Tuesday April 26, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Whelen Modified Tour Series Spring Break comes to an end this coming weekend with the running of the annual Spring Sizzler at Stafford on Sunday, May 1. Among the special guests will be Gary DeSarro, the oldest son of the original Sizzler winner, the late Fred DeSarro. DeSarro will drive one of the famous Ole Blu No.3 coupes that was driven by his dad and built by the late Len Boehler, on the pace laps of the 200 lap Whelen Modified Tour Series events. Michael Boehler, son of the late car owner, will also be on hand.

Bob Potter, 5-time SK Modified track champion, will serve as the grand marshal of the 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler. Potter drove the Roger Bonnville No. 110 in the first Sizzler and finished ninth.
The 40th Annual CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler gets underway Friday, April 29 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 30 with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat and consolation races for Stafford’s weekly divisions. Saturday will wrap up with feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions. The Sizzler continues on Sunday, May 1 with the CARQUEST Belts & Hose 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. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour was in action on Saturday, at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, N.C. Ted Christopher made it two in a row as he edged Thomas Stinson in a two-lap dash to the finish.

Christopher, a veteran of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with 294 career starts and 39 wins on that circuit, took command from pole-sitter George Brunnhoelzl III on the sixth lap of the Caraway 150 and held off Stinson in a green-white-checkered finish to win by .284 seconds.

Christopher's victory follows his at South Boston, Va. It marked the sixth career win in 15 starts in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour for the Plainville, Conn., driver and his fourth win at Caraway. After being passed, Brunnhoelzl stayed close and shadowed Christopher for most of the race. He made several challenges, but was not able to regain the lead. Stinson, who had started 17th, caught the pair on Lap 125 and gained the second spot on Lap 131. He attempted to move by Christopher for the lead, but had to settle for the runner-up spot. John Smith finished third with Brunnhoelzl and Frank Fleming rounding out the top five. Jason Myers, Austin Pack, Tim Brown, Lee Jefferies and James Civali made up the top ten. Jeffries was pinch hitting for the injured Burt Myers. Ten of the original 20 starters were on the lead lap at the finish.

The tour returns to Caraway on July 1 for the next event on the schedule.

For the second week in a row the Waterford Speedbowl pulled the plug on last Saturday's races due to cold weather and heavy rain along the Connecticut shoreline. Waterford will try again this coming Saturday.

NASCAR announced today the list of 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's third induction class to be enshrined in January 2012. From that list, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Of the 25 nominees, 20 return from last year's group. Five are first-timers: H. Clay Earles, Bobby Isaac, Cotton Owens, Les Richter and Leonard Wood.

-Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series championships (1956-57)
- Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949
- Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
- Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
- H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
- Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion
- Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
- Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series champion
- Dale Inman, eight-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series championship crew chief
- Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
- Cotton Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson
- Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
- Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway
- Fireball Roberts, won 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series races, including the 1962 Daytona 500
- T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as R.J. Reynolds Senior VP
- Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, 1951, 1953
- Curtis Turner, early personality, called the Babe Ruth of stock car racing-
- Darrell Waltrip, 84 wins and three NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series championships
- Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
- Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers- future team success
- Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops
- Cale Yarborough, three consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles, 1976-78

In TV land NASCAR Now on espn2 can be seen at 5:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. NASCAR Now will air on Thursday at 5:00pm. NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 7:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday This weeks race viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Thursday at noon with a re-run of last weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series Nashville 300 that was run at the Nashville Superspeedway. At 3:00pm Speed replays last years NASCAR Sprint Cup Crown Royal Heath Calhoun 400 that was run at the Richmond International Raceway. At 5:00pm on the Versus channel there will be two-one hour segments of the Lucas Motorsports Hour. At 6:00pm Speed will show the April 2 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 that was run at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC. At 8:00pm Speed has a 90 minute program titled the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown live from Richmond, VA. Speed goes live on Friday morning at 10:30 with Nationwide

Series practice from Richmond. Sprint Cup practice follows at noon. NASCAR Live kicks in at 2:00 for a half hour before the Sprint Cup cars run their final hour of practice at 2:30pm. NASCAR Live goes at 3:30 followed by Nationwide Series qualifying at 4:00pm. Sprint Cup qualifying from Richmond follows at 5:30pm. NASCAR Live serves as a pre-race show at 7:00pm. Action on the Speed Channel continues at 7:30 with live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond. SPEED Centre and later Trackside round out the day at 10:30pm. Saturday's viewing gets an early start at 7:00am on Speed with Mobil 1 The Grid. At noon the action moves to espn2 for NASCAR Now. At 1:00pm Speed repeats the recent Bristol Speed Record program. At 2:30 Speed features Ned Jarrett on their NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography program. Speed goes live in Richmond at 5:00pm with NASCAR RaceDay for two hours. At 6:00pm Versus has IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying for the São Paulo Indy 300 in São Paulo, Brazil. At 7:00pm FOX goes live with the NASCAR pre-race program that will lead to the 7:30pm start of the Crown Royal Presents The Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond. SPEED Centre on Speed wraps it up at 11:00pm. Sunday's viewing starts at noon on Versus with the IZOD IndyCar Series Itaipava Sao Paulo Indy 300 at São Paulo, Brazil. At 6:00pm Versus has the Lucas Oil Motorsport Hour. At 7:00pm the Speed Channel presents Speed Center and at 8:00pm Speed has Victory Lane. At 9:00pm the Speed Channel has Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports had a positive ending as they went up 0.49 to 15.44 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.14 to 30.52 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.02 to 1.99. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint showed a no-change for the week as they closed at 4.81. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.73 to 42.17 while tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.81 to 15.96. The car makers had a positive week. Leading the way was Ford which went up 0.72 to 15.43General Motors went up 0.71 to 30.95 and Toyota went up 0.16 to 77.80. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.37 to 37.80 while Lowes dropped 0.38 to 26.67. The major team sponsors continued along their bumpy road. Dupont went up 1.02 to 55.91 while Coke dropped 1.47 to 70.73. Target Department Stores dropped 0.34 to 49.90 while Aarons Rentals went up 0.01 to 26.01 and Fedex went up 1.36 to 93.94.

The International Speedway Corporation announced an increase in its annual dividend and the re-election of three members to its Board of Directors. ISC declared an annual dividend of $0.18 per share, payable on June 30, 2011, to common stockholders of record on May 31, 2011, marking the 38th consecutive year that the Company has paid a dividend to its shareholders. ISC paid an annual dividend of $0.16 per share in 2010.

Separately, at the annual meeting of ISC shareholders, the following members of the Company's Board of Directors were re-elected to a three-year term: James C. France; Brian Z. France; and Lloyd E. Reuss.

In an unrelated matter, Speedway Motorsports, Inc declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share of common stock. The quarterly dividend will be payable on June 10, 2011, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 20, 2011.

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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