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Tuesday November 7, 2006   

By Phil Smith                                     Click on Photo for Full Size Version                                                       
 

The Waterford Speedbowl closed out their 2006 racing season with an event they called Double Down. Dennis Gada, who earlier this season won his sixth championship, added to his resume on Saturday by winning both ends of the Modified segment of the season-ending Double Down Shoot Out. The two 25-lap victories brought Gada’s SK Modified career win total to 50. Dwayne Dorr, the 2006 Sportsman champ, set a record with his 11th victory in the first 15 lap Sportsman feature. Dorr, who finished fourth behind second feature winner Richard Staskowski in the second feature was also the overall winner. Corey Hutchings, Jeff Miller, Joe Godbout, Ken Cassidy Jr. were also winners as the concept proved a success. The second feature lined up with lead lap finishers from the first in reverse order. Jason Palmer passed Chris Bakaj with eight laps left to win the Legends race and Joey Payne Jr. dominated the 25-lap Northeastern Midget Association race.

In other Speedbowl news, according to a report on Gary Danko's Speedway Line Report Radio Show Monday night, the Speedbowl will be in operation for the 2007 season.  Reportedly it should be announced this week the Speedbowl is being leased.  It's reported that General Manager Bill Roth will remain at the Speedbowl in his current position. It is probably a majority of opinions the Speedbowl would not have survived 2006 without the efforts of Bill Roth and now retired PR Director Pete Zanardi. It remains to be seen, if true, how this will effect foreclosure proceedings on the property which have been put on hold by the court until June 2007. It is also rumored that current Speedbowl owner Terry Eames will not have any further connection with the operation of the track.

In other racing action last weekend, the Concord Motorsport Park in Concord, NC was the site of the North-South Shootout featuring the Hoosier 100 for the Modifieds along with a 50-lap main event for the SK-Type Modifieds.
 
Practice and qualifying were the orders of the day on Friday. There were 36 Modifieds and 31 SK Modifieds on the track for practice. By the time qualifying began the cars counts changed to 46 Modifieds and 34 SK’s. Time trials showed that Matt Hirschman was the fastest with southerner Burt Meyers, second fastest. Bob Grigas was third with Brian Pack, fourth. Rounding out the top five was Bobby Santos III in the Whelen No. 36 that was formerly driven by Ted Christopher. Christopher was 12th fastest in the Joe Brady No. 00. Long Islander Tom Rogers was the fastest of the SK’s. Wall Township Speedway regular Tom Farrell was second fastest. Ronnie Silk was the only New Englander to break the top five. For most of those on hand it was like being at home in New England as temperatures dropped to the high 20’s once the sun went down.

The cold weather carried over to Saturday but the racers used their heads for the most part and dealt with it. Tom Rogers won the SK Modified 50 lapper. Bobby Santos IIIcame from 14th spot to finish second. Woody Pitkat, who started 15th, finished third. Earl Paules and Tom Cravenho rounded out the top five. Matt Hirschman won the 100 lap Modified Shootout. Ted Christopher finished second. Eric Beers came from 31st position to finished third with Earl Paules, fourth. Defending race winner John Blewett III rounded out the top five. It was a shame that Bobby Santos III never got to show his stuff in the Whelen 36 as he was collected in a grinding crash on lap 17.

One of the Whelen Modified Tour Series top crew chiefs and fabricators has packed his bags and has headed south. Phil Moran had taken a position with Bill Davis Racing in North Carolina which fields NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series cars. Moran has been behind the efforts of Todd Szegedy and at one time was a fabricator at Spearpoint Auto. Moran also spent considerable time at the Carl and Charlie Pasteryak racing garage. Tom Baldwin, Jr. apparently has hired Phil to be in charge of the chassis shop. Baldwin has also hired Steve Aspinwall from the Mystic Missile team for a position at Bill Davis racing.

On Saturday night November 11th, the annual NEAR Movie Party is on tap at the Dante Club in West Springfield, Mass. There is always a good time had by all and the proceeds benefit the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame. Tickets are $20.00 at the door and more information can be found on the NEAR web site at www.near1.com.

On a sad note, condolences to Nextel Cup – FOX Television anchor man Mike Joy who lost his dad last week. M. Verne Joy, 91, passed away peacefully on Monday, October 30. Mr. Joy was an aeronautical design engineer for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, CA in 1938 and worked on the famed P-38 Lightning pursuit fighter which was a strategic weapon that helped to win World War II. Mike Joy is one of the chosen few who have moved south to be part of NASCAR’s top divisions. Most importantly he has never forgot his roots and from where he came from.

In TV land this week, viewing begins on Wednesday at 4:00p.m. on the Speed Channel with the Eckerd 200, Modified Super DIRT Series event that was run at the Syracuse, NY fairgrounds on Oct 8. At 8:00p.m. the action switches to the Outdoor Channel for the World of Outlaws, Season Finale which was held at The Dirt Track at LVMS in Las Vegas, NV on October 28. Thursday’s action switches back to the Speed Channel at noon for a rerun of last Saturday’s NASCAR Busch Series O’Reilly Challenge that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Replay of the Dickies 500 will follow at 2:30. Speed presents The Chase is On: Phoenix preview at 8:00p.m. Friday’s action begins at 4:00p.m. on Speed with NASCAR Live from Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Checker Auto Parts 500 follows at 5:00p.m. Live coverage continues at 7:00p.m. with Trackside at Phoenix International Raceway. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 150 follows at 8:00p.m. Saturday’s viewing begins at noon with NASCAR Live from Phoenix followed by NASCAR Performance from Phoenix at 12.30. At 3:00p.m. the action moves to NBC for the NASCAR Busch Series Arizona.Travel 200 at Phoenix. Sunday’s viewing begins at noon with a two-hour preview of the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. NBC picks up the action at 2:30 for their pre-race show with the Checker Auto Parts 500 getting the green at 3:30p.m. Later in the day, at 6:00p.m. Speed presents the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Empire DIRT Series Modifieds, which raced at the Cayuga County Fair Speedway in Weedsport, NY on Oct 7. The Speed Report goes at 8:00p.m. followed by Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. NASCAR Victory Lane wraps it up at 10:00p.m.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three-speedway stocks ended the week on the plus side. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation, which went up 0.57 to 52.32. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.44 to 38.11 and Dover Downs went up 0.19 to 5.29. Nextel dropped 0.02 to 19.15 while the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) went up 0.76 to 67.16. Featherlite Trailers was removed from trading. DIRT Motorsports posted a no change for the week as they closed where they started, at 2.50. The drug sector had a negative ending. Pfizer dropped 0.67 to 26.55 and Bristol Meyers-Squib dropped 0.16 to 24.53. The home improvement sector was split. Home Depot went up 0.13 to 37.20 while Lowes dropped 1.29 to 29.05. The parcel carriers were down again. UPS dropped 1.67 to 73.20 and Fedex dropped 1.96 to 112.07.

The International Speedway Corp. said last week that it wants to buy another 37.5 percent stake in Raceway Associates LLC from Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. for $69 million. The deal would give International Speedway complete ownership of Motorsports Alliance LLC, which controls 75 percent of Raceway Associates. International Speedway intends to exercise a right to purchase the remaining 25 percent of Raceway Associates, which owns and operates the 75,000-seat Chicagoland Speedway and the 250-acre Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. The deal is expected to be consummated early in 2007.


That’s about it for this week from 40 Clark St, Westerly, R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467 E-mail smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com

Photo Credits: Fran Lawlor 


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

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