Tuesday November 8, 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The annual North-South Shootout takes center stage this past weekend. Previously run in Concord, NC, the event was been relocated to the Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. There were 27 Tour type Modifieds and a somewhat slim field of 13 SK type Modifieds on hand. Rain blanketed the entire state of North Carolina on Friday which forced event officials to condense the event into one day.

It was announced that qualifying heats would be eliminated in order to expedite the running the event in a timely fashion. Southern racer Burt Myers was the top time setter among the Tour types and Zane Zeiner was the pole sitter for the SK types.

Despite running on a cool, damp night the event drew a pretty decent crowd. Woody Pitkat, who races weekly at Thompson and Stafford, took the lead on the start and went on to lead the entire 50 lap distance of the SK type event. Ryan Preece and Keith Rocco, also Thompson and Stafford regulars, followed Pitkat at the finish. Matt Hirschman and Earl Paules rounded out the top five.

The Tour type Shootout went 125 laps and when all was said and done, Matt Hirschman sat in victory lane. Burt Myers took the lead at the start and paced the field until Andy Seuss passed him in traffic on lap 33. Myers developed severe handling problems as he faded after losing the lead. Seuss led until lap 53 when most of the field pitted under caution that was thrown for debris on the track. Jason Myers, who did not pit assumed the lead. By lap 60 Hirschman had taken the lead as Myers' tires had gone away. In a sprint to the finish, Hirschman was able to out run runner-up Seuss. George Brunnhoelzl III, Burt Myers and Zane Zeiner rounded out the top five. Sixth through tenth were Jimmy Blewett, Chris Pasteryak, Kyle Ebersole, Jason Myers and Patrick Emerling. Among the missing was Ted Christopher, who was seen walking around the Flea Market with his hand bandaged up, at the Thompson Speedway.

With the exception of the Thanksgiving weekend Turkey Derby at the Wall Stadium in New Jersey the 2011 racing season in the northeast is over. The undisputed overall feature winner is Keith Rocco with 32 wins to his credit. Twenty eight of these came in the SK Modifieds. Second overall in feature wins is dirt tracker Matt Sheppard with 21 victories. Ted Christopher had one of his rare "off years" as he only had 12 wins on the season. Worth mentioning is the fact that dirt tracker Brett Hearne had 12 victories and at the same time brought his lifetime total to 800.

NASCAR finally got tough with Kyle Busch who continues to have anger management problems with those whom he races with. The often volatile Busch was suspended from driving in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at Texas after he deliberately wrecked championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr. during a caution in the Truck Series on Friday night. In the past Busch, who has a history of road rage on the track, has been fined and put on probation for his actions. Evidently, as most of us know, he didn't get the message. Fines and probations mean nothing to those who compete in NASCAR's top divisions. Sponsors or car owners pay the fines and it's business as usual. It's good that NASCAR finally acted because the worse thing you can do to a driver is to tell him he can't race! Hopefully now he has gotten that message.

Former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, barred from the association since 2009 for a failed drug test, was arrested at his western North Carolina home and charged with possession of methamphetamine, and police said he might face more charges. Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night, Nov 1 and charged possessing 1.5 grams of meth. The former Sprint Cup driver was suspended from NASCAR in May 2009 after failing a random drug test. Mayfield denied he was using an illegal drug, but NASCAR said he tested positive for methamphetamines.

In TV land NASCAR Race Hub will air on the Speed Channel at 6:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. NASCAR Now on espn2 will be seen on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 3:00pm. Race viewing for the week on the Speed Channel begins on Wednesday at noon with a replay of last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway. Thursday's race viewing on Speed begins at noon with a replay of last Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series OíReilly Auto Parts Challenge that was run at the Texas Motor Speedway. At 3:00pm Speed replays last years NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 that was run at the Phoenix Intl. Raceway. On Friday at noon the Speed Channel replays the Nov 5 World of Outlaws sprints, Late Models and Modified events that were run on the Dirt track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. At 1:30pm and again at 5:30pm, espn2 goes live at Phoenix for Sprint Cup practice. At 6:00pm ESPN Classic has a one hour special on Tim Richmond. Speed goes Trackside (NASCAR) at Phoenix International Raceway at 7:30pm. Saturday's viewing begins at 11:30am with NASCAR Live at Phoenix on Speed. Live action on Speed continues at noon with Nationwide Series qualifying at Phoenix. Sprint Cup qualifying on Speed at 1:30pm. At 3:00pm the action shifts to espn2 for the Nationwide Series pre-race show that will lead to the 3:30pm start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series WypAll* 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway. Later in the day on Speed, at 6:30pm, will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Casino Arizona 125 at Phoenix. Speed Center on Speed at 8:00pm will wrap up the day. NASCAR Now on espn2 starts off Sunday at 9:00am. At 10:30am Speed has NASCAR Performance from the NASCAR Hall of Fame followed by Speed Center at 11:30am. A two hour Race Day preview on Speed begins at noon followed at 2:00pm by a one hour Pre-Race show on ESPN which will lead in to a 3:00pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway. Speed Center at 8:00pm on Speed followed by Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm on Speed will wrap up the weekend.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks had negative results for the week. The International Speedway Corporation dropped 0.42 to 24.24 while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.29 to 12.98 and Dover Motorsports dropped 0.02 to 1.00. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.15 to 2.87 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil dropped 1.68 to 37.65 and tire supplier Goodyear dropped 0.54 to 14.30. The car makers also had a negative week. Ford dropped 0.73 to 11.27 while General Motors dropped 2.84 to 23.61 and Toyota dropped 4.48 to 65.18. In the home improvement segment Home Depot went up 0.27 to 36.29 and Lowes went up 0.17 to 21.54. With the exception of Coca-Cola which went up 0.65 to 57.27 the major team sponsors had an off week. Dupont dropped 0.66 to 48.70 while Target Department Stores dropped 3.07 to 52.17, Aarons Rentals dropped 0.16 to 26.79 and Fedex dropped 2.24 to 82.01.

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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