Tuesday January 11, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

As of this Friday, Jan 14, four weeks remain before the engines roar again in Florida for the 45th ANNUAL WORLD SERIES of ASPHALT STOCK CAR RAC ING at the New Smyrna Speedway which will be featuring Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, NASCAR Tour-Type Modifieds, SK Modifieds, FL/IMCA Type Modifieds, Pro-Trucks, ACT Late Models from February 11th-19th. The ACT Late Models are new to the schedule and are a welcome addition to the already popular Speedweek Series. Racing action at the Daytona Int. Speedway shifts into high gear with Daytona 500 qualifying, the ARCA 200 and the Budweiser Shootout.

Interest continues to build in the June 4 Modified Special event at the Star Speedway in Epping, NH. A $250 Halfway Bonus for the June 4 Open has been secured with other laps sold as well.

Pete Zanardi, Connecticut’s top auto racing writer sends word that Keith Rocco has been named Athlete of the Year in Connecticut. In addition to being the 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion, Rocco was also the SK Modified Champion at the Stafford Motor Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl. In almost 60 starts, Rocco scored 22 wins, 45 top-fives and 56 top-10's. He was also a winner at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida in last years World Series competition.

Rocco has been named the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year, and Maya Moore, a guard/forward on the national champion University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, has been named the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year.

Both athletes will be honored at the 70th annual Gold Key Dinner, which will be held April 17 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Rocco is the first driver to win The Alliance’s Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year award since it was first given out in 1973.

The Gold Key Dinner begins at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by contacting president Zac Boyer at or by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085.

Word comes from Lou Modestino that the 7th Annual Norwood Arena Reunion will be held, rain on shine, between the hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 5, 2011. For further information, contact Bezema Motors in Norwood, Mass. at 781-769-4700 or organizer Lou Modestino in Sharon, Mass. at 781-784-7857. Race fans who were not old enough to take in the races at the arena years ago will also enjoy the June 5th reunion because they will have a chance to savor what racing of that era was all about. It'll be an excellent opportunity for them to meet some of the legendary Norwood competitors, share memorabilia, talk racing, see restored race cars of that era, take photos, get autographs on old pictures, and even chow down on hotdogs and hamburgers, courtesy of the Bezema family.

John Force, a 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion, will be appearing at the hugely popular Motorsports 2011 Presented by Small Engines Fuel (SEF) Race Car and Trade Show. Force, one of the most popular figures in motorsports, will be at the three day show, set at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, on Saturday, January 22nd. The 61-year-old, known for his fast driving, fast talking and often times outlandish comments, won the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car World Championship in 2010 and is anxious to get started on his quest for a 16th title.

The 26th edition of the Motorsports Presented by SEF Race Car and Trade Show will run from 2 p.m. on Friday, January 21st through until 4 p.m. Sunday, January 23rd. Offering just about everything imaginable in motorsports the show will feature more than 250 motorsports vehicles on display.

Former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and now ESPN broadcaster Rusty Wallace will be there as will NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson, Nationwide racer and SPEED-TV personality Kenny Wallace, Hall of Fame sprint car racers Rick Ferkel and Shane Carson, along with a long list of regional and local racing stars.

Much of the show is dedicated to the hardcore racers with many vendors catering to the needs of racers having display areas at the show along with many speedways. The Ms Motorsports pageant always proves to be a popular event and entries for the pageant are still being accepted. And the presentation of awards to the top competitors in the Northeast is a crowd pleaser. Both of those events take place on Saturday evening.

Free industry seminars will cover a variety of subjects. The complete schedule will be released shortly. The show, offering something for everyone, is now in its 26th year. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for youngsters 6 through 12 and under six are admitted FREE. There is ample free parking.

Metal Fab, a major supplier to local short track racers, will host the special Family Day (Sunday, January 23) with admission being just $10 for adults and all children admitted free. This is the second year that the Pennington, NJ speed equipment business has hosted Family Day.

In TV land the viewing remains scarce. this Thursday, Jan 16 at noon, the Speed Channel replays the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 that was run at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct 16. On Friday at noon Speed replays the NASCAR Sprint Cup Tums Fast Relief 500 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway on Oct 24. At 7:00pm ESPN Classic replays the 1990 Daytona 500. Saturday, at 2:00am the Speed Channel begins the first of three successive Race in 60 programs that will show highlights of NASCAR Sprint Cup races that were run at Michigan Int, Infineon Raceway and at New Hampshire Int. On Sunday evening at 7:00pm The Speed Report on Speed sums up the weeks happenings.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive results for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.10 to 26.27 while Spedway Motorsports went up 0.02 to 15.34. On the negative side was Dover Motorsports which dropped 0.02 to 1.75. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.45 to 4.68 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.28 to 40.03. Tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.04 to 12.90. The car makers had a banner week. Ford went up 1.48 to 18.27 while General Motors went up 2.12 to 38.98 and Toyota went up 3.73 to 82.46. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.68 to 34.38 and Lowes dropped 1.03 to 23.99. The team sponsors were again a mixed bag. Dupont dropped 0.12 to 49.76 while Coca-Cola went up 0.42 to 56.00. Target Department Stores dropped 5.08 to 55.05 while Aarons Rentals dropped 0.35 to 20.04. Last, but not least, Fedex went up 0.14 to 93.15.

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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