The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - November 29, 2016

  All eyes were on the Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey for the running of the 43rd annual Turkey Derby on Friday and Saturday which closed out the racing season in the northeast. In the three separate modified divisions there were 86 cars, 30 Tour types, 30sks and 26 Sportsman Modifieds.
  Jimmy Blewett started the weekend off with a win in the Sportsman Modifieds on Friday. He also won in the dirt track type modifieds on Saturday. In the SK type 100, Blewett started on the pole and led until the final of many cautions flew with 11 to go when he pitted for tires. Matt Hirschman, who started 13th, assumed the lead and went on to take the win. Blewett restarted in the rear and stormed back to second at the finish but could not overcome Hirschman. Ricky Collins finished third with Danny Bohn and Andrew Krause rounding out the top five. Dennis Perry finished a respectable 10th.
  The Turkey Derby 150 began on a sour note when pole sitter Steven Reed was forced to withdraw when his transmission seized up. Matt Hirschman assumed the pole starting position and pretty much controlled the 150 lapper. He did pit around the 100 lap mark, giving up the lead to Keith Rocco but by lap 117 he was back in the lead. Rocco faded with worn tires and ended up 11th at the finish. Eric Mauriello finished second with Jimmy Blewett, third. Ron Frees and Earl Paules rounded out the top five. Sixth thru tenth were Jimmy Zacharias, Andrew Krause, Anthony Sesely, Shawn Solomito and Les Hinckley.
  Hirschman collected a combined $9,000 by sweeping the 150-lap Tour-type Modified feature and 100-lap SK Modified feature.

  This is expected to give NASCAR some heartburn. While many of us were still digesting our Thanksgiving meal big news came from the Riverhead Raceway last Friday afternoon. Eddie & Connie Partridge and Tom Gatz in conjunction with Modified Touring Series owner Gary A. Knight disclosed the second year organization would be racing on Long Island Saturday June 17th, 2017 at the historic quarter mile facility. Previously dates have been announced for Stafford, Seekonk and Monadnock. It will be interesting to see if the Thompson Motorsports Park Speedway jumps on the bandwagon.
  "We are very excited as well honored that our Modified Touring Series event will be the first non NASCAR Modified touring race ever at Riverhead Raceway" Gary A. Knight acknowledged while making the announcement. Indeed only the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour had competed at the 66-year old track but that will all change the third Saturday of June.
  "Gary contacted me over a year ago to discuss his Modified Touring Series and the possibility of Riverhead hosting a race" Tom Gatz recalled. "We've talked numerous times since our first conversation and I'm glad the series is getting some traction. Gary is persistent and very passionate about the MTS, and I wish him the best of luck. All of us at Riverhead Raceway are looking forward to the MTS coming to town on June 17th." Gatz concluded.
  Knight noted the 125-lap feature will be green flag laps, a staple of the fan friendly Modified Touring Series that should provide some ultra exciting racing at Riverhead Raceway. The race winner will take home $3,000 from a posted $24.430 race purse. Second through fifth will be worth, $1,600, $1,300, $1,075 and $975. Tenth will pay $800 while drivers who finish 16th through 28th take home $660 each.
  In the event of rain the MTS race would move to Sunday June 18th.

  The Tri-Track Open Modified Series has formally announced the expansion of its operation. Founding partners Dick Williams and Jim Schaefer have joined forces with Wayne Darling of Seekonk, Ma. and Mark Pennink of Huntingdon Valley, Pa. The operational group is already well into plans for the 2017 season with a number of additional announcements expected in the coming weeks.
  “The series just got too big for us to handle on our own,” said Schaefer, who joined Williams in creating the series. As long-time team car owners, Darling and Pennink bring not only a ‘racer’s perspective’ to the series but also much-needed resources to the already successful NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified series.
  The caliber of the teams that have supported the series since its inception along with the backing of the foundational race tracks will go a long way toward helping the Tri-Track Open Modified Series achieve those goals. Championship racers have anchored the, on average, 40-car rosters dating back to 2014 with the likes of Doug Coby, Matt Hirschman, Jon McKennedy, Keith Rocco, Chris Pasteryak, Woody Pitkat and others. Series champions have include McKennedy (‘14) and Hirschman (’15 & ‘16).
  The inaugural season of NorthEast Race Cars Tri-Track Open Modified Series saw the races at Lee USA and Star Speedways in Lee and Epping, N.H., respectively as well as Seekonk Speedway in Ma. In 2015, the series traveled back to Lee and Seekonk adding Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. and New London-Waterford Speedbowl; where they held two events. In 2016, the schedule once again included Star, Seekonk and two at Waterford dates. An event scheduled at Monadnock was cancelled due to rain.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. is buying rival Energy Transfer Partners in a stock deal worth about $20 billion that the energy companies' hope will boost their operations. The deal comes as Energy Transfer Partners remains at the center of controversy over the Dakota Access oil pipeline that will transfer oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Construction of the $3.8 billion pipeline has been the object of protests for months by the Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation lies near the pipeline route, and the tribe's allies, who fear a leak could contaminate their drinking water.
Energy Transfer shareholders will receive 1.5 common units of Sunoco stock for each Energy transfer share they own. Among the notable owners of Energy Transfer stock is are newly elected President, Donald Trump.

  In speedway stock trading last week two of the three speedway stocks ended the week on a positive note. Speedway Motorsports went up 1.27 to 20.65 and the International Speedway Corporation went up 1.05 to 37.85 while Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.35. NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 1.02 to 31.16 and NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.54 to 7.89 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 2.03 to 35.34 after news of the buy-out hit the street. The auto manufacturers had a positive week. Leading the way was Toyota which went up 3.76 to 117.80. General Motors went up 1.25 to 34.25 and Ford went up 0.28 to 12.04. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 3.24 to 131.57 and Lowes went up 2.90 to 72.21. In big team sponsor’s stocks, Fedex went up 4.24 to 191.53 and Target Department Stores went up 2.42 to 78.61 while McDonalds went up 0.66 to 120.66, Aarons Rentals went up 0.55 to 29.59 and Coca-Cola went up 0.42 to 165.86.

  On the tube this week:

  Thursday, December 1

6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

  Friday, December 2
7:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
8:00 PM, NASCAR Red Carpet Special, NBCSN
9:00 PM, NSCS Awards from Las Vegas, NBCSN

   That’s 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.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: November 29, 2016

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