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For Tuesday December 13, 2005

By Phil Smith                                                    
 
Despite the fact that winter is about to descend upon us race fans and competitors are thinking positive and are looking foreword to 2006. As of this Friday, December 16, eight weeks remain until Speed Weeks start in Florida. The New Smyrna World Series will get the green flag on Friday night, February 10. Action at Daytona Beach for the Nextel Cup division shifts into high gear on Saturday, February 11.
 
For those of you from New England, New York State or Long Island who don’t like to drive or fly to Florida for Speedweeks there is an alternative. Hampton Jitney, based on Long Island is offering a Daytona racing package that includes transportation, motels and race tickets. The trip begins on Tuesday February 14th and returns back on Long Island on Tuesday February 21st. Other details include reserved Nextel Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck/IROC and Gatorade Duel 150's ticket - 7 nights’ accommodations at the Quality Inn International Drive Front stretch Tickets in Nextel, Petty or Tower Backstretch Same seats all 4 days. Total package pricing is as follows:
Single
Double Occ.
Triple Occ.
Quad Occ.
1508.00
1351.00
1299.00
1273.00
For more information contact Hampton Jitney at (631) 283-4600, (212) 362-8400 From New York City or toll free 800) 327-0732 E-mail at info@hamptonjitney.com
 
NASCAR holds its annual awards banquet for the Whelen Modified Tour Series this Friday, December 16. Tony Hirschman will officially be crowned the series champion. In 18 events Hirschman scored 13 top tens including five wins. It all came down to the final event held at the Thompson Speedway where Hirschman ended the season with an 18-point lead over Christopher. Christopher was the series-leading winner with seven victories to his credit. Chuck Hossfeld went winless but his consistency brought him in third in points at season’s end. Hossfeld finished 65 points behind Christopher. Jerry Marquis joined forces with Bob Garbarino and the Mystic Missile. After a slow start the combination clicked to record three wins. Marquis was 19 points behind Hossfeld. Despite an almost career ending wreck at the series opening IceBreaker at Thompson Eric Beers fought back, never giving up, as he finished the season in fifth spot with one win. Don Lia was considered an early season favorite but his lack of consistency negated him to sixth in the final running order. Doug Coby III completed his first full year on the tour and despite going winless brought the Curt Chase No.77 home in the top ten in nine of 18 starts. Ricky Fuller, Mike Christopher and Zach Sylvester rounded out the top ten in the final standings.
 
The Stafford Motor Speedway has finalized their rules for their all new entry level racing division, the SK Lights. Unlike the Thompson Modifieds, the SK Lights will allow all cars that are approved for both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Stafford's SK Modified division. Scoring transponders will be required on all cars. Drivers must have a NASCAR license and drivers competing in the SK Light Modified division at Stafford Speedway will not be permitted to race in the DARE Stock, Limited Late Model, Late Model, or SK Modified divisions on the same event date. Mark Arute stated that over 100 interested people were in attendance at recent meetings that outlined the division. The SK Lights will have strict cost controls including what is called a "Crate Engine". The tire rule for the division will allow for SK Light competitors to utilize take-off tires from SK Modified competitors for three of the four tire positions.
 
In recent years the cost of an SK Modified has gotten out of reach for the average back yard racer. Fields of cars that once were 50 plus are now at 24 or less. The SK Lights will make their debut on Sizzler Sunday, April 30 with a 20 lap feature.
 
Ted Christopher may be getting a new crew chief in the form of Phil Moran in 2006. Barry Kuhnel is no longer with Mystique Motorsports. Moran became unemployed following the North – South Shootout. According to Christopher’s web site he had raced in 85 events in 2005. Christopher, who is a multi time champion at New Smyrna in Florida will begin his 2006 in the sunshine state but at a different venue. For the first time he will partake in the 24 Hours of Daytona on the 4.1 mile road course at the Daytona International Speedway. Christopher will drive a Porsche owned by Brumos Racing, one of the leading teams on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. The Rolex 24 at Daytona will be held on January 26-29, 2006. Christopher is also expected to compete in the World Series at New Smyrna in February.
 
In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation now airs on Monday 7:00pm. At 9:00pm its Monday Night NASCAR with Geoff Bodine on ESPNews. Also on a weekly basis is "Back Seat Drivers" which looks at hot topics circulating in the garage area. "Back Seat Drivers" airs on Wednesday at 7:00pm. This week's viewing begins on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13 at 9:30AM on Speed with NASCAR Beyond the Wheel which features the All-Star Weekend at Lowes Motor Speedway last May. On WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14 at 12:00 midnight the action switches to TNT for a taped delayed broadcast of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series Awards Show held at the Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, FL, on Dec 9. At 9:30AM the action switches back to the Speed Channel for NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway which features driver Kurt Busch. At 2:00P.M. SPEED presents NASCAR Fast Forward which recaps the Apr 16-17 action in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series at the Texas Motor Speedway. On THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15 at 9:30AM its NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Dover Intl. Speedway which features the teams of Greg Biffle and Mike Bliss. At 2:00P.M. NASCAR Fast Forward recaps action in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series at the Phoenix International Raceway on Apr 22-23.At 9:30AM NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Pocono Intl. Raceway on June 24 is shown. At 3:00P.M. the Hardee’s Summer Shootout, Round #3 from the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC followed by the Hardee’s Summer Shootout, Round #4.
NASCAR Speed News and Speed News Sunday wrap up the weekend’s racing at 8:00pm. Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.
 
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene all three-speedway stocks were down. The big boys really took a hit after the TV deal was announced. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 7.68 to 47.24. Speedway Motorsports dropped 5.13 to 34.04 and Dover Downs dropped 0.07 to 6.19. Nextel dropped 0.22 to 24.88 as did Sun Oil who dropped 1.24 to 81.57. Action Performance went up 0.16 to 12.98 and Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.06 to 4.09. Boundless Motorsports stayed the same at 6.00. In the drug sector, Pfizer dropped 0.67 to 20.60 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.49 to 21.46. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 0.23 to 68.00 while Home Depot dropped 0.61 to 41.06. Fedex went up 0.16 to 98.18.


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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