RPW Exclusive: The Champ Trail; No-Go At Richmond, Racing At The Speedbowl & More

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Tour type Modifieds were scheduled to return to the Richmond (VA) return for the first time in quite a while this past week on the 20th, as they would have been part of the Commonwealth Classic with a 75 lap main event.

As many teams were loading up to make the trip south PASS official pulled the plug only saying the event may be run in the spring because of an impending bad weather forecast.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl closed out their season last weekend with some exciting news and the Fall Finale. Mike Serluca will continue to operate the shoreline oval in 2019 with basically the same format and race management as this year.

Kyle James got redemption from the bitter pill he had to swallow at the end of the 2017 season. James had been announced as the track champion in the SK modifieds but an error was discovered and the title was awarded to Keith Rocco. James only needed to take the green in the feature event to secure the championship in 2018. James completed only 42 laps in the 80 lap feature as he finished last in the 23 car feature. Todd Owen took the win over Ron Williams, Rob Janovic,Cory Dimatteo and Diego Monahan.

The feature was not as kind to James. He was involved in an incident on lap 22 and was knocked from contention. That opened the door for Todd Owen, who held off Ronnie Williams down the stretch to post his fifth win of the season and his second straight. James, meanwhile, finished 23rd, but he was able to win the title by nine points over Owen. “It’s done, it’s over, and we’re the champs,” James said. “I have to thank my crew for what they did all year.” James won eight of 17 races and was in the Top 5 13 times. Owen had nothing to be ashamed of as he had six wins in his last seven races, it was definitely a great way to finish the season.

Other winners were Anthony Flannery in the Late Models, Peter Bennett in the Legends, Al Stone in the Limited Sportsman, Charles Canfield in the Mini Stocks, Wayne Burroughs in the SK Lites and Dwane Noll in the Trucks.

In Saturday action at the Speedbowl, it wasn’t the first time Ray Christian III had won at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. This one, however, might have been the sweetest. Christian passed Ben Rowe with 20-laps remaining to win his first ever Granite State Pro Stock Series race at the Waterford, Ct track.The fact that Christian won the race at his hometown track made the victory even more significant. Christian came into Saturday’s race with 13 Speedbowl wins — nine in the Mini Stocks and four in the Late Models.

“I had this race circled months ago,” Christian said. “This was the one I wanted to win. We had a great car and the right motor and we were able to get it done.

Christian’s win in the 100-lap Granite State feature was one of the highlights of Day 1 of The Finale at the Speedbowl.

Devin O’Connell, another former Speedbowl regular, finished 16th in the race, but it was enough to wrap up the Granite State title.

Other winners were John Zych in the 25-lap NEMA feature, Danny Cugini in the 25-lap NEMA Light race and Randy Cabral in the Ct. Pro Four Modified by 0.002 over Doug Meservey. The win clinched the title for Cabral.

Alby Ovitt won the 375-Pro Sportsman feature, but Shawn Monahan finished second to wrap up the title. Brody Monahan won the Bandolero race. T.J. Racicot captured the 36-lap X-Car feature and Ed Ryan Jr. staged a come-from-behind effort to win in the 25-lap Super X car win.

As a prelude to the upcoming North-South Shootout in the southland the Orange County Speedway in North Carolina ran a 100 lap Modified event on Saturday. Taking the win was Burt Myers over Bobby Measmer, James Civale, Jeremy Gerstner and Jason Myers. Only 12 cars were in competition. Jon McKennedy finished 12th after completing 81 laps.

The Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOM) will pay tribute to its founders Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer this coming Saturday, October 27 during the running of the series’ season finale at the Seekonk Speedway. The two have been driving force behind the continued success of the series. Williams served as the Grand Marshal for the event.

Dick Williams has been a fixture in northeast racing for decades. He was a race promoter in the early 80s even promoting multiple tracks in one year. After a rather long hiatus from the sport, Williams along with his band of “Racing Guys” that includes Wayne Coats returned to his roots to raise money for a variety of races in support of the drivers and teams.

Jim Schaefer is best known as the Long Island Maniac. Hailing from Long Island, he spent much of his time supporting the racers at Riverhead. In 2005, he began traveling to more and more race tracks. He gained notoriety in the heyday of the online message board Mod Series Scene with his positivity. His screen name was Long Island Mod Maniac. His reputation grew while working to raise additional money for Modified Tour teams at Riverhead.

A series taped at Bowman Gray Stadium will debut on The Discovery Channel later this month. “Race Night at Bowman Gray” will make its debut at 10 p.m. Oct. 29, the network announced Monday. The series, recorded at the stadium earlier this year, follows the 70th race season. According to the network, it will focus on such drivers as Burt Myers, Tim Brown, Jason Myers, George Brunnhoelzl III and Jonathan Brown. Bowman Gray was previously the setting for “MadHouse,” a series that aired in 2010 on the History Channel and featured some of the same drivers.

On a sad note, George DeSarro, youngest brother of the late Fred DeSarro and beloved husband of Jo Ann (Falcone) DeSarro, of Riidam Way, Charlestown, passed away at Yale New Haven Hospital on Sunday, October 14, 2018. He was 74. Born in Providence, RI, he was the son of the late Alfred and Helen DeSarro.

George worked as an Assembler for Stanley Bostitch for over 48 years until his retirement. He was a communicant of St. Vincent de Paul Church and a member of the National Street Rod Association and The Good Guys of America. In his younger days he raced hydroplanes with his brothers.

In addition to his wife, he leaves his two daughters, Heather Ann Dessaules and husband Gus of Pawcatuck and Chris-Ann Ward and husband Mike of N. Stonington; his brother Roger DeSarro of Hopkinton; two grandchildren, Kerinn Kennedy and Jacob Dessaules; and several nieces and nephews. Visiting hour were omitted. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 10am on Friday, Oct 19 at St.Vincent de Paul Church, 7 Church St., Bradford, RI.

On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks finished on the plus side. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.37 to 37.02 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.01 to 2.16 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.35 to 15.61. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 1.18 to 52.11 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.32 to 20.27 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.14 to 21.47. The car manufacturers were down for the week, General Motors dropped 0.59 to 31.20 while Toyota dropped 0.44 to 116.32 and Ford dropped 0.14 to 8.50. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 12.62 to 179.85 and Lowes dropped 5.77 to 99.59. In big team sponsor’s stocks, McDonalds went up 3.67 to 167.49 and Coca-Cola went up 0.76 to 162.78 while Target Department Stores dropped 2.59 to 82.02, Dow-Dupont dropped 2.17 to 57.49, Fedex dropped 1.20 to 219.80 and Black and Decker-Stanley Works dropped 11.67 to 118.10.

On the tube this week:

Thursday, October 25
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:30 PM, Dale Jr. Download, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Friday, October 26
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

Saturday, October 27
8:00 AM, NCWTS RaceDay, FS1
9:00 AM, MENCS Martinsville practice, CNBC
10:00 AM, NCWTS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
11:30 AM, MENCS Martinsville final practice, CNBC
1:00 PM, NCWTS Martinsville race, FS1
4:00 PM, MENCS Martinsville qualifying, NBCSN

Sunday, October 28
12:00 PM, MENCS Martinsville qualifying re-air, NBCSN
12:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
2:00 PM, MENCS Countdown to Green, NBCSN
2:30 PM, MENCS Martinsville race, NBCSN
6:30 PM, MENCS Post Race, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN