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Tuesday March 26, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour was back in action for the KOMA Unwind Relaxation Drink 150 this past Saturday, March 23 at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C. It was the second of 12 scheduled events of the series.

Burt Myers redeemed himself from a season opening non-finish at Caraway on March 16 to a win at Southern National on the eve of Palm Sunday. Myers,who started third on the 25 car starting grid, charged into the lead just past the midway point of the 150-lap race and never looked back. The victory marked the ninth career tour win for the 2010 Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour regular Ryan Preece, who won his first Whelen Southern Modified Tour Coors Light Pole Award in qualifying and led the first 80 laps, finished second. He was followed by Tim Brown, George Brunnhoelzl III and Andy Seuss.

Ted Christopher, Kyle Ebersole, Danny Bohn, Brandon Ward and Woody Pitkat rounded out the top 10.

There were four caution periods, three of those for minor spins plus a mandatory half-way stop. There were 16 cars on the lead lap at the finish. Among those was series opener winner Jason Myers who finished 12th after starting seventh.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour is back in action at South Boston (Va.) Speedway on Saturday, April 13.

The Thompson International Speedway unofficially opens for the 2013 season this coming Saturday, March 30th with the first of two open practice dates. A second practice is scheduled for Saturday, April 6th. Both practice sessions will be open to any safe race car and run from 11 am until 5 pm on both days.

Pit gates open 9 am. All vehicles will be inspected and then allowed onto the track for a full day of practice. The practice sessions will, as always, be conducted in a “round robin” format by division. The on-track activity will be virtually non-stop during each of the practice days.

The general admission grandstands will not be open for either practice day. However, fans who are eagerly anticipating the start of the 2013 racing season can get an up close look at the class of 2013 race cars. Pit admission, however, is limited to those who are at least 14 years of age. Anyone between the ages of 14 and 17 must have a parent or legal guardian to sign the necessary forms for Pit area admission.

Fans looking to obtain grandstand tickets for the April 14 Icebreaker may call the track office during normal business hours. (860-923-2280) All major credit cards are accepted.

Three of the most-celebrated names in the history of New England auto racing have been added to the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Hall of Fame inductees “Wild Bill” Greco (1999), Dennis Zimmerman (2001), and Harmon “Beaver” Dragon (2004), will each serve one term on the HOF Selection Committee starting this year. Executive Committee Chairman Bruce Cohen believes that the move will result in a truly-unique perspective on the induction process.

“With Billy, Dennis, and Beaver now serving, it lends a great deal of experience to the committee,” Cohen recently stated. “Each year we receive a large number of ballots representing a wide selection of some of the region’s greatest. Bill, Dennis, and Beaver raced against many of these drivers & teams that are considered for induction. Their input brings a lot to the table historically-speaking.” Others serving on the 2013 HOF Selection Committee are Mark Alden, Mark “Bones” Boucier, Lew Boyd, Bruce Cohen, Dave Coutemarsh, Ed Duncan, Dave Dykes, Bruce Elder, Lloyd Hutchins Jr., Lou Modestino, R.A. Silvia, Nick Teto, Jim Torok, and Peter Vanderveer.

New England Auto Racing lost an icon on March 20 when (NEAR) Hall-of-Fame inductee “Charlie” Elliott, 96, passed away in his sleep at his home in Hernando, FL. He built three new speedways with his own hands and refurbished three more. Elliott’s operation of race tracks began in the late 1940’s, first in Sanford, ME and then the former Dover (N.H.) Speedway between 1953 and 1965.

Nobody actually built more speedways in New England than Charlie Elliott. His vision for new racing facilities coincided with the formation of the New England Super-Modified Racing Association (NESMRA) in 1965. Teaming with Ken Smith and Russ Conway, the trio opened Elliott’s newly built Star Speedway, a quarter mile oval in Epping, N.H., in early August of 1967, just hours after the track paving had been completed. Another “Charlie Project” developed in 1978 when he purchased the dilapidated Hudson (N.H.) Speedway. Again with his hands and grit, the track was refurbished and returned to life. Along with help from Smith, Conway, and his family, Hudson flourished with successful events throughout the 1980’s. Yet Elliott looked for more, purchasing the old Lee Raceway triangle track in 1982. He completely redesigned and built a new oval track on the site, Lee USA Speedway, which opened July 4, 1984.

In 1988, he again got the itch to build. His company purchased the dirt Canaan Fairgrounds Speedway in Canaan, N.H. Charlie’s hands and mind were working while he operated a bulldozer, grader and water truck restoring the track. He also built a banquet facility, rebuilt and purchased the former Benson Animal Farm Merry-Go-Round for the grounds, and then donated a new Little League Baseball park on the grounds to the town. To make it a multi-track facility, he built a new paved quarter mile oval speedway at Canaan, only 800-feet from his dirt oval track. That was followed by a motorcycle mountain climb competition trail, also in Canaan.

In TV land the pickings will be slim as the Easter weekend is at hand. NASCAR's top divisions will enjoy a weekend off.
 

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Tues

6:00 PM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

 

3

27

Wed

7:00 AM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

3

27

Wed

12:00 PM

NSCS Replay

Auto Club

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27

Wed

6:00 PM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

 

3

28

Thurs

7:00 AM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

3

28

Thurs

12:00 PM

NNS Replay

Auto Club

SPEED

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Thurs

2:30 PM

The 10

 

SPEED

3

28

Thurs

6:00 PM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

 

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29

Fri

7:00 AM

NASCAR RaceHub

 

SPEED

 

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31

Sun

9:00 PM

A Racer's Life: Richard Petty

 

SPEED


On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week Dover Motorsports remained flat for the week as they ended with a no change at 1.85. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.16 to 17.96 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.05 to 31.96. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.31 to 6.14 and Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 2.14 to 49.35 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.93 to 12.80. The car makers had less than an exciting week. Ford dropped 0.19 to 13.26 while General Motors went up 0.01 to 28.22 and Toyota went up 0.01 to 103.94. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.51 to 69.56 while Lowes dropped 0.98 to 37.83. The team sponsorships had their share of ups and downs. Dupont dropped 0.63 to 49.27, Coca-Cola dropped 2.06 to 60.74 and Fedex dropped 10.59 to 98.48 while Target Department Stores went up 1.42 to 68.42 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.05 to 28.40.

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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