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 23, seven 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. New Smyrna Modified Tour director Richard Brooks says that entries have been coming in and the way things look the SK Modifieds will more than likely have their own feature rather than having to run with the Tour Type Modifieds.
NASCAR held its annual awards banquet for the Whelen Modified Tour Series this past Friday, December 16. Tony Hirschman was officially crowned the series champion. The Whelen Modified Tour Series continues to be one of the strongest in NASCAR. In 18 events 85 different drivers entered into competition. Hirschman and Ted Christopher accounted for 12 wins between themselves and amassed $188,325. For the most part the Whelen Modified Tour Series is sponsored by wealthy car owners and drivers. Without their help the division would be in trouble. Loyalty is a great thing and the Modifieds have more than most.
The affair, second only to the Nextel Cup in attendance, drew a good representation from the sanctioning body including Vice President Jim Hunter, Tour Series Officials Don Hawk and Ed Cox along with Brett Bodine and Jerry Cook from the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. Special guests included former NASCAR Modified greats Geoff Bodine and Steve Park along with Phil Kurze, Director of Motorsports at tour sponsor Whelen Engineering.
Don Hawk gave a State of the State speech, which alluded to the fact that NASCAR realizes the strength and well being of its oldest division. Hawk stated that he hopes to have the 2006 schedule out by January 1. "My goal for 2006 is to under promise and over deliver", he said. "We are going to have to travel more and we need to better entertain and to thank the tour series sponsors and track operators", he added. Hawk also presented Phil Kurze with a NASCAR Modified Tour Series championship ring. Hawk also stated that it looked good for TV coverage for the upcoming year. Vice President Hunter later said that the Martinsville event along with the two at Loudon would be televised. He also said that they are working on televising at least one event each from Thompson and Stafford.
In addition to awards to the top twenty owners and drivers numerous special awards were handed out. Michael Boehler presented the prestigious Len Boehler Car Owner of the Year award to Tony Ferrente Sr. Beth Caron of the Whelen Modified Tour Auxiliary presented the Donna Parks award to Tour Official Jeri Dufrene and the Smiley Waterman award to Walt Newcomb. The Featherlite Trailers Most Inproved Award went to John Blewett III. Because of recent surgery Blewett was unable to attend. The Powerade Power Move award went to Dave Etheridge. Etheridge also received a check for $5,000 from the drink maker. Brett Bodine presented the Bud Pole Award to Tony Hirschman. Hirschman’s seven poles earned him a check for $4,500. Don Hawk presented Ted Christopher with the Tom Baldwin Memorial Award. Christopher, who just recently landed a ride in the 24 Hours of Daytona thanked Jerry Cook for making it happen. Cook presented the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Dedication Award to Tony Ferrente Sr and Tony Ferrente Jr. Tour loyalist Jake Marosz was presented the Tour Sportsmanship Award. Marosz was also presented with three drums of racing fuel by awards banquet MC Mike Joy and John Holland of New England Race Fuels. The Tour Driver Achievment Award went to Steve Whitt. John Holland presented the Rookie of the Year Award to Tyler Haydt. Haydt received a check for $3,000 plus will receive $200 for every event in which he competes in 2006. Bob Dilner of 51 Sports.com sponsored and conducted the Most Popular Driver Award and for the first time allowed the fans to vote. Tony Hirschman won by a landslide. As the awards banquet wound down Phil Kurze presented the top ten drivers with a special issue jacked from Whelen and last but not least Hirschman was presented with his Championship Ring from Jim Hunter.
The Waterford Speedbowl held their annual Christmas Party on December 12 at the Groton Inn and Suites. The event produced over 200 gifts for the State of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. Speedbowl General Manager Bill Roth called it "another success," pointing out "the generosity of the Speedbowl family continues to grow every year." Roth told the 200-plus attendees that the Speedbowl will open its 56th consecutive year with the ninth annual Modified Nationals on April 1-2 and close with the Finale on Columbus Day weekend. The announcement that the Supermodifieds will return on May 27 received a sizable response as did the June 17th True Value Modified Series event.
In some sad news, retired driver and retired Connecticut State DMV Garage Inspector Marvin Chase of North Stonington, CT passed away at the age of 65 on Monday, December 12. Chase, who was also the Vice President of the New England Antique Racers (NEAR) was very active in the organization. Marvin raced at Lonsdale, Norwood, Thompson and Waterford. He drove the #71 coupe and later # 3 and # 71 Pinto Modifieds at the Waterford Speedbowl. He will be greatly missed.
In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of mostly Speed Channel programming. This week's viewing begins on Tuesday, December 20, at 9:30am with NASCAR Beyond the Wheel featuring Tony Stewart and Boris Said when they were at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA last summer. On Wednesday, December 21 at 2:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward recaps the Nextel Cup and Busch Series events run at Darlington on May 6 & 7.At 7:00pm NASCAR Beyond the Wheel visits the Daytona International Speedway. On Thursday, December 22 NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from the Chicagoland Speedway airs at 9:30am and at 7:00pm. NASCAR Fast Forward recaps the Nextel Cup and Busch Series action at Richmond that took place on May 14 & 15 at 2:00pm. On Friday, December 23, NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from the New Hampshire International Speedway goes green at 9:30am and at 7:00pm. ESPN Classic presents the 1996 Purolator 500 Nextel Cup event at 7:00pm. Saturday’s viewing will consist of reruns of the Hardee’s Summer Shootout from 3-5:00pm and Drag Racing from Epping, NH at 5:00pm. Sunday, Christmas Day will see six hours of the 2005 Year in Racing starting at noon. Among the series that will be covered are Formula 1, Craftsman Truck, Nextel Cup, Busch and Grand Am/Rolex Sports Cars. 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 last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week in the green. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.96 to 35.00 and Dover Downs went up 0.21 to 6.40. On the down side was the International Speedway Corporation, which dropped 2.86 to 44.38. Nextel dropped 0.35 to 24.53 and Sun Oil dropped 2.22 to 79.35. Featherlite Trailers ended the week in the green as they went up 0.11 to 4.20. DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.10 to 5.90. In the drug sector, Pfizer announced they were increasing their dividend, which resulted in their stock taking a jump, as they went up 1.98 to 22.58. Bristol Meyers-Squib also had a positive week ending as they went up 0.61 to 22.02. The home improvement sector also had a good week. Home Depot went up 1.44 to 42.50 and Lowes went up 1.41 to 69.41. Parcel carriers Fedex and UPS are now in the midst of their busiest week of the year. Both had positive results for the week. Fedex went up 1.72 to 99.90 and UPS went up 0.18 to 76.02.
Action Performance was removed from trading on the stock market last Tuesday, December 13, 2005 when the company was absorbed in a 50/50 joint venture between the International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports, which will be conducting business under the name Motorsports Authentics. Action Performance stockholders will receive $13 in cash in exchange for each share of Action common stock that they owned.
DIRT Motorsports, (Boundless Motorsports) announced the change of the company's ticker symbol to DMSP from BMSR. The Company has reserved "DIRT" as its future ticker symbol in anticipation of filing an application for listing on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market in early 2006.