Tuesday December 27, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

While some race fans are settling into the Christmas mode almost all are looking foreword to 2012 when racing begins again. As of this Friday, Dec30, seven weeks remain before the start of the annual World Series at New Smyrna and Speedweek at the Daytona International Speedway. Racing at New Smyrna begins on Friday night, Feb 17 and the 34th annual season-opening Sprint Cup Shootout event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 18. Speedweek is actually one week later than usual this year.

Area Auto Racing News scribe Kevin Rice recently reported that Whelen Modified Tour Series car owner Wayne Darling stated that he expects to be running the full WMT schedule with his driver Doug Coby. Darling and Coby appear to have good chemistry between them and with a little luck should land at the top of the heap in 2012. With just 14 events on the 2012 WMT schedule many teams will have quite a few opportunities to participate in Valenti Modified Series and various open competition events that have been scheduled.

On a sad note, Bruce Cohen, one of the originators of the original Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway sends word that racing lost one its real characters with the passing of 'Nasty Neil' Murray. In Cohens words, "Nasty was funny, disgusting. outrageous an​d loveable, he did not have a politically correct bone in his ample body". Also passing last week was former Modified Tour car owner Charlie Bacon, who co-owned the x-6 that was driven by Mike Stefanik and Long Island racing writer Ricky Miller who provided coverage for the New York based Gater Racing News.

In TV land Race viewing for the week on the Speed Channel begins on Thursday, Dec 29 with the NASCAR Sprint Cup event that was run this past fall at the Dover Downs Speedway. That's all there is!

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks finished up on the positive side. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.96 to 14.93 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.78 to 25.19 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.12 to 1.01. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.06 to 2.31, NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.61 to 40.73 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.74 to 14.32. The car makers also had a positive week. Toyota went up 1.25 to 64.95 while Ford went up 0.70 to 10.95 and General Motors went up 0.35 to 20.50. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.67 to 42.09 and Lowes went up 0.25 to 25.27. With the exception of Target Department Stores which dropped 0.50 to 51.70 the team sponsors had a pretty fair week. Dupont went up 2.19 to 46.17, Coca-Cola went up 2.74 to 56.85, Aarons Rentals went up 0.94 to 27.14 and Fedex went up 0.03 to 84.92.

Thatís 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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