Tuesday March 6, 2012

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation stepped in a big pile of Do-Do, upset a lot a people by changing the date of the Daytona 500 but in the end came out smelling like a rose and could maybe starting a new trend by staging races during the week in prime time. The first ever Daytona 500 held in prime time was a home run for FOX Sports who enjoyed its highest rated Monday night viewing audience since game #5 of the 2010 World Series. FOX Sports reported that 36.5 million viewers watched the event, a 22 percent increase over the 30 million that watched last year.

FOX Sports had enough juice at NASCAR to get them to change the date of the 500. It will be interesting to see if they tell the sanctioning body to schedule some Monday night events in 2013. Money talks and when FOX Sports waves it, NASCAR responds.

Now that Florida Speedweeks are history its time to look foreword to racing in the Northeast. As of this Friday, March 9, five weeks remain before the start of the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series IceBreaker at the Thompson Speedway on April 15. The New England based Valenti Modified Racing Series has its opening event in three weeks at the Waterford Speedbowl on April 1.

Indoor racing comes to Providence RI. The Coffee Cup INDOOR RACE takes center stage at the Providence Civic Center this coming Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 11. TQ Midgets & Sr. Champ Karts will be competing in full programs each night. SATURDAY NIGHT - Racing Action Starts at 7pm 4th Annual Coffee Cup - TQ Midgets 40 Laps Plus Sr. Champ Karts. SUNDAY AFTERNOON - Racing Action Starts 2pm 100 Lap TQ Midget Feature Plus Sr. Champ Karts.

Kevin Rice advises that the June 16 SBM 125 at Star Speedway in Epping, NH got richer as the Long Island Mod Maniac, Jim Schaefer has decided to put up $790 for lap 79 in memory of Roger Hill. Roger and his son David Hill have been big supporters of the Star open shows. The lap will now pay $610 to the race leader and $180 to another top ten car by draw. The SBM 125 at Star is a high paying open competition event that is expected to draw a host of top drivers.

In TV land, viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday, at 6:00pm with NASCAR Race Hub. Race Hub will also be shown on Wednesday and Thursday at the same time. NASCAR Now will be on espn2 at 3:00pm on Wednesday.

Race viewing begins on Tuesday at noon on the Speed Channel with a replay of last weekendís Sprint Cup event at Phoenix. Speed will replay the Phoenix Nationwide Series event on Thurs at noon.
Speed goes live in Las Vegas at 1:00pm on Friday. Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series practice at Las Vegas follows at 1:30pm. NASCAR Live breaks it up at 4:30pm followed by Nationwide Series final practice at 5:00pm and Sprint Cup qualifying at 6:30pm. Trackside sums it up at 8:00pm.

Saturdayís viewing starts at noon with Trackside on Speed. Sprint Cup practice follows at 12:30pm. The Nationwide Series cars will qualify at 1:30pm and will be followed by final practice for the Sprint Cup Series. The action shifts to ESPN2 at 5:00 pm for the Nationwide Series Sams Town 300 at Las Vegas.

Spring ahead one hour at 2:00am when Daylight Savings Time Begins.

Sundayís viewing gets the green at 9:00am with NASCAR Now on ESPN2. At 11:30am the action shifts to Speed for NASCAR Performance. Speed Center follows at noon. A two hour RaceDay begins at 12:30pm. At 2:30 the action shifts to FOX for the Sprint Cup pre-race show that will lead to the 3:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas. NASCAR Victory Lane on Speed at 6:00 followed by Speed Center at 7:00pm sum up the days racing. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain goes at 8:pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week, two of the three speedway stocks were down for the week. Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.6 to 14.56 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.57 to 25.23. Dover Motorsports remained in limbo at 1.36. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.03 to 2.50 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went down 0.35 to 39.04 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.03 to 13.12. With the exception of Toyota, which dropped 2.98 to 81.57, the car makers had a good week. Ford went up 0.49 to 12.72 and General Motors went up 0.39 to 26.45. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.43 to 47.41 and Lowes went up 0.97 to 28.13. The big sponsors had a mixed bag for the week. Dupont went up 0.46 to 51.45, Target Department Stores went up 1.36 to 56.59 and Fedex went up 0.54 to 90.78 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.46 to 64.26 and Aarons Rentals dropped 0.70 to 26.76.

Thatís 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.

Web Design Copyright © 2012 & - All Rights Reserved
Opinions expressed in Phil Smith's "Champ Trail" do not necessarily reflect the opinions of and the contents are the sole responsibility and opinions of the author.
For permission to reproduce any part of"Champ Trail" contact Phil Smith @
The "Champ Trail" is Copyright © 2006-2012 Phil Smith