season ending
Fall Final that is scheduled for this coming weekend.
In Saturday night action at the Waterford Speedbowl the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series racing program was highlighted by twin 35-lap SK
Modified® features, the premier weekly division at the track. Tyler Chadwick
of Ledyard won the first of the two races, his fifth of the year, while Tom
Abele Jr. of Norwich won the night’s second feature, his first on the
season. Cam McDermott of North Scituate, RI picked up his second checkered
flag of the year in the SK Light Modifieds. Dan Darnstaedt of Durham scored
the Street Stock feature race win and Garrett Denton of Hope Valley, RI
grabbed his first Mini Stock division victory of 2012. The X-Car division
competed in an event for their Saturday Showdown Series, won by Wayne
Shifflett of Preston.
Among the surprise entries at the shoreline oval was NEAR Hall of Fame
Legend Bob Potter. The 71-year old is a six-time Speedbowl track champion.
He has been in the driver’s seat giving race fans at Stafford Motor Speedway
the racecar experience in the two-seater SK Light Modified this season at
the track. Potter also won five SK Modified championships at Stafford and
ranks fourth all-time on the track’s SK Modified win list with 24 career
victories, drove for car owner Pat Doherty in the SK Light Modified feature
event. Potter finished eighth.
NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach Fla announced that Lee Pulliam, 24,
of Semora, N.C., won the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national
championship in just his sixth year of racing and fourth year in asphalt
Late Models. Pulliam rolled up 22 wins, 30 top fives and 32 top 10s in 36
starts to run away with the national championship. He out-distanced
runner-up Keith Rocco, 794-748. Rocco dislocated his wrist and broke a bone
in an accident during practice at Thompson July 29. He had surgery and
missed an entire weekend of racing.
Rocco has nothing to be ashamed of as he finished second in the final
standings for the second straight year and third time in four years. Rocco
had 14 wins, 26 top fives and 32 top 10s in 43 starts racing his asphalt
Modified at Connecticut’s Thompson International Raceway, Stafford Motor
Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl. He won his fifth straight state title and
has finished in the top five nationally seven consecutive seasons.
Only four points separated the rest of the top five. CE Falk III finished
third with 728, followed by Nate Monteith with 726 and Ryan Preece with 724
Pulliam’s wins were spread among four tracks including 10 at Motor Mile
Speedway in Radford, Va., nine at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, two at
Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C., and one at Southern National Motorsports
Park in Kenly, N.C. He placed third in points at Motor Mile and South Boston
running a partial schedule at each. He also won the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series Virginia championship.
In Sprint Cup racing Denny Hamlin put together a dominating performance
at Loudon. Despite qualifying 32nd, Hamlin charged up through the field and
drove into the lead before lap 100. Once out front, Hamlin was never
seriously challenged as he drove to his first victory at the 1.058-mile
asphalt oval. The victory, the 100th for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sprint Cup
competition, moved Hamlin up to third in the series standings, only seven
points out of the lead. Jimmie Johnson finished second and moved into the
championship lead by one point over Brad Keselowski, who finished sixth.
Jeff Gordon rebounded from his 32nd-place finish at Chicagoland and finished
third. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne completed the top five.
Austin Dillon completed a sweep of the season’s two NASCAR Nationwide
Series races at Kentucky Speedway with a dominant victory in Saturday’s
Kentucky 300. Dillon led 65 laps, driving his grandfather Richard Childress’
Chevrolet on the day after the team owner’s birthday. He beat Sam Hornish
Jr. to the checkered flag by 1.059 seconds for his second victory of the
season in his rookie season in the series.
Last year, 2016 Keith Rocco went into
the weekend needing to score wins at Stafford on Friday night and at the New
London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night in order to hopefully come out
on top of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings. The
final day for points to count toward NASCAR Whelen All-American Series
championships was Sunday, Sept. 18. No matter what happened, Rocco was
guaranteed to finish in the top five in the national standings for the ninth
straight season. Rocco recorded a fifth at Stafford and a win at Waterford.
Matt Bowling, who races at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia, has led
the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings the entire year.
Bowling did not win last weekend but had enough of a cushion to sew up the
In regular Friday night NASCAR racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway the
final Friday night event before the season ending NAPA Fall Final next
weekend on October 1-2 was staged. It was a banner night for Glen Reen as he
scored his first career victories in both the SK Modified® and Late Model
feature events. Rowan Pennink finished the SK Modified® feature in 8th place
which was good enough to make him the SK Modified® champion for the second
consecutive season. Other feature winners were Daniel Wesson in the SK Light
feature, Justin Bren in the Limited Late Model feature, Brandon Michael in
the DARE Stock feature, and Noah Korner in the Legend Cars feature.
A restart following a lap 21 caution saw the inside line get bogged down
with allowed Glen Reen to move into the lead with Jeff Baral in second and
Woody Pitkat in third. Ron Williams, who had been leading, faded to fourth
with Eric Berndt in fifth behind him. Keith Rocco and Rowan Pennink were
side by side for sixth place.
With 10 laps to go, Reen was in command with Baral in second. Pitkat and
Williams were side by side for third with Berndt, Rocco, Ted Christopher,
and Pennink lined up behind them. Reen was starting to pull away from the
train being led by Baral that consisted of Baral, Pitkat, Berndt, Rocco,
Williams, Christopher, and Pennink with 5 laps to go. Reen, who started
22nd, led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first SK Modified®
win of the 2016 season and his second win of the night to go along with his
Late Model feature win. Baral finished second with Pitkat, Berndt, and Rocco
rounding out the top-5.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl wrapped up its Saturday night series
weekly racing. Keith Rocco recorded his seventh SK Modified victory of the
season. On the final Saturday night weekly show of the 2016 season it was
the track’s all-time winningest driver, Keith Rocco, shining over the field
to win the 35-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified feature at
the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. bringing his track win total to 134
wins, 80 of those in an SK Modified. The win also took Rocco over the top to
a career overall total of 233 wins which also include victories at Thompson
and 43 at Stafford Speedway.
In other events Saturday, Jason Palmer won the Late Model feature, Corey
Barry won the SK Light Modified feature, Monte Gibbs was victorious in the
Limited Sportsman feature, Pete Zaikarite won the Mini Stock feature, Dillon
Spain scored victory in the Legends feature and Ted Christopher won the Pro
Four Modified feature.
Following a restart with 31 laps left to run, Rocco got under Todd Owen
for the lead off of turn four.Two laps later Diego Monahan moved to second
place. With 21 laps left the caution flew again when Bo Gunning, deep in the
field, sent Adam Gada into the turn two wall. After a long green flag run
the race was slowed again when Monahan spun from second place and collected
Ted Christopher in turn two.
Under caution Owen gave up second place to go to the pits, moving Matt
Galko behind Rocco and Ronnie Williams to third. Williams got by Galko for
second on a restart with five laps remaining, but the caution flew again
with two laps left when Gunning sent Frank Mucciacciaro Jr. spinning deep in
the field in turn four. Gunning was parked from the field at that point for
over aggressive driving.
On the final restart Rocco was able to check out easily and it was Galko
getting by Williams for second. Joey Gada and Tyler Chadwick rounded out the
The Valenti Modified Racing Series traveled to the Beech Ridge Speedway
in Maine for twin 50's that were run as part of the Beech Ridge Fall Final.
For the second time this season, at speedways in the State of Maine, Anthony
Nocella, of Woburn, Massachusetts, and Jon McKennedy, of E. Chelmsford,
Massachusetts, each captured VMRS 50-lap feature races.
In the first 50-lap go, Nocella started 12th in a 19 car field, and
smoothly worked his way to the front besting early race leader Richard
Savary and Todd Annarummo at the checkered flag. Woody Pitkat and Jon
McKennedy, rounded out the top five. The win was Nocella’s fourth of the
season and his sixth VMRS win.
In the second 50-lap race, McKennedy rolled off in the seventh starting
spot quickly making his way to the point with Nocella in hot pursuit from
his 11th starting position. Annarummo moved into third where he would
finish. McKennedy would nail down his seventh win of the year and 22nd
career series victory. Les Hinckley and Donnie Lashua finished fourth and
Both races were caution flag free and run off in 13-minutes. The next
event for the VMRS will be at the Lee USA Speedway on October 8 & 9.
In a somewhat related matter it has been announced that series sponsor,
The Valenti Auto Group of Mystic, CT has purchased McGill Chevrolet located
in Pawcatuck (Stonington) CT.
In NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour action at the South Boston
Speedway in Virginia, James Civali passed Danny Bohn on Lap 107 and remained
out front the rest of the way to score his first tour win since 2010 and
second at South Boston Speedway in the South Boston 150. Civali held off
Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Kyle Bonsignore over the final 20 laps
of the race to win the first caution-free southern tour race since 2006.
Bonsignore scored his best finish to date coming home second with George
Brunnhoelzl third, Bohn fourth and points leader Burt Myers completing the
In action at the Riverhead Raceway Shawn Solomito and Kyle Soper were the
winners of the twin 30 lap Modified features run at the east end Long Island
oval. Track owners Eddie and Connie Partridge announced that Solomito and
his car owner Wayne Anderson were the NASCAR Modified Track Champions for
With all the poor reviews that NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series
events were getting local New England standout Late Model driver Jeff Rocco
stated a good point that maybe NASCAR should consider. "Put them back on
bias ply tire at tracks a mile and down, mandatory 4 inch ride height and
mandatory front spring rate of 900IB or more". Let the guys get back up on
the wheel. When NASCAR went to radial tires the top divisions events became
boring. Maybe that's one of the reasons that less than half the seats are
filled at many events.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Martin Truex Jr. came back from a cut right
rear tire on lap 69 to win the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at
Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon, the first race of the Chase for
the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Erik Jones secured the top seed in the inaugural
NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for the Championship by picking up his fourth
win of the season at Chicagoland.
That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail, email@example.com.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Looking Back Archive
Smith / Looking Back A Bit