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Tuesday December 22, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

With racing now complete for 2009 its time to look foreword to 2010. As of this Friday, December 25 it will be six 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.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the greatest Modified driver of them all. Modified Stock Car Racing got its start in the northeast following World War II.. Using hopped up pre-war coupes and sedans many brave souls made themselves heroes as they made magic with the cars they drove. Many consider the late Richie Evans as the overall greatest of all time but in their own eras and times others were considered just as good. In New England, New York State, Long Island and in the southland there were many. In New York State guys like Geoff Bodine, Maynard Troyer, Nolan Swift, Jim Shampine, Dutch Hoag, the Treichlers, Lou Lazzaro, Brian Ross, Jack Johnson and even Jerry Cook stayed at the top of their game for many years. In New England there was Eddie Flemke, Don MacTavish, Fred Lucase, Moe Gherzi, Billy Greco, Don Collins, Dick Dunn, Bob Potter, Bugsy Stevens, Fred DeSarro, Bill Slater, Ernie Gahan, Gene Bergin, Bob Polverari, Don Rounds, Reggie Ruggerio, Ronnie Bouchard, Leo Cleary and George Summers. On Long Island there is no doubt that Charlie Jarzombek was clearly the greatest there but there were others who were also great like Tom Baldwin, George Wagner and Al DeAngelo. From the southland came Ray Hendrick, Perk Brown, Harry Gant and Joe Thurman. Each of those mentioned plus many more were the greatest in their own era!

As the snow blanketed the northeast last Saturday ARCA was conducting a test session at the Daytona International Speedway where the weather was sunny and the temperature was 63 degrees. Among those taking part was Whelen Modified Tour Series driver Glen Reen. Reen, driving a JAM Motorsports entry, was 29th fastest at 180.038mph in a field of cars that totaled 63. Setting top speed was Mikey Kile who went 183.061mph. Danica Patrick, who will make her debut in the Feb ARCA event at Daytona was 19th fastest in a JR Motorsports entry.

Corey Lajoie, third generation grandson of Don Lajoie and son of Randy will drive a Hill Racing Team Modified at selected NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour events in 2010. Lajoie is no stranger to racing competition as he won the first ever Late Model Stock Car race at Rockingham Speedway a year ago, and closed out the 2009. A spokesperson for Hill Racing stated that James Civali will continue to drive the Hill entry in the Northern Whelen Modified Tour Series

Get well wishes go out to Reggie Ruggerio who is recovering from knee surgery. The all-time Riverside Park Speedway winner had a full knee replacement on Dec 15. Cards of cheer can be sent to Raceworks 55 Willow Brook Dr., Berlin CT 06037.

In TV land this weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at noon when the Speed Channel replays the March 30 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway. On Wednesday at 3:00am, Speed will replay the July 4 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West King Taco 200 that was run at the Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA. The NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100 that was run at the Thompson International Speedway on July 11, follows at 4:00am. At noon Speed replays the May 2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Crown Royal presents the Russell Friedman 400 that was run in Richmond, VA. Thursday’s offerings will also be in the wee hours. At 3:00am Speed replays the July 19 NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West event that was run at the Portland Intl. Raceway in Portland, OR. The NASCAR Camping World Touring Series East The Edge Hotel 150 that was run on Aug 1 at the Adirondack Speedway, follows at 4:00am. Friday, Christmas Day and Saturday will be quiet. On Sunday evening ESPN Classic will replay the Sept 9 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 that was run at the Richmond International Raceway.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.68 to 16.77. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.36 to 28.36 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.15 to 2.30. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.35 to 3.72 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.61 to 25.52. Tire supplier Goodyear was also down as they dropped 0.51 to 14.34. With the exception of Ford, which went up 0.68 to 9.68, the car makers had a down week. General Motors dropped 0.05 to 0.54 and Toyota dropped 1.33 to 82.92. The team sponsors also had their problems. Dupont dropped 0.36 to 31.87 and Coca-Cola dropped 0.59 to 54.41. Target Department Stores went up 1.31 to 48.24 and Aaron’s Rentals went up 0.71 to 28.26. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.16 to 28.65 while Lowes dropped 0.26 to 23.62.

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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