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
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
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
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
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
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
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
On the tube this
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.
Smith / Champ Trail