RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail: Modified Tour At Wall, Stafford Racing & More…

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series invaded the Jersey shore track, Wall Stadium for a 150 lap event last Saturday. Wall drew 28 Modifieds and a packed house of fans.

The event, called by many as a Rumble at the Jersey Shore, lived up to its name as it was more a race, it was a rolling demolition derby. It became a game of high-speed chess as it required quick reflexes in order to survive.

When all was said and done Woody Pitkat, who started 19th, took the win over Blake Barney. Barney was involved in a crash on lap 113 with Anthony Sesely but was able to make up a lost lap and avoid further trouble. Rob Summers finished third in mid air after making contact with Timmy Catalano and Dave Sapienza as they came off the fourth turn, heading for the checker. Catalano finished fourth as he and Sapienza spun off the track. Sapienza, who hit the infield wall head on, finished fifth. Eric Goodale finished sixth and was followed by Ken Heagy, Ron Silk and Tommy Catalano, all on the lead lap. Doug Coby rounded out the top ten, one lap down.

Justin Bonsignore started on the pole with Wall regular regular Andrew Krause second. The two slugged it out from the start until lap 33 when Bonsignore lit up his tires and spun. By the 1/3 mark Coby had come from his sixth starting spot to move into the runner-up position behind Krause. Following a re-start on lap 67, Coby powered into the lead. NASCAR had planned a competition caution around the 100 lap mark because Wall has no infield pitting. Smoke began coming from the right rear of Coby’s car on lap 95. The competition caution actually flew at lap 101 which allowed Coby’s crew, led by Phil Moran, to make repairs and replace the tire.

Coby led the restart followed by Krause, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and Jimmy Blewett. Blewett blew it on lap 131 when he took himself out after hitting the front stretch wall. On a lap 139 restart Coby and Krause made contact which caused the pair to spin with Krause hitting the wall backwards. Silk assumed the lead on the restart. His time in the spotlight was short lived. On a lap 146 restart Silk and Timmy Catalano made contact with Silk hitting the wall and collecting Justin Bonsignore in the process, triggering a big wreck.

. On the ensuing restart on lap 146, Catalano and Silk made contact, turn Silk spinning just after the green flag flew. Simultaneously behind Silk and Catalano, third place runner Calvin Carroll made contact with Bonsignore in fourth, sending Bonsignore into the back and back down the track, setting off another huge wreck.

Going past the posted 150 lap distance the event went into overtime setting up a green-white checker situation with Timmy Catalano in the lead. Pitkat shot by Timmy Catalano when the green was displayed. As Pitkat streaked under the checker another big wreck ensued. Barney moved into the second spot as Summers got airborne and finished third.

In addition to the top ten there were other stories. Wade Cole and Melissa Fifield had their best finishes in quite a while. Cole started 24th, avoided all confrontations and brought his mount home in 11th spot. Fifield managed to receive two “Lucky Dogs” and finished a career high 15th. Jimmy Blewett recovered from his wall banger and finished 12th, down three. Justin Bonsignore ended up 13th, four laps down because of multiple crashes and Matt Swanson brought Ole Blu home in 14th spot, two laps down. Calvin Carroll, who was running at the end finished16th, eight laps down because of crashes and Andrew Krause finished a disappointing 17th after crashing out while fighting for the lead on lap 138.Chris Pasteryak finished 18th, 25 laps down as he lost laps making repairs to his left front suspension. Kyle Elwood finished 19th after dropping out after wrecking with Calvin Carroll on lap 125. John Fortin finished 20th after a lap 124 crash. Anthony Sesely who finished 21st almost went out of the ballpark in turn four after a tangle with Blake Barney on lap 111. Sam Rameau finished 22nd after dropping out with ignition problems on lap 104 and Patrick Emerling finished 23rd after dropping out on lap 72 with transmission problems. Jamie Tomaino who has found new success as a car owner decided to drive is own car last Saturday night. Tomaino started 28th and ended his night on lap 57 with a hard crash between turns three and four. Timmy Solomito started fifth and only made it to lap 49 when the rear end in his car sprung a leak and put him out in 25th spot. Craig Lutz who was on a high from his Stafford Sizzler runner-up finish, qualified 17th and as a result of a blown tire and resulting crash on lap 43, broke his oil cooler and ended up 26th. Danny Bohn qualified ninth in the Eddie Harvey No. 1 crashed on lap 22 in turn 2, placing him in 27th spot. Last but not least, Joey Mucciacciaro finished 28th after losing his brakes on lap 12.

Overall, Fanschoice.tv did a great job of presenting the event live streamed. Track announcer Earl Krause was at his all time best with his description and notes of the event. There were many fans who traveled from New England, New York state and Long Island. Wall Stadium provided it all! Close competition and excitement that lasted to the final laps. Many car owners got close up recognition for their sponsors and the NASCAR Modifieds did not disappoint as they provided close competition at a fever pitch!

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Saturday, June 1, as the series makes a trip to Massachusetts and the Seekonk Speedway. Live stream coverage will be provided by FansChoice.tv.

It had been raining every weekend, on and off since mid-February. After finally getting the season opening Sizzler in on the third try the Stafford Motor Speedway finally shifted to its regular Friday night format. Glen Reen wired the field to take the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Al Saunders followed up his twin brother Cliff’s feature win at the Spring Sizzler with a win of his own in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci took down his second win of 2019 in the 20-lap SK Light feature, Duane Provost took the 15-lap Limited Late Model feature, Zack Robinson won the 20-lap Street Stock feature, and 5-year old Madelyn Boudreau from Stafford won the Kids Big Wheel race that was held on the front stretch as part of Scout Night.

In the 40 lap SK Modified feature, Reen took the lead on the restart on lap 28 with Tyler Hines and Stephen Kopcik going side by side for second. Nick Salva was fourth with Mike Christopher Jr in fifth. Joey Cipriano spun coming out of turn 2 and collected several others cars including Tony Membrino, Jr. and Andrew Molleur to bring the caution back out with 30 laps complete.

Reen took the lead back under green with Kopcik taking second. Christopher took third with Todd Owen moving into fourth and Salva was side by side with Hines for fifth before taking the spot while Christopher also got by Kopcik to move into second as Reen began to stretch out his advantage on lap-33. Eric Berndt brought the caution back out with 36 laps complete with a spin coming out of turn 4.

There was a pileup of several cars mid-pack as the cars were coming back to green that kept the caution flag out. The next restart saw Reen take the lead with Christopher glued to his back bumper. Kopcik and Owen were side by side for third with Kopcik taking the position on lap-38. Reen led Christopher to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2019 season. Kopcik finished third with Owen and Dave Gervais rounding out the top-5.

Bryan Narducci continues to be the real deal as he scored his 13th career victory at Stafford. He had six victories in the Limited Late Model division during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Friday’s victory was his second this season and his seventh overall in the SK Light Modified division since last year. Narducci’s 13thcareer victory gave him one more win than his grandfather. Jerry Pearl had 12 SK Modified victories from 1983-1989. Narducci took the lead from Mikey Flynn on a lap 13 restart and held off the challenges of Flynn over the closing laps to win the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature..

The Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway returned to action last Sunday. In an unprecedented move, the speedway admitted all active military and veterans free of charge. General admission was reduced to $18, Senior citizens over 65 had tickets priced at $16 and kids, 12 and under were free.

Extra distance events were held for all divisions. First up was a 40 lapper for the Late Models. To quote announcer Matt Buckler ”Ryan Morgan exploded like lava out of a volcano”. Morgan took the lead shortly after half way in the event and held off the aggression of Willie Wall and Woody Pitkat to take the win. Wall made a last ditch effort as he and Morgan exited turn four. At the finish line it was Morgan by 2/1000 of a second.

Bryan Narducci continues to be the “Real Deal” as he made it two for the weekend and six in a row at Thompson. Narducci, who started tenth, took advantage of early leader Steve Chapman who dropped out after a restart, midway in the event. Noah Porter finished a distant second with Mikey Flynn, third.

It took almost an hour for the Limited Sportsman division to run 30 laps. In the end, Shawn Monahan endured as he held off Ryan Waterman for the win. Larry Barnett finished third.

The full moon which cast its spell on the Whelen Modified Tour at Wall Stadium on Saturday night carried over to the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds on Sunday afternoon. By the time the event was over there were nine of the original 21 starters still running with the rest sitting wrecked in the infield. Pole sitter Ronnie Williams held off challenger after challenger to hold on to the lead and it all came down to the closing laps as Keith Rocco, who recovered from a penalty that sent him to the rear of the field for the final restart, stole the top spot. Williams would not be denied, pushing Rocco up the track in turns three and four on the final corner edging Rocco in a drag race to the line. Williams’ margin of victory was .03 seconds. An extremely unhappy Rocco finished second. Timmy Jordan, Corey Barry and Justin Albernaz rounded out the top five;..

Jared Roy was the Mini Stock feature winner.

In Valenti Modified Racing Series action Jeffrey Gallup passed race leader Mike Willis Jr late in the race, to win the first of two 50-lap events in Sunday’s “May Madness” at Lee USA Speedway, Lee, NH. The victory was Gallup’s first win with the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Gallup, the son of former modified racer Richie Gallup, chased after early race leader Mike Willis Jr. When Gallup took command of the race on lap-25, it was Willis who chased the leader to the checkered flag. Dylan Rock finished third. One caution flag slowed race on lap-45 followed by a restart caution.

In the second race, Andy Shaw overcame a first race incident when his crew got him race ready to become the class of the field until Nocella had other plans. The former serious champion passed Shaw with two laps remaining in the race. The win was Nocella’s first of the season and his 11th VMRS victory.

The next event for the Valenti Modified Racing Series will be Saturday June 8, at Monadnock Speedway, Winchester, NH.

Down in the Southland in North Carolina, Tim Brown also added to his legacy at Bowman Gray. He picked up his 90th career win in the Modified Division, which just added to his lead at Bowman Gray. Brown, who also leads with 10 career championships, leads second-place Burt Myers by 12 wins. Brown defeated Jonathan Brown in the first 25-lap Modified race. James Civali, Jason Myers and Lee Jeffreys finished third-fifth respectively.

In the second 25-lap Modified race, Tim Brown’s teammate Carson Ware, won after racing in his first race at Bowman Gray. Ware defeated Frank Fleming, Civali, Jonathan Brown and Daniel Beeson.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, defending NASCAR Modified champion Kyle Soper survived a rough and tumble NASCAR Modified feature Saturday night to score his second win of the young season in Whelen All American Series action. Soper also had to rebound from brake issues during his heat race earlier in the day that saw him a drop to the infield just laps into the qualifier. The win was the 11th of Kyle’s career tying him with the late “Tiger” Tom Baldwin for 30th on the all time win list.

Special Happy Birthday wishes to former Long Island competitor Al DeAngelo who would have turned 92 this past week. His career spanned five decades, 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. His era was the 1950’s were he won 8 of his 11 stock car track titles. His first came in 1949 and his last in 1963. In 1963 he also won the ATQMRA title at Pine Brook Stadium edging out a new comer named Mario Andretti. He holds the Islip Speedway record for track championships with 7 and modified feature event win with 63. 1953 was his finest year winning the Allstate Circuit Championship with track titles at Islip, Freeport and Dexter Park and along the way winning 22 out of 26 feature events. He represented Islip 3 times in the All Star Racing League and made 2 trips to Daytona. For those fortunate enough and old enough to have seen him compete in his prime nothing more needs to be said. For those too young, you missed a hell of a show. Besides being one of the best in his era he was the consummate showman, from the beginning of his career till the end nobody could play the crowd like he could. In 1984 a year after he passed he was inducted into the Pocono Race Of Champions Hall Of Fame.

On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks had a negative ending. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.17 to 18.15 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.20 to 43.75 while Dover Entertainment remained stagnant at 2.05. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 0.63 to 63.63, NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 4.83 to 10.29 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.50 to 15.73. The auto manufacturers were all negative for the week. Ford dropped 0.10 to 10.29, General Motors dropped 0.89 to 37.00 and Toyota dropped 0.91 to 118.36. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 2.63 to 109 while Home Depot dropped 2.00 to 192.58. In big team sponsors stocks, McDonalds dropped 7.41 to 192.58 while Coca-Cola dropped 73.76 to 313.05, Target dropped 3.76 to 70.88, Dow-Dupont dropped 0.51 to 30.97, Fedex dropped 48.10 to 109.90 and Stanley Black and Decker dropped 7.29 to 114.85.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, May 22

  • 2 a.m., Unrivaled: Earnhardt vs. Gordon ,Fox Sports1/FOX Sports App
  • 3 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)
  • 4 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)
  • 4 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: Port of Tucson Twin 100, NBC Sports Net/NBC Sports App
  • 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN/NBC Sports App
  • 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 7 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series West: Port of Tucson Twin 100, NBCSN/NBC Sports App (re-air)
  • 11 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, FS2/FOX Sports App (re-air)

Thursday, May 23

  • 3 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Practice, FS1/FOX Sports App (tape delayed)
  • 4 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series First Practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (Weekend Edition), FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN/NBC Sports App
  • 6 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Final Practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 7 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 7 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race at Wall Township Speedway, NBCSN/NBC Sports App
  • 8 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (Weekend Edition), FS1/FOX Sports App

Friday, May 24

  • 3 a.m., NASCAR Presents: Davey Lives On, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)
  • 3:30 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)
  • 3:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN/NBC Sports App
  • 6 p.m., The 600: History of NASCAR’s Toughest Race, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 7 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)

Saturday, May 25

  • 8 a.m., The Adventures of Janet Guthrie, FS1/FOX Sports App (re-air)
  • 8:30 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Second Practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 9:30 a.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 10:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (Weekend Edition), FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 11 a.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Final Practice, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • noon: NASCAR Race Hub (Weekend Edition), FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 12:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Xfinity, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 1 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300, FS1/FOX Sports App

Sunday, May 26

  • 4:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1/FOX Sports App
  • 5:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX/FOX Sports App
  • 6 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600, FOX/FOX Sports App