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Tuesday February 5, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

After a long winter’s wait the 2008 racing season begins this week with the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway. The 42nd Annual version of the World Series at New Smyrna begins on Friday night, February 8th and run nine-consecutive nights through the 16th. It’s also the beginning of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 pole qualifying start their season at the Daytona International Speedway.

Among those entered to compete at New Smyrna are New Englanders Lou Mechalides of Tyngsboro, MA in the Super Late Models, Joey Pole of Hudson, NH with his Crate Late Model and Glenn Griswold, Jr. of Conn. in that division. Also, in the Tour Type Modifieds entries are: Charlie Pasteryak of Lisbon, Conn., Andy Suess of southern NH and Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn. Other Modified entries include Eric Beers, JR Bertuccio, Jimmy Blewett, Chuck Hossfeld, James Civali, Kenny Horton, Ronnie Silk and Butch Perry

The Waterford Speedbowl has firmed up their racing schedule for 2008. In addition to the most competitive regular divisions in New England , the Waterford Speedbowl will welcome the area’s quickest racecars as well in 2008. The International Super Modified Association (ISMA), the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) and the True Value Modified Series (TVMS) head up the list of special attractions that also includes the American Canadian Tour (ACT) and the Three Quarter Midgets.

The season at the shoreline oval begins April 12-13 with the 11th annual Modified Nationals, the SK-150. The Speedbowl’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series divisions, the Late Models, Sportsman and Mini Stocks – will be joined by the Midgets, Legends, AllStar Race Trucks, Pro4 Modifieds and Allison Legacy Cars.

The True Value Modified Series continues to make its presence known in New England as a joint announcement between Dennis Fleury Owner/Promoter of Twin State Speedway in Claremont, NH and Jack Bateman president of the True Value Modified Racing series announced that on Sunday Sept. 28th the True Value Modified Racing Series will make their 1st appearance at the 1/3 mile oval. Twin State becomes the third new venue on the 2008 True Value Modified Racing Schedule, increasing the number of races for the upcoming season to 19. The 100 lap race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 28 and will be a one day event. It will be part of an exciting two day weekend racing festival to close out the season at Twin State . September 28 is also the date for the Fall Final at Stafford .

On a sad note, New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member Vic Bombacci, co-owner of the famous Connecticut Valley Rocket V8, passed away on Feburary 2 at the Middlesex Hospital in Middletown , CT. He was 78. Bombacci and Bob Vitari, boyhood friends in Essex , CT , brought a race car to the Waterford Speedbowl in 1958. With driver Bill Slater, they won the Speedbowl championship in 1959. During the 1960s, the team, based at Norwood Arena, scored many victories including major wins at Langhorne , PA , Trenton , NJ , Thompson , CT , Oxford Plains, Me, and Old Bridge , NJ . Bombacci and Vitari were inducted into the NEAR Hall of Fame in 2006.

It was also learned that George "P-P" Miguel, a friend to many in the racing community, died January 31. P-P was best known as one of Bugsy Stevens’ best friends and his "Chauffer" who drove the three time NASCAR Modified National Champion almost everywhere. What most may not know, if you attended Stafford Speedway in the 70's, P-P was Seymour The Clowns sometime sidekick who dressed up as a gorilla and he and Seymour would entertain the crowd.

Coastal 181 and superb writer Lew Boyd have done it again with “Ed Otto – NASCAR’s Silent Partner. At one time the owner of almost half of the stock of NASCAR, Ed Otto was a partner of Bill France Sr. Otto was a promoter-PR Man and was a vital part of the NASCAR organization in the early days. Like many who followed him, France Sr left him by the roadside once he outlived his use to “The Company”. Ed Otto will be released in the near future. A very good read, to say the least. To reserve your copy of Ed Otto call toll free: 1-877-907-8181.

In TV land this week.action in Daytona Beach hits a fever pitch with the Speed Channel along with ESPN 2 and FOX providing extended coverage of racing at the world center of speed. NASCAR Now will be shown every day at 6:00pm in HD on ESPN2. In addition, MustSeeRacing.com will provide live video coverage during The 2008 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway. MustSeeRacing.com in partnership with FASCAR and New Smyrna Speedway will broadcast six of the nights of the 42nd Annual event on Internet TV. Coverage begins this coming Sunday, Feb 10, with coverage of the Winged Sprint and Super Late Model features. On Monday, Feb 11, the Tour type Modifieds and the Winged Sprint features get shown. Scheduled for showings on Wed, Feb 13 is the John Blewett III Tour type modified 50 lapper and the Florida Modifieds. Thursday night it’s the Super Late Model 50 and Friday night the Tour Type Richie Evans Memorial 100 will be shown. Rounding out the weeks coverage at New Smyrna will be the Pete Orr Memorial Super Late Model 100 and the SK type Modified 50. The Speed Channel kicks it off tonight, Tues Feb 5, with NASCAR 2008 team previews at 7:00pm . Another segment airs on Wednesday at 7:00pm . Speed covers the annual media day at the Daytona Speedway at 6:00pm on Thursday. At 8:00pm Speed goes live as they host the NASCAR Bud Shootout Selection Show from the Daytona Speedway. At 9:00 Speed goes behind the scenes as they show what goes into making commercials with NASCAR drivers. At 10:00pm Speed presents their 2007 Awards Program. Speed wraps up the day at 11:00pm with Great moments in the history of the Bud Shootout. Speed goes live on Friday at 3:00pm with a 60 minute segment of NASCAR Live from Daytona International Speedway. The Bud Shootout take to the track in Daytona at 4:00 for a 60 minute practice session. Speed will provide live coverage. Following the first practice session will be a 90 minute session of NASCAR Live from Daytona. The Shootout cars have another 60 minute practice on Speed at 6:30pm . At 7:00pm ESPN2 has a special titled “Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears”. The 60 minute program will be the first of five programs to take a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with Deal Earnhardt Jr’s move from DEI to Hendrick Motorsports. At 8:00 Speed goes with a 60 minute program titled Trackside at Daytona. Tradin’ Paint at Daytona follows at 9:00pm . After having the winter off Dave Sespain returns on Speed at 9:30 with the History of stock car racing in Daytona Beach . Saturday’s viewing gets the green at 10:00am with NASCAR Live from Daytona. At 10:30 live coverage switches to the track for a two hour Sprint Cup practice. At 12:30 it’s back to NASCAR Live for 60 minutes. At 1:30 the Cup cars have a 90 minute practice before another 60 minutes of NASCAR Live. Live action on the Speed Channel continues at 4:00pm with flag to flag coverage of the ARCA RE/MAX Series ARCA 200. Following the ARCA 200 Speed hosts NASCAR RaceDay which will preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup Budweiser Shootout. FOX goes live at 8:00pm with Flag to Flag coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Budweiser Shootout from Daytona. New England ’s own, Mike Joy will call the race. Once the event is completed the Speed Channel will wrap it up with NASCAR Victory Lane . FOX goes live again on Sunday afternoon at 1:00pm with NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying for the Daytona 500 inside and outside pole positions. The action switches back to the Speed Channel at 5:00 for another 60 minutes of NASCAR Live. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00 . In case you missed it the ARCA RE/MAX Series ARCA 200 will be re-shown on Monday at noon . The 2007 Daytona 500 gets re-shown on ESPN Classic at 2:00pm .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week a big rally took place which took the sting out of recent losses. All three speedway stocks had good gains. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 3.15 to 42.36. Speedway Motorsports went up 2.31 to 31.46 and Dover Downs went up 0.50 to 7.01. Nextel/Sprint had a good showing as they went up 1.06 to 10.44. Ditto for Sun Oil which went up 3.35 to 63.59. For the second week in a row Goodyear showed a gain as they went up 1.14 to 26.07. On the down side was the renamed World Racing Group, formerly DIRT Motorsports, which dropped 0.01 to 0.36. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 1.90 to 30.43. Lowes went up 0.84 to 25.55. The parcel carriers followed suit. UPS went up 3.81 to 73.78 and Fedex went up 3.46 to 93.42. Coca-Cola went up 0.99 to 61.00 while Dupont jumped 1.23 to 45.95. Target, which was on the winning car in the recent 24 Hours of Daytona, went up 5.45 to 57.05. Nationwide Insurance went up 4.77 to 44.38 and Aarons Rentals went up 1.22 to 19.24.

DIRT Motor Sports, Inc announced on January 30 that its Board of Directors and shareholders had approved the changing of the Company’s name to “World Racing Group, Inc.” The Company’s common shares began trading under the symbol OTCBB:WRGI beginning when the market opened on January 31, 2008 .

The DuPont Co. announced on January 30 that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 41 cents per share. The chemicals company said the dividend is payable on March 14 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 15. The 41 cents equates to a percentage yield of 3.60%.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891 . Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com


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

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