The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - March 28, 2016

  Despite efforts to remove snow from the race track and venue grounds, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Officials were forced to cancel last Saturdayís Test & Tune, as a result of remaining snow and ice. The event will not be made up, and attention now turns to the 43rd running of the Icebreaker, this coming weekend, beginning March 31 - April 2.
  The 43rd Annual Icebreaker kicks off on Friday with an optional practice day for all NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Lite Modified, Mr. Rooter ProTruck Series, Thompson Open Street Stock and the Vintage Outlaw teams. Gates open at 12pm with cars on track for three rounds of practice beginning at 1pm. Pit passes are only $15. After 5pm, teams may come and park their haulers without having to pay the $15 practice fee, providing they have a weekend pit pass.
  Saturday begins and ends up at the Raceway Restaurant with the traditional Breakfast Buffet being offered from 7-11am, and a nightcap with the Prime Rib Dinner from 5-11pm. As far as the racing action goes, the day will feature practice and qualifying for 11 of the 12 divisions participating. Feature events will also be contested for the Vintage Outlaws, Mr. Rooter ProTruck Series, Thompson Open Street Stocks, NEMA Lites, and the Lite Modifieds. In addition, Thompsonís four defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champions will be competing in a match race Saturday evening in equally prepared cars from The Racing School.
  Once again on Sunday, the day will begin at the Raceway Restaurant with a Breakfast Buffet, beginning at 7am and running until 11am. The Championsí Banner Raising Ceremony and Fan Appreciation Party will kick off the racing festivities on Sunday. The increasingly popular Fan Appreciation Party will provide race fans the opportunity to meet, take selfies with and get autographs from their favorite drivers on Thompsonís historic 5/8-mile racetrack. Seven features races are on Sundayís card, beginning with Thompsonís top-tier division, the Sunoco Modifieds. A 75-lap National Championship Event for the Pro All Stars Series, a 20-lap Limited Sportsman race, and a 25-lap Late Model race will follow. In a schedule adjustment for 2017, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will qualify for their race later in the day. After their qualifying session, the Mini Stock Division will compete in their first race of the season, before the day culminates with the Icebreaker 150 featuring the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
  Ted Christopher is the all-time winner at Thompson with 98 wins. Rick Gentes has 74 wins and the late Fred DeSarro has 63 wins.

  In non-NASCAR Modified racing below the Mason-Dixon line Brandon Ward, driver of the New Day Motorsports No. 19, has always enjoyed racing at the three-eighths mile Orange County Speedway. Last Saturday night he enjoyed it even more in victory lane after winning the Orange Blossom 125 Southern Modified Racing Series (SMRS) feature. It was his career-first win in the series. A fast race car and a well-executed pit stop were the keys to victory for the 36-year-old Winston-Salem driver.
  The fast race car was established early by winning the $150 Precision Spindle Pole Award in the afternoon. Ward started the race in the fourth spot, based on a re-draw among the top six qualifiers. In the first half of the race Ward stayed solidly inside the top-10; a lap 75 caution flag gave him the opportunity to lead. Quick pit work by the crew got him off pit road first and once back on track that fast race car took over and Ward controlled the last 50 laps of the race.
  ďThat pitstop was real important,Ē said Ward in victory lane following the $3,000 win. ďI just canít thank my crew enough. The pit stop is crucial in this deal; itís all about making the right adjustments and getting on and off pit road.Ē Ward became the second winner in the two SMRS races thus far this year. It was his second-career victory at the track as he scored a late model stock win back in 2006 at the popular speedway.
  Danny Bohn led the first 75 laps and finished second. James Civali wheeled his car to third with Jason Myers and Jeremy Gerstner completing the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Bobby Measmer Jr, Burt Myers, Jimmy Zacharias, Gary Putnam and Joe Degracia. There were 16 cars on hand. Among those who finished out of the top ten were Ryan Preece who finished 14th, Tim Brown who finished 15th and J.R. Bertuccio who ended up 16th.
  The Southern Modified Racing Series is right back in action this coming Saturday night (April 1st) at Concord Speedway for the Spring Explosion 125.

  On a sad note, NEAR Hall of Famer Pete Hamilton passed away last week at the age of 74. From his HOF biography; Pete Hamiltonís rise to the top was a fast one. He started driving a street division racer in 1962 at the Norwood Arena. He went on to be the Thompson World Series Twin 50ís champion in 1965, and won the NASCAR National Sportsman championship in 1967 driving the Worcester Sand & gravel #69. Hamiltonís star really began to shine when he moved South at the end of the 67 season. He was the 1968 Grand National Rookie of the Year and went on to win 12 of 26 Grand American Division (pony cars, camaroís mustangs etc.) in 69. Pete made 64 Grand National (now Winston Cup) starts with impressive results. He scored 33 top ten finishes, 26 top fives, and 4 wins along with 3 poles. But unquestionably, Pete Hamiltonís greatest victory came in 1970 when he won the Daytona 500 in the Petty Enterprises #40 Superbird. He won twice more at both Talladega races in 1970 and got his fourth and final super speedway win at the July race at Daytona driving for Cotton Owens. He also won a Daytona 125 qualifier in 1971. He was the first driver to win $100,000 on a super speedway in a single season. He retired later in 1971 at the height of his career because of a recurring neck injury suffered in a 1969 Grand American race. Hamilton went on to be a very successful car builder. Hamilton never forgot where he came from and many times credited his mentors, Eddie Flemke and Jack Malone, for his success in racing and life in general.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week the speedway stocks were stale. Dover Entertainment remained a no-change while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.21 to 19.11 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.25 to 35.60. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Energy went up 0.47 to 46.94 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.22 to 35.83 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.70 to 35.94. The auto manufacturers were down for the week. Toyota dropped 0.85 to 111.36 while Ford dropped 0.86 to 11.62 and General Motors dropped 1.77 to 34.56. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 1.89 to 147.71 and Lowes dropped 1.32 to 82.21. The big teams sponsors stocks were a mixed bag. Coca-Cola went up 3.25 to 197.28 and McDonalds went up 0.70 to 129.34 while Target dropped 1.17 to 53.12, Aarons Rentals dropped 1.36 to 28.71 and Fedex dropped 6.47 to 188.12.

  On the tube this week:

  Wednesday, March 29

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

  Thursday, March 30

5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1

  Friday, March 31
11:30 AM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Martinsville practice, FS1
1:00 PM, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Martinsville practice, FS1
2:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
3:00 PM, NCWTS Martinsville final practice, FS1
4:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
4:30 PM, MENCS Martinsville qualifying, FS1

  Saturday, April 1
5:30 AM, NCWTS Martinsville final practice re-air, FS1
6:30 AM, NCWTS Martinsville practice re-air, FS1
7:30 AM, MENCS Martinsville practice re-air, FS1
9:00 AM, MENCS Martinsville qualifying re-air, FS1
10:00 AM, MENCS Martinsville practice, FS1
11:00 AM, NCWTS Martinsville qualifying, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
1:30 PM, MENCS Martinsville final practice, FS1
2:30 PM, NCWTS SetUp, FOX
3:00 PM, NCWTS Martinsville race, FS1

  Sunday, April 2
12:30 AM, NCWTS Martinsville race re-air, FS1
2:30 AM, MENCS Martinsville final practice re-air, FS1
11:30 AM, MENCS Martinsville final practice re-air, FS1
12:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
2:00 PM, MENCS Martinsville race, 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: March 28, 2017

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