RPW Column: The Champ Trail: Amazing Racing At Stafford, Lancaster, The Speedbowl & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Stafford Speedway presented the 4th Annual Bud Light Open Modified 80 plus a regular weekly program on Friday night.

Twenty seven tour type modifieds were on hand.

At the drop of the green Ryan Preece jumped out to a comfortable lead and appeared to be taking a Sunday drive on Friday night. After pitting for right side tires following a caution on lap 41, Preece’s mount was not the same as before. Chase Dowling went wheel to wheel on the outside of Preece for 2 laps after the restart before getting clear into the lead on lap-53. Woody Pitkat was up to third with Ron Williams fourth and Joey Cipriano in fifth. Brett Gonyaw spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 57 laps complete.

Dowling took the lead on the restart with Pitkat getting around Preece, who was fading fast, to move into second. Williams was fourth in line with Cipriano right behind him in fifth

With 10 laps to go, Dowling had pulled away from Pitkat in second, who had pulled away from a host of cars that included Preece, Williams, Cipriano, and Chris Pasteryak. Williams got around Preece to move into third on lap-74 and Cipriano took fourth from Preece on lap-75.

Dowling cruised to his second consecutive Open Modified victory at Stafford with Pitkat coming home in second. Williams finished third with Cipriano and Pasteryak rounding out the top-5.

Todd Owen scored his first SK Modified® win of the 2021 season, Zack Robinson took down his first career Late Model feature win, Nick Anglace notched his second SK Light win of 2021, Devon Jencik became a first time winner at Stafford in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar took down his second Street Stock win of the 2021 season.

The 40 lap SK Modified event provided a surprise ending with Todd Owen recording his first win of the year. Owen was surprised as anyone as he watched leaders Tyler Hines and Stephen Kopcik tangle with two laps to go. Kopcik was under Hines as they exited the fourth turn when they touched with the end result that showed Hines hitting the wall. Hines was extremely upset with Kopcik. Owen led the restart and was able to hold off Chase Dowling for the win. Mike Christopher Jr came from a starting position of 14th to finish third. Andrew Molleur and Matt Vassar rounded out the top five. Hines ended up 16th and Kopcik, 17th. Keith Rocco continued to be snake bit as he was eliminated along with Bryan Narducci in a lap four crash in turn one. Narducci ended up 22nd and Rocco, 23rd.

In the 20-lap SK Light feature, third generation racer Tyler Barry appeared to be headed for his first win only to be foiled on a restart with five laps left in the feature. Nick Anglace and Barry went wheel to wheel on the restart with Anglace taking lead by a nose at the line. Derek Debbis was up to third and he took second as Anglace took the elad with Barry falling back to third on lap-19. Debbis made a move for the lead coming to the checkered flag but Anglace picked up his second win of the 2021 season. Barry finished third, his first podium finish.

Other winners included Zack Robinson who took down his first career Late Model feature win, Devon Jencik became a first time winner at Stafford in the Limited Late Model feature, and Travis Hydar who took down his second Street Stock win of the 2021 season.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its first visit to the Lancaster Speedway in western New York state on Saturday night. Patrick Emerling grew up in Orchard Park, New York, just 30 minutes south of Lancaster (New York International Raceway Park) where the track sits. The hard charger, in a car crew chiefed by Jan Leaty, excelled late and led the final 30 laps en route to his second tour victory of 2021 to reclaim the series points lead. After a late-race restart pitted the western New York native against Justin Bonsignore, his nearest threat for the championship, Emerling fended off a fierce charge on the final corner to win the inaugural Nu-Way Auto Parts 150.

Jon McKennedy began the night on the pole and was untouchable for the first 90 laps despite heated pressure from Bonsignore and Max McLaughlin. Eventually, though, Bonsignore reeled in McKennedy and made the pass for the lead on Lap 91 in the midst of a long green-flag run that followed an early caution at Lap 28.

Not long after Bonsignore set sail in the lead, Emerling’s car seemingly came to life. The long-run speed of the No. 07 allowed Emerling to erase a 1.14-second deficit in just 10 laps before leapfrogging Bonsignore into the top spot. Bonsignore was attempting to lap another driver when he caught the marbles in Turn 2, allowing Emerling to pass through cleanly on the inside for the lead.

The last 26 laps of the contest, however, became suddenly filled with cautions. On Lap 124, Scott Wylie and Walter Sutcliffe Jr. tangled in Turns 1 and 2 to bring out the second yellow flag of the evening. Under that caution period, the leaders all came to pit road. Emerling maintained his lead but Bonsignore lost considerable track position and came out mired in the middle of the top 10.

One lap after the restart, McKennedy and Anthony Nocella made contact entering Turn 1 and sent both cars sideways at the front of the field. Eric Goodale suffered significant damage while Andy Jankowiak and J.B. Fortin also got collected.

The ensuing restart on Lap 141 wasn’t much better. Chuck Hossfeld seemed to suffer a right-front suspension issue entering Turn 1 and clipped the back bumper of Silk’s No. 85 machine. Silk attempted to make the corner but was caught on the outside three-wide and triggered a pile-up that gathered up Tommy Catalano, Ken Heagy, Timmy Solomito, Mike Leaty and Nocella.

At the finish, McLaughlin finished third behind Emerling and Bonsignore while McKennedy and Goodale rounded out the top five. Tyler Rypkema came home sixth ahead of Hossfeld and Fortin, who completed the lead-lap finishers. Doug Coby finished ninth, one lap down, after starting the race two laps down. The six-time champ needed his shifter replaced before the field took the green flag. Rounding out the top 10 was Kyle Bonsignore.

The victory for Emerling inches him closer to the points lead one race after losing the top position to Bonsignore. That battle, with Bonsignore currently six points ahead, will heat up as the tour heads to Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 6.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl It took defending SK Modified champion Tim Jordan more than two months to post his first 2021 win of the season. Now that he’s found the key to victory lane, however, he’s not about to lose it. Jordan surged past Mike Christopher Jr. on a lap 10 restart on his way to his second consecutive win Saturday to highlight the action at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

In other action, Ray Christian won his fourth 30-lap Late Model feature, Jason Chapman nailed down his first SK Lite Modified win, and Jared Roy took the lead early and held on to win the 25-lap Mini Stock feature. Randy Burr grabbed his first 35-lap Truck win of the season, Jordan Churchill held off his teammate John O’Sullivan for a victory in the 20-lap Legends feature and Christopher Buffone finally figured out a way to get by Bo Norman with seven laps remaining to prevail in the 25-lap Open Street Sock feature.

While Jordan took the lead on lap 10, the turning point of the race took place a few laps earlier. Adam Gada and Jordan were fighting for second place when the two cars made contact. Jordan was able to dive down through the infield grass and come back on the asphalt to maintain his second place spot behind Christopher.

A few laps later, he beat Christopher on a restart to grab the lead for good. Christopher held on for second while Rob Janovic finished third.

Due to the current race tire situation, weather, and available dates, the The New London-Waterford Speedbowl has eliminated one race from the Ron Bouchard Auto Stores #Fast5 racing series schedule.

The tentative dates for the remaining races are as follows:

  • Saturday 8/28/2021 – Ed Flemke Sr & Jr 50 lap race – $4,000.00 to win.
  • Saturday 9/18/2021 – George & Ricky Summers 50 lap race – $4,000.00 to win.
  • Sunday 10/17/2021 – Bill Slater & Ed Flemke Sr 100 lap race – $7,000.00 to win.

Johnny Clark won the inaugural Bay State Classic for the Pro All Star Series at the Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday night. The event paid $10,000 to win.

The Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina continues to pack them in as over 11,000 fans filled the stadium. John Holleman IV did something that hasn’t been done since 1953, winning from the pole in the Modified Division as a rookie. Holleman accomplished that in the first 25-lap Modified race to do it for the first time since Glen Wood in 1953. It was Holleman’s third win of the year as he led from flag to flag withstanding four caution flags. Brandon Ward was second and Burt Myers, who was in his backup car, finished third. Points’ leader Tim Brown finished sixth.

In the second Modified race, Chris Fleming showed he’s still got a little left in the tank as he held off Tim Brown over 25 laps to get the victory.

Fleming, 62, is one of the more popular drivers at the track because of his deep family ties to the stadium. There’s a reason three other drivers left the pits to be in Victory Lane with Fleming.

Riverhead Raceway on Long Island gave the Modifieds the week off because of the current tire shortage. Originally slated to debut in 2020 the Crown Jewel Series for the Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modifieds will premier this Saturday August 7th at Riverhead Raceway with the Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77. The 77 is the first in a three race series that will award the 2021 Crown Jewel Series champion the Ted Christopher Cup. The 2021 Crown Jewel Series was scheduled to be four races however a poorly timed rain out of the 71st Year Celebration 71 on July 3rd has trimmed the series down to three races.

The Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 annually honors three of the most successful & popular drivers ever to strap into a NASCAR Modified. Charlie Jarzombek from right up the road in Baiting Hollow remains the all time leading winner of Modified races at Riverhead with 63 while Richie Evans of Rome, NY is a nine time NASCAR National Modified champion and is enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Tom Baldwin of Bellport left an indelible mark on NASCAR Modified racing with a combination of on track success, an unmatched personality as well at the time of his passing working as a liaison of sorts between the teams and officials of the NASCAR WMT.

July 22, 1972 Ronnie Bouchard made it two in a row. Bobby Santos, who finished second to Eddie Flemke in a 200 lapper at Malta the night before scored another runnerup finish. Fred DeSarro, Phil Spiak and Moose Hewitt rounded out the top five.

Read all about it in the all-new book, The Modified Years At Stafford, by the Grace of God and 600 hp, which is gaining interest and has become a must have in race fans and competitors library. Race by Race, Year by Year, it’s all there. Read all about it! 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. Makes a great gift!

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