By John Tiff, Jr.
Before I begin, let me say that the death of Jason Leffler last Wednesday, June 12, was a tragic accident and just another blow to the sport that is enjoyed by thousands all across the country every week. Every time there is a death in any sport, especially when the athlete competes at the top levels of their profession, there is a media storm over the dangers that come with participating. Many of the uninformed media members even go as far as to try to blame the sport itself or lack of regulations as a way to drum up readers or hits on their internet sites and unfortunately, local short track racing goes through this cycle way too much.
By now, everyone knows that he left behind a five year son, who now will just have distant memories of his father as he grows into adulthood, and that may be the real tragedy in this situation. Leffler knew the risks every time he strapped into the car, just as we do every time we sit in our own passenger vehicle, and died doing what he loved.
After getting over the shock of losing another talented driver, I began to read some of the articles on the situation on the “mainstream” media. There are some very well written articles out there with a lot of good information, but then there are some by a few of the biggest news outlets that have really got me worried about the sport loved by so many.
The first article I read that started this whole thought process was found on the New York Times website, which is said to be one of the most well respected media sources in the nation. Written by Mary Pilon and Viv Bernstein, it was titled “Danger Lurks in Dirt Track Racing”. Seeing the title, I knew this article wasn’t going to put the sport in a good light. By reading further, I learned that was unfortunately right and the authors obviously do not follow the sport. To the uninformed reader, the article throws the sport under the bus in a big way and, although it never says it, gives the feeling the authors still believe the sport is run by, competed by, and watched by a bunch of beer drinking rednecks.
The authors would have one believe that there is no standard of safety equipment or regulations in local dirt track racing, which in itself is wrong. While the hundreds of sanctioning bodies or tracks don’t share the same standard of safety, there are standards. To be covered by insurance, there have to be standards. In New Jersey, where Leffler’s accident occurred, the state police regulate the sport and it is one of the most regulated states in the country.
The article also mentions the lack of the safer barriers, which are found at all the NASCAR and IndyCar tracks, at the local level. The biggest reason given for not having safer barriers locally was cost, which is partially true. But in all reality, are safer barriers at a quarter mile bullring really practical? The speeds at a majority of the dirt tracks don’t even come close to matching those at the major league level, and more often than not, the track announcers at the local level often “inflate” the average speed to give the impression that the cars are moving faster than they really are. There are definitely some high speed dirt tracks out there, especially some of the ones that race the 410 Sprint Cars that Leffler was killed in, but even those tracks don’t reach the speeds that some of the smaller NASCAR tracks can produce.
Then there was the mention of the wings that are used on Sprint Cars, which is quoted from another so-called expert. “They have this giant wing up there, and that is going to raise the center of gravity,” said Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, a physics professor from West Virginia University and author of the book “The Physics of Nascar.” “The higher the center of gravity, the less stable it is.” I didn’t study physics, but I can understand where someone with no knowledge of this type of car would believe this, and why wouldn’t they? This person is an “expert”, right? The reality is that the wings are made of aluminum and can often be seen being carried around the pits by one crew member. Also, if you look at a winged Sprint, they are low to the ground, and even with the wing the majority of the weight of the 1400 pound car is just 12 to 18 inches off the ground as the motor and the driver are the heaviest things in the vehicle. The wings also absorb most of the impact when flipping, and provide some major down force at speed which helps keep all four wheels on the ground.
NASCAR is not totally innocent in this either, as their propaganda machine seems to fuel the idea of how unsafe it is for its stars to moonlight. Often posting articles on the inherent dangers of racing at non NASCAR events and how team owners oppose the practice, NASCAR may be trying to protect itself. Why would you pay the thousands of dollars to one of their events (after paying the tickets prices, jacked up hotel and restaurant prices, and transportation) when you can go and see Tony Stewart at your local track for as little as 20 dollars?
Is racing at NASCAR’s top level safer? Yes it is, for several reasons. Since NASCAR lost its biggest star in the 2001 Daytona 500, they have been very diligent in making the sport safer. Yet on any given Sunday, there are only 43 drivers racing per week at the top level. At the local level, there are thousands of people competing at the hundreds of dirt tracks across the country, which greatly increases the odds of someone getting injured in the local level.
Is auto racing dangerous? Absolutely, but isn’t that part of the attraction? Every sport has its dangers, and in fact, auto racing is one of the safest sports when measured by number of injuries per participant. Unfortunately, when someone gets hurt in motorsports, it usually isn’t a pulled muscle or “turf toe”; it is usually a severe injury which attracts all the naysayers to preach how dangerous it is.
As Tony Stewart has gone on the record saying, accidents happen and sometimes people die. People can slip and fall in the shower or walk into traffic and get hurt. The chance is there for any daily activity. That is life, and we shouldn’t stop living it in fear of getting hurt. I have yet to see an article titled “The Danger of Grocery Shopping” or “The Dangers of Taking Showers.” If I let my kids do half the things I did as I child in this day and age, I would probably be arrested for neglect in this era.
Is local racing getting a black eye because of the mainstream media coverage of Leffler’s death? In my opinion, yes. Millions of people now know about some track in New Jersey called Bridgeport Speedway because someone died there, not because of the racing entertainment it provides to thousands of race fans.
Let’s not dishonor Jason Leffler’s memory, or any other driver who has died doing what they loved by letting the misinformed masses change the sport enjoyed by so many.
This piece is strictly my opinion and feelings and do not represent any organization or sanctioning body.
Riverhead, NY June 15th
By Bob Finan
After winning some six times in 2012 NASCAR Modified veteran Tom Rogers Jr. of Patchogue must have thought taking his first win of 2013 at Riverhead Raceway took an eternity but he did win his first of the season in the Whelen Event night 35 Saturday night. For Rogers it was his 21st career triumph at the demanding quarter mile oval.
Rogers set the standard in pre-race qualifying with a lap of 11.831, but in the redraw among the top eight from time he drew 6th. Vinny Biondolillo was timed second quickest and drew the pole with Timmy Solomito on the outside of the front row. When the Whelen Engineering green lights came on to start the race it was "The Natural" Timmy Solomito bolting out front getting the measure of 15-year old pole sitter Biondolillo off turn two. As the field came down to start the second lap Vinny's car got loose off turn four with a cut left rear tire with David Roys, Eddie Brunnhoelzl III, Glenn Logan, Dave Sapienza and Marisa Niederauer all collected, only Niederauer and Sapienza were out for the remainder of the race. On the ensuing restart it would be Solomito joined by Howie Brode in row 1 and when the green flag came back out the duo would run first and second for a lap with Shawn Solomito in the mix as well. On lap 3 Brode spun off the track after contact drawing a yellow flag setting up an all Solomito front row for the restart with Timmy remaining the race leader when the race was resumed
Tom Rogers Jr. made his presence known to the Solomito brothers early in the contest as he worked his way by Shawn for second on lap 5. Another early race caution would slow the race on lap 7 when Dave Brigati made heavy contact with the wall off turn four, Dave was okay but his car was heavily damaged in the grinding crash. It would be this restart that would change the complexion of the race as when the green came back out Timmy Solomito had disaster strike when he broke a pinion in the rear-end of his machine forcing him to the infield and handing the lead of the race over to Tom Rogers Jr. Shawn Solomito now sat second and over the remainder of the race kept pace with the race leader Rogers and at times would appear to draw closer to Tommy, while Eddie Brunnhoelzl III raced his way back to third recovering from his lap 1 contact.
In the end though there was no catching the Relay Communications Chevy of Tom Rogers Jr. who drove to victory on his birthday, the first time he said in 12 years he has done so. When reminded that at one point of the race on a double file restart he was third surrounded by the three Solomito brothers Tommy noted, "I've raced with all three before they run clean as I try to run them clean too so it was no issue". In concluding, "I can't say enough about my owner Joe Ambrose, he fields the cars, works on them and of course this year we are helping Marisa Niederauer out, so he has a lot on his plate".
Shawn Solomito of Islip was runner-up in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Chevy while Eddie Brunnhoelzl of Levittown more than salvaged his night with a third place tally in the Senix Creek Inn Chevy. Jerry Solomito Jr. of Islip turned in a solid performance scoring a fourth place finish with Howie Brode of E. Islip taking over sole possession of the point lead with his fifth place effort, he too recovering from an early race issue.
For an amazing 109th time in his career Roger Maynor took the win in the 15-lap Figure Eight feature event. Defending champion Mike Mujsce broke to the early race lead from the front row with Maynor quickly making his way to second from his third starting spot. The two tested tough veterans then staged a torrid fight for the lead that would last the first half of the race. During an extended green flag run Mujsce's car seemed to go away ever so slightly and on lap 8 Maynor executed a textbook crossover move that propelled him to the race lead. Once he lost the lead to Maynor, Mujsce's attention quickly turned to Arne Pedersen who was pressuring Mike for second, all of which was music to leader Maynor's ears. Over the final half of the race Roger Maynor wheeling the Barrasso & Sons Ford drove to victory and afterwards commented on the wining move. "I saw Mike wasn't getting through the corners and I was able to cross him up when he opened up a lane". Mike Mujsce of Quogue was runner-up in the Bill Beener Tree Service entry, while Arne Pedersen of Mastic Beach settled for third in the BNR Home Improvement racer.
Over the first three Charger races of 2013 "Radiant" Ray Minieri of Bay Shore had not had the best of luck but that all changed when he was in the right spot at the right time to win the 30-lap feature event for the class. Second year driver Jayson White turned heads when he set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.350 and in the redraw he'd pull the outside pole while Eric Zeh grabbed the pole. Zeh wasted no time taking the lead as the race got underway with Jeremy McDermott, the 2012 champion in the class, making his first start of the season coming to second. The duo would run in that order over the first third of the race before Ray Minieri made an inside pass of McDermott for second on the backstretch. Chris Turbush also moved by Jeremy for third and things up front quickly heated-up. On lap 14 racing through the first and second turn Zeh, Turbush and Minieri were all in close quarters with Zeh spinning from the lead drawing a yellow moving Chris Turbush who was scored second the lap prior the new race leader. However Chris's right front fender was peeled back and he was forced to the pits under the yellow making Ray Minieri the new race leader. When the green flag waved Minieri was chased by CJ Lehmann for the entire second half of the race. There would be no catching "Radiant" Ray in this race however as Minieri drove his Sunrise Chiropractic Dodge to the winner's circle for the 16th time in his career. CJ Lehmann of Mastic Beach was runner-up in the Lido Stone Chevy while "Mr. 3rd Place" Chad Churilla of Hauppauge for the third consecutive race was third in the Angela's House Pontiac.
The Blunderbust class once again thrilled the fans with some late race excitement as Brian Brown of Baiting Hollow notched his first career win as a result of some wild happenings. Bill Wegmann Jr. raced to the lead of the contest when the green flag waved with Brian Brown coming to second. As it would turn out the race would run without a caution flag which allowed Wegmann and Brown to sneak away from the field. However "The Jack Attack" Jack Handley Jr. was making his way towards the front after starting 11th in the 19-car field carefully picking his way through traffic. Handley would make his way by Brown on lap 15 and then set his sights on leader Wegmann. Just moments after receiving the two-to-go signal Handley was looking to the inside of Wegmann in the first turn. Bill, however, tried to thwart the effort and contact was made off turn two. While neither driver ever spun they did have to back out of the gas and that opened the door for Brian Brown to take the lead and his last lap and a half would find Jimmy "The Kid" White Jr. glued to his rear bumper. Brian remained poised at the wheel of his Chet Mistrani Plastering entry and would take down the win in thrilling fashion. Jimmy White Jr. of Southampton was second in the Busy Bee Pest Control racer, while defending champion Tom Pickerell of Huntington was third in the Premier Utility Service Chevy after coming from 16th starting position.
Defending Super Pro Truck champion Roger Turbush of Riverhead notched his 15th career win in the class when he topped their 20-lap main event. The race got off to a rocky start as on the first attempt to get underway the outside lane didn't seem to go and Rob Bader was the odd man out as he was done for the night with damage from the aborted start. Once the race did take the green it was Roger Turbush taking advantage of a rare pole starting position moving out to the race lead, a lead he'd never relinquish in his Allied Air Conditioning Chevy. "Dangerous" Dave Koenig would keep step with Turbush over the distance of the race but would have to settle for second in the Nelson's Auto Salvage Chevy, while Lou Maestri of Deer Park brought his IGA Supermarket of Fort Salonga Chevy home for third place money. The race concluded literally in a ball of fire as Erin Dumicich-Solomito who was running in the top five blew the engine after taking the white flag with a flash fire engulfing her truck for a moment. After taking in some oxygen she was okay.
Without doubt the History Channel picked a good night to tape the 8-Cylinder Demolition Derby at Riverhead Raceway as it was one of if not the hardest hitting event in the 50-year history of Demolition Derbies! In the end "Mad" Mike Smith of Kings Park would score the win in his All-Island Towing machine. The "Misery Machine" of Jason Savoy out of Lake Panamoka was named Judge's Choice, while Andrew Fowler of Wantagh was voted Fan's Choice in his Timmy's Towing entry. After receiving the trophy Smith admitted there was some bad blood from an earlier event this season, "last time out I was teamed-up on, so this time I brought my own team". The slugfest saw "Pistol" Pete Mikos go upside down late in the contest, Pete was fine after the tumble.
Whelen NASCAR Modifieds: 1. Tom Rogers Jr. 2. Shawn Solomito 3. Eddie Brunnhoelzl III 4. Jerry Solomito Jr. 5. Howie Brode 6. David Roys 7. John Beatty Jr. 8. Glenn Logan 9. Kyle Ellwood 10. Kevin Orlando 11. EJ Heim 12. Vinny Biondolillo 13. Timmy Solomito 14. Dave Brigati 15. Dave Sapienza 16. Marisa Niederauer
Whelen Figure Eights: 1. Roger Maynor 2. Mike Mujsce 3. Arne Pedersen 4. Tom Ferrara 5. Ken Hyde Jr. 6. Scott Pedersen 7. George Seus 8. Gary Fritz Jr. 9. Brian Hansen 10. Ed Cheslak 11. John Vullo
Whelen Chargers: 1. Ray Minieri 2. CJ Lehmann 3. Chad Churilla 4. Jeremy McDermott 5. Eric Zeh 6. Rich Wilson 7. Chris Turbush 8. Scott Lehmann 9. Jayson White 10. Daryn Miller 11. Cory Midgett 12. John Baker
Whelen Blunderbusts: 1. Brian Brown 2. Jimmy White Jr. 3. Tom Pickerell 4. Tommy Walkowiak 5. Bill Wegmann Jr. 6. Bob Muller 7. Ed Mistretta 8. Ron Langdon 9. Jack Handley Jr. 10. Tim Mulqueen 11. Bill Wegmann Sr. 12. Scott Maliszewski 13. Tom Puccia 14. Brandon Hubbard 15. Justin Wahl 16. Tom Sullivan 17. Joe Seeger 18. Paul Parisi 19. Bryan Quilliam
Whelen Super Pro Trucks: 1. Roger Turbush 2. Dave Koenig 3. Lou Maestri 4. Mike Albasini 5. Frank Dumicich Jr. 6. Frank Dumicich Sr. 7. Brian McElearney 8. Erin Dumicich-Solomito 9. Mark Stewart 10. Rob Bader DNS- Kevin Scharfenberg
Demolition Derby-Winner: Mike Smith
Riverhead, NY June 16th
By Bob Finan
James Charrier of Shirley continued his early season hot streak at Riverhead Raceway as he won his second straight Grand Enduro on Father's Day, while Robin Vollmoeller of Riverhead scored his first 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro win of the year in a thrilling race that went right down to the final turn.
After newcomer Jerry Koenig and veteran Greg Zaleski jockeyed early on for the top two spots over the first four laps, James Charrier worked by Koenig for second on lap 6 with an inside pass in turn 3, and four laps later he made a pass of Zaleski to the outside in the same turn to take over the lead. As per usual, once out front James Charrier never looked back in his Clear Beer Draft Chevy as he drove off to another comfortable win. Zaleski ran second to Charrier until lap 22, when he was over taken by Bob Engelfried of Stony Brook, who would wind up finishing in that position in his St. James Lumber Chevy. Greg Zaleski of Jamesport, the opening day winner back in May, crossed the line third in the Gallo's Used Auto Parts entry.
The 4/6-Cylinder Truck Enduro was the race of the day as Robin Vollmoeller had to hold off both Greg Harris, his son-in-law, and Ben Gregor to lay claim to the victory. After Russ Jansen set the pace over the first five laps, Ben Gregor making his first start of the year, took over the top spot on lap 6. Ben's stay out front was short, as Greg Harris came along and took the lead on lap 8, with Vollmoeller coming to second on lap 10. What ensued for the rest of the race was a three truck battle royal, as they ran under a blanket for the rest of the race, with Harris leading until the 35th lap, when his father-in-law took over. Over the final 15 laps, with Vollmoeller and Harris side by side, Gregor was trying to go with whoever had the advantage. In the end, it would be Robin Vollmoeller in the Spit's Speed Shop Chevy the winner in a photo finish over Greg Harris of Riverhead in the SGS Stone Works Chevy. Ben Gregor of Sagaponack was third in the Gregor Well Drilling S-10.
In the regularly scheduled 60-lap 8-Cylinder Enduro, Jess Martines of Shirley picked-up another win in his JC Performance Chevy, taking the lead from Bob Baker on lap 10. Baker hounded Martines for a spell before fading later in the contest and settling for second. Anthony Pizzo of Lake Ronkonkoma was third in the United Exhaust Shops Caprice.
In the 60-lap 8-Cylinder nightcap, it was Anthony Pizzo scoring a very
convincing win with Bob Baker of Shirley notching his second runner-up
finish of the day, with Martines crossing the line third.
Joe Warren of Rocky Point made it three out of four in the 4/6-Cylinder
Enduro ranks as he drove off to another dominating win after taking the lead from Steve Trimboli on lap 26. Once out front, Warren pulled away from all comers for the win, which he again dedicated to the late 'Lil Jay Trinca. Ed Fontana of Wading River was runner-up in the Miller Place Upholstery Ford, with Jeff Dotzel of Kingwood WV third in the Orient Country Store racer.
Grand Enduro (top five): 1. James Charier 2. Bob Engelfried 3. Greg Zaleski 4. Tim Blank 5. Brian McCormack
4/6-Cylinder Trucks (top five) 1. Robin Vollmoeller 2. Greg Harris 3. Ben
Gregor 4. Russ Jansen 5. Don Nelson Jr.
1st 8-Cylinder Enduro (top five) 1. Jess Martines 2. Bob Baker 3. Anthony
Pizzo 4. Ed Brown Jr. 5. Donald Lawrence
2nd 8-Cylinder (top five): 1. Anthony Pizzo 2. Bob Baker 3. Jess Martines 4. Donald 'Woot' Lawrence 5. Kris Dane
4/6-Cylinder Cars (top five) 1. Joe Warren 2. Ed Fontana 3. Jeff Dotzel 4.
Peter Rabaglia 5. George Davis
Some more great racing action this weekend. Chip Santee, after trying so hard all season long, finally cracked winner's circle after some great moves to take the lead. Chip looked hooked up the entire night from practice until the feature, and it showed as he powered to his first win of the season in the beautifully lettered number 5. I bet after Saturday's feature win, Chip is pumped up and ready to go for this Saturday's Triple 25 lap features for the Modified's.
Kevin Graver, Jr. took home the checkers in the Late Model division, his 1st career Late Model triumph, and his 38th overall win at the speedway. He is driving for Mike Radocha this year in the lime green 454.
Jason Beers looked strong all night long and grabbed the paycheck in the Street Stock division, but it was not easy. No wins in this division are easy, as Jason lost the lead at one point to Jillian Long, but a caution flew before they got back to the stripe. Jillian made one heck of a move, a bump and run as Beers got sideways, making contact with the right side door panel on the PMS Express number 97, but it was all for naught as the caution flew and lineup went back to the previous lap.
Pro4 winner was Kyle Strohl, who I have watched come up through the Quarter Midget ranks, and it is so awesome to see someone you announced for in the Quarter Midget ranks, as I did for him at the Blue Mountain Quarter Midget Club. He earned the nickname “Hard Chargin” during those times and seems like he has figured this place out. He looks strong and possibly on his way to his first career championship in stock cars. Do not count out Jake Kibler, who finished a strong 2nd and has 3 top 3's in a row since blowing his motor a few weeks ago, with 2 wins and a 2nd place finish. So watch out for that flying pink 71.
This weekend will be the popular triple 25's, and round two of the Mahoning Modified Madness Series. Myself, and I am sure many of the great Mahoning Valley fans, are looking forward to this one, as guys like, Matt Hirschman, Zane Zeiner, Chuck Hossfeld, Eric Beers, Earl Paules, and many more cars and Modified stars will be vying for top honors in the triple 25 lap showdown's, which will be challenging. Definitely looking forward to this weekend, extremely pumped and excited. Is it Saturday yet?
Another great night of side by side, on the edge of your seat racing this past weekend, and the 22nd will be no different.
Thank you for reading, and as always, this has been and always will be
“THE MOUTH'S POINT OF VIEW”.
By Jay Pees
Conneaut, OH, (June 18, 2013): After three weeks of rainouts due to soaking rains and wet grounds Raceway 7 is hoping for a sunny Friday this week to resume the 2013 racing season. The FASTRAK Late Models will make their first of three scheduled events this season. Defending Raceway 7 champion Max Blair also is the defending National FASTRAK Champion and currently leads the 2013 points over West Virginia's Joel Prosser. The $1200 to win event will headline the racing action this week. The other highlight of the evening will be in the skies as a brilliant, giant display will light up during intermission.
The Evergreen Lake Park Campground FASTRAK Late Models had their first repeat winner May 31 in the person of young Chad Wright, who came from eighth on the starting grid to the lead by the halfway point. Wright won his heat each of the past two race nights as well and holds a 27-point edge in the standings as a result. The opening night winner, Dennis Lunger, the 2009 season champion, holds down second in the standings with 31-point edge over Jamie Brown, looking for his first-ever feature win but showing signs of improvement every week. This week will see the local start up against the touring group but points will be awarded toward the season championship.
Jamestown, NY’s Greg Johnson made his first visit of the season to Raceway 7 May 31 and made it a profitable one by getting his first-ever feature win at the track. Meadville, PA’s Mike Potosky, with no wins yet this season, leads the standings with 2009 track champion Percy McDonald currently riding second in the standings, only two points back. Lurking a mere fifteen points behind McDonald is 2013 champion Joel Watson.
With consistent top ten feature finishes and a pair of heat race wins, former Stock car competitor Russ Kapalin leads the McDonald’s Meats Economods points chase by 12 points over Jace Ferringer. Both drivers are looking for their first-ever Raceway 7 feature wins. Another 18-markers behind Ferringer is 14-year old Casey Bowers, who won his first of the year at Raceway 7 last week. Bowers, a Cranesville, PA native, was the 2012 Cavalcade of Racing Rookie of the year and collected one feature win last summer, the youngest driver to do so in the history of Raceway 7, at 13 years of age. Bowers, now fourteen and still the youngest driver in the class, holds a 2-point edge over Chuck Steinle Sr, the oldest driver in the class.
The Western Reserve Animal Clinic Street Stocks had a paucity of cars May 31, likely due to the bitter cold, but a more complete field is expected this week as the weather appears to be much better at this time with high temperatures forecasted to be more conducive to fans, as of this writing. Former class champion Ed Bolyard is the points leader, gaining his first win of the season three weeks ago. Bolyard has a 27-point lead over Chris Withers, last week’s feature winner. Third is former champion Rusty Wheeler. 36 points behind Withers. Wheeler’s best run of the season thus far was two weeks ago, a second.
2012 Specialty Products Mini Stock champion Bud Sergeff won opening night but has not had a great season since then, falling out of the last two week’s racing (slamming the wall May 31!) and falling to fifth in the standings. The leader at this point is Brad Cole, who won his first of the season last race, also winning his heat race. Cole leads Dylan Goodman (no wins…yet) by nine points while Goodman has the thinnest of margins, one point, over second week winner Jason Easler. Rookie contender Dale Fraschetti currently is fourth, nine points behind Easler.
Weather permitting, gates open every Friday at 5:30 PM with pill draw cut off at 7 PM and racing at 7:30 PM. VIP suites are available for rental for $250 a night which includes eight general admissions passes. Admission is set for $13 for adults for this special event, kids 7-14 are $5. Children 6 and under are free. Pit passes are $25. For more information please visit www.raceway7.com or call the track on race day after 12 noon at 440-594-2222. The remaining 2013 schedule is below.
21 Regular divisions, $1200 to win Northeast Touring Series, FIREWORKS
28 Regular divisions, $800 to Win Econo-Mod race, AUTOGRAPH NIGHT!
5 Regular divisions, Regular divisions, $300 to Win Mini Stocks, FIREWORKS!
12 Regular divisions, $800 to Win E-Mods
19 Regular divisions, $1500 ti Win Super Late Models, FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT!
26 Regular divisions, $1200 to Win Northeast Touring Series
2 Regular divisions, Twin State Auto Club Night
9 Regular divisions, Chris Clinger Memorial Race for E-Mods
16 Regular divisions, $1500 to Win Super Late Models
23 Regular divisions, $1200 to Win Northeast Touring Series, FIREWORKS!
30 Regular divisions, END OF POINTS
NO RACING SCHEDULED AT THIS TIME
Well this week's blog took a different turn. We had planned on Pack The Track night at Five Mile Point and the Father's Day Special at Black Rock Speedway. A phone call from my sister late Friday afternoon changed it some. Decided to make our first visit of the season to Chemung Speedrome. I did get to Five Mile Point for the Pack the Track night, but Black Rock made a decision due to weather predictions to cancel their Father's Day Special. It has been rescheduled for this Sunday the 23rd of June.
With Spencer Speedway cancelling their event due to all the rains that they received during the week, Timmy Lewis's team decided to make the trip down to Chemung Speedrome. That is why I made the trip to watch and I am sure glad I went. The action was tremendous with Jody Buckley and TJ Zacharias capturing the qualifying races in the Sunoco Modifieds. They were scheduled to run a 75 lap race for the mighty mods. Track officials divided it up into two features made up of 40 and 35 laps. The action was great as Tony Hanbury worked his way into the lead. He held off TJ Zacharias, Rusty Smith, Zach Curran and TJ Potrzebowski for the win. In the second feature, it was Jimmy Zacharias grabbing the lead early. Tony Hanbury worked his way from sixth into second on lap twelve, but was not able to catch the Zacharias machine. Rounding out the top five were Zach Curran, TJ Potrzebowski and J R Kent. The number 41 of Timmy Lewis made respectable finishes in both feature. He recorded a ninth and a tenth place finish; being his first time on the track he handled his car like a pro. He is definitely making the veterans know that they can trust his driving. Zach Curran is another young driver who is making his mark in the Sunoco Mod division. Zach has already captured a feature win in 2013. He recorded two top five finishes in both features. Both of these drivers have made their way into the sport via the microd form of racing. Zach and Timmy both have driven 4 cylinder division cars. They are both some of the upcoming talent that will have heads turning as they continue in their racing careers.
In the Street Stock division, it was Lee Sharpsteen and Jeff Goodwin who captured the qualifying events. It was Brittany Jacks who found the fast way around the oval to capture the win. The luck had changed for her as she picked up the bounty that was posted by John White. Anyone who could beat Jeff Goodwin picked up the bonus. Brittany's waiting for her Sunoco Mod to be repaired after a wild ride a couple of weeks ago. She held off Sharpsteen and Goodwin, who had a fierce battle, but finished second and third respectively. Joe Lane was fourth and Terry Potrzebowski was fifth.
The other supporting division winners included David French in the Bandolero, Mike Alcaro in the Legends, Nick Morich in the 4-cylinder and Paul Jenkins in the Dirt Crate Sportsman. Without these support divisions, the racing program would not be complete. The car counts in some of them are low, but the racing action is still exciting.
On Saturday it was Five Mile Points "Pack the Track Night". Grandstand admission was just $2.00, with fans getting six divisions of racing action. You were not allowed to bring in any food or drinks, but with the low admission price, that allows the fans to purchase the great food at the track. Not only did the fans get to see lots of racing, but the Sportsman division ran Twin 20 lap feature events. In this fans opinion, if you didn't take advantage of going to this past Saturday's racing, you certainly missed some tremendous racing.
Twenty six Sportsman, twenty three Mods, fifteen IMCA Mods, fifteen Street Stocks, five in the Lighting Cat Novice and the Lighting Cat Expert had eleven, with everyone of these drivers all hoping to capture the checkered flag. In the Sportsman division, the first feature event had the fans on their feet as Kenny Hammond held off the number 69 of Randy Green to pick up the win. It was not an easy win, as both of these drivers raced side by side for most of the caution free event. It was in the closing laps that Kenny was able to get by the Green machine with the help of lapped traffic. Neither of these drivers were giving up the win without a fight. The drivers took their race machines in between turns three and four to make changes for the second twin. They were allowed to change air pressure and use only a screwdriver to make adjustments to their cars. Kenny Hammond was brought over to the front stretch where he drew a pill to determine the invert. He drew number eight, which meant he would be starting in that position. If Kenny could come from that starting position to win the second 20 lap feature, he would get a $100 bonus for winning both events. When the lineup was settled in, Brian White and Brad Szulewski made up the front row. When the green flag flew, it was Brian White grabbing the lead. This feature did not run caution free, but Brian made sure that the number 72 of Nick Petrilak, who was now in second, stayed there. They battled hard on each restart side by side, but White was able to stay in the lead. When the checkers dropped it was Brian White capturing another feature win.
The Modifieds were also exciting, with Jim Gabriel Jr. grabbing the early lead. A caution on lap five sent fan favorite Mike Colsten to the pit area. Mike was able to return just as the green flag dropped on the restart. Kevin Bates grabbed the lead away from Gabriel until a mechanical problem forced him out the event. Gabriel took back the lead on the restart and battled in a tight race with Dan Creeden. Both drivers wanted the win and made it known. In the final laps, it was Dan Creeden who captured the hard fought battle over Jim Gabriel Jr.. The final laps of this race had the fans on their feet, as no one knew who would be the winner.
IMCA Mods, Tanner Harpell has been the driver to beat the past two weeks. The youngster Tanner captured his first IMCA mod feature event in the previous weeks event. Tanner grabbed the lead and never looked back. He was challenged by another young driver, Jared Spalding. Both young men ran a great race over the veteran drivers. Matt Roberts and his dad Gary battled for the third place, each hoping to get up to challenge Tanner for the win. Unfortunately for the Roberts teams, they were not able to catch Spalding or Harpell, finishing in third and fourth. Black Rock regular Todd Stone recorded an impressive fifth place finish.
Street Stocks had the fans on their feet cheering for Shane Wolf Sr. as he picked up the checkered flag. It was a battle between Wolf and early race leader Matt Spencer. A caution early in the event sent the 4X of Tommy Eiklor to the pit area. It was on that restart that Wolf grabbed the lead away from Spencer. Eiklor was able to return to the event at the back of the field on the restart. He worked his way back to the front to challenge Wolf for the lead, but was not able to complete the pass. Elklor finished in second, with Spencer in third. It was a real tough night for the current points leader Jon Carpenter. An ill handling car forced him to the rear on a couple of occasions. Jon did rally back to finish in the fourth position.
The Lighting Cat divisions were the final events of the evening. In the Novice division, it was Nick Kennedy driving his brothers car, capturing the win. In the Expert division, Kenny Underwood continued on his winning way. Kenny is the current points leader in this division and has done his homework over the Winter. After struggling last season with his number 16, he has found the fast way around the track.
I would like to take a moment to say "HATS OFF", to Andrew Harpell and his entire staff for a evening of very enjoyable racing. It is not very often you go to a track and see some of the best racing of the season on dirt. The best part for many fans, including myself, it was for only $2.00. There should be more tracks that take a look at what Five Mile Point has done with the Pack the Track Night. It is the way to go and the fans gets lots of great racing and fun!
The Valenti Modified Racing Series 10th Anniversary season continues this Friday night with a stop at the famed Stafford Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT.
The June 21 race, an 80-lap event, will be the first of three races this season at the half-mile facility.
Huntingdon Valley, PA, driver Rowan Pennink, and Tyngsboro, MA, veteran Louie Mechalides bring a tie in the point standings to Stafford. Each has 132 points. Pennink was a series winner at Stafford last season.
Tommy Barrett, of Millis, MA, in search of his first win this season, has moved to third in the early ranking based on two-top five finishes and a pair of top-ten finishes. The 18-year old sensation scored a win at Stafford last season.
Chris Pasteryak, of Lisbon, CT, will enter the inaugural 80-lap race. Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, Steven Masse, of Bellingham, MA, Todd Owen, of Somers, CT, Max Zachem, of Preston, CT, and Rob Goodenough, of Swanzey, NH, is expected. Goodenough will be making his 125th start on Friday night.
Stafford’s all-time winning modified driver Ted Christopher will enter the race.
“Been ready since Thompson, the car is all set and we’re looking forward to Friday,” said Christopher. The Plainville, CT, driver will pilot the Joe Brady # 00 car.
Main Grandstands open at 4:15 PM. VMRS qualifying races begin at 6:15 P.M.
(LEHIGHTON, PA 6-17-13) The Mahoning Modified Madness Series returns this coming Saturday evening, June 22 with the Triple 25s segment of the special five race high profile event.
The stars of short track pavement Modified racing will be converging on the tight boundaries of the quarter mile Mahoning Valley Speedway located in Lehighton to compete in three 25-lap features, each paying $1000-to-win.
The unique format was the idea of promoter Floyd Santee and his roots that go back to the former Dorney Park Speedway. Numerous times triple features for the same class would be held on the night and always boasted plenty of fanfare.
Last year when he assumed control of the track he re-introduced the concept and it was met with rousing success as the short runs produced exciting action from start to finish.
Time trials will be used to set the starting field for the first 25-lapper. The top will be 12 locked in for a heads-up start. All others will then run in a B Main. 22 cars will begin each feature.
The second and third features will be inverted with a fan from the grandstand picking a pill to determine the invert number which will be 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12.
Eligible invert cars must have finished on the lead lap after the most recent completed feature. Alternates will be added as needed after features one and two. If a car that started the first main and is sidelined for the second but can return for the third race then the alternate will be displaced.
After the first and second feature all cars will be pitted in the staging area which gives fans an unobstructed view of teams as they work on their cars. 50 show-up points will be awarded with a qualifying attempt. Points towards the Madness Series will be distributed after each feature. A complete set of Triple 25 rules can be found on the track’s website.
The Mahoning Modified Madness Series carries a $6000 purse to be divided amongst the top overall point finishers in the special five race series. The champ will earn $2000 with $1500 to the runner-up, $1000 for 3rd, $700 for 4th, $500 for 5th and $300 to 6th plus all regular monies being paid for each night of racing in those respective shows.
Eric Beers won this year’s first event, a 100-lapper on May 4 and heads into Saturday’s show as the Series point leader. Chip Santee, Matt Hirschman, Zane Zeiner, John Markovic and Chuck Hossfeld round out the top six. All are expected to be on hand as well as many more area and regional standouts.
Twin-50s on July 27, a 100-lapper on October 6 and the season ending $5000-to-win Octoberfast 130-lapper on October 26 make up the other Madness events.
Late Models, Street Stocks, Dirt Mods and Pro4s will also be on the card. The Hobby Stocks will have the night off. Adult grandstand admission is $20.
Coming up in two weeks will be a special 40-lap, $1000-to-win main for the Dirt Mods with $100 to take the green. And, if any non-Mahoning dirt mod racer comes in and can win the feature an additional $250 will be awarded which has been posted by S & D Bodyline proprietor Dan Biegley.
Furthermore, Warren Pallet, Co., of Bloomsbury, NJ, the sponsor of Mahoning Dirt Mod racer Ray Deemer, has added $250 to the purse. Time trials will set the grid.
All regular track classes along with the Micro Stock Racing Series will be on hand that night. At the conclusion of the evening’s races there will be a gigantic Fireworks display. Adult general admission is $15.
Mahoning Valley Speedway is located on PA route 443, two miles west of Lehighton. Additional info can be found on the track’s website at www.mahoningvalley-speedway.com Also on Facebook at Mahoning Valley Speedway.
COMING EVENTS: June 22 Mahoning Modified Madness Series ‘Triple 25s’ + all regular track classes
June 29 40 Laps, $1000-to-win for Dirt Mods + all regular track classes + Micro Stocks + Fireworks
July 6 George Ramos, Jr., Late Model Memorial 50, $1000 to win + all regular track classes
WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. ~ Veteran stock car driver Jimmy Blewett hitched a ride in the Al Voorhees No. 86 and raced to victory in the 40-lap main event for Modified stock cars at Wall Stadium Saturday night. It was the first start of the season for the Howell racer.
Rookie Modified driver Jonathan Mandato of Toms River was impressive as he took the lead on lap seven. Blewett soon moved into second spot but it took a caution flag for the duo to close ranks. On the ensuing lap 23 restart Blewett and Mandato tussled side-by-side before Blewett slipped into the lead.
Mandato stayed with the veteran the rest of the way and struggled for a top finishing position. At the end Blewett took the win while Adam LaCicero of Lavallette slipped into second. Mandato was third, with Chris Lane of Howell and Nick Shaw of Chatham wrapping up the top five.
Robert Sutphin of Brick won his second straight Sportsman 30-lapper after taking the lead in the final third of the event. Andrew Krause of Holmdel was in contention most of the way before finishing second, while former champ Kevin Eyres of Colts Neck was third. Zack Alspach of Willingboro and Tim Stephan of Brick were fourth and fifth.
James Meyers of Port Monmouth won his second 25-lapper of the year for the 4 Cylinder cars Saturday night, while Todd Pilla of Beachwood was second. Wall’s Cole Ormsbee was third, with Mike Wahl of East Islip, N.Y. fourth and Orestis Kotzias fifth.
Joe Mongeau of Brick came from deep in the field to cross the line first in the 25-lapper for the Factory Stocks over his nephew Shanon Mongeau of Farmingdale and Wall’s Roy Farfel. Unfortunately, all three failed post race technical inspection which handed the win to Brick’s Ronnie Mullen. Scott Riggleman of Manchester, Tiffany Olejnik of Wall, Marty Van Druten of Toms River and Ed Bischoff of Howell wrapped up the top five.
Long Island racer Brian Doyle won his second 25-lap race of the year in the Limited Late Model class, beating Ken Matlach, Mike Tillett of Bayville, Jack Sayegh of South Toms River and Glen Conk to the line.
Ryan Tidman was the winner of the 25-lap feature race for the visiting TQ Midgets
Formula Drift takes center stage at Wall Stadium with a day time event on Saturday (June 22). Stock car racing will then continue on Saturday, June 29, with the annual running of the Garden State Classic.
Wall Stadium presents professional motorsports events on most Saturdays and Sundays during the summer months. The speedway is located on Route 34 in Wall Township, N.J., just one mile north of Garden State Parkway exit 98 and Interstate 195 exit 35B. The speedway hotline number is 732-681-6400, while CKMotorsports@aol.com is the track’s email address. More information is also available at www.wallspeedwayracing.com.
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MODIFIED FEATURE – 40 Laps – 1. JIMMY BLEWETT, HOWELL, 2. Adam LaCicero, 3. Jonathan Mandato, 4. Chris Lane, 5. Nick Shaw, 6. Shaun Carrig, 7. Harry Schaeffer, 8. Shawna Ingraham, 9. Ryan Cottrell, 10. Keith Mullineaux, 11. Christian LaCicero, 12. Chas Okerson, 13. Chris Hamilton, 14. Andrew Krause, 15. Steven Reed, 16. Eric Mauriello, 17. Jamie Tomaino, 18 Jason Treat, 19. John McCormack
SPORTSMAN FEATURE – 30 Laps – 1. ROBERT SUTPHIN, BRICK, 2. Andrew Krause, 3. Kevin Eyres, 4. Zack Alspach, 5. Tim Stephan, 6. Jason Caruso, 7. Joe Cocca, 8. Joe King, 9. Scott Branick, 10. Kevin Davison, 11. Dave Bailey, 12. Rich Ely, 13. Mike Patteta, 14. Dom Fattaruso, 15. Joe Nappi, 16. Matt Langbein, 17. Trevor Alspach, 18. Joe Schmutz
4 CYLINDER FEATURE – 25 Laps – 1. James Meyers, Port Monmouth, 2. Todd Pilla, 3. Cole Ormsbee, 4. Mike Wahl, 5. Orestic Kotzias, 6. Mike Dorrer, 7. Jerry Stanzione, 8. Ron Becker, 9. Jay Conrad, 10. Brien Crosby, 11. Roland DeMartino, 12. Randy Hart, 13. Rick Massaro, 14. Mike Dunn, 15. Al Morales
FACTORY STOCK FEATURE 25 Laps – 1. RONNIE MULLEN, BRICK, 2. Scott Riggleman, 3. Tiffany Olejnik, 4. Marty Van Druten, 5. Ed Bischoff, 6. Tim O’Shea, 7. Josh Matthews, 8. Andrew Krause, DQ. Joe Mongeau, DQ Shanon Mongeau, DQ Roy Farfel
LIMITED LATE MODIFIED FEATURE – 20 Laps – 1. BRIAN DOYLE, RONKONKOMA, N.Y., Ken Matlach, 3. Mike Tillett, 4. Jack Sayegh, 5. Glen Conk
Mr. Rooter 161 Up Next At The Speedbowl
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 17, 2013) – The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s return to Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl was one of the feel-good moments of the 2012 season. The grandstands were packed, the parking lot overflowed and the track produced the typical competitive Modified action that it has come to be known for through the years. This week they’ll get to do it all over again with the second running of the Mr. Rooter 161 on Saturday, June 22.
After a five-year absence from the .375-mile oval, the Whelen Modified Tour’s return was the most-anticipated event of the 2012 season. The history at Waterford dated back to the beginning of the tour in 1985, and the winners list at the track includes names like champions Ted Christopher, Donny Lia, Mike McLaughlin, Jerry Marquis, Jimmy Spencer and Todd Szegedy. Doug Coby then added his name to both lists as he took the checkered flag in the Whelen Modified Tour’s return to Waterford en route to the season title.
In an effort to marry the Whelen Modified Tour’s past with the present, Waterford even selected a specific lap count for the event: 161 in tribute to the No. 61 Modified that the late Richie Evans piloted to a career that landed him in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That tribute will once again be put into play with this year’s Mr. Rooter 161.
Waterford has historically produced parity among the race winners, with 14 different victors among the 18 races. This season’s first three events have each had different winners as well. As the Whelen Modified Tour turns the page from last year’s event at Waterford, and from last week’s race at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, there are plenty of drivers to watch.
Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink have been top-five finishers each of the first three races this season, and while Preece won last week at Stafford, Pennink remains poised to break through for a checkered flag. Some of top other candidates to make it four different winners in four races include Justin Bonsignore, Christopher, Coby and Ron Silk, who’ve all had strong starts to the season.
RACE: Mr. Rooter 161
PLACE: Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl
DATE: Saturday, June 22
TIME: 9 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .375-mile, banked asphalt oval
2012 WINNER: Doug Coby
2012 POLESITTER: Ted Christopher
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 1:15-2:30 p.m., Qualifying 5 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 7 p.m.
TRACK TWITTER: @Speedbowl
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #MrRooter161
The Race: The Mr. Rooter 161 will be the fourth race on the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule and the lone trip to Waterford Speedbowl.
The Procedure: The starting field is 28 cars, including provisionals. The first 23 cars will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 161 laps (60.375 miles).
The Track: A .375-mile banked oval, Waterford Speedbowl opened for auto racing in 1951. A NASCAR Whelen All-American Series-sanctioned facility, Waterford holds weekly racing on Saturday nights, and has previously held 18 Whelen Modified Tour events.
Race Winners: There have been 14 different race winners in 18 all-time events at Waterford, led by four drivers with two victories. Five active drivers have won at the track: Ed Flemke Jr. (2), Donny Lia (2), Ted Christopher (1), Doug Coby (1) and Todd Szegedy (1).
Pole Winners: There have been 11 different pole winners at Waterford, led by Tony Hirschman’s four. Active drivers Christopher and Flemke have each captured poles at the track. Jerry Marquis set the qualifying record in 2006 at 13.618 seconds (99.133 mph).
WATERFORD RACE NOTES:
Preece, Pennink Keeping Things Tight: After two races they were tied in the standings, and now three races deep into the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season only six points separate Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink. Preece broke the tie last week at Stafford Motor Speedway with the victory and the corresponding bonus points, but Pennink finished third to keep things tight. The two are the only drivers to record top-five finishes in each of the season’s first three races.
Coby Looks to Defend Waterford Win: Although it was his third win of the season, the Waterford triumph had the feeling of a defining moment in what would eventually become Doug Coby’s championship campaign. As the Whelen Modified Tour returns to the shoreline oval, Coby will look to recapture the magic that marked the beginning of his 2012 season. As of that Waterford win, the fifth race on last year’s schedule, he had recorded three victories and four top-five finishes. He’s registered four top-fives in the 12 races since.
Season Hits High Gear: After a run of 50 inactive days between the second and third races on the schedule due to three rainouts, the Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford Speedbowl will be the second of three-consecutive weeks of action for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The tour is not slated to have more than 13 days off between a race from now until the crossover from August to September.
Speedbowl Secures Marketing Partners for Mr. Rooter 161: Waterford Speedbowl partnered with Coca-Cola and Henny Penny convenience stores for a promotional contest centered around the Mr. Rooter 161 Whelen Modified Tour race at the .375-mile facility. Fans and convenience store patrons are encouraged to look for an in-store display at participating Henny Penny locations for their chance to enter the Mr. Rooter 161 ticket giveaway. In addition, a promotional appearance will take place on Thursday, June 20 at the Henny Penny location at 973 Hartford Turnpike (Route 85) in Waterford from 5-7 p.m.
HOME TRACKS: Rocco Out Front at Waterford
The four-time defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion in the state of Connecticut, Keith Rocco is using his success this season at Waterford Speedbowl to keep the streak going. Through the racing action on June 15, Rocco had forged a 16-point lead on Todd Ceravolo in the track’s headlining SK Modified division with defending champ Tyler Chadwick in third, 42 points behind. Combined with his efforts at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson International Speedway in addition to Waterford, Rocco was once again in the Connecticut state points lead in the latest NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points update on June 9
LAST TIME OUT: Stafford
The third race of the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season was contested at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway on June 14. Here are some highlights of the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil:
NEXT TIME OUT: Riverhead
The first of two dates on the 2013 calendar for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway will be up next. The Hoosier Tire 200 is slated to be contested on the venerable Long Island quarter-mile on Saturday, June 29. It will mark the first Whelen Modified Tour date at Riverhead in the month of June since 2005, which is also the same year that Riverhead last welcomed the tour multiple times. Ryan Preece was victorious from the pole last year at Riverhead.