Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – Seventy-five years ago in 1946, Eddie Casterline won twin 50 lap Midget events at the Seekonk Speedway.
Seventy years ago in 1951 Wes Kingsley was the Wednesday night Modified winner at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Jim Tourjee was the Claiming Car winner. On Saturday night, Dave Humphrey took the Modified main while Tourjee made it two in a row in the Claimers. Frank Traverse was the Sportsman winner at Seekonk.
Sixty-five years ago in 1956, Melvin “Red” Foote was the 25 lap Modified winner on Wednesday night at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl. Charlie Webster was the non-Ford winner. The Saturday night action at the shoreline oval was rained out. Tommie Elliott was the Sunday night winner at Old Bridge
Sixty years ago in 1961, Bob Hall was the Friday night winner on the dirt at Stafford. Red Foote took the win at Norwood on Saturday night with Jack Malone, second. Ted Stack, a truck driver for New London Sand and Gravel, won a 50 lap Modified feature at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Ed Moody made it two in a row in the Bombers. Dave Dias won a 100 lapper at Seekonk. Rene Charland was the 30 lap winner at Norwood. Red Foote finished second with Bill Slater, third.
Fifty-five years ago in 1966, the Fonda and Utica-Rome Speedways closed out their racing seasons. At Fonda, Pete Corey took the win over Jeep Herbert and Lou Lazzaro. George Summers won a 500 lapper for the Class A cars on Labor Day at Seekonk and Dave Humphrey was the Saturday night winner at the Cement Palace. Freddy Schulz took the win at Norwood over Hop Harrington and Johnny Thompson.Sal Dee won a 100 lapper at Thompson over Gene Bergin and Fred DeSarro. At Utica-Rome Kenny Shoemaker took the win over Lazzaro, Jerry Cook, Sonny Seamon and Wimble. Rain prevailed at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
Fifty years ago in 1971, Islip, Stafford and Oswego were still running as the season was winding down. Jim Shampine won the Oswego 200 for Modifieds. At Islip, Jim Hendrickson, in the Tony Ferrente x3, ruled the roost. Cliff Tyler finished second and was followed by Jerry Cook and Gary Winters. It rained at Seekonk. At Stafford on Sunday afternoon, Bugsy Stevens in the Koszela Woodchopper took the win over Fred DeSarro, Denis Giroux and Ray Miller. Howie Brown won the NESMRA Supermodified feature at Thompson over Paul Richardson and Eddie West. Dave Humphrey beat out Len Thrall and Russ Klar to win the Midget feature. Donny Bunnell took the win at Waterford over Glynn Shafer, Bob Tetreault, Lou Toro and Mark Geer.
Forty-five years ago in 1976, Charlie Jarzombek recorded his tenth victory of the season at Riverhead. Fred Sipala finished second with Wayne Anderson, third. George Savory won a 50 lapper at Seekonk. The Thompson 300 was a non-sanctioned small block Modified event. Geoff Bodine in a Dick Armstrong team car took the win over Ed Flemke, Bugsy Stevens, Ray Hendrick, Don LaJoie, SJ Evonsion, Pete Fiandaca and George Moose Hewitt.
Forty years ago in 1981, just about everyone was at the Pocono Raceway for the Annual Race of Champions. Ninety-eight Modifieds were on hand to qualify for the 51 starting spots. Among those who did not qualify was Tom Baldwin who set an altitude record when he rode over Fred Harbach’s wheel and vaulted out of the track. Geoff Bodine started on the pole with Richie Evans on the outside. A classic battle was anticipated between the two but it came to an end on lap two when the rear end in the Evans mount broke. The 250-lap contest ended up being a survival of the fittest affair. George Kent took the lead on lap 179 and went on to take the win. Jamie Tomaino passed Tony Hirschman on the final lap to finish second. Jerry Cook finished fourth. It was also on this weekend that the last ever race would be run at the Danbury Fairgrounds as the property had been sold and the speedway would give way to a shopping mall. Bill Ladya won the final event. Don La Joie finished second with Lou Funk Jr, third. Sean Donnelly was the Sportsman winner.
Thirty-five years ago in 1986, the Race of Champions was still at Pocono and it was the same story as in 1981 as George Kent took the win. Kent took the lead after Reggie Ruggiero pitted on lap 164 of the 250 lap contest. Geoff Bodine ended up in second spot and was followed by Jim Spencer, Ruggiero, Jan Leaty and Tony Siscone. In other weekend action, Stan Gregger won at Riverside over Bob Polverari and Dan Avery.
Thirty years ago in 1991, the Race of Champions made its final appearance at Pocono Raceway. Donald “Satch” Worley, driving the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino took the lead from Tom Baldwin with two laps to go and went on to take the win. Baldwin broke a valve and faded to fifth in the final run down. Rick Fuller finished second and was followed by Jamie Tomaino and Greg Sacks. Mike Stefanik finished sixth and wrapped up the tour championship. In other weekend action, Jerry Marquis got his seventh win at Monadnock and it was Jim Broderick taking the win at Waterford over Ted Christopher. In Winston Cup action, Harry Gant earned the name, “MR. September” as he made it three in a row in NASCAR’s elite division at Dover. Gant also won the preliminary Busch Grandnational event. On a sad note, former driver, promoter and friend of many, George Pendergast, passed away after a bout with cancer.
Twenty-five years ago in 1996, Todd Ceravolo got his fourth win of the season at Waterford. Jim Broderick finished second with Don Fowler, third. Matt Kobyluck was the Late Model winner. Tom McCann won his seventh at Riverhead. Don Howe finished second and announced that he was retiring after 27 years of competition which saw 27 wins and three championships. Steve Park, who was at the top of his game in the Featherlite Modifieds got “THE CALL” from Dale Earnhardt Sr and announced that he would be driving a DEI entry in 1997 on the Busch Grandnational circuit of NASCAR. In Winston Cup action at Dover, Jeff Gordon took the win. Jim Spencer was fined $10 grand for trying to hit Wally Dallenbach along with Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty who were fined for threatening.
Twenty years ago in 2001, the country was still reeling from the World Trade Center tragedy. NASCAR cancelled the entire weekend schedule at the New Hampshire Speedway in Loudon. The Modified and Busch North events were cancelled and the Winston Cup event was rescheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. Before a light crowd the show went on at Thompson on Thursday night. Kerry Malone took the SK Modified win over Scott Foster, Ted Christopher, Bill Anderson and Jeff Malave. Eric Berndt won the SK Modified feature at Waterford, was disqualified, had it overturned. Ron Yuhas finished second with Mark LaJunesse, third. The Waterford drivers took up a collection for the World Trade Center victims, which resulted in over $10,000. On a sad note, Lou Funk Sr passed away at the age of 76 and CART Superstar Alex Zanardi lost both legs as a result of a crash in Germany.
Fifteen years ago in 2006, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was at the New Hampshire International Speedway for a 100-mile event that was run on Friday. Forty-one cars were on hand for time trials. Showers forced NASCAR to cancel qualifying and set the starting field based on car owner point standings. Mike Stefanik was given the pole starting position. Earlier before the rains came a practice session gave a preview of things to come. Todd Szegedy was the fastest as he toured the 1-mile oval to the tune of 128.398 MPH. Second fastest at 128.363 MPH was Tony Hirschman. Rounding out the top five by speed were Donny Lia, Eddie Flemke Jr. and Mike Stefanik.
Because of the fact that John Blewett III chose to run for the track championship at the Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey he was forced to start 21st as he has only run a partial schedule on the tour. When he does compete in tour races he is fast, very fast. He left little doubt last Friday as he completed a clean sweep of both Whelen Modified Tour Series events at Loudon. At least this time he could celebrate. When he won the July event, he was on his way to New Jersey when he got the word that NASCAR, in its haste to complete the event under caution, had made a mistake and declared James Civali the winner. When Blewett took the checkered flag, the field had been under green since lap 68 and there was no question who the winner actually was. He was flat out running! Jerry Marquis finished a close second but, in the end, couldn’t a pass by Blewett. Civali, who was still licking his wounds from July, finished a solid third ahead of Mike Stefanik and Todd Szegedy who rounded out the top five.
The race was slowed by only two cautions for 11 laps. The first caution was for Doug Coby who came to a stop on the front stretch on lap 48. The second caution came on lap 61 when Reggie Ruggiero, Szegedy and Chuck Hossfeld were collected in a wreck in turn four. Ruggerio got the worst of it and was done for the day. Twenty-one of the original 21 starters finished on the lead lap. As always, the Whelen Modified Tour Series event at Loudon was the best of the weekend. There were 17 official lead changes among 7 drivers. Szegedy led the most laps, 33, but it was Blewett who got the big check, $13,000 after he led only the final eight laps. Sixth through tenth were Ted Christopher, Eddie Flemke Jr., Zach Sylvester, Eric Beers and Tony Hirschman. Blewett’s younger brother Jimmy finished 11th.
Blewett backed up his Loudon win with a convincing win at his home track, Wall Township Speedway in New Jersey, on Saturday night.
The Thompson Speedway was forced to cancel their regular Thursday Night Thunder program when rain blanketed the area. With the season rapidly winding down only two more Thursday dates remain to fill out the schedule. The intensity of the point’s battles is lead by the Sunoco Modified division with a mere six points separating Woody Pitkat and Jeff Malave. Not only is the Thompson championship the goal of both, but the NASCAR Division IV title is also a huge part of the equation. Tom Cravenho, Todd Ceravolo and Bert Marvin round out the top five in the point standings.
The Stafford Springs Motor Speedway made the right call when they canceled Friday’s NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series racing card. With the forecast calling for intermittent rain throughout the entire day and evening, the speedway pulled the plug shortly before 9:00am.
The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their regular Saturday night season. Tom Fox and Diego Monahan topped a slate of 12 different winners. The Speedbowl crowned two champions as well. Tim Jordan and Danny Field clinched the Late Model and Mini Stock championships respectively and Dennis Gada was all but assured of his sixth SK crown headed into the weekend’s Finale. Rescheduled rainouts resulted in the marathon racing session. In addition to Fox and Monahan, the win list included Allen Coates and Larry Goss in the Late Models; Greg Butler Jr. and Al Stone III in the Sportsman and Joe Godbout III and Phil Evans in the Mini Stocks. It was the first-even win for Butler and the first of the season for Stone. Dan Valentine of the Faith Church Ministries of New Milford scored a convincing win in the Faster Pastor race. Curtis D’Addario Sr., a nine-time Wild n’ Wacky Wednesday winner, added another X-Car feature Saturday night, edging Mark Caise at the checkered. Jordan, the first-ever rookie to win the Late Model title, did it the hard way with a couple of 15th place finishes, the second in Jay Lozyniak’s regular ride. The consistent Field scored a third and a second. Gada needed only to start Sunday’s 100-lap SK feature to capture his record-tying sixth crown following a fifth and second. Bob Potter currently holds the record. A seventh and a third put Joe Curioso III back into the Sportsman point lead but by a scant four points over Dwayne Dorr heading into the Finale.
Fox grabbed the lead at the start and won the resumption of the SK-feature stopped after 12 laps on Sept.9. Gada made a determined outside bid following a restart with 16 laps left but drifted back to fifth at the checkered. Shawn Monahan ended up second and was followed by Chris Pasteryak and Rob Janovic. Diego Monahan held back Gada for most of the second half of the second SK race and claimed his third win of the season. Jeff Pearl, Chris Pasteryak and Mark Pane rounded out the top five.
It was announced that long time public relations director Pete Zanardi would retire from his post at the shoreline oval at seasons end. Considered one of the best in the business as both a PR Man and a writer Zanardi has been a mentor to many of us in the writing game including yours truly. Zanardi’s efforts as well as those of Bill Roth have kept the Speedbowl afloat during the last few difficult years.
In other weekend racing, Bentley Warren passed Chris Perley and Dave Mcknight to win the Bud Super Nationals at Oswego, TJ Potrzebowski won the 56th annual Race of Champions and Kevin Harvick beat out Tony Stewart in the Nextel Cup event at Loudon. Ted Christopher got a late start and an early finish. Scheduled to drive the Kirk Shelmerdine entry, Christopher started the race after seven laps were run as his spotter was stuck in an elevator. He finished dead last in 41st spot.
Ten years ago in 2011, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Southern Modified Tour came together at the Thompson Speedway for the UNOH North–South Showdown. The cars of the both Tours took to the track on Saturday for a full-day of practice and qualifying. The ‘21 Means 21’ Pole Award presented by Coors Light in the Northern Whelen Modified Tour went to Ryan Preece. Andy Seuss was tops on the speed charts for the Southern contingent. Two of the Whelen All-American Series divisions competed in feature event activity with Rick Gentes taking down the victory in the Late Models and Danny Fields scoring his 11th win in the Mini Stocks.
The Northern WMT event drew 25 Modifieds while the Southern WMT event drew 23 cars. During qualifying Keith Rocco escaped injury when a wheel hub apparently broke which caused him to crash with heavy impact. Doug Coby, Erick Rudolph, and Eric Goodale made up the remainder of the top-five in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying, Steve Masse, Burt Myers, Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.
Doug Coby, Erick Rudolph, Eric Goodale and Ronnie Silk made up the remainder of the top-five in Northern qualifying. In Southern qualifying, Steve Masse, Burt Myers, Donny Lia, and L.W. Miller completed the top-five.
Justin Bonsignore who was in contention for the Riverhead Raceway weekly Modified Championship raced at the Long Island track on Saturday night, avoiding practice and qualifying at Thompson which put him in scratch starting position for the Sunday NASCAR Touring Series event. Zach Sylvester qualified his car.
In a somewhat surprise, Stephen Park and Jeff Fuller entered the NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was also held at Thompson.
Steve Masse watched the biggest win of his career get away as George Brunnhoelzl III was awarded the win in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour event. NASCAR officials ruled that he jumped a restart on lap 123 and then ignored the consultation flag. Masse started second and had lead after passing Donny Lia on lap48 of the 125 lap event. Be as it may, it could have been an error in judgment on the part of his spotter as it is most likely the one who told him to go on the restart. No matter what, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Brunnhoelzl was booed in victory lane which didn’t seem fair. Masse was placed 14th in the final finish. Burt Myers ended up in the runner-up spot with Tim Brown, third. Andy Seuss and Steve Park rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Frank Flemming, Tim Solomito, Donny Lia, Thomas Stinson and Austin Pack.
The 125 lapper for the Northern Modified Tour was a little more saner. Doug Coby got a long overdue victory as he cruised to the win over James Civali and Ryan Preece. According to reports, NASCAR did not allow changing of tires during the event. Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Tom Rogers, Eric Goodale, Rowan Pennink, Ron Silk and Justin Bonsignore.
Doug Coby, with an eight-car lead over the rest of the field, won the 50 lap UNOH Showdown. Ted Christopher took the second spot. For Coby, it was the icing on the cake as he accumulated $20,000 with the lap money that he earned leading the race. Coby stated in Victory Lane that this is the same car that he won the $10,000 with recently at the Seekonk Speedway. James Civali finished third with George Brunnhoelzl III and Eric Goodale rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth wereBobby Santos, Ryan Preece, Mike Stefanik, Justin Bonsignore and Ed Flemke Jr.
In regular NASCAR weekly racing action at Thompson, Keith Rocco, who started racing at the Street division at the Waterford Speedbowl in 2003, scored his 100th career win in Sunoco Modified competition. The defending National Champion has 24 wins in 49 starts in 2011 but in reality is shoveling poop against the tide as far as the 2011 series title goes. His main competition is Philip Morris who races in the mid-Atlantic states. Morris has 20 wins in 28 starts and needs only to win this coming weekend in order to sew up the title. It’s too bad but because of the fact that most of Rocco’s wins have come from starting in the back and many of the events had less than full fields of cars the defending champion may be forced to pay the price of losing through no fault of his own.
The Stafford Motor Speedway continued its Friday night racing series as Ryan Preece scored his fifth win of the 2011 season in a thrilling finish with Keith Rocco in the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Woody Pitkat scored his fourth win of the 2011 season in the 30-lap Late Model feature, Joey Cipriano scored his sixth win of 2011 in the 20-lap SK Light Modified feature, Dan Flannery picked up his first win of the 2011 season in the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, and Josh Wood scored his fifth win of 2011 with a last lap pass in the 15-lap DARE Stock feature.
Preece and Rocco were side by side for the lead on the final restart with Preece holding the lead by a nose at he passed under the white flag. Rocco made one last ditch effort on the final turn for the lead and the win, but he came up just short as Preece won his fifth feature of the season. Rounding out the top-5 behind Preece and Rocco was Dan Avery, Ted Christopher, and Kurt Lenahan.
At the Waterford Speedbowl victories went to Tyler Chadwick who won his third SK Modified® race of the season. Rich Staskowski won his third Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature on the year, while it was Josh Galvin in the winner’s circle for the fourth time in the Street Stocks. Chris Williams also earned his fourth win this year in the Mini Stocks. Dave Garbo Jr. continued his stellar Legends Cars season by taking the Legends Cars 50-lap race, earning him a guaranteed starting spot in the Legends Cars Nationals October 27-29 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Joey Ternullo won the night’s Bandolero feature.
The Valenti Modified Racing Series returned to action at the Stafford Motor Speedway. Chris Pasteryak was the big winner of the night, taking the lead on lap-2 and leading the rest of the way to pick up his first victory at Stafford Motor Speedway and his family’s first modified victory at Stafford. Pasteryak had a few nervous moments in the closing laps when the action was slowed with 77 laps complete for a spin by Tom Bolles in turn 4, setting up a three-lap dash to the finish. Pasteryak took the lead on the restart and he led Rowan Pennink around for the final 3 laps to take the victory. Rounding out the top-5 behind Pasteryak and Pennink was Doug Coby, Matt Hirschman, and Keith Rocco.
There were 25 cars on hand for the event. Pennink came from a 24th starting position. He was black-flagged from his heat when his car was leaking gas from the filler. Ted Christopher finished sixth and also had to come from the back because of an electrical malfunction during his qualifying heat.
At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, the 2011 NASCAR Modified title fight came down to the final race on Saturday night, Justin Bonsignore and John Fortin raced in the final 35-lapper of the year for the crown. John Beatty took advantage of a third place start to win the Modified feature while Justin Bonsignore held off John Fortin for his first Modified track championship. Bonsignore started his career racing karts at Riverhead when he was only 8 years old and to be Track Champ has been a long time dream.
Kevin Harvick was the NASCAR Sprint Cup winner at Richmond. Kyle Busch took the lead from Carl Edwards during pit stops with just over 30 laps to go and won his eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Five years ago in 2016, Despite their best efforts, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) officials made the decision to cancel their WayBackWednesday event after lingering effects from Hurricane Hermine brought scattered showers to the area throughout the afternoon and into the evening. After attempting to dry the track with little success,officials called the race at 6:20 PM ET. With Thompson not re-scheduling and the final day for points to count toward NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships is Sunday, Sept. 18, it all but eliminated Keith Rocco from garnering the championship. Going into the weekend only three points separate the top three drivers. That’s the equivalent of two positions on the race track or the difference between a win and a second-place finish. Matt Bowling led Rocco by one point. Bowling races in the Virginia-North Carolina area. Ty Majeski who races in the mid-west sits in third spot, two points behind Rocco.
In regular Friday night NASCAR racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway the track hosted a First Responders Appreciation Night that recognized Fire, Police, EMS, and all First Responder personnel Taking down weekly feature wins on the night were Rowan Pennink in the SK Modified(r) feature, Tom Butler in the Late Model feature, Daniel Wesson in the SK Light feature, Bryan Narducci in the Limited Late Model Feature, Zack Robinson in the DARE Stock feature, and Noah Korner in the Legend Cars feature.For Pennink, it was his sixth win of the season with Mike Gervais, Keith Rocco, Woody Pitkat, and Todd Owen rounding out the top-5.It was his second win of the season. For the young Narducci, ironically it was fifty years to the day that his grandfather, Ron Narducci, won on the dirt at
Stafford. Following post-race inspection at Stafford Speedway, the #15 SK Modified(r) car of Michael Gervais was found to have an unapproved brake caliper mounting location and he was penalized to the last place finishing car in the SK Modified(r) feature.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series visited the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts on Saturday night for the AnytimeRealty.com 150 at Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts. The event drew 27 cars. Timmy Solomito muscled his way past Doug Coby on Lap 114 and then held off the three-time champion as well as championship contender Justin Bonsignore to take the win at the track known as the Cement Palace. It was Solomito’s fourth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the season. Solomito started alongside Coby on the Lap 112 restart. After failing to get by on the outside on the first lap, Solomito fell into line behind Coby coming off Turn 4 and then drove low into Turn 1. Solomito’s left side tires kicked up dirt and grass and the two banged side nerf bars as Solomito emerged from Turn 2 with the lead. The crossover pass in the grass was considered by many to be the move of the year. A late caution set up a green-white-checkered finish that pushed the race to 151 laps. Solomito was able to get away on the final restart as Bonsignore edged Coby for second. Matt Hirschman and Bobby Santos rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Eric Goodale, Jimmy Blewett, Rowan Pennink, Chase Dowling and Jeff Goodale. Twenty one of the 27 starters finished on the lead lap. There were seven cautions and there were 11 lead changes among three drivers, Solomito, Coby and Bonsignore. Matt Galko passed Joe Gada on a 19th lap restart to win the 35-lap SK Modified feature at the New London Waterford Speedbowl. It was Galko’s first-ever SK Modified win. The night wasn’t a total loss for Gada. His second-place finish enabled him to take a one-point lead over Keith Rocco with two races remaining for the track championship. Paul Kusheba IV, ended up third with Rocco, fourth. Justin Gaydosh rounded out the top five.Other Saturday night winners at the shoreline oval included Jason Palmer over Keith Rocco in the Late Models, Brett Gonyaw, in the SL Lights, Monte Gibbs, in the Limited Sportsman, Ken Cassidy Jr. and Ian Brew, in the Mini Stocks and Chris Meyer in the Northeast Street Stocks. At the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, with five laps remaining in the Whelen Engineering Night NASCAR Modified feature at Riverhead Raceway former three time champion Howie Brode seemed content with a potential runner-up finish to Ken Darch. However a late race caution on lap 36 for a minor spin changed the complexion of the race as Brode powered his way to the outside on the double file restart to take the lead with three laps remaining in the race to collect his 20th career NASCAR Modified victory.
Denny Hamlin survived an overtime restart to complete a dominant victory in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway, the final race before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Kyle Busch stomped the field on Friday night as he rolled to his eighth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of the season during the Virginia College Savings 250 at Richmond Int’l Raceway
On a sad note, noted and respected auto racing journalist Gary London passed away. London wrote a column in trade paper National Speed Sport News and in Area Auto Racing News for years. He was also the right hand man of the late Lou Figari during the tenure of the original All Star League.
Last year, 2020, The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series was at the Magic Mile in Loudon, NH for the Musket 200 by Whelen. Twenty eight cars ran against the clock for starting positions. Taking the top spot was Andy Seuss who toured the one mile oval in 29.521 seconds, 129.020mph. Chase Dowling was second fastest at 128.550mph. Defending race winner Bobby Santos III was third fastest. Justin Bonsignore and Jon McKennedy rounded out the top five.
Bobby Santos III put on an absolute superb performance at the “Magic Mile” Saturday to win the Musket 200 presented by Whelen for the second straight year. After trading the lead back-and-forth in the closing laps with Justin Bonsignore, Santos took advantage of Bonsignore and Ron Silk’s battle for second to pull away, leading the final 10 laps and winning .301 seconds.
Starting third, Santos dropped back but kept the leader in sight for most of the event before making his move up to the front over the final quarter of the event. Santos went by Craig Lutz for the lead on lap 169. By lap 176 it was Bonsignore moving to second behind Santos, and then things got serious. From lap 180 to lap 196 Santos and Bonsignore swapped the lead unofficially 20 times on the track. Laps 187 to 190 saw the pair swap the lead eight times over four consecutive laps.
In the end, Bonsignore settled for second, followed by Silk. Anthony Nocell was fourth and Craig Lutz fifth. Pole sitter Andy Seuss, finished sixth. Matt Swanson, Jon McKennedy, Doug Coby and Tyler Rypkema rounded out the top 10.
For his efforts, Santos and car owner Dave Sapienza collected $20,000, the largest winner’s purse for the Whelen Modified Tour in its longest race. It’s the second big win in a row for Santos. He captured the historic Little 500, a prestigious sprint car race at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway, on Labor Day weekend.
Bonsignore led a race-high 53 laps was able to stretch his championship points lead to 27 over Coby and 39 over McKennedy.
Five caution periods slowed the event. The first caution was displayed shortly after the start when Melissa Fifield hit the wall in turn three as a result of losing control in oil she dumped from turn one to turn three. The track crew dragged their feet as it took 11 laps to clean up the mess and remove the damaged car. The second caution flew on lap 16 when Woody Pitkat hit the wall in the first turn after contact with Jon McKennedy. That caution lasted only two laps. The third caution was flown on lap 67 when Amy Catalano stopped in turn four with engine problems. That caution lasted six laps. The fourth caution came on lap 97 when Tommy Catalano hit the wall in turn four after tangling with Ron Silk. Silk continued but Catalano was done for the day. The fifth and final caution was flown for Doug Coby who suffered a flat left front tire after a tangle with someone??? Coby pitted and took on four new tires, never losing a lap.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run next at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The Stafford Moter Speedway scheduled a full program of racing including a 40-lap feature for the SK Modifieds plus the TC 13 Shootout. For the 3rd consecutive season, Stafford Motor Speedway paid tribute to one of its greatest champions with the TC 13 Shootout in memory of Ted Christopher on Friday night, September 11. Christopher made the number 13 famous at Stafford, taking that car number to 109 SK Modified® wins and 9 track championships. On Friday night the number 13was back in the spotlight with the top-13 finishers from the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event transferring into the TC 13 Shootout, a 13-lap race that paid the winner $1,313 thanks to contributions from event partners Justin & Tabitha Manafort, Greg and Venetta Narducci of the Florida Connection, Big Haus USA Racing Products, Gaston Racing Enterprises, LifeCare Family Chiropractic with Dr. Sean Noel, the Tri-Track Modified Series, John and Maina Rufrano with Wheelers Auto, and anonymous donors. Glen Reen won the Inaugural TC 13 Shootout in 2018 and Keith Rocco won last year’s TC 13 Shootout.
Among those on hand, there was a special invader among the driver ranks. 10-time Bowman Gray Stadium champion and 2-time Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Burt Myers who was behind the wheel of the #57 car prepared by Keith Rocco Racing.
Todd Owen not only won the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, he also won the TC 13 Shootout, giving him a total payday of over $3,000 for the night. Other weekly feature winners were Adam Gray in the Late Model feature, Jonathan Puleo in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn in the Limited Late Model feature, and Zack Robinson in the Street Stock feature.
Owen was right behind Mike Christopher Jr and took second on lap-13 and made a move to the inside of Christopher for the lead. Christopher came right back on lap-14 and nearly retook the lead but Owen was able to hold him off. Marcello Rufrano was third in line behind Owen and Christopher with Cory DiMatteo fourth, Ronnie Williams fifth,David Arute sixth, and Keith Rocco, seventh. At the halfway point of the race Owen was in the lead followed by Christopher, Rufrano, DiMatteo, Williams, Arute, and Rocco. Owen was starting to stretch out his advantage over Christopher and the rest of the field and with 10 laps to go he was in front by 1.5 seconds. Rocco got around Arute on lap-35 to move into seventh as Arute drifted up the track in turn 3 but the order out front was still Owen, Christopher, Rufrano, DiMatteo, and Williams.
Owen led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2020 season after two weeks of bad luck on the track. Christopher finished second with Rufrano, DiMatteo, and Williams rounding out the top-5. Rocco ended up sixth. Burt Myers was never a factor as he finished 15th.
In the 13-lap TC Shootout, Owen led Troy Talman to the checkered flag to take the $1,313 winner’s check and score two wins in the same night. Talman finished second with Christopher, Stephen Kopcik, and Arute rounding out the top-5.
Two third generation drivers finished one-two in the SK Lights at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday night. Jacob Perry, son of Dennis Perry and Grandson of Roger Perry scored his first ever win in the SK Lights. Tyler Barry is the son of former driver Kenny Barry, Grandson of Modified car owner Art Barry. Perry is from Pawcatuck, Ct and Barry hails from Preston.
The SK Modified winner was also a first timer. Andrew Molleur took the win over Timmy Jordan, Kyle James Bryan Narducci. Jason Palmer was victorious in the 30-lap Late Model feature. Ryan Morgan was second with Charlie Rose third. Mark Panaroni mastered the field in the 46-lap John Curry Memorial Mini Stock feature. Doug Curry was second with Jared Roy third. Al Stone III of Durham won the 25-lap Sportsman feature. It was the 55th career Sportsman victory for Stone, who is the division’s all-time winningest driver.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island saw Dylan Slepian score his second career victory in a 50-lap affair. Slepian drove a brand-new car that he along with car owner Rob Pelis and team members designed and built during the off season. Michael Rutkoski knocking on the door of his first career win in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet entry was runner-up while Tom Rogers Jr. drove from the rear of the field to complete the podium in the License To Chill Chevy. John Baker of Brookhaven made a charge from the back for fourth while Roger Turbush of Riverhead completed the top five.
The estate of Ted Christopher, the famed Connecticut-based NASCAR driver, filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the estate of the man piloting the plane when the two were killed in a 2017 crash. Ted Christopher, the winningest race car driver at the Connecticut track, was killed in an airplane crash in 2017.
Christopher’s estate is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, alleging that the pilot and owner of the plane, Charles P. Dundas, failed to properly maintain the plane before it went down.
The plane, Mooney M20C aircraft, experienced a total loss of engine power on a flight from Robertson Field Airport in Plainville to Westhampton Beach, New York, on Long Island, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report. The pair took off about 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, 2017, and was last recorded on a U.S. Air Force radar in New York about 20 minutes later.
According to the NTSB, a red cotton shop towel caught up in a fuel valve led to a loss of engine power and the plane’s low altitude at the time, between 900 to 1,300 feet, gave the pilot little opportunity to trouble shoot the issue. The plane “struck 75-foot tall pine trees in a steep descending altitude before coming to rest up against trees in a nose down position on its right side,” authorities said. Investigators believe that Dundas was aiming for an open field about 1,500 feet from the trees.
When investigators took the fuel system apart, they found the red fibers consistent with a shop towel in a fuel valve. The NTSB also reported discovering remnants of a homemade PVC pipe tool in the wreckage. Investigators believe this tool was designed to manipulate the fuel selector between the left and right tanks.
The lawsuit against Dundas’s estate contends that Christopher’s estate believes that Dundas informed Christopher that the plane was safe to fly and did not warn him of “the aircraft’s inadequacies and mechanical defects, including the failure to maintain and/or repair the Aircraft in a proper mechanical condition for a safe flight…” Federal investigators said they were unable to locate the maintenance records for the plane after the deadly crash.
The lawsuit further alleges that Dundas, on or before the day of the crash, improperly maintained or repaired the airplane at his hangar in New York, leaving a red towel in the fuel system. Both men had flown together for about a decade and had taken that same route a number of times in the past.
Christopher, 59 when he died, lived with his wife in Southington and was remembered by many in the racing community for more than 35 years behind the wheel He was the all-time winningest driver at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway, and had amassed the third most wins all-time in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
NASCAR Aims to Reconfigure California’s Auto Club Speedway into Half-Mile Short Track! NASCAR submitted a redevelopment plan to San Bernardino County. The short track would feature long straights similar to Martinsville Speedway but high banked corners like Bristol Motor Speedway.
The initial rendering shows the short track using part of the existing front stretch, which is banked at 11 degrees, diving into the corner. What is now pit road would be reconfigured into the new backstretch. Victory Lane and the garage area would be outside the racetrack itself.
September 6, 1971 Modified history was made on Monday at Stafford when Gene Bergin in the Bobby Judkins Pinto bodied 2x broke the track qualifying record and became the first Modified to turn the half mile in the 20.00 second bracket. Due to the efforts of Stafford owner Jack Arute, the Pinto body was made legal for NASCAR Modified competition and would be the beginning of the end of pre-war coupes used as bodies for Modifieds. Arute posted a then unheard of $12,000 purse. Bergin, who led every lap, cruised to a convincing win over Fred DeSarro. Bergin collected $3610 for his efforts. Max Berrier, Bugs Stevens and Eddie Flemke rounded out the top five. With the exception of DeSarro, Bergin had lapped the. field. That event was the official start of what would be known as the Pinto Revolution. The event drew 66 Modifieds including National Championship contender Jerry Cook. Cook failed to finish as his engine blew on lap 164.
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!