Tuesday May 22, 2007  

By Phil Smith                                                                                                

The 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is at the end of their “Spring Break” as they head for their second stop at the Stafford Motorspeedway this coming Friday night, May 25 for the 17th annual Connecticut Classic 150. Tickets are priced at $30.00 for adult general admission, children ages 6-14 are $5.00, and children ages 5 & under are admitted free. Reserved seat tickets are available for $32.00 for all ages.

Thursday Night Thunder at the Thompson Speedway begins this week. The popular weekly race program will present six divisions of NASCAR Whelen All American Series racing Thursday nights well into the month of September. Thursday Night Thompson Thunder has become a fan favorite due to the large fields of racecars and the extremely fast paced program. Fans are usually headed home by about 9:30 PM after enjoying a full card of racing from all six exciting divisions.

The Sunoco (SK type) Modifieds are the featured NASCAR Whelen All American Series division. Just about everyone who is anyone in this division heads to Thompson for Thursday night competition. Leading that list of outstanding drives is the defending NASCAR Division IV Champion and defending Thompson International Speedway Champion, Woody Pitkat. Joining Pitkat are exciting drivers like Todd Ceravolo, Jimmy Blewett, John Blewett, III, Keith Rocco, Tom Cravenho, Jr., Kerry Malone, Bert Marvin and many more. These drivers have fans on the edge of their seats week in and week out at the high banked, super fast Thompson Speedway.

Pit gates open at 3 PM for Thursday night racing. Practice begins at 4 PM with grandstands opening at 4:30 PM . Qualifying gets underway at 5:30 PM with the first feature slated for just about 6:30 PM .

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday night the weatherman took the win. Forecasts of heavy wind and rain for last Friday forced the Arute family to pull the plug on the night’s activities. Kerry Malone is the current point leader in the SK Modified division. Malone leads Eric Berndt by 10 points after three events. Rounding out the top five are Ted Christopher, Brad Heitala and Willie Hardie Jr. Defending SK Modified Champion Frank Ruocco is 11th, 54 points behind the leader. Other point leaders are Tom Butler in the Late Models, Chris Mathews in the SK Lights, Andrew Durand in the Ltd Late Models and Barry Fluckiger in the Dare Stocks.

Late last week the Stafford Speedway announced that Valvoline, in conjunction with CARQUEST Auto Parts, had signed on to become an SK Modified 1st place contingency partner for the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season. Valvoline's weekly $150 contingency bonus brings the total winner's check for each SK Modified® feature event to $1,850.

In NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action at the Waterford Speedbowl the weatherman also prevailed as close to two inches of rain fell on the shoreline oval on Saturday. Shawn Monahan is the current SK Modified point leader as he holds an 18 point edge over Rob Janovic. In six events Monahan has been the model of consistency as he has recorded six top 10’s including one win. Janovic has two wins but has only five top tens. Rounding out the top five are Doug Coby, Jeff Pearl and Diego Monahan. Allen Coates is the Late Model point leader, Dwayne Dorr the Sportsman leader, Ken Cassidy the Mini Stock leader and Chris Bakaj the Legends leader.

In addition to the regular weekly bill of fare at the shoreline oval, the ISMA Supermodifieds will be on hand.

In TV land this week and for the remainder of the season NASCAR Now on ESPN2 will be in the 6:30pm time slot seven days a week. This weeks viewing on the Speed Channel begins on Tuesday at 9:30am with Back in the Day featuring the 1972 Winston 500 from Talladega , AL. On Wednesday at noon Speed reruns last Saturday night’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Nextel All-Star Challenge that was held at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. At 4:00pm the World of Outlaws late model series from the Virginia Motor Speedway takes center stage. Speed goes live with NASCAR Live from Lowe’s Motor Speedway at noon on Thursday. At 1:00 the Nextel Cup cars have a practice session at the Lowes Motor Speedway. The Busch Series cars follow at 3:00 . At 7:00pm the Nextel Cup cars return for qualifying for the Coca-Cola World 600, Friday, at noon , the action switches to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Late Models in Shenandoah , VA. At 4:00pm it’s the ARCA RE/MAX Series 200, from Toledo , OH . Rounding out the day is Trackside at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at 7:00pm . Saturday’s action begins at noon with NASCAR Performance from Lowe’s Motor Speedway. At 1:00pm the action switches to FOX for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ohio 250 from the Mansfield Motorsports Speedway in Mansfield , OH . At 3:30 its more Nextel Cup practice on Speed followed by NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Charlotte . Final practice for the Nextel Cup cars on Speed will be at 6:00pm . At 7:30 the action switches to ESPN2 for the pre-race show followed by live flag to flag coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series Carquest Auto Parts 300. Sunday’s viewing begins at noon on ABC with live coverage of the Indianapolis 500. The Speed Channel will spend most of the day previewing the Nextel Cup Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway which goes green on FOX at 5:30pm . On Sunday evening the Speed Channel has The SPEED Report at 9:30pm , NASCAR Victory Lane at 10:30 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 11:30pm . Anyone who can spend the entire 12 hours in front of the TV deserves an award! On Monday the Speed Channel has a special presentation titled “Bobby Hamilton: Live to Race, Race to Live”. A look back on the life and career of Bobby Hamilton, a rise from the streets of Nashville to NASCAR’s top series. Along the way, he befriended many, angered few, and earned the respect of all.

NASCAR New England will return to the airwaves on NESN during the 2007 season in the same Saturday afternoon time slot it occupied during the 2006 season. The show will make its 2007 debut broadcast on Saturday, June 2nd at 4pm and will run for 15 consecutive Saturdays.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks finished the week on a negative note. Dover Downs went up 0.13 to 5.76 while the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.03 to 50.81 and Speedway Motorsports dropped 1.41 to 39.33. Nextel/Sprint went up 0.08 to 20.79 and Sun Oil (Sunoco) jumped 1.57 to 76.02. Goodyear also had a good week as they went up 2.04 to 35.00. DIRT Motorsports dropped 0.09 to 1.65. In the drug sector, Pfizer went up 0.40 to 27.44 and Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.20 to 30.44. The home improvement sector was also up as Lowes jumped 1.85 to 32.72 and Home Depot went up 0.02 to 38.88. The parcel carriers had a down week as UPS dropped dropped 1.25 to 70.02 and Fedex dropped 1.71 to 106.55.

Almost 1,700 former Sprint Corp. employees will settle their federal class-action age-discrimination lawsuit against the company for $57 million, according to a proposal filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Kansas . The employees sued after several mass layoffs between October 2001 and March 2003, alleging that a computerized performance management system used in the layoffs improperly targeted employees older than 40.The settlement amount includes $21 million to pay plaintiffs' attorneys fees and costs.The settlement is subject to final court approval, expected to occur in about 90.

The Associated Press reported that NASCAR can't stop AT&T Inc. from featuring its logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, a federal judge ruled Friday. NASCAR asked for the ruling to be put on hold pending appeal.

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

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

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