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Tuesday December 23, 2008


 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

First off, Merry Christmas to one and all. Special holiday wishes to Web Master Tom Ormsby for allowing me to be part of this great web site.

The Whelen Modified Tour schedule for 2009 is no longer a mystery as NASCAR made it public late last week. A little on the sparse side, the tour will feature a 14-race schedule which includes races at tracks that have been staples of the tour throughout its history, as well as an exciting new addition, for the first time, at Tennessee ’s famed Bristol Motor Speedway in a combination event with the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The race will be part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series August race week. Evidently Bruton Smith and his staff liked what they saw when the Modifieds ran at Loudon last September. This is really a big deal for the division that so desperately needs media exposure.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will visit four tracks that held tour races in the tour’s first season: Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway, Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Thompson will host three, down two events from last year. In addition to the Icebreaker on April 5 and the season ending October 18 World Series, Thompson will also have a mid-week race on Aug. 13. Stafford will play host to four races, highlighted by the Spring Sizzler on Sunday, April 26 and the Fall Final on Sunday, Oct. 4. Stafford will also host the Modifieds for two Friday night events, May 22 and Aug. 7. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway will again have two events, June 27 and Sept. 19. New York tracks Chemung Speedrome (Aug. 29), Spencer Speedway (July 11) and Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 1 fill out the schedule.

2009 NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR SCHEDULE

Date Track (Length) Location
Sunday, April 5 Thompson International Speedway (.625-Mile) Thompson, Conn.
Sunday, April 26 Stafford Motor Speedway (.5-Mile) Stafford, Conn.
Friday, May 22 Stafford Motor Speedway (.5-Mile) Stafford, Conn.
Saturday, June 27 New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1.058-Mile) Loudon, N.H.
Saturday, July 11 Spencer Speedway (.5-Mile) Williamson, N.Y.
Saturday, Aug. 1 Riverhead Raceway (.25-Mile) Riverhead, N.Y.
Friday, Aug. 7 Stafford Motor Speedway (.5-Mile) Stafford, Conn.
Thursday, Aug. 13 Thompson International Speedway (.625-Mile) Thompson, Conn.
Wednesday, Aug. 19 * Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-Mile) Bristol, Tenn.
Saturday, Aug. 29 Chemung Speedrome (.375-Mile) Chemung, N.Y.
Saturday, Sept. 19 New Hampshire Motor Speedway (1.058-Mile) Loudon, N.H.
Sunday, Sept. 27 * Martinsville Speedway (.526-Mile) Martinsville, Va.
Sunday, Oct. 4 Stafford Motor Speedway (.5-Mile) Stafford , Conn.
Sunday, Oct. 18 Thompson International Speedway (.625-Mile) Thompson, Conn.

Hopefully NASCAR will further engage their massive PR machine to further promote the Modifieds and get them the necessary TV time that would lead to sponsorships so desperately needed.

With the 2008 Stafford Motor Speedway NASCAR Racing season in the history books, it is time once again for competitors to be rewarded for their season-long efforts through the Stafford Motor Speedway point fund and NASCAR Contingency awards. For their efforts during the 2008 season, SMS competitors banked over $400,000 in regular season purse money, post-season awards and contingency bonuses.

At the end of each racing season, Stafford Motor Speedway pays out 5% of its total purses for the year as a point fund for the top-15 points finishers in each of its five weekly divisions. The 2008 Stafford Motor Speedway point fund totaled in excess of $17,000 with track champions Keith Rocco, Ryan Posocco, Joe Allegro, Jr., Bill Davis, and Norm Sears taking home the lion's share of their respective point funds.

During the 2008 season, the Stafford Motor Speedway Contingency Program paid a total of $24,300 to competitors. In the SK Modified division, CARQUEST Auto Parts, The Davidson Company, Valvoline, Super Clean, and New England Racing Fuel contributed a grand total of $10,625. In the Late Model division, CARQUEST Auto Parts, The G.H. Berlin Oil Company, New England Racing Fuel, Connecticut Trailers, and Driscoll Motorsports Photography provided a grand total of $5,375. In the SK Light division, Bosch Spark Plugs and New England Racing Fuel contributed a grand total of $4,050. In the Limited Late Model division, CARQUEST Auto Parts and New England Racing Fuel contributed a grand total of $2,975 for competitors, and New England Racing Fuel contributed $1,275 to DARE Stock competitors. An additional contingency award was paid out by Reliable Welding and Speed, who contributed $2,200 to the Stafford Motor Speedway Rookie of the Year program. Reliable's sponsorship pushes the total 2008 Stafford contingency award bonuses paid to $26,500 for the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. In addition to the over $41,000 in Stafford Motor Speedway post season and contingency awards, SMS competitors were paid over $346,000 in regular season purse money during the 2008 season.


Adding to the Stafford Motor Speedway regular season, post-season, and contingency awards was $16,000 in track award money from NASCAR. NASCAR paid the top-10 points finishers from the SK Modified®, Late Model, SK Light Modified, and Limited Late Model divisions with $10,000 distributed to the SK Modifieds®, $3,000 to the Late Models, $1,500 to the SK Light Modifieds, and $2,000 to the Limited Late Models. The NASCAR track awards push the final tally to well over $400,000 that was paid out to Stafford Motor Speedway competitors during the 2008 season.


Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified drivers also scored well in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series State Championship Awards. By winning the Connecticut State Championship, Keith Rocco earned an additional $6,000. Woody Pitkat earned an extra $3,000 for finishing second in the Connecticut state standings and Jimmy Blewett earned an additional $1,500 for his third place finish in the Connecticut state standings. Five of the top-10 finishers in the Connecticut state standings were SK Modified drivers from Stafford Motor Speedway.

Speaking of checks, competitors at the Waterford Speedbowl received their point fund checks from NASCAR on Mon Dec 15. It’s a good thing that NASCAR sent the checks to the individual competitors and not former track operator Jerry Robinson as they would still be awaiting them!

The official 2009 schedule for racing at the shoreline oval should be out soon. Word has it that a tentative 29 race schedule, starting the end of March and ending in early October is in the works. Each division will run 26 events, leaving room for rain-outs as well as allowing time off to pursue special events elsewhere, such as the ACT race at Oxford Plains.

In TV land this week, very little racing programming is available. On Tuesday at 1:00pm the Speed Channel will present the June 24th Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout, Round #3: CRASHCars Craziness – Legends Cars, Thunder Cars, Bandoleros and CRASHCars, that was run at the Lowes’ Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. This program will be repeated at 4:00pm on Wednesday, Dec 24. On Sunday at noon Speed will show Round #4 of the Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout.
The Speed Report, normally seen on Sunday night, has been put on hold until after the first of the year.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the group was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.46 to 27.62. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.23 to 15.68 and Dover Downs went up 0.15 to 1.25. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint/Nextel dropped 0.02 to 1.94 while second tier sponsor Nationwide went up 0.48 to 51.85. Nascar fuel supplier Sun Oil took a huge jump as they went up 6.35 to 42.30. Tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.02 to 6.12. The team sponsors continue to take it on the chin with a few showing modest gains. Numerous layoffs have occurred within the Nextel Cup and Nationwide division ranks. Close to 650 men and women associated with the teams have been let go because of budget cuts. Dupont dropped 1.01 to 25.60 while Coca-Cola went up 0.75 to 44.82. Target Department Stores dropped 1.42 to 34.42 while Aarons Rentals jumped 3.28 to 28.66. In the home improvement sector Home
Depot went up 0.75 to 24.22 and Lowes went up 0.55 to 22 54. Parcel carrier Fedex went up 2.25 to 63.59 while UPS dropped

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, 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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