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 6, five 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. The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona takes on a new interest this year, as Ted Christopher will be in the field. Christopher will take part in a three-day practice session coming up this weekend.
The Daytona International Speedway will be busy for the most of the month. The Nextel Cup competitors will have practice sessions from January 9 through January 11 and from January 16 to January 22. The Craftsman Trucks practice on January 13 and 14 and the Busch Racing Series have their sessions on January 20 to 22. Admission to all test sessions is free!
Even though winter has settled in there is still a lot going on. Next weekend, January 13-15 will see Motorsports 2006 in Fort Washington, PA. Also next weekend 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASCAR announced it would restructure its regional touring series divisions beginning in 2007. Citing declining support for the Elite Division style of racing at all levels, NASCAR said it will focus its resources and efforts on those Divisions that will help build and sustain a better developmental program for the future. NASCAR vice-president of Communications and Regional Touring Jim Hunter stated "This change will allow NASCAR to focus more attention on the Grand National and Modified touring divisions." NASCAR also needs to rethink its position as far as the weekly tracks are concerned.
As promised NASCAR announced its schedules for the Whelen Modified Tour Series and the Grandnational Division, Busch East (Busch North Series) on Friday, December 30. The Modifieds have a tentative 14-race schedule. With the exception of two events at Loudon and one each at Martinsville and Riverhead on Long Island, the Whelen Modified Tour Series is a Connecticut series with five events at the Thompson Speedway, four at the Stafford Motor Speedway and one at the Waterford Speedbowl. Those who live in the tri-state area consisting of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts will have the good fortune of having NASCAR’s most competitive and exciting Tour Series within easy traveling. The Whelen Modified Tour Series opens on April 9 with the IceBreaker at the Thompson Speedway. Other Whelen Modified Tour Series scheduled for the Thompson Speedway are on Thursday, June 29, Thursday, August 17, Sunday, September 10 for the Thompson 300 and Sunday October 15 for the season ending World Series. The Stafford dates include the Spring Sizzler on Sunday, April 30, Friday, May 26, Friday, August 11 and the Fall Final on Sunday, October 1. Waterford’s date is Saturday, July 22. The Loudon dates are July 14 and September 15, both Fridays. Riverhead’s date is Saturday, August 5 and Martinsville’s is on Saturday night, September 2.
The way it looks at the present it appears that the New York based Race of Champions Tour has replaced the Whelen Modifieds in upstate New York and Pennsylvania while the True Value Modified Series is the Modified Show in northern New England. The TVMS also has scheduled events at the Thompson Speedway, the Waterford Speedbowl and at the Seekonk Speedway.
In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of mostly Speed Channel programming. This weeks viewing begins on TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2006 at 9:30am with NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Richmond International Raceway, Kurt Busch is featured (R-first aired Sept 15/05). At 2:00p.m. NASCAR Fast Forward recaps action in the Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge and Craftsman Truck Series events that were run at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past May. At 7:00p.m. its NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from California Speedway (R-first aired Sept 8/05). On WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, at 9:30am NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from New Hampshire International Speedway showcases Chase for the Cup drivers. The Ryan Newman team is featured (R-first aired Sept 22/05). At 2:00p.m. SPEED presents NASCAR Fast Forward, which recaps the weekend’s action in the Nextel Cup Coca-Cola 600, and Busch Series at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, last May. On THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, at 9:30am NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Dover International Speedway features Jeremy Mayfield’s pit crew and the Jimmy. Johnson pit crew. (R-first aired Sept 29/05). At 2:00p.m. NASCAR Fast Forward: Recaps the action in the Nextel Cup MBNA RacePoints 400, the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series at Dover Intl. Speedway which was run last June. On FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, at 9:30am, NASCAR Beyond the Wheel from Talladega Speedway, features Nextel Cup teams: 2 (R. Wallace), 12 (R. Newman), 19 (J. Mayfield), 88 (D. Jarrett). More Beyond the Wheel comes on at 7:00p.m.The cameras travel to Kansas Speedway and spotlight the No. 6 (Mark Martin) team. At 10:00p.m.its The 2005-Year in Racing: Grand Am/Rolex Sports Cars. On SATURDAY, JANUARY 7, 2006 and SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2006 various movies will be on the Speed Channel. Race programming resumes on MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2006 at 2:00p.m. with NASCAR Fast Forward, which recaps action in the Nextel Cup at Pocono, the Busch Series at Nashville and Craftsman Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway, last June. At 7:00p.m. same day, taped delayed coverage of Nextel Cup Series Testing held at the Daytona International Speedway. Also from 7:00p.m. to 8:00 on the Discovery Channel it’s the Roush Racing: Driver X, Jack Roush’s driver search "Gong Show,". Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.40 to 47.90 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.20 to 34.57 and Dover Downs dropped 0.03 to 6.10. For the year, Dover Downs had the only positive ending as they went up 0.16 since January 1, 2005. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 6.96 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 3.53. Nextel dropped 0.49 to 23.35. For the year they dropped 3.16. Sun Oil dropped 1.61 to 78.42 for the week and for the year dropped 2.70. Featherlite Trailers dropped 0.15 to 4.22 but for the year showed a 0.75 gain. DIRT Motorsports had a similar pattern as they dropped 0.40 to 5.85 but were up 0.35 for the year. The drug sector ended the year with one of the worst performances ever. Pfizer dropped 0.68 to 27.28 and went down 3.23 for the year. Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.05 to 22.99 but for the year was down 1.78. The home improvement sector delivered the top performer of the year as Lowes went up 15.20 to 66.65. For the week they were down 0.81. Home Depot dropped 1.16 to 40.43 for the week and for the year was down 2.10. In the parcel delivery sector Fedex had a good year as they went up 5.05 to 103.38. For the week they dropped 1.18. UPS dropped 1.89 to 75.25 for the week and for the year was down 9.47.