Tuesday December 10, 2013

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Champion Ryan Preecce along with Eric Sanderson and his No. 16 East West Marine/Diversified Metals Ford team will get a chance to celebrate their 2013 accomplishments this coming Saturday, Dec. 14 as part of the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards ceremony in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte (N.C) Convention Center inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR is also expected to announce their 2014 Modified Tour schedule for 2014.

In light of Tommy Barrett Jr being hired by NASCAR Modified Tour owner Chris Our, Mike Stefanik has chosen to seek out other options. A possible good fit for Stefanik would be the Wayne Darling entry that was recently vacated by Doug Coby. Coby was told by Darling that he would be unable to participate in the full tour schedule. Stefanik, who is possibly looking to scale back his racing would be right where he wanted to be. Stefanik had been offered a part time ride in a team car to Barrett but chose not to play second fiddle to the young upstart.

Barrett made his tour debut this past fall in the last two events of the 2012 season when he finished 19th in the Fall Final at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway and seventh in the World Series at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway. Barrett has six wins in 35 starts since 2011 in the Valenti Modified Series.

In other Modified Tour news, Doug Coby has moved over to the Mike Smeriglio III owned Whelen Modified Tour ride crew chiefed and managed by the very able Phil Moran. Coby succeeds Todd Szegedy.

NASCAR’s other touring series champions which will be recognized at the traditional NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards will include the champions from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, Mexico’s NASCAR Toyota Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards will take place Friday, Dec. 13. Among those honored will be the 2013 national champion, as well as track champions from 55 tracks across the United States and Canada, state and provincial champions and top rookies. Among thosewho will be honored is Keith Rocco who is the Waterford Speedbowl SK Modified and Late Model Champion, the Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified Champion and the Connecticut State Champion.

Valenti Modified Racing Series officials have announced the addition of two key members to the officiating team for the new season. Long-time official Warren Alston of Trenton, New Jersey, and Robert Rund, of Medway, Massachusetts, will join the series in the spring. Alston brings a long and storied history in motorsports at both a premier flagging level and as one the top safety officials in the region. most impressive, Warren Alston was the 1996 recipient Paul Heitmann Memorial Official of the Year Award, presented at the Race Of Champions, for his heroic actions of pulling a driver from a burning race car in 1995. Mr. Rund worked several series events in 2013 as an assistant to chief scorer Jenn Ready, and has consistently shown he has what it takes to make the Valenti Modified Racing Series the best it can be every week.”

Word comes from the Seekonk Speedway that Open Wheel Wednesday is scheduled for Wednesday, July 23. This race is open to all Modifieds. The rules used will be taken from the 2013 rule books of the Race of Champions, NASCAR Whelen Modified and Valenti Modified Racing Series tours. Starting positions for qualifying heats will be determined by the draw system. Drawing will be done during inspections at scales. Feature starting line-up will be determined by heats and consolation race. Feature line up will be straight up from heat finishes. 100 Green flag laps will be run, cautions do not count. Double file restarts to checker flag. The 100 lapper will pay $10,000 to win! Runner-up gets $3,500, third-$2,500, fourth-$2,000 and fifth to 24th pays $1,000. That's a purse that's hard to beat.

The Seekonk Speedway has been in continuous operation since 1946. D.Anthony Venditti built the speedway with his own bare hands!

The 2014 IndyCar Series television schedule will feature three weekends of ABC coverage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the network’s 50th consecutive telecast of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 25. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will televise 13 races, including 11 in a row that culminates with the season finale on Labor Day weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation which dropped 0.47 to 33.90. Dover Entertainment dropped 0.08 to 2.47 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.06 to 20.07. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.50 to 7.89 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.41 to 53.75 while tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.30 to 22.56. With the exception of General Motors which went up 1.44 to 40.17. the car makers had a down week as Ford dropped 0.98 to 16.70 and Toyota dropped 2.31 to 122.74. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.50 to 47.98 while Home Depot dropped 0.83 to 79.84. In the area of big team sponsorship, Dupont dropped 0.04 to 61.34, Coca-Cola went up 1.45 to 69.35, Target dropped 0.55 to 63.38, Aarons Rentals went up 0.28 to 28.92 and Fedex went up 0.69 to 139.39.

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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