RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Second Week Of June

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, Mickey Gill was the Modified winner at Seekonk. Norm Doquette was the Late Model winner.

Sixty-five Years ago in 1955, rain made it two Saturdays in a row at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Phil Mitchell was the Wednesday night winner at the Connecticut shoreline oval. Arnie Harris was the non-Ford winner.

Sixty years ago in 1960 Bill Slater returned to victory lane on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway. At the Waterford Speedbowl Don Collins ran his streak to five in a row as he won both Modified and non-Ford events at the shoreline oval. Walt Perkins was the Bomber winner.

At the Seekonk Speedway Joe Rosenfield was the Class A winner and Les Andrews was the Novice winner. Emanuel Zervakis took the victory in a National Modified event at South Boston in Virginia.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 Ernie Gahan broke the strangle hold the NY drivers held at Stafford as he won the Friday night Modified feature. Bob Steadman won his first and only feature at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Jerry Glaude was the Bomber winner. Bill Wimble won at the Fonda Speedway on Saturday night and at Utica-Rome on Sunday, Eddie Flemke made it two in a row as he won a 30 lapper over Don Moon and Billy Harman.

Action at Seekonk saw Bugsy Stevens making it three in a row in the Modified division. Pop Silvia was the B winner.

Fifty years ago in 1970, Bugsy Stevens beat out Fred DeSarro on Friday night at Malta. In twin 25 action at Stafford on Saturday night, Ed Yerrington beat out neighbor Moose Hewitt and Eddie Flemke for the win. DeSarro scored a victory in the second 25 lapper. Bernie Miller finished second. At Fonda, Jerry Pennock and Lou Lazzaro shared victory lane and at Plattsburg, Gene Mangino won out over Dick Fowler and Andy Romano. Walt Dombrowski scored his fourth win at Waterford behind the wheel of the L&M. Bob Gada Sr was the Late Model Daredevil winner. Bobby Sprague was the Modified winner at Seekonk. George Pont was the B winner. Ted Hairfield made it two in a row in Late Model Sportsman action at South Boston in Virginia.

At Thompson on Sunday, Stevens and DeSarro shared the twin 25 lap glory and at Utica-Rome, also on Sunday, Lou Lazzaro won out over Jerry Cook, and Dave Lape.

Forty five years ago in 1975, George Murray took the Modified win at Seekonk, Scott Allen was the Late Model winner.

Forty years ago in 1980, the New England Drivers and Owners Club (NEDOC) sat down with Bill France and Bill Gazzaway of NASCAR and Thompson Speedway promoter Don Hoenig in Warwick,R.I. with hopes of settling a drivers strike at Thompson over pit admissions. After a lengthy discussion, Hoenig agreed to give two pit passes per car and charge three mechanics a maximum of $5.00 per show. In Friday night action at Stafford, Bugsy Stevens took the win over Richie Evans, Ray Miller and Corky Cookman. Evans picked up a win at Riverside on Saturday night over Reggie Ruggiero and backed it up with a win at Thompson over Ronnie Bouchard and George Kent on Sunday. Bouchard had won the previous night at Westboro. George Kent and Maynard Troyer each shared victory lane at Spencer on Friday. On Saturday night, Kent won at Shangri-La and Troyer at Lancaster. Monadnock tried a Thursday night modified special which turned into a total flop as only 20 cars and 500 spectators showed for the event. Ronnie and Kenny Bouchard finished one-two there. Other weekend winners were Rick Donnelly in a 100 lapper at Waterford over Bob Potter and Jerry Pearl at Waterford, Allen Whipple at Claremont, Gary Cretty at Riverhead and Wayne Anderson at New Egypt.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, Chargin Charlie Jarzombek held off George Brunnhoelzl to win the Friday night feature at Stafford. Charlie Savage won the SK feature. Saturday night at Waterford, Mark LaJunesse won out over Bob Gada Sr. Art Moran Jr was the Super Stock winner. Reggie Ruggiero beat out John Rosati at Riverside Park and at Thompson Lloyd Agor was the Sunday night winner over Wayne Dion and George Savory. Maynard Troyer beat out Doug Hewitt at Spencer and Richie Evans got the best of George Kent at Shangri-La.

Thirty years ago in 1990, Jeff Barry was the Friday night winner at Stafford. Bob Potter was second with Tom Bolles, third. At Riverside Park on Saturday night a bad fire erupted on lap 5 of the modified feature. Eddie D’Hondt was trapped in his car until Eric LeClair, Wade Cole and Brad Hietella pulled him from his car and more than likely saved his life. Flames close to 40 feet high were seen at the height of the fire. Because of a previous weeks rainout, double features were run at Waterford. Gary Dyer won the left over event over Dennis Gada. Ted Christopher won the regular nights feature over Bob Potter. The Featherlite Modified Tour was at Holland, N.Y. where Tony Hirschman beat out Reggie Ruggiero and George Brunnhoelzl for the win. At the 76 lap open at Lancaster on Sunday, Mike McLaughlin took the lead on lap 73 from Reggie Ruggiero when he broke a panhard bar. Following McLaughlin at the finish were Jan Leaty, Rick Fuller, Tony Hirschman and Doug Hevron.. Other weekend winners were Chip Graves at Shangri-La and Wayne Anderson over Don Howe at Riverhead.

Twenty five years ago in 1995, Steve Chowanski was the Friday night SK Modified winner at Stafford. Ted Christopher finished second with Jim Broderick, third. Broderick went to Waterford on Saturday night where he beat Mike and David Gada for top honors. At Riverside it was Doug Meservey and at Riverhead it was Chuck Stuer. On Sunday it was the best of both worlds as the Busch North Series and the Featherlite Modified Tour ran twin 125’s at Thompson. Andy Santerre won the Busch North event over Dave Dion and Tom Bolles. The Modified event saw Ed Flemke Jr take the win over Tony Hirschman, Steve Park, Rick Fuller and Tim Connolly. In Winston Cup action at Michigan, Bobby Labonte took the win over Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace.

Twenty years ago in 2000 Thursday night racing at Thompson rained out. Lee Raceway, once part of the NASCAR Featherlite Tour, decided to run the Modifieds in an unsanctioned event. Thirty two cars showed for the 100 lapper which was won by Chris Kopec. Charlie Pasteryak finished third and was followed by Mike Ewanitsko, Jim Willis and Rob Summers. Willie Hardie Jr took the win at Stafford on Friday night. A big controversy developed when Ted Christopher was throw out by Race Director Frank Sgambato Jr for unsportsmanlike conduct and abusing officials. Sgambato had Christopher black flagged because of a piece of metal hanging off his car. In days following the incident, Christopher swore up and down that he would never race at Stafford again. By the end of the following week, Mark Arute, promoter and general manager of the nutmeg oval had reviewed tapes of the incident and determined that Sgambato had made a bad call. Arute apologized to Christopher and when the next Friday rolled around, Christopher was back in the Stafford line-up. Waterford rained out on Saturday. Tracy Gordon made it three in a row in Busch North Series competition as he won the Jennerstown 150.Chris Young won at Riverhead and in Busch Grand National action at Myrtle Beach, SC, Jeff Green made it three in a row .In Winston Cup action at Pocono, rain forced NASCAR to hold the event on Monday. Jeremy Mayfield, running second on the final lap coming off the fourth turn gave Dale Earnhardt some of the medicine that he had doled out many times to others. Mayfield gave him a nudge, just enough to break his stride and drove past to take the win. For someone who had done this many times to others, Earnhardt didn’t take it very well as he was quite irate during a post race interview.

Fifteen years ago in 2005 The Thompson Speedway got most of their Thursday night Thunder program in before the skies opened up. Second generation Sunoco Modified driver Richard Savory started on the pole and led 23 of the scheduled 30 laps when the rains came. Never seriously challenged, Savory scored his first ever win. Bo Gunning finished second with Tom Cravenho, third. Ted Christopher and Kerry Malone rounded out the top five. Other Thursday night winners were Mike O’Sullivan in the Pro Stocks, Keith DeSantis in the Limited Sportsman and Roger Larson in the Thompson Mods. The Mini-Stocks amd Late Models will run their features at a later date. Thursday night Thunder continues this week with the Late Models going the 50 lap distance.

The Busch North Series finally got to start their season at Stafford on Friday night. With 35 cars on hand and no rain in sight Matt Kobyluck put his name in the record books as the winner. After starting on the pole Kobyluck ran 150 laps non-stop without a pit stop to pick up the victory. Ryan Moore was an early threat but fell by the wayside with mechanical problems. Andy Santerre attempted a late race challenge but his efforts fell short as he had to settle for second. Jerry Marquis finished third with Ted Christopher, fourth. Mike Johnson rounded out the top five. Lloyd Agor recorded his second SK Modified win of the year as he held off Don Lia in the closing laps. Eric Berndt finished third with Todd Owen, fourth. Mike Quintilliano took the 30 lap Late Model feature with Andrew Durand taking the Limited Late Model feature. Charlie Newman was the DARE Stock winner.

The Waterford Speedbowl finally got to run their rained out Nationals program, at least most of it. Tom Fox won the 150 lap SK Modified portion. Chris Pasteryak put the pressure on over the last third of the event and in the end fell short by less than a car length. Dennis Cherette finished third, a half a lap back. Ron Yuhas Jr and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top five. The Mini Stock feature took on a finish that resembled an Abbot and Costello comedy routine. “Who’s on First, What’s on Second and I don’t know is on third”. Ken Cassidy Jr was the apparent winner and was about to be interviewed in victory lane when it was discovered that there was a miscommunication between the starter and assistant starter as to whether the race was complete or not. Needless to say the event was two laps short and had to be completed. The outcome was the same as Cassidy took the win, again. Len Beebe was the Legends winner. The 50-lap Late Model feature and the Sportsman 30 lap feature were rained out and will be rescheduled for a later date.

Eugene Arganese, who was proposing a multimillion dollar domed auto racetrack at the Plainfield Greyhound Park in Connecticut, had applied for the necessary state gaming license to continue gambling activity on the site.

Carl Edwards shot past Martin Truex JR with two laps to go to win the Busch Series event at the Kentucky Speedway. Greg Biffle scored his fifth Nextel Cup win at the Michigan Speedway. In Formula 1 racing at the Indianapolis Speedway fourteen of the 26 cars entered ended up getting parked prior to the start over concerns of unsafe Michelin Tires.

Ten years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series ended its “Spring Break” last Friday when they returned to action at the Stafford Motor Speedway for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125. The event carried a purse of $76,476. There were 33 Modifieds on hand for the 31 starting spots.

Bobby Santos edged Jimmy Blewett in a dramatic two-lap dash to the finish to win the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race. Santos and Blewett battled back-and-forth throughout the late stages of the event, which was extended with two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish due to late-race cautions.

After Santos jumped the final restart on lap 135, he was ordered to let Blewett pull even at the line. Blewett nipped Santos as they took the white flag, but Santos was able to battle back to capture his second win of the season and the third of his career. Todd Szegedy, Ryan Preece and Rob Summers rounded out the top five. Completing the top 10 were Eric Berndt, Mike Stefanik, Erick Rudolph, George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss.

Santos won his third pole in three attempts during qualifying earlier in the day and following the redraw started the race on the outside of the front row. Eric Berndt was successful in battling Santos for the early lead and paced the field for the majority of the race. Berndt had extended his lead to 2.5 seconds by lap 90, but he lost the top spot when he faltered on a lap 108 restart, giving the lead to Chuck Hossfeld. When Hossfeld was spun by Blewett a few laps later, however, Santos took advantage to gain the lead. Santos then had to contend with Blewett through the final stages of the race.

There were seven cautions for 35 laps. Seventeen of the 31 starters finished on the lead lap. For his efforts Santos received $6600. Blewett earned $2900 while Szegedy received $2500.

The Modified Racing Series ran a double header last week as they held events at the Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY and Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT.

In a wild last lap finish, Les Hinckley unofficially won the 100 lap Modified Racing Series feature at the Airborne Speedway on Saturday night. Hinckley, from his pole starting position led the first 74 laps, setting a torrid pace holding off the constant threats of Todd Annarummo, and defending series champion, Jon McKennedy. Unofficially the win by Hinckley is his 12th MRS victory. Rowan Pennink, who started 15th in the 25-car field, passed Hinckley on lap 75 and held the top spot, resulting in Hinckley chasing the new leader. Hinckley and Dwight Jarvis pursued Pennink until lap 99, when Hinckley and Pennink made contact racing to the checkered flag resulting in a violent crash at the start-finish line. Both cars came to a halt against the first turn safety barrier, neither driver was injured. Jarvis settled for third followed by Carl Pasteryak and Kenny Barry. The race in front of a near capacity crowd saw the top 11 drivers finish on the lead lap.

The second Modified Series event of the weekend saw 20 year old Stephen Masse captured his second consecutive Memorial Day Classic 100 at the famed Thunder Road International Speedbowl Sunday, May 30th Starting fifth in a 24-car field, Masse moved to second by lap nine and then took over the lead from early race leader Todd Annarummo, on lap 19. Despite 11-caution periods that slowed the race, Masse opened up sizable leads, several times by large margins, but was never headed. Rob Goodenough, who started the race in seventh position, finished in the runner up spot followed by Ken Barry, Kirk Alexander, and 17 year old Norwich (CT) Free Academy student, Max Zachem. At one point in the race Zachem was joined in the top five by fellow high schooler Joey Jarvis. Both drivers will graduate from high school in June. Sixth through tenth was Les Hinckley, Joey Jarvis, Charlie Pasteryak, Dwight Jarvis and Eddie Spiers. Hinckley was also the recipient of a $400 bonus posted by motorsports columnist, Kevin Rice of Area Auto Racing News for the best average between finish the two races.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series division racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway Keith Rocco continued his winning ways by taking his second consecutive and third overall victory of the 2010 season in the 40-lap SK Modified feature, Woody Pitkat picked up his second win of 2010 in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Ted Cain picked up his second win of 2010 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Michael Wray was a first time career winner in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Kyle Casagrande became the first DARE Stock feature repeat winner of the 2010 season in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature with a last lap pass for the win.

The Waterford Speedbowl took on a new face last week as several truck loads of ground up asphalt was dumped and leveled on the parking area and access road to the shoreline oval. Once the summer heat beats on it a bit the stuff will harden up and will keep some of the dust down.

Keith Rocco, who won at Thompson and at Stafford was looking to score a grand-slam last weekend, ended up settling for a sixth as Justin Gaydosh pick up his first victory of the year in the 35-lap SK Modified event. Vin Esposito won the 30-lap Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature, securing his first win of the year. Al Stone III took his second win of the season in the 25-lap Street Stock feature, while Sean Caron also became a two-time winner after taking the 25-lap Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock checkered flag.

Mike Lichty held off Chris Perley to win the wreck-marred 50-lap ISMA SuperModified feature.

The Thompson International Speedway Thursday night Thunder Series saw Keith Rocco return to victory lane in the Sunoco Modifieds. Rocco, who has his sights set on the NASCAR National Title, ran a determined race after a last lap defeat on opening night at the hands of Ted Christopher. Shawn Monahan took a convincing win in the annual 50-lap extra distance event for the Limited Sportsman division. Jim Banfield broke Derik Randstroms stranglehold on victory lane as he wired the field to score a hard-fought victory in the Super Late Models. Rick Gentes took top honors in a wild Late Model event while Cam “Keith” McDermott was victorious in the TIS Modifieds. Randy Churchill, Jr was awarded the victory in the Mini Stocks following post-race technical inspection.

The Bowman-Gray Stadium, in Winston-Salem, NC ran a 100 lapper in front of an absolutely huge crowd. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series driver James Civali was a surprise entry in the Roger Hill No. 79. Civali got to see first hand why they call the North Carolina oval “The MadHouse”. Civali survived to finish fourth while Burt Myers took his 43rd career win. Myers, who drew the pole position, endured nine restarts before taking the win. Defending Champion Tim Brown was the fastest in qualifying for the third time this season. He recorded a lap of 13.432 seconds (67 mph) on the flat quarter-mile track. But he drew the 14th starting spot. Brown finished 13th. Lee Jeffreys finished second and Jonathan Brown was third. Civali’s intention was to get a “Heads-Up” on racing at the track as the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series will be racing there on Aug. 7.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Tom Rogers Jr. won his second consecutive NASCAR Modified feature event in a 35-lap event Saturday night after coming from a 14th starting position to do so. Rogers earned $1,450 for his 11th career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series triumph.

It was all in the family at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 while brother Kyle won the Nationwide Series event and the Camping World Truck event.

Dario Franchitti drove 199 nearly flawless laps, then survived the last one with a huge break from a spectacular crash to climb back on top of the open-wheel world Sunday with his second win at the Indianapolis 500.

Two years after a failed try in NASCAR, Franchitti held on with a scant 1.6 gallons of fuel left in the tank, a victory made possible by a crash that sent Mike Conway airborne and into the wall, and left the final lap to be run under a caution flag.

The victory made Franchitti’s boss, Chip Ganassi, the first owner to win Indy and NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in the same year. It also validated the Scottish driver’s return to the IndyCar circuit two years after celebrating his 2007 Indy victory by making an unsuccessful move with Ganassi to NASCAR. England’s Dan Wheldon, the 2005 winner who closed furiously as Franchitti slowed to save fuel in the final laps, was second, and fellow Brit Alex Lloyd was third, followed by Scott Dixon in fourth.

Five years ago in 2015, The stars and cars of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made their second stop of the season at the Thompson International Speedway at the Thompson Motorsports Park with a field of 30 Modifieds. Color Him Gone is the only way to describe Doug Coby’s dominate run at Thompson this past Wednesday night. Starting on the outside pole after being edged out of the top spot by Woody Pitkat, Coby took the lead in turn four just before completing lap two. Coby, with Pitkat in tow, set a torrid pace for 81 green flag laps before the first caution of the night flew on lap 82 when Anthony Nocella and Patrick Emerling came together between turns three and four. Just about all the lead lap cars pitted. Staying out to get his lap back was Ryan Preece who had gone a lap down after being sent to the rear on the start along with Todd Szegedy for making unapproved changes to their cars after qualifying.

Quick pit stop action by crew chief Phil Moran and his crew got Coby out of the pit without losing the lead. Preece was the recipient of the “Lucky Dog” award and was waved around to the tail end of the field and into the same lap as the leaders. Coby led the field to the restart on lap 89. Justin Bonsignore came out of nowhere to roll into the second spot as Pitkat began to fade. Just as the field had completed 100 laps Ron Silk had come to a halt in turn four with suspension issues. On the restart on lap 106 Coby, with much determination, opened up a ten car lead leaving Bonsignore in the dust.

Coby sprinted to the 125 lap finish unchallenged. Bonsignore finished second. Szegedy rebounded from his earlier penalty and brought the Garbarino Mystic Missile home in third spot. Keith Rocco, who started third, turned in a strong run with the Robert Our entry and finished fourth. Rounding out the top five was Pitkat. Sixth through tenth was Bobby Santos, Preece, Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito and Ted Christopher.

There were fourteen cars on the lead lap at the finish. Its amazing that NASCAR continues to allow Melissa Fifield to compete or better said to ride around on the track at all but at a crawl while the ultra fast Modifieds attempt to avoid her. On lap 54, at least three laps down to the leader she all but took out Woody Pitkat who was running second to Doug Coby at the time. It makes no sense and adds nothing to the show to allow her to run with the Modifieds. Wake up NASCAR before someone gets hurt or destroys their equipment!

In the Sunoco (SK Modified) event Preece took his lumps for causing an accident and was penalized to the rear for rough riding but still took the checkered flag. Cam McDermott led the early going while all were watching Preece and Keith Rocco who beat and banged each other until Preece nearly sent Rocco into the wall. Both were warned and told to knock it off or they would be penalized. Preece was eventually sent to the back of the field for rough racing during a lap nine caution which ended strong, and potentially top five, runs by Shawn Thibeault and Ed Pulio. Preece made his way to fourth place in two laps on the restart and eventually took the lead on lap eighteen.

A brief red flag on lap twenty-two bunched up the field but on the restart it was all Ryan Preece who maintained the lead and never looked back. Preece would survive one more caution before leading the final seven laps on route to victory lane and extending his points lead in the series. Preece said that it was a hard fought race and a good win but he did feel bad for contact that led to his penalty and caused damage to Thibeault and Pulio’s cars. “I’m just really upset how I got into Shawn Thibeault there. I feel bad for him and I’ll talk to him later,” said Preece. “Obviously that dampens the win right there, but (my team) gave me a great car. It’s really fun driving with them. They have great attitudes.”

Woody Pitkat finished a strong second while Rocco managed a third place finish and McDermott had to settle for a fourth place finish despite his early run at the front. Kerry Malone rounded out the top five.

In late Model action, the twenty-five lap Late Model feature included a massive wreck with less than ten laps to go that created a chaotic finish when early leader Jeff Rocco, who showed some muscle stretching out a two-and-a-half car length lead in the opening laps, was collected on a restart following a late race caution. It appeared that Rocco was taken out intentionally but it was later learned that the accident was a result of miscommunication between Rocco and his spotter. His brother, Keith Rocco, created a bit of his own drama when the cars came to the line for the restart, taking the battle for first and second nearly three-wide. Keith Rocco would settle for a 4th place finish while Late Model all-time win leader Rick Gentes added to his win total beating Brian Tagg to the line by .362 seconds. Larry Gelinas went on to finish third.

Other Wednesday night winners at Thompson were Ryan Waterman winning a spirited battle over Corey Hutchins and Eric Bourgeois in the Monster Mini-Stocks and the Vintage Outlaws.

The Mr. Rooter event was somewhat of a reunion of some of the all-time greats of the past in New England racing. Among those on hand was George Savory, Billy Harman, Billy Greco, Dickie Doo Ceravolo and George Summers. Among the missing was Mr Leo Cleary who is still in Florida recovering from a recent illness.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the temperature was up and the tension was high. Taking down NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly feature wins were Michael Gervais, Jr. in a wild 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn was a winner for the third consecutive week in the Late Model feature, Daniel Wesson was a first time winner in only his 8th start in the SK Light feature, David Arute got his first win of the season in the Limited Late Model feature, Alexandra Fearn recorded her first win of the season in the DARE Stock feature, and Devin O’Connell got his third win of the season in the Legend Cars Feature.

In the closing moments of the SK Modified 40 lapper Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece were racing side by side for the lead with neither driver giving an inch. Pitkat was able to edge Preece at the line for the lead on lap-36 and they remained side by side on lap-37 with Pitkat again leading by a nose at the line. That scenario repeated itself on lap-38 but as they raced out of turn 2 on lap-39, they touched wheels and both cars spun with Preece climbing over Pitkat’s front tire to bring the caution out and set up a green white checkered finish. This put Rowan Pennink into the lead with Gervais on his outside and Eric Berndt was now third with Tyler Hines on his outside in fourth. Pitkat was done for the evening, while Preece was able to keep going and he restarted in seventh place.

Gervais got a great restart and he powered his way past Pennink and into the lead but Pennink came back strong and was right on Gervais’ bumper as they took the white flag. Pennink made on last effort in turn 4 on the final lap but Gervais was able to hold him off and record his first win of the 2015 season. Hines finished third, with Avery and Berndt rounding out the top-5. Preece finished sixth. Following the conclusion of the event Pitkat felt that Preece intentionally took him out while Preece stated that a hole opened up and he went for it. The only way one could pass judgment on this incident would be from an overhead view.

Following the SK Modified feature a confrontation between the Pitkat and Preece teams took place in the pit area. As a result, Stafford Motor Speedway officials announced the following Tuesday that NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modified division driver Woody Pitkat had been suspended for the next event at the track. Pitkat’s car owner, Adam Skowyra was also suspended for the next event for: “Unsportsmanlike conduct, off-track. Actions detrimental to the sport.” Preece was fined $150 for what was termed: “Actions detrimental to the sport, unsafe conduct off-track, violation of safety rules.” Preece had been penalized for the on-track incident after it took place.

Tom Fox, director of racing operations at Stafford Speedway said Skowyra was involved in a physical confrontation with Preece and was suspended for that. He said Pitkat was suspended because he is responsible for his team’s actions. Fox said there was no physical confrontation between Pitkat and Preece following the event.

Keith Rocco keeps rolling along at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as he continues to build on his record setting feature win total. Rocco recorded his fourth SK Modified win of the season at the shoreline oval bringing his track win total to 111 wins. The win also brought Rocco closer to a career overall total of 200 wins which now total 198 which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

Twin 30 lap SK Modified features were on tap on what has to be considered one of the best nights, weather wise, for racing. In the first feature, Rocco chased Ted Christopher to the finish line. Christopher took the lead on lap 25 in opening 30 lapper which was slowed by only one caution. Paul Kusheba, who started on the pole. finished third. Rounding out the top five were Diego Monahan and Tim Jordan. Making his first start of the year was Kyle James who started 20th and finished tenth. In the SK Modified night-cap, Rocco started ninth and by lap 12 was in the top spot in the caution filled event. James started 20th again, avoided all the wrecks as he finished second. Christopher started tenth but ended up 19th after being involved in a wreck. Tyler Chadwick, Joe Gada and Ed Puleo rounded out the top five.

Other Saturday night winners at the Speedbowl were.Jack Aquilina in the Limited Sportsman, Corey Barry in the SK Lites, Cory Dimatteo in the Legends and Jordan Hadley in the Mini Stocks. The Late Models had the night off.

Round two of the much touted Tri-Track Series was run at the high banked 1/4 mile Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Matt Hirschman was the big winner of the 100 lapper as he took advantage of Woody Pitkat and Chris Pasteryak who were battling for the lead with two laps to go. Hirschman started 22nd on the field. Mike Holdredge who worked his way into the feature by qualifying in a b-main, started 27th and wound up third behind Steve Masse. Zane Zeiner and Todd Patnoad rounded out the top five. Pasteryak and Pitkat ended up 13th and 15th respectively. Sixth through tenth were Anthony Nocella, Andy Jankowiak, Ryan Preece, Doug Coby and Todd Annarummo.

Total payout – $47,419.14. Matt Hirschman received a whopping $6000 for his efforts. Masse was awarded $3600 and Holdredge, $2600. Pitkat, who led numerous laps ended up 15th at the finish Because of the fact that he had led a ton of laps his pay for the night was $3075.

Ron Silk executed a bump and run at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday night that ultimately led to a victory. Silk was pinch hitting in the Bill Park car that has been driven to two wins at Riverhead by Ryan Preece. Jason Agugliaro was on the receiving end of Silk’s bump. Vinny Biondolillo was runner-up while Tom Rogers Jr. crossed the line third Howie Brode and Shawn Solomito completed the top five. Agugliaro faded to seventh.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC Tim Brown cruised to an easy 76th career victory in the 100-lap Modified Division race at Bowman Gray Stadium on Saturday night. Burt Myers, who qualified among the top-four and accepted the Colors Edge Challenge, which moved him to the back of the field but with a chance to claim a $3,000 prize, wound up leaking water around the midpoint in the race and finished 12th. Chris Fleming finished second with Joe Ryan Osborne, third. David Calabrese and Ronnie Clifton rounded out the top five.

Kurt Busch inherited the lead from Kyle Larson on lap 133 of the rain-shortened Michigan 400 Sprint Cup event, and held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to score the victory in a race that was called after 138 of a scheduled 200 laps. A series of rain showers turned the event into a day-long, start-stop-start affair that wasn’t official until after 6 p.m. ET. Making his first XFINITY Series start since being injured in the season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February, Busch drove by Chase Elliott with less than five laps left and drove to victory in Saturday’s Great Clips 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed to the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway on Wednesday, June 5. Less than 24 hours prior to the event NASCAR and the speedway announced that the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race scheduled for Saturday, June 15 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park had been cancelled and will not be replaced. The June 15 event at Thompson will go on with the American-Canadian Tour being the featured division along with Thompson’s regular divisions.

There were 31 Modifieds on hand for the Thompson 125 on hand. Because of the fact that bad weather was moving in the Whelen Modified event was moved up to the third spot on the night’s feature event schedule.

Justin Bonsignore became the first driver to win five consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in April, and on Wednesday, he increased that number by one. Bonsignore scored his sixth straight win at the historic Connecticut oval, pulling away from the field after passing Jon McKennedy on a restart on lap 87 and never looking back. It was the 22nd career win for the Holtsville, New York, native and his second of the season. The victory was his 11th at Thompson, a number that leads all active drivers.

Doug Coby, who won his second consecutive Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, led the opening 13 laps, fought a tight condition early that dropped him to the bottom of the top 10. But after a quick pit stop by his Mayhew Tools team, Coby mounted a charge up to second at the finish.

Craig Lutz, who led a race-high 73 laps, finished third, Lutz turned in an outstanding performance. Former NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Burt Myers was fourth, driving for the injured Dave Sapienza, while Ron Silk rounded out the top five. Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Matt Swanson, Sam Rameau, Max Zachem and Woody Pitkat.

Twenty six of the original 31 starters were running at the finish. Among those who failed to finish were Anthony Nocella and Patrick Emerling who crashed in turn one on lap 98, Melissa Fifield who once again was going to slow parked it after completing 87 laps, Jimmy Blewett dropped out on lap 32 with ignition problems and Joey Mucciacciaro dropped out on lap 4 with an oil leak.

Once again Racefans.tv did an outstanding job of providing coverage and ample exposure to the track and competitors sponsors.

The Sunoco (SK type) modifieds provided a pleasant surprise in the form of Max Mclaughlin. Ryan Preece stole the show with a vintage run from 8th spot. Preece passed McLaughlin with four laps to go and went on to take the win. McLaughlin, son of former NASCAR Modified Champion Mike McLaughlin had never laid eyes on the Thompson track. Starting ninth in a Keith Rocco owned car, McLaughlin ran the track like he had been racing there for years. McLaughlin took the lead on lap 13 after a slick move and held off Preece until the closing moments. McLaughlin held on for second with Rocco, third. Troy Talman and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five.

The SK Light© Modifieds closed out the night with Bryan Narducci looking to continue his perfect win record at Thompson seeking a seventh victory in his seventh start in the division. Narducci worked his way through traffic to the top five when a significant wreck eleven laps into the 20-lap feature brought out the red flag for track cleanup. Narducci found himself trapped in third place after the restart allowing Steven Chapman to pull away. Narducci saved the best till last and was able to move to second with four laps to go and on the final turn of the final lap Narducci drove it in deep, pushing Chapman up the track and took the win continuing his perfect run in the SK Light© Modifieds. Narducci is expected to compete in a tour type modified at Stafford next week.

Other Wednesday night winners at Thompson were Scott Michalski in the Mini Stocks, William Wall in the Late Models and Brent Gleason in the Limited Sportsman.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, It was a banner night for Late Model driver Kevin Gambacorta as he celebrated his 11th wedding anniversary in style by winning the 30-lap Late Model feature and Gambacorta’s son Kolton won the Kids Big Wheel race that was held on the front stretch as part of Kids Night. Other winners were Eric Berndt in the SK Modified® feature, Alexander Pearl in the SK Light feature, Gary Patnode was a first time career winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson won the Street Stock feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper, Keith Rocco got by early leader Eric Berndt for the lead on lap-23 but his lead didn’t last long as Berndt retook the lead from Rocco on lap-25. Troy Talman was running in third with Cory DiMatteo fourth and Glen Reen was fifth with Todd Owen and Ronnie Williams right behind him in sixth and seventh place. With 10 laps to go, Rocco was still giving chase to Berndt for the lead with Talman, DiMatteo, Reen, Owen, and Williams still making up the top-7. Rocco couldn’t get close enough to Berndt to make a move as Berndt notched his second win of the 2019 season. Reen finished third with Talman and DiMatteo rounding out the top-5.

In the SK Lite 30 lapper Alexander Pearl beat out Nick Anglace and secured his second win of the 2019 season. Teddy Hodgdon came home in third with Bryan Narducci and Mikey Flynn rounding out the top-5.

At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island Roger Turbush scored his first ever NASCAR Modified win. John Fortin finished second with Kyle Soper, third. On tap this weekend at the eastern Long Island raceway is the $32,650 Islip 300.

Racing at the Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina fell victim to rain.

Ron Williams was the Valenti Modified Racing Series winner at Monadnock. Kirk Alexander was second.

In NASCAR Cup action at Brooklyn, Michigan, Joey Logano won the pole in qualifying and then led for more than three-quarters of the actual race. Logano won his second NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, holding off Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr. in overtime on Monday because of a Sunday rain-out.

Former NASCAR CEO Brian France pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in New York’s Hamptons in 2018. Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said the 56-year-old France pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling. If he meets the requirements, the charge will be reduced to a traffic violation, a mere slap on the wrist..

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, R.I.02891.Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.E-Mail,smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.

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