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Tuesday November 19, 2013
 

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The 2013 racing season has wound down in the northeast. The only event remaining is the Thanksgiving weekend Turkey Derby at the Wall Stadium in New Jersey. Auto Racing trade publication Area Auto Racing News has compiled a list of the top feature winners in the Northeast.
Sitting at the top of the list is Keith Rocco who has 31 wins to his credit. Rocco, who finished third nationally in NASCAR's All American Series, won the SK Modified and Late Model track championships at the Waterford Speedbowl plus the Sunoco {SK Modified} championship at the Thompson Speedway, won 19 Modified features and 12 Late Model features. Second, third and fourth on the win list are dirt track racers Stewart Friesan with 25 wins, Matt Sheppard with 22 wins and Gene Knaub with 20 wins. Tied for fifth, overall is NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series champion Ryan Preece and dirt tracker Ricky Elliot, each with 18 wins. Woody Pitkat, who is the 2013 Sunoco (SK Modified) at Thompson, has four wins for the season.

The Stafford Motor Speedway will host their 44th Annual Awards Ceremony this coming Friday, November 22nd. Headlining the night’s festivities, Woody Pitkat will be recognized as the 2013 SK Modified® Champion, which is his first career SK Modified® championship after finishing second in the SK Modified® standings four times since the 2007 season. Adam Gray was also a first time champion in the Late Model division with a season for the ages that saw him record 16 consecutive podium finishes. Tony Membrino, Jr. will be honored as the SK Light champion, which will be his second career Stafford championship, Josh Wood came out on top of a tight 3-man race to win the Ltd. Late Model championship, and Dave Secore will be honored as the DARE Stock champion.

The Valenti Modified Racing Series will also crown series champion Rowan Pennink this Saturday at the Banquet Court in Manchester, NH. Since its humble beginnings in 2004 the VMRS has grown in stature. Healthy car counts and over-all good racing has been its reputation. Tommy Barrett was the runner-up in the standings at the conclusion of the 17 race schedule. Second generation driver Richard Savory finished third. Louie Mechalides and Chris Pasteryak rounded out the top five.

The clocks continues to tick on the well being of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series. The recent statement by Ed Flemke Jr leads one to believe that he will no longer be a regular competitor once the season begins in 2014. At 58 years of age, Flemke knows his best days as a competitor are behind him. In 14 events in 2013 he scored only two top tens. A tour loyalist since its inception in 1985, Flemke has 17 career wins to his credit in 439 starts. Don King is his car owner but in reality King only ownes the equipment. Flemke is the driver, team manager and chief in charge of maintenance and repair. In 2013 there were 18 cars that ran the full schedule of 14 events. Based on the fact that the Hill 79 is all done plus the fact that the Wayne Darling owned No.52 will run a partial schedule means that the tour will have 15 regulars if they are lucky. In addition Mike Stefanik has yet to make a decision as to what his plans will be for 2014. Despite it all NASCAR feels that the Modifieds are just fine. They still put on the best competition and NASCAR says that there is nothing wrong. Is this the start of an obituary for NASCAR"s oldest division? The answer, sorry to say, it is!

On a positive note, the Riverhead Raceway on the east end of Long Island will host the Whelen Modified Tour on June 28 and September 13.
In some good news, construction has now started at the site of the Canadian Motor Speedway, a $400 million project just across the Canadian border in Fort Erie. Officials held a small, unofficial groundbreaking event earlier this month, as construction crews started preliminary site work on the speedway property just off the QEW.

The 820-acre project will have a larger groundbreaking that will include a community celebration this coming spring, when construction of the actual oval racetrack will begin. Erik Tomas, a media consultant with the speedway, said the developers have already spent $17 million and waited 7 years to get to where we are today. Government approvals and regulatory hurdles led to the many delays. However, Tomas said there's nothing to now stand in the way of the project, which local leaders said, once operational, will contribute up to $1 billion to the regional economy each year.

The project was designed by 4-time Sprint Cup NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon. The large complex calls for a 3/4 mile oval track, a road course, hotel, restaurants, retail, lots of parking, and even a motor sport research and development center.

On the speedway stock market scene last week all three speedway stocks closed out the week in the green. Leading the way was Speedway Motorsports which went up 0.29 to 18.28. The International Speedway Corporation went up 0.14 to 34.07 and Dover Entertainment went up 0.09 to 2.45. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.35 to 7.42 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 0.58 to 52.10 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.60 to 21.66. The car builders had a good week. Leading the way was General Motors which went up 2.11 to 38.77. Toyota went up 0.63 to 128.00 and Ford went up 0.21 to 17.06. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 4.59 to 80.07 and Lowes went up 3.06 to 51.78. Stock of the major sponsors was all green for the week. Dupont went up 0.09 to 62.09, Coca-Cola went up 0.60 to 64.92, Target went up 1.78 to 66.89, Aarons Rentals went up 0.74 to 30.22 and Fedex went up 6.08 to 128.65.

In TV Land this week:
 
11
21
Thurs
12:00 PM
1:00 PM
NASCAR K&N Pro Series
Phoenix
FS1
11
20
Wed
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
11
21
Thurs
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
11
22
Fri
4:00 PM
5:00 PM
NASCAR Race Hub
 
FS1
11
24
Sun
8:00 PM
10:00 PM
NASCAR Awards Ceremony:
NASCAR Nationwide and
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
 
FS1


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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