Tuesday February 21, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The 46th annual New Smyrna World Series of Short track Racing was scheduled to begin on Friday night. With 13 Tour type Modifieds and four SK type Modifieds ready to go rain moved into the area, forcing speedway officials to cancel the opening night’s racing.

The skies cleared on Saturday allowing the World Series to go on as planned. The Modifieds and SK’s were combined for their 25 lap feature. Seventeen cars went to post. Chuck Hossfeldt led the charge to the green with Daniel Hemric in tow. On lap 8 Ryan Preece hit the wall a ton, inflicting severe right side damage to his family owned mount. Preece blamed Ted Christopher whom he said hit his left front with his right rear. Speedway officials felt that Preece just washed up the track on his own. Hemric took the lead on the restart and held it until the next restart which occurred on lap 17 when James Zacharias spun. On the restart, Christopher took the lead and proceeded to lead the remaining circuits as he recorded his first win of the series. Patrick Emerling finished second and was followed by Hossfeldt, Eric Goodale and Hemric. Don Cranmer was the highest finishing SK type Modified.

Sunday night was an off night for the Modifieds.

As an added attraction the New Smyrna Speedway will host a Modified Racing Reunion this Friday, Feb 24 from noon to 5:00pm.

Big News for NASCAR’s touring and weekly divisions came out last Wednesday at the Daytona Speedway when NASCAR announced that the Daytona International Speedway will host the inaugural “UNOH Battle At The Beach”. It was also announced that a temporary flat 4/10-mile oval will be built on the backstretch of the Daytona International Speedway. As a comparison, the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY is a 4/10 mile oval but is banked.

NASCAR announced that the events will be run on Monday and Tuesday nights, Feb. 18-19, 2013. The two-days of racing will be headlined by three non-points special events: the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified tours, and the Late Model division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Both nights of race action will air live on the SPEED channel.

Kevin Rice of Area Auto Racing News and The Lowell Sun wrote that the base purse for both events would be the same, paying $20,000 to each race winner before any bonuses are added. It is a purse that, from early indications will to be large enough to entice Modified teams from the northeast to make the trek south. Tentative but unofficial plans include a field size of up to 30 cars to race on a four-tenths mile oval on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval. Practice and qualifying on Monday will set the fields for feature events on Tuesday.

Event entitlement sponsor, the University of Northwestern Ohio, has been heavily involved with NASCAR’s grassroots racing programs. The school, which offers a degree in High Performance Motorsports, owns NASCAR-sanctioned Limaland Motorsports Park and is the sponsor of several NASCAR touring races.

Congratulations to Keith Rocco who has been named as driver for the famous “Ole Blu” owned by the Boehler family. The Mighty No. 3, originated by the late Len Boehler in the early 60’s has carried some of NASCAR Modified’s Greatest drivers to victory. This will mark the 55th consecutive year that Ole Blu has rolled out of the backyard garage in East Freetown, Mass.

During the 2011 season Rocco surpassed 100 feature wins in his career while winning his third Connecticut State Championship successively. Pushing the asphalt “win-bar” higher than any racer since Richie Evans or Geoff Bodine, the Wallingford, Connecticut frontrunner drove to his sixth Track Championship after winning more races (32) than any single driver in the United States.

Two Rhode Island legislators are taking on the greed of big oil. State Rep. Samuel Azzinaro, a Democrat, and Sen. Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, a Republican, want the General Assembly to pass legislation that would prohibit retailers of essential commodities, like home heating oil, gasoline, food, water and ice, from charging "unconscionably high prices."

Azzinaro's bill, No. H-7409, would prohibit price gouging during statewide emergencies and "market emergencies," or supply shortages. Unconscionably high prices are defined as those that are grossly higher than the average price of similar commodities sold in a local trade area. Under the bill, violations of the law could result in a fine of up to $1,000 with a maximum penalty of $25,000 per 24-hour period, along with the forfeiture of any profits earned.

The bill was introduced on Feb. 8, and has been referred to the House Committee on Corporations.

Algiere said his bill, which will be filed in the coming days, takes Azzinaro's proposal a step further and prohibits price gouging during "economic emergencies," or times when a substantial number of people are having difficulty affording essential commodities due to increased prices, a reduction in income or both.

Hopefully all state legislators will follow suit. Our presidential candidates and our current president don’t seem to care!

In TV land, viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday, at 6:00pm with NASCAR Race Hub. Race Hub will also be shown on Wednesday at the same time. NASCAR Now will be on espn2 at 3:00pm on Tuesday, 2:00pm on Wednesday and 5:30pm on Thursday.

Race viewing begins on Tuesday at noon with the 1991 Daytona 500 on ESPN Classic. The 1988 Daytona 500 follows at 2:00pm, also on ESPN Classic. ESPN2 has season Previews of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at 2:00 and at 2:30pm. At 4:00pm on Tuesday, ESPN Classic has the 1993 Daytona 500 followed by the 1996 Daytona 500 at 6:00pm.

Speed goes live at 11:30am on Wednesday with NASCAR Live at Daytona. Sprint Cup practice at Daytona follows at noon. ESPN Classic has the 1999 Daytona 500 at 4:00pm and the 1997 Daytona 500 at 6:30pm.

Thursday’s action gets the green at 10:00am on ESPN2 with NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at Daytona. The Sprint Cup cars take to the track for a practice at noon. NASCAR RaceDay follows at 1:00pm and will lead in to the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Gatorade Duels at Daytona, which will determine the starting spots of this year’s Daytona 500. NASCAR Victory Lane on Speed follows at 5:30pm. Rounding out the day will be Truck Series practice at Daytona on Speed at 6:30pm. Speed will repeat the Duels at 8:00pm.

Friday’s viewing begins at 10:30am on Speed with NASCAR Live from Daytona Beach. Sprint Cup practice follows at 11:00am. At 1:30pm the action shifts to ESPN2 for NASCAR Now. Nationwide Series pole qualifying follows at 2:00pm. At 4:00pm the action switches back to Speed for the Truck Series qualifying. Trackside at Daytona follows at 6:30pm. The Truck Series pre-race show goes at 7:00pm which will lead to the 7:30pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona.
NASCAR Live at Daytona on Speed at 10:00am starts off the Saturday viewing. Sprint Cup final practice follows at 10:30am. The action shifts to ESPN at noon for the Nationwide Series Countdown that will lead to the 1:15pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona. Following the 300 will be NASCAR Live on Speed at 4:00pm, Trackside on Speed at 4:30pm, a Kenny Wallace Special on Speed at 5:00pm and NASCAR Performance on Speed at 6:30pm.

Sunday’s action on the tube begins at 8:00am with NASCAR Performance on Speed. At 9:00am Speed begins a three-hour RaceDay preview. At noon Fox goes live with another hour of pre-race baloney, which will lead into the 1-1:30pm start of the Daytona 500. Sportscenter on ESPN2 and Speed Center on Speed, both at 7:00pm will re-cap the Daytona 500. Rounding out the day will be Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 8:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week, all three speedway stocks ended the week on the minus side. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.15 to 1.21 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 16.35 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.08 to 26.15. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.01 to 2.30 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.73 to 39.94 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.46 to 13.42. The car makers were all positive for the week. Ford went up 0.31 to 12.75 while General Motors went up 1.84 to 27.34 and Toyota went up 4.96 to 83.36. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.38 to 46.71 and Lowes went up 0.59 to 27.68. With the exception of Fedex which dropped 2.28 to 92.99, the major team sponsors were positive at week’s end. Dupont went up 0.33 to 51.48 while Coca-Cola went up 1.60 to 64.39, Target Department Stores went up 0.21 to 52.64 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.48 to 28.44.

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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