Tuesday April 20, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series opened for the 2010 season at the Thompson Speedway with the Icebreaker 150 which was won by Bobby Santos III. Santos leads Ryan Preece by 15 points going into the Sizzler. NASCAR now awards bonus points to race winners and lap leaders. Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Rowan Pennick, Chris Pasteryak, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and Eric Beers. All are entered for the Stafford Sizzler.

The 2010 Tech-Net Spring Sizzler weekend begins on Friday, April 23 with a practice session for Stafford's weekly divisions. The practice session will be open to the public at no charge. Action continues on Saturday, April 24 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford's weekly divisions. Saturday will conclude with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, April 25 with the Tech-Net Pit Party followed by Stafford's SK Modifieds® and Late Models joining the Whelen Modified Tour in feature action. Tickets for the "Greatest Race in the History of Spring" are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $35.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is priced at
$38.00 for all ages.

The Spring Sizzler was conceived in 1972 by Dick Berggren, Lew Boyd and Bruce Cohen. The original Sizzler was an 80 lap-Open Competition event which was won by the late Fred DeSarro who drove Len Boehler's 'ole Blu.

The Waterford Speedbowl fell victim to rain and cold last Saturday. After three events Ron Yuhas Jr holds a slim one point lead over Keith Rocco. Rocco won the first two. Yuhas was declared the winner on April 10 when the SK Modified feature was red-checkered after 12 laps. Because of the way the event was going Race Director Tom Fox made a good choice. NASCAR refuses to acknowledge the fact that the race was called before the half way mark. Sitting in third spot on the point ladder is Tyler Chadwick. Justin Gaydosh and Rob Janovic round out the top five. Tim Jordan is the Late Model Point leader while Walt Hovey leads the Strictly Stocks, Danny Field, the Mini's, Giovanni Giarratana, the Legends and Bill Leonard, the trucks.

At the Thompson Speedway Keith Rocco and Ted Christopher are tied for the Sunoco (SK) Modified point lead. Ten points back is Rowan Pennick and Danny Cates. Rounding out the top five is Ron Cilk. Derek Randstrom leads the Super Late Models, Leo Defevers, the Mini Stocks, Shawn Monahan, the Limited Sportsman, Brian Sullivan, the Thompson Mods and Rick Gentes, the Late Models. Weekly Thursday night Thunder Racing starts on May 20.

Word has it that Burt Meyers and his family arrived home in North Carolina, safe and sound. Myers and many other southern competitors are making final preparations for the upcoming season, their 62nd, at the Bowman- Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. The season opener, the Tucson 200 (200-lap Modified race) and 40-lap Sportsman race. Called The MadHouse, Bowman-Gray is a flat 1/4 mile speedway around the outer perimeter of a football field.
Bowman-Gray consistently draws between 8-10,000 every Saturday night. A large part of the family appeal comes from the budget friendly ticket prices at Bowman Gray Stadium. Adult Admission is only $10, with children 6-11 getting in for only one dollar (children 5 and under are free!). And always popular with the fans are the “$1 Ladies’ Night” - where women can see the racing action for only a buck!

The Bob Valenti Auto Mall Racing Series/Race of Champions Modified Series combination event scheduled for last Sunday was rained out and has been rescheduled for Friday, May 21. The event drew 49 Modifieds and looked to be the rebirth of what used to be at the New York State oval.

From 1965 to 1975 the Albany Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY attracted the best in the business of asphalt Modified Racing from New York and New England every Friday night. Legendary drivers like Bugs Stevens, Smokey Boutwell, Leo Cleary, Ernie Gahan, Rene Charland, Pete Hamilton, Don MacTavish, Bill Slater, Fred DeSarro, Eddie Flemke, Lou Lazzaro, Jerry Cook and the great Richie Evans, all competed at the 4/10 mile speedway. From 1976 until late last year the 4/10 mile oval was a dirt track. The Richards family changed it back to asphalt and the track brought in the New England based Bob Valenti Auto Mall Modified Series for the Grand re-Opening.

Hall of Famer Brian Ross, one of the most influential drivers and fabricators of his generation, was scheduled to be the grand marshal for Sunday’s race. Ross began his racing career in the charger division at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in the late 1960s and progressed to have a distinguished career on the NASCAR asphalt modified series.

In TV land this weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 10:30am with NASCAR: What’s the Deal? with Jimmy Spencer. NASCAR Now on espn2 at 5:00pm can be seen on Tuesday and Wednesday at that time. NASCAR Racehub on Speed comes on at 7:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Also on Speed on Tuesday is Race in 60: NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway at 8:00pm followed by NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography: Bill France, Sr at 9:00pm. The Speed Channel has the complete replay of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung Mobile 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday at noon. At 9:00pm Speed presents: NASCAR Hall of Fame: the First Look. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel replays last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series O’Reilly 300 that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway. Last year's Sprint Cup Aaron’s 449 from the Talladega Superspeedway follows at 3:00pm. At 6:00pm it will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Jimmie Johnson Foundation 100 at the Phoenix Intl. Raceway. Friday's action begins at 11:30am with NASCAR Nationwide qualifying for the Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at the Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR Live at Talladega follows at 1:30. At 2:00pm the Sprint Cup cars get a 60 minute practice followed by a 30 minute break before another 60 minutes of practice NASCAR Live goes again at 4:30. The ARCA Racing Series 250 at Talladega follows at 5:00pm. Trackside (NASCAR) at Talladega Superspeedway rounds out the day at 7:30pm. Saturday's viewing gets an early start with NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at 11:30am. At 2:30pm the action shifts to ABC for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead into a 3:00pm start of the Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312 at Talladega. At 6:00pm Speed presents NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography: Bill France, Jr. Sunday's action begins at 9:00am on espn2 with NASCAR Now. Speed takes over at 10:00am with a two hour Raceday pre-race program. FOX goes live at noon with another hour of pre-race which will lead in to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron's 499 at Talladega at 1:00pm. Rounding out the weekend on Sunday night is The SPEED Report at 7:00, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.
The NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was run at the South Boston Speedway in Virginia on Saturday night, April 3, will be shown on the Speed Channel on Thursday, April 29, at 6:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene two of the three speedway stocks had negative endings. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.13 to 2.12 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.02 while the International Speedway Corporation jumped up 1.00 to 27.49. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.03 to 4.08 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.38 to 29.27. Tire supplier Goodyear was all positive as they went up 1.40 to 14.27. The car makers were a mixed bag. Ford went up 0.70 to 13.42 and Toyota dropped 0.55 to 79.37. General Motors had a no-change at 0.55. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.76 to 35.01 and Lowes went up 0.66 to 26.29. With the exception of Target Department Stores which went up 0.32 to 55.99 the major team sponsors were down for the week. Dupont dropped 0.53 to 38.66, Coca-Cola dropped 0.15 to 56.64 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.42 to 22.84.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

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

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