The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith


March 10, 2015

  The wheels of change have shifted into high gear at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl as NASCAR and the new track management of owner Bruce Bemer and General Manager Shawn Monahan have announced that the shoreline oval will be under the NASCAR banner in 2015. The announcement also included a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event on Saturday, May 30. The addition of the Mr. Rooter 161 on May 30 will give the tour 15 points events in 2015.

  "We are excited to have the opportunity to return New London-Waterford Speedbowl to the calendar for 2015," said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president for regional and touring series. "It is great news for modified fans that new track owner Bruce Bemer and his staff desired to continue to feature the Whelen Modified Tour on the Speedbowl schedule and remain a NASCAR Home Track." The upcoming 2015 season will mark the 15th consecutive year of NASCAR-sanctioned weekly competition as the track will return to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

  The Speedbowlís Whelen All-American Series slate will begin on Saturday, May 2. Keith Rocco is the defending NASCAR track champion out of the modified division.

  The Speedbowl has now added a key member to their weekly staff. Terryville, Connecticut native Rich Keator has been named chief starter for the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, and will be returning to the flagstand at the three-eighths mile oval for the first time since the 2012 season.

  Keator took some time away from the track over the past two seasons by working with the Valenti Modified Racing Series as their chief starter, and was also part of the staff on the Granite State Pro Stock Series.

  In other Speedbowl news, it was announced that the trackís Wacky Wednesday program would be moving to Thursday nights for 2015. The Wacky Wednesday program is a low-cost alternative to the traditional NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Saturday night racing show. The events offer lower cost tickets and divisions that prove much lower in participation costs for customers. The X-Cars, Super X-Cars and Legends primarily fill out the shows for the track. Monahan said working with Thompson Speedway was a big reason for the change. Thompson Speedway will host five Wednesday night summer shows in 2015. Thompson had previously run primarily Thursday shows. He also indicated that last yearís rule book will remain in effect for 2015.

  It was good to hear that Sidís Vault Productions will be returning to the shoreline oval in 2015. Up until mid season last year Tom DiMaggio and his able crew video taped many of the events at the Route 85 oval and made many non-speedbowl fans aware of the great competition there and he did it all at no cost to the former owner. Production ceased in mid-season after a dispute with the former owner.

  Thanks to the efforts of New London-Waterford Speedbowl Street Stock competitor Bill McNeil competitors who raced at the shoreline oval were recognized for their 2014 efforts at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT. Among those who received championship honors were Keith Rocco in the SK Modifieds and Late Models, Josh Galvin in the Street Stocks, Garrett Denton in the Mini Stocks, Corey Barry in the SK Lites and Mike Christopher Jr in the Legends.

  Had it not been for the efforts of McNeil competitors at the Waterford oval would have gone unnoticed.

  The Valenti Modified Racing Series officially announced on their Facebook page that the series will open for the 2015 racing season schedule at the Monadnock Speedway on April 18. They will also visit Monadnock on July 4 and August 22. Races will be held at Stafford Motor Speedway, Airborne Speedway, Seekonk Speedway, Lee USA Speedway, Devilís Bowl Speedway, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Oxford Plains Speedway and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The series will also visit the New London-Waterford Speedbowl on August 8.

  The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park and Mr. Rooter Plumbing franchisee, Vin Beedle, announced today that the Connecticut-based company will be the entitlement sponsor of the 125-lap NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) slated for Wednesday night, June 10. Beedle and his company are long-time supporters of auto racing in New England, sponsoring the Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series, as well as fielding a truck in the division in 2015. The drivers of the Truck will include NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champions, and Thompsonís own Sunoco Modified driver, Keith Rocco, as well as Limited Sportsman - and SK Modified - driver Ed Puleo.

  The Syracuse-Post Standard reported that a Watertown, NY jury this week decided a parking lot crash that ended the racing career of DIRT modified legend "Barefoot" Bob McCreadie was worth nearly $1.7 million in damages. But the jurors found McCreadie 15 percent responsible for the crash, reducing the award by that percentage, according to Syracuse lawyer Sidney Cominsky.

  Cominsky said the state Supreme Court jury deliberated about three hours before awarding McCreadie the damages for a crash that occurred May 31, 2006, in the parking lot of the Medical Arts Building in Watertown where McCreadie was heading to pick up some prescriptions. According to Cominsky, McCreadie was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle down a designated driving lane in the parking lot when a vehicle operated by Dawn Millett of Watertown, an employee of an adjacent insurance company, cut diagonally across the lot, ran into McCreadie and knocked his motorcycle over onto him.

  McCreadie suffered a fractured femur, two broken ribs and a chip fracture of the lumbar spine, the lawyer said. Cominsky said McCreadie has been unable to return to his racing career where he was once the winningest DIRT track racer in America.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.25 to 31.33 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.97 to 21.75 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.04 to 2.46. NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.17 to 57.31 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.84 to 25.88. The auto makers had a negative week. Toyota dropped 0.48 to 134.89 while General Motors dropped 0.47 to 36.84 and Ford dropped 0.41 to 15.93. In the home improvement sector, Lowes dropped 0.58 to 73.51 and Home Depot dropped 0.30 to 114.45. In the area of big team sponsorship, McDonalds dropped 1.77 to 97.13 while Coca-Cola dropped 2.21 to 102.18, Aarons Rentals dropped 1.76 to 28.05 and Fedex dropped 3.79 to 173.19 while Target went up 0.38 to 77.21.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, March 11

4:30 AM, NASCAR America, The List - Iconic Cars, NBC Sports Net
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN

  Thursday, March 12
2:00 AM, NASCAR America - Celebrate the States, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR America - Celebrate the States, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

  Friday, March 13
3:00 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Phoenix practice, FS1
6:00 PM, NXS Phoenix final practice, FOX Sports 2
7:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix qualifying, FS2

  Saturday, March 14
10:00 AM, NSCS Phoenix qualifying, re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, NSCS Phoenix practice, FS1
12:30 PM, NXS Phoenix qualifying, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix final practice, FS1
4:00 PM, NXS Phoenix race, FOX

  Sunday, March 15
12:00 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
3:30 PM, NSCS Phoenix race, FOX
11:00 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

  Monday, March 16
5:30 AM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
10:00 AM, NSCS Phoenix race re-air, FS1

   Thatís 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.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: March 10, 2015

©2015 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.   Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written prior consent