RPW Column: The Champ Trail: First-Time SK Winner At Stafford; Coby Gets Tour Win With Own Team

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Stafford Speedway saw Cory DiMatteo become a first-time winner in the SK Modified® feature, Adam Gray won his first Late Model feature of the 2020 season, Alexander Pearl scored his first SK Light win, Gary Patnode notched his first 2020 Limited Late Model win, and Meghan Fuller took down her first 2020 win in the Street Stock feature.

In the SK Modified 40 lapper, DiMatteo made a move to the inside of Teddy Hodgdon on lap-8 and took the lead at the start-finish line. With 10 laps to go, DiMatteo was still in the lead with Hodgdon right behind him in second. Keith Rocco got around Marcello Rufrano to take over third with Ronnie Williams in fifth. Hodgdon was able to get to DiMatteo’s bumper but he couldn’t find a way to get by as DiMatteo scored his first career SK Modified® victory. Rocco finished third with Williams and Rufrano rounding out the top-5.

In the 20 lap SK Light feature, Alexander Pearl led the field to the checkered flag after starting eighth to pick up his first win of the 2020 season. Derek Debbis edged out Brian Sullivan at the line for second with Tyler Chapman coming home in fourth and Kyle Ellwood was fifth.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returned to the White Mountain Motorsports Park on Saturday night for the third race of the 2020 season. The quarter-mile speedway is located in North Woodstock, New Hampshire.

Doug Coby started fifth and never let off the gas as he went on to record his 29th career Modified tour victory. It was also the first win for the team that he now owns.

Coby and pole sitter Jon McKennedy traded the lead from lap 108 to 183 before Coby took it for good. In the final 17 laps Coby opened up a sizeable lead as he went on to win, uncontested. McKennedy, who led 133 laps faded to fourth in the final rundown. Kyle Bonsignore who started 18th, finished second. Matt Swanson, in the Boehler Ole Blu came back from a pit stop to finish third. Rounding out the top five was Justin Bonsignore who was off his game until a late race pit stop corrected handling problems. Calvin Carroll was sixth, followed by Dave Sapienza, Anthony Nocella, Eric Goodale and Ron Silk.

The 200 lap event took 59 minutes 20 seconds to complete. Seven cautions slowed the event. The first caution flew on lap seven when Walter Sutcliff spun on the front stretch. The second caution flew on lap 66 when Rob Summers spun in turn four. JR Bertuccio came to a halt on the front stretch on lap 88 for caution #3. Sam Rameau spun in turn one on lap 104 for the fourth caution. Tommy Catalano was involved in a violent wreck on the front chute on lap 112.bringing out the yellow for the fifth time. The impact tore off the right front tire and suspension. Rob Summers spun again on lap 178, this time in turn 2 for caution #6. The sixth and final caution flew on lap 185. Chris Pasteryak slid up and tapped Jon McKennedy. Both spun and collected Dave Sapienza and Ron Silk. This resulted in a restart that saw Kyle Bonsignore taking the green in second spot and Matt Swanson in third spot.

With three events completed Justin Bonsignore, who won the first two events, continues to lead the point standings with a nine point buffer over Doug Coby. Jon McKennedy sits in third spot, 16 points back. Rounding out the top five are Craig Lutz and Kyle Bonsignore tied, 23 points back.

Next up on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be an event at The Jennerstown Speedway tat was originally scheduled for May 23 which has been rescheduled to Aug. 22. Monadnock is on the schedule with an event slated for Aug 29.

Thus far, seven of 17 events on the original NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event have been cancelled. Events have been cancelled at Thompson (April 5, Aug. 19), Stafford Speedway (April 26 and Aug. 7), Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (May 8), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18) and Iowa Speedway (July 31). Stafford Speedway is scheduled to host the Whelen Modified Tour on Sept. 27 as part of its NAPA Fall Final weekend though it seems highly unlikely that event will take place with 25 percent capacity restrictions in place for Connecticut tracks.

The Whelen Modified Tour had added an event to the schedule to be run May 30 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway but it was ultimately postponed due to weather. NASCAR has not rescheduled that event.

The March 21 event at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, June 6 event Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway and July 11 event at Wall (N.J.) Stadium have been postponed indefinitely. The event scheduled for June 20 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway has been postponed to Oct. 17, with Riverhead still scheduled to also host the series on Sept. 19. The Whelen Modified Tour Musket 200, as part of Full Throttle Weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, remains scheduled for Sept. 12. A Sept. 5 event at Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway also remains scheduled. All events with the exception of the World Series at Thompson have been cancelled.

The Riverhead Raceway on eastern Long Island finally got to drop the green flag on the 2020 season, three months later then it was supposed to due to Covid-19 but opening night Saturday night found anticipation and excitement in the air. When the checker flag waved on the 50-lap NASCAR Modified feature a familiar face would sit in victory lane as Tom Rogers Jr. of Riverhead made an early race pass to lay claim to his 58th career triumph. Tom now sits just five back of “Charging” Charlie Jarzombek’s 63 wins for the top spot on the all time win list. Howie Brode scored the runner-up finish while Kyle Soper crossed the line third. Roger Turbush and Dylan Slepian completed the top five.

If all goes as planned, the New London – Waterford Speedbowl will re-open this Saturday night, Aug 8. Shuttered since October of 2018, the shoreline oval has been the scene of almost a complete rebuild including new grandstands and fencing. The Modified Racing Series will be part of the program. The Speedbowl’s first Saturday night weekly program will go compete with one of the state’s biggest annual short track events as the Stafford Motor Speedway will be hosting it’s annual NAPA SK 5K.

Just got my copy of The Soul of a Modified- Lenny Boehler’s Ole Blue. Lew Boyd has pulled out all the stops on this one. Len Boehler did more with less. Fred DeSarro drove Ole Blue from 1971 until 1978. Many car owners approached him with some pretty lucrative offers. His favorite answer was, “Ichased that car for a lot of years and if I leave I will be chasing it again”. Check it out and grab a copy at Coastal181.com or BRERacing.com. $29.95. Coastal181.com phone: 1-877-907-8181 toll free.