Tuesday March 23, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The 2010 New England racing season will be here in short order. As of this Friday, March 19 its only one week before the Waterford Speedbowl opens with Blast Off 2010 on the 28th. In two weeks, on April 11, the Thompson Speedway opens with their annual Ice Breaker.

The Waterford Speedbowl, which begins its 60th season, will host a pre-Blast Off practice session on Friday, March 26 from noon until 5:00pm. At Thompson, Test and Tune sessions will be held on Saturday, March 27 from 11:00am to 6:00pm and on Saturday, April 3, from 11:00am to 6:00pm.

The Modified Racing Series, sponsored by Bob Valenti AutoMall.Com, kicks off a 19 race schedule that will take the tour to five New England states and New York. MRS Champion, Jonathan McKennedy returns driving his familiar # 73, focusing on another championship. The 2008 champion, Chris Pasteryak is also entered driving his family owned car, renumbered 52 for the new campaign. The 2009 ROC Champion, Matt Hirschman, Seven-time NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik and last years Waterford winners, Doug Coby and Rowan Pennink, are planning to compete. A total of 32 race teams from the MRS have indicated that they will support the Waterford opener. With the announcement by NASCAR that five competitors have been dropped off the points payoff a few of those who have, in the past, depended on these point monies, are now taking a second look at the Modified Racing Series.

The only short track Modified racing last weekend was the second annual Frostbite Winter Nationals at the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, NC. A sparse field of only 15 Modifieds were on hand for the 125 lap event. Matt Hirschman was the top qualifier. Burt Myers was second fastest. The draw for starting positions saw Burt Myers draw the pole and Brian King the outside pole. Drawing starting positions three through five were Jason Myers, Hirschman and James Civali. King got the best of Burt Myers and went on to take the win. Myers tried his best but in the end had to settle for the second spot. Finishing third was Ted Christopher driving the Joe Brady #00. Zach Brewer finished fourth with Josh Nichols, fifth. Sixth through tenth were Jason Myers, James Civali, Jimmy Zacharias, Scott Rigney and Gary Young. Among those eliminated in the early going were Hirschman and George Brunnhoelzl III who finished 14th and 15th respectively.

It was learned last week that Burt Myers, one of the stars of the History Channel reality series "Mad House" has made his intentions known that he will head north to race in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series opener, IceBreaker 2010 at the Thompson Speedway. Myers has never run at Thompson but has competed against many of the top runners of the series at Martinsville.

The Hartford Courant has stated that Bobby Santos III has been hired by Bob Garbarino to drive the Mystic Missile on the Whelen Modified Tour Series this year. Its a great opportunity for the third generation driver who has won in just about every division he has ever raced in including the Modified Tour. Driving the Mighty No. 3 of Mike and Janice Boehler, Santos won the season ending World Series at Thompson in 2007.

Hot on the heels of the announcement that the Whelen Modified Tours Series would visit the road course at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut comes word that dogs, the four legged variety, will not be allowed on the property. Evidently track management got sick and tired of picking up the land mines that had been left behind!

In some sad news, Richard "Moon" Burgess passed-away on Wednesday, March 17 after suffering a serious stroke earlier in the month. Burgess started his career in 1947. He competed with success at virtually every track in the region including Thompson, Waterford, Plainville, Riverside Park, Kingston, Candlelight Stadium, Cherry Park, West Haven, and others. Burgess experienced his greatest degree of success while behind the controls of the potent “Flying Eagle” #1 coupe. He retired from the sport in 1953 after a relatively brief but spectacular career in which he won over 200 races including 63 feature events

In TV land this weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 9:30am with Sounds of NASCAR. NASCAR in a Hurry follows at 10:00. Rounding out the morning is NASCAR: What’s the Deal? with Jimmy Spencer at 10:30am. At 2:00pm the March 4-5 AMA Daytona Superbike competition from the Daytona Intl. Speedway highlights the afternoon. At 5:00pm the action switches to espn2 for NASCAR Now. NASCAR Now is in the same time slot on Wednesday and Thursday. At 7:30 its back to the Speed Channel for NASCAR Race Hub. Race Hub appears in the same slot on Wednesday and Thursday. At 8:00pm the Speed Channel reviews last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Food City 500 that was run at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Wednesday's programming gets the green at noon with a complete replay of the Bristol Sprint Cup event. On Thursday at noon Speed replays the Nationwide Series event that was run at Bristol. Speed goes live on Friday at 11:00am with NASCAR Live at the Martinsville Speedway. A 90 minute Sprint Cup practice follows at 11:30am. At 1:00pm the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has a 60 minute practice session at Martinsville. NASCAR Live at Martinsville goes at 2:00. At 3:00pm the Sprint Cup cars have their qualifying session with the Truck Series following at 4:30pm. Rounding out the day is Trackside (NASCAR) at Martinsville at 7:00pm. Saturday's viewing begins at 10:30am with 2-1/2 hours of Sprint Cup practice at Martinsville. NASCAR Live at Martinsville follows at 1:00pm. At 1:30 Speed has their pre-race show that will lead into the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville. At 8:00pm Speed will show highlights of the Jan 16 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals that were held at the QuikTrip Center in Tulsa, OK. Sunday's viewing gets an early start with NASCAR Now on espn2 at 9:00am. At 10:00am NASCAR RaceDay previews the Martinsville Sprint Cup event. At noon the action shifts to FOX for a one hour pre-race that will lead into a 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville. Rounding out the weekend on Sunday night is 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 ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 1.00 to 15.79. The International Speedway Corporation also had a positive ending as they went up 0.51 to 26.82. On the negative side was Dover Motorsports which dropped 0.11 to 2.11. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.16 to 3.76 while fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.07 to 29.79. Tire supplier Goodyear fell back a bit as they dropped 0.81 to 13.01. With the exception of Toyota which jumped 2.57 to 79.56, the car makers were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.05 to 13.29 and General Motors dropped 0.01 to 0.56. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.09 to 32.36 and Lowes dropped 0.17 to 24.78. The major race team sponsors had a good week. Dupont went up 1.37 to 36.86 while CocaCola went up 0.81 to 59.09. Target Department Stores went up 0.22 as Aarons Rentals went up 0.48 to

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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