For Tuesday November 15, 2005

By Phil Smith                                                    

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series is now silent until the engines fire in the spring of 2006. Without a doubt Tony Hirschman is at the top of his game as he never gave up in his quest to repeat as the series champion.

It looks like long time Whelen Modified Tour Series competitor and former champion Jamie Tomaino may be relocating from his native New Jersey to North Carolina. Tomaino, who is the senior member of the tour, will more than likely compete on the Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2006. Tomaino finished 11th in the 2005 Mod Tour standings. In 17 events he scored nine top tens including only two top five’s.

The Stafford Motor Speedway held their the 36th annual Champions Awards Ceremony at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor this past Friday, November 11, 2005. The Speedway honored its four 2005 track champions, Lloyd Agor, Ryan Posocco, Michael Bennett, and Joey Ferrigno. In addition to recognizing the 2005 track champions, SMS recognized the top-20 in points from the SK Modified, Late Model, and DARE Stock divisions, the top-10 finishers from the Limited Late Model division, as well as present the Most Popular and Most Improved Driver awards, and the Reliable Welding and Speed Rookie of the Year awards.

Lloyd Agor beat out Todd Owen by 30 points for the SK Modified title. In 21 starts, Agor recorded 14 top tens including two wins. Willie Hardie, Ted Christopher and Frank Ruocco rounded out the top five. Ryan Posocco outdistanced Tom Butler by 46 points to win the Late Model title.

The New England Antique Racers announced last week their inductees to the NEAR Hall of Fame, class of 2006. Gene Angellilo, Russ Conway & Ken Smith, Robbie Crouch, Fred 'Sharkey' Gaudiosi, Jim McGee, Phil & Bob Libby, Joe Rosenfield, "Boston Louie' Seymour; Dick Wolstenhume and the V-8 guys, Vic Bombacci & Bob Vitari. The induction will be held on Sunday, January 29, 2006 at the La Renaissance Banquet Facility in East Windsor, CT.Word comes from Ron Hedger that the New York Stock Car Association’s 2006 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will honor a broad spectrum of achievement in the sport, with the honorees including the Empire State’s most prominent NASCAR Winston Cup driver, a longtime modified owner, a top regional racer and a husband / wife team of officials. Geoff Bodine, Ed Cloce who has been a car owner for ages with his famous Hemi-Cuda No.69, Cloce remains active, fielding Modifieds for son Tommy in NASCAR and Race of Champions events. Dick Schoonover, Jim Frye was a racer in the early 50’s but found his true calling in 1955 when he began flagging with another Hall of Fame member, the late Chet Hames. The duo worked speedways from New Jersey to Canada. Freye’s wife Barb, a scorer is also among the inductees. Both Jim and Barb have also been active in NYSSCA, having served as Sergeant at Arms and Treasurer, respectively, for a number of years. The 2006 Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the annual NYSSCA Awards Banquet, on Saturday, January 21st at the Polish-American Club on Washington Avenue Extension in Albany, NY.

It looks like there will be some new blood in the SK Modified division in 2006 as it looks like Jeffrey Paul will be moving up to the shoreline oval’s top division. Gary Paul, Jeff’s dad, has purchased the Ron Yuhas No.6. Paul, who is the 2005 Legends Champion at the Speedbowl is also a graduate of the Quarter Midget ranks and without too much practice should be a top contender. Gary Paul is no stranger as he already has one Modified Championship under his belt at the Waterford oval with Todd Ceravolo as his driver. Speaking of Waterford, the True Value Modified Series announced their 2006 schedule last week with Waterford added to their schedule with a June 17th date. Other tracks which will host the TVMS are Monadnock for 5 events, 4 point shows at Seekonk plus the mid-week Modified Madness show is back for July, 3, Lee USA Speedway, 2 at Star, 2 at Canaan and 1 at Beech Ridge. Gone from the schedule is White Mt.

Lew Boyd advises that Supermodified great, Billy Murphy, and his wife Jane, will be honored the Sunday after Thanksgiving at a special celebration in North Andover, MA. The program has been put together by the Legends of Auto Racing, comprised of Wes Pettengill, Rick Eastman, and Roger Bowlby, the same group that held the very successful Ollie Silva/Red LaRoche benefit one year ago.

As is widely known, Billy and Jane Murphy were horridly injured in a garage fire last winter and have been in painful recovery and rehabilitation ever since. It is only fitting that the racing community would come together in November - at the time of thanks – to draw attention to their hardships and to raise money to ease their burdens. The response so far has been gratifying, and an engaging program including speakers and specially produced videos is being planned. Billy Murphy came on the racing scene in the late 1950’s, driving his renowned #8 Flathead cutdowns on Oscar Ridlon’s Pines/Hudson circuit. He was an aggressive, respected competitor on the track and an innovator in shop. Very much an old school type, the "Flying Irishman" won by being clever rather than by spending money. He was, for example, among the first in the area to experiment with wings. Russ Conway, a principal of the New England Super Modified Racing Association, promoters of over 1000 race meets, considers Murphy to be in NESMRA’s top four, along with Ollie Silva, Eddie West, and Don MacLaren.

The event will take place at the China Blossom Restaurant on Rt. 125 in North Andover on Sunday November 27, beginning at 1:00. There will be an all you can eat buffet and a cash bar. Tickets are $45 each. Additional donations benefiting the Murphy are gladly accepted.

For further information, please call Wes Pettengill at 603-474-9839 or visit

The Hopkinton Rhode Island Planning Board members got their first look at plans for a semi-private automobile raceway and an industrial park at Interstate 95's Exit 2 last Wednesday, November 09. Plans by North Stonington, CT resident Louis W. Gingerella call for a 1.7-mile road course type racetrack and more than 20 industrial buildings at the southeast corner of the Exit 2 interchange. The facility would house businesses whose operations are directly tied to the course, which would also serve as the headquarters for the Sports Car Club of America's Northeast Division. The 270-acre property - which was recently acquired by Gingerella through a purchase and sales agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation - needs a Town Council-approved zone change from commercial to a planned unit development that allows light industrial use. By the time the meeting was over Gingerella changed his mind and withdrew his proposal.

Across the border in Plainfield, CT, Opponents of the domed auto racetrack that's been proposed made significant inroads on Election Day, with candidates they supported winning the first selectman's seat as well as a pivotal seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. Nelson E. Lemiux, a Democrat who backed the racetrack proposed by New England Raceway LLC and its president, Eugene Arganese, was ousted from the commission. Two Republicans who opposed the project, John Meyer and Susan Hatfield, were elected. In other words, three of the commission's five members now oppose the track and the controversial C5 zone that was created to accommodate it.

According to Top Photographer Howard Hodge the work on the SAFER Wall project at the Stafford Motor Speedway has begun. Weather will be a big factor but all work is expected to be completed in time for the 2006 Spring Sizzler.

Special Note: The Martinsville Whelen Modified Tour Series event that was run on Labor Day weekend will be shown this Friday, November 18 on the Speed Channel at 2:00p.m.

Happy Birthday wishes go out this week to motor builder Mike Petit who hit the big 4-0.

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 Thursday’s at noon when the Speed Channel revisits last year’s Nextel Cup Ford 400 that was run in Homestead, FL. At 3:00P.M. last Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 from Phoenix International Raceway, is replayed. Friday’s viewing begins at noon with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Challenge Series, Dan Duncan Memorial Kroger 250, run at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, on Nov 7. At 2:00P.M. it’s the one many of us have been waiting for, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Made in America 300, run at Martinsville, VA, on Sept 3. Speed goes live from Homestead FL at 5:00p.m. Same day, taped delayed coverage of final Nextel Cup practice follows at 6:00p.m. Speed goes live at 8:00p.m. with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 from Homestead, FL. On Saturday, live coverage continues at 11:00am with Busch Series qualifying and Nextel Cup qualifying from Homestead. The action switches to TNT at 4:00p.m. for live coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series Ford 300 from Homestead, FL. On Sunday morning at 11:00am the Speed Channel presents NASCAR This Morning, which will preview the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. At 4:00p.m. NBC presents live coverage of the season ending NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford 400 from the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL.

NASCAR Speed News and Speed News Sunday wrap up the weekend’s racing at 8:00pm. 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 all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the pack was Speedway Motorsports, which went up 1.88 to 37.88. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.33 to 53.79 and Dover Downs went up 0.13 to 6.39. Nextel had a positive week for the third week in a row as they went up 0.17 to 24.75. Sun Oil was also up as they closed at 73.39, up 0.54. Action Performance dropped 0.30 to 12.30 while Featherlite Trailers went up 0.03 to 4.01. Boundless Motorsports was also up as they gained 0.25 to close at 5.00. The drug sector had a positive week as Bristol Meyers-Squib went up 0.77 to 22.09 and Pfizer went up 0.17 to 22.43. The home improvement sector was also up. Lowes went up 1.02 to 61.97 and Home Depot went up 0.55 to 41.91. The parcel carriers had another big week. Fedex went up 2.46 to 96.00. UPS did almost as good as they went up 2.16 to 76.26.

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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