Tuesday December 2, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

NASCARís elite head for New York City this week where Jimmie Johnson will be crowned the 2008 Sprint Cup Champion. Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports is now a three time series champion. While Johnson and team celebrate many of those, anywhere between 200 to 1,000 are getting their pink slips. We all know the economy is bad and auto racing has not been excluded from the general downturn this country is presently having.

Down on the New Jersey shore the Wall Township Speedway reopened for the annual Turkey Derby. Wall Township, modeled after the famed Lonsdale Arena Speedway in Rhode Island was silent throughout the 2008 season. The historic speedway received a good shot in the arm and had a successful event which hopefully leads to a grand reopening in 2009.

According to reports, Jimmy Blewett roughed up Matt Hirschman on lap 89 to take the lead which led to the 100 lap Tour Type Modified win. Hirschman, who was extremely unhappy with Blewett, finished second. Hirschman had attempted to run the 100 lap contest non-stop while Blewett elected to pit for fresh tires during the event. Steven Reed finished third and was followed by Earl Paules and Tom Rogers.

Blewett attempted to go two for two but ran out of time following a pit stop and a late race spin in the SK type 100 lapper. Blewett led from the drop of the initial green and was in control of the race until lap 69 when he pitted for fresh rubber. Restarting from the rear, Blewett worked his way up to second spot with nine laps to go when he spun out. Rowan Pennick took the win with Woody Pitkat, second and Bob Schultz, third. Blewett recovered to finish fourth.
Deemed a rousing success, the Turkey Derby was run with temperatures in the low 40ís. The grandstands, parking lot and pits were jammed. Cars were actually parked at the Monmouth Airport and fans were bussed to the track.

The Waterford Speedbowl will host a meet and greet this coming Monday, December 1 at the Groton Motor Inn in Groton, CT. Property owner Terry Eames and Modified Competitor Shawn Monahan have partnered up for a new corporation that will operate the shoreline oval in 2009. Hopefully former track operator Jerry Robinson will pay the competitors what he owes them.

In TV land this week viewing will be sparse with mostly re-runs from years past presented on the tube. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet which will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City will be shown on ESPN Classic from 9:00PM-12:00m on Friday night. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend on Sunday night with The Speed Report at 7:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week it was a time of recovery. All three speedway stocks had good gains for the week. Leading the pack was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 4.02 to 25.95. Speedway Motorsports went up 2.55 to 13.83 and Dover Downs went up 0.34 to 1.50. NASCAR Cup series sponsor Sprint went up 1.08 to 2.79. Nationwide which sponsors NASCARís second tier jumped 1.93 to 50.80. Fuel supplier Sun Oil took a huge jump as they went up 5.87 to 39.74. Goodyear also had a positive week as they went up 1.42 to 6.43. Team Sponsorís stocks also had a positive week. Dupont went up 2.03 to 25.06, Coca-Cola went up 3.74 to 42.56, Target Department Stores went up 5.68 to 33.76 and Aaronís Rentals went up 3.33 to 26.43. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 3.82 to 23.11 and Lowes jumped 3.51 to 20.66. The parcel carriers had a real good week. Fedex went up 9.74 to 70.65 and UPS went up 5.29 to 57.60. On the
down side was World Racing (DIRT) which dropped 0.01 to 0.02.

Thatís it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

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

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