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
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 www.victorylaneradio.com
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
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.
Smith / Champ Trail