Tuesday January 1, 2008
  Happy New Year

By Phil Smith                                                                                            

We start off the New Year on a sad note with word that Danny Pardi, of East Hartford , had passed away on Friday, Dec 28. Danny had been involved in racing in various capacities for many years, most recently at the Stafford Motor Speedway and New England Antique Racers. When Jack Arute Sr, Eddie Flemke Sr and Ed Yerrington came up with the idea of a limited modified division that would become what is known now as the SK Modified it was Dan Pardi who came up with many of the mechanical rules which he ultimately enforced. He also served as assistant manager at Stafford under Ed Yerrington and was the general overseer of the SK Modifieds. He leaves his wife Marie and a daughter. Calling hours are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 2 from 4 to 8 PM at the D'Esopo Funeral Chapels, 30 Carter St , East Hartford , CT. Funeral services will be at the D'Esopo Funeral Chapels on Thursday at 11 AM .

The Stafford Motor Speedway has received a grand total of 128 number registrations as of the last day in December for its 2008 NASCAR Whelen All American Series season. Staffordís premier division, the SK Modifieds, lead the way with 35 entries. The SK Modified division is followed by the Late Model division with 32 entries, the DARE Stock division with 26 entries, the Limited Late Model division with 19 entries, and the SK Light division with 16 entries.

The SK Modified division has three former SK Modified track champions in Ted Christopher, Bo Gunning, and Frank Ruocco returning to Stafford along with Corey Hutchings, who is the defending Late Model track champion, and Doug Coby, the 1998 Stafford Late Model champion. Other feature winning drivers that will be back at Stafford this upcoming season include Woody Pitkat, Keith Rocco, Eric Berndt, Brad Hietala, Todd Owen, Jeff Malave, Kenny Horton, Chris Jones, and Curt Brainard. Its simply amazing that the Stafford management is allowing Chris Jones to return to competition especially after he has been thrown out for life at least twice. The division will also see several Whelen Modified Tour drivers taking their turns behind the wheel of an SK Modified at Stafford this season in the form of Zach Sylvester, Ronnie Silk, and Jimmy Blewett. Adding to the rookie mix this season is former SK Light feature winner Matt Gallo, Brett Gonyaw, who will drive Bob Parker, Jr.ís entry that Bo Gunning piloted last season, and Christopher Jones.

Staffordís Late Model division also has several championship winning drivers returning. Corey Hutchings and Mike Quintiliano will be back for 2008 while Jim Peterson will return to Stafford for select events this season. Two championship winning cars are entered from Ryan Posocco Racing and Marcia Kretschman, but do not have drivers listed at this time. Other division veterans that are returning include Jim Mavlouganes, Tom Butler, Scott Foster, Jr., Joe Rzeszutek, Ed Ricard, and Dillon Moltz, who will enter his first full season of competition after winning two races as a 16-year old rookie this past season.

Staffordís 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season will begin with the 37th annual Tech-Net Spring Sizzler presented by CARQUEST on the weekend of April 25-27, 2008.

For the most part itís all quiet on the auto racing front. As of this Friday, Jan 4, its only 35 days before the green flag drops at the Annual World Series at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. In the mean time there will be plenty of racing related activity. The racing world will be focused on the Northeast Motorsports Expo at the Augusta Civic Center in Maine from Friday to Sunday. The auto show circuit moves to Atlantic City in New Jersey for Motorsports 2008, next weekend, on Jan 11, 12 and 13. Also next weekend on Saturday night is the Waterford Speedbowl Awards Banquet at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT., and the True Value Modified Racing Series Annual Owners/Drivers Meeting at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel, 401 Winchester St. in Keene, NH. The third weekend in Jan will see the annual indoor Auto Parts Swap 'n Sell at the Big E in West Springfield, MA plus the annual Seekonk Speedway Awards banquet at the Venus DiMilo in Swansea, MA. The Thompson Speedway holds their annual awards banquets on Jan 25-26. Rounding out the month will be the 11th Annual New England Antique Racers (NEAR) Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Dinner at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in E. Windsor, CT.

In TV land this week there is very little to satisfy the racing appetite. On New Years Day ESPN Classic will show highlights of the Sept 17 Russo & Steele Car Auction that was held in Monterey , CA . On Friday ESPN Classic presents Classic NASCAR: the 1996 Pontiac Excitement 400 that was run at Richmond , VA. The action switches to the Speed Channel on Saturday for Boat Racing at 11:00am . At 6:30 the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has an event that was run at Columbus Speedway in Columbus , MS this past July. Sunday at noon will see the Summer Shootout, Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing, Round #5 that was run at the Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord , NC , on July 7. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00 .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the general downturn continued. All three speedway stocks had negative endings. Speedway Motorsports took the big hit as they dropped 1.35 to 31.31. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.53 to 41.22 and Dover Downs dropped 0.05 to 6.54. Sprint/Nextel dropped 0.56 to 13.16 while Sun Oil went up 0.19 to 71.65. Goodyear dropped 0.24 to 28.51 while DIRT Motorsports went up 0.15 to 0.47. In the drug sector Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.81 to 27.17 and Pfizer dropped 0.34 to 22.90. The home improvement sector saw Home Depot go up 0.02 to 26.68 and Lowes drop 0.69 to 22.66. The parcel carriers continue to drop. Fedex dropped 3.67 to 90.62 and UPS dropped 0.84 to 71.56.

Thatís it for this week from 40 Clark St. 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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