Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series has headed into the home stretch. “The Men that live by the Grace of God and 600 horsepower headed for the track that is considered the Super Modified capitol of the World, the Oswego Speedway located overlooking the beautiful Lake Ontario in New York State.
Leading up to the trip to upstate New York was somewhat of a major change in the roster of entrants. Internet racing web site RaceDayCT reported on August 27 reported that Woody Pitkat and Danny Watts have parted ways on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. In 11 races driving for Watts in 2019, Pitkat had one victory, at Wall Stadium Speedway in May. He also finished inside the top 10 three other times, and was 10th in the series championship standings. Pitkat replaced the late Ted Christopher who lost his life in a plane crash. As reported by RaceDayCT, Chase Dowling filled the seat for this past weekend’s Toyota Mod Classic 150 at Oswego. Pitkat didn’t sit idle for long as NASCAR announced that he will team with Eddie Harvey Racing for the longest race of the season, the Musket 250 at Loudon and will also drive the No. 1 for the final two races of the year at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. This leaves Burt Myers without a Tour modified ride. Myers has hinted that he will take his own car to Loudon for the big one. It was also announced that Chuck Hossfeld would be pinch hitting for Jimmy Blewett who suffered a broken ankle at Wall Stadium.
Twenty seven Modifieds made up the field at Oswego with Rob Summers taking the pole position, 17.550 seconds. Five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby was second (17.555 seconds), while Bobby Santos III posted the third fastest lap in qualifying. Justin Bonsignore, and Eric Goodale, driving a brand new Fury entry, completed the top five.
Justin Bonsignore scored his fourth victory of the season in the Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s at Oswego Speedway, earning the victory as part of the track’s annual Classic Weekend.
It was the 24th career win in Whelen Modified Tour competition for Bonsignore and his first at the ‘Steel Palace’ of Oswego. For the first 64 laps, he chased the back bumper of Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Rob Summers in the race for the lead. He passed Summers at lap 65, and led through until a caution at lap 99, when Tyler Rypkema spun. During the caution period Bonsignore pitted for fresh tires. His crew got him out at the front of the cars that also pitted and took fresh tires, but, he had to restart third, behind Patrick Emerling and Tommy Catalano. Within one lap he was back in the lead.
In the end, Bonsignore had to hold off defending race winner Matt Hirschman on a final dash to the finish, but was able to accomplish the task. He beat Matt Hirschman to the line by .146 seconds. Following Hirschman, former Whelen Modified Tour champion Ron Silk was third, with Craig Lutz and Bobby Santos III completing the top five. Doug Coby was sixth, followed by Eric Goodale, Timmy Solomito, Chase Dowling and Tommy Catalano. Fifteen of the original 27 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.
Summers, who crashed at the finish, finished 11th. Chris Pasteryak, Chuck Hossfeld, Patrick Emerling and Sam Rameau made up the top fifteen. Amy Catalano, making her first Whelen Modified Tour start finished 17th, one lap down at the finish. All things considered; it was a pretty good run on her maiden voyage.
Absolutely fantastic race announcing was provided by the Oswego Speedway staff for the FansChoice.tv live stream. NASCAR needs to hire that guy as he didn’t miss a trick during the entire event.
Coby leads Bonsignore by 37 points, with Ron Silk 44 back with four races remaining in the championship points schedule. The Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s will air on NBCSN on Thursday, September 5, at 6 p.m.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the second appearance at New York’s Riverhead Raceway on Saturday, September 7.
In weekly racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night plus with the Valenti Modified Racing Series in the house for the Lincoln Tech VMRS 80, Keith Rocco was a winner for the second consecutive week in the SK Modified® feature, Tyler Leary won for the first time in nearly 2 years in the Late Model feature, Bryan Narducci scored his second consecutive and eighth overall feature win of the 2019 season in the SK Light feature, Duane Provost secured his second win of 2019 in the Limited Late Model feature, and George Bessette, Jr. took down his second consecutive and fourth overall win of 2019 in the Street Stock feature. In the Lincoln Tech VMRS 80, Chase Dowling took the lead on lap-24 of the 80-lap event and he led the rest of the way, holding off Keith Rocco on several late restarts to win the event.
In the SK Modified 40 lapper, with 10 laps to go, Cory DiMatteo had closed the gap to leader Troy Talman and was right on his back bumper. Rocco and Glen Reen weren’t far behind in third and fourth. DiMatteo took the lead from Talman on lap-32 with a pass coming out of turn 2. DiMatteo’s pass for the lead allowed Rocco and Reen to close right up to the back bumper of Talman and Rocco took second on lap-33 with Reen taking third as Talman fell back to fourth.
Rocco took to the outside lane and ran side by side with DiMatteo for lap-36 before falling back into line. Rocco again went to the outside of DiMatteo on lap-38 and the two were wheel to wheel at the line. The three leaders touched going down the backstretch with DiMatteo spinning and Reen hitting the wall to bring the caution out with 38 laps complete. Rocco brushed against the wall as he had white stripes all around his right side tires but he stayed on track in the lead for the restart. Ron Williams was now second for the restart with Michael Gervais and Talman in the second row.
Rocco took the lead with Williams right behind him in second. Williams couldn’t get close enough to Rocco on the final lap to make a move as Rocco took down his second consecutive win and fifth overall of the 2019 season. Gervais finished third with Todd Owen and Talman rounding out the top-5.
In the SK Light 20 lapper, Bryan Narducci, who started 15th, made a move to the inside of Teddy Hodgdon on lap-15 to take over the lead. Hodgdon spun on lap-16 going down the backstretch and rejoined at the rear of the field as the race stayed green. Chris Matthews was now second with Alexander Pearl third, Bob Charland fourth and Wesley Prucker fifth as Narducci started to stretch out his lead. Narducci led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his eighth win of the 2019 season. Matthews finished second with Pearl, Charland, and Prucker rounding out the top-5.
.On the east end of Long Island, Third generation driver CJ Lehmann lived out his racing dreams Saturday night at Riverhead Raceway as he scored a hard fought first career NASCAR Modified victory in the Ken Heagy Motorsports Chevrolet. For the fifth time this year John Baker was runner-up in the Staria Automotive Chevy which was actually a back-up car the team dusted off after a August 24th crash hurt their primary car. Defending champion and current championship leader Kyle Soper made a late race pass of Tom Rogers Jr. to bring his Eastport Feeds Chevy home third. Rogers and John Beatty Jr. completed the top five.
The Thompson Motorsports Park returned to racing last Sunday. Prior to the event SK light competitor Bryan Narducci and SK Modified competitor Todd Owen received some good news. After an extensive appeal process, a decision regarding penalties, fines and disqualifications stemming a recent Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park penalty report has been overturned.
Originally, Sunoco Modified driver Todd Owen and SK Light Modified driver Bryan Narducci had been penalized following results of a laboratory test regarding tire samples taken on Sunday, August 4. However, after the appeal, through Thompson Speedway’s determination, no evidence was found that the drivers intentionally treated the tires as prohibited in Thompson rules. Therefore, Narducci has been credited with the victory in the Sunday, August 4 SK Light Modified feature, and Owen has been credited with his third-place finish in the Sunoco Modified feature.
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park officials will reconsider this section of the rulebook — which will allow officials to further define the process in the future.
In on track action at Thompson Woody Pitkat scored a one-two punch as he won the Sunoco (Sk type) Modified 30 lapper and the Late Model feature. Pitkat took the lead from Todd Owen on lap six and had checked out from second place Keith Rocco when the caution waved on lap 29. On the restart it was Ron Williams that helped Pitkat get away from Rocco, but it was also Williams that then went on the aggressive and went after Pitkat and actually got under Pitkat as the pair came to the white flag side-by-side. Pitkat was able to clear Williams as they exited turn two on the final lap. Williams settled for the runner-up spot while Rocco was third. Todd Owen and Troy Talman rounded out the top five.
Bryan Narducci continues to dominate the SK Lights as he completed his weekend by making it two for two. Since the division began at Thompson 12 events were run and Narducci has won 10. He has all but wrapped up the division title at the track..
Other Sunday winners at Thompson were Ryan Waterman who scored his second Limited Sportsman win of 2019 in a brand new car and Scott Canfield earned his second victory of the season in the Mini Stocks.
Racing continues this coming SundayThompson Speedway Motorsports Park jumps right back into the racing action on Sunday, September 8 with the penultimate races of the 2019 schedule, the Sunoco Modified 20/20 and For the Fans event.