ARCHIVES

Tuesday March 12, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series opens for the season this coming Saturday night on March 16 at the Caraway Speedway in Sophia, NC. Caraway, a .455-13deg oval will open for their 48th season with the Charles Kepley Memorial 150. Among the northern invaders expected is Woody Pitkat who had an impressive week in the Hillbilly Racing No.79 at the New Smyrna Speedway in Florida. Ted Christopher has been known to test the waters at Caraway in the past. A strong southern contingent led by Tim Brown along with Burt and Jason Myers are also expected.

In some good news it has been learned that NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship car owner Curt Chase of Mansfield Center, Ct will join driver Ron Yuhas, Jr. and the Mike Murphy owned KLM Motorsports as the team’s crew chief for the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season . Chase, along with his son Eric, bring years of experience and valuable knowledge to the already solid team.

Chase has more than just experience, he has an acumen for winning. As an owner, Chase had earned victories in the Modified Tour with the likes of Rick Fuller, Steve Park, John Blewett, III, and Doug Coby. Chase and Fuller earned the Series’ championship in 1993.

The KLM Motorsports Team finished the 2012 season with two (2) top-five and five (5) top-ten finishes in 14 starts; capping off the 2012 season 10th in point standings. The goal for the 2013 season is more top-finishes and another top-ten in the final point standings.

The Thompson International Speedway will hold the first of two pre-season practice sessions on Saturday, March 30th. Each year, the first open practice session is very important to competitors and this year it will be of particular importance to the drivers of the former Thompson Modified division. Just about every TIS Modified team has moved to a new division at the track and each will be faced with challenges as they adapt to new cars and drivers in a completely different class of race cars. The Thompson Late Model class has become the division of choice for the majority of the TIS Modified Drivers.

The 2012 Thompson Modified champion, John-Lowinski-Loh, JR is just one of the drivers moving to the Late Models. He recently said that he was really looking forward to competing in a Late Model but he said that he and his team had their work cut out for them. He spoke of the fact that the cars are bigger and that there will be a need to adjust to a different suspension system, different tires and to learn to work with less visibility in the full-body style car. Lowinski-Loh, Jr said, “We will be racing with much more experienced guys but I think there will be close competition. I also think there will be a nice field of cars and that will make for really good racing. We are also looking forward to traveling to other tracks and getting valuable seat time. We are even thinking about going to Loudon,” he concluded. Lowinski-Loh, JR. had a very successful 2012 season. He scored eighteen top five finishes and visited victory lane a total of nine times.

Other former TIS drivers will face the same challenges. Chad LaBastie, Ryan Morgan and Glenn Boss will also compete in the Late Model division. It will be all new for LaBastie and Morgan. However, Boss may have a bit of an advantage since he competed in four regular season Late Model races last year and finished in the top five in each one. Jason Sundeen, who finished second in the 2012 TIS points, will move to the Sunoco Modified division. Like Boss, Sundeen also tested the waters in another division. He competed in five Sunoco Modified events last year and posted two top ten finishes. Danny Gamache, JR will also step up and try his hand in an LKQ/Keystone Lite Modified. Gamache impressed a lot of people with his fourteen top five finishes and a win in his Thompson Modified.

Brian Tagg, a regular competitor in the TIS division since 2008, will concentrate on his education and career before climbing behind the wheel of a race car again in 2014. However, he will still be a familiar face at Thompson as he will work with his cousin Troy Tallman who was named Rookie of the Year in the LKQ/Keystone Lite Modified division.

A second open practice day is slated for Saturday, April 8th.

Less than 50 miles east of Thompson lies the Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MA. Located on Route 6, the Speedway which has run continually since 1946, sits at the gateway to Cape Cod. Under the guidance of the Venditti family the speedway hosts Pro Stocks as their lead racing division. Seekonk will hold open practice sessions on Saturdays, April 6, April 20 and May 4. Parking and admission to the front gate is free! Seekonk's racing season will begin on Sunday, May 5 and will wind up on Saturday, October 5 with the Annual D. Anthony Venditti Classic.

Bob Finan, Public Relations Chief at the Riverhead Raceway on Long Island reports that Bob Raissman the Media scribe for the NY Daily News says Fox is hosted a big NYC Gala last Tuesday night to introduce their 24-hour sports network, Fox Sports 1 or FS1. The network will reside where the SPEED channel currently resides, not good news for the racing community. The change takes place in August, just in time for the new NFL season.

Now that the 2013 season has started there will be racing action on the TV just about every week. This weeks viewing is as follows:
 

3

13

Wed

1:00 AM

NASCAR Now

 

ESPN2

3

13

Wed

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

3

13

Wed

12:00 PM

NSCS Replay

Las Vegas

SPEED

3

13

Wed

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

 

3

14

Thu

2:00 AM

NASCAR Now

 

ESPN2

3

14

Thurs

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

3

14

Thurs

12:00 PM

NNS Replay

Las Vegas

SPEED

3

14

Thurs

2:30 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

3

14

Thurs

6:00 PM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

 

3

15

Fri

7:00 AM

NASCAR Race Hub

 

SPEED

3

15

Fri

10:30 AM

NNS Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

12:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

1:30 PM

NASCAR Live

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

2:00 PM

NNS Final Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

3:30 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

5:00 PM

Trackside

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

9:00 PM

NSCS Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

15

Fri

10:30 PM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Bristol

SPEED

 

3

16

Sat

12:30 AM

NSCS Coors Light Pole Qualifying

Bristol

SPEED

3

16

Sat

9:00 AM

NSCS Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

16

Sat

10:00 AM

NASCAR Live

Bristol

SPEED

3

16

Sat

12:00 PM

NSCS Final Practice

Bristol

SPEED

3

16

Sat

1:30 PM

NNS Countdown

Bristol

ESPN2

3

16

Sat

2:00 PM

NNS: Spring Nationwide 300

Bristol

ESPN2

 

3

17

Sun

10:00 AM

SPEED Center NASCAR Edition

Bristol

SPEED

3

17

Sun

10:30 AM

NASCAR RaceDay

Bristol

SPEED

3

17

Sun

12:30 PM

NSCS Pre-Race Show

Bristol

FOX

3

17

Sun

1:00 PM

NSCS: Food City 500

Bristol

FOX

3

17

Sun

4:30 PM

NASCAR Victory Lane

Bristol

SPEED

3

17

Sun

5:00 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

3

17

Sun

8:30 PM

NASCAR Victory Lane

Bristol

SPEED


On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week in the green. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.74 to 31.88. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.63 to 17.26 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.07 to 1.78. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.10 to 5.88 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.14 to 13.08 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) took a big jump as they went up 3.32 to 47.10. The car builders were also in the green for the week. Ford went up 0.37 to 12.98 and General Motors went up 0.83 to 28.00 while Toyota jumped 1.01 to 103.69. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 2.42 to 71.37 and Lowes went up 0.98 to 39.31. With the exception of Coca-Cola which dropped 2.73 to 62.60 the major team sponsors had a real good week. Dupont went up 1.09 to 49.15 while Target Department Stores went up 2.22 to 66.35, Aarons Rentals went up 1.28 to 28.67 and Fedex went up 2.48 to 107.80.

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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