Champ Trail -
November 28, 2017
The northeast Modified season wound up last weekend at the Wall Stadium in
New Jersey with the Annual Turkey Derby on Friday and Saturday. Great fall
weather brought out a packed house and an overflow of cars in the pit area
at the track that was patterned after the Lonsdale Arena in Rhode Island.
The big news to come out of the Jersey shore track is the fact that Matt
Hirschman didn’t win. Hometown favorite Jimmy Blewett did! Blewett started
on the pole of the 150 lap event and led all ut three laps of the wreck
marred event. Local favorites Andrew Krause was second and Ron Frees was
third to complete an all Jersey podium for the event. Invader Ryan Preece
was fourth. Kyle Elwood came back from being 2 laps down to a great 5th
place finish. Blewett put an asterisk on the day as he also won the 100 lap
SK type event and the Limited Late Model event.
NASCAR has released the 2018 schedule for the Whelen Modified Tour. The
season opens at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway in March, and the
schedule will feature 16 championship points races at nine different venues.
One of the high points of the season will be the longest distance race in
tour history as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour takes center stage at New
Hampshire Motor Speedway in September for a 250-lap showdown.
In addition to Myrtle Beach and New Hampshire, the tour will make four stops
at Thompson, and three at Stafford plus two races at Long Island’s Riverhead
Raceway, as well as return trips to New York’s Oswego Speedway and Virgina’s
Langley Speedway in Hampton.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour television broadcast schedule on NBCSN
will be announced at a later date.
The Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) revealed it’s 2018 NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series racing schedule, comprised of seven events. The
5/8 mile oval track will continue to showcase Sunoco Modifieds, which will
compete in eight points-counting races, supported by the Late Models,
Limited Sportsman and Mini Stocks, who will all have seven points-counting
races. The Lite Modified Division will race in three events, but not under
the NWAAS sanction.
The Northeast’s premier touring series are all on the docket for 2018,
including four stops by NASCAR’s oldest division – The Whelen Modified Tour.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return for the second annual Thompson
Throwback in mid-July. Additionally, after several strong fields at the
Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing, the Valenti Modified Racing Series
will now open their 2018 season at the Icebreaker. The Pro All-Star Series,
American-Canadian Tour, International Supermodified Association, and
Northeastern Midget Association will all return to America’s first-paved
The 2018 season of racing gets the green flag Friday, April 6, with a
Test & Tune day. On April 7-8, the New England stock car racing season will
open with eleven divisions on the Icebreaker card, which is headlined by The
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Some added excitement will take place on
Saturday, April 7, as The Valenti Modified Racing Series will open their
season with a 50-lap affair. The highly-anticipated Fan Appreciation Party
and Champion’s Banner Raising will be held on Sunday morning, April 8.
Other dates for 2018 include Wednesday, June 13: Fourth Annual NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Thompson 125, Saturday, July 14: Second Annual NASCAR
Thompson Throwback 100, Wednesday, August 8: 29th Annual Bud ‘King of Beers’
150, Sunday, September 9: Third Annual For the Fans Event; 5th Annual Sunoco
Modified 20/20 Sprint and wrapping up the season, Friday, October 12 –
Sunday, October 14: 56th Annual Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing.
Hot on the heels of the Thompson Speedway schedule comes word from the
Stafford Motor Speedway concerning their 2018 schedule. Stafford Speedway
announced the 60th season of NASCAR weekly racing in Northeast Connecticut
with a 22-race schedule. The 2018 season will kick-off on April 28 & 29 with
arguably the biggest Modified race in the country, the 47th Annual NAPA Auto
Parts Spring Sizzler dubbed “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring”.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will run 200 laps and will be joined by
Stafford’s 5 weekly divisions, the New England Truck Series, and new for
2018, the Vintage All Stars Race.
Stafford’s signature Friday night program kicks off May 4th and continues
with the 5-star program weekly throughout the season with special events for
all divisions dotted across the schedule. The Street Stocks will kick-off
the extra distance racing on May 11 with a 25-lap feature and will back that
up with a second special event on September 7, a 30-lap extra distance
event. The weekly division showcase continues in the month of May with the
return of the popular Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Modifiedz Night
40-lap SK Light Modified race on May 25. The ultra competitive SK Modifieds®
will run 100 laps in the annual NAPA Auto Parts SK 5K on June 29. The
guaranteed $5,000 to win SK Modified® event has seen 4 different winners
over its 4 year existence. Full fender divisions will be showcased July 20
with the Limited Late Model 30 and August 17 for the Call Before You Dig 811
Late Model 50.
Seven touring modified events will highlight the 2018 calendar with three
stops for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (April 28-29, August 3, Sept.
29-30) in addition to two 80-lap events for the Valenti Modified Racing
Series on Friday, May 18 and Friday, August 31. New for the 2018 season will
be two Open Modified 80-lap events on Friday, June 8th and Friday, July
New London-Waterford Speedbowl general manager George Whitney announced
that the track lease has been renewed for another season and that plans for
the 2018 are well under way and are rolling along at full speed. Many of the
personnel who made the 2017 a success will be back in the same roles for
“Chris Forster will be back as race director for our Saturday programs
and Bill Roberts will return as race director for Wild and Wacky
Wednesdays,” Whitney said. “We are glad to have them back.”
Plans for improvements to the facility are also in the works.
“Construction on the new grandstands will begin after the first of the
year,” Whitney said.
The schedule already has been announced for the 2018 Blast-Off Weekend on
May 5 and May 6, The Blast-off will feature 14 divisions — all of the
Speedbowl weekly series, plus several touring series, including the Modified
Racing Series, the NEMA Midgets, the NEMA Lites and the Pro-4 Modifieds.
Despite the fact that the Valenti Modified Racing Series receives
competition from other racing series the overall health of the series is
good. The VMRS conducted its annual off-season team meeting recently at the
Stafford Motor Speedway’s banquet hall to discuss a multitude of items ahead
for the 2018 racing season. One of the hottest items on the table was the
unveiling of the 2018 season schedule.
While the schedule is still subject to change, the VMRS is set to run 16
races at nine different tracks in 2018. The start of the season is one of
the major additions as the VMRS will open at Thompson Speedway Motorsports
Park on the Saturday of Icebreaker weekend, April 7. Monadnock Speedway
returns to the schedule after a hiatus in 2016 with the series running three
races on the ¼ mile high banks on April 21, July 7, and August 25. The New
London-Waterford Speedbowl will also feature a triple appearance by the The
New London-Waterford Speedbowl will also feature a triple appearance by the
MRS with dates set for May 4, August 11, and September 15. Both Stafford
Motor Speedway and Lee USA Speedway will each host two MRS events in 2018,
with the Series heading to Stafford on May 18 and August 31, while Lee USA
welcomes in the series July 27 and on Oktoberfest weekend October 6.
Next season will feature a brand new track for the Series as the MRS is
poised to head to Maine’s Wiscassett Speedway for the first time in many
years. The race date at Wiscassett will be announced at a later time. As
previously announced back in October, the MRS will participate in the second
New England Short Track Showdown at New Hampshire Motor Speedway June 23 and
24. Two northern tracks return to the calendar for 2018 with New Hampshire’s
Speedway 51 on June 16 and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Maine on August
4.The MRS will wind up the season on the Saturday of World Series weekend at
Thompson on October 13.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway
stocks were down for the week. Dover Entertainment went up 0.05 to 2.00
while Speedway Motorsports dropped 2.02 to 18.42 and the International
Speedway Corporation dropped 0.45 to 39.70. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster
Energy dropped 0.42 to 61.75and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy
Transfer) dropped 0.39 to 16.36 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up
0.73 to 30.67. The car manufacturers were all positive for the week. Ford
went up 0.09 to 12.10, General Motors went up 0.58 to 44.46 and Toyota went
up 2.76 to 126.05. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 4.99
to 172.73 while Lowes dropped 0.98 to 79.24. In big team sponsors stocks
McDonalds went up 2.39 to 169.11, Coca-Cola went up 1.81 to 204.55 and Fedex
went up 1.00 to 2.17 while Target dropped 2.26 to 55.88 and Aarons Rentals
dropped 1.01 to 35.45.
On the tube
Thursday, November 30
7:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
9:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Award Show, NBCSN
11:00 PM, MENCS Award Show re-air, NBCSN
Friday, December 1
2:00 AM, NASCAR Scan All Special, NBCSN
2:30 AM, NASCAR Scan All Special, NBCSN
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.
Smith / Champ Trail