The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


December 16, 2014

  It was NASCAR Champions week in Charlotte, NC last week. The 2014 NASCAR Champions Week in North Carolina took the green on Wednesday with the annual Media & Champions Karting Challenge at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, and wound up with two nights of celebration at the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards were held on Friday, and the NASCAR Touring Series Night of Champions followed on Saturday.

  As previously stated, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards took place on Friday. Among those honored were Anthony Anders as the 2014 national champion in addition to his South Carolina and Greenville Pickens Speedway late model titles. The awards also recognized the Division I champions from 58 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and provincial champions and top rookies, Div. II-V national champions, and other special award winners.

  Among those in the top six was Keith Rocco who ended up third and Ryan Preece who finished sixth in the standings.

  Rocco finished in the top three for the sixth year in a row. He finished fourth in 2007-08. Rocco has built quite a record over the past ten years in Connecticut. A seven time Waterford champion, his 103 wins are three shy of leader Phil Rondeau. He is a two-time champion at Stafford with 48 wins, two away of Ryan Posocco for fourth. He has 35 wins at Thompson (12th all-time), one short of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans. He also won at Concord (NC) Motorsports Park, the defunct Mototown USA in Windsor, and New Smyrna (FL) Speedway.

  Rocco had an excellent season in Connecticut, winning the NASCAR State title for the seventh consecutive season. Rocco swept the SK Modified and Late Model championships at the Waterford Speedbowl for the second year in a row.

  Among the highlights of Championship Week was the announcement that the Whelen Hall of Champions was opened. This permanent exhibit displays the name, hometown, year and series name of every NASCAR champion from every NASCAR series since 1948. All modified champions have their names on the wall at the NHOF. This exhibit honors all short track champions and makes the NHOF truly as representation of ALL of NASCAR. Doug Coby unveiled his plaque and is now on the wall twice. The concept of the exhibit was created by Whelen Vice President of Motorsports Phil Kurze.

  Based on statements made by NASCAR’s George Silverman NASCAR hopes to announce a compressive TV schedule for the Whelen Modified Tour Series and the K&N Series this week. Here’s hoping the Modifieds get their long overdue exposure.

  NASCAR’s touring divisions were honored on Saturday night. Whelen Modified Tour Champion Doug Coby along with Champion car owner Mike Smeriglio III and Champion Crew Chief Phil Moran were formerly crowned. Coby became the fifth multi-time titlist in Whelen Modified Tour history when he received the championship ring and trophy at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Banquet.

  In addition to Coby, other NASCAR division champions honored were Abraham Calderón, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champion Anthony Kumpen, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion LP Dumoulin, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Andy Seuss, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Greg Pursley, and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Ben Rhodes.

  In addition to the championship awards, each series rookie of the year was honored. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winners were James Bickford in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Timmy Solomito in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Spencer Davis in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Top rookie performers in the three international series were Matthew Scannell in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Mario Dominguez in Mexico's NASCAR Toyota Series and Eddie Cheever III in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

  The Most Popular Driver Awards for each series were also presented during the ceremony. The seven drivers honored with the award, which was voted on by the fans through, were Ben Rhodes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Brandon McReynolds of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, JR Fitzpatrick in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Rodrigo Marban of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, Freddy Nordström from the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Melissa Fifield from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Andy Seuss from the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

  NASCAR announced it has promoted five leaders in its Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices to Vice President, in recognition of their various achievements and leadership roles in key business units. The five promoted today include: David Higdon, Integrated Marketing Communications (Daytona Beach); Cory Posocco, NASCAR Events Group (Daytona Beach); Chad Seigler, Team Marketing Services (Charlotte); Colin Smith, NASCAR Digital Media (Charlotte); and Tshneka Tate, Legal (Charlotte).

  After beginning his career as Stafford Speedway’s marketing / public relations director and special events coordinator, Posocco joined NASCAR in 2000. Since then he has steadily taken on greater roles in orchestrating special events, including NASCAR’s annual Sprint Cup Series Awards show, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and countless other events at every level of NASCAR racing.

  After much rumor and speculation it has been announced that Hoosier Tire will remain as the tire of choice for the Whelen Modified Tour Series in 2015.

  Area Auto Racing News announced that Charlie Jarzombek will be inducted into the New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame. Induction will take place on January 24,2015 at 11:00 a.m at the Saratoga Automobile Museum. That will be followed by an evening awards banquet at the Polish Community Center on Washington Ave Ext. in Albany, NY.

  On a sad note, Anthony "Beatle" Joseph Farone, 66, a life-long resident of Berlin, CT died on Dec.11 at his home. Born in New Britain, son of the late John J. Farone Sr. and the late Mary Ann (Bakaj) Farone, he served in the US Army in Korea, and was employed by Local 478 Operation Engineers. He was a member of St. Paul's Church, the Italian Political Independent Club, and New England Antique Racers.

  Beatle was a Street Stock competitor at Stafford and brother to Seymour, the Stafford Clown.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks were down. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation, which went down 0.72 to 30.58. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.22 to 21.28 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.18 to 2.45. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.77 to 4.08 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 1.10 to 26.48 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 3.89 to 60.63. The car manufacturers did not escape the blood bath. Ford dropped 0.71 to 14.99 while General Motors dropped 2.36 to 31.57 and Toyota dropped 4.47 to 124.56. The home improvement sector was one of the few groups to have positive results for the week. Home Depot went up 0.24 to 99.88 and Lowes went up 0.04 to 64.90. Big team sponsor’s stocks took a digger. Dupont dropped 3.70 to 69.37, Coca-Cola dropped 4.77 to 84.57, Target Department Stores dropped 1.23 to 72.43, FedEx dropped 6.05 to 175.98 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.33 to 27.47.

  On the tube this week: Pickings are slim!

  Wednesday, December 17
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FOX Sports1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net

  Thursday, December 18
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Friday, December 19
11:00 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, Hurley Sticks, Tube Power Amplifiers, Thermal Coffee Pots, SCIENCE
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Saturday, December 20
12:30 PM, NASCAR America , The List - Fights & Feuds, NBCSN

  Sunday, December 21
3:00 PM, The 10 - NASCAR's Most Outrageous Moments, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR 2015 Season Preview, FOX

   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: December 16, 2014

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