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Tuesday September 14, 2009

By Phil Smith                                                                                             

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series heads to the New Hampshire International Speedway this week. The New Hampshire 100 is set to go green at 1 p.m. Ted Christopher continues to lead the point standings with 1432. Todd Szegedy with 1398, sits in the second spot. Thirty eight points behind Szegedy is Donny Lia with 1360. Ryan Preece and Rowan Pennink round out the top five. Sixth through tenth are Eric Beers, Woody Pitkat, Ed Flemke, Jr., Chris Pasteryak and Mike Stefanik.

Racing web site Speed 51 announced that because of good ratings and a lot of hype surrounding the TV coverage of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut at the Bristol Motor Speedway last month, the Tour will return to the TV screen again. SPEED will air the always-exciting race at the Magic Mile (September 19th) on a slightly tape-delayed basis. The race is scheduled to get the green at 12:50pm and the airing of the event will begin at 1:30pm. Mike Joy, Dick Berggren and Bob Dillner will call the Mod Tour action at NHMS for SPEED. Speed 51 also reported that True Value Modified Racing Series point leader Jon McKennedy will enter next weekend's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in an Art Barry-owned Spafco Modified sponsored by LATICRETE. Art's son Kenny Barry, who was the 2004 WMT Rookie of the Year, will serve as the entry's crew chief.

NASCAR and Chemung (N.Y.) Speedrome have announced that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at the track, that was rained out on its originally scheduled date of Aug. 29, will not be made up this season. Not too many tears were shed as the event carried a somewhat “short purse”.

In Thursday night Thunder action at Thompson, Ted Christopher took the Sunoco Modified win in an event that went non-stop without a caution. Keith Rocco, who was hoping to gain some ground in his quest for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title found himself mired in traffic and could do no better than third. Christopher made it look easy as he earned his fifth Sunoco Modified feature win of the season. Rick Fuller of Auburn scored a much-anticipated victory in the Super Late Model division. Tommy O’Sullivan made it two-in-a-row in Late Model action. Jesse Gleason scored his first win of the season in the Limited Sportsman division. Brian Sullivan scored his sixth TIS Modified feature event win of the season. In the Mini Stocks, Randy Churchill took the victory.

Christopher made it look easy as he blew by early leader Ron Silk on the tenth lap of the 30 lap Sunoco Modified feature. Christopher was able to grab the lead away from Silk on lap 10 with a move in turn one.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series title fight came to an end last weekend. Keith Rocco, who races at Thompson, Waterford and Stafford trailed southerner Philip Morris going into the final weekend of the national contest. Rocco needed to win at least one, with a second and third in the other two tracks to tie Morris provided all three events have the maximum 23-car fields. Points are less if the fields of cars are short. Keith Rocco is employed at Petit Racing Engines. As he looked out the window last Friday he saw his dreams of becoming a NASCAR National Champion get washed down the drain as showers pelted the entire state of Connecticut which forced the Stafford Motor Speedway to rain-out their Friday night racing program The champion will be announced by NASCAR on Sept. 16.

Dick Ceravolo continues to show a slight improvement in his condition. All signs are pointing to the beginning of reconstructive surgery by the end of the week. He continues to be in an induced coma. Cards of cheer can be sent to Dick Ceravolo, 1348 Baldwin Hill Rd, Gales Ferry, CT 06335. Ceravolo, 70, suffered serious injuries on Aug 21while attempting to jumpstart a farm tractor.

Waterford Speedbowl’s Saturday night racing program fell victim to rain.

In TV land this week, NASCAR Now on espn2 will be shown at 5:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday NASCAR Now will air at 6:00pm on Thursday. Espn2 will have a special dedicated to the 2009 Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup at 5:30pm. Wednesday’s viewing starts at noon on the Speed Channel with a re-run of last weeks NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 from the Richmond International Raceway. On Thursday at noon the Speed Channel re-shows the 2005 Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire International. At 3:00pm the NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West Bennett Lane Winery 200 that was run at the Infineon Raceway on June 20 follows. Speed goes live on Friday at noon with 90 minutes of NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At 2:00pm the Speed Channel reviews the First Class of the new NASCAR Hall of Fame. The action switches to espn2 at 3:00 for two hours of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying. Speed rounds out the day with Trackside (NASCAR) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 7:00pm. Saturday’s viewing gets an early start with Sprint Cup practice at New Hampshire at 9:00am. The NASCAR Trucks follow at 10:00am with their qualifying session. At 2:30pm, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has their pre-race show that will lead in to the start of the Heluva Good! 200 at 3:00pm. Rounding out the day is NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice at 6:45pm. Sunday’s viewing starts at 10:00am with NASCAR Now on espn2. Speed takes over at 11:00am with a two segment of NASCAR RaceDay. At 1:00pm the action switches to ABC for the Countdown to the Sylvania 300 which is scheduled to take the green at 2:00pm. On Sunday evening, the Speed Channel has The Speed Report at 7:00pm, NASCAR Victory Lane at 8:00 and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm.

On the Speedway Stock Market Scene last week all three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Leading the way was the International Speedway Corporation which went up 1.86 to 27.43. Speedway Motorsports went up 0.16 to 14.68 and Dover Downs went up 0.01 to 1.42. NASCAR Cup sponsor Sprint went down 0.04 to 3.77. Fuel supplier Sun Oil went up 1.15 to 27.50 and tire supplier Goodyear went up 0.92 to 17.27. With the exception of Toyota which went up 0.06 to 83.96, the car builders were down for the week. Ford dropped 0.10 to 7.33 and General Motors dropped 0.02 to 0.78. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up 0.31 and Lowes dropped 0.19 to 21.43. The NASCAR team sponsors had a mixed bag. Dupont went up 0.10 to 31.81 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.13 to 49.12. Target Department Stoores went up 0.83 to 47.95 while Aarons Rentals dropped 0.20 to 26.31.

It looks like the International Speedway Corporation is branching out to include legalized gambling in its holdings. ISC announced that Penn National Gaming, Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN ) has entered into an agreement with The Cordish Company to acquire Cordish's 50 percent interest in Kansas Entertainment, LLC ("KJV") and their role as managing member. Cordish has elected to sell its interest in KJV to Penn in order to focus on its other projects. KJV is seeking the consent of the Kansas Lottery Commission and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County for the transfer. Upon securing consents from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the Kansas Lottery Commission to proceed as a managing member of KJV, Penn National Gaming intends to withdraw the application of its subsidiary, Penn Hollywood Kansas, to be considered as a Lottery Gaming Facility Manager of a venue at an alternate site. ISC and Penn are currently finalizing certain operating and economic terms of their partnership and intend to provide additional disclosure about financial and project terms once they are completed.

Both ISC and Penn acknowledge Cordish's role in advancing the project to its current state of readiness including its vision for integrating a casino entertainment destination facility with a world-class motorsports speedway to bring tremendous benefits to the host community, customers, other constituents and the developers.

In a prepared statement that was released by ISC, Lesa France Kennedy, ISC Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are extremely pleased to be joining forces with Penn National to develop a premier Hollywood-themed casino and entertainment destination facility at Kansas Speedway. Adding Penn and its extremely solid financial position should substantiate our ability to deliver a world-class casino for the state of Kansas. We both are absolutely committed to providing additional economic benefit to the taxpayers of Kansas."

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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