The Chrome Horn - Champ Trail with Phil Smith

Champ Trail - December 13, 2016

  NASCAR feted its touring and weekly racing champions last weekend in Charlotte, NC. On Friday night the weekly champions were honored. Keith Rocco finished second in national championship points. Rocco was also recognized as the Connecticut state champion, the New London-Waterford Speedbowl champion and the Thompson Motorsports Park speedway champion. Along the way, Rocco won 14 races in 45 starts. Rocco was also the Late Model Champion at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl, a division where he also dominated with seven wins. His NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Connecticut championship was his ninth in a row. This year also marked the 10th consecutive season Rocco finished in the top five in the national standings. Rowan Pennink was recognized as the Stafford Motor Speedway champion along with Shawn Solomito, the Riverhead Raceway champion and Tom Scully Jr, the Seekonk Speedway champion.
  NASCAR also recognized many of the drivers and owners we lost in the past year including Ronnie Bouchard and Joe Brady.
  Doug Coby was one of six drivers on stage Saturday night at the Charlotte Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame who received their NASCAR championship rings and trophies, culminating a memorable and exciting 2016 season.

  Todd Gilliland (NASCAR K&N Pro Series West) and Cayden Lapcevich (NASCAR Pintyís Series) are the two youngest champions in the history of NASCARís touring or national series. Burt Myers (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour) and Anthony Kumpen (NASCAR Whelen Euro Series) each collected their second NASCAR touring titles. And Justin Haley (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) will look to follow in former teammate William Byronís path of going from touring champion to being a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship contender.
  Coby became the first driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tourís modern era to win three straight titles, and he became just the fifth driver in NASCARís oldest division to win four or more titles. On the other end of the spectrum, Haley, a 17-years-old from Winamac, Indiana, broke through with his first championship season. He won twice to become the fourth consecutive driver for H Scott Motorsports with Justin Marks to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title. Heís also become the eighth straight teenager to win the K&N Pro Series East crown.
  The championship car owners and crew chiefs were also recognized Saturday night. In addition to the championship awards, each series rookie of the year was honored. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winners were Gilliland in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and Hunter Baize in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Matt Swanson in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Kyle Bonsignore in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour. Lapcevich earned the Josten's Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Pinty's Series, and Alon Day was awarded the Junior "Jerome Sarran" Trophy by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series as the series' top young driver. The top-10 drivers and car owners from each of NASCAR's touring series also were recognized during the gala.
  In addition, Max Zachem who finished fifth in the Whelen Modified Tour standings was presented a Driver Achievement Award for his efforts plus the Riverhead Raceway was recognized for their promotional efforts.

  It has been announced that Ryan Preece will return to run the full Whelen Modified Tour schedule as he has stepped away from the Exfinity Series ride he had last year. Preece will be driving the Eddie and Connie Partridge entry.

  In what NASCAR calls the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the 2017 series will test the best Modified drivers over 17 points races and two special events at some of East Coastís most historic venues. The new era will kick off on Saturday, March 18, with the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway. South Carolinaís semi-banked half-mile oval held its first NASCAR event in 1958. The champion will be crowned at Connecticutís Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, as the .625-mile hosts the 55th Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing on Sunday, Oct. 15.
  The schedule includes 17 championship points races across seven states, including companion events with NASCARís national series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July and September, and Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The summer weekend at New Hampshire will also be highlighted by the invitational, non-points All-Star Shootout, and the fall will feature a non-points special event on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  In combining the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours, NASCAR will offer competitors close to $500,000 in year-end point fund money through support from Whelen Engineering and contingency sponsors. NASCAR will also make available more than $230,000 in owner-plan money. As part of this, NASCAR has reallocated what was formerly the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour year-end point fund in the form of non-qualifier money and a champion/owners plan for the teams who competed in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour in 2016.

  The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour television broadcast schedule on NBCSN will be announced at a later date.

  Date Track Location
3/18 Myrtle Beach Speedway Myrtle Beach, S.C.
4/2 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn.
4/30 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn.
5/13 TBA TBA (southern race track)
6/14 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn.
6/24 Riverhead Raceway Riverhead, N.Y.
7/14 New Hampshire Motor Speedway* Loudon, N.H.
7/15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, N.H.
7/22 New London-Waterford Speedbowl Waterford, Conn.
8/4 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn.
8/9 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn.
8/16 Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, Tenn.
8/26 Seekonk Speedway Seekonk, Mass.
9/2 Oswego Speedway Oswego, N.Y.
9/16 Riverhead Raceway Riverhead, N.Y.
9/23 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Loudon, N.H.
10/1 Stafford Motor Speedway Stafford, Conn.
10/5 Charlotte Motor Speedway* Concord, N.C.
10/15 Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Thompson, Conn.

  On the speedway stock market scene this week, two of the three speedway stocks had positive endings. Dover Entertainment remained stale at 2.25 while the International Speedway Corporation jumped up 4.30 to 39.85 and Speedway Motorsports went up 1.04 to 21.75. Outgoing NASCAR cup sponsor Sprint went up 0.50 to 8.48 while incoming NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 0.40 to 44.04. NASCAR fuel sponsor Sunoco (Energy Transfer) went up 0.50 to 34.88 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up 2.41 to 32.18. The auto manufacturers had a profitable week. Ford went up 0.93 to 13.17 and General Motors went up 2.25 to 37.66 while Toyota jumped 6.15 to 122.98. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up 3.52 to 133.39 and Lowes went up 2.38 to 74.69. With the exception of Target Department Stores dropping 0.55 to 77.39, NASCAR teamís sponsors stocks had a great week. McDonalds went up 3.02 to 121.26, Coca-Cola went up 9.53 to 167.15, Aarons Rentals went up 3.08 to 32.48 and Fedex went up 3.70 to 196.60.

  On the tube this week:

  Wednesday, December 14
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FOX Sports 1

  Thursday, December 15
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub - Best of the Year, FS1
7:30 PM, How It's Made - NASCAR Car Bodies; Hurley Sticks; Tube Power Amplifiers; Thermal Coffee Pot, SCIENCE
8:00 PM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI
11:03 PM, How It's Made - Liquor Jugs, Deli Meats, NASCAR Engines, SCI

  Friday, December 16
5:00 PM, Stories of NASCAR - Legend Tony Stewart, NBC Sports Net
5:30 PM, Stories of NASCAR - Memorable Wins of 2016, NBCSN

  Saturday, December 17
2:00 AM, Stories of NASCAR - Legend Tony Stewart, NBCSN
2:30 AM, Stories of NASCAR - Memorable Wins of 2016, NBCSN

   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.

Source: Phil Smith / Champ Trail
Posted: December 13, 2016

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