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For Tuesday December 6, 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 9, nine 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.
 
NASCAR’s elite and all the big wigs of the sport were in New York City last Friday night to officially crown Tony Stewart as the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion. Outgoing Champion Kurt Busch was there but pretty much kept his distance from Jack Rousch who had benched Busch after he had a confrontation with the cops in Phoenix. While all this was going on the state of Florida continues to work toward getting the proposed NASCAR Museum located in Daytona Beach. Florida lawmakers are moving forward with a plan aimed at creating a NASCAR license tag to help pay for the stock-car hall of fame in Daytona Beach. Legislators filed bills last Thursday to create the tag and will seek to take up the issue during a special legislative session next week. Supporters hope to use money from sales of the tag, estimated at as much as $1.5 million a year, to help finance the hall of fame and increase Daytona Beach's effort to outbid four other cities for the tourism draw. NASCAR officials are expected to make a decision about the location of the hall of fame during the first quarter of next year. Daytona Beach is competing with Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Richmond, Va., for the project.
The six-year, $2.4 billion deal NASCAR has with Fox-FX and NBC-TNT expires after next season. NASCAR president Brian France said talks are "going along nicely." Fox-FX is expected to keep the first half of the season, with ABC-ESPN replacing NBC as the second-half partner. TNT might remain part of the new agreement. The trend toward more night races or, at least, more late starts so races end under the lights, is almost certain to continue.
 
The Norwich CT Bulletin reported on Friday, December 2 that two residents filed an application with the Planning and Zoning Commission that seeks to have the commission eliminate the resort/recreational development (C-5) zone it created earlier this year. Creation of the C-5 zone was the initial step in a proposal by Trumbull developer Gene Arganese to build a $400 million, 140,000-seat domed auto racetrack and convention center on land off Lathrop Road near the Plainfield Greyhound Park. The commission approved creation of the C-5 zone in late April, setting aside more than 900 acres off Interstate 305 exits 87 and 88 for inclusion in the zone. The application seeks to have the commission repeal the regulations creating the C-5 zone. The land designated for inclusion in the zone would revert to its original zoning classification, which generally falls under industrial, commercial or residential use.
The Millville, New Jersey City Planning Board approved the construction of a new racing complex on November 21. New Jersey Motorsports Park LLC can start building its proposed Thunderbolt Raceway The first phase is a 4.1 mile road course with an anticipated opening in 2007. The second phase will include a ¾ mile oval with seating for 10,000 and a scheduled completion by 2011. The total project cost is expected to be $100,000,000. The majority principals and co-managers of the company are Harvey Siegel and Lee Brahin. Both have experience in commercial real estate development and are New Jersey residents. Mr. Siegel is the owner of the Virginia International Raceway (VIR), the VIR Motorsport Country Club and Resort and the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park. He conducted the renovation of that historic complex which is now considered one of the nation's premier road courses. Lee Brahin is the operating principal of Brahin Properties, Inc., Brahin Management Corporation and Commercial Property Associates, Inc. The combined companies specialize in the development, management, acquisition, financing and brokerage of Commercial properties. The current Brahin organization portfolio exceeds 2.5 million square feet and has a value in excess of $100,000,000 with properties in six states.
A devastating fire struck Troyer Engineering in Rochester, NY on October 1. Troyer, who designs and manufactures Modified type racecars for both asphalt and dirt track was all but put out of business. With over 30 asphalt Modifieds on order and a fair amount of dirt cars on backlog business owner and former driver Billy Colton salvaged what he could and re-opened in a new location. Two weeks ago the first completed cars rolled off his assembly line. Among those that Colton has credited for his success is Brad Lafontaine and his company, Northeast Race Cars and Parts in Pascoag, RI.
For the most part there has been little news coming from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. Dribs and dabs of a schedule have been leaked by tracks that have released their 2006 schedules but nothing will be cast in stone until next Friday when Tony Hirschman is officially crowned the 2005 Champion at the annual banquet and awards ceremony at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT. It has been learned that Eric Beers will be back in Ole Blu for 2006. Michael Boehler and his race team are working hard in getting two cars ready to go for the tenative season opener at Thompson in the spring. Despite the fact that Beers was injured in a bone jarring wreck at Thompson in last years IceBreaker the Pennsylvania driver came back after missing one event and still managed a top five finish in this past year’s point standings. Hill Enterprises in Westfield, NC officially announced last week that Chuck Hossfeld had replaced Mike Christopher as their driver. Hossfeld was a contender for championship honors as he finished a scant 83 points behind Hirschman and Ted Christopher.
 
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 6 at 9:30AM on SPEED with NASCAR Beyond the Wheel #6, Texas Motor Speedway. From 2:00p.m. To-4:00p.m. its NASCAR Fast Forward which recaps the action in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Series that took place at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 23. On WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7 at 9:30AM its NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Phoenix. At 2:00P.M. D
NASCAR Fast Forward: Recaps action in the Busch Series at the Nashville Superspeedway on Mar 26. On THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8 at 9:30AM its NASCAR Beyond the Wheel #7 and #9, from Talladega Superspeedway, featured driver Kyle Busch. Speedway action continues at 2:00P.M. when NASCAR Fast Forward: Recaps action in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Apr 2-3. On FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9 at 9:30AM another edition of NASCAR Beyond the Wheel , this time from Darlington Raceway featuring drivers Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson. At 12:00noon it’s the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Challenge Series, Four Champions Memorial Hooters 300, run at the USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL, on Nov 26. At 7:00P.M., the action moves to C-ESPN-CLASSIC for a Classic Champ Carevent, the 1995 Miller Genuine Draft 200 run at Milwaukee, WI on June 4. On SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 starting at 3:00p.m. Rounds 1 and 2 of the Hardee’s Summer Shootout Series from the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC that were run last summer.
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 two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.26 to 54.92 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.19 to 39.17. On the negative side was Dover Downs, which dropped 0.04 to 6.26. Nextel dropped 0.16 to 25.10 while Sun Oil jumped 2.37 to 82.81. Action Performance went up 0.48 to 12.82 and Featherlite Trailers went up 0.08 to 4.25. Boundless Motorsports also had a good week as they went up 1.30 to 6.00. In the drug sector Pfizer dropped 0.40 to 21.27 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.36 to 21.90. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 1.02 to 67.77. Home Depot dropped 2.75 to 41.67. The parcel carriers had a negative week. UPS dropped 2.05 to 77.49 and Fedex dropped 1.26 to 97.92.


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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