Champ Trail -
February 14, 2016
The Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina presented the 2nd annual
IceBreaker this past Saturday, February 11. The 2nd annual IceBreaker was
the speedway’s first race of the 2017 season. Drivers of the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series, as well as Modifieds, Chargers, Mini Stocks and Vintage
cars were on hand. Modified competitors looking to get a leg up on the
season looked at the event as somewhat of a practice session for the March
beginning of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series.
A mere 13 cars went to post for the Modified 50 lapper. As they all found
out, Myrtle Beach has an extremely abrasive surface, which eats tires and
ruins competition. Doug Coby was the eventual winner. Coby was the pole
sitter and immediately dropped back after leading only two laps. Jim
Zacharias led from lap 3 to lap 9 before giving way to Jason Myers. After
riding around but staying in striking distance Coby made his move and took
the lead on lap 46. Myers had nothing for the defending Modified champion as
he settled for second. Matt Hirschman finished third and was followed by
Ryan Preece, Ron Silk and Zacharias. Rounding out the top ten were Kyle
Ebersol, Rich Pallai Jr, Woody Pitkat and Jimmy Blewett.
Hopefully the speedway will see some serious work before the Whelen
Modified Tour Series opener in March. Anything over 25 laps at the worn
track will be a waste of time.
The countdown to Speedweeks in Florida continues. This coming Friday,
February 17, 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 gets under way.
In the Tour-type Modified division at New Smyrna, “Big Money” Matt
Hirschman has mailed in an entry in his No. 60 PeeDee Motorsports machine.
Hirschman has not traveled to New Smyrna Speedway for the World Series since
2014. Timmy Solomito, who picked up four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins in
2016, has filed an entry to compete in his first World Series at New Smyrna.
The Long Island driver will be piloting his family-owned race car renumbered
to match his No. 16 ride for Flamingo Motorports. The 2016 Valenti Modified
Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy is on the entry list. McKennedy, from
Chelmsford, Massachusetts has not competed in the World Series at New Smyrna
since 2007 according to TheThirdTurn.com.
Ricky Moxley of Hobe Sound, Florida and Calvin Carroll from Andover, New
Jersey have also filed entries. Also, Justin Bonsignore and Richie Pallai
Jr. have sent in entries to New Smyrna Speedway, although they have yet to
be received. Bonsignore, a former Richie Evans Memorial 100 winner, said
that he and his No. 51 M-3 Tech team are planning on running all five nights
while Pallai will be running Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for team owner
The 2017 season for the unified NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will kick off
in a big way with its March 18 event at Myrtle Beach Speedway, as the legacy
of NASCAR’s top Modified drivers racing up and down the Atlantic coast
continues at the historic venue.
Adding to the significance of the event, the track announced that Safety-Kleen
will be the entitlement sponsor for the kickoff. The race event, which will
also feature NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action, will be the
Performance Plus 300 presented by Safety-Kleen.
The Performance Plus 150 will be the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour portion
of the race event, and will be the first opportunity for fans to see the
Northeast’s top modified teams compete against the South’s best under the
unified tour banner. Four-time Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby of
Connecticut will lead a stout field that is expected to also include North
Carolina’s Burt Myers, who swept the Modified division title at Bowman Gray
Stadium and the final NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championships
NASCAR officials George Silberman and Jimmy Wilson recently met behind
closed doors with select competitors of the Whelen Modified Tour Series at
the Holiday Inn at the TF Green Airport in Warwick, RI. As usual, NASCAR
officials talked a lot but in reality said little. Prize money was noy
discussed but NASCAR alluded to the fact that money for “Southern” races
would be similar to those paid at Thompson. The weight difference between
built and spec engines has been eliminated. It was said that there will be a
pool of money put aside for southern competitors who come north to race. The
pool, $2000, will be split among those who choose to travel. Northern
competitors who travel south will probably get what the cow left behind when
she jumped the fence!
In somewhat of a surprise, NASCAR announced that “Group Qualifying will
be introduced in 2017 starting as early as the first Friday night tour event
at the Stafford Motor Speedway.
In a somewhat related matter, driver Max Zachem stated that the Thompson
Speedway has reached a three-year agreement to host the NASCAR K&N East
On a sad note, word came of the passing of co-founder of the New England
Supermodified Racing Association Ken Smith who died over the weekend.
Together with partners Russ Conway and Charlie Elliot, Ken promoted over
1000 races in a career that started June 1965 leading to all three being
inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
On the speedway stock market scene this week two of the three speedway
stocks ended up on the positive side for the week. The International
Speedway Corporation went up 1.05 to 37.80 while Speedway Motorsports went
up 0.64 to 21.91. Dover Entertainment dropped 0.05 to 2.25. NASCAR cup
sponsor Monster Beverage jumped 1.37 to 44.01 while NASCAR fuel supplier
Sunoco (Energy Transfer) dropped 1.32 to 38.08. NASCAR tire supplier
Goodyear went up 1.67 to 33.72. The auto makers had a down week. Toyota
dropped 2.23 to 112.89 while General Motors dropped 1.16 to 35.17 and Ford
dropped 0.05 to 12.51. In the home improvement sector Home Depot went up
1.87 to 139.85 and Lowes went up 0.68 to 73.97. The big teams sponsors
stocks had a banner week. McDonalds went up 1.58 to 125.82, Coca-Cola went
up 5.84 to 177.00, Target went up 1.98 to 65.73, Aarons Rentals went up 0.12
to 30.05 and Fedex went up 2.65 to 190.86.
On the tube this week:
Wednesday, February 15
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBC Sports Net
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1
Thursday, February 16
6:00 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, FS1
7:00 PM, The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt, FS1
8:00 PM, Untold Stories: Daytona, FS1
Friday, February 17
10:30 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
4:30 PM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
5:00 PM, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 practice, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
6:30 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice, FS1
Saturday, February 18
1:00 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice re-air, FS1
2:00 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 practice re-air, FS1
12:00 PM, Classic NASCAR: 1979 Daytona 500, FS1
12:30 PM, MENCS Daytona practice, FS1
1:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
2:30 PM, MENCS Daytona practice, FS1
3:30 PM, NASCAR Race Hub, Weekend Edition, FS1
5:00 PM, MENCS Daytona practice re-air, FS1
6:00 PM, NASCAR Race Day, FS1
8:00 PM, MENSC The Clash, FS1
Sunday, February 19
1:00 AM, MENSC The Clash re-air, FS1
3:00 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1993 Daytona 500, FS1
5:30 AM, Classic NASCAR: 1993 Daytona 500, FS1
3:00 PM, MENCS Daytona 500 qualifying, FOX
Monday, February 20
4:30 AM, MENCS Daytona 500 qualifying re-air, FS1
2:00 PM, MENSC The Clash re-air, FS2
5:30 PM, NASCAR America, NBCSN
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