The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


February 15, 2011

   The long wait is over as the nights came alive in New Smyrna Florida as the green flag dropped for the 45th ANNUAL WORLD SERIES of ASPHALT STOCK CAR RACING at the New Smyrna Speedway The nine night series featured Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, NASCAR Tour-Type Modifieds, SK Modifieds, FL/IMCA Type Modifieds, Pro-Trucks, ACT Late Models.

   The Modifieds were scheduled to run every night except on Sunday, 2/13. Opening night saw a slim field of Modifieds, 11 and a real slim field of SK Mods, 7. Earl Paules was the opening night 25 lap Modified feature winner. Paules took the lead from Ron Silk following a lap 12 restart. Silk finished second with Chuck Hossfeld third and Ted Christopher, fourth. Rounding out the top five was Patrick Emerling. Because of the short field, the SK Modified feature was cut back to 15 laps instead of the scheduled 25. Ron Silk took the win with Earl Paules, second.

   Night number two, Saturday, saw a new Modified winner in the form of Ted Christopher. Driving the Joe Brady #00 Christopher took the lead in the 25 lap feature on lap 2 and never looked back. Chuck Hossfeld finished second with Ronnie Silk, third. Andy Petree who was a Championship Crew Chief for the late Dale Earnhardt Sr finished fourth with Earl Paules rounding out the top five. The Modified field continued to be thin as there were only ten on hand. Ron Silk made it two in a row in SK Modified action. The field of SKs continued at seven.
The Modifieds and SK Modifieds did not race on Sunday night at New Smyrna.

   A little bit of New England racing nostalgia and history came to an end on Feb 10 when the roof that covered the former No. 44 race shop came crashing down. The Mario Fiore owned race team had occupied the premises from 1981 through 2006. It was from this race shop, located across the street from the former Riverside Park in Agawam, Ma that Fiore and his team produced and maintained some of the fastest and best handling Modifieds that ever turned laps.

   Max Zachem of Preston, CT has all his ducks in a row and is ready to run the full Valenti Modified Racing Series schedule in a newly purchased Modified race car. Zachem, an accomplished teenage driver with championships and many victories in both Quarter-Midgets and Legend Car Series events, finished eighth in the VMRS season standings in 2010 as a rookie driver. The new deal will put Zachem into a 2004 Troyer Chassis, purchased from Daryl Lewis in upstate New York. His new team will put a Bob Brunneau engine into the car. The motor was offered to Zachem by former Modified driver Bobby Gegetskas and Bruce Batcha for use this season. Zachem swapped some of his Legend car equipment to purchase a second motor as a backup. Kevin Rice advises that Zachem plans to run the full VMRS schedule, and also two "Modified Open" events at Seekonk, Mass., on July 20, and at the Star Speedway in Epping, N.H., on June 4.

   National Speed Sport News reported that fuel injected engines will make their way into NASCAR competition in 2012. The fuel injection system will replace carburetors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup division. The series has used carburetors since its inception in 1949. NASCAR and its top series teams will test the technology during the 2011 season with the anticipation of the systems being rolled out in 2012.
Fuel injection was used in the NASCAR Modifieds up to and including the 1969 season. Among those who were the most proficient with the use and setup of fuel injection were Jack Tant, Bobby Judkins and the late Len Boehler.

   NASCAR officials announced that they have lowered the minimum age for drivers competing in their five regional touring divisions from 16 years old to 15 years old. The change takes effect immediately for the K&N Pro Series East and West divisions, the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour and the Canadian Tire Series.

   It marks the second time in four years that NASCAR has lowered the age minimum for its touring divisions. Prior to the 2007 season the minimum age was lowered from 18 to 16. Joe Gibbs Racing took advantage of that change immediately entering Middletown native Joey Logano into competition in the K&N Pro Series East. The then 17-year old went to win the division's championship, become the youngest driver to win a NASCAR title. Logano is now in his third season in the Sprint Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

   In another move, NASCAR announced that it's Learner's Permit NASCAR license for Whelen All-American Series competitors will be applicable for all divisions at NASCAR sanctioned tracks. NASCAR introduced the Learner's Permit license last year, allowing competitors and crew members ages 14 and 15 years old entrance into entry level divisions at NASCAR sanctioned short tracks. Many have mixed feelings about lowering age limits. Some kids are responsible enough to handle it while some are not.

   In TV land Speedweeks in Daytona continued in high gear for the second of two full weeks of action in the sunshine state. NASCAR Race Hub has returned to the 7:00pm time slot Tuesday and Wednesday on the Speed Channel during the week. NASCAR Now on espn2 can be seen at 5:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday plus on Friday at 6:00pm. Tuesdays viewing begins at 2:00pm when espn2 airs their 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season Preview followed by their 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Season Preview. At 8:00pm ESPN Classic airs the 1981 Daytona 500. Wednesday’s action begins at 10:30am on the Speed Channel with Sprint Cup practice at the Daytona Int Speedway that will last until noon. Sprint Cup practice continues at 1:30pm for another 90 minutes. At 4:30 the Camping World Truck Series takes to the big oval in Daytona for a 2-1/2 hour practice session. At 11:00pm the Speed Channel hosts The 10: Highlighting the best of the best Daytona Moments from the world of NASCAR.

   Thursday’s viewing begins at 10:00am with espn2 covering a two-hour practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Daytona. The race coverage switches to the Speed Channel at noon for a 60-minute practice session for the trucks. Action on the Speed Channel continues with NASCAR RaceDay at 1:00pm and live flag to flag coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Gatorade Duel At Daytona which features two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. NASCAR Victory Lane at 5:30 wraps it up. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying follows at 6:30pm. At 9:00pm the Speed Channel will repeat the NASCAR Sprint Cup Gatorade Duel At Daytona. Friday’s viewing begins at 10:30am with NASCAR Live. At 11:00am the Sprint Cup cars have a one-hour practice session. At noon NASCAR Live breaks it up before a 90 minute Sprint Cup practice stars at 12:30. NASCAR Live goes again at 2:00pm. At 4:00pm the action moves to espn2 for Nationwide Series qualifying at Daytona. At 7:00pm the action moves back to Speed for the pre-race show for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series which will lead to the start of the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona. This event will be repeated by Speed at 11:30pm. Speed starts off Saturday with NASCAR Live at 10:00 followed by a 90 minute final practice for the Sprint Cup cars at 10:30am. At noon the action moves to espn2 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series countdown, which will lead into a 1:15 start of the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona. NASCAR Live wraps it up at 5:00pm. At 10:00pm a new racing show, Speed Center, debuts. The Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 will be re-shown at 4:00am on Sunday morning. At 9:00am the Speed Channel will begin a three hour NASCAR RaceDay which will preview the Daytona 500. A pre-race show will also be presented on espn2 from 9-10:00am. The action shifts to FOX at noon for another 60 minutes of pre-race that will lead to the 1:00pm start of the Daytona 500. At 6:00pm on Sunday the action switches to Versus for "Dirt Knights". At 7:00pm the Speed Channel presents Speed Center, a new Motorsports news series show. At 8:00 it’s the NASCAR Victory Lane Special Edition which wrap-ups the Daytona 500. Espn2 has their own post race show, also at 8:00pm. At 9:00pm the Speed Channel has Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. Also at 9:00pm, ESPN has a 60 minute biography on Wendell Scott.

   On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.09 to 14.79 while the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.05 to 28.97. Dover Motorsports ended the week where they started at 2.03. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.20 to 4.60 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.51 to 42.87. Taking a giant leap was tire supplier Goodyear which went up 1.54 to 14.30. The car builders had an exciting week. Toyota jumped 5.30 to 90.05 while Ford jumped 0.66 to 16.38. General Motors dropped 0.14 to 36.45. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.68 to 37.48 and Lowes went up 0.38 to 25.09. The major team sponsors had a banner week. Dupont went up 2.05 to 54.38 while Coca-Cola went up 2.06 to 55.22. Target Department Stores went up 0.12 to 54.39 while Aaron’s Rentals went up 0.35 to 20.33 and Fedex jumped 3.68 to 95.42.

   It was announced last week that Ford Motor Co. has sued Ferrari in Detroit federal court, saying the sports car maker has violated its trademark over the pickup truck name F-150. The suit is based on Ferrari's naming of its new Formula 1 racing car the "F150," and its creation of the website Dearborn-based Ford says in Wednesday's filing that its trademark is being harmed, and the suit asks a judge to block Ferrari from using the trademark in the U.S. Ford also seeks unspecified damages from Ferrari.
Ferrari's website says the "F150" marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

   That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

All photos courtesy of Tom Ormsby and

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: February 15, 2011

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