Tuesday January 4, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

As of this Friday, Jan 7, five weeks remain before the engines roar again in Florida for the 45th ANNUAL WORLD SERIES of ASPHALT STOCK CAR RACING 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.

In a few short weeks after Florida Speedweeks racing action in the Northeast will begin again. In southern New England the Waterford Speedbowl has announced that they will tentatively open with "Blast Off" on the weekend of April 2 and 3. The Thompson Speedway will open with IceBreaker 2011 on the weekend of April 9 and 10 and the Stafford Motor Speedway will open on April 30-May 1 with the Spring Sizzler.

NASCAR Southern Whelen Modified Tour Champion Burt Myers has indicated that he will test the waters at the New Smyrna Speedway during the upcoming World Series.

The Riverhead Raceway will once again host a unique event in 2011. The eastern Long Island speedplant has scheduled a 100 lap NASCAR Modified event for Saturday, May 21 that will pay at least a $1,000 bonus to the winner with monies coming from donations from fans. Those in charge of the bonus plan hope to secure extra funds to give a $1,000 bonus to the highest finishing Modified Tour invader.

Race fan James Schaefer has been out beating the bushes trying to get some of the Tour guys to compete including George Brunnhoelzl, Erik Rudolph and Matt Hirschman. Schaefer already has a commitment from Richie Pallai.

Word comes from northern New England of a special event planned for the re-born Star Speedway in Epping New Hampshire. The Star Modified 125, with a base purse of $25,000, is scheduled for June 4. This special event will pay $5,000 to win plus $50 per lap-Lap money. Admission will be only $20 to the grandstand and $35 to the pit area for those who possess a Star Speedway or Modified Tour license. Tech by Pete Frappier from MRS. Five Hoosier tires will be allowed (one for a feature tire change if desired). $50 pre-registration deadline May 28, $75 after that. Kevin Rice is the point of contact for this event. Check the Star Speedway Facebook Page or for more information.

Confirmed entrants include Mike Stefanik, Ted Christopher, Andy Seuss, Jon McKennedy and David Pinkham along with Doug Coby and Dwight Jarvis.

While January is considered quiet time in racing circles there is still racing related functions in which to participate. On Saturday, January 22 and Sunday, January 23, 2011, Start/Finish Productions will host the annual Autoparts Swap ‘n Sell at the Eastern States Exposition “Home of the Big E” in West Springfield, MA.

This indoor, all-automotive swap meet and flea market provides affordable alternatives to help keep automotive projects on track. With a host of private vendors offering pre-owned merchandise and regional wholesalers and retailers offering affordable pricing, the event is sure to meet the needs of all gear heads. Vendors will occupy over three-acres of exhibit space and will feature everything from common to hard-to-find parts and accessories, tools, safety equipment and much more. The variety of goods available at the annual Autoparts Swap ‘n Sell is unrivaled; making this event a must for any automotive enthusiast.

The 14th annual New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on January 30th at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, Connecticut. Ticket order deadline is January 16, 2011. There will be no ticket sales at the door. Requests for reserved tables of 10 must be received by January 10, 2011. Additional information and ticket order forms may be downloaded from the New England Antique Racers (NEAR), website at  or contact Rhonda Blanchette @ (860) 628-9234 or

Drivers Punky Caron, Dan Meservey, Russ Nutting and Jerry Dolliver, car owners Rich & Ray Garuti, Stanley “Skip” Matczak, Vic Kangas, and Speedway Scene publisher Val Lesieur will be inducted at the 14th annual induction ceremony.

Veterans Committee inductees are the late Danny Galullo, early car owner Louie D’Amore, and the much-celebrated racer Buddy Bardwell.

Pioneering New England auto racing photographer Bill Balser will receive the New England Antique Racers 2011 Jack Ratta Memorial Award.

Doors open at 11:00, with dinner served at 12:00. There will be a cash bar. Dinner choices are Prime Rib, Chicken Supreme, Backed Scrod, or Vegetarian Lasagna.

The LaRenaissance Banquet Hall is conveniently located on Rt. 5 in East Windsor (exit 44 off Rt. 91).

The New England Antique Racers club is a non-profit organization that supports history of New England auto racing. NEAR has been in existence since 1981 and has inducted over 100 individuals into its New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame since 1998.

In TV land the viewing remains scarce. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel replays the October 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Price Chopper 400 that was run at the Kansas Speedway. On Friday at noon Speed replays the October 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi Max 400 that was run at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. At 8:00pm on Speed, Dave Despain goes on Assignment at the Daytona International Speedway. Also, on Friday night, ESPN Classic will replay the 1999 Daytona 500. Saturday's action will be in the wee hours, all on Speed. At 2:00am Race in 60 will show highlights of the May 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup, Showtime Southern 500 that was run at the Darlington International Raceway. At 3:00am Race in 60 will focus on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Autism Speaks 400 that was run at Dover on May 16. At 4:00am Race in 60 will show highlights of the May 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race that was held at Charlotte, NC. Rounding out the weekend will be the return of The SPEED Report at 7:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks closed out the year on the negative side. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.03 to 1.77 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.98 to 15.32. The International Speedway Corporation showed a no-change for the week as they closed out the year at 26.17. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.04 to 4.23 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.45 to 40.31 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.03 to 11.86. The car makers had a positive week. Ford went up 0.01 to 16.79 while General Motors leaped 2.05 to 36.86 and Toyota jumped 1.07 to 78.73. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 0.03 to 35.06 and Lowes dropped 0.44 to 25.08. The team sponsors had a mixed bag. Dupont went up 0.11 to 49.88 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.31 to 20.39 while Coca-Cola dropped 1.28 to 55.58 and Target Department Stores dropped 0.13 to 60.13. Fedex showed a no-change at 93.01.

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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