Tuesday January 15, 2013

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR have released the following schedule and start times for events that will make up Daytona Speedweeks in Florida. For the fourth consecutive year, NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious race; the 55th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled for a 1 pm/et start time on Sunday, Feb. 24. Start times for the other remaining events of Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows: The 51st anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race, Jan. 26-27, 3:30 pm/et, The Lucas Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series, Saturday, Feb. 16, 4:30 pm/et, The Daytona Shootout non-points event, Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 pm/et

Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 17, 1 pm/et, the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach on a flat 1/4 mile layout on the backstretch of the Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 18-19, Budweiser Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2 pm/et, NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 pm/et and DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 23, 1 pm/et.

As of this Friday, January 18, four short weeks remain before Daytona and New Smyrna come alive with the sound of racing engines as Speedweeks shift into high gear. Ted Christopher will be doing double duty as he will be piloting the No.00 of Joe Brady at New Smyrna and Ole Blu in the "Battle at the Beach" at the Daytona International Speedway.

The Daytona Modified event (Tuesday Feb 19) will have a $113,100 total cash payout with $20,800 to win. Plus $500 to win (2) each heat race. $1,050 for the Coca-Cola "Move of the Race". The field will consist of 34 starters. 34th pays $1,500. In addition to Christopher those confirming they will compete are Mike Stefanik, Ryan Preece, Jason and Burt Myers, Andy Seuss, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, Patrick Emerling, Matt Hirschman along with Steve Park and Todd Szegedy in team cars. Whelen Modified Tour Champion Doug Coby and Whelen Southern Modified Tour Champion George Brunnhoelzl III do not have rides at this time.

All tolled the "Battle at the Beach will consist of three events, 150-lap features: the Late Model division of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The Speed Channel will televise the events. The Late Models and the K&N Series will race on Monday night, Feb 18.

The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their 2012 season as over 500 guests packed Groton Inn & Suites last Saturday evening to celebrate the Speedbowl’s 2012 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and other Saturday series track champions. Tyler Chadwick took home the hardware for his first career track championship in the SK Modified® division. Joining Chadwick as first time champions were Dillon Moltz, who won the Late Model division title and Walt Hovey Jr., champion in the Street Stocks. Ken Cassidy Jr. and Paul French each added a title to their racing resumes in the Mini Stock and SK Light Modified divisions respectively, rounding out the Speedbowl’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champions.

Picking up hardware for Top Rookies included Ed Puleo of Branford (CT) in the SK Modifieds®, who also won NASCAR’s Connecticut State Rookie of the Year honor, Anthony Ryan Jr. of Danbury (CT) in the Late Models, and Tim Morse of Southbury (CT) in the Street Stocks. Columbia (CT) driver Joseph Fogarasi won the honor in the Mini Stocks, Corey Barry of Plainfield (CT) for the SK Light Modifieds and Stephen Kopcik of Newtown (CT) in the Legend Cars.

Sportsman of the Year Award winners went to Al Stone III of Durham (CT) in the SK Modifieds®, Rich Staskowski of Hope Valley (RI) in the Late Models, Joe Arena of Bristol (CT) in the Street Stocks and Jeff Cembruch of Wallingford (CT) for the Mini Stocks. Also earning the award were Chris Ignazio of Colchester (CT) in the SK Light Modifieds and Kyle Rogers of Waterbury (CT) for the Legend Cars.

Taking home the Most Improved Driver honors included third generation racer Joe Gada of Salem (CT) for the SK Modifieds®, Jason Palmer of Berlin in the Late Models and Garrett Denton of Hope Valley (RI) for the Mini Stock division. Tyler Jackson of Milford (CT) won the award in the SK Light Modifieds and Nicholas Sowa of Middletown (CT) won it in the Legend Cars. Arena was the recipient in the Street Stocks.

Pit Crew of the Year went to hometown drivers Rob Janovic Jr. and the VoJan Motorsports team for the SK Modifieds®, and Moltz’s championship team in the Late Models. The teams of Dan Darnstaedt in the Street Stocks and Ray Christian III in the Mini Stocks took the honors, while French’s SK Light Modified team and Dylan Izzo’s Legend Cars team were also recognized.

New England Antique Racers has announced its 2013 schedule with the season opener slated for Sunday, April 28th at the Berlin, Connecticut Fairgrounds. A “rain or shine” Summer Knights still-show, sign-in starts at 8:00. NEAR visits several New England speedways from Connecticut to Maine throughout the 2013 season presenting both still and running shows.

As a result of recent club elections, Al Fini will serve as President with Bill Henry as Vice President. Rhonda Blanchette continues on the Board of Directors as Treasurer, as-does Mare Harlow as Secretary.

Others serving on the Board of Directors are Val LeSieur, Pete Newsham, R.A. Silvia, Pete Zanardi, and Dave Dykes. Advisors are Brian Bancroft, Paul Masse, Rich Mayo, Bob Seller, Rod Seller, Rich Belmonte, and Nick Teto.

The New England Antique Racers club is a non-profit organization that supports the history of New England auto racing. NEAR has been in existence since 1981 and has a growing membership of approx. 350-400 members and 80 antique race cars. Members live throughout New England and are available, on a no charge basis, for exhibition events at local race tracks in New England and several tracks in the New York area, with both original and historical replica race cars.

This weeks viewing schedule shows that the Speed Channel will replay the Charlotte Sprint Cup event on Tuesday at noon, the Kansas Sprint Cup race at noon on Wednesday and the Martinsville Sprint Cup event at noon on Thursday.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on the minus side. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.47 to 28.60 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.46 to 17.72 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.04 to 1.79. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint remained a no-change at 5.92 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.30 to 45.76 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.57 to 13.78. Two of the three car makers had positive results for the week. Ford went up 0.43 to 14.00 and General Motors went up 0.50 to 30.36 while Toyota dropped 1.23 to 96.11. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.52 to 63.70 and Lowes went up 0.25 to 35.83. The big team sponsor's stock bounced around as usual. Dupont went up 0.42 to 46.15, Coca-Cola dropped 1.24 to 66.46, Target dropped 0.51 to 60.07, Aaron's Rentals dropped 0.08 to 29.03 and Fedex went up 2.49 to 97.40.

Last Thursday, the Ford Motor Company announced that it will be doubling its dividend in the first quarter of 2013, from $0.05 to $0.10 per share, with the intention of increasing the dividend further as the company grows.

Then, just in case anyone had any doubts that things have turned around in the wake of the financial crisis for America’s second-largest car maker, the company announced that it will be hiring 2,200 white-collar staff in the United States. The announcement comes after a year of phenomenal growth, the company added 8,100 salaried and hourly positions in 2012 on the back of a 4.7 percent annual increase in sales.

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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