Champ Trail -
March 15, 2016
Now that Florida Speedweeks are over the clock is ticking in the northeast
as there are only three weeks before the Men that live by the Grace of God
and 600 horsepower get it on for the 42nd Annual Icebreaker at the Thompson
Motorsports Park. The will take place on April 8-10, featuring the first
championship race of the season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT).
The Icebreaker this year has been expanded to twelve divisions of racing,
and will once again include the popular Fan Appreciation party on the track
on Sunday morning before the second day of races begins.
The 12th season for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour took the
green flag at Caraway Speedway in North Carolina last Saturday night.
Sixteen Modifieds were on hand for the series opener.
In a NASCAR news release it said that Burt Myers, who came to pit road in
the nightís second-to-last caution to flip-flop his left side tires, gained
four positions in six circuits after the restart and four more by Lap 144.
The nightís last yellow flag provided the Walnut Cove, North Carolina,
modified veteran the final opportunity he needed. Myers beat Danny Bohn on
the restart of the green-white-checkered flag finish and powered to victory
in the Davis Roofing 150 at Caraway Speedway. It was the 17th triumph
overall for Myers and his third at the venerable .455-mile oval.
It was an up and down evening in the No. 1 Remington SCT/Speedway Auto
Auction Ford for Myers, who started on the front row and took the lead for
the first time from the polesitter Bohn on Lap 28. He manned the front until
Lap 82 when he pitted under caution for a new right rear tire. Myers
returned to the race eighth after a lengthy stop, but moved back up to fifth
before returning to pit road for the tire swap that proved to be his key to
Bobby Measmer Jr. was also able to get by Bohn in the final circuit for
second place, his best career finish. Bohn, Jason Myers and two-time
defending tour titlist Andy Seuss rounded out the top five. Brendon Bock,
George Brunnhoelzl III, Jeff Goodale, Richie Pallai Jr. and Jeremy Gerstner
completed the top 10.
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will return to action this
coming Saturday, March 19 at Concord Speedway, also in North Carolina, for
just the second race in tour history at the North Carolina tri-oval with the
Southern Sizzler 150.
The mild winter has been kind to the New London-Waterford Speedbowl where
a major reconstruction effort has been taking place. The Armco guard rail
that has been beaten to a pulp by many savage impacts has been ripped out
and replaced by a new concrete wall. Construction has been ongoing since
last fall. Next on the schedule is the installation of new electrical
conduits for the trackís lighting and a new catch fence that was long
Gone for many years but now back is a second pit gate on the back stretch
just off turn two. This addition is designed to improve access to the north
pit area. The Speedbowl management will also be moving the scales out of the
infield and into a new dedicated tech area, which will be located in the
main pit area outside of turn three.
The old scoreboard is gone! A new state of the art scoreboard is
scheduled to be installed shortly. One project that was a possibility for
this season but ultimately pushed to next off-season was a renovation of the
grandstands. Track management decided to not take a chance of over doing the
workload and received the thumbs up for use of the current grandstands in
A pat on the back and a job well done to track owner Bruce Bemer and
General Manager Shawn Monahan for their supreme effort in keeping the
Speedbowl alive and making the track one to be proud of.
It is simply amazing the strangle hold that NASCAR has on its Modified
teams. FIVE Tri-track Open Series races carry an actual cash payout of
$275,000 actual & not "fluff" in purses. There are 53 paid entries AND NOT
ONE FULL-TIME NASCAR Mod Tour team. Evidently money means nothing to the
NASCAR Mod Tour owners ???
The June 11 race at Monadnock has been declared to be a Ron Bouchard
Tribute race. Anyone who would like to become part of the "Friends of Ron
Bouchard" list, those involved with the Tri-Track Series are looking for
$250 donations ( that will once again be used to grow the payout at
Monadnock on the second Saturday in June.
Many fans and competitors have been wondering whatís up with the
television schedule for the the NASCAR touring seriesí. Jason Cunningham of
NASCAR stated, "The TV schedule is still not set for any of the touring
series. There are some different circumstances this year that are being
worked through Ė one being that the Olympics are a challenge to schedule
around, and another being that there are more races on the schedule this
year for all of the series. Iím not sure when it will be finalized."
Meanwhile, ABCís enhanced coverage of the 100th running of the
Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and increased programming
on NBCSN, including 10 hours of live practice telecasts, highlight the
Verizon IndyCar Series television programming schedule for 2016.
Total on-air programming from INDYCARís network partners is more than 110
hours, up from 2015. It includes live coverage of all 16 races on the
Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, qualifying shows for all NBCSN events and
Indianapolis 500 time trials on ABC, practice sessions from seven NBCSN
events and recap shows on NBCSN for Indy Lights.
On the speedway stock market scene last week two of the three speedway
stocks finished on the positive from the previous week. The International
Speedway Corporation went up 1.27 to 36.77 and Dover Entertainment went up
0.14 to 2.40 while Speedway Motorsports went down 0.56 to 18.38. NASCAR cup
sponsor Sprint dropped 0.11 to 3.71 and NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy
Transfer) dropped 0.79 to 28.54 while NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up
0.50 to 33.03. The auto manufacturers were also off for the week. Ford
dropped 0.30 to 13.29 while General Motors dropped 0.11 to 31.26 and Toyota
dropped 0.29 to 109.26. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up
2.80 to 128.46 and Lowes went up 1.73 to 72.12. In the area of big team
sponsors stocks McDonalds went up 4.37 to 121.55, Target went up 0.74 to
81.87 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.97 to 24.44 while Coca-Cola dropped 1.02
to 175.85 and Fedex dropped 1.54 to 144.42.
On the tube this week:
Thursday, March 17
5:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
7:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI-Fi
Friday, March 18
2:30 AM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies, SCI
1:30 PM, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club Practice, FS1
3:00 PM, NASCAR Xfinity Series Auto Club Practice, FS1
4:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
5:30 PM, NXS Final Auto Club Practice, FS1
6:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
7:30 PM, NSCS Coors Light Auto Club Pole Qualifying, FS1
Saturday, March 19
5:30 AM, NXS Final Auto Club Practice re-air, FS1
7:00 AM, NSCS Auto Club Practice re-air, FS1
11:00 PM, NSCS Auto Club Practice, FS2
12:00 PM, NXS Auto Club Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 PM, NSCS Final Auto Club Practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Raceday, FS1
4:00 PM, NXS Auto Club Race, FS1
11:30 PM, 100,000 Cameras: Daytona, FS2
Sunday, March 20
8:00 AM, NXS Auto Club Race re-air, FS1
1:00 PM, 1993 Daytona 500, FS2
1:30 PM, NASCAR RaceDay, FS2
3:00 PM, NSCS FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
3:30 PM, NSCS: Auto Club 400 Race, FOX
10:30 PM NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
Monday, March 21
3:00 AM, NSCS: Auto Club 400 Race re-air, FS1
6:00 AM, NXS Auto Club Race re-air, FS1
8:00 AM, The 10: Greatest Soundbites in NASCAR History, FS1
Thatís about it for this week from 11 Gardner Drive, Westerly, and
R.I.02891. Ring my chimes at 401-596-5467.
Phil Smith has been a
columnist for Speedway Scene and various
other publications for over 3 decades.
Smith / Champ Trail