Saturday, September 23, 2017

Rocco regains points lead at Stafford Springs with one race to go ...

Posted by Wayne G. Barber & Photos by Wayne G. Barber

In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, the race started with the P1 position left vacant for Ted Christopher.  Tony Membrino, Jr. took the lead at the green with Josh Wood immediately applying heavy pressure.  As the field hit turn 3, several cars came together and set off a chain reaction that collected Rowan Pennink, Todd Owen, Dan Avery, and Chase Dowling that brought the caution out with 0 laps complete.
The field took the green with Joey Mucciacciaro, Jr. sliding into the turn 1 wall to bring the caution right back out.  Membrino took the lead back under green but he was under heavy pressure as Tyler Hines went to his outside and Wood was looking to his inside.  Hines went to the lead on lap-3 with Membrino and Ronnie Williams side by side for second.  Membrino took second with Williams now side by side with Matt Galko for third and behind then Glen Reen and Eric Berndt were side by side for fifth place.   Tom Bolles spun coming out of turn 4 to bring the caution out with 9 laps complete.
Hines and Membrino went side by side for the lead on the restart with Hines taking the lead and Membrino began to slide backwards.  Hines held the lead until lap-13 when Williams took the lead.  Keith Rocco was on the move after the restart and he quickly worked his way into second behind Williams.  Rocco took the lead from Williams on lap-18 while Reen moved up to third with Hines fourth and Wood fifth as the field completed lap-20.
Rocco started to pull away from Williams in second who was in turn pulling away from Reen, Stephen Kopcik, and Hines.  Rocco led Williams to the white flag with Kopcik third, Reen fourth, and Hines in fifth.  The entire field pulled down pit road after taking the white flag with Stafford Speedway announcers Ben Dodge and Matt Buckler calling Ted Christopher home as the winner.

SK MODIFIED® (40)

1) Keith Rocco, Berlin
2) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
3) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
4) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
5) Tyler Hines, North Haven
6) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
7) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
8) Todd Owen, Somers
9) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
10) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa
11) Sean Foster, Willington
12) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
13) Matt Galko, Meriden
14) Tom Bolles, Ellington
15) Nick Salva, Cheshire
16) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
17) Les Rose, Jr., Southbridge, Ma
18) Curt Brainard, Canton
19) Joey Mucciacciaro, Jr., Wolcott
20) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
21) Dan Avery, Somers

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stafford to Retire Ted Christopher’s #13 on October 1st

Posted by Wayne G. Barber & Photo by Wayne G. Barber


(Stafford Springs, CT)---Ted Christopher, a hero, a rival, a legend, and a once in a generation driver.  His first start at Stafford Speedway in May of 1983 marked the beginning of a journey, a journey that no one could have predicted.  35 years later the journey comes to an end with statistics that make you ask, was Ted the greatest modified driver of all-time; 131 career wins, 109 SK Modified® wins, and 9 SK Modified® Track Championships.  
At the request of both fans and race teams that have a prior commitment at New Hampshire this weekend, Stafford Speedway management has moved the ceremony to retire Ted Christopher’s number 13 to Sunday, October 1st as part of the pre-race for the NAPA Fall Final. This will allow all teams and fans to share in this tribute.
This Friday, September 22 we will honor Ted Christopher and his racing career with all those in attendance.
“Since Ted’s first win in 1986 to his last win on September 8, just 2 weeks ago, he has been a fixture at Stafford,” explained Stafford GM Mark Arute. “We will miss TC but we will never forget him.  We will retire his number from weekly Modified racing at Stafford Speedway on Sunday, October 1st as part of the NAPA Fall Final Weekend. The number 13 is and always will be Ted’s number.”
            For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

ACT Tour News....

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

LOUDON, NH – American Canadian Tour (ACT) regular Jimmy Hebert of Williamstown, Vt. is looking to improve upon his 2016 finish by one spot in the Ninth Annual ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Saturday.

Hebert was leading last year’s event when a caution with five laps remaining brought Eddie MacDonald into contention. MacDonald snatched the lead when the race went green and drove off to his third straight Invitational win.

“It took a couple of laps for me to get back up to speed and then time ran out,” Hebert said. “I think I could have won if it weren’t for the restart.”

Hebert is a regular on the ACT circuit. He has driven the Hebert Excavation/Lowery’s Auto No. 58VT to a pair of 3rd-place finishes and is tied for fourth place in the championship point standings.

Hebert finished 6th in the 2014 Invitational and was 5th in 2015.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Hebert said. “There were seven timesheets posted during the practice sessions a few weeks ago and we were the fastest on every one of them.”

“There are lot of other cars capable of winning the race,” Hebert said. “The motors are the same and there’s a lot of drafting. You have to be careful about where you are in traffic. You can get bogged down. You have to pick your move at the right time.”

Forty Late Models from New England and Quebec are scheduled to take the ACT Invitational 50 green Saturday, September 23 at 5 p.m. following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175.

For additional information, visit www.nhms.com or www.acttour.com.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Modified driver Ted Christopher killed in plane crash

NBC Connecticut reported that both people on the plane were killed. NASCAR confirmed that Christopher was one of those killed in the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
Christopher was selected as one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history in 2006. Fans voted him as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s most popular driver three times.
Christopher captured 13 track championships and competed at every level of NASCAR. He made six Cup starts (the last in 2009), 21 Xfinity starts (the last in 2001) and two Camping World Truck Series starts (the last in 1999).
He won nine track championships (1987, ’96, 2000, ’01, 04, ’07, ’09, ’12 and ’14) at Stafford (Connecticut) Motor Speedway
Christopher’s death reverberated throughout NASCAR and the racing community.
 I am so honored to have known Ted Christopher with photos, interviews and radio appearance's Posted by Wayne G.Barber & Photo by Wayne G.
9-10-17 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park 99th Career Victory
.Barber

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Matt Galko nips points leader Chase Darling at the finish...

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

 Matt Galko scores his second victory in the highly competitive SK Mod division at Stafford Speedway on Friday Sept. 15, 2017. Galko duplicated his first win ever in the SK'S on June 2 again by out- racing Chase Dowling the current points leader. Dowling maintains his points lead 620 to Teddy Christopher's 594 with Keith Rocco holding third at 586 after 15 of 17 races.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Cam McDermott and Tyler Hines were side by side for the first lap dueling for the lead and on lap-2 Glen Reen nearly went 3-wide for the lead but backed out of the move.  With 4 laps complete it was still Hines and McDermott side by side for the lead with Reen in third.  Matt Galko and Keith Rocco were side by side for fourth behind them.
The order continued to shuffle as Hines got clear to the lead with Reen behind him in second.  Galko was by himself in third with Chase Dowling and McDermott side by side for fourth with Tom Bolles in sixth.  Reen moved to the front on lap-9 with a move in turns 1+2 and Galko came with him into second.  Dowling also followed the two leaders by Hines as he moved into third with Hines slotting into line in fourth with Bolles fifth and Eric Berndt in sixth. 
Dowling got by Galko on lap-12 to move into second and Ryan Preece moved into sixth after starting in the back of the pack.  With 15 laps complete the order was Dowling out front with Reen, Galko, and Hines behind him.  Preece got by Bolles for fifth just as the caution came out for a multi-car spin behind him that involved Joey Mucciacciaro, Jr., Payton Henry, Dan Avery, and D.J. Burnham.
Dowling took the lead back under green with Galko in second.  The field stacked up a bit in turn 4 but everyone was able to gather their cars up and it was Preece emerging in third with Bolles in fourth and Berndt fifth before the caution came out with 17 laps complete for a spin on the backstretch involving Tony Membrino, Jr. and Rocco.
Stephen Kopcik got loose on the restart and came to a stop in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out.  Dowling took the lead on the restart but only one lap could be completed before a melee broke out coming out of turn 4 with Nick Salva, Josh Wood, Mike Christopher, Jr., Todd Owen, and Tommy Membrino, Jr., all involved to bring the caution back out.
Galko got a good run in the outside lane and took the lead from Dowling on the restart.  Dowling and Reen were side by side for second with Preece and Berndt side by side for fourth.  With 20 laps complete, Berndt’s car got turned into the front stretch wall to bring the caution out. 
Galko and Dowling were side by side for the lead back under green with Reen and Preece side by side for third with Ted Christopher up to fifth.  The two lead duos were still side by side until lap-25 when Preece got clear of Reen and took third.  Christopher was now on the outside of Reen in a fight for fourth as Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the lead. 
With 28 laps complete, Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the lead but it was now single file behind the two leaders with Preece, Christopher, and Reen making up the top-5 with Bolles still hanging strong in sixth. 
With 5 laps to go, Galko and Dowling were still side by side for the race lead with Preece, Christopher, and Reen lined up behind them.  As they completed lap-36 it was now two by two as Galko and Dowling were out front with Preece and Christopher and lined up behind them. 
As they took the white flag, it was a 5-car train for the lead.  Galko was able to get a good run coming out of turn 4 to beat Dowling and Preece to the line by a car length.  Dowling took second by inches over Preece with Christopher beating Reen to the line by inches for fourth place.

SK MODIFIED® (40)

1) Matt Galko, Meriden
2) Chase Dowling, Roxbury
3) Ryan Preece, Broad Book
4) Ted Christopher, Plainville
5) Glen Reen, Wilbraham, Ma
6) Tom Bolles, Ellington
7) Rowan Pennink, Huntingdon Valley, Pa
8) Michael Gervais, Jr., Southbury
9) Keith Rocco, Berlin
10) Mike Christopher, Jr., Wolcott
11) Joey Cipriano, III, Waterbury
12) Josh Wood, Palmer, Ma
13) Ronnie Williams, Tolland
14) Cam McDermott, Canterbury
15) Dan Avery, Somers
16) Tyler Hines, North Haven
17) Tommy Membrino, Jr., Prospect
18) Stephen Kopcik, Newtown
19) Eric Berndt, Cromwell
20) Nick Salva, Cheshire
21) Todd Owen, Somers
22) Tony Membrino, Jr., Berlin
23) D.J. Burnham, East Hartford
24) Joey Mucciacciaro, Jr., Wolcott
25) Payton Henry, Willington
26) John Catania, Agawam, Ma

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thompson Speedway Sunoco SK Mod. 20/20/10 Results from 9-10-17 Segment Two

Posted by Wayne G. Barber & Photos by Wayne G. Barber

The second segment of the fan friendly event had the top teams in electronic timing for the day inverting to form the 26 race team field for race number two of three on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Could Teddy Christopher repeat and obtain the elusive 100th career Sunoco SK Mod win at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in the same day ?
 If he did it would have to be from the rear of the fastest cars in race one.
The race started with a blistering pace and hot rod Stephen Masse and two other cars tangled up in turn two to bring out the first caution on lap 13. On lap 16 Troy Tolman went to the rear went to the rear after some contact. On that restart the Matt Gallo #77ran over Teddy Christopher who had hit the back stretch wall and saved the car but lost a lot of speed doing so and I think lack of sending a spotters message to Gallo created the wreck to end Teddy's day and Gallo bailed out quick with a fire from the hard hit.
44th Career Sunoco SK Mod victory at Thompson
. “It’s tough. It’s pretty much impossible to drive away unless you’ve got a car that’s about a half second faster,” Rocco said. “On old tires for these races it’s pretty exciting for the fans.” 
  Keith Rocco needing some points after the 9th place showing in the first segment and had his hands full with Todd Owen and Ryan Preece and very quiet John Studley in the #27 who also joined this division from Stafford Speedway in 2017. Pitkat was in the 5 hole to jump in the fray if the leaders tangled. Rocco slipped and slided his way to victory lane in segment two and Owen had a very nice day with 2nd and a third to be low points man entering the third segment. All he had to do was finish third or better to claim the big money prize and again no points. Troy Tolman redeemed his second race mishap and was not going to passed for the third segment and showed a lot of maturity in bring the Rocco prepared black Dale Earnhardt Sr. #3  home in first. One race to go at the October World Series and Rocco finds himself in first place in the point standings with 314. Last year 2016 he entered the last race with a 23 point lead and held on for the track championship.The sleeper Todd Owen with the great afternoon holds sole procession of second with 302 points. Ryan Preece who races for the third time in the XFINITY series at Kentucky speedway can come back and claim this championship sitting at 294 points and Woody Pitkat may just have another Stan Mertz horseshoe in his car to steal his second championship sitting at 290. Very good competition with the 5 regular new additions this year at Thompson.

SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT TWO TOP-10: 1. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 2. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 3. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 4. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 5. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 6. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT); 7. Andrew Krause (East Brunswick, NJ); 8. Marcello Rufrano (North Haven, CT); 9. Stephan Masse (Bellingham, MA); 10. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA)
SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT OVERALL FINISH TOP-10: 1. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 2. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 3. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 4. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 5. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 6. Stephan Masse (Bellingham, MA); 7. Nick Salva (Prospect, CT); 8. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 9. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 10. Joey Gada (Uncasville, CT)





Thompson Speedway 20/20/10 Sunoco Sk Results 9-10-17 Segment One

Posted by Wayne G. Barber & Photos by Wayne G. Barber

 This type of Sunoco SK mod. racing is really gaining in fan popularity in it's third year. With the short seven event schedule it surely decides who has a chance at a track championship. In 2017 it's been Keith Rocco or Ryan Preece in the points lead and dominating victory lane. Troy Talman and Todd Owen also have a victory in 2017. Teddy Christopher rejoined the competitive division full time in 2017 after cutting down his schedule in 2015 & 2016. The weather was perfect and the practice times and heat races provided some real good track times to go along with a nice 26 race teams making the rare Sunday event in Connecticut. A little extra moolah dos it every time and a chance for race teams to compete at the larger racing surface.
 Christopher has been the wheelman in a few different color schemes and car numbers in 2017 and today selected the black #79 for the second time. The two time national points champion and current all-time track win leader at 98 had to wonder at 59 years old will I get to the century mark ( 108 SK ) like I have accomplished at Stafford Speedway.
 Race fans were about to see two completely different races, then a 10 lap shoot out for cash and a overall champion of the event. The first segment had a few cautions on Lap 7 and again at lap 9. A third caution came out for a spin on the homestretch by Andrew Charron #7 The Talman prepared #3 and Todd Owen kept doing text book restarts with the Stan Mertz # 6 piloted by the former 2015 division champion Woody Pitkat and one of the most under rated modified drivers in New England ,Stephen Masse #87 who hails out of Bellingham, Mass. in the 3 and 4 holes lurking for a victory. On lap 16 with another caution flag for the  Marcello Rufrano #68 coming down from Stafford and trimming the infield grass after a few slightly bent nerf bars the race quickly developed between Christopher and Owen who never backed down to the certain first round Hall of Famer to the delight of the crowd. I was on the track for photos and a interview and the crowd has clearly divided in the win between loyal race fans and the " Anybody but Teddy again" minority. The twist for this event is that the race teams now go to the infield track pit area while a different division competes, then invert with a certain time under your clock to determine the next race starting field. Each 20 lapper earns a win and the 50 points for each segment and heat points but No win credit or points for the 10 lap shootout.
   Christopher said he was proud of the achievement, but admitted he forgot how competitive Thompson Speedway can be. “It’s like the WWF out there,” Christopher said in victory lane. “It was fun. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Sunoco Sk win here. We had a really good car today. It’s only the second time I’ve driven it.” This scribe and the race fans could not wait for the next twenty laps to deliver live racing drama.

SUNOCO MODIFIED 20/20 SPRINT SEGMENT ONE TOP-10: 1. Ted Christopher (Plainville, CT); 2. Todd Owen (Somers, CT); 3. Woody Pitkat (Sturbridge, MA); 4. Steve Masse (Bellingham, MA); 5. John Studley (Framingham, MA); 6. Troy Talman (Oxford, MA); 7. Ryan Preece (Berlin, CT); 8. Nick Salva ( Prospect, CT); 9. Keith Rocco (Berlin, CT); 10. Timmy Jordan (Brooklyn, CT)