Tuesday February 6, 2007   

By Phil Smith                                                                                           

The countdown to racing in Florida has reached the finish line. This Friday night it’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as the men that live by the Grace of God and 600 horsepower, the unlimited open wheeled Modifieds get it on for the 41st annual World Series of Asphalt Racing. The New Smyrna Speedway, a half-mile high banked speedway will host nine nights of racing beginning on February 9. NASCAR Tour type Modifieds, SK type Modifieds along with Florida-IMSA Modifieds and numerous late model divisions will be in competition.
As of last weekend there were 29 Tour type Modifieds entered and 11 SK type Modifieds.
Tornados wreaked havoc in the Daytona-New Smyrna area on Feb. 2. Veteran Photographer Howie Hodge was in Orlando and stated tornados ripped through the Deland and New Smyrna area. In Orlando they had severe thunderstorms during the night. The New Smyrna Speedway track manager reported that they had little damage and are ready to go racing. I-4 was closed from I-95 in Daytona to Route 44, the exit for New Smyrna.

Get well wishes to Roger Hill of Westfield, NC who underwent bypass surgery in mid January. Roger and his wife Sandra own the No.79 Modified which is driven by Chuck Hossfeld on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Eric Beers, who formerly drove the Boehler Racing No.3 has joined forces with team owner Gary Gaydosh of CT, to run the entire 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in the JMG Excavating number 94 NASCAR Modified. Kevin Crowley of Billerica, MA, will serve as the Crew Chief. In other Featherlite Modified Tour Series news it has been rumored that Tony Hirschman may not be running the entire schedule this year and Jerry Marquis may be driving the Pete Beal x-6.

In some sad news, Fred "Fuzzy" Baer Jr., passed away on Friday, Feb. 2, 2007 , at Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam , CT. Fuzzy was a 30+ year veteran in the Modified ranks at the Waterford Speedbowl. He began his racing career in 1951 with his father, "Pops", building their car together. After his father's death in 1978, he raced his 121 for less than two years. In 1980 he began driving the #38 for Mark LaJunesse and his father, Al, and drove for them until 1985.

In TV land this week viewing begins on Tuesday at 12:01am on the Speed Channel with NASCAR Preseason Thunder, Nextel Cup testing from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas , NV . For the Drag Racing fans, ESPN Classic will show the recent NHRA Autolite Nationals from Sonoma , CA at 11:00am . NASCAR Drivers: Non-Stop on ESPN2 goes at 5:30 followed by NASCAR Now at 6:30 . The action moves back to the Speed Channel at 7:00pm with another session of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, Nextel Cup testing from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. Wednesday’s viewing begins at 1:00pm on the Speed Channel with Round #8 of the Summer Shootout from the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte , NC . The action moves to ESPN2 for NASCAR Now at 6:30 . The Speed Channel has another segment of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, Nextel Cup testing from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas , NV at 7:00pm . Thursday will be quiet until 6:30 when ESPN2 has its daily NASCAR Now program. At 7:00 on Speed there will be more testing from Las Vegas . The Speed Channel goes live from Daytona Beach at 8:00pm for the Bud Shootout Selection Show. The Speed Channel SPEED Performance Awards follow at 9:00pm . , This special bestows a series of motor sports honors that were voted on by racing fans around the world. The Daytona International Speedway comes alive at 2:00pm on Friday with NASCAR Live from Daytona followed by live coverage of NASCAR Bud Shootout practice at from 4-5:00pm . Live coverage continues at 5:00 with a 90-minute segment of NASCAR Live. At 6:30 it’s the final practice of the day followed by a 30-minute segment of NASCAR Live. Trackside at Daytona goes at 8:00pm followed by “Tradin” Paint at 9:00pm . Live coverage by the Speed Channel on Saturday at Daytona begins at 10:00am with NASCAR Live. Two hours of Nextel Cup practice starts at 10:30 . NASCAR Live takes over for an hour before another Nextel Cup practice session starts at 1:30 . At 3:00pmit’s another hour of NASCAR Live from Daytona. The ARCA RE/MAX Series Daytona 200 gets the green flag on the Speed Channel at 4:00pm . Following the ARCA 200, NASCAR RaceDay will preview the Budweiser Shootout. FOX goes live from Daytona at 8:00 with flag to flag coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Budweiser Shootout from Daytona. At 10:00 the action switches back to the Speed Channel for NASCAR Victory Lane from the Budweiser Shootout. Sunday’s venues include NASCAR Live on Speed at 11:00 and live coverage of NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Daytona 500 on FOX at 2:00pm . At 5:00pm it’s NASCAR Live from Daytona and the Speed Report at 7:00pm .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week just about everybody was all smiles as there was nothing but green for the week. All three speedway stocks were positive. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.09 to 53.03. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.44 to 38.77 and Dover Downs went up 0.20 to 5.57. Nextel-Sprint went up 0.26 to 17.75 while Sun Oil took a big jump as they went up 2.92 to 63.86. Goodyear went up 0.19 to 24.89and DIRT Motorsports went up 0.05 to 2.05. In the drug sector Bristol Meyers-Squib took a big jump as they went up 2.44 to 28.65. The home improvement sector did equally as well. Lowes went up 1.58 to 34.16 and Home Depot went up 0.89 to 40.83. The parcel carriers followed suit as Fedex jumped up 5.09 to 114.98 and UPS jumped up 2.70 to 74.19.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and NASCAR jointly announced last Saturday that they had signed an extended agreement for Goodyear to continue as the exclusive tire used in NASCAR’s top three racing series for the next five years. The agreement through 2012, naming Goodyear the “Exclusive Tire Supplier” of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series, the NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, was signed in front of more than 2,000 attendees at the 2007 Goodyear Dealer Conference. Goodyear Chairman and CEO Bob Keegan, Jon Rich, president of the company’s North American Tire business, and Mike Helton, NASCAR president, delivered the news to Goodyear’s customers. It had been rumored that Goodyear was thinking seriously of getting out of racing due to the fact that they were closing numerous tire factories due to high labor costs.

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

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

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