RPW Column: The Champ Trail; NASCAR Mod Tour “Salutes” At Jennerstown, Racing At The Speedbowl & More…

RPW Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour traveled to Jennerstown PA this past weekend.

Late in the afternoon on Friday Timmy Solomito got a surprise phone call. Donnie Lia was scheduled to drive the Ole Blu entry of the Boehler family but was unable to make the commitment. What did Solomito do?  He packed his bags and headed for Jennerstown.

Tere were 22 modifieds on hand in Jennerstown. Patrick Emerling was the fastest in practice but when the field ran against the clock it was Tyler Rypkema taking the pole position with Emerling taking the outside pole. Taking the third thru fifth spots were Ron Silk, Jon McKennedy and Kyle Bonsignore. Timmy Solomito qualified ninth and way back in 14th was Justin Bonsignore.

Mike Christopher scored his first ever Whelen Modified Tour win after a spirited battle with Tyler Rypkema in the Salute to Veterans 150 that carried a purse of $104,723 in somewhat of a light crowd. Rypkema took the lead at the start followed by Emerling and Jon McKennedy. As Emerling began to fade McKennedy moved into the second spot to pressure the leader. The first caution came on lap 26 when Tommy Catalano spun in turn two. With no damage he was able to restart in the rear.

The green was back out on lap 32 with Rypkema still leading with McKennedy and JB Fortin in hot pursuit. The trio set a blistering pace to the point where Timmy Solomito was lapped on lap 62, Justin Bonsignore was lapped on lap 63 and Emerling was lapped on lap 66. Rypkema continued to lead as the field closed in on the half way mark. McKennedy was still second as Mike Christopher Jr moved into third as Fortin slipped to fourth.

On lap 88 McKennedy surged into the lead, opening up a big lead over Christopher as Rypkema slipped to third. The second caution flew on lap 100 when Kyle Bonsignore hit the wall in turn 2. During the caution the leaders pitted. McKennedy missed his pit box which caused him to go around and try again. On the restart on lap 108, Catalano led Christopher and Rypkema to the green. In his desire to catch up McKennedy hit the wall and did damage to his suspension while Christopher retook the lead.

Rypkema took the lead on lap 118 as Christopher dropped back to second. Christopher put the pressure on as Rypkema rode him up on lap 138. One lap later Christopher made his winning move to the lead. At the checker it was Christopher taking the win with Rypkema, second. J.B. Fortin finished third with Andrew Krause, fourth. Rounding out the top five was Tommy Catalano. Sixth thru tenth were Jon McKennedy, Max McLaughlin, Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk and Craig Lutz.

For Tommy Baldwin Racing it was three in a row. It was Christopher’s first Whelen Modified Tour win as well as the first win for his spotter Bryan Narducci.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season continues Saturday, June 18 at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, New Hampshire. The event will be shown live on FloRacing.

The Stafford Speedway attempted Friday night racing action with a Stafford Weekly Series program but the weather had other ideas. on Friday night, May 27th. Alexandra Fearn won the Limited Late Model feature before rain prematurely brought the rest of the evening to a halt.

With 10 of the scheduled 20 laps complete, Gary Patnode had the lead followed by Fearn, Matt Clement, Devon Jencik, Rich Hammann, Damian Palardy, Jeremy Lavoie, Jay Clement, Kevin Cormier, and Matt Scappini. With 5 laps to go, Fearn had closed to within a car length of Patnode for the lead while Jencik was applying heavy pressure to Matt Clement for third place. Going flat out, Fearn caught Patnode with 2 laps to go and as they took the white flag, Fearn made her move to the inside of Patnode to take over the lead. Fearn led Patnode back to the checkered flag to pick up her first win of the 2022 season after a rough start to her first three races. Matt Clement finished third with Devon Jencik and Hammann rounding out the top-5. While some females involved in racing profess to be racers, Alexandra Fearn is the real deal!

Word came from Long Island that faced with a forecast that includes a chance of heavy thunderstorms during the afternoon, Riverhead Raceway has rained out the May 28th program set for this past Saturday night. We now look forward to “The Flying Dutchman 90”, a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Fred Harbach’s 1992 NASCAR Modified championship and win in his final race this coming Saturday June 4th.

The Flying Dutchman 90, a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Fred Harbach and the storybook ending to his driving career when he won the final race of his career and the 1992 NASCAR Modified championship at Riverhead Raceway. Track officials have confirmed the actual X-90 Cavalier that Fred drove on September 19th, 1992 will be on hand Saturday and in fact will race in the 15-lap Eddie Partridge Vintage All Star event with Fred’s son in law AJ Kitz at the wheel. The car will be transported to Riverhead in an enclosed trailer that double as a museum to Fred Harbach and will be placed prominently in the garage area for all to access after the races.

At the New London Waterford Speedbowl Todd Owen took the SK Modified win over Andrew Molleur. Ray Christian was the 50 lap Late Model winner.

Down in the southland at the Bowman Gray Stadium twin 25s were the order of the night. In the first Modified race it was points’ leader Chris Fleming, also known as The Showstopper, who won for the sec-ond time this season. He’s the first two-time winner in that division as he led all 25 laps. It was his 13th career win for the 58-year-old who has never won a points’ title in his long career in Modified. Lee Jeffreys finished second and was followed by Jason Myers and Tim Brown. In the second Modified race, Randy Butner hung on for all 25 laps and withstood a near wreck when Jonathan Brown tried to pass him on lap 24. Brown ended up wrecking near the front stretch and after a caution Butner stayed in front of Jeremy Gerstner who ended up second. John Holleman was third with Zach Brewer, fourth.

Chase Dowling won the Tri-Track 100 at the Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre Vt on Sunday before a capacity crowd. Pre race favorite Matt Hirschman started 12th and was mired in traffic until the late going but simply ran out of time. Hirschman got as high as third after passing Ron Williams on lap 96. Anthony Noscella finished second. Williams ended up fourth with Kirk Alexander, fifth and Woody Pitkat, sixth.

The RACERS HONORING RACERS 100 scheduled for Friday, MAY 27 at the Claremont Speedway, was postponed until this coming Friday June 3.

In NASCAR top tier racing in Charlotte, NC, leader Carson Hocevar chose the inside lane for the final restart of the truck race on Fri night, and Ryan Preece, in the outside lane, nosed ahead past the start/finish line when Ross Chastain spun his tires and failed to provide Hocevar with a push. Running beside Preece on Lap 136 in the first attempt at overtime, Hocevar lost control and slid up the track into Preece’s No. 17 Ford, damaging both vehicles. Preece finished 11th after pitting with a flat tire.

August 2,1968 Eddie Flemke began the weekend with a 50-lap win on Friday night. Driving the Bobby Judkins 2x, Flemke beat out Gene Bergin, Bugsy Stevens, Don MacTavish and Bob Santos

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. The book documents Modified Racing at the Stafford Motor Speedway from 1967 to 1986. 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 at the track in their store. Order yours now. Makes a great gift!

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