The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


March 25, 2014

  The rumble of engines along the Connecticut shoreline this weekend starts the New England racing series as it 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.

  Budweiser Blastoff Weekend marks the 64th consecutive season of racing at the 1/3 mile shoreline oval and is set for next weekend, March 28th-30th. The three-day weekend of racing is highlighted by a 100-lap feature for the Valenti Modified Racing Series and a special 64-lap race for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series SK Modifieds®.

  Thirteen divisions including the NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites, New England Truck Series plus full NASCAR Whelen All-American Series program begins with practice this coming Friday, March 28th. Qualifying along with seven features headline Saturday, March 29th’s schedule while the popular Speedbowl Pit Party kicks off Sunday, March 30th, leading into six feature events to conclude New England’s kickoff to racing.

  Based on high interest in the Valenti Modified Racing Series for 2014, series director Scott Tapley requested a mandatory tire sign-in to ensure enough tires for Waterford. The rule shows 33 race teams have filed for tires. Among those entered are reigning series champion Rowan Pennink, of Huntingdon Valley, PA, and defending "Blastoff" winner Steve Masse, of Bellingham. MA plus local favorite, two-time Speedbowl winner Chris Pasteryak, of Lisbon, CT, Richard Savary, of Canton, MA, Max Zachem and Berlin, CT’s, Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher, Plainville, CT., Mike Holdridge, of Madison, CT, and Dave Etheridge, of Portland, CT., are part of the opening day roster.
In addition, Todd Szegedy, of Ridgefield, CT., will debut in Kevin Stuarts # 85 and a Long Island invasion finds Justin Bonsignore, of Islip, NY, driving Art Barry’s #21 car, and Shawn Solomito, of Islip, looking to nail down the opening day win. Eric Goodale, and Brad VanHouton of Wading River, have also entered.

  The powers that be at the Waterford Speedbowl have done some scrambling in order to make the speedbowl 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. In the last two weeks much progress has been made and it looks as if the Waterford Speedbowl will open this weekend as planned.

  Down in the southland, 2014 could be a record-setting year for veteran Modified racer Tim Brown. With just two more wins, the Cana, Virginia native will assume the title of the all-time wins list leader at historic Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Brown has been winning at "The Stadium" for more than a decade. He's won seven NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour races and has finished in the top five in more than half of the races he has competed in.

  Instead of chasing more NASCAR Tour wins this season, Brown's Tour car owners Tom and Connie Lythgoe have made the decision to compete in the upstart KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series in 2014. It’s a matter of dollars and cents. The KOMA races pay $2900 to win while the Southern Mod Tour events pay $2,000.

  The first KOMA Modified event run last Saturday at the Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina drew 16 Modifieds and a near full house of fans. Jason Myers defeated brother Burt to claim the first ever KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series pole. Tim Brown qualified third.

  Tim Brown took the win over Jason Myers, Burt Myers, Josh Nichols and Jimmy Zacharias. Burt Myers was running second at the lap 94 mark when he pitted. There were 20 lead changes and some confusion at the finish. It had been said that a pit stop was mandatory. Renee Dupuis was the only northerner in the field. Her night ended on lap 46 when she crashed hard into the wall.

  Race director Randy Myers stated that there was a mandatory pit stop during the race. He made sure this was relayed to teams through race officials at multiple points throughout the race as he felt it was properly mentioned but not stressed during the drivers' meeting. It was stated that the mandatory pit stop could come at any point during the race. If the caution had come out, teams could have stopped then too. In a sense tonight's confusion was caused by a lack of cautions after lap 50. The pit stop COULD include a tire swap if it came before lap 100. If the stop came after 100, the stop and go was the only allowed action. As such, Myers maintains Tim Brown as the rightful winner, having done a stop and go on lap 112. Myers understands some particular teams are unhappy about this interpretation and says he accepts responsibility for the issue at hand.

  Congratulations to Mike Joy who was voted upon and named as the Best NASCAR Announcer by the Sporting News. Joy, who was an accomplished sports-car racer, spent 14 years (1977-1990) at Motor Racing Network and has spent 30 years as part of the NASCAR broadcasts at CBS, TNT and Fox. He has been the play-by-play announcer with Fox since the network began televising NASCAR races in 2001. Before his days at Motor Racing Joy was the announcer at the Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, MA, the announcer and Public Relations at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the announcer at the Thompson Speedway. Mike Joy is one of the nicest guys along with being one of the humblest. Mike always gives credit to those around him and embraces the team he is on and above all has never forgotten where he came from.

  The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park has announced that Spencer, MA based Victory Lane Radio will embark on a first-of-its-kind program which will allow fans to listen to live lap-by-lap coverage, from the drop of the first green flag to the waving of the last checker flag, free of charge.

  To listen to the live broadcast, simply go to and click the ‘listen live’ button at the top of the page, or go to www.thompsonspeedway and click the link. All of these broadcasts will also be available, free of charge as a podcast, if you cannot listen live,. the podcasts will be located on and

  On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note as the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.58 to 33.76 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.02 to 19.50 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 2.33. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.27 to 9.05 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.09 to 54.10 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.37 to 26.92. Two of the three car builders had good weeks. General Motors went up 0.92 to 35.01 and Ford went up 0.39 to 15.47 while Toyota dropped 1.39 to 107.37. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.04 to 80.42 and Lowes went up 0.16 to 49.25. In the area of big team sponsorship Dupont went up 1.21 to 66.98, Target went up 0.09 to 59.45 and Fedex went up 0.03 to 136.79 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.38 to 88.04 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.61 to 31.50.

  It looks like Bruton Smith is out of the t-shirt busines. In a regulatory filing, Speedway Motorsports (TRK) disclosed that on January 31, Speedway Motorsports, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SMISC Holdings, abandoned 100% of its one-half interest in SMISC, its equally owned joint venture with International Speedway Corporation (ISCA), which operated Motorsports Authentics. The company anticipates that it will realize a material tax benefit related to the abandonment, and the company is currently evaluating the timing for the impact of this tax benefit on its financial statements prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Following the vompany’s abandonment of its interest in the Joint Venture, it no longer has any rights, title or interest in the Joint Venture. The company concluded it was in its best interests to abandon its interest in the Joint Venture, and to focus management resources in areas that may be profitable and more productive. As previously reported, the company’s investment in the Joint Venture has been fully impaired for several years and had no carrying value at the time of abandonment.

On the tube this week:

Wednesday, March 26

2:30 AM, NASCAR Now, ESPN2
3:00 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series California race re-air, FOX SPorts1
4:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
Thursday, March 27
4:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
Friday, March 28
12:00 PM, NSCS Martinsville practice, FS1
3:00 PM, Nascar Camping World Truck Series Martinsville practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NSCS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
Saturday, March 29
3:00 AM, NSCS Martinsville practice, re-air, FS1
4:30 AM, NSCS Martinsville qualifying, re-air, FS1
10:30 AM, NSCS Martinsville practice, re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NCWTS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
2:30 PM, NCWTS Martinsville race, FS1
Sunday, March 30
11:30 AM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:30 PM, NSCS Martinsville race, FOX
7:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

   That’s 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 25, 2014

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