The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - March 14, 2016

  The 2017 IceBreaker is officially two weeks away from this coming Friday, March 17. The 43rd annual Icebreaker begins on Saturday April 1st. This is the first event of the short track season in New England. Twelve divisions will be featured in the 43rd running of this great season-opening tradition. It will be headlined by Thompson’s 135th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race, more than any other host track. The Fan Appreciation Party, which has become a highly anticipated event, will be back for its fourth consecutive season. Timmy Brown will be back again to perform during the party.
  Both ticket and camping pass sales are open NOW! Camping is $50 (if you reserve online before 3/26 or $75 on-site), while tickets range in price from $46 to $55. Children 12 and under are FREE!

  The 2017 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series gets the green this coming Saturday at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina. 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.

  The 52nd Annual Season Opener and the 2017 debut of the Southern Modified Racing Series (SMRS) scheduled for this past Sunday at Caraway Speedway was postponed and will have to wait another week. “Rain, possible snow showers and a high temperature of 41” was not a forecast fit for racing, and is the reason for the events to be pushed back until next Sunday, March 19.
  The headliner will be the 125-lap season opener for the SMRS Modifieds as they kick off the 2017 campaign. Features also on the docket next Sunday will be: 75-lap NASCAR Late Model Stock, 60 lap 602 Super Limited, 30-lap Limited Late Model as well as features for Allison Legacy, Mini Stocks and UCars.

  With the SMRS Modifieds being pushed back a week to this Sunday a serious dilemma has presented itself among competitors and fans as they will have to scramble from Myrtle Beach in South Carolina to Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina. The overnight trip is approximately 177 miles which should take 3hrs and 30 minutes.

  It has been rumored for quite a while that the New Hampshire Motor Speedway would lose one of their NASCAR Cup weekends. Rumor became fact when Las Vegas Motor Speedway representatives made it official last Wednesday evening that the track will add a second Monster Energy Cup event to their schedule for the 2018 season. That event will come from New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
  New Hampshire Motor Speedway will see its September Cup weekend shift to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. SMI purchased New Hampshire Motor Speedway from track founder Bob Bahre in November 2007.
  New Hampshire Motor Speedway has hosted two Cup events annually since 1997. The track hosted its first Cup series event in 1993.

  The following is a statement from Dick Berggren concerning the future of the Northeast Motorsports Museum: “New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s September Sprint Cup weekends have been moved to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway effective 2018. Here’s what that means for the North East Motor Sports Museum.”
  “The New Hampshire track is secure and will be in business with its July weekend for decades to come. Each track that has lost a date in recent years has found significant increases in ticket sales for the date that remains. I believe the same will happen at New Hampshire.”
He added, “As for museum attendance, I have been to every auto racing museum that’s at a race track and I’ve seen them during race weekends. Not one of them get a marked increase in attendance when compared to non-race weekends. Because of that, the museum’s budget does not rely on race weekend ticket sales to meet expenses.”
  “The North East Motor Sports Museum has a 90-year lease under the building we have erected. We have a home for the long term and will make the best of it. This museum will not fail. It will prosper.”
  “The museum will open to paid members on June 10 and 11 and will open to the general public shortly thereafter.”

  NASCAR has announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Each name made an indelible mark on the sport, whether from behind the wheel or atop a pit box … or even from inside a broadcast booth. After long careers that have helped shape NASCAR, all are now one step closer to its highest honor, induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  The 20 nominees for induction are Mike Stefanik, winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships, Davey Allison, won 19 times in NASCAR’s premier (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) series, including the 1992 Daytona 500, Buddy Baker, won 19 times in NASCAR’s premier series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500, Red Byron, first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949, Ray Evernham, three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief, Red Farmer, three-time Late Model Sportsman champion; 1956 Modified champion, Ray Fox, legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner, Joe Gibbs, combined for nine car owner championships in premier and XFINITY series, Ron Hornaday Jr., four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion,Harry Hyde, 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief, Alan Kulwicki, 1992 NASCAR premier series champion, Bobby Labonte, won a championship in both the premier series and XFINITY Series, Hershel McGriff, 1986 NASCAR west series champion, Roger Penske, combined for four car owner championships in premier and XFINITY series, Larry Phillips, only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion, Jack Roush, five-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series, Ricky Rudd, won 23 times in NASCAR’s premier series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400, Ken Squier, legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence, Waddell Wilson, won three NASCAR premier series championships as an engine builder and Robert Yates, won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner
  The five nominees for the Landmark Award, are as follows, Jim France, worked closely with father and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.; current chairman of International Speedway Corporation, Janet Guthrie, the first female to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race, Alvin Hawkins, NASCAR’s first flagman; established NASCAR racing at Bowman Gray Stadium with Bill France Sr., Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Ken Squier, legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner / namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence.
  From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on Voting Day for the 2018 class will be Wednesday, May 24.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week all three speedway stocks had a negative week ending finish. Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.15 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.45 to 36.25 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.12 to 18.87. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 1.22 to 46.82 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.28 to 36.10 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.15 to 35.46. The car manufacturers were all down for the week. Ford dropped 0.12 to 12.53 and Toyota dropped 0.68 to 112.66 while General Motors dropped 1.40 to 36.83. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.96 to 146.85 and Lowes dropped 0.10 to 81.58. With a couple of exceptions the big team sponsors stocks were down for the week. Coca-Cola dropped 2.55 to 171.74, Target dropped 1.99 to 55.36 and Fedex dropped 2.20 to 192.15 while McDonalds went up 0.08 to 127.98 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.05 to 28.01.

  On the tube this week:

  Thursday, March 16

5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
7:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCI-Fi

  Friday, March 17
1:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Phoenix practice, FS1
2:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
4:00 PM, NXS Phoenix final practice, FS1
5:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
6:00 PM, Tanked: NASCAR and Baseball Champions Tanks!, ANIMAL PLANET
7:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
7:30 PM, MENCS Phoenix qualifying, FS1

  Saturday, March 18
4:30 AM, MENCS Phoenix practice re-air, FS1
6:00 AM, NXS Phoenix practice re-air, FS1
7:00 AM, NXS Phoenix final practice re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, MENCS Phoenix qualifying re-air, FS1
9:30 AM, Classic NASCAR - 1997 Daytona 500, FS1
4:00 PM, NXS Phoenix race, FOX
6:30 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Post Show, FOX

  Sunday, March 19
1:00 AM, NXS Phoenix race re-air, FS1
7:00 AM, NXS Phoenix race re-air, FS1
12:30 PM, Classic NASCAR - 1997 Daytona 500, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Pre Race Show, FOX
3:30 PM, MENCS Phoenix race, FOX
9:30 PM, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
10:00 PM, MENCS Phoenix race re-air, 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: March 14, 2017

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