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 30, six 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.
The majority of the NASCAR brass takes a break between Christmas and New Years. Negotiations for Tour Series race dates will resume shortly and hopefully schedules will be finalized by mid January.
On the week leading up to Christmas the management of the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts was recommending that competitors not purchase a NASCAR competition license for 2006 until they released the information that Seekonk would again be a member of the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series for next season. The Venditti family that has owned and operated the oval known as the Cement Palace since 1946 was having second thoughts as far as signing up with NASCAR. The Seekonk management is unhappy over the fact that they have to compete with televised Nextel Cup and Busch Series events that are run on Saturday nights. Francis Venditti informed NASCAR on Thursday, December 22 that the speedway will not renew its NASCAR sanction for the 2006 season. With that comes speculation that the Whelen Modified Tour Series will not be at the Route 6 oval in 2006.
The Waterford Speedbowl, on the other hand, is continuing their association with the Daytona Beach based sanctioning body. The Connecticut shoreline oval will open for its 56th consecutive season with the ninth annual Modified Nationals on April 1-2, and will run each week through the "Finale" on Sept. 23-24. The SK-Modifieds, Late Models, Sportsman, Mini Stocks and Legends will again be the standard fare. General Manager Bill Roth stated the return of the supers and the first visit of the True Value Modified Tour on Saturday night, June 17 both "received considerable applause" at the Christmas Party. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour comes to the Speedbowl on July 22 and the NASCAR Busch North visits on Saturday, Aug. 19. Season ticket information is available by calling the Speedbowl office at 860-442-1585.
In TV land, this weekís viewing will consist of mostly Speed Channel programming. This week's viewing is mighty lean to say the least. The 2005 Year in Racing, Craftsman Truck Series starts the week off on Tuesday, December 22 at 8:00am. The truck review will also be seen on Wednesday at 2:00pm and Friday at 6:00pm. Also on Tuesday is NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 9:30am and at 7:00pm. On Wednesday, December 28, NASCAR, Beyond the wheel taped at Watkins Glen goes at 9:30am and again at 7:00pm. At 3:00pm itís the 2005 Year in Revue for the Grand Am/Rolex Sports Cars. NASCAR, Beyond the Wheel, taped at Michigan will be shown on Thursday at 9:30am and at 7:00pm. Fridayís selection is more of the same except the programming was taped in Bristol. Show times are at 9:30am and at 7:00pm. As many get ready to ring in the New Year Saturday and Sunday will be without any racing to watch. Subscriptions for Louís 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 were down while the International Speedway Corporation took a good gain as they went up 3.12 to 47.50. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.23 to 34.77 and Dover Downs dropped 0.27 to 6.13. For the fourth week in a row Nextel was down as they dropped 0.69 to 23.84. Sun Oil went up 0.68 to 80.03 as did Featherlite Trailers which went up 0.17 to 4.37. Also ending the week on the positive side was DIRT Motorsports which went up 0.35 to 6.25. For the second week in a row the drug sector showed good results. Pfizer went up 1.38 to 23.96 and Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.92 to 22.94. The home improvement sector didnít do as well. Lowes dropped 1.95 to 67.46 and Home Depot dropped 0.91 to 41.59. The parcel carriers finished up their big week with positive results. Fedex went up 4.76 to 104.56 and UPS went up 1.12 to 77.14.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. has approved cash bonuses totaling $3.22 million to its top executives for 2005, the company says in a regulatory filing. Chief Executive Bruton Smith led the bonuses with $1.35 million granted by a Dec. 7 vote of Speedway's compensation committee. In 2004, Smith received a $1 million cash bonus to supplement his $400,000 salary. Speedway President Humpy Wheeler got a $650,000 bonus, up from $550,000 in 2004. His base salary in 2004 was $325,000. Treasurer William Brooks received $600,000, up $200,000 from 2004. Brooks' base salary in 2004 was $300,000. The filing says Smith's bonus was based on achieving targets for return on equity, debt reduction and reported earnings. Wheeler's and Brooks' bonuses were based on performance and operating results, the filing states.
The filing notes a bonus has not been set for Marcus Smith, executive vice president of national sales and marketing for the raceway company. The filing says Smith is expected to receive $720,000, depending on final results for 2005.