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Tuesday November 24, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

All eyes will be on the annual Wall Stadium Turkey Derby this weekend. The Turkey Derby officially closes out the 2009 outdoor racing season in the northeast.

Howard Hodge reported that Chuck Hossfeld would be driving Ed Bennett's car on the Whelen Modified Tour next year. Chuck replaces Eric Rudolph.

The Waterford Speedbowl and (Formerly True Value) Modified Racing Series officials announced that the Modified Series would visit the shoreline oval three times in 2010 including the season opening event for both, scheduled for March 26-28th. In addition, the popular tour will visit the ‘Bowl for the 3rd annual Wings ‘n Wheels on August 14th and as part of Thunder on the Sound’s lineup taking place on September 4th.

The addition of the Series to the Speedbowl’s opening event, which will mark the 60th consecutive season for the two groove three-eighths mile oval. In addition to the opener, the Modified Racing Series is still very much part of the successful Wings ‘n Wheels mix. They will be back for the third installment of that event on Saturday, August 14th along with the ISMA SuperModifieds, NEMA Midgets, and SK Modifieds. The roar of the big block Modifieds will add to the thunder at Labor Day weekend’s Thunder on the Sound event, a new addition to the schedule in 2009. This year's edition will take place on Saturday, September 4th. The Speedbowl Management also stated that the Modified Nationals SK-150 would be moved to an event later in the season. “The SK’s are still on the opener and their Modified Nationals event is still part of our season, just not the kick-off” stated Eames. Final touches to that event are being put in place and will be announced soon along with the full 2010 ‘Bowl schedule.

Preparation for Waterford Speedbowl’s 2010 race season continues with the announcement of an unprecedented limited time offer on Season’s Passes for its 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series events. Savings of greater than 50% off the retail price on Season Pit Passes and more than 40% off retail for adult Season Grandstands Passes are currently available. The 2010 Season’s Pit Passes are just $399 during this special promotion, more than half off a retail price of greater than $800. Adult Grandstands passes are on special for $299, affording considerable savings off a retail price which comes in at over $500. This pre-season special is limited to the first 50 passes sold for each, Pits and Grandstands, or December 1, 2009 - whichever occurs first.

Jack Bateman continues to pursue a series sponsor for the Modified Racing Series which was formerly sponsored by True Value Hardware. In the mean time Bateman has released an 18 race schedule. The series opens on March 27-28 at the Waterford Speedbowl. From Waterford the series travels to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY on April 17-18 and to Monadnock on May 1. Other scheduled events include May 30th at the Thunder Road Speedbowl, June 4th at the Twin State Speedway, June 12th at the Seekonk Speedway, June 17th at the Thompson International Speedway, July 3rd at the Monadnock Speedway, July 9th at the Lee USA Speedway, July 17th at the Oxford Plains Speedway, July 24th at the Canaan Fair Speedway, August 7th at the Beech Ridge Speedway, August 14th at the Waterford Speedbowl, August 21st at the Seekonk Speedway, August 26th at the Thompson International Speedway, September 4th at the Waterford Speedbowl, October 9-10 at the Seekonk Speedway and October 23-24 at the Lee USA Speedway.

Bateman’s series has become a legitimate alternative to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.

The History Channel will present a new series titled “Madhouse” which will detail the rockem-sockem weekly action at the Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston Salem, NC. The series is exped to debut on January 10th at 9:00pm with the first of 15 hour episodes.

Congratulations to photographers Howie and Mary Hodge, mainstays on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series who have been selected as the winners of the New England Antique Racers Jack Ratta Memorial Media Award. The Hodges will accept the award at the 14th annual New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction banquet Sunday, Jan. 31 at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.

The Hodges, who have been recording New England racing history for 30 years, will share the limelight with 12 new members of the Hall of Fame. Howie started snapping pictures “seriously” in 1979. Mary joined him three years later.
The Hall of Fame “Class of 2010” includes drivers Geoff Bodine, the late Mike Murphy, George Savary, Pete Fiandaca and the late Chuck Arnold, car owner/builders Billy Simons, Bob Garbarino, Vic Miller and Marty Harty and contributors extraordinaire Frank Ferrara and the late Archie Blackadar.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum’s most popular auto racing program, Lost Speedways, is set to bring gone but not forgotten racetracks back to life again on Saturday, November 28.

Memorabilia displays will open at noon, followed by a driver autograph session at 12:30 pm and formal presentations at 1:15 pm, with bench racing to continue through the museum’s closing at 5 pm. The event, which always draws a full house, allows fans and former participants to bring their treasures to share with others as well as hear talks and view photo displays that rekindle smoldering memories of the golden age of auto racing.

Topics to be addressed include racing at the Lebanon Valley Speedway before the high banks were constructed, the original beach course at Daytona, area flat-track motorcycle venues, the 500 lap team races at Riverside Park, Vermonters against the New Yorkers at the Pico Speedway, the race tracks of New York City and the Albany-Saratoga Speedway in its first incarnation as an asphalt track.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in all the topics but with the new pavement going in at Albany-Saratoga this month, interest is especially high in the golden age of NASCAR at Malta,” said Lost Speedways coordinator Ron Hedger. “At first, I listed the topic as ‘tentative’ but with all the interest, it’s a definite go. I’ll talk a little about the history of the track, then I’m going to show a couple of dozen pictures of the stars of the day and have Hall of Fame driver Brian Ross offer his comments on each of them. It should be a great way to recall just how competitive Friday nights were in the NASCAR days. This time we’ll concentrate on the Modifieds and next year we’ll devote a segment to the support classes.”

The event is free to museum members, with others paying the regular admission fee. There is no charge for displaying photo albums, scrapbooks and other personal memorabilia, though commercial vendors offering items for sale will be assessed a slight fee.

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located just off Exit 13 N of the Adirondack Northway (I-87) on the Avenue of the Pines in the Saratoga Spa State Park.

In TV land this week viewing begins at noon on Tuesday with a rerun on the Speed Channel of the Nov 7 World of Outlaws, sprint cars + late models that was held at the dirt track at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway. NASCAR Now on espn2 goes at 6:00pm and NASCAR Race Hub on Speed goes at 7:30pm. The VS network hosts Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at 11:00pm. Wednesday’s viewin begins at noon when the Speed Channel replays last Sunday’s season ending NASCAR Sprint Cup Ford 400 that was run at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, FL. NASCAR Race Hub rounds out the day at 7:30pm. Thursday is Thanksgiving, no races today! Friday and Saturday will also be quiet. On Sunday espn2 reviews the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season at 1:00pm and the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Season at 1:30pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week little movement was seen among the speedway stocks. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.29 to 16.37 while the International Speedway Corporation went down 0.47 to 26.65. Dover Motorsports remained stationary at 1.81. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.66 to 3.76. Gasoline supplier Sun Oil dropped 0.75 to 25.43 while tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.23 to 14.11. The domestic car makers had a positive week as Ford went up 0.23 to 8.64 and General Motors went up 0.08 to 0.64. Toyota dropped 1.28 to 76.97. The NASCAR Race teams had it both good and bad. Dupont went up 0.20 to 34.51 while Coca-Cola went up 1.43 to 46.05. On the negative side, Target Department Stores dropped 1.53 to 47.46 and Aarons Rentals dropped 1.15 to 26.02. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.16 to 27.18 and Lowes dropped 0.50 to 21.35.

That’s it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, 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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