Tuesday March 4, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The big event last weekend was the second annual Speedway Expo at the Big E in West Springfield , MA . The brainchild of Dick Berggren, Speedway Expo had something for everyone who is involved in auto racing. The show served as a preview of the upcoming season with many tracks showcasing their facilities.

On Saturday, SpeedwayEXPO hosted a Toast 'n Roast and the featured guest was Ted Christopher. Among the favorite Modifieds on display was the No.61 Richie Evans Ghost Rider that was recently restored by Spearpoint Racing and the original Ernie Wilsburg í82 Troyer that won just about every major race in the 82-83 season with Greg Sacks and Charlie Jarzombek at the controls.

With the announcement of the television package for the NASCAR Developmental Series, formerly Busch North, Busch East or whatever, it appears that once again the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, which in words from NASCAR is the sanctioning bodies most competitive division, has got what the cow left behind after she jumped the fence! While 24 races in the NASCAR Developmental Series will be televised, only two Modified events, June 28 at Loudon and Sept 21 at Martinsville , will be televised.

As of this Friday, March 7, thirty 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.

The Stafford Motor Speedway 2008 Season Ticket Packages are available and on sale, but time is running out to take advantage of Stafford 's discounted pricing. After March 14, each Stafford Motor Speedway's season ticket package will increase in price.

Stafford 's Season Paddock Pass grants weekly admission to the paddock area, as well as the paddock area grandstands and the general admission seats in the main grandstand. The paddock pass is priced at $450 if purchased before March 14, and increases to $500 if purchased after March 14. Season Paddock Passes can be upgraded to include a reserved seat in the main grandstand for an additional charge of $50.00. If purchased before March 14, Season Paddock Passes offer nearly 45% off the cost of buying a ticket each week, making the Season Paddock Pass the greatest deal among Stafford 's Season Ticket packages.

For more information on gift cards or season ticket packages, including pricing and a seating chart, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783 or visit the "BOX OFFICE" section on the web at

Interest continues to build in anticipation of the upcoming, April 12-13, 12th annual Modified Nationals at the Waterford Speedbowl. Among those who have indicated that they will be in competition are Jimmy Blewett, Ted Christopher, Rob Janovic, Jeff Paul, Dennis Gada, Don Fowler and Jeff Pearl.
Practice for the April 12-13 Budweiser Modified Nationals will be on Friday and Saturday April 5-6 and Friday, April 11. On each day, the pits will open at 9 pm and run until dark.
Among the hot topics at the shoreline oval is the rumor of former flagger and race official Bill Roberts taking over as General Manager, replacing Bill Roth who left at the conclusion of the 2007 season. Roberts is employed by the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics. It will be interesting to see how he handles working two jobs!

In TV land this week NASCAR Now continues on Monday through Friday on ESPN2 at 6:00pm . Race viewing begins on Wednesday, Mar 5 on Speed at noon with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, 2007 season review. Thursday, at noon the Speed Channel replays last weekendís NASCAR Sprint Cup -Dodge 400 that was run at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. At 3:30pm Speed heads south to Daytona Beach for live coverage of Daytona Bike Week qualifying for the Daytona 200 and the AMA Superstock & Supersport races at the Daytona International Speedway. Action begins on Friday at 11:00am with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series final practice at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sprint Cup practice at Atlanta follows at 3:00pm . Following the Cup practice Speed continues with live coverage at Atlanta until 6:30 . At that time the Cup cars will qualify. At 8:30 the Speed Channel preps for the drop of the green for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series American Commercial Lines 200 which is scheduled to start at 9:00pm . Saturdayís viewing will begin at 2:30am with taped delayed coverage of the AMA Supercross by Honda that was run at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday. At 9:00am the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars qualify at Atlanta . A two hour Cup car practice session follows at 11:00am . The action moves to ESPN2 at 1:30 for the pre-race program which leads into the NASCAR Nationwide Series Nicorette 300 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. For the motorcycle fans Speed will present an encore of the Supercross and Supercross Lites from Friday night at the Daytona International Speedway. At 9:00pm the action moves back to ESPN2 for live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Nicorette 300 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. For those of you who stay up late donít forget to set your clocks ahead at 2:00am for the start of Daylight Savings Time. Tradiní Paint from Atlanta starts off Sundayís viewing on Speed at 10:00am . NASCAR Performance follows at 10:30 followed by NASCAR in a Hurry at 11:00am . A two hour RaceDay previews the CUP Kobalt Tools 500 from Atlanta at 11:30 . The FOX network goes live at 1:30 with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 from the Atlanta Motor Speedway. 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 negative results. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.57 to 39.84 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.59 to 29.20 and Dover Downs dropped 0.07 to 6.91. Sprint/Nextel, still reeling from Ryan Newmanís Daytona 500 win in a car sponsored by Alltel, dropped 1.80 to 7.11. CNBC reported that Newman's win at Daytona was worth $18.3 million to ALLTEL, thanks to ALLTEL logos getting 17 minutes and 38 seconds during the Fox race coverage. Sun Oil also took a hit as they dropped 2.51 to 61.08. In addition to Nextel/Sprint going down was second tier NASCAR sponsor Nationwide which dropped 1.79 to 40.25. For the third week in a row Coca-Cola had a negative ending as they dropped 1.54 to 54.69. Dupont continued to rally as they went up 0.56 to 46.42. Target Stores also had a positive ending as they went up 0.54 to 52.61. Goodyear had a good week as they went up 0.17 to 27.10. The World Racing Group (DIRT) was also up as they rose 0.06 to 0.41. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.38 to 23.97 while Home Depot dropped 1.22 to 26.55. The parcel carriers were also down. Fedex dropped 0.96 to 88.13 and UPS dropped 1.65 to 70.24.

Thatís 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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