Tuesday December 31, 2013


By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Before we know it the 2014 racing season will begin. NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will be testing at the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the season opening Daytona 500 which will be run on Sunday, Feb 23. Race teams in the northeast are making ready for their annual trek to New Smyrna.

In some sad news, Anne Marie (Newell) Empey, aged 74 of Middleboro. MA passed away on Wednesday, December 25, 2013, at the Sachem Rehabilitation and Nursing Home surrounded by her family. She was predeceased by her parents, and companion Bill Somers. She was an avid NASCAR racing fan and worked as the Chief Scorer at Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Thompson, Seekonk, and Westboro Speedways; she also scored races at the Norwood Arena, Lee, Lakeville, and Star Speedways; she was the traveling scorer for the New England Mini Modified tour and the Big Rig Racing tour scoring at tracks up and down the East Coast.

Andy Granatelli, the former CEO of STP motor oil company who made a mark on motorsports as a car owner, innovator and entrepreneur, has died. He was 90. Granatelli's son, Vince, said his father died of congestive heart failure at a Santa Barbara California hospital. Granatelli is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.

Andy Granatelli's cars nearly won the Indianapolis 500 in 1967 and '68 with turbine engines. He broke through in 1969 with Mario Andretti driving his winning car with a conventional engine. Granatelli kissing Andretti on the cheek in Victory Lane is one of the most famous images in Indy history. In 1973, Gordon Johncock gave Granatelli another Indy 500 victory.

Some people go to Florida for Christmas vacation, some people donít. Among those spotted in Foxboro, Ma last Sunday night at the Patriots game were Burt and Kim Myers from Walnut Grove, NC. Burt is the 2013 Modified Track Champion at the Bowman Gray Stadium. Both got soaked to the skin.

Word has been received that Lee USA Speedway and Star Speedway in New Hampshire along with the Seekonk Speedway in Massachusetts will stage the Triple Crown of Modified Racing next summer with high purse events. The Lee event will be on Sunday, May 11, the Star event will be on Saturday, June 14 and the Seekonk event will be on Wednesday, July 23. Organizers for these events have been careful as to not have any conflictions with the Whelen Modified Tour or the Valenti Modified Racing Series.

On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were up for the week. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation, which went up 1.29 to 35.76. Dover Entertainment went up 0.03 to 2.50 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.07 to 19.93. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.93 to 10.79 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.61 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) jumped 2.86 to 55.38. Two of the three car builders had a good week. Toyota went up 3.13 to 121.88 and General Motors went up 0.85 to 40.94. On the down side was Ford, which dropped 0.12 to 15.30. In the home improvement sector Home Depot jumped 1.60 to 81.64 and Lowes went up 0.86 to 48.83. With the exception of Target Department Stores which dropped 0.34 to 62.15 the team sponsor stocks had a good week. Dupont went up 1.70 to 64.25, Coca-Cola went up 0.74 to 72.98, Aarons Rentals went up 0.45 to 29,38 Fedex went up 0.72 to 143.43.

Happy New Year to All!

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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