Wednesday we arrived at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park for the BUD 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race. It was a beautiful day for a race, maybe a bit hot in the afternoon but no rain so its was just fine. We have been running around like crazy and we decided we would take it a bit easy as we are behind on photos as well as many other things. So we decided we would not go in the infield to shoot, that we would have fun and take our time and take some shots from the outside as that is where we tend to prefer to shoot from at certain tracks anyway. Thompson offers many opportunities to do so. There was an amazing crowd on hand especially for a mid week show! The heat races in all divisions had pretty good battles as they involve points and that always helps the action.
The night would start out with the Sunoco Mods. There were some hard battles during the race. Woody Pitkat looked the best we have seen him all year, Steven Masse had a very good car and stayed in the top 5 battle for most the race. Preece would not have a competitive car for this race as issues prevailed. The #16 of Rowan Pennink would have a scary few minutes as he tried to drive away from a wreck his car burst into flames and Rowan struggled to quickly get out of the car.
He did eventually get out with some assistance and was okay. A late caution would come out when the leaders, Woody Pitkat, Ted Christopher, and Troy Talman, would collect each other in a hard battle as no one would give. Rocco would take the lead with a patient Masse who had opportunities to try and pass but he did not take them with the chance of wrecking Rocco or himself. The top five are as follows: 1. Keith Rocco; 2. Steve Masse; 3. Ted Christopher; 4. Woody Pitkat; 5. Todd Owen
The NEMA midgets also put on an entertaining race with Randy Cabral coming out on top again at Thompson. Kyle Hamilton, Jim Chambers, Mike Horn, and Bethany Stoehr rounded out the top five. The limited Sportsmen put on a show as they do. There was some hard action and some “beefs” on the track. The most notable would be between Ryan Watermen and Jesse Gleason as they took each other out multiple times and ultimately both would be black flagged. After a red flag the action would get back at it as a hard charging Shawn Monahan would try to work over Brent Gleason but he could not make it happen. Brent Gleason would take his second win followed by Shawn Monahan for second. They were followed by Al Stone, Steve Kenneway, and Troy Waterman for the top 5.
The Minis took to the track after the Whelen Tour race. Eric Bourgeois would start with a strong car as would Wayne Burroughs, Jr. Hadley and Perry would fight to stay competitive as they were trying to work to the front. But at the end of the night they would finish like this, 1. Wayne Burroughs, Jr; 2. Nate Taylor 3. Jacob Perry 4. Jared Roy 5. Steve Michalski; There are no official results yet for the Late Models as the story is 4 of the top 5 cars have been issued DQ’s. The race would see Ray Parent early on with a very strong car but it would fade. Woody Pitkat had a very consistent car and would battle to the end to stay in the running. Rick Gentes would come charging through the field and to the front for the last few laps of the race and pass Pitkat and cross the line first. UPDATE OFFICIAL RESULTS " Late Model results update: Due to suspension infractions found in post race tech, Woody Pitkat is the official winner of the Late Model feature from last night's #Bud150. Official top 5: Pitkat (No. 91), Wall (No. 4), Parent (No. 98), Warren (No. 55), Johnson (No. 6)." Per Thompson. Click HERE for more info on the BUD 150 night at Thompson.
Now on to the BUD 150 that is surrounded by much criticism and controversy. Rowan Pennink would win his first Tour Pole in the #3 “Ol Blue”. Ryan Preece would take the lead quickly and dominate; he lapped a good chunk of the field including some good cars and big names. He would have a straightaway lead at one point before a yellow would come on lap 76 were the majority of the cars would pit as they really did not have much choice if they wanted to catch Preece. On lap 83 Bonsignore would take the lead and Preece would fall back like a rock. On lap 115 is where the controversy would start. Preece would spin for a much needed yellow as he was in 14th and needed tires desperately. He spun without making contact with anyone else as he was spinning, and drove right to the pits. He would put tires on and start 15th with 30 to go. It would only take 10 laps for Preece to be back contending for the lead as Solomito and Coby were up there. He would get by both and retake the lead. As the white flag waved Coby would get side by side for the pass but as he did he would hit the wall and eventually hit in turn one pretty hard and the yellow would come out right away, it looked like a tire blew. As this would be the second controversy of the night. The Checkers would quickly come out with the yellow in hand.
The Score board and victory lane interviews would have Preece First Ted Christopher second and Timmy Solomito third. Later NASCAR would award Coby second. NASCAR determined “he maintained a reasonable speed after the field was frozen”…. Where to start without getting into it to much…First off there should have been a green, white checkered period. These new NASCAR rules take away from racing and make things more complicated and leaves room for more confusion and interpretation. When races end like this both teams and fans all walk away with a bad taste in their mouths, and everything that was good or exciting that happened during the race is overshadowed and forgotten. I understand not racing back to yellows as for safety issues, I also under stand there can be sh*t shows on green white checkers, but that’s life…If you want a rule then give them two shots at restarts and if they can not finish the race “then” make the next flag end the race. But give the damn drivers and fans a chance at it! Let’s be real here, it would have been Preece and TC on the front row and point leader Solomito and heavy hitter Santos in the second row. Could we have asked for any better set up for an epic finish?!...But no instead there was a “yellow checker” that leaves people talking for the wrong reasons…We could argue all day that the #2 was the caution car and should have been scored last on the lead lap. Or that he crossed the line fourth and on and on but NASCAR made the call and ultimately it is what it is... It is in my opinion a useless rule that ruined the race as I do not see why green, white, checkers are all of sudden evil.
As to Preece’s spin…many are saying it was intentional. I am on both sides of this, sure it looked it and he needed a yellow end of story otherwise he was all done. Were his tires worn, sure but in reality does “one of the hottest drivers in the country” receive a “little nudge” and lose car control and spin cleanly…That’s up for debate. What I will say is what did he have to lose? Without the yellow he was waiting for he had virtually no chance and would keep dropping. He knew as well as everyone else did and witnessed a few days earlier he could come from the back to the front with good tires. So if he dumped himself he took a chance of getting a penalty that he probably still would finish better with than if it stayed green and there was no "spin". Let’s face it, we all know racers will do whatever they can and use any strategy however they can to win. This is nothing new nor if he did spin himself he would be far from the first and far from the last to do it. It worked out for him regardless if it was intentional or not and once again NASCAR was the judge. My only statement is, I hope they make the same call or let it go next time someone else has one of these spins as long as its consistent calls. I have seen in the past NASCAR place cars a lap down for bringing out the yellow intentionally, but maybe this year this rule changed too? Or maybe they did not see it as “intentional”. Either way it did make for good racing and he once again put on a show and that’s better than a stretched out, follow the leader strung out races in my opinion. Although, I would have much rather seen TC, Solomito and Santos give him a run for his money on the restart that should have been.... I have a much bigger issue with the finish we got robbed of…As social media has been busy, many drivers and fans were upset with both controversies but, the results are in the books. Preece nails down his 4th win of the season, Solomito increase his points lead by a few and everyone is anticipating the biggest and most exciting tour race of the year Wednesday at Bristol TN. We will be making the trip ourselves. Click HERE for Whelen tour points and results.
Friday, Stafford will have a weekly race schedule and the fender cars woke up last week and we are expecting some good mod shows as well. With some of the best mod divers in the country running here weekly it is never a bad show. The talent of the up and coming stars in the SK Lights always give a great performance. The points battles are on and the season is in turns 3 and 4. The weather looks good come on out for some Stafford racing.
Saturday is one of the most awaited races of the year. It is the annual “Wings and Wheels” show at the Waterford Speedbowl. This is an all open wheel divisions show. It never lets us down as there are multiple touring divisions and two headlining divisions, ISMA winged Big Block supermodifieds for 75 laps and the Valenti Modified Racing Series tour type mods for 100 laps, 35-lap SK Modifieds, 25-lap SK Light Modifieds, 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association, 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association Lites, 25-lap Three Quarter Midget Association. The grandstands open at1:30 p.m.; Qualifying: 5:15 p.m.; Features start at 6:45 p.m.
As of Wednesday they had 22 MRS mods entered including Ted Christopher (who will also run a NEMA midget and his #13 SK mod) and Max Zachem making a return to MRS in the #16. I have also been told of at least 2 more teams that are expected to run and would not count out seeing some more added Saturday. There are tight point battles in Waterford's SK and SK Light mods. TC is still looking for his first win of the Bowl season and we expect a classic "TC-Rocco battle" Saturday. Fourteen year old Andrew Molluer has two SK Light wins at the Bowl this season and is looking for number three!
ISMA points leader Jon Mckennedy will be on hand in his super mod. Jon is also a top tour type modified driver with championships under his belt and can wheel just about anything. There is 15-20 supers expected. If you are not familiar with super mods here is some info. These ISMA Super Modified big block cars are very impressive to watch not only because the drivers have amazing car handling abilities, but they are flying around short tracks in a beast of a car at 140+ MPH. The car only weighs 1,850 pounds it runs 800-900+ horse power Methanol alcohol burning American made, cast iron, fuel injected Chevrolet V-8 big blocks. The engines are completely off set to the left of the car, they are direct drive to the rear end. No transmissions, starters or clutches, they have to be pushed started as to save weight. They have wings as well, and one very large one above that pivots and changes angle to increase down force in the corners and levels out to decrease resistance on the straights. ISMA supers can maintain cornering speed that rivals any race car in the world today.
They have different size tires with the right rear being roughly 2 feet wide! ISMA supermodifieds are the fastest short-track race cars in the world. The long and the short of that combination of weight and power is these machines are impressive to say the least. They are one of the fastest oval cars around. With an incredible power to weight ratio! If you have never seen a race or don’t know much about the background this is a very informative read about the history of the ISMA tour http://www.ismasupers.com/index.php/history
We are told Sunday is the rain date if needed but it looks like as of now Saturday afternoon and night look good. For more information on the show at Waterford you can click HERE to get to their webpage for all the details you maybe looking for. We hope to see you there! We have plenty of BowlStrong Mod Squad Racing Media shirts. Let us know if you need one! Until the next green flag drops #ModOn and #BowlStrong RG