The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - January 3, 2016

  The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. As of this coming Friday, January 6, five weeks remain before the green flag drops for the World Series at New Smyrna, the 50 lap tour type Modified event at the Bronson (Fla) Speedway and action at the Daytona International Speedway. It will be here before you know it.
  The 51st Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL) is coming soon on February 16-25. The World Series will kick off on Friday, February 17 with the first night of feature racing at the fast half-mile oval just south of Daytona Beach.  The Super Late Models will headline the show and they will be joined by the Pro Late Models, Sportsman cars and Pro Trucks.  The Pro Trucks will race for 50 laps in their only appearance at New Smyrna during the World Series.
 On February 18, the Sportsman will run for 50 laps in their second and final appearance of the week.  They will be joined by the Super Late Models and Pro Late Models.  The Pro Late Models will be running twin features.
 The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will begin its 2017 season on Sunday, February 19 during the World Series in what has become a new tradition in recent years.  As usual, the stock cars of the K&N Pro Series East will be joined by one other division, the Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series.
On Monday, two divisions of ground-pounding Modifieds will make their 2017 World Series debut. The Tour-type Modifieds will headline the action with a 50-lap feature. They will be joined on the card by the IMCA/Florida Modifieds, Super and Pro Late Models.
  Tuesday is all open-wheel Modified action at New Smyrna. The IMCA/Florida Modifieds will headline the night with a 75-lap feature race.
  One night later the Tour-type Modifieds will be the stars once again in the John Blewett III Memorial 76-lap feature. The IMCA/Florida Modifieds, Super Late Models and Pro Late Models will all be on the racing card as well.
  The the biggest night of racing out of all nine days will be on Friday night, Feb 24. Two different divisions will race for 100 laps each. The Tour-type Modifieds will conclude their week at New Smyrna with the Richie Evans Memorial 100. The Pro Late Models will also go for 100 laps. The IMCA/Florida Modifieds will also be on the card.
  The 51st Annual World Series will conclude on Saturday, February 25 with the running of the 100-lap Super Late Model feature. The Pro Late Models and IMCA/Florida Modifieds will also be in competition on the final night of action.

  It was announced last week that Bobby Santos and Tinio Racing will return to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on a part-time basis for the 2017 racing season. Team Manager Lawney Tinio told racing news web site that the Massachusetts-based team will compete in a handful of races close to home next season. For the most part their racing will be at New England tracks.
  NASCAR has failed to realize that Modified owners, drivers and mechanics are not full time professional racers as they have to be employed full time in order to support their families.

  Big news comes from Long Island as second year Riverhead Raceway promoters/owners Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz released their 2017 schedule. Long Island racing fans can look forward to a very exciting and diverse race season at the historic quarter mile oval. The 2017 NASCAR Whelen All American Series opener is set for Saturday evening May 6th with all seven classes in action while the second half of the doubleheader weekend will unfold Sunday afternoon May 7th with the May Meltdown Enduro program.
  During their freshman season as race track operators Eddie & Connie Partridge along with Tom Gatz showed a willingness to bring new racing series and events to Riverhead Raceway in 2016 and more of the same is in store for 2017. The trio announced the return of the Islip 300 NASCAR Modified race for Saturday May 27th with the winner of the Islip 300 taking home a huge $7,000 payday from a rich purse that will exceed $30,000. The race pays tribute to the former All Star 300 races that were immensely popular at the 1/5 of a mile Islip speed plant. With $7,000 on the line for the win track management is hopeful for an All Star caliber line-up and race for the Memorial Day weekend race that will carry a Sunday May 28th rain date.
  Also new in 2017 will be the June 17th visit of the Modified Touring Series competing in a 125-lap contest. Making a return engagement to Long Island this season will be the Granite State Pro Stock Series for a 100-lap tilt on Saturday May 20th as well as the NEMA Midgets on June 3rd.  The Mr. Rooter New England Truck Series returns to Long Island Saturday August 19th. The American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association will join the June 3rd NEMA card for their first Riverhead Raceway appearance since 2001. 
  Aside from the Islip 300 and Modified Touring Series events the NASCAR Modifieds will be busy once again at Riverhead Raceway. The popular NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will again make two stops for 200-lap events Saturday June 24th and Saturday September 16th. The weekly Modified racers of the Whelen All American Series can look forward to running in several specialty races including the Mullet Madness 50 on June 10th, a 67-lap 67th Year Celebration contest July 1st, the annual Baldwin, Evans & Jarzombek 77 July 8th, an Elvis Night 50 August 5th, and the Whelen Engineering Night 100 (Twin 50's) on September 9th.
  Track GM John Ellwood disclosed 2017 activity at the track will commence the first week of April with the first of two Technical Inspection days that will take place Saturday April 1st with the second being held the following Saturday April 8th. In a new scheduling twist Sunday April 9th will feature the first on track racing of 2017 unfolding with the Snow Melt Enduro program being presented.
  The traditional pre-season practice days are penciled in for Saturday April 22nd and again Saturday April 29th but in between on Sunday April 23rd a 100-lap Street Stock event will be presented along with 40-lapper features for both the INEX Legend Race Cars and new Mini Stock Enduro class.

  The off season has been very busy for the Ronnie Williams Race Team.  William’s primary cars for Stafford and Waterford have been stripped, clipped and powder coated, ready to be rebuilt.
  Ronnie will be driving his family-owned SK Modified at Stafford Motor Speedway full-time in 2017 and the #59 car will have a slightly different look as he chases his first Stafford SK Modified Championship at the historic half mile in his 4th season of competition there. In addition to Stafford, Ronnie he will also start the season driving his 2nd family-owned SK Modified at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for the first 10 races of 2017. The team will evaluate their 2017 season schedule at NLWS after the 10th event of the season to run and make a determination on any further events.
  Williams will complete the Connecticut trifecta by securing a full time ride at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park as well in 2017. After a very successful season in 2016, finishing 3rd in points and earning the Rookie of the Year title with the Keith Rocco’s race team, 2017 will see some changes for Ronnie at Thompson as he will be driving the #79 John Jenson Owned Sunoco Modified at Thompson in his quest for the 2017 championship.
  Williams will also go tour racing in 2017. Driving the John Jensen-owned #79 tour modified, Ronnie will be planning to run on every Connecticut track that the Modified Racing Series (MRS), and Modified Touring Series (MTS) puts on, giving him somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 tour races in 2017. 
  Hot on the heels of Williams’ announcement comes word that Ted Christopher will be driving for Rocco at Thompson. Christopher has 98 career wins at the Big T.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week, all three-speedway stocks showed moderate gains. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation, which went up 0.60 to 37.40. Dover Entertainment went up 0.25 to 2.30 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.18 to 21.82. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 1.62 to 37.44 while NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 1.28 to 45.62 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.97 to 31.84. The car builders had a real good week. Leading the way was Toyota, which went up 3.02 to 120.13. General Motors went up 1.15 to 35.99 and Ford went up 0.63 to 12.76. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.55 to 133.53 and Lowes dropped 0.17 to 70.95. With the exception of Fedex which went up 4.05 to 190.25 the big team sponsors stocks were down for the week. McDonalds dropped 0.96 to 120.76, Coca-Cola dropped 1.64 to 177.21, Target dropped 0.89 to 71.44 and Aarons Rentals dropped dropped 1.13 to 30.86.

  On the tube this week:

  Tuesday, January 10

5:00 PM, Stories of NASCAR - Champions of 2016, NBC Sports Net
5:30 PM, Stories of NASCAR - Behind the Wheel, NBCSN

  Wednesday, January 11
8:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FOX Sports 1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Scan All Special - Championship Edition, NBCSN
5:30 PM, NASCAR Scan All Special - Best of Scan All, NBCSN

  Thursday, January 12
8:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1

  Friday, January 13
8:30 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1

  Saturday, January 14
7:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
8:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
9:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1

   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.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: January 10, 2017

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