Tuesday November 14, 2006   

By Phil Smith                                     Click on Photo for Full Size Version                                                       

It looks like the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series has gone by the wayside as NASCAR and Whelen Engineering have announced a multi-year agreement for Whelen to become the new title sponsor of NASCAR’s weekly racing program. The series will be re-named the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2007. Whelen also has been title sponsor of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour since 2005. Whelen has also sponsored many race cars and racing events over the years. The Connecticut-based Company is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and public emergency lighting and warning systems. Its products have widespread applications in NASCAR, including warning lights, caution lights, safety vehicles, pit road light displays, pace vehicles and many other areas. All Whelen products are made in the U.S.A. The 2007 season will be the 26th year for this grassroots, local racing program, which was founded in 1982.

The leasing of the Waterford Speedbowl continues to a hot topic of conversation. Jerry Robinson, a virtually unknown in racing circles, has leased the shoreline oval. Robinson owns the Legends Cars Series. Hopefully Robinson can breathe new life into the track that has all but run into the ground by property owner Terry Eames. Things got so bad last year at Waterford the track was running unadvertised races as too much money had been owed for too long of a period to area radio stations and newspapers. It was amazing that the track did as well as it did.

Roth and Robinson hope to breathe new life into the shoreline oval that has hosted auto racing since 1951. Priorities include re-opening and modernizing the restrooms and repairing sections of grandstand that have been closed for repair. It is sincerely hoped that Robinson and Roth will be successful with their efforts.

The Stafford Motor Speedway will host their 37th Annual Banquet of Champions this coming Friday, Nov. 17 at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT. Frank Ruocco won the SK Modified championship, Woody Pitkat won the Late Model championship, and Shelly Perry won a 4-way battle to take the SK Light championship. Kevin Gambacorta is the Limited Late Model Champion and Norm Sears is the DARE Stock Champion. Among those who will not be invited to the gala affair is Chris Jones who has been, for the second time, suspended indefinitely for his temper tantrum actions during the recent Fall Final.

In Whelen Modified Tour Series news Mike Stefanik has indicated that he will pursue his tenth championship with Flamingo Motorsports for 2007. Barry Kuhnel who played a key role as his crew chief in years past will be a consultant. Stefanik will be driving a 2007 model Troyer chassis, which will be Ford powered.
The Riverhead Raceway on Long Island just had their annual banquet recently. Word from the Island is that there will be no Whelen Modified Tour Series event there in 2007. Chances are there won’t be any at Waterford either. As far as Stafford and Thompson are concerned the only definites so far are the Spring Sizzler and The Fall Final at Stafford and the Ice Breaker and the World Series at Thompson.
Word is being tossed around about a Whelen Modified Tour Series event in Mansfield, Ohio.

Word comes from Lew Boyd that two legends are under the weather and could use a card of cheer. Four time NASCAR Sportsman Champion Rene Charland is recuperating from a recent car crash and has had to move. His new address is 200 Stever Mills Road Lot #2, Broadalbin, NY 12025. Bill Wimble has developed tongue cancer and will have a rough few weeks with radiation and chemo. He is at 3801 S. Nine Drive, Valrico, FL 33594.

In TV land this week, viewing begins on Wednesday on the Speed Channel at 4:00p.m. with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Championship Series Race No. 5 that was run at the South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil, GA on Nov 11. Thursday’s viewing will begin at noon when the Speed Channel reruns last Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series Arizona.Travel 200 that was run in Phoenix, AZ. At 2:30, last Sunday’s Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 will follow. At 9:00p.m. Speed presents The Chase is On: Homestead preview. Speed goes live at 2:00p.m. on Friday with NASCAR Live from the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Live coverage continues with NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the season ending Ford 400 followed by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying for the Ford 200. Trackside from the Homestead-Miami Speedway goes at 6:30 followed by live flag to flag coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 at 7:30. The SPEED Report – Special Edition and Tradin’ Paint from Homestead-Miami follows at 10:30. Saturday’s TV action begins at noon with NASCAR Live from Homestead-Miami Speedway followed by NASCAR Performance from Homestead-Miami at 12:30. NASCAR Nextel Cup practice goes at 1:00 followed by NASCAR Live at 2:00. Nextel Cup final practice goes at 2:30. The action switches to TNT at 3:30 for NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the Ford 300, which goes green at 7:00p.m. At the conclusion of the Busch Series event the Speed Channel presents The SPEED Report – Special Edition: Busch Season Wrapup. TV viewing gets an early start on Sunday with NASCAR Live: Breakfast at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 9:00am. At 10:00 its Dave Despain on Assignment: The State of NASCAR. NASCAR RaceDay, a three-hour preview of the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway begins at 11:00am. If a three hour preview isn’t enough NBC has an hours preview of the event from 2-3:00p.m. The NASCAR Nextel Cup, Ford 400 from Homestead, FL gets the green at 3:00p.m. At 7:00p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane: Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway wraps up the event. At 8:00p.m. it’s the Speed Report and at 9:00 its Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.01 to 53.33. Speedway Motorsports was also up as the gained 0.84 to close at 38.95. On the negative side, Dover Downs dropped 0.01 to 5.28. Nextel took a big jump as they went up 1.22 to 20.37. Sun Oil (Sunoco) went the other way as they dropped 1.77 to 65.39. DIRT Motorsports was also down as they dropped 0.29 to 2.21. In the drug sector, Pfizer dropped 0.84 to 25.71 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.11 to 24.42. In the home improvement sector Lowes went up 0.12 to 29.17 while Home Depot dropped 0.56 to 36.64. Both parcel carriers rebounded for a good week. UPS went up 2.36 to 75.56 and Fedex went up 2.68 to 114.75.

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

Photo Credits: Fran Lawlor 

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

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