As of this Friday, January 22 it will be
two weeks before the drop of the green
for opening night of the annual World
Series of Speed at the New Smyrna
Speedway in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
and the official beginning of the NASCAR
season at the Daytona International
Speedway. Central Florida has rebounded
from the recent forecast as daytime
temps are now in the low 70’s.
It was announced on the January 12 Speed
51 Radio show that ten NASCAR Modified
races, split between the Whelen Modified
and Southern Modified Tours, will be
televised on a tape-delayed basis in
2010. The races will air as one-hour
packages on the Versus network and will
be produced by the NASCAR Media Group.
Events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Atlanta
Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway,
Bowman-Gray Stadium and both races at
New Hampshire Motor Speedway will be
among the races televised. Hopefully the
four un-named tracks will include the
Stafford Motor Speedway and the Thompson
International Speedway. Both Stafford
and Thompson have supported the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour Series since its
inception in 1985. The Whelen Modified
Tour will compete eight times in 2010 in
Connecticut with four events scheduled
at Stafford Motor Speedway, three at
Thompson International Speedway and one
at Lime Rock Park.
What wasn’t mentioned was the fact that
the tracks at Lowes (Charlotte) and
Atlanta are ¼ mile flat tracks formerly
used by Legend Cars. Not really a good
venue for Modifieds.
The Waterford Speedbowl honored their
2009 Champions from the NASCAR Whelen
All American Series program this past
Saturday, January 16th at Groton Inn &
Suites located in Groton, CT. The top
drivers in the track’s Saturday night
Legends Cars and N.E.A.T.V Truck Series
were also crowned.
Groton, CT residents Ron Yuhas Jr. and
Bruce Thomas Jr. were crowned Champions
earning the SK Modified® and Bob Valenti
Auto Mall Late Model titles
respectively. The other race teams
receiving championship honors included
Uncasville, CT resident Brandon Plemons
(Street Stocks), Danny Field of Deep
River (Norwich Bulletin Mini Stocks),
Allen Coates of Ledyard (N.E.A.T.V.
Truck Series), and Jason Palmer of
Berlin (Legends Cars).
In all, nearly 80 drivers and teams were
recognized for their achievements during
the 2009 season among family, friends
and fans. In addition to the
Championship presentations, other awards
distributed included Rookie, Sportsman
and Pit Crew of the Year Awards as well
as Most Improved Drivers across each of
the six divisions of racing.
Picking up hardware for Top Rookies were
Joe Perry (SK Modifieds), Brian
Andronaco Jr. (Late Models), Steve
Barrett (Street Stocks) and Greg Moran
Sr. (Mini Stocks). For the Legends the
Rookie of the Year honors went to
15-year-old Anthony Flannery and in the
Trucks it was Brad Caddick.
The Sportsman of the Year Award winners
were Jeff Paul (SK Modifieds), Rich
Staskowski (Late Models), Al Stone III
(Street Stocks), Nick Pappacoda (Mini
Stocks), Giovanni Giarratana (Legends
Cars) and Scott Gregory (Trucks).
Taking home the Most Improved Driver
honors were Tom Abele Jr. (SK Modifieds),
Jeff Smith (Late Models), Chris Meyer
(Street Stocks), Kyle James (Mini
Stocks), Ryan Morgan (Legends Cars) and
Greg Butler Jr. (Trucks).
Pit Crew of the Year went to the teams
of Ron Yuhas Jr. (SK Modifieds), Vin
Esposito (Late Models), Ed Puleo (Street
Stocks), Ian Brew (Mini Stocks), Jason
Palmer (Legends Cars) and Howard Payne
The Speedbowl will open for the 2010
season on March 28.
The Main event for this weekend is the
Motorsports 2010 show which opens its
doors at 3 p.m. on Friday, January 22nd
at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
in Oaks, PA and the show continues until
4 p.m. on Sunday, January 24th.
Just about everything imaginable in
Motorsports will be featured in the show
that fills 220,000 square feet of the
Expo Center. More than 200 racing
vehicles will be on display.
Attendees will be able to meet and
collect autographs from many national,
regional and local auto racing stars and
personalities. NASCAR Sprint Cup stars
Kasey Kahne and Marcos Ambrose will be
there along with NASCAR legend Bobby
Allison and drag racing start Morgan
Lucas. Another top motorsports TV
personality at the show will be former
NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond.
Among the highlights of the weekend will
be the Langhorne Speedway reunion. The
speedway closed at the end of the 1972
season with the running of the Race of
Champions Modified event.
In TV land this weeks viewing on the
Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at noon
with the June 5th NASCAR Camping World
Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400
that was run at the Texas Motor
Speedway. On Wednesday at noon Speed
replays the June 28th NASCAR Sprint Cup
Lenox Industrial Tools 301 that was run
at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Thursday at noon Speed replays the July
4 NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 that
was run at the Daytona International
Speedway. On Saturday, the action moves
to ESPN Classic for last February’s
Daytona 500. The season opening Sprint
Cup event will be repeated on Saturday
morning at 8:00am. Televised action
switches to the snow in Lake Placid, NY
on Sunday at noon for part #1 of the
Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge on the
Speed Channel. At 6:00pm Speed presents
Countdown to the Daytona 500. The Speed
Report will wrap up the week at 7:00pm
on Sunday night.
In other television racing news, the
Associated Press reported last week that
ESPN is shifting the bulk of its Chase
for the Sprint Cup championship coverage
to its cable network this season, taking
14 of the 17 NASCAR races it shares with
ESPN executive vice president John
Skipper says the decision is based on
the cable network's higher ratings. ESPN
has aired six races a year the past
three seasons, while ABC has had 11 each
year. ESPN's portion of the NASCAR
schedule will begin with the July 25
race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. ABC
will air Saturday night races at
Bristol, Richmond and Charlotte.
A new racing series program on the
History Channel made its debut on Sunday
night, Jan 10th at 10:00pm. Titled
“Madhouse”, the program follows the
racing and rivalries at the Bowman Gray
Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. While some
feel that it is a slam against Modified
Racing the program depicts what really
takes place at many local speedways in
the country. Granted, Junior Miller and
the Myers family get carried away at
times but that’s what puts fans in the
seats. To keep interests up and put fans
in the seats auto racing needs rivalries
and controversy. On average, the History
Channel draws about 1.5 million viewers
on Sunday nights.
When Geoff Bodine came to New England to
drive for Dick Armstrong fans by the
thousands packed the grandstands at
Stafford, Seekonk and Thompson on a
weekly basis. Some came to see him win
while others came to see him get
wrecked. How about the time Eddie Flemke
Sr. put Ray Hendrick on his roof at
Thompson or the night they gave Bobby
Santos a standing ovation at Stafford
after he parked Geoff Bodine in the
fence for wrecking Bugsy Stevens!
Another exciting moment was the night
Leo Cleary pulled Don Flynn, a semi-pro
boxer, out of his car and beat the crap
out of him in the first turn. Keith
Rocco and Ted Christopher go at it on a
weekly basis and provide excitement.
Likewise for Jimmy Blewett and those he
runs against. Too much “Kissy Face” in
racing causes fans to lose interest. The
recent downturn in attendance at Sprint
Cup and Nationwide racing is living
proof. Madhouse at Bowman Gray is the
real thing. The racing is rough and
tumble, survival of the fittest!
The Stafford Motor Speedway showcases
their weekly racing program on NESN.
Their in-house production company does a
real good job of showing the actual
racing including instant replays. They
do, however, shy away from any fighting
or abuse from fans.
On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last
week two of the three speedway stocks
had positive results for the week.
Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports
which went up 0.40 to 17.29. The
International Speedway Corporation went
up 0.29 to 29.13 and Dover Motorsports
dropped 0.04 to 2.27. NASCAR Cup sponsor
Sprint dropped 0.13 to 3.82 as fuel
supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.51 to 27.35
and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.92
to 15.02. Domestic car makers Ford and
General Motors were down for the week.
Ford dropped 0.09 to 11.60 and GM
dropped 0.06 to 0.77. On the other side
of the street, Toyota jumped 5.38 to
91.14. In the home improvement sector,
Home Depot dropped 0.41 to 28.57 and
Lowes dropped 0.46 to 22.13. The NASCAR
team sponsors, with the exception of
Coca-Cola showed positive results.
Coca-Cola dropped 0.51 to 50.99. Dupont
went up 0.07 to 34.01, Target Department
Stores went up 0.10 to 50.17 and Aaron’s
Rentals went up 0.83 to 28.97.
That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner
Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes
at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is