The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


February 24, 2015

  Ryan Preece was on a mission Monday night at New Smyrna as he wasted little time after the drop of the green of night No.4’s Tour type Modified feature. Preece started third in the 14 car field and as the field completed lap one, shot past Justin Bonsignore for the lead. Try as he might, Bonsignore’s car was no match for the all new Troyer Concept Car that car owner Eddie Partridge had purchased for 2015. Bonsignore finished second after a spirited battle with Chuck Hossfeldt who ended up third. JR Bertuccio and Jimmy Zacharias rounded out the top five. Eddie MacDonald made it two for two as he won the American-Canadian Tour 100. Wayne Helliwell, a two-time ACT champions, used patience throughout the event to make his way to the front and eventually challenge MacDonald on a late restart before settling for a second-place finish. Alex Labbé finished third. Keith Rocco got his new engine and finished 13th. Coming from the rear, Rocco had worked his way into the top five before being slowed by a deflating tire. Jeff Rocco finished 20th.

  Rain washed out all racing at New Smyrna on Tuesday night.

  In Wednesday night action at New Smyrna, Eddie MacDonald ended up going three for three in American-Canadian Tour competition. The field was inverted and coming from a 17th starting spot was not a problem. MacDonald took the lead after diving under Keith Rocco and Brad Babb in lap 71. Wayne Helliwell, Jr. ended up in second spot with Joey Polewarczyk, Jr., third. Babb and Alex Labb’e rounded out the top five. Rocco finished sixth. Eric Goodale broke the strangle hold that Ryan Preece had on the Modifieds at New Smyrna as he took the win in the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lap event. Goodale took advantage of Preece’s mis-handling mount with two laps to go as he shot into the lead. At the checker, Preece had faded to third as Justin Bonsignore took over the runner-up spot. JR Bertuccio and Chuck Hossfeldt rounded out the top five.

 Also on Wednesday night, Bret Hearn took the checkered flag on the dirt at Volusia Speedway Park in the Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series opener during the DIRTcar Nationals. Hearn swept into the lead late in the 30-lap feature then charged to victory for the 861st time overall in his storied career. Hearn dedicated the victory and the Gator trophy to fellow racer Brian Stevens, who lost his battle with cancer earlier in the day.

  David Garbo, a native of Stonington, Connecticut, took the lead from early leader Brandon Jones on lap 20 of the 50-lap Super Late Model feature and never looked back on the way to scoring his first career SLM victory on Thursday night at the New Smyrna Speedway. Ryan Preece continued his winning ways in the Modifieds in Florida. Preece took the lead from JR Bertuccio on lap 21 of the 35 lap feature. Bertuccio faded in the closing laps as he gave way to Chuck Hossfeld who finished second. Bertuccio, Eric Goodale and Jim Zacharias rounded out the top five.

  The Daytona International Speedway ran "The Duals" on Thursday night in front of a lot of empty seats. Defending Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. went from last to first to win the night’s first Budweiser Duel at Daytona qualifying race. He defeated Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Daytona 500 pole winner Jeff Gordon’s Chevrolet by .166 of a second. Joey Logano was third followed by Tony Stewart with Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five. In the second "Dual" Jimmie Johnson was able to hold off the field at the finish and Danica Patrick was able to work her way into the Daytona 500 starting lineup with a 10th-place finish in a damaged race car. Johnson defeated Kyle Busch by .125 of a second. Carl Edwards was third with Greg Biffle, fourth and Martin Truex Jr., fifth.

  In a somewhat related matter, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Kurt Busch after a Kent County (Del.) Family Court commissioner issued his opinion linking the driver to domestic violence acts that were allegedly committed by Busch against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll.

  Ryan Preece was the odds-on favorite to win the Richie Evans Memorial 100 on Friday night. He delivered and also wrapped up the series championship. At the drop of the green, Cole Powell jumped out to the early lead while Preece conservatively ran near the rear of the 14 car field. Spencer Davis was also an early factor as he stretched out a big lead with his Hill family mount.

  Chuck Hossfeld, who had been a bridesmaid all week looked like he had the right combination as he took the lead on lap 71 with Preece in his mirror. Hossfeld’s blaze of glory lasted only one lap as Preece took the low road and the lead. Hossfeld held on for second. Eric Goodale, J.R. Bertuccio, and Justin Bonsignore rounded out the top five. Preece was honored post-race as the series Champion.

  Ryan Reed stayed out of two major late-race crashes during the Alert Today Florida 300 at the Daytona Speedway on Saturday, got a run on leader Brad Keselowski on the final lap and used a push from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Chris Buescher to take the lead. Reed, who has overcome Type 2 Diabetes to continue racing, celebrated wildly in Victory Lane. The emotions were quite different in the Joe Gibbs Racing pit. Kyle Busch suffered a right-leg injury after a vicious crash with nine laps to go saw his No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry hit the inside concrete retaining wall, which doesn’t have a SAFER barrier, at 90 mph. Brad Keselowski finished second.

  Joey Logano had one of the few cars capable of beating a Chevrolet brigade as the driver of the No. 22 Pennzoil/Shell Ford won the 57th Daytona 500 on Sunday, holding off 2007 Daytona winner Kevin Harvick and defending Daytona champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon, who appeared to be a prime contender to win the Daytona 500 in his final attempt, crashed on the backstretch of a green, white, checkered flag finish. Logano won the race when the checkered and yellow flags were displayed on the 203rd and final lap of the 200-lap race that went into overtime.

Logano’s Ford defeated Harvick’s Chevrolet by 1.006 seconds. Earnhardt’s Chevrolet was third followed by Denny Hamlin’s Toyota and Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet. Logano is a graduate of the Thompson Speedway Quarter Midget ranks.

  Big news continues to come out of eastern Connecticut concerning the future of the Waterford Speedbowl. Internet racing news site reported that new track owner Bruce Bemer confirmed exclusively to RaceDayCT that he has named Shawn Monahan as the new general manager/promoter of the facility. Bemer also said that former track owner Terry Eames will not be a part of the track’s management staff in any capacity going forward. Monahan said he will bring former race director Scott Tapley back to the track. Tapley left his position as race director at the Speedbowl after the 2012 season to become the series director for the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Tapley is now the race director at Thompson Speedway, Lee USA Speedway in Lee N.H. and also leads the Mr. Rooter New New England Truck Series.

  Longtime track official Eric Webster will serve as chief steward under Tapley. Patrick Williams, who served as race director last year, will work under Tapley and Webster. Monahan said other slots within the management of the facility will be filled soon.

  Monahan said the track will remain NASCAR sanctioned and management is in talks with NASCAR to get a Whelen Modified Tour date for the 2015 season, despite the fact that NASCAR has already released a Whelen Modified Tour schedule. An opening weekend for racing has not been decided upon as of yet.

  In operation since 1951, the shoreline oval has provided second to none in competition. As a racer, Monahan has seen the best and the worst in management at the speedbowl. It is sincerely hoped that Bruce Bemer and Shawn Monahan will breathe new life into the track and will have many years of success in their operation.

  On a sad note, Mike Chapman, 62, died Monday, February 16, 2015 at his home in East Wareham unexpectedly. Mike was active in automobile racing for many years. He was a pit crew member and crew chief for several NASCAR Modified Series and ARCA teams. Mike was race director for both Thompson and Seekonk Speedways and also worked as a spotter at Daytona International Speedway.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had a positive ending. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.90 to 31.98 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.43 to 23.85 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.12 to 2.41. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.40 to 4.83 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.78 to 27.69 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.03 to 60.20. The car manufacturers were all positive. Toyota went up 4.41 to 136.90 while Ford went up 0.10 to 16.40 and General Motors went up 0.03 to 37.65. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 1.51 to73.56 and Home Depot went up 0.35 to 112.24. In the world of big team sponsors, McDonalds dropped 1.46 to 94.19 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.62 to 30.73 while Coca-Cola went up 1.47 to 102.24, FedEx went up 2.03 to 178.50 and Target went up 0.75 to 76.87.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, February 25

6:00 AM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Daytona race re-air, FOX Sports 2
8:00 AM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Daytona race re-air, FS2
10:30 AM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 re-air, FS2
1:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS2
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2

  Thursday, February 26
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR America, The List: Dale Earnhardt, Sr., NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS2
11:30 PM, NASCAR Gridiron Challenge, NBCSN

  Friday, February 27
12:30 AM, NASCAR America, Celebrate the States, NBCSN
1:30 AM, NASCAR America, Celebrate the States, NBCSN
2:00 AM, NASCAR America, Celebrate the States, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR America, Celebrate the States, NBCSN
10:00 AM, NXS Atlanta practice, FS1
11:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
11:30 AM, NXS Atlanta final practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NCWTS Atlanta practice, FS1
5:30 PM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying, FS1
7:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
8:00 PM, The 10: NASCAR's Greatest Races, FS1

  Saturday, February 28
3:30 AM, NSCS Atlanta qualifying re-air, FS1
5:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
9:00 AM, NXS Atlanta qualifying, FS1
10:30 AM, NCWTS Atlanta qualifying, FS1
12:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta final practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NXS RaceDay, FS1
2:00 PM, NXS Atlanta race, FS1
4:30 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FS1
5:30 PM, NCWTS Atlanta race, FS1
10:00 PM, NCWTS Atlanta race re-air, FS2

  Sunday, March 1
10:30 AM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI
1:00 PM, NSCS Atlanta race, FOX

   That’s about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.

SourcePhil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: February 24, 2015

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