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
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
“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
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.
Smith / Champ Trail