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Tuesday March 2, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The 2010 New England racing season will be here in short order. As of this Friday, March 5 its only three weeks before the Waterford Speedbowl opens with Blast Off 2010 on the 28th. In five weeks, on April 11, the Thompson Speedway opens with their annual Ice Breaker.

In past years, Blast Off at Waterford featured a Modified race in which the number of laps matched the year the event was held. In a twist on the original concept, Blastoff weekend’s SK Modified® race will now celebrate the Speedbowl’s number of years in operation. For this, the Speedbowl’s 60th season, the race will be a 60-lapper. The Modified Racing Series (formerly True Value) will compete in a 100-lap race and the NEMA Midgets go 25 laps in distance. Eleven other divisions, led by a 50-lap Late Model race, join what is sure to be a full weekend of racing. Hopefully Race Director Tom Fox will be able to keep the program moving in a timely and efficient manner.

The Speedbowl Management has announced its Late Model division will compete on Goodyear tires in 2010. All competitors will be required to compete on the designated Goodyear tire compound, beginning with the season opening Budweiser Blastoff event March 26-28. The Goodyear model D2672 and D2882 tires will be introduced. This change helps the Speedbowl become congruent with the American-Canadian Tour Late Model tire program in place across New England and on the ACT’s U.S and Canadian tours. Goodyear tires will be available for purchase by Speedbowl Late Model teams at Budweiser Blastoff opening weekend and each week during the 2010 race season. The tires can also be mounted at the track. The Speedbowl’s Late Model division competes in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series as Division 2.

For car owner Dick Ceravolo it was a long summer and a longer winter after suffering life-threatening injuries last August. Ceravolo’s Sunoco SK Modified was parked by his sons, Todd and Rick while he was on the mend. Its been a long road but the popular car owner is back in good health and ready to go racing. Ceravolo says he will start the season at Waterford and go on from there.

In more good news Modified Racing Media Chief John Spence advises that Jack Bateman, founder and president of the Series has announced, an agreement has been reached with Bob Valenti Automall.Com as the title sponsor for the 2010 racing season. Bateman made the disclosure at the all-new Racers Expo, Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center, Marlborough, MA., Saturday, February 27.

The family owned and operated business, based in Mystic, CT., and Westerly, R.I., specializes in new and pre-owned vehicle sales and service. The Valenti family has been in the automotive business for over 80 years. “Bob Valenti Automall.Com has signed on for the new season. We look forward to working with the Valenti family. They are strong supporters of racing and have been for many years. We are pleased to have them as part our series,” Bateman concluded.

Bateman was joined by Bob Valenti Automall representatives including company Vice President Rob Valenti who eagerly looks forward to the new sponsorship.

The popular Modified Racing Series, featuring open-wheel modified race cars, will compete in 19 races at speedways throughout the Northeast including first time appearances at Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Malta, NY., Airborne Speedway, Plattsburgh, NY., and Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, Stafford, CT. In 2009, 15 races were run with 12 different drivers victorious. Seven of those drivers were first time winners.

The first of ten NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events will be run this weekend as the Southern Modified Tour will run the Georgia Power 150 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday night, March 5. NASCAR has not posted a date as yet when the taped delayed broadcast will air. The event will run on the ¼ mile flat track located between pit road and the grandstand where Legends Cars have their events. It should be a “Madhouse” type event with plenty of pushing and banging.

In TV land this weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 8:00am with NASCAR in a Hurry. NASCAR: What’s the Deal? with Jimmy Spencer follows at 8:30am. At 5:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for NASCAR Now. At 7:30 pm NASCAR Race Hub goes on the Speed Channel. At 8:00pm the Speed Channel wraps up last weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup Shelby American event in Las Vegas. On Wednesday at noon the Speed Channel replays last weekends NASCAR Sprint Cup event that was run at Las Vegas. NASCAR Now on espn2 goes at 6:00pm. NASCAR Race Hub on Speed wraps up the day at 7:30pm. The Speed Channel replays last Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Sam's Town 300 that was run at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR: What’s the Deal? with Jimmy Spencer follows at 2:30. At 3:00 the Speed Channel replays 2005 Nextel Cup Golden Corral 500 that was run at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR Race Hub on Speed at 7:30 wraps up the days racing news. Speed goes live at the Atlanta Motor Speedway at noon at Friday. Live action continues at 1:00pm with 90 minutes of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Atlanta. NASCAR Sprint Cup practice takes over at 2:30 followed by another hour of Truck practice at 4:00pm. ESPN2 has NASCAR Now at 5:00pm while Speed has NASCAR Live at Atlanta. NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Speed follows at 6:00pm. Trackside at Atlanta at 8:00 sums up the days racing news. At 9:00pm the Speed Channel provides same day-taped delayed coverage of Daytona Bike Week: Daytona Sportbike Daytona 200, Daytona Intl. Speedway. Saturday’s viewing gets an early start with Truck Series qualifying from Atlanta at 9:30am on Speed. NASCAR Sprint Cup practice for 2-1/2 hours follows at 11:00am. At 1:30pm it’s the pre-race show for the Truck Series, which will lead in to the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Atlanta 200. At 5:00 the Speed Channel provides live coverage of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Grand Prix of Miami that is being run at Homestead, FL. At 8:00 Speed has same day-taped delayed coverage of Motorcycle Racing at Daytona. Sunday’s viewing gets started at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. At 10:00am the action shifts to Speed for a two hour NASCAR RaceDay preview. FOX goes live at noon with their own pre-race show that will lead into a 1:15 start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rounding out the days racing are The SPEED Report at 7:00, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm. Capping off the week is Madhouse on the History Channel on Sunday night at 11:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings. Dover Motorsports went up 0.13 to 2.20 while the International Speedway Corporation went up 0.46 to 26.71. On the negative side, Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.14 to 17.48. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.16 to 3.33 as fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.65 to 26.37and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.47 to 12.99. Two of the three car makers had positive results for the week. Ford went up 0.45 to 11.74 and Toyota went up 0.48 to 74.83. On the negative side, General Motors dropped 0.07 to 0.53. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.05 to 31.20 while Lowes went up 0.58 to 23.71. The major car sponsors had their ups and downs. Coca-Cola went up 3.97 to 55.65 and Target Department Stores went up 0.79 to 51.52 while Dupont dropped 0.31 to 33.72 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.45 to 29.67.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share of common stock. The quarterly dividend will be payable on March 15, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 1, 2010.

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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