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Tuesday December 30, 2008

 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

First off, Happy New Year and good health to all in 2009!!

The Whelen Modified Tour schedule for 2009 continues to be digested by car owners, drivers and fans. Its good that the Modifieds are breaking ground in new territory, namely Bristol, but NASCAR needs to remind themselves that over 90% of those that participate in the series are part timers. At one time the NASCAR North or Busch North was comprised of mostly northern New England drivers and race teams. For the most part now, the Camping World East Series is nothing more than a breeding ground for future Sprint Cup or Nationwide drivers and teams. Most of those previously involved in the Busch North or NASCAR North series have dropped out and now race in the regional PASS and ACT Series. Quite a few hard working race teams from northern New England were thrown under the bus in the name of progress. Letís hope this doesnít happen to the Modifieds. Many of those involved in the True Value Modified Series in New England and the Race of Champions Modified Series in New York State are former NASCAR Modified Tour Series competitors.

It will be here before you know it. As of this Friday, January 2 only 35 days remain before the start of Speedweeks in Florida. The New Smyrna Speedway World Series of Auto Racing begins on Friday night, Feb 6. Racing at the Daytona International Speedway begins on Feb 7 and 8. DIRT Modifieds will be running at the Volusia Speedway Park from Feb 11 through 14.

Despite all the turmoil and uncertainty the new management of the Waterford Speedbowl will host the tracks 2008 Awards Banquet on Saturday night, Jan 10 at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT. Rules meetings have been held and a schedule for 2009 is in the works and should be released shortly.

In TV land this week, the viewing continues to be sparse. On Tuesday, Dec 30 the Speed Channel presents the Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout, Round #4 held at the Lowes Motor Speedway on July 1. Included is a Fireworks Extravaganza, Legends Cars, Thunder Cars, Bandoleros, CRASH Car Trailer Race of Destruction and Fireworks. On Friday at 7:00pm ESPN Classic will air the 1993 Hooters 500 that was run at Atlanta and won by Rusty Wallace. The showing will be repeated on Saturday at 8:00am. Also on Saturday, the Speed Channel will show highlights at midnight of the November SEMA show that was held in Las Vegas. After a short vacation the Speed Report returns to its Sunday night spot at 7:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the down turn that has touched just about everyone continues. Two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings in a short week of trading. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.16 to 27.78 and Dover Downs went up 0.01 to 1.26. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.20 to 15.48. Since the first of the year all three speedway stocks have dropped significantly. ISC began the year at 41.18, Dover Downs at 6.56 and Speedway Motorsports at 31.08. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint/Nextel dropped 0.25 to 1.69 while second tier sponsor Nationwide went up 0.25 to 52.10. Sprint, which started the year at 13.13 has all but tanked while Nationwide, which started the year at 45.01 is one of the chosen few to show a gain for the year. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil showed a 0.23 gain for the week as they closed at 42.53 while Goodyear dropped 0.54 to 5.58. Sun Oil started the year at 72.44 and Goodyear at 28.22. For the most
part the NASCAR team sponsors had another tough week to go along with a tough year. Dupont dropped 0.62 to 24.98 while Coca-Cola went up 0.16 to 44.98. Dupont began the year at 44.09 and Coca-Cola at 58.88. Target Department Stores dropped 2.18 to 33.24 while Aarons Rentals dropped 2.50 to 26.16. Target began the year at 50.00 while Aarons began the year at 19.24. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 1.41 to 21.13 and Home Depot dropped 0.66 to 23.56. Lowes, which announced that they had abandoned plans to build a store in North Stonington, CT near I-95, started the year at 22.62. Home Depot began the year at 26.94. The parcel carriers ended the year on a sour note. Fedex dropped 2.62 to 60.97 and UPS dropped 0.17 to 53.16. Fedex began the year at 89.17 and UPS began the year at 70.72. The World Racing Group all but went down the drain last week as they closed at 0.01 per share. World Racing started the year at 0.45.

Thatís 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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