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Tuesday January 28, 2014
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

Before we know it the 2014 racing season will begin. As of this coming Friday, Jan 30, three weeks remain before the engines roar at New Smyrna on Feb 14 and at Daytona on the 15th. Daytona has not posted any entries as yet.

Had occasion to take in Swamp Buggy races in Naples Fla last week. It’s different to say the least but the overall show had numerous delays between races. Wouldn’t recommend it unless one likes to people watch.

NASCAR has announced a new revamped format for qualifying, following the Daytona 500, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.

At tracks measuring 1.25 miles in length or larger, qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of three rounds: The first qualifying elimination round will be 25 minutes in duration and includes all cars / trucks. The 24 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap from the first qualifying round will advance to the second round. The remaining cars / trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order. The second qualifying elimination round will be 10 minutes in duration and the 12 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap time will advance to the third and final round. The fastest remaining cars / trucks earn positions 13th through 24th based on their times posted in qualifying in descending order. The third and final qualifying round will be five minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time will determine positions one through 12 in descending order. There will be a five-minute break between each qualifying round.

At tracks measuring less than 1.25 miles, qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award will consist of two rounds: The first qualifying elimination round will be 30 minutes in duration and includes all cars / trucks. The 12 cars / trucks that post the fastest single lap time from the first qualifying round will advance to the second and final round. The remaining cars / trucks will be sorted based on their times posted in the first round of qualifying in descending order. There will be a 10-minute break between the two qualifying rounds. The second and final qualifying round will be 10 minutes in duration and the fastest single lap time posted will determine positions one through 12 in descending order.

The new qualifying format does not apply to the Daytona 500, which will preserve its historic and unique qualifying format. Additionally, it does not apply to non-points NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events or the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway.
Now, if they would just eliminate the "Chase" format that they use to determine the champion.

Richard Petty, Waddell Wilson, Harry Gant, Humpy Wheeler and Blake Shelton will induct the fifth class – Maurice Petty, Fireball Roberts, Jack Ingram, Tim Flock and Dale Jarrett – on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The five legends, who account for 15 NASCAR championships, will also be joined on stage by five current stars, combining for 15 national series championships of their own. Aric Almirola, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart will all take part in the evening’s festivities.

The Induction Ceremony begins at 7 p.m. ET and will air live on FOX Sports 1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Quite a few Modified fans are upset over the fact that the Richie Evans 61 has been removed from the Charlotte, NC Hall of Fame Road to Glory display. Evidently those who run the hall feel that in order for the attraction not to go stale the Evans car had to go. For the most part, anyone from New England or New York who had plans to see the Hall of Fame will be thinking twice now that the Evans car is not part of the display.

The Thompson Motorsports Park hosted their first Open House for prospective Club members recently. The weather held off a bit so everyone got to see and drive (slowly) much of the track. The new garages were open with several of their track cars on display.

A number of guests signed up for membership. Many more indicated they would be sending in membership applications (and some have). Membership is on a first come basis and your deposit is refundable until May. By then the track will be finished so you will get to see (and drive) the track before committing to join.

"For those not able to make our first event or those that did and want to come out and visit again, please consider visiting on February 1st from NOON to 4:00PM", stated Club Director Lou Gingerella.

The Stafford Motor Speedway has announced that Call Before You Dig has signed on to become the title sponsor of the track’s August 8th NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event. In addition to becoming the title sponsor of the Call Before You Dig 811 NWMT 150 event, Call Before You Dig will once again present the Call Before You Dig 811 Challenge for Stafford’s weekly drivers. The Call Before You Dig 811 Challenge will culminate on the August 8 Call Before You Dig 811 NWMT 150 night and award five $811 bonuses for a total of $4,055 in contingency money.

On the speedway stock market scene last week all three-speedway stocks ended the week on the negative side. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation, which dropped 1.06 to 35.88. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.07 to 19.81 and Dover Entertainment dropped 0.04 to 2.31. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 1.05 to 54.04 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped1.49 to 23.04 and NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.52 to 8.40. The car builders were all down for the week. General Motors dropped 1.77 to 36.83, Toyota dropped 1.31 to 117.88 and Ford dropped 0.69 to 15.83. In the home improvement sector, Lowes went up 0.22 to 47.85 and Home Depot dropped 1.84 to 79.16. With the exception of Aarons Rentals which went up 0.30 to 27.15, the big team sponsor stocks were down for the week. Dupont dropped 4.05 to 59.97 while Coca Cola dropped 1.99 to 70.31, Target dropped 2.52 to 47.72 and Fedex dropped 5.93 to 134.58.

On the tube this week:
1/ 29 Wed 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Class of 2014 Hall of Fame FS1
1/ 30 Thurs 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: Class of 2014 Hall of Fame FS1

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com.


Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene and other publications for over 3 decades.

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