Tuesday December 4, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

All roads lead to Charlotte, NC this coming weekend for the NASCAR NASCAR Touring & Weekly Awards. The festivities begin on Friday morning with the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Grand Champions Breakfast & Ceremony in the 2nd Floor Grand Ballroom of the Westin Hotel in downtown Charlotte. On Friday evening will be the 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards ceremony which will be held in the 2nd Floor Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center.

Taking top honors will be Lee Pulliam who raced at the Southern National Speedway in Kingsport Tenn, Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia and the Caraway Speedway in North Carolina. Pulliam started 36 events, winning 22 of them. Second spot in the National Standings is Keith Rocco. Rocco raced in 43 events at Waterford, Thompson and Stafford in Connecticut. Rocco had 14 wins. Third is C E Falk, III who raced at South Boston and Langley in Virginia as well as Caraway and Southern National in North Carolina. Falk raced in 30 events and took the checker on 16 occasions. Nate Monteith who raced at Southern Natl, Greenville, South Carolina and Kingsport, Tenn finished fourth after competing in 33 events and winning 10. Rounding out the top five is Ryan Preece who raced at Stafford and Thompson in Connecticut plus at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island. Preece raced in 48 events and won 14.

On Saturday the honors switch to NASCAR's Touring Series champions including the Whelen Modifieds. The day starts off with the Grand Champions Breakfast & Ceremony which will be held in the 2nd Floor Grand Ballroom at the Westin in Charlotte. In the evening the 2012 NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards ceremony will be held in the 2nd Floor Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center. NASCAR has eight different touring divisions that race in different parts of the country. The Whelen Modifieds are the division of choice in the northeast.

Doug Coby, who won five of the scheduled 14 events is the Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion for 2012. Ryan Preece is the runner-up as he finished 11 points in arrears. Preece scored two wins. Defending series champion Ron Silk finished third. He, too, had two wins. Donny Lia, with one win finished fourth with Todd Szegedy rounding out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Eric Beers, Justin Bonsignore, Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher and Ron Yuhas Jr. Other series winners were Bonsignore, Mike Stefanik and Bobby Santos III.

Next up for the Whelen Modified Tour Series is the much publicized Battle at the Beach which is scheduled to be held on a flat quarter mile track that is located on the backstretch of the Daytona Int. Speedway in Florida. Race winners & series champions are locked-in to their respective series races in the UNOH Battle At The Beach, provided they enter the event. The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Race (150 Laps) is scheduled for Monday night, Feb 18. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race (150 Laps) and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race (150 Laps) are scheduled for Tuesday night, Feb 19. It has been mentioned previously that these events will be televised by the Speed Channel. That was said before the Speed Channel was bought out by a network friendly to ball and stick sports.

The Valente Modified Racing Series will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a 19 race schedule in 2013. The series visits the State of Connecticut eight times with the Waterford Speedbowl hosting the season opener, April 6 & 7, and a return engagement August 10. The Stafford Motor Speedway adds a third event in 2013.The first race is June 21, with the popular 80-lap races also on tap August 30, and September 13. The Thompson Speedway offers a different twist with two Sunday events and a return to the season ending World Series of Speedway Racing, Saturday, October 19. The Sunday 75-lap races are May 19, and July 28.

The Seekonk (MA) Speedway, located at the gateway to the Cape Cod seashore, will welcome the VRMS three times with June 8, August 17, and the traditional D. Anthony Venditti Memorial race on October 5. The series will return to the State of Maine twice next summer with invites back to the Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford 250 weekend, July 20, and the Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, Scarborough, ME., August 3 and to New Hampshire for six races with Monadnock Speedway on board for their traditional spring event April 20, and additional events July 6, and August 24. Lee USA Speedway will welcome the Laticrete-sponsored race June 28 and will host the series at Oktoberfest weekend, October 12 & 13. Canaan Fair Speedway has July 13 locked in.

Kevin Rice has advised that the Star Speedway in Epping, NH will again host the SBM 125 Modified Open on June 15, 2013. This event was one of the highest paying open competition Modified events run during the 2012 season. Matt Hirschman was the 2012 winner.

In action on the tube this week, the Speed Channel will re-run some of the Sprint Cup races run this past season. On Wednesday at noon the fall Martinsville race will be shown, On Thursday at noon the Texas Sprint Cup race will be shown and on Friday at noon the Kansas Speedway Sprint Cup race will be shown.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.73 to 26.83 and Dover Motor Sports went up 0.05 to 1.65 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.32 to 15.95. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.08 to 5.72 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.75 to 43.90 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.76 to 12.59. The auto makers ended the week on a positive note. Ford went up 0.34 to 11.44, General Motors went up 0.67 to 25.88 and Toyota went up 0.43 to 86.04. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.96 to 36.11 and Home Depot went up 0.26 to 65.08. Coca-Cola led the team sponsorship stocks as they went up 2.04 to 68.64. Fedex went up 1.80 to 89.53 and Dupont went up 0.02 to 43.14 while Target Department Stores dropped 1.39 to 63.09 and Aaron's Rentals dropped 0.57 to 28.69.

Chevrolet unveiled its 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup car this past week. The matching Chevrolet SS passenger car, a new rear-wheel drive vehicle that will be available in showrooms in August, will be unveiled in February around the season-opening Daytona 500, when it will debut on the track. The Chevrolet SS replaces the Impala, which won 152 races from 1959-64 and 2007-12. The Chevrolet passenger car will be built in Australia and sold in the U.S. It's the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan in the U.S., and Chevy will rely on the engineering, technology and infrastructure used to build the Holden Commodore in Australia to build the SS.

It is thought that Ford and Toyota will follow suit in order to make their models more identifiable. In recent years Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races have resembled the long gone IROC series where all cars were and looked the same.

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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