RPW Column: Looking Back A Bit: Fourth Week Of October

RPW Column By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Fifty years ago in 1970, the Supers and the Modifieds ran together at the Thompson World Series. Howard Brown in a Super took the win. Fred DeSarro in the Sonny Koszela No.15 finished second.

Thirty five years ago in 1985, one of the saddest, darkest days of modified racing occurred a Martinsville when champion and most popular driver Richie Evans lost his life in a practice crash. For whatever reason, the orange No.61 hit the wall in turn three and from then on, modified racing, as we knew it would never be the same. In addition to being a fierce competitor, Evans had the best interest of the division at heart and was consulted by promoters and the sanctioning body on a regular basis. Evans had over 500 wins to his credit along with nine national championships. With heavy hearts, the show at Martinsville went on because he would have wanted it to. John Bryant took the win over Bugsy Stevens, Tom Baldwin, George Kent, Doug Hevron, Brian Ross, Tony Hirschman and Jamie Tomaino. It was also during this particular week that NASCAR split with Tom Curley and his NASCAR-North late model touring series. This series would turn into being the ACT tour and NASCAR would form the Busch North Series.

Thirty years ago in 1990, the Modifieds converged on Martinsville for the season ending event. Tony Hirschman took the lead from Reggie Ruggiero on lap 128 of the 200-lap event and went on to record his first win at Martinsville in ten years of trying. Reggie Ruggiero finished second and was followed by George Kent, Tom Baldwin, Jamie Tomaino, George Brunnhoelzl, Mike Ewanitsko and Steve Park.

Twenty five years ago in 1995,one of the best shows ever was a rain out, make up at Thompson that featured the Busch North Series and the Featherlite Modified Tour plus the SK Modifieds. It was the best of both worlds and the grandstand was packed to see the best racing that the northeast had to offer. Steve Park took the lead in the mod 150 on lap130 from Wayne Anderson and went on to record the win. Anderson finished second and was followed by Ed Flemke Jr, Ricky Fuller and Bruce Del. Tony Hirschman finished a distant seventh but still managed to win the championship by 3 points over Park. Mike Stefanik took the lead from Martin Truex on lap 130 and took the win in the Busch North 150.Andy Santarre finished second. Bo Gunning started 33rd in the 40 car SK modified field and took the lead with 16 laps to go in the 50 lap feature and recorded an impressive win over Todd Ceravolo, Ted Christopher and Bob Potter. In Winston Cup action at Phoenix, Ricky Rudd took the win.

Twenty years ago in 2000, Chemung Speedrome in New York and Lee Raceway in New Hampshire were the hot spots. Chemung announced that they would be NASCAR sanctioned in 2001. J.R.Kent took the win over Chris Ross and Pete Britain. At Lee, Rob Summers in the Bear Motorsports entry started third in the 100 lap feature and took the lead on lap six. From there on he was long gone. Dave Berghman finished second and was followed by Carl Pasteryak, Charlie Pasteryak, Ted Christopher and Tucker Reynolds. Dale Jarret was the Winston Cup winner at Rockingham. Jeff Green was the BGN winner.

Fifteen years ago in 2005 The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series was at the Thompson Speedway last weekend for the previously postponed World Series. They were joined by the Busch North Series. The big news on Saturday morning was that it wasn’t raining. Temperatures were in the low 30’s but it didn’t seem to hold anyone back as 40 Whelen Modifieds, 40 Sunoco SK type Modifieds and 35 Busch North cars helped jam the already bulging pit area.

In what was to be a long day of qualifying turned into another day of waiting and frustration as rain and snow hit the speedway in mid afternoon. At least the qualifying was completed for the Modifieds, Busch North and Sunoco Mods. Jerry Marquis in the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino captured his first Busch Pole of the year. Second generation driver Matt Hirschman was second fastest. Rounding out the top five were Don Lia, Zach Sylvester and Doug Coby. The top eight redrew for starting spots. Tony Hirschman drew the pole with his son, Matt, drawing the outside pole. Marquis drew eighth. Sean Caisse captured the Busch North pole. Sunoco Modified heats were won by Jeff Malave and Kerry Malone.

All the rain and snow disappeared during the Saturday overnight. Sunday was absolutely beautiful with temperatures in the high 60’s. Ted Christopher was looking to wrap up his first Whelen Modified Tour Championship; Tony Hirschman was looking to wrap up his fifth championship. Christopher would have to wait another year while Hirschman celebrated. Christopher’s efforts came to an end on lap 10 when he took a hard shot into the wall between turns one and two after going up and over Donnie Lia. Hirschman ran near the front for most of the 125 laps and in the end finished a conservative 12th. Jerry Marquis was the eventual winner with Chuck Hossfeld, second. Doug Coby finished third with Mike Christopher and Charlie Pasteryak rounding out the top five.

It was a brutal weekend on racecars. Mike Christopher wrecked the Hills Enterprises No.79 big time in practice. David Hills’ crew did yeoman’s duty and the end result was a fourth. Chuck Hossfeld wrecked the No.50 wrecked in qualifying. Crew Chief Phil Moran and his crew did their work and Hossfeld rewarded their efforts with a runner-up finish. The 90, 12 and 3 were cradled off of the track. The 75 (Carl Pasteryak), 59 (Matt Hirschman), 13 (Ted Christopher), 10 (Ed Flemke Jr.) and 99 (Jamie Tomaino) all received major damage although the 99 and 10 teams did amazing jobs getting their cars back on the track. Kenny Barry was under the 12 of Jimmy Blewett in the second turn when he (21) wiggled and hit the 12 sending him into the wall. Donnie Lia had a fast car and hit the 79 in the rear and spun him out. That is when the Lia was held in the pits. Mike Christopher drove like a man possessed and came on hard to finish a fine 4th.

In Busch North Series competition, Eddie MacDonald ended his two-year drought to score the victory in the 100-lapper for the NASCAR Elite division. MacDonald led early and was never far from the lead. He took over the top spot from Mike Stefanik on a late race restart to claim the victory. By virtue of his eighth place finish Andy Santerre claimed an unprecedented fourth consecutive Busch North Series championship.

In Supermodified action, Chris Perley of Rowley, MA took home top honors in the 50-lapper during the World Series activities. Perley won the battle but not the war as Pat Abold came home second in the feature to claim the 2005 International Supermodified Association championship. Perley jumped out to the early lead and would not be headed. Abold took chase in second followed by Russ Wood, Mark Sammut, and Randy Ritskes inside the top-five.

In NEMA action Nokie Fornoro of Reeders, PA looked strong as he powered away to an impressive win in the 25-lap main event for the Midgets. Fornoro used the green-to-checker run to make his way to the head of the pack over Joey Payne, Randy Cabral, Ben Seitz and Adam Cantor.

Jeff Malave of S. Windsor, CT capped off his championship run with his fourth victory of the season. Malave took the lead from his front row starting spot and would never be headed as he bested a 40-car field. With Malave on the point, the best battle on the field was for second between Ceravolo and Silk. The battling allowed Keith Rocco to join the fray as well. Silk motored into second as Ceravolo began to fade. At the checkers it was Malave over Silk, Rocco, Chuck Docherty and Tommy Cravenho

Rick Gentes was the first to grace victory lane on the long-awaited running of the World Series on Sunday. Gentes of Woonsocket, RI took the lead from the drop of the green flag and went on to lead every lap of the caution-free 25-lap event. The two point contenders, Charles Bailey, III and Woody Pitkat ran nose to tail behind the leader. The two put on a heated battle for the remainder of the event. Pitkat muscled his way by Bailey in the closing laps taking Marc Palmisano along for the ride. Bailey came home in the fourth position to earn the 2005 Late Model championship. Jeff Hartwell rounded out the top-five.

In Pro Stock action, Freddy Astle took down his third victory of the 2005. Astle scored the popular win over a field of competitors from a number of New England tracks. For the locals, there was a lot riding on the outcome of the main event on Sunday as four drivers were in contention for the divisional title. Zuidema held a slim lead over Norm Wrenn, Jeff Connors and Joe Lemay. Astle was able to hold off Wrenn and Zuidema for the win with Seekonk ace Ray Parent and Lemay completing the top five. By keeping Wrenn is his sites, Zuidema was able to grab the crown by a mere eight points.

Glenn Boss of Danielson, CT put an exclamation point on his fine season at Thompson with his sixth Limited Sportsman win of 2005. The newly crowned champion led every lap en route to the victory. Keith DeSanctis, Kevin Riley, Danny Cates and Larry Barnett rounded out the top-five.

Shelly Perry of Ashaway, RI rallied late in the Mini Stock 20-lapper to take her second triumph of the 2005 season. Perry came out on top of a heated five-car battle that also included championship chaser Scott Michalski, his brother Steve and Brian Vincent. The Michalski brothers pressured but had to settle for second and third over Brian Towle. On the final lap Ron Rixham’s car went up in smoke but the veteran was able to coast past the finish line to finish in the fifth position to secure the championship.

In the T.I.S. Modified division, Kurt Vigeant of Oxford, MA claimed his first victory of the season. Shane Michalski and Chad Gaudiosi earned podium finishes over Leo Oliveira and Richie Ferreira. Roger Larson, Jr. came home a disappointing seventh but could still celebrate as he won the inaugural championship for the division.

Jim Dolan, Chris Wenzel, Andy Seuss and Peter Daniels were the top four finishers in the True Value Modified Racing Series at Lee Raceway on Sunday afternoon in the Storace Construction 100, the final race of 2005. It was the best finish of the season for both Dolan and Wenzel. Dale Evonsion and Jimmy Kuhn were battling for the lead when contact was made and both were sent to the rear as a result. Kirk Alexander won his 2nd consecutive championship beating out Peter Daniels for the title. Bob Polverari made his final appearance and finished ninth. Polverari stated that he would retire following this years edition of the North – Shootout.

The Arute family that operates the Stafford Motorspeedway announced that Stafford would become the first weekly short track to install the SAFER barrier wall protection. Steel and foam construction will reduce the impact of crashes better than concrete. The speedway was looking to cover a 140 foot stretch of wall in turn 1 with the barrier. It’s an area where a pit entrance creates a stretch with a longer run than normal up to the wall and has long been pointed to by drivers as needing some sort of redesign. Upstate New York driver Tony Jankowiac lost his life there and Canadian Denis Giroux suffered long term injuries after hitting the wall in that area. The Safer Barrier project had been in the works at Stafford since February and hopefully when the 2006 season begins it will become a reality. It did!

Carl Edwards’ victory in the Nextel Cup Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta helped him make up some ground in the chase for the championship, moving him from fifth place into a tie for fourth with Ryan Newman. Both trail leader Tony Stewart by 107 points with three races left. Edwards, who barely held off veteran Jimmie Johnson for his first Cup victory on the Georgia track in March, had a dominating car through the second half of Sunday’s 325-lap race. Edwards lost a lead of more than 6 seconds when the last of nine caution flags was waved for debris on lap 283. But he was able to regain control and pulled away for his third victory of the season, beating four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon by 2.713 seconds, half the front straight-away on the 1.5-mile oval. The Busch Series had a weekend off.

Ten years ago in 2010, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series headed for the Thompson Speedway for the World Series of Speedway Racing. Fifteen different divisions of race cars and race trucks were in competition in qualifying races and feature events. The weekend began on a wet note as speedway officials were forced to cancel Fridays practice and qualifying because of wet conditions.

Under dry but blustery skies Bobby Santos took a big step toward earning his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title as he captured the Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying Saturday for the season finale Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing. Santos, driving the Garbarino Mystic Missile, turned a fast lap of 18.709 seconds (120.263 mph) in Saturday’s qualifying session to earn his fourth pole of the season. There were 37 Modifieds on hand for the season ending event that carried a posted purse of $85,567. Ted Christopher was second fastest with a lap of 18.846 (119.389). Eric Berndt was third at 18.885 (119.142). Mike Stefanik and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. Santos won the redraw for the pole starting position. Berndt drew the outside pole with Christopher drawing third and Stefanik, fourth. Among the surprise entries was recently crowned NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion Burt Myers who qualified 14th.

Doug Coby almost stole the show but in the end Ted Christopher won the battle and Bobby Santos III won the war. Santos, who spent most of the day dealing with a mis-handling car, came home sixth to put the finishing touches on his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship. while Ted Christopher continued his mastery of Thompson International Speedway. Christopher became the first driver in Whelen Modified Tour history to earn three straight victories in the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, the traditional season-ending event For Santos, the Whelen Modified Tour title came in his first full-time season competing in the division. He gave car owner Bob Garbarino his third championship in four years. Garbarino, an owner in the division since 1961, did not win a championship until driver Donny Lia won it in 2007 and 2009.

Santos entered the event with a 37-point lead over Stefanik, and was able to keep the nine-time NASCAR champion in his sights throughout the race. Stefanik finished fourth behind Christopher, Ryan Preece and Doug Coby. Santos finished 27 points ahead of Stefanik in the final standings, and 78 ahead of Christopher. Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five in points. Silk was also fifth in Sunday’s race and led an event-high 45 laps. Eric Beers finished seventh in Sunday’s race, followed by Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink and James Civali. Burt Myers, who wrapped up the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified championship Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, finished 14th.

Outside pole sitter Eric Berndt took the lead at the drop of the green as the Santos mount appeared to have a problem. Berndt, who had a real stout engine took on the role of the rabbit. The first of seven cautions flew on lap 8 when Wade Cole spun into the wall in turn three. The race was red flagged as officials attempted to determine if someone was leaking oil. On the restart, Santos faded to third while Ted Christopher moved in on Berndt’s tail. The second caution flew onlap 31 when Renee Dupuis, Gary McDonald and Cole spun between turns three and four. The field restarted on lap34 with Christopher taking the lead in turn two. Christopher led laps 35-37 when Berndt took it back in turn3 on lap 37. Berndt held the lead for a lap before getting loose in turn two on lap 38 when he again gave way to Christopher. While Berndt was trying to regain control Mike Stefanik moved into the second spot. The third caution flew on lap 46 when Glen Tyler spun in turn three. During the caution period Stefanik, Ron Silk, Santos and Todd Szegedy pitted for tires and adjustments.

The green flew on lap 51 with Christopher leading Berndt and Rowan Pennink. Berndt retook the lead on lap 53. The fourth caution flew on lap 60 when Jimmy Blewett found himself planted in the wall between turns one and two. Christopher took the lead on the restart with Pennink, Eddie Flemke and Doug Coby in tow. By lap 71 Ron Silk had moved into second and was taking aim on Christopher’s lead. At the half way mark Christopher continued to lead and was followed by Silk, Stefanik, Pennink, Coby and Ryan Preece. With fresher tires, Silk took the lead in turn three on lap 76. The fifth caution flew on lap 81 when James Civali spun on the front chute. During the caution Christopher along with Preece and Pennink pitted for tires. When the green was displayed on lap 86, Silk continued to lead and was followed by Stefanik and Coby. Coby, who came out of no where appeared to be shot out of a cannon as he took the lead on lap 121 from Silk. By lap 125 Coby had a three second lead but by then Christopher had fought his way to the fron and was closing in for the kill. Coby led until lap 146 when Christopher passed him for the lead and eventual win in turn 4. Two late cautions for spins by Todd Szegedy and Gary McDonald did not effect the outcome of the race.

In other Sunday action at Thompson, Chris Perley of Rowley, MA, was super as he took home the victory in the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) feature event. Russ Wood of Pelham, NH, was crowned the 2010 ISMA champion. In Northeastern Midget Association action, Randy Cabral of Plymouth, MA won the war winning the feature event but it was Russ Stoehr of Bridgewater, MA winning the 2010 championship. In Thompson regular divisions it was Ronnie Silk of Norwalk, CT, taking down the victory in the Sunoco Modifieds, Rick Fuller of Auburn, MA, in the Super Late Models and Tommy O’Sullivan Late Models.

Modified Racing Series point leader Jon McKennedy, captured the 100-lap Twin State Fall Challenge feature race at the Twin State Speedway in Claremont, NH. The win was McKennedy’s fourth of the season, his eleventh career victory, and his second win at the New Hampshire speedway. McKennedy widened his point lead by 61 points over Dwight Jarvis. McKennedy was followed by Steve Masse, Matt Hirschman, Les Hinckley III, and Joey Jarvis. Sixth through tenth were, Ken Barry, Chris Pasteryak, Jacob Dore, Eddy Spiers, and Dwight Jarvis.

The sixth season of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour concluded with an inaugural visit to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the running of the UNOH Southern Slam 150 on Thursday, Oct. 16. The race was contested on the quarter-mile track located along the front stretch of the 1.5-mile speedway located in Concord, N.C. Burt Myers led all but one lap in winning the UNOH Southern Slam 150 and, in the process, bypassed three title contenders to claim the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship. Myers entered the final race fourth in points and trailing first-place James Civali by 41.

Civali, however, was involved in several racing incidents and finished 16th. One of the wrecks also included second-place Andy Seuss, who wound up 18th. Earlier in the day, Seuss had won the Coors Light Pole Award. With less than 20 to go, third-place L.W. Miller got caught up in a fracas with Civali while running in third. He was able to make it back to finish sixth. That left the door wide open for Myers, who took home the championship by 31 points over Miller (1,609-1,578). Civali finished with 1,575, followed by Seuss with 1,566 and John Smith with 1,555. Earlier in the year, Myers also won his fourth track title in the Modified Division at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series North Carolina championship.

Myers qualified seventh but drew the pole when the 10 fastest qualifiers redrew for starting position. The only lap he didn’t lead was 137 when Tim Brown nosed ahead on the restart, but Myers quickly moved back into the lead. Brown finished second in the race, while Zach Brewer posted his best finish of the season in third. John Smith was fourth and Daniel Hemric fifth.

Jamie McMurray’s career came full circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night, where he returned to Victory Lane eight years after grabbing his first win with the team that gave him a second chance. McMurray passed Kyle Busch on a restart with 21 laps to go and cruised to the Sprint Cup win in his Chevrolet. In the Nationwide Series 300, Brad Keselowski led three times for 46 laps and despite battling Martin Truex, Jr. tooth and nail through the final quarter of the race, led the final 35 laps for his first victory on a 1.5-mile race track and the 11th triumph of his career before one of the smallest Charlotte Motor Speedway Nationwide Series crowds in recent memory.

The New England Auto Racer’s Hall of Fame announced their “Class of 2011.” Drivers Punky Caron, Dan Meservey, Russ Nutting and Jerry Dolliver, car owners Rich & Ray Garuti, Stanley “Skip” Matczak, Vic Kangas, and Speedway Scene publisher Val Lesieur would be inducted at the 14th annual induction ceremony slated to take place on January 30th at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT

The Mohegan Sun Casino announced that they would not return as the primary sponsor of former NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Matt Kobyluck for the 2011 racing season. Gambling revenues had been way off this past year. Mohegan Sun as well as Foxwoods had trimmed their work force in recent months.

It looked like the late Richie Evans and his many fans would have to wait another year as NASCAR announced the second class of inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That class consists of: David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Lee Petty, Ned Jarrett and Bud Moore. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, consisting of members of the Nominating Committee along with 31 others representing all facets of the NASCAR industry, met in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2011. The announcement was made in the Great Hall inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced it will race with E15 fuel in its three national touring series in 2011. Sunoco Green E15 is a 15 percent ethanol blend using American-made ethanol from corn grown by American farmers. NASCAR has tested the new blend excessively and claims race engines make more horsepower. The marine industry has seen the opposite effects of alcohol blended gas. When stored for any period of time alcohol blended gas dissolves deposits in older tanks and fuel lines plus the blended fuel attracts moisture when stored any length of time.

Five years, 2015, The New London-Waterford Speedbowl concluded its 2015 racing season with Bemer’s Super Bowl of Auto Racing. Bruce Bemer, a Glastonbury businessman is responsible for keeping the facility as a race track. The two-day event included all nine of the Speedbowl’s weekly series, plus the New England Trucks, the Granite State Pro Stock Series, the 19th annual SK Modified Nationals, where the winner received $5,000 and the Tri Track Open Modified Series where close to 50 drivers were entered.

Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza reported that Derek Ramstrom showed up at New London-Waterford Speedbowl with the fastest car in the Granite State Pro Stock Series on Saturday. He was fastest in practice and fastest in the feature event, never looking back after he passed D.J. Shaw for the lead just before lap fifty. Ramstrom scored his first victory of the 2015 season in his final start which put a cap on what was a tough season for the Seekonk Grand Prix No. 35 team. While he won the feature event, Derek Griffith, an 18-year-old driver, collected the 2015 Granite State Pro Stock Series championship crown with his third place finish.

There were 31 SK Modifieds on hand for three qualifying heats for the Sunday 75 lapper. Scoring wins were Paul Kusheba, Jimmy Zacharias and Craig Lutz. Ryan Preece won the consolation event. In other Saturday action at the shoreline oval Ethan Durocher inherited the Bandolero 20 lap feature win Saturday evening, after winner Jacob Perry failed to past post-race technical inspection. Brandon Plemens found himself picking up a $1,000 check by scoring the win in the 40 lap Limited Sportsman feature event. Pete Zakerite survived a rough, wreck-filled Mini Stock feature to notch his second straight Mini Stock win in New England.

Woody Pitkat continued his late season winning surge as he won the Tri-Track Series 75 lapper at the Speedbowl. Starting ninth, a determined Pitkat charged his way to the front and by lap 19 was in the second spot behind Les Hinkley when the caution was waved. On the restart Pitkat jumped into the lead and never looked back as he romped to victory. Pitkat earned a little over $8,000 for his efforts.

While Pitkat opened up a good lead Hinkley began to fade. Hinkley was able to hang on for the runner-up finish despite the efforts of Ron Silk who settled for third. Rounding out the top five was Ted Christopher and Ryan Preece. Sixth throug tenth were Steve Masse, Jon McKennedy, Chris Pasteryak, Matt Hirschman and Chase Dowling.

New London-Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified Track Champion Keith Rocco had a disappointing 19th place finish in the Tri Track event but more than made up for it as he won the 19th annual SK Modified® Nationals 75-lap event and the 30 lap Late Model event. bringing his track win total to 121 wins. The win also took Rocco over the top to a career overall total of 212 wins which also include victories at Thompson and Stafford Speedways.

On lap-30 Rocco had cleared Ted Christopher, only to see Christopher take the top spot back in turn one on lap-35 with a bold inside maneuver. A lap later, Rocco was back inside of Christopher through turns three and four, leaving Christopher to try and counter. While all eyes were out front, Matt Hirschman quietly worked his way into the top-five looking poised to make a run over the second half of the race.

Hirschman restarted third after a lap-42 yellow flag and pit stops for some teams reset the running order behind Rocco and Christopher. From there, Hirschman remained a factor the rest of the way. Rocco would never officially relinquish his lead, however six additional yellow flags over the remaining laps enabled both Christopher and Hirschman to fire shots Rocco’s way in attempt to derail his efforts at a third consecutive Modified Nationals victory.

After trading blows with Christopher to finally take second, Hirschman’s best shot at Rocco came on a lap-65 restart. Contact between the two coming to the green flag had Hirschman making a nice recovery to hold second while Rocco squirted away in the lead. Rocco needed to master one final restart on lap-72, doing so to pull ahead to a three car length victory. Hirschman’s race ended with a runner-up finish at the checkered flag, and Christopher was in contention until the conclusion to take third. Eric Berndt overcame a lap-10 incident to finish a strong showing in fourth, and Ryan Preece rallied from a rough first half of the race to take home a well-earned fifth place.

In other Sunday action at the shoreline oval Nick Salva was the SK Light winner and Dylan was the Legends winner.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour closed out their season. Doug Coby sealed the championship with a convincing win at the recent World Series. In 15 events Coby scored seven wins which included 11 top five finishes. Ryan Preece, who was tied with Coby going into the finale fell 11 points shy. Preece, in 15 starts scored four wins which included seven top fives. Woody Pitkat drove his heart out at the World Series but in the end was 13 points shy of the champion.Pitkat ran the entire 15 race schedule and scored one winwhich included 11 top fives. Todd Szegedy, who teamed up with Bob Garbarino at the last minute to drive the famed Mystic Missile, finished the year in fourth spot. Rounding out the top five was Patrick Emerling. Although winnless, Emerling ran in all 15 events and recorded nine top tens. Sixth through tenth in the final standings are Timmy Solomito, Donny Lia, Eric Goodale, Chase Dowling and Justin Bonsignore. Dowling was the highest finishing rookie. Eleventh through twentieth in the standings are Bobby Santos, Max Zachem, Ted Christopher, Jamie Tomaino, Jeff Goodale , Shawn Solomito, Dave Sapienza, Rowan Pennink, Ken Heagy and Gary McDonald

In a somewhat surprise move, Robert Our who owns the no. 22 driven by Ted Christopher said his race team had suspended operations. On a positive note, NASCAR’s George Silverman told Area Auto Racing News that TV coverage for the sanctioning body’s touring divisions has been “Huge” and he expects a greater focus on touring series coverage by NBC Sports net next year. It is also a good bet that the Seekonk Speedway will host a Whelen Modified Touring Series date in 2016 and it is a strong rumor that the Oswego Speedway in up-state New York would like to bring back their Labor Day weekend Modified 200 with a NASCAR sanction. Years ago the Oswego 200 Modified event was one of the best paying events in the northeast with the winner receiving in excess of $18,000.

Joey Logano completed a sweep of the second round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but it wasn’t without a great deal of controversy.

Logano was declared the winner by NASCAR after a crash at the start of a green-white-checkered restart, leaving Logano just a few feet ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the time of the caution.

Last year, 2019, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series closed out their 2019 season with the running of the Annual (57th) World Series at the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway a week previous. Now that the dust has settled many are looking forward to the 2020 season. NASCAR was expected to release the schedule at the Championship Awards Banquet in November. In the meantime speculation has it that Myrtle Beach may be off the schedule as South Boston in Virginia will open the season on March 21. Stafford hosted three events in 2019. It looks like the mid-summer 150 lapper may go away as a new event at Iowa has been scheduled. The Spring Sizzler and the Fall Final will bookend their season. The Thompson Motorsports Speedway is rumored to be making some management changes but their signature events will remain including the IceBreaker in the Spring and the World Series in the fall. Martinsville Speedway in Virginia will bring the Modifieds back as will Jennerstown in Pennsylvania. Riverhead Raceway on Long Island has recently done some repaving is expected to again host two events. No word as yet from Oswego or Seekonk but the Modifieds are expected to return as events at those tracks were exciting and successful. The New Hampshire International Speedway will again host two events.

While Justin Bonsignore was savoring his win at Thompson Mat Williams and car owner Buzz Chew were counting the big prize won for taking the victory in the Super Dirt Week 200 at the Oswego Speedway. While Bonsignore had a good pay day (NASCAR doesn’t announce money won) Williamson had a far greater one as he collected $10,000 cash for his victory. Tim Fuller was second at Oswego and collected $25,000 for his efforts. Third place finisher Brett Hearn earned $15,000. With the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series drawing record crowds who pay record high prices for tickets it seems that track promoters could do much better in the payoff line. Just my opinion.

In NASCAR Cup action at the Kansas Speedway Denny Hamlin took the win. Ryan Preece had a strong run as he finished 12th on the lead lap.

The International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) (“ISC”) announced last Friday, October 18, 2019 the closing of the previously announced merger contemplated by the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of May 22, 2019, with NASCAR Holdings, Inc. (“NASCAR”), pursuant to which ISC became a wholly owned subsidiary of NASCAR.

ISC shareholders, including shareholders representing a majority of the total voting power not held by certain controlling shareholders of ISC, approved the transaction at a special meeting on October 16, 2019. Under the terms of the merger agreement, shareholders (other than certain controlling shareholders of ISC) are entitled to receive $45.00 in cash, without interest, for each share of ISC Class A common stock and Class B common stock.

As a result of the merger, ISC is now a privately held company. Trading of ISC Class A common stock on NASDAQ was suspended on October 18, 2019, and the Class A common stock will cease to be listed on NASDAQ. Further, ISC Class B common stock will cease to be quoted on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board. ISC intends to deregister its common stock and suspend its reporting obligations with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and it will no longer hold an annual meeting of shareholders.

The all new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Car owners Bob Garbarino, Len Boehler and Art Barry supported the track from day one in 1967 until the Modifieds were replaced by the SKs. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it in the all new book. Books are now available on Amazon.com and Coastal 181 (877-907-8181 toll free) and are available thru Stafford’s web site in their store. Order yours now.