For Tuesday November 1, 2005

By Phil Smith                                                    

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series was at the Thompson Speedway last weekend for the previously postponed World Series. They were joined by the Busch North Series. The big news on Saturday morning was that it wasn’t raining. Temperatures were in the low 30’s but it didn’t seem to hold anyone back as 40 Whelen Modifieds, 40 Sunoco SK type Modifieds and 35 Busch North cars helped jam the already bulging pit area.

In what was to be a long day of qualifying turned into another day of waiting and frustration as rain and snow hit the speedway in mid afternoon. At least the qualifying was completed for the Modifieds, Busch North and Sunoco Mods. Jerry Marquis in the Mystic Missile of Bob Garbarino captured his first Busch Pole of the year. Second generation driver Matt Hirschman was second fastest. Rounding out the top five were Don Lia, Zach Sylvester and Doug Coby. The top eight redrew for starting spots. Tony Hirschman drew the pole with his son, Matt, drawing the outside pole. Marquis drew eighth. Sean Caisse captured the Busch North pole. Sunoco Modified heats were won by Jeff Malave and Kerry Malone.

All the rain and snow disappeared during the Saturday overnight. Sunday was absolutly beautiful with temperatures in the high 60’s. Ted Christopher was looking to wrap up his first Whelen Modified Tour Championship, Tony Hirschman was looking to wrap up his fifth championship. Christopher will have to wait another year while Hirschman celebrates. Christopher’s efforts came to an end on lap 10 when he took a hard shot into the wall between turns one and two after going up and over Donny Lia. Hirschman ran near the front for most of the 125 laps and in the end finished a conservative 12th. Jerry Marquis was the eventual winner with Chuck Hossfeld, second. Doug Coby finished third with Mike Christopher and Charlie Pasteryak rounding out the top five. Jeff Malave was the Sunoco SK Modified winner. Ronnie Silk finished second with Keith Rocco, third.

The Third Annual North – South Shootout in Concorde, NC gets top billing this weekend. In addition to the Modifieds the SK Modifieds have been added to the program this year. Among those expected to take part is 2004 Thompson Speedway Champion Todd Ceravolo. The Waterford Speedbowl will be running the Town Fair Tire Fall Finale this Sunday and the speedway management has graciously stated that they will give promoters options to Rob Janovic and to Ron Silk which will make it possible for both to race at both tracks.

(1) The Arute family that operates the Stafford Motor Speedway deserves a big tip of the hat as they have announced that Stafford will become the first weekly short track to install the SAFER barrier wall protection. Steel and foam construction will reduce the impact of crashes better than concrete. The speedway is looking to cover a 140 foot stretch of wall in turn 1 with the barrier. It's an area where a pit entrance creates a stretch with a longer run than normal up to the wall and has long been pointed to by drivers as needing some sort of redesign. Upstate New York driver Tony Jankowiac lost his life there and Canadian Denis Giroux suffered long term injuries after hitting the wall in that area. The Safer Barrier project had been in the works at Stafford since last February and hopefully when the 2006 season begins it will become a reality.

A while back it was reported that a company known as Top Gun Sports was proposing to build an auto-racing complex on Long Island. The total cost of the project if all aspects were to be approved has been estimated at 260-280 million dollars. TopGun officials stated that all funding is already in place. The property encompasses 353 acres bordered by Grucci Fireworks on the west, Suffolk County Jail to the east, the Long Island Expressway on the north and farmland to the south. Speaking of new proposed racing venues there has been little said of late concerning the proposed speedway in Plainfield, CT.

In TV land, this week’s viewing will consist of an extensive amount of Speed Channel programming. NASCAR Nation now airs on Monday 7:00pm. At 9:00pm its Monday Night NASCAR with Geoff Bodine on ESPNews. Also on a weekly basis is "Back Seat Drivers" which looks at hot topics circulating in the garage area. "Back Seat Drivers" airs on Wednesday at 7:00pm. This week's viewing begins on Wednesday at 5:00pm with NASCAR Fast Forward which recaps last weeks Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck events at the Atlanta Speedway. At 8:00pm the action shifts to the Outdoor Channel for the season finale for the World of Outlaws that was run at the Las Vegas Speedway on October 22. The Speed Channel revisits the 2004 Nextel Cup Mountain Dew Southern 500 on Thursday at noon. Following at 3:00pm is the NASCAR Nextel Cup replay of last Sunday's MBNA 500 from Atlanta. Friday's action begins at noon with the USAR Hooters Cup Late Models from Myrtle Beach. Speed goes live at 2:00pm from the Texas Speedway. At 2:30pm its the Busch North Series 150 that was run at Dover Downs on September 23. Speed goes live at 4:00pm with Nextel Cup qualifying from the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage continues at 6:00pm with Busch Series qualifying. At 9:00pm the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series goes live under the lights at 9:00pm. Live action continues at noon on Saturday with Nextel Cup Happy Hour practice. The action switches to TNT at 2:00pm for live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series O'Reilly Challenge. Capping off the weekend will be live coverage by NBC of the Nextel Cup Dickies 500 from Fort Worth at 3:00pm on Sunday. NASCAR Speed News and Speed News Sunday wrap up the weekend’s racing at 7:00pm. Subscriptions for Lou’s Motorsports TV Calendar are now by e-mail only and can be had for $12.00 per year. The all-new version features larger type, better accuracy and more detailed. Checks can be sent to LMTVC, 27 Bayberry Drive, #2, Sharon, Mass. 02067.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks were down at weeks end. Finishing on the positive side was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 0.07 to 51.87. On the negative side, Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.93 to 35.07 and Dover Downs dropped 0.16 to 6.12. Nextel went up 0.25 to 23.25 and Sun Oil went up 4.52 to 72.07. Action Performance dropped 0.32 to 12.18 while Featherlite Trailers went up 0.90 to 3.96. Boundless Motorsports went up 1.50 to 6.00. In the drug sector, Pfizer went up 0.25 to 21.50 while Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.31 to 21.14. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.87 to 40.52 while Lowes dropped 1.40 to 59.82. The parcel carriers had a very positive week as FEDEX went up 2.10 to 90.63 and UPS went up 1.14 to 72.82.

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

(1) Publishers Note: Some information concerning the installation of the "SAFER" walls at Stafford Speedway was obtained from an article published in the Hartford Courant on 10/28/05. 

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