Tuesday October,25 2011

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series has wrapped up their 2011 season. Congratulations to Ron Silk and the Eddie and Connie Partridge led TS Haulers Race Team. Silks season point total was 2443 while runner-up, Todd Szegedy amassed 2367 points. Eric Beers ended up in the third spot followed by Rowan Pennink and Doug Coby. Sixth through tenth were Matt Hirschman, Justin Bonsignore, Bobby Santos, Ted Christopher and Erick Rudolph. Fifty seven different drivers were in competition during the season. Fourteen different drivers ran all 16 events. Ted Christopher was the top winner with four victories to his credit. Silk and Szegedy each won three while Coby, Bonsignore and Santos had one each. Other winners were Mike Stefanik, Glen Reen and Ryan Newman.

The 2012 WMT schedule is starting to come together, slowly but surely. It looks like there will be between 16-18 events on the schedule. Thompson and Stafford are expected to host four events each while Loudon will host two as the Indy Cars will not be returning to the New Hampshire oval. Riverhead, Bristol and Monadnock will also be on the schedule.

Many race teams are taking a wait and see attitude before making plans for 2012. Lenny Sammons, Publisher and Editor of Area Auto Racing News got an interesting answer from car owner Bob Garbarino when asked about his plans for 2012. He stated that he is not making a decision about next year until he sees a schedule. Sammons quoted Garbarino, " I don't buy green bananas anymore" he said, alluding to the fact about making a decision when the schedule is unknown. Ryan Preece is all set for next year as it has been announced that he will drive the Flamingo Motorsports entry that was recently vacated by Mike Stefanik.

Doug Coby and Daniel Hemric were running second and third behind Glen Reen on a lap 160 restart in the recent World Series NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series event at the Thompson Speedway and got together shortly after taking the green. Hemric, from Kanapolis, NC, was driving the Roger Hill No.79 and found himself in the turn one wall and Coby spun. Based on what was heard on a scanner it was assumed that NASCAR Control felt that Coby was overaggressive and placed him one lap down. Coby stated that NASCAR did not penalize him for over aggression. "I was the one who was taken out by the 79 on that late restart and I was penalized for passing cars under caution to attempt to get my second place spot back", he said. He added, "Brian Vance, the Tour Race Director, afterwards acknowledged that the one lap penalty was more a result of his frustration with all of the drivers for how the race was ending, and acknowledged that it may in fact have been inconsistent with other calls he made that day with regards to other drivers who were incorrectly lined up on the racetrack".

The Valenti Modified Racing Series was at the Lee USA Speedway in Lee New Hampshire last weekend, 32 cars strong. Qualifying heat race winners were Ken Barry, Chris Pasteryak and Mike Holdredge.

Rowan Pennink took the season ending win over Les Hinckley, Norm Wrenn, Rob Goodenough and Matt Hirschman. Chris Pasteryak finished ninth and has won his second VMRS Championship.

The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour comes wrapped up their 2012 season last Saturday night at the Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. There were 15 cars on hand. George Brunnhoelzl III started from the outside of the front row and led every lap en route to winning the Caraway 150 season-ending event.

Brunnhoelzl took the lead from his pole-sitter and Ideal Racing teammate Andy Seuss on the first lap and was never threatened as he picked up his fifth win of the season and 11th of his career. Burt Myers picked up his best finish of the season in second place with rookie Daniel Hemric finishing with his first-ever top-three finish. Andy Seuss was fourth and Brian Loftin completed the top five. Jason Myers completed his most consistent season on the tour with a sixth-place finish with Tim Brown rebounding from a spin to finish seventh. 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Austin Pack was eighth with Brandon Ward ninth and L.W. Miller completing the top 10.

Brunnhoelzl entered the night with a comfortable lead in the point standings only needing to take the green flag to wrap up the series championship. Seuss finished second in the final point standings.

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 begins on Tuesday at 5:00pm with the Lucas Motorsports Hour on the Versus Network. The Speed Channel replays last Sunday's Talladega 500 at noon on Wednesday and the Texas Motor Speedway April 19 Nationwide Series event at noon on Thursday. The Oct 24, 2010 Sprint Cup Tums Fast Relief 500 that was run at the Martinsville Speedway follows at 3:00pm. Speed goes live at Martinsville on Friday at noon with NASCAR Live. Sprint Cup practice from Martinsville follows at 12:30pm. At 2:00pm the Truck Series has their practice session at Martinsville. Final Sprint Cup practice follows at 3:30pm. Trackside at 7:00pm and Speed Center at 8:00 on the Speed Channel wrap up the day. Saturday's viewing starts at 10:30am on the Speed Channel with Truck Series qualifying from Martinsville. Sprint Cup qualifying from Martinsville follows at noon. At 1:30pm the Speed Channel has the Truck Series Pre-Race show that will lead to the 2:00pm start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville. At 7:00pm Speed Center on Speed wraps up the happenings at Martinsville. At 8:00pm Speed has listed a two hour program that is titled " World of Outlaws, Super Dirt Week XL, Big-Block modifieds, New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, NY". Sunday's viewing begins at 10:30am with Speed Center on Speed. A two hour RaceDay preview follows at 11:00am. At 1:00pm the action shifts to ESPN for the Sprint Cup Countdown that will lead to the 1:30pm start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville. NASCAR Victory Lane at 5:30pm plus SPEED Center at 7:00pm wrap up the day's racing. At 6:00pm Versus has the Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour and at 8:00pm its Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.

On the Speedway Stock Market scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on the positive side. Leading the way was the international Speedway Corporation which went up 0.32 to 23.34. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.07 to 12.64 and Dover Motorsports went up 0.02 to 1.15. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint dropped 0.02 to 2.77 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 0.78 to 36.11 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.70 to 12.97. The auto makers also had a positive week. Ford went up 0.70 to 12.26 while General Motors went up 0.19 to 24.35 and Toyota went up 0.15 to 67.61. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 1.81 to 36.86 and Lowes went up 1.20 to 22.13. In the area of major team sponsorship, Dupont went up 0.06 to 45.15 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.48 to 56.87. Target Department Stores went up 1.69 to 54.64 while Aaron's went up 0.80 to 28.26 and Fedex went up 3.60 to 79.34.

Lowe’s Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, will close 20 U.S. stores, affecting 1,950 workers, and plans to slow its North American expansion next year as it works to improve sales. Half of the locations closed at the end of business on Oct 16, and the remaining 10 will be shut within about a month, Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s said in a statement. Chief Executive Officer Robert Niblock has streamlined operations this year and closed seven stores in August after sales at older outlets trailed Home Depot Inc. (HD) for the ninth straight quarter. Lowe’s cut its forecast for fiscal 2011 profit that same month, saying consumers were scaling back home- improvement projects.
Lowe’s also said it has discontinued a number of planned new locations and now expects to open 10 to 15 outlets a year in North America starting in 2012, less than a previous plan of about 30 a year. The company said it is on track to open about 25 stores this year, as planned.

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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