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Tuesday December 13, 2011
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet was held last Friday, Dec. 9. The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Banquet – celebrating the champions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series (East and West), the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Mexico Series presented by Toyota – will be held the following night, Saturday, Dec. 10. Mike Joy and Dick Berggren, both of NASCAR on FOX and NASCAR on SPEED, served as co-hosts for both banquets which were held in Charlotte, NC.

Philip Morris was crowned as the 2011 national champion at the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards Banquet Friday evening. Morris, 46, from Ruckersville, Va., won the national championship for the fourth time in six seasons. He previously won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He also collected his fourth Virginia championship in the last five seasons, as well as picking up the South Boston (Va.) Speedway Late Model Division title. Morris was able to edge defending national champion Keith Rocco who raced at Thompson, Waterford and at Stafford in Ct., by just nine points. Lee Pulliam battled Morris on the national and Virginia stage and finished third overall, 27 points off Morris’ pace.

Morris drove the No. 26 Clarence Steakhouse Chevrolet at South Boston, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., and Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., that is owned by Jim Dean, who received the Lincoln Electric Car Owner Award. Years ago, Clarence's Steakhouse owned and sponsored Modifieds driven by Satch Worley and Paul Radford.

Rocco, of Wallingford, Conn., led the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series with 24 wins. The 26-year-old won track championships at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway and Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl, as well as finishing second at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway en route to winning the Connecticut title.
Lee Pulliam, from Semora, N.C., finished third in the national standings with 18 wins, 28 top fives and 30 top 10s in 32 starts. He won the track championship at Motor Mile Speedway and competed at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and South Boston Speedway.

Past, present and future were celebrated Saturday night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame as the six champions from NASCAR’s touring and developmental series were honored in the Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala. The 2011 champions included Ron Silk (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) and George Brunnhoelzl III (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour). Silk of Norwalk, Conn., won his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in a thrilling points battle that went down to the closing laps of the season. Brunnhoelzl of West Babylon, N.Y., collected his second NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship following up his 2009 title. The Most Popular Driver Awards for each series were also presented during the ceremony. The drivers honored with the prestigious award, voted on by fans online at NASCAR.com, were Justin Bonsignore in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Jason Myers of the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour.

Among the highlights of the awards program was the presentation of the annual Len Boehler Award to Championship Modified Car Owner Eddie Partridge.

Word comes from Florida that New Smyrna Speedway General Manager Terry Roberts has announced that Gary Yeomans Ford of Daytona Beach, Florida will sponsor the Nightly Qualifying, Timing Reports and Line-ups for the upcoming 46th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. New Smyrna Speedway will provide fans attending each night’s events with handouts listing practice times, qualifying times and starting positions for features events so they can keep track of their favorite driver’s competing in the 46th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing during SpeedWeeks.
 
The 46th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing is set to begin on February 17th and will continue for nine consecutive days through February 25th featuring Super Late Models, Pro Late Models, NASCAR Tour Type Modifieds, SK Modifieds, Florida/IMCA Type Modifieds, Pro Trucks and the TBARA Winged Sprint Cars. The World Series is the only Asphalt event of its kind in the United States drawing the best talent from all over the country and Canada to compete for over $250,000 in purses during the nine days.

Roberts also added that thanks to Gary Yeomans Ford of Daytona Beach support, teams will not be charged a fee for the use of transponders like they were last year during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. There will also be no charge for printouts of practice times/speeds, qualifying results and race results. In addition entry fees will be lowered $100 to $125, which also includes one pit vehicle pass

The Stafford Motor Speedway management has announced that they will host the ultra-fast Pro All-Star Series (PASS) for the very first time on Sunday, August 26. The PASS Super Late Models will see the return to Stafford of drivers like 4-time PASS North champion Ben Rowe, Mike Rowe, Travis Benjamin, Bill Penfold, and Kelly Moore, who each have prior experience racing at Stafford in Busch North (now K & N Pro Series East) competition. The PASS field also has second-generation drivers like Scott Dragon and DJ Shaw along with drivers like 6-time PASS North Champion Johnny Clark, Scott Alexander, Cassius Clark, Canadian drivers Lonnie Summerville and Alexander Gingras, and many more who will make up the starting field. Moore is a three-time winner at Stafford from the Busch North division and DJ Shaw's father Dale has driven to victory lane once at Stafford in a Busch North car, which may give them an advantage over the rest of the PASS field.

In TV land Race viewing for the week on the Speed Channel begins on Thursday at noon with a NASCAR Sprint Cup replay of last seasons event at the Chicagoland Speedway. On Friday at 9:00pm Speed will present the NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography of Cale Yarborough. A NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography of Dale Inman follows at 10:00pm.

Word comes from Bones Bourcier that Richie Evans' hour-long Hall of Fame biography will air Friday, December 16th at 8 p.m. (Eastern) on SPEED. The Evans biography will be repeated at 11:00pm and on Monday, Dec 19 at 8:00am.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week prices and performances were all over the lot. As far as the Speedway stocks went the International Speedway Corporation was the only stock to finish the week on the positive side. ISC went up 0.91 to 25.38 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.52 and Dover Motorsports remained a no-change at 1.18. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.13 to 2.47 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.11 to 38.89. Goodyear, who supplies tires to NASCAR's top three divisions, finished the week on a positive note as they went up 0.40 to 14.55. The car makers were a mixed bag. On Thursday, Dec 8, Ford Motor Co. said it would pay a quarterly dividend for the first time in more than five years, another step in Chief Executive Alan Mulally's plan to restore the auto maker's reputation with investors. Ford canceled its dividend in September 2006 to conserve cash as its fortunes were turning down. The move coincided with the hiring of Mr. Mulally, who at about the same time approved borrowing $23.5 billion to fund its restructuring and cushion it through a downturn. Ford finished out the week at 11.03, up 0.13 from the previous week. General Motors dropped 0.13 to 21.15 while Toyota jumped 1.96 to 68.20. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.29 to 40.23 and Lowes went up 0.66 to 24.97. With the exception of Dupont which dropped 2.09 to 45.04, the team sponsors had a positive week. Coca-Cola went up 0.24 while Target Department Stores went up 0.53 to 53.50, Aarons Rentals went up 0.44 to 27.17 and Fedex went up 1.10 to 83.24.

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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