Tuesday December 15, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

With racing now complete for 2009 its time to look foreword to 2010. As of this Friday, December 18 it will be seven weeks before the drop of the green for opening night of the annual World Series of Speed at the New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and the official beginning of the NASCAR season at the Daytona International Speedway.

Jack Bateman’s Modified Racing Series scored a major coup last week when the Stafford Motor Speedway secured Friday night Sept 10, 2010 as the 20th race of the series. The Modified Racing Series, an alternative to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, has been in existence for six years and for the most part had been ignored. Said Stafford General Manager Mark Arute, “Our heritage is Modifieds, we have watched this series for six years and they have modified racing’s best interest.” The addition of the Stafford event brings the total to 20 races for 2010. Arute added, “We have listened to our fans and competitors,” “Our supporters have been very vocal. They have told us we need to consider bringing in the Modified Racing Series. We reconsidered some past stances on the series and are delighted to be bringing the Modified Racing Series to Stafford.”

Series founder and president, Jack Bateman, was equally as pleased. Stafford has been on the MRS radar for some time. “When we started branching out with the series, going to Connecticut, Stafford was always on my mind. I am pleased that we will have the opportunity to showcase our series at a premier speedway like Stafford Springs.”

It appears that Reggie Ruggiero is out of a ride as New Jersey based Barney Racing would like to make a change for 2010. Ruggiero who co-owns Race Works with Eddie Flemke Jr is one of the all-time greats in New England racing and should have no problem in securing a new ride.

Russ Dowd and Ben Dodge advise that the office at the Thompson International Speedway will once again adopt its winter schedule beginning Monday, December 6, 2009. The office will be open five days a week between the hours of 9 AM and 12 Noon.

Speedway officials want race teams to know that the new competition rules for the 2010 season are available. Competitors will find them on the track’s web site or may call or email the office to have a copy mailed. The Internet address for the Thompson web site is:

Car number and driver registration forms are coming into the Thompson Speedway office on a daily basis. Those who raced at Thompson in 2009 and gained NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points with a particular car number have until January 15th to renew that car number. Car number/driver information forms are also available on the track’s web page or directly from the track office. If a number is not renewed by January 15, 2010 that number will then be awarded on a first come first served basis.

Tickets for the 2009 Banquets of Champions are going quickly. Two nights of celebrations will be held in January to honor the best of the best in the “Super 6” NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions. On Friday, January 22nd , the Super Late Models, Limited Sportsman and Mini Stock divisions will be in the spotlight. The very next night, January 23rd is the night when the Sunoco Modified, Late Models and Thompson Modified divisions will shine. Tickets for tables of eight or ten are available only through the speedway office and ticket orders may be placed during the winter business hours listed above. Race teams that finished in the top ten in points for the 2009 season have first option to purchase tickets. Once their needs are met, if there are any additional tickets, they will be made available on a first come, first served basis.

The much-anticipated 2010 racing schedule for Thompson International will be released very shortly. Only a few items remain to be finalized on the new season’s line up. Once those items are signed, sealed and delivered, the racing schedule will be announced.

In TV land this week viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at noon with a re-showing of the March 7 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Commercial Lines 200 that was run at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia. On Wednesday, at 3:00am, Speed re-shows the May 17 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East/West event that was run at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. The May 30 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East event that was run at the South Boston, VA Speedway, follows at 4:00am. Speed replays the April 5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung 500, that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway, at noon. At 5:00pm the VS network highlights the May 2 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event that was run at a speedway in West Plains, MO. Thursday’s lineup follows Wednesday’s with different events on tap. At 3:00am Speed replays the June 6 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East Tioga Downs Casino 125 that was run at Watkins Glen International. The June 6 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West Toyota/BI-MART Firecracker 150 that was run at the Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, OR, follows at 4:00am. At noon Speed replays the April 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 500 that was run at the Phoenix International Raceway. Another segment of the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour goes on the VS network at 5:00pm. The only viewing action on Friday will be at noon with the April 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499 that was run at the Talladega Superspeedway. On Saturday at 3:00am Speed re-shows the June 20 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West Bennett Lane Winery 200 that was run at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The June 26 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East Heluva Good! Summer 125 that was run at the New Hampshire Intl. Speedway follows at 4:00am. At 2:00pm Speed replays the Feb 7 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event that was run in East Bay, FL. A similar event, run at Paduka, KY on May 15, follows at 3:00. Sunday will be quiet!

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. On the positive side was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.02 to 16.09. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 2.15 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.04 to 28.00. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.38 to 4.07 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.22 to 26.13. Tire supplier also had a good week as they went up 0.33 to 14.89. The carmakers didn’t do as well. Ford went up 0.06 to 9.00 while General Motors dropped 0.01 to 0.59 and Toyota dropped 0.05 to 84.25. With the exception of Dupont which dropped 0.11 to 32.23, the team sponsors had a fairly good week. Coca-Cola went up 2.65 to 55.00. Target Department Stores went up 1.29 to 46.93 and Aaron’s Rentals went up 1.38 to 27.55. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.41 to 28.49 and Lowes went up 1.00 to 23.88.

That’s 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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