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

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WAVERLY, RI – Seventy years ago in 1950, Mickey Gill finished out the season at Seekonk with a win and the track championship.

Sixty five years ago in 1955, George Smaldone was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk. Carl Valenti was the non-Ford winner.

Sixty years ago in 1960 Ron Narducci scored his second win of the year on the dirt at Stafford. Wild Bill Slater who had left the Waterford Speedbowl for greener pastures at the Norwood Arena returned to his old haunts on Wednesday night and won the Modified feature at the shoreline oval. Ted Stack was the non-Ford winner and Ed Moody prevailed in the Bombers. Don Collins resumed his winning ways on Saturday night. At Seekonk, Billy Clarke was the A division winner. Les Andrews was the Novice winner.

Fifty five years ago in 1965 there was no racing on the dirt at Stafford. Charlie Webster was the 30 lap Modified winner at Waterford. Eddie Bunnell was the winner in the Bombers. George Summers won the Modified 30 lapper at Seekonk. Dick Machado was the B winner. Rene Charland was the winner at the Utica-Rome Speedway over Tom Kotary and Jerry Cook.

Fifty years ago in 1970, the Thompson Speedway ran their first and only 500 lap modified event. Forty-two cars started and after a long grind, Bugsy Steven’s was first across the stripe. Bernie Miller finished second and was followed by Ed Yerrington, Fred DeSarro, Jimmy Griffin, Johnny Thompson and Bob Karvonen. Other weekend action saw Stevens take the win at Stafford over Yerrington, Jerry Cook and Leo Cleary and at Utica-Rome where Ray Sitterly took the win over Lou Lazzaro, Dave Lape and Cook who flew in from Thompson. Dick Watson made it two in a row in Modified action at the Waterford Speedbowl. Bob Blanchette was the Late Model Daredevil winner. At Seekonk a young Ronnie Bouchard mastered the ¼ mile oval. Hank Goff was the B winner.

Forty five years ago in 1975, Ed Brunnhoelzl took the win at Islip over Jerry Cook, Fred Harbach and Greg Sacks. The modifieds ran at Watkins Glen where Merv Treichler took the win over Cook, Maynard Troyer and Bob Vee. At Thompson, Leo Cleary took the open comp win over Ronnie Bouchard and Freddie Schulz. Rain prevailed at the Waterford Speedbowl. Seekonk remained dry as George Murray took the Modified feature. Lou Russo was the Late Model winner.

Forty years ago in 1980, Ronnie Bouchard in the Dick Armstrong No.1 took the victory in the annual Thompson 300 which saw 50 cars take the green. Bugsy Steven’s finished second and was followed by George Summers, Jerry Cook, Richie Evans and Kenny Bouchard. Jerry Pearl won the 50-lap non-qualifiers event. Marty Radwick took the win at Riverside and it was George Kent over Jerry Cook at Shangri-La. Doug French was the winner at Wall Stadium. In Winston Cup action at Dover Downs, Darrell Waltrip took the win over Harry Gant.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, the Modifieds traveled to Pocono for the annual Race of Champions which drew 108 cars. Brett Bodine in the Sheri-Cup No.12 took the lead from Richie Evans on lap 187 and went on to take the win. Satch Worley finished second and was followed by Jeff Fuller, Jamie Tomaino, Jan Leaty and Evans. In other weekend action, Mike Gada took the win at Waterford over Ted Christopher and at Riverside; Ray Miller took the win over Stan Greger.

Thirty years ago in 1990, the Race of Champions was still at Pocono and it was Mike Stefanik taking the top spot over Rick Fuller, Jan Leaty and George Brunnhoelzl. For his efforts, Stefanik received $18,950, which is a far cry from most of today’s Modified Tour payouts. Stafford regular Wade Gagner started 17th and won the 40-lap late model National Parts Peddler event. Gagner inherited the lead on lap 23 when Mike Lovetere blew his engine.

Twenty five years ago in 1995,the ROC had all but died .In local action at Waterford, Todd Ceravolo beat out Ricky Young and Mike Gada to take the Saturday night win. At Riverside, Brian Schofield held off Reggie Ruggiero to take the win and at Riverhead it was Tom McCann over Ed Brunnhoelzl. In Winston Cup action at Dover, the 500 took over six hours to run because of rain delays. Jeff Gordon dominated and took the win over Bobby Hamilton. Johnny Rumley was the Grand National winner.

Twenty years ago, in 2000, it was Winston Cup weekend at Loudon Included was the modifieds who again put on the best show of the weekend. Mike Ewanitsko took the 100 lap win with six laps to go when Ted Christopher’s motor went to skipping and losing power. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by John Blewett III, Rick Fuller and Dan Avery. Christopher sputtered home in sixth spot. Andy Santarre won the Busch North Series event and in Winston Cup action, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps in one of the most boring Winston Cup events ever run as NASCAR really blew it when they mandated restrictor plates in hopes of making the race safer in the wake of two deaths those of Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty. Rob Janovic won at Waterford on Saturday night. Ron Silk finished second with Tom Fox, third. During the evenings events it was announced that track operator Terry Eames had purchased the property where the Speedbowl was located for $1.85 million. It was also this week that Wally Saleeba passed away. Wally had been a close friend and confidant of D.Anthony Venditti for many years.

Fifteen years ago in 2005, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Thompson Speedway for the Annual Thompson 300. With the announcement that the 300 would return to its original format came applause from fans and competitors alike. Thirty-seven Modifieds were on hand for time trials on Saturday. Tony Hirschman, who trailed Ted Christopher by 21 points going into the event, earned his seventh Bud Pole of the year. Hirschman was in a class by himself as he toured the 5/8 mile oval in 18.962 seconds for a speed of 118.658 mph. Second fastest was Zach Sylvester who went 118.141 mph. Donnie Lia, Mike Stefanik and John Blewett III rounded out the top five. Hirschman drew eighth on the draw for starting positions while Carl Pasteryak drew the pole.

Ted Christopher maintained his lead in the Whelen Modified Tour Series standings as he added the Thompson 300 to his war chest of wins. Christopher, who now had six wins on the series for the year, took the lead with 26 laps to go. Tony Hirschman, who was the odds-on favorite to take the win, finished second. Ed Flemke Jr. turned in a strong run to finish third. Jerry Marquis and Mike Stefanik rounded out the top five. With five laps to go the event took a twist that changed the top five. Donnie Lia exhibited a little road rage as he planted Doug Coby into the front chute wall. Coby, who had taken second spot after running Lia up the track a bit. Instead of an almost positive second place finish Coby ended up 19th. NASCAR felt that Lia’s actions were deliberate and parked him with five to go which resulted in a 20th place finish.

The Sunoco Modifieds and the Late Models ran double features. Ronnie Silk won the Saturday night Sunoco Modified 25 lapper over Tom Cravenho, Jimmy Blewett, Keith Rocco and Jeff Malave. Woody Pitkat was the Late Model winner. Sunday’s action saw Jeff Malave rebound to take the win in the Sunoco Modifieds. Malave started fifth. Second generation driver Keith Rocco finished an impressive second with Tom Cravenho, third. Richard Savory and Ronnie Silk rounded out the top five. Charles Bailey III took the Sunday Late Model event and Ron Smith won the Pro Stock finish.

The Stafford Motor Speedway wrapped up its regular season on Friday night. Lloyd Agor went into the night’s SK Modified feature with a 24 point lead over Todd Owen. He was hoping to wrap up his first Stafford championship. Lady luck had other ideas as Agor ended up 14th and Owen ended up third behind Jeff Baral and Ted Christopher. Owen closed to within 2 points of Agor. The track title would be settled at the Car Quest Fall Final. Jeff Baral staged a spirited battle with Ted Christopher right up to the final lap of the 40-lap feature. Baral had led from lap 12. Early leader Keith Rocco fell victim to mechanical problems. Willie Hardie and Chuck Docherty rounded out the top five. Other Friday night winners were Tom Butler in the Late Models and John Hurley in the DARE Stocks.

Shawn Monahan scored his second victory of the season at the Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Monahan started on the pole and led the entire distance. Rob Summers finished second and in doing so, took over the point lead. Going into the event Ron Yuhas Jr held a 22 point lead. A devastating crash in the early going put Yuhas behind the eight ball as his car was severely damaged and his night ended with a 19th place finish. Dennis Gada finished third. Other winners at the shoreline oval on Saturday night were Norm Root in the Sportsman division, Larry Goss in the Late Models, Dave Silvia in the Mini Stocks and George Whitney in the Legends Cars.

Ten years ago in 2010, Some of the best racing ever seen was witnessed at the Thompson Speedway on Thursday night. Car counts were up. The Modified Tour types were 18 strong along with 16 Sunoco (SKtypes), 24 Ltd Sportsman, 14 Late Models, 21 Mini Stocks and 10 Thompson Modifieds. A very rapidly run program had fans headed home early as the final checkered flag dropped at 9:12pm.

For the third-time this season, the Thompson International Speedway hosted their Tour-Type Modified Shootout. Ryan Preece added his name to the already impressive list of winners with a convincing victory on Thursday night. There was no shortage in intensity in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with five winners posting victories. The last time a competitor posted double digit wins in the Sunoco Modified division at Thompson International Speedway the year was 2001 and the driver was Ted Christopher. With his win on Thursday night, Christopher duplicated the feat; winning his tenth Sunoco Modified victory of the 2010 season. Rick Gentes, was the big winner in the Late Models as he scored his 75th career victory while Lloyd Anderson, scored his second Mini Stock feature victory of the 2010 season. Victory lane was a family affair for the Sundeen family. Son Jay scored his first career victory in the TIS Modifieds while father Scott scored his second win of the 2010 season in the Limited Sportsman.

In the intense Tour type 40 lapper Preece jumped out to an early lead from his pole starting position with Bobby Santos III in tow. Shortly after the green flag on lap four, Ron Silk moved into the second spot. The first caution of the event flew on lap 13 for a spin by Tom Bolles in turn two. On the restart, Preece had to contend with Silk who jumped to the lead from his outside starting spot, moving Preece to second. Green flag racing was short-lived when a lap 14 incident involving Bolles and Dennis Perry brought out the second caution. Under the caution, Santos relinquished the fourth position to head to pit road for service. Jensen and Flemke also pitted under the caution.

Silk motored back out to the lead when green flag racing resumed. Mike Stefanik had worked his way into third. Long Island invader Justin Bonsignore vaulted to fourth on the restart. Preece was all over the back bumper of Silk as Stefanik lurked within striking distance. At halfway, Preece continued to hound Silk followed by Stefanik and Bonsignore. Things got physical between Eric Goodale and Richard Savary for the fifth spot. Contact sent Goodale sliding up the track to open the door for Savary to gain the position.

Preece would put the pressure on Silk continuously.and passed for the lead on lap 28.

Bonsignore, who was making a name for himself on the Whelen Modified Tour, closed on Stefanik. The caution waved again on lap 29 when Kevin Goodale and Bryan Chew tangled on the front chute. Preece retook the lead on the restart. Bonsignore went to work on Stefanik and took over third spot on lap 33 as the caution flew again for Bolles. On the restart Silk regained the lead and was able to hold on until lap 34 when Preece took the lead for the final time. Bonsignore, who had a fine run going had his night turn sour with three laps to go when he slowed with a skipping motor. Stefanik moved back into third and at the checker finished behind Preece and Silk. Richard Savory finished fourth with Kenny Bouchard rounding out the top five. In addition to their purse winnings competitors were thrown into a lottery where over ten of them recieved a $50 bonus.

In Sunoco (SK type) Modified competition Ted Christopher extended his point lead in the division with his tenth victory of the season. At the drop of the green Rowan Pennink jumped out to the lead with Danny Cates and Christopher in tow. The top five cars, which also included Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco, ran ahead of sixth-place Woody Pitkat. Almost at the drop of the green flag, the #12 of Ronnie Silk faltered.

A tense moment between Christopher, Preece and Rocco saw sparks flying as Preece made slight contact with the front stretch wall. All were able to continue almost without missing a beat. The action allowed Pitkat to make it a six-car breakaway at the head of the pack. Christopher got alongside Cates making the pass into the second spot on lap seven. Rocco immediately went to work on Cates. Rocco had company in Pitkat. Christopher had chased down Pennink making the pass for the lead look easy on lap nine. Cates followed Christopher by Pennink. Pitkat and Rocco went wheel to wheel-to-wheel. Cates got alongside Christopher on lap 12; however, using his text book crossover move, Christopher was able to maintain his lead. It was a repeat on lap 13 with a different outcome. Contact between Christopher and Cates exiting turn four gave Cates the edge and the lead. Rocco had moved past Pitkat into third. On lap 16, a move entering turn four gave Christopher the lead back once again. Rocco was able to catch the back bumper of Cates. Christopher, Cates and Rocco ran nose to tail nearly a half straightaway ahead of Pitkat. With 10 laps to go, Christopher enjoyed a two-car length advantage over Cates; his largest margin of the event. Cates had extended his advantage over Rocco as well. Pitkat continued to run a distance back in third followed by Preece. The best battle in the field with five laps to go was between Pennink and Tim Sullivan.

In the final laps, Cates had cut into Christopher advantage only slightly as the two stretched their advantage over Rocco. Cates could not gather in Christopher to muster up a serious challenge. Christopher went on to earn his tenth win over Cates. Rocco, Pitkat, and Preece completed the top five. Sullivan bested Pennink for sixth.

The Thursday night crowds at the northeastern Connecticut oval have been quite healthy this year. It appears that some changes may be in the wind for 2011. Two of Thompson’s weekly divisions are in trouble. The Super Late Models and the Thompson Modifieds draw consistently 10 cars or less. Its possible that they could be dropped from the weekly schedule. The tour type modifieds are gaining momentum. If scheduled properly the addition of this division monthly or twice monthly could turn into a home run for the facility. The division could not run on weeks when the Modified Tour is running. Its getting to the point where many modified competitors can not afford the tour agenda and would rather race closer to home. It is also a known fact that speedway owner Don Hoenig is not happy with NASCAR and could possibly drop one of his tour dates. Couple that with the fact that not to many tracks are eager to sign up for dates. This could make for a few open weeks next year. Of course there are a few loyalists who would not lower themselves to race in a non tour event.

While Thompson enjoys success the word from the Jersey shore is not good as the Wall Stadium is locked up tight and will remain closed until further notice.

Based on a bad forecast due to the fact that Hurricane Earl was going to dump a lot of rain in Connecticut the Stafford Motor Speedway cancelled Friday nights race.

In action on the Connecticut shoreline at the Waterford Speedbowl it was the annual Thunder on the Sound program, featuring eight race events and a visit by the popular Modified Racing Series. The event, presented by Connecticut National Guard, also featured a special flyover and landing on the track infield by a UH-60 Black Hawk chopper as part of the opening ceremonies. When the excitement settled in and racing got underway, 1997 track champion Todd Ceravolo ended a year long dry spell as he finally returned to the winner’s circle in the SK Modified® division. Chelmsford, MA native Jon McKennedy led the final 78 laps in the visiting 100-lap Modified Racing Series tour event to take his first Speedbowl win. Jeff Smith mastered the Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model division to record his second win of the year. Al Stone III was back in Street Stock victory lane, his fourth win in as many events. Ken Cassidy Jr won his second consecutive and fourth Norwich Bulletin Mini Stock race on the season. Allen Coates recorded his 78th career Speedbowl victory in the A.B. CDL Driver Training Center Truck race. Anthony Flannery was the Legends Cars winner and James Logan was the Allison Legacy Series race winner.

Ceravolo led the entire 35 lap distance in the SK Modified main event. With two laps remaining Ceravolo was nearly a straightaway ahead of Jeff Pearl, who was the same distance ahead of the battle for third. Jeff Paul was all over Rob Janovic on the final lap but unable to pull alongside. At the finish Pearl was second over Janovic, Paul and Tom Abele rounded out the top five.

In some sad news former Waterford Championship car owner Al Gaudreau was suffering from congestive heart failure and was hospitalized at the Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT. Billy Harman said that Gene Bergin was not doing well after suffering a stroke as he remained in a hospital in Florida.

The Modified Racing Series visited the Waterford Speedbowl. Defending series champion, Jon McKennedy scored his second win of the season as he won the 100-lap Modified Racing Series Thunder on the Sound event sponsored by BobValentiAutomall.com. McKennedy’s ninth with the New England based racing series came behind the wheel of a brand new Raceworks chassis race car completed late Friday night.

McKennedy started outside front row in a 25-car field and chased pole sitter, Geoff Gernhard, for the first 32 laps. McKennedy passed the race leader on lap 33 and led the remaining 67 laps, winning by a comfortable margin. Chris Pasteryak, who returned from a mid-summer wrist injury finished second followed by August Waterford winner Steve Masse, Gernhard, Dwight Jarvis, Rookie Max Zachem,, Jacob Dore,, Rob Goodenough,, Rowan Pennink, and Norm Wrenn who rounded out the top 10.

McKennedy’s win moved him into an 11 point lead for the series championship over Jarvis with Les Hinckley III, Winsdor Locks, CT., falling to third place in the standings, 38 points back. McKennedy moved into a 9 point lead over car owner Gary Casella in the owners point standings. There were 27 race teams at the Waterford event with 14 cars finishing on the lead lap. The race was slowed by six caution flags and took 56 minutes 23 seconds to complete.

Chris Young was the winner at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island.

With a solid second-place finish in the 30-lap Modified feature race Saturday, September 4 at Lebanon Valley Speedway (West Lebanon, New York), Brett Hearn, locked up his sixth Modified division championship at the high-banked speedway. Hearn also won the track’s small-block 358 Modified division title, cementing it on Saturday as well with a victory in the 24-lap feature. It was Hearn’s second 358 Modified crown at the one-half-mile upstate New York speedway.

In his 36th year of Modified stock car competition (2010), Hearn had 784 feature race victories to his credit. He is the all time winner at Malta, New York’s Albany-Saratoga Speedway (98 victories) and in both Modified divisions at Orange County Fair Speedway (Middletown, New York), where his record of 296 feature race wins will never be topped. Hearn’s records include victories at 47 different tracks in 10 states and two Canadian provinces and place him among the country’s top drivers in all types of auto racing.

Tony Stewart raced the No. 14 Chevy to his first win of the year, pulling away from Carl Edwards off the final restart Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Stewart beat Edwards by a comfortable 1.316 seconds for his first victory since Oct. 4, 2009, at Kansas, leaving Edwards winless since the 2008 season finale. Jimmie Johnson was third, followed by Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch.

This was the final year that Atlanta would have its traditional two Cup races, which began when the track opened in 1960. The spring event, which had been plagued by poor weather and attendance, would shift to Kentucky Motor Speedway, leaving only the Labor Day weekend race in one of NASCAR’s largest markets.

Jamie McMurray won the Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his eighth career Nationwide win. Kyle Busch finished second.

Five years ago, in 2015, At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the track paid tribute to those who help others with a First Responders Appreciation Night that recognized Fire, Police, EMS, and all First Responder personnel. Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Ryan Preece in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn in the Late Model feature, Tony Membrino, Jr. in the SK Light feature, Al Saunders in the Ltd. Late Model feature, Nicole Chambrello in the DARE Stock feature, and Teddy Hodgdon in the Legend Cars feature.

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event Preece took the lead following a caution on lap 4 of the 40 lap event. Preece dedicated his win to his grandfather, legendary car owner Bobby Judkins. Ronnie Williams, Joey Cipriano, Woody Pitkat, and Keith Rocco rounded out the top-5. For Preece it was his third win of the season. For Fearn it was his tenth.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl hosted the Tri-Track Open Modified Series finale 100 lap Championship last Sunday. Despite threatening skies 40 Modifieds and a half packed grandstand of race fans saw what many felt was one of the best ever Modified races. Ron Silk who dropped off the racing radar after parting with car owner Eddie Partridge took on the best in the business and walked off with the top prize. Silk, in the Bob Horn #50, started 11th and took the lead from Steve Masse following a lap 81 restart. Masse finished second with Matt Hirschman, third. Hirschman is the unofficial overall champion of the series. Ryan Preece and Les Hinkley rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Andy Jankowiac, Norm Wrenn, Ted Christopher, Chris Pasteryak and Woody Pitkat.

Christopher drew the pole and led the event until making contact with Masse which caused him to spin out. Masse led from Lap 71 to a restart following on lap 81when he was overtaken by Silk. There were 17 cars on the lead lap at the finish. Among those who failed to finish was pre-race favorite Keith Rocco who had the misfortune of having his engine break a rocker arm while running second to Christopher on the 22nd lap.

Many time track champion Bob Potter was the Grand Marshall of the event. Prior to sending the field on their way Potter publicly thanked track owner Bruce Bemer for saving the shoreline oval and for making it a great place to race or just be there. Potter also thanked Shawn Monahan and his staff for the great job they have done in such a short time.

The total payout was $51,850 ( including lap leader money, bonus money, etc). The series now has a month off, before concluding the season with a non-points event at the Speedbowl on October 25.

Other Sunday winners were Cory Barry in the SK lights and Jason Palmer in the Late Models.

In regular weekly action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl an impending rain storm threatened throughout the afternoon and into the first few races of the night but it didn’t put a damper on the efforts of Timmy Jordan and Ted Christopher who won the twin SK Modified 30 lappers at the shoreline oval. Late Model, Mini Stock and Limited Sportsman events were rained out.

The first event of the night was the track’s premier division of SK Modifieds. These drivers were set to race twin 30 lap features. The first 30 laps started with the biggest field of SK Modifieds of the season with 27 cars in the field. Ed Puleo took the lead on the first lap of the race until the 1st caution which came out with 18 laps remaining in the race. Timmy Jordan took the lead on the restart and held that lead through the second and 3rd cautions. Timmy Jordan won the first SK Twin 30 lapper, Ed Puleo was second, and Rob Janovic Jr. was 3rd. Keith Rocco and Tyler Chadwick rounded out the top five.

NEMA Lites and NEMA Midgets were run next with Randy Cabral taking the Lite win and Doug Coby taking the Midget win.

The fourth event and final event of the night was the second twin SK 30 lapper. Diego Monahan and Keith Rocco came into the event tied in the division points. Rocco, who had missed two events because of Whelen Modified Tour commitments, took over the division point lead after Monahan wrecked. Rain threatened to fall and finally did which resulted in a shortened event. The race was Red- Checkered due to the rain coming and stopping all racing for the night. The lead changed a few times between Jeff Gallup, Tyler Chadwick, and Ted Christopher. Through the wreck fest of the last 15 laps of the race Christopher kept the lead until the red checkered. Keith Rocco was second, and Joey Gada was 3rd.

The Riverhead Raceway fell victim to rain on Saturday. Spectators at the Long Island oval were upset over the fact that rain checks would not be honored. The INEX Legends ran their heats and the Grand Enduro feature was run. The Blunderbust race ended early on a caution due to the start of the heavier rain (as said by the announcer). On the rain check ticket it states “if postponed before the fourth event…”. It’s decisions like that would be remembered the next time disgruntled fans are thinking about taking in the races. The Modifieds, Chargers, Late Models, INEX Legends and the 4 Cylinder Enduro were washed out. The Riverhead Raceway will be back in action this coming Saturday with all divisions closing out the regular season. The Riverhead management reversed their decision and allowed rain checks to be used in the nrxt event.

Matt Kenseth was the NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Richmond.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Riverhead Raceway on Eastern Long Island. Justin Bonsignore captured his fourth straight victory as he won the Miller Lite 200. Bonsignore started in second spot along side pole sitter Craig Lutz. The two ran together through out the event which went 206 laps. Tom Rogers and Timmy Solomito were in the mix. In the end the top four were Long Island competitors. Following Bonsignore was Timmy Solomito, Lutz and Kyle Soper.Patrick Emerling rounded out the top five.

Of the 30 cars on hand, 17 were tour regulars. Chuck Hossfeld, subbing for injured Jimmy Blewett, finished sixth and was followed by JB Fortin, JR Bertuccio, Tom Rogers Jr and John Beatty Jr. Point leader Doug Coby recovered from two separate spins to finish fifteenth on the lead lap. Coby continues to lead the point standings with a 19 point edge over Bonsignore.

It was the fifth victory of the season for Bonsignore, and his 25th career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He’s the only driver in the 64-race history at the track to win four straight, breaking a previous tie with Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece, who both had three.

In weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night, impending rain caused the event to be cancelled. Two events remain in the 2019 season, First Responder night scheduled for this coming Friday, September 13th as well as the season ending NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend scheduled for Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th.

In the battle for the SK Modified track championship, Ronnie Williams held an eight point lead over Todd Owen. Keith Rocco sat in third spot, fourteen points back. Michael Gervais JR was fourth, some 34 points back. All four had a legitimate shot at the title. Rounding out the top five was Glen Reen, 126 points out. Of the 18 events run, Williams and Rocco had won five events each. Steven Chapman led the SK Lights as he held a four point lead over Teddy Hodgdon. Although winless, Chapman had been consistent as he has finished in the top ten in 17 of the 18 events run. Third generation racer Alexander Pearl sat third, some 20 points down. Sophomore sensation Bryan Narducci with eight wins sat in fourth spot, some 58 points back and still had an outside shot at the title. Wesley Prucker rounds out the top five, 92 points back. Tom Fearn iced the Late Model championship. With eight wins Fearn held a 122 point lead over Michael Wray. He won his first title in the division in 2016. Fearn also has three championships at the track in the former Pro Stock division (1993, ’95 and ’98).

Fearn is the track’s all-time winningest Late Model driver with 56 victories in the division dating back to 2004. He’s had 40 victories in the division since 2015. Jeremy Lavoie held a four point lead over Matt Clement for the Limited Late Model title and in the Street Stocks, Zack Robinson led second generation racer Megan Fullerby 38 points. Robinson had five wins and Fuller, daughter of former NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion Rick Fuller had four wins.

The Thompson Motorsports Park returned to racing on Sunday. Ron Williams won the first and second Sunoco Modified (SK type) events while Keith Rocco won the ten lap finale. The 20/20+10 awarded an overall winner which was Williams. In the first event Williams took the lead on the 11th lap as he out ran Troy Talman and Rocco to the checker. In the second 20 lap event Woody Pitkat seemed to have things going his way until the final lap when Williams made his move in turn three. In the 10 lap finale Rocco wasted little time as he took the lead on the first lap and never looked back. Pitkat finished second with Todd Owen, third. Williams ended up fourth.

Bryan Narducci sewed up the SK Light championship as he sat in the infield after a crash. Clearly the fastest in the field, Narducci and Steven Chapman wrecked while battling for the lead on lap 15 of the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature. Both blamed each other for the incident but it appeared that Chapman gave Narducci a brake job which caused the contact and resulting wreck. Narducci has won six of the nine SK Light Modified events this year at Thompson. Brian Sullivan inherited the lead following the lap 15 wreck and went on to garner his first SK Light Modified victory at Thompson. Alexander Pearl, Nardicci’s cousin, finished second with Glenn Griswold, third.

Other winners at Thompson on Sunday included Mark Jenison in the Late Models, Shawn Monihan over Ryan Morgan and Kyle Gero in the Limited Sportsman and Dave Trudeau in the Mini Stocks.
In NASCAR Monster Cup racing at Indianapolis in the sparsely attended Brickyard 400 Kevin Harvick took the win. Ryan Preece finished 16th on the lead lap. Kyle Busch was the Xfinity Series winner at Indy.

Interest continues to run high in the all-new History of the Modified Years at Stafford, 1967 to 1986. The book covers year by year and race by race. Books are now available at Coastal181 (toll free) 877-907-8181 or on Amazon.com.

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