RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; Stafford, Riverhead & A Lot More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – At the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night Eric Berndt continued his hot streak of late, scoring his fourth consecutive top-2 finish with a win in the SK Modified® feature.

Tom Fearn tied Ryan Posocco as the winningest Late Model driver in Stafford history with his 9th win of the 2018 season, Andrew Molleur notched his third win of the year in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost came up a winner for the second week in a row in the Limited Late Model feature, Jason Lafayette was a first time Stafford feature winner in the Street Stock feature, and Brian Sullivan won the Wild Thing Karts Sr. Champs exhibition feature.

With 10 laps to go Berndt, who took the lead on lap 16, was still in command with Stephen Kopcik giving chase. Kopcik finished second with Ron Williams, Mike Christopher, Jr., and Chace Dowling rounding out the top-5. Sixth through tenth were Tyler Hines, Matt Galko, Dan Avery, 9) Glen Reen and Keith Rocco.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is on tap for the Starrett 150 this coming Friday, August 3. Among those entered is Burt Myers who will be making his first appearance at Stafford.

On the Connecticut shoreline at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, rain ended the night of racing early postponing the Modifieds which will run double features this coming Saturday night. Feature winners before the rain were Pro 4: Randy Cabral, NEMA Lite: Jake Trainor, SK Lite: Wayne Burroughs,

Limited Sportsman: Jason Chicolas, Mini Stocks: Charles Canfield, STAR Sportsman: Robert Seward Sr. and STAR Modifieds: Gregg Massini.

Matt Buckler has taken over the duties of putting out press releases of the events at the Speedbowl and is doing an outstanding job.

The Tri-Track Modified Series invaded the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. The event, originally scheduled for Saturday was postponed because of heavy rain and run on Sunday. Todd Patnode held off the likes of Ron Silk, Matt Hirschman, and Les Hinckley to win $6,000 at the New Hampshire ¼ mile oval. Tommy Barrett rounded out the top five.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Tim Brown continued his winning ways with his second Modified win in as many weeks, and Joseph Brown won the second 25-lap Modified race.

Tim Brown, who hadn’t won since May 5, won one of the Modified races until last week, carried the momentum into this week with a win. Tim Brown defeated Lee Jeffreys, Burt Myers, Bobby Measmer Jr. and Randy Butner.

Joseph who finished 11th in the first Modified race, started second with Daniel Beeson on the pole. Joseph Brown defeated Chris Fleming, Jason Myers, John Smith, and Joseph Brown’s brother, Jonathan, finished fifth. It was Joseph Brown’s first win of the season and second in his career at Bowman Gray. Joseph Brown won for the first time since May 28, 2011.

Racing at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island honored and remembered “Tiger” Tom Baldwin, Richie Evans & “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek with the running of the annual 77-lapper in their memory. It was a night of nostalgia with the LIVARS vintage race cars and the Cromarty Wall of Champions induction ceremony plus 6 great NASCAR divisions.

John Fortin Sr. and his Long Island Truck Parts team who also won the most recent NASCAR Modified race some 17-days prior. “When I first made the step up to the Modifieds Tom Baldwin gave me plenty of advice, the what to do and not to do of the game so to speak” Fortin revealed, “it’s an honor to win his, Richie and Charlie’s race all three were icons of our game”. As to his early race struggles and his unlikely trip to victory lane John was very forthright. “we shouldn’t have won this race tonight, the rear is barely in the car after contact, we had two flats but my guys just kept digging and here we are. We caught a break when Kyle and John got together, hey we’ve lost a few that way too”.

John Fortin Jr. was runner-up and was on cloud nine afterwards, “Dad and I have always wanted to finish one-two, tonight we got the job done. It wasn’t pretty but we did it”. Roger Turbush was an impressive third at the finish Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead faded to fourth while Jon McKennedy of wheeling the Tommy Baldwin Racing 7NY was fifth after running a majority of the race in or just outside the top three.

On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks had negative results last week. Dover Entertainment went up 0.04 to 2.05 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.38 to 16.92 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.05 to 42.95. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 0.95 to 60.63 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.38 to 20.43 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.53 to 23.15. With the exception of Toyota which went up 2.66 to 134.46 the car manufacturers were down for the week as General Motors dropped 1.97 to 37.53 and Ford dropped 0.63 to 9.93. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 5.31 to 197.14 and Lowes dropped 2.66 to 98.00. With the exception of McDonalds which dropped 0.49 to 157.48, the big team sponsors stocks were all positive at weeks end. Coca-Cola went up 1.73 to 139.93, Target Department Stores went up 2.37 to 80.13, Dow-Dupont went up 2.55 to 68.37 and Fedex went up 5.91 to 240.84.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, August 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

Thursday, August 2
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Friday, August 3
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

Saturday, August 4
10:00 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Watkins Glen practice, NBCSN
11:30 AM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Watkins Glen qualifying, NBCSN
12:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
1:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen final practice, NBCSN
2:30 PM, NXS Watkins Glen race, NBC
6:30 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen qualifying, NBCSN

Sunday, August 5
10:30 AM, MENCS Watkins Glen final practice re-air, NBCSN
12:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen qualifying re-air, NBCSN
12:30 PM, Classic NASCAR – 1998 Daytona 500, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
3:00 PM, MENCS Watkins Glen race, NBC
6:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN

Monday, August 6
2:30 PM, NASCAR 120: MENCS Watkins Glen race re-air, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891.