Tuesday May 16, 2006

By Phil Smith

The Stafford Motor Speedway made a wise decision when they cancelled the races last Friday. The National Weather Service predicted upwards of four inches of rain for the state of Connecticut.

Ted Christopher sits in an all too familiar spot as he currently is the SK Modified point leader at Stafford. After two events Christopher holds an eight point lead over Frank Ruocco. Christopher, who has two top fives including a win, has 96 points. Ruocco, winless so far, has two top fives. Eric Berndt sits in third spot with Todd Owen and Woody Pitkat rounding out the top five. Pitkat, who has two wins in the Late Models, holds an eight point edge on Ryan Posocco. Pitkat is also involved in a three way tie with Todd Ceravolo and Tom Cravenho for the top Sunoco Modified spot at the Thompson Speedway. Bill Davis and Kevin Gambacorta are tied for the point lead in Stafford’s Limited Late Models and Duke Place leads Shelly Perry in the SK Lights.

At the Waterford Speedbowl last weekend the weatherman stopped Dwayne Dorr when no one else in the Sportsman division could. The Speedbowl management canceled last Saturday nights races after the infield and parts of the track were under water

With four events in the books the SK Modified point standings show Dennis Gada in the lead with an eight point advantage over Diego Monahan. Although winless, Gada has four top tens including two top fives. Monahan, who recorded his first win on April 15 has only one other top ten finish. Chris Pasteryak, with three top fives sits in third spot, four points behind Monahan. Tommy Fox, with two top fives, is fourth and rounding out the top five is rookie sensation Jeffrey Paul. Paul is four for four in top ten finishes. Jay Stuart is the Late Model point leader with an eight point edge over Bruce Thomas. In the Sportsman division Dwayne Dorr is four for four in the win column and holds a commanding 20 point lead over Joe Curioso III. Richard Brooks with one win holds a six point lead over Dave Silvia and in the Legends, Mark Bakaj holds a slim two point lead over Mark Esposito.

Defending Waterford Speedbowl Late Model Champion Mark St. Hillaire will have a few weeks to collect his thoughts and cool his jets as Speedbowl Race Director Steve Harraka has suspended him from racing in the first four events following his May 6 tantrum when he deliberately rammed the car of Jay Lozyniak while the field was under caution. Hilaire has also been fined $70 and 24 championship points which will eliminate him from defending his title. Lozyniak has been placed on probation for two months for speeding in the pits. Competitors need to realize they can be held liable for any damage or physical injury they may inflict when they act to revenge or "payback". If someone were to be injured because of the intentional act of another the result could be costly to ones wallet.
The shoreline oval has found a nitch which could very well be the saving grace of racing as we know it at the Route 85 oval. Wacky Wednesday, which began last week, drew 90 racecars plus their crews and drivers.

Racing continues this Saturday night at the Waterford Speedbowl. It has been designated "Little League Night". All Little Leaguers in uniform will be admitted free.

The Whelen Modified Tour Series is in the middle of a three week break before resuming on Memorial Day weekend at Stafford. Following the recent Spring Sizzler at Stafford a total of 50 different drivers have entered into competition. Of those, 14 are rookies. James Civali, currently third overall in the point standings is the highest placing rookie. Mike Andrews, who took over for the injured Mike Ewanitsko, is the No.2 rookie and is 13th overall in the standings. Other rookies in the top 20 are Ron Yuhas jr, Danny Sammons and Matt Hirschman. At season’s end, the top rookie wins a $3,500 bonus from Sunoco, the official fuel of NASCAR

In TV land, this week’s viewing begins on Wednesday at 5:00pm with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup late models from the Kil-Kare Speedway in Xenia, OH. At 8:00pm the action moves to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws from Park City, KS. At 11:00pm the Speed Channel presents NASCAR, Driven to Win: Jamie McMurray. Thursday’s viewing begins at noon with a rerun of last Friday night’s NASCAR Busch Series, Diamond Hill Plywood 250 that was run at Darlington. Last Saturday night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge Charger 500 follows at 2:20pm. The Speed Channel goes live at noon on Friday with NASCAR Nextel Cup final practice for the All-Star Challenge (formerly called The Winston) at the Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Live coverage continues all afternoon. At 4:00pm the Craftsman Trucks qualify for the Quaker Steak & Lube event which will run following NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the All Star Challenge. The truck race is scheduled to start at 8:30pm. Speed goes live at noon on Saturday. At 4:00pm the National Pit Crew Competition will have forty Nextel Cup and Busch teams compete to determine who will reign as the fastest pit crew and win a $100,000 prize. At 5:30 NASCAR RaceDay will preview the Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge. At 7:00pm the live action switches to Fox for the All Star Challenge pre-race show. The All Star Challenge is scheduled to get the green at 7:30pm. NASCAR Victory Lane on Speed wraps it up at 11:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two out of the three speedway stocks were down for the week as just about everything was down overall. Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.38 to 38.07 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.82 to 48.36. Dover Downs showed a little spark as they went up 0.01 to 6.09. Nextel dropped 0.40 to 24.49 and Sun Oil dropped 5.37 to 73.54. Featherlite Trailers broke even at 4.72 while DIRT Motorsports went up 0.01 to 4.00. In the drug sector, Pfizer dropped 0.96 to 24.45 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.98 to 24.30. The home improvement sector and the parcel carriers also took a dive. Lowes dropped 2.21 to 63.11 and Home Depot dropped 1.34 to 39.95. Fedex dropped 4.17 to 115.14 and UPS dropped 2.51 to 80.84.

Pfizer Inc announced on May 11that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved their anti-smoking pill, Chantix(TM) (varenicline). Chantix, the first new prescription medication approved for smoking cessation in nearly a decade, received priority review designation by the FDA because of its potential to be a significant therapeutic advance over existing therapies. Chantix is the fourth new Pfizer medicine to receive FDA approval in 2006. The other medicines approved are Exubera for diabetes, Eraxis for the treatment of candidemia infections, and Sutent for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Jayski, an internet web site that covers NASCAR’s Nextel Cup events and the tracks in which they run reported that the Kentucky Speedway is trying to prove that NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. illegally work together to keep Nextel Cup events at ISC tracks and has filed an anti-trust suit. Kentucky Speedway is asking for lots of sensitive financial and business records. That was to be expected as far as NASCAR and ISC were concerned. But now virtually every track that has a national NASCAR race will be asked to give up its records, too. Kentucky Speedway has asked a U.S. District Court judge in Kentucky to allow it to serve subpoenas to request information from companies that are not parties in the lawsuit. Those parties include Speedway Motorsports Inc., Dover Motorsports, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, the Milwaukee Mile and New Hampshire International Speedway. Among the documents Kentucky will ask from SMI, which has 11 Nextel Cup events at its tracks, will be for all documents and depositions from the Ferko v. NASCAR anti-trust case that was settled out of court in 2004. The proposed subpoena - filed as an exhibit to the motion to allow Kentucky to subpoena companies that aren't parties to the case - also asks for SMI to produce sanctioning agreements, ticket sales information, advertising revenue, safety records and documents relating to any attempt to purchase another racetrack. The subpoenas have not been served, and it is expected that once they are served, the tracks will challenge how much information they will have to provide.Kentucky Speedway alleges that ISC and NASCAR work together to keep non-ISC tracks from obtaining Nextel Cup events and is asking for it to be awarded a Cup date as well as having a standard set for the allocation of Cup dates. NASCAR is a private company owned by the France family. ISC, which promotes many NASCAR-sanctioned races including 20 of the 38 Cup events, is a public company in which a majority of stock is owned by the France family. NASCAR and ISC deny Kentucky Speedway's claims. The case won't go to trial until at least summer 2007

That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, and R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 or days at 860-433-5250.E-mail  

Phil Smith has been a columnist for Speedway Scene for over 3 decades.
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