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Tuesday April 5, 2006

By Phil Smith
 
The Waterford Speedbowl opened for the season last weekend with The Nationals. The two day event hosted feature events for SK Modifieds (150 laps), Late Models (50 laps), Sportsman (30 laps), Mini-Stocks (30 laps), and NEMA Midgets (25 laps) plus Allison Legacy and American Race Trucks. All features were run on Sunday.
Don’t believe what you read in the papers is what track owner Terry Eames alluded to at a drivers meeting last Saturday. He said the entire 2006 season will be run as scheduled. The Nationals, a big event which should have bolstered the Speedbowl’s checkbook, was disappointing at the box office, but a resounding success on the track. Good fields of cars and good racing didn’t disappoint those who came. Too bad the grandstands were less than half full. Lack of advertising was key. The race fans knew the Speedbowl was opening for the season but much of the general public didn’t. Frank Ruocco made a guest appearance at the Speedbowl as did Jimmy Blewett and Ken Horton. They stole the SK Modified show from the regulars. Blewett started on the pole and led the event until he got loose and passed by Ruocco with about 12 laps to go. Blewett went non-stop without a tire change while Ruocco pitted for a fresh set shortly after the half way mark. Ruocco took the top spot while Blewett ended up fourth. Kenny Horton came from dead last to finish second while Chris Pasteryak was the top finishing Speedbowl regular in third spot. Dennis Gada rounded out the top five. Other winners were Joey Payne in the NEMA Midgets, Mark Esposito in the Legends, Dave Silvia in the Mini Stocks, Tayla Orleans in the Allison Legacy Cars, Corey Hutchings in the Late Models, Jason Heroux in the Pro Fours, Seth Duval in the Trucks and Dwayne Door in the Sportsman. Waterford’s regular Saturday night season begins a week from this coming Saturday on April 1.
 
The Thompson Speedway goes green this weekend with IceBreaker ’06. Thompson’s IceBreaker will be the opener for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series which will run a 150 lap event. Joining the Modifieds will be the tracks Sunoco Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Late Models, Limited Sportsman, Thompson Modifieds and Mini Stocks
Thompson’s pit gates will open at 8 AM on Saturday and 8:30 AM on Sunday. Grandstands will open at 9:30 on both days. Saturdays racing will begin with qualifying at 1:15 PM. Once qualifying has been completed in all divisions, the Sunoco Modifieds and the Late Models will compete in the first of two IceBreaker weekend feature races. Sunday’s racing will showcase all seven divisions and will begin at 12 Noon. Tickets are priced at $35 for adults, $10 for juniors and $45 for pit admission.
 
In Whelen Modified Tour Series news, Eric Beers, who underwent emergency surgery to remove his appendix on March 7, has fully recovered and will be ready to go when Michael Boehler unloads Ole Blu at Thompson this coming weekend. Beers suffered a broken collar bone during the running of last year’s Ice Breaker. Ricky Fuller has hooked up with Joe Brady, at least for the IceBreaker and it looks like Ronnie Silk has a full time ride on the tour.
Word leaked out last week that another date had been added to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. The Modifieds will return to Jennerstown Pa. on June 17. No details were released but Ted Christopher stated that he was disappointed with what he heard was the race purse.
 
The proposed domed speedway in Plainfield Ct. has been out of the news in recent months. Now comes word that the First Selectman, Kevin Cunningham, has asked the town planning commission to repeal the controversial zoning regulations that would have allowed a domed speedway to be built in a new commercial district near the existing greyhound track. Cunningham has allies in the Planning and Zoning Commission which could work in his favor. If Cunningham is successful and the zoning regulations are repealed, the roughly 820 acres that were designated as the Resort/Recreational Development District, known as the C5 District will revert back to their previous zoning designations, the possibility of building a domed speedway in Plainfield would be dead. It has been almost a year since the C5 District regulations were approved and the district was established in the southeastern section of the town. During this time town officials have waited for an application to build a multimillion-dollar domed speedway which would generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, and attract NASCAR-caliber events to the area. In the mean time, Eugene Arganese, and his New England Raceway LLC, has not submitted an application despite saying several times that one is in the works.
 
In TV land, this week’s viewing begins on Wednesday, April 5 at 5:00pm with the USAR Hooters Cup Late Model event that was run at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia last Saturday. Last Sunday’s Nextel Cup DirecTV 500 gets rerun on Speed on Thursday at 4:00pm. On Friday the Speed Channel goes live at 3:30pm from the Texas Motorspeedway. Live coverage by Speed continues at 4:30pm with NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. At 7:00pm Speed presents the Crown Royal IROC Series, Round #2, from the Texas Motor Speedway. Live programming from Texas for Saturday begins at noon for an hour. At 2:00pm the live action moves to FOX for Nextel Cup Happy Hour practice. The NASCAR Busch Series, O’Reilly 300 from the Texas Motor Speedway follows at 3:00pm. At 5:00pm the action moves to the Outdoor Channel for the USAC Thunder: Silver Crown Series event that was run at Homestead, FL, on Mar 25. SPEED News Saturday wraps up the day at 7:30pm. On Sunday, April 9, two hours worth of NASCAR Race Day previews the Nextel Cup Samsung/Radio Shack 500 from the Texas Motor Speedway. The green flag drops at 1:30pm on FOX.  Speed News Sunday wraps it up at 7:00pm followed by NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain goes at 9:00p.m.
 
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the first quarter had a somewhat disappointing ending. All three-speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.11 to 50.90 while Dover Downs dropped 0.05 to 5.43 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.03 to 38.10. On the positive side Nextel went up 0.19 to 25.83. Sun Oil took a dip as they dropped 1.15 to 77.60. Sun started the year at 78.42. Featherlite Trailers had a positive ending as they went up 0.29 to 5.00 while DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.20 to 3.85. The drug sector took a substantial hit as Pfizer dropped 1.17 to 24.85 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.92 to 24.60. The same went for the home improvement sector as Lowes dropped 1.75 to 66.40 and Home Depot dropped 0.88 to 42.24. The parcel carriers had a good week. UPS went up 0.51 to 79.38 while Fedex rose 1.09 to 112.90.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com  


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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