The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


March 18, 2014

  As of this Friday, March 21, it will be just one week 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 powers that be at Waterford will have to do some scrambling if the speedbowl is to open on schedule. Back in January a Judge set an October 18 foreclosure auction date for the Connecticut shoreline oval. The ruling gave track owner Terry Eames some extra time to find funding to continue as owner of the track or find a buyer. The judge also ruled that the track management complies with state and town officials who have mandated that the grandstands be repaired. A re-construction project of the under pinnings of the grandstands was begun last year and was not completed leaving large sections uninhabitable and covered over with tarps and danger tape. The extreme hard winter has all but halted any work that had been planned.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour visited the Southern National Motorsports Park in North Carolina last Saturday. George Brunnhoelzl, III recorded the fastest time and earns his 22nd career pole award on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Brunnhoelzl was the top dog of the 18 cars on hand at the 4/10 mile oval. Kyle Ebersole was second fastest with JR Bertuccio, third.

  A new face appeared in victory as J.R. Bertuccio earned his first trip to Victory Lane the hard way. The 32-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., had to hold off four-time NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion George Brunnhoelzl III on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday's Southern National 150. The win came in Bertuccio's 28th career start. He had three previous top fives with his best finish coming at Caraway Speedway with a third-place run in the 2014 season opener. Bertuccio took the lead from Brunnhoelzl III, who started from the pole, on lap 11 and held on for the remainder of the evening. He survived five restarts, including the final one which set up the green-white-checkered finish.

  While Bertuccio held on to the top spot for the better part of the evening, the second through fifth-place spots remained an open game for a handful of drivers. On the final restart, Kyle Ebersole managed to slip past Brunnhoelzl to take second, forcing the defending tour champion to settle for a third-place finish. An unfortunate turn of events for Brunnhoelzl III, who seemed on his way to seriously challenge Bertuccio for the lead. A green-white-checkered finish extended the race to 155 laps. Overall, there were five cautions for a total of 20 laps. Andy Seuss and Jason Myers crossed the line fourth and fifth respectively. They were followed by Luke Fleming, Gary Putnam, rookies Joe Ryan Osborne and Spencer Davis, and Bryan Dauzat to round out the top 10.

  The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will be off next weekend before running at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway on Saturday, March 29.
The Stafford Motor Speedway clubhouse was the scene of a tire seminar presented by Hoosier Racing Tire and spokesperson Irish Saunders. Topics included Tire management, performance tips, tire sizing, tire break-in, how tires are made, quality control and explaining making tires repeat. A packed house was on hand.

  Big news for race fans. The Sid's View webisode series which has done a fantastic job of video recording the racing programs at the Waterford Speedbowl will be expanded in 2014 to include the 7 oval track events scheduled at Thompson Speedway.

  In another big announcement, racing fans received access to a lot more content this past Wednesday in the form of, a live streaming platform that will broadcast races under the NASCAR Home Tracks, IMSA and AMA banner. will be the official home for AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site also will provide coverage of selected IMSA and NASCARís touring and weekly series events.

  It means access to broadcasts for select live events from the K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour banner. will also become the home for numerous off-track NASCAR events, including the championship banquets for the NASCAR All-American Series and the various NASCAR regional and touring series.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Dover Motorsports was up 0,08 to 2.38 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.71 to 19.48 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.83 to 33.18. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.15 to 8.78 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.93 to 54.19 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.37 to 27.29. It was a negative week for the car builders. Toyota dropped 5.20 to 108.76, General Motors dropped 3.60 to 34.09 and Ford dropped0.54 to 15.08. Thw home improvement sector was also down for the week. Home Depot dropped 3.17 to 79.38 and Lowes dropped 1.33 to 49.09. The big sponsors were all over the lot. Coca-Cola went up 1.85 to 88.42 and Aarons Rentals went up 1.63 to 52.11 while Dupont dropped 1.47 to 65.77, Target dropped 0.39 to 59.36 and Fedex dropped 0.67 to 136.76.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, March 19

3:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
4:30 PM, NASCAR's The List - Legendary Drivers, NBC Sports Network
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
Thursday, March 20
2:00 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
12:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
Friday, March 21
12:00 PM, NSCS Bristol race, re-air, FS1
3:00 PM, NASCAR NSCS California practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR NNS California practice, FS1
5:30 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR NNS final practice, FS1
7:30 PM, NASCAR NSCS qualifying, FS1
Saturday, March 22
12:30 PM, NSCS California practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR NNS qualifying, FS1
3:00 PM, NASCAR Live, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR NSCS final practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR Countdown, ESPN
5:00 PM, NASCAR NNS California race, ESPN

Sunday, March 23
2:30pm NASCAR Sprint Cup California 500, FOX

   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 18, 2014

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