Tuesday March 11, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

As of this Friday, March 14, twenty three days remain until the Whelen Modified Tour Series opening Thompson Speedway IceBreaker gets the green flag on Sunday, April 6. Waterford opens one week later on April 13. The True Value Modified Series begins on Saturday night, April 12 at the Monadnock Speedway in Winchester , NH . Two weeks after that the Stafford Motor Speedway hosts the Annual Spring Sizzler on April 26-27.

In the mean time, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series will begin a week from this coming Saturday, March 22, at the high banked Caraway Speedway in Ashboro , NC . Among those from the northern contingent that will be there to take on the southerners are Ted Christopher, James Civali and Ronnie Silk. Silk will be driving for Roger and Sandra Hill of Westfield, NC while Christopher will be in the Brady Bunch entry from Brockton , MA .

It looks like the Mystic Missile owned Bob Garbarino will be back in competition for another year as it has been announced that Chuck Hossfeld will return as his driver. It had been speculated that Garbarino would retire from racing when it was announced that Donny Lia had secured a full time ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Hossfeld, who drove for Garbarino in the past, has an impressive resume that shows 45 career Modified victories’ including 5 Whelen Modified Tour Series wins.

Reports are circulating that Bobby Santos’ driver development contract has gone stale. Santos , who won the Whelen Modified Tour Series World Series event at Thompson last fall is hoping to return to the seat of ‘Ole Blu which is fielded by the Boehler Family on the Modified Tour. It has also been heard that Bob Grigas III, a tour regular last year, will run the tour again this year plus he will join the Thursday night Sunoco Modified ranks at Thompson along with selected appearances in True Value Modified events.

Speaking of the True Value Series, founder Jack Bateman has a new car for 2008 which was built in the Spearpoint Auto Shop in Preston , CT. Jimmy Blewett, who is already committed to a full schedule of Whelen Modified Tour Series racing plus weekly racing at Thompson and Stafford has indicated that he will participate in four to six True Value events in the upcoming season. Ted Christopher has also indicated that he will run a partial True Value schedule.

Woody Pitkat has added his name to an impressive list of entries for the upcoming Waterford Nationals on April 13. Pitkat is part of a list that includes invaders Frank Ruocco, Kenny Horton, Doug Coby, Rob Summers and Ted Christopher. Speedbowl regular Jeff Pearl is the defending winner and will lead the home team of challengers that include defending track champion Rob Janovic JR, six time champion Dennis Gada along with Ron Yuhas Jr and Dennis Charette.

Thompson Speedway Sunoco Modified Champion Keith Rocco tried his hand at indoor dirt track racing last weekend at the MototownUSA track in Windsor , CT. Rocco, in his second start on Mototown’s indoor clay one-quarter-mile oval, came from fourth starting spot to oust early leader Jonathan Routhier along the backstretch on lap eight of their feature. The DL Painting Service No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro driver went on to lead the other 12 laps over heat winner Routhier.

The Stafford Motor Speedway is offering a unique fund raising opportunity for non-profit groups and organizations. In lieu of traditional fund raising drives, such as candy, candles and wrapping paper sales, Stafford Motor Speedway's fund raising program offers the excitement of NASCAR.

The Speedway will supply a minimum of 50 vouchers to a non-profit organization for the purpose of fundraising. The face value of the voucher is $15.00, which is good for 1 Adult General Admission. For each voucher sold the organization would reimburse Stafford Motor Speedway $7.00. If the group sells 100 vouchers at $15.00 per voucher that creates a profit of $800.00. An organization could charge up to the face value of $15.00, which is a profit of $8.00 per voucher sold. The organization would take orders for the vouchers and Stafford Motor Speedway will supply the amount of vouchers requested upon receipt of payment. There is no limit to the amount of vouchers an organization can sell. There are several benefits of the fund raising program. The vouchers can be used to any Friday Night Event from May 2nd to September 12th and the organization does not have to come as a group on the same night. For special events priced at $30.00 for adults, the voucher may be presented for a savings of $15.00.

Stafford Motor Speedway is also offering group discounts for their weekly events, which will consist of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Camping World Series East, ISMA Supermodifieds, NEMA Midgets, and Pro-4 Modifieds. Bring a group of 25 or more to the speedway and you can enjoy special discounts and benefits. For weekly events regularly priced at $15, a group of 25 to 125 will save $3 or 20% per ticket and a group of 126-250 will save $5 or 33.3% per ticket. For NASCAR Touring events regularly priced at $30, a group of 25 to 125 will save $6 or 20% per ticket and a group of 126-250 will save $8 or $25% per ticket. For weekly extra distance events regularly priced at $18, a group of 25 to 125 will save $4 or 22.2% per ticket and a group of 126-250 will save $6 or $33.3% per ticket. And for either the Tech-Net Spring Sizzler or CARQUEST Fall Final events that are regularly priced at $35, a group of 25 to 125 will save $7 or 20% per ticket and a group of 126-250 will save $10 or 28.5% per ticket.
For more information about how a company can benefit from Fund Raising with Stafford Motor Speedway, please call 860-684-2783 or visit the tracks web site.

In TV land this week NASCAR Now continues on Monday through Friday on ESPN2 at 6:00pm . This weeks viewing begins on Thursday at noon when Speed re-runs last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 that was run at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. On Friday, Speed goes live at noon for 90 minutes of Sprint Cup practice from Bristol . A 90 minute practice session for the Nationwide cars follows at 1:30pm . Sprint Cup qualifying begins at 3:30 followed by Nationwide car practice at 5:00pm . Taped delayed coverage of Sprint Cup qualifying starts at 9:30pm . Saturday’s action begins at 1:00pm with taped delayed coverage of a morning practice session for the Sprint Cup cars at Bristol . The action switches to ABC at 2:00pm for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol . Sunday’s viewing begins at 10:00am on ESPN2 with a special edition of NASCAR Now. At 11:30 a two hour NASCAR RaceDay on Speed previews the Sprint Cup Food City 500 at Bristol . At 1:30 the action moves to FOX for live coverage of the Food City 500. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend with The Speed Report at 7:00 and NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 . Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain follows at 9:00 .

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks had a negative ending. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.70 to 28.50 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.18 to 39.66 and Dover Downs dropped 0.08 to 6.83. For the third week in a row NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint/Nextel fell as the telecommunications giant dropped 0.10 to 7.01. Nationwide, which sponsors NASCAR’s second division, was also in the red as they dropped 3.32 to 37.93. Sun Oil (Sunoco) which had a high of 72.44 in January dropped 4.95 to 56.10. Goodyear was also off as they dropped 1.49 to 25.61. On the bright side, Coca-Cola went up 2.37 to 57.06. Dupont dropped 1.42 to 45.00 and Target Stores dropped 0.61 to 52.00. Aarons Rentals showed some spark as they went up 0.08 to 19.70. In the home improvement sector Lowes dropped 1.57 to 22.40 and Home Depot dropped 0.67 to 25.88. The parcel carriers had a mixed bag. UPS went up 1.72 to 71.96 while Fedex dropped 1.43 to 86.70. Last and slowly heading for the cellar is the World Racing Group (DIRT Motorsports) which dropped 0.11 to 0.30.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. 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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