RPW Column: The Champ Trail: NASCAR Mods At Stafford, The Speedbowl, MRS & More…
Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour made its second of three visits to the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday. The 30th Annual GAF Roofing 150 was augmented by Stafford’s SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light, Limited Late Model, and Street Stock divisions were in feature action.
Ryan Preece made up for his disappointment one week previous as he held off Justin Bonsignore to win the GAF Roofing 150. Preece set fast time in qualifying and dominated the race until the first caution flag flew on lap-95. Preece fell back to seventh after coming to pit road for 2 new tires and he then took a third tire under a later caution and drove back to the front of the field from seventh place to take the lead from Justin Bonsignore on lap-143.
The event, held in honor of the late Don King, played in front of a near capacity crowd. Justin Bonsignore who was winless at Stafford tried his best but in the end had to settle for second. Jon McKennedy finished a strong third with Doug Coby fourth and Ron Silk, fifth. Ron Williams had a solid top five going for him before getting tagged and spun out on lap 123. Getting collected in the same skirmish was Matt Swanson and Dave Sapienza.
Woody Pitkat finished sixth with Patrick Emerling, seventh. Williams was able to re-start and rallied to finish eighth. Eric Goodale and Tommy Catalano rounded out the top ten.
With another runner-up result, Bonsignore extended his points lead over Emerling with just five races remaining in the season. Up next for the Whelen Modified Tour is a trip to Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on Aug. 21 for the Rumble at the Ridge 200, the first time in 16 years that the tour has visited the Scarborough, Maine, 1/3-mile oval.
In regular weekly action, recording feature wins were Todd Owen for the second consecutive week in the SK Modified® feature, Kevin Gambacorta in the Late Model feature, Derek Debbis in the SK Light feature, Jeremy Lavoie in the Limited Late Model feature, and Nickolas Hovey in the Street Stock feature.
In the SK 40 lapper, Owen started deep in the field and with two laps remaining took the lead and went on for the win. Michael Gervais, Jr. finished second. Doug Meservey, Jr started on the pole and finished third. Keith Rocco finished fourth with Stephen Kopcik, fifth.
In the SK Lights, Debbis led Brian Sullivan to the checkered flag to pick up his fifth win of the 2021 season. Steven Chapman finished third with Bob Charland and Alexander Pearl rounding out the top-5.
As an added bonus for the weekly division racers, thanks to a collaboration between Wicked Powersports of Stafford Springs, CT and CF Moto USA, weekly racers at Stafford will all be racing for some extra cash during the month of August. Starting with the GAF 150 event on Friday, August 6, Wicked Powersports and CF Moto USA will supply each podium finisher from all 5 of Stafford’s weekly divisions with a $50 bonus for the next 4 events for a total of $150 per division and $750 per night for a total of $3,000.
“CF Moto got in touch with us and said they’d like to do some advertising, so we put this contingency deal together for Stafford,” said Bob Charland, owner of Wicked Powersports and driver of the #1 SK Light.
At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl Timmy Jordan made it three in a row in SK Modified action. Jordan took the lead from Todd Owen on a lap 9 restart and went on to dominate the 35-lap feature. Owen dominated the early laps but couldn’t stay with Jordan on the restarts. He ended up in the runner-up spot. Cory DiMatteo surged past Andrew Molleur late in the race to finish third. Molleur ended up fourth with Ronnie Williams, fifth. Mike Christopher Jr was sixth.
Other winners at the Connecticut shoreline oval included Jason Palmer who edged Raymond Christian in the Late Model battle, John O’Sullivan in the SK Lites, Jordan Churchill who won his third Legends feature and Christopher Garside who scored his second Mini Stock win.
A big “Shout Out” to Jacob Perry who scored the Modified Racing Series event at the Groveton Mass. Riverside Speedway. Brian Robie finished second with Anthony Bello, third. It was Perry’s second career Modified win.
The Bowman Gray Stadium in North Carolina drew over 13,000 fans to witness the running of the 100 lap Modified feature. Jason Myers went pole to pole as he out ran his brother Burt Myers. Tim Brown finished third with Brandon Ward, fourth. John Holleman IV rounded out the top five.
Despite coming up short of a win, Burt considered Saturday to be a success since he erased two points on Tim Brown’s small advantage in the Bowman Gray Modified point standings.
Riverhead Raceway on Long Island presented the Baldwin Evans Jarzombek Memorial 77. Top honors went to Kyle Soper who drove the Wayne Anderson No. 15 to a convincing win over Tom Rogers Jr, Jon McKennedy, John Fortin Jr and Kyle Elwood.
In Race of Champions Modified Series action, the Chemung NY Speedway hosted the Rod Spalding Classic ’75 lap event. Matt Hirschman started sixth and took the win over Austin Beers, Ryan Preece, Andy Jankowiak and Danny Knoll Jr.
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 runner up 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!