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Tuesday December 25, 2007 
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                            

In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour news Woody Pitkat is still recovering from the shock of being dismissed as the driver of the Hills Enterprises No. 79. Itís a shame that things didnít work out but life goes on, despite some bumps in the road. The Hills have hired Ron Silk to fill the empty seat. Silk had been slated to drive the Boehler No. 3. Silks former ride will be occupied by Jimmy Blewett. Eddie Partridge will provide the engines. Partridge stated that Blewett will drive his SK Modifieds at Thompson on Thursdays and at Stafford on Fridays. Tentative plans also look like Blewett and Partridge will return to the Waterford Speedbowl for their opener despite a controversial and bad call last year. When his schedule permits Partridge will provide a car for Blewett to drive at the Riverhead Raceway.

For the most part itís all quiet on the auto racing front. As of this Friday, Dec 28, its only 42 days before the green flag drops at the Annual World Series at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. In the mean time there will be plenty of racing related activity. Starting off 2008 will be the Northeast Motorsports Expo at the Augusta Civic Center in Maine on Jan 4 through 6. The auto show circuit moves to Atlantic City in New Jersey for Motorsports 2008 on Jan 11, 12 and 13. Also on Jan 12 is the Waterford Speedbowl Awards Banquet at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT., and the True Value Modified Racing Series Annual Owners/Drivers Meeting at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel, 401 Winchester St. in Keene, NH. The third weekend in Jan will see the annual indoor Auto Parts Swap 'n Sell at the Big E in West Springfield, MA plus the annual Seekonk Speedway Awards banquet at the Venus DiMilo in Swansea, MA. The Thompson Speedway holds their annual awards banquets on Jan 25-26. Rounding out the month will be the 11th Annual New England Antique Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Dinner at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in E. Windsor, CT.

In TV land this week, viewing doesnít begin until Friday, Dec. 28 when the Speed Channel shows Round #2 of the Summer Shootout which includes Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing from the Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord , NC . That event was originally run on June 19. At 1:00pm Round #3 that was run on June 26 follows. At 8:00pm the Speed Channel has a special presentation titled GET BACK TO DIRT which takes a year long look at the soul of American racing, the World Class Street Stocks, at the legendary Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite , Texas , as the racers careen on and off the track toward the season championship. On Saturday at 7:30pm itís the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series from the Virginia Motor Speedway in Saluda , VA. At 8:00pm itís the May 16 Nextel Pit Crew Challenge that was held at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena on May 16. On Sunday at 4:00pm Speed presents the season finale for the World of Outlaws sprint cars and late models that was held at the Dirt Track at the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte , NC on Nov 3. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00 .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three had positive results. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 1.06 to 32.66. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.08 to 41.75. On the negative side was Dover Downs which dropped 0.02 to 6.59. Sprint/Nextel showed a 0.45 drop as the NASCAR Cup sponsor settled out at 13.72. Sun Oil (Sunoco) which supplies fuel to many NASCAR divisions went up 3.66 to 71.46. Tire supplier Goodyear also had a good week as they went up 2.29 to 28.75. DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.04 to 0.32. In the drug sector Pfizer went up 0.14 to 23.24. Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.10 to 27.98. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.63 to 23.35 and Home Depot went up 0.03 to 26.66. The parcel carriers had a down week despite the Christmas rush. Fedex dropped 0.63 to 94.29 and UPS dropped 0.21 to 72.40.

Bizjournals.com said last week that an economic impact analysis conducted by the Washington Economics Group Inc. shows the Daytona Beach-based company pumps $2.3 billion into the Florida economy. ISC's Florida operations include Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as ISC's headquarters and those of the Nascar and Grand American Road Racing series.

According to the analysis, the year-round operations at Daytona International Speedway generate $1.9 billion in the Florida economy. Among the speedway's impacts are 32,000 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of $856 million. The speedway also produces $155.4 million in local and state taxes.

The Homestead-Miami Speedway has an economic impact of $248 million, provides 3,862 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of $107 million. The facility generates $18.1 million in state and local taxes.

Operations at the ISC, Nascar and Grand Am headquarters produces $157 million in economic impact, including 2,540 direct and indirect jobs with a payroll of $85.7 million and $11.4 million in local and state taxes.

Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891 . Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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