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Tuesday November 11, 2008

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The weekly stars of NASCAR headed for Las Vegas last weekend. The 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series season ceremoniously came to an end Friday night as Philip Morris was crowned the national champion at the 27th annual awards banquet in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Morris, of Ruckersville , Va. , captured the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship for the second time in the last three years on the strength of 14 wins and 23 top-five finishes in 26 starts. On his way to the 2008 national title, Morris captured the Motor Mile Speedway ( Radford , Va. ) track championship in a Late Model and also earned the Virginia state crown Morris’ crew chief, Chad McCoy, took home the Lunati Cranks Crew Chief Award and the Lincoln Electric Car Owner Award also went to Morris as driver-owner.

The accomplishments of national runner-up Brian Harris (Davenport , Iowa) and Marty Ward ( Marietta , S.C. ) – third-place finisher in the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series standings – were also recognized, along with track champions and U.S. state and Canadian provincial titlists. In all, 53 championship drivers from throughout North America including Keith Rocco who finished fourth in the national standings and won the SK Modified Championship at Stafford, walked across the stage Friday night.


Whelen Vice President for Motorsports Phil Kurze presents Philip Morris with the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championship trophy. (Photo Credit: Kent Horner/Getty Images)

At the Waterford Speedbowl the Hartford Courant reported last week that Terry Eames will legally be rid of Jerry Robinson on November 30 and that he will be taking an active part in running the shoreline oval in 2009. Eames, who has also had his share of financial problems, leased the track to Robinson for the 2007 season and from the beginning of the season the track has been on a downhill slide. Since Eames purchased the track in 2000. He has not been good at paying his bills and has had foreclosure problems of his own and ended up selling off some of the property the track was located on in order to avoid foreclosure.

Eames also told the Courant that he may bring on other individual investors in an operational capacity, but that his own personal involvement in the operations of the facility will be part of any agreements made.

In the mean time competitors who raced in the season ending Fall Finale on October 5 have still not been paid. Both Robinson and his race director Steve Harraka have lied to competitors about holding off on delivering purse payouts.

The Stafford Motor Speedway holds their annual banquet of champions this Friday night at the La Renaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT. Taking center stage will be second generation racer Keith Rocco who is the 2008 SK Modified Champion. After a season long duel with Ted Christopher, Rocco closed out the 2008 season with a victory and four second place finishes in the final 5 races to lock up the 2008 SK Modified championship. The championship is the first for Rocco and the first SK Modified title for his car owners, Jean-Guy and Brigitte Poulin, who were in their final season of competition as car owners. Rocco has been a busy guy of late. A week ago he was in Las Vegas for the NASCAR Championship Awards, from there he flew to Concord NC for the North-South Shootout. Ryan Posocco clinched his fourth career Late Model championship with a season for the ages, taking 7 wins and 14 podium finishes in 17 starts this season. The championship is the second for car owner Marcia Kretschman, who also won the title in 2006 with Woody Pitkat driving. Among the other champions to be honored are Norm Sears in the DARE Stocks, Joe Allegro JR in the SK Lights and Bill Davis in the Limited Late Models. Among the highlights of the evening will be the awarding of Rookie of the Year honors. Stafford's Rookie of the Year awards are sponsored for the seventh consecutive year by Reliable Welding and Speed, located at 85 North Street in Enfield, Connecticut. Reliable Welding and Speed, which is owned by SK Modified® competitor Brad Hietala and his wife Linda, will present the SK Modified® Rookie of the Year winner with a $700.00 bonus, and the Late Model, SK Light Modified, and Limited Late Model Rookie of the Year winners with a $500.00 bonus each for a total of $2,200.

The 6th Annual John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout took place this past weekend at the Concord Motorsports Park in North Carolina. The mighty Modifieds took center stage. They were joined by SK Modifieds, Vintage Modifieds, Rolling Thunder cars, Vintage Sportsman and EastWest Supermodifieds.

Forty two Modifieds from both the North and the South along with over 30 SK type Modifieds were on hand. Southerner Burt Myers, who had a win stripped away at Martinsville over a technical issue redeemed himself as he became the first southerner to win the 125 lap Tour type Modified portion of the North-South Shootout. Myers overtook Matt Hirschman with four laps to go and never looked back. Hirschman, who stated that his tires were all but worn out, managed to hang on for the runner-up spot. Ronnie Silk in the southern based Hillbilly Racing entry of Roger and Sandra Hill finished third. Ted Christopher and Bobby Santos III rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were George Brunnhoelzl III, Jason Myers, Glen Reen, Chuck Hossfeld and Rusty Smith.

The SK type 50 lapper was a slam-bang affair that took over two hours to run. Once the dust finally settled thousands of dollars in damages claimed a good portion of the event. Ted Christopher was the winner with Jimmy Blewett finishing second. Blewett made hard contact during a restart on lap 48. Blewett said that Christopher brake checked him and Christopher claimed that Blewett intentionally rammed him because he couldn’t go around to pass. Needless to say, both were mad at each other but at least they didn’t wreck. Steven Reed finished third with Tom Farrell III and Doug Coby rounding out the top five. Dave McKnight was the SuperModified winner.

In TV land this week viewing begins on Tuesday at 5:00pm with NASCAR Now on espn2. NASCAR Now will also be shown on Wednesday and Thursday at 5:00pm. Thursday’s viewing begins at 1:00pm on the Speed Channel with a NASCAR Press Conference with the contenders for the Chase for the Cup Contenders. At 2:00 the Speed Channel will show the replay of last weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Phoenix, Arizona. Speed goes live at 7:00pm for the final practice for the Craftsman Truck Series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL. This Week in NASCAR follows at 8:00pm. Friday’s viewing begins at noon with NASCAR Sprint Cup practice on espn2 from the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Nationwide practice on the Speed Channel follows at 1:00pm for two hours. At 3:00pm it’s a switch back to espn2 for Sprint Cup qualifying. At 5:00pm its back to the Speed Channel for Craftsman Truck Series qualifying from Homestead. Coverage by the Speed Channel continues at 6:30 with final practice for the Nationwide Series. At 7:30 Speed has a pre-race show for the Craftsman Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead that has a scheduled start for 8:00pm. This will be the final event for the trucks under the Craftsman banner as the series will be sponsored by Camping World in 2009. This event will be re-shown at 11:30pm. Saturday’s programming begins at 11:00am when Speed goes with NASCAR Live at Homestead-Miami. Action on Speed continues at 11:30 with Nationwide Series qualifying followed by Sprint Cup practice at 1:30 and NASCAR Live at 2:30. At 3:00pm the action moves to espn2 for the final hour of Sprint Cup practice. At 4:00 coverage by espn2 continues with the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to a 4:30 start of the Nationwide Series Ford 300 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR Live on Speed at 7:30 rounds out the days racing. The Nationwide Series event will be re-shown by espn2 at 4:00am on Sunday morning.

Sunday’s live coverage begins with a one hour NASCAR Now on espn2 at 10:00am. At noon Speed goes live with a three hour NASCAR RaceDay preview. At 3:00 the action moves to ABC for a 34 minute pre-race show which will lead in to a 3:45pm start of the season ending Sprint Cup Ford 400. The Speed Channel wraps up the weekend on Sunday night with The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00pm and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm. If you can stay awake ESPN2 has a one-hour NASCAR Now at 10:00pm plus at the same time Speed will have a special edition wrap up of the day’s race. The Ford 400 will be re-shown at 2:30am on Monday morning.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks were down again. Taking the biggest dip was the International Speedway Corporation which went down 1.52 to 29.87. Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.75 to 15.20 and Dover Downs dropped 0.16 to 1.98. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.24 to 3.37 while NASCAR second division sponsor Nationwide went up 1.59 to 49.40. NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.26 to 31.76 while Goodyear dropped 0.78 to 7.14. NASCAR team sponsors also had a down week. Dupont dropped 1.58 to 30.46 while Coca-Cola dropped 3.00 to 41.18. Target Department Stores dropped 3.60 to 36.52. Aarons Rentals was also down as they dropped 1.01 to 23.78. In the home improvement sector Home Depot dropped 2.53 to 21.06 and Lowes dropped 2.04 to 19.66. The parcel carriers were also down. Fedex dropped 0.79 to 64.58 and UPS dropped 0.86 to 51.92. On the bottom of the barrel is the World Racing Group (DIRT Motorsports) which
dropped 0.02 to 0.03.

That’s it for this week from 40 Clark St. Westerly RI 02891 . Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is smithpe_97_97@yahoo.com


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

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