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Tuesday February 5, 2013
Note: Champ Trail will be taking a week off to deal with medical issues and will return in time for Speedweeks in Florida.

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

As of this Friday, February 8, one week remains before Daytona and New Smyrna come alive with the sound of racing engines as Speedweeks shift into high gear. Ryan Preece has added his name to those who will compete in the inaugural "Battle at the Beach" Whelen Modified Tour Series event at the Daytona International Speedway. Preece will drive the Flamingo Motorsports #16 that he drives in Tour series action.

The World Series at the New Smyrna Speedway begins on Friday night, Feb 15. Action at the Daytona Int. Speedway also begins on Thursday Feb 14 with ARCA practice at 1:00pm and on Friday with NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at 5:00pm and at 6:30pm as teams prepare for the Sprint Unlimited (formerly Busch Clash) event.

Ronnie Silk and car owner Eddie Partridge will be doing double duty in Florida. The 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champions, Silk and the No. 6 crew will participate in the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on the short track Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 18-19. They’ll follow that up with by participating three nights at the World Series of Stock Car Racing at recently-NASCAR-sanctioned New Smyrna Speedway. Partridge’s No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet, with Tom Grasso returning as crew chief, is one of 22 combined entries received so far between the NASCAR Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified Tours for the UNOH Battle At The Beach. Including Silk, six of those are also registered to participate in the New Smyrna World Series.

As previously announced, All three UNOH Battle At The Beach features will be carried live on SPEED. Further event coverage will be officially announced in the coming days.

The Daytona Int. Speedway has released the following schedule for the "Battle of the Beach".

Monday, February 18, 9:00am, Backstretch gates open. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series practice, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series final practice, 11:15 AM – 12:30 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Practice, 12:40 – 2:05 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Practice, 2:15 - 3:40 PM. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Driver autograph session, 2:30 – 3:30 PM. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps), 4:00 PM, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps), 4:30 PM. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #3 (25 Laps), 5:00 PM. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Qualifying Race #4 (25 Laps), 5:30 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series & Whelen Modified Tour Garages Close, 6:00pm. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Last Chance Race (25 Laps), 6:15pm. NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Driver Introductions, 6:50pm and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series UNOH Battle at the Beach (150 Laps, 60 Miles), 7:15pm.

The Tuesday, February 19 schedule is just as hectic. Backstretch gates open at 10:30 AM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour practice, 10:45 - 11:30 AM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour final practice, 11:35 AM - 12:20 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series practice, 12:30 - 1:15 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series final practice, 1:25 – 2:10 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Driver autograph session, 1:30 - 2:15 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Driver autograph session, 2:20 – 3:00 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps), 3:00 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps), 3:35 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Qualifying Race #1 (25 Laps), 4:00 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Qualifying Race #2 (25 Laps), 4:25 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Last Chance Race (25 Laps), 4:50 PM. NASCAR K&N Pro Series Last Chance Race (25 Laps), 5:15 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour & NASCAR K&N Pro Series Driver Introductions, 6:35 PM. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race (150 Laps, 60 miles), 7:15 PM and NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race (150 Laps, 60 miles), 8:30 PM.

Single-day general admission grandstand tickets are available for $25 and two-day general admission grandstand tickets are $40. Single-day pit passes are available for $25 and two-day pit passes are $35. Kids 12 and under are free in the general admission grandstands. A four-day ticket package, which includes admission to the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200/Daytona Shootout doubleheader on Feb. 16 and Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger on Feb. 17, as well as a general admission grandstand ticket and pit pass for the UNOH Battle At The Beach, is available for $99. No NASCAR License needed to enter the pits at the UNOH Battle at The Beach. You will need two tickets if you want to enter the pits and then go sit in the grandstands. 1 ticket for the pits and 1 ticket for the grandstands.

Word came from Kevin Rice who wrote in the Area Auto Racing News last week that Jon McKennedy will not be defending his Valenti Modified Racing Series title. The three time series champion is moving to the International Super Modified Association (ISMA) in 2013. McKennedy will drive the Dunnigan Super. McKennedy will continue to drive the Art Barry Modified when no conflicts exist, approximately 13 events. Rice also alluded to the fact that Bobby Santos III will run the entire Whelen Modified Tour in the Tioio Motorsports entry.

One of the big highlights of Speedweek in Florida is the Annual Modified Reunion held in conjunction with the Richie Evans Memorial on Friday, Feb 22nd at the New Smyrna Speedway. The 6th Annual Reunion is for all former Modified racers, owners, crew and fans, from all over the Northeast. In previous years they have hosted well over 150 former racers, as well as the Vintage race cars that would be on display during the day, and on-track prior to that nights Richie Evans Memorial 100 for Tour-type Mods.

Riverhead Raceway Public Relations Director Bob Finan sends word that J .R. Bertuccio will be in Florida for Speedweeks running New Smyrna Speedway as well as The Battle at the Beach at Daytona in the family owned Gershow Motorsports cars #2. Finan added that during the recent NASCAR Whelen Champion's Celebration held the second weekend of December in Charlotte, N.C., Riverhead Raceway owners and promoters Barbara & Jim Cromarty announced in conjunction with NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials that the fabled tour will make two stops on Long Island in 2013. The cars and stars of the NASCAR WMT will first compete at Riverhead on Saturday June 29th with a second race set for Saturday September 14th; both races will use the "Flash" format. Located on the eastern end of Long Island, Riverhead Raceway opens for the 63rd year of stock car racing on Saturday evening May 4th.

Every once in a while racing people take the extra step and go the extra mile to help out their fellow man. Whelen Modified Tour Series and Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified Champion Ryan Preece is one of those who went above and beyond and is beyond a doubt, a cut above the rest. Champ Trail recently received a letter from Randy Higginson who is the dad of the boy Mario Fiore referred to, who spoke at the recent Ryan Preece Party at the Stafford Speedway Clubhouse.

In his letter he stated, "My name is Randy Higginson, and my son is the boy Mario referred to that got up and spoke at the party. His name is Jake, nickname The Wild Child. He races go-karts and is a 2 time champion. He is 11. We met Ryan 3 years ago at On Track Karting in Wallingford, where Ryan gave Jake weekly road course instruction. Ryan was a great teacher, and was instrumental in Jake winning the Jr.1 championship in Norwalk later that year. On November 12 of last year, Jake had brain surgery to reduce a lemon sized cyst on the left side of his brain. 2 days after surgery, while Jake was still in the ICU at Yale New Haven Hospital, Ryan text messaged me and asked if he could come and see Jake. Of course the answer was yes. Ryan wanted it to be a surprise, and boy was it ever. Jake was so excited to see Ryan! It made him so happy. Ryan was there when Jake took his first walk post surgery, walking side by side and holding Jake to help steady and support him. Ryan stayed with Jake until Jake became tired, and he said goodbye as Jake was drifting off to sleep. Jake will never forget it, and I will never forget what Ryan did for Jake. Ryan is Jake's hero. Jake got up in front of that room and told Ryan that in front of everyone there. They are both my heroes. I couldn't ask for a better role model for my son than Ryan."

If anyone would like to know more about Jake, he has a fan page on facebook <CLICK HERE>. It is "The WildChild" Jake Higginson. There are many pictures dating all the way back to when he was 6 and racing kid karts.


On a sad note, 1971 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Denny Zimmerman reports that Hall of Fame Driver and one of the original "East Bandits" Melvin "Red" Foote passed away in Richmond Virginia at 87. a Meriden, Ct. native he has resided in Richmond since the mid 60's. Arrangements are incomplete at this time.

This weeks Speed Channel viewing schedule:

 

2

5

Tue

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

5

Tue

12:00 PM

NASCAR Truck Series Replay

Iowa

SPEED

2

5

Tue

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

6

Wed

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

6

Wed

12:00 PM

NASCAR Truck Series Replay

Chicago

SPEED

2

6

Wed

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

7

Thu

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

7

Thu

12:00 PM

NASCAR Truck Series Replay

Iowa

SPEED

2

7

Thu

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

7

Thu

8:00 PM

He Got Game - Jeff Gordon

 

BET

2

8

Fri

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

2

8

Fri

12:00 PM

NASCAR Truck Series Replay

Kentucky

SPEED

2

8

Fri

3:00 PM

NASCAR Now

2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

ESPN

2

8

Fri

6:30 PM

NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography

Class of 2013

SPEED

2

8

Fri

8:00 PM

He Got Game - Jeff Gordon

 

BET

2

8

Fri

7:30 PM

NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Charlotte

SPEED

2

8

Fri

10:30 PM

The 10

Greatest Families in NASCAR History

SPEED

2

8

Fri

11:30 PM

NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Charlotte

SPEED

2

9

Sat

2:30 AM

The 10

Greatest Families in NASCAR History

SPEED

2

9

Sat

12:00 PM

NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Charlotte

SPEED

2

14

Thu

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

Media Day Special

SPEED

2

15

Fri

5:00 PM

Sprint Unlimited practice

Daytona

SPEED

2

15

Fri

6:30 PM

Sprint Unlimited final practice

Daytona

SPEED

2

16

Sat

11:00 AM

NSCS practice

Daytona

SPEED

2

16

Sat

2:00 PM

NSCS practice

Daytona

SPEED

2

16

Sat

4:30 PM

ARCA Racing Series

Daytona

SPEED

2

16

Sat

6:30 PM

NASCAR RaceDay

Sprint Unlimited

SPEED

2

16

Sat

8:00 PM

The Sprint Unlimited

Daytona

FOX & FOX Deportes

2

17

Sun

1:00 PM

Daytona 500 Qualifying

Daytona

FOX & FOX Deportes

2

17

Sun

5:00 PM

Sprint Unlimited Replay

Daytona

SPEED

 


On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.67 to 28.12 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.73 to 16.89 while Dover Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 1.72. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.05 to 5.69 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil (Energy Transfer) went up 0.80 to 47.05 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.09 to 13.79. With the exception of Toyota which went up 2.04 to 98.13 the car builders were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.65 to 13.02 and General Motors dropped 0.90 to 28.17. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.52 to 67.30 and Lowes dropped 0.02 to 38.56. The sponsorship stocks did their usual thing. Dupont dropped 0.35 to 47.98 while Coca-Cola went up 0.73 to 64.99. Target Department Stores dropped 0.39 to 61.15 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.42 to 29.83 while Fedex went up 0.19 to 102.76.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, 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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