Tuesday November 10, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Next up for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams is the NASCAR Touring Series Awards Gala in Concord, N.C. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at which Donny Lia and the rest of the touring series champions will be honored. The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Gala will feature the champions and top drivers from all of NASCAR’s North American regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR Camping World Series East, the NASCAR Camping World Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Because of the fact that NASCAR had chosen to move the Whelen Modified Touring Series Championship Awards Banquet from the Mohegan Sun Casino many of the support personnel who previously took part in the festivities will be forced to sit home as most of those who donate their time to work on the cars have regular jobs that require them to be there every day with limited time off. Drivers and car owners don’t have a choice because if they don’t show they will not get their point fund checks. Hope they all have a nice time!

Many race teams from New York, New England and New Jersey traveled south to Concord, NC for the annual North-South Shootout last weekend. Car counts included 42 Tour type Modifieds and 23 SK type Modifieds. Practice and qualifying took place on Friday. Taking the pole position with the fastest time for the SK types was Ryan Preece. Matt Hirschman was second fastest. Rounding out the top five were Ron Silk, Eric Beers and Rowan Pennick. In the Tour type Modifieds Chuck Hossfeld took the top spot over Hirschman, Preece, Burt Myers and Josh Nichols. Among the casualties was Keith Rocco who had the misfortune of crashing quite hard in the dogleg area of the track. Rocco stated that a tire came off the rim, which caused him to lose control. Eddie Partridge and his crew rolled out a back-up Modified that Rocco qualified 26th fastest. Other notables who were in the field included Ted Christopher who qualified the Joe Brady No. 00 in 19th spot and George Kent who qualified 39th. The top five in both divisions were locked in with the remaining forced to run heats and consolations. SK type heat winners were Steven Reed and Ted Christopher. Among those who had problems was Woody Pitkat who hit a ton on the front chute during the second heat. Tour type heat winners were James Civali, Eric Beers and Les Hinkley.

The action was hot and heavy on Saturday with consi’s, non-qualifiers and main events. Two Tour type consis were run with the top two transferring to the feature. Earl Paules won the first one with Jamie Tomaino, second. Doug Coby won the second one with Keith Rocco, second. Danny Bohn was the tour type Modified non-qualifier winner.

Matt Hirschman won the 50 lap SK type Modified race over Doug Coby, Ted Christopher, Steven Reed and Ron Silk. Sixth through tenth were Rowan Pennink, Rick Kluth, Keith Rocco, Ron Yuhas, Jr and Shaun Carrig. Ryan Preece, who had led since a lap 34 restart, spun on lap 43 while fighting to hold off Hirschman. Preece ended up 13th at the finish.
Burt Myers won the 125 lap North-South Shootout which had to be classified as a wreck fest. Myers, who started fourth, took the lead after Matt Hirschman blew a tire while in the lead on lap 7. Hirschman’s blown tire was the apparent result of contact with Chuck Hossfeld. Hossfeld led the opening green and was moved up to the loose stuff by Hirschman. Hossfeldt suffered enough damage to put him out for the day. He was credited with the 30th finishing position. The race, which took close to 1-3/4 hours to run, was slowed by nine caution periods and two red flag periods. Rowan Pennick continued his string of fine performances as he finished second. Doug Coby spun on lap 70 and came back to finish third. Hirschman ended up fourth. Rounding out the top five with one of his best runs in quite a while was Jamie Tomaino. Sixth through tenth were George Brunnhoetzl, III, Eric Goodale, Jimmy Zacharias, Pete Brittain and Anthony Sesely. Among the non-finishers was Ted Christopher. Christopher finished 25th after a confrontation with JR Bertuccio. As the pair were facing nose-to-nose Bertuccio signaled the former National Champion with his middle finger. Christopher gave him a wave as he drove to the pits.

As previously reported the event will air at noon on Saturday, November 28th on FOX Sports South. While cable systems in the southeast will carry the broadcast, it can also be viewed nationally on all Direct TV or Dish Network Satellite packages.

Word has come from Florida that the Daytona International Speedway and the New Smyrna Speedway will alter their schedules so as not to conflict with Super Bowl XLIV. The Daytona Int. Speedway announced that their annual Daytona 500 qualifying session, usually held the Sunday before the 500 will be moved up a day to Saturday, Feb 6. The Daytona 500 will be run on Sunday, Feb 14. The New Smyrna Speedway which will host the 44th annual World Series of Asphalt Racing from Feb 5 through Feb 13 will alter its starting time on Feb7 to 4:00pm and will host a giant Super Bowl Party for race fans and competitors later in the evening.

In New England this past weekend on Friday, November 6 was the US Marshall’s Public Auction of seized race cars, parts, engines, trailers and tractors that were part of the Mystique Motorsports Race Team that was owned by Jim Gallante who was convicted of Federal charges. The cars were built by Barry Kuhnell and driven by Ted Christopher. According to Jerry Pearl the sale drew a goodly amount of interested buyers including Mike Christopher who was acting in behalf of his brother Ted who was at the North-South Shootout. Pearl stated that Christopher bought three SK Modified cars and a Mod Tour type chassis. He also stated that Mike Smeriglio and Sly Szaban each bought Tour type cars.

In some good news, Dick Ceravolo was sent home last Sunday to complete his recuperation from life threatening injuries incurred in August. It was a long hard road but the guy they call “Dickie Doo” made it back home and for the first time in close to three months was able to sleep in his own bed. It will be a while yet before he returns to doing his own wrecker calls but he is on the right track!

In TV land this week, NASCAR Now on espn2 will be shown at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, d Thursday and Friday. NASCAR Race Hub on the Speed Channel will air at 7:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Race viewing on the Speed Channel starts at noon on Tuesday with a replay of the November 7 World of Outlaws, sprint cars + late models that raced at the dirt track at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. On Wednesday at noon the Speed Channel replays last Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Dickies 500 that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX. On Thursday at noon Speed will replay the Sprint Cup 2004 Checker Auto Parts 500 that was run at the Phoenix International Raceway. Speed goes live on Friday at 11:00am with NASCAR Live at the Phoenix International Raceway. At 11:30, live coverage continues with two and a half hours of Nationwide Series practice from Phoenix. The practice continues on espn2 when the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars make their shakedown runs. At 3:30 its back to Speed for the final practice for the Nationwide series. Coverage by the Speed Channel continues at 4:30pm with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying at Phoenix. At 5:30 the action shifts to espn2 for Sprint Cup qualifying. At 7:30 it’s back to Speed for the Truck Series pre-race show that will lead to the 8:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at the Phoenix International Raceway. A special edition of Trackside at Phoenix rounds out the day at 10:30pm. Saturday’s viewing begins at 11:00am on the Speed Channel with another segment of Trackside at Phoenix. NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at Phoenix follows at noon. Sprint Cup practice follows at 1:30pm. At 2:30 Speed repeats their coverage of the Nov 7 World of Outlaws Sprints and Late Models that raced on the Dirt Track at Charlotte, NC. At 3:00pm espn2 has the final hour of Sprint Cup practice at Phoenix. At 4:00pm espn2 hosts the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead in to the 4:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Able Body Labor 200 at Phoenix. Sunday’s viewing gets the green at 10:00am on espn2 with NASCAR Now. At 12:30 Speed has a two hour RaceDay preview at Phoenix. At 2:30 the action moves to ABC for their pre-race show that will lead to the 3:15pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix. On Sunday evening, the Speed Channel has The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm followed by NASCAR Now on espn2 at 10:00.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week the speedway stocks made a nice recovery from the previous week’s loses. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports, which went up 2.15 to 15.69. The International Speedway Corporation went up 1.11 to 26.62 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.27 to 1.66. NASCAR sponsor Sprint dropped 0.11 to 2.85 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 2.59 to 28.21. On the up side was tire supplier Goodyear which rallied to finish at 13.13, up 0.25 from last week. With the exception of Toyota, which went down 0.73 to 78.16, the carmakers had a fairly good week. Ford went up 0.75 to 7.75 and General Motors went up 0.01 to 0.60. Most of the NASCAR team stocks also enjoyed a good week. One of the exceptions was Coca-Cola which dropped 0.48 to 44.93. Dupont went up 1.86 to 33.38 while Target Department Stores went up 1.27 to 49.70 and Aaron’s Rentals went up 2.06 to 27.11. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 0.99 to 26.08 and Lowes went up 1.37 to 20.94.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly RI 02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467. E-Mail is

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

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