RPW Column: “Haunted” Fun At Seekonk, “SMART” Racing At Motor Mile & More…

Column Compiled By: PHIL SMITH / RPW – WESTERLY, RI – The Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway closed out the Monaco Modified Tri-Track Series championship for 2022.

Also on tap was the American-Canadian Tour for 100 laps & a special 30-lap INEX Legends Cars feature. Pre-entries for the Tri-Track event totaled 43 Modifieds.

Modified heat winners were Matt Galko, Woody Pitkat (Jacob Perry finished fifth), Sam Rameau and Matt Hirschman. Anthony Bello and Rob Murphy were the consi winners.

It was Anthony Nocella’s day to shine as he bested 27 starters to take the win in the Haunted 100 Tri-Track event. Starting 16th, Nocella, who started in second spot, passed early leader and pole sitter Chuck Hossfeld on lap 69 and went on to take the win over Hossfeld and Matt Hirschman. Hirschman started ninth and admitted that his car was a little off. He did, however, secure the series championship, his seventh. Kyle Bonsignore and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth included Austin Beers, Jacob Perry, Derek Gluchacki, Ron Williams and Jake Johnson. A big shout-out to Jacob Perry who started 18th and who was racing in memory of his great uncle Russell “Butch” Perry.

Nine cautions slowed the event. The first caution came on lap 15 when Max Zachem stopped on the track after getting black-flagged for dropping fluid. Zachem pitted and it was discovered he had no gas cap. He re-entered the track only to park it after finding out that he was not eligible to receive a “Lucky Dog”. The second caution was for a spin on the back chute by Matt Galko on lap 22. The third caution was for a spin on lap 42 by Kyle Bonsignore. Carl Mederios spun on the front chute to bring out a caution on lap 48. On the restart Chris Pasteryak ended up riding the top of the wall between turns one and two, bringing out yellow no. 5. Caution 6 was for Matt Galko who spun again, this time on lap 56. The seventh caution was for Derek Robbie. Galko spun again on lap 81 and Robbie spun again on lap 85.

The young teenager, Jacob “Rowdy” Burns not only won one of the biggest INEX Legend races of the season, but just minutes later he hopped into his No. 30 American-Canadian Tour machine and dueled with one of the greatest New England short track drivers, DJ Shaw, of this era for an impressive 2nd place finish in the American-Canadian Tour Haunted Hundred.

The SMART Modifieds were at the Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia and raced in front of an almost empty grandstand. Brandon Ward took the win over Jonathan Brown. Caleb Heady was able to secure the championship which gave Tommy Baldwin Racing championship car owner honors in both the SMART Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Martinsville, Va this coming Thursday on Oct 27 for the 2022 season ending event. Four drivers are in contention for the series title, two from New England, Jon McKennedy and Ron Silk and two from Long Island, New York, Justin Bonsignore and Eric Goodale. McKennedy leads Silk by six points. Bonsignore is 11 points behind the leader and Goodale is 17 points behind the leader. Rounding out the top five is Austin Beers. Although out of the championship hunt, 52 points back, Beers has sewed up the Rookie of the Year title.

It has been reported in Area Auto Racing News that NASCAR is expected to announce the 2023 Whelen Modified Tour schedule. It was stated that there will again be three events at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, two events at Thompson and a good chance of two at Oswego in upstate New York. Single events are also anticipated at New Smyrna, New Hampshire International, Lee USA, Monadnock, Claremont, Seekonk, Wall Stadium, Langley, Martinsville, Richmond and maybe a return to Lancaster. Conspicuous by its absence once again is the Stafford Motor Speedway. The management team at Stafford has done a fantastic job of promoting their Open Competition events which have drawn big fields of cars and near capacity crowds.

Car owner Rob Pelis and sponsor Eastport Feeds have announced that Mike Chrsitopher Jr. will enter the Islip 300 at Riverhead Raceway Saturday November 12th. Mike will run as a teammate to Dylan Slepian under the Eastport Feeds banner with both drivers a threat to win the $7,000 winners share of the $32,650 purse.

On a sad note, Russell “Butch” Perry of Ashaway, RI passed away on Thursday, Oct 21. For many years he along with his family operated Perry Motors, a well known salvage yard in Ashaway. He leaves his wife Sue, sons Russell, Norman and daughter Shelly. He was active in asphalt modified racing and raced at New London- Waterford Speed bowl, Stafford Springs MotorSpeedway and the Thompson Speedway. He was a member of the Racing Guys.

Besides his loving and devoted wife of 53 years he will be sadly missed by his children, Russell L. Perry Jr. of North Stonington, CT, Norman L. Perry of Ashaway and Shelly Sue Perry of Ashaway. He was the caring grandfather of Spencer Perry. He also leaves his brother. Roger Perry (Wendy) of Ashaway, RI and his sister, Shirell Perry (James) of Ashaway and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Richard Perry.

With the cooperation of the Arute family a book has been published with pictures and biographies of the 50 Greatest Drivers at Stafford.

The Stafford Motor Speedway had become the epicenter of NASCAR Modified racing in the northeast by the late 1980’s. From its dirt beginnings to its lightning-fast asphalt, Stafford had become the toughest and most gratifying track to score a victory. The Arute family which has owned and guided the destiny of the facility commissioned their thousands of loyal fans to name their favorite drivers. In alphabetical order so as not to offend anyone:

Tom Baldwin, Gene Bergin, Brett Bodine, Geoff Bodine, Ken Bouchard, Ron Bouchard, Mario “Fats” Caruso, Rene Charland, Ted Christopher, Leo Cleary, Tim Connolly, Jerry Cook, Corky Cookman, Pete Corey, Fred DeSarro, Richie Evans, Mike Ewanitsko, Ed Flemke, Sr., Jeff Fuller, Rick Fuller, Ernie Gahan, Bill Greco, Bo Gunning, Ray Hendrick, George “Moose” Hewitt, Tony Hirschman, George Janoski, Charlie Jarzombek, George Kent, Buddy Krebs, Randy LaJoie, Jan Leaty, Jerry Marquis, Mike McLaughlin, Ray Miller, Steve Park, Bob Polverari, Bob Potter, Brian Ross, John “Reggie” Ruggiero, Greg Sacks, Ollie Silva, “Wild” Bill Slater, Jimmy Spencer, Mike Stefanik, Carl “Bugsy” Stevens, George Summers, Jamie “The Jet” Tomaino, Maynard Troyer and Satch Worley.

Books are priced at $17.95 each and be purchased at the track at the Novelty Booth or at the Stafford Motor Speedway on line store. Books are also available at Amazon.com and at Coastal181 (877-907-8181.

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