Tyler Stoddard became a first-time IMCA Modified Empire State Series winner on July 15 at Thunder Mountain Speedway. The win was also his first in the division since 2015 and came after “a ton” of second-place showings. (Photo by Mojo Photos)CENTER LISLE, N.Y. (July 15) – Tyler Stoddard has seen a lot of countryside traveling to a lot of different tracks over the seven years he’s followed the Empire State Series for IMCA Modifieds.On Saturday, he got his first view of the tour from victory lane.Stoddard won his first career series feature, and first IMCA Modified event since 2015, at Thunder Mountain Speedway. The 2016 tour runner-up noted that he’d made one small adjustment, suggested by car builder Bob Bills by text earlier in the day.“It seems like I’ve always been the bridesmaid. I’ve got a ton of second-place finishes,” he said. “This win was just unbelievable especially because going into this race we had been having setup issues with the car.”Stoddard started outside pole and fell back to third briefly before getting the second spot, behind Gary Lamphere.Three early cautions came out but Stoddard had the lead before midway in the 20-lapper.Lapped traffic was not a factor as Bumps Scott, Rich Michael Jr., Will Ward and Keith Jack Lamphere chased Stoddard to the $750 checkers.“Once I got out front I just put it on cruise control and concentrated on hitting my marks,” Stoddard said.Feature results – 1. Tyler Stoddard; 2. Bumps Scutt; 3. Rich Michael Jr.; 4. Will Ward; 5. Keith Jack Lamphere; 6. Gary Roberts; 7. Rodney Morgan; 8. Ray McClure; 9. Mike Stoddard; 10. Gary Lamphere; 11. Billy Ward; 12. Keith Lamphere Sr.; 13. Dan Searles; 14. Eric Boynton; 15. Brad Smith.
Six-time champion Serena reached her 10th semi-final at the All England Club with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Russia 21st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.She goes on to face Russian world number 50 Elena Vesnina on Thursday for a place in the final.Five-time champion Venus, seeded eight, enjoyed a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Kazakhstan’s world number 96 Yaroslava Shvedova to reach her first Wimbledon semi-final in seven years.The 36-year-old will now face German fourth seed and Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber who reached her second Wimbledon semi-final with a 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) win over Simona Halep, the fifth seed from Romania.Vesnina made her first semi-final at a major, by seeing off bride-to-be Cibulkova, the Slovak 19th seed, 6-2, 6-2.”They showed Venus’s score on court and I was like ‘yaaaay’. I want her to win so bad, but not in the final if I’m there,” said defending champion Serena, who took her grand slam match win record to 302 – four behind Martina Navratilova’s all-time mark.It is the 11th time that the sisters have advanced to the semi-finals of the same major event.Venus is the oldest women’s semi-finalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994.Venus, who won the last of her seven major titles at Wimbledon in 2008, is back in the last-four of a grand slam for the first time since the 2010 US Open.The eight-time Wimbledon finalist trails 3-2 in her five career meetings with 28-year-old Kerber, who won their only meeting on grass in the 2012 Olympics at Wimbledon.”I love playing the game. When you are winning matches it makes it that much sweeter,” the German said.”You can’t always have these big moments. I guess if you are Serena Williams it happens a lot, but for Venus Williams this is an awesome day.”Kerber now has 33 match wins in 2016, joint-best with Cibulkova.Cibulkova is due to marry fiance Miso Navara in her hometown of Bratislava on Saturday – the same day as the women’s final – and the 27-year-old was willing to postpone the ceremony if she won her quarter-final.But 29-year-old Vesnina took advantage of a distracted display from Cibulkova to become the fifth unseeded woman to reach the All England Club semi-finals since the Grand Slams switched to 32 seeds in 2001.AFP