Tuesday March 17, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The Waterford Speedbowl is scheduled to open for the season on April 28-29 with the SK Modified Nationals and the Thompson Speedway Ice Breaker, which will start the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series, on April 4-5. While there has been mention of a pre-season practice at Waterford on Friday, March 27, the Thompson Speedway will host practice sessions this coming Saturday on March 21st and again on March 28th. The Stafford Motor Speedway will open the season with the Spring Sizzler on April 24-25-26. A pre-season practice at Stafford is scheduled for Saturday, April 18.

The Stafford Motor Speedway will open its doors for business in 2009 with its traditional Spring Motorcycle and Ty-Rods Automotive Swap Meets. The Spring Motorcycle Swap Meet is the first event on the 2009 SMS Calendar of events, and is scheduled for Sunday, March 29th. The 23rd Annual Ty-Rods Automotive Swap Meet will be the following Sunday, April 5th.
The first signs of racing in the northeast will come alive on Saturday, March 21st when virtually any legal race car will be welcomed at the Thompson Speedway for the first of two open practice sessions. The second such session will be held on Saturday, March 28th. The director of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Chad Little, has given permission to “Tour” teams to take advantage of both of the Thompson open practice dates. The open practices will be held between the hours of 11 AM and 6 PM.

Waterford Speedbowl property owner Terry Eames should have been a used car salesman! At the recent Expo in West Springfield he was telling everybody who would listen that all was well and going great in anticipation of the grand re-opening of the Waterford Speedbowl. He also indicated that a NASCAR sanction was forth coming. Great used car salesmen often say when describing the condition of a car on their lot, “Would I Lie”. On NASCAR’s web page there is no mention as yet of the Waterford Speedbowl being a part of their weekly Home Track Racing Series. In the mean time it appears that Jerry Robinson, who leased the track last year and ran off with the receipts of the season ender apparently took the letters for the billboard too. In all fairness, Robinson is the one who stiffed the competitors, not Eames. A few years ago the Chemung Speedway in New York had its sanction pulled by NASCAR because of checks that bounced. Waterford was almost in the same situation before Robinson came on the scene.

Former fans and competitors of the former Riverside Park Speedway are jumping for joy after the news broke that New York-based Six Flags Amusement Parks said that it may need to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy if it can't reach a deal to restructure almost $300 million in preferred stock, which is due in August. The Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, Mass was one of the most successful short tracks in the country before it was torn down to make room for a roller coaster which has acquired a reputation of being extremely dangerous.

In some sad news, New England racing legend Stanley “Stub” Fadden died on Wednesday, March 11. He was 75 years old. Fadden, of North Haverhill, N.H., won more than 230 feature races in his career spanning more than 30 years, including four on the old NASCAR Busch North Series, where he was a mainstay for 12 seasons. Fadden was the grandfather of two-time Camping World East Series champion Mike Olsen, who continues to run his team under the banner of “Fadden Racing.” Before Fadden’s retirement from full-time competition after the 1998 season, he and Olsen formed the only grandfather-grandson team in NASCAR history. Frank Stoddard, a former Fadden crew member and currently a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief inducted Stub into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 2003.

It was also learned that webmaster Tom Ormsby lost his dad over the weekend.

In TV land this week, a special edition of This Week in NASCAR on the Speed Channel, on Tuesday at 8:00am starts the week off. NASCAR Now will be seen on ESPN2 from Tuesday through Thursday at 5:00pm. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel will replay the 2006 Food City 500 that was run at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Speed goes live at noon on Thursday with 90 minutes of Sprint Cup practice followed by 90 minutes of Nationwide Series practice. Live coverage from Bristol continues at 3:00pm with NASCAR Live followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 3:30pm. The Nationwide Series will have their final practice at Bristol at 5:00pm. NASCAR Now on ESPN2 airs at 6:00 and Speed rounds out the day at 7:00 with Trackside at Bristol. Saturday’s action begins at noon with Nationwide Series qualifying on the Speed Channel. Final practice for the Sprint Cup cars goes at 1:00. At 2:00pm the action switches to ABC for the NASCAR Nationwide Series countdown which will lead to a 2:30pm start of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol. On Saturday night at 6:00pm ESPN2 hosts “Scotts Saturday Night Special” at Bristol where legendary racers are paired with celebrity partners for a special event. Sunday’s starts at 10:00am with NASCAR Now on ESPN2. NASCAR’ RaceDay. Preview runs from 11:30 to 1:30 on the Speed Channel. Live action switches to FOX at 1:30 for their NASCAR Pre-race show which will lead in to a 2:15 start of the Sprint Cup Food City 500, Bristol. The Speed Channel has the Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm on Sunday night.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week a big rebound was the order of the week as most of the racing related stocks rebounded from the recent bloodbaths that occurred on Wall Street. Two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 3.68 to 20.18 while Dover Downs went up 0.36 to close out the week at 1.64. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 1.14 to 4.14 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.66 to 27.88. Tire supplier Goodyear also had a positive ending as they went up 1.75 to 5.24. Even the automakers had a good rebound. Ford went up 0.49 to 2.19 while General Motors jumped 1.27 to finish the week at 2.72. Toyota was also up as they closed at 60.39, up 2.21 from last week. For the most part, NASCAR team sponsor stocks were on the upswing. Dupont went up 2.65 to 19.49, Coca-Cola went up 6.44 to 44.64, Target Department Stores jumped 4.30 to 29.97 and Aarons Rentals went up 2.66 to 24.88. In the home improvement sector it was all positive. Home Depot went up 2.71 to 20.71 and Lowes went up 2.50 to 15.89.

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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