Tuesday January 6, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

It will be here before you know it. As of this Friday, January 9 only 28 days remain before the start of Speedweeks in Florida. The New Smyrna Speedway World Series of Auto Racing begins on Friday night, Feb 6. Racing at the Daytona International Speedway begins on Feb 7 and 8. DIRT Modifieds will be running at the Volusia Speedway Park from Feb 11 through 14.

Despite all the turmoil and uncertainty the new management of the Waterford Speedbowl will host the tracks 2008 Awards Banquet this Saturday night, Jan 10 at the Groton Inn & Suites in Groton, CT. Rules meetings have been held and a tentative schedule for 2009 has been released.

Speedbowl history will be made when Dennis Gada is crowned the 7-time SK Modified track champion, the most championships of any single competitor in the shoreline oval’s storied history dating back to 1951. Gada had previously been tied with Phil Rondeau (Late Model) and Bob Potter (Modified/SK Modified with six championships. In honor of his achievement, Gada’s familiar #3 car will be featured in a special display at Groton Inn & Suites.
The Waterford Speedbowl has released the rules of competition for its Saturday divisions for the 2009 season. Along with this comes the official announcement the ‘Sportsman’ division will be re-named the Street Stock division in all references moving forward.

Rules for the SK Modified®, Late Model, Street Stock and Mini Stock divisions are available for download on, the primary source for ‘Bowl information and updates while the refurbishment of continues to take place. Competitors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their division rules and direct any questions to Tom Fox, the Speedbowl’s Race Director. Tom can be reached by email at Those who cannot access the rules via the web should contact the track office at 860-443-7443 to arrange receiving a copy in person, by fax or regular mail.

The Street Stock division, with only minor rule changes, has adopted the new name which is more identifiable to the race fan as well as more commonly used nation wide based upon the core set of rules for the division. “The term ‘Sportsman’ was not a very indicative description when compared to race divisions governed by similar rules across the country” stated Fox. “The Board of Directors felt the change was better suited for both the race fan and racer.”

Late Model competitors should take notice to review division rules closely. “We are continuing our ‘push’ to create an all-ACT Late Model division and we have taken further steps to narrow the rules down to reflect that goal” stated Fox.
In addition to the rules, a tentative 2009 schedule is available for weekly competitors on “We wanted to put out a basic schedule for our weekly competitors while we continue working with the Tours. Any changes to our weekly supporters should be minimal at this point” offered managing partner Shawn Monahan. A full and finalized schedule confirming touring series and visiting divisions, as well as special appreciation and promotional nights will be coming soon.

The tentative schedule for 2009 includes 30 dates for Saturday divisions and 18 dates for competitors that race in Wacky Wednesday events. The shoreline oval opens for the 2009 season with the Modified Nationals on March 28-29. Moving to Saturday nights on April 4, the Speedbowl will run each and every Saturday night up to and including Oct. 3. The Finale, scheduled for Oct 10-11 will close out the season. Among the many special events that are planned is a mid-week event that is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22.

In TV land this week, the viewing continues to be sparse. Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series testing will begin shortly at the Daytona Int. Speedway and the Speed Channel will be there to cover it. This weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Wednesday at noon with the first of many look backs at the previous season. Titled REVIEWING THE 60TH SEASON, the first segment takes a look back at last years pre-season testing as well as the Bud Shootout, Daytona 500 and California 500. This segment will be re-shown on Thursday at noon. The viewing moves to ESPN Classic on Friday at 7:00pm for a re-showing of the NASCAR Sprint Cup 1989 Heinz Southern 500 that was run in Darlington, SC. This program will be re-shown on Saturday at 8:00am. Speed presents Round #6 of the Quaker Steak & Lube Summer Shootout that was held in Charlotte, NC on July 15. The Speed Channel rounds out the weekend with the Speed Report at 7:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the down turn that has touched just about everyone seemed to come to an end with most racing related stocks having a positive ending. All three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.86 to 29.64. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.87 to 16.55 and Dover Downs went up 0.22 to 1.48. NASCAR Cup series sponsor Sprint went up 0.27 to 1.95. NASCAR Second tier sponsor Nationwide went up 0.11 to 52.21. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.25 to 43.88 while Goodyear went up 0.93 to 6.51. Two of the three publicly held auto makers had positive results for the week. Toyota went up 2.72 to 66.37 while Ford went up 0.17 to 2.46. General Motors dropped 0.01 to 3.65. NASCAR team sponsors had pretty much positive results for the week. Dupont went up 1.20 to 26.18 while Coca-Cola went up 0.49 to 45.47. Target Department Stores jumped 2.39 to 34.03 while Aarons Rentals went up 0.63 to 26.79. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 1.51 to 22.64 while Home Depot went up 0.57 to 24.13.

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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