RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Third Week Of August

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

Sixty years ago in 1960 the rains descended on the Stafford Springs Speedway turning the track into a mud bog. Dick Beauregard recorded 25 lap Modified wins at the Waterford Speedbowl on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Ted Stack and Ed Moody followed suit as they recorded wins in the non-Ford and Bomber divisions respectively. At Seekonk, Don Hall was the Modified division winner. Reino Tulonen was the winner in the Cut Downs.

The big event of the weekend was the 100-Mile National Championship for Sportsman-Modified Stock Cars at the one mile Trenton Speedway. Elton Hildreth took the win over Red Foote, Jack Hart, Bob Malzahn and Bill Wimble. Also in the field was Ray Hendrick who finished 18th and Bill Slater who finished 29th.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 Bill Wimble made it four in a row on the dirt at the Stafford Springs Speedway on Friday night. Dick Dunn took the checkers at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Charlie Savage, who would become the first SK Modified Champion when the division was formed at Stafford, was the Bomber feature winner. Steady Eddie Flemke won the first ever extra distance Modified event, a 100 lapper, at the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. Frank Mathalia finished second and was followed by Billy Harman and Elton Hill. Kenny Shoemaker made it two in a row at the Fonda Speedway as he won a 100 lapper. Deke Astle was the Modified winner at Seekonk. Sonny Mello was the B division winner. At Utica – Rome rain prevailed for the third time of the season.

NASCAR Modifieds and Sportsman competitors from up and down the east coast converged on the Trenton Speedway in New Jersey for the third annual Trenton 200. Ray Hendrick, in the Tant/Mitchell No.11 took the win over Wild Bill Slater in the Connecticut Valley Rocket V-8. Bugs Stevens in the Ole Blu of Len Boehler finished third. Bill Wimble and Bill Dennis rounded out the top five.

Fifty years ago in 1970 Friday night racing at Malta rained out. In twin 25 lap action at Stafford on Saturday night, Mr. Leo Cleary put the Garbarino Bros.4 in Victory lane as did Eddie Flemke in the Garutti Bros.14. At Fonda, Harry Peek and Eddie Pieniezak did the trick and at Plattsburg, Dick Nephew took the win. Walt Dombrowski put the L&M in victory lane at Waterford. Larry Crandall did the trick in the Waterford Daredevils. At Seekonk, Bill Augustine took the A division win. George Ponte was the B division winner.

The annual Trenton 200 was on tap on Sunday and when the checker dropped, Ray Hendrick took the win over Max Berrier, Sal Dee, Paul Radford and Bugsy Stevens. Down in Virginia, Jimmie Hensley was the NASCAR Late Model Sportsman winner.

Forty five years ago in 1975, Fred Astle Sr was the Modified winner at Seekonk in the Steve May 15.

Forty years ago in 1980, Allen Harbach took the Wednesday night win at New Egypt. Fred Harbach finished second with Jamie Tomaino, third. Friday at Stafford, Richie Evans beat out Leo Cleary and Bugsy Stevens. Saturday night at Westboro, John Rosati in the Tuck Hoffman 73 did the deed as he won out over Ronnie Bouchard and Cleary. Reggie Ruggiero, in the Bobby Judkins 2x ruled at Riverside. Ronnie Rocco and Mike Stefanik followed. At Thompson on Sunday, Jerry Cook won the 40 lap Thompson 300 qualifier. Brian Ross finished second with Bugsy Stevens, third. Other weekend winners included George Kent at Shangri-La, Maynard Troyer at Spencer, Tom McCann at Islip, Allen Whipple at Claremont, Rick Donnelly at Waterford, Jamie Tomaino at Wall, Don LaJoie at Danbury, Larry Record at Star and Kenny Busch at Monadnock and Geoff Bodine won a Late Model Sportsman event at South Boston

Thirty five years ago in 1985,the modified tour was at Waterford for a Wednesday night event. Ray Miller in the Simons No.9 took the win over Jamie Tomaino and Bugsy Stevens. Waterford was one of the few tracks that Richie Evans didn’t master as the best he could do was sixth. Friday night at Stafford, Jamie Tomaino scored as he out ran Doug Hevron and Charlie Jarzombek for the win. Wayne Anderson won a 200 lapper at New Egypt and it was Richie Evans over Doug Hewitt at Spencer. Larry Ross pulled an upset at Waterford as he beat Bob Potter and Joe Tiezzi for the win and at Riverside, Mike Stefanik won the annual 200.Tim Contarino won at Riverhead and at Shangri-La it was Randy Hedger over Jim Spencer. In Sunday SK-Mod action at Thompson, Wayne Dion beat out Keith Williams. In Winston Cup action at Bristol, Dale Earnhardt was the winner.

Thirty years ago in 1990, the Modified Tour was at Thompson on Wednesday for a 150 lapper. Mike Mclaughlin took the win over Reggie Ruggiero. Stafford rained out on Friday and Waterford never completed their program because of curfew. The mod tour was at Riverside on Saturday. Richie Gallup took the win over Jeff Fuller. Lenny Fischer won at Riverhead. Five years ago in 1995,the modified tour was at Stafford on Friday night. Steve Park took the lead from Ricky Fuller on lap 77 of the 150-lap event and went on to record the win. Fuller ended up second with Mike Stefanik, third. Stefanik had the field covered but was held by officials on pit road after he made an illegal pass on the track. Satch Worley and Reggie Ruggiero rounded out the top five. The SK 50 lapper was won by Bo Gunning with Jim Broderick, second. Veteran Jerry Pearl took the victory at Waterford on Saturday night. Eric Berndt finished second. Jim Broderick had the misfortune of breaking his wrist after being involved in an early race wreck. Tom Fox was the Late Model winner. At Riverside, Ed Spires took the modified win and Mike Stefanik held off Kelly Moore as he won the Busch North event at the amusement park oval. At Riverhead, Chuck Stuer got his fourth of the year. Tempers were hot at Bristol Tenn. where Dale Earnhardt dumped Terry Labonte into the wall on the final lap. Labonte managed to win the event but he wasn’t too happy with Mr. Goodwrench. Earlier in the event, Earnhardt had dumped Rusty Wallace. Steve Grissom was the BGN winner. During the weekend it was announced that sprint car driver Doug Wolfgang had been awarded $1.2million for burn injuries incurred at the Lakeside Speedway.

Twenty years ago in 2000 the Featherlite Modifieds were at Stafford for a 150 on Friday night. Ted Christopher had the dominant car until his engine sputtered with three laps to go. Waiting in the wings was John Blewett III who took the lead and the win. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed by Tom Craven, Reggie Ruggiero, Rob Summers and Tim Connolly. The SK’s ran twin 50’s with Ted Christopher and Lloyd Agor taking the wins. Saturday night at Waterford saw Tucker Reynolds Jr. in victory lane as he beat out Dennis Gada and Ed Dachenhausen for the win. Ted Christopher took on the New Yorkers in the Lancaster Open. Christopher took the win only to be disqualified as track officials stated that his carburetor was illegal. At Riverhead it was Ed Brunnhoelzl Jr. and in Winston Cup action at Bristol, Rusty Wallace took the pole and the win. Kevin Harvick did likewise in the companion Busch Grandnational event. Scott Quinn got a hard fought win at Thompson on Sunday night. Curt Brainard finished second with Bert Marvin, third. In Busch North Series action, also at Thompson, Tracy Gordon took the win.

Ten years ago in 2010, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night for the running of the Budweiser 150. Ted Christopher literally cleaned house as he totally dominated the 150 after winning the track’s regular Modified feature. The big story of the night should have been Christopher’s outstanding drive but that was overshadowed by the story in the Hartford Current that stated that speedway owner Don Hoenig would have to move his August Thursday night date to another week because the Whelen Modified Tour Series was going to be included in the 2011 schedule at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon. The IZOD IndyCar Series would return to Loudon after a 13-year absence on August 14 of 2011. It didn’t sound like a big deal but it really was because of the fact that the Thompson Speedway had supported the NASCAR Modified Tour series since its inception in 1985. NASCAR, who’s only loyalty is to the dollar, could care less about Hoenig’s loyalty. Those who are employed by “The Company”, as NASCAR is called by its employees, will tell you off the record that the organization is run like a mafia. Its there way or else! It would be interesting to see what would NASCAR’s reaction be if Hoenig dropped the entire tour from his schedule in 2011.

A somewhat slim field of 29 Modifieds were on hand for the event that carried a purse of $83,764. Christopher was the Busch Pole sitter as he toured the 5/8 mile oval in 18.624seconds. Second fastest was Rowan Pennink. The redraw saw Justin Bonsignore on the pole for the start with Christopher, outside. At the drop of the green, in a hail of fireworks, Christopher had the lead by the time the field exited turn two. Setting a blistering pace, Christopher led the field from the start and only relinquished the lead twice during the Budweiser King of Beers 150 as he went on to record his 37th career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory. Bobby Santos took the lead after Christopher pitted for three tires under caution on Lap 95, however, it only took Christopher 10 laps to get back in front after the restart on Lap 101. Santos finished the race in third place.

Christopher was clearly the class of the field building leads by as much as four seconds before losing his advantage after the fourth and final caution flag of the race flew on Lap 149 after Erick Rudolph’s problems set up the final sprint to the finish. Ronnie Silk, who moved into the second spot in the closing moments, ended up in second spot with Santos, third. Following Santos across the line was Rowan Pennink and Mike Stefanik who rounded out the top five. Todd Szegedy, Chuck Hossfeld, Doug Coby, Eric Goodale and Glen Reen rounded out the top 10.

It was Christopher’s 10th Whelen Modified Tour win at Thompson, and his fourth in the Tour’s last six races at the .625-mile oval. The Plainville, Conn., driver led 141 of the 156 laps. With the win, Christopher took the championship points lead from Santos, who had led through the first nine races. Christopher’s three wins and six top-fives have forged a 14-point lead over Santos with Mike Stefanik in third, 85 points back.

The Thompson International Speedway also ran its regular six divisions. In addition to his Whelen Modified Tour Series victory Christopher scored a thrilling victory in the Sunoco Modified feature. Fellow Whelen Modified Tour double-duty driver Mike Stefanik turned in a dominating performance to earn the Super Late Model victory. In other NASCAR Whelen All-America Series action, Mark Oliveira was victorious in an eventful Late Model feature. Scott Sundeen took down his first Limited Sportsman win of the 2010 season. R.J. Marcotte continued to roll in the TIS Modifieds. Dwayne Dorr posted his second Mini Stock win.

Christopher and Woody Pitkat slugged it out until the final lap when Christopher was able to forge ahead for the lead and ultimate victory, his 77th at the Northeastern Connecticut oval.

Double SK Modified features at the Stafford Motor Speedway helped Keith Rocco get a little closer to his dream of becoming the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion. The championship is based on a driver’s best 18 finishes. Rocco’s win was the 17th that counted toward the title. Frank Ruocco and Keith Rocco were the winners of the twin 40-lap SK Modified® feature events, Corey Hutchings won the 30-lap Late Model feature, Matt Galko won the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Shawn Thibeault won the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Andrew Hayes was the winner of the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.

Ruocco led the field around to the white flag and he held off both Woody Pitkat and Ryan Preece to take the victory, his fourth win of the 2010 season. Rocco finished 7th in the first race. In the second 40 lapper, Rocco rode behind Ted Christopher until the final lap of the race when he made a move to the inside of Christopher in turn 1. The two cars ran wheel to wheel down the backstretch and when they hit turn 3, Rocco surged ahead of Christopher and came off turn 4 with the race lead and his 8th victory of the 2010 season. Christopher finished second, with Preece, Todd Owen, and Zach Sylvester rounding out the top-5.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl Keith Rocco lived out his dream as he became the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion as a result of his convincing win. Rocco started from the No. 12 position and had moved into the fourth position by lap 11. He took over the second spot by lap 26, then tracked down race leader Tom Abele, where he finally passed him down low on the backstretch of lap 29 to take the lead.

The second generation racer survived one final restart to win the race as Kyle James snuck past Abele to finish second. Abele wound up third, Rob Janovic fourth and Tyler Chadwick fifth.

In other Speedbowl action, Chris Deritis of Philadelphia, PA won the 25-lap NEMA Midget race and Rowley, MA native Chris Perley took the checkered flag in a 50-lap race for the visiting IMSA Supermodifieds. In the 100-lap Modified Racing Series event, Stephen Masse of Bellingham, MA dominated to take his third career win and first in the Series at Waterford. Ted Christopher finished second and was followed by Doug Coby,. Rowan Pennink and Jon McKennedy, Christopher told the Hartford Currant on Sunday that he had been disqualified.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem North Carolina ran twin 25’s for their Modifieds. Recording wins were Tim Brown and Brad Robbins. Burt Myers recorded a 7th and a 6th.

John Beatty Jr recorded his first ever Modified win at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Brad Keselowski managed to make it through pit stops despite mechanical problems, then grabbed the lead on a restart with eight laps to go and pulled away to win the NASCAR Nationwide race.

Five years ago in 2015, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was in Bristol, TN for the Bush Beans 150. The event, a combination North-South divisions race drew 41 cars. On a night that saw rain pause, and ultimately shorten the Bush’s Beans 150, Ryan Preece grabbed the lead on Lap 75 just before the midway break and held the position during a subsequent caution on Lap 96. As rain and severe thunderstorms loomed during track clean-up, NASCAR officials threw the yellow-checkered flag on Lap 103, sending Preece’s No. 6 TS Haulers/East West Marine Chevrolet to Victory Lane.

The Bush’s Beans 150 originally went green as scheduled just after 6 p.m., but a Lap 2 accident that took out three potential checkered flag contenders in Justin Bonsignore, Doug Coby and Todd Szegedy proved to be the first hurdle of the evening. While under caution for clean-up, rain arrived, which forced the resumption of the Bush’s Beans 150 to after the conclusion of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. The Whelen Modifieds re-started five hours later just after 11 p.m.

The lap 2 crash was a devastating one for Coby and Szegedy who were in the thick of the point battle. In a recorded interview, Coby stated that his car got away from him, causing the accident. Coby’s crew and Szegedy’s crew were unable to make repairs as the ended up finishing 34th and 35th respectively. Justin Bonsignore’s mount was also damaged extensively as he ended up dead last in 36th spot.

Coors Light Pole Award winner Woody Pitkat finished second after leading the majority of the first half of the race and Donny Lia joined him on the podium in third. Ryan Newman and Bobby Santos brought home the top five. Andy Seuss, Jeff Goodale, Chase Dowling, Timmy Solomito and Patrick Emerling completed the top 10. Seuss was the highest-finishing Whelen Southern Modified Tour entry, and received credit for a victory for that tour.

There were seven cautions for 45 laps. As previously mentioned the first yellow flew on lap two when Coby lost it and collected Szegedy, Bonsignore, Gary Putnam and Jason Myers. A long red flag period ensued to past 11pm because of an interruption of a scheduled truck race and more rain. The second caution waved on lap 29 for Bob Measmer who bounced off the wall. The third caution flew on lap 36 when Gary Putnam and JR Bertuccio tangled in turn one. Kyle Ebersol brought out the fourth caution on lap46 when he spun between turns three and four. The fifth caution flew on lap 69 when Shawn Solomito and David Calabrese spun between turns one and two. The half way competition caution flew on lap 78. The seventh and final caution flew on lap 96 when Kyle Ebersol blew his engine. While the field was under caution the decision was made to stop the event because of impending rain.

At the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday night rain prevailed. The fireworks that were supposed to accompany the on track action will be postponed to Sept. 18th, the Final Friday Night Shoot-Out.

In NASCAR Modified action at the Long Island east end oval John Fortin scored his third win of the season over Tom Rogers Jr and Ryan Preece.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem NC word comes that northern fans can enjoy the antics at the Mad House on a weekly basis next year as Racefan.TV has indicated that races will be televised live on the web site.

Jason Myers won his seventh Modified race of the year as racing concluded for another year as the stadium will now be converted to hosting football games. Tim Brown, who will be out of a job when Michael Waltrip Racing shuts down at the conclusion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, captured his 10th Bowman Gray Racing Modified Division points title in an illustrious career. He did so by holding off rivals and brothers Jason and Burt Myers. Brown finished with 808 points, 24 ahead of Jason Myers. Burt Myers started the night second, 19 points behind Brown. But Burt Myers had to leave the race with seven laps left and finished 14th. That gave Burt Myers third, 55 points behind Brown after double points in the 150-lap finale.

Jason Myers, who has never won a points championship, also had a tremendous year. In addition to his seven wins, had 10 poles, 13 top-five finishes and 21 top-10 finishes. Brown had four wins, 17 top-5s and 23 top-10 finishes.

Burt Myers, who has won six points titles, spoke with a sour grapes attitude after how the year finished. His car sputtered with seven laps, and he said it was a fuel pickup problem. He came back at lap 149, but it was too late. Myers blamed the handicapped system in the draws, the inverts and it being more about entertainment than racing and said he cherish championships at other places more than he did at Bowman Gray.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, NH. Les Hinckley took the 100 lap win over Todd Patnode, Russ Hersey, Woody Pitkat and Todd Szegedy. Sixth through tenth were Chris Pasteryak, Dave Schneider, Matt Mead, Rowan Pennink and Carl Medieros.

Hinckley, who last won a series race in July of 2012, started on the pole and led the first 9-laps before Stafford Springs, CT, driver Woody Pitkat slipped by to take over top spot. Pitkat would hold the lead until lap 51 when Hinckley took it back and was never headed.

There were 26 race teams on hand for the 11th race of the season. All 26 drivers started the race. The event ran non-stop with the exception of a minor spin on lap 46.

In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Ted Christopher continued his hot streak as he took the 35 lap SK Modified win over Keith Rocco and Joe Gada. Rocco, who recently fell behind in his quest for the NASCAR Weekly National driver championship, has been slightly off his game in recent weeks. Rocco won th 30 lap Late Model event. Rocco’s win in the Late Model division at the shoreline oval brought his track win total to 117 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 205 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

Al Stone was the Limited Sportsman winner, Josh Galvin was the SK Light winner and Wayne Burroughs was the Mini Stock winner.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday to George Summers who completed 80 laps. Summers is one of the all-time greats in New England Auto Racing.

The New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame’s class of 2015 has been announced. Sam Posey, one of America’s top road racers, and Greg Sacks, the winner of the 1985 Daytona Firecracker 400, are part of the class that will be honored at the NEAR Hall of Fame 18th induction banquet Sunday, Nov. 8 at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, CT. The class also includes owner/driver Joey Laquerre, car owner the late Paul Dunigan and drivers the late Jim McCallum and Stan Greger, a quartet that collectively has 27 track championships. The multi-faceted Lew Boyd, presently a book seller and publisher, and Lee USA Speedway promoter Red MacDonald will also be inducted.

Kyle Busch scored his eighth career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night and he did it in dramatic fashion. Busch took the lead during a green-white-checkered restart when race leader Chris Buescher ran out of gas and drove to victory in the Food City 300. It was Busch’s 150th career victory in NASCAR’s three national divisions.

Joey Logano worked lapped traffic to perfection and held off Harvick to score his third win of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The Team Penske driver also led 176 laps en route to his second consecutive night-race win at Bristol.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series rolled into the Thompson Speedway on Wednesday evening, Aug 14.for the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150. Thirty one cars were on hand along with a full house of fans.

Doug Coby earned his fourth victory of the season in the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, breaking Justin Bonsignore’s streak of six consecutive wins at the Connecticut oval. It was Coby’s 28th career Whelen Modified Tour victory, his sixth career at Thompson and it increased the points lead with just five races remaining in the championship points schedule.

Coby dominated the early laps after earning his seventh Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award of the season in qualifying. When the caution flag flew on lap 84, Coby was leading the charge over Bonsignore, and both of them led the field down pit road. Coby elected to take his fresh tires on the pit stop, and exited the pits second, behind Bonsignore.

Coby restarted third, after Jon McKennedy used some strategy to earn the lead. He wouldn’t get back to the top spot until the final laps. After former series champion Bobby Santos III took the lead on lap 129, a caution with just 11 laps to go left Santos, Craig Lutz, Bonsignore and Coby at the front. All four of them had led laps, but only three of them would finish. At the green, Santos stumbled with a transmission issue, Lutz spun his tires, and Coby hung a hard left to clear all of them, into the lead. He never looked back.

“When someone messes up in front of you, you hope you have enough room, you crank it to the left, and hope no one is going to spin you,” Coby said of the restart dash.

Twenty four of the original 31 starters were running at the finish. Among those who failed to finish was Santos who ginished 23rd with a broken shifter, Tommy Catalano with suspension problems, Joey Mucciacciaro with radiator problems, Kevin Shea with handling problems, Walter Sutcliff retired after a crash on lap 13, Melissa Fifield had her right foot fall asleep after 11 laps and Kyle Elwood lost an engine after only three laps..

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series takes a week off before heading to the Super Modified capitol of the world, the Oswego Speedway on Saturday, August 31. Doug Coby continues to lead Justin Bonsignore and Ron Silk by 47 points. Craig Lutz sits fourth, some 85 points back and Eric Goodalerounds out the top five, 107 points back.

All five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions were also in competition, along with the NEMA Midgets, where veteran sprint car star Sammy Swindell was in competition. Among those who were slated to be missing from the weekly venue were Sunoco Modified driver Todd Owen who had been disqualified from his third-place finish in the August 4 feature event and suspended from the next two NASCAR events at Thompson Speedway, following laboratory results taken on tire samples from his car. Owen has also been fined $500 for the infraction. In the SK Light Modifieds®, driver Bryan Narducci had been disqualified from his victory on Sunday, August 4, and suspended for the next two NASCAR events at Thompson Speedway. Narducci’s No. 01 was found with tires that did not clear laboratory testing after the August 4 event. He was also fined $500 for the infraction. Following penalties handed down to Todd Owen (Sunoco Modifieds) and Bryan Narducci (SK Light Modifieds®), Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials have accepted a request for an appeal from both competitors.

The appeal will not take place prior to Wednesday’s 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150, meaning both Owen and Narducci will be eligible to compete in their respective divisions for the night.

Driver Keith Caruso has been fined $500 for failing to relinquish illegal parts found on his car following his victory on July 28. The fine must be paid before Caruso can return to NASCAR competition at Thompson Speedway. Limited Sportsman driver Ryan Waterman was suspended for one NASCAR event following contact under yellow flag conditions during the August 4 race. He is also on probation for the remainder of the Whelen All-American Series season. Limited Sportsman driver Randy Waterman has been suspended for two NASCAR events at Thompson Speedway for contact under yellow flag conditions and off-track behavior. Randy Waterman is also on probation for the remaining of the NASCAR season.

Limited Sportsman driver Scott Sousa has been placed on probation for the remainder of the NASCAR season following off-track actions during the August 4 race day.

Keith Rocco made it two in a row in the Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds. Rocco started seventh and in the words of announcer Matt Buckler, “If he dug any harder he would end up in China”. Taking the lead on lap 10, Rocco and Ron Williams staged a spirited battle but in the end Rocco was not to be denied as he streaked under the checkered flag. It was his 62nd career win at Thompson. Williams finished a close second and was followed by Woody Pitkat, Todd Owen and Troy Talman.

The only way to beat Bryan Narducci is either park him or wreck him. Narducci was headed for the front in the 20 lap SK Lite 20 lapper when he made slight contact with Alber Ouellette. Ouellette ended up in the wall and officials parked Narducci. Teddy Hodgdon took the win over Wayne Burroughs.

Other Wednesday night winners at Thompson were Avery Stoehr in the NEMA Midgets, Shawn Monahan in the Limited Sportsman, Doug Curry in the Mini Stocks and Brian Tagg in the Late Models.

Racing action returns to Thompson on Labor Day weekend on Sunday, Sept 1 for a makeup day of on-track action on Sunday, September 1. NASCAR’s Whelen All American Series divisions will take center stage as drivers seek valuable points with only two more races before the Sunoco World Series of Racing season finale in October.

Foxwoods® Resort Casino, located near Ledyard, Ct, announced last Wednesday, Aug 14 its new three-year partnership with Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, home of the first purpose-built road course and first asphalt high-banked oval in America. Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park fans will have the opportunity to take advantage of Foxwoods promotions and special offers throughout the racing season including a Circuit One Luxury Driving Experience held at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Evidently those in charge at the casino are aware that live TV presentations give unlimited visibility to Foxwoods.

In regular weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the Late Model division had top billing with their extra distance Late Model 50 feature event. Ryan Fearn came away the big winner on the night, capturing his first career Late Model feature win. Fearn’s winnings from the night totaled $3,450 with $1,200 in purse money, $1,900 from the Gaston Racing Enterprises High Roller Challenge that saw Fearn roll a 1 in victory lane for the winner takes all option, and $350 in contingency bonus money from iRacing, New England Racing Fuel, Sunoco, and Bob’s Painting and Del’s Vinyl Siding. Other winners on the night included Ronnie Williams in the SK Modified® feature, Bryan Narducci in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Meghan Fuller in the Street Stock feature.

It was kind of an”All in the Family” night as Ryan Fearn won the Late Model event and Alexandra Fearn won the Limited Late Model event, her third of the year, and Bryan Narducci, his sixth of the year, and his cousin Alexander Pearl finished one-two in the SK Lite event.

Ron Williams took the lead back under a mid-race restart while Stephen Kopcik and Keith Rocco resumed their side by side duel for second. Rocco got clear of Kopcik on lap-33 and Cory DiMatteo was now side by side with Kopcik for third with Michael Gervais in fifth. Kopcik took third on lap-34 with Gervais pulling alongside DiMatteo for fourth. Up front, Rocco pulled to the outside of Williams on lap-35 and the two leaders were once again side by side. Williams cleared Rocco on lap-37 with Kopcik diving to the inside of Rocco for second. Coming to 2 to go, Rocco was right on Williams’ back bumper. Rocco tried a crossover move but Williams was able to fend off his challenge. The two cars touched going into turn 3 but Williams was able to maintain the lead with Rocco still in second. Rocco made one last bid for the lead in turns 3+4 but Williams took the checkered flag to pick up his second consecutive win and fifth of the 2019 season. Rocco finished second with Kopcik, Gervais, and DiMatteo rounding out the top-5.

On the east end of Long Island, in weekly NASCAR Modified racing on a bullring track sometimes being in the right place at the right time is as important as any other ingredient for success and such was the case for former multi-time champion Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway. Rogers pounced on a late race opening to race his Denise & Ken Darch owned machine from third to first notching his third win of the 2019 NASCAR Whelen All American Series.

As the checker flag waved Tom Rogers Jr. moved to within 8 wins of the all time track record held by the late legend “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek at 63 tallies.

Dylan Slepian, knocking on the door for that elusive first career NASCAR Modified win would have to be content with runner-up money in the My Guy Auto Supply NAPA Auto Parts Chevy while championship leader Kyle Soper crossed the line third in the Eastport Feeds Chevy. Heading into the final month of racing Soper enjoys a 74-point margin over Rogers. John Fortin Sr. and Dave Brigati completed the top five.

It was good to see Dave Sapienza back in a Modified. Sapienza suffered back injuries in an early season NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series event at the Wall Stadium. He finished eighth.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium Burt Myers capped off the Bowman Gray season with his 10th Modified championship and fourth in a row. The 10 championships tie him with Tim Brown for the most titles in the division. Prior to the event, Myers led Brown by seven points and needed to finish two positions ahead of Brown. After leading late in the race, Myers finished third. Brown finished well back in the pack after he and Chris Fleming rubbed wheels and bounced off the guard rail on lap 145 of the scheduled 150 laps. Brandon Ward and James Civali, who was third in the points chase, bumped crossing the finish line and Ward won in what turned out to be 166 laps.

But it was Myers who stole the show for the fourth straight season. And he celebrated his championship by doing a doughnut in the infield. Then he got out of the car and held up an orange No. 10 placard.

The conversation between Myers and his crew continued on the radio late in the race, when he led as late as lap 154. But Civali bumped Myers and Myers maintained his steering and went back to third. Myers finished the season with five wins to give him 84, seven less than Brown, the leader.

Bowman Gray shuts down in mid August every year. The stadium is used for Wake Forest University football games. Look for Burt Myers to continue his season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.

John Spence advised that the Saturday night program of the Valenti Modified Racing Series at the Monadnock Speedway (Aug 17) was cancelled due to pending forecasts calling for thunderstorms. It is unknown if the event will be rescheduled.

Denny Hamlin chased down Matt DiBenedetto in the closing laps of Saturday night’s Monster Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway and denied the underdog an upset victory. DiBenedetto had learned four days before the race that Leavine Family Racing wasn’t bringing him back for a second season, and a Bristol victory would have been a tremendous résumé boost during free agency.

Concord-based Speedway Motorsports Inc. disclosed that it has reached a definitive merger agreement worth $800 million to take the company private. In April, privately held Sonic Financial Corp. proposed buying Speedway Motorsports’ 40.8 million outstanding shares for $735 million.

The merger agreement approved by the Speedway Motorsports (NYSE: TRK) board is for $19.75 per share, or $806.6 million. Sonic Financial is owned by Bruton Smith and his family, who already control 70% of Speedway Motorsports.

Both companies are based in the Charlotte area.

The deal is expected to close by the end of September.

This marks the latest move within NASCAR to consolidate ownership of the sport’s main entities as part of what is envisioned as a major overhaul of the racing series. In May, International Speedway Corp. (NYSE: ISCA), a Daytona Beach, Florida-based track operator, approved a $2 billion merger with sanctioning body NASCAR.

In both instances, taking the publicly held track operators private will give the companies greater freedom to add and subtract races and make other changes in collaboration with NASCAR itself. The France family owns NASCAR and holds a dominant position in International Speedway.

“It will be interesting to watch it unfold,” said Steve Lauletta, a sports marketing consultant and former president of NASCAR team Chip Ganassi Racing. “It’s easier to make decisions with their new structure and with NASCAR’s new structure, but they are (together) going to have to make some tough decisions.”

Speedway Motorsports owns eight NASCAR tracks around the country, including Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bruton Smith, 92, is the company’s founder and executive chairman. His son, Marcus Smith, is 45 and became CEO in 2015. Major changes are anticipated for the 2021 season, when NASCAR’s largest track operators will be privately owned. Whether further consolidation may occur is unknown.

“It makes it easier if they want to roll everything up together,” said Mike Boykin, CEO of Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, a marketing firm that represents several NASCAR corporate sponsors. “(Either way, the sport) can make changes quicker and it allows them to call audibles or push initiatives without some of the politics that existed before.”

NASCAR lost more than half of its TV audience between 2005 and the present. Stock-car racing has struggled to attract younger fans and a significant portion of its core audience has abandoned the sport. Declining ticket sales forced both companies to remove grandstands and luxury suites. At the Charlotte track, the number of seats has been cut in half — to 79,000 — since 2008. There are 75 luxury suites at the speedway, compared with 113 a decade earlier.

Wells Fargo forecasts $464 million in revenue and per-share earnings of 94 cents for Speedway Motorsports this year. Weaknesses in the sport, according to the analyst report this month, include aging tracks in need of investment, including at Speedway Motorsports; status quo or worse fan interest; increasing competition from other sports leagues and entertainment options; and a lack of spending power among NASCAR fans.

More than half of stock-car racing fans earn less than $50,000 — less than its big-league sports rivals. Declining ticket sales have hurt the industry with revenue at International Speedway and Speedway Motorsports falling by 17% and 25%, respectively, from peak levels, according to the Wells Fargo report.

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