The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


March 11, 2014

  As of this Friday, March 14, it will be just two short weeks before the New England racing series begins with Blast Off at the Waterford Speedbowl. The Thompson Speedway opens one week later on April 6 with the Icebreaker which includes the opening event of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. The Stafford Motor Speedway opens on Sun, April 27 with the 43rd Annual Spring Sizzler and the Seekonk Speedway opens on Sunday, May 4.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour hit a milestone this past Sunday when the 2014 season took the green flag. The Whelen Season Opener 150 at the Caraway Speedway marked the 50th all-time race for the Whelen Southern Modified Tour at the rural North Carolina oval, and it also launched the 10th season of competition for the tour.

  Andy Seuss was fastest in practice, won the Coors Light Pole Award and led every lap en route to winning the Whelen Season Opener 150 at Caraway Speedway. He finished 1.465 seconds ahead of runner-up George Brunnhoelzl III. JR Bertuccio, Burt Myers and Jason Myers rounded out the top five.

  Danny Bohn was sixth, followed by Brian Loftin, Luke Fleming, Thomas Stinson and rookie Joe Ryan Osborne.
There were five cautions for 22 laps. Nineteen cars were on hand.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be back on track Saturday, March 15 with the Southern National 150 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, N.C.

  Ashaway Rhode Islandís Kyle James, who had an impressive showing in the season ending Sunoco (SK type) Modified event at the Thompson Speedway will be competing at the Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this coming season in addition to running at the Waterford Speedbowl. James will enter the SK 5K on July 4 at Stafford, "If everything goes smoothly at the bowl," James said. The $27,000 event pays $5,000 to win. James will also field his SK Modifiedģ for all events at Thompson, except for the Icebreaker. James scored three wins at Waterford last year.

  Itís good to hear that the Waterford Speedbowl and the Thompson Speedway are working together toward a common goal of having universal technical rules for their racing divisions. The idea of the whole concept is making it easier and less expensive for competitors to run an extra event each weekend if they so desire. During the early 1980ís when the SK Modified division was conceived a Tri-Track Series existed which enabled competitors to run the same car three times a week. The concept worked then and should work now. Waterford has a strong SK Modified field while Thompson has a strong Limited Sportsman field. Evidently the Stafford management is happy with their present fields of cars.

  On a sad note, Bob Finan sends word from Long Island that the Riverhead Raceway family has been saddened with the passing of famed car owner Carl Zeh. For all his Islip Speedway and Riverhead Raceway championships with driver Don Howe, Carl will be remembered as one of the nicest men to ever grace a pit area.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week, all three-speedway stocks were up for the week. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.37 to 20.19. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.28 to 34.01 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.05 to 2.30. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.29 to 27.66 while NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went down 0.11 to 8.63 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went down 0.41 to 55.12. With the exception of Toyota, which went down 1.34 to 113.96, the car builders had a fairly good week. General Motors went up 1.49 to 37.69 and Ford went up 0.03 to 15.62. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 0.39 to 50.42 and Home Depot went up 0.52 to 82.55. In the area of big team sponsorís stocks Target Department Stores dropped 1.79 to 60.75 and Aarons Rentals dropped 6.25 to 30.48 whole Coca-Cola jumped 10.93 to 86.57, Fedex jumped 4.10 to 137.43 and Dupont went up 0.62 to 67.24.

  Announced on and the ChromeHorn, a new online-only network that will focus on some of NASCAR's lower-tier series, as well as similar series in sports car and motorcycle racing, will make its debut this Wednesday, March 12. FANSCHOICE.TV, whose motto is "My Series, My Track, My Choice," is partly owned by NASCAR and will feature live streaming of racing on the K&N Pro Series and Modifieds from across the country, as well as AMA Pro motorcycle racing and various sports car series. Right now, programming on the new website will be free for viewers, supported by advertising and sponsorship dollars. It will only be available online, although one has to wonder if it takes off the way its backers hope, whether it will eventually wind up on TV and be part of a subscription package. Also this primer on youtube -

On the tube this week:

Thursday, March 13
10:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
3:30 PM, NASCAR's The List, NBC Sports Network
4:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 2
Friday, March 14
1:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bristol Practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Nationwide Series Bristol Practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Live!, FS1
2:00 PM, NNS Bristol Bristol Practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NSCS Bristol qualifying, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
Saturday, March 15
8:00 AM, NSCS Bristol Practice, FS1
9:00 AM, NNS qualifying, ESPN2
12:00 PM, NSCS Bristol Final Practice, FS2
12:30 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN2
1:00 PM, NNS Bristol Race, ESPN2

Sunday, March 16
3:00 AM, NNS Bristol race, re-air, ESPN2
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:30 PM, NSCS Race Bristol, FOX
6:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

   Thatís about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-mail:

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

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: March 11, 2014

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