The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - January 24, 2016

  The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. As of this coming Friday, January 27, three weeks remain before the green flag drops for the World Series at New Smyrna, the 50 lap tour type Modified event on Saturday, Feb 18 at the Bronson (Fla) Speedway and action at the Daytona International Speedway. It will be here before you know it.
  The New Smyrna Speedway will kick off the annual World Series of Asphalt Racing on Friday, Feb 17. Tour type Modifieds will compete on the Ĺ mile banked speedway on Monday, Feb 20, Tuesday, Feb 21, Wednesday, Feb 22 for the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lapper, Thursday, Feb 23 and Friday, Feb 24 for the Richie Evans Memorial 100. Also on Friday, during the day, New Smyrna will host a ďModified ReunionĒ.
  Action at Daytona kicks off on Saturday, Feb 18 with the ARCA Lucas Oil 200 in the afternoon and the Monster Energy NASCAR cup series Clash on Saturday night. Daytona will host Monster Energy NASCAR cup series Daytona 500 pole position qualifying on Sunday, Feb 19. Daytona will host practice and qualifying for Cup cars, Xfinity series cars and Camping World Feb 24, the Xfinity Series 300 on Saturday, Feb 25 and the speedweek finale, the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 26.

  Jimmy Blewett said heís looking forward to getting back to New Smyrna to race against competitors such as Ryan Preece, Ron Silk, JR Bertuccio and possibly Matt Hirschman and Andy Seuss. He said heís also looking forward to being able to run the 76-lap event held in memory of his brother, John Blewett III, on Wednesday night of that week.

  Congratulations to all the 2016 New London Waterford Speedbowl champions! The shoreline oval hosted the biggest awards banquet in the history of the Speedbowl with 675 drivers, race teams and fans in attendance. It was an enjoyable evening for all.
  It was announced the return of race director Bill Roberts for Wild N Wacky Wednesday's. Also announced was the welcomed return of Tom Fox as the Saturday night race director. No word as yet as to who Ron Bouchard (1981 Cup Series) to win a modified event at the Speedbowl in the same season in which they were an active competitor on a NASCAR national series. Tyler Chadwick won 3 features, Diego Monahan won twice. In addition to Preece, former Legend Car champions Dylan Izzo & Paul Kusheba and Stafford Speedway regulars Matt Galko & Ronnie Williams also scored their first SK win at NLWS. The 11 different SK winners were the most in the division since 2008.
  Rocco brought his track win total to 135 wins, 80 of those in an SK Modified.
  After losing his Late Model ride the previous season when car owner Scott Fearn sold his operation during the 2015 will be in charge of public relations or who will serve as General Manager.
  In the SK Modifieds Keith Rocco remained the man to beat, winning 7 races and his 6th SK Championship. It was also his 4th consecutive SK title. Rocco battled with Dennis Perry & Joe Gada for the point lead most of the race. Going into the last race, Rocco had a 4 point lead on Gada and 11 points on Perry. Gada wrecked early in the event, Perry finished 8th and Rocco finished 3rd to clinch the title. The $5K 75-lap race to end the SK season was the only extra-distance event for any of the Saturday point divisions in 2016. Ted Christopher crossed the finish line first, but he was DQ'ed for illegal fuel, so the win went to Ryan Preece. It was Preece's 1st win in an SK Modified at NLWS. As a NASCAR Infinity Series driver, he joined season, Keith Rocco teamed up with Michael & Beth Sullivan to drive their #88 Late Model in 2016. Rocco won 8 of the 17 events to win his 3rd Late Model Championship. It was the 3rd time in 4 seasons that Rocco would win both the SK Modified and Late Model track championships. Former Mini Stock stand-out Ray Christian III had a break out season and won 3 times. He also represented the Speedbowl at the annual ACT Late Model Invitational event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August where he finished 13th in the 41 car field. Bruce Thomas Jr returned and won 2 of the first 4 races, but left over a dispute with track officials after being penalized after post race incident with Jason Palmer. Palmer and Anthony Flannery also won twice.
  Other drivers honored included Al Stone III who won 5 times to win his record 4th Limited Sportsman Championship, Wayne Burroughs Jr who repeated as Mini Stock Champion and won 4 times, In the SK Lites, Tony Membrino Jr was the dominant car winning 7 of the 14 events, including the first 4 in a row.
  Rookie of the Year Honors went to Paul Bezel in the SK Modifieds, Mikey Flynn in the Late Models, Shawn Gaedeke in the Limited Sportsman, Jacob Perry in the Mini Stocks and Corey Dimatteo in the SK lites. Pit crew awards went to Dennis Perry in the SK Modifieds and Keith Rocco in the Late Models
  Many thanks to Sid DiMaggio for his help

  Five of NASCARís legendary competitors, three owners and two drivers, were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Friday night during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center.
  Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons made up the eighth Class of The NASCAR Hall of Fame, a shrine of the sportís history that now houses 40 inductees.
  In addition to the five inductees enshrined, H. Clay Earles was honored as the third recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Dover Entertainment ended up a no-change for the week while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.71 to 21.28 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.30 to 36.30. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 1.00 to 45.51 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.36 to 35.76 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.22 to 30.52. The car manufacturers were down for the week. Toyota dropped 0.89 to 118.92 while Ford dropped 0.27 to 12.36 andGeneral Motors dropped 0.33 to 37.01. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.56 to 135.60 while Lowes dropped 0.39 to 71.76. With the exception of McDonalds which went up 0.76 to 122.26, the big team sponsorís stocks were down for the week. Coca-Cola dropped 3.46 to 166.64, Target dropped 6.09 to 64.10, Aarons Rentals dropped 1.74 to 30.31 and Fedex dropped 1.28 to 185.73.

  On the tube this week:

  Wednesday, January 25

6:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
9:00 PM, Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...NASCAR Fans for Hating Jeff Gordon, ESPN Classic

  Thursday, January 26
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, Classic NASCAR - 1979 Daytona 500, 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 24, 2017

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