RPW Column: The Champ Trail – Wade Cole 133 Rescheduled; Elliott, Logano Crash Hands Keselowski Win At Bristol

Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – NASCAR announced Friday, May 29, that it has rescheduled the 2020 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season-opening race, the Wade Cole Memorial 133 presented by Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair, to Sunday, June 21. The championship points event has been moved to Pennsylvania’s Jennerstown Speedway.

The race, which was postponed by rain generated by Hurricane Bertha, had been scheduled for Saturday, May 30 at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway.

The event will be held without fans in attendance in line with the current NASCAR policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Jennerstown’s original Whelen Modified Tour event slated for May 23 has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 22. Event procedures for June 21 will be significantly modified in accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations – teams will be limited to eight people per car number. That will include all members of the team, from driver to crew members to car owners. The event will include practice and qualifying, and the race will not have pit stops. In addition, NASCAR and the track will be maintaining social distancing protocols throughout the event.

The event will be streamed live by TrackPass.

Down in North Carolina racing continued at the ACE Speedway. Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson, at the request of Governor Roy Cooper, appealed to track owners Robert Turner and Jason Turner on Saturday afternoon to call off the night of racing. But Ace raced on, with increased safety measures, while a smaller yet still ample turnout of fans showed up. Spectators had their temperatures taken and identification information recorded for public health tracing purposes upon entering the speedway. A group of reporters, though, some from national outlets and others from statewide publications, weren’t allowed in.

Twin 50’s for what they call Pro-Modifieds were run. Tim Brown of Tobaccoville supplied a carbon-copy performance of the previous week, leading wire to wire to win the opening event of the night. Burt Myers picked up his first Ace victory of the season in the nightcap, after passing Bradley McCaskill to lead the final 40 laps. Following Brown in the first 50 lapper was Chris Fleming followed by Dennis Holdren, Danny Bohn, Burt Myers, Jason Myers, Brandon Ward, Kevin Orlando, James Civali, Bradley McCaskill, Mike Norman and Chris Williams.In the second 50 lapper, Brown followed Burt Myers. Third was Brandon Ward followed by Bradley McCaskill, James Civali, Jason Myers, Chris Fleming, Danny Bohn, Dennis Holdren, Mike Norman, Chris Williams, Gary Young Jr and Kevin Orlando.

Word comes from Bob Finan on Long Island that due to Federal and Local regulations regarding the Covid-19 virus, Riverhead Raceway regrets to announce that all events in the month of June have been cancelled. They will continue to monitor the regulations set forth by the State and we will be ready to race when those regulations change and allow. The good news is Suffolk County entered Phase 1 of reopening last Wednesday May 27th. Phase 4 is the phase needed for Riverhead Raceway to get back to normal.

The NASCAR Cup series headed for Bristol, Tn. on Sunday where Brad Keselowski inherited his second win in a week when the leaders crashed in front of him with a lap remaining at the Bristol Motor Speedway. He won the Coca-Cola 600 seven previous at Charlotte Motor Speedway when a caution with two laps remaining helped him get to victory lane.

The victory dropped into Keselowski’s lap when Chase Elliott and Joey Logano collided as they raced for the win. Keselowski was third with a lap and a turn remaining when opportunity opened. Logano cleared Elliott for the lead with three to go, but Elliott stalked him while seeking his second win in three days. Clint Bowyer was second for his best finish in a year. Ryan Preece finished 12th on the lead lap.

Word comes from Stafford – Waterford – Thompson announcer Matt Buckler that Ken Cassidy Jr. is leaving the Mini Stock division to move up to the Pro Truck Series. The mini-stock stats are impressive, five track championships in seven years and 66 wins, putting him 10th on the all-time Waterford win list. But that’s only part of the story. The stats don’t tell you all the side-by-side battles the mighty No. 11 had, especially with Sean Caron, without laying a fender on each other. He was a clean driver and used intelligence, not his bumper, to win a lot of races. It doesn’t tell you his work ethic. In addition to Saturdays, he was at the Bowl every Wednesday night helping someone. In victory lane, he never bad-mouthed anyone. He did what he was supposed to do — thank his sponsors, and it always was a long list. . He came off a sick bed to win races. That’s how tough he is. Just because of the nature of local racing, big winners get booed. Ken Cassidy never got booed. That’s because he was first-class, on and off the track. He was the Master of the Mini Stocks. Because of his work ethic, there’s no question he’ll be a master in the truck series as well.

Chase Elliott’s streak of bitter defeats in NASCAR’s frantic first push of rescheduled races finally ended with his first Cup victory of the season. Elliott won Thursday night in the rain-delayed event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to close a brutal 12 days for NASCAR. The event, postponed Wednesday night, was the fourth Cup race since the series resumed racing May 17.

Denny Hamlin finished second in a Toyota with three crew members sitting at home under suspension for an infraction Sunday night. His crew chief, car chief and engineer earned automatic four-race suspensions when a piece of tungsten fell off Hamlin’s car on a pace lap.

That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-248-1307.