The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - February 14, 2016

  The Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina presented the 2nd annual IceBreaker this past Saturday, February 11. The 2nd annual IceBreaker was the speedway’s first race of the 2017 season. Drivers of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, as well as Modifieds, Chargers, Mini Stocks and Vintage cars were on hand. Modified competitors looking to get a leg up on the season looked at the event as somewhat of a practice session for the March beginning of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.
  A mere 13 cars went to post for the Modified 50 lapper. As they all found out, Myrtle Beach has an extremely abrasive surface, which eats tires and ruins competition. Doug Coby was the eventual winner. Coby was the pole sitter and immediately dropped back after leading only two laps. Jim Zacharias led from lap 3 to lap 9 before giving way to Jason Myers. After riding around but staying in striking distance Coby made his move and took the lead on lap 46. Myers had nothing for the defending Modified champion as he settled for second. Matt Hirschman finished third and was followed by Ryan Preece, Ron Silk and Zacharias. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle Ebersol, Rich Pallai Jr, Woody Pitkat and Jimmy Blewett.
  Hopefully the speedway will see some serious work before the Whelen Modified Tour Series opener in March. Anything over 25 laps at the worn track will be a waste of time.

  The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. This coming Friday, February 17, 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 gets under way.
  In the Tour-type Modified division at New Smyrna, “Big Money” Matt Hirschman has mailed in an entry in his No. 60 PeeDee Motorsports machine. Hirschman has not traveled to New Smyrna Speedway for the World Series since 2014. Timmy Solomito, who picked up four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins in 2016, has filed an entry to compete in his first World Series at New Smyrna. The Long Island driver will be piloting his family-owned race car renumbered to match his No. 16 ride for Flamingo Motorports. The 2016 Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy is on the entry list. McKennedy, from Chelmsford, Massachusetts has not competed in the World Series at New Smyrna since 2007 according to
  Ricky Moxley of Hobe Sound, Florida and Calvin Carroll from Andover, New Jersey have also filed entries. Also, Justin Bonsignore and Richie Pallai Jr. have sent in entries to New Smyrna Speedway, although they have yet to be received. Bonsignore, a former Richie Evans Memorial 100 winner, said that he and his No. 51 M-3 Tech team are planning on running all five nights while Pallai will be running Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for team owner Phil Stefanelli.

  The 2017 season for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kick off in a big way with its March 18 event at Myrtle Beach Speedway, as the legacy of NASCAR’s top Modified drivers racing up and down the Atlantic coast continues at the historic venue.
  Adding to the significance of the event, the track announced that Safety-Kleen will be the entitlement sponsor for the kickoff. The race event, which will also feature NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, will be the Performance Plus 300 presented by Safety-Kleen.
  The Performance Plus 150 will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour portion of the race event, and will be the first opportunity for fans to see the Northeast’s top modified teams compete against the South’s best under the unified tour banner. Four-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby of Connecticut will lead a stout field that is expected to also include North Carolina’s Burt Myers, who swept the Modified division title at Bowman Gray Stadium and the final NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championships last year.
  NASCAR officials George Silberman and Jimmy Wilson recently met behind closed doors with select competitors of the Whelen Modified Tour Series at the Holiday Inn at the TF Green Airport in Warwick, RI. As usual, NASCAR officials talked a lot but in reality said little. Prize money was noy discussed but NASCAR alluded to the fact that money for “Southern” races would be similar to those paid at Thompson. The weight difference between built and spec engines has been eliminated. It was said that there will be a pool of money put aside for southern competitors who come north to race. The pool, $2000, will be split among those who choose to travel. Northern competitors who travel south will probably get what the cow left behind when she jumped the fence!
  In somewhat of a surprise, NASCAR announced that “Group Qualifying will be introduced in 2017 starting as early as the first Friday night tour event at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
  In a somewhat related matter, driver Max Zachem stated that the Thompson Speedway has reached a three-year agreement to host the NASCAR K&N East Series
  On a sad note, word came of the passing of co-founder of the New England Supermodified Racing Association Ken Smith who died over the weekend. Together with partners Russ Conway and Charlie Elliot, Ken promoted over 1000 races in a career that started June 1965 leading to all three being inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway stocks ended up on the positive side for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.05 to 37.80 while Speedway Motorsports went up 0.64 to 21.91. Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.25. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage jumped 1.37 to 44.01 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 1.32 to 38.08. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.67 to 33.72. The auto makers had a down week. Toyota dropped 2.23 to 112.89 while General Motors dropped 1.16 to 35.17 and Ford dropped 0.05 to 12.51. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.87 to 139.85 and Lowes went up 0.68 to 73.97. The big teams sponsors stocks had a banner week. McDonalds went up 1.58 to 125.82, Coca-Cola went up 5.84 to 177.00, Target went up 1.98 to 65.73, Aarons Rentals went up 0.12 to 30.05 and Fedex went up 2.65 to 190.86.

  On the tube this week:

  Wednesday, February 15

5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

  Thursday, February 16
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt, FS1
8:00 PM, Untold Stories: Daytona, FS1

  Friday, February 17
10:30 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
4:30 PM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
5:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
6:30 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice, FS1

  Saturday, February 18
1:00 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice re-air, FS1
2:00 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice re-air, FS1
12:00 PM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
12:30 PM, MENCS Daytona practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 PM, MENCS Daytona practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
5:00 PM, MENCS Daytona practice re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Day, FS1
8:00 PM, MENSC The Clash, FS1

  Sunday, February 19
1:00 AM, MENSC The Clash re-air, FS1
3:00 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1993 Daytona 500, FS1
5:30 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1993 Daytona 500, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 qualifying, FOX

  Monday, February 20
4:30 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 qualifying re-air, FS1
2:00 PM, MENSC The Clash re-air, FS2
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, 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: February 14, 2017

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