The Champ Trail: The NASCAR Hall, Stafford, Tri-Track & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – NASCAR Hall of Fame’s tenth induction class was announced late last week at the Hall in Charlotte, NC. Congratulations to the five individuals that make up the Class of 2019 are Davey Allison, Jeff Gordon, Alan Kulwicki, Roger Penske and Jack Roush and the Landmark Award recipient Jim Hunter.

It’s a travesty that nine-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik was again left out.

The Stafford Motor Speedway hosted Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Modifiedz night, the biggest SK Light Modified race of the season, on Friday, May 25th. The SK Light Modifieds ran their longest race of the season with a 40-lap feature, doubling their weekly distance. Matching 2017, Doug Dunleavy of Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair partnered with Stafford Speedway to put up a posted purse of $9,940 including a $2,000 payday for the winner.If a $9,940 SK Light Modified purse wasn’t enough, Dunleavy posted an additional $2,950 for the 2018 Modifiedz night, doubling the winners’ purse for all Stafford divisions. With the increase, the SK Modified 40-lap feature paid a potential $3,600 to win, the Late Model 30-lap feature $1,750 to win, Limited Late Model feature $850 to win, and $400 to win for the Street Stocks.

In the 40 lap SK Modified feature Rowan Pennink ended Keith Rocco’s win streak by taking the win,Through no fault of his own, Rocco was collected in a lap six wreck. Rocco rallied back and came across the finish line in fourth spot behind Pennink, Ron Williams and Chase Dowling, . Following post-race inspection, Dowling’s car was found to be 10 pounds underweight and he was penalized 10 positions, one position for each pound his car was underweight, moving him to 13th in the finishing order.

Other winners at Stafford on Friday night were Marcello Rufrano in the 40-lap SK Light feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Jeremy Lavoie, and Johnny Walker in the Street Stock feature.

Round one of the 2018 edition of the Tri-Track Open Modified Series went to post in northern New Hampshire on Saturday night with 30 Modifieds on hand. Home track favorite Mike Willis, Jr. of Grantham, NH, scored the victory in the inaugural Ron Bouchard’s Auto Stores 100 at Claremont Speedway presented by SPAFCO and Jerico. A strong crowd was on hand to watch and appreciate as one of their own scored the victory over some of short track racing’s best like runner-up Ryan Preece and podium finisher and Series’ dominator Matt Hirschman. Hard-charging Tommy Barret and Ron Silk completed the top-five.

Despite starting on the pole it was not a cake walk for the young charger as he had to overcome dogged determination by his fellow competitors and late-race restarts to capture the popular win and the $6,000 winner’s share. Hard-charging competitors locked in fierce battles from the drop of the green flag, the race was undeniably a fitting tribute to the late, great Ron Bouchard.

On lap 95, Willis made a bold move and was able to take the lead away from Silk. The twelfth and final caution flew for an incident that involved Chris Bolton to set up a three-lap dash for the cash. Despite his efforts from the outside, Silk could not overcome Willis. Willis easily retained his lead; bringing Preece along and into second. Hirschman dogged Preece but to no avail. For as heated as the battle for the lead had been over the closing laps, Willis went uncontested for the win at the checkers.

It was a popular win for a young driver who calls Claremont home. In victory lane he was quick to acknowledge his father and the efforts of his crew. Willis received congratulations from Preece and Hirschman, his fellow podium finishers in victory lane. Kudos go out to fourth-place finishers Tommy Barrett, who after suffering mechanical woes, a broken rear-end axle in the consi, used a provisional to get into the field and started scratch on the 27 car field. Silk completed the top-five. Sixth through tenth were Matt Galko, Woody Pitkat, Todd Patnoad, Rowan Pennink and Les Hinkley.sixth-place Galko. Recovering from adversity was the story for the remainder of the top-ten including Pitkat, Patnode, Pennink, and Hinckley.

The inaugural Ron Bouchard Auto Parts 100, presented by SPAFCO and Jerico, is also made possible with the help of a strong list of associate sponsors with a ton of racing heritage including Broad Brook Heating & Cooling, Fred Wilcox, Bruce Brennenstuhl, Fuller RV Rentals and Sales, Fuller’s Car Laundry, Ballard Trucks, Metcalf Paving, Pat’s Auto Center, George Summers Trucking, Ashaway Cement Products, Mad River Construction, Bradford Motors, Dunn’s Corner Repair, Twin Cedars, Central Mass Tree and Ed French & Son Paving. Next up for the TTOMS is the prestigious Open Wheel Wednesday 100 at Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday, June 27. .

On tap at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl was the Full Fendered Throwdown presented by Belltown Motors Tire Service Center and Belltown Recycling. Anthony Flannery was the overall champion of the Late Model 20/20/20 Shootout picking up $2000.00 check for his efforts. In three separate 20 lap features Flannery finished fifth, second and second. Individual winners were Jason Palmer, Ryan Morgan and Bruce Thomas Jr. Other winners were Scott Serydnsky in the 375 Sportsman, Jordan Hadley in the Limited Sportsman, Nick Pappacoda in the Mini Stocks and Dwane Noll in the trucks.

The Granite State Pro Stock Series was also at the shoreline oval. Joey Doiron collected his first win in GSPSS competition and like Flannery, he did it with consistency. He finished third in all three 35-lap races. Jacob Dore led from the pole to dominate the first 35-lap feature, Cory Casagrande battled hard in the closing laps against George Bessette and held him off for the win in the second feature and Devin O’Connell worked forward from fourth starting spot to dominate and drive away from the field to win the third 35 lapper.

Across the big pond on Long Island, Tom Rogers was the Modified tour type winner at the Riverhead Raceway. Howie Brody finished second with Kyle Soper, third. His NASCAR Modified triumph, 49th of his career leaves Rogers just one win shy of tying the late Jim Malone Sr. for second on the all time win list at the track.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, rain prevailed. Burt Myers, the defending champion, has accumulated 232 points and holds an 18-point lead over second-place Tim Brown, the all-time wins leader in track history. Lee Jeffreys sits in third with 196 points.

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Officials announced that the May 20 event, which was originally cancelled due to the pending weather forecast, will now be rescheduled. The Limited Sportsman Long Distance, presented by Pepsi, is now scheduled for Thursday, June 7.

The race program is headlined by the ultra-competitive Limited Sportsman Division, who will compete in their longest race of the year. The Sunoco Modified, Late Model, and Mini Stock Divisions will all be on the card, as well, competing in regular distance events.

Spring Break for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is almost over. The mighty modifieds resume this coming Saturday at the track known as the cement palace, the Seekonk Speedway located at the Gateway to Cap Cod in Seekonk, Mass.Leading the point standings is Justin Bonsignore with 123 points, second, one point back is Chase Dowling. Craig Lutz, Jon McKennedy and Rob Summers round out the top five.Sixth through tenth are Timmy Solomito, Doug Coby, Ryan Preece, Chris Pasteryak and Rowan Pennink.

This event will be televised on a taped delayed basis on Wednesday, June 6 at 7:00pn on the NBC Sports Net.

On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.55 to 42.20 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.16 to 17.04 while Dover Entertainment remained stagnant at 2.05 for the second week in a row. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 0.19 to 49.66 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 1.43 to 18.55 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.96 to 25.19. Two of the three car manufacturers had positive results. General Motors went up 0.51 to 38.30 and Ford went up 0.18 to 11.51 while Toyota dropped 6.08 to 129.96. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.57 to 186.85 while Lowes went up 10.35 to 96.69. The big team’s sponsor’s stocks had their ups and downs. McDonalds went up 2.23 to 163.21, Dow/Dupont went up 0.14 to 65.71 and Fedex went up 2.05 to 251.50 while Coca-Cola dropped 2.29 to 126.97 and Target Department Stores dropped 4.73 to 71.21.

On the tube this week

Wednesday, May 30:
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1

Thursday, May 31
4:00 PM, NASCAR Special, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

Friday, June 1

Saturday, June 2
8:00 AM, MENCS Pocono qualifying, FS1
9:30 AM, NXS Pocono qualifying, FS1
11:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub – Weekend Edition, FS1
11:30 AM, MENCS Pocono final practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, XFINITY, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Pocono race, FS1
3:30 PM, NXS Post Race, FS1

Sunday, June 3
6:00 AM, NXS Pocono race re-air, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, How It’s Made – NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCI
2:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono race, FS1

Monday, June 4
3:00 AM, MENCS Pocono race re-air, FS1