The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - January 12, 2016

  The countdown continues as speedweeks in Florida are now only four weeks away when the World Series of Short Track Racing begins at New Smyrna and preliminary events leading up to the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway begin. For those who canít make it to Florida the Ice Breaker at Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway is only 13 weeks away.

  The New London-Waterford Speedbowl held itís first banquet last Saturday night since being purchased by Bruce Bemer last year. During the festivities a schedule of events for 2016 was announced. Thanks to Beamerís and Shawn Monahanís efforts the Speedbowl celebrated a successful first season. The schedule includes events at the track for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the Valenti Modified Racing Series, the Tri-Track Open Modified Series and the American-Canadian Tour. The Speedbowl kicks off its 2016 on May 7.
  A press release from the Speedbowl indicated that six champions officially were crowned at the 2015 New London-Waterford Speedbowl banquet, which took place at the Mystic Marriott in Groton. A crowd of 500 was in attendance as more than 120 awards were distributed by track General Manager and promoter Shawn Monahan.
  Keith Rocco, joined by car owner Vin Beadle, received trophies for winning the SK Modified title. It was Roccoís fifth SK title and eighth overall Speedbowl crown, and his second with Beadle as his car owner. Rocco is the Speedbowlís all-time win leader with 121 victories, including seven SK wins in 2015.
  Ted Christopherís No. 13 race team was named Pit Crew of the Year. Dylan Izzo, who finished 15th in the overall standings, was Rookie of the Year. Diego Monahan, who jumped from eighth to fourth in the standings, was Most Improved Driver and the Sportsmanship Award was won by John Montesanto.
  Jason Palmer earned the Late Model Championship trophy. He also is the car owner. It was Palmerís first Late Model title and his fourth Speedbowl championship. Palmer grabbed four wins and now has 64 at the Speedbowl, which ties him with Dennis Gada and Ken Cassidy Jr. for ninth on the all-time list.
  Palmerís No. 17 team also won the Pit Crew of the Year Award. Matt Carlson, who was eighth in the overall standings, was Rookie of the Year. Chris Garside, who had two second-place finishes, which were his best-ever performances, was Most Improved Driver and the Sportsmanship Award went to Jim Banfield.
  It also was a big night for Paul Buzel. He received his SK Light Championship and also was presented with the University of Northern Ohio Youth Achievement Award. Buzel racked up three wins to win his first-ever Speedbowl crown. George Buzel is his car owner.
  Al Stone III was awarded the Limited Sportsman Championship trophy. It was the third Limited Sportsman title for Stone, who also is the car owner. The Speedbowlís All-time Limited Sportsman win leader had six victories in 2015.
  Wayne Burroughs received his first Mini-Stock Championship trophy He also is the car owner. Burroughs won three of the first four races and finished with four wins. Only one of his races was outside the Top 10.
  Corey DiMatteo was presented with his first U.S. Legends championship. Justin Manafort is the car owner. DiMatteo posted his first-ever Speedbowl win in the season opener and finished the year with two wins. Andrew Moeller, fourth in the overall standings, was the Most Improved Driver. Caterina LaBella was the Sportsmanship Award winner and Noah Kornerís No. 31 team was named Pit Crew of the Year. Korner won his first Speedbowl race during 2015.

  The Thursday, August 25 NorthEast Race Cars Tri Track Open Modified Series at The New London-Waterford Speedbowl will not only offer the $10,000 to win number, but most likely a $50,000 + payout thanks to the hard work of Dick Williams, Wayne Coats and the Racing Guys.
  Things are far from quiet on the home front in New England. Todd Szegedy has decided to take a year off to enjoy life away from racing. The empty seat in the Mystic Missile would be a good fit for Woody Pitkat who was left without a ride when Buzz Chew had enough of NASCAR and decided to go DIRT racing. Pitkat has proved himself worthy of any ride. Bob Garbarino is a veteran racer and despite being in his mid 70s still has a few nails left to hammer.
  Website Speed51 has reported that after winning the Valenti Modified Racing Series championship in 2015 with car owner Peter Kulessa, Woody Pitkat will be racing for a different team in 2016. Well, sort of a different team. Pitkat and a handful of team members from the Kulessa team are joining forces with the Stebbins Racing No. 52 car for the 2016 campaign.
  Pitkat will also be returning to his home track of Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut to race weekly in the Gunsmoke Stables Racing-owned SK Modified with Lesís Service Center and Adam Skowyra in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition.
  Keith Rocco will driving his own SK (Sunoco) Modified this year because of a conflict of interest of engine builders. Rocco is employed by Petit Racing Engines and the Ceravolo family uses another engine builder. Rowan Pennink will drive the Ceravolo No.16. Eric Berndt, who drove a team car for the Ceravolos will be driving his own mount this year.

  Jacob Perry, son of Dennis Perry, has filled out his paperwork for a number at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl in the Mini-Stock division and soon will be applying for a NASCAR license. Young Perry will be the third generation of the Perry family to compete at the Speedbowl.

  Congratulations to Dick Berggren, Mike Stefanik, Ricky Craven and Gary Balogh who have been inducted to the Eastern Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.

  Last weekend was a sad one for dirt track fans in New York State as the grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds was demolished using explosive charges. The demolition of the 38-year-old structure came as part of a major renovation at the fairgrounds. An RV park will replace the grandstand and Fair concerts will be moved to the new Lakeview Amphitheater.
  The fairgrounds is hosting an RV show and sale on Saturday. The grounds will be closed to vehicular traffic and pedestrian access on Saturday due to the demolition. People attending the RV show will be bused to the buildings from Fair parking lots. Only people attending the RV event will be allowed on the grounds.

  On the speedway stock market scene last week it was a general blood bath in every sector. All three speedway stocks were down with Speedway Motorsports taking the biggest hit as they dropped 2.17 to 18.55. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.34 to 31.38 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.18 to 2.25. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 4.53 to 28.14 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 4.03 to 29.70 while NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.22 to 3.40. The car builders didnít escape the wrath. Toyota dropped 9.98 to 113.06 while General Motors dropped 4.48 to 29.53 and Ford dropped 1.45 to 12.54. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 8.25 to 123.90 and Lowes dropped 5.16 to 70.88. The big teamís sponsors stocks also took a hit. Fedex dropped 14.28 to 134.71 while McDonalds dropped 2.66 to 115.48, Coca-Cola dropped 4.61 to 177.90, Target dropped 1.23 71.38 and Aarons Rentals dropped 2.06 to 20.33.

  On the tube this coming week:

  Wednesday, January 13

7:00 AM, NASCAR the List - Rookie Seasons, NBC Sports Net
7:30 AM, NASCAR the List - Iconic Cars, NBCSN

  Thursday, January 14
7:00 AM, NASCAR the List - Dale Earnhardt Sr. Moments, NBCSN
7:30 AM, NASCAR the List - Texas Motor Speedway, NBCSN
5:00 PM, NASCAR Scan All Moments, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FOX Sports 1
7:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCI-FI

  Friday, January 15
2:30 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCI
5:00 PM, NASCAR America: Scan All Moments, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, 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: January 12, 2016

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