Champ Trail -
December 5, 2017
Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr who honored as NASCAR's newest Monster
Cup champion in Las Vegas last week. It was fitting for Truex Jr. to be
introduced as NASCAR's newest champion by his buddy Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt who helped Truex venture out of New Jersey to give it a go in
NASCAR. Now, nearly 15 years later, Truex was on racing's biggest stage.
Truex was presented the Championship Ring by NASCAR CEO Brian France who
all but snubbed the new champion. The gesture showed a total lack of class.
No wonder the grandstands at most events are only half full. France's father
Bill France Jr and grandfather William H.G. France who founded NASCAR must
be rolling in their graves.
The sanctioning body paid tribute to those we lost in 2017. Among those
mentioned were photographer Howie Hodge and Ted Christopher.
Anthony Nocella, of Woburn, Massachusetts, was officially crowned the
2017 Valenti Modified Racing Series Champion on Saturday night, December 2,
at Manchester, New Hampshire’s Best Western Executive Inn. The 25-year old
driver, winner of five features races in 2017, becomes the eighth driver in
14-years to win a VMRS championship.
Following the award presentations, Nocella spoke of the series and what
it means to win the title. “It means a lot. The 15th year is coming up. It’s
a series with a lot of roots and great champions Jon McKennedy, and Rowan
Pennink and others. Drivers that have done a lot in modified racing – it’s
cool to get your name on the banner with them.” Nocella added,” It’s a great
series with great competition. It was great to compete with the guys that
won races and championships and ultimately win the championship and we
finally did. “ When asked what the plan is for 2018, the new champion was
quick to say. “ We’ll be back. That’s our plan. We will run some other races
but we like the schedule – we’ll be back.”
Nocella received Champion’s Jackets from Hoosier Tire East and N.E. Race
Fuel (Sunoco) and the race team received the annual Mechanics Award. Annual
awards were presented to the following: Jack’s Competition Engines Most
Improved Driver: Sammy Rameau, Tough Luck award: George Sherman,
Sportsmanship Award: Rob Rihcardi Jr. Rookie Of The Year: Jeffrey Gallup,
Dedicated To Racing Award: Mike Willis Jr and Above and Beyond Award: Bob
NASCAR will hold its Touring Series and weekly racing series banquets in
Charlotte, NC this weekend. In a wise move, NASCAR decided to not have a
most popular driver in the Whelen Modified Tour Series. For the most part
Milissa Fifield can be blamed for that because in previous years she stacked
the computer voting in her favor. It would be fitting to select Teddy
Christopher as the Most Popular Driver this season.
Now that the 2017 racing season has ended it’s time to look ahead to
2018. Coming up on Feb 10 at the Bronson Speedway in Florida is the third
annual "Kick Off to Speedweek" Tour Type Modified event. Anyone heading
south for speedweek should consider making Bronson their first stop. The
Kick Off event will carry a great purse, numerous awards and a 3/8 mile high
banked asphalt oval that is sure to excite. The winner, aside from a great
purse is guaranteed a 5th place starting position in the Richie Evans race
at New Smryna Speedway.
In addition, the highest finisher in New Smryna Speedways Richie Evans
race who competed in Bronson Speedways "Kick Off" race will win the "Cathy
and Keith Goodale Going the Distance $1000.00 Award". "The Goodale's" as
many know are a racing family. Cathy battled Breast Cancer and Keith battled
Cystic Fibrosis. Every day while fighting the fight, they had to go the
distance. Bronson Speedway is proud to be a part of this tribute award. So
as we say "Bring it to Bronson" Date and time will be announced shortly.
On the speedway stock market scene last week, two of the three speedway
stocks showed modest gains while a third remained stagnant. The
International Speedway Corporation went up 1.00 to 40.70 and Speedway
Motorsports went up 0.85 to 19.37 while Dover Entertainment remained at
2.00. NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage went up 1.17 to 62.92, NASCAR fuel
supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.17 to 16.53 and NASCAR tire
supplier Goodyear went up 1.45 to 32.12. Two of the three car manufacturers
were down for the week as Ford finished on the up side as the gained 0.48 to
close at 12.58. General Motors dropped 1.67 to 42.78 and Toyota dropped 1.79
to 124.36. The home improvement sector was booming as Home Depot went up
7.69 to 180.42 and Lowes went up 4.99 to 84.23. The big tem sponsor’s stocks
were all up for the week. McDonalds went up 3.76 to 172.87, Coca-Cola went
up 11.38 to 216.93, Target went up 3.93 to 59.51, Aarons Rentals went up
3.74 to 39.19 and Fedex went up 13.84 to 230.84.
On the tube this week:
NASCAR’s weekly and touring series banquet will be televised live on
fanschoice.tv on Friday night
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