RPW Column: It’s Been An Equal Season So Far At Stafford In SK Mods, Jennerstown Tour Stop & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Last Friday night at the Stafford Motor Speedway a big rain storm all but swamped the nutmeg oval. The speedway management wisely cancelled the event early in the day before fans and competitors left their homes and race shops.

During the first five weeks of SK Modified racing at the track there has been no repeat winners and the competition has been superb.

Sitting atop the point standings despite being winless is Todd Owen. Owen has been a model of consistency with five-top tens to his credit. Tyler Hines, with four top fives including one win sits twelve points back in second spot. Stephen Kopcik sits in third spot, two points behind Hines. Kopcik has one win to his credit along with three top fives. Michael Christopher, off to a somewhat slow start, holds down fourth in the point standings. The second generation driver has one win and only two top fives. Rounding out the top five, 38 points back is Chase Dowling who has one win and two top fives. Sixth thru tenth include Ronnie Williams, Keith Rocco, Michael Gervais Jr, David Arute and Marcello Rufrano.

The SK Lights have run four events so far. Brian Sullivan, with one win sits in the top spot and holds a six point edge over Derek Debbis. Debbis has four top fives which include two wins. Third generation driver Alexander Pearl, some 16 points behind Sullivan, sits in the third spot. George Bessette Jr and Peter Bennett.

Michael Wray is the Late Model point leader, Alexandra Fearn, the Limited Late Models and Frank L’Toile, the Street Stocks.

The FloRacing live stream of the events at Stafford has been nothing short of being fantastic and entertaining. The video plus the announcing team of the Speedway plus the instant replays make it a must have.

This coming weekend will be a busy one at Stafford. In addition to the regular Friday night racing events the Speedway will be alive on Saturday night with SK All Star 50 lapper and the Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham’s new SRX Racing Series. The series will headline the Saturday event and will be supported by the TickMike.com SK Modified® All-Star Showdown. Stafford Speedway officials have announced the format of the All-Star Showdown alongside $46,000 in prize money.

“June 12th will be a big night for Stafford Speedway,” explained Stafford Speedway CEO Mark Arute. “The debut of a new national series at the track to be televised live on CBS and the first ever SK Modified® All-Star race. The goal of this event is to put on a show for the fans and to reward our weekly competitors. We’re paying at least $2,000 to each top-15 finisher and $4,000 to the winner. Thank you to Mike and everyone at TickMike.com for supporting the event.”

The All-Star event will be structured in 3 stages for a total of 50 laps. Stage 1 and 2 will be 20 laps each and will pay a $1,000 bonus to each stage winner. The final “Showdown” stage of 10 laps with $4,000 awarded to the race winner. Every driver finishing in the top-15 is guaranteed at least $2,000 in prize money.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series made it’s return to the Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvania after a fifteen year absence. Chances are they won’t be back for another 15 years as only 20 cars showed up coupled with less than 200 in the grandstand. Granted it was just plain cold, damp and windy. The speedway is a great facility, too bad the elements were bad!

Justin Bonsignore won the Mayhew Tools pole award in qualifying, his 16th of his career, second consecutive this season and third consecutive at Jennerstown. He led the field to the green with Doug Coby to his outside, and dominated the first half of the race. However, it was another Bonsignore, his cousin Kyle — who rolled to the top spot before a caution on lap 88 slowed the action. Justin was back in the lead shortly after the restart and in a close finish, Bonsignore held off Coby by a mere car length to win the fourth race of the Whelen Modified Tour season. Coby chased the back bumper of Bonsignore’s No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. machine around the .522-mile oval over the final 50 laps and closed to the bumper when they took the white flag. As the pairentered turns one and two on the final lap, Coby got a run, while Bonsignore slid sideways down the beginning of the backstretch. By the time they entered turn three, Coby was looking outside Bonsignore, but couldn’t quite draw even. Bonsignore edged Coby to the line for the win. Craig Lutz finished third with Woody Pitkat and Patrick Emerling rounding out the top five.

Sixth thru tenth included Jon McKennedy, Kyle Bonsignore, JR Fortin, Tommy Catalano and Dave Sapienza. Tyler Rypkema, who was in the top five in the latter stages got taken out on lap 94 when Ron Silk drifted up into him on the backstretch after a restart. The melee collected Eric Goodale who ended up 18th in the final tally. Among the missing was Matt Swanson and the Boehler Racing Ole Blu.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads for the Supermodified Capitol of the World, the Oswego Speedway, this Saturday night. The event will be shown live by NBC TrackPass.

Riverhead Raceway on Eastern Long Island fell victim to rain. The New London-Waterford Speedbowl also cancelled and will hold the Ronnie and Kenny Bouchard Memorial 50 lapper this coming Saturday night, June 5.

The weekly mayhem at the Bowman Gray Stadium begins this coming Saturday night on June, 5. TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold announced today it will exclusively air Bowman Gray Stadium’s return to racing live on Saturday, June 5. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, short-track, known as “The Madhouse,” will host the Hayes Jewelers 200 (a 200-lap Modified contest), along with Sportsman, Street Stock and Stadium Stock division events. It marks Bowman Gray’s first on-track action since August of 2019. The venue’s 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, TrackPass will air live racing from Bowman Gray on Saturday, July 24. The night’s events include the Colors Edge Sportsman 100, a chain race, and competition from the Modified, Street Stock and Stadium stock divisions.

Bowman Gray seats 17,000 fans and is known for its intense on-track action, feuds, crashes and passionate crowds. The NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series track has hosted races since 1949 and enters its 72nd season in 2021. Opened by NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr. and Alvin Hawkins, the quarter-mile asphalt oval has held more than 1,000 NASCAR-sanctioned races.

On a sad note, condolences to Jerry and Betty Dostie who lost their son Paul who fought a valiant battle with cancer.

May 27, 1972 Eddie Flemke, in the Vigliorolo No.34 which was the original Bob Judkins Pinto started off the weekend on the right foot as he won the Friday night feature at Malta, N.Y. and the Saturday night feature at Stafford. Bugsy Stevens finished second on both nights. Rounding out the top five were Bobby Santos, Leo Cleary and Denis Giroux. Fred DeSarro was the early leader but a flat tire on the 16th lap forced him to park the mighty no. 3 of Len Boehler in the infield. As DeSarro pitted, Flemke who had started 18th, took the lead from Denis Giroux. Flemke’s only challenge came from Bugsy Stevens who had closed within inches of Flemke’s bumper. With two laps to go Stevens’ Woodchopper Special broke an oil line forcing him to back off and nurse the car home in second spot. Del Cushing was the All-American Sportsman feature winner with Bob Wright Jr. taking the top spot in the Mini Midgets.

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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