Flemke Finishes Second with Ferrante, TC's Bouncer and More

NASCAR Modified Series driver Jim Storace wasn't planning on entering the Race of Champions event at Thompson.  He also was not planning on racing the night before with the All-Star Modified Series at the Lee USA Speedway (NH).  He changed his plans on the last minute and ended up collecting two top ten finishes on the weekend.

"I was supposed to be camping this weekend," Storace said, "We decided at the last minute to go to Lee and we started 19th and finished 6th there with my other car.  After that race, I said 'let's go down to Thompson and have some fun."

Storace came out of Thompson with a third place finish.

"I am elated.  This is awesome. I've had bad luck all season and lost a couple of motors.  We had a fresh one in the car tonight and that was fun."
Tire management was a key to Storace's good run.

"I used to be able to run two races on these tires at Claremont, so I knew they would wear good.  I wish that Donny Lia and Tony (Ferrante) would have pitted.  That would have made things even more awesome."
Racing won out over camping for Jim Storace and his decision paid off.  (51 Photo)

Eddie Flemke, the current point leader in the NASCAR Modified Series, was in the pit area at Thompson, but not as a driver.  Flemke had four entries in the event as a chassis builder and his cars ran pretty good.

"I had two of the cars in the top ten. (Tony Ferrante finished second and Tyler Haydt finished ninth)," said Flemke.   "It's a good day and I'm happy with it."

Flemke feels that Ferrante was overdue for a win and if the race had been five laps shorter, he would have gotten that elusive victory.

"I wanted to see Tony win," Flemke said.  "It's been a long time and I thought that we would see him win again tonight.  He's a nice guy and got roughed up a little bit.  I like Donny too, but Tony needs a win and get a little momentum going for him."


L.W. Miller towed up from Mooresville, North Carolina to enter the Thompson race.  He has won three times so far this season in the ASA Smart Modified Series, but was limited to a seventh place finish.

Tony Ferrante finished second and Thompson and was an early point contender this season in the NASCAR Modified Series.  His plan at the beginning of the season was to run only in selected events and despite his success in 2004, he is sticking to that strategy.

"We race a limited schedule and we race when we want to,"  I'm busy working with my business most of the time.  When I go to a race, it's because I want to be there and that's fun."

It's not clear when Ferrante's next NASCAR Modified start might be.

"I won't be at Beech Ridge and I don't think that we are going to New Hampshire," said Ferrante.  "It's hard to make the mid week shows when the guys have to take time off of work.  But after this week, we might reconsider."
"We probably had a third place car, but we didn't come here to run third so we took a chance and pitted," said Miller.  "It hurt us.  If we had stayed out, we probably could have finished second.  But if you finish second, third or seventh, it doesn't matter.  It's all the same if you don't win.  We still had fun and the car is in one piece, so I guess that we are happy."

Going to a different track can be a good experience for Miller and his team, but it's not without its challenges either.

"It's always fun to come and run different places.  Running in the south is what I prefer, that's my home.  When we come up here and drive for 14 hours, we're beat before we even get to the track.  It can be very tiring."olid r

By winning at Thompson, Donny Lia earns an automatic berth in this fall's North South Shootout to be held in November at the Concord Motor Sports Park.  Last season, Lia finished 26th in the inaugural event that includes drivers from the NASCAR Modified Series, ASA SMART Modifieds and Race of Champions Modifieds.

"I'm definitely looking forward to that," said Lia.  "That's a fun race.  We ran well down there last year, but had it slip away from us towards the end.  This year we hope to go back there and run just as
well, but with a better result."

Lia joins L.W Miller, Jim Boniface and Burt Myers as qualifiers for the event that will be held on November 8th.
L.W. Miller works at getting his car ready for battle at Thompson.  It was a long ride for him and his team.   (51 Photo)
Tony Ferrante is interviewed by long-time Thompson announcer Russ Dowd.  (51 Photo)

Early in the event, it looked like Ted Christopher and Donny Lia had the field covered and would have to fight it out among each other for the win.  However, Christopher had a few tire issues and did not contend for the lead after pitting on lap 51.

"The left front started bouncing right away,"  said Christopher.  "It got worse and worse and worse and eventually blistered the right rear.  We could only get two tires when we pitted and we went with right
sides.  Actually, looking back at it we probably should have changed a left front and right rear and maybe we would have been better."

Christopher led early and before pitting, seemed to have a car capable of running right with eventual victor Lia.  But it wasn't as easy for Christopher as it looked from the grandstands.

"At the beginning we had fun and I knew that Donny wanted to lead for awhile, so we were riding it out," said Christopher.  "It wasn't as fun when the tire started bouncing.  We arm was all tensed up from trying to hang on to that thing."

Christopher was behind the wheel of the Bear Motorsports #14 in the event.


Ageless George Kent finished fifth at Thompson.  He had an up and down day between practice and the race itself.

"We were off all day and we made some serious changes before the race," said Kent. "We were good the first half, but made a few changes when we pitted and ended up a little bit off again.  We went a little too far and the right rear tire just didn't grow.  We'll take our fifth place and go on to the next race."

The former NASCAR Modified Series driver has found a new home in racing the RoC Modified schedule.

"I'm having fun at this level," Kent said.  "We've got my son running an SK Modified and we've been keeping busy.  I'm not planning on any tour racing - I'm happy here.  I do miss a lot of the guys on the tour though.  Maybe they don't miss me, but I miss them.