The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


January 6, 2015

  A chosen few received an email from NASCAR PR Jason Christley, saying the modified TV schedule is 2-3 weeks from being done and released. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

  The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida has begun. As of this Friday, Jan 9 only six short weeks remain before Daytona and New Smyrna come alive with the sound of racing engines to signify the official start of the 2015 racing season. Among those heading south to try his luck at Daytona is Tommy Barrett. Barrett, 19, has teamed up with car owner Chris Our and will compete in select ARCA Racing Series events, including the series opener at Daytona International Speedway (FL), during the upcoming season.

  Our, who also owns the No. 22 Tour-Type Modified that Barrett drives on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, recently purchased a car from Rick Merkel that was driven by Bobby Grewohl and Nick Igdalsky during the 2014 season. He has also leased a superspeedway motor from a "top team" to use at Daytona in anticipation for the season opener in February.

  Also heading to Florida is Keith Rocco who is at home driving both Modified and Late Model race cars Rocco will concentrate his racing at the New Smyrna Speedway where he will compete in the ACT American Race Challenge.

  The Seekonk Speedway made it to the big stage last weekend when respected promotor Humpy Wheeler made mention of the fact of the way they present competition and keep costs down. In part he said, "there are some real bright spots even on asphalt. Some short tracks like Seekonk, Bowman Gray, Thunder Road, LaSalle, Rockford, etc., are doing well because they have kept a lot of the high dollar stuff out.

  The Vendettis up at Seekonk serve as good examples by keeping their late models with strict rules and the racing is entertaining".

  The Seekonk Speedway has been in continuous operation since 1946 by the Venditti family. Speedway founder D.Anthony Venditi ruled with an iron hand and found that delicate balance between running a successful business and keeping his competitors from traveling elsewhere. Vendittiís biggest attribute was the fact that he would listen to his competitors and the spectators who paid the bills. He found a way to keep them all happy and coming back every week.

  In some sad news, some bad news long time racing friend, FRANK FERRARA passed away this past Monday. Arrangements are pending. Ferrara was a race starter for the midgets and a big time benefactor to the Stafford Motor Speedway where for many years sponsored the Ferrara 100. The winners prize was unique as he was presented a tool box full of silver dollars.

  He and the late Jack Arute started the point fund for the owners at Stafford, after a conversation at a party.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down. The International Speedway Corporation had a positive ending as they went up 0.35 to 31.76 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.17 to 2.44 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 22.41. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.10 to 4.24 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.05 to 28.34 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 1.86 to 65.65. With the exception of Toyota which dropped 2,43 to 125.67, the car makers had a fairly good week as General Motors went up 1.11 to 34.84 and Ford dropped 0.09 to15.36. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 0.20 to 67.70 and Home Depot dropped0.32 to 103.43. In big team sponsorship, McDonalds Corp dropped 1.52 to 93.26 and FedEx dropped 3.45 to 172.45 while Coca-Cola went up 1.32 to 89.87, Target went up 0.27 to 75.33 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.21 to 30.62.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, January 7

5:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FOX Sports 1
3:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Thursday, January 8
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Friday, January 9
3:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Saturday, January 10
5:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
5:00 PM, Undercover Boss, NASCAR, Oprah Winfrey Network

   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: January 6, 2015

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