Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Motor Speedway started the weekend of racing off on Friday night under threatening skies. Taking down feature wins were Chase Dowling in the SK Modified feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Marcello Rufrano in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Dowling started third and took the lead on lap four as he went on to win the non-stop event, his first of the season at Stafford. Eric Berndt finished second and was followed by Ronnie Williams, Todd Owen and Mike Christopher Jr. A predicted battle between Keith Rocco and Ryan Preece never materialized as they finished eighth and ninth respectively.
Spring Break for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is over. The mighty modifieds resumed this past Saturday at the track known as the cement palace, the Seekonk Speedway located at the Gateway to Cape Cod in Seekonk, Mass. Thirty-one cars were on hand for the 150 lap event.
Justin Bonsignore, who is hot to trot for the series championship made it two out of four after a heated battle with Chase Dowling and Matt Hirschman. After trading the lead numerous times Bonsignore took the lead for the final time on lap 128. In the end, Dowling settled for the runner-up spot with Hirschman, third and Rowan Pennink, fourth. Ron Silk was fifth. Ronnie Williams was sixth, followed by Timmy Solomito, Tommy Catalano, Dave Sapienza and Craig Lutz.
Worth noting is the outstanding run by up-state New Yorker Tommy Catalano who came from 21st to finish eighth. There were many who showed promise early on but in the end, had a not so good day. Anthony Nocella was as high as fourth until getting collected after Wade Cole spun on lap 119. Cole was parked by NASCAR and Nocella, who lost two laps, finished 20th. Defending series champion Doug Coby started 12th and finished 12th. Just didn’t have that little extra.
Jon McKennedy had a power steering malfunction and finished 25th after starting fifth. Woody Pitkat lasted 48 laps when his ignition quit, ending his race in 26th spot. Ryan Preece started 15th and lost an engine on lap 41 which placed him 27th at the checker. There were 7 cautions for 39 laps.
This event will be televised on a taped delayed basis on Wednesday, June 6 at 7:00pn on the NBC Sports Net. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, June 13.
The New London-Waterford Speedbowl SK Modifieds suffered their fourth rain-out in a row. Two heats were run with a light field of 11 cars on hand. Support class winners were Peter Bennett in the Legends and. Jon Porter in the Limited Sportsman. Modified heat winners were Dylan Izzo and Tim Jordan.
The SK Modifieds will be part of this Wednesday night (6/6) program.
Across the big pond on Long Island, John Fortin Jr. of Holtsville realized the dream of a lifetime Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway when he won the 40-lap NASCAR Modified feature event mastering numerous restarts during the race to take the Whelen All American Series victory. Once again weather played a role in at the 68-year old track as a rain delay slowed the program for about an hour but the hard working Riverhead Raceway track staff were not going to let mother nature win out and all nine feature events were presented.
Rookie drivers Dylan Slepian and Roger Turbush bought the 19-car field to the green flag with Slepian gaining the advantage at the drop of the green over Turbush. Lap 2 found Chris Young getting by Turbush for second and over the next five laps the second generation driver would test Slepian for the race lead. A double file restart on lap 7 would liven things up at the front of the field with Young riding the outside lane to take the race lead from Slepian as the duo began the 8th circuit.
Just two laps later Slepian went for broke racing into the third turn diving very low on Young entering the turn. Unfortunately Dylan’s car slid back up the track clipping leader Young forcing him into a spin drawing a caution flag. When the field was reset John Fortin Jr, who started the race from 6th and Eddie Brunnhoelzl III who started 7th were now occupying the front row for the double file restart.
Eddie Brunnhoelzl III of Levittown was a close runner-up in his Go Green Generators entry while David Schneider of Northport completed the podium in his ESM Racing machine. Kyle Soper of Manorville and Chris Young of Calverton both recovered from early race misfortune to rally back for fourth and fifth place respectfully.
Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Myers led wire-to-wire in the 100 lap featured race and it’s no surprise he wasn’t giving an inch even to his brother, Jason, who stayed on his bumper all night but couldn’t get out front.
Burt, the two-time defending division champion who has won eight tiles overall, drew the front row after a blind draw to determine the lineup after qualifying. Jason was in just behind Burt when the race started and the brothers stayed consistent throughout staying in front of the rest of the field at a pretty good clip.
It was Burt’s 76th career win and third win of the season. Brandon Ward wound up third with John Smith fourth and Tim Brown wound up fifth after a roller-coaster race. Brown was spun out on the first lap and fell back to 12th but worked his way up to fourth at one point but settled for the fifth-place finish.
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.
Get well wishes to retired Modified champion Jerry Pearl who is on the mend from by-pass surgery.
On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks finished the week on a negative note. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.45 to 16.59 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.30 to 41.90 while Dover Entertainment went up 0.05 to 2.10. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 1.84 to 51.60 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco, (Energy Transfer) went up 0.65 to 19.20 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.75 to 24.44. The car manufacturers were all positive for the week. Ford went up 0.20 to 11.71 and Toyota went up 1.35 to 131.31 while General Motors jumped 4.90 to 43.20. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.50 to 187.35 while Lowes dropped 0.86 to 95.83. The big team sponsors took an over-all hit with the exception of Target which went up 1.59 to 72.80 and Dupont-Dow which went up 0.46 to 66.17. McDonalds dropped 4.05 to 159.16, Coca-Cola dropped 0.31 to 126.66 and Fedex dropped 7.90 to 253.60.
On the tube this week
Wednesday, June 6
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
7:00 PM NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Seekonk, Mass NBC Sports Net
Thursday, June 7
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
Friday, June 8
11:30 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Michigan practice, Fox Sports 2
12:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS2
1:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Michigan practice, FS2
2:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
3:00 PM, NXS Michigan final practice, FS1
4:00 PM, MENCS Michigan qualifying, FS1
5:30 PM, NCWTS Texas qualifying, FS2
8:00 PM, NASCAR Race Day: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, FS1
9:00 PM, NCWTS Texas race, FS1
Saturday, June 9
5:30 AM, NCWTS Texas race re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, MENCS Michigan qualifying re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, MENCS Michigan practice, FS1
10:00 AM, NXS Michigan qualifying, FS1
12:00 PM, MENCS Michigan final practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NXS Pre Race Show, FS1
1:30 PM, NXS Michigan race, FS1
Sunday, June 10
8:00 AM, NXS Michigan race re-air, FS1
1:30 PM, MENCS Pre Race Show, FOX
2:00 PM, MENCS Michigan race, FOX
Monday, June 11
12:00 AM, MENCS Michigan race re-air, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1