Tuesday February 28, 2006

By Phil Smith
With Speedweeks in Florida now history, fans and competitors are returning to the northeast to prepare for the upcoming season which isn’t too far off. The main focal point of this upcoming weekend will be the annual Racearama, which runs Friday, 3/3 to Sun, 3/5. Show organizer Val LeSieur has moved the show that had previously been at the Big E in West Springfield to the Dana-Farber Field House at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Just about every track and racing organization will be represented at the 26th annual event.
Believe it or not its only five weeks before the green flag drops for IceBreaker ’06 at the Thompson Speedway. IceBreaker ’06 will also be the opening event for the 2006 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. Two weeks later it will be the annual Spring Sizzler at Stafford. Among those who have made his intentions known that he will be running for Rookie of the Year honors on the Modified Tour is Ron Yuhas Jr. of Groton, CT. Yuhas is a former competitor and SK Modified track champion at the Waterford Speedbowl. It has also been learned that Mike Stefanik will run the full Modified Tour Series schedule as he has been notified that his Busch East ride at Grizco Racing has come to an end as the team has folded. Stefanik’s team mate Brad Leighton is also out of a ride.
The New London Day reported last Thursday, February 23, that the bank that holds the mortgage on the Waterford Speedbowl is threatening to take possession of the racetrack, claiming the owner has failed to make payments on his $1.7 million loan. The Washington Mutual Bank, which has headquarters in Seattle, Wash., has filed a lawsuit in the Norwich Connecticut Superior Court stating that Speedbowl owner Terry H. Eames of Groton and various business entities that he manages have failed to make regular and accelerated payments on the mortgage taken out six years ago. Eames' first court appearance in the case is set for Tuesday, February 28. Eames said last week that the racetrack's financial problems wouldn’t affect the Speedbowl's upcoming season, which is set to run from April 1 to Sept. 24. According to the racetrack's Web site, open practice for drivers is scheduled to begin March 25.
According to the lawsuit, Eames' companies and he himself are liable for mortgage payments. As the main borrower, Eames is in default and, in addition, liable because he owes back taxes, the lawsuit says. Eames manages 1080 Hartford Road LLC, which holds title to three separate parcels totaling 20 acres; T.H.E. Motorsports LLC, which leases space from the Speedbowl; and Victuals Inc., which runs concessions. All are named as parties in the lawsuit. An LLC protects personal assets like houses, cars and boats from being attached. The bank also is suing the town of Waterford, which holds liens totaling about $36,000 on the property; and Finkeldey Inc. of Old Saybrook, a waste-management firm. Finkeldey supplies portable toilets to the speedbowl and is owed thousands. Eames has made arrangements with the town to pay his back taxes, Town Attorney Rob Avena said. Eames' company, 1080 Hartford Road LLC, owns three contiguous pieces of property — 1080, 1084, and 1090 Hartford Road (also known as Route 85). The 20-acre piece where the racetrack is located has a fair market value of $2.4 million, according to records in the town assessor's office. The other two parcels are worth as much as $157,000 each or more.
The bank's lawyer, James R. Byrne of Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn LLP of Hartford, has asked the court to allow the bank to foreclose and take immediate possession of personal property. The bank also is seeking monetary damages, lawyers' fees and other costs. Byrne has also asked the court to assume jurisdiction over the property.
Another one who evidently doesn’t like to pay taxes is Busch East competitor Matt Kobyluck. Kobyluck, who is the owner and vice president of Kobyluck Sand and Gravel owes the town of Salem Conn. $7,914.52 in real estate and personal property tax on equipment. Kobyluck owns a rock quarry and has various equipment including rock crushers on the property. The town currently has a cease and desist order against Kobyluck’s operation.
NASCAR says there will be no changes in the way points are tabulated for the Dodge Weekly Racing Series in 2006. The have, however, extended the season to October 1. The Stafford Motor Speedway, which has carried a NASCAR sanction since 1959, was recently awarded to have the best internet web site, by the sanctioning body.
Congratulations to New Jersey’s John Blewett Sr. who will be inducted into the Garden State Vintage Stock Car Club Hall of Fame on March 18. He is the father of John Blewett Jr. who was a former driver in the NASCAR Modifieds who currently operates an engine building business. The Sr Blewett is also the grandfather of drivers John Blewett III and Jimmy Blewett. In addition to Blewett, congratulations to Wayne Anderson of Yaphank, Long Island, NY who was announced as being inducted into the 2006 Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame. The official induction ceremony will take place on Monday May 1st.
On the speedway stock market scene last week all three-speedway stocks had a positive ending. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation, which went up 1.02 to 47.07. Dover Downs went up 0.08 to 5.05 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.09 to 35.86. Nextel dropped 0.39 to 24.29 while the Sun Oil Company went up 0.86 to 77.96. Featherlite Trailers went up 0.04 to 4.94 while DIRT Motorsports dropped 2.05 to 3.80. In the drug sector Pfizer went up 0.55 to 26.37 while Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.11 to 22.97. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 0.75 to 65.52 and Home Depot dropped 0.23 to 41.63. Parcel carrier FEDEX went up 2.11 to 107.16 while the big brown truck of UPS hit a chuckhole and dropped 0.93 to 75.32.


That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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