The Champ Trail: Stafford, Speedbowl & So Much More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Tri-Track Modified Series in conjunction with Open Wheel Wednesday was on tap at the Seekonk Speedway last week. Advertised as paying $10,000 to win, the event drew a whopping 39 cars and a packed house of fans at the track that D.Anthony Venditti built with his bare hands in 1946.

Unfortunately, rain intervened on lap 22 of the event. The 100 lapper will be continued this Tuesday night, July 3. Richard Savory will lead the restart with Matt Hirschman in the runner-up spot. Rounding out the top five will be Keith Rocco, Rowan Pennink and Ron Silk. Four qualifying heats were run with Rocco, Mike Willis, Hirschman and Pennink taking the wins. Two consolations were needed to fill out the field with Ryan Preece and Carl Mederios Jr taking the wins.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl beat the rain as they got their Wacky Wednesday program in ahead of the rain. Marc Shafer was the 25-lap Super-X winner, Steven Olsen was the winner of the 25-lap X-Car event, John O’Sullivan was the Legends winner and Maddie Harkin was the 20-lap Bandolero winner.

The Stafford Motor Speedway presented the 3rd Annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5k, which paid the winner $5,000 out of a purse of over $27,000. With the Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Sales Gambler’s Challenge bonus of $5,000 and a total heat race bonus of $2,000 from Wheelers Auto of Hamden, the total posted awards were over $34,000. Ronnie Williams won the NAPA SK 5K and in victory lane he pulled the winner take all chip for the Dunleavy’s Gambler’s Challenge to give himself a pay day of $10,675 with purse and contingencies added together. Other feature winners on the night were Al Saunders taking down his first career Late Model win and earning himself a $500 bounty from Stafford Speedway for ending Tom Fearn’s 6-race winning streak, Marcello Rufrano was a back to back winner in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie scored his fifth win of 2018 in the Limited Late Model feature, and Nicole Chambrello won the Street Stock feature one week after barrel rolling her car.

After swapping the lead numerous times, Williams took the lead following a caution on lap 73 with Keith Rocco in second. Eric Berndt was side by side with Chase Dowling for third with Mike Christopher Jr in fifth. Rocco was applying heavy pressure to Williams while Berndt was able to finally get clear into third on lap-77. Rocco got to the inside of Williams and he had the lead by a nose at the line on lap-78. Rocco got clear into the lead on lap-79 but Williams came right back on lap-80 and he took the lead with a pass in turn 3. Dowling was now third behind Williams and Rocco with Berndt and Christopher making up the top-5 with 20 laps to go.

With 10 laps to go, it was still Williams followed by Rocco and Dowling. Berndt was fourth with Christopher still fifth. Williams led Rocco to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2018 season. Dowling finished third with Berndt and Christopher rounding out the top-5.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, July 7.

Down on the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, Kyle James continued his domination of the SK Modifieds as he won the delayed 80 lap season opening Blast Off. James has now one three out of four SK Modified events run at the Speedbowl so far in 2018. Keith Rocco, the tracks all time winner, made his first appearance of the year at the track but could do no better than third. Also on hand was Matt Hirschman who could do no better than eighth. Dylan Izzo finished second and was followed by Todd Owen, Tim Jordan and Rocco. Izzo was later disqualified, along with Tim Jordan, who finished fourth. That moved Todd Owen to second and Keith Rocco, who started 10th and never seriously challenged for a podium spot, in third. Rocco, who spun out on lap 66, was presented with the Hard Charger Award, given in memory of the late John Anderson.

James took home $5318.00 in total prize money! ($2600 in base payout from the Speedbowl: $1550 in winner’s contingency: $1168 in lap contingency)

Other Saturday night winners at the Speedbowl was Steven Chapman picking up his first career victory in the SK Lites, Shawn Gaedeke got his second win of the season in the 30-lap Sportsman feature and Charles Canfield got his second consecutive victory in the 25-lap Mini Stock feature.

Across the big pond on Long Island, the Riverhead Raceway held their 68th Year celebration. Kyle Soper, driving the Wayne Anderson entry, took the win over Tim Rogers Jr and Dave Brigetti.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, In the first 25-lap Modified race, Bobby Measmer Jr. won after pole-winner Lee Jeffreys exited. Measmer collected his second win of the season, holding off the rest of the field for the last 12 laps. In the second 25-lap Modified race, Burt Myers won for his 78th career win at Bowman Gray.

On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks were down, Dover Entertainment went up 0.05 to 2.25 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.50 to 44.70 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.52 to 17.36. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 0.44 to 57.30 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.34 to 19.04 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.34 to 23.29. The car manufacturers were all down for the week. Ford dropped 0.58 to 11.07 while General Motors dropped 1.85 to 39.40 and Toyota dropped 2.19 to 128.81. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 2.65 to 95.57 and Home Depot dropped 2.81 to 195.10. The big team sponsors stocks were down except for the Target Department Stores which went up 0.08 to 76.12. McDonalds dropped 7.86 to 156.69, while Coca-Cola dropped 0.28 to 135.13, Dow-Dupont dropped 1.08 to 65.92 and Fedex dropped 14.71 to 227.06.

On the tube this week:
Wednesday, July 4
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
7:00 PM, Classic NASCAR – 1994 Coke 600, FS1
7:30 PM, Classic NASCAR – 1998 Daytona 500, FS1

Thursday, July 5
7:00 AM, NASCAR the Decades – 1970s, NBCSN
8:00 AM, NASCAR the Decades – 1980s, NBCSN
11:00 AM, NASCAR the Decades – 1970s, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR the Decades – 1980s, NBCSN
1:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Daytona practice, NBCSN
2:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona practice, NBCSN
3:00 PM, NXS Daytona final practice, NBCSN
4:00 PM, MENCS Daytona final practice, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Friday, July 6
3:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
4:30 AM, Classic NASCAR – 1994 Coke 600, FS1
7:00 AM, NASCAR the Decades – 1980s, NBCSN
8:30 AM, NXS Daytona practice re-air, NBCSN
9:30 AM, MENCS Daytona practice re-air, NBCSN
10:30 AM, NXS Daytona final practice re-air, NBCSN
11:30 AM, MENCS Daytona final practice re-air, NBCSN
2:00 PM, NXS Daytona qualifying, NBCSN
4:00 PM, MENCS Daytona qualifying, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR America Live – Fan Friday, NBCSN
7:30 PM, NXS Daytona race, NBCSN
10:00 PM, NXS Post Race, NBCSN

Saturday, July 7
12:00 AM, NASCAR the Decades – the 1970s, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:30 PM, Countdown to Green, NBCSN
7:00 PM, MENCS Daytona race, NBC
11:00 PM, MENCS Post Race, NBCSN