Tuesday November 2, 2010

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

As the 2010 season winds down only two major asphalt short track events remain, the North-South Shootout and the Turkey Derby on Thanksgiving weekend. The eighth annual 109 U-Pull It John Blewett III Memorial North-South Shootout has takes center stage this coming weekend in Concord, NC. With the cars and stars from both the open-wheel and full-fendered ranks preparing for the annual event, the buzz has spread from east to Midwest. Teams scheduled to compete in the North-South Shootout on November 5&6 hail from New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, and more.

After seven successful years, the North-South Shootout had earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious events in short track racing. Since itís inception in 2003, owner and promoter Charles Kepley and his team have strived to ensure that the North-South Shootout is the best-of-the-best in short track auto racing.

For the second straight year, the North-South Shootout will feature the best of both worlds as a contingent of Super Late Models, led by the Champion Racing Association (CRA) Super Series, will join the headlining Tour-Type Modifieds. Support divisions will include the SK-Type Modifieds, an equally as competitive and tenacious brand of open-wheel racing, the USA Modifieds, Vintage Modifieds, and Vintage Sportsman.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule for 2011 is starting to come together. The Stafford Motor Speedway announced that the 2011 Spring Sizzler will be held on May 1. Their traditional August Friday night date will be August 5 with a rain date the following day, Saturday, Aug 6. The third and final visit of the tour will be on Sunday, October 2 for the Fall Final. Lime Rock Park has also announced that they will be hosting the tour again, next year on September 17. The Thompson Speedway had previously announced that they will have three tour dates, to be announced shortly plus the three at Loudon and one at Riverhead. Other dates in the wind so far are June 24 at Monadnock, July 16 at Loudon, August 13 or 14 at Loudon on Indy car weekend, August 24 at Bristol and September 24 at Loudon.

The Modified Racing Series has just completed its most successful season to date. The series has picked up the slack that competitors experienced as dates for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series have shrunk in recent years. The MRS staged 19 events at speedways in New England and New York. John McKennedy garnered the season championship as he beat out Dwight Jarvis by 63 points. Les Hinkley finished the year in third spot with Steve Masse and Ken Barry rounding out the top five. Finishing sixth through tenth are Rowan Pennink, Todd Annarummo, Max Zachem, Rob Goodenough and Jacob Dore. All tolled 72 different drivers entered into competition.

The outlook for 2012 is extremely bright as more top drivers are looking for an alternative venue in which to race. The MRS will be running at just about every track in New England in 2012. Most tracks will host multiple visits.

The Stafford Motor Speedway has announced their 2012 schedule. As previously mentioned their season will begin on May 1 with the Spring Sizzler. Friday night weekly racing begins on May 6 and will continue through September 16. The Modified Racing Series will return for two events, May 12 and September 9, in 2012. Both MRS events will have the following day, Saturday, as rain dates. Also on the schedule again is Extreme Tuesday which will be held on June 28 and will feature the ISMA Supers, NEMA Midgets and Pro Four Modifieds.

NEAR Hall of Famer Billy Harman entered the hospital for knee replacment surgery Friday, and is currently on the mend. Cards of cheer reach him at Billy Harman, 14 Bay In The Wood, Port Orange, FL. 32129-2302.

Speaking of NEAR, this Saturday evening November 6, the club will present their annual Movie Party at the Dante Club, 1198 Memorial Ave in West Springfield, Mass. (across from the Big E Fairgrounds).  Admission is set at $15.00 with tickets available at the door. Things get underway at 6:00.

Featuring historical videos and slide shows from a variety of New England speedways, this yearís event will include rare footage from Connecticutís much-missed Danbury Fair Racearena, the former home of the Southern New York Racing Association. Those wishing to lend support to the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame are encouraged to bring items to be raffled-off during the evening.

The Movie Party is the primary fundraiser for the Hall of Fame. Since 1998, more than 100 of New Englandís most prominent auto racing personalities. The NEAR Mobile Museum will be on display outside in the Dante Club parking lot. Also on tap this weekend is the annual Automotive Swap Meet and Flea Market slated for Saturday and Sunday at the Thompson Speedway.

In some sad news, Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications, whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional, passed away in Daytona Beach, Fla., following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71.
In TV land this weeks viewing begins with NASCAR Hub on the Speed Channel will be seen on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:00pm. NASCAR Now on espn2 can be viewed at 5:00pm on Tuesday thru Thursday. This weeks race programming  begins at 10:00pm on Tuesday with Race in 60 on the Speed Channel. This program repeats at 10:00am on Wednesday. The entire NASCAR Sprint Cup AMP Energy Juice 500 from Talladega will be shown at noon on Speed. At 6:00pm the action moves to the Versus Channel for the Lucas Oil Motorsport Hour. Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR: The Next Generation follows at 7:00pm. Speed provides a two hour highlight program on Speed of the recent Super DIRT Week at Syracuse at 3:00am on Thursday morning. At 3:00pm Speed will replay the 2008 Dickies 500 that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway. At 6:00pm the action shifts to Versus for the Lucas Oil Motorsport Hour.  Speed goes live on Friday morning at 10:00am with Nationwide Series practice from the Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR Live at Texas Motor Speedway follows at 11:30. Action continues at 1:30 with more Nationwide Series practice. Sprint Cup practice follows at 3:00pm followed by Sprint Cup qualifying at 4:30. Race in 60 with the highlights of last weekends Sprint Cup event at Talladega goes at 6:00pm. At 7:00 its Trackside at Texas. The Truck Series pre-race show at Texas starts at 8:30 and will lead in to the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Winstar World Casino 350k at the Texas Motor Speedway at 9:00pm. Saturday's programming begins at 10:00am with NASCAR Live at the Texas Motor Speedway on the Speed Channel. Viewing on Speed continues at 11:00am with Nationwide Series practice. At noon the action moves to espn2 for the pre-race show that will lead in to the 1:00pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at the Texas Motor Speedway. At 5:00pm the action switches to the Versus Channel for two-one hour segments of the Lucas Motorsports Hour. At 8:00pm Speed goes live at the Dirt Track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the World of Outlaws, Sprints and Late Models.


On Sunday morning
NASCAR RaceDay starts the day off at 9:30am. At 2:00pm ESPN begins a one hour countdown to the scheduled 3:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Rounding out the day is The SPEED Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane on Sprrd at 8:00 and  Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week two of the three speedway stocks had negative results for the week. Speedway Motorsports had a positive ending as they went up 0.06 to 15.36. Dover Motorsports dropped 0.08 to 1.69 and the International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.20 to 22.97. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.69 to 4.16 while fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1,80 to 37.40. Tire supplier Goodyear was also down as the dropped 1.54 to 10.20. The car makers were up and down. Ford went up 0.19 to 14.14 while General Motors dropped 0.03 to 0.29 and Toyota dropped 0.94 to 70.76. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot dropped 0.56 to 30.92 and Lowes dropped 0.74 to 21.26. The major team sponsors were all over the lot. Dupont went up 0.30 to 47.13 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.01 to 53.45 and Target Department Stores dropped 1.86 to 52.01. Aarons Rentals went up 1.15 to 18.85 while Fedex dropped 1.02 to 87.84.

Speedway Motorsports, Inc. declared a quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share of common stock. The quarterly dividend will be payable on December 10, 2010, to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 19, 2010.

Thatís 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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