Despite the fact that winter has descended upon us, race fans and competitors are thinking positive and are looking foreword to 2006. As of this Friday, January 13, four weeks remain until Speed Weeks start in Florida. The New Smyrna World Series will get the green flag on Friday night, February 10. Action at Daytona Beach for the Nextel Cup division shifts into high gear on Saturday, February 11. Nextel Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck and Rolex 24 Hour cars will be holding practice sessions during the month.
Even though winter has settled in there is still a lot going on. This coming weekend, January 13-15 will see Motorsports 2006 in Fort Washington, PA. Also this week will be the annual Waterford Speedbowl Banquet at the Groton Inn and Suites in Groton, C. Coming up on January 21 & 22 is the annual Ben Dodge Swap and Sell on January 22 & 22 at the Better Living Center on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass. The Thompson Speedway will hold their annual awards banquets on January 27-28 and on January 29 is the Ninth annual NEAR Hall of Fame induction’s at the LeRenissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT. Tickets for the NEAR HOF are $40 each and can be secured by contacting Dan Pardi at 860-569-1299 or e-mail at email@example.com
New Smyrna Speedway Modified division Chief Steward Richard Brooks says that entries have been slow in coming in for the upcoming World Series in Florida. The word from Long Island is that Eddie Partridge will be bringing a Modified and an SK Modified for Jimmy Blewett. Also expected from Long Island are Mike Ewanitsko and JR Bertuccio. John Blewett III will be bringing his family owned No.76. Chuck Hossfeld and Eric Beers will be bringing their own mounts while it has been heard that Zach Sylvester will be driving the Hill’s Enterprises No.79. Nevin George will be driving for Joe Brady and it’s a good bet that Ted Christopher will be in the Bear Motorsports No.14.
The Waterford Speedbowl holds its annual awards banquet this Saturday. Guests of honor include Track Champions Rob Summers, in the SK Modifieds, Mark St Hillaire in the Late Models, Norm Root JR in the Sportsman, Danny Field in the Mini Stocks and Jeff Paul in the Sportsman.
The Speedbowl released their 2006 schedule last weekend. Gone are the really early and really late season events that have been losers. Bill Roth has put together a schedule that makes sense and should be cost effective. The Budweiser Nationals will open the season on April 1-2. The Speedbowl will operate each and every week through September 24 when the Fall Finale closes out the season.
The Thompson Speedway released its 2006 racing schedule late last week with a major surprise in the change in format for what was the Thompson 300. The "300 weekend", September 9 & 10 will now be made up of a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series 150, a True Value Modified Tour 100, a Race of Champions Modified Tour 100 and a Sunoco Modified (SK Type) 50. The speedway opens on Saturday, March 25 with the first of two Practice, Test and Tune sessions. Round two will be the following Saturday, April 1. The season opening Ice Breaker is scheduled for April 8 & 9. A rain date of April 22 & 23 has also been set. Thursday night Thunder weekly racing begins on June 8.
For the most part the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona doesn’t get too many people in the Northeast excited. This year is a little different as Ted Christopher is in competition against some of the international road racing elite. Sascha Maassen's lap at 1:43.953 (123.286 mph) in the No. 58 Red Bull Porsche Fabcar from Friday turned out to be the third-quickest lap of Daytona Test Days. Maassen was sharing the car with Brumos Racing teammates David Donohue, Darren Law, Hurley Haywood, JC France and Ted Christopher. The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Test Days concluded on Saturday with the Rolex Series machines completing a total of 10,181 laps (36,244.36 miles) over three days of testing. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona gets the green on Saturday, January 28 at noon. The Speed Channel will provide extended coverage of the event.
Second generation driver Matt Hirschman says that he is running the full Whelen Modified Tour this year and he would like to run some of the ROC race's also. He said that he's almost has everything set to run the full WMT with 2 different teams. He is going to run the No.59 of Ed Bennett for some of the race's and the rest are going to be with a new team, the Bush North team that Jerry Marquis drive's for.
In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of mostly Speed Channel programming. This weeks viewing begins on Tuesday, January 10at 9:30am with NASCAR, Beyond the Wheel from Martinsville. At 2:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward recaps Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events run at Michigan Int. Speedway last June plus the Busch Series event that was run at the Kentucky Speedway. Same day taped delayed coverage of Nextel Cup testing and practice at the Daytona Speedway airs at 7:00pm. Wednesday’s action begins at 9:30am with NASCAR, Beyond the Wheel from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. At 2:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward recaps the 2005 Nextel Cup event at the Infineon Speedway plus the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck events from Milwaukee. At 7:00pm another day of testing at Daytona is shown on a taped delayed basis. NASCAR, Beyond the Wheel from the Texas Motor Speedway starts Thursday’s TV viewing at 9:30am. At 2:00pm NASCAR Fast Forward recaps Nextel Cup and Busch Series events run at Daytona in July plus the Craftsman Truck Series event that was run at the Kansas Speedway. Friday’s viewing begins with another NASCAR, Beyond the Wheel, this time from Phoenix. An edition from Dover airs at 7:00pm. The Hardee’s Summer Shootout from Lowes Motor Speedway gets rerun at 3:00pm on Saturday. At 9:00pm ESPN Classic presents the 1999 Winston Cup event run in Fontana, CA. Sunday’s viewing will be limited to the Year in revue of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at 3:00pm and a Year in Revue of the Nextel Cup Series at 4:00pm. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing from Daytona airs at 7:00pm. Speed News Sunday wraps up the weeks racing activities at 7:30pm.
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene all three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.58 to 35.15. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.49 to 48.39 and Dover Downs went up 0.18 to 6.28. Nextel dropped 0.29 to 23.26 while Sun Oil jumped up 7.10 to 85.52. Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.08 to 4.14 and DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.05 to 5.80. In the drug sector Pfizer jumped up 1.57 to 24.85 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.21 to 22.78. The home improvement sector was down for the week as was the parcel carriers. Lowes dropped 1.95 to 64.70 while Home Depot dropped 0.05 to 40.38. Fedex dropped 0.79 to 102.59 and UPS dropped 0.02 to 75.23.