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
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
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
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.
2017 NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR SCHEDULE
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.
Smith / Champ Trail