Last Friday night we had some good racing all night at Stafford. The Dare Stocks had seen side by side racing including the final laps where Johnny Walker would get his fifth win after a great battle with Brandon Michael. Michael finished second but was penalized for making contact with Walker after the checkered flag. He was placed back to the last finishing car on the lead lap, 12th place…. Gambacorta would now be second, Hopkins, Bagnall, and Dave Secore Jr for fifth. The Limited Late Models would also have a good race where Alexandra Fearn would command most of the race but not without challenge from a hard fighting Levoie and at the end, Brian Narducci after he made a dive bomb move to go three wide to grab second place and challenge Fearn on the final laps. Fearn would take the checkered flag for her first ever well earned Limited Late Model win; Narducci P2, Lavoie, Al Saunders, and Provost rounding out the top five. There are only 10 points that separate the top 3. The late models would put on a pretty good show with some bent panels on cars to show for it. Vassar would have an impressive run but once Reen got by Fearn he had Vassar in his sights and would strike. After a side by side battle Reen would take the lead with 2 laps to go and he also would take the checkered flag for his third win on the season. Vassar has his best finish with a P2, Fearn, Arute, and Bennett for P5.
The SK Lites would not let down as they have been putting on great shows all season. Joey Ferrigno, David Arute, Brett Gonyaw, Marcello Rufrano and Todd Douillard would be battling in the top 5 early as things would shake out. Arute would lead, Gonyaw would take second with Rufrano hard on his tail. Dan Wesson would make his way into the top 5 behind Ferrigno just past halfway. A yellow would come out for a spin and would also then come right back out for a multi car incident on the back stretch on the restart that would take Gonyaw out after Rufrano made contact with him. This would lead to Arute and Rufrano going side by side for the lead. Rufrano would take the lead after a hard fight with Arute. Arute would come back one last time on the final lap to go side by side and get the crowd on their feet. Rufrano would beat Arute to the line by a car length. Bakaj would fall into third then Cory DiMatteo P4 and Glenn Griswold P5. There are only 4 points separating David Arute and Cory DiMatteo
The race everyone was waiting for this week was the SK Mods as the week before saw some hard hits, action and a victory lane scuffle between Rowan Pennink and Ted Christopher. Both were handed out multiple penalties and one being they both must start in the rear of the field. To start the 40 lap race, Glen Reen made a 3-wide move at the front of the field to take the lead but a crash on the backstretch involving Mike Christopher Jr, Tyler Hines, and Todd Owen would be the result. This brought the yellow out before a lap could be completed. Reen’s car would not "go" on the restart and jammed up the entire outside line as Stephen Kopcik took advantage and took the lead. Joey Cipriano spun with 24 laps complete for a yellow. By this time the show had been the battles up front where Dowling, Rocco and Berndt had made their presence known. The other show that the fans were watching was that of Ted Christopher as he worked his way through the field early on and very carefully as he and Pennink are also on “probation”. Pennink would also work his way towards the front of the pack. The restart would see Dowling and Berndt on the front row, Christopher and Kopcik on row 2, and Pennink and Rocco in the third row. This was setting up to be a great fight up top.
Dowling took the lead, Christopher would take second. Pennink would pass Berndt to get into third. This would put Berndt fourth and Kopcik for fifth. Christopher passed Dowling on lap 30 and take the lead at the line. Dowling could not get around TC as he was also holding off Pennink that was now in P3. Christopher held Dowling to pick up his sixth win of the 2017 season. Pennink finished third, Berndt fourth and Kopcik would round out your top 5.
This was what everyone wanted, a good race as well as a good show put on by two of the very best that were fairly penalized but still allowed to race for everyone. They had no qualifying handicap, no practice time per the penalties and they had to start in the rear. They both drove to the front to have impressive podium finishes. This is what it is all about if you ask me. Stafford “let them race” as I have been saying the tracks need to be less strict and stop taking cars out of races and let the boys race. The stands looked good and full, the fans and drivers all got a good race and everyone is still waiting to see the “next race” and what happens. I for one think Stafford did a good job with this situation and made it work for all involved including the paying customers… The points are so close with only 2 Friday races left before the Fall Final. CHASE DOWLING 572- KEITH ROCCO 552- TED CHRISTOPHER- 550- RONNIE WILLIAMS 546- ROWAN PENNINK 542 We are looking forward this Friday at Stafford as there is only two Friday races left and it’s going to get real interesting! Do not miss them. I love racing in the fall. It’s my favorite time of the race season! For more info on Stafford and the points click HERE.
Saturday we were at The New London Waterford Speedbowl for the EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series race, “The Battle At The Bowl 125”. There was a great crowd on hand on this picture perfect day. There were good car counts with the MTS having 24 top drivers there. The legends race would be a good one, if you have never seen the Legends run at the Bowl you are missing out. They fly and race great. In the Legends Joey Ternullo would make it six for six on Saturday night crossing the line first, but in post-race inspection he was given a DQ for a parts infraction. The win would be given to Michael Blaskey, Kyle Rogers, Corey Caddick, John O’Sullivan and Scott Limkemann would be the top 5. In the 25-lap Mini Stock Feature, Wayne Burroughs Jr got his third win of the season. Burroughs and Jacob Perry would battle in the first half of the race. Hadley brought out the only two yellows of the race as he found the front stretch wall on the original start and two laps later spun. He would then come from the back to try and redeem his night and challenge Burroughs at the end but he would come up short. The top five were Burroughs, Hadley, Perry, Charles Canfield and Sean Caron.
Limited Sportsman Division at the Bowl is one of my favorites anywhere. They would put on a good show Saturday as they always do but it was a little less action packed than normal but still a good show. Chris Meyer would come from 7th to battle Bo Norman side by side for a few laps to take over the lead and the win. Top 5 finishers were Meyer, Jason Chicolas, Monte Gibbs, Jordan Hadley and Norman. Richie Coy grabbed his first ever NEMA Lites victory as he led every lap from green to checkers. NEMA Lite top 5 were Coy, Cugini, Ryan Locke, Ryan Bigelow and Dan Cugini. In the SK mods Keith Rocco would lead most of the 35 lap main event and would pull away in the green to checkered race. There would be good battles behind him, Todd Owen and Kyle James would make a show out of it. At the end, the top 5 would be Rocco, Owen, Kyle James, Teddy Christopher and Rob Janovic Jr. With the win, Rocco maintains the point lead over the #21 of Kyle James. For more on The Waterford Speedbowl click HERE.
The main event of the night was The MTS at the Bowl race and it would not let down. I have heard many times since that night it was “the best race of the year so far”. Some even left saying it was “the best race they ever had been to and had a great night at the Speedbowl as well!” I have to agree it was a great race. No one dominated, there were lots of battles throughout and hard racing was going on all race. There were some controversial incidents that happened. It is that time of year where things are on the line, tempers are short, teams and drivers are getting worn down and they see the end is insight and paybacks come into play. We have seen it start elsewhere the past month or so. We expect it to continue as that is par for course. Frankly, it is what the fans and most everyone looks for this time of year until the end. Racing is and adrenaline filled sport, full of passion and emotion and that is the key draw at the end of the day. We are all human and when the raw unfiltered actions and emotions come out people tend to relate and get more involved, vocal and animated with their passion on as well as off the rack and in the stands.
Fighting and disagreements happen. It is also part of the whole show. Conflicts, controversy and rivals are what people are drawn to and what we all talk about, good or bad. What I personally do not agree with is attacking someone while they are still strapped in a car. That is just “dirty” and sucker punches have no place anywhere. If you are going throw down...well then throw down face to face, hand to hand and settle it that way if one really must. But, this also has to do with raw emotions and they tend to get in the way of any rational thinking leading people to do things they may not do under normal situations.
I have been saying from the start that the Bowl MTS race would be the best and would have the best field of drivers and so far I think it has. The only few negative things I have heard as far as the race were that “the lap times were slow”, really? I have to laugh. The only time lap times mean anything is in time trials or to see how close competitors are to each other in the SAME divisions. Not to compare them to other divisions... The lap times of Limited sportsmen are slow compared to many divisions but their racing is some of the best…I can tell you the lap times may have been more like SK times but the racing was very competitive and close as were the lap times between competitors was very close and that’s where lap times show anything. Maybe the American Racer tires do not let them go as fast, but they sure did keep them grouped close for some great and competitive battles. Super mods turn incredibly fast times. But the reality is they hardly race side by side or battle things out. There tends to be a car that dominates. This can be often said for many of the “fast” divisions of racing. I guess if that was the most common or biggest complaint of the night I would say the Bowl and The EXIT Realty Modified Touring Series had a great and very successful night. The Speedbowl did a great job with the whole show as it moved along very well and organized.
As far as the race recap it self. Ryan Preece looked like he was the car to beat early on as he would take the lead from Richard Savary who started on the pole after a redraw. Preece would fall back fairly early on and eventually leave the race with mechanical issues. TC would lead for a little while but after a yellow Savary would find himself back on the front row with Max Zachem. Eric Goodale and Woody Pitkat would be on the second row. On the lap-83 restart Goodale and Pitkat would get to the front two spots and TC and Savary would be right behind. Keith Rocco would find himself in an impressive 5th place spot as he had to run his SK Modified for his back up car after his tour #57 car would have mechanical issues early in the day. It is great that guys with SK type mods can be competitive in this series as MTS has set SK rule packages. At the end Goodale would take a well deserved win an in tow now point leader Pitkat for P2, and TC to round the podium out. Exit Reality Modified Touring Series (125-laps): Eric Goodale, Woody Pitkat, Ted Christopher, Richard Savary,5 Keith Rocco, Tom Abele Jr, Kirk Alexander, Chris Pasteryak, Dylan Kopec,10 Max Zachem, Charlie Pasteryak, David Etheredge, Les Hinkley, George Sherman, 15Andrew Molleur, Walt Sutcklffe, Jeff Gallup, Rowan Pennick, Ryan Preece, 20 Dan Cugini, Gary Byington, TJ Bleau, Nick Ladyga (DQ). For more on the MTS click HERE.
With now only 2 races left for the MTS Series, one being this Saturday at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester NH, the championship battle is now coming to a head. At the end of this Saturday’s race the 5 that will be eligible for the Sunoco Quest For The Cup $10,000 Championship will be named. The top 5 in points after Monadnocks race will start in the back of the field at the final race in October at The Speedbowl. These 5 will be the only ones that can win the championship. It will be decided solely on what one of the five finishes the best in the race. They will also be competing against the whole field for the $5,000 first place payday. It could be a $15,000 pay day for someone! The MTS points are very tight, in the top 10 there are 2 ties within the top 10 and only 33 points separate the 1st and 10th place teams. There will be no holding back at Monadock as they all want to be in that top 5 to chase the big money. There is talk of teams running back up cars as well as primary cars to try and "points block" to try and be one of those 5 teams. Expect big names to be filling in for the drivers that will be in Riverhead thats all I can say. Do not miss this show! It is a hour and a half from Hartford CT.
Last Sunday we left Waterford and headed to Thompson for their last race before the famed World Series next month where they will have 18 divisions on hand for 3 awesome days of racing! It was another great day for racing on a Sunday. Boy was there and excellent crowd too!! All the Sunday shows have had good crowds and this one for $12 looked to be a home run too. I have been saying for years we need Sunday racing back and I am glad Thompson Stepped up and added a few Sunday races throughout the season as it looks like it has worked well. I would love to see two Sunday races a month next year.
In the Mini Stocks Dave Trudeau, Jacob Perry and Nathan Taylor would battle in a three-wide shoot out to the finish with Trudeau taking the win. Here is the finish 1. Dave Trudeau 2. Jacob Perry 3. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. 4. Eric Bourgeois 5. Steve Michalski.
The Limited Sportsman 20-lap feature saw 3 wide and full contact racing as it is known for. Points leader Shawn Monahan looked like he was the one that might get the “W” early on, but it was second in points Scott Sundeen who would cross the line first in the end followed by Brent Gleason, Steve Kenneway, Monahan and Ryan Waterman to round out the top 5. The Light Modifieds would only have handful of cars for their feature. Chris Viens who really has improved and has looked impressive the past month or so would have a good run but on a last lap dive bomb attempt to take the lead he would spin in a valiant effort. I like to see this kind of determination, throw it out there and see if it will stick. The fans enjoyed it as it was on turn 4 on the last lap. Gleen Griswold would take the win. 1. Glenn Griswold 2. Glenn Korner 3. Albert Ouellette 4. Rick Williams 5. Chris Viens would be how the ended up.
The Late Models would have a new driver in victory lane at the end of the night. It would be Ryan Morgan for his first Thompson win. Wall and Parnet would not only battle on the track they are in a tight points battle that will roll over into the World Series as they both had consistent finishes but not the night either wanted. Here is the finish 1. Ryan Morgan 2. John Warren 3. Mathew Lowinski-Loh 4. Ray Parent 5. Woody Pitkat.
The Sunco Modifieds would have the fan favorite 20-20-10 triple features as the main event. It was three races for the Sunoco Modified division. Two 20 lappers were points races and then a 10-lap shootout. At the end of all three the driver that finished the best in all 3 races would have a nice payout and trophy. The first feature event would see Ted Christopher win an impressive 99th career victory at Thompson Speedway. He survived a rough race as there was a fair amount of contact and a driver or two driving above their heads with little respect and hungry to try and get the win. SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT ONE 1. Ted Christopher 2. Todd Owen 3. Woody Pitkat 4. Steve Masse. 5.John Studley.
Christopher, despite working through the field after the inversion of the starting order based on the first races lead lap cars finish would not get the #100 win. Christopher got out of shape on the backstretch and would pull it together to only be plowed hard into by Matt Gallo in turn four and that would end both drivers days. Defending champion Keith Rocco would get the “W” in this exciting 20 lapper after holding off a hungry pack. SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT TWO1. Keith Rocco 2. Ryan Preece 3. Todd Owen 4. John Studley 5. Woody Pitkat. In the 10 lap sprint a hungry Troy Talman would get the win he was looking so hard for in the previous other 2 races. Second place in points Todd Owen who is behind Rocco would win the over all 20/20/10 event as he had two P2 and a P3 on the day for a nice pay out. Now there are only 20 points separating the top 3. We cannot wait for the World Series at Thompson next month as it is one of our favorite events of the year for us! For more info on Thompson and the close points battle click HERE
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour heads to Riverhead Saturday to do battle on the mean bullring of Long Island. There has been a wild points battle all season, each race just keeps shaking things up. Ryan Preece sits on top at 460, but he will be missing the next race in Loudon to run for Gibbs in the Xfinity race in KY. Nine points back is defending champ Coby, Pennink is back 7 from Coby at 444. Timmy Solomito sits one point behind Pennink and only 5 points above 5th place Justin Bonsignore who has 437.
Preece has to have a good points night to even have a chance at the championship with only 3 points races left after this weekend and one he will miss. He has nine top five finishes in his last nine races with five wins including the last WMT race at Oswego in the beginning of September. He has found much success at Riverhead as well in the past. To say he is on fire is an understatement. Timmy Solomito must perform well to keep within striking distance of a championship. Being his home track, Timmy performs well here and wins here, having one of his three wins this season coming from Riverhead. He has had a roller coaster season and still has managed to stay in the top 5 in points. We can expect big things Saturday from Timmy. It is do or die time for Justin Bonsignore. He has had a consistent season but consistent does not mean “good” in a racers mind. He is winless this season but sits in 5th for points. This also is Justin’s home track and a track where his record speaks for itself. With 13 career starts at Riverhead, Justin has 4 wins and 10 top 5 finishes and he won this race last season. His worst finish at the LI Bullring in his last 5 starts has been an impressive fifth place. There would be no surprise if he cross’s the line first Saturday in front of his home town crowd to light a fuse that may carry through the final races of the year.
Doug Coby has battled back hard from a rough start of the 2017 season. In order to stay in the points, chasing his 5th championship, Coby must over come this track that has not been kind to him. In 14 starts at “The Head” Coby has struggled and is yet to find a win. Ted Christopher has been looking strong most the year since he took over driving the #82 car of Long Island native Dan Watts. TC has had wins at Riverhead and is hungry for another tour win. The one driver who might pull off the upset of the year just might be Dave Sapienza. I think he is the most improved driver of the year and not only improved but he has been very competitive as of late. This Long Island native might make the crowd go insane and pull off the unexpected. Carnage can come about at Riverhead and I have a feeling this race will really shake things up and add some surprises in the points by the next race. Speaking of next race, we were told there is a very strong possibility that there will be two Christopher’s running the Loudon NH Tour race. If TCs #82 comes home in one piece after this weekend, then Mike Christopher Sr. will wheel the Watts #88 back up car. This is pretty cool as it has been awhile since Mike Sr. has been behind the wheel of a mod and on the tour as well. We hope this comes to be as it will be pretty cool.
We hope to see you this weekend at Stafford or Monadnock for the MTS. Also if you can not make it, remember The Speedbowl and Seekonk will be running Saturday as well as Riverhead with The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Until the next green flag drops. #ModOn RG