Champ Trail -
January 31, 2016
The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. As of this coming Friday,
February 3, two 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 Northeast short track racing scene lost a giant and cornerstone
figure of the sport on Saturday. Howie Hodge, who for many years along with
his wife Mary, roamed the speedways on the east coast as a brilliant and
talented photographer, passed away this past Saturday at the age of 77.
Hodge and his wife were inducted in the Eastern Motorsports Press
Association Hall of Fame on Jan. 7.
In addition to being a great photographer of our sport he was a good
friend to many and was highly respected by his peers. Val LeSieur, former
publisher and editor of Speedway Scene pretty much summed up the thoughts of
He said, "There are many we see as heroes in life and in sports. For
those of us in the northeast auto racing community, we find those heroes are
not just inclusive to drivers and teams. We have heroes in promotional,
media, officials, those we consider unique and outstanding racing
personalities and friends of the sport. Sadly another racing hero has left
He added, "To many Howie Hodge wasn't a racing photographer. He was a
racing enthusiast, friend, family who had great talent for capturing our
sports history and happenings through a lens and enjoying every minute of
it. To those who knew him in racing, his presence at the track made
attending, competing and covering even more enjoyable. A piece of our great
racing history has left the earth and with that a piece of our hearts. God
bless you Howie Hodge Rest in peace and God speed.
The Speedway Scene family extends our thoughts, prayers and deepest
sympathies to the Hodge family for their loss of such a great man.
The Northeast Race Cars & Parts Tri-Track Open Modified Series (TTOMS)
has officially opened pre-registration for the 2017 season. Race teams
looking to compete in the four-race schedule with eligibility for the
lucrative point fund and bonus plan must register by April 1, 2017.
The Tri-Track Series will host four races including events at Seekonk and
Star Speedways and two events at the New London Waterford Speedbowl with an
excess of $30,000 in point fund money up for grabs. The cumulative point
fund at the end of the year will be distributed among the top 25 in owners’
"Jim (Schaefer) and Dick (Williams) have worked hard on this series since
its inception to build a strong foundation and that includes the point
fund," said managing partner Wayne Darling. "This is a healthy payout for a
four-race schedule. And, believe me Jim is still working hard to build that
The preregistration fee of $450 entitles teams to a stake in the point
fund as well as eligibility for the growing bonus plan. Preregistered car
owners also receive one complimentary pit pass for each of the four races on
the schedule. Checks made payable to Tri Track Enterprise LLC can be mailed
to Jim Schaefer, 545 Sweezy Ave., Riverhead, NY 11901. For more information
contact Schaefer via Facebook, email the series at email@example.com or
via phone at 774.229.6106 or 508.847.0565.
"Every penny that we raise will go to the racers," said co-founder Jim
Schaefer. "This series has been and will continue to be for the racers."
Schaefer and others continue to work toward securing additional sponsorship
for the upcoming 2017 season. A total of 54 teams pre-registered for the
2016 season. Nearly 78 different drivers have competed in the Tri-Track
Modified Series since its inception in 2014.
On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway
stocks were up for the week. The International Speedway Corporation went up
0.70 to 37.00 and Speedway Motorsports went up 0.28 to 21.56 while Dover
Entertainment dropped 0.15 to 2.25. NASCAR fuel supplier Sunoco (Energy
Transfer) went up 3.08 to 38.84 and NASCAR tire supplier Goodyear went up
0.79 while NASCAR cup sponsor Monster Beverage dropped 3.21 to 42.30. With
the exception of FORD which went up 0.13 to 12.29 the car manufacturer’s
were down for the week. General Motors dropped 0.01 to 37.00 and Toyota
dropped 2.21 to 116.71. In the home improvement sector, Home Depot went up
2.73 to 138.33 and Lowes went up 1.49 to 73.25. The big team’s sponsor’s
stocks were up and down. McDonalds went up 0.60 to 122.86 and Fedex went up
10.17 to 195.90 while Coca-Cola dropped 0.73 to 165.91Target dropped 0.40 to
63.70 and Aarons Rentals went up 0.23 to 30.54
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, February 1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Fox Sports 1
Thursday, February 2
5:00 PM, Tanked - NASCAR and Baseball Champions Tanks!, ANIMAL
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
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