Champ Trail -
January 24, 2016
The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. As of this coming Friday,
January 27, three weeks remain before the green flag drops for the World
Series at New Smyrna, the 50 lap tour type Modified event on Saturday, Feb
18 at the Bronson (Fla) Speedway and action at the Daytona International
Speedway. It will be here before you know it.
The New Smyrna Speedway will kick off the annual World Series of Asphalt
Racing on Friday, Feb 17. Tour type Modifieds will compete on the Ĺ mile
banked speedway on Monday, Feb 20, Tuesday, Feb 21, Wednesday, Feb 22 for
the John Blewett III Memorial 76 lapper, Thursday, Feb 23 and Friday, Feb 24
for the Richie Evans Memorial 100. Also on Friday, during the day, New
Smyrna will host a ďModified ReunionĒ.
Action at Daytona kicks off on Saturday, Feb 18 with the ARCA Lucas Oil
200 in the afternoon and the Monster Energy NASCAR cup series Clash on
Saturday night. Daytona will host Monster Energy NASCAR cup series Daytona
500 pole position qualifying on Sunday, Feb 19. Daytona will host practice
and qualifying for Cup cars, Xfinity series cars and Camping World Feb 24,
the Xfinity Series 300 on Saturday, Feb 25 and the speedweek finale, the
Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 26.
Jimmy Blewett said heís looking forward to getting back to New Smyrna to
race against competitors such as Ryan Preece, Ron Silk, JR Bertuccio and
possibly Matt Hirschman and Andy Seuss. He said heís also looking forward to
being able to run the 76-lap event held in memory of his brother, John
Blewett III, on Wednesday night of that week.
Congratulations to all the 2016 New London Waterford Speedbowl champions!
The shoreline oval hosted the biggest awards banquet in the history of the
Speedbowl with 675 drivers, race teams and fans in attendance. It was an
enjoyable evening for all.
It was announced the return of race director Bill Roberts for Wild N
Wacky Wednesday's. Also announced was the welcomed return of Tom Fox as the
Saturday night race director. No word as yet as to who Ron Bouchard (1981
Cup Series) to win a modified event at the Speedbowl in the same season in
which they were an active competitor on a NASCAR national series. Tyler
Chadwick won 3 features, Diego Monahan won twice. In addition to Preece,
former Legend Car champions Dylan Izzo & Paul Kusheba and Stafford Speedway
regulars Matt Galko & Ronnie Williams also scored their first SK win at NLWS.
The 11 different SK winners were the most in the division since 2008.
Rocco brought his track win total to 135 wins, 80 of those in an SK
After losing his Late Model ride the previous season when car owner Scott
Fearn sold his operation during the 2015 will be in charge of public
relations or who will serve as General Manager.
In the SK Modifieds Keith Rocco remained the man to beat, winning 7 races
and his 6th SK Championship. It was also his 4th consecutive SK title. Rocco
battled with Dennis Perry & Joe Gada for the point lead most of the race.
Going into the last race, Rocco had a 4 point lead on Gada and 11 points on
Perry. Gada wrecked early in the event, Perry finished 8th and Rocco
finished 3rd to clinch the title. The $5K 75-lap race to end the SK season
was the only extra-distance event for any of the Saturday point divisions in
2016. Ted Christopher crossed the finish line first, but he was DQ'ed for
illegal fuel, so the win went to Ryan Preece. It was Preece's 1st win in an
SK Modified at NLWS. As a NASCAR Infinity Series driver, he joined season,
Keith Rocco teamed up with Michael & Beth Sullivan to drive their #88 Late
Model in 2016. Rocco won 8 of the 17 events to win his 3rd Late Model
Championship. It was the 3rd time in 4 seasons that Rocco would win both the
SK Modified and Late Model track championships. Former Mini Stock stand-out
Ray Christian III had a break out season and won 3 times. He also
represented the Speedbowl at the annual ACT Late Model Invitational event at
New Hampshire Motor Speedway in August where he finished 13th in the 41 car
field. Bruce Thomas Jr returned and won 2 of the first 4 races, but left
over a dispute with track officials after being penalized after post race
incident with Jason Palmer. Palmer and Anthony Flannery also won twice.
Other drivers honored included Al Stone III who won 5 times to win his
record 4th Limited Sportsman Championship, Wayne Burroughs Jr who repeated
as Mini Stock Champion and won 4 times, In the SK Lites, Tony Membrino Jr
was the dominant car winning 7 of the 14 events, including the first 4 in a
Rookie of the Year Honors went to Paul Bezel in the SK Modifieds, Mikey
Flynn in the Late Models, Shawn Gaedeke in the Limited Sportsman, Jacob
Perry in the Mini Stocks and Corey Dimatteo in the SK lites. Pit crew awards
went to Dennis Perry in the SK Modifieds and Keith Rocco in the Late Models
Many thanks to Sid DiMaggio for his help
Five of NASCARís legendary competitors, three owners and two drivers,
were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,
last Friday night during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room
at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny
Parsons made up the eighth Class of The NASCAR Hall of Fame, a shrine of the
sportís history that now houses 40 inductees.
In addition to the five inductees enshrined, H. Clay Earles was honored
as the third recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions
On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway
stocks were down for the week. Dover Entertainment ended up a no-change for
the week while Speedway Motorsports dropped 0.71 to 21.28 and the
International Speedway Corporation dropped 1.30 to 36.30. NASCAR cup sponsor
Monster Beverage went up 1.00 to 45.51 while NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco
(Energy Transfer) dropped 0.36 to 35.76 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear
dropped 0.22 to 30.52. The car manufacturers were down for the week. Toyota
dropped 0.89 to 118.92 while Ford dropped 0.27 to 12.36 andGeneral Motors
dropped 0.33 to 37.01. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up
0.56 to 135.60 while Lowes dropped 0.39 to 71.76. With the exception of
McDonalds which went up 0.76 to 122.26, the big team sponsorís stocks were
down for the week. Coca-Cola dropped 3.46 to 166.64, Target dropped 6.09 to
64.10, Aarons Rentals dropped 1.74 to 30.31 and Fedex dropped 1.28 to
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, January 25
6:00 AM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
9:00 PM, Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame...NASCAR Fans for Hating Jeff Gordon,
Thursday, January 26
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, Classic NASCAR - 1979 Daytona 500, 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