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Tuesday December 4, 2007  

By Phil Smith                                                                                            

In NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour news the much talked about “Spec Engine” for the Whelen Modifieds continues to be a hot topic. According to Brett Bodine, the Director of Cost Research at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord , NC , the “Spec Engine” can be built by anyone. Parts must be purchased from Provident Engineering (Gary Nelson) or from Carl Wagner. According to Bodine a complete engine, ready to install and run will cost $25,000. “It is not our intent to put anyone out of business” he said. Bodine, a former Modified Racer and currently driver of the pace car at NASCAR Cup events added “All parts of the engine are encrypted which eliminates any altering”. NASCAR has and will impound engines for spot checks which in turn will keep everybody honest. Already in use in NASCAR’s Busch East division, the power plant has proved itself in being competitive and durable. Joey Logano, who recently won the Busch East Championship, used a “Spec Engine” in his Joe Gibbs Racing mount.

A test session was conducted at the Stafford Motor Speedway last Friday and Saturday. According to photographer Howie Hodge the cars seemed to be pretty even when they were on the track at the same time. Time wise, they were real close.

When Mark Arute made the statement “We looked at possibly bringing another touring modified division to Stafford, but in the end we decided that there was only one true touring modified division and that is the Whelen Modified Tour," he stirred up a hornet’s nest. It had been rumored that the True Value Modified Series might have had a shot at getting a date at the high profile speedway. Evidently that rumor can be put to rest as it will probably be a cold day before Jack Bateman brings his competitors to Stafford . The TVMS has become an affordable alternate to running the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. It has never been Bateman’s intent to displace NASCAR’s oldest division. Likewise for the New York based Race of Champions Tour. The TVMS and the ROC Tours do in fact tour, maybe not to the extent of the NASCAR Tour but they do tour. The TVMS has conducted events at just about every track in New England including the Thompson Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut . Hopefully Arute will retract his statement because one never knows when these divisions may be needed to fill a necessary void.

True Value Modified Series President Jack Bateman announced a seventeen race schedule last weekend. The season is scheduled to begin on April 12th at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester , NH . and end at the traditional Oktoberfest at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee , N.H. on October 19th. The series will make its inaugural visit to the Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre , Vt on May 25th. It marks the first modified race at the historic ¼ mile track in over 40 years. The Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk , Mass. will host the most events in 2008. The 1/3 mile oval has four events on the schedule with one a non point event. The Lee USA Speedway, the Monadnock Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl in Waterford , Connecticut will each host the series three times. In addition, the series will make two stops in the state of Maine . The Oxford Plains Speedway will host an event on July 19 during the Oxford 250 weekend and the series will return to the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway on August 2nd. The Thompson International Speedway will also host one event for the third consecutive year.

Kirk Alexander of Swanzey, N.H. was honored last Saturday night as the 2007 True Value Modified Racing Series Champion during the annual Awards Banquet at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Chicopee , Mass. It was the third series championship for Alexander who is also the all times series winner.Alexander also earned the Hoosier Tire East Award and was presented the Black Mountain Painting Award during the evening. One of the highlights of the evening was the coveted Bob Polverari Award presented to a competitor who represents modified racing in a professional manner. Ed Dachenhausen of Danbury , Conn. was named the winner of this prestigious award. The True Value Modified Racing Series Officials vote every year on a group of awards. The Most Improved Driver Award was presented to Mike Holdridge of Madison , Conn. who finished 10th in the series standings. The Sportsmanship Award was presented to Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon , Conn. Pasteryak finished 9th in the final run down. The 2007 Rookie of the Year Award went to Peter Jarvis of Ascutney , Vt. who finished 8th in the series point chase. The final award voted on by the series officials is the Hard Luck Award and that was presented to Jim Dolan of Bethel , Conn. Les Hinckley of Windsor Locks, Conn. , the series runner-up, was given the Sunoco Hard Charger Award. The Top-15 drivers in the series were recognized during the evening and every driver received a point fund check and a trophy.

In TV land this week, Speed Channel viewing will begin on Friday at 8:00pm with Trucks ‘07: A Rivalry Renewed (2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season review). At 9:00pm Speed goes live from Hollywood , FL with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Banquet at the Hard Rock Hotel. At 10:30 Speed presents a special remembrance. Bobby Hamilton: Live to Race, Race to Live. A look back on the life and career of Bobby Hamilton, a rise from the streets of Nashville to NASCAR’s top series. Along the way, he befriended many, angered few, and earned the respect of all. On Saturday morning the action switches to ESPN Classic for the 2005 Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At 6:30pm its back to the Speed Channel for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. There will be very little racing on Sunday except for Round #2 of the Summer Shootout, Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing that was run at the Lowes Motor Speedway in June. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00 .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two out of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the minus side. Dover Downs went up 0.20 to 6.80 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.59 to 33.75 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.39 to 42.61. Sprint/Nextel went up 0.44 to 15.52. Sun Oil dropped 0.63 to 67.10. Goodyear Tires had a good week as they went up 1.17 to 28.75. DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.01 to 0.49. In the drug sector Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 1.55 to 29.63 and Pfizer went up 0.78 to 23.76. The home improvement sector saw Lowes jump 2.14 to 24.41 while Home Depot dropped 0.39 to 28.56. The parcel season is in high gear. UPS went up 2.76 to 73.68 and Fedex jumped 4.87 to 98.47.

That’s 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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