Tuesday March 27, 2007  

By Phil Smith                                                                                           

The Southern New England countryside comes alive with the sound of engines roaring as the Waterford Speedbowl opens for their 57th season. The shoreline oval opens this Saturday and Sunday with the Budweiser Modified Nationals’SK-150, the division’s brightest jewel. The $5,000-to-win race is part of a nine-division extravaganza that also includes extra-distance races for the ‘Bowl’s Late Models (50 laps), Sportsman (30) and Mini Stocks (30). Congratulations to recent New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame inductee Bob Potter of Norwich who has been named the Grand Marshal of this weekend’s (March 31-April 1) Budweiser Modified Nationals. Potter scored over 100 victories and six championships over a four-decade career at the Speedbowl. Potter won his initial Speedbowl feature in 1966, the first of an estimated 150 checkered flags at the Speedbowl, Stafford and Thompson Speedways.

The Speedbowl ran their pre-season practice session on Saturday afternoon. There were six or seven True Value Modifieds along with six or seven SK Modifieds. Chris Pasteryak, who was there with a SK also brought his Whelen Modified Tour car for a shakedown run. There was a overall good turnout of the Waterford weekly cars along with NEMA, ARTS and Allison Legacy cars. Work is in progress in the rest room areas as well as in the grandstand.

Two weeks on April 15th the Thompson Speedway presents their annual IceBreaker, which will be the official beginning of the 2007 Whelen Modified Tour Series. Two weeks after that it’s the annual Spring Sizzler at the Stafford Motor Speedway.

It’s been rumored and said many times over the winter months that the Mystic Missile No.4 would no longer be part of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. All those rumors will be put to rest on April 15 at Thompson when the Missile rolls out on the track with Long Islander Donnie Lia behind the wheel. Jerry Marquis, the former driver of the Mystic Missile will pilot the No.00 of Joe Brady in 2007.

While most of us in the northeast were dodging rain drops or snow last Saturday night the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series began their 2007 season at the Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Northern drivers who ventured south were Ted Christopher of Plainville, CT, Bob Grigas of Marshfield, MA, JR Bertuccio of Centerreach, Long Island, Ryan Preece of Kensington, CT, Chuck Hossfeld from Ramsonville, NY, Jamie Tomaino from New Jersey and Matt Hirschman from Northhampton, PA.

The southern contingent ruled as three of the top five including the winner, LW Miller were from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The highest finishing northerner was Hirschman who finished fourth. Preece finished fifth. Miller, originally from Pennsylvania, resides in Mooresville, NC. Burt Myers and Brian Loftin who finished second and third are also from North Carolina. Ted Christopher, who drove the No.00 of Joe Brady was as high as second at one point. From lap 103 to 119 Christopher and Burt Myers were rubbing nerf bars and trading spots. Christopher’s night ended on lap 119 when he crashed into the front stretch wall. Christopher ended up 18th in the final rundown. Hossfeld, who drove the southern owned Roger Hill entry was parked by NASCAR for being over aggressive. Hossfeld was credited with the 24th finishing position. Jamie Tomaino ended up 25th after his engine quit and Bertuccio ended up 26th after a lap 23 accident.

In TV land this week and for the remainder of the season NASCAR Now on ESPN2 will be in the 6:30pm time slot seven days a week. This weeks viewing shifts into high gear on Thursday at noon when the Speed Channel reruns last Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Sharpie Mini 300 that was run at Bristol , TN. Back in the Day with Dale Earnhardt Jr.featuring the 1969 Old Dominion 500 from Martinsville , VA , goes at 2:30 followed at 3:00 with last Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Food City 500 from Bristol , TN. The Speed Channel goes live on Friday at 10:30am for a 90 minute session of NASCAR Nextel Cup practice for Sunday’s Goody’s 500 in Martinsville , VA. Live coverage continues at noon with NASCAR Live from Martinsville followed by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice at 1:00pm . The trucks qualify at 3:30pm . Trackside at Martinsville follows at 5:00 . Speed shifts gears at 6:00 for six hours coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction – Friday Sale in Palm Beach , FL. Saturday’s action begins at 10:00am with Nextel Cup final practice at Martinsville . Speed goes back to Florida for an eight hour session of auction coverage. Fox goes live at 3:00pm with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville . Tradin’ Paint from Martinsville starts Sunday off at 11:00am . A two hour preview of the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 from Martinsville follows at 11:30 . Fox takes over at 1:30 with live flag to flag coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Goody’s Cool Orange 500. The Speed Report wraps up the Martinsville race at 7:00pm on the Speed Channel. Last, but not least, is Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm .

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks rebounded to finish the week in the green. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.97 to 39.19. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.78 to 52.32 and Dover Downs went up 0.07 to 5.35. Sprint/Nextel bounced back after two weeks of negativity as they went up 0.18 to 19.22. Sun Oil (Sunoco) had a real good week as they went up 5.26 to 71.16. Goodyear also had a good week as they went up 2.03 to 30.29. DIRT Motorsports spent the week running in neutral as they finished where they started at 1.70. The drug sector had a positive week. Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.78 to 27.60 and Pfizer went up 0.67 to 25.66. Home improvement was also on the rise for the week. Lowes went up 1.44 to 32.37 and Home Depot went up 0.71 to 38.22. The parcel carriers followed suit as UPS went up 2.21 to 71.47 and Fedex went up 1.57 to 112.71.

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail

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

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